Thursday, June 22, 2017

Nine Months!

Our little lady has grown up so much in the past month. At her 9 month doctor appointment, Hallie weighed 21 pounds and was in the 85th percentile for height and weight! She's developing right on track, but is on the later side for crawling and pulling up.  This sitting-but-stationary stage is one of the easiest in my opinion, so I'm in no rush for her to move around! She's getting frustrated by her lack of motion and she definitely has the strength to crawl, so it could happen at any time.

Even though she isn't crawling yet, we still have to watch her like a hawk because she is definitely moving! When we sit her up, she lunges to grab things within reach, and when they aren't in reach, she kicks her feet to scoot herself or turn herself in a circle. When we lay her down to change her diaper, she uses those strong legs to kick herself right off the surface if we're not there to catch her! I have learned my lesson and either hold her firmly or put her on the floor.

Hallie has learned to clap this month, and it's the cutest thing ever!  So we clap and cheer for everything and she lights up and joins right in.  She also claps to communicate when she's frustrated with something ("Stop feeding me these nasty vegetables!") or when she's angry ("You walked right past me and didn't pick me up! How DARE you!").  She's become so much more vocal over the past couple of months and really uses her voice inflections. She'll growl when she doesn't like something or babble in a sing song tone when she sees a smiling baby or a doll she likes.  She says ba-ba, da-da, ma-ma, ga-ga, and na-na, but not in association with a particular person or thing.

She's been waking up each night recently, and we suspect it's from teething pain since she has some top teeth coming in.  Every now and then (when she's disturbing Emma or us too much), we'll pat her to soothe her back to sleep.  But more often, we let her work it out herself, and she eventually goes back to sleep on her own. Generally, she's ready for bed between 7-8 pm, and wakes up between 7-8 am, which is a dream come true!  Emma has never gone to bed early or slept 11-12 hours a night, so we always thought it was a myth that other parents used to make us jealous.  In the morning, Hallie will stay awake for a couple of hours to play and eat, and then she's ready for a long (2+ hour) nap.  That only happens if we're at home. If we're out and about, she has to catch shorter naps in the car when she can. She also takes about an hour-long late afternoon nap.

She eats more solids and drinks less milk now.  She still hasn't figured out how to hold her own bottle. She puts it in her mouth, but doesn't lift it to get the milk to flow. As soon as we touch the bottle to show her, she lets go entirely. She still prefers to let someone else do the work. Heh! But she absolutely loves feeding herself finger foods - especially Cheerios. Unfortunately, she isn't quite past the choking stage, so we have to watch every bite to make sure it goes down okay. 

At some point, she learned how to flirt with her eyes. I swear, you don't have to teach this to girls!

Her favorite new obsession is Cheerios! She's mastered feeding them to herself and she would eat nothing else if we let her.

 She loves to show off her amazing flexibility.


She and her cousin, Nathan, bonded over their flexible leg tricks.


Hallie will play with toys independently for a few minutes as long as there is someone else in the room with her.  If she loses sight of you, she panics!  My dad is so sweet about sitting and playing with her when she wants company. I love everything about this picture.

Mirrors are the second best entertainment. She lights up and baby talks non-stop when she sees herself!

She absolutely loves it when Emma plays with her. They are having a picnic lunch on the floor with real and pretend food.

Emma still gets excited about Hallie's baby toys, and Hallie loves to share with her sister. 

However, if Hallie wants to play with Emma's toys, she has to be really sneaky!

We've had some fun cousin time this month. Hallie and Emma are playing with their cousin, Naomi at Grandpa and Grandma Jester's house.

 Hallie also played with her cousin, Miriam, who is 2. I'm pretty sure our big girl is going to be passing clothes down to petite Miriam pretty soon!


I pray these sweet sisters will grow up to be the very best of friends.

This was the first time Hallie got to play in the ocean and on the beach, and she loved it! Also, I am so happy it's summertime because I get to put Hallie in shorts and I cannot get enough of those thighs.

We have had so much fun this month with our 9-month-old girl!

Eight Months!

Hallie is checking off milestones this month! She's sitting up like a champ now, and we can surround her with toys and she'll play for 15+ minutes at a time independently.  She has two new bottom teeth poking through, and she's eating a variety of pureed meat, vegetables, and fruit every day.  We are also feeding her small pieces of soft table foods. She can grab foods with her fingers and fists, but usually just ends up mashing them or throwing them on the floor. 

She's not moving around much on her own, except when I put her on the couch and turn my back. Then she manages to tumble off, of course. It's happened a couple of times now, since mom is a slow learner. Sorry, kid. I guess it didn't happen to Emma because my attention was less divided and I could sit with her.  I don't feel like I sit down much with two kids. 

Bath time is so much more fun now that Hallie is sitting up!  I throw a few toys in the water before I put her in, and she kicks with excitement and can't wait to get in there and grab them.  She'll sit in the water for a good long time, happily splashing and chewing on her toys.  Now that she can hold her own head above water, it no longer breaks our backs to bathe her. She's had lots of baths recently because a warm, wet rag to the face is the best way to clean out her nose in the mornings.  She's gotten a few springtime colds, and after the first few days, she'll feel fine but wake up with her nose completely clogged.  It's a miracle that she doesn't constantly have pink eye, the way she rubs her nose and then immediately wipes her eyes! Yuck!

She absolutely loves going outside and to new places. My mom says that when Hallie gets fussy, she'll take her outside or even into the garage, and she will quiet down instantly. When I'm home with the girls, we often go to a store or a playground and since Hallie can't crawl yet, she's perfectly content to sit in the stroller or shopping cart and observe everything.

Sporting two new bottom teeth! 

Hallie is helping me get back in shape, and can sit like a big girl in the jogging stroller now.

She was officially introduced to the infant seat in the ladies' room at a store when I was sans stroller. Some wonderful person had installed this seat on the door of the stall to save me from having to use the toilet with a squirming 8 month old on my lap.  Because I wasn't about to put her down on the bathroom floor, knowing that she'd want to lick everything she saw. Emma was extremely concerned about Hallie falling out of the chair and was standing guard.

She still loves these types of toys that she can stand up and bounce in, but she seems to prefer sitting on her own now and being able to move more freely.

Bottle propping is already a thing of the past. She lasts for 10 seconds before she kicks or bats the bottle out of her mouth.

She is interested in anything new to touch and chew on, and often, non-toys hold her interest the longest. She's checking out some pretty baby shoes in this photo. 

She loves when you get right in her face and talk to her. She's talking to her cousin, Nathan.

 And playing peek-a-boo with her cousin, Aaron.

She's very interested in how her bottle works, but prefers to let someone else do the work of holding it while she drinks. She'll yank the bottle out of her mouth, grab the nipple and squeeze it with her fingers, and pull it back into her mouth. Then she throws her hands in the air like she just made a touchdown!

Our beauties in their Easter dresses.

Despite being sick with colds most of the month, Hallie usually still has the sweetest temperament. We love this 8-month old girl!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Party Time!

Wow, the month of April flew because of all the special events and parties! Here are pictures of the many highlights.

We missed Dan like crazy the first week of April while he was touring Europe with his Senior Class.  We got to FaceTime or call him every night, which was a huge blessing. He sent us pictures of the amazing places he visited in France, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic so we could experience it vicariously. 
The Eiffel Tower in Paris

The Coliseum in Rome

Gondola Ride in Venice
 
In the meantime, Emma's class was ramping up for Spring Break by having a special Noah's Ark week.  The kids had stories, snacks, crafts, and special (animal) visitors all week. On Friday, they got to dress up as animals and their parents and families were invited.
We dressed up as a bear, a ladybug, and a pony.

I'm pretty proud of Emma's homemade pony costume, made with a hooded sweat shirt, yarn, and foam board for the ears. I don't really enjoy crafts, but I am going to have to get over that if we don't want to spend unnecessary money on all her school projects and events. For the next 14 years. (sigh)

A view from the front.

The special guest in her classroom that day was a miniature pig!

Emma's class, dressed up for Noah's Ark Day.

After the half day at school, we joined a couple of the kids and their moms at Chick-Fil-A for lunch.
 
April is the busiest birthday month for our family. We had so many celebrations!


Two of our nephews had a joint birthday party.  Aaron (shown on the right side of the picture, looking at the cake) and Josiah (sitting on the right side just below Aaron) had birthdays in March, but we weren't able to get together to celebrate until April 1st.

The cousins played all evening together, and the younger kids pretended they were camping. They'd collect their pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals and move to different rooms in the house to camp out.
 
Next, it was Dan's mom (Grandma's) birthday!
 
We went to her house to play, went to the playground, and then had dinner with all the family to celebrate with her.

A couple of days after Grandma's birthday party, the best thing happened:
Dan came home from Europe!

After two weeks overseas, his group had a layover in Atlanta, GA, only to have their flight cancelled because of bad weather! They were stuck for an extra night in Atlanta, and had to ride a charter bus for 10 hours to make it home the next day since flights were still cancelled. He was exhausted, but so happy to be home!
 
Our niece, Meera's, 2nd birthday was in April, too! Unfortunately we didn't get to celebrate with her in person, since she lives in Boston.
 
This little girl has a zest for life! She is the sweetest thing, and we wish we got to see her more often!
 
Emma's 4th birthday came next, which you can read about here.

And the next event was Easter. The girls got prettied up in their Easter dresses.


We made a few attempts at a good family photo at church, and these were the best we could do.
The girls were more interested in each other than the camera.

 
The girls got Easter gift bags, since I forgot to buy baskets.
Hallie is not sure what to do with her gift bag.
 

She got a shape-sorter bath toy!

Emma got new Play Doh and Play Doh toys.
 
She loves her My Little Pony Play Doh mold.

After church, we headed to Tim and Dawn's house for Easter dinner and an Easter egg hunt. Our older nephews, Benjamin and Nathan, very kindly waited to give the younger kids a head start finding eggs.


 
The next birthday party was for my dad (Papa)!
We took him to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.

 And enjoyed Nothing Bundt Cake for dessert! Yum!
 
Our niece, Miriam, also turned 2 years old and we had a fun party at her house to celebrate.
 It was perfect weather for the pool.

She was the cutest thing blowing out her candles!


 
Dan's dad (Grandpa's) birthday came at the end of the month, and we celebrated his birthday along with Miriam's.

It was a party-filled whirlwind of a month!