Monday, August 27, 2012

A couple iPad pics of Dallin

I didn't want to forget these pictures of our boy. It's so typical Dallin...always trying to get up, up, up!

Dallin update. FINALLY!

Now that Dallin is almost 14 months old, I feel sad that I never did a real-time 12 month old update.  At this point it's too hard to go back in time and remember what he was or wasn't doing a month and a half ago, so I'm just going to describe the current Dallin as is.

And WHAT a kid he is!  Dallin just gets more and more fun.

I say it every time and I'll say it again because it is one of the most endearing, charming parts about him: Dallin is a cuddle bug.  He loves to nuzzle his little face in mine, he gives the sweetest kisses, and when he wants to be held, he will hold me back so securely with his short little chubby arms.  And I feel so special to be held by those trusting, tender, and loving arms.

Cuddling with his Grammy 

When he turned 12 months, it's like a switch flipped and he suddenly became VERY demanding.  He wanted what he wanted when he wanted it and if he didn't get it, we were going to hear about it.  For some reason, it's more entertaining than annoying.  I think we were just so surprised to see such intensity and personality from sweet, calm little Dallin.

And his personality has continued to come out more and more over the last couple months.  He LOVES cars, push toys, and ride on toys.  All three toys keep him entertained for long periods of time.  He also loves anything his sister is playing with, which often becomes a source of contention between the two (Leah is also fascinated with whatever Dallin is playing with...we have lessons on sharing and taking turns ALL DAY every day).

He and Leah experience a lot of the normal skirmishes throughout the day as their wants/needs conflict and collide, but they also play really well together and have a lot of fun together.  He loves her energy (unless it is affecting him negatively!) and can get really excited and giggly when she starts running around and having fun.  He loves to be where she is, doing what she's doing, and she mothers him so much (one small example: when he cries, she pats his back and says, "It's okay, baby, it's okay").  Leah calls him "Die" and he is just as important to her as she is to him.  They get so excited to see each other every morning and after they get up from their afternoon nap.

Another fascination of Dallin's is sitting inside small spaces.  Whether it's a box, or a crate, or a laundry basket (most often this is what it is), if he can't climb in himself, he will fuss and whine until someone else puts him in.  And once he's placed inside, he couldn't have a more pleased look on his face. And of course, because Dallin has a fascination with this, Leah also suddenly loves it as well, and the two often fight over the same box/tub/basket.

Dallin likes to "talk" a lot and says "mom", "dad", "up", "ah dah" (all done), "mah" (more), and he also says his own version of thank you, but I can't even remember what it sounds like right now.  When you ask him what a doggy says, he replies with a high pitched, short "ah! ah!".  He also responds with two long, high pitched "ooh ooh's" when you ask him what a choo choo train says.

SO BIG (I know, I have tons of pictures of him doing this!)

Fold your arms!
He's an awesome night sleeper and has been for the past couple months.  We put him down at about 8:00 and we can pretty much count on not hearing from him again until 8:00 or so in the morning.  He's not a great napper and never has been, though I can usually get at least an hour out of him every day (I find things go better for all of us, though, if I can get him to extend his nap to at least an hour and a half).
Ready for church

And what a happy little kiddo!
 Other than about a one week period when he was 9 months old, Dallin has shown very little stranger danger/separation anxiety.  He definitely knows who strangers are and you can see him withdraw a lot and close up while he studies them and assesses the situation, but he will generally allow most anyone to hold him or talk to him.

The extent to which he works through his feelings and assesses things internally has become more and more apparent.  In situations where Leah will immediately show emotion (usually fear), you can see that Dallin holds it in first and deals with it there before letting it out.  The most stark example of this just happened the other day when I was vacuuming the upstairs. It is really difficult for me to find opportunities to vacuum, as Leah is terrified of the vacuum and gets really shaken up any time it is run, and most often it is just not worth the scene it causes to run it when she is around.  But as she is getting more independent, I am finding myself able to leave her and Dallin down in the basement while I run upstairs to vacuum.  This particular time, Dallin crawled up the two flights of stairs to come see what I was doing upstairs, and he seemed a little concerned about me vacuuming, but I gave him a little pat and reassured him everything was fine as I finished up the top floor and moved the vacuum down to the stairs. As I was vacuuming I thought I heard a little whimper, so I turned it off and looked up to see Dallin looking down at me through the railings from upstairs with a very, very concerned look on his face.  I assured him it was okay and quickly hurried on to the living room, hoping to get one last room done before my time to vacuum ran out.  I got the room done, then turned off the vacuum and noted that I didn't hear anything from Dallin anymore.  I ran up the stairs to see what he was up to, and found him sitting in the middle of the hall, clasping his hands together with the same concerned look on his face.  As soon as he saw me, he let the tears out and came to me as I went to pick him up.  Poor kid! He was so concerned about that vacuum, but didn't let it all out until I was there to sit with him and hold him.

He likes to climb up on/around/through everything and loves to explore.  He tries to scale things he shouldn't and is CONSTANTLY begging to get up on my bed (which is unusually high).  I rarely let him, though because once he's up there, he needs constant supervision, and I'm too scared he'll fall off.
 His favorite app on the ipad is called "I Hear Ewe", where you select different animals or vehicles and it tells you the sound it makes. He also loves books - something he inherited from his sister's example, because we haven't read with him nearly as much as we've read with her, so we're glad that he's taken her lead and likes to sit down for long periods of time to look through his books.
LOVING the ride Dad is giving him in the laundry basket
He continues to love peek-a-boo...a favorite game of his is to get behind anything (a couch, a table, etc.), squat all the way down, and then bounce up while yelling "AH!".  He'll do it over and over again and he must be developing some pretty amazing thigh muscles in the process...I know my legs would be burning after all those squats!

He can be such a ham and once he gets on a roll, there's no stopping him, as evidenced by his behavior when we had the sister missionaries to dinner the other night.  Even we were surprised at the show he was putting on.

He is slowly walking more and more, though it's a miracle he is doing it at all with Leah around.  The moment she sees that he is starting to take a few steps, she runs up to him and grabs both hands and tries to "help" him along, which usually means he ends up on the floor (sometimes they both end up in a heap!).  But he finds moments here and there to try it out without her around, and he gets more and more steady every day.  The most number of consecutive steps we've counted was 18, though we don't really count so much anymore.

At his one year appointment, Dallin was 30 inches and weighed 25 pounds (I think...that's what I remember from off the top of my head...I'll have to go back and double check).  He is such a loveable, squeezeable part of our lives and we are all so happy to have him in our family!

Catch up!

Back in the beginning of August, my niece and her husband and cute baby flew out to New England for a family vacation and JUST SO HAPPENED to have a layover in Baltimore. I only got to spend about thirty minutes with them, but the awful traffic all the way there and back was worth meeting my great-niece (is that what you call your niece's daughter?), Audrey and seeing wonderful Rachel and Ben!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer. So far. Except for the beginning.

We've had a lot going on here lately and it's kept us very, very busy and our hands have been very, very full...but we feel so blessed.  We have had more visitors and family to see this summer than I feel like we've had the whole time we've lived in this house and it has been an answer to prayer...such a blessing!  We had my parents stay with us the beginning of July, and then, as we've shown on our blog, we've spent quite a bit of time with my cousin Tyler and his family.  In addition, the girlfriend of our friend, Jeff (who is now our friend, too!) stayed with us for a few days while she was taking a study course in Baltimore to prepare for a nursing exam.  She was nice enough to watch the kids while we went out to eat...and we had so much fun talking to and getting to know her.  My niece, Rachel and her husband and baby all had a layover recently at BWI, so I went out to spend a half hour with them in the airport so I could meet baby Audrey and see them. And then to top it off, my niece, Sara stayed with us this weekend on her way out to a three week trip to Italy (pictures to come).  How full life feels when it is filled with people :)

We also invested in some canning supplies and had some fun this week picking peaches and canning them with a friend in the ward (again, blog post to come).  We enjoyed it so much that when Sara was with us, we went back and picked blackberries and canned a bunch of blackberry jam.  I've never felt more domestic in my life...especially since I made homemade bread to go with the jam. Super satisfying.  Makes me want to live on a farm...for like three days.  Then I'd need a rest.

In addition to having so many visitors we also received some exciting news early in June...we are expecting baby number three in February.  Again, we couldn't feel more blessed.  I've felt more sick with this one, and as always, tired, tired, tired, tired, but as of the last few days I have had more energy and less sickness so here's to hoping memories of the first trimester are in the process of being left far behind!

Something that has been weighing a TON on my mind is the fact that I haven't done any description of Leah and Dallin at their current ages...and if I don't write it, I'll lose it.  I think I've already forgotten quite a bit.  But before I let more time go by, here's what I've got.

Leah turned two and about a week afterward, I thought I was in for it and that I wouldn't survive this new age.  She had a week of crazy intense tantrums and making no sense, not responding to any type of reasoning (which she normally does well with), and forget about naps and bedtime.  Things felt turned upside down...but then she pretty much got over it and things feel much better again.  She still is having a harder time with bed time and sometimes nap time, but things keep improving as long as we keep boundaries firm.  

Aside from those harder moments, Leah is such a bundle of creative, joyful energy.  She continues to love her baby dolls and learns better every day how to take care of them.  She will often be in one room and suddenly look at me and say, "Oh!  Bubby sigh!" (translation: baby is crying!) and then she'll run into the other room and bring back the baby, cradling and shushing it the whole way.  Her latest thing with the baby is changing its diapers (she says the word "change", leaving out the vowels and the "n" sound, if that make sense at all). And it cracks me up when she's wrapping the baby in a blanket to go somewhere...she carefully lays it on the floor, places the blanket across the whole baby, covering the head, and then picks it up with the blanket basically suffocating that baby's face.  We'll have to help her learn to not do that with any real babies.  

She LOVES books.  She and I usually read 25-30 minutes together every night (and she would keep going if I'd let her).  Quite often throughout the day, she will disappear for a little bit and I will find her cuddled up in her room reading books, sometimes on her rocking chair, sometimes just relaxing on the floor (one time I found her chilling on her back with her legs crossed as she looked at books - she looked so grown up!).

Leah has also found that her bottle and container opening skills have opened up a new world of possibilities and I desperately need to rearrange things in my bathroom cupboard so that lotions, nail polish, cleaners, make up, etc. are out of reach.  She loves putting lotion on herself, but she has also tried applying mascara:
The most unfortunate thing she recently got into was a bottle of red nail polish, which she applied to the ottoman in her room, as well as the floor. I tried applying every trick I could find on the internet, but that red nail polish is determined to stay.  Sigh.

Leah loves to help with everything she can.  She is still working on putting on her own clothes.  She has gotten much better at putting on pants and shorts (though she sometimes still gets both legs in the same leg hole), and she usually gets shirts on the right way.  She also loves sweeping and cleaning whatever I am doing.  She has her own little broom that she gets out when I am sweeping and it often turns into a little hockey game as I try to protect my dust pile from her scattering sweeps.

It has been raining a lot recently, and she recently "discovered" rain (it wasn't the first time she was in it, but it was the first time recently that she really noticed it) when we were leaving a friend's house and it was raining outside.  She walked out in it and immediately cried out, "Aaaagh!" and covered her head with her hands.  She LOVED it!  She now constantly looks outside to see if it is "meeming" (raining).

She calls most insects a "zhzhz".  At first I was frustrated with this, because it seemed nonsensical and I've been trying to encourage Leah more with her speech and pronunciation, but it didn't take long to figure out that she was making her bee sound...and the bee was the only insect she knew up to that point.  She now will call bees by name and flies, too, but her first instinct is to say "zhzh" when she sees them.  When we were picking peaches, huge flies kept landing on her and she was quite disturbed by this and kept calling out, "zhzhzh! zhzh!".  Then she'd grimace and a huge shudder would shake her whole body.  Guess she acquired her mom's fear of insects.

She continues to love singing, music and dancing.  Her favorite app on the ipad/iphone is one of children's songs set to slide shows.  I will often hear her singing small portions of "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam", "I Am a Child of God" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" to herself (it is the same portion of each song that she sings over and over).  There's also another song that she often sings to always sounds the same, so I can tell it's the same song, but I can't figure out what it is.  She has cute little hand motions with it, though.

She is Dallin's greatest friend and comfort....along with his greatest grievance.  She is sometimes over anxious to help him with his bottle or something else, and he doesn't always like it (the independence is coming out in him, big time!).  But even though they have their trying sibling moments, they mostly enjoy one another and make each other laugh all the time.  My favorite sound in the world is hearing these two little kiddos giggling together.  They're learning a lot about sharing and taking turns (sometimes Leah surprises me with how patient and sharing she is with Dallin...though she certainly has her other moments, too!).  

Playing nicely together (I don't want to pretend it always happens like this, but the majority of the time, they do well together).

They also know how to get in trouble together...particularly where water in the bathroom is concerned!
Reading with Dad

 I meant to also include an update on Dallin, but it's getting we'll stick to Leah for now!  We love our spunky, energetic, fun-loving, creative, sweet, happy girl.  She is a joy and a blessing to our family!