Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa didn't show

We waited until today (Christmas Eve) to take Evie to see Santa. Unfortunately, the mall Santa in J's hometown decided to stay home because of the on-again-off-again snow we're getting here. So we put Evie in Santa's chair by herself. Poor, sad Evie. Actually, this face is a lot more cheerful than she would have been if Santa had been there. We were expecting a "screaming on Santa's lap" shot for this year, since Evie doesn't like anyone but J or I to hold her these days.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

15 Months Old

Happy 15 Month Birthday Evie!

We'll go in for a well child checkup after Christmas, so I don't have official stats, but I weighed her tonight and she is 23 pounds. I have no idea about her height because the number of times she has stood still in the last couple of months is about 3, and none of those times did I have a tape measure handy. But she is in 18 month clothes, can almost open the dishwasher herself and can now climb onto a lot of our furniture by herself, so I'd say she's gotten taller. When she's naked she looks so tall and skinny to me!

Potty learning is going OK. As expected, she had a regression for a couple of days and wasn't interested, but today she rallied and peed on the toilet 3 times. She loves to watch the toilet flush and clap her hands "Yay!" Poop is another matter entirely. I know that poop is often a challenge when potty training a 2 or 3 year old, but I was hoping it would be smoother with Evie. Nope! I am so jealous now of the parents who start potty learning when babies are younger and the kids learn that the potty is a great place to poop, instead of getting comfortable pooping in a diaper. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. It's only been a few days, but my mother's intuition is telling me that Evie prefers pooping in a diaper at this point and doesn't want to change the system. I don't want to pressure her but instead follow her lead, but it's going to be a challenge to bite my tongue on this issue because MAN would it be nice to not have to spray out between 1 and 3 poopy diapers in the toilet every day! Enough poop talk.

Speaking of challenges, is anyone else dealing with (or has dealt with) the violent streak in young toddlers? Evie is all about hitting, kicking and pinching me these days. She does it some to J, too, and the dogs (although we heavily supervise those interactions) but mostly to me. I believe it's mostly frustration surrounding not being able to communicate her desires and thoughts, but some days I feel as though I'm "fighting" with her all day, that most of our interactions are negative. Either she's doing something naughty and I'm redirecting her, resulting in a tantrum, or I'm trying to play with her and she lashes out at me (testing boundaries I guess). I feel as though I say "no" too much, so I've started saying "oops" or "uh oh" instead, as a warning that she's doing something naughty. That seems to help, but she still likes to yell "NA!" at me as her way of saying "I hear your 'no!' and raise you a 'NA!'" I call her a little stinker a lot these days. :) We've tried to toddler-proof as much as possible, to reduce the number of times we say "no," but there is a limit to how much we can do without removing all of the furniture and padding the walls.

Hopefully this phase will pass quickly, if it is communications related, because Evie's verbal and ASL skills are blossoming. She owns (uses independently, correctly and most adults can understand her) "Mama," "Dada," "ball," "baby," "no (na)," "doggie," "bubble (bubba)," "more," and a few others. She also says several more words with a little modeling beforehand, and she is myna birding a lot. Yesterday she said "chiz peas" back to me after I modeled "cheese please." So cute.

She also uses a lot of non-verbal communication and owns the ASL signs "more," "all done," "eat," "milk," "please," "sorry," (she gets a chance to use that one after she pinches me) "light," "ceiling fan," "music," and "hot." She learned that last one while I was taking a bath this week. Mama's baths are HOT! The water is not as much fun to splash in that way. :( She uses the signs for "light" "fan" and "music" a lot. She figures out quickly where all of the sources of sound and light are in any particular room and then demands that they all be turned on at once. She won't let it go until the room is ablaze with light and playing a song she enjoys. Evie is not environmentally friendly, yet.

Speaking of music, Evie is in a repetition phase right now (with books, too) and doesn't want to hear any new music, only the music she already knows and likes. If anything comes on that has a slow rhythm, is instrumental, has foreign language lyrics or uses an instrument that isn't familiar to her, she shakes her head no until I change the track. If I don't change the track fast enough, she starts crying. If she likes the song she'll either sit still listening, bop along to the beat, or in the case of "Baby Beluga" by Raffi, she'll sing along "baybee, baybee, baybee." When the song ends she emphatically demands (and signs) "MORE."

I love that she has generalized some of her ASL and is being creative in her communication. For example, younger babies only use "more" for food, but Evie uses it for more food, music, book repetitions and games. She has also generalized "all done" by using it to tell me when she's ready to get off the potty. She's also started using it in her crib when she wants to tell me that "no, I'm not going back to sleep. 45 minutes is long enough for my nap and I am ALL DONE with this nap." How can you argue with a baby waving "all done" to you from her crib? I had to cave, but she was miserably cranky by bedtime.

More updates...

Teething: currently, bottom eye teeth and molars. Evie's teeth take forevah to come in, so it's easy to attribute just about all of her cranky behavior to that instead of toddlerdom.

Eating: she just came out of a picky stage and right now is eating like a linebacker. Must be a growth spurt starting. I feel like I spend all day preparing food, feeding her and cleaning up afterward. She's still being fairly picky about what she'll eat, but during growth spurts like this she broadens her choices somewhat and eats enough veggies to keep me from starting her on vitamin drops. Really the only veggie she'll eat outright is peas, but we sneak other things into her with things like this and this.

Reading: her attention span is getting longer, but she is getting picky about which books she wants to read. She prefers books that she can participate in by lifting flaps, pointing out objects that she knows "ball!" "baby!" or that are participatory. For example, books that encourage us to point to parts of our body, sing, clap, stomp our feet or make emotive faces. Once she latches onto a book, she often wants us to read it to her over and over and over and over again. We usually get bored by the fourth or fifth time and distract her before she is truly satiated..."hey, Evie, want a snack?!" We feel properly guilty about this.

Sleeping: with a few exceptions (teething related?) she is sleeping better right now (knock on wood) and has slept through the night (usually 7pm to 7am) a handful of times in the last month. Other nights she is up only once or twice and we have started going in and giving her some water instead of milk when she wakes. The lack of a whole milk snack in the middle of the night has resulted in a VERY hungry toddler when she wakes up in the morning. She heartily disapproves of our desire to start coffee brewing before we cut up her banana. Where are our priorities!?

Visit with G: a week ago, G (Evie's birth father) came to visit. We were very happy to see him, or at least I was. Evie was pretty freaked out and cried at a couple of points. Poor G! I can imagine how that feels for him. I assured him that we show her pictures of him regularly (we do) and that it's only a matter of time before she will understand that he is one of her people and will greet him warmly. I am confident of this because of my recent experiences S*kyping with my 2-year-old nephew. His parents have shown him pictures of our family and taught him our names, so he knows our faces as Uncle J, Aunt Karen and Cousin Evie. I'm sure Evie will be the same at his age, so G doesn't have too long to wait until she will greet him eagerly by name. Anyhow, he was still happy to see her and gushed about how beautiful she is (something we heartily agree on) and how smart (another point of congruity). He is having a rough time right now, due to the economy and lack of jobs. For those of you who pray, please say a prayer for him because he is a wonderful man and needs to have blessings come into his life right now. He came with good news that R, Evie's birth mother, is doing well. We anticipate that she will be able to see Evie again in the spring, which will be very cool.

I'll conclude with a few pictures from this month...

At C*huck E C*heese on my birthday (long story) Evie adored the carousel ride and I love this picture because it shows her face in the mirror. Don't let the expression fool you; she thoroughly enjoyed this!
Another great mirror shot! This one is at a pre-school learn/play center we visited last week. Evie likes to wash her hands these days, and this little sink was made for her. She was not happy to have competition, even though the other little girl is one of her playmates and friends. See that look she's giving? I get that A LOT these days. Exasperation, wariness, frustration and stubbornness:
Here's another look we get frequently: the "tilting my head back so that I can see you under my bangs." This is why she has pigtails and/or bows in most pictures. This pic also illustrates her deep and abiding love for monkey climbing. And, yes, the paci...she was very cranky that day.
I took a lot of photos today, to try to get at least one decent photo of her on her 15 month birthday. This is the best I could do, out of 31 photos. Not only is Evie a bundle of energy, she also takes after her Nana and likes to close her eyes in photos! :)
No video in this post since I've posted so much of it in the past few days.

The next few days will be busy with packing up to drive to Minnesota for Christmas, so in case I don't post between now and then, Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday plus words

(not related to the picture, so the picture still counts as wordless, right?)

So, I am not ready for this new development, but that doesn't matter...I'm just along for the ride! "They" say that girls potty train earlier than boys and that kids in cloth diapers potty train before kids in disposables. OK. But nobody prepared me for the possibility that Evie would initiate potty training at almost 15 months old and that I would be shopping for a training toilet seat this afternoon. Here's the timeline:

10 months: she starts showing interest in the toilet, so I buy her a potty to sit on while I'm on mine

13 months: she starts getting very agitated and defiant about diaper changes, and begins to fight back at the aggressor (me) by pinching my arm as I change her

14 months: I start changing her on the floor so that I can stay out of pinching range a little better

14.5 months: I decide that as long as I'm changing her on the floor, why not put her potty next to me and let her sit on it with a naked bottom before I put on the new diaper?

yesterday: she peed in her potty 3 times in a row (stayed completely dry between times) and shocked her Mama who was not prepared for this development. Once, yes, great, but 3 times in a row?

today: she seemed to have regressed and cried when I tried to put her on the potty this morning, but then made her desire clear by running half naked in to the bathroom and running up to the toilet. I held her under the arms while she peed there, and then again after her nap. Plus, she stayed completely dry during her nap! 2.5 hours! So, after her nap we went shopping for a comfy padded training seat with handles. She loves it, and peed on it 3 times before bed.

I fell totally unprepared for this...I haven't read ANY books about it yet! :) Maybe it's a phase and she'll go back to diapers in a few days and train when she's 2 like many kids do. But maybe not. My mom's advice was to go with it, follow her lead and do whatever I can to help her along. Next goals are to teach her a sign to tell me she needs to go, and try to catch poop on the potty as well. Won't that be nice!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bonus Videos

I had to capture this footage yesterday (if only for myself as I started recording) because Evie was sooooo tired at dinner (due to only a 45 minute nap...grrrrr...) that she was laying her head on the table between bites. Little did I know that I would capture her very first use of the word "more" without the accompanying sign! I love her jargon in this, I'm glad I have it for posterity.

Right afterward I also taped her playing a little game that we do all the time these days--labeling parts of the face and body:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

By Special Request

A few of the items in this mish-mash are by special request. Oh, and we are seeing G tomorrow so I'll post about that later.

Evie has, ummm... ideas about who gets control of cutlery these days. Around Thanksgiving my mom got this (very short) video:

Evie is ready to eat with utensils, but I'm not so sure I'm ready to release control and deal with the messes! Mommy has issues. Here she is more recently, taking control of her applesauce experience:

And our little monkey is a problem solver, too. Sigh. She pushed her chair over to the baby gate in an attempt to summon her daddy from the basement (where he has a home office). It didn't work, since he was at his real office, but she gave it a good try.
We got couple of inches of snow here this past week and it was Evie's first experience getting to go out and wade in it. Here she is being contemplative about the experience of having a cold, wet bottom (we had a wardrobe malfunction with her snow suit):

I've been playing around with making my own prefold diapers out of old t-shirts, and here is one of my projects. It's hard to see in the picture, but the (former) t-shirt has tiny faux gems glued on as part of the pattern. Every girl should have at least one pair of undies with sparklies, right?
And Safire requested awhile back that I show some of my scrapbooking spreads. I would have more except that my computer recently crashed and I lost some of the photos I have taken of my work. But for now, here's one example!

The background of this photo is also a project of mine; a fall quilt that I made a couple of years before Evie was born. Will I ever finish a quilting project again now that she's here?

Finally, a few recent videos. J got me a new camcorder for my birthday and it is great! Here is Evie doing the motions to Eric Carl's book From Head to Toe. This is by special request of Evie's grandma:

And some video that J captured this morning ("Dancing Queen"):

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Drizzle has a brand new name

Drizzle is definitely a boy (!) who is now blog-dubbed Zeph, short for Zephyrus, Greek god of the west wind.

A had another ultrasound today, obviously, and everything looks great with her and the baby. Not so much with C, Zeph's dad. We really have no idea how this is going to play out in the end. The short version is that A would like to make an adoption plan for Zeph and C would like to be a dad. It is clearly a very stressful and confusing time for them, and J and I are trying to stand out of the way and just be there to support whichever decision they end up making. This one might come down to the wire, so please nobody hold your breath.

Honestly, I feel very peaceful about this situation. I could let myself stress out with the uncertainty of it all, but I have absolute confidence that things will be OK in the end. Whatever happens, Zeph will be loved and we will be happy. We feel that God's hands are in this situation and His will will be done.

However, this is going to be hard on me as the months go by and Zeph's due date approaches because "Planner" is my middle name. I don't need a late-term pregnancy to nest; nesting is in my DNA. So I've already started collecting tiny polo shirts and a blue velour cover for our B*oppy pillow, and a few other items, even before we got the final news that Zeph is a boy. My brain tells me that because of the uncertainty, I really shouldn't go hunting for boyish crib bedding, prepare a second nursery and get the P*ack 'N' P*lay down from the attic. But the type A part of me is truly itching to start accumulating blue scrapbooking doo-dads and these socks. Which side of me will win this tug of war? I'm betting on the second contender.

Finally, I promised in my last post about this topic that I would write about the prospect of having a son. I feel:
*blessed by the chance to experience parenting both sexes
*challenged at the idea of raising a MAN with a gentle spirit and strength of character
*happy for Evie to have a playmate, especially because she seems to be tomboyish so far
*intimidated by the possibility that karma is real and that I'm going to get comeuppance for the stress my little brother and I inflicted on our mom by fighting constantly for 16 years (we're friends now, though!)
*scared that I won't understand him, since I have trouble understanding the minds of most men :)
*disappointed that I won't get to re-use the pink tutu I made (just kidding)
*exasperated that all little boy clothes seem to have footballs, dinosaurs or bugs on them
*excited to discover Zeph's personality, talents and abilities
*confused by the debate over whether or not to circumcise
*prepared, somewhat, by having so many friends and family members with little boys--they will show me the ropes and their sons will be Zeph's pals
*already worried about autism, like every other mother of a baby boy, as if SIDS worries weren't enough
*hopeful that Zeph will be our son

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Card Photo Shoot

1 Toddler + 2 Parents + Holiday Decor + Christmas Attire + beagle + jingle bell =

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Friday, November 27, 2009

We Give Thanks...

...for surviving today. Thank you to our fellow passengers for being relatively tolerant of our exhausted, refusing-to-nap, squirmy, climbing, fussy, ripping up the in-flight magazine, adorable 14-month-old daughter. And thanks for tolerating the sounds of our voices singing silly songs and reading "Peekaboo!" books over and over and over. Short flights never felt so long.

But the rest of our trip to Texas for Thanksgiving was great! It was our last trip to see Grandma and Grandpa there, since my dad is being transferred to a job in D.C. very soon. (Yay!)

Here is our trip in pictures:

Waiting at the gate:

Wearing pajamas with hair in her face because Mama is still sleeping (yay!):

Reading one of our oh-so-fun-and-repetitive Peekaboo! books:

Checking her e-mail:

Our latest (and most fun) thing is playing ball (again in pjs while Mama is sleeping in):

Feeding ducks! Evie loves everything to do with ducks, but she's thinking "aren't they supposed to be yellow?!" They did quack for her, but sadly, did not sing a song:

"Mama, Dada, look! It's a turkey duck! That's silly."

Evie is starting to understand that this is supposed to be fun, not scary:
What Evie wants from Santa (C*ostco) for Christmas:

Our poor (still teething molars) Pookie has been on a self-imposed milk, fruit and snack diet. Sharing a pear with Mama:

Sweet kisses from Grandpa:

"Oops, I think I lost a black bean in my bib."

I love this picture! It expresses perfectly her combined dismay about being trapped in a high chair AND having the camera flashing in her face:

Another favorite at home and away is rocking chairs. She figured out how to climb in, rock away and climb out of this one at Grandma and Grandpa's house...all by herself:

Seemingly eager for the journey home:

Do you see the exhausted, mischievous glint in her eye? She is getting away with something! We don't normally allow her to have pacifiers except in her crib, but a full flight of holiday travelers calls for an exception:

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you all ate a lot more turkey and fixings than Evie did. My mom prepared a delicious spread but Evie only ate a couple of bites of stuffing and some pumpkin pie. That was about it. Toddlers!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Crash! 14 Months Old

Not the car, the computer. The old computer, I should say. The trusty computer that brought you this blog from the beginning. Dead.

Good news! I backed up all of Evie's photos from her first year, and all of the videos from her first year, on DVD data discs.

Bad news! All of the photos from months 13 and 14 are now only on S*napfish and in hard copy form, which doesn't help me upload them here. And now I have V*ista (don't get me wrong, I'm grateful to the nice lady at C*ostco who gave us a great price on a floor model of my new touch screen Dell, but V*ista stinks) and it's going to take awhile to get my free copy of Windows 7 that was promised with the purchase of the computer. And S*ony didn't release a driver for my camcorder that works with V*ista. So, the videos are stuck on my camcorder unless someone locally wants to come over and let me use theirs to upload? :)

Which means, in the end, that this post is going to be way more words and a lot fewer pictures. And the pictures I do have from the past couple of days aren't anything great, but they do illustrate what Evie is up to at this age:

Playing with Aunt C and Uncle M's dog (Nana and Papa were visiting). She loved kicking the dog out of the bed and sitting in it herself:
Eating frozen yogurt (teething molars = OUCH! fever, diaper rash, runny nose and much crankiness):

Avoiding the camera:

Dancing on her toys:

And some pictures from today (in a D*ora outfit that was a birthday gift from G's grandmother)...
"Hey, Mama! There's velcro on my shoes!"
My little genius who figured out that her tea set is also a shape puzzle:

Just after taking off a shoe and throwing it to the floor:

Examining her music:

Balancing out the challenges of parenting a willful, teething toddler, Evie is all sugar and spice right now. She learns something new every day (throwing balls! new words and signs! climbing skills!) and is very cuddly. She has recently begun giving J and I real hugs and kisses, and will sometimes come up to us when we are standing and give our legs a tight bear hug. There is just nothing like it--feeling your baby's little arms wrapped around your legs or neck, squeezing tightly...knowing that she learned how to hug by being cuddled and hugged every day since she was born. Knowing that she loves you back and wants to express her love for you with a tight squeeze and a little puckery kiss. Parenthood just keeps getting more wonderful, and more challenging!

I've been spending a lot of my spare time trying to get caught up with projects before the new baby comes, so I haven't been online as much recently. It's paid off, though, with some major accomplishments. I am officially, totally and completely caught up with scrapbooking Evie pictures! That is a major accomplishment because if I can keep it up then I'll be able to start scrapbooking Drizzle's pictures immediately and not fall into the second child trap of falling behind on documentation. You know, the first child has a baby book and scrapbooks and the second has a box of pictures? I don't want that for Drizzle!

I'm also working on a Christmas quilt that I started over 2 years ago. I'm hoping it will be displayed before January, or at least for Drizzle's first Christmas next year. :)

Finally, I bought a plain t-shirt for Evie and some iron-on letters to make her a "Big Sister" shirt to wear to Florida in the spring. Now that the holidays are here the time is going to fly!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Drizzle is (Probably) a...


A had a sonogram today and the doctor is pretty sure it's a boy and will confirm 100% with another sonogram in early December. Darn it, I'm going to have to wait a few more weeks to start shopping blue. And, I'm going to hold off on writing about how I feel about the prospect of having a son (SO EXCITED, YAY! in short) until we know for sure. We'll also keep Drizzle until we're sure, because I know how much my mom and Deanna love the name. (Facetious.)

Speaking of things we don't know for sure, we also found out today that C, Drizzle's dad, is more uncertain about the adoption than we knew at first. A is hopeful that he will come around, but we are grateful to know how he is feeling because if this adoption plan fails, it will be much easier to deal with if we see it coming. It is very comforting to know A and have ongoing communication with her.

On to cheerier topics! Evie is having a communication growth spurt and is a little mynah bird these days, imitating words and signs and is also starting to use them with purpose. She now signs (independently, not mimicking) "milk," and "eat" and is starting to sign "all done" again (after refusing to do it for weeks). She is also mimicking some of the hand motions we use with songs we sing to her and one of my next missions is to get that on tape. Unfortunately, you'll have to hear me singing in the background. :)

Evie also says "baby," "ball," "no!" and "Dada" (again) independently and mimics the sounds of "bye bye," "bread," "yeah" and "girl." "Baby" and "bye bye" sound identical, so you have to go by context! She has also started saying "gaga" intently, in a tone of voice that indicates she believes it is a word. I haven't yet figured out what it means.

I'll end with a couple of cute anecdotes:

Yesterday Evie woke me up with the following coming over the baby monitor: "dadadadadadadadadada.....Mama?"

Today when I walked into her room to get her up from her nap, she waved "Hi" to me!

How is it that she just keeps getting cuter? This is her "smile for the camera" face these days. I need to teach her how to say cheese with her eyes open:

Thursday, November 5, 2009


(Look at her pant leg.)

First time getting muddy outside, but definitely not the last time.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Evie was a bumblebee for Halloween this year. The costume does have a face on the hood, but she hates the hood so it stayed down 99% of the time.

She wore her costume for the first time on Thursday since the kids were invited to dress up for baby storytime at the library this week. Here's gangster bee: and thoughtful bee:
This evening we were invited to a bonfire and party at a friend's house. Evie had a ball tromping around their huge yard and she was in awe of the bonfire when it got going (it was about 8 feet tall before it was lit).

They also have a sand volleyball pit on their land and it was Evie's first experience with sand. Tasty:
Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Forever Family Day

Dear Evie,

One year ago today we all sat in a court room (well, you slept) and a judge signed a paper that says you are officially, finally and forever adopted into our family. This didn't change anything about how we felt about you or how you felt about us; it only changed our family's status in the eyes of the legal system and enabled us to put our last name on your birth certificate and get you a Social Security number. But even though the day was just a formality, we want to celebrate Forever Family Day as more than a legal anniversary.

On this day, we want to talk to you about "Forever." It means there is...

...nothing in the world so big...
...nowhere in the universe so far away... amount of time so long...
...nobody on earth so powerful... event so horrible, or so wonderful... change in our lives...
...nothing you could do, not even the worst thing you can think of...
...nothing you can say, really nothing...

...that will ever, ever make us stop loving you. We will love you FOREVER.

Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Big Sis Evie is 13 Months Old

Thank you so much for all of the encouragement and congratulations, and prayers. We are blessed to have so many people who love and support us. I do have a few tidbits to write about the new baby, but I'll save those for another post and devote this one to Evie Bea.

First up, the month in pictures and captions (Where did this month go? Seriously, where?):

Blueberries! They match her eyes (notice the bandaid from her blood draw at the 12 month doctor visit):
She is becoming the queen of funny faces, at least whenever I try to take a picture of her. It's either this, a picture of her back, or just a blur of color. Toddlers are difficult to photograph:

A recent trip to the zoo was exciting because of the animals, the train ride, the other kids, and the puddles:

She really, really likes to slide these days. Can't you tell? No, seriously, she loves to slide. I have no idea what was going on here. I think it had to do with the camera:

At the zoo we saw a mama kangaroo with a joey in her pouch! Evie was too young to get it, of course, but I was so excited I had to get a picture:

Cold weather, pshaw. Evie's favorite activity these days is being OUTSIDE tromping around the back yard. You'll see more pictures like this below:


We didn't even get a good picture of playing in the leaves because the camera ran out of batteries. And picking leaf bits out of her longies? Not too fun:

Anyone remember Evie's first Halloween?

Things haven't changed that much:

This is not her costume this year (I'll save that for later) but because it is a toddler sized costume and was huge on her last year, I decided to try it on her again. She still hates it.

What is it with babies being fascinated with blinds and blind cords?

Evie also likes to feed other people these days. I was wearing her in a front carrier at the doctor's office recently and trying to feed her a snack, but she kept taking the food back out of her mouth and jamming it into mine. It made both of us descend into a giggle fit and the whole waiting room thought I was insane. Anyhow, here are Evie and J feeding each other peas:

Don't you love a baby in overalls? (And the red C*rocs are her favorite shoes these days):

She is definitely getting taller, judging by her reaching up onto the kitchen island, kitchen table, bathroom counter, etc. and being able to easily get on and off of her zebra by herself:

Let's add clambering to the tromping in the back yard:

She is fascinated by animals these days, as are most babies, but especially by DOGGIES!

She also has a new habit of lying down in odd places, like the middle of the kitchen floor or in the grass (she laid down, she didn't fall):

The best thing about the back yard? Free range doggies:

Giving presents to the beagle: Another pic of her lying down in random places. Actually, not random; this is where Phoebe likes to hang out during the day (she was crate trained early on and still loves to nap in nooks and crannies):

I want to take Apollo on a walk (see Phoebe's leash in her hands?):

Thanks to Courtney's post about making your own mei tai, I made one a couple of months ago (Courtney, sorry I took so long to take a darn pic of it!) and I've been really, really enjoying being able to carry Evie on my back. Our routine is usually that I wear her like this twice a day, after breakfast and after afternoon snack, and use the freedom to get things done like switching loads of laundry, sorting recycling, getting the car ready for an outing, taking the dogs out, etc. Evie seems to enjoy it as long as I keep moving and don't keep her in for more than 20 minutes or so. But this Mama can get a lot done in 20 minutes! Now I'm kicking myself for not making the version with the hood because it would be great for the new baby. Maybe I can alter it in the next few months.

Evie's "13 Months: The Movie" trailer (her interview, you'll notice, is a bit different this month):

Stats and tidbits from this month:
  • Evie went from picky mouse eater to picky ravenous eater and weighs 1.5 pounds more now than she did at her 12 month appointment 3 weeks ago!

  • A favorite food these days is cream of wheat, which we encourage because of the iron in it. She also loves fruit, yogurt, cheese, milk, peas, peanut butter, cinnamon, guacamole, hummus, bread and anything with too much sugar in it.

  • The talking is coming slowly. She says "Mama" the most but has said the following words at least once: "Dada," "doggies," "tree," "ba-oon," "nose" and "no." She also moos and baas. ETA: today she said "key!"

  • The signing is going pretty well. I don't work with her on it as much as some moms do, so my results are about what I'd expect. She knows "more" and "all done" but refuses to do the second because it means a face wiping will follow. I also taught her the signs for light and fan and now that she knows them she is even more obsessed with them than she was before and will frequently, throughout the day, point at lights and fans and make the sign. With J the sign now means "make the fan spin, please, Daddy!" I need to work on the sign for diaper change next, because that will be extremely useful.

  • As far as non-ASL nonverbal communication, she started waving "hi" and "bye bye" awhile back but seems bored with it now and rarely does it anymore?! I taught her to shake her head no and nod yes and she is getting the hang of that. My favorite non-verbal communication is her snuggly hugs.
  • Evie's receptive vocabulary is pretty large, and sometimes surprisingly so. I won't try to list the words here, but simply say that she seems to understand the words for most of the important people, places and events in her life (e.g. Pearl, outside, eat lunch).
  • What we are learning right now is the parts of the body. She can easily identify my nose, hair, eyes and tongue and is working on ears, mouth, teeth and identifying the same on her own face. When she has it down I'll start trying the bigger body parts, but Evie likes to focus her learning and right now is all about face parts.

  • Evie is already showing signs of the terrible twos: tantrums and independence. Her latest thing is wanting to choose which shoes she wears. Surprise, surprise, she usually chooses the most sparkly and impractical pair, or her C*rocs.
  • Evie has some new favorite books these days, including Sandra Boynton books, books with photographs of babies (including a few with photographs of her) and song books, like "The Wheels on the Bus." She loves that if she pulls out a book based on a song and gets my attention, I'll sing the song to her.
  • She is still not sleeping through the night, but wakes up once or twice for a drink of whole milk and goes right back to sleep. We have been coping just fine with her schedule and haven't been motivated to try night weaning, but a new baby on the horizon is making us talk about this more. Night weaning might be in the near future for Evie Bea. We'll probably do it by watering down her milk gradually and then putting a sippy of water in her crib at night.
  • We are down to one nap a day now, which is generally immediately after lunch and lasts an hour to 2.5 hours, depending on when she woke up, how late lunch is and how active she was in the morning. I dreaded the transition to one nap, but now that it's here it's not bothering me as much as I thought it would. It's nice to be able to get out and about during the morning and not schedule playdates around an early first nap.

  • Evie is still clingy and attention-seeking when we are home, but independent and social when we are out. My little extrovert. :) She does great in the church nursery now, and we don't keep her in the service for the worship music anymore because she'd rather race up and down the aisles than be held and enjoy the music.

  • I've heard in a few different places that the first 2 years of a child's life are the most important in terms of shaping who they will be for the rest of their life. During these first 2 years they are forming their personalities and attitudes toward the world and toward other people. I have felt for the past 13 months an immense amount of pressure to give Evie everything and anything she needs to develop into the best version of herself. I am feeling a little panicky that I only have 11 more months until this formative period is over! Deep breathing...

  • Evie is going to be a fabulous big sister. She's affectionate, social, energetic and enthusiastic. The new baby will be in awe of her. We had a playdate this morning with another mom and her 3-month-old and Evie was gentle with and interested in the baby. She even willingly shared a couple of her toys, which amazed me to no end because it is uncharacteristic of this age.

Happy 13 months, Evie Bea!

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