Abigail is Two

How is it even possible that our baby girl is already two?

Littler than our Ikea babydoll:

And now she is 33 lbs, 36 inches...and pronouncing her name correctly (instead of saying "Abidail"), which actually made all of us really, really sad.

She is wearing mostly 4t clothes...but sometimes 5t.  She has begun to take on a slimmer look because she hasn't gained any weight in several months, but continues to grow taller.

Abigail is walking, running, jumping, hopping, singing and dancing all. the. time.  She even does "jazz hands", as seen in this video of all of us singing Happy Birthday to her:

(This video cracks. me. up.  We have watched it so many times.  She thinks Gabriel hung the moon, so why she tries to wipe his kiss off her cheek at the end, I'm not sure.  When she watches it now and I ask her why she did that she just smiles so big.  Right after I stopped recording this video, she went over to G (of her own volition) and gave him a kiss back.)

She has wanted to write and color recently.  And no big, sloppy scribbles for this big girl.  No way.  She holds the pencil/crayon so carefully and writes/colors so precisely.  Little bitty, very intentional squiggles.

She is using her left hand in these pictures...but she uses her right hand just as often, so it remains to be seen whose team she is on.  So far we have: Lefties- 4, Righties-3

A speech pathologist acquaintance who was around A for several hours recently (we were just having a "playdate/mamas talking homeschooling" time) said that Abigail has the receptive language of a child 6-12 months older than her chronological age.

I wasn't surprised at all....this girl is one smart cookie.

That doesn't mean she gets everything right, though.  Like the exchange we shared the other day...

She had all the right answers, I just apparently asked the questions in all the wrong order:

Me: "What is your name?"    A: "Good"
Me (trying to get with the program): "Oh, ok, How are you?"  A: "Two"
Me (trying again): "Oh, ok, how old are you?"  A: "Abigail"

Oh, well...that was obviously all my fault, because this girl is brilliant.

Some other Abigail details....

"Bay-bess" (Elisabeth)
"Wowah" ( Noah)
"Dainyall" (Daniel)
"KK" (Lily Kay)
"Gayiel"  (Gabriel)

It is all so cute!

She is still very much in love with her "papi" (as she started calling her pacifier).  Our rule is that she only gets it in her crib...but that rule gets fudged some.  Sister would - i think - be happy to have it with her all. day. long.  At her dentist appointment last week (it was her second, and she did great again), Dr. P said we really need to try to wean her off it in the next 6 months.

And she probably won't be in her crib for much longer, either...as she has started climbing out.

A's favorite show right now:  Chuggington.  Noah commented how hilarious he thinks the is, with her being such a girly-girl.

And this girly-girl?  Does NOT like bugs.  And she will let you know, at the top of her lungs, if she spots one.  Or if she spots a black speck that maybe could possibly be a bug...she let you know, at the top of her lungs.

She has a little huge independent streak.  We constantly hear (as we try to help her with something), "I DO IT!"  And when she does, then "I did it!!!!"

The rare times when she does admit she can't do something all by herself...she asks, so sweetly, "Hup, pease."

One thing she often needs help with is getting herself unstuck from odd places, "I guck.  I GUCK!"

Another phrase I hear one or two (million) times a day, "Watchiss, mommy!"

And something else she wants you to watch: her streaking through the house.  As soon as I get her clothes and diaper off - before I can start getting her dressed again...she takes off.  She runs around, squealing, "I am kaked!" (Her version of "naked".)

And when she doesn't know the answer to your questions, she doesn't mind admitting it, "I an woe." (as she shrugs her shoulders).  

And, much to my amazement, Abigail is a-MAY-zing at saying, "Thank you."  (She actually says, "Cake you", though.)  I always get ready to prompt her to say it at the appropriate times, but she hardly ever needs the prompt.  She is on it!

She is also good at saying, at the appropriate time, "excuse me." Except right now it sounds more like, "Cue me!"

Speaking of manners, Abigail is great at apologizing, even when she doesn't need to.  For instance, when I am prompting someone to apologize to her, she quickly jumps in (very seriously): "I sorry...fugive me?"

She is a little obsessed with elevator buttons.  During our business trip last weekend, she would run to the elevator yelling, "I PUSH IT!"  And we had to be careful once we got inside the elevator, or she would push All The Buttons.  We did make more than one extra stop during our time at the Ritz.  (Her elevator-abilities actually freaked me out quite a bit, because our room was so close to an elevator bay, and if she slipped out of the room (which she tried to do), she could/would have totally pushed the button, gotten inside and taken off to who knows where!  (like her idol, "KK"))

She has recently been getting really good at sitting for longer periods and "reading" by herself.  Her favorite books right now are He's Got the Whole World in His Hands and I'm a Little Teapot.

Abigail has always really liked music, but in the past few weeks she has begun to spontaneously sing songs as she goes about her day.   And they are totally recognizable songs...like "Shout, Hosanna" (which all the littles sang in church for us two months ago).

Here is how just-turned-2y.o. Abigail counts to 10:

And here is how she sings her ABCs:

This is what her schedule currently looks like:

7 a.m. (ish) - wakes up bright and chipper and smiling so big, standing in her crib, yelling out, "Mommy!"

12:30 or 1 p.m. - lay down for a nap, lasts about 2-3 hours

7:30 (ish) - go to sleep

The night before A turned 2, the big kids talked us into letting her have her first slumber party with them.  They all slept on the floor of the big boys' room.

Abigail is doing so good being patient while I do her hair.  I have begun doing styles that take longer to install...but then they last longer until I need to restyle (and the less her hair is manipulated the better).  Daddy wants to help as much as he can, so he does all the hair washing, and recently helped take out the 35 box braids that I installed for our week at the beach:

Abigail is still on GAPS (as we all are), and she is even having to stay away from all dairy, including fermented (like our kefir) which is GAPS-legal.   

When she gets hold of something that doesn't like her...this is what happens:

She recently developed several new hypo-pigmented spots on her cheeks:

They are not near as noticeable in the picture as they are in person.  
These started several weeks ago (3-4) and followed her typical progression:  Little bumps appeared.  Then they flattened and spread out, and then became hypo-pigmented. We'll see how long it takes them to disappear.

What are these from?  The wings we had one day at the beach?  Did she snatch a bite of someone's food unnoticed sometime?  I don't know.  It is frustrating.

To celebrate this girl's big day (as we celebrate each child's bday), we had a small party...us and Papa.   (Laolao was supposed to come, but didn't feel good at the last minute).

She could hardly wait to blow out her candles!

As soon as she got done eating, she got herself down and went around the table to sit with her buddy, Papa.

Nai Nai couldn't be here in person, but she called from Colorado at the exact perfect time!

And then A got to start opening presents.

First, she opened the little skirt/shirt outfit Jas and I got her:

And when she did, nothing would do but that she hop down and get changed into the new clothes right. now.

And then she opened the books we bought her (Psalm Twenty-three and The Lord's Prayer)....

...and she had to plop herself down and start "reading" them right away.

Next she opened Noah's gift.

Given A's love for all things "Frozen", Noah thought she would like a Funko POP Olaf.

He was right.

And then it was time for Lao Lao and Papa's present....Elsa's blue dress!

I wish she were more expressive...so we didn't have to guess what she is thinking all the time...

She likes the dress.  Just a little bit.

Not only does it sing "Let it Go"...it also lights up!

And LK gave A a wand to go with her Frozen getup:

Abigail is a true delight.  She wakes up happy, she goes to be happy, and she is (mostly) happy in between...even when she is getting into mischief.  We are so thankful to be her parents...and we are blessed to be able to witness first-hand what the Lord is (and will be) accomplishing in this precious girl's life!


VBS 2016

Last night was night #5, the last night, of VBS 2016 at our church.

Here we all are walking into VBS the first night.  It was Hat Day. (I was so glad that A didn't care that she didn't have a hat on...because I didn't want a hat on her hair!)

The oldest four of us worked...the youngest four attended.  HOW is it possible that we have two children old enough to work at VBS?!?

Elisabeth helped in the "Imagination Station."  Formerly known as the "Craft" area, this year it was really more like little science experiments/activities.  For instance, last night we hooked wires, pennies, nails and potatoes up in a circuit to light up an LED light.  It was awesome!

Noah had not one but two jobs.  He helped with records and with lights in the sanctuary.  He was thrilled that he was assigned these two spots...and he loved helping in these two ways.

Jas helped with Rec...and I was a Crew Leader with the third graders.  

Abigail was in "Waddlers."  The little ones stay in their classroom (except a little bit of rec time) and don't travel around to the four stations around the church to do all that the older kiddos get to do.  But they, of course, are none the wiser about this...and she had a great time.

G was in the Pre-Schoolers class and this was the first year his class traveled around, and he had a ball!  He was so excited to show me his craft/activity every night...it was precious.  

G also got way into the spirit of VBS, participating in Crazy Hair night:

When G heard/saw Daniel's plans for Crazy Hair night, he piped up that he wanted a ponytail also.  Considering the fact that he has zero hair, we had to get creative.  We tied black yarn to one of A's plain headbands.  I planned to pull all the "hair" back into a low ponytail when we were done, but G liked the way it looked down.  So, we went with that:

We all agreed that we think he looks a lot like the lead singer of Newsboys - Michael Tate.

Daniel loves Crazy Hair Day and plans for this for forever.  He has been growing the top of his hair longer for months to have something to work with on Crazy Hair Day:

There is the "ponytail" that D had, sticking straight up.  And Elisabeth helped him achieve that curl in his bangs.

Elisabeth also did my hair for me.

Here is my buddy Robbie.  She even had crazy hair on her EYEbrows.  THAT is impressive!

Elisabeth and I had fun for Wacky Tacky Day also.

We had a wonderful time learning about how God gives us hope, courage, direction, love and power.  

We had a great time singing and dancing.

And - as any parent who has participated in VBS knows - I am glad it is now done.  

But we'll be looking forward to next year!


Family Business Trip

We are starting school back up again soon.  Very soon....like, Monday soon.

But we got to take one last little trip with Jas before starting.  And this business trip?  Families were actually, factually, specifically invited to attend.

Our four oldest kiddos had a ball with the kiddos of the other attendees.  In fact, we all had a ball.  It was so nice and relaxing.  Of course, how could it not be nice and relaxing, staying at....

This was the view from our 6th floor balcony, where I spent much time reading:

(I finished reading one book, started another...and also spent much time on the internet, reading about all the recent horrible loss of life (Alton, Philando,  5 Dallas police officers), and interacting with others on FB.  I am still processing, and have a big ole post floating around in my head, that I need about 2 days to sit down and write out.  2 whole days.  Which isn't going to happen.  So, I hope that I do get the post out of my head...it will help me process.  And I totally intend (and have been needing to do this for forever) to use the post to store links to info/graphs/articles/stats that I have read the past few years, and want to have easy access to going forward.)

Back to the happy post about "Our" business trip!

(I can't tell you how many times in the past week I've had to wrench myself away from thoughts about the racial-divide in our ountry, back to being fully present with my six precious kiddos...)

The first night of the conference there was a Family BBQ.  Great food...with so many wonderful options that were legal for us.  Thankfully the dinner was held inside the hotel in a huge banquet room.  One of the organizers sat by Jas and I and shared with us that they had just made the call a few hours earlier to move the event inside...because the heat index was going to be over 100.  We told him....ummm, Thankyouverymuch!

As we finished up our scrumptious meals, we began hearing beautiful music wafting in.  We were definitely curious, but with G with us, there was no way we were NOT going to investigate.

Much to our delight, it turned out to be a husband/wife team playing steel drums!

They were so kind and spoke with us some, shared how they got started, etc.  They even offered to let G and A play some...which they thoroughly enjoyed, obviously.

The Ritz is apparently too posh of a place to have 2, 200-ft slides and a 90-ft vertical (death!) slide (like our last business trip)...but it still had several beautiful (indoor and outdoor) pools and hot tubs.  And a kiddy splash area that G and A relished:

And the huge games that were set out on the lawn by the pool?  Super cool.

The hotel was right on the beach, so we checked that out one night.  (If we hadn't just gotten back from our annual beach trip, we likely would have spent more time down there.)  

Elisabeth had a hold of my phone/camera while we were at the beach, so these are the pictures I ended up with:  

We are not yet to the point where we have to get two hotel rooms.  Many people would think we are crazy for thinking this way, but we have made it work.  (And ummmm, we can't do $500/night...so our business trip adventures will come to a screeching halt when we hit that point.)

We made sure we were going to have two queen beds...and then we didn't get that.  BUT...it actually worked out better, and we would like to ask for this kind of set up in the future:  Jas and I slept on the one bed, a queen (with A in between us), Elisabeth slept on the pull out bed/sofa.  Someone else could have fit on there with her, but the other 4 prefer to sleep on the floor (makes me hurt just to think about it).  We all just take turns changing in the separate "water closet" and/or vanity area.  No problem!  Especially with the additional square feet of the balcony, we had plenty of space in the room.  (But, of course, the idea of coming on these trips is that we are out and about, not holed up in a room anyway.)

The kiddos that sleep on the floor like to hole up in any kind of hidey-hole they can find.  Noah picked a little cove area by one of the windows this time (we were in a corner room).   As soon as we walked in, Lily Kay immediately called dibs on the area under the desk:

G and A showing off LK's sleeping area.  

We were gone for two nights, and three days.  We had a great time, and then after we got home, we collectively said, "I'm so glad to be home!"

It would be so sad if we didn't feel that way!


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