Sunday, December 23, 2007

Last chance for me to post before Christmas!

So, I've been running behind on my blogging again. I realized that if I didn't post soon, these pictures and stories would end up lost among all of the exciting stuff I hope to post about Christmas!

Here is Vanessa at 15 months at the end of November. She looks like she has just about caught up with her doll's height!
We had a visit from Grandpa and Grandma Kaylor and Aunt Hannah. We had a great weekend with them, playing around at home, doing some Christmas shopping and going to Chuck E Cheese's. Vanessa noticed that Grandpa had the same N's on his shoes as Daddy had on his New Balance sneakers. So, she had to wear her Daddy's shoes to match Grandpa.

Here's Vanessa on a ride at Chuck E Cheese's. She enjoyed the rides so much that she sometimes tried to climb in when other kids were already using the ride...

Vanessa loves helping mommy clean up around the house. I had bought her a small broom so that I might be able to use mine without competition, but sometimes one broom just isn't enough. She has finally started to get the concept of putting things away, even, which I find very exciting. On the other hand, most of the time, putting away is followed by taking things out again, but hey, it's a good start. She has also discovered how to put things in the trash can. As far as I know, she hasn't put anything in the trash other than the various bits of fuzz she finds on the floor. Well, except for her vitamins once...

Vanessa tries to pick herself up after sweeping the floor.

Have we mentioned that Vanessa is a climber? There is a wall behind this table, so Vanessa has to climb into the table and turn around to get into this position.
We're excited to have met a new friend Nita and her grandson Kent. Here's Vanessa with Grace and Kent at a playdate at Kent's house.

Vanessa has started giving kisses. She says "Mmmm" and puckers up. Except when she's being shy, that is!
Mommy and Vanessa are signing "Daddy" while he's taking our picture. Vanessa loves her Daddy! (Incidentally, Vanessa making the sign for daddy can be hazardous if Daddy walks into the room, or even if Vanessa's just thinking about him, while she's eating yogurt. If you see Vanessa with yogurt in your hair, now you know why.)

James and I are publicly announcing our most exciting news -- we're going to be having another baby in June! We are extremely happy. We'll find out about this time next month if it will be a boy or a girl. I am done with my first trimester now and I'm feeling fantastic.
Hmm... perhaps I should have had more forethought in naming this blog. I'm not sure what we'll do yet about our blog site! Then again, that's probably one of the smallest details we'll have to figure out in six months!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Our Thanksgiving was indeed a happy one. We had a great time with so many friends and family over the holiday!

We saw James's brother Brian, Brian's girlfriend Joanna and their dog Kyra on Wednesday, and the bunch of us played games with our friends John and Liz, and their dog Riley. On Thursday, we had Thanksgiving dinner with James's parents, and dessert at our house with my mother, my sister Heather and her husband Terry, and my brother Zak. On Friday, we hung out with my friend Eleanor and her husband Andrew who were in town from Colorado. On Saturday, we went to the Baltimore Aquarium with Heather and my mom. Vanessa loved the sharks (her daddy's favorite aquatic animal) much more than she loved the sea turtles (my favorite), much to my chagrin.

Seeing friends and family was fantastic, but I don't want to discount one of the other great parts about the holdiay -- that Vanessa and her daddy got to spend lots of quality time together (and I got lots of rest)!

Vanessa loves her daddy's glasses so much. She's not sure if her own shades are quite as chillin.'

Daddy gives Vanessa a much-coveted chance to play on the laptop.

When Vanessa and daddy read a story, they both get excited when the book is at its most thrilling parts...But sometimes, they yawn when the plot gets a little thin... (or when the characters yawn, as in this goodnight story!)
Grandma and Vanessa got some good grooving done on the piano. Vanessa likes to play the piano by sitting down upon the keys repeatedly, but she does actually play with her hands from time to time!
Vanessa was SO excited to see Brian and Joanna's dog Kyra again. Vanessa's favorite things about dogs seem to be their barking and their licking. Even though Kyra wasn't too much into either of those things, Vanessa just loved hanging out with her. (Perhaps it was her tail-wagging she found so endearing!)

Vanessa was very gentle with Kyra (and of course Kyra was very gentle with Vanessa too).

Vanessa's newest favorite activity is making little lines of similarly shaped toys on every surface she can find in the house. Sometimes she moves her index finger as if tapping all of the shapes, the way I do when I count them for her. When I do manage to tidy up, I find that most of her toys are grouped this way (and all over!).

Vanessa says, "Who me?"
Vanessa's obsession with the moon hasn't wavered in the slightest. Here she's pointing out the moon to Grandma (a position she held for several minutes). When I feed her oatmeal in the morning now, at first she's very interested in eating, but as the white oatmeal particles start looking a little thin against the dark blue bowls we use, I'm in for it then. "Moo'?" she asks, pointing to each miniscule white particle that looks remotely round. "That does look like the moon," I always say, but I do tire of this game and clean up her hands before she's finished pointing at every last one.

Vanessa enjoyed getting to know my friend Eleanor and her husband Andrew. They gave us a treat by inviting me and my mom out contra dancing. We all had a great time and danced energetically for hours (only getting the steps confused part of the time), and I'm slightly embarrassed to say that of all of us who went, I was apparently the only one sore the next day!
Vanessa was a little shy around Andrew at first, but warmed up to him really well. We all agreed that Vanessa would like to go rock-climbing when she's a little older, like Eleanor and Andrew do from time to time.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Vanessa had her first trick-or-treating experience this Halloween! We visited just a few neighbors, and got exactly three pieces of candy, one of which I ate, one of which I think we actually gave back to the same neighbor's kid by coincidence when she trick-or-treated at our house later (is it unkind to re-gift Halloween candy?), and one of which is still around here somewhere, I think. I'm happy that Vanessa isn't old enough yet to know any better about candy, although she does like the crinkly and shiny wrappers that candy comes in!
Vanessa was a little witch for Halloween! The costume was inspired by the striped orange pants she got from her Grammy Dee (she's also wearing an orange honey-bunny onesie that she got from her Aunt Jessica and Uncle Jake, that remarkably still fits even though it was intended for her to wear last Easter!). Vanessa sometimes wore her hat for a few seconds at a time! She did enjoy playing peek-a-boo behind her hat, and it was also a good place to store her three pieces of Halloween candy during trick-or-treating.

Vanessa got to see some of her friends at a Halloween party. Vanessa and little golfer Grace are standing, and the wild animals creeping around at their feet include the lion Tess, tiger Eric, and mouse Revie in the foreground.
Grampa came over to keep Vanessa and I company while the trick-or-treaters came by, at least until Daddy got home from class. They gave each other some very nice hugs, played piano together and called Nana to wish her a happy Halloween.

In other news, Vanessa's signing has really taken off. She finally signs "eat," "water," and "more," those three signs that I think are so useful and for some reason she took much longer to pick up than some other more obscure signs. Sometimes when I read her a story, she makes a sign for something she sees on every page. Occasionally she'll notice a balloon, rock, flower, or bear or something else in the background that I never pointed out to her before, and she'll point to it and make the sign.

Vanessa's latest trick is climbing chairs to get onto tables, which opens up an entire new level of baby-proofing for me! She also likes to climb into the rocking chair (under my most careful supervision so she doesn't squish her toes), and she likes to make it rock. In fact, she tries to rock just about any chair. She gets really excited when a chair sits unevenly and will wobble a litle. One result of this is that she has learned how to move her head and body forward and backward, and when she dances now, she looks like she's head-banging!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Just like mommy and daddy

Vanessa has definitely started trying to do more and more things just like her mommy and daddy. She especially likes trying on our shoes!
Vanessa plays with Duplos just like daddy.
Mommy and daddy make funny faces at Vanessa by pressing our noses against plastic or glass. Vanessa recently learned to do the same!
Funny, it doesn't work as well to try to get her reflection to squish her nose!
Vanessa likes to try to put my purse over her shoulder just like mommy.
Vanessa tries on her daddy's shoes.
Another funny thing that Vanessa has been doing lately -- she has started spinning around in circles until she gets dizzy and falls down.
Vanessa also has had the cutest commentary on autumn as a season -- whenever she sees a leaf fall to the ground, she says "uh-oh!"

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Vanessa has grown up so much in just this month! She has started exploring her world at warp speed! After her usual banging of pots and lids together, she climbed into the kitchen cabinets for the first time today. She likes to climb up the steps at the playground and go down the slide on her own (I still spot her of course). She always wants to climb in her high chair and stroller on her own, and sometimes gets upset if I try to help.

She has developed a fascination with the moon and insists on looking for it every night just before bedtime. She also has a keen interest in keys (dare I say obsession?).

When asked to, she loves finding her eyes, teeth, hair, toes, and belly button. She's signing lots of new words (imperfectly yet consistently), including penguin (this is really cute, because the sign involves a sort of waddling motion, and she makes kind of a honking noise at the same time), blueberry, banana, bread, cracker, cold, hairbrush, children, cat, rock, danger, spinning, and light. (It's funny that she still doesn't have a sign for eat or drink, and sometimes I don't know that she's hungry until she gets grouchy!) She also recognizes the letter O, and says "O!" whenever she sees one. I think other letters are not far behind, because she runs to her magnet letters whenever she hears a name of one she recognizes.

I have a funny story about her using a new sign. We were over at James's parents' house. Vanessa was playing with Duplo's, something she had never done before. I was sticking some of them together so that they would be not too difficult to take apart if they were pulled in the right way. Vanessa was rapidly getting very frustrated with not being able to get them apart. In fact, in just a few seconds, she got so mad that she was wailing. Then she signed "crying!" She was trying to make sure that I got the picture -- she was mad! Or maybe, she heard herself crying and was simply identifying it! Then, to her surprise, the Duplo's came apart. She was so excited she burst out laughing! It was a very emotional experience for her (and for me -- I was almost in tears from laughing myself!).

Vanessa and her Duplo's.
Nana and Vanessa, and Vanessa being very proud of herself!

Vanessa enjoys looking through partially transparent substances. Thus, to keep down on oatmeal in her hair, I generally use opaque bowls now!

This is one of her more common teething expressions. Each new tooth that comes in seems to be more painful than the last for Vanessa. Hopefully soon she'll be able to tell me when they hurt the worst.
I don't even know what kind of expression this is! Haha!

We went to a local fall festival. There was a petting zoo with llamas, pot-bellied pigs, and all kinds of other animals. Vanessa's favorites were the bunnies!

We tried fingerpainting some pumpkins with Revie and Grace today. Vanessa wasn't too comfortable with it! This is the second time we've tried fingerpainting, and again Vanessa didn't really warm up to it. She does like drawing with crayons (possibly because of their taste), but I think she still has a ways to go before becoming an artist!
I hope that when Vanessa is older, she won't mind that I posted this picture of her first time on her potty! She is fully clothed, after all. When she first saw her potty, she carried it around the house for a while before putting it back in the bathroom, and spent a good deal of time trying to step in it and on it before finally being content to sit on it! I'm definitely not going to try to potty train her any time soon, but I figure it's a good time to introduce the idea of a potty since she's been so good about telling me when she needs a diaper change.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sarah in town

Our friend Sarah was in town from her new home in Toronto. We're glad that although she's living in a different country, she's much closer to us now than when she lived in Seattle! We had a fun mini-TJ High School reunion evening of game-playing. The next day we spent a rather warm but lovely day walking around Old Town Alexandria.

Vanessa has been having more and more stranger anxiety lately, but she was quite content to sit on Sarah's lap for a good story!

Vanessa and I have been keeping busy playing with all the wonderful girls and mommies in our play group. Here's Tess, Grace, Vanessa, and Revie trying out the sand and water table. There was much splashing and getting sandy, but much less eating of sand than I expected.

Vanessa has learned that clothes are for putting on, and that usually means putting on over her head! For example, she spent almost an entire evening trying to put on the Toronto shirt that Sarah gave her. Here she's trying on her daddy's tie.

An exciting development related to this is that Vanessa now understands that she wears diapers, and she is able to communicate to me when she needs a diaper change by trying to pick up a diaper from the bag where I store them. She understands the need to get diapers off, but unfortunately not that she needs one back on, and she always wriggles free and runs away before I get her new one on. I forsee that something in my house will one day be peed upon. Ah well, I needed motivation to keep the library books off the floor anyway.

Vanessa has picked up a few new signs, although some such as alligator and yogurt she seems to have forgotten. She now signs cat and car and she can point to her teeth.

She also has been working on her catching, throwing, and kicking skills. James has been playing with her and I was surprised at how well she can catch and throw and kick her soccer ball!

About 2 days ago, Vanessa suddenly developed the ability to put things in a specific place, instead of just picking them up! I first noticed that she could put her records on her toy record player. Now she's practicing putting her toys in boxes. At long last, she'll be able to help me clean up! Hmmm... perhaps I have a year or more to wait (you're right, potentially a lot more!). In the meantime, I'm sure I'll be fishing toys out of interesting places.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

1st Birthday!

Vanessa turned one year old on Friday! I've decided that first birthdays are as much for the parents as for the baby. I mean, we've been parents for a whole year, and we haven't completely lost our sanity yet (well, maybe that's debatable). In any case, this has been an amazing year for James and me. We both are so proud and happy to be Vanessa's parents.

We had a birthday party for Vanessa and for her great-grandma Lou who shares her birthday. Great-grandma Lou lives in Florida, and had planned her trip up to see us since Vanessa was born. We were very excited to celebrate both birthdays!

Before the party, Vanessa was hard at work to make our house clean for our guests.

Since she's 12-months old, I decided to take a picture with her Miss Dee doll, as I have done every three months. First I had to wait until she had finished hugging her!

I had envisioned a nice shot of Vanessa sitting and holding Miss Dee around the waist. Vanessa instead wanted to hold her about the ankles. Oh well. I think it's clear from this picture how much Vanessa loves her doll!

Vanessa was remarkably cheery during her entire birthday party, despite her fourth tooth coming in. I credit her happy demeanor largely to the fact that her best friend Revie was there too. It was great for Vanessa to have someone to play with and snack with!

Nana's coworker Annie bought balloons for Vanessa. I think this picture describes better than I can how much Vanessa loved her balloons!

I was pleased that my Uncle Bob, Aunt Teri, and cousin Brett were able to make the party. Vanessa was very excited about the alphabet magnets and clothes she got from them. She even helped unwrap her gifts!

Vanessa really likes her new foam blocks from her great-grandma and great-grandpa. She can't build with them yet, but she really enjoys banging them together and strewing them about the house. In fact, right now that's her very favorite activity!

Vanessa's second cousin Alex just started school at Tennessee. Vanessa will get to show her Tennessee pride when wearing this outfit from her great-grammy Dee. Vanessa also got an antique children's chair from her great-grammy Dee. It has been passed down for generations now. Vanessa loves to climb up in it, and she likes to sit in it like the big girl she is!

Heather and Terry gave Vanessa some R2D2 themed gifts. Vanessa really did like that R2D2 mailbox in Kentucky. Somehow, I imagine she'll like Star Wars one day!

Vanessa admires an outfit from Nana II (Geri) and Joe. Yup, I think it's a pretty safe bet that Vanessa will be more stylish than her mommy!

Especially with a Coach purse from her Nana! I mean, I have a worn out purse from Target for goodness sake. Well, I guess Coach just really isn't my "bag," if you know what I mean.

My Aunt Teri gets a cuddle from Vanessa!

Vanessa couldn't blow out the candle on her own, so we had to call on my cousin Brett to help out. Brett didn't get it on the first try either (probably he was just trying to make Vanessa feel better about it).

Great-grandma Lou and Vanessa share some of the very delicious carrot cake that my friend Jessica made for this special occasion. Happy birthday, ladies!

Vanessa was so happy to have her great-grandparents around!

Vanessa likes her sand and water table from her Nana and Grampa. She especially likes the water side.

After a long day, Vanessa just needs to rest on her Daddy's shoulder for a while.

The next day, my mother came to celebrate Vanessa's birthday. She made Vanessa a bean bag. Vanessa absolutely loves crawling in and out of it, and especially likes it when I tug the bean bag around the living room floor with her sitting in it!

We tried out the sand and water table outdoors. Vanessa loved putting her hands in up to her elbows and splashing about. Heather and Terry helped Vanessa explore her new toy.

We also took Vanessa down to play in the kiddie pool in our neighborhood. I wasn't too surprised that Vanessa absolutely loved the water! Oh joy! A bath that she's allowed to stand up in!

Well, I have to say that it's been an action-packed summer for us. I'll be working on Saturdays and taking a class, and James will be taking classes too, so I think that our blogging will most likely slow down a little bit!