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the big one

Tomorrow we’ll hit the road again, but tonight – our last in Salt Lake City – we’ll be celebrating Junebug’s first birthday in the company of our friends. The date snuck up on us somewhat, as we have been wrapped up with transitions and trip planning the last month or so.

The little lady appears to be having an excellent day, especially in the context of the preceding sleep-deprived week. In lieu of rushing off to another outdoor adventure, we lazed around the house this morning. She had been struggling to nap during the day since we’ve returned stateside, but this morning she conked out for two-and-a-half hours and, as a result, she has been in a glorious mood all day. It’s a stark departure from our recent clingy, tear-filled afternoons, and a sure sign that we’re close to putting the jet lag haze of the previous week firmly behind us.

Junebug marked her first revolution around the sun by learning to walk. She had been on the verge for quite some time, but the switch from crawling to walking literally crystallized over the course of the last week. Our last month in Kigali she had begun taking steps, but she clearly still preferred crawling to upright locomotion. She would walk with her nanny, but as soon as we entered the room she would drop down on her knees – the excitement of seeing us and the urge to be held were too much for her unsteady legs to handle.

The first we truly saw of her newly acquired skill was during our long cross-Atlantic voyage back to the United States. She walked up a storm in the Kigali airport during our lengthy check-in and covered even more ground during our six-hour layover in Amsterdam. She is still a bit unsteady on her feet, keeping her arms out in front of her for balance and tipping over occasionally, but she is light years ahead of where Munchkin had been at this age. For several months after learning to walk, Munchkin had sported a multicolored assortment of bruises – not a day went by that he wouldn’t bump into something or fall flat on his face. Junebug is a lot more cautious in her approach, which is not too surprising given how long she waited after learning to stand upright before venturing to take her first steps.

We did leave the house eventually, spending a couple of hours at the beautiful Red Butte Garden, but it was just past noon when we finally ventured out – the hottest part of a 100-degree day that made us wilt even quicker than our kids. After a picnic lunch at the garden, we returned to the house and spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool.

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