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13th Month

Rachael's 13th Month (Mar 2003)

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 dominant.

14th Month

Rachael's 14th Month (Apr 2003)

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.

15th Month

Rachael's 15th Month (May 2003)

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, cat".

 

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 up.

 

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.

 

16th Month

Rachael's 16th Month (Jun 2003)

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 by evening.

 

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 living room.

 

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. 

17th Month

Rachael's 17th Month (Jul 2003)

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 soaking mess!

 

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.

18th Month

Rachael's 18th Month (Aug 2003)

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."

19th Month

Rachael's 19th Month (Sep 2003)

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 on her. 

20th Month

Rachael's 20th Month (Oct 2003)

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 shape.

 

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.

21st Month

Rachael's 21st Month (Nov 2003)

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 grounds.

 

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.

22nd Month

Rachael's 22nd Month (Dec 2003)

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.

23rd Month

Rachael's 23rd Month (Jan 2004)

Well, we learned two things about Rachael this month: she's not crazy about snow, and she has become a big girl. 

 

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 night.

 

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 January 29.

24th Month

Rachael's 24th Month (Feb 2004)

Two years old, we can't believe it. 

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 them out.

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 soon.

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 summer.

The 2nd Birthday Cake