Life in April

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Rose was six months at the very end of March and so we have started introducing solid foods. This was her face when she first tasted apple sauce.

(Pearl was thrilled for Rose to start eating real food and really wanted to hold the spoon for her little sister. Later she told me that this now means she’s one of Rose’s parents.)

Rose is very excited to sit up at the table with us and eagerly grabs at any spoon or bowl within reach. Her enthusiasm doesn’t always extend to the food that goes into her mouth but she continues to be happy to try. So far carrots and bananas seem to be the favourites. No teeth yet.

We had a lovely Easter at home, including our annual Easter hunt in our backyard. Pearl remembered this tradition from last year and was very excited. And she didn’t mind finding Rose’s treats for her too.

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We celebrated Rose’s dedication to the Lord at our church. All of her grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles joined us for the occasion which was extra special. As parents, this is an opportunity for Peter and I to publicly state our hope that Rose grows to know Jesus, as well as for our church community to state their support for our family. It was a really lovely service and I even got to share a little about our family’s journey to meeting Rose.

After Rose was born and named, I looked for any Biblical references to roses. While we never sought to name our girls “Bible names” I do like that there are Biblical references to pearls (such as the pearl of great price). There are two references to roses in the Bible, depending on the translation. Here is my favourite, found in the King James Version,

 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.

Isaiah 35:1

Both times roses are mentioned, it is as a flower that blooms after a drought. The first bloom springing forth in a desert place. It is the perfect reference for our sweet Rose Constance.

And seriously, Rose is the sweetest, happiest baby. I know ever parent thinks so but I really think you couldn’t get a cuter baby than this:

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She sleeps well, she nurses well, she is full of smiles. She loves to be around people and she loves it when people look at her. She loves singing and bouncing, loves to “stand” and to look at herself in the mirror. She is a proficient roller and can scootch around very inefficiently. She desperately wants to keep up with her big sister but isn’t quite there yet. She is bald and toothless and we love her so much.

I am enjoying their sister relationship so much. It’s not without its difficult moments and I know we’ll face new challenges as they grow but they are already learning to love each other so much.

The last couple of weeks have had some gorgeous weather and the girls and I have taken full advantage of it. Anyone else’s toddler’s behaviour improve drastically when you spend time outside?

You can tell I wasn’t ready for sunshine because I had to cut open last year’s sunscreen in order to slather it on my pale, pale children.

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The vacant lot next to our little neighbourhood “forest” was recently cleared and new houses will soon be built there. I’m sad to see our special spot get a little more exposed but Pearl enjoys watching the diggers work.

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(She rode her bike there. I don’t make her wear a helmet everywhere.)

We spend many hours in our backyard on these sunny days. Pearl rides her bike and plays in the dirt while Rose hangs out on a blanket (or naps inside). We eat lunch, colour, hang laundry, draw with chalk, pick flowers. It’s the best.

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Pearl gets fantastically dirty and takes great joy in “sink baths” to wash her feet before coming inside the house. It makes me happy to see her play so hard.

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Big sisters provide endless entertainment.

April has been a pretty great month.

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Garden, Forest, Beach

…with some playground thrown in. (Fair warning: this is mostly pictures of my kid. I think she’s cute.)

Spring is showing up around here and I love it.

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A lilac tree is one of my favourite types of trees.

We moved last summer but the first time we viewed our house was in the spring and the green backyard full of flowers was one of the things that sold us on this place. It’s been fun to see what’s blooming again this year. And it makes me happy to have (free) flowers in my home.

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Pearl saw me picking these in the backyard and has now taken to picking her own bouquets. Here’s her first attempt:

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Sunshine means lots of time spent outdoors and lots of trips to the little park near our house. Pearl loves to walk there all on her own – no stroller or carrier. It takes a little (a lot) longer but makes her so happy.

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She loves to pick up sticks and rocks. We’re starting a collection outside the door. She also likes to put on her own hats, as you might be able to tell.

Pearl seems more grown up to me every day. She climbs to the top of the playground all by herself and then comes down the slide with a little bit of help. Last week we sat on the bench in the park together to eat apple slices.

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And here she is going for a walk by herself:

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Jokes! We’re responsible parents, I promise!

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She’s very much about swings right now.

Warm weather also means beach time.

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…and forest walks!

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If this is a taste of what summer will be like, I’m happy with that!

Pearl at 13 Months

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Mischievous. Inquisitive. Observant.

Pearl at 13 months is full of energy, laughs frequently, and always wants to explores. When strangers stop to say hello or wave at her, she stares back, unsmilingly (she reserves her waves for her favourite people or when the person’s not looking). But she’ll squeal gleefully at a dog or cat and will do her best to pet and hug any dog she can. Oh yeah, she gives hugs now and it’s  one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to me.

She loves to stand up on our kitchen counter and watch the boys next door play hockey in the cul-de-sac. Again, when they wave at her, she just stares at them in return so I end up waving a lot at these little boys.

She has yet to say any words but she understands a lot. She definitely knows when she’s doing something she’s not supposed to because she gets a particular little grin on her face and then takes off running. (As much as a thirteen-month-old can run.) She’ll bark if she hears a dog or a bird and will bark at dogs and cats (including pictures). She can also moo and meow and growl.

Pearl loves carrying around baskets (or ice cream buckets because we’re classy like that) and putting things into them. Easter came at a great developmental time for her!

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Her walking gets faster all the time – not quite running but she goes at full, tiny speed. Her new thing now is climbing. As she gets taller this gets easier (and harder for us to keep things out of her reach). We are working on teaching her caution but not fear. Actually, a little bit of fear might be nice; there are a lot of tumbles.

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She also likes to collect things, like pine cones. She gathered these pine cones together at the park, placed them at the bottom of the slide and then climbed up to sit beside them. (Also: Peter gives me a hard time occasionally because I dress Pearl in a lot of neutrals and, since she also doesn’t have much hair, people often think she’s a boy. But on the very day, pictured above, wearing a floral romper, someone still thought she was a boy.)

More recently, Pearl’s been enjoying books even more, which obviously warms my heart. She doesn’t yet have the patience to sit still for longer than a very short story, but she loves pulling her books off the shelf and looking through the pictures. She’s interested in any magazine that comes to the house – basically anything with pictures.

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Pearl has five teeth now -her most recent popping up just last week. She eats pretty much what we eat. Loves bread, cheese, peanut butter, and cucumbers. Holds her own when we go out for sushi. Wants to eat whatever I have on my plate. Loves smoothies and so that has become my trick for sneaking more fruits and veggies into her diet.

She naps like a champ these days. Still two naps a day and I’ll be sad when she gives that up but happy too, to have more of our day freed up, especially as the weather gets nicer. Her nighttime sleep is generally really good, barring vacations and teething.

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Family shot on top of Mt. Daniel on Easter Monday

Pearl loves being outside and so I’m looking forward to a summer of adventures – hiking, playing at the park, time at the beach, maybe even some camping. I feel so lucky to spend my days with her.

Spring Break 2016 – Sechelt

Things that happened without leaving home:

  • We did some local hikes and exploration.

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  • Which also included some time at the neighbourhood park.

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(That swing is not really Pearl-sized.)

  • We hung out in our backyard for basically the first time this year.

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  • It was sunny enough to hang laundry to dry outside for the first time in 2016, something I’m weirdly excited about. (Being a grown-up is strange.)
  • We celebrated Easter for the second time as a family of 3. (Our Easter last year.)
  • Pearl had her first Easter Egg Hunt.
She rocked it and looked good doing it!

She rocked it and looked good doing it!

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  • Followed by Pearl’s first time eating chocolate. I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed it.
  • Not pictured: Pearl got a new tooth, I got insanely sick for one day (so thankful it happened while Peter was off work!), we did some good thrift store shopping, welcomed new babies of friends near and far, and Pearl wore gum boots for the first time. It’s been great.

Easter Weekend

While snow still covers a lot of Canada, spring has definitely arrived on the West Coast. The magnolia tree in our front yard is already shedding its blossoms and the cherry tree by our deck has exploded into white.

We thoroughly enjoyed the long weekend and filled up our time with family meals, walks, naps, and chocolate-eating. Pearl did well through both the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. Saturday night we had our first hot dog roast on the beach of the year (tucked in between rain showers). Pearl has also started smiling for real at us, which is one of the best things ever. (I also love when she smiles in her sleep.)

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Pearl got dressed up for Easter Sunday. Truthfully, she only has one dress that currently fits so we just added a bow. Apparently, even if you dress a baby in pink, people will still ask, “What’s his name?”

And on Monday the three of us went on our longest walk yet, through Smuggler’s Cove. I’m so excited to be able to hike again. It’s nice that my recovery is matching the warm weather development.

Peter and Pearl at Smuggler's Cove.

Peter and Pearl at Smuggler’s Cove.

Easter is the central weekend of the Christian faith – the story without which, as Paul said, we are to be pitied indeed. The weekend in which God made man performed the ultimate sacrifice and changed the world.

I’ve pondered Easter from a different perspective over the past year as we experienced loss and then waited to meet our baby. As we prepared to be parents, as we prepared in those final weeks for a baby with potentially major health problems. As we welcomed our healthy little girl and as we learn to be her parents. We worship a God who loves us so much that He sacrificed His son for us. I look at Pearl and think, “How could that be done? How could God love me that much?” It’s beyond my understanding. I can only be thankful. I can only accept His sacrifice and worship Him to the best of my flawed ability.

Rejoice and Give Thanks

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First signs of spring outside of my front door. I can’t tell you how happy snowdrops make me every year.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This was a verse our pastor referenced in his sermon on Sunday. It wasn’t the main focus of the sermon but it leapt out to me.  This is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Any time God’s Will (capital letters!) is stated so explicitly, it’s worth reading closely. Because there are many circumstances in my life where I might feel I’m not sure what God’s will is for me.

  • Rejoice
  • Pray
  • Give Thanks

Aren’t those lovely things? Those are the things I want to be full of today, and tomorrow, as the rain comes down and slowly ushers my world into spring.

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