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37th Month

Rachael's 37th Month (March '05)

The Easter Bunny was good to Rachael this year, bringing her a chocolate bunny, jelly beans, lots of stickers, pretty socks, and a stuffed lamb. Rachael loves "hiding" the Easter eggs in the den. She'll send us into the kitchen and hide the eggs, call us into the den, and then "find" the eggs for us. Then we switch rolls.

 

Rachael got to have her picture taken at school with a real bunny. The pictures came out great--and the bunny survived! Rachael still talks about how she got to hold a real bunny named Hershey - one hand on top, one on the bottom and be gentle.

38th Months

Rachael's 38th Month (April '05)

Rachael had her first visit to the dentist in April. She did great sitting in that big chair--only got squirmy a few times. The dentist even gave her a cool pair of sunglasses to wear while he checked her teeth.

 

Grandma and Grandpa Weiss came for a visit from PA. Rachael wasted no time wearing them out. Grandma brought Rachael a big floor puzzle of a school bus, and Rachael quickly became a pro at putting it together.

 

We are spending lots of time in the yard. Spring has been wonderful here. Rachael puts out lots of bird seed that attracts many birds and squirrels. These attract cats and one cat in particular has taken to Rachael. She always looks for her "friendly kitty" when she goes outside. This very patient cat has become a good friend to Rachael - they spend lots of time lying in the yard together.

 

We got a fire ring so that Rachael can enjoy roasting marshmallows in the cool evenings. She loves sitting with mom and dad eating peanuts and marshmallows around the fire, talking about the weather and counting leaves in the trees.

 

39th Month

Rachael's 39th Month (May '05)

Rachael finished her first year of Nursery School in May, having never missed a day of school. School has certainly been a hit with her, and we hope that trend continues. She certainly strutted the halls of church as if she owned the place. We are such proud parents!

 

Rachael also had some excitement the day we had our driveway paved. She enjoyed sitting at the front door watching the big machines take away and level the gravel and put down the new driveway.

 

The favorite movies of the month for Rachael are definitely The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars. We have a feeling she will either be Dorothy or Princess Leia for Halloween this Fall.

40th Month

Rachael's 40th Month (June '05)

Star Wars continues to be a big hit with Rachael. She can recognize the different DVD's, and knows characteristics of each movie. For example, The Empire Strikes Back is "Star Wars with the snow"; Return of the Jedi is "Star Wars with the teddy bears". She is also pretty good at imitating Darth Vader's breathing - she loves Darth Vader and often insists we call her "Darth Kitty" or "Darth Noodle."

 

Rachael had another good week at Vacation Bible School this month. The church's fellowship hall was decorated for the week's safari theme, and Rachael had a great time every morning playing with the inflatable safari animals that filled the room. Mom was in charge of the crafts for the week (170 children!), and was there with Rachael early every morning. When Rachael first walked into the room on Monday morning, she took one look around and said, "this is a really funny room!" From that point on fellowship hall was called "the funny room". Rachael had a great time with her class during the week, and even learned the Bible School theme song. We catch her singing it at night before she falls asleep.

 

We are looking forward to a trip to Baton Rouge and Florida at the end of July to see Grandma Mel and Pop Pop and a trip to the beach. We also will be traveling to upstate New York to celebrate Pots' 60th birthday.

 

Rachael likes to spend the summer afternoons at the pool. We even bought a new inflatable pool so we can enjoy a soak at home.

41st Month

Rachael's 41st Month (July '05)

July started with a bang on the 4th! We took Rachael to her first fireworks show. Actually we were in the back of the truck in a field at the local elementary school, watching the fireworks display at the county fairgrounds. Rachael wasn't too scared, although she had her hands over her ears the whole time. Afterward, she commented that the fireworks were really pretty but kind of loud.

 

The three of us went to the Virginia Marine Science Museum in Virginia Beach. Rachael got to see lots of fish and sharks, and even got to pet a stingray. I think our favorite part was the aviary that had 300 parakeets flying every which way. When we held out sticks of bird seed, the birds readily landed on them and on us. Rachael got a real kick out of it, but wasn't too pleased when a bird landed on her head.

 

We went on an adventure this month! We drove to Baton Rouge for Dad's 20th high school reunion, of course visiting Grandma Mel and Pop Pop, too. Rachael had a great time catching tadpoles and minnows and trying to make friends with Grandma Mel's cat, Petunia. Petunia was not a big fan of Rachael, but Rachael refused to stop trying.

 

After a few days at Grandma Mel's, we all headed to Destin, Florida for a few days at the beach. Unfortunately, the weather was not very cooperative, but we still got some time on the beach. Rachael didn't like the waves too much, but luckily there was a cove not too far down the beach where there weren't any waves. She liked swimming there with the fish and hermit crabs. She also liked swimming in the pool at the condo. PopPop made her a sand-throne (fit for the princess she is) and she still raves about it.

 

The drive down and back was a two-day trip each way. Each night we made sure to stop at a hotel with a pool. Rachael was a real trooper for the very long drive, and enjoyed reading the numbers on all the road signs.

42nd Month

Rachael's 42nd Month (August '05)

Rachael is a road warrior. August was a whirlwind month of travel for Rachael. Rachael started August out in Florida (see below). She was a real trooper in the car seat for such a long trip. That would have been enough car traveling for anyone.

A week after getting home from seeing Pop Pop and grandma Mel in Baton Rouge and Florida, Mom and Rachael went to Pennsylvania for a few days to visit with Grandma and Grandpa Weiss. Rachael's favorite part of the weekend was a visit to Chocolate World in Hershey - she has told anyone within ear-shot about that adventure. We took the 10-minute ride through the factory mock-up, and Rachael thought it was the neatest thing she had ever experienced. She especially liked the free sample of chocolate at the end of the ride.

The next day we went to Strasburg for a ride on the railroad. The 45-minute ride through Amish farmland was "really neat, but a little loud", according to Rachael. Riding in an open-air train car right behind the steam engine was, actually, a little noisy.

It was hot while we were there, so Rachael had fun playing in Grandma's backyard fountain, and in a five-gallon bucket filled with water.

Two weeks after returning from Pennsylvania, Mom, Dad, and Rachael headed to Scotia, New York, to see Maw Maw and Pots (the Knight family). Rachael had a terrific time playing with her cousin, Travis, who is almost seven. We were all very impressed with how well they played together--no fights or tantrums, and Travis even let Rachael play with all of his big-boy toys. Travis showed his true "big-brother" nature during a visit to Chuck E. Cheese. He and Rachael climbed up into the crawling tubes on the ceiling, but as they were climbing down, Rachael was mobbed by a crowd of children climbing up, and got very scared. Travis climbed back up to her and put his arm around her the whole way down.

Rachael also had a great time playing in buckets of water in Maw Maw's back yard, driving Travis's jeep and tractor down the driveway (with Dad or Uncle John catching her at the bottom), swinging from a tree (with Uncle John's help), and wrestling Aunt Emily to the ground. Aunt Emily even taught Rachael how to do a cart-wheel. Maw Maw let Rachael watch Garfield, which is now her favorite movie - replacing Star Wars ("with Darth Vader", "With Jar-Jar" and "with Teddy Bears") that had a good run for several months.

Rachael was a tremendously good sport this month, with all of our travels. We can't drive past a hotel anymore without Rachael saying she wants to stay there and asking if they have a pool. It may never happen again, but Rachael was able to see all 6 of her grandparents in one month!

43rd Month

Rachael's 43rd Month (September '05)

After a busy month of August, it was good to slow down a bit for September.

Rachael and Mom had a great time at the county fair with 5-year-old Kate and her mom, Beth. Rachael and Kate rode lots of rides, all of which Rachael loved. Her favorite was the "dragon roller coaster". We think she destined to be a coaster enthusiast.

A new year of Nursery School began the second week in September (and Rachael didn't have a broken foot this time!) She goes three days a week this year, and absolutely loves it. Her teacher says that Rachael does great in class, sharing with the other children, listening to directions, and behaving well. She is fast becoming a pro with glue and scissors, and loves doing "projects".

Daddy took another trip to Germany in September, and while he was gone, Mom took on a big project--painting Rachael's room and the spare bedroom. Rachael thought it was pretty neat being able to sleep in her own bed in Mom and Dad's bedroom. She woke up in the middle of the night while Mom was painting and said, "something doesn't smell good!" Mom was glad to realize she was talking about the paint and not herself. Rachael seems to like the new purple-colored trim in her room, and even helped Mom stamp butterflies on her closet door. She got a real kick out of running in circles around her empty room, yelling, "echo!"

We think we have finally convinced Rachael to be Dorothy for Halloween, although we had a close call when she saw a Buzz Lightyear costume at Target. We were really afraid that she would continue to insist on being Darth Vader.

44th Month

Rachael's 44th Month (October '05)

Happy Halloween! Rachael had a great time wearing her Dorothy costume for Halloween. She got to wear it to nursery school one day, to the church's Halloween party, and trick-or-treating Halloween night. We hadn't planned on taking Rachael trick-or-treating, but her friend, Kate, invited us to her neighborhood, and they went together. Rachael made quite a haul--her Dorothy basket was nearly overflowing, and that was after only 30 minutes!

Rachael got her first "report card". Actually, it was just a progress report from her nursery school teachers. Rachael is doing extremely well in school, making great progress writing her name, drawing shapes and people, and using scissors and glue. She loves going to school, and won't even let Mom walk her to her classroom anymore.

Rachael is already looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, asking if we are going to have a turkey for Thanksgiving, talking about how we need to get Christmas decorations. She still remembers our neighbor's inflatable Homer Simpson Santa, and is ready to see him again. The next couple months should fly by.

 

45th Month

Rachael's 45th Month (November '05)

We made the trek to Baton Rouge for Thanksgiving. The first night of the trip we stayed in an Embassy Suites Hotel in Montgomery, AL. Rachael was quite impressed with the "Big 'E'" hotel because it had streams and fountains in the lobby. She was excited about being able to sleep on a sofa in the 'other' room, but she ended up spending the night on the floor between the two beds (quite happily).

On our way into Baton Rouge we drove through the areas of Biloxi and New Orleans hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina. Words simply cannot describe the total destruction we saw. Rachael did not quite get what she was seeing, but she was quiet and respectful throughout the trip.

We had a very nice visit with the Baton Rouge Potters, and a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. As in July, Rachael had a great time running up and down the hill behind Pop-Pop and Grandma Mel's house, and swinging on their swing.

Rachael is quite the little traveler.

46th Month

Rachael's 46th Month (December '05)

Rachael is becoming quite a pro at jigsaw puzzles, and is also becoming a fan of board games. Bingo, Hi Ho CherryO, Candyland, and Chutes and Ladders seem to be her favorite, although she has yet to actually finish a game of Chutes and Ladders.

Rachael really got into the Christmas spirit. She begged and begged for decorations and was really hoping we would do lights on the outside. She helped mom bake cookies and sang carols non-stop. She was so taken with the whole magic of the season. By far, her favorite decorations are nativity sets. She loves to play with the baby Jesus. What a wonderful age.

Rachael participated in her first Christmas Pageant at church this season. She played an angel, but lost her halo (literally and figuratively). Anyone who has ever seen a kid's Christmas pageant knows that every year there is one child who wanders around doing their own things the whole time. Well, this year, Rachael was that child. It had already been a long day, and she was exhausted, and it showed. Her fingers were in her mouth from the very beginning, and she spent a lot of time sprawled on the floor behind all the other angels, and spent time in our pastor's lap. The only time she got into the pageant was when Santa arrived to pay homage to the baby Jesus. Rachael ran to us, told us (loudly enough that she did not have to have come to us) that the "real Santa" was here. Mom and Dad look at it this way--we saved all the other parents the embarrassment of having that wayward child be theirs this year.

Our Christmas vacation did not turn out quite the way we had hoped. The plan was to head to Grandma and Grandpa Weiss in Pennsylvania for a few days and then head to the Knight Grandparents in New York. Well, we got to the Weiss house on Christmas Day, Rachael with the beginnings of a cold that got dramatically worse the next day. Dad was already not feeling too well, and Mom started to get Rachael's cold, so we cut our trip short and headed home without having made it to New York.

On New Year's Eve Day, we were finally able to pick up Rachael's new bed (which we had ordered in early October). She loved it right from the start, but looks quite small in it. Her little bed has now been turned back into a crib and is awaiting the arrival of Baby Liam.

47th Month

Rachael's 47th Month (January '06)

One of Rachael's favorite pasttimes right now is to dress up in the princess dresses Santa brought her. She puts on the frilly Cinderella dress and literally just runs back and forth and in circles around the den. She also enjoys doing her "work", coloring on index cards and putting stickers all over them.

Rachael has also become quite proficient on the computer. Her favorite website is a Barbie (www.myscene.com) site where she can do makeovers on all the girls. She loves changing their hairstyles and colors, makeup, and jewelry. She knows her way around that site better than Mom and Dad.

It's hard to believe we are coming up on Rachael's 4th birthday already. (She wants a pink and sparkly unicorn cake.) We are all looking forward to this milestone, because it means Rachael can finally get out of her harness car seat and get into a booster seat that uses the regular seat belt.

48th Month

Rachael's 48th Month (February '06)

Four years?!! It just doesn't seem possible that our little baby is four years old already. She is a real person now--with the moods and attitudes to prove it!

Rachael was extremely excited this morning to be able to ride in her new (pink and flowery) booster seat. She really feels like a big girl now.

We have recently made an offer on a new house in the area. Rachael gave her stamp of approval the evening we went to see it when she discovered there was a cat in the house. Her favorite part of the house was the pink bird cat toy. Rachael has done a good job helping to keep our house neat and clean while it is on the market, trying not to make messes at meal times, and cleaning up her toys when she is done with them. This is the frustrating part--waiting for our house to sell. However, Rachael thinks we should leave all our things in this house for the next people, and that the people we buy a house from will leave all of their things for us. She doesn't quite get it.

This was the year without a birthday party. Mom and Rachael were sick on Saturday and we had to cancel the party at the last minute. The family shared her unicorn cake a few days later.

Rachael has become a singer. She has quite a repertoire of songs and really enjoys singing while driving around. She likes to dance and is trying to learn to read. What a neat age this is for her.

The 4th Birthday Cake