Sunday, August 2, 2015

15 Months Old

At 15 months old Raye:

*says "oof oof" for a dog sound.
*loves to be outside. Just yesterday she brought me her sweatshirt, throwing it in my lap and grunting to go outside. She'll also bring you her shoes or your shoes, bring the girls their shoes, and so on, when she thinks it's time to go. When we're outside she is pretty content to walk around, chase birds, pick up rocks and sticks and pull up grass. When we're inside...she pretty much just wants to go outside. Or look out the window. But mostly to go outside.

Trying to be big like her sisters and climb up rocks.

*loves animals. I mean, there are not words to describe how much she loves them. If we're outside and she sees a bird or a squirrel she will chase them until she can't see them anymore, and if they're in a tree she'll stand at the bottom of the tree, looking up, and yelling/jabbering at them. If you pick her up she's content to just be at the bottom of the tree watching the bird/squirrel. She likes to pet dogs or cats, and she got to pet a sheep the other day and was in hog heaven.

Her face perfectly displays her excitement at being with the animals.

*says a few more things, although not consistently. We've heard her say "amen," "thank you," "I love you" (unfortunately for me only Shannon has heard that). And maybe some other things, too, but like I said, she's not consistent yet. She is very much a jabber-er and is constantly chattering, but we don't have any idea what she's saying.
*is a great eater. She especially loves most fruit, cooked carrots, and pizza.

4th of July outfit. Totally ridiculous, but I loved it.

*loves balls. She says "buh!" and just loves to have a ball in her hands. She doesn't really care about throwing them, but she loves to carry one around.
*loves to swing. There are lots of really great swings for babies / small children here in Finland so she's gotten to swing a lot and will sit there for 30 minutes at a time some days.

*will sit down when she comes inside and take her shoes off.
*knows where her belly button is and if you ask her where it is she will immediately lift up her shirt and start looking for it. If she sees your belly button she'll immediately start looking for hers, or sticking her finger in yours. If she hears "belly button" at all she'll start looking for hers, too. It's really cute.

Speaking of belly buttons. She loves to hang from this bar...usually she's grinning from ear to ear. 

*is very attached to her pacifier. We had already taken Noel's paci away by this point, but we just can't do it yet with Raye. While Noel only used hers at bed/nap time and if she was very upset or cranky, it seems to be the only thing that will help Raye calm down a lot of the time, as she is still quite the tantrum-thrower.
*is super sweet. She still has her moments (umm, almost any time she's told "no" about something or made to do something she doesn't want to do, like sit down in a chair), but overall she's very sweet and good-natured.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Antalya 2015

Well. I'm a bit behind But my "baby" is almost 15 months old, all the summer interns and tourists are gone, life is getting easier, and we have no plans to add more babies or more interns to the mix anytime soon, so...a catch-up post is in order!

When we had to leave the country in April to renew our visas, we decided to take a vacation first. And it was a real. vacation. I mean, the grandparents even came to visit!

And this is what you look like when the only flights out of the country leave at 3 a.m.

We went to Antalya, Turkey, and spent eight days on the beach. It was still April, so it wasn't hot at all (at least not hot enough to swim in the non-heated outdoor pools), but it was warm enough and a welcome break. The resort was all-inclusive, so all we had to worry about was making sure we made it to the restaurants during meal times and to the pool during its opening hours. We went swimming every day, most often twice a day, and let the girls eat dessert after every meal. They had a "slumber party" in Mimi and Papa's room a couple of times, and overall we just had a good, relaxing vacation.

Special kid drinks from the lobby bar.

Chocolate spread on their pancakes was definitely the highlight of breakfast every day!

Ice cream almost daily from the patisseries near the pools.

We only went down to the beach a couple of times. The water wasn't really warm enough to swim in, but there was a good playground nearby, so we went once to play in the sand and water and once or twice to play on the playground.

This girl would have totally gone swimming in the sea if Shannon or I had been willing to brave the cold water for her! She was all in!

But this one preferred the sand to the surf.

The pool(s) was definitely the girls' favorite part of the whole vacation. Lane got to brush up on her swimming skills from last summer and by the end of the week she was doing really well, even able to swim the length of the pool. Mimi and Papa also brought her some good goggles so she wasn't afraid of getting her face wet.

Noel, on the other hand, is still pretty much terrified of getting water in her face. It's kind of funny, because sometimes she'll jump right off the side and get her entire head under the water and wet, and other times she's scared to death of getting a splash of water on her cheek. But she's still just three so I guess she has some time. She enjoyed swimming with floaties or sitting on the steps. Papa Buck and Nona Lou sent them mermaids for the tub/pool, so they had a lot of fun playing with those in the water.

And little Miss Raye just got to enjoy being loved on by her grandparents, an endless supply of simit and pastries from the restaurants, and by the end of the week she was actually enjoying the pool, too!

Oh my gosh a baby in a bikini is just too cute!

We enjoyed just hanging out with Shannon's parents, leisurely eating and not having to worry about cleaning up or washing dishes afterwards, taking the girls around to the various pools, restaurants, nearby shops, playgrounds and beach, and so on. We just took it easy and actually relaxed (well, as much as is possible with young kids!) for a week, and it was a great break! It was our my third time to Antalya and Shannon and the bigger girls' second time, but it was our first time to go without having meetings to attend. And I have to say...I think we'll be back.

Mimi and Papa out for a walk with the bigger girls.

I think this is the only picture I have of the five of us from this vacation.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

14 Months Old

I'm a little late, as usual. This month has been a fun one for Lil' Miss Raye. Her personality is just coming out more and more each day and it's just really fun.

At 14 months, Raye:

*can climb on anything. Ok, maybe not anything, but she can get onto our chairs, the table, the vacuum cleaner (today she got her foot stuck inside the spot where the canister sits while I was emptying it), the step stool, the girls' small table and chairs, and so on. She's fallen a lot this month and has gotten many small pops on the thigh for crawling on the table, trying to climb the bookshelf, and so on. It's exhausting. She's also walking well and although she's still a little wobbly, she doesn't usually fall down.

*absolutely loves her sisters. She will immediately walk to them in the mornings (she's usually up before they are) and give them open-mouthed kisses and a big hug. It's really, really sweet.
*can drink from a regular cup w/o help, is trying to use a spoon or fork but usually ends up eating with her hands, and loves coffee. Yup, coffee. And my CamelBak. Weirdo.

*has got a temper. She doesn't seem to go back immediately to doing stuff she's been told "NO!" about, but she sure does let you know she's unhappy. She'll cry for a minute about getting told "no!" or for getting a pop on her thigh, but then she switches to just whining/crying/screaming very loudly. Sometimes she'll stop if we give her her blank, but other times she just wants to pitch a fit for awhile. I put her in her crib a lot of the time if it goes on too long.
*says "ooh ooh ah" or something similar for a monkey sound and "aaoooww" or something along those lines for a cat sound.

*loves animals. She gets so excited when she sees birds or a dog or a cat...she'll bounce up and down in excitement or just start jabbering up a storm...she loves to walk after them, chase them, touch them, and so on. The girl likes animals.
*has some new words: "BAH!" for boo!, something that sounds like "Ah do" (I do) for yes.

*can usually follow simple instructions like give the phone to mama, put your diaper in the trash, etc.
*can identify her belly, tongue, and teeth when asked where they are.
*is mostly in 12-month clothes but since her sisters were wearing 18-month clothes in the summer I pulled some of those out the other day and she's wearing them, too. All of her 9-month things have been put up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

13 Months Old

At 13 months old Raye:

*says a few words: mama, dada, baa (ball), and buh-buh (bye-bye). She also is a babbler, yakking up a storm but we have no idea what she's saying.
*has 12 teeth. Her bottom two molars have popped of them is almost all the way in and the other has broken the surface but is still working its way all the way in.

Get a good look at all those teeth! And the scrambled egg on her face...

*loves rocks. She especially wants to eat them and gets mad when we won't let her.
*is finally walking! She still falls a lot but overall she prefers walking these days. She's still pretty wobbly and uses her arms to balance herself (flailing them everywhere), but she's super cute waddling around.

Practicing walking.

*points to herself when you ask her, "Where's Raye?" She also usually points to or pats her belly when you ask where it is. And sometimes she'll stick her tongue out when asked where it is, but it's pretty hit or miss.
*loves to go bye-bye. I've caught her climbing into her stroller, standing in the seat, and yelling (while waving) "buh-buh!"

She loves to be outside. Here we're working on "the grass is really ok to touch..."

*loves to eat. She's not a fan of raw vegetables yet, but other than that...anything goes. I don't think we've fed her anything that she refuses to eat (except raw veggies). She especially loves strawberries these days.
*likes to sit in her high chair and wiggle/shake the whole time. I'm not sure if she likes the fact that the whole table is moving or what...but she rarely sits still.

Just doin' some playin'.

*has figured out that she can make a noise when we're on a bumpy road and that it will make her voice vibrate. She thinks it's hilarious.
*can climb on our couches and onto Lane's bed if Noel's bed is pulled out. She also can get onto the lower step of our step stool, which is kind of funny because she can't get back down.

She loves to collapse onto pillows or beds.

*has a short attention span. I think this is pretty normal, but most of her toys don't hold her attention for very long. She's always wandering off to find the next forbidden thing: rifling through my purse, climbing on the couch and then the TV table to grab the remote, trying desperately to get the toilet seat up so she can fish in the water. She's a hoot.

She loves the slide. Going down it, too, but mostly just playing on it.

*likes books but will. not. sit. still to look at one. She prefers to turn every page and try to rip the book out of your hands. She does like to look at pictures of animals, though, and had correctly identified the cat on a page before.
*does not like to have her fingernails cut or her face wiped. But she'll sit almost perfectly still for me to put a ponytail holder in her hair.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Life Lately

A bit of life lately, since my blog gets no attention these days. (This seems to be the trend since having our second child 3.5 years ago. How I wish that when I only had one child I realized that I actually did have free time.)

1) We arrived back home a week ago tonight from our 6-week stay in Turkey, waiting on new visas (and all the paperwork that was required). We received work visas (or Shannon did, while the girls and I received accompanying family member visas) and the wonderful news about that is that we shouldn't have to leave the country again for visa purposes. Wahoo!

One of the positives of visa runs: hooking up with friends that you've known for forever. And letting all the munchkins play together.

2) Upon arriving we decided that it was high time to put Raye in the same room with the bigger girls. We have a lot of people coming in and out this summer and moving her bed back and forth from the guest room into our room just wasn't going to cut it anymore. So we moved her in a few nights ago and they've done pretty well together. Of course we haven't had anyone wake up in the middle of the night sick or anything yet (praise the Lord) but still...overall it's going pretty well. Much better than when we put Noel in with Lane for the first time! I did move the furniture around in their room so that Raye's crib is between the window and the chest of drawers, so she can't see the bigger girls' beds. While I don't love the set-up, it works well for a transition time because while she can still hear them, at least she can't look at them (and them at her).

Classic third child syndrome. One year old and finally getting her first toothbrush.

3) Today I started the multi-day process of cleaning off our balconies from their winter accrual of nastiness. Buckets and buckets and buckets of mop water later and they're still so gross. Tomorrow I'm going to get on my hands and knees to scrub, and maybe on Tuesday I'll vacuum the bit of stuff that's left. And then maybe on Wednesday I'll start on the smaller balcony.

One kid's getting teeth while another is losing them.

4) In June the city usually turns off the hot water in apartment buildings for about a month. Since tomorrow marks June I'm feeling pressure to do things (like clean the balconies) that will just be a lot harder with limited hot water. We do have a hot water heater that we have piped in to our bathroom pipes, so we'll have hot water in there, but no hot water in the kitchen is going to make for lots of simple vegetarian meals.

So thankful this girlie still takes a nap most days.

5) When we arrived back in town we got to see how beautiful it's all become while we were gone! Spring has come and with it is that wonderful rush of energy to get things done. It's come in handy for all the furniture-arranging and balcony-cleaning that I've been doing. I'm looking forward to purchasing a bookshelf and some more plastic bins to continue organizing our books, crafts, and homeschool materials that should arrive later this week. I bought some knobs and hooks to make myself a jewelry holder. And we got family photos taken while in Istanbul so I'm looking forward to printing a few more photos and hanging some prints on the wall. After five years of parenting we do finally have photos of our kids on the wall...I'm ready to get one up of our whole family.

Like one of these. This might be my favorite of all of us.

6) Raye turns 13 months old tomorrow and since we've gotten back I've been reminded over and over again how hard the first year with a baby is. I don't think it matters which number it is, just that the first year is hard. So many transitions, they can't eat by themselves, teething, learning to be mobile, and so's just hard. In the last month Raye has gone down to one (glorious, three-hour!) nap a day. She's learning how to walk. She can feed herself a lot of foods. She has 11 teeth and number 12 is nearly through. And my life is so. much. easier. So mamas of young babies out there, take heart and push on: it does get easier. You will make it, and you will come through the other side of the first exhausting year (or so. There's nothing magic about 12's just around then). And you will be stronger for it.

And there are my thoughts for now. One of my goals for the month of June is to come up with a schedule of some kind that allows me some me time for things like blogging, reading books that have substance, exercising, and so on. I've realized that I haven't been taking very good care of myself over the past ten months or so. Part of that is because of point number six's just hard to do anything (let along take good care of yourself) when you have a baby. But part of it is because I haven't been intentional or purposeful in these things. So I'm working on learning how to care for myself. I'll (hopefully) let you know how that's going when I figure it all out.