Saturday, February 7, 2015

9 Months Old

Dear Raye,

A few days ago you turned nine months old. This has been a fun month. Well, let's face it: all months are fun these days!

This month you started crawling for real. You still don't do it often, as you get in a hurry to go somewhere and drop to your belly to army crawl there quickly. You actually crawl most often to just go a foot or two, or when you're about ready to pull up on something or crawl over it. You really love to crawl up onto Noel's bed, probably because it's hidden most of the time. You have started pulling up onto things...the couch, chairs, the step stool, using our knees and shirts and hair to pull yourself to standing. It's pretty cute. You don't like to stand for very long unless you're on the rug, usually because your feet start slipping out from under you, I think. But you're getting more mobile and it's fun.

You went to the doctor this month and got your 6-month immunizations. Actually maybe it was your 4-month immunizations. At any rate, you got some shots. You were not a fan, of course, but you only cried for about a minute afterwards and then were happy as a clam again. You weigh 8.4 kilos and are 71 centimeters long. You're completely in 9-month clothing.

You got another tooth this month, but you apparently like to do things differently. So instead of getting one of your top teeth like is "normal," you got another tooth on the bottom. So now you have three teeth on bottom and none on top. We keep thinking you're going to get some of those top teeth because you're a little grumpy sometimes, but they're still not coming in.

You love to dance and bounce, to knock over block towers, and to crawl into the bathroom and get into the basket that has the bath toys in it. You love, love, LOVE your sisters. You love to smack us on the head or in the face and practically bang your face into ours in excitement to give us kisses. You love the refrigerator and anything loud: if you hear the vacuum cleaner or the blender or blow dryer you will come crawling into that room to listen to it. If it's the vacuum cleaner making all the noise you will crawl to it and wrap yourself all over it, smacking it and pulling on the cord and hitting the buttons. It's so funny that most babies are scared to death of these things, but you love them. You also love to take a bath, although honestly you usually just get a really quick one. You like to flip over onto your belly and try to crawl around, and it's just a lot of work to keep a slippery wet baby still in the tub, so you don't usually get to play for long. You started clapping this month and babbling... Usually you babble, "dadadadada" or "bababababa." I'm just waiting on you to say "mama," but you just haven't yet.

You tried some new foods this month and pretty much like them all: kiwi, cheese, bread, pasta, crackers, even a little chicken. Honestly I'm losing track of what you've tried because I'm just letting you eat what we're eating or just giving you the few staples that I keep in the fridge for you. You really like wheat products and love noodles with parmesan cheese on them. You also really like oatmeal mixed with applesauce and you like plain yogurt. Those seem to be your favorites these days, I think because your gums are bothering you. Your pincer grasp is getting better and sometimes all you want to do is feed yourself while other times all you want is someone to feed you. You're funny like that. You're also still nursing about four times in a 24-hour period, sometimes more but never less.

You're a pretty good sleeper for us, although you've had a rough time the past few nights. You're a little congested so you've been waking up at least once, if not twice a night. But generally you take two naps a day, usually around 11:30-1 and 3:30-5. You wake up in the morning anytime between 6 and 9, and your nap schedule kind of flexes around that, and you go to bed between 7-8, depending on how the rest of the day went. I'm so grateful that you seem to be able to roll with the schedule changes and as long as you're not up for more than 3-3.5 hours, you'll sleep just fine without it throwing you off too much.

Raye, you're such a joy and bring so many smiles to our faces every day! I love you so much.


Monday, February 2, 2015

And Then She Was Five

This year Lane's birthday celebrations spanned three days. She requested spaghetti for lunch and pizza for dinner. We invited a couple of local friends over to eat birthday pizza with us and they couldn't come on Lane's actual birthday, so they came the night before. We chatted and ate pizza and Lane got a few gifts from them.

Noel "bought" Lane this bunny. They were constantly fighting over Raye's little stuffed bunny, and Lane was always complaining about how she didn't have a bunny but both Noel and Raye did, so I bit the bullet and bought her yet another stuffed animal. And she loves the thing.

Showing off the goods via FaceTime.

On her actual birthday she woke up to a tableful of presents. We FaceTimed with my mom while Lane opened gifts. I made birthday pancakes and ran out the door for my study time. I came home early and made spaghetti for lunch, and our nanny joined us. Shannon was gone working for most of the day. I was home with the kiddos, we didn't have hot water, and we had a Skype call around 5 p.m. So I called Shannon and asked him if we could go out for dinner instead, since I was also trying to frost a cake for Lane's party the next day. So when he came on we all suited up and walked over to the shopping mall where we ate chicken and french fries and I didn't have to wash any dishes.

We got Lane some Inchimals and a Read With Me's got pictures on every page but NIrV print. Hopefully within a couple of years she'll be able to read some of it herself!

That night I stayed up until 11:30 or so decorating her cake. She wanted a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting that was a princess cake. I decided to take it easy this year and do something really simple. So she got a pale pink cake with a princess crown on top. And she loved it.

The day after Lane's birthday I went to class in the morning and then came home and began preparing for a birthday party. We hung balloons and streamers while Noel napped. I chopped veggies and made chicken noodle soup for 20. And that evening our fellow expats came over and we all celebrated five years of Lane.

I still am a little in shock that I have a five-year old. Who is already planning what kind of cake she wants for her 6th birthday (so far it's a dinosaur cake). Crazy kid.

Here are the questions that we ask each year on our kids' birthdays. It's fun to see how the answers change each year.

1. Your favorite color is pink.
2. Your favorite toy is your rabbit (that you got on your birthday).
3. Your favorite fruit is strawberries.
4. Your favorite TV show is Care Bears (which is funny since you rarely watch it).
5. Your favorite movie is Beauty and the Beast.
6. Your favorite thing to wear is your flowered dress.
7. Your favorite animal is elephants.
8. Your favorite song is, "I Love You, Lord."
9. Your favorite book is The Kissing Hand.
10. Your best friend is Noel.
11. Your favorite snack is pomegranates.
12. Your favorite drink is juice.
13. Your favorite breakfast is cereal (puffs).
14. Your favorite lunch is spaghetti.
15. Your favorite dinner is tomato soup.
16. Your favorite game is Sneaky Snacky Squirrel.
17. Your favorite thing to play outside is going down a slide.
18. Your favorite holiday is Christmas. 19. At night you sleep with: blankie.
20. You want to be a dentist when you grow up.
And for anyone who's curious, here's the link to last year's answers.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

2014 in Review (Part 2)


Fourth of July.

The girls met Aubie.

Raye took her first dip in the swimming pool (she did actually like it...she was just starting to get tired by the time we got a photo).

We got family pictures taken.

More trips to the zoo.

Shannon turned 40.


The girls got their hair cut in a salon for the first time.

We moved back across the ocean.

We moved into a new apartment.

I started to can some tomatoes (ok, about 40 kilos all together).


We went camping with some friends.

We got some cool care packages.

Noel got some weird bite or infection that really stressed me out for a few days.

We got to see some beautiful sunrises from our living room window.

Raye got a hangnail that got infected so spent the better part of the next month with a sock on her hand.

The girls supported Auburn in style every Saturday.


Raye started to eat some solids.

We took a bus trip through the mountains to Georgia.

We spent two weeks exploring Tbilisi.

We did some Halloween and fall crafts.


It snowed. And snowed again. And snowed again.

We had a fall party and all dressed up.

Shannon took a trip out of town and I used my down time in the evenings to make an Advent calendar.

We bought a waffle iron from someone who had moved and started to have waffles instead of pizza for dinner on family nights.

We put up our Christmas tree on Thanksgiving and ate turkey on Saturday (a bit of a reversal from what people usually do in the States).


Christmas crafts and playdoh.

It snowed some more.

Noel turned three.

I baked pumpkin bread and five kinds of cookies and we distributed them to our neighbors.


We had a surprise party for a friend here and did jamberry manicures. I'm not a fan.

And then it was New Year's Eve but it was so foggy I couldn't get any good pictures. And just like that it was 2015.

2014 in Review (Part 1)

This last year I haven't been in the blogosphere much. But we still had a lot happen. So, to catch you up in case you missed something (i.e. if you don't know us in person and see us and talk to us frequently)...


We drove from our temporary residence in North Carolina to Virginia and visited with my brother a bit, eating at Chic-fil-A (where Shannon forgot his coat since the weather was so nice) and going to the Virginia Aquarium.

The girls went to their first movie in the theater (Frozen).

Lane turned four.

We found out we were having our third girl.


My mom took Lane to the circus for her birthday (and I took Noel).

The South got a ton of snow.

The girls played with their cousins a lot.

We went to a "farm" where you can pet and feed animals (and I'm talking giraffes and buffalos kind-of-animals, not normal petting zoo animals like goats and pigs).


We took the girls to the Greensboro Children's Museum.

We went to the Gulf with Shannon's mom and stepdad (and Lane was sick most of the trip).

Cracker Barrel!

We moved into a new temporary house in Birmingham.


The girls went on their first Easter egg hunt.

I had a baby shower for Raye.

We introduced the girls to the Birmingham Zoo.

The girls dyed Easter eggs and fell in love with hunting them in the backyard.

My whole body felt like cankles.


We served Raye her eviction notice and she entered the world.

My mom came to visit us in Birmingham.

We went to the zoo. Two or three times, I think.

Memorial Day.

We spent time at a friend's swimming pool about five minutes from where we were staying.


We met my dad, stepmom, brother, and sister's family in Gatlinburg.

We visited the aquarium there.

After my family left, Shannon's dad and stepmom and our niece drove up from Birmingham. We went to Dollywood.

I had surgery on my left wrist for tendonitis.

Raye and I went to Texas to visit a good friend of mine.