I’ll let you in on a little secret about Julia. This girl has spunk. She constantly keeps us on our toes with her attitude and ability to turn a tantrum on or off like a light switch. Mitchell was a pretty predictable child. This girl is beyond her years in fit throwing, and it literally cracks us up. Don’t get me wrong, she gets a big fat no when she’s wrong and we correct these behaviors. But sometimes we literally have to look the other way to hide a full blown laugh because good golly, her tantrums can be hilarious. I’m sure I’ll be writing a post quite the opposite of this once she turns two, but for now, we just can’t believe the spunk coming out of her at this age. Perhaps it’s that Mitchell was a little slow in the speech department, so he didn’t express things like Julia does. But never in my life did I think my 18 month old would tell me I’m “not nice” for putting her toys away. Or yell “no!” at me when she doesn’t want something. Better yet, my mom was watching her today and told me this. After hitting Mitchell twice trying to get a toy (yes, again, we are teaching her this is wrong, we’re just finding the process hilarious), my mom tells her no. To which she intentionally dumps out her bowl of Cheerios and starts screaming. With tears. Still within the realm of normal toddler tantrum territory, my Mom starts helping her clean up. At which time she stared at her, and then stomped on the Cheerios to smash them all over the floor. Hold the phone. Where does she learn this stuff?! This girl is SMART. So before I get into what a sweetheart she is and how she has made our family feel whole since the day she showed up, you should know she’s packing some serious spunk.
But the overwhelming majority of the time, this is Julia. Constantly smiling. Endlessly exploring. She is always using everything around her to learn and her big brother to show her how the big kids do things. You’ll find her on top of a table in a heartbeat, and yesterday I caught her on our bed, trying to use the headboard to climb to the window way up high in our room. She’s fearless and knows what she wants, and I sincerely hope this is just a glimpse of the confidence she’ll exude through her childhood and teenage years and into adulthood. I pray we guide her into the pursuit of God, with a heart for others, and that she is a glimmer of Jesus’ love to others throughout her life. Confidence is not a quality that comes to mind when I think back to my youth, or even now, so all of that spunk and strong will wrapped up in her sweet little eighteen month soul makes my heart so happy.
This girl loves her Daddy. She climbs up onto his lap and stretches her arms as wide as she can wrap them around him whens he hugs him. The look in his eyes only reinforces the fact that she has him wrapped around her finger – though he probably would not admit it to you or me. Those red curls themselves are enough to wrap anyone around her finger! Though you’d never know it by looking, her hair is long and stretches halfway down her back, but those sweet little ringlets keep it tucked up into a tight little secret that only we get to see at bath time! I am in LOVE with her hair. It’s so Julia. She wouldn’t be the same without those red curls.
It’s so fun to go on adventures with this girl. She’s soaking everything in and learning so quickly. I know we just did this stage eighteen month ago with Mitchell. They’re so much alike, but so totally different at the same time. I love them both so fiercely, but so differently! Julia has a heart for animals. It doesn’t matter what kind – they all excite her to the point that she is panting and flapping her arms. She always reaches out to them with pure excitement. So on the way to visit Daddy at work last weekend, we stopped at the stables here on base to take a peek at the horses. I had a feeling she might love it, but had no idea just how much. She could have stared at those horses all day. Can’t you just see her in a little riding outfit in a few years? Her Texas cousins Sterling, Stella, and Scarlett and their soon-to-be baby sister would be so proud!
I found myself driving away after this little pit stop SO happy that we did. We only spent fifteen minutes there. How often do I find myself thumbing through Instagram or pressing the snooze button for this long? Practically daily. Those fifteen minutes I spent with Julia were so special and intentional watching her heart for exploring and horses explode with happiness.
She stood at that white picket fence, watched so intently, and laughed as a Marine groomed the horses out in the field.
All of her little features seemed so big. Those chubby little hands. Her plump little lips and that button nose. Her beautiful blue eyes. Her decisive walk, where she plops her fat little feet down with every step, making it impossible to go unnoticed when she crosses your path. Her big old pink tutu that she wore around the house with pride all day. This little girl is such a perfect blend of everyone in our family and I can see all of us in her.
While she doesn’t want to stick around for long, she loves loving. She’s always yearning for a hug with outstretched arms and kissing her cheeks brings an instant gap-toothed smile to her face. She is completely indiscriminate when it comes to blankies, and is always looking for the closest one (or four) to carry around and hug.
I know I’ll be back soon for her eighteen month recap, and it’ll be redundant, but I couldn’t help finding myself reflecting on our love for our sweet and spunky Julia in that fifteen minute detour. It may not have been a big adventure. After all, we drive past those stables at least six times a week. But her happiness in that moment reminded me that sometimes we need to take a step back and slow. down. If that means I should get up fifteen minutes earlier… Or using naptime to clean the house so I’m dedicating more relaxed time to these babes, then that’s what I need to do. Because this sweet little moment has replayed in my head all week and the thought of Julia laughing at those horses in her pink tutu makes my heart sing with joy.
We eventually made our way back to the car and headed to bring Daddy his dinner, while he was stuck with overnight duty at work. She waved her little heart out and sung “bye bye” to the horsies. We snapped her back into the car seat with her tutu fluffing out of the straps in all directions, she clutched her blankie, and we were off. It was only fifteen minutes, but that was certainly fifteen of my favorite minutes that week.
**Thank you Follow Your Arrow clothing for her darling little shirt! We’ve worn and washed this thing OUT since February and it’s one of my favorites! Check them out here or follow them @followyourarrowclothing **