Rachael becomes more and more mobile
and vocal every day. While she still seems to prefer crawling, she is
doing much more walking. It's fun to hear her little voice say
recognizable words: Mama, Dada, baby, cat, banana, bird, duck, ball,
flower and yellow are the ones we can distinguish so far. Her first
expression appears to be "oh, boy!", and Dad has also taught
her to "high five."
Rachael now has a swing outside in the
back yard, and she giggles every time we push her in it. It was quite an
event for mom and dad to hang the beam, but it is sturdy and will allow
her to swing for many years to come. She really enjoys playing outside,
either on the deck or in the grass.
She has become more accepting of
vegetables, but they still aren't her favorite. She has discovered that
she likes waffles, goldfish crackers and graham crackers. Bananas are
still her favorite by far.
Grandma Mel came for a visit from
Baton Rouge last week. Rachael enjoyed spending a whole day with her
while Mom and Dad spent some time away. We all toured Williamsburg and
had a picnic at William and Mary. Rachael got to play on the lawn behind
the courthouse. Rachael really seemed to enjoy their time together.
Rachael is a climber. She climbs in
and out of her activity table and her car seats. She can point to her
face when you ask her where her nose, mouth and tongue are. She
correctly reaches for her ear or her toes when prompted.
Rachael appears to be left-hand
No more crawling for our little girl.
It's nothing but walking and running these days. Rachael especially
likes to wander around the back yard, pulling dirt out of the flower
beds and playing in the gravel driveway.
It seems like she adds to her
vocabulary every day, and it is amazing how much she understands.
Intermixed with her rambling babbling are recognizable words. She
struggles to associate names to the things in her world. Her thing right
now is to point out stars every time she sees one.
Rachael got a new swing and can't get
enough of it. She stands at the door and says, "side...side"
to tell us that she wants to go outside. Daddy made her a busy-board
modeled after the one her Uncle Jay had as a tot. She loves playing with
all of the clasps, latches, knobs, buttons and chains
April was a fairly uneventful month.
It never ceases to amaze us how much
Rachael has changed in such a short time. At twelve months, she had a
vocabulary of five words. We compiled a list of her current vocabulary
and came up with just about 50 words that she says repeatedly, plus
three phrases "oh, boy", "all gone", and "hi,
Mom and Rachael visited Grandma and
Grandpa in PA early in May, and Rachael absolutely loved the fountain in
their back yard. If we had let her, she would have jumped right in. We
allowed her to get as far as splashing her hands in the water, and she
still got pretty wet doing that.
Rachael still loves to play
outside--we often have to hide her shoes in the morning or if it's
raining, so she won't see them and want to go outside. She also has
discovered how exciting it is to climb up the steps. She heads for them
every chance she gets, and doesn't wait for supervision before heading
Rachael also loves bath time, she has
taken to asking for a bath almost every night. She loves to splash and
play with her bubbles, often getting Mom and the floor rather wet.
Books are still Rachael's favorite
toy. She seems to have a few favorites - mostly anything that involves
counting. But "Goodnight Moon", "Itsy Bitsy Spider"
and "I'm a Little Teapot" are her favorites. Mom reads (from
memory) "Going to Sleep on the Farm" almost every night.
We never know from one day to the next
what Rachael is going to be willing to eat. She used to love fruits and
avoid vegetables, but now it seems to be the opposite. She has even
begun to turn up her nose at bananas, but will wolf down a bowl of green
beans like they're the best thing she's ever eaten.
Rachael continues to be very healthy and
has another pediatrician visit in June. We are hoping that she has grown
in both height and weight - she certainly seems to be a lot heavier and
able to reach a lot more.
Rachael continues to develop her very
own personality. She has become quite the little kisser. She will throw
a tantrum at the drop of a hat, then be up and giggling the next moment.
She loves to rough-house with daddy and is equally likely to sit and hug
her stuffed puppy.
She loves going to the local public
pool. The two women who keep her during the week make sure she gets
plenty of splash-time at the pool. Mom got to go, too one day, and
Rachael simply loves to splash around, constantly getting in and out of
the water. Of course, she would be just as happy taking a bath each
night - as long as she can splash.
Unfortunately, Rachael is struggling
with several painful teeth, so nights have not been too peaceful lately.
This, too, shall pass. She also seems to be changing her napping
schedule to just one nap a day. Although she ends up being very grumpy
Rachael experienced her first week of
Vacation Bible School at church last week. The church keeps a nursery
for the children of volunteers, so Rachael had several busy mornings.
The older couple who kept the nursery during the week absolutely adore
Rachael, and Rachael wouldn't let them out of her sight. Each day, she
stuffed herself with butter cookies, and was exhausted by the time she
got home, taking a three-hour nap in the afternoon.
Rachael spends a lot of time keeping
Keiko on the move and, despite the protests, Keiko seems to love the
attention. Rachael and Keiko chase each other around the den and the
Rachael's favorite food - at the
moment - is pancakes. She can gobble down a stack of little pancakes in
a flash. Rachael really seems to have a strong preference for white
bread (toasted and plain) and cheese. Although she has been known to
share daddy's sushi from time-to-time. She can be picky when she wants,
but she really is a good eater.
Rachael seems to have developed a fear
of cows. She doesn't like to hear a cow moo, hear us moo like a cow, and
sometimes even hear the word cow. We can't understand it. She has a couple
toys that moo, and she will come running and throw herself into our arms
if she hears them. Really weird!
Other than that, the child seems to be
fearless. This is evident in the daddy-daughter spinning and flipping
marathons each evening. She has also taken to crawling atop a small
table (a gift from her cousin Travis) and announcing "I'm
stuck!" When we approach her, she launches herself at us. We must
always be alert.
Rachael is slowly getting a whole mouth
full of teeth. We finally got her back to sleeping at night after the last
round, but it looks like she is working on a few more.
Rachael has discovered fish sticks and
chicken--specifically, chicken lo mien. She is getting better and better
at eating what we eat. In fact, if she sees us with it, she wants it. We
still have to make sure we have some of her old standby food--just in case
she doesn't like what we're having for dinner.
Rachael is developing an interesting
personality. We are learning to read her mood swings and interpret her
mannerisms. For instance, when she is sitting in her
car-seat/stroller/high-chair and becomes bored, she will take in a huge
mouth-full of water or juice and slowly dribble it down her front. What a
Rachael continues to amaze us with her
vocabulary and the many things she is able to recognize and name. Some
mornings she will sit in her crib pointing to and naming everything in
her room. We have even caught her "reading" her books, quietly
to herself. If you listen carefully, you can pick out some real words
every now and then.
Rachael had quite an experience this
month. We took her to the Richmond Zoo in Chesterfield County - a first
visit for all of us, and brave little Rachael actually fed a giraffe. Dad
handed her the food and she let that big animal lick it right out of her
hand. We were so proud of her. Of course a few minutes later she was
sitting on the ground crying because a cage full of squawking parrots
scared her. Of all the animals we got to see, Rachael really liked the
goldfish in the ponds the best.
The day after the zoo we went to Maymont
Park in Richmond, a large estate with an animal park and interactive farm.
Rachael got to see lots more animals, including a bear and a bobcat. We
also took a long walk along some windy, hilly trails - Rachael got to ride
in the stroller or mom's arms. We took her into the nature center and saw
lots of fish and otters. Rachael giggled at the otters.
We all spent a day at the beach this
month, too. We drove to a spot just off of the Colonial Parkway and took a
dip in the James River. Rachael loved feeling the sand between her toes
and wanted to out as deep as we would let her. She kicked and splashed and
had a great time.
Rachael also took two trips in August.
The first one was to Pennsylvania where she spent lots of time with
Grandma and Grandpa Weiss, Great-Grandma/Grandpa Stoner, and Great-Grandma
Weiss. Rachael especially enjoyed splashing in a pot of water on Grandma
and Grandpa's patio. Rachael's second trip was to Roanoke to visit Eddie
and Becky. She had a lot of fun chasing their cat around, but Rachael
insisted on calling her Keiko. Rachael kept everyone entertained.
Rachael's favorite foods these days seem
to be peas and honeydew melon. Although she does a great job eating what
we put in front of her. She eats dinner with mom and dad. She has her own
plate (a Clifford the Big Red Dog plate) and mostly eats what we eat. She
even likes a little pepper or zesty sauce on her food.
Rachael's favorite toy (for the moment)
is Keiko - specifically Keiko's tail. Keiko spends a lot of time staying
just beyond Rachael's grasp. At times, Rachael will simply stop and
laugh like crazy and say, "Keiko funny!" Just as her first word
was "Cat", her first sentence involves Keiko.
The three of us have fun singing to each
other, too. Rachael likes the alphabet song and Twinkle Twinkle Little
Star. (It helps that they are both the same tune) - she sings along and
cheers when we're done. We can even recognize a few words in her tunes and
she beams from ear-to-ear when we sing-a-long to the song she starts
singing. She likes for daddy to sing "You are my sunshine" and
for mommy to play the piano. Maybe she will have some musical talent.
Rachael's vocabulary has exploded. She
seems to be able to understand many adjectives and can identify most
things she sees on a routine basis. She understands colors, but calls
everything "yellow." She can recognize many of the numerals and
letters, but still mixes them up most of the time. For now, every letter
is usually "A."
September 18 is a day most Virginia
residents will remember for a long time. We were paid a visit by Hurricane
Isabel that day. The worst of the storm hit us between 9 and 10 Thursday
night. Luckily, Rachael slept through that, but Mom and Dad were nervously
sitting in the den listening to the wind, waiting to hear trees fall. We
were one of the fortunate houses--we did not lose any trees and were
without power for only two days. By Saturday morning, Rachael had had
enough of the dark house; she walked from room to room sadly saying,
"dark! dark!" Some areas of Richmond and Chester look like war
zones with trees and power lines down everywhere, and there are still
areas (even here in Chester) without power, more than a week after
the storm. As we prepared for the storm, we put away everything in the
back yard that could blow away. This included Rachael's Kangaroo Climber
(a little play hut). Rachael has taken to collecting acorns and lining
them up in this little hut. Well, she saw Mom and Dad putting her hut in
the shed, and she came running, crying "acorns! acorns!" She was
very concerned that she would no longer have a place to put her acorns.
"Acorn Manner" was the first thing out of the shed.
We have bought Rachael her own potty,
but she hasn't seemed to quite grasp the concept. She tends to stand on or
in it at this point. We know the timetable is completely up to her, but it
seems to us at this point that it is going to be a while. The bright spot
in this is that her "potty book: is her current favorite book.
Rachael and Keiko are really starting to
play rough with each other. Rachael like to pin Keiko to the floor and sit
Rachael was much more active at this
year's church Halloween party, running every which way in her princess
costume that mom made for her. We were able to distract her with animal
crackers long enough to get the headpiece part of her costume on her head,
but we never did get her to kiss her stuffed frog - it would have been
even cuter. Rachael enjoyed helping Mom give out candy to all the
trick-or-treaters that came by our house, although she kept stealing candy
from the bowl for herself. Fortunately for the health of her teeth, she
would make it a few steps and say "Put 'em back!" Then she would
return her loot to the candy bowl. This scene repeated itself with new
wave of goblins.
One of Rachael's favorite toys these
days is a Magna-Doodle that once belonged to her cousin. "Draw
circle" and "Draw face" are two phrases we hear often. She
really loves to watch us draw shapes or other images then try to mimic
them herself. She gets so happy when she actually manages to work out a
She likes to give Mom and Dad bear hugs.
She can be so affectionate when she wants to be. Rachael looks forward to
bath time is something she looks forward to all day long. We are not quite
sure if it is the splashing and boats she really enjoys. She seems
happiest when she can run around naked. Strains of laughter and
"Naked Baby!!" can be heard throughout the house.
Rachael is now a regular in the church
nursery on Sunday mornings. Not only does she have a good time, but
there are a lot of really good folks who go out of their way to pay her
a visit. And you can tell she just thrives on the attention.
Rachael has become quite good at
picking out landmarks as we ride around town. She seems to have a real
sense of where she is. Her vocabulary continues to grow at an impressive
pace. And we can tell she is trying to learn counting and the alphabet.
Singing and dancing are among her favorite pastimes. And heaven
help the person who takes her shopping and tries to place her in the
cart. She must be walking on her own - no discussion.
Her independent streak is really
starting to show. She has to help with everything. We need to be sure to
create a task for her whenever we do anything. She will plant herself
right in the middle of every activity. She just does not understand that
she is not as helpful as she thinks she is. But she never stops trying.
The final week of Rachael's 21st month
was a busy one. Mom, Dad, and Rachael piled into the truck the Sunday
before Thanksgiving and headed south to Baton Rouge. Rachael was a trooper
through the long, 17-hour drive, chattering, singing, and enjoying
watching "Finding Nemo" over and over.
Rachael enjoyed touring the LSU campus
on Tuesday. We all ate at the student union after a brief shopping trip
through the bookstore. She especially enjoyed taunting Mike the Tiger, who
seemed to view Rachael as nothing more than a tasty morsel. Rachael also
toured Foster Hall, a museum filled with all kinds of "stuffed"
animals. She made friends with a huge bear. Rachael played on the parade
Wednesday was spent wearing out PopPop
and Grandma Mel while Mom and Dad enjoyed a day in New Orleans. Rachael
got to throw rocks down a storm drain and chase Hershey all around the
house and yard. Rachael had the opportunity to enjoy Cheetos for the first
time - a snack she now asks to have often. PopPop let her pick pecans up
from the yard and let her play with Uncle Jay's wagon.
Thanksgiving Day was Rachael's turn to
be worn out. She got to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa Knight, Aunt
Emily and Uncle John, Cousins Travis, Brett, and Michael, and many others
in the Knight family. Then she enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner with the
Potters. She went to bed early that night. She was probably still trying
to remember all of the names of the people she met that day.
Friday was spent bonding with Grandma
Mel while everyone else watched LSU beat Arkansas in a very cold and windy
stadium. Rachael really enjoyed playing outside and running around
Grandma Mel's big yard and splashing in the sugar kettle fountain.
Rachael truly seemed to enjoy the week
down south, constantly wanting to be outside chasing Hershey (the Potter
family dog), pushing her stroller "down the hill", or
trying to splash in the "puddle" (the lake in the back yard).
Rachael was once again a trooper on the
very long drive home, watching "Finding Nemo" several more
times. Mom and Dad can probably recite the entire movie by now.
We are now gearing up for Rachael's 2nd
Christmas, debating the practicality of putting up a Christmas tree.
Fortunately she is still too young to make a list, but, even if she could,
it would probably include plastic cups and beads.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Rachael's second Christmas was a little
busier and more active than her first. She stayed interested in her gifts
long enough to make one tear in the paper, and then left it up to Mom and
Dad to open things the rest of the way. She must have been a good girl
this year (questionable by Mom and Dad's thinking) because Santa Claus was
very good to her.
On Christmas day Mom and Rachael drove
to PA for a short visit with Grandma and Grandpa Weiss. Rachael, however,
was not at her best, being quite unhappy with a bad cold and not sleeping
well. Grandma and Grandpa got to see her in all her two-year-old glory.
However, Rachael seemed to really enjoy her gifts, playing with each one
after it was opened.
When she got back, she got a visit from
Grandma and Grandpa Knight. They braved the famed northeast corridor's
traffic to spend a few days with Rachael. It was a great and very busy
visit. MawMaw bought Rachael a 'disco' ball. Rachael loves her lights.
Rachael is definitely a
"terrible-two-year-old"!! Her moods change like flipping a
switch, and we have no clue what might set her off into her tizzy. Just as
quickly, for no apparent reason, she will be giggling and playing once
again. One thing that always seems to make her happy is playing
outside--riding in her wagon and splashing in puddles are two of her
favorite outdoor pastimes. This has been an unusually warm winter (20+
degrees warmer than normal), so she has gotten to play outside more than
might be expected.
As we approach Rachael's second
birthday, we realize that she is no longer a baby but a little girl with
quite a personality.
Well, we learned two things about
Rachael this month: she's not crazy about snow, and she has become a big
We enjoyed a Virginia winter storm
(about 4 inches of snow with a nice layer of ice on top), but Rachael
wasn't too sure about it. After bundling her up in her snow suit, we set
Rachael loose in the snow. But after falling down in the first five
minutes, she was crying, "inside! inside!".
Probably the highlight of January was
turning Rachael's crib into a bed. She was very excited when she saw it
finished. She immediately started crawling under the covers with her
stuffed animals, and making herself right at home in bed. Come bed time,
though, she hesitated calling it a night. She eventually gave up and ended
up sleeping on top of the covers with her head at the foot of the bed.
When it came time for her first nap in her big girl bed, we discovered her
sleeping on her pillow on the floor. She actually has done better than we
expected in her bed. She will put herself to bed and is sleeping through
The toys-of-the-month seem to be teddy
bears. She lines them up, rearranges them, invites them to her table for
lunch, and tells them all about her day. She seems to develop an imaginary
world around them and enjoys immersing herself in it. It is really fun to
watch her play.
Rachael has a new cousin! Mom's sister
and brother-in-law, Robinne and Ian, welcomed a baby girl (Leah Rose) on
Two years old, we can't believe
Rachael routinely uses 3-or-4 word
sentences and can carry on simple conversations with us at the dinner
table. She will sometimes tell us what she did or who she saw during the
day. Rachael has even managed to tattle on herself - admitting that she
spilled her juice during one afternoon.
Rachael is putting her words to good
use. We often hear her talking to her bears - which she has named. Her
favorites are "Dress Bear" (which wears a pretty dress),
"LSU Bear" (a purple and gold bear with 'LSU' embroidered on its
chest and "Geaux Tigers' on its feet) and "Scary Bear"
(named just after watching an episode of Schoolhouse Rock). She offers
them food and juice and talks them into playing with her. We even caught
her asking one of them: "Do you unnerstan' ?" It is very
entertaining to watch her play, there is real creativity at work.
Rachael still likes to play with
"all de minnies." These are a group of Disney characters (Mickey
Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Bambi, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell) and a
giraffe that she lines up on tables, chests, beds or the floor all over
the house. She talks to them and cares for them
By far, her favorite toys are books. She
loves to read books of all sorts. She is even been known to grab one of
dad's National Geographic magazines and sit on the sofa to read it. We
have even found all of the books in her bedroom piled next to her bed in
the morning - indicating that she had awoken during the night and pulled
Rachael continues to be a good eater.
She likes noodles more than anything else. She likes peas and corn, but
will eat any vegetable we give her. And she has to have pepper on
everything. We even have to give her a little mound of pepper next to her
plate so she can dip her finger and eat it directly - this produces one of
the funniest faces you will ever see. Hopefully we will catch it on film
She is such a fun child and really
brightens the day of everyone who interacts with her. She is lucky to have
two wonderful friends to play with her during the week and a great baby
sitter to watch her when mom and dad need a break. She has had a great two
years and we cannot wait to see what we have in store for us during the
The 2nd Birthday Cake