Tuesday, October 13, 2015

LUMC Pumpkin Patch!

Today was our version of Saturday so we walked to Taste for lunch and then strolled over to the Larchmont United Methodist Church pumpkin patch. The kids had a blast, running through the HUGE pumpkins, crawling on them, looking for the perfect one. J was so sweet towards Rachel and looked out for her the whole time. It just warms my heart to see the two of them becoming friends now that she is able to 'keep up' with him in many ways.

 Um.....why does this look like a high school senior portrait picture to me? Flash forward too many years!!!!

 Can you spot our little pumpkin? 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rachel is 1 year old!

Sweet 1 year old Rachel. You do get sweeter as the days go by and we continue to love you and your brother more and more.  You love life. You smile all the time and want to be involved in everything. Your idea of a toy is the remote, floss or a door that can be opened and closed.  You started walking on September 9th and look like an old pro now. You speed around the neighborhood following the kids or Max, the cat. You love climbing stairs, chairs, the dining room table...yes, you will be our concussion/broken arm child. 

Your hair is long, blonde and thick and you will keep a pony tail in for about 5 minutes. We're trying to keep the hair out of your eyes so you can see but you seem to dislike hairbows of any type. You love to wear dresses, tights, jackets, and you're getting used to real shoes after you wore holes in 3 pairs with soft soles. You have 8 teeth and appear to be working on your molars because you are fiercely chewing on your tongue on the right side of your gums. 
You still adore Jackson and love when he plays rough with you too. He really looks out for you, except for when he is stealing your snack or stuffed animals. You are a trooper when it comes to holding your own with Jackson and enduring scrapes and bruises outside from then uneven sidewalks in our neighborhood. Several seconds of crying and you're off and running again! 

You have a serious booty dance whenever you hear a good beat and usually sing along when you hear music. You do pretty well in church nursery and at the gym and, knock on wood, have so far missed a true separation anxiety phase. we know we're not out of the woods, but at this point your brother had already been through 1 long-lasting phase!
We finally found a food you don't like...canned spinach. I mean, can we blame you? I forgot to get the measurements at the last doctor appointment but you're up to about 21 pounds (no longer our 25 percentile baby but up to 75% now) and you are averaging 50% height and 75% head circumference. You are a little anemic (my bad!) but seem to be managing just fine so far. 
You talk all the time, which is such an interesting change from your brother. We never got to hear babbling and are just eating it up. I LOVE to hear you talk since it sounds like you know exactly what you are saying even though it's complete jibberish to us! You sleep from 6pm until about 6:45am and nap at 9 and 1pm. Thank you for being a good sleeper :) We are eternally grateful. You love other kids your age but don't have a ton of time to spend around them yet. You love to cuddle, with your favorite times being pre/post nap and before bedtime. You rag-doll yourself over our shoulder and nestle your head into our neck. You'll easily spend 10-20 minutes on daddy's lap after nap time. You also learned how to give kisses this month and it's the sweetest thing ever. 
You are very curious and already know how to get into trouble. We have had to scold you for a few things like biting me and touching outlets and you have cried more than you do when you scrape your knees. You do understand the word 'no' and recently have been pushing the boundaries with us. You love to give us a sweet smile and go right back to doing what you're not supposed to. Oh dear...I forgot it started so early! 

We had your birthday party on October 3rd with 13 family members. You enjoyed all the attention but also had some restful moments on the shoulders of grandparents. After a good dinner it was time for the cake smash. You were surprisingly cautious about touching the cake. After several minutes, you started to touch it and then ripped it apart with your hands, squishing it, putting some on your belly, offering some of it to Grandad but not eating any of it. Again, another complete surprise! I thought you would totally be my sugar girl but I might be wrong. 

With no coaxing on my part, you have some traits that are typical girl. You have a girly shriek when you don't get your way; you whine like I do; you love necklaces and you immediately started to carry these present bags around like you had just left the mall. On the other hand, you love to be incredibly dirty and play with trucks, trains and planes with Jackson. We love you, Rachel. We can't wait to see who you continue to become and are so glad to have you in our lives. 

poor attempt at a photo shoot

I knew that photography was hard. I knew that up until May of this year I had absolutely NO idea how to do it. We had a nice camera but no clue what to do with it. I knew that photographers worked like crazy to get good pictures of kids, as we saw during our 4 hour newborn shoot with Jackson, Val's practice shoot with him at 6 months, Val's extended family pics at 18 months and then Erin's family shoot of our family when Rachel was born.

So, I thought it would be a good learning experience to do pics of Rachel. I gathered beads from friends, a blanket and put together a few outfits. The trouble with R is that she is HANGRY by 5pm even if she gets a snack. So, getting good lighting proved to be very difficult as I had to do this at 3:30. She was fairly grumpy, so we scratched the idea of going to a location and instead just used our trusty front yard again.  Here is the final product, which turned out ok all things considered! 

admiring her jewels

Final days of summer and into the fall

September and early October have been a whirlwind, to put it lightly. We had the start of 5 day/week school for Jackson, the start of church events, my Women's Bible Study talk, PT meetings, a church course for JB, Rachel's 1st birthday and still trying to maintain the basic activities and responsibilities of daily life. We knew that September would be slammed so it was one of those, "take a deep breath and enjoy everything that is going on but know there will be a big rest when it's all over" kind of months. 
I've enjoyed getting my camera out more to practice. Some shots are actually turning out really well and it's been great to have pictures of both of the kids. I actually may have completely reversed the typical stereotype for a second child to have virtually no photos. Up until now, Rachel has sat still better than Jackson and she has tons and tons of photos! Here is what we've been up to: 

Jackson started Little Strikers soccer league. The first weeks were rough with lots of complaining on his part and coaxing on his. But then he really got into it and was enjoying it! And then the nor'easter and hurricane weather hit and we've been off for many weeks. He plays for a few minutes and then when they take water breaks he also expects to have several grapes waiting for him each time :) 
 Rach loves to flirt and make sweet faces for our neighbors. 
 I love the heads-down focus of the three boys during one of our ODU tailgates. This was great fun and then we had even more fun when it suddenly started to POUR and the kids splashed away.
 J and R just adore Grandad! 

 We had a spontaneous compound crab boil to close out summer. It was my first time eating crabs and it proved to be so much fun, and delicious, to sit around picking crabs and drinking beer with friends. 
 JB and I had a date afternoon/night planned in early September. This was part of my motivation for weaning Rachel at the end of August. That went well and we arranged for the kids to stay with Beth and Matt for the afternoon and bedtime. We got to Water Country around 2 and rode all the tube rides (none of that water-slide-that-goes-straight-down business for us!). We dried off and made it to Busch Gardens around 3:15, rode a ride and then it started to rain. We grabbed some beer from the fest house, people watched and then jogged to our cars before it really started to pour. We hit the outlets for an hour and headed back to BG when the rain stopped. Several more rides later and too nauseous to go on, we left and went to dinner in Newport News. Although I was nauseated for the next few days (one of the downsides of getting older), it was a great, spontaneous date day! 

 I ran the Rock N Roll again this year, making it my 8th RNR with Team Hoyt. It was an incredibly hard race for me, but great to be out there pushing my athlete rider and running with a neighbor of ours. Plus, Rachel was waiting for me in this cute onesie: "Someday I'll run with mommy". 
 We had one final beach day with the McNabbs, Lyons and Kelly. Sweet summer coming to a close. 
 And one of the perks of J not starting school until Thursday following Labor Day was that we had the whole beach to ourselves to take Lincoln and have a family morning. 
Virginia Aquarium. 
We're in the 'independent eating' phase where she doesn't know how to use a spoon yet but she sure doesn't want to be fed by one. So, everything goes in via her hands. Oatmeal, casseroles. Also turns out that she was mildly anemic at her 1 year old check up (whoops, couldn't remember if the doc said vitamins WITH or WITHOUT iron so I erred on the side of caution and got without). So, we've made valiant attempt to get spinach into things and we have found the 1 food she does not like. I don't blame you baby...I mean, liquidly canned spinach. Gross. I welcome all ideas of how to get large doses of green leafy veggies into foods that a girl with only 8 teeth can eat. 
By from our happy girl who loves peek-a-boo, laughing and is a great hide-and-seek seeker!