Wednesday, May 6, 2015

12 Months Old

Dear Raye,

Well, girlie, you've gone and done it. You turned one a few days ago. It's just as hard to believe that you're one as it was when your first sister (and your second sister!) turned one. The time really does just fly. Being my third child you got a little bit of a different attitude from me than Lane did, or even Noel. With you I knew that it ("it" being any inconvenience or "hiccup" in our lives due to your infant-ness) wouldn't last forever and that I really could just roll with the punches for a year. And roll we did.

Raye, you're still the sweetest baby. You love attention and love to play peek-a-boo, be sung to (Itsy-Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle, etc.), and in general just have someone's attention. But generally speaking you're content with playing in the same room as someone else: you don't have to have their full and undivided attention, as much as you love that.

This month you got two of your molars. They're not all the way through yet but both of your top molars are at least part-way through, and I can tell that at least one of your bottom molars is on its way. You handle the whole teething thing like a champ, though, and are not usually very fussy. You are very drooly, though, and the front of your shirt is often wet these days.

You learned how to drink from a straw and while you can do it, you make a huge mess. It's like you suck in and then blow half the water that you just sucked in out. Your shirt ends up soaked anytime you drink from a straw. You're also eating almost everything. You've tried some strawberries now and you really like them, as long as they're soft enough for you to gum. You've also tried some rice cakes, many kinds of crackers, new veggies (cooked mushrooms), and some other things. I've lost track and honestly if you can gum it, you can have it, and usually you like it.

You've finally expressed some interest in walking and standing on your own! You're not walking yet but you can stand on your own for awhile (if you have something to do, like put things into something and take them out again) and love to walk if holding onto our fingers. It's mostly your favorite thing to do these days. And we've dropped you down to one nap a day in the past week and while you're a little grumpy in the mornings, overall you're doing well with the transition. These days you usually wake up around 6:30 or 7 and go to bed at 7:30 or 8, and nap at around noon for 2.5-3 hours.

Gotta love a baby in a bikini.

You're a jabber jaws and like to babble and make a whole lot of nonsense words and sounds. You can sign "all done" and "more," and once this month you actually said "aww done," but you haven't said it since. You love to crawl all over anyone who's in your way or in your space. You got a few new toys for your birthday that you really love: a radio thing that plays [real] music and some balls, and you got a touch-and-feel animals book that you really like. You love to destroy lego structures and to put things into baskets/buckets and to take them out again.

I actually can see a bit of me in you in this photo.

Raye, you're so fun and so sweet. You're content and joyful and a bottomless pit, acting like we never feed you. You love your sisters and your daddy and to pull books off shelves and to rifle through my purse. I love you and am so, so grateful for a whole year with you, and I look forward to many, many more.

I love you,

Monday, May 4, 2015

And Then She Was One

Little Miss Raye had a birthday this past Friday. We've been out of the country for almost three weeks now so her day wasn't quite the shindig we usually do for first birthdays, but she still had a bit of fun.

First thing in the morning: presents! We've been hauling around birthday presents for three weeks...they even went to the beach with us first! And Mimi and Papa brought a few presents from Shannon's dad and stepmom as well, so even though we didn't buy her anything (didn't want to haul even more gifts around), she still had a few things to open. And she has a few more back home that she can open in a few weeks.

After presents and breakfast (no birthday pancakes this year...while I had everything to actually make the pancakes, we didn't have anything to top them with. So we opted for birthday cereal instead.), Shannon took the girls to Starbucks and to the park so I could finish the cake. It definitely wasn't as pretty as I would have liked, but considering I had to bring the sprinkles and vanilla and almond extracts with me and borrow cake pans and use a regular plate as a cake board...I think it'll do. I'll do it up right for her second birthday. Hopefully.

Then it was lunch time and nap time and I chopped veggies and chicken for stir fry and cleaned the house a bit. Around 3:30 friends started showing up. We're lucky to have lived here before and to have a few pretty good friends who still live here, some who even have small children. So the kids came and the dads took them to play at the park while the moms chatted and watched the babies/toddlers.

Other friends arrived and we ate stir fry and sang to the birthday girl and let her dig into her first piece of cake. She, like the other girls, was not the biggest fan of the cake. My silly kids get too full of their dinner to enjoy their first birthday cake! (But the next day, when I let her eat it for lunch, she was all over it.)

Everyone left and we put the kids to bed and I think we watched a show. Shannon and I reminisced just a little about the last year and about her birth, about how quickly the time goes. And while yes, it's fantastic and amazing that our little Raye is one now, the bigger miracle is that we survived a year of parenting three children. One year down; only a lifetime to go.

Monday, April 6, 2015

11 Months Old

Dear Raye,

A few days ago you turned 11 months old. You'll be one soon, and I'm a little amazed at how quickly this year has gone by. Before I know it you'll be the five-year old in this house. But for now I'll just soak up your grins and giggles.

This month you got three teeth, all on the top. The last one gave you a lot of trouble for awhile but it finally came through and you were almost immediately happier. I think you might be starting to cut some molars already, though, because you're still pulling on your ears and have some pretty nasty diapers, as seems to be par for the course with teething Scarbrough babies. But you're pretty cute for now with your front eight. You bite your tongue on accident quite frequently which is oh-so-sad and yet oh-so-funny at the same time.

Showin' off the chompers. And the haircut.

This month I finally had to give you a little haircut. Your bangs were just getting a little out of control, long and stringy, so I let you lie down on the floor and hold onto something forbidden while I snipped them a bit. It's made for a lot less food in your hair these days.

Speaking of food, you're a fan. Seriously, you eat a ton. We can't figure out where you put it all, but you are hungry. You've had just about everything except citrus fruits, nuts, honey, and obviously anything really sweet (although you have had things like waffles with a bit of syrup, applesauce, sweet breads, etc.). You drink really well from a cup and we're working on getting you to drink from a straw, but you're not very interested yet. We'll be traveling next week and I'm really hoping you figure it out before then, but if not...I guess I'll just have to tote a plastic cup around with us.

Raye, you weaned yourself this month and it made me really sad. You bit me once and I gasped and told you "NO!" and you went on strike for a day. And then the next time you bit me and I gasped you just decided you were done. You haven't nursed since. I would have been more okay with the whole thing if you had given me some indication that you were about done, but to go cold turkey on me...really not cool, girl. I've upped your daily cheese and yogurt intake and have let you go straight to cow's milk. You don't seem to love it, but you get probably 8-12 ounces in a day so far, so we'll take it. I tried to give you a bottle and you would have nothing to do with it, so it kind of limited my options, you know?

You are a crawling machine these days. You're fast. And you're quick at cruising, too, but you have no interest in walking at all. If I try to hold your hands and let you walk you just drop to your bottom, or arch your back and push your tummy forward so that you're forced to your knees. I'm quite curious as to when you actually will take interest in trying to walk, because as of now, your interest level is about .05%. Or practically non-existent.

You're into all 12-month clothes these days and you hate shoes, which is alright since you don't need to wear them often, but is really annoying when they need to stay on and you're doing everything you can to kick them off. I guess it's a good thing you're not interested in walking yet, because with walking guessed it: shoes. So maybe you'll decide you like shoes about the time you want to walk. And then we'll have a winning combination on our hands.

You figured out how to stick out your tongue this month, and you love to stick it out, especially if someone else sticks theirs out at you. You also love to clap. You clap at the right point in "pat-a-cake" and if someone says "yay!" You wave bye-bye anytime someone says "bye-bye," and sometimes for "hi," too. And sometimes you look at us and just throw both of your hands up in the air with a big grin. It's super cute. You finally said "mama" this month and say it frequently now, but it's usually when you're crying about something and want me to rescue you. You're also doing lots of babbling and spitting, much like last month. You're just a cutie-pie, all around.

Raye, we love you so much. You're so laid-back and content to crawl around and play with whatever you can get your hands on. You love to be tickled and played with and give us great bit laughs and grins when we play one-on-one with you, but you also enjoy playing alone in the room with someone else or getting into whatever your sisters are playing with. You're easy-going and content if your diaper is dry and your belly is full. You sleep all night and take 1-2 good naps each day. I love you, sweetie, and am so grateful for you.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lane: 5 and 2

It occurs to me every now and then that I'm not doing a good job anymore at writing down things my kids are doing. I don't take pictures often (I think that has to do as much with the overcast days and bad lighting as it does with my simply forgetting). I rarely blog anymore. Life is just in a busy season for us right now. But Shannon is out of town and all the girls are in bed and I wanted to take a few minutes to remember a few things, because inevitably I will forget them if I don't write them down. Today is for Lane...I'll try for Noel in a few days.


Girl, you remind me of myself. You are so stubborn and strong-willed. Still. You're manipulative and you've entered a "sassy" stage and you end up with a drop of vinegar on your tongue quite frequently these days. You want what you want and get a bad attitude if you don't get it. But we're working on that attitude and I have to say it's a welcome change from the 2-3 years of strong-willed disobedience that you gave us. You have grown and matured a lot in the past three years and it's given me hope that we actually can help mold you into a woman who is passionate and strong-willed, but who doesn't rebel against authority. I'm constantly reminding myself that God gave you your personality and that it's not a bad thing for you to be the way you are; but it's our job to teach you when it's ok to push back and when you need to listen and obey.

You love art. Our table is constantly covered in paper, coloring books, markers and colored pencils, stencils, sticker books, how-to-draw books, watercolors and paintbrushes, and so on. Most of the time we've given up on putting everything up at mealtime and just kind of pick up whatever can be easily contained and shove the rest aside. You love to do crafts, anything with glue and stickers. Last week you used the rest of our popsicle sticks and some glue and foam hearts and Hello Kitty bead things and had fun gluing it all together. You are starting to show a little more detail in your drawings, giving people clothes or shoes sometimes, giving elephants nostrils, stuff like that.

You are learning how to read. We started reading some BOB books a few months ago (maybe November?) and you have gradually picked up on basic concepts of reading. You know a lot of basic sight words now and can sound out words if I help you by covering up extra letters and helping you work through the word a couple of letters at a time. You can write all letters in uppercase and some in lowercase, although you never actually want to write them in lowercase (because it's harder).

Playing with Raye.

You are Borderline hyper, I think. Or maybe you're just a five-year old who's been cooped up inside most of the winter and are itching to run and jump and climb. Yeah, that's probably it. But seriously, you are not content to sit still unless it's for art. Even when I'm reading to you or you're trying to read to me most often you're wiggling yourself into an upside-down position on the couch, bouncing your legs, or so on. Your favorite things to play seem to center around two themes: princesses and kittens. You often combine the two. And you'll play other things, too, but these are your favorites.

In one of your favorite "princess" dresses. This is your "Jasmine" dress.

I'm so proud of what a good eater you've become. We've worked very hard with you over the last three years to make you into a not picky child (when it comes to food). And now you like things that you used to hate (most raw vegetables, cooked tomatoes, cooked meat, actually any meat, really...). You finish your food, usually without complaining. If it's something new that you don't really like you might say that you don't like it, but usually you'll eat without a big fuss. And you feed yourself all of your meals most of the time which was not the case even just this time last year. Your favorite food is still spaghetti. You also really like plums and pomegranates, noodles with just butter and parmesan, pizza, and chicken noodle soup, and you love cheese.

Practicing with a butter knife.

You're a good big sister and are a good helper. You like to help me in the kitchen by "washing" the dishes and "cleaning" the sink. You are pretty good at cleaning the windows with a spray bottle of water and a washcloth. You've recently started vacuuming and you enjoy that. You can help me hang up washcloths and towels to dry. You're very capable now at putting on all of your clothes (you might need help with small buttons), brushing your teeth, and taking care of bathroom business all on your own. You love to make Raye laugh and you enjoy playing with Noel, although you do still really want to be the boss and don't like it when you can't always be the boss. But you also frequently make concessions to let Noel have what she wants, or play what she wants, and we like seeing that your heart is sometimes softened to what others want, as usually you're pretty self-consumed. And that's why you need Jesus.

Lane, I love you so much. It is such a joy to see how much you've grown in the past few years and to see your personality shine through. You love us and seem to thrive on attention. You like to be in the driver's seat, to be in charge, and you like to run ahead of the crowd. I'm so excited to see how you grow and change over the next few years, to see what kind of young woman you become. I pray that you love Jesus with all your heart and that you take the strong personality he's given you to be passionate for him. I love you and am so happy to be your mom.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

10 Months Old

Dear Raye,

This has been a big month for you. For starters, you're crawling for real now, meaning you prefer to "really" crawl over the army crawl. You're getting pretty fast, too. You can pull yourself up to standing and you've started cruising along the furniture. You've also stood on your own a couple of times for just a few seconds.

You've tried a lot of new foods this month. Honestly, a bit of it is "third child syndrome," meaning that I'm not quite so worried about what "they" say you can have. I still usually check the books (sometimes after the fact...) to make sure your tummy will be ok, but I'm not so concerned with only giving you one new food at a time since nobody else in our family has allergies. So if it's small enough and soft enough, you've tried it. You've tried corn and black beans, mushrooms, raisins and dried cranberries. You've eaten casseroles and baked oatmeal, chicken noodle soup, pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches. You love bananas and plain yogurt and applesauce. There are actually very few foods that you don't like and I think at mealtime you generally eat more than Noel does, although she has more snacks than you throughout the day. Often when we're feeding you you'll scream for a bite until we get it in your mouth and then you'll be quiet while chewing and start screaming when you're ready for the next bite. You also started drinking water from a cup this month and you're doing pretty well at not letting too much dribble out your bottom lip.

Playing in your sisters' "tent."

You are babbling up a storm these days. Your favorite thing to say seems to be "dadadada" but you also throw in a good bit of "babababa" and general spitting and silly noises. You are dabbling in 12-month clothes, although a lot of your 9-month things still fit. Generally you're wearing 9-month tops and 12-month pants, because otherwise they tend to gather around your knees because they're just not quite long enough to stay down.

You also got some teeth this month. You got your fourth bottom tooth and your first top tooth. It's so funny that you have all four front bottom teeth and just that top middle tooth. Your smile is so cute with all those teeth!

Your favorite place in the kitchen: the napkins and plastic bowls. These end up all over the floor multiple times a day.

You're still nursing and generally I nurse you about three times a day. You might get another feeding in the middle of the night if you're up, but during the day it's three times. You were sleeping all night and doing really well until you started getting all these teeth and now you frequently wake up at least once a night. You love your paci and would probably tote it around all day long if I let you, but instead you only get it when you're sleeping, unless you're very upset about something and then I'll let you have it for a minute to help you calm down.

Lovin' on Noel.

You love peek-a-boo and you love for someone to get on their hands and knees and "get" you, meaning you crawl straight toward them with a big smile on your face instead of away from them. You love to knock over block towers, and you love to pull yourself up on the toy bins in the girls' room and dig stuff out, throwing it on the floor after you've chewed on it for a few seconds. You love to crawl up on Noel's bed. You still chase after the vacuum cleaner. You're hilarious in the bathtub, flipping over onto your belly to crawl around in the tub, getting onto your knees to get toys off the side of the tub, and just in general acting like a little fish. I don't remember Lane or Noel being so crazy in the bathtub and while it's cute, it stresses me out just a little that you're going to swallow huge mouthfuls of water or bonk your head on the side of the tub. But you have fun so I just keep a close eye on you (and usually a hand, too).

Raye, you are such a sweetie. We have so much fun with you and love watching your personality develop. I'm so glad you're a part of our family.


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.