Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Morning jog and a super hero cape

I whipped my camera out the other day after our morning jog to capture some pictures of the kids. The shadows were hard to work with, but I wanted to try a situation with difficult lighting and it was good practice! 

 She's quiet and sneaky. This is the face Rachel gives when she knows she is up to no good. 

Dainty in the dirt

We have a stair climber

 J is a little ball of energy. He never walks, but always runs, stomps, yells and is full of life. Thank goodness for friends who live next door. This summer, we have actually not had time to do many summer activities like hit the pool and botanical gardens. Jackson would much rather play sports and make-believe with his friends! 

Although he is a little bundle of excitement, he also knows when he needs to rest. While he was with BB and Grandad for several days, he remarked, "Can I have a little bit of quiet time by myself, please?"

summer harvest

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Rachel's Baptism

We had the joy and pleasure of getting Rachel baptized at our church on July 12th, 2015. We are so grateful to God for this little life. For how His timing of her birth was just perfect for our family and for Jackson. For her sweet, gentle and easy-going spirit. For how she makes us slow down a little bit more and just enjoy the moments we are given. For how it makes us appreciate Jackson even more and savor the differences in our children and what makes them unique.

Our parents were able to join us for the celebration and we were glad to be surrounded by people (up front and in the congregation) who have promised to love and care for us and Rachel. Here are some words from Matthew 18:1-6 which were part of the baptism: 

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 

Pastor Jack baptized Jackson and we were honored that our good friend, Pastor Ben could do Rachel's. She has LOVED his voice from when she was born. When I handed her over to Ben, she looked back at me and was a little nervous. But as soon as he started talking and walking around the room, she settled in right away. 
We are overjoyed to be able to commit ourselves to raising Rachel in the church and by the grace of God to be able to parent, guide and instruct her.  We are grateful to be surrounded by so many special people in our family and church who have also committed to praying for her and helping to raise her and teach her about the Lord. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rachel is 9 months!

 Our sweet little one had her 9 month check-up this morning and is doing smashingly! She weighs in at 18lbs 5 oz which puts her in the 50th percentile! Up from 25%! We knew her thighs were looking awfully cute and chubby recently. Height is 28.9" which is 87% and means that she might be taking after Matt Byrne. She cried briefly for her final HepB shot but then went back to life as usual. We are so grateful to have a happy and healthy little girl!

Our little girl is on the move! No longer content to just sit there and smile, this month (really in the span of 1 week after she turned 8 months) she learned how to pivot around on her booty, crawl backwards, crawl forwards, pull to kneel, pull to stand and cruise. It was a busy, exciting and somewhat scary week. 
 Since then, she is much less fussy during the afternoon hours when she used to sit wherever we plopped her and whine that she couldn't reach things on the other side of the room, or even 3 feet in front of her. Her favorite places to visit are the entertainment center and all doors in the house. She loves to close herself inside the study and look at us through the glass.  The trouble with Rachel crawling is that Jackson never ate things when he was her age. So, we didn't have to baby-proof the house that much. With Rachel, everything is fair game when it comes to putting it in her mouth. Plants, dog hair, shoes, dirt. 
Rachel has 2 bottom teeth and really looks like she is working on some molars on both sides. She has a full head of blonde hair that is getting lighter by the week. Her eyes remain bright blue and they still make little half moons when she smiles. She smiles a lot but it takes a lot to make her laugh! Jonathan can make her grin, whether he simply walks into a room or she hears him singing. She continues to track Jackson's every move and desperately wants to be able to keep up.  Rachel is thoughtful about what she wants and very perceptive. Her favorite toys are books and anything that Jackson is playing with (it's already coming back to get him). 
We are working on pushing back the 5am nursing session till 6ish, but right now it works for us. I feed her and then get up and attempt to do my Bible study or attend to emails/clean-up around the house. She'll typically sleep until 6:30 or 7am. The only issue we run into is that Jackson is really struggling to obey his green light, which allows him to get out of his room at 6:30am. I generally hear him creeping downstairs around 5:45, interrupting my precious mommy morning time. We continue to work on it. Again and again and again. 

We typically head out for a morning run with the trusty double BOB and both kids are pretty happy. We eat breakfast (or second breakfast) when we get back and have a dance party in the kitchen. After some play time, Rachel naps from 9 until about 10:30 on average. We then play outside, hit the park or wanter around the house until it's time for lunch and another nap for both kids at 1. The afternoons are for the library, park, playing 

Rachel is the happiest baby and is such a joy to have in our family. She gives great hugs and at the end of every night will just lay on me, head on my shoulder like a sweet rag doll. She is fascinated with noses, often finding ways to shove her little fingers up mine when i'm not ready for it! She appears to be musical, attending well to any music she can hear at the moment. She talks with much enthusiasm throughout the day, with lots of consonants. She really gets excited about food...the possibility of food, the actual eating of food or the happy memories of another meal gone by. 

In the past week we think that she is saying "Jackson" and "Lincoln". She also recognizes words, mostly the names of her family members, herself and anything related to eating. She can also understand "No" which were are starting to say more often to give her some direction and guidance in life. She's super curious but looks so innocent whenever she's off exploring. She will usually look back once or twice to see what we are doing and then full speed ahead with her exploration of new spaces and objects.  
the reality of a 9 month photo shoot

Monday, July 13, 2015

When those Caissons go Rolling Along!

Here's a little from early July:

Rachel is everywhere. Doors are still her favorite toy, but she will play with anything she can get her hands on. She eats anything and everything (food and non). She learned how to wave and point. Each morning when I get her up, she immediately cranes her neck to see her mirror. Then she waves at herself and grins from ear to ear. 

Daddy play time is the best
Rachel had her first out-of-the-carseat-and-able-to-play-with-toys day at the library last week. She loved eating the legos and playing at this table. Jackson has started to make friends with strangers in the last few months. It makes it fun to go to the park and library because he can usually find someone (aka NOT me) to play with so I can have some time with Rachel.
On the 4th of July, we snuggled on the couch for a while before fireworks and I taught him the Pledge of Allegiance.  After I had him recite the it for the group at dinner, Matt started off a great rendition of the When the Caissons go Rolling Along! The next day Jackson asked to sing, "The song that grandad sings all the time".  After numerous guesses, he gave me a clue, "you know the one about the dusty trail". Ah yes. So we have been listening to this song on repeat. Over and over and over and over. GO ARMY! (yikes, can I live in Norfolk and still say that?!)
Jackson's first baseball game: Mike Fine caught a ball
J's second game: Jonathan caught a ball
J's third game: I caught a t-shirt (single handed with my left hand, while holding a plate of food and 7 months pregnant by the way!)

So, now he thinks that it's his turn to catch something and he expects to catch something every game. Dream big, my son, and keep sitting in the high bleachers on the 3rd base line. Dreams do come true.  
J has been asking some pretty heavy questions about death (following the death of my parent's 15 year old yellow lab), God and Heaven. He wants to know after we go to heaven, when will we come back to our house that we live in now? Is God everywhere? How can we see Him? These are great questions with sometimes simple and sometimes VERY complex answers. And he chooses to ask me them on our morning run when I'm too winded to talk ;) When I try to ask him at home, he usually says, "It's ok mommy, I already know all about it". 
My favorite time of morning, our post-run dance party in the kitchen! 
Rachel is still not a fan of any type of head gear but she sure loves the beach! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

4th of July

Not only was it the 4th of July weekend and we enjoyed all of the festivities that come along with it, but more importantly we got to see some of Jonathan's family from Mass!
Grammy, Aunt Dwyn, Erin and Kevin came for a visit. It was the first time Rachel was able to meet Grammy and Aunt Dwyn and she was just smitten (after checking them out from afar for a few hours). As I've said before, we are so blessed to have so many kind, caring members of both sides of our family, and close enough that we can see them at least every-so-often. I think Rachel may grow up to be a reader like many of her relatives.

 It was a full house, with Rachel in my room, Jackson in with his grandparents, and Erin and Kevin on an air mattress on the upstairs sun porch. It was crowded and full of fun! We ate good food, drank delicious sangria, hit the beach again and again, read, listened to Grammy's fabulous stories, ran/rode bikes, played games and some of us (NOT my oldest child) slept in between all the fun! Jonathan joined us for dinner on Friday (he was working nights this weekend) and the Speasmakers joined us on Saturday! Following dinner and before the fireworks, Erin got our her ukulele and played some ditties for us. It was a knee-slappin', sing-along! :) 

 Rachel loved the beach during the day but she was not quite old enough for the fireworks this year. Jackson, however, got to come out to the beach with us to watch the display down on 20th street (and all of the other ones going off right around us as well!). Sadly, the late night caught up with us 2 days later and it's been hard to get him caught up on sleep (and not throwing temper tantrums). I think we may record a fireworks display on TV next year and watch it the next morning instead ;) 

In an attempt to allow Kevin to nap, he tried to convince Jackson to play "dead fish" with him on the beach. That quickly turned into Erin (who can't sit still) digging a huge hole with Jackson and hoisting Kevin into it. Which then turned into Kevin, the sand monster, attacking Jackson and the rest of us laughing as he screamed for help :) Which then turned into J wanting to be buried and having a very sandy little boy to carry home several hours later! 

Happy 4th of July from the Byrne/Dubinski/Sprague families!