Abigail is One!

Yes, she is every bit as happy and well-loved as she appears.

And No, you can't have all her sugar.  We kiss and nibble on those cheeks and arms every day...and there is none left for you.

As of one-year old, Abigail is 27lb 15 oz, (off the charts for height and weight).  And she has 8 teeth (4 up, 4 down).  

Abigail's daily schedule usually looks like this:

One nap a day (except on Sundays when she gets all of out whack)
Get up at about 7 a.m.
Nap at about 11 a.m. (usually asleep for 2.5-3.5 hours)
Bedtime anywhere between 7p.m. and 9p.m. depending on what we're doing (for instance, we don't get home from church on Sunday night until 8p.m.)

Abigail is still waking up once in the middle of the night.  "We" change her diaper and feed her a bottle, lay her right back down, no problems.  The whole routine takes about 10 minutes tops.  That is the royal "We", meaning Jas - my wonderful, wonderful husband.  If I got up to do this 10-minute routine with A, I would then be awake for a long time, likely 2 or 3 hours.  Jas can do it, and go right back to sleep, so he has kindly and graciously offered to be in charge of this night-time parenting task.  LOVE YOU, Jas!

Just a couple weeks shy of her first birthday, we moved Abigail to the girls' room.  We could totally make this work if there were no other option, but the logistics of a baby sleeping in the same room as her (quite a bit) older sisters were problematic.  They normally are awake in the their room (with lights on) staying up reading/getting a jump on the next day's school work until at least 9 or 10 every night.  We tried a couple different ways to make this work better, but realized we could try something totally different.  So now Abigail and Gabriel are sharing a room.  We have had little issues here and there with them talking/playing, but it has really gone very smoothly...much more smoothly than I had ever dreamed it would.  Abigail actually is going to sleep easier (no crying) and when she cries in the middle of the night, it doesn't wake Gabriel.  

When we lay them down at the same time, they are (of course) prone to talk and play.  One trick that we've found for making bedtimes easier while having A and G share a room: Put them down to sleep at different times.  Many times G actually goes down first (at about 7 now, because he has dropped his afternoon nap), so we wait a bit - until he is asleep - and then we lay A down.  

As she turned one year Abigail is getting thisclose to walking by herself.  She is pulling up and cruising all over the place...and has taken a few independent steps here and there (to get herself from the sofa to the loveseat, for example)...but she is still mostly using crawling to get around.  She is a fast crawler!  It is so cute to watch her from behind as she crawls away.  How does a crawl look like a waddle?

But whether it is crawling or cruising, sister gets all around, all over the house, with no problem.  And she gets into everything as she goes along the way!

Getting into the trash can that is tucked behind a cabinet door?  Yep.  

Sticking anything and everything that she finds on the floor in her mouth?  Yep.  (This part of toddlerhood scares me to death.  And grosses me out.)

Pulling open drawers...

...that she can't even see inside yet...but she'll feel all around inside there, to see what she can grab. Or, to see what she can leave behind.  I found a paci in my bathroom vanity drawer.  

I found two pencils inside a casserole dish that was in a lower cabinet. 
And I found a paci inside the pitcher of the blender.   I didn't spot the paci until after I'd dumped two cups of shredded coconut on top of it...but thankfully I spotted it before I dumped in the hot water and blended all of it up into Paci-Tinged Homemade Coconut Milk!

I have never had to use child locks on drawers or cabinets before...but Abigail may cause us to break that streak.  

She is good at crawling herself right into fixes!

 I promise we let her out of "jail"...right after we had a good laugh and took some pictures!

Abigail thinks her big brother Gabriel is pretty cool.  She wants to do everything like him...like play drums:

I have been keeping Abigail's hair in protective styles most of the time for the past few months...and it is paying off!  Her hair is usually on "free" 1-2 days a week (at the most).  This has helped her hair stay moisturized, and keeping it tucked away in a cute style prevents me from having to brush (or manipulate) it every day, which would be hard on it.  Her hair length had stagnated (meaning the ends were breaking off as fast as it was growing out of her head), which is what led me to start doing protective styles in the first place.  Well,  the growth has picked up again, it is now at almost 6 inches on top of her head.  The "bald spot" (which wasn't ever bald, just noticeably shorter) has really begun to grow also, and is now long enough that it isn't hard to incorporate into the styles.

Now, after talking about "protective styles", I will switch to a free style:  Twist-Out...

You do the hair in twists (either two-strand twists or flat twists),
leave overnight (at least) and then undo...voila:  Twist-Out!

I did this the day of Abigail's birthday, trying it out before I did it for real the next day, when she had professional 1st birthday pictures taken.

I'm glad I did this trial run, because I learned what to do, and what NOT to do.

After I took these pictures above, I spritzed her hair with some water, and was amazed to see the instantaneous transformation as the hair swelled up and all the Twist-Out-Clumps were gone and her hair was back to a cute TWA (teeny-weeny-afro):
Relaxing on Papa's lap.  I guess her afro isn't so teeny-weeny anymore, is it?

On picture day, I took what I learned the day before and did better.  So she had a twist-out for her professional pictures:

As we were getting ready to leave the house for pictures

Although I had been trying some "solids" (that weren't solid at all)  for the past few months, only when she reached 11.5 months old did Abigail act interested at all.  She is now eating 2-3 little meals a day, when she is awake when we eat meals.  Her favorite fruits are bananas, apples (that I usually cook and make into "applesauce" so it is easier to eat and digest), and prunes.  Her main food is a soup that has been pureed.  The soup is different everytime, but always consists of one meat (chicken, beef or venison), and a couple of veggies (I choose any two from the following: carrots, green beans, broccoli, peas, cauliflower, butternut squash), cooked in homemade broth, then pureed and frozen in ice cube trays.  Abigail usually eats about 8 cubes a day.  At this point, her bottles still constitute the majority of her calories.

You don't see rice or oats or wheat-anything on the above list.  That is because Abigail has been having food intolerances, manifesting themselves as eczema.

Yes, like Gabriel.

Except it wasn't exactly like Gabriel.  It was different looking, so I kept my head firmly planted in the sand for a while...thinking that surely she couldn't have gut issues like Gabriel had had.  It took my friend Clista making an off-hand comment about the splotches on A's face to wake me up (Clista's biracial daughter had the same spots as a baby, due to food).

Taken at 8-mos old

But let me back up:
When Abigail was about 5-6 months old, a strange spot appeared on her upper back.  I concentrated on making sure it received extra homemade lotion everyday...to no avail.

And then she developed some hypo-pigmented spots, mostly on her cheeks, but some elsewhere also, like the back of her neck.  She also had little bumps on her upper back and belly.

Bumps especially visible on the right side of that precious belly

Eczema is caused by food intolerances/allergies.  Most parents will tell you that food is not the case for their child...and most parents are wrong.  Or have their heads in the sand (I totally understand this).  

Also, we know that at least one of A's biological relatives has had to cut gluten.  But this info is not surprising at all...considering that these issues run in the family...we "inherit" our gut flora (and imbalance thereof).

I talked over all this with A's pediatrician (whom I love!) and she agreed it was definitely eczema...and likely due to dairy.  We were using the homemade formula recipe at the time (using our Chelsea's raw milk).

Our pediatrician at first thought we'd just have to tough it out until we got Abigail eating more solids, so we could just stop with bottles.  But when A was about 9.5 months old she got to where she would have mucous-y coughing fits every time she'd take a bottle...often ending up spitting up/vomiting it back up.

So, we switched Abigail to a different homemade formula recipe.  I'd heard of this formula, but had forgotten about it...it is even in my beloved baby food book that I've mentioned several times before (Super Nutrition for Babies).  Also formulated by the Weston A. Price Foundation, this formula is "hypoallergenic", based around liver and broth, instead of milk.  It contains 8 additional ingredients: Lactose, Whey, Probiotics, Cod Liver Oil, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Acerola Powder. (I just listed those ingredients from memory...I've made this a few times now.)  No need for the gelatin in this version because the broth is an excellent source of that.  And no need for adding B-vitamins, as Liver is an amazing whole-food sources of that!

The resulting formula looks like chocolate milk.  It is not.

Over the 3-4 weeks following our switch to this formula...we watched Abigail's coughing, vomiting, spots and bumps and everything totally. disappear.  

And Miss Abigail is in great health - off the charts for height and weight.  Our pediatrician is impressed.  I am impressed...and OH, so very thankful!

Since eliminating dairy and her eczema clearing up, we have done a couple of "challenges".  That means we gave Abigail some dairy, and watched for any responses.  They have been swift and the second time it was actually pretty scary how fussy and lethargic and bumpy she got!  

After the second challenge - her skin even has a red, splotchy undertone

So Abigail has obviously had some intestinal permeability (aka "leaky gut) going on (all babies are born with a degree of it).  So we're being very careful about what/how we introduce foods.  If, for instance, we were to introduce egg yolks (which is normally a good choice for one of the first foods) it could/would leak through her intestinal mucosa and into her bloodstream (where it - of course - shouldn't be) and after it has done this her body will mount a defensive response.  And the next time she has that food, her body will react negatively.  

So we have been following the GAPS method for introducing solids to babies with known leaky gut issues...and Abigail is doing great!

The day she turned one - NO splotches or bumps!  A big, happy, healthy girl!

For Abigail's 1st birthday party, it was us 8, and Lao Lao and Papa.

While the rest of us partook of this yummy cake (made from this Joli's Favorite Muffins recipe)....

Elisabeth made Pioneer Woman's cream cheese frosting,
and decorated the cake with it and sprinkled chocolate shavings on top.

...Abigail had her first taste of applesauce!

Just apples peeled, chopped up, cooked in water and pureed.

She LOVED it!  So much so that she had to get a spoon and her hands involved:

Bought these dresses for sissy's birthday presents - they are all 4T.
She wore the one on the left for her 1st birthday pics the next day.

Her own little album with pics of our family

She got right to reading one of her new books,  Rosie's Family - An Adoption Story

She loved the two little stuffed animals she got from Lao Lao and Papa!

This girl is so fun and so amazing.

I didn't realize it until I was putting this post together, but the shirt I wore on Abigail's first birthday was the same one I wore the day we brought her home from the hospital at one day old:

Looking at all these pictures, I simultaneously think:

"How can a whole year have passed?"  


"How can only a year have passed?"

She has been here for several years, right?

I don't quite know how we managed without her.

She fills an Abby-girl-shaped-hole that we most definitely had before her arrival.  We didn't even know it at the time, but the Lord knew it...and we are so thankful that He brought her to us.

1 comment:

  1. Amen! She is such a beautiful blessing! Miss y'all!



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