Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

love at first sight {uganda, part 1}

In an effort to share some of our adoption story here, I've decided to write a handful of posts dedicated to our time in Uganda and our first few weeks with Zara.  These are stories that have been etched so deeply into my heart and I look forward to the day that I can recount them with Zara.  There is no possible way to fully capture the whirlwind of emotion and the depth of love that we experienced during our time in Uganda, but I'm going to give it the ol' college try...
---------------

     Wednesday October 30, 2013

I will never forget my first car ride to Aggies Baby Home.  I could hear my heart pounding.  I nervously tapped my foot in the backseat of the van.  Lance and our driver, Patrick, were talking about something in the front seat, but for the life of me, I couldn't tell you about what.  We were going to meet our daughter today.  Our sweet baby girl.

It was really happening.  Finally.

The car ride took about 45 minutes, but felt more like hours.  I remember pulling into the orphanage... Lance reached back to squeeze my ankle in the backseat.  We were immediately greeted by one of the orphanage caregivers and 2 children.  Lance was showing Patrick how to work the video on his phone, when all of a sudden, there she was.

I immediately forgot about the video instructions and reached for Lance's hand as I took her in.  There was our sweet baby girl.  She hugged the wall as she wobbled down the hallway.  She had that same serious, wise expression in her eyes that was so familiar from all of her photos.  She was dressed in a little black, white, and orange jumper that was faded and too big for her tiny frame.  She was so much smaller than I expected her to be... a baby... my baby.

The caregiver scooped her up and handed her to me... she didn't flinch.  As my eyes welled up with tears, she simply studied me... she kept that serious expression and just took me in.  One of the caregivers wanted to give us a tour of the house, but I couldn't move.  I wanted to freeze time.  I wanted to memorize everything about this moment.

We had brought a little binkie stuffed animal to give her... we actually brought two.  We were told to have something we could give her in those first moments that we met her... but we were also told to have something we could leave with her when we left... something she could cling to when we would go back to the states before bringing her home.  That was no longer an option.  The moment we laid eyes on her, we knew that we could not leave Uganda without her.

We eventually took our tour of the orphanage... but I was in my own world... memorizing every feature of my daughter's face, taking in her smell, feeling her soft tiny curls on my cheek, holding her small hands in mine.  Lance took her hand and gently placed it on his beard... she didn't pull away... she studied it... studied him with her little fingers.  I held her practically the entire time we were there.  I couldn't bear to put her down.

I remember watching her in awe as she sat on the floor and drank an entire cup of milk in one sitting, never once letting the cup leave her lips.  She cried when it was gone... then stopped when I picked her up.  It was as if she knew already.  As if she knew how much I loved her... how much my heart ached for her... how much my arms longed to hold her.

That car ride back to the hotel was so different than the car ride there... instead of tapping my foot, I was rubbing her back... instead of hearing my own heart pounding, I only heard the soft, steady breathing of my baby girl... instead of anxiousness, I felt peace.  True peace.  The kind of peace that comes from that beautiful moment when you get a glimpse into His plan...

...and you finally see that it was absolutely perfect all along.

Monday, March 17, 2014

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??

Friday, March 14, 2014

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!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

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?

Monday, March 3, 2014

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)
 


Tuesday, February 25, 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...

Monday, February 24, 2014

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...