Third Year

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25th Month

Rachael's 25th Month (Mar 2004)

Rachael enjoyed this year's birthday party a little more than last year--she actually stayed awake through the whole thing this year. Her "Nemo" cake was a big hit, and she ran around yelling, "Eat Nemo! Eat Nemo!"

Dad has been sharing his interest in coins with Rachael. He will hand her a few coins when he gets home from work, and Rachael will run and get her bank for her "monies". She can consistently recognize a quarter and a penny, but we're still working on the nickels and dimes.

Rachael still chats up a storm, especially with all her "friends" (her stuffed animals). She often tells us that one of her stuffed animals is crying and then proceeds to console her friend, saying "oh, it's ok". She loves to sing, and we will often catch her in the car repeating phrases from songs on the radio. She often can be found softly talking or singing to herself or to Keiko.

Grandma and Grandpa Weiss came for a visit in March, and Rachael had a ball entertaining them. We all went to the zoo-Rachael wasn't quite as brave with the giraffes this time, but she did have fun kissing the penguins. The first night Grandma and Grandpa were here, Mom was tucking Rachael into bed and Rachael said, "gonna be sad!" Mom asked why, and Rachael said, "Grandpa going home!" Rachael does adore the grandparents. 

Her vocabulary continues to grow and she is able to carry on real conversations - well, almost. She is becoming her own person and has one heck of a stubborn streak. She never misses an opportunity to speak her mind and make her opinion known. And you do not want to be around her if she has not gotten a chance to play outside.

26th Month

Rachael's 26th Month (Apr 2004)

Rachael went to her first "friend's birthday party" in April. She was the youngest there by two years, but enjoyed playing on the swingset in the back yard. The theme of the party was "princess", and Rachael still enjoys wearing the princess party hat. The prizes for one of the party games were little princess dolls or rubber frogs--all the little girls chose the dolls except Rachael--she loves that rubber frog. She wasn't too interested in the birthday cake, but she had a lot of fun with a castle play house in the living room. She looks just like a little lady putting on the lip balm from the princess ring she was given.

The Easter bunny was quite generous to Rachael this year. She enjoyed her first chocolate Easter bunny, and of course was taught to eat the ears first. She enjoys playing with some of her plastic Easter eggs in the bathtub.

One cute Rachael story--she and Mom were headed to church one Sunday morning, listening to the radio in the car. The DJ made some comment about the controversial rap star Eminem, and from the back seat Mom hears "M&Ms! M&Ms!". Rachael has taken quite a fancy to M&Ms.

Mom and Dad have realized that potty training is on the near horizon. Every night after being put to bed Rachael will take her diaper off at least once. And she even did it a few times at church one Sunday.

27th Month

Rachael's 27th Month (May 2004)

Mom spent her first real night away from Rachael, going to Ferrum College, in the western part of the state, to lead a pastors' workshop on Christian education. But Rachael and Dad got to spend a Daddy/Daughter weekend together. They ran through fields, splashed in puddles, and rested on the ground watching airplanes go by. Before heading home, Daddy and Rachael went to Blockbuster. Once inside, Rachael loudly greeted the first youngster she saw with a gleeful, " Hi! We're renting movies!"

Mom and Rachael got a special treat in May. Miss Kay (Rachael's Monday/Tuesday child care) gave Rachael a belated birthday present, tickets to see Sesame Street Live at the Carpenter Center in Richmond. So, on the last Friday in May, Mom, Rachael, and Kay headed to "Steffy Street" (as Rachael would say). Rachael had a lot of fun before the show started running up and down the steps in the theater and climbing on the many old sofas and chairs in the lobby. After taking our seats, we discovered that Rachael is not heavy enough to hold down the theater seat, so Mom and Kay had to hold it down for her. After the first musical number, Rachael climbed into Mom's lap and barely moved for the whole show. We weren't sure if it was out of fear or awe. Rachael even did well during the 15-minute intermission; luckily Mom had brought "donut crackers" (bagel chips) to snack on. It was an exciting morning filled with lots of music, noisy kids, and Elmo, Big Bird, Zoe, and everyone else from Sesame Street.

May was a wet month. Mom, Dad and Rachael spent a lot of time in the yard planting and arranging the gardens. Rachael suffered from an ear infection, a cold and allergies throughout the month. She is getting her "two year" molars. So she really did not sleep very well.

28th Month

Rachael's 28th Month (Jun 2004)

Mom, Dad and Rachael took a quick trip to Tennessee early in June for an anniversary party for Dad's great-aunt and uncle. Rachael was a real trooper the whole time, was very excited about going to a party (even though she only spent about 10 minutes there), and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Pop-Pop, Mel and Uncle Jay at the hotel. She still asks to go "see Pop-Pop and Mel at the hotel."

 

Rachael had a good time at Vacation Bible School this year. She learned songs, made lots of crafts, and made some new friends. Mom was the craft coordinator for the week, and quickly learned that she couldn't be the one to help Rachael with her crafts when she came in-Rachael didn't want to leave. Rachael loves to sing and will often be found singing to her friends or just to herself.

29th Month

Rachael's 29th Month (Jul 2004)

Summer has us all hopping. When we all get a few moments together, we try to make the most of it.

 

The three of us went to the Virginia Aviation Museum one Saturday morning. Rachael loved running around looking at the airplanes, but insisted that she needed to ride in them. Luckily the museum had a little toy airplane that she could ride in. More than once, she made it over the railing and was heading for the door of an airplane.

 

Mom and Rachael went to the Eastern Shore one day to visit the church youth who were on a week-long mission trip. We met up with the group at lunch and spent a couple hours with them at the beach, Rachael's first experience with ocean waves. She started out running away from the waves as they came up the beach, but by the time we left she was running toward them. What she enjoyed most was having the youth dig a hole in the sand and putting water in it to make a puddle.

 

Rachael loves stickers these days, putting them on everything, including furniture, Mom, Dad, and herself.

30th Month

Rachael's 30th Month (Aug 2004)

Mom and Rachael took some time off in August and went to see Grandma and Grandpa Weiss in Pennsylvania. We quickly discovered how much Rachael has grown--she could no longer comfortably sleep in her portable crib. We had a good time, though--finding lots of books and stuffed animals at yard sales. Rachael was also very excited about the fact that she got to ride the bus. Grandma's car broke down at the mall, so while she waited at the dealer for it to be fixed, Grandpa, Mom, and Rachael rode the bus back to Manheim. For the whole ride Rachael excitedly announced to the other riders, "We're ridin' the bus!!"

 

The real excitement of the month happened shortly before bedtime on a Friday night when Rachael slipped off the side of the step from the kitchen into the den and broke her foot. Of course, Mom and Dad thought she was ok and didn't take her to the doctor until the next morning. When she hopped off the bed and angled right into the wall, we knew there was a problem. She wore a splint and bandage for her play-date with Kate that Saturday. She then had a neon pink cast put on her foot on Monday afternoon. The prognosis is three weeks, and that cast has not slowed her down one bit.

 

Rachael starts nursery school next month, and we are sure it will really make us realize how much she has grown up.

31st Month

Rachael's 31st Month (Sep 2004)

The two highlights of September--Rachael started Nursery School and got her cast taken off of her foot. 

 

Rachael started her school career on Tuesday, September 14 with her first day at Nursery School, with absolutely no separation anxiety at all. In fact, she never even looked back. She goes to school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and tends to be wired on Tuesday afternoon and exhausted on Thursday afternoon. She is really enjoying herself, though, literally running into the classroom each morning. Mom leads Bible Story Time with the whole school on Tuesdays, and was a little nervous the first time Rachael was in the audience. But both Rachael and Mom did quite well. Rachael actually sat still and paid attention. School is full of excitement for Rachael--she even got to dress up like a cowgirl and have her picture taken on a real pony.

 

Mom took Rachael back to the orthopedist on a Monday morning, hoping and praying that Rachael's cast would come off for good. Three weeks of sponge-bathing a toddler was three weeks too many. Rachael did not like the saw that was used to remove her cast; she sat on Mom's lap with her hands over her ears, saying, "all done! all done!" She did well through the x-rays after that, and Mom was jubilant when the doctor came in and said that the foot was completely healed. Although, Rachael still wasn't sure, not wanting to try walking at all. However, by the time Mom picked her up at Kay's that afternoon, she had both shoes on and was running down the street. Rachael's heel is still a little tender, so she insists on wearing socks.

32nd Month

Rachael's 32nd Month (October '04)

Happy Hallowe'en!  Rachael had a really good time at the church Halloween party. Her favorite games were hopscotch and the bean bag toss. But she really loves being among the senior high youth and cutting up. Her favorite candy seemed to be chocolate footballs. Mom and Dad weren't too sure if Rachael and the party were going to be a good combination, though. Rachael had trick-or-treat day at nursery school, and she refused to wear the poodle skirt Mom made for her. However, when she woke up from her nap on the day of the church party, she was in a (increasingly rare) good mood and ready to don her costume.

 

Rachael continues to LOVE nursery school. In fact, it's hard to hold her back when she and Mom get to church at 8:30 - school doesn't start until 9:15, so Rachael must wait patiently in Mom's office.  Rachael is constantly asking if it is time to go to school and happily talks about her day during the evening.

 

Rachael's enjoyed telling anyone who would listen that "daddy is at Germany." She understood that Germany was across the ocean, but never quite understood whether daddy swam there or flew. Rachael got some German-language books and a new friend ("Germany bear"). She was happy when dad returned and asked mom to take everyone to Legend to welcome daddy home. 

 

The next two months should be very exciting, with Aunt Robinne and Uncle Ian coming to visit from Minnesota and Pops and MawMaw (the Knights) coming from Connecticut for Thanksgiving. Then Grandma and Grandpa Weiss will come for Christmas.

33rd Month

Rachael's 33rd Month (November '04)

November was the month for family in the Potter household--and it all happened within a week! A week before Thanksgiving Aunt Robinne, Uncle Ian and cousins Lochlan and Liadan came from Minnesota for a few days' visit. Rachael and Lochlan took to each other right away, jumping in piles of leaves outside, jumping on the air mattress inside, and sharing Rachael's play-doh. By the end of the weekend, the two of them were just like an old married couple - Lochlan lecturing Rachael about talking with her mouth full, and Rachael simply closing her eyes and sighing. It was wonderful watching the two of them play together. 

 

We all took a trip to the Children's Museum of Richmond one afternoon. Rachael's favorite seemed to be the boats in the water. Her least favorite was definitely the walk-through digestive system. She still talks about how she did not like it. And we don't blame her, it smelled awful.

 

We also took the three cousins to have pictures taken together. They were all naturals, and we got some great photos.

 

The day after the Weiss/Dickie family left, the Knights came from Connecticut. We enjoyed lots of good food, football, and shopping. And, of course, having Maw-Maw and Pots spoil Rachael.

 

Rachael's schedule by the end of November is completely out of synch and her mood swings are on a hair trigger. Rachael started experiencing "Time Out" as a result of her new temper-tantrums. We tried simply putting her in her room or sending her to bed early, but found that she would just slap mom in the face whenever she was ready for bed. We figure she found that preferable to admitting she was ready to call it a day. We are afraid that Rachael may be using the quiet-time to plot her next mis-adventure.

 

We are looking forward to the Christmas season this year, with Rachael being at a good age, and knowing that Grandma and Grandpa Weiss will be coming from Pennsylvania.

34th Month

Rachael's 34th Month (December '04)

December was a fun month at the Potter household. From the first of December, Rachael was very excited that it was "almost Christmas" and that Santa was coming. She was a HUGE fan of Christmas lights. One of our neighbors had lights all over his house and yard and had four air-blown Christmas figures in his front yard. Rachael's favorite was the figure of Homer Simpson dressed as Santa. Every evening, we had to "go see Homer", every morning Rachael reminded us that Homer was "sleeping", and she excitedly announced that he was awake each evening. Driving around in the evening was very exciting for Rachael and she really enjoyed pointing out all the lights to us.

 

At the Christmas luncheon held by the nursery school, Rachael stood right up there on stage with the rest of her class and sang Jingle Bells and Happy Birthday to Jesus. Throughout the season, Rachael must have sung "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" about a million times. She even sang it to each of the animals at the Richmond Zoo.

 

Santa put in an appearance at the luncheon and Rachael walked right up to him, hopped up on his lap, and told him that she wanted a white mama bear for Christmas - without a bow. Of course, a week later she changed her mind and said she wanted a brown horn instead. Well, Santa brought her a horn (but it wasn't brown), and a stuffed bear (but it was pink, not white), but she was still very happy. 

 

Rachael was such a lucky little girl. Apparently Santa's naughty-or-nice list has a wide latitude for discretion. It took Rachael all day to open everything - she was very distracted by each new gift she opened. Her favorite gifts were a Fisher Price doll house with lots of furniture to arrange and rearrange, and a plush cat carrier with five stuffed kittens. We had to read every book she was given before moving on to the next item. It was a really wonderful experience for the whole family.

 

Grandma and Grandpa Weiss came from Pennsylvania on Christmas Day and brought more presents for Rachael. We got to spend a day in Williamsburg during their first real snowfall of the season. Rachael built snowmen on a bench and ran across the snow-covered fields. She marveled at all of the wreaths and was wowed by the really big Christmas tree. She got to eat a great, big hamburger and chips at a tavern. We even spent an evening walking around the James Center looking at the lighted displays and model trains - Rachael liked the animated penguin best.

 

By month's end, we are all exhausted and Rachael seemed to mourn the loss of lights and decorations around the neighborhood.

35th Month

Rachael's 35th Month (January '05)

Rachael has started wearing "Big Girl" pants. We are so happy to be through with diapers. Hopefully, the "accidents" phase won't last too long.

 

Rachael has made a lot of progress with the potty. Daytime is pretty much accident free--we're still working on nights. We've had a few dry nights, but it's not a habit yet.

 

January was a snowy, icy month here in Virginia, so Rachael had many opportunities to "make footprints" in the snow. But she still asks if the Homer Christmas decoration is still out, and she still looks for the Christmas lights. It's going to be a looong year before they come out again. 

 

Rachael is now looking forward to her third birthday, although she seems to think she will be three months old instead of three years old. She also knows that Valentine's Day will happen before her birthday. Where does she come up with this stuff?!

36th Month

Rachael's 36th Month (February '05)

THREE?! It's so hard to believe our Baby Rachael is three years old already. She has become such a little person--with a big personality.

 

Rachael had her birthday party the Saturday before her birthday. We celebrated with a princess theme. Her cake was in the shape of a castle, complete with towers, a courtyard and star sprinkles (a specific request from the birthday girl). Rachael and her friend, Kate, spent time in her play-castle and wore lots of play jewelry. Many of Rachael's closest friends came over to enjoy shrimp and birthday cake. Rachael did a great job blowing out her candles, and even blew them out three times just so we could get a good picture of it.

 

Rachael has taken to "working" on the computer. Dad created a spreadsheet with letters, numbers, shapes, different objects and a variety of colors. We can tell Rachael to click on a certain item. She will find the item, move the cursor, and click on it. We cannot figure out where she learned how to use that mouse, but she is a real pro!

 

Grandma Mel came all the way from Baton Rouge to visit Rachael over the Mardi Gras weekend. Grandma Mel brought King Cake and crawfish etoufee for all of us to enjoy. Rachael showed her how to throw rocks in the neighborhood pond and how to blow bubbles on the deck. They got to read lots of books together (Grandma Mel was a real sport), and Rachael got to share two of her favorite places with Grandma Mel--the zoo (especially the penguins and giraffe-ses) and "Legend Beer" - Rachael's favorite watering hole.

The 3rd Birthday Cake