Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lane: 2 1/2 Years Old

Dear Lane,

Last week you turned two-and-a-half years old. I still can't believe it. I think I'll be saying that to you for the rest of your life, though, so I better start believing it: you're growing up every day. To look at how much you've changed in the last six months is unbelievable. I think I can officially say that you are not a baby anymore, but you're a little girl.

In the last six months you've gone from speaking no more than a handful of words to speaking full sentences. You say things that I just love, like, "Uhh, no, I not sink so," "hot-doctor" (helicopter), "Dat sounds fun!," "Is funny!," and a slew of others. You call yourself either "Lane" or "you," and sometimes when we try to correct you to say "me," you just say no and repeat yourself. You are a little negotiator and are always telling me that "Mommy says [insert-something-here]" when in reality I said exactly the opposite. You're also a little jokester and have started saying things like that things are different colors than they are or make different sounds than you know they do, just to get us to say, "No it isn't!" and get a big grin out of you. It's so strange to me that you're 100% caught back up verbally for your age, when you were lagging behind for so long. But it sure is fun to hear you speaking and expressing your own opinions and thoughts after you were silent for so long.

In the past six months you've become completely potty-trained (other than night-time). You tell us when you need to go potty, and you can take yourself and do everything yourself if you just need to pee. You do have a knack for wanting to poop almost every time you go potty, though, so we end up keeping you company in the bathroom most of the time. If left it up to you, you would run around buck naked all the time, but we usually make you wear at least underwear, much to your chagrin. You do NOT want to wear those underwear most of the time!

You're a water-bug for sure!

You can do so much for yourself now, like put on your own underwear, wash your own hands, brush your teeth, and take yourself to the potty. You help take out the garbage, put your clothes in the hamper, and clean up toys on a regular basis. You can put a DVD into the player, pour your own milk (with guidance), and set the table. You climb up the slide, climb stairs alternating feet, and are practicing jumping on one foot. You can also draw a straight line and a circle, and you recognize your name. You can count to thirteen, recognize numbers up to ten, all your letters, and sing lots of songs by yourself (Jesus Loves Me, Old MacDonald [still your favorite], This is the Day, ABC Song).

You got to sit on a horse for the first time this month.

You have a very strong personality and want what you want. You do good at following the rules most of the time, and when you don't, I fully believe that you understand what the consequences will be and just don't care. You often say, "You not yisten make mommy daddy sad." You know it makes us sad when you don't obey. Recently you've started pitching huge temper tantrums, most of which result in you being left on your bed to scream until you're over it. I hope these resolve as you gain better control over your emotions.

Most of the time you're very, very sweet. You love to play "kissin' time" where we chase you and smother you with kisses. You love hide-and-seek, coloring (with markers), blowing bubbles, having tea parties, singing Old MacDonald, climbing, Mickey & Minnie Mouse, and eating anything sweet. You love cashews, yogurt, all fruit (although you go through phases as to which is your favorite), and anything in a tortilla. You love Noel and tell me "Noel's gettin' so big. Noel's gunna pway wif you." You're very excited for her to be big enough to actually play with. You like to sing Jesus Loves Me with whoever is putting Noel down for nap/bed, walking back to her "room" with us and singing. You know a lot of Bible stories and can answer questions when prompted about them. And sometimes you echo us when we pray before meals or before bed, concluding with a resounding "Amen!" It makes me happy to hear you talk about God and Jesus.


You weigh 28 pounds and are 37 inches tall. You're wearing clothes that range from 18-months to 3T, with a 4T bathing suit thrown in there as well. You're tall (77th percentile) and thin (41st percentile), much like me, I suppose. Your last molar is almost all the way in. Your hair is still curly and unruly. Your personality is developing more and more, and just as I couldn't have imagined the little girl you've grown into in the last 2.5 years, I can't wait to see who you are when you're five, or 15, or even 25 or 30. God has big plans for you, girlie, and I can't wait to see what they are.

I love you so much,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

From the Archives: Christmas Package!

About eight months ago we received a package from my Aunt Teresa. She sends us one every year, no matter where we live. Every year it contains a Christmas book. Most years it contains coffee. Last year it contained both.

We received our package on December 11th, and with Noel being born on the 12th, writing a "thank-you" blog got pushed to the back burner. For eight months. Oops.

Lane tearing off the paper.

She sent us Song of the Stars, by Sally Lloyd-Jones. We already had The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones and love it, so we were excited to read this book as well. And it is fantastic. It has great artwork and is about how all creation was anticipating the night that Jesus was born. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.

Pointing out animals in the book.

So "thanks!" Aunt Teresa and Uncle Tommy for the book and the coffees...the coffee was gone before we got a photo of it, and the book...well, I think it might be our favorite Christmas book yet.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beach Trip!

Almost exactly two years ago, we took Lane to the beach for the first time. Last week we took Noel for the first time ever, and took Lane for her first "real" time: the first time she'd get to play in the sand and the water and actually (hopefully) have fun.

Oh, she had fun.

The day started at around 10:00 a.m. when our friends came to pick us up. We piled into the car and headed toward the beach. Unfortunately there was a lot of traffic due to construction on one of Istanbul's bridges, and with all the stop-and-go-ing, Lane had a bit of tummy trouble. Poor girl always gets sick in the car when it's hot.

Wiped out from all the puking, she napped for the last 30 minutes or so of the trip.

We made it to the beach, rented an umbrella and got all set up, and let Lane take to the water while Noel chilled in our small blow-up pool.

Some friends' daughter took Lane out for a splash while we were getting set up.

Chillin' in the pool.

Mmm, sand.

Shannon took Lane out to brave the waves. She loved every minute of it, conquering her fear of getting water in her eyes for the thrill of being thrust above the water every time a wave would crash on them.


Daddy saves the day!

The aftermath.

While they surfed the waves, I walked Noel to sleep.

Love this picture. I still can't believe she took her entire nap in that position!

After she woke up and I nursed her, I took Noel out for her first time in the sea. She wasn't a big fan of the water and cried when her feet touched it, but she liked standing in the sand.

Getting her feet wet.

Dig those toes in!

The closest I got to recreating my favorite shot of Lane at the beach.

After Shannon and Lane got out of the water and got dried off, we took to building a sand castle.

Drying off and warming up.

The fortress!

Writing "yetters" in the sand.

After a good three or four hours in the sun, sand, and sea, we packed up our stuff, drove to Riva proper for a Coke for Shannon and ice cream for me and Lane, and headed home.

Noel did this the whole ride home. (Love the upside-down paci.)

Lane passed out on my lap again, Noel slept, and we enjoyed the 45-minute drive home in relative silence. For days Lane talked about the beach and how she and Daddy "got" the waves. It was a blast, and I can't wait to do it again. Hopefully it won't take two years before that happens!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

7 Months Old

Dear Noel,

I can't even believe that you're seven months old already...closer to your first birthday than to the day you were born. Time goes by so quickly.

As I write this to you, you are wearing nothing but a diaper and are lying in front of me, pulling yourself around on the floor with your belly squeaking as you drag yourself around. You're hot and sweaty and have fuzz stuck all over yourself from your nap, and you have drool running down your face. You're cooing and smiling from ear to ear, kicking your legs and using your feet to help push yourself around. I think you're the cutest thing I've ever seen.

This month has been so fun. You have learned how to creep and always are trying to get to where everyone (and all the action) is. You're still pretty slow, but I think most of that is due to your belly sticking to the floor, not due to your inability to pull yourself along! You've been pushing yourself up onto all fours for a couple weeks now, and rocking a bit, but you always drop to your belly to actually move forward. I bet you start crawling within a week or two, though.

Yesterday (the day after you turned seven months old) you got your first tooth. And your second one, too. Both of your bottom teeth popped through yesterday, one of them overnight and the other was through by mid-day. You've taken the whole teething thing like a champ and have been a little fussy, but not too much. I actually think you're mainly fussy because it's so hot, not because you're getting teeth.

One of your first tastes of green beans. You weren't a fan, but you love them now!

You, my dear, are a little piglet. You love food. You don't like to feed yourself yet, but you eat an absolute ton every day. I can't wait to take you to the doctor on Tuesday and see how much you've gained this month, because surely you've packed on some weight. This month you've had homemade rice and oat cereals, zucchini, green beans, peaches, nectarines, apricots, and pears. Every day you usually eat 1/2 cup each of oat and rice cereal, a banana, 4 cubes of veggies, and 1/2 a large peach (or that much of another fruit), plus a little bit of yogurt. You are a hungry little girl. You also like to stick your fingers in your mouth while you're eating, which makes for some big messes. I'm not sure what you're doing, exactly, but it sure is funny! And you hate to have your face wiped off...hate it, I tell you.

This month you got to take your first dip in a real swimming pool, and you thought it was pretty fun. You love the bathtub even more now that you can sit up well and play with all the toys. You love it when I sing you "This is the Day," and at bedtime and nap time when I sing you "Jesus Loves Me," you rest your head against my chest until I finish singing and lay you down. You like to bang on the little toy piano we have, and you love peek-a-boo now. You like to pull the blanket off my head and grin really big at me when you "find" me.

All the playing wore you out!

You are still such a great, easy, and calm baby. You get so excited anytime we play with you, smile at you, or sing to you. You're taking two longer naps and one 30-45 minute catnap each day, and are sleeping all night again. I still can't believe you've been a part of our family for seven whole months quickly the time goes.

I love you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Life Lately

Ahhh. Can you hear it? It's the sound of relaxing that comes with summer. Unfortunately we haven't really heard it yet...but I have high hopes that before summer is over we will hear that sound!

So, what's been up with us lately? Why the silence on the blog?

1) CELTA. If you've never heard of CELTA, go here to check it out. Shannon took the 4-week intensive course which began the day before I returned from my trip to the States. Combine that course with a jet-lagging 5-month old and it was pure misery for the first two weeks. The last two weeks were a bit better than misery, but it was still rough. I was basically a single mom for a month, but I still had to cook for, clean up after, and do laundry for Shannon. But we survived!

Headed to Noel's 6-month check-up: Noel strapped in the ERGO, Lane in the stroller, purse on the handlebars, walking to the hospital in upper-80° weather alone. Not my idea of a good time.

2) Vacation. Following the 4-week craziness of CELTA, we took a week off. We just did another stay-cation, but it was just really nice to get to spend time together as a family. It had been seven weeks since we had really all seen each other (one week Shannon was gone on business, two weeks I was in the States, and four weeks Shannon was in class), so just to get to hang out, play together, go out for ice cream, and for me to have any amount of help around the house was simply fantastic. We also did a couple of fun things, but since they fall in the "Stuff to Do Around Istanbul" category, they'll get their own posts.

Going to the "big ice cweam" for cones was definitely a highlight for Lane!

3) Conferences. We went to a conference for five days that was located outside of Istanbul right on the Marmara Sea. It was really nice to wake up to the sea every day, to not have to cook or wash dishes, to have a swimming pool to swim in (and escape the heat), and honestly, for me to get some relief from watching the girls while others took care of them so I could also attend some meetings. While all of us sleeping in one room is never ideal, we made the most of it and just went to bed really early a lot of nights. It was good, although a bit sad, to return home.

Love this girlie! (And the view off our balcony...)

Love this girlie, too! This was her first dip in a real pool.

4) Sickness. And as usually happens when lots of people get together for a conference, we all came down with colds. I'm just thankful it's of the "stuffy head and congestion" variety instead of the "stomach bug" variety. I'm also thankful that I got a full three days at home before I came down with the cold; just enough time to get the house clean, the laundry done, and the house re-stocked with food. Monday we literally watched television almost all day. I haven't made Lane or Noel wear clothes since we returned. It's been hovering around 90° and between no a/c and our feverish selves, we've been keeping it cool in our skivvies.

Fun on the the skivvies, of course!

5) Discipline. I think we have what may be categorized as a "strong-willed child." Yes, I know you find it hard to believe that two pushovers such as Shannon and myself (note sarcasm) would have a stubborn, defiant, relentless 2-year old, but we do. I feel like lately all we've done is discipline her, redirect her, instruct her, give her the same choices over and over again (as opposed to the choice she wants us to give her), and so on. I just keep telling myself that one day she'll just know that she's not allowed to leave the table until everyone is done eating without my having to tell her every thirty seconds. And she won't jump on the bed, or stand up on the couches, or throw her toys, or hit us, because it'll have been engrained in her for forever that those behaviors are not acceptable, even if she tests those boundaries every. single. day. Right?