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Since Michael has accused me of playing favorites with my children,
allow me to disprove him 🙂

On Sunday, Julia looked out the window and saw the neighbor kids playing their little hearts out.
She immediately informed me that she needed to “go outside and run!”
So run we did.
To the playground in fact.
And she could not have been happier – she ran up to every person she saw and exclaimed: “I runnin!!!!”
Even 2 and 1/2 year olds know that sunshine and fresh air are reasons for celebration.

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I love these pictures because they capture her joy
(and spunk…er, attitude? as evidenced by the picture on the left.)
This girl not only laughs constantly,
she makes ME laugh.
I’m grateful for her.

hello april.  hello sunshine.
I thought you’d never return.

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I think the last time I posted was in the Fall.
What a shocker.
I keep saying I want to get back into blogging,
but it just hasn’t been in the cards lately.
I’m hoping I can carve out some time for it in the future.
BUT, it’s been a good break for me.
I would say I’ve been in a season of weakness lately.
Not in a bad way,
but in a way that makes me realize my dependence on Jesus.
I used to feel like I had a large capacity to get things done.
For whatever reason, that capacity seems to have shrunk.
Maybe it’s the two little people that live with us.
It could also be all the time I waste on facebook
I do have a love-hate relationship with that monster.
ANYWAYS,
I’m trying to learn what God has for me in it,
and rest content with whatever I can get done in a day.
and learn how to be more diligent with my time.
It really is good.

A little rambly update on the girls.
my biggest job is keeping them in pants that are long enough.
my girls may as well be walking on stilts. 
both are in the 93rd percentiles for height.
Julia is well above the max height for all 2T sizes. 
I’m serious – I can’t find pants that stay long enough for more than 3 months.

Julia is a chatterbox. 
Sweetest thing ever, yet has quite the temper.
I blame her father Winking smile
she has a very vivid imagination and loves to play with her Entourage.
what is the Entourage? you ask:
all her Hello Kittys, Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Birdie, Person, Other Person, Elephant, Baby Moses, Red Man, Red Lady, Chickie, all the people who live in her pink castle, donkey, Mr. Cow, and I could go on and on.
the Entourage started with 5 characters.
It’s gotten out of control.
She loves playing games on the Kindle.
she’s become a bit of a picky eater, but we’re making a lot of progress in getting her to try new things.  but don’t worry, she’ll still let you know if the food you just spent an hour preparing is “GROSS.”

she keeps us laughing constantly.
we can’t imagine life without her and her infectious joy,
despite her crazy antics.

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and then there’s Isobel.
already 9 and 1/2 months.
so many things I could say about this girl.
sweet, cuddly, happy, excited about EVERYTHING.
above all, she is my snuggler.
Julia slept through the night at 9 weeks old and never looked back.
Belle waited until 7 months to do it consistently.
Definitely defied my expectations (sorely),
but it has forged a special bond between the two of us.
many hours in the rocking chair will do that. 
Just last night she was up most of the night with a cough
and could only be soothed by coming to bed with us.
I don’t like sleep deprivation,
but I will always love that memory of having her snuggle up with us in bed.
I keep trying to remember that these days don’t last long. 

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She is different from her sister in practically every way.
But they are already best friends.
I’m really excited to see all that lies ahead for them.

And that’s it for now.
Hopefully I’ll be able to post more and update less.
Happy Thursday and happy SPRING!

Meg, Heidi, Michelle and I decided the best way to celebrate this weather was to go for a walk in the borough.
Here is Julia, taking after her Aunt Michelle by closing her eyes for pictures.
Also, please note we are both wearing jean skirts.
And flower headbands.
This may or may not have been intentional…

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We stopped in Starbucks, where one of the baristas kept calling Meg and I “dear.”
Oh dear.

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And then we strolled on over to Everhart Park.
It was beautiful.
Sadly Meg and Chloe had left us to go to Target
(i understand)
so I do not have any pictures of their lovely faces
.
 

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Gray thoroughly enjoyed his ride and kicked his feet almost the entire time.
What a sweet, happy boy.

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Julia had a grand time as well. 

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My beautiful friend, Heidi

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And my beautiful sister-in-law
(and also very good friend!),
Michelle 🙂

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It was a super fun day.

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Can’t wait for many more spring and summer days.
It’s days like this that remind me how much
I love being a mom.
Especially when I get to share the season with these girls.
I am truly blessed.

I think the evenings are just so much more lovely now that there is DAYLIGHT.
Yes, cold and dark Winter nights can be cozy.
But 6 o’clock on an April evening, with light still pouring through the window, is revitalizing.

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And nothing says Spring like asparagus.
I LOVE fresh asparagus.

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Toss it with some whole wheat penne and a syrupy balsamic glaze…

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Top it with some grated Parmesan cheese…

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And you’ll find yourself wishing Spring lasted forever.
You can find the recipe here.

“Open up your hands and feel the rain come on down
Taste the wind and smell the flowers’ sweet perfume
Open up your mind and let the light shine in
The earth has been reborn and life goes on”

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Jules and I love our walks around the neighborhood.
Can’t wait for many, many more.
Life is good.

So, I am back from the dead. 
Or, from this nasty cold at least.  Let me tell ya, it was a doozy.  Haven’t gotten it yet?  Have no fear.  You’ll probably get it soon.  It seems to be spreading rapidly.  It’s like the plague.  It’ll knock ya flat.  And I finally thought I was improving when the sinus pain hit last week.  You know, the kind that makes you feel like you’ve just been punched?  Or perhaps (in Reenie’s words) as though someone is shoving a cattle prod into the side of your face?  Yeah, that kind.  After trying all of my natural methods for 5 days to relieve the “pressure”, I finally admitted I needed the doctor.  And the prescription they gave me for my sinus infection is working wonders. 🙂

And not only did I get to keep the left side of my face after all, Mr. Sun decided to show his lovely smiling face today, making my joy complete.

But eventually came dinner.  Otherwise known as the ugly reality, You-are-an Adult-Now – Cook-Your-Food-Yourself.  See, I was supposed to meal plan on Saturday.  And shop on Saturday.  It is Tuesday.  And we have no food.  I love deadlines.  I love the sound they make as they go whooshing past.  (one of my favorite quotes.)

So yeah, needless to say, I wanted to crash my parents’ for dinner tonight.  BUT, I challenged myself.  I challenged myself to a) not get take-out and b) not mooch off of some poor unsuspecting friend or family member.

And this is what I came up with:

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I cooked up some whole wheat pasta, chopped up some cherry tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, and tossed it all together with grated Parmesan and White Balsamic Italian dressing.  (You can see the recipe for the dressing here.)  And for garnish I added about a TBSP of fresh parsley.  It was good!  Tasty and satisfying.  And I used up ingredients that would have otherwise gone bad PLUS I didn’t spend a penny!  Challenge conquered.

Here is Michael, clearly not ready for my “candid” shot.  He was making sure he didn’t have anything in his teeth.  And he is being gracious by letting me post this picture, because I think it is hilarious and he does not. :)  He’s a good sport.

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And, because I want your sympathy, please observe this horse pill that I have to take:

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It is ginormous.  This picture does not do it justice.  But please believe me when I say that it is like swallowing a cannonball.  (Yes, Traci, once again I am being overly dramatic.)  Fortunately, it is allowing me to remain upright for more than an hour at a time, so I am willing to endure it.

Finally, to celebrate the warm weather and the fact that the left side of my face didn’t explode, I told Mike to get in the car for a surprise.  However, it did not end up being much of a surprise because before we even got out of our neighborhood he guessed where we were going. 

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It must be punishment for spoiling every surprise anyone has ever tried to spring on me.  I suppose I deserve it.  (Although, in my defense, I have not hijacked anybody’s palm pilot in about 5 years!)

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We still had a grand ol’ time.  Mike got an Orange Misto.  I got a Mango Gelati.  And yes, I got the large.  Seriously, it’s only 40 cents more.  It was the best value.  Plus, I’m pregnant, and Julia was demanding her fair share.  What kind of mother would I be if I said no to that?

We are looking forward to many more Rita’s trips as the weather gets nicer and nicer.  Spring, here we come!

Spring has sprung.
It is a balmy 59 degrees today!
And I am celebrating with a head cold. How unfortunately ironic.

I am so loving this warmer weather. Yes, me, the snow-lover. I cannot wait to have my doors and windows open and sunlight pouring through them from early morning until early evening! I have grand plans for our deck this spring/summer, and I am anxious to get a move on it.

Also included in spring/summer plans: a garden.
Traci, Michelle and I do not have green thumbs, and yet we are going to attempt a vegetable garden.
Whose idea was that? Traci’s 😉
So we are consulting our local garden guru: Emily Mox. She is going to school for all things plant related! (I realize there is a scientific name for that….probably horticulture…or herbology…wait spell-check says herbology is not a word…does that only exist in Harry Potter?) Well, either way, she is sharing her wisdom with us and we are eternally grateful. I, for one, do not want to plant what I thought were peppers and be absolutely floored when cucumbers sprout.
You think I’m joking?
I once killed a cactus.
In the words of Demetri Martin, that means I am less nurturing than a desert.

So, I’m trying to move on from that horrendous experience. And when I asked Emily if I could grow strawberries…she wisely (and very kindly) suggested that perhaps I should wait on those. So, we are going to try to keep vegetables alive and see how that goes.

But in the meantime, I saw this Strawberry Kit at Target:

Buzzy Porcelain Strawberry Grow Kit

This intrigues me. Because if I can’t grow strawberries, maybe this pot can!
I am going to mention it as a gift idea for Mother’s Day. Which, I have been wondering, do I count as a participant for Mother’s Day this year? I hope so. Because I have been dropping gift ideas to Michael rather frequently lately 😉

Collective Reminiscings

The Smittys

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