Two Foods, Two Teeth, Two Months

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In the midst of our vacation and other end-of-summer activities (and trying to keep up with my three busy little Munchkins) I missed Paul’s 6-month update.

But that is most certainly not because we were failing to enjoy Paul’s sixth month! Little Man is getting close to sitting up (already?!?) and can push himself up higher and higher with those arms. The most fun part of this month, though, was that Paul started learning to express his opinion.

One evening, I was sitting on the floor holding Paul in my lap and playing with a couple of baby toys. He’s learning to grab and he would reach out and try to get his fingers around the toys as I moved them around. Suddenly he started crying a little and I realized that I had set down one of the toys which he obviously preferred. It’s so fun to see him pick his favorites now and let his voice be heard. He especially likes things that crinkle and grabbing people’s feet.

I had gotten into the habit of letting Paul play in his exersaucer (we just call it the Standing Toy around here) during lunch. One day, without really thinking about it, I put him in his Bouncy Seat (it’s actually a rocking infant seat but we still call it the bouncy seat…even though it doesn’t bounce) and, to my surprise, he started crying. I was puzzled at first, but then wondered, “he couldn’t possibly want to be in his Standing Toy, could he?” Yes, he could. As soon as I moved him he smiled away and started playing. I guess you just don’t mess with the Big Guy’s routine.

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Paul is a little night-owl and, sadly, has started waking up during the nights again. It’s usually just once or twice, and we’re all surviving for now. He also doesn’t like to go to bed at night. Most evenings I’ll tuck him in and he’ll go to sleep only to wake up half an hour later. Dan will run upstairs to get him and come down with Paul, wide awake and smiling. He just loves to party with Mom and Dad after the girls go to bed. Some nights we find ourselves, tired and ready for bed, sitting up with a perky baby waiting and waiting for him to get sleepy enough to finally call it a night.

Oh, and for the record, Paul came in at 16 pounds and 3 ounces at six months old. Big Guy.

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By month seven, Paul was up to 17 pounds and 12 ounces (gotta keep these weights on here for the Baby book!). He’s huge. Also, he made this the most monumental month by far with two major achievements: first solid food and first two teeth!

Paul loves to eat. What he really wants is bacon, or at least a burger, but we haven’t introduced those just yet. 😉 Avocado and peas don’t quite do it for him, but he still slurps them down as well as a new eater can. He never looks particularly interested in the food at hand until we stop feeding it to him, then he whimpers like a puppy and pulls the bowl, our arm, the spoon, or anything else he can reach, toward his face. He will be a much more content little boy when he can figure out how to properly chew and swallow, or maybe more importantly, use his own fingers to put the food in his mouth.

Also, Paul got his first two teeth. He drools like a faucet and has for several weeks. We even invested in some better waterproof bibs that snap on so he can keep them on to catch all that drool anywhere we go. He loves to chew and suck, and so far teething hasn’t been a problem in any way (other than the endless drool).

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He’s sticking to his easy-baby reputation in the second half of his first year. Our only complaint is that it’s going by too fast. Many evenings I think or even tell Paul that I just want to hold him while he sleeps a few more times before he really gets squirmy. So far he’s been agreeable, often falling asleep in my arms at church or Bible study. So I snuggle him while I can and enjoy the not-quite-toothless grin whenever he is awake, even if it is late at night when we should really all be sleeping.

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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. 🙂

The Munchkin Turns Four

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On May 30th, our Lydia turned four. As with all Taylor birthdays, the day (and following and proceeding days) was a celebration. Earlier in the week, Nana and Papa stopped by for a visit and gifted Lydia with some new outfits. In fact, she’s wearing exclusively new Nana and Papa outfits in all of the pictures in this post. Actually, she wears the Nana/Papa outfits almost exclusively now. Especially the purple dress (not pictured here) which she asks to wear every single day.

First thing in the morning Dan gave Lydia her birthday flower: a petunia which is now happily planted in the window box in the front of our living room windows. She faithfully waters it and pulls off the dead blooms (with some help). It’s pretty cute.

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Next Lydia got to open some presents. Dan and I gave her a backpack stuffed with a notebook, pens, and toddler scissors, along with an activity package called Ready, Set, Paste. It has eight little glue projects and Lydia loves putting them together for “school” each day.

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Late in the morning our family made a trek over to Plymouth to visit the famous E & H Lemonade Stand. It was our first time and we took our time considering our options. The lemonades were delicious. While we sipped, we enjoyed some activities put on by the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum.

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Next we traveled in to Ann Arbor for an open house. Lydia got soaked running around with some of her friends in the rain. By dinnertime everyone was tired out, but not too tired for some more presents, this time from Dan’s parents.

Paul even joined in the celebratory mood by almost smiling.

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Lydia got a swimsuit, towel, chair, and a sprinkler and has asked to play in it every day without fail. I thought it would be fun to see her reaction when she finally learned what the “spraying thing” was, but the reaction wasn’t as epic as I’d hoped. But I’ve included a couple clips for your enjoyment. We’ve all had fun with the sprinkler already.

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Lydia also got two new pairs of sunglasses which were promptly snatched up by Abigail. Abby was also sporting a post dinner mohawk and no shirt because we had spaghetti for dinner and she is impressively messy whenever we eat spaghetti (which is also why we save spaghetti for bath night).

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Great Gramma Dexter gave her a new, very special mirror, which used to be Grampa Dexter‘s. He used to use it when he was stuck in his big chair to see behind him into the kitchen and find out what Gramma was doing.

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And now she’s four. She’s just as cute, funny, snuggly, sweet, and helpful as ever. She’s also developing her very own sense of fashion. She loves to sing and pretend and act like a “big girl” in front of others, and she really dislikes being alone. She also keeps Dan and I on our toes because we told her not to say “hate” and she corrects us every time we say it (which is why I used dislike in that previous sentence!) She recently caught our pastor taking a bite of soup without praying first and she bluntly blurted out, “You didn’t pray for that!”.

She’s quite a character and we love her so much. Happy birthday sweet Lydia Hope!

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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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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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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

fun.

energy.

sweetness.

spunk.

joy.

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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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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Abby Update: 4 Months

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Weight: 8 pounds, 9 ounces

Tomorrow Abby will be four months old. In the 82 days she spent in the NICU, she gained a total of 2 pounds, 13 ounces. In the 41 days she has spent at home she has gained 2 pounds, 13 ounces, exactly the same amount of weight in half the time. I thought that was pretty cool.

Abby is doing great. She eats about every three hours, but recently started sleeping about 5-6 hours at night. In the mornings she likes to sit with Dan as he works for an hour or two from home before going in to work (to avoid traffic).

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During the day Abby mostly just sleeps. She started smiling a couple of weeks ago and is her smiliest early in the morning. During the evening she has another “awake time” but that one is usually not a very smiley time for her. She loves to be held as much as possible and worn in a wrap with Mommy during the day.

We have come up with a lot of nicknames for Abby. Aborigine, Aboriginal, Abbs, Munchkin 2, and the most recent: Abigus. Abigus originated when Dan put her swaddle on like toga one morning. Super cute.

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See? Abby’s favorite way to play is when we poke her in the nose. Dan figured that one out, but I’m not sure how. If Abby’s in a decent mood, that’s the best way to get a smile out of her.