Zach's grandma said it best when she told us, "You have a beautiful family. Kinda loud, but a beautiful family." How right she was! And we sure love our loud, crazy, fun, active, silly, loving, chaotic, beautiful family.
How is it possible that my baby is already eight months old?? She's learning and growing and changing on a daily basis. She weighs over 16 lbs and wears size 3 diapers. She is wearing her 6-9 month clothes, and is starting to wear her 12 month clothes. Adelie smiles often with her 4 teeth. She nurses 4 times/day, eats 2 meals, takes 2 naps, and has recently started sleeping for 11-12 hours at night.
Pretty happy about being 8 months old
Likes: Adelie remains happy and easy to please. She still loves baths, people, music, and her big sister. She likes toys, but prefers things like shoes, paper, DVD cases, fruit snack wrappers, keys, remotes, empty water bottles, and spoons. Favorite toys generally include anything new or different or anything that Staley is playing with. Adelie enjoys looking at herself in the mirror and playing peek-a-boo. She likes looking at books with her favorite remaining 'Baby Talk.' Favorite foods include Puffs, sweet potatoes, and fruit.
Not sure why, but Adelie LOVES shoes.
Dislikes: Adelie is demonstrating more of an attitude about things she dislikes. She still fusses when she is hungry or tired. She will also get upset when she is bored, left alone, or a preferred object is taken away. She is not a big fan of green veggies.
Skills: Adelie is still my active little gal. She crawls quickly, pulls to stand, and is beginning to cruise along furniture. She is starting to take steps while walking behind a push toy. She bangs toys together, plays 'so big', and signs 'more.' She can hold her own cup to drink and is starting to finger feed (although drinking involves a lot of spilling and finger feeding involves a lot of dropping Puffs or getting them stuck in her hand.) Adelie is making lots of sounds, primarily consonant sounds like 'm', 'b', and 'd'. She has stopped growling, but now likes to make a clicking sound with her tongue and blow raspberries. She is starting to understand more and more. She seems to understand words like cat and sissy, bang and splash, eat and drink. Her smile and her laugh are constant, making all our days brighter.
Although this week for us was often consumed with thoughts of the overwhelming situation in Washington, it did provide some fun moments for my girls.
On Wednesday, Staley and I accompanied Liam and Melissa to see 'Sesame Street Live.' Prior to the show, Staley was convinced that she was going to dance with the Sesame Street characters on the stage while I watched her. She thoroughly enjoyed the show and did her fair share of dancing at her seat, but there were a few tears when the show ended and Staley had not had a chance to meet the characters.
Sesame Street Live
Staley was all smiles at the show
On Thursday, having heard of a free carousel at Bass Pro Shop, we headed over to check it out. As carousels continue to top the list of things that Staley loves, she couldn't have been more thrilled to see a free carousel with no line that she was able to ride over and over and over again. (I think she rode it 12 times.)
Happily riding a reindeer
Adelie was more interested in the Christmas lights at the top of the carousel than the carousel itself.
In between rides on the carousel, Staley also colored a picture, looked at the big fish, drove remote control cars, and watched a model train go around its track. And Adelie just took it all in...
...while trying to eat her socks.
On Saturday, we helped Elliott celebrate his 5th birthday at his Star Wars party. Staley enjoyed hanging out with the other kids, playing with Elliott's toys, and eating a cupcake before dinner.
Adelie in her Princess Leia tunic and buns that Aunt Carrie made
To cap off their fun week, Staley and Adelie got to spend the day with their grandparents while Zach and I traveled to St. Louis to watch the Bear's game.
Luckily the Bears were playing inside a dome today so we didn't have to sit outside in the frigid weather to watch the Bears lose. At least we got to watch them lose in the comfort of a climate-controlled arena. So our week ended a little bittersweet, but even a Bears win might not have been able to compete with an Elmo-singing, carousel-riding, party-going, grandparent-playing week.
This blog is how I document our day to day. The things that occupy our days, our minds, our emotions live here so we don't forget. That's why I've been needing to blog about the devastation that the recent tornados have brought to our neighbor community, to our co-workers and friends. But I couldn't find the words. Yesterday, my sister-in-law found the words that I couldn't. And so I'm going to share her blog post with you because she wrote what I feel.
My baby girl has decided that she is 'so big.' So big, in fact, that she is changing and learning on a daily basis. Just in the past week, she has started...
...holding her own cup to drink.
Granted most of it still spills down the front of her, but she's working on it.
At meal times, Adelie is also starting to sign 'more.' It's still sporadic and she usually follows it up by throwing her arms in the air for 'so big', which makes me think that she sees it more as a new trick and not necessarily as communication yet. Regardless, it's a start.
Adelie has also gotten too big and splashy and mobile for her baby bathtub, so she is now...
...taking her bath like a big girl. And she LOVES it!!
And my favorite new skill that Adelie is demonstrating. For 3 of the past 5 nights, she has slept through the night. We're talking 10, 11, and 12 hours straight. Here's hoping that one sticks.
With the leaves quickly falling off the trees and the perpetually dropping temperatures, we realized that last week-end might be our last chance to do some outside fall pictures. So after church, my sister-in-law took on the tough job of getting some family photos with all 4 of us looking in the right direction with eyes open and smiling. She also took the official 6 month photos (of my 7 1/2 month old girl.) And she did an amazing job!!
Adelie was somber about family pictures, but these days, everyone looking in the right direction with the majority of the family smiling is considered a roaring success.
I like my sleep. I need my sleep. And ideally I'd like some time during the day with a little quiet, a little downtime, the opportunity to get some things done. And although these things are not happening as well or as often as I would like, there is always a plus side.
Adelie has proven that she can sleep for 9-10 hours at a time. Unfortunately, she seems to prefer a little more face time than that in the wee morning hours. More often, Adelie is waking up once or twice during the night. On the plus side, she eats quickly, goes right back to sleep, and often sleeps in until 8 or 8:30.
Staley has only napped at home once or twice over the past several weeks. She still generally naps at her baby-sitters. On the plus side, Staley will stay in her bed during nap time, talking and singing and visiting with Yellow Bear. So I still get about an hour where Staley is 'resting', but not napping.
When Staley does nap, she has been having more difficulty falling asleep at night. We put her to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 at night. When she doesn't nap, she usually falls asleep immediately. On the rare days that she does nap, Staley will then often stay awake until 9 or 9:30. On the plus side, she stays in her bed. She generally just talks and sings and entertains herself in bed until she eventually falls asleep.
Adelie is still a pretty inconsistent napper. She generally takes 2 naps during the day, but they can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours. It's just hard to know. On the plus side, Adelie generally remains my happy and easy-going gal, regardless of nap times.
Most days, Adelie's nap times and Staley's nap rest time are not at the same time. So quiet time to get things done is generally not in the cards. On the plus side, this also means that I get some fun one-on-one time with each of my girls during the day.
Sleep is important. Naps are important. A little quiet time would be nice. My girls aren't currently demonstrating a strong understanding of these facts. But there is always a plus side. And I'll really try to remember that when I'm getting up in the middle of the night.
Staley and Adelie love to play outside. When the weather's nice, the park is one of our favorite places to spend time. We're tied to home a little more often when we want to give Adelie the opportunity for 2 good naps. We have a nice, big backyard. There were good end-of-the-season sales. And so...
And I know at least one little girl who gives it two enthusiastic thumbs up!!
Before Adelie was born, Staley had an assortment of imaginary friends who became a part of our family life. Her Mother Goose Club friends, particularly Jack, and her friends named according to color, like the red one and the yellow one, were often at the dinner table with us, in the car with us, and were a daily part of Staley's play schemes. Right around the time Adelie was born, these friends went away.
Even though her imaginary friends went away, Staley's imagination remains in full force. Our days are still filled with parades and carnivals and adventures and shows. Staley still regularly talks to and plays with her various stuffed animals and dolls. Apparently her toys continue to talk to her, especially at nap time when she is presumably trying to sleep and they are keeping her awake. But I guess the company of her sister and her toys still isn't enough for her. And so our family has welcomed Staley's new friend, Gage, into our home.
Doing Yellow Bear's hair
Reading to Ariel
I'm not sure where Gage initially came from. I think he is based on a TV show that Staley has seen at Megan's house, although there is not actually a character named Gage in the show. According to Staley, Gage is a 'big boy with brown hair who helps people and has dogs that talk like people.' Staley likes to sit next to Gage at the table. Sometimes she has to help people with Gage. Gage always has a seat in the car.
He has become a permanent fixture in our everyday. And, of course, he has been the source of some amusing conversations.
The other day while getting ready for nap, Staley said, "There's a monster coming into my room." I responded with, "Monsters are pretend. There isn't a monster coming into your room." With a giggle, Staley exclaimed, "Oh, that's just Gage. He's wearing his monster costume." This morning after church, I asked Staley if she had fun in Sunday School. She replied, "I was a little sad in Sunday School." When I asked why she was a little sad, she explained, "Gage wasn't there." I'm not sure where he was during Sunday School because he was in the car with us on the way to church, but I find him pretty hard to keep track of.
Staley has friends. She has her mother and her sister to play with at home. She has Yellow Bear. But apparently that's still not enough. I'm not sure how long he'll stick around, but for now, she also has Gage.
With Christmas fast approaching, our mailbox is becoming daily filled with toy catalogs. And Staley loves nothing more than to look through these catalogs and point out what she wants. Her Christmas list changes with each catalog she looks at, with her requests ranging from a stuffed gorilla to a bouncy house. I know that receiving is a part of Christmas that kids can't help but get excited about, but I also want Staley to realize the joy in giving as well.
Our church participates in the 'Operation Christmas Child' charity, filling shoeboxes with items to be sent overseas to provide Christmas gifts to children living in poverty. So after church on Sunday, Staley and I went shopping to fill our shoebox. On the way to the store, I reminded Staley that Zach and I work so that we have money and can buy presents. Then I told her that some kids don't have money and don't get presents. I explained that we were going to buy presents for a little girl who doesn't have money and doesn't get presents. Staley asked, "What's her name?" I explained that we don't know her name. Then she asked, "How old is she?" I told her that she was 2, just like Staley, and that we are going to make her happy by picking out things that we think she will like. I wasn't sure how much of this Staley would understand, and I was fully prepared for Staley to want, want, want as we picked out toys and other things to fill our shoebox.
I underestimated my big-hearted daughter. We spent 30 minutes going through the store, picking out toothbrushes and socks and coloring books and headbands and toys. Staley took her time, picking out a variety of items that I know she wanted--Dora socks and a Bubble Guppies coloring book and sparkly headbands and even a Lalaloopsie mermaid doll. With each thing she picked out, however, Staley would happily exclaim, "I think the girl will love this." Or "this will make the girl very happy." Not once did she say she wanted to keep something. And when we got home, Staley happily showed each item to Zach and then helped pack it into our box to be sent to our little girl. No requests to play with the items or keep them out of the box. Staley seemed fully aware that these were gifts for someone else, and she was happy about that.
My heart was filled with joy as I watched my daughter so unselfishly embrace the spirit of giving. And yes, as she once again looked through the toy catalogs at home, she wanted, wanted, wanted, wanted. But now I know that she can also look past her wants to think about others. And that makes my heart happy.
Infant mobility is highly over-rated. Adelie is fully mobile...and my life has just become a whole lot more complicated. I can no longer leave a room, expecting Adelie to stay in generally the same location (or even the same room) where I left her. I have to be very careful what is on the floor or on low shelves. I have to watch where Staley puts things down. I have to make sure the gate is shut, the toilet lids are closed, the library books are put away. Adelie is crawling. She's pulling to stand. And she is into everything. She has emptied shelves. She has played in the cat's water bowl. She has climbed into the dishwasher. With no regard for personal safety, Adelie is climbing under and over, pulling up and falling down. And although Staley loves her little sister, I think she loved her a little better when she couldn't get into everything that Staley is playing with. Adelie is mobile, and she sure is happy about it. I'm not so sure that I am.
Staley loves playing dress up. Staley loves mermaids. Staley loves getting special treats. And Adelie--well, she likes just about everything. So really, Halloween is a holiday made just for my girls. Lucky for them, we try to spread out the Halloween celebration as long as possible.
Our Halloween fun started last Saturday at our church's Pumpkin Patch Party. There are games to be played, crafts to be done, cheap plastic prizes to be won, and cousins to enjoy. Just like last year, Staley's favorite part of the party was the cake walk. We started and ended our party time walking around and around and around in a circle, leaving with a carton of cupcakes and a huge smile.
And yes, this was the best picture I could get of the 4 of them.
On Wednesday evening (the day before Halloween), the girls donned their costumes and trick-or-treated to several Eureka family members who were armed and ready with treats, Puffs, and even Doc McStuffins undies. How can you beat it?? On Thursday morning, Staley and Adelie again costumed up to visit their great-grandparents.
Enjoying time with Nana
Spending quality time with Great-Grams
Staley insisted on then wearing her costume for the rest of the day. She ate in it, played in it, napped in it. She REALLY wanted to take a bath in it, presumably to test out her mermaid swimming skills, and was disappointed when I pointed out that it might ruin her costume. We capped off our Halloween fun by trick-or-treating to 3 of our neighbors, each of whom had something special just for Staley. All in all, another happy Halloween for the Sancken family.