lately.

Thank you for all of your kind comments about my last post and my desire to share bits and pieces of our adoption story here on the blog.  Our time in Uganda will forever hold a special place in my heart (for so many reasons), and I hope to be able to capture some of that here.

In the meantime... this is what we've been up to lately...

...hanging out with Aunt Nenna...

 ...swapping clothes...

...making fashion statements...

...taking sister selfies...

 ...brushing our teeth (aka eating toothpaste)...

 ...catching up over sushi...

 ...wearing our eggs instead of eating them...

...writing some very belated thank yous...

...taking Sunday strolls...

 ...then taking Sunday naps...

 ...living out of boxes (more on this soon!)...

...trying new gelato flavors...

What about you?  What have you been up to lately?

weekend festivities...

We kicked the weekend off with a little visit to the doctor to finish up Zara's immunizations... 
(this picture was pre-shots... obviously)

...then Friday night included a little stroll down to our favorite pub & eatery...

...where we celebrated a dear friend's birthday... 

 ...which eventually turned into this... 
(see that 117 score??  yeah... that's me... I'm awesome)

 ...Saturday's weather was absolutely glorious... loads and loads of sunshine...

 ...Zara and I soaked up the sun and scarfed down some french fries... It was pretty much perfect...

...Lately little bug loves to help mama "do dishes??"...

...Sunday was a very special day for us... we dedicated Zara to the Lord.  She is such a gift from God and we are forever grateful... 

...Our weekend was pretty dang awesome... how about yours??

20 questions.

Because it's pretty apparent that I'm having a tough time breaking back into the blogosphere, I figured a little re-introduction is in order.  You know, kind of like,

"Hi, I'm Julia... I like to blog sometimes..."

yeah... something like that...

Or how about just a quick game of 20 questions?  You down?

1) What is your full name?

Julia Leslie Black

2) Where were you born?

the metropolis of Manhattan, Kansas

3) Do you like your handwriting?

most days

4) Do you have kids?

yes... #sweetzaragirl

5) What is your favorite cereal?

Cocoa Krispies, no doubt

6) Would you ever bungee jump?

oh hellllll no.

7) What shoes are your wearing right now?

slippers... those count as shoes, right?

8) Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?

Zara and I just Facetimed my parents:)

9) Favorite sports to watch?

football... or volleyball

10) Do you dye your hair?

guilty as charged

11) What is your favorite ice cream?

ice cream-schmice cream... i'm a gelato girl now

12) Scary movies or happy endings?

happy endings

13) What book are you reading right now?

I'm reading a magazine... does that count?

14) Summer or winter?

SUMMER!

15) What are you listening to right now?

the intro to Pretty Little Liars (I'm almost caught up!)

16) Beach house or mountain home?

beach house, please.

17) When was the last time you cried?

uhhhh... yesterday... during some stupid commercial. 

18) How many states/countries have you lived in?

four

19) Morning person or night owl?

night owl... definitely NOT a morning person

20) What are you supposed to be doing right now? 

(that you are obviously ignoring by playing 20 questions:)

sleeping...

There you have it... feel free to play along.  Let me know if you do, I'd love to read your answers:)  Happy Friday!!

weekend festivities...

...every weekend should start with one of these... 

...we tested out our big girl potty (with all of our clothes on)...

...braved the crowds for our first trolly hop...

...Zara said goodbye to her friend Asher...

 ...we said some sad goodbyes to friends of our own...
(this sweet family is flying out and moving to France today)

...we hit up our first Flea Off Market for the season... 

...we said a few more sad goodbyes... 

...Zara had her first pony ride at the Kid Fair on Sunday... 

 ...we closed out the weekend with some long-awaited Chipotle...

A full, full weekend... new adventures... good food... great company... sad farewells... and warmer weather...  What were you up to this weekend?

i want to remember...

 
...how you stomp your little feet when you're dancing.
 
...how you wave your hand in the air when you say, "No, no Little Cat!  No, no!"
 
...how you fall asleep with your little behind in the air.
 
...how you will blow kisses to anybody and everybody.
 
...how you always request to sing "itty-bitty spiduh" or "tinkle, tinkle" when I'm changing your diaper.
 
...how you love wearing your sunglasses everywhere we go.
 
...how you refuse to take a nap in your crib on the weekends.
 
...how you will snuggle and nap in "mama's bed" at the drop of a hat.
 
...how you love bathtime and selfies.
 
...how you end all of our prayers with, "I wuv you Jesus... aaaaaaamen."
 
...how you lean over and give me the sweetest kisses in the mornings.
 
-Zara, age 2 
(February 2014)
 


i eat gelato like it's my job.

If you follow me on Instagram {@julialblack} then you are well aware of my new obsession... er, I mean, hobby.  

About a month ago I picked up my first container of Talenti gelato at the grocery store... and well... let's just say I've made it my mission to try as many flavors as humanly possible.  I've tried five so far... it would have been six, but Lance polished off the Tahitian Vanilla Bean before I could even find my spoon.  It's hard to pick a favorite so far, but if I absolutely had to, it would be between the Caramel Cookie Crunch and the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup.  Talento has like a zillion flavors though, so I must press onward...




Yes, I do realize that I choose to write about gelato on my second post back... but for real y'all... this stuff is legit.  Have you tried it?  Favorite flavors?  I'm dying to try the Coffee Chocolate Chip and the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip...

Oh yeah... I have a blog.


Why hello there.  

It's been a while... months actually.  But you see, recently life has shifted a bit... things look a little different around here.  Instead of blogging I've been...
 

...traveling to distant lands...
 

...singing lullabys...
 

...caressing soft cheeks...

 
...picking up toys...

 
...changing (and wearing) poopy diapers...

 
...playing dress up...

 
...eating snow...
 

...playing with Little Cat...


...celebrating birthdays...

 
...savoring every.single.second...
 
Time isn't as abundant as it used to be... sleep no longer comes freely... and it's impossible to pull out the laptop without tiny hands begging to jab at the keyboard. 
 
But I wouldn't trade it for the world. 
 
While yes, life looks entirely differently around here, I still hope to carve out a little smidgen of time to visit this space every so often.  Blogging has always been a joy for me... a way to capture special moments and memories... an idea book of creative thoughts... a place for raw, challenging vulnerability... and a capsule of real-life stories. 
 
And man, oh man, do I have stories.  Stories that I desperately hope to start sharing in the coming weeks.  And yes... most of them invlove a ridiculously adorable little girl named Zara:)
 
Stay tuned...

dear baby girl {letters from the heart}


Dear Baby Girl,

I can hardly believe it’s all finally happening.  It’s crazy to think about how you can wait, and yearn, and pray for something for so long, and then in the blink of an eye, the day is finally here.  We thought surely the hope of meeting you this fall was slipping through our fingers, as the days continued to go by with no word from our attorney or agency.  But then... just like that... with one simple phone call this past Tuesday everything changed.

Our adoption agency called to ask how fast we could be ready... could we make it in time for a November 1st court date?  Could we be in Uganda by the 29th of October?  Could we make it all happen?  YES. YES. and YES.  And just like that, we were on the phone purchasing plane tickets... scheduling travel... making hotel reservations... buying diapers... digging out passports... filling out visa paperwork... and BAM... 5 short days later we’re on a plane.

And now, here we are... pacing the terminals in the Dubai airport just waiting to board our last plane of the trip.  We are both a bundle of anxious energy... excitement and nerves... sooooo ready to see your sweet face.  I have been dreaming of this moment for so long... seconds don't go by where I'm not thinking about you.  I dreamed about you on the plane.  I can’t wait to take in your smell... kiss your sweet cheeks... learn your little quirks... listen to your cry... embrace your giggling laugh... see your beautiful smile... just hold you in my arms.  

Oh, sweet girl... we’re coming... so close.  All our love and kisses.

xoxo,

mama

dear baby girl {letters from the heart}

Dear Baby Girl,

The past few weeks have been full of updates and changes.  Your daddy and I found out out that you are now living in a small baby home with about 10 other children.  This is a big change from your previous surroundings, but from the updates we've received it sounds like you are slowly adjusting to your new environment.

Knowing that you would soon be moving to a new facility has been so, so hard on your mama.  I desperately want you to be home.  But receiving a small update from the orphanage director helped me breathe a little easier...

"Gift is 8kg, and generally her health is good.  She is a nice girl who wants to be loved all the time.  She wants to always be around people.  She enjoys all the food we give her and also she likes playing with the toys so much.  She is used to the surroundings now, because the first two days she was not used to the people around her and cried some.  We are happy that she is now smiling."

Oh, sweet girl!!!  So many amazing things in that one short little update!  For starters... you're a tiny little tot (about 18 lbs)!  But you look incredibly healthy with cheeks that I can't wait to get my hands on:)  It warms my heart that you seem to be forming attachments and bonds, even amidst all the transition.  This is a big deal.  Man, how I long to see that little smile for myself soon.

We also got a new picture this week... our third one in total.  I smile every time I look at it (which is like a hundred times a day)... you are on a little tricycle... in what looks to be some kind of frilly red and green Christmas dress.  You have the deepest, most beautiful eyes... wise eyes.  I love them.  Your cheeks are ridiculously kissable and your mama can't wait to kiss every square inch of them.

Soon, baby girl... soon.

Love,

mama

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Anonymous love.  Last week we received an anonymous contribution towards our adoption.  The inscription on the inside was so simple, yet so encouraging... "Loving is expensive.  For your adoptive friends."

2) Urgent Care Centers.  I was having symptoms of a UTI yesterday and I knew I needed to get some antibiotics to make sure it didn't turn into anything more serious (i.e. a kidney infection... worst pain I've ever experienced).  Since I didn't get home from work until 8:00pm yesterday, I was super thankful to find an urgent care center that was open.  Regardless of my 2+ hour wait, I'm extremely thankful for the  nurses and doctors that likely worked a much longer day than me, and I'm grateful to have a prescription waiting for me.

3) Unicorn mail.  I mean... freakin' seriously.  Who wouldn't be thankful for unicorn mail?  I have this friend, who, for whatever reason, refuses to have a cell phone.  I'm always giving her a hard time about not being able to text her and blah, blah, blah... but then I received my very own paper text message with a UNICORN on it.  A unicorn.  Done.  No cell phone needed... from here on out I only want unicorn mail... period, the end.

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

I may be linking up with any of these fellow Thankful ladies:

embracing october {monthly goals}

It's freakin' October people.  October.  Fall is finally here... and this makes me very, very happy.   Here are my monthly goals for October...

learn // to say no.
I've never been very good at this.  I have some kind of weird social-phobia where I fear if I say "no" to something I will miss out on all kinds of super exciting things and all of my friends will have inside jokes without me.  I'm finally learning that that's okay and I need to say "no" more often.

list // my blessings.
I can be really quick to complain or focus on what I don't have or what I think I "need"... but this month I want to make a special effort to focus on all that I've already been given.  I have been blessed with so, so much... and I want to be listing those:)

limit // our spending.
This has been an on-going goal for a while now.  Because it's a good goal.  We are learning how to eat out less... pay down debt... save for adoption... and plan for the future.  I have a feeling this won't be the last time we'll be working on this goal:)

love // the process.
While I desperately want to be on the other side of the world holding my baby girl, I am trying to remember to love the process.  I want to cherish every email update and every new photo.  I want to remember how I felt when Lance and I looked at her first picture together... how I felt when we found out what she weighed... how I will feel when we meet her for the first time... and how I will feel when we finally bring her home.  I want to remember it all.

What about you?  What are you focusing on this month?
In case you're interested... or super bored at work... here are my previous monthly goals: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugust, and September.

sisterly love.

This girl.

My sister.  Aka... confidant... fashion consultant... super hero... my best friend.  

It's her birthday today...  I remember the day she was born... I was in kindergarden and got to leave school because "my baby sister" was finally here.  I remember going to the hospital and sitting in a big vinyl chair and getting to hold my little sister for the first time.  Who knew that twenty-seven years ago I'd meet my best friend:)

Happy birthday Jenna-benna!!  I love you!!

thankful thursday {link up}

{Link up your own Thankful Thursday post below...}

This Thursday I am thankful for...

1) Awesome weather.  The weather this week has pretty much been amazing.  It has been in the 70's almost every day... clear, gorgeous and sunny.  You can smell fall just around the corner.  Windows are down, AC is off.  It's pretty much perfect.

2) Quality time with the girls.  Between working late and traveling, I haven't seen the chickens much lately.  But this weekend I made sure to spend a little QT with them.  They are so funny... incredibly entertaining actually.  They have been keeping our fridge fully stocked with eggs too... and for that, I'm super grateful.

3) Nursery inspiration.  I probably daydream about what this room will look like far more than I should.  But I think it's going to be beautiful.  Still have A LOT of work to do... but that's okay.  It will all come together.  I'm dreaming of a fun little fabric banner in navy and pinks:)

What are you thankful for this week? Grab the Thankful Thursday button from the right sidebar and link up your own post below. Be sure to visit the other Thankful Thursday participants and share the love!!

I may be linking up with any of these fellow Thankful ladies: