Abby’s Fourth Birthday

This month, Abby turned four.

So let me tell you all who our Abby-girl is.  She is the most enthusiastic, life-loving little girl I’ve ever known.  I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again and again for the rest of our lives, but Abby is an extremist. When she’s happy, she beams.  When she’s disappointed, the world IS ending.  Her meltdowns are epic.  Her naps are deep.  And when she wants to be loud, she’ll hurt your ear drums.

Abby had to get some shots recently.  Imagine a small room in a doctor’s office.  Abby is curled up on my lap with tears in her eyes.  Lydia is sitting next to us, covering her ears and singing (loudly) a made-up song about how everything is going to be ok.  The nurse is quietly singing Abby a little song about what she’s doing.  It’s not actually time for the shot yet, but Abby is curled up tightly on my lap, clutching her favorite stuffed pig in one hand, and screaming at the top of her lungs.  She continues to scream, even when I tell her it’s not time yet, until the “pokes” are done.  But, the moment Abby was done, she had a sweet little smile once again, tears in her eyes, and was proudly clutching her new stickers as if she had just won a medal.

Abby appreciates food.  One morning she greeted me by asking, “Where’s Daddy?  What’s for dessert?”  Her favorite foods are hot dogs, burgers, pizza, and ice cream.  In fact, we let her pick out one meal for her birthday and she waffled between these choices for about a week.  But all hope is not lost for her future dietary choices.  When Abby doesn’t like the meal I make, she’ll happily ask for three bowls of salad instead.

Abby receives compliments like a pro.  You know how some (many) people shrug off compliments because they’re humble or don’t know how to respond?  Not Abby.  If you tell her you like her dress or that she has pretty eyes, she’ll look up at you with sparkling eyes, a closed-mouth grin, and big cheeks in a way that will make you either compliment her more or try not to giggle.  She’s just that cute.  Dan and I took her to a toy store to let her look around and see what she might like for her birthday.  The conclusion: anything.  Just getting a gift makes Abby’s day and she’ll keep that gift with her all day, whether it’s a sticker, sunglasses, stuffed animal, face paint, tiara…you get the idea.  It was so cute on her birthday to watch her reactions when we sung her, “Happy birthday”, and it was even more adorable to hear her later in a different room singing to herself, “Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…”

Lydia and Abby are your typical young sisters.  They often don’t get along.  But within the past few months they’ve surprised me.  There are moments of every day when they can play happily together.  They get so caught up in their make-believe worlds and later come to tell me all the stories of what they’ve done.  Usually Lydia is the one in charge, deciding what they play and who’s who.  Abby is usually the princess, bride, or ballerina, and Lydia is the one doing Abby’s hair, picking out her clothes, and putting pretend makeup on her.  Abby also often “has a new baby” and Lydia is Abby’s doctor.

Abby gives the best hugs.  We call them Abby-hugs.  She squeezes tighter and tighter with impressive strength.  And, though her hugs are wonderful, she is less of a snuggler than her sister.  But she is more of a wrestler.  Dan likes to play-wrestle with the girls, but I usually sit out, so whenever a family comes over to our house, Abby wants to know if the dad will wrestle her.  If he’s not big on wrestling, she’ll go for tickling instead.

While Lydia learns things in big jumps, Abby is more of a slow-and-steady-type learner, but what stands out in her is her ability to love.  Since Dan and I tend to be pretty academic people, this has really made an impression on me.  I’ve seen that a person’s love can win you over.  In times when I’ve been overwhelmed and crying, Abby would approach me and ask, even when she didn’t have many words, “Mommy, why are you leaking?”  She’ll tell me now that she doesn’t like it when I’m sad or angry, and if I am she’ll ask, “When will you be happy again?”  She’ll stay by my side until I assure her that I’m doing well again and then she’ll run off to go play some more princess.

Little Treats

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Lydia is getting old enough now to have discussions with us. We had one recently at breakfast about “treats”. She has come to associate treats with dessert and I was trying to explain to her that a treat doesn’t have to be a small, sweet, edible snack.

A treat is anything that you enjoy, that you don’t get very often.

We listed some examples of treats and went on with our day. Since it’s November, I thought the conversation was pretty fitting. It’s fun to focus and watch other people focus on things for which we are thankful.

Of course, one of the things I’m grateful for, well three of the things that I’m thankful for are my kids. Today for your own little treat, I’m going to share some of the cute things the girls have been saying.

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Abby doesn’t say much yet. At least, not enough to get a quote from. But she does have one quoteable moment from the past week. After breakfast we were having our daily “Bible time”. I asked the girls, as I always do, what they were thankful for that day. Lydia has a handful of items she often repeats: bubbles, bread, seeing friends, and Grandma. Abby always says the same thing: Pizza (which sounds more like “Pita”). But one morning Abby surprised me with a new one, “Anju”. I asked her if she meant her friend from church and she nodded.

“Aww, Abby, that’s so sweet”. And she added “and Jesus.”

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Now that it’s harder to sneak treats without sharing with Lydia, our family has learned that she also has inherited our sweet tooth. One night when we had finished dinner and were getting ready for Bible study, Lydia informed us that she wanted a “sweet treat” and when she didn’t think we had understood her, she insisted she wanted “a little somethin’ somethin’.”

After our vacation last month, we had some leftover apple cider sitting in our fridge. Lydia consistently asked for some hot cider every single day. One evening when it looked like she wasn’t going to get any she walked up to Dan, who was sitting in the living room. She very gently put her hand on his arm, lay her head on his shoulder and looked up at him with the biggest eyes imaginable as she cooed, “I love you Daddy…” She probably did get some hot apple cider that night.

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Several weeks ago I was sitting in the living room. Lydia was on the floor playing with a doll when she looked up at me and asked, “Mom, did God, like, put glue on my head and put my hair on?”

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The other day I was having a comical conversation with Lydia trying to ask her to do something and she was not following. “Lydia,” I insisted, “use your brain.” She responded cheerfully, “Ok, but I don’t know where my brain is.”

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Our Abby-Girl

Our family had a wonderful vacation last week, our last hurrah before I finally submitted to Fall’s arrival. I’m excited to share some memories from our trip, but first I need to sort through all my pictures. In the meantime, I’ll give you all an update on our two-year-old.

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Abby is an enthusiastic, all-or-nothing sort of girl (gets it from her daddy). When she’s happy, her smile beams from ear to ear. When she’s tired she snuggles up with Dan or me and holds her hair while she sucks her thumb. When she’s mad, she lets everyone know it (and despite her early arrival two years ago, those lungs of hers work very well). When she plays pretend, it’s just adorable. When she wrestles she never gives up. You get the idea.

She is very much her Daddy’s girl. When Dan comes home from work she runs through the house yelling “Daddy! Daddy!” Sometimes she realizes part way through a weekday morning that Dan is gone and she will cry and pout, “Daddy?” I think half the reason Abby loved our vacation so much was that Dan never left us. But, I can’t really blame her since I am very much the same way. 🙂
When Dan brought Abby her birthday flower, she was smitten with it. She carried it around the house for twenty minutes refusing to put it down. It was precious.

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And if the pictures don’t make it clear, yes, she is our little red-head. She’s a little blue-eyed-red-head with a huge smile and even bigger personality. She is very much a homebody who prefers spending time with Mom and Dad above anyone else, and when she does get out it takes her quite a while to open up and be her charming self. But if you do get the privilege of winning Abby’s affections you will be sharing in a sweet treasure indeed.

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Almost Two

Tomorrow our little Red-haired Munchkin turns two! In honor of two years together, we filmed a short video to show you all how adorable she’s gotten along with a few of her latest learning accomplishments. Happy early birthday Big Girl. We love you!

Just for fun, go ahead and watch the video again paying attention to Lydia instead of Abby. And then once more watching me, just to see how I rub my nose when I’m thinking. 🙂

These Little Munchkins

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Remember these little munchkins? It’s been a while since I’ve shared any of their adorable antics. One of the favorite activities in our house is, believe it or not, wrestling with Daddy. Often in the evenings Dan will “tackle” Abby and throw her into a fit of giggles. Then Lydia will come running in yelling, “I think I’m tough! I think I’m tough!” So Dan will “tackle” her as well asking, “You think you’re tough?” It’s a great time all around. And if the girls turn on Mommy (as they sometimes do), Daddy takes them both on at once.

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Lydia has been practically begging me to teach her to read for months. She’ll point to letters and ask, “What makes this one?” (meaning, what sound does this make?) So we’ve finally started learning letters and making some fun crafts to go with them. Crafters, as Lydia used to call them, are one of Lydia’s favorite activities. She also loves riding her tricycle, playing in the sprinkler, and blowing bubbles.

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Abby is at a really fun age, learning new words almost every day. Some words are only decipherable by me, but other words are quite clear, “No”, “Ball”, and “Daddy”. Some of our favorites are “Diapah!” (diaper), and “Ah Boo!” (I love you).

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Lydia says some pretty cute things herself. She is terrified of fireworks and thunder, so, as you might imagine, the Fourth of July was a rough night at our house. For the next several nights there were all sorts of loud sounds coming from the neighborhood. One night, Lydia asked me if there would be anymore fireworks and I told her there wouldn’t be. There weren’t any, so the next morning she came downstairs pretty happy.

“Mom, you said there wouldn’t be any fireworks and there weren’t any fireworks.”

I smiled at her and she exclaimed, “And God said, ‘Let there be quiet!’ and there was quiet!”

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As for Abby’s favorite activities lately, she loves to eat. We can plop her down anywhere with a plate of food and she will sit there and eat until the food is gone, no matter what else is going on around her. The down side is, she’ll eat anything: grass, rocks, trash, plum pits…you name it, she’ll eat it.

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These girls usually get along pretty well, although they have their rough moments. Abby is tougher than Lydia, so there have been times when I couldn’t come right away and I’ve had to tell Lydia, “Just run away from Abby and she won’t hurt you!” They love playing outside in the sand where our pool used to be and they love pretending to be mommies. I just have to make sure we have two baby dolls so they’re not fighting over the baby! Neither of these girls like going to bed at night but it is sweet to snuggle up with Lydia and ask them both about their days. Abby lays in her crib and watches as she sucks her thumb and Lydia holds my hair. They really are little munchkins and they really are very sweet.

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Big Things Are Happening…

Big things are happening at our house. On Thursday, at exactly 21 months old, Abby started walking! Here she is just a few days later playing in a puddle up on her two feet:

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Well I guess it’s a tie between Abby and Lydia. They both waited until they were 21 months old to walk. We’ll just have to wait and see if Paul sticks to the pattern or sets a new Taylor record.

The Little Birdwatcher

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Abby is now 19 months old, and has been using this past month to show us more of her fun personality. As we’ve been eating meals together in our dining room, Abby has shown an interest in something other than food: little critters. She loves to sit and eat while she looks out the window. When she spots a squirrel, rabbit, or bird in our yard, she points and yells excitedly. At other times, she’s wander over to the window, stand up, and look out it to find some animal wandering around in our yard.

She also loves to go outside. When Dan gets ready to go somewhere, Abby will grab her shoes and sit by the door. When anyone comes near, she chirps at them, holding out her shoe with the sweetest little expression on her face, “Can I go out?”. Of course, once she’s outside she has even more opportunities to spot the little critters.

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In the evenings Abby likes to show off her strength and speed by wrestling with Lydia. She always wins. Don’t worry though, we don’t let it go to her head. After each munchkin wrestling match, Dan wrestles Abby. She finds it to be great fun and Dan always wins.

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Abby still loves to eat. She’ll eat almost anything we give her. On days when we enjoy vegetables and hummus, Abby likes to take a carrot stick, dip it in the hummus, lick it off, and repeat. Recently she realized she can do the same thing with dirt and a stick. Yes, Abby will eat just about anything, from rocks to shoelaces, if we don’t keep a close eye on her.

Here she is, caught in the act, munching on something while I pay attention to Lydia:

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And as always, little Abby is full of smiles. She and Lydia love playing with each other and are enjoying being big sisters together.

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Finding Her Feet: 18 Month Abby Update

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It’s true! This little cutie is finding her feet. Just during the past week we’ve noticed her pulling herself up on things and then tentatively letting go to stand for just a few seconds. Who knows? By next month she could be walking!

Abby loves singing. Her current favorite song is “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. If you’ll sing it for her (and do the motions), she’ll light right up, try to sing and do the motions too, and then make her characteristic little grunt for you to do it again and again. When she’s upset in the car (when we’re not driving and she’s stuck in her car seat) or at meal times (while she’s waiting for food), singing will often break her out of her bad mood.

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Speaking of bad moods…Abby had a rough stretch this month. Dan and I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong but it seemed like she was always crying. Any little thing could set her off and she’d lose it. One evening I asked the ladies at Bible study to pray about it and one of them encouraged us to be more positive around Abby. Something about pointing out their negative tendencies seems to encourage those habits. Since then we’ve stopped telling Abby not to be a “grumpus” and have instead encouraged her sweet characteristics that we love so much. Well, the next morning we left Abby in her crib for half an hour while Lidster and I got dressed and prepared breakfast. Lately, we had been bringing her down with us, but further in the past we always left her upstairs for an extra half hour. Well, apparently our little introvert needs that alone time in the mornings! That day she was as chipper as ever and we have since readopted our routine of leaving her alone for half an hour before she starts her day. She’s back to being our sweet, fun, smiley baby girl.

One of Abby’s latest frustrations is expressing what she wants during meals. And that leaves Dan and I picking up items one at a time guessing, “Is this what you want?” and then trying to read her expression to determine if it is. This is not our favorite activity and when we guess wrong Abby gets very upset. So we’ve set ourselves to emphasizing how to say “yes” and “no” along with appropriate head nods. Last night Abby really wanted salad dressing on her rice (sometimes you’ll do anything to keep the baby happy) so we kept guessing dressing and then emphasizing, “Yes” in response to our “Is this what you want?” question. By the end of the meal Abby was successfully saying her version of “yes”, which sounds more like “ziet”. Although now she might things “ziet” is actually the word for dressing.

The race is still on to see which happens first. Will Abby walk? Or will Baby be born? Either way, we are enjoying the last days with our two little munchkins before welcoming a third.

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Peek-a-boo: Abby Update

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Tomorrow Abby turns 17 months old. No, she’s not walking yet. The race is still on to see whether she’ll beat her big sister at that. But this month Abby started crawling around on all fours. She’s gotten efficient enough that she will crawl on all fours more often now than army-crawling.

And the favorite activity of the month is…peek-a-boo. Abby is the perfect age to play peek-a-boo and it keeps her (and everyone else) giggling. Sometimes she gets her hands over her face, sometimes she misses. It’s adorable either way.

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She’s a little mischief-maker, crawling all over the house when she knows I can’t really chase her. Abby will keep herself entertained for hours. Her latest favorite toy is a small metal pot and a small ladle. She’ll stir that pot for the longest time without getting bored. She also knows some things that are off-limits, and if she ever catches a plastic grocery bag on the floor or the bathroom door open, she’ll scurry over to it faster than you can believe.

But for all her adorable mischief, Abby is still very sweet. When I snuggle up on the couch to read to Lydia, Abby crawls right over, pulls herself up to a stand, and starts yelling at me to pick her up too. She has no interest in using real words or sign language, her different grunts and yells all have their meaning and do well enough at getting her what she wants.

Is Abby ready to be a big sister yet? Well, I’d love it if she was walking first, but I think she’s going to be very excited about the new baby whenever s/he comes. It’s hard to believe that once all this snow melts we’ll all be able to go for walks to the park with Baby wrapped up in my Moby, and Lydia and Abby walking alongside. We can hardly wait.

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