Sunday, November 9, 2014

15 months

Emily turned 15 months old today, and we are waaaayyy overdue for an update. 

She is such an alert, observant, and interactive little girl. When I ask Ethan to take out his binky, she hands hers to me. If anyone says the word, 'change', she starts to pull off her shirt. If we put on her shoes she heads for the door. She is starting to show an interest in puzzles, though it's mostly taking apart Ethan's completed ones. She likes to bring a book to me and will turn the pages but doesn't exactly care about hearing the words. 

She shares food with Ethan, mom and dad, and especially the dogs. She loves the dogs and is so sweet and gentle with them. 

She's saying many more words than E was at her age, including hi, thank you, roar, mama, and hop. If E is doing something, like hopping, Em is trying to do the same. 

She started walking just before her 13-month birthday and has been on a tear ever since. She loves to climb the stairs. Unlike E, she insists on descending facing forward, scooting down from step to step, and she's quite good at it. She loves to climb any steps and even ladders. She has figured out how to climb into the Learning Tower, which allows her to stand at counter height in the kitchen. 

Em loves to dance, whether to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or mama reading Barnyard Dance before bedtime. So cute!

She also is beginning to show her girliness. This morning she took 2 rings from a stacking toy and put one on each wrist, then strutted around the house. Like her brother, she loves shoes, and brings her sparkly blue shoes to me to wear most mornings. 

She's a good eater. I learned yesterday that she adores black olives. Huh. She'll also eat raw onions, raw brussel sprouts, salmon, ahi poke... 

She brings us such joy. The kids have started to play together intermittently, which is delightful, though it's brought the expected conflict from time to time. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Sweet Em turns 9 months old

Lovely Emily is 9 months old! It's truly amazing how fast it all goes. A few more months and she'll turn one and then we won't have itty bitty babies around here anymore!! 

But for now, we still do have a sweet squishy baby in the house. Em is just a delightful baby. Not as squishy as E was but still extremely huggable, kissable, cuddle-able. She's an excellent sleeper, which is great except that I don't get a lot of late night rocking the baby to sleep nights. I just put her down at bedtime and in a few minutes she's out till morning. Boring. 

She eats anything and loves it. I was watching her devour rice, broccoli cheese chicken stuff, watermelon-lime-mint salad, dewberries, sweet potato fries, and some of her brother's hot dog and I was struck (not for the first time) with how she closes her eyes dreamily as she takes each bite. Mr Leaven reminded me that I could capture it with a photo. Every time I look at the pic I laugh. Pure bliss.

She hasn't quite started crawling yet but she's getting around in her own way, dragging her little torso, pulling herself forward, spinning, crawling backwards, Jedi mind tricks. She got halfway out the dog door today, despite not being able to crawl. She often pulls herself up almost to a stand and can raise herself to sitting and even crouching from the ground. She loves to stand with her hands on your shoulders and is fairly steady without support. 

No words yet, though there's lots and lots of babbling. Adult conversation inevitably makes her babble. Loudly. 

She is fascinated by her big brother. Whenever they are in the room together her eyes are on him. He is definitely in a 'mine' phase, so she ends up losing a lot of toys to big proprietary brother, but she lets them go graciously. He does occasionally throw her a bone, if you will, bringing her a pacifier or toy or piec of bacon (or, only once so far, a literal bone from the dogs' toy box). 

Her hair is coming in pretty dark, possibly with a hint of red but I think that might just be a hallucination. She has 6 teeth, 4 on top and 2 on bottom. She's long and thin, though she still has those pre-walking thunder thighs. 

Her favorite toys are her brother's cars and trucks. She doesn't seem to care for baby toys or stuffed animals so she gets to share E's huge assortment of buses, trains, cars and also the puzzle pieces she enjoys nibbling upon. 

She's a very active little lady. It's not unusual for her to arch her back and squirm like crazy till you basically drop her on the floor. She's as independent as her brother was/is, only wanting to play with a toy or eat a particular food if she can pick it up herself. She loves pulling herself up to your face the grabbing your nose, hair, ear, that really tender area just below your eye... Her nails (aka talons) need clipping once a week or you can lose chunks of skin to her exploration. 

The more I describe her, the more I understand what a little adorable spitfire she is. I love her to the moon and back and am so very proud to call her my daughter. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cheering on the marathoners

 It was our second annual watch-the-marathoners excursion on March 1! The family walked from our house down to Kuykendahl, around the 18-mile mark. The grueling 1/2-mile stroll from our home was tough enough for us - we stood in awe of the crazy and wonderful runners (Mr Leaven has run marathons before, Mrs Leaven did a 5K in college once...).

Yay! Runners!

My favorite part of family walks these days - E reaches for my hand!!!!! And look at that happy little girl!

After the exhaustion of the marathon, we walked over to Dosey Doe for a carb load. Boy, watching runners makes us hungry!

Better y'all than us, say Em and her mama! We'll stick to our Pilates and tummy time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Thanksgiving !?!

Managed to post the Thanksgiving pics before Easter...

We had a wonderful feast and some beautiful time with family. We had planned to meet at Mom and Dad's, but because Dad wasn't feeling well that didn't work out. Jess & Kev graciously stepped in and hosted our standard late lunch potluck at their lovely home.

I had to go in to work in the morning, so I dropped the spouse and kids off and headed to the hospital for a few hours. Mr Leaven worked on our contribution to the potluck while carrying 2 children - SuperDad!

This was Em's first time to meet most of my mom's family - so glad we could all be there! Later in the afternoon, the Leavens visited Mom and Dad (Dad was already on the mend) and got some quality grandparent time in.

Meeting great-great Aunt Dorothy (she's really great!)

Taking a break from cooking for a quick selfie - how many arms does this guy have? Only I know...

Thank you for the fabulous outfit, Aunt Jess

DeeDee and our living doll

Cousins! Piper and Em

Just hanging out in our cool playpen

E wishing Grandpa a very happy Thanksgiving,

By the way, have I mentioned how much I HATE this computer??? No idea if the photos will show up in a variety of sizes and pixellations like the preview shows but OMG does it ever kill me to blog from this thing...

Monday, March 17, 2014

PT Day 10 recap

Hooray! Just over 1 week and E is (mostly) potty trained! The most amazing part is, we are still using a diaper for naps and at night but they've been dry for the last 3 days - he night-trained himself! 

I say mostly because he seems to still be having a little trouble determining when he has to go #2. He waits just 10 seconds too long and then, well, it's 10 seconds too late. And his favorite place to do this is at day-care (church, gym) where the caregivers are not able to devote their full attention to Mr E. 

All in all, though, we are just astonished with how well our 20-month-old guy (yesterday was 20 months!) has figured all this out. He either tells us he has to go or walks right to the bathroom himself, then waits while we help with his clothes. He loves flushing and especially loves the high-five he gets from mom and dad. Such a cool kid. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Zoo with friends

At least a few times each year, 4 of my dear girlfriends and I get together to celebrate birthdays, holidays, babies, usually with our families but sometimes just the girls. Today was a family gathering at the Houston Zoo. Unfortunately, Kirsten's son was sick and they couldn't make it, but 8 adults and 9 kids all converged on the zoo on a rainy morning, determined to take it all in. Turns out, a rainy day is a perfect zoo day, if you don't mind getting a little wet (and all of us have been in Houston for many years, which means we're all very comfortable with getting caught in sudden downpours). There are no crowds, and the animals love a little rain so they're out and about, frolicking on a rare mild day in Houston. I mean, it's the first day of spring break for the Houston school district and we parked in the fourth row - we had the place to ourselves!!

It's been so exciting to see the zoo through E's eyes. He's really noticing the animals now, and he races from exhibit to exhibit. He still does love the fish in the ponds, the mockingbirds in the bushes, and those amazing lightposts, but he's got a new appreciation for the elephants, giraffes, and okapi as well.

We also loved seeing him interact with the older kids. Katie was just wonderful with him, helping him up to see the animals and showing him the signs and little zoo games. At one point he reached up to hold her hand, and they walked along the chimpanzee exhibit like old friends. Love, love, love! He's got such a wonderful set of friends to grow up with. I just loved watching all the kids spend quality time together today. Of course, as always, it was also wonderful to catch up with adults I've now known more than half my life...

We took a quick spin on the carousel (Em loved it, E is so happy with the carousel that he now insists that Dad not touch his back during the ride - he can do it himself!) then had a simple lunch in one of the covered zoo pavilions as the rain picked up. I've really been so impressed by our zoo - I love that you can bring in food from outside and picnic just about anywhere. There's tons of places to sit and enjoy time with family and friends. And the bathroom facilities are clean and very kid-friendly (which is great when you bring a potty-training toddler on his first prolonged excursion - he was perfect, by the way).

Mary and Katie made birthday cookie bars which everyone enjoyed. Then the Leaven family headed back home to get the kids their much-needed afternoon nap. Thank you to all our dear friends for an absolutely lovely morning!