Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fourteen months!

Emma has changed so much since she turned a year old.  As I mentioned in my last post, she started walking at 13 1/2 months! We knew she was ready several weeks before she felt confident enough to let go of our hands and go for it.  It's really increased the fun level for her and us!  She is thoroughly enjoying her faster mode of transportation, and our backs are grateful that we don't have to bend over to hold her hand every time she wants to walk.

Of course, with toddlerhood comes lots of bumps and bruises.  She falls and bumps into things countless times every day. Stairs are a real hazard, since we have so few for her to practice on at home.  She's tough (when she's not tired), so we know she's had a pretty bad fall when she cries about it.  Besides a few impressive head and facial bruises, we had avoided anything too major until last weekend when she hit her chin on our living room table and bit her tongue hard enough to bleed badly.  It was a mess (thank goodness for hard wood floors!) and she was inconsolable for about 15 minutes while we cleaned her up and assessed the damage.  She eventually drank a bottle of milk, took a 3 hour nap, and pretty much forgot it had happened.

In the past several weeks, her vocabulary has also expanded.  She can say dog, monkey, ball, daddy, mommy, no, me, baby, noodles, milk, bottle, go, bike, Bible, night-night, hi, water, bubbles, balloon, knee, star, moon, Jo-Jo (her favorite dog), Nate (her cousin on the Jester side), and Nana (my mom).  She signs the words more, please, all done, hat, "so big," hello, goodbye, up, and yay! (clapping her hands)  She can point to eyes, ears, noses, heads, mouths, teeth, tongues, belly buttons, knees, elbows, feet, and toes.  We enjoy being able to understand more of what she thinks about and wants.

She loves to pick out books for us to read to her.  She can usually find the objects we name in books, and can point out the correct people we name in photographs.  Now that she's walking, she's a great courier and we ask her to bring us things or deliver items to each other so we don't have to get up from our seats. :)  She also enjoys taking things out of a container or drawer one-by-one, and then (sometimes) putting them back away as neatly as a one-year-old can.  Every now and then I'm pleasantly surprised to see her mess all cleaned up by the time I get around to it.  I'm not complaining!

She alternates between one nap a day and two naps.  If she had a good night's sleep (which happens most of the time), she can usually make it until 11 or 12 before she naps. She'll sleep for 2+ hours and is good until bedtime.  She's continued to sleep through the night almost without exception, from 8:30 p.m. until 6:30 a.m.

We're definitely beginning the toddler tantrum stage.  She's opinionated about what she wants and when she wants it, and we hear about it loud and clear when her expectations aren't met.  I totally understand her frustration since much of the world is off-limits to her at this age and she often can't communicate exactly what she wants.  But so far she doesn't seem to be a stubborn kid - she gets over it pretty fast and moves on when we give a firm "no" and redirect her.

She's independent and can entertain herself for hours. When she sees a new place she wants to explore, she'll take off on her own if we let her. She doesn't smile often at strangers anymore and I'd describe her as a pretty serious baby.  But she's very friendly and likes to wave at everyone.

We absolutely love the little girl we're watching Emma become, and are looking forward to her communication skills developing further so we can learn even more about what goes on inside that sweet little head!  I'll spare you the mediocre photos from my camera phone, and leave you with some amazing pictures we had taken with the Jester family in Topsail Island, NC.  Megan Hsu was our photographer, and I cannot recommend her enough if you live or vacation in that area.  Here are some of my favorites of the family.

The entire Jester family - groups listed from left to right: 
Robin (Dan's younger sister), with her husband, Rob, and kids (left to right), Abi, Naomi, and Nate
Dan, Emma, and I 
Roy and Audrey (celebrating their 50th anniversary this year!)
Tim (Dan's older brother) with his wife, Dawn, and kids (left to right) Josiah, Benjamin, Aaron, and Nathan

The original Jester Family

Dad and Mom Jester with their beautiful grandchildren

I love this picture of the two of them!

Tim and Dawn's family

Megan was shooting cute pictures of the boys' feet

Until a wave took them by surprise and she captured this funny moment!

Robin and Rob's family

So sweet!

Happy Naomi

This is my favorite of the littlest cousins. Ha! Poor Naomi was tired of sitting in a crate.

Our family

Goodness, she's beautiful!  

Having fun!

I love her eyes in this picture.

My favorite

Monday, July 7, 2014

Walking on Sunshine

Man, we are loving this summer!  The most exciting thing that's happened is that Emma is walking!  She took her first independent steps about a month ago, and was running everywhere within days. It's made life so fun for both her and us.  I'll have to write a separate post about her development, or else this will get way too long.

Dan's school year ended right before Memorial Day weekend, and he starts school again at the end of July.  So we packed as much fun as we could into the short summer months.  We visited my family in Texas as soon as school ended for Dan, and took a trip a few weeks later to Virginia and North Carolina to spend 10 days with Dan's family.  His parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year, and they wanted the whole family to spend a week together at a beach house in Topsail Island, NC.  It was amazing!  We loved having everyone together at the same house, and our back yard was the Atlantic Ocean.  You can't beat that!  After driving from the beach back to the Jesters' home in Williamsburg, VA, we hosted a 50th anniversary reception for Dan's parents.  Family members and many old and new friends came to celebrate with them.

We've done some other special things this summer, like going to the San Diego County Fair and celebrating Father's Day and 4th of July.  Here are some picture of the highlights from this month.

We took Emma to the San Diego County Fair for the first time. She waves at everyone who looks twice at her, so we made lots of new friends that day.

Dan and I really enjoyed the demolition derby the last time we came, and we thought Emma would be interested in watching it, too.

Wrong. We didn't get to stay long, since she ignored the derby altogether and just wanted us to help her walk up and down the stadium steps again and again, which was distracting to other people.  We took this picture as soon as we got in the arena and all the cars revved up, so it was really noisy.  Emma looks mildly terrified.  Heh!  

We got to meet sheep, cows, goats, and llamas.  We also watched a few shows.  There was a dance performance by a local children's dance troop, and Emma was enthralled watching the kids dance!

She spotted this free-floating balloon on the ground. We cleaned it off with a wet wipe, and it was the best souvenir a one-year-old could ask for!

The day after the fair, I got to attend a tea party-themed baby shower for our friend Adessa (on the right) in Huntington Beach.  She, Ann (in the center), and I met through our husbands who worked together at Dan's school.  

For Father's Day, Emma and I cheered Dan on at a soccer game after church, then we biked to the beach and got New York style pizza for lunch. 

Our vacation week with the Jester family was spent at this beautiful beach house in North Topsail Island, NC.

Dan's parents, Roy and Audrey, will celebrate their 50th anniversary on July 11th! They are an amazing testimony of God's goodness!

Dan and Emma checking out the ocean view from the back porch

Dan and I love swimming in the Atlantic Ocean and were happy to share it with Emma for the first time.

We kept that fair skin covered up from the sun!  She had the best time running around on the beach, checking out the tide pools, picking up shells and rocks, and playing with her cousins.

Robin (Dan's sister) and her little cutie, Naomi, who is 6 months younger than Emma

Our sister-in-law, Dawn, and our nephews, Nathan, Benjamin, and Aaron searching for shells and crabs

Benjamin caught a few crabs throughout the week!

Emma and Grandpa soaking up the rays

Nathan, Abi, and Tim (Dan's brother) building sand castles

Tim and Dawn's family enjoying the hot tub

Tim helping Aaron reel in his fish

And Benjamin caught a sting ray! 

Dawn and Nathan having a boogie boarding competition. Nathan won.

Nathan created sand art

And then he became sand art!

Dan's uncle and aunt, Wes and Marge, drove from Wilmington to visit us almost every afternoon

Rob cooked a gourmet seafood dinner for everyone on his birthday. No one else knew how to do it for him.

Letting the blue crabs loose on the kitchen floor before boiling them in a big pot!

Emma and her cousin, Josiah, loved playing chase on the balcony

Left to right: Aaron, Josiah, Nathan, Benjamin, and Emma watching a video

We got bored one afternoon and harnessed a make-shift sleigh for the babies out of a large Costco box.  Emma and Josiah's faces say "get me out of here!" but they really enjoyed the ride!

Back in Williamsburg, Dad and Mom Jester loved seeing all their friends and family at their reception.

Cutting the beautiful cake a friend made them

Some close friends from their New York days

It was 4th of July weekend right after we returned home from vacation.  Our neighborhood is insanely crowded every year on the 4th because you can see most of the city fireworks from our local park. We dressed Emma in her red, white, and blue and went to the park for a couple of hours that afternoon to check out the crowds.

Emma could've stayed in the swing and people-watched all day long, I think! She was so entertained. We went home for naps and dinner, then came back to the park later for the fireworks shows.

Some of the fireworks that we could see going off near downtown.  They synchronize the fireworks in four different locations along the downtown bay and harbor, and we could see all four shows from a distance.  An hour later, we watched SeaWorld's firework show, which was closer to us.

Emma didn't get scared at all by the noise.  She had a blast staying up way past her bedtime and seeing so many people at night.  During the shows we'd direct her attention to the fireworks, but all she really cared about were the moon and the airplanes she could see flying around.

The Sunday after the 4th, we visited San Diego's downtown library for the first time since it's been remodeled.  We've taken Emma to the library a couple of times to get more books for her to read.  She loves books so much and spends hours each day looking through the ones we own, so it's nice to have new books for her every few weeks.  The downtown library was enormous and beautiful, and she was beside herself when she saw all the books! She literally ran through the aisles screaming with joy.  It was really funny and disruptive! 

Hopefully we'll manage to squeeze in more summertime fun, even after the school year starts!