Our One Year Old

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Last Thursday, we celebrated Abby’s very first birthday. Dan brought her home some miniature roses which she was thrilled with (mostly because she wanted to eat them). She’s at that age when everything goes into her mouth.

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After dinner…presents! For someone who has never had a birthday before, she seemed pretty excited. Lydia must have given her a heads up.

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In the end, Dan had to help her out a little.

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The jumbo knob puzzles may or may not have been a hit. Mostly, she just wanted to put the puzzle pieces in her mouth. Lydia, on the other hand, was happy to play with the puzzles.

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In lieu of a birthday cake for our not-really-one-year-old-yet preemies, we’ve made a family tradition of giving the birthday girls watermelon instead. Abby loved her birthday watermelon and successfully at her whole piece minus the last bite, which fell on the floor.

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So what’s the little one-year-old up to these days?

Well, she’s officially a big kid. Sometime in the past weeks we caved and started buying jarred baby food. It was just too much work to make our own while we’re living in transition. Since then, Abby eats like a pro, averaging two jars per meal or snack. She’ll eat anything, but has lately shown a little less favor toward the spinach potato combination.

Abby chatters away during the day and at meal times and is (still) always smiling. While we were visiting Rob and Crystal a couple of weeks ago, she figured out how to “crawl”. It’s an interesting version of crawling, but it gets her where she wants to go. She keeps up with her big sister pretty well now, and keeps us busier than ever.

Munchkin Update: 3 Years, 2 Months

Lydia is in to collecting things. She collects rocks, leaves, and flowers from outside. Sometime she keeps them in her pocket and sometimes she pretends one of the rocks is her cell phone. She also tends to collect purses. And tutus. Right now the tutu count is up to four.

A few days ago Lydia pulled the blanket off of her bed and rigged a “swim suit” out of a couple of tutus. One of her favorite games now is to put on that “swimsuit” and go “swimming” in her bedroom. If anyone is friendly enough to join her she really likes to get in and out of the “water” and dry off with a blanket each time before jumping back in.

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She is all go, all the time. And if you ask her, she will tell you that she is never tired. For the past few months now she has been in a “why” phase. Her response to almost everything is “why”. Often she genuinely wants to know, sometimes she does it to be silly, and sometimes it’s just out of habit. This morning I was folding laundry and Lydia asked me if I would go “swimming” with her. I told her I could after I finished folding laundry and washing dishes.


“So we have clean clothes to wear and clean dishes to eat off of.”

Her answer was insightful: “So they will get dirty again?”

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Lately Lydia has memorized the books of the New Testament and a large portion of scripture put to song for our Church’s Vacation Bible School. Dan and I also realized that we were emphasizing a lot of numbers and shapes with her, so I decided to start teaching her the alphabet.

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Every morning I pull out some magnet letters and we play with them. Big A and Little A are on our fridge right now along with Big B and Little B. They tell Lydia what sounds they make and sing the ABC song. It’s sort of like a little puppet show every day and she loves it.

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Lydia is always my big helper. If I let her help me make dinner or wash dishes, she’s thrilled. She’s happy go get a clean diaper for Abby or throw away anything we say can go in the trash. She’s also as sweet as can be and frequently asks us to hold her or sing with her. Sometimes she spontaneously comes up and says, “I love you Mom”. We love her spunk and her energy and her silliness, but more than that we love the sweet hearted helper that she is and her precious sensitive heart.

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Abby Update: 10 1/2 Months Old

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I know this update is late. It’s been busy around here and mostly I just haven’t gotten a chance to take pictures of our adorable Abigail. And I know you all really read these updates mostly for the pictures. 🙂

Last month I told you all that Abby was very smiley. Now I want to make it known that Abby is the happiest baby on the planet. It certainly wasn’t our doing or I would give everyone our method, because I think everyone should share the pleasure of having such a happy baby. Abby smiles almost all the time. The only times she isn’t really smiling are:

1. When she is asleep.

2. When she wakes up hungry. Or anytime she is hungry.

3. When she is being denied food at the dinner table, or if anyone takes something away while she is playing with it.

It’s true, Abby has a bit of a temper. She doesn’t really like to stay on her back during diaper changes and she will yell at you if you take away her toys. But it’s not hard to get a smile out of her even after snatching away a toy, shoe, or whatever other odd item she picks up during her wanderings.

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Abby is becoming more and more mobile. She’s still not quite sitting up, but she can rotate and roll to get anywhere she wants. Despite her active wandering, Abby has kept her chubby cheeks. She’s not as heavy as those cheeks make her look, but it makes us so happy to see her plump and healthy after such a rough start.

Abby and Lydia are best friends. One day I asked Lydia, “Who is your best friend?”, thinking she would mention one of the friends she had just seen that morning at church. She answered me very matter-of-factly: “Abigail”, and went on playing.

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When I go running, the girls hold hands. When I change Abby’s diaper, Lydia lies down next to her and makes her laugh. When Abby is hungry and crying because I can’t get to her right away, Lydia talks to Abby while she waits and Abby loves it. It’s enough to melt your heart.

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, and it’s not obvious in the pictures, but Abby has red hair. She doesn’t have a lot, and we’re not sure if it’ll stay or change, but right now we love her red locks. She still has brilliantly clear blue eyes, making her the smiliest, chubbiest, blue-eyed redhead in this household.

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Abby Update: Eight Months Old

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Weight: 13 Pounds, 7 ounces

Abby is a lot like me. First of all, she looks very much like my baby pictures. The only real differences are that my eyes were not so blue and my hair was not so red. Although, Abby’s hair seems to be a little less red these days. It’s hard to tell because there’s just not too much of it.

My mom always told me that I was very adaptable. I don’t know about that now, but with all of our packing and unpacking and moving, Abby has displayed some adaptability of her own. She just eats when she’s hungry, sits in her bouncy seat, and smiles at anyone who will take a moment to give her a grin. She is very content and really, a very “easy baby”. The only exception is that she still usually gets up once a night. Again. But sometimes she’ll sleep nice and long and she still takes regular naps, so we’re doing ok.

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Abby has officially found her thumb. And, like me, and Lydia, Abby sucks her left thumb. It brings me great happiness to hear the sound of thumb-sucking echo through our basement home as the girls nap.

Abby is also ticklish, and, like me, she doesn’t like being tickled. It’s so cute to watch her try to fight it as you tickle her tummy. She lets out little resistant grunty giggles, but she’s so ticklish that she really can’t resist very long.

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But no one can make Abby’s face light up like Dan. When he gives her his attention she gives him the biggest, cutest smile you’ve ever seen. There was a period of a couple of weeks when Abby liked to stick out her tongue all the time. It was a little weird, I thought. But one time Dan just reached out and gently grabbed it. She thought that was the best thing in the world and continued to stick out her tongue in a way that made it look like she was fishing for Dan to grab it again (and he did).

As I wrap up this post, Abby is sitting in her bouncy seat chattering away: “Ehhha, ah, wah, huhhh, ayahhh, huhh, huhh, aieeyabubu”. She is more adorable than words can possibly describe.

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Abby Update: 7 Months Old

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Weight: 12 pounds, 11 ounces

This month, Abby learned how to roll from her tummy to her back! Although she can now roll anywhere she wants, she remains pretty content on her back or tummy most of the time. When she does want to move, she rotates in a circle and can make it more than halfway around.

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Abby has also learned how to hold on to things and grab. She likes to hold on to blankets, toys, and her sister’s clothing. She, like her sister, loves to hold my hair.

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Abby has the most squishable chubby cheeks and amazing blue eyes. I don’t remember Lydia’s eyes ever being so brilliantly blue and I am secretly hoping the blue eyes and reddish hair are here to stay. But we’ll see.

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Can you believe she used to be the same size as that doll?

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Abby has no teeth yet and we are really enjoying her happy toothless grin. I’ve mentioned, occasionally, that I don’t want the toothless grin to ever go away, but Dan assures me it would eventually cease to be so cute. I guess he’s right. She is often very smiley, but occasionally gets in moods where nothing anyone can do will get her to smile.

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Abby is a conundrum when it comes to sleeping at night. Some weeks she’ll sleep until 7 AM every single day. Other weeks she gets up once or twice. She almost always will go right back to sleep, so I’m still a happy mommy. And, even though we can’t get her on a consistent schedule during the day, she always lets me get a nap so I am, again, a happy mommy.

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It is hard to believe that Abigail is now over half a year old. The first months were slow and long and hard, but since she has been home the time has flown and she just keeps growing bigger and happier and more and more loved.

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Munchkin Update: 2 Years, 10 Months

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Sometimes when Lydia is sleepy, all curled up in my arms with her hair in one hand and her thumb in her mouth, and I’m just holding her as she absentmindedly plays with that hair and sucks that thumb, I think “I don’t ever want to let go”.

This kid is full of






The other day Lydia disappeared into her bedroom. When she walked out again she had on a bracelet rattle, a talking toy purse, and a pair of pajama pants on her head. She said, “I’m Mary.” We still haven’t figured out if she is Mary from the Bible or someone we know named Mary.

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Later Dan took Lydia to Meijer. We always stop to let her look at the fish, and the last time we visited them she said goodbye to every fish tank before leaving. When she got home from Meijer she promptly went back to her room and put the pajama pants back on her head.

Lydia has been mastering Bible memory verses little by little. We are currently working on John 3:16 (to the tune of Silent Night). I added hand motions this time and was extremely confused when we had a visitor one day and Lydia kept telling her she liked the “lotion”. We finally figured out that she wanted to sing the song with the motions.

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Speaking of visitors, one of Lydia’s favorite things to do when we have a visitor is fetch them their shoes when they are getting ready to leave. We never told her to do it, she just figured out that when people leave they need shoes, and she decided to be helpful. Now she fetches their shoes, will give them their purse if they have one, and often insists on a hug before they leave.

Dan’s current favorite though, is at bedtime. After Dan spends a few minutes laying on “the green bed” with Lydia, he wishes her goodnight and gets up to leave. She stops him and insists, “No, no, stay for a while!”

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Over the River and through the Woods

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The bags are packed. The Christmas presents are finally wrapped. The snow has come, but we are going North to Grandma’s (and Grandpa’s and Nana’s and Papa’s)!

This is our 7th attempt to get together with my family to celebrate Christmas, and introduce everyone to Abby…outside an isolette. All week Lydia has woken up from every nap and bedtime yelling, “Grandpa Grandma’s House!” and we’ve had to remind her, “yep, in three days…two days…tomorrow”.

To prepare for the trip, Lydia dressed up in her “going North outfit”, my fancy schmancy raincoat (from the time I went to Africa), a small purse from a dear friend (containing her toy cell phone and a hair bow), and Mom’s high heels (which Mom never wears, but Lydia puts to good use).

There is a long car ride in store. Fun to be had. Pictures to come.

We are ready.

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Munchkin Update: 2 Years, 9 Months

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Lydia has been in school mode all month, probably because Mom is so busy researching homeschooling. She’ll often grab a book, some stickers, and a pen and say “I’m doing school!”. One of our recent learning activities was a finger game about a little mouse:

I have a little mouse. (the thumb is her mouse)
He’s hiding in a hole! (that’s the fist)

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He will come out if we talk soft and slow.
Open a window (pinky finger) and another (ring finger) and another (middle finger)…
Look! There’s the mouse hiding in the covers!

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She loves showing us her “little mouse”.

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Lydia and I have also been enjoying Bible times together. We’ll read from the Bible, a Bible story book of Lydia’s, pray together, and sing some of the songs from the most recent church service. Last week she became hooked on “10,000 Reasons”. She’ll sing it every day as she dances and spins in the living room.

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Bless the Lord oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before, oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name.

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This month Lydia started flossing her teeth, sitting in a “big girl” chair during breakfast, and successfully jumping off the ground with both feet. She can count to 20 but sometimes says “eleventeen” instead of “seventeen”. She started calling pajamas jahmiahs (like Jeremiah without the “re” in the middle). We’re working on negatives as she likes to say “I no like it” instead of “I don’t like it”. And when she wants to do something after we tell her it’s time to be done she responds with an insistent “one more time”.

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Munchkin Update: 2 Years, 7 Months

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Many times when Lydia was a baby, I prayed that she might grow to be a good helper to me, and lately I have seen the effects of that prayer. Lydia loves to help! One of her most common phrases is, “Help me?”, which really means “help you?” but we’re still getting the pronouns all figured out. Her very favorite way to help is when I wash dishes. She sits on the edge of the sink with her feet in the water and takes a sponge and washes away. The only unhelpful thing about it is that she doesn’t every want to stop! Even when there are no dishes to be done, she still asks, “help dishes?”.

Lydia also helps me unload the dishwasher (she hands me the silverware, one piece at a time as I put it away), fold laundry (she’s learning how to fold wash cloths), and vacuum (she pushes the on/off switch). She likes to hold Abby and run to get her clean clothes or put dirty clothes in the hamper after Abby spits up. When we tuck her in to her new “big girl bed” at night she often yells out the door as we leave, “help me Mommy?”.

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Whatever Lydia does, she does it with all her heart. Often while she is playing alone I will hear loud yelling from her room. I rush in only to find her holding a book out in front of her and singing at the top of her lungs. She makes up her own songs, sings some that she knows, and mixes up the words of others. Some of our favorites are:

YES! Jesus loves me, the Bible made me so


Jesus, Jesus PRECIOUS Jesus, oh for God so loved the world

While it was on the radio, Lydia would ask for Christmas music every bed and nap time. Now that there’s no more Christmas music, we play a cd of children singing hymns and Bible songs. She knows each song from the beginning and will frequently burst into song at the dinner table or in the car.

When she’s playing, Lydia often gets so absorbed in whatever she’s doing that she doesn’t hear when we talk to her. She’ll come out of her room decked out with a toy tutu, purse, sunglasses, and toy keys and say “bye! see ya later! love you!”. She is all girl and loves accessories and sparkly things. She has two pretty Christmas dresses from Nana and wants to wear them every single day with her silver sparkly shoes. Because she loves to be pretty, Dan and I have been teaching her the two things that make her the most beautiful: to obey, and to smile.

Lately Lydia will occupy herself by removing every single tupperware container from the cupboard. Then she’ll climbs in the cupboard and yell “HIDING!”. If I am ever looking for something and I ask Lydia if she knows where it is, she either says, “hiding”, “all gone”, or “in the closet”.

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Lydia keeps us smiling and laughing. Even when she gets in trouble it’s impossible to stay mad at her when she gives us a smile and a hug. Some of our very favorite things she’s been saying lately include “swabagee salsa” (spaghetti sauce), and “silly goose!”.

Every night as we tuck Lydia in to bed, she asks Mommy, Daddy, and Abigail for a hug and a kiss. Occasionally throughout the day she’ll run up to one of us, grab our legs and say, “I love you Mommy/Daddy!”. She is getting better at sitting quietly for Bible time and often repeats phrases that catch her attention after Dan says them. After doing this for a while she started to perk up every time she heard us say “Jesus Christ”. Then, one Sunday she caught our Pastor say “Jesus Christ” and she burst out, “Jesus Christ?!?” with excitement. It was as if she was thinking, “Hey, Pastor Paul talks about Jesus too!” Lydia also likes to answer his rhetorical questions loudly enough for the people around us (and sometimes the whole church) to hear. Perhaps we should teach her to say “Amen” whenever she gets excited so she’d be less distracting!

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