Wednesday, December 26, 2007

it is finished

It is difficult not to be distracted this time of year. When Christmas is over, and we come back home after hopping from one gift exchange to another, I find myself relieved, and ashamed. Jarrad and I both have large families, most of whom live close by, so, this year, we had seven Christmas get-togethers in six days. Sound like a lot? It's quite overwhelming to me, and I usually look ahead to the season with mixed feelings.

You might say Rachel racked up this year. She got a lot of really awesome toys and some super cute clothes, a few books, and some video footage to prove it. I know she is young, but I wonder what it all meant to her. I wonder what it all meant to me.

Christmas is a time for family, for food, for reminiscing, for nostalgia, for gifts, and for generosity. It is? We run around trying to see our families, but why now? Why do we do this around December 25th? I buy people stuff [they probably don't need and might not even want], but why couldn't I do that in July? I don't bake cookies, but I did last week. I try to wear red & green (colors I don't usually wear together), and we drag trees from outdoors into our homes and make them colorful and flashy...why?

Does any of it point to Christmas? Tradition, yes. Ritual, certainly. But Christmas? In our seven celebrations, Jesus was scarcely mentioned. Sure, we prayed in His name, as we were taught to do. But I'm talking about JESUS. The ONE who lived in Heaven, but decided to take on the flesh of man, enter the world as a helpless baby, humbling Himself from His perfect surroundings, from the Glory beyond our universe, to live in this--our earth, filled with defiance and mockery wrought by Sin. GOD left Glory to come here??--only to become the one sacrifice able to satisfy God's sovereign justice and demonstrate His perfect love for ME?? And that is Christmas.

I know these are not the warm and fuzzy thoughts that mark our Holiday season. I know we like to pretend it's about others--whether it's finding the perfect gift or volunteering or donating cash, people do become especially generous this time of year. Is it because that's what we've always done? Or does the "generosity" that comes with this season grow each year, ever in the effort to draw the focus away from Him. It's uncomfortable to think about what Jesus did, especially when we consider that we'll have to choose what to do with Him once we acknowledge His deed.

I sit here writing, as guilty as the next, having once again fallen for the tale that this season is about family (the highlight for us this year was seeing Jarrad's little brother). It isn't about family. It isn't about giving. It is nether about being thankful, courteous, compassionate, nor humble. As wonderful and desirable as those traits are in December, they are year-round. But on December 25th, I ought celebrate the coming of the One who makes those qualities possible in me, in spite of myself. I ought celebrate Christ Jesus.

Friday, December 14, 2007

rules are made to be broken

Aunt KiKi has been a source of several good toddler rules (like "you're allowed to touch the Christmas tree ornaments with one finger"). One of her rules we have adopted is "No wheels on the furniture." Yesterday, after Jarrad got home from work, and while Aunt Mamber was visiting, Rachel was showing off: she put herself in time out, then she put Tony the Tiger in time out (he had apparently grabbed Mommy's glasses, something Rachel gets in trouble for, and Rachel scolded him by getting right in his face, doing the sign for "no" and saying "no,,no"). Rachel was pushing her popper toy around the living room, and then hoisted it onto a piece of furniture. We reminded her about the wheels rule, but she kept trying to defy that rule, cutting her eyes at us and grinning all the way. So, finally, Jarrad took the popper toy away and said, "Okay, we have to say 'bye bye, toy' because you're not listening." He put it in our bedroom and closed the door. Rachel cheerfully dismissed the toy, and then went straight to the toy vacuum that cousin Tyler let her borrow. She brought the vacuum over, placed it on the furniture, pulled it off again, and then handed it to Jarrad and said, "bye bye," waving as he put the toy away.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

type A

Christmas is right around the corner, but I have not felt like decorating at all. I'm starting to feel that warm and fuzzy holiday feeling, though, and I'm thinking I'll be ready to at least put up a tree soon. Rachel becomes more and more particular every week. I wonder if she'll tell us that the tree belongs outside...

Here are some examples of Rachel's attention to details:

Rachel was in the middle of a temper tantrum the other day. She was whining and rolling around on the floor (I was washing dishes, which she opposes regularly). Right in the middle of it, she got up, went over to the rug under her high chair, which was turned up at the corner, and she smoothed it out. She then returned to the middle of the floor and resumed her temper tantrum.

Rachel likes to open the drawers in her dresser and drag her clothes out, usually trying on her jeans before cleaning up the mess. Jarrad and I were hanging out with her one day, and when she closed the drawer after replacing the final article of clothing, there was a tiny corner of a shirt sleeve sticking out. She began to walk away, but then stopped, turned back, and corrected the problem.

When Jarrad was blowing leaves off the yard, Rachel stood at the sliding glass door watching. I was in the kitchen, and I heard Rachel saying "uh oh, uh oh, uh oh" over and over. She was pointing outside, and, when I looked, I noticed that one of our four patio chairs was tipped over and leaning on the one next to it. Jarrad finally made it around to the patio, and Rachel seemed relieved when he replaced the chair on all four legs.

This morning at breakfast, Rachel was eating scrambled eggs and cheese cubes. All the food was distributed around her tray. I turned around to do something, and when I turned back, she had pushed all the cheese on one side of her tray, with the eggs on the other side.

When we were playing outside, Rachel found a piece of concrete that had chipped off the side of our patio, and she walked around trying to fit it into the gaps on the patio.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

weather for the soul

It has been so beautiful this week, and Rachel is being such a good girl (she was obviously missing her daddy last week). I sure do love her, and I sure think she's a pretty girl. Can you tell I'm feeling smitten today?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

mac and cheese productions

Uma taught Rachel a very important skill when we were visiting in the mountains...

Monday, November 26, 2007

time out game

Today, Rachel slept her latest to date: 9:05am. I never thought it would happen, but today was the day. As a result, we had a great day. She had one very small temper tantrum, one time out, and one self-imposed time out. Huh? Well, I started time out [again] last week. I tried it a few weeks ago, and she didn't seem to get it. She gets it now. I usually get one of the small, square floor pillows, set it in the corner, and then she sits there for about a minute. The same day she got a time out for the first time, she gave herself a time out. Now, when I give her a warning and say she'll get a time out if she does ____ again, she goes and has a time out. She pulls the pillow off the stack, sets it in the corner, sits on it for a second and looks at me, and then says/signs "all finished" before replacing the pillow on the stack. I also reluctantly use spanking on occasion, and she has also begun requesting a "spank spank" (that's what I call it) when I give her a warning. Don't get me wrong--she definitely seems to have her feelings hurt when I give her a spank spank or a time I don't understand what she's thinking. As usual.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

terrible seventeen-months

Rachel has been extremely cranky today, and I think there's nothing really to blame it on, except her age. I got pretty cranky, myself by lunchtime. Rachel had been playing contentedly, and I was taking pictures. After a few minutes, I decided I should tidy up the kitchen a bit and wash the couple of dishes left over from breakfast. Oh, the wails that followed. Rachel bosses me all day, and sometimes I just say, "No, Rachel, I will not sit next to you while you eat and feed your teddy bear his imaginary food and milk, because I don't have to do what you say." So there. Boy, does she get mad. So I'm standing at the sink, washing dishes, and she is literally pushing my legs in the direction she wants me to go. When I tell her "no," she just flings herself around, often smacking her head against a cabinet or the floor, which she really plays up like she's injured beyond repair. It makes me crazy. But I really almost lost it when she was standing there in my feet, having a fit, and she wet her pants. This child has not had an accident in several days (with the exception of her tummy issues, but I mean a peepee accident), so it was all because she was in the middle of her temper tantrum that she wet herself. Thankfully, she haulted, and I got her to the potty for most of the peepee, which was some consolation to me.

I love this outfit Rachel's wearing, but she added the jeans herself. She has figured out how to put pants on, and she drags jeans around and struggles to put them on and then take them off. They often end up backward, and she has trouble walking around and bending over in them, but she's just so proud of herself that she doesn't mind. She finally got these on the right direction, and I helped her get them buttoned, and, ya know what--this outfit is actually cuter with the jeans! Oh, oh, what will she be like as a teenager...

cute moment

When it was time to put cranky Rachel down for her nap, Little Miss Busy didn't want to go to bed. Part of our routine now is that I hold her by her crib and sway her for a couple minutes. She gets really still and sweet, and pats my shoulder a lot, so it's hard to put her down (I think she knows that). Today, she collapsed on my shoulder for a few seconds and then sat up and told me she needed to go potty. "No, we're all finished with the potty--you just went potty." Without protest, she collapsed again for a few seconds more, and then popped her head up and asked for some water. "No, Rachel, you had some water." She lay back down. Then she looked at me and snorted out her nose and pointed to the box of tissues. "You don't need to blow your nose, Rachel." After lying still and thinking of one last delay tactic, she looked back up and asked for a bath. It was hard not to laugh as I refused her last ditch effort.

non-toy toy of the day

CD's...(notice all her teeth!)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

where in the world

Our camera batteries are completely shot, so here's one old picture of Rachel...

So where have we been? Where do I begin? Rachel has had an ugly tummy virus for almost two weeks, but it seems to be clearing up. Insanely, I woke up Tuesday morning and decided I should take Rachel to Tennessee to visit her Great-Grandma, who was there visiting relatives. For a variety of reasons, Rachel and I never make it up to the mountains of West Virginia where she lives. Where she was in Tennessee is only 1.5 hours from where Jarrad's dad lives. So, I made all the phone calls to line it up, threw everything in the car, including Rachel, and headed out. We stopped by my hometown and picked up my dad, who graciously accompanied us on our roadtrip as entertainment for Rachel. So on Tuesday afternoon, we landed at Jarrad's dad's house, where we spent the night, and then the four of us (Rachel, Poppy, PopPop, and I) headed to Tennessee and back on Wednesday, spent the night again, and then back through my hometown and back to Raleigh on Thursday. (Hopefully I'll get pictures from the visit from Jarrad's cousin soon.) Whew!

We returned exhausted and sickly. I recovered, but Rachel is quite sick with a nasty headcold. After two weeks of the stomach stuff, I decided to take her on to the doctor on Friday, who predictably told us it was just two viruses back-to-back, and we just have to wait it out. On a funny note, Rachel wasted no time trying to boss the doctor, and the doctor pointed out several times that Rachel is "very grown up for her age." Rachel peepeed in the potty and blew her nose while we were there. What a show off.

Although Rachel's vocabulary has been a bit slow to grow, she finally started saying "more" and "please" this week. She has used the signs for these words for months, but she seems to finally have made the connection between the sign and the actual word (now she runs around saying "muh, muh, muh" for everything). She still has yet to say anything with the "ee" sound (she says "mama" for MiMi), but I do try not to get anxious--difficult, isn't it??

cute moment

Of course, Rachel did not cooperate with my roadtrip plan, which was for her to sleep on the way to pick up my dad and then stay awake with him in the backseat on the way to the mountains. She did the opposite, and she yelled essentially the whole 1.5 hours we were in the car alone. My nerves were completely shot, and, at one point, I turned around to her and said, "Rachel--that is TOO LOUD!" I guess I sounded kind of mean, because she looked so hurt and sad. Her bottom lip poked out and her brow furrowed, as if she was fighting back tears. She silently peered out the window, but she perked up shortly, and recommenced yelling. I felt bad that I hurt her feelings, though.

But the cutest thing for me was when we were spending our second night at PopPop and Uma's house. Rachel and I were sharing a room, which Rachel did not realize on night one. She woke up at 1:15am on night two, and she insisted from her pack n play that she needed to potty. In an effort to keep her from waking up the whole house, I set her on the potty, where she proved to be wide awake. As I sat in front of her, struggling to keep my eyes open, she looked at me, wide-eyed, with a smile all over her face. She was still, and seemed to be studying my face. She reached out and patted my cheek a few times, and then she wanted hugs. My little sweetie didn't really need to potty, but that was okay. I put a new diaper on her and attempted to put her back to bed, which she protested LOUDLY. So, I put her in bed with me, and I told her that she had to go to sleep or she'd have to go back in the pack n play. She seemed to understand that, because she lay down quietly. But she was wide awake, and she tossed and turned, talked to herself and giggled. After about 45 minutes, I decided to try again to put her to bed. She cried. She screamed. I tried to ride it out, and she settled down in about 10 minutes, but started right back up again. So I gave in, and she must have worn herself out, because she ended up falling right to sleep lying next to me--something that hasn't happened in a really really long time. I didn't sleep all that well, but it was really sweet to sleep by my baby. She stirred a few times after 5:00am, but she quickly curled up on me and went back to sleep every time. She was finally up for the day around 6:30am, and she was in a surprisingly great mood.

One of Rachel's favorite things about our visit was feeding the ducks that hang out at the pond in PopPop and Uma's neighborhood. This morning, before I went to Rachel when she woke up, I heard her calling the ducks. Uma called the ducks over by putting her fist to her mouth and quacking. Rachel's interpretation of that is putting her open palm to her mouth and saying "duck duck duck duck duck." She is still talking about our trip, including Uma and the ducks.

non-toy toy of the day

Rachel took a decent nap today, for the first time in almost a week. She was in a good mood between nap and bedtime, and she spent a lot of it folding and stacking her diapers. She hasn't played with her diapers in a long time, since we don't use them much. Rachel also continues to play with the bucket of bubble gum she got from the big gorilla at the mall on Halloween.

But her favorite play right now comes from her shopping cart and her vacuum (the popper push toy). She prefers that someone push one while she pushes the other, so she is constantly insisting on that. She has enjoyed two visits from GiGi this week, and GiGi has been a willing playmate.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Jarrad and I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of one of Rachel's little toys playing music over and over. What isn't a loud toy during the day is a really really loud toy by night, and I remembered that she had had this particular toy in her crib after naptime (where was it hidden at bedtime?). Jarrad said, "What is that?" I said, "It's her stupid (pardon the language) keyring toy--I forgot it was in her crib." "Is she awake?" he asked. "Well, she probably is now." Each song immediately followed the one before, as if she was depressing the play-a-song button continuously, though she was silent and still. When I entered her room, she lay there, sound asleep, gripping this awful toy. I pulled it away from her (I really had to yank it), and she grumbled and rolled over, but stayed asleep. WHEW!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

the camera comes clean

Our camera batteries do not usually cooperate long enough to get many good series o pictures these days, so I've been a bit lazy getting the pics onto the computer. When I cleaned off the card today, I remembered this...

cute moment

The glimmer and newness of the fun fun bucket of gum Rachel gained on Halloween night has finally begun to wear off. Yesterday was probably the first day she didn't drag it around everywhere (or demand that I carry it behind her like her attendant). The day after Halloween, she could hardly bear to part with it even long enough to eat breakfast. We finally compromised, and she agreed to eat her scrambled eggs.

And here is Rachel with two of her bff's, Lyssette and Ella

Cousin Tyler taught Rachel to hug her friends. Lyssette was unsure...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

reformation day

Okay, so Rachel dressed up for Halloween...

We went to the mall, where some of the stores do Trick-or-Treating early in the evening. It was perfect timing to be able to get Rachel in the bed at a reasonable hour, it was free, and it was indoors. Rachel had so much fun, but she didn't make it very far around the mall. She spent almost the entire evening in front of the candy store. There was a gorilla there, giving handfuls of gum to passersby. Rachel approached tentatively at first. He tried several ways to get her to dig into his bucket of gum, but she was unsure. Finally, he set the gum down and pretended to walk away, and Rachel made a break for it, picking up the entire bucket to swipe. He laughed and said she could keep the whole bucket of gum! So she carried it a few feet away, where she settled herself on the floor to examine her loot. A girl from the store brought over a little paper bag, which Rachel immediately began to fill with gum. She focused on this task for about 25 minutes, and then began to help fill other Trick-or-Treaters' bags with gum. Aunt Mamber met us there, and she and I just sat and watched Rachel interact with everyone. I was amazed that she didn't try to take off any part of her costume, nor did she claim to be hungry or need to potty. Incidentally, she wore training pants on our little excursion, and she stayed dry like a champ--our first 100% accident-free day!

She was pretty wiped out by the time we got home, and she went to sleep pretty easily after some snuggle time (she has been really snuggly lately).

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

tuesday post

First of all, I would like to report an abrupt ending to Rachel's paci usage. That's right--we packaged them up and "mailed" them to the hospital for little babies yesterday. I was anticipating a loooooong night last night, but Rachel did great! I have been dreading the end of paci era, and I am relieved that it hasn't been a big deal so far. I hadn't planned to take them away so early, but Rachel face and lips have been so chapped lately, and she always had a weird white film on the inside of her lips whenever she woke up, so I decided the time had come.

We have also officially switched to training pants by day. Rachel is finally big enough for the smallest sized cheap training pants, and I am relieved to be rid of diapering a busy toddler. She averaged two accidents for the first few days, but she's only had one (usually during dinner) or none for the past 3 or 4 days. There are still times when she wears diapers: when she sleeps, and when we're on long car rides, for church and for a babysitter. She doesn't seem to mind switching back and forth for now.

Saying "byebye" to the paci and "byebye" to diapers really makes me feel like my little girl is growing up. To prove she is getting closer to two every day, the last week or so has been full of meltdown after temper tantrum after extreme mood swing. It's a roller coaster living with a toddler! Here's a video of Rachel begging for a cracker, as she does innumerable times a day. She usually uses a sign she made up for cracker, but she already knew that I knew what she wanted, so she didn't bother here...

Rachel is really talking a lot lately, too, although her words are few and often unintelligible. She kind of just talks about whatever she can name, putting the words together into nonsensical sentences. My favorite is that she likes to say "maamaaaa" so sweetly now, and she absolutely yells "DADDY, DAAAADDY," when Jarrad's in another room. Also, whenever I say, "where's the _____?" (fill in the blank with whatever I can't find at the moment), Rachel immediately calls for whatever it is--"jaaaacket, jaaaaacket,"--and then hugs and kisses the item as soon as we find it.

cute moment

Today, we got in the car to go to the grocery store. Rachel started yelling "glasses, glasses, glasses" (in her language, of course), as she pointed to my suglasses that were clipped to the visor. I put them on, and she said, "yay!!" and clapped her hands.

Rachel had a meltdown one day because I wouldn't let her climb onto the coffee table, where she intended to sit on a little plush couch that goes with one of her dolls. I did let her sit on the toy couch on this chair, though, and that made her happy enough.

And, finally--last but not least--we visited MiMi and Poppy over the weekend, with Uncle Travis, Aunt KiKi, and Cousin Tyler. Tyler has suddenly become very interested in Rachel, so getting the two to pose for a picture wasn't difficult. Awwwwwww.

non-toy toy of the day

Rachel has enjoyed learning to use crayons and stickers. Her artwork would be so fun, if she didn't usually ball it up and declare it "TA" (i.e. trash) as soon as she was finished. I guess she's one of those artists.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

anecdote or two

Rachel and I have been recovering from our busy busy weekend. Suffice it to say that we've been visiting and shopping and babysitting and cooking and eating and aiding for four days straight, so it's been nice to just be home and take it easy some. Due to the busyness, my housework has also been neglected, so I've been playing catch-up on my chores, too.

cute moment

Is Rachel too young to be a smart aleck? Yesterday, I was cleaning up all her little pretend food, and I asked her several times to help me put the food in the container. Little Miss Smartie Pants danced and pranced around, giggling and procrastinating. I handed her a plastic piece of fruit and told her to put it in the bowl. She laughed and put the fruit in her mouth. She looked at me and shook her head, the fruit dangling between her teeth, and then she bent down and released it into the container. I felt compelled to say, "Don't be smart, Rachel," and then realized that she probably had no idea what I meant by that...or did she?...

Rachel and I were sharing a pear the other day, and, as I usually do, I ate off the peel and then held it in front of her so she could take a bite. On this particular day, Rachel was not interested in eating the pear. But she laughed, and then she reached out and hugged the pear to her, rocked it back and forth, and said, "baby."

Lastly, Rachel has quiet time almost every morning for 30-45 minutes, or until she seems restless and ready for some company. I put her in her crib with some stuffed animals and books, and, more recently, I've started allowing her a toy or two. The first day I let her take her puzzle and pocketbook and piggy bank, she played and played and played, perfectly content for almost an hour. Then, all of a sudden, she fell silent. Curious, I went to check on her. She looked like she fell asleep mid-motion, so of course I had to take a picture or two...

non-toy toy of the day

PopPop and Uma came by for a few minutes over the weekend, and they brought Rachel a festive singing and dancing ghost. He is pretty cute, and he's been singing and dancing almost non-stop since he arrived.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

once upon a time...

A long, long time ago--in February, I believe--I submitted Rachel's picture to the BabyLegs website for their "Customer Gallery." It never showed up, and I quit checking in June or July. Now that the weather is cooler, I just decided to order her a couple more pairs of BabyLegs, and, when I checked their site, her picture was up! It appears in the February pictures in the Customer Gallery. I think their website is pretty terrible, but it's still neat for her to be on there! Scroll all the way down to the bottom to see two pictures of your favorite BabyLegs lady...

Monday, October 15, 2007

sincerest flattery

I have been going going going for several days now, and I'm starting to feel the affects. Among other events, my cousin DeeDee's two kids, Sarah and David came over for a couple of hours Friday afternoon. Here's what our living room looks like when three kids have free reign...

We visited Rachel's great-grandparents, NaNa and PaPa on Saturday, which did provide a bit of a break, since there were many eyes and hands on Rachel. I was pretty wiped out, though, after driving there and back in one day, especially since Rachel was cranky in the car (she usually is very polite to sleep on long trips).

cute moment

Rachel is really into imitating now. The other day, Rachel was eating a little bowl of applesauce at breakfast, and I poured myself a bowl of cereal. I added the milk (as one usually does to cereal), as Rachel observed. She immediately picked up her sippy cup of milk and "poured" it into her applesauce, and then stirred as if she had added something.

Rachel is also becoming more and more particular, and exceedingly bossy. After she got up this morning, sleepy me lay on the floor in her room, using her little blanket as cover, resting my head on her big teddy bear, while she played around me. Finally, she came over and said, "Up. Up." She then yanked the blanket away and pulled the bear out from under my head. She signed and said, "All finished," (which sounds like "ah in"). I guess naptime was over.

I wore my glasses all day today, too, and Rachel was scolded several times for grabbing at them. Tonight, she must have been tired of looking at them on my face, because, over and over, she pointed to my glasses then to the floor, saying, "byebye, byebye" until I finally removed them. Other things she has ordered me to do lately: hang up the hand towel, put the babywash in its place, sit by her on the step outside, carry her vacuum, sippy cup, AND hat while she walks around outside (when I tried to put any one thing down, she picked it right back up to hand it to me again), brush her hair, give her a sticker (or all the stickers), close a cabinet door I had accidentally left cracked, put cheese back in the refrigerator, put on my shoes, put on Jarrad's shoes, pick her up (she often tries to pick me up when she wants me to carry her somewhere), throw trash away, move the trash can to its usual location...

non-toy toy of the day

Rachel has been affixed to this popper push-toy--a gift from Aunt Mamber at Rachel's birthday. She has played and played and played with it since last Wednesday. I have always called it her "vacuum" because that's what I distract with her when I vacuum the carpet and rugs ("Rachel, where's your vacuum?").

Whenever I clean our wood floors, I always drag our three rugs from the floor to the carpet in our living room, where I can easily vacuum them before replacing them on the clean floors. Rachel has seen this process many times, and, apparently she thought it needed to be done. Unprompted, she walked intently into the kitchen, retrieved the little rug from in front of the sink, dragged it to the living room, ran her "vacuum" across it a time or two, and then dragged it back to the kitchen. I was amazed, although I'll have to say that the rug did not seem much cleaner than it was before.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

yard work

We've had guys working all week on making the rough land behind our house into a backyard! It is really exciting to see it all come together, and it's been a fun distraction for Rachel. They are planting grass tomorrow, and that'll be it for now! I can't wait to have a fun and safe place for Rachel to play!

cute moment

Rachel and I were out and about tonight, and, once the sun went down, it was so nice outside. We had dinner with my friend Shawna, and then we followed Rachel around for about 30 minutes, as she pushed her stroller haphazardly. I tried to keep at least one finger on the handle to guide it, but if Rachel caught me doing that, she had a fit. I guess SHE wanted to do it.

When we got home tonight, Rachel and I went straight to her room to play quietly until bedtime. She has developed a bad habit of throwing toys and books, and I'm trying to teach her to be "gentle." She threw a book at me, and I sternly said, "No, Rachel, NO throw the books." She hopped right over and collapsed in my lap, grinning her cutest grin, gave me a kiss, pointed to me and said, sweetly, "Mama," and then pointed to herself and said, "Baby." I think if she had the words, she would have said, "How can you be mad at me, Mommy? I'm your baby!"

non-toy toy of the day

As we were meandering around outside, good-citizen Rachel, who, as you know, loves to collect and dispose of trash, picked up a cigarette butt. "Ta!" she declared, pointing to the trash receptacle. EWWWWW!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

where is tall one?

I just want to say that Rachel is unbelievably tall now! Her clothes are so short on her, and she only has a couple of dresses that still look okay. I love the dress in the picture, and she wears it all the time. I remember when it came all the way down to her ankles. Amazing!

cute moment

Rachel completely understands potty stuff, but that doesn't keep her from "forgetting" sometimes. Yesterday, she had a wet diaper late in the afternoon, and, as I sat her on the potty, I sighed with frustration. Rachel grinned at me, and then sighed dramatically, with exactly the same inflection as my sigh. I laughed hysterically, and so did she.

non-toy toy of the day

Rachel loves her Snack Trapper right now. I usually keep Cheerios in there, even though she doesn't really like to eat Cheerios very often these days. When we're in the car, or going for a walk--really anytime I have to strap her down--I just give her the Snack Trapper, and Rachel just digs her hand in there, eating a Cheerio or two now and then. She even fell asleep in the car with the Snack Trapper clenched tightly in her fist.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

banana gel

Rachel is 100% better now, and she seems to be ecstatic about it. She was pretty silly all day today, and has rediscovered her toys. It's sure nice to have my baby back.

cute moment

Rachel woke up at 7:00am today (a big improvement from 6:00am yesterday). She woke up content, and she talked to herself and played...and played and played. At 7:40am, I finally went to her room--not because she had become discontent, but because I was ready to see her! "Rachel, are you ready to get down?" "No." She requested that I give her each of her stuffed animals and books. She soon had a crib full of friends and reading material, and she continued to play. Finally, at 8:15am, she asked to get out of the crib, and indicated that she was hungry. Breakfast took a long time, too, as she busied herself smearing banana and applesauce, and crunching Cheerios. What a happy girl!

non-toy toy of the day

We went to the Farmers Market today with Aunt KiKi and Cousin Tyler, and I bought Rachel a little pumpkin. She loved it! She also continues to enjoy sitting in bags...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

schoop de terrible-cold-that-follows de croup

Rachel and I have had a loooooong week, mostly stuck in the house, mostly by ourselves. Apparently following the natural progression of this particular virus, Rachel's croup cleared up fairly quickly, with the worst cold in history to follow. She sounds like she has concrete in her little sinuses, and she obviously feels run-down. She took a really long nap this afternoon, though, and that seemed to help her feel better. We even took a trip out shopping this afternoon (Rachel's eyes got really big, and she ran to the door when I asked her if she wanted to go shopping). We went into one of those huge pet superstores, and, being Saturday, there were lots of doggies roaming around. We also saw some cute kitties waiting to be adopted, and the birds made Rachel giggle. What a great [free] field trip!

cute moment

I was spot cleaning our hardwoods the other day, and Rachel wanted to touch the bottle of cleaner (which claims to be all-natural soy-based, but who can tell). I warned her sternly that it was a "no touch." She went away for a few seconds and then came back, grinning mischievously. She proceeded to turn around, bend over with her heiny in the air, and backed up, causing her bottom to touch the bottle of cleaner. Trying not to laugh, I informed her that that still counted as touching, and the cleaner is a "no touch." She then went over to her kitchen and got a spoon, came back, and touched the cleaner with the spoon, grinning and looking at me for a reaction. I scolded her, and then I put the cleaner up where she couldn't reach it. Duh.

non-toy toy of the day

Yesterday, Rachel sat in this bag all afternoon, until it was hardly recognizable. And even after it had ripped in several places, she continued to sit in it, and she demanded that I give it a try as well. I'll have to admit--sitting in a bag is pretty cozy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

schoop de croup

Rachel woke up around 1:30 or 2am with croup. Scary?...YES. She woke up coughing like she was really choking on something, and then she was wheezing like she couldn't catch her breath. My first thought was, "Oh no, my child has asthma!!!" She sounded like she was gasping for breath. I rocked her and she collapsed sweetly on me, but when I tried to put her back in her crib, I was scared to leave her because she sounded like she couldn't breathe. My brainstorming had yielded two possibilities: asthma or pneumonia. So I rocked her a little more, and then I took her down to Jarrad, and we called the advice nurse. I let the nurse hear Rachel over the phone, and, cooperatively, Rachel coughed for her. The nurse said definitively, "Yep, she's got the croup." I guess I am grateful it's that, since it's a rarely-serious virus-caused illness that passes in 5-6 days. No asthma, praise God!

Rachel and I went to my mom's extended family reunion Sunday afternoon, and we spent the night at MiMi and Poppy's house Sunday night. As soon as we walked into their house, Rachel clearly recognized where we were, and started looking for Poppy (who hadn't attended the reunion). She slept great Sunday night, and we were able to visit a couple of old friends on Monday. Here's a picture of Rachel Mae with GreatGrandma Mae.

cute moment

Monday afternoon, Poppy and Rachel were playing outside, and Rachel was chasing their cat (named Bear). He's a fluffy black cat who lives outside and is really sweet, but he is not used to the likes of Rachel. She tries to catch up with him and give him loving pats, but he usually shrinks away with intsictual self-preservation. At one point, Bear was lying in some ivy up on the hill, and Rachel got about a foot from him and was pointing at him, grinning from ear to ear. She looked down at Poppy and me, pleased with herself for finding the cat. She kept her eyes on us, pointing to Bear and squealing with delight. In the meantime, Bear slithered away without Rachel noticing, leaving Rachel pointing and squealing at the bed of ivy. She then bent over to give Bear a friendly whack, only to find he was gone. She quickly looked around for him, but he had disappeared into a thorn patch, out of her reach.

non-toy toy of the day

At the reunion, Rachel found the kids' table, complete with kids' chairs. She spent a lot of the afternoon rearranging the chairs the way she thought was most appropriate.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Rachel's new kitchen has become the biggest and best distraction yet for Rachel. My worst frustration with her has been when I'm trying to get things done in the kitchen. She always wants "up" to see what I'm doing. Now I just say, "Rachel, where's your kitchen?" She stays out of my feet and busy busy busy. To add to her fun, we decided to put together her shopping cart (a gift from Aunt Mamber). Rachel just piles stuff from her kitchen into the cart and zooms around. It is a wonderful thing.

NaNa and PaPa (Jarrad's grandparents) came for a visit early Friday morning. Rachel bossed them like she would anyone, and NaNa even complied with Rachel's insistence that she sit on the floor with her. They freed me to get a few chores done, and that made my day. As soon as they left, Rachel took her nap, and, although it was a bit earlier than usual, she was in a great mood for most of the afternoon.

cute moment

Rachel has learned to "hide" things by holding them behind her back. She grins mischievously and thinks she's so clever, and, of course, I always pretend not to see what she's holding.

non-toy toy of the day

The three of us joined some friends for bowling Friday night. Of course, Rachel was most interested in milling around, greeting people and sticking her nose in things. There was a face painting table where she got a heart painted on her hand (she was mesmerized). Just when she seemed to be getting a little antsy, I found an empty box that was just her size. She sat down in it, and I pulled her around. Leah hung out in there for a few minutes, too, but the two kiddos were definitely getting sleepy. But the box was definitely a big hit.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

double the sleep

Rachel had her 15-month physical yesterday, weighing in at 21lb 13oz (35%), measuring 30" long (45%--she'll be 3 ft tall before we know it!), with a head circumference at 90%. The doctor assured me her head size was due to all her brains (I didn't even ask). The doc also commented that, of all the 15-month-olds she'd seen, Rachel did really well with her shots; she only cried about 20 seconds before I was able to distract her by pointing out all the trash the doctor had left behind on the examining table. Rachel promptly pointed to the trash can in the room. The doctor said she could tell Rachel is a helper. I think helper is code for bossy.

Rachel visited some friends at lunch today. Leah is 2.5 months younger than Rachel, and Kyler (pictured) is 6 months old. It was fun to watch the babies interact, and Rachel definitely pulled rank on the other girls by snatching toys away. I hope she doesn't turn into a bully.

I think partially due to her shots, and partly due to her level of activity and lack of sleep yesterday, Rachel took two awesome naps today for the first time in at least a month. Rachel has been a one-nap baby for quite some time now, and I've reconciled myself to that. She has a ~40-minute quiet time in her crib mid-morning, usually, and then one nap in the afternoon (of course, her one nap is rarely longer than 1.5 hours). This morning, she fell asleep almost as soon as I put her in her crib for quiet time, and she slept 2 hours! So mid-afternoon, after we got home from our playdate, I put her in her crib for quiet time, and she fell asleep again--this time for almost 1.5 hours!! I couldn't believe it. I forgot how much I can get done with that kind of time on my hands. So by the time she got up from the 2nd nap, my kitchen and floors were spotless, a load of laundry was clean, and I was in a great mood.

My wonderful cousin DeeDee is always bringing fun new toys for Rachel to play with (her kids are older, so we get their hand-me-downs). We hit the jackpot this week when she brought over their old play kitchen! We put it in the dining room by the windows, and Rachel has been playing there almost non-stop. I even caught her pretending to wash her hands in the tiny sink!

cute moment

Rachel has noticed the birds chirping outside, and she likes to imitate them. She listens intently, and then she grins and says, "teh, teh, teh."

My favorite outside noise, though, is when airplanes fly over. Our house is right under the path of some of the planes taking off and landing at the nearby airport, and Rachel still has not grown accustomed to the noise. When we are downstairs, it's a little louder, (I guess because of all the windows), and when a plane comes by (5 or 6 times a day, maybe?), Rachel almost always stops what she's doing, looks at me with a really serious look and wide eyes, and then sprints over and clings on until the plane is gone. She knows what it is now, but she still likes to be near me. And I don't mind if that doesn't change just yet.

non-toy toy of the day

Yesterday, while I was getting myself ready for the day, I stepped out of my bathroom to look for Rachel, who had grown unusually quiet. There she sat on our bedroom floor, with an open tub of Vaseline, greasy all over. I guess she figured out how to remove the lid. Oops!

Monday, September 17, 2007

no excuses

We haven't really been that busy, and we have had some visits from friends, and we've gone a few places, too, so don't ask why I haven't blogged. I guess you could say I've been experiencing blogger's block. But the weather has turned cooler and my spirits are up, so I'm attempting a post.

I always feel guilty when I don't get to spend much quality time with Rachel, even if she's spending quality time with her daddy or other family. I don't know why that is, except that I think God puts a special kind of worry in the heart of a mommy. I am thoroughly convinced that no one will take care of her as well as I do--even though she really doesn't require much these days...just keep her belly full and a pair of shoes nearby, and that child stays pretty happy. Saturday night, Jarrad stayed home with Rachel while I went out with some girlfriends from church. We had dinner and painted pottery, and it was a lot of fun. Jarrad didn't have any responsibilities at church this week, so he brought Rachel Sunday morning and took her back home while I stayed and helped teach a kids' Sunday school. Rachel went down for her nap about an hour after I got home, and I left for a soccer game before she was up again. I didn't see her the rest of the night because we had Community Group and PopPop and Aunt Mamber babysat. I was happy to see her little smiling face this morning, and I'm pretty sure she was happy to see me too.

Jarrad installed Rachel's new car seat this afternoon, and it is HUGE. She looked like such a big girl, and such a little girl at the same time! This car seat lasts through 80 lbs, so we won't have to buy another one for a long time. To give her a chance to try it out, PopPop and Uma took us all out to dinner, which was a real treat, especially at the end of the meal when Rachel wanted to run around talking to everyone. Uma chased her while we relaxed!

cute moment

Jarrad and PopPop decided to bring Rachel to my soccer game for a few minutes Sunday afternoon. They reported that Rachel walked around in the grass, picking up every tiny piece of trash, and demanding that PopPop carry her to drop it into the trash can. She's such a good citizen. At halftime of our game, our team was sitting around drinking our water and Gatorade. Rachel found a cooler, and the owner let Rachel take all the items out one by one. She then replaced the items in the cooler and commanded the girl to put her gatorade in there, too. She proceeded around our group, collecting unclaimed bottles and deposting them into the cooler. Everyone appropriately exclaimed over her cuteness, and I was a proud mommy.

non-toy toy of the day

Trash, water bottles, and coolers, oh my. Rachel additionally loved playing with a napkin at dinner tonight. She also played with her food.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

the shortest long day

Today flew by, although we had a lot of activity. We had a lot of visitors all day, and tonight I had invited several of my former coworkers to dinner. GiGi came for a visit this morning, which allowed me to run a couple of errands. My friend Theresa and her daughter, Alex, came over just as Rachel was waking up from her nap this afternoon. Rachel was still crusty-faced and wearing just a diaper, and, since I was trying to get things ready for my dinner, I didn't stop to dress her or clean her up. Our friend Glenn came over to borrow Jarrad's truck, and, after he left, my friend Caroline came over with her son, Chase. Theresa, Alex, Caroline, Chase, Rachel and I were visiting when our friend Barbara came by with her daughter, Anna. Glenn came back to drop off the truck, and then people started leaving. First Glenn, then Barbara and Anna, Theresa and Alex, and lastly, Caroline and Chase. As I was walking Caroline to the door, I said, "Well, Rachel, let's go wash your face and put on your party dress." I got her cleaned up and dressed just in time before my only two dinner guests arrived. Two!! Rachel had run around all afternoon, as we had seven guests in and out of our house, with a dirty face, wearing just her plain diaper, and the big party I had fretted over, the one I cleaned her up and dressed her for, turned out to be a much smaller event than the afternoon had been! Isn't it funny how these things work out? The worst thing is that I didn't take any pictures.

cute moment

Although Rachel and I were together most of the day, I didn't feel like I had spent much time with her when bedtime rolled around. So, I let her stay up a few extra minutes after everyone left, and we had mommy-baby time. We went up to her room, and she played contentedly, sitting in my lap, running around while I tried to steal kisses and hugs, and bossing me about how and where to sit. The most fun was when she sat on my lap and then, when she stood right back up again, I'd say, "Hey! Come back here!" and pull her back on my lap again. She cackled so loud every time. I was sad to put her to bed, but she was exhausted after our exciting day.

non-toy toy of the day

Jarrad took Rachel to potty during dinner tonight, and when she came back, she was holding a hairbrush and a bottle of body splash. One of our guests said, "Rachel, where are your real toys?" But Rachel didn't seem to hear her...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

the longest short week

Rachel nor I have felt 100% this week, which made the time drag by. We went to the lake with Aunt Julie and Mr. Landin Thursday and Friday, though, and that was a great distraction. Rachel rode on the boat, which she hated--mostly because I wouldn't let go of her the whole time. She went swimming--well, not really...she just floated on me on a floating chair, but it was fun. She played with shells and rocks, she fed ducks and fish, and she even watched Aunt Julie catch a huge catfish with a Fisher Price toy fishing rod! Jarrad almost broke his body trying to ski and wake board, but he and I had a great time joyriding on the Seadoo while Julie and Landin chased Rachel around.

cute moment

Aunt Julie's poodle, Jack, was vacationing with us, and, since he is just Rachel's size, she fell in love with him. He was really into Rachel's favorite pastime--being chased. She ran from one side of the house to the other, and he chased her and licked her hands and tummy. She giggled and then would run to me or Julie, saying, "up," for a break from Jack. She quickly got back down to start all over. The funniest part for us was seeing her boss Jack. Rachel's grunt-style communication has really become quite sophisticated. Friday afternoon, Rachel went over to the sliding glass door that leads out to the screened porch. She pointed to the door and then to Jarrad, "Kuh. Kuh." Jarrad opened the door. She pointed to Jack and then to the porch, "Kuh. Kuh." Jack exited, followed with Rachel commanding the door to be shut. I guess Jack understands her language as well as we do.

non-toy toy of the day

Rachel had a blast with full access to her Crocs while we were at the lake. Interestingly, she almost always took her shoes off, only to reverse them and replace them on the wrong feet. She walked around at least half the time with her shoes on backwards. Rachel also carried around two near-empty 12oz soda bottles most of the afternoon on Friday.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

30 second post

Last night, we couldn't find 2 of Rachel's 3 crib pacis. We were looking all over her room and under and behind her crib. She got down on her belly to look under her crib, and then straightened all four limbs inquisitively, causing her to teeter on her oversized belly, and said "hmmmmkuh?" (which means "where'd it go?") We did find the pacis, finally. She had stuffed them into Kagaroo's pouch. Oh brother.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

in love with my baby

I know all you mommies out there feel the same way...don't you just love your baby?? I had two babies in my house on Friday: Rachel and 18-month-old Lyssette. Lyssette is one of those sweet babies who wants to be held and loved on, and it takes a while for her to feel safe. When her mommy dropped her off, she was literally shaking, like she was so scared and nervous! Poor baby. Rachel was such a good girl and did not protest the fact that I held Lyssette most of the morning. She even let Lyssette play with her favorite Monkey. After a couple of hours, Lyssette began to make herself at home, and even took a 2-hour nap in Rachel's crib! Rachel napped in the Pack n Play in another room, and slept her usual 1.5 hours. When Lyssette left later in the afternoon, Rachel was exhausted, and she seemed so happy to have her mommy to herself. She was so snuggly and sweet, and I took full advantage of my sweetie.

Later in the afternoon, Rachel wanted to get back in the Pack n Play with her blankie and her pacis, so I put her in there. She entertained herself for almost 30 minutes, even lying down on her belly and just resting, kicking her feet up and down, for 10 minutes straight. I was amazed, and in love.

Rachel and I went to my hometown on Saturday, and we got to visit with MiMi, Poppy, Aunt KiKi, Uncle Trav, Cousin Tyler, and Tia Milli. We had so much fun. It always so fun to watch the two kids interact, especially now that the developmental gap is narrowing (Tyler is 7 months older than Rachel).

cute moment

When Lyssette was here on Friday, and she found Monkey and was carrying him around, talking to him and poking his face, Rachel got really jealous. I was watching closely, though, and the first time Rachel reached to steal Monkey, I intercepted her and explained that we let our friends play with any toy they want. After that, Rachel followed Lyssette and Monkey around, and, whenever she felt herself reaching for Monkey, she'd pull her hand away and say, "NO NO."

On Saturday, Rachel was sitting on the floor in Mimi and Poppy's house, and she seemed to think she had something on the bottom of her foot. She really wanted to see for herself, so she was pulling her foot up and trying as hard as she could to look at the bottom. She kept falling over until she finally gave up.

non-toy toy of the day

On Saturday, Rachel found MiMi's two bread baskets. They are both round and shallow. First, Rachel put them side-by-side and put one foot in each basket, like they were her shoes. Then, she sat in one, and, after that, tried several times to sit in them both together (half her bottom in one basket and half in the other). What in the world??