First Year

Up First Year Second Year Third Year Fourth Year Fifth Year Sixth Year Seventh Year Eighth Year Ninth Year Tenth Year Eleventh Year Twelfth Year


1st Month

Rachael's First Month (Mar 2002)

Rachael actually slept through the night for the first time after meeting Grandpa Bill (Chip's dad). She slept from 10:30pm until 6:00am.  She did it again the next night as well. Although, she only did two 3-hour stretches the night after that. We still see it as a step in the right direction.

Gretchen is back at work and Rachael is spending the day with her. It has been quite an adjustment for both of them. It has only been one week. 

Rachael is growing fast. Her more than 600 diapers can attest to her healthy appetite. She has a pediatrician visit this week, we are anxious to hear about her weight and height.

Rachael has begun making typical baby noises. She "talks" to her toys - and her swing, her chair, a couple of the walls, and to the light fixture in the den.

2nd Month

Rachael's Second Month (Apr 2002)

Mom and Rachael are still surviving in Mom's little office all day. Church members often come by and kidnap Rachael for a while, so that's Mom's chance to get some work done. Rachael has now been made an honorary member of the church staff. (Unfortunately, there is no salary involved in that position.)

Rachael is beginning to make a habit of sleeping through the night--she is up to four nights in a row - and she is sleeping in her crib. This is a habit Mom and Dad are encouraging. 

We celebrated our first Mother's Day on Sunday. Rachael gave Mom the best present ever--8 hours of sleep.

Rachael continues to add to her vocabulary (we really want to know what she is trying to say), likes to smile at Mom and Dad, and seems to be taking more of an interest in her surroundings. She is very close to rolling over, but hasn't figured out that she needs to swing her arm and leg over at the same time.


3rd Month

Rachael's Third Month (May 2002)

Rachael seems to be growing so fast that it's hard to keep up with her. On May 20 she rolled from her tummy to her back for the first time, but neither Mom nor Dad got to see it--Dad wasn't in the room and Mom had just turned around to pick up the phone. We both got to see her do it the second time a few minutes later, though. Then just today (June 5) she rolled from her back to her tummy for the first time. She was even able to get her arm out from underneath her after she rolled over.

Rachael is determined to sit up and stand--she doesn't stay happy on her back for very long anymore.  But she still loves to smile and laugh, which melts Mom and Dad's hearts every time.

Rachael is doing a good job sleeping through the night, which makes everyone happy, but we are still working on getting her to nap in Mom's office during the day. A church member loaned Mom a swing for her office, and that has seemed to help for the past two days.

Every day brings new joy and excitement, and we are soaking it up!

4th Month

Rachael's Fourth Month (Jun 2002)

The weekend of June 16th was a very exciting one for Rachael--she was baptized on Sunday and was the hit of the weekend with lots of family and friends. She got to meet Grandma Mary Lou and Uncle Jay from Louisiana and Uncle Eric from Pennsylvania for the first time. Pastor Eddie seemed just as proud to be a part of the ceremony as any of the grandparents who made the trip.

Rachael is enjoying being more mobile--she is doing a good job rolling over. In fact, her new favorite sleeping position is to have her bottom half rolled over and her top half on her side. Last night she got a little upset, though, because she couldn't get herself out of that position. We returned her to her back, checked on her a little later, and found her completely on her tummy, just waiting for us to come a see her.

We put Rachael in her exer-saucer for the first time this weekend, and Rachael took to it immediately with a grin and a giggle. She was even able to move herself around to look at all the toys.

The Rachael tree had its first bloom and we took several pictures.

5th Month

Rachael's Fifth Month (Jul 2002)

 It's hard to believe Rachael is up to her fifth month already--it feels like just yesterday that we held a tiny little baby Rachael in our arms for the first time.

Rachael got to go on her first youth trip in July. Mom had to go on the trip unexpectedly when two other chaperones backed out at the last minute. So she packed up Rachael (and lots of Rachael's stuff) and headed out to western Virginia. The week was an interesting one, but not terribly restful for Mom. Rachael certainly was not pleased with sleeping in a Pack N Play in an un-airconditioned house.

Rachael has gotten very good at rolling and scooting herself around. We never know where she will end up when we put her down. She is also beginning to sit up on her own--she teeters a little before toppling, but she is learning to brace herself by putting her hands on the floor in front of her or on her knees. 

Rachael has started teething, dripping like a leaky faucet and pulling everything she gets her hands on to her mouth, including her toes.

Nights have been a little rough for the past several weeks, with rolling and teething, but, thanks to Baby Tylenol, she is once again sleeping through the night.

6th Month

Rachael's Sixth Month (Aug 2002)

 Six months?! How can she be six months old already?!

Rachael is growing and developing so fast, it's hard to keep up with her. She had her first solid food--rice cereal--a few days ago, and she sucked it right down. Of course, we think she ended up with more on her than in her. She likes to grab the spoon as it's coming toward her mouth and rake the cereal into her mouth, then chew on the spoon.

Rachael is also making her first attempts at crawling--she does it inchworm-style right now. She pushes up on her hands and knees/feet, moves her back end forward, flops down on her tummy, then moves her hands and arms forward to repeat the process.

Rachael got to meet her Great-grandma Stoner and Great-grandma Weiss in Pennsylvania. And Mom and Grandma discovered that Rachael is a natural-born shopper--she had a great time in the mall. Grandma and Grandpa Knight visited from New York last weekend, and Rachael got to go shopping again. She especially liked the fabric store, grabbing everything she passed.

7th Month

Rachael's Seventh Month (Sep 2002)

Rachael just wears us out!! She has become very mobile, and certainly keeps us on our toes. She still does mostly an army crawl, but occasionally gets up on her hands and knees--but don't be fooled--she gets around quite well doing it her way. She can now even catch the cat, and has had several fists full of fur to prove it.

She has also become quite adept at pulling herself up to a standing position, and tries valiantly to crawl over everything she gets close to. The few noggin knockins she has experienced tells us she is still a good ways away from her first steps.

Rachael's mobility makes every day at work an adventure for Mom. Rachael's favorite past time is crawling under Mom's desk and getting tangled up in the computer cables. She has pulled the mouse down on top of herself a few times already.

Rachael has become a pro at eating her solid food. Pears seem to be her favorite, but carrots and sweet potatoes run a close second, while she merely tolerates peaches. Peas and squash are next on her menu. She has tasted water in her sippy cup, but is still working on mastering that skill.

And what a chatter-box she is. We can often listen to her over the monitors chatting away with her mobile-friends when she should be napping. We like to imagine her describing the day's excitement. The whole family can lie on the floor together grunting, growling, screaming and laughing until bedtime.  We just love to watch her hold a toy and launch into a string of "da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da!"

8th Month

Rachael's Eighth Month (Oct 2002)

And she's off!!


Rachael never stops these days - such a busy little girl. She has gotten up off her elbows and crawls on all fours now, and, boy can she move! When she gets a destination in her mind, nothing stands in her way as she bull-dozes over or through everything. She has even discovered that she can climb the two steps from the den into the kitchen - her world has expanded. She also pulls herself up with ease on everything she comes close to, and can sidestep along the furniture to get where she's going. She simply isn't happy unless she is moving.


After several nights of crying and only a little bit of sleep, Rachael now sports two shiny new teeth and shows them off with her big, cheesy grin. She promptly used her new chompers to bite into her daddy's hand. 


We believe Rachael must either have magnets in her hands or glue on her fingers, and she definitely has "Inspector Gadget" arms. Nothing is safe around her. The house is now filled with locks, latches, and gates. One of her favorite pastimes is pulling all of her books off the shelves. She does that to Mom's books at the church, too.


Rachael has also taken to tackling the cat, which the cat seems to tolerate quite well, remaining stoic and dignified. We think the cat has simply given up and accepted that Rachael is here to stay.

9th Month

Rachael's Ninth Month (Nov 2002)

Rachael spent her ninth month meeting and visiting a lot of people. Her Aunt Robinne, Uncle Ian and Cousin Lochlan came for a visit all the way from Minnesota. Rachael was quite taken with her Uncle Ian, flirting with him quite often. She seemed to ignore Cousin Lochlan for most of the weekend only inter-acting when he was in her way or playing with her toys. We will have to work on the "sharing" concept. The cousins did enjoy a sunny but chilly day in Colonial Williamsburg, even getting into the colonial character with new hats. 


Rachael also traveled all the way to Baton Rouge for her first Thanksgiving. She did surprisingly well on the 17-hour drive--Mom and Dad were quite pleased. She really enjoyed exploring Mel and PawPaw's house and playing with Uncle Jay's busy board (made by PawPaw when Jay was a tyke). PawPaw liked to chase Hershey and make her bark, which tickled Rachael to no end. Rachael would  crawl as fast as she could after them, giggling the whole way. Hershey almost bowled her over a few times, but Rachael liked being right in the fray.


Half-way home, Rachael played in the bed of dad's truck in Meridian, MS, while mom and dad had a quick lunch from McDonald's. Rachael enjoyed exploring the hotel rooms, too, after they had been baby-proofed.


At Rachael's latest pediatrician appointment, we discovered that she really is a petite, southern belle, being only in the 10th percentile for length and 25th for weight. As much as we carry her around, we were sure she had been putting on the pounds.


Rachael's vocabulary continues to expand, and she is gaining more and more personality, especially when she throws a tantrum. Drinking straws are among her favorite toys. She also is rarely without the free rubber-duckies dad gets from his stays at the Comfort Inn. 


Rachael is expanding her food options as well. She really enjoys Cheerie-O's. She had her first real banana in Baton Rouge and had a real sweet potato recently. She is crunching away on Gerber's fruit wagon wheels. 


Rachael is showing real dominance in her left hand. When she eats Cheerie-O's, she picks one up with her right hand and holds it there while eating all of the others with her left hand. When all the rest are gone, she takes the last one out of her right hand with her left and places it in her mouth.

10th Month

Rachael's Tenth Month (Dec 2002)

Rachael hopes everyone has a truly Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! She is such a lucky little girl to have so many generous grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Rachael shared her wishes with Santa on the 20th. She did not ask for much, she can't read catalogs yet. (Mom and Dad are happy about that!).


Rachael's First Christmas

Wow! What a day Rachael has had! She awoke about 7am and went downstairs with Mom and Dad. She immediately crawled all over the pile of presents. She started pulling bows and tags off everything in sight. 


She was so overwhelmed, that half-way through the gift opening, she had to go take a nap. We didn't finish opening presents until 11am. There were three garbage bags, a pile of recycle-able boxes and a whole bag of bows. She immediately went down for a second nap.


Her family and church friends were so generous. She will not want for anything for quite some time.

11th Month

Rachael's Eleventh Month (Jan 2003)

So many changes in such a short period of time!


Mark this day--February 1, 2003--Rachael took her first step. She wasn't encouraged by the sight of Mom or Dad--no, she was going after a clothes hanger. Hey, whatever works for her. Rachael has been standing on her own, but never quite got up the courage to take that step until now.


Rachael's two top teeth are finally beginning to come through--after many difficult nights. She will need those teeth for all the new, "real" food she is eating. Sweet potatoes, bananas, peaches, and pears seem to be her favorite at the moment. She has also put on some weight, as she has increased her daily food intake by quite a bit. 


Rachael has also begun speaking in English. Her first word? Not Mama, not Dada--CAT! Keiko feels honored. Rachael can recognize cats in her books and on her videos, but she is fascinated with Keiko. Rachael searches for Keiko often. She even "meows" from time to time. We heard a door squeak earlier today, and Rachael whipped around and announced "Cat" to the restaurant. Rachael has since added Dada (often pronounced daahdeee) to her vocabulary.


Mom and Rachael took another trip to Pennsylvania in January. Of course, we chose Manheim's coldest weekend in seven years to head north. Rachael did great traveling, had a little trouble sleeping, and had a great time pushing her toys all over Grandma's kitchen floor.

 12th Month

Rachael's 12th Month (Feb 2003)


Our little girl is one year old already! Time has certainly flown by, and we wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything. We spent last night and today saying, "Last year at this time. . ." 


Rachael had fun at her first birthday party, but was something of a party-pooper. She decided she needed to take a nap shortly after everyone got here. She didn't even get to the cake until the evening. She liked her birthday cake ok, but wasn't too sure about the icing, preferring to just lick that part. She received some cool toys, books, and clothes from family and friends, and had a very happy first birthday.


Rachael continues to expand her food menu. She now drinks cow's milk, although she isn't too keen on it yet. She does, however, love yogurt. She has also tried scrambled eggs. She did better with them the second time around, but some still ended up on the floor. Rachael has also taken a sudden dislike to all vegetables, throwing a fit if we even try to put a vegetable in front of her. We did manage to get a few pieces of sweet potato in her yesterday and today, so hopefully this is a temporary attitude.


Rachael is doing quite well with her new day care arrangements. A friend from church keeps her on Mondays and Tuesdays; another church friend keeps her on Wednesdays; and Mom works from home on Thursdays. Rachael has adjusted quite well, and took immediately to both women. Plus, Mom can now get some work done. Rachael gets some great exposure to new things and new people.


This has certainly been a wonderfully eventful year for all of us. We are eager to see what the next year holds in store.



The 1st Birthday Cake

March 1st 2003


Another Cake for the Birthday Girl