Monday, January 25, 2016

22 Months


We had lots of activity - and fun - in Audra's 22nd month :) First of all, she slept through the night again (three whole times now!), which got us started off on the right foot ;)

We went to a couple of holiday parties, one of them 45 minutes away to see some friends in from out of town. Audra did well in the car both ways, played well there (lifting many heavy things), and was generally very cheerful the whole day despite not taking a nap. We also went to the house of one of Ryan's coworkers, whose entire basement is pretty much a playroom. Audra was right in the thick of it, pushing her way into the little room under the stairs with the big kids, and taking possession of the little grocery cart and pushing that all over the basement.

Josie had a dance performance at her school that we all went to see, and I'm pretty sure Audra was one of the most excited people there :) Audra grabbed all of the baby dolls in the room (and passed them out so each of us had one to hold), and then clapped and kicked after each song.

Ryan and I also had our work holiday parties, so we actually went out two nights in a row (shocking!). Ryan's mom watched the girls so we could go to Ryan's work holiday party, and Audra ate really well, and actually put herself down - laid down on my pillow, and Patti just gave her a bottle and left. Audra was apparently fine with this arrangement as long as the door was left open. Who knew? She still woke shortly after I went to bed around 10:30pm, but still had done far better than I was expecting :) Then my mom watched the girls the next night, so Ryan could go to a sneak preview for Star Wars, and I went to my work holiday party. Mine was earlier in the day, though, so I made it back in time to split bedtime duties with my mom.

Audra's language continues to be pretty amazing. She randomly started pronouncing things better, so that "open" no longer sounds like "oop-ee", "water" no longer sounds like "waa-da", and "Josie" sounds less like "Jojo" and more like "Jojie"... although then she slid back the other way and started calling her "Jo-key" instead. She apparently knows some numbers too, as she added "six seven eight" after I said "five". Some of her new phrases are "mommy 'puter", "happened?" (for "what happened?"), "Mommy, where you?" (for "Mommy, where are you?").

Other funny Audra-isms:
  • Imperiously beckoning me as she walks away, saying "come, Mommy"
  • Yelling "Jo-key! Daddy! Where you???" at the top of her lungs when Josie and Ryan went out of sight at a restaurant
  • Slapping the seat next to her on the couch so that I'll sit down and watch TV with her, saying "Peppa Pig! Sit!"
  • Excitedly telling me a story at Wegman's about how she washed her hands: "Hands! Water! Soap!"
  • Yelling "Daddy, sit down! Mimi! Papa!" when Ryan was standing outside the car instead of getting in it so we could drive to his parents' house
Audra just seems to understand so much more now, so it's fun to see how much more she cooperates and how much more interactive she is. She asks us for help now (so much better than just indiscriminate screaming!), and offers us help too ("Ah-dah hep Mommy!!!"). She also interjects herself with Josie, like when I told Josie to sit on her own stool and Audra immediately yelled "No, Jo-key! Stop!" while pointing at Josie disapprovingly... before immediately putting her head in her hands and pretending to fall asleep when I told her in turn to stop throwing food off her tray.

[Troubled brow...]

[...followed shortly by pretending to sleep]

I also got my first "No, thank you" from Audra, when I was just mildly messing with her one morning. I had just been poking her with my toe, which isn't much of a justification for messing with her, but this was also most likely in reaction to one of her favorite morning games: something I like to call "Mommy boot". This game is comprised of Audra grabbing any of my boots with zippers on them, and making me put them on and off while I'm trying to get ready in the morning, while she narrates with a constant stream of "Mommy boot! Zipper! Oh no! I did it!"

[This is what she does when we don't play "Mommy boot"]
Audra's bedtime has been... interesting lately. She usually fights me on some part of the routine (usually brushing her teeth or changing her diaper), but I've discovered a magical formula with her: I say "let's do X, then we'll do Y", which instantly makes her more cooperative in doing X, regardless of what Y is (I've even tested this with made up words for Y - still works!). Once I finally wrangle her into her pajamas and we do books, she needs to pick out what she's going to sleep with at night... and since I nurse her to sleep, I have a vested interest in her picking something without sharp corners to poke into my face as she hugs it to herself. I usually push for her baby owl, but unfortunately, her usual choices are books, her new baby doll (including all of its accessories), or Spiderman. All poky.

While Audra participated pretty well with Christmas activities last year, this year she did even more so. She helped with decorating the tree, although the lower third of the tree definitely only had minimally-breakable ornaments on it, and she still broke a couple. But her clasping her hands and pronouncing "pretty!" at the lights was so sweet :)

We also did "posed" Christmas pictures again this year as part of Ryan's mom's present. I still don't understand how anyone ever gets kids to look at the same place and smile at the same time. We took about 150 pictures (in burst mode, which was very helpful), and we ended up with two workable pictures... but lots of outtakes ;)

We got together with my side of the family just before Christmas. Audra had fun opening her presents, helping other people open their presents, and generally just being very... involved with the presents part of the day ;) She was also quite excited about her baby cousin Benjamin, ranging from gently touching him to yelling "baby!" at him.

We opened presents at our house Christmas morning, and Audra was just so wonderfully content with her gifts. She was happy to open them, but seemed to be equally happy just playing with whatever was in front of her at that moment. One of the favorites was Ryan's hammock... which was sadly short-lived, since the seams tore within a week or two so we had to send it back.

After presents at our house, we headed over to Ryan's parents' house. Audra dove right into her presents there, and she particularly loves loves loves her new baby doll and stroller. We did lunch after that, and then went off to take a short nap upstairs. Apparently Christmas had worn us out, though, since I passed out with her for a couple of hours, and then got some reading time in on my new Kindle while she slept a third hour. All in all, a wonderful Christmas :)

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[S'mores! In December!]
[Such concentration]

Saturday, January 9, 2016


November really seemed to be marked by Josie's "projects", which basically are multi-day art projects she undertakes, which involve coloring, cutting, pasting, taping, etc. various pieces of paper into various other final forms. I like that she has projects that sustain her interest for that long (and hopefully provide some sense of accomplishment for her once she finally finishes them), but my favorite of these projects are her notes. She typically will draw a picture of a person (I think it's usually her), then adds declarations of love to it :)

[This one she cut up and taped back together as a puzzle]

She also writes little love notes to us like this one, which reads "Our family is the worst." She seemed pretty happy with this one, so I can only hope that "worst" maybe isn't the word she meant...? :-\
Then there are what I fondly refer to as "the yoyo notes". I'm pretty sure she had never even played with a yoyo at that point, and yet she wrote a plethora of notes about doing just that. Especially perplexing is that most of the yoyo notes are addressed to Ryan, who, again, has never played with a yoyo with her. The one below reads "I love you because you let me do the yoyo because you let go the yoyo. Love Josie. I love Daddy". She even got a stack of notecards from Chick-Fil-A as a "pay it forward" activity where she was supposed to write a happy note to various people and then give it to them. Instead, every.single.card read "I love you when you let me play with the yoyo and yarn", and then she gave them all to Ryan. For whatever reason, I think this is the funniest thing ever - I'm laughing now as I type this, and I laughed so hard I cried when he first read them :)
Josie is much more into story-telling now, and she's so amusing with how animated she gets when she tells story, with her different inflection and how she tries to build suspense. She also has started to put away her own clean clothes now as part of her chores, which is a big help for me, but I think she just likes being able to choose where things go. She also dressed herself in a white shirt, khaki jumper, and khaki pants for school one day, then told me she didn't want to wear all beige once we got to school - I burst out laughing, and told her she's definitely her daddy's daughter and then recounted to her the day that he (almost) wore an entirely brown outfit to work... but luckily decided against it when he saw that all of the browns didn't quite match once he got out into the sunlight.

Josie also prompted another haircut for herself, since she and one of her friends apparently were playing barber at school. It's unclear if Josie actually cut any of her hair, but we had a talk about what would happen if she cut her hair herself... mainly, it would be very short and I wouldn't be able to do an Elsa braid for her anymore ;) But she explained that she had done that since she wanted a haircut, so that's what we did the next weekend. After saying at first that she wanted it super short, then the same as mine, then super long, we settled on just getting a couple of inches off. It sadly seems to have stopped her hair from going into the awesome ringlets it was doing over the summer, but really seems to have helped her hair be less fluffy/frizzy overall, so I guess it balances out :)

School is going well for Josie. We had her first parent-teacher conference of the year, and her teacher confirmed that Josie is doing very well, and she seemed impressed that Josie self-corrects already to fix things when they aren't quite right, which is apparently unusual for her age. Overall, she seems like she's right on track, and is advanced in certain areas (e.g., reading and writing), and her teacher said she'd like a class full of Josies, so that's always nice to hear :)

I also went to Josie's school for their Thanksgiving luncheon, and Josie was so excited to see me and was being very helpful in getting my plate and making sure I had enough food. And thank goodness the food was better this year! The traditional Thanksgiving fare was a little unrecognizable last year (and seemed to be mostly out of a can, even the turkey), so Ryan couldn't bring himself to go enjoy any turkey loaf this year. But the food was actually very good and fresh... including all the pie ;)

We had Thanksgiving at our house again this year, and with a larger crowd than normal since some of Ryan's family came in from out of state to join us this year. We had a final count of 17 for dinner (19 for dessert), and so we ended up with a 27- or 28-pound turkey, which turns out is quite large. We had to do a bit of squeezing to get it into the pan :) But everything turned out beautifully and the food and company were excellent. And we didn't even forget any dishes (like we normally seem to do), and overall, everything just seemed to go very smoothly.

It has been unseasonably warm lately, so we've been able to spend more time outside than normal this time of year (well, at least without being all bundled up). We took some long walks (dodging a strangely large number of wolf spiders and grasshoppers on our path), got the kite up in the air (briefly), and admired the fact that the plants aren't quite dead yet.

[This is what happens when we let dill go to seed]

[Okra skeletons]

We also did a Mommy/Josie outing to a park to see the animals... not knowing that some of the animals we would see would be horses, as there was an AQHA show going on that day. Since the last AQHA show I competed at with Jane was at the same park (just before 9/11, so a world and a lifetime ago, it seems), it was an unexpectedly nostalgic visit for me. So Josie and I watched a couple of western pleasure classes and then wandered around to see the other animals.

As I mentioned in Audra's post, we also went up to my mom's house in November. Josie was so excited to go there again, and ran all over the house with her Nana, and even climbed her first tree. Part of the reason we made the trip, though, was so that I could finally finish cleaning my stuff out from her house. I moved out 13 years ago, and yet I still had some horse stuff there...and, after 13 years, I guess I finally realized there was no point in holding onto it for longer since it's so unlikely I'm going to own a horse again anytime soon :( So I still have some riding gear I can use if/when I start leasing a horse again, but the blankets and saddle pads and several years' worth (!!) of Horse & Rider magazine are no more.

Miscellaneous cuteness:
[With her baby cousin Benjamin :)]

[Dancing silliness]