Monday, July 27, 2009

20 months old

My baby is 20 months old. And really, she’s not a baby anymore. She still wants held sometimes, which she indicates by saying “hold you” and loves to be rocked before bed, but for the most part, she is a little girl. She has her own mind and makes many of her own decisions. She is a little girl. She puts her clothes and socks away (in the right drawers) and she puts her Crocs on all by herself (on the correct feet). She is a little girl. She likes to play with her friends and is the leader in the group unless she is with older children, in which case she likes to observe and mimic. She is a little girl. She is not a baby anymore. My 20 month old.

Last night, in a state of insomnia, I was pondering all the things I wanted to write about my daughter on her 20 month birthday. I do this a lot. I come up with the best ideas throughout the night. By morning, those ideas are gone and I am disappointed. So is the case today as I sit here regretting that I can’t remember all the clever things I wanted to say. Oh well, clever it will not be.

So, what is Addison like at 20 months old?

We’ll start with her language and comprehension skills because to me (and others), this is the most remarkable thing that my daughter has accomplished in her short life. The girl’s vocabulary and ability to understand what is being said to her is out of this world. I can’t say she speaks 50 words or 100 or even 200, because she speaks MUCH MUCH MUCH more than that. She can virtually repeat almost anything that you say to her and if she isn’t clear when she says it, she’s pretty darn close.

Addison is excellent at following directions and thrives on being given instructions. She can follow multi-part directions. We are hoping this is a sign that she is going to be a good student!
She speaks in sentences, though sometimes broken. A couple of mornings ago, she was playing with window stickers on the back patio window and as the sun was shining straight in that window, she said “Mommy, sun’s in my eyes.” She says enough 3-5 word sentences that I couldn’t even sit here and name them all. She’ll tell you “I have two shoes.” or “Mommy, see? Two babies.” Or “Bubba, come ‘ere” or “Daddy, where are you?”

My favorite has to be when she says “I love you”. She is starting to put names on the end so several times throughout the day she runs up to me, gives me a big kiss and says “I love you, Mommy”. My heart melts.

My second favorite is when she says “bless you”. We must sneeze a lot around our house because she picked this one up a few months ago. She says it clear as day and it doesn't matter what she is doing at the time or whether she is even in the same room as the person who sneezes. She will hear you and bless you. She has been putting names behind that phrase for a while now, too. She tells everyone (the stranger in the store, her gym teacher, her family and friends), “bless you”, even when they cough or make some other similar noise. And she can’t just say “bless you” to one person. She has to share the love and say it to everyone else around. She also pretends to sneeze so someone will bless her. If they don't, she blesses herself. So.Completely.Adorable!

On top of her sentences, Addison says a lot of 3 and 4 syllable words, such as: vitamins, avocado, watermelon, medicine, maraca, strawberries. She also knows several parts of the alphabet song. She LOVES the alphabet song. She also LOVES to count. She counts from 1-10 throughout the day, completely on her own. Just a week ago, she would say “1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10.” Now she says all 10 numbers in a row. She even counted to twelve for Daddy the other day. She is usually counting during times that I can’t grab the video camera (like when I am changing her diaper or we’re in the car) and if I am lucky enough to have the camera handy, she stops as soon as she sees it. I did manage to get her quietly counting to 10 the other day, so look for that video in the near future!

Oh, and our girl has manners. She says “please” and “thank you” all the time, but more often “thank you”. I usually have to remind her to say please, though lately she has been saying it herself when she wants more of something. A recent conversation went like this:

A: “More cereal, please.”

M: “Sure, sweetie.”

A: “Thank you, Mommy.”

M: “You’re welcome, Addison.”

If she has food on her plate she doesn’t want, she will hand it to you and say “thank you”. Haaa! Better than throwing it on the floor, which we are growing out of, thank goodness!

Addison has always been a good eater. Her diet consists of mostly fruits and vegetables. I planned it that way and thankfully, she cooperated. She loves beans and peas and sweet potatoes and avocado and grapes and blueberries and banana (and so much more). On any given day, she might have all of those things! She has even been requesting green beans for breakfast, lately. Silly little girl! She also loves yogurt, cheese, eggs, turkey sausage and turkey bacon, meat, pasta, toast and peanut butter.

We haven’t started formally potty training yet, but I think I am going to buy a potty soon. She is becoming interested in the potty and has gone pee-pee in the big potty twice so far. She likes to tell me when she has to poo-poo and proceeds to squat down and grunt. Most of the time, she is faking, but I think it’s a good sign that potty training isn’t that far down the road.

Addison loves her Bubba. She loves her Mommy and Daddy, too, and everyone in the family for that matter! She loves books. She loves to sing and dance. She loves to attend her gym and music classes. She loves playgroup and the playground. She LOVES her babies. It's rare to see her without one of her babies. She loves her Lovey (a little duck blanky thing that she got the day she was born) and couldn't sleep without it. She sleeps about 12+ hours a night and naps for 2-2.5 hours in the afternoon. She loves to help Mommy around the house. She loves to wipe the floor and throw trash away. She loves attention and an audience. She is a performer!

More than anything, Addison loves kisses. She kisses everything from her animals to her babies to people to Wrigley to characters in her books. She went through her “100 First Animals” book yesterday and kissed almost all 100 of them. Even the cockroach. I could have done without that one. She will take regular kisses, Eskimo kisses or butterfly kisses, as long as it’s a kiss!

To say Addison is friendly is an understatement. She is a total social butterfly and wants to be friends with everyone she sees. She loves to be around other kids and hold their hands. Anyone under the age of 14 constitutes as a friend. We can be anywhere and she will see a young person and yell “friend!” It’s actually kind of sad because as she is smiling and waving at them, they ignore her and continue to move on. She never seems disappointed, but being the protective mother, I just want to run up to them and ask them to say “hi” back.

Her favorite summer activity is definitely going to the swimming pool. We go several times a week, always after her nap. She now wakes up from her nap and says “swimming pool!” I need to change things up a bit or at least phase out before summer ends so she doesn’t go into complete shock once the pool closes for the season.

Her favorite character is Elmo, by far. She has never watched TV so up until last week when we threw an Elmo DVD in the car on our 14 hour drive home from vacation, all she knew of Elmo was from her diapers and books. Now, she gets in the car, points to the entertainment system and says “Elmo TV”. Uh oh!

Addison prays before bedtime every night. She folds her hands together, I say a prayer and then we both say Amen. Then, she asks to do it again. And again. And again. Several prayers later, she says "night night".

Addison is full of personality. She is a sweet, loving, intelligent, humorous girl. She is not too sensitive, but very compassionate. She is a thrill seeker. She faces new challenges with caution, but seems to be fearless. She likes to observe and try things herself. She still appreciates assistance with some things, but often declares “self”, meaning she can do it without our help.

And there you have the present-day Addison in a nutshell. She changes daily, which makes every day exciting! There are simply no words to describe our love for her.

We love you Miss Addison, our little punky punkin’ munchie munchkin princess angel!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

18 month pictures (1 month late)

Okay, so I guess that would make them 19 month pictures. Simply because by the time I thought of calling my wonderful photographer, she was booked solid for weeks.
Dustin and I definitely prefer the photojournalist style over what you might get at, say, a department store or mall picture studio. This is not to say that one of these days I won't give in and take Addison to such a place, because I probably will. I am just not the biggest fan and have been able to avoid doing so thus far.
Jenni has been photographing us since Addison was 9 months old. She is an amateur, hoping-to-someday-go-professional photographer who has the eye of an established photographer. I just love her work, which gets better with each session. She photographed us on a beautiful Saturday morning at an awesome park that had so many options. Even my doesn't-know-anything-about-photography eye was scoping out all the amazing and unique photo opportunities.
Addison was a total ham, which resulted in many silly, scrunchy face pictures. Maybe a little too much, actually, but you can't just tell a happy, excited 19 month old with the BIGGEST personality to "tone it down". And I'm glad for that. I love staring into my daughters eyes in these photos and imagine what she is thinking, how she is viewing our world, how loved she feels. I love the innocence. I want to scoop her out of these pictures and kiss her all over.
Jenni presented us with over 75 pictures this time and it was hard to decide which ones to post. Below are some of my favorites.

My Sister, Brother-in-law, and Noah were in town that weekend and I thought last minute to get Noah in a couple pictures. As I suspected,the kids didn't sit still next to one another for that perfect grandparent's-gift-type-of-picture (am I overdoing the dash-between-the-word-thing in this post or what????), but we did get a few good ones of my sweet little nephew.
This was as close as we got to that perfect picture.

The infamous kiss

We are Noah's Godparents so I am very grateful for this picture.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Family Reunion Luau

On Sunday, we drove down to Middletown, OH for a family gathering on Dustin's side. We left early enough in hopes that Addison wouldn't fall asleep in the car during our 2+ hour drive, thus ruining her nap for the day. Yes, I am a nap stickler and PROUD OF IT! Our plan was a success and by the time we got to the party (a little early) at Dustin's cousin's house, Addison was begging to take a nap. Literally. "Night night? Mommy night night?" I think at one point she even said "please". She didn't care that she was in an unfamiliar place or that cousin Wendy was still in her bedroom (where we set up the pack 'n play) getting ready. Nope. The girl just wanted to sleep. Fortunately, she took a pretty decent 1hr 45min nap and was ready to party once she woke up.

Hawaiian Luau was the theme. Dustin's parents bought Addison and Aaron matching outfits in Key West a few months back and this was the perfect opportunity for them to wear them! (We also brought Addison's sarong/tube top and grass skirt/coconut bra ensembles but didn't have the chance to put them on as she was in the swimming pool most of the day.)

Addison and her cousin, Eva, were definitely the "fish" at the party. They had a lot of fun together. The 1+ year age gap was barely noticeable.

As you can see, Addison had a variety of "floaties" to rotate between.

Addison VERY MUCH enjoyed her first ice cream cone.

Many, many, many years ago (okay, not that many, but sometimes it feels like it) I was in living in the dorms at college. Our dining hall had a soft serve ice cream machine, with cake cones and sprinkles. I am much more fond of ice cream toppings than I am the actual ice cream, so I would fill 3/4 of the cone with sprinkles, add a dab of ice cream and top it with another thick layer of sprinkles. When making Addison's ice cream cone, I (almost out of habit), did this exact thing (minus the sprinkles on top), fully expecting for the bottom part to be for me. She was so surprised when she got through all the ice cream and saw the sprinkles! I managed to get about 3 sprinkles for myself. My girl liked my secret ice cream cone surprise!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Softball Game

Addison and I went to cheer for Dustin during his Softball Playoff game.

Addison said hi to everyone she knew (and didn't know).
If you look closely, you might notice her filthy dress and leggings. They got that way when she fell off the bleachers face first onto the dirt slid into home plate, scoring the winning run.
Everywhere she goes, her baby goes. Her innate abilities to nurture at such a young age is incredible. (Tonight she slapped her grilled cheese against her plate and then proceeded to kiss it and say "sorry".)
Dustin up to bat.
There's that Adam Lambert expression, again!
She was covered in dust by the time we were leaving, so I stripped her down to her diaper (and bow). She thought it was really funny and was making me laugh the whole way home. I couldn't decide which of these pictures were my favorite, so I included them all.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The coolest park ever

Addison and I took a couple days and went to Cleveland this week to visit with Julie, Josh and Noah. One of the highlights of the trip was our voyage to an amazing park near their house. I stole the explanation of the park below from Julie. I actually didn't even realize what the park was all about until I read it on her blog just a few minutes ago. It makes the wonderful experience we had even better!

"The Inspiration for Preston's H.O.P.E. came from very special friends and family of a little boy born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). They believed that if his dreams were to play in a park with all other kids, then there must be many, many other children with the same dream as well... they found out that there were over 26,000 kids in Cuyahoga County alone with some type of disability. Kids that wanted the opportunity to play with their brothers and sisters and their best friends... a place that was boundless. Many of these kids met one day and dreamed together the way Preston's H.O.P.E. should be. A place where you could get up high, feel movement, play things you've never been able to, or just be quiet if you want. And that is how it all started.

Then the real work began to make these dreams a reality. After seven years and almost $3,000,000 raised, children have the unique opportunity to enjoy all of these children's dreams and still create many of their own.

Specific components of Preston's H.O.P.E. include The Imagination Village, with make-believe houses that are connected by a Raised Walkway, Play Theatre, Sand & Water Area, just to name a few, as well as play areas with Swings, tunnels, and slides!"

I took a lot of pictures and barely captured the essence of this place. Enjoy the scenery!
Park Entrance

Town Center

Clothing Store

Inside of store

Addison trying out a new look at the store



Inside the schoolhouse

Addison and Noah on teeter totter



Putting Green

Poppy's Gym (which is extra cool because we think they must have named it after Addison and Noah's Poppy).

Bank of America

Addison and Noah on Motorcycle

The coolest park ever - cont'd


Firefighter Addison

Addison and Noah in Fire Chief car

Fire Chief Addison

Addison in police car and Noah in fire chief car (in background)
The prettiest jailbird I ever did see!

Noah had visitation rights

The prettiest girl on a swing I ever did see!

She loves the swing

This is one of her new expressions. We think she watched too much of Adam Lambert on American Idol. Keep an eye out, you will probably see it in other pictures.

Addison and Noah riding the front of the train