Sunday, March 30, 2008

A busy March!

It's been a very busy month. In about two weeks, James and I are buying a new house, and selling our townhome! We're very excited about our new place. It has about a half acre of land, with a largely wooded back yard, and it's very close to an elementary school and middle school. It has four bedrooms and a roomy kitchen with a ton of natural light. We'll try to send all of you our new contact information as soon as we've moved in.

Our naming survey for Baby Number 2 is over. Sophia got the most votes, but we've decided on Elizabeth, which came in second. Sophia is still in the running for a middle name, though! We're really glad we did the survey, because it did help us sort through a few names (it was easier to eliminate Emily once we saw how few votes that name got, for example!) Thanks for helping name our new baby!

Vanessa is 19 months old tomorrow! Vanessa has been working on opposites. She practices running as fast as she can and then making baby steps as slowly as she can go. She (with a little help) turns on and off lights, saying "dark," and "bright," at least as best as she can say them. She has also learned the difference between big ("bih") and small ("mall"). This concept has helped her put together the puzzle of differently sized circles in this picture, for example.

Vanessa and Grace have been enjoying quite a bit of painting lately.

I finally decide to let Vanessa try out washable markers. If anything, I think they're slightly messier than paint! But she really does enjoy them. She especially likes to take the lids on and off (although, thank goodness, it's still pretty hard for her to take them off when they're on tightly).

Just another reason I love my new stroller! Vanessa now fairly consistently falls asleep in the stroller (or in the car if I'm out and about). Kids her age are supposed to go down for naps by themselves, I guess, but I've never gotten that to work. So, I'm really pleased that I've figured out a viable way to get a break every day, and a happier Vanessa in the evenings! On one day, both Vanessa and Maya took a nap, and I had a very nice break!

Vanessa enjoyed an egg hunt at her Nana and Grampa's house. She seemed to get the idea, actually.

Vanessa enjoyed the special cookies inside her Easter eggs. She might have enjoyed the hugs from her Nana and Grampa even more, though!

Nana and Grampa also watched Vanessa while James and I took a trip to New York City this weekend. James and I saw "Curtains" and "Avenue Q" on Broadway. Aside from all the laughing we had while watching both these comedies, we had a fantastic time taking our time at meals and sleeping in late in the morning. Vanessa, we love you and we missed you, but we did really like the break!

We were also excited to see Aunt Heather and Uncle Terry yesterday. We went to a nature center to see some animals (mostly snakes, frogs, and fish) and to play outside on the playground. I've never seen such a steep slide -- Vanessa flew out of the bottom so fast that it was a little tricky to catch her! She absolutely loved it, and loved playing with her aunt and uncle.

Our thoughts and hearts have been much occupied with my sister-in-law, Jessa. She's been through surgery and a great ordeal this past week. If you happen to be one of the 4 or 5 people who read this blog but not hers, please do visit and add your prayers and support to help her recover faster.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Update on ultrasound and registry

Just wanted to let everyone know that the radiologist was pretty much unconcerned about the slightly larger-than-average kidney that I mentioned in my last post. I'll talk with my obstetricians about it soon too, but again, it doesn't seem like a problem.

I decided to register for some things on for baby number two. I debated about whether we really needed anything new for her (other than a handful of new outfits), but I decided that there were a few things that would be nice to have.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

18 months old!

Vanessa had her 18 month check-up today. She was 22 lbs, 11 oz, and 31.5 inches tall. Since I forgot to post her 15 month data, I'll put it here for comparison: 20 lbs, 15 oz, and 31.25 inches tall.

It's my spring break this week from my classes, and I finally have some time to post! I'll make it a little more detailed to compensate for my long absence from blogging. :)

Eighteen months is a big milestone. Vanessa's definitely been doing a lot of new things lately. For one thing, she's started jargon-ing -- stringing together very long strings of semi-words in what sounds like sentences. She's been doing a LOT of pretending lately. Her stuffed animals, especially her doggies and her bunny, are getting some turns talking on the phone, drinking water, brushing their teeth, and getting their diapers changed. She's been interested in much more complicated books, including "Caps for Sale" and "Blueberries for Sal," two of my favorites. She's also memorized her numbers (she can go stand on the 3 on her number mat, for example), and she seems to be able to recognize some sight words, like Vanessa, Mama, Dada, Nana, book, no, my, and moon. When we read books to her that have those words in them, we pause to let her say the words she knows, or she reads those words when we're writing them for her.

We finger-paint directly on the kitchen table after breakfast and sometimes after other meals too (gotta love washable paint), and she asks for certain words or pictures to be painted. Sometimes she sees animals or letters (or the moon, of course) in what she draws or paints (and sometimes she's sort of right!). She's definitely her father's daughter, and wants to spend at least some time on the computer every day. Mostly she just wants to Google for images of animals and the moon. She's gotten pretty great at stacking blocks and putting shapes in holes. She's also been practicing throwing (still needs some work on this, though), catching, playing golf (just putting, no driving yet, thank goodness), and standing on one foot. A couple of days ago, she played, "As big as a house, as small as a mouse, as wide as a bridge, as thin as a pin," which involves four separate ways to stand in sequence, and I thought that was pretty great following directions. She loves music and asks for specific songs by using signs that we use while singing them. She asks for music just about any time that it's quiet (another trait she gets from her daddy).

I think Vanessa's been learning a great deal from playing with some older girls that I've been watching for some neighbors. I've been watching Grace two mornings a week and Maya two other days a week. Grace is just a couple of months older, and Maya is 3 and a half. Both girls have really been teaching Vanessa to share and to wait, very important and difficult skills. I've been enjoying watching the other girls a great deal. I think it's good for Vanessa and good for me to practice having another little girl in the house demanding some of our attention! It's easier than I thought it would be, and Vanessa thrives on the interaction with the girls. This week we've been sick and couldn't have any other girls over, and Vanessa clearly missed them, asking for them frequently.

Here's Vanessa wearing my jacket. She's been especially interested in zippers lately.

I got a new double jogging stroller in anticipation of having two little ones to cart around. It's been indispensable with all the baby-sitting I've been doing. I absolutely adore my new stroller -- it fits through doorways and fits in my relatively small trunk. When there's no one else to fill the other half of the stroller, sometimes Vanessa's doggy goes for a little ride.

Vanessa got a balloon from her daddy for Valentine's Day. Her daddy does a great job of letting her know that she's his special little girl!

Vanessa has learned the sign for smile. So she smiles on cue for the camera sometimes, but she signs "smile" at the same time!

In trying to get Vanessa to intake more whole milk in a day, we've tried giving her a little cold cereal. There's a very small raised circle in the middle of this type of bowl that Vanessa loves to find when the level of her milk gets low enough.

Sometimes drinking the milk out of her bowl helps her find the raised circle a little faster!

Smile, Vanessa, you have cereal in your hair!

Maya gives Vanessa a little ride in the diaper box.

Maya's turn!

Vanessa and Grace decided that they both wanted to browse pictures on the computer together. They did a pretty good job of sharing the keyboard and mouse. (I swapped the real keyboard for one that wasn't plugged in here, and I think Vanessa was just starting to catch on in this particular picture.)

Our whole household has just had a bunch of colds this winter. Even the doll seemed to be catching our last cold! Good thing Vanessa was there to help her wipe her nose.

Vanessa poses for her 18 month photo with Miss Dee.

As far as baby number two goes, she is more active than I remember Vanessa being in utero. Boy, I think she has a future in martial arts. We have an ultrasound coming up this Friday to check out one of her kidneys that, even though it's within normal range, might be just ever so slightly enlarged. I'm not worried about it in the least, but I'll try to update the blog with news about it in any case. The doctors say they won't really address most kidney problems until after the baby is born, so I'm not sure why I'm going in for an ultrasound, but hey, I like the extra time looking at our new baby-to-be anyway!

As for me, I'm doing great. At six months pregnant, my tummy is starting to bulge pretty clearly, so that other moms haven't been afraid to ask about my pregnancy. At the same time, I don't really feel any more tired (unless staying up too late for classwork) or awkward than usual (though some might argue that's quite awkward indeed!). I'm really looking forward to the warmer weather of spring. I think James and I are both ready to be healthy and to have some outdoor play time with Vanessa!