Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Fun Part of July

My last post was about "The Not Fun Part of July" - Emma's emergency surgery.  Now I can catch up on "The Fun Part of July".

We enjoyed Independence Day fireworks on July 3rd at Chesapeake City Park. The 4th was on a Tuesday this year, and we didn't want to keep the girls out late on a school night, so we thought it was great that Chesapeake City had their fireworks the night before, when we could sleep in the next morning!
Family photo before the fireworks. They had a great fenced-in kids' play area to keep the little ones entertained while we waited for the fireworks show.

My parents came, too!

We celebrated our brother-in-law, Rob's, birthday at Dad and Mom Jester's house

Rob and Robin's girls, Naomi (left) and Miriam (right), holding hands with Emma while we were praying for the meal. Miriam is so devout! Ha!

Silly faces!
Emma absolutely loves spending time with her cousins.  They came to visit her at our house while she was recovering from surgery a couple of weeks after the birthday party.

In house news: We are finishing the final touches in the kitchen and purchasing appliances and furniture to fill empty rooms.  Every step forward makes it feel more like home.  

Dan and his dad have added crown molding and toe kicks to the tops and bottoms of our cabinets.  They look so pretty!

We picked up a used washer/dryer set off of Craigslist.  We can do our own laundry again!  For the past two months, we've taken our laundry to the Laundry Fairy (my mom), who volunteered to do a load or two for us each week while she was watching Hallie.  She is a saint, and we are spoiled rotten!

Dan and his dad drilled holes in our fireplace to install a TV wall mount.

For the largest TV we could possibly fit in that space. The NHL games are going to look spectacular this season. :)

We also purchased a large dining room table and 8 chairs. Our friends, Dave, Cynthia and their daughters, just happened to be visiting us that day, and they volunteered to help Dan pick up the set and assemble it while I watched the girls.  They finished putting it all together in a couple of hours, when it probably would've taken Dan and I three times as long.  They are great friends to have!

While they were assembling, Olivia and Emma built a fort out of the large table boxes.

Kailey and Hallie played with toys.

The finished product! Everyone was paid for their work with homemade cookies.
We've had several opportunities to have friends and family over, and we're glad we've got a nice large table that seats everyone together!

We got to pet-sit our church friends' seven tiny fish for two weeks while their family was out of town.

Emma was in charge of feeding them once a day and entertaining them so they wouldn't get lonely. She is telling them a spooky story.  Under her loving care, they all survived under our watch. (Whew!!)

We attended Kailey's 6th birthday party one afternoon. They have a pool in their backyard and the girls had the best time swimming and playing.

Emma wasn't allowed to swim so soon after her surgery, but she got to put her hands and feet in the water and spent most of her time taking good care of Olivia and Kailey's dog, Daisy.  Daisy is a very gentle, older black labrador, and Emma absolutely loved her.  She made sure Daisy drank plenty of water.

And decorated her hair with flowers.

Hallie loved meeting Daisy, too!

July was a very hot month, but we tried to get outside in the evenings when it was a little cooler.  We took bread to feed the ducks at the nearby lake a few times.

Watching Emma feed the ducks

 As much as we fit in, we still had many plans this summer that just didn't happen with Emma's unexpected surgery and recovery. But we know the things that we see as interruptions are actually God's plans for us. He knows us and the areas where we need to grow and learn to trust him. He never leaves us to face trials alone, and he has proved himself to be amazingly faithful in our every circumstance.  We are grateful to him for the summer we've had and how he's reminded us that we cannot control our lives - but we can trust the one who is perfectly wise, all-powerful, and loves us more than we could ever imagine.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ten Months!

Look who's finally on the move!!

Hallie learned to crawl this month and is having the time of her life!  Her first time to really crawl is pictured below. Dan had his iPhone out of reach, and she had to have it. She crawled forward about 4 "steps" to get to it!  

There's just something about those electronic devices. We are all like moths to the flame.

She is really fighting her diaper changes now that she can crawl.  We'll lay her down to change her, and she'll try to roll over and crawl away. If that doesn't work, she makes the diaper change as difficult as possible for us with double leg kicks and rolling from side to side.

Making a getaway from her diaper change! She's not very fast yet, but we know that'll change soon!

Since she's reached the crawling milestone, our lives have become more interesting as we watch her discover all the things she can access now.

Like toys that we used to keep out of reach

And hardware for our house repairs

She is trying so hard to pull up. We have to watch what we put on our coffee table.

She hasn't made it to a standing position yet, and usually ends up falling on her back when she tries to pull up. It's very upsetting.

We have a few safe zones to contain her when we need to give our attention elsewhere. 

We were given an inflatable pool that we've filled with baby toys. She tries to get out, but can't get her bottom and legs over the side of the pool. When she's well-fed and not sleepy, she'll play here for 15-20 minutes.

And we have the jumper that she's really too big for now.  She'll last 5-10 minutes in this before she wants out. But it works for a quick bathroom break!

This girl has abs of steel under that round tummy! She sits like this - balanced on her tailbone with her legs in the air - for incredible lengths of time.  Just to show off, she'll bang both her heels simultaneously on the floor as hard as she can, while still holding the pose.  We have all tried to do it with her, and we can't hold a candle to her core strength.  Also, she poops while sitting in this pose every single day. I don't know how it is even possible, but I'm not willing to try it to find out.

Hallie has 5 teeth now! Two on the bottom and three on the top. This was the only way I could get her to show those top teeth when they first came in.

Emma and I got a kick out of dressing Hallie up one day. She had no idea what was going on.

But it was fun!

This girl is a great eater! She loves almost everything we give her and isn't picky about purees vs finger foods. In a typical day, she will eat Cheerios, soft fruit cut into pieces (grapes are her favorite so far), scrambled eggs, crackers, and a variety of pureed baby foods - meat, vegetables, fruit, and grains. She absolutely loves pizza night because we give her a crust to gnaw on, which keeps her busy for a half an hour. 

When she's really tired, she won't want anything to eat and will only settle down when we give her a bottle of milk.  She's been more challenging to get to sleep recently, and already seems to need just one good nap a day, as long as she can sleep for at least an hour and a half.  If she only gets a short nap, she'll sometimes take a second nap later in the afternoon.  She used to always fall asleep in our arms as soon as her tummy was full of milk for naps and bedtime, but recently we've had to put her in bed awake and let her cry it out before she goes to sleep. She doesn't seem to be very stubborn, because the longest she's cried is a couple of minutes before she gives up and falls asleep.

In addition to clapping, she's learned to wave hello and goodbye.  She's not immediately friendly to strangers when we're out, but if they pay attention to her long enough, she warms up to them.  She'll say "buh-buh" (bye-bye) sometimes and when it's time for bed, she'll say "na-na" (night-night). She's got Dada and Nana down pat and every now and then will say Mama. She's very talkative and loves to converse in baby babble. She loves to look at dogs and birds outside, but hasn't named them yet.

She also loves the water! I wish we could let her splash in the bath every day, but we are so busy giving Emma her post-surgery baths, we only put Hallie in the tub when she stinks.

But we have gone to our local lakes several evenings a week this summer, so she gets to splash there.

Her favorite toys light up and play music, or have sweet faces, like baby dolls and stuffed animals.  And she loves anything hard she can gnaw on.

She gets a kick out of seeing herself in mirrors or on the iPhone when we take selfies.

And she has discovered the joy of swinging at the park!

She especially loves swinging beside her big sister.

A pretty picture of the girls at Oak Grove Lake

A more typical picture of the two of them

We've loved watching Hallie move, explore, and find joy in discovering the world this month!