18 Months

Our sweet Anna is 18 months old already! I still call her my baby girl and always will, but she’s certainly a full-fledged toddler now. She makes us laugh every day with her impish grin and cute mannerisms. She lets us know in no uncertain terms what she likes and doesn’t like. She loves her baby dolls but they must be naked at all times. If I re-dress them she will bring them to me and sign “off” until I remove the clothes again. She also loves shoes and boots and likes to put a chosen pair on to walk around the house. Every night she sleeps with her two stuffed bunnies, and sometimes one of her other stuffed animals or dolls as she deems necessary. She still sleeps well at night, usually 11-12 hours, and still doesn’t nap much during the day, 30-45 minutes on average. Some days she doesn’t sleep at all at nap time. She adores bath time and cries like she’s being tortured when we take her out. She keeps up with Max and likes to do whatever he’s doing, right down to sitting the way he does when they watch “Blue’s Clues.” She has recently started playing hide and seek. Her version involves sitting on the floor and covering her eyes with her hands, thus rendering herself invisible.   We then say, “Is Anna behind the couch? Is Anna in the kitchen?” etc. Each time she shakes her head “no” and stays right where she is. So darn cute!

Anna is lucky to have Maxwell for a big brother. He told me the other day that he doesn’t like it when Anna cries because when she is sad, he feels sad. When she cries he will bring her bunnies over for her to snuggle with, and I love hearing him talk to her. He likes to tickle her and play peek-a-boo. Some mornings they both sit in Anna’s crib and read books. We are very blessed to have two amazing children.

Anna at 18 months:

Weight: 25 pounds, 78th percentile
Height: 32.5 inches, 74th percentile
Head circumference: 19.5 inches, 49.5 cm, 100th+ percentile

Signs: All done, more, please, thank you, apple, Daddy (this one she invented, it looks like a tomahawk chop), milk, kitty, on, off, help, book, bird, sleep, swing, eat, water. Points to body parts when we name them. Understands everything we say and will follow directions like, “Go get your baby in the family room by the books.” She doesn’t have very many spoken words, just Mama, Max, Grandma, sometimes Dada. Just lately she has started saying “Bob” because we read/sing the Sandra Boynton book “Fifteen Animals.” For those who haven’t read it, 14 of the 15 are named Bob. She does noises for a cat, dog, lion, and bird. We will be doing a speech evaluation this week to see if she’ll be doing speech therapy to get her caught up on expressive speech.

We love her more than words can say! I took some 18 month pictures today. My talented friend Leanne made her hat and gave us the cute coat too. Happy year and a half, punkin, we adore you.

Grandparent Visit

Grandpa and Grandma Helen came to visit us last week. Max was thrilled to have them here and had no shortage of things for them to do. There was book reading, iPad playing, musical chairs (Maxwell’s version, where there are same number of chairs as people, and you sit in the same spot each time), two trips to the children’s museum, and much fun had by all. Anna was right in the midst of it all and Jeff and I were spoiled by not having to cook dinner. Max got an early Christmas gift of a remote-controlled spider robot (christened “Stanley”), which he quickly got the hang of maneuvering. I love watching the kids with their grandparents. It reminds me of special memories with my own grandparents, and I am so grateful that our kids are blessed with five amazing grandparents who love them more than words can say. The time always goes by too quickly, and we are already counting down to our Florida visit in a few months. Thank you Dad and Helen for everything!

Learning how to work Stanley:

The chairs were also repurposed to serve as a preschool. Max directed Grandma Helen to be the teacher, the animals were students, and he was Chester’s parent. He would drop Chester off at school, go “home” (the other room), count to 10, and then it would be time to pick him up.

Grandpa got to visit preschool as well:

Between rounds of musical chairs:

Christmas Tree 2012

We had a great time this year picking out and decorating our tree. The past couple of years we’ve gone to a Christmas tree farm near our house that has a great view of the mountains and plenty of beautiful trees. We lucked out with a dry day last weekend, so we cut down the tree and then stored it in the garage until we could decorate it this weekend. Max was really into the whole process this year. Tonight he said “That was fun, decorating the tree today.” Anna of course is pretty clueless about it all, but she seemed to have fun too.

It’s so special doing Christmas now that we have kids. I love carrying on some of the holiday traditions from our families and making new ones of our own. It will be great fun to have extended family here at Christmastime. I love having a house full of loved ones and having time to relax, eat good food, and just be together.

Here we are at the tree farm! Such a beautiful setting:

The farm provides sleds to haul your cut tree back. Max of course thought it would be better put to use to haul him:

Not to be left out, Anna wanted in on the action:

This one looks good!

Supervising the cutting process:

Max leading the way back to the barn:

Before we put the lights on the tree, we plugged in each strand to check that they still worked. The kids were fascinated:

Max loved looking at all the ornaments and deciding where they should go:

Anna helped me put on a few ornaments. She discovered one ornament that is a ceramic stocking and immediately tried to put it on her foot. So cute! Then she spent a long time playing in the empty tub which had previously housed the ornaments.

Max got to put the star on the tree, with a little help from Daddy:

Maxwell gives Chester Bear a hug in front of the finished tree: