You’ve got to break a girl back in easy.  Let’s just hit what my brain can muster.

– Julia is prancing around her ‘big girl bed’ right now, telling a story about Diego and a baby… and a volcano and river dolphin.  She is trying to give up her nap, only sleeping half of the times we put her down in the afternoon.  She paces and dances, tells stories, and talks to whatever stuffed animal has made it onto her bed.  But she doesn’t get out.  And doesn’t seem to mind being there (I tell myself).  This heavily pregnant woman needs her naps too, so prance around my little Luli.

– The video monitor that I once mocked has become a great source of entertainment in our lives.  To see the arm-waving theatrics of Julia, and Lillie making her little nest every night is priceless (if you’re in the market we’ve loved this so far, Merry Christmas to me).   Thank you Jocelyn for doing the research.

– I’m 32 weeks pregnant.  It feels like I have been pregnant for 32 years.  To Paul, who hears all my complaints, it must seem a century.  In spite of sciatica, enormity, decreasing sleep, and wondering WHY they don’t make taller maternity clothes… I remain profusely grateful for a body that can bear children.  Little girl #3 still doesn’t have a steady short list of name options, though the list ebbs with things like the Smylies reading the “Top 100 names of the 1890’s” and “Top 100 names of the 1970’s” to us.  Because why not?  Opening all doors.

–  Now Julia is running laps on her bed.

– You should hear Lillie say ‘Ju-ee-a’.  It’s the first thing she says when she wakes up.  She follows her everywhere, including to the potty, to the sink to wash hands, to time out…  I’m getting glimpses of ‘sisters’ and be still my heart.  Now if we can just get Julia to understand that she’s Lillie’s sun and moon.

– I believe marriage is between a man and a woman.  So do my church leaders, which is meaningful to me.  I wish that was as respected and tolerated a position as the other side.   Here is what I believe, and here is an article, among many, I found interesting.

–  We head to Utah and Idaho next week for a brief, last-minute trip before the baby comes.  Our April reunion will be delightful, and feels long overdue . We haven’t visited since July.  Julia is talking a lot about Grandmas and Grandpas, and I can already taste Taco Amigo.  I was reading a book to Julia today that talked about camping and I missed my home.  Western summers, you are the best.  I’m so sad we won’t be there in July this year to ride around the farm (er, lawn), play with family and golden friends, roast marshmallows and play in the creek up at South Fork park…    I can taste the cool summer night air, and yearn for humidity-less heat.  Maybe one day I’ll become a summer-er.  But for now, we long.

– The Smylies are here for a few months for Foreign Service training.  It’s bliss.  I still don’t know how we ended up somewhere that’s not Utah, where so many friends have either made their homes, or will pass through at regular intervals.  Government, I wish you were smaller and more frugal, but I’m grateful for your jobs that make this place what it is for me – a gathering place of wonderful people.

– Tomorrow is the National Kite Festival, an event I look forward too.  We’ll bring our dollar store kites (the bigger, fancier dragons and turtles of yesteryear were a little dangerous for passersby), a picnic, and try to find our friends among the masses.

– Julia’s now singing one of her favs (in her Dad’s very on pitch)  “Can you feel the love tonight?”  She knows how to rhyme now, so if she doesn’t remember a word, she just makes up a rhyme – though it’s not guaranteed  to be  real word.  “Why can’t he be the king I know he is, the king I see insiiiiiiide…”

– Here we are decorating Easter eggs yesterday with friends.  This is the best we do in the photo taking realm these days.



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She Walks

Please ignore my voice.  For the love.  But Lillie took her first steps today at Aunt Jean’s house, and Dad needed to see.  (He was watching Ann Romney give her speech tonight live in Tampa.  Republican Convention = Paul’s Star Trek Convention were he a Trekkie).  Great job Lillie Lils!  I have that heart swell/break that happens every time you grow up a little.


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Roosevelt Island

Some people lament the end of summer.  Living in hot and humid Northern Virginia, I rejoice when August fades.  Three cheers for the end of hibernating!  I do occasionally emerge for the sake of the children, in this case meeting friends at Roosevelt Island a couple of weeks ago so we could run around and sweat together.  Thanks Jocie for documenting our outing!  Look at miss Millie’s doll-face.  It makes me happy to have this babes-in-arms part of life captured sometimes.


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Independence Day, IF style

Jeanine has always been kindly interested in my friends.  With so many of her own people to keep track of and love, it amazes me that she shows so much genuine interest in these people she could be casual about.  She remembers names, asks about babies and due dates, let’s me show her off to them when she visits.  We’ve joked before that our fellow Idaho-lovers Christy and Adam would be fun companions to run the lawn with, and Jeanine answers “Yes!  Anytime!”  So the Hepworths joined us in Idaho Falls for one of my favorite Fourth of Julys ever (this holiday is second only to Christmas for me).

We played in the pond – fishing, fish-feeding, paddle boating.

Enjoyed grass.

Continued eating delicious food.

Played with Grandma.


Hit the IF parade.  A classic!  Real estate agents, karate trucks, and three million cheerleaders.

Collected treats!  Grant said his favorite part about the parade was blue cotton candy.  Sweet.

Met up with old friends.  We hadn’t seen our college friends Dustin & VaughnDavid in ten years!

Met VaughnDavid’s wife!  He got married last year to this sweetheart and they just had their first baby.

❤ !

She’s good for my soul, that Christy Pierce Hepworth.  Love her.

We even braved the IF fireworks, though we hadn’t staked our claim on a spot twenty-four hours before (essential).  They never disappoint.  It was just the greatest holiday – family & friends! Loved every minute.  Thanks for coming, Heps, and thanks to the Mickelsens for being ever-welcoming hosts.  Three cheers for America!


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And Here We Have Idaho…

…winning her way to fame.

Any Mickelsen can sing the Idaho state song at the drop of a hat.  I love this family in every way.  My husband’s family, my family, my girls’ family.  Being here was, as always, dreamy – Jeanine welcomed us in pajamas as we tried to sneak in a night earlier than expected.  We ate so much delicious food, each meal could have been my last.  Sprinklers in the fields, fishing in the pond, the sweater-worthy nights (!), Paul’s outings with his dad, the girls running around so much open space they thought they’d arrived in heaven.

Grandma last visited us in DC a few months ago.  When she came upstairs to see the just-waking Julia, our bleary-eyed toddler blinked to recognition and then said in a hoarse voice, “…tea party?”  Grandma introduced Julia to tea parties when she was super sick last Christmas and needed to be coaxed into eating even a bite.  Instant obsession.  There’s nothing Julia looks forward to more than a tea party with Grandma.
If lifted pinkies and fancy hats don’t convince you that Grandma knows little girls, wait until you see her dolls.  She has a whole room of them.  Julia spent hours upon hours with Grandma’s babies, and Grandma.

Lillie wanted in on the action too.

Paul’s Dad is great for spontaneous trips.  We loaded up in Grandpa’s truck one day (two carseated kids, four adults), and headed to Craters of the Moon, an Idaho landmark famous for… lava rock that looks moon-like.  Particularly fun for a farmer I imagine, since this desolate land makes the farm fields look extra gloriously lush.  Julia loved running and galloping around the black craters.  She’s a galloper.

Also there was a lot of wind



You know I idolize this woman, and every time we see her she adds to the list of things I want to emulate. She was so gentle with Lillie’s stranger-danger (new house, new battle).  And look how she was rewarded.

It’s hard for me to leave this place.  I love it.  I love the dairy down the street that allows us ice cream cones with ridiculous frequency.  I love the pond and the grass.  I love eating dinner on the back deck and sleeping in the cozy, inviting house.  I love the DRY hot summer days and brisk summer nights.  And I particularly love the people that make all of these things home.

Next up, best 4th of July West of the Mississippi.


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Summer West

This is how we feel when we go home – surrounded by love and oh so happy.  Paul and I joke that we can’t actually move West because we’ll no longer be ‘visitors’ and therefore ‘special’.  So for now, we stay far to make our annual splash and are grateful that our family drops everything to spend time with us.  We spent most of our time hanging out and bbq-ing, is there anything better?  Here are a gabillion Utah photos, Idaho up next time.

Grandma worked hard and I prayed that Lillie would cool it.  It’s a stranger-danger phase like I’ve never seen, and there’s nothing worse when you’re staring down two weeks of the people you love.  See results of efforts/prayers later on…

I love this picture of this guy I love.

My stud of a brother and his beautiful girlfriend Hannah.

Julia always wants to be one of the big girls (meaning, over 18) – in Shayla she gets loving aunt and cool ‘big girl’ all in one.

Oh man, Grandma had Lillie eating out of her hand.  Miracle!

Aunt Meagan, Tom’s wife, is kid whisperer extraordinaire.  Julia gave her a furrowed brow upon arrival, and was walking around holding her hand 60 seconds later.  She’s so awesome.

My lovely-in-every-way cousin Jenny and her Joshua.  It feels like just yesterday we were hanging out single in DC, and now babies on hip.

Tried to get a family photo.  We’ll try again next state.

Wedding cake?  Nope, my deluxe 32nd birthday cake.  Thanks Mom!

Tom!  There you are!  Master on the grill, a smile a minute, just love him.

Mouth full of watermelon.  What’s your excuse Ben?

The other love of my parents’ life, Roscoe.  He’s worth most of the hype.

Love this girl!  Such a sweet, beautiful sister.

Melts my heart.

We missed a heat wave, microburst and power outage in DC while we were enjoying breezy nights in the Utah canyons.  Sadly, we were terrible at carting our camera around when we were with friends, so I don’t think I have a single photo of friends in Utah!  We had an amazing time with the Meyers, my highschool girls, the Hepworths, the Roberts, and the Bradys too.  I don’t know that we’ve ever had a more fantastic trip.  I need to get photos from Christy of a huge highlight – she whisked me away for a spoily birthday getaway to see Celine in Vegas!  Scoff if you will at our love of her, we’ve had an in-car concert on every roadtrip we’ve been on together.  I drove all niiiiiiiiiigght to be with you…


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Oh yes we did


And no, I’m not expecting another baby yet.

After nine years with Lexi, who was good to us in as many ways as an ancient luxury car can be, it was time.  Time for Paul to stop sweating during his commute (picture 90 degrees, 98% humidity, suit & tie,  and NO AIR CONDITIONING… for five years).  Time for some music (cd player out, am radio out with the broken antennae).  Time to not worry about the recently leaking radiator and steering fluid.  And time for Paul, the least vain person in existence, to not have to be embarrassed if one of his clients sees him get in his car.  He’s thrilled to be back in his Altima, mostly for the music, and I am increasingly smitten with my mom wheels.

It was pretty funny to tell our neighbors we were going car shopping.
Jay:  “So what are you looking at?”
Me:  “A minivan”
Jay (waiting for it, waiting for it…):  “Oh, seriously?”


June 3, 2012 · 1:18 am