Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The First of Many

Our family celebrated the first of many 2009 Christmases this morning.  Because of Eric's work schedule, and visiting our families, we'll have plenty of different opportunities to open gifts and remember the birth of our savior this year.  Emily quickly learned how fun it is to open presents, and kept repeating "more presents" every chance she got.  Her favorite gifts seem to be a carton of eggs that squeak and teach shape matching or her new baby, which she has yet to realize is designed to accompany her at bath time.  And maybe, just maybe, said baby will help her forget how much she hates having someone wash her hair.  Unfortunately, our memory card decided it didn't want to store all the pictures we took, and we're still not sure why, but we still captured a few fun moments!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Emily Sings the Alphabet

Lately Emily's vocabulary has been growing almost exponentially, including learning some letters and numbers.  In this video, she sings the alphabet song with her Disney princess laptop, although she has a little trouble keeping up.  What she lacks in speed and accuracy, she makes up for with sheer enthusiasm.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/8090544]

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Emily is very into hugging people these days.  But it doesn't end there.  She frequently also wants to hug her baby doll, her stuffed animals, and even pictures in the books that we are reading.  Tonight, I let her watch a video while I made dinner, and when I came in to check on her a few minutes later, this is what I found.  I have no idea how long she had been that way, but I think Oscar deserves an award for most tolerant cat EVER!

Friday, December 4, 2009

23 months old!


I've been reminded this month of just how blessed I am to be your mother.  It's been an emotional past couple of weeks, but your smiles, your giggles, and just your physical presence in my life have been such a joy!  You're catching on to things so quickly these days.  Just today you learned the word "snow" and apparently told it to daddy when you went outside today after we got our first blanket of snow over everything.  You can also count to ten - albeit you often skip numbers - but your eight, nine, and ten are always right on!  And, I woke up the other day to you singing part of the alphabet to yourself.  I haven't been able to get you to repeat a whole string of letters yet, but if I sing it and pause, you'll supply the right letter most times (especially if it's H, P, or S).  And just tonight in the car, we had a whole conversation.  I told you we were going to see Andy and Sarah, and you said, "Ahn-dy, Sa-wah, house".  And then I confirmed this and you said, "door?  knock" and I said yes, we could knock on their door and then you said "night night.  Baby Abby go night night", and I said, "sure, yeah, she goes night night".  What a little chatterbox!

You LOVE playing with your baby, and making sure she has her bottle, and that she gets rocked to sleep.  If we sing "rock-a-bye baby" though, you'll throw her vehemently down on the floor when we sing "down will come baby".  We'll have to work on that.  You also really like to color, though mostly you just dot the paper with the tips of the crayons and ask me to draw various things that come to your mind.  I draw a lot of animals and babies and shoes.

You're learning to reason, and if I tell you that you need to eat three bites of (insert healthy food here) before you can eat a cracker, you'll usually do it.  You also generally listen really well, and are (excluding that recent trip to the Gap with your soon-to-be aunt Kara) very well behaved.  You do, however, still whine a LOT.  And this is unfortunate, because I can't really punish you for it, but I can't stand to listen to it either.  It's easy to fix though, because 9 times out of 10, you just want my undivided attention.  And I can usually give you that.

We decorated the Christmas tree last weekend, and you loved it.  You like all the "balls" hanging on the tree, and you like to show it to everyone that comes over how pretty the tree is.  You've enjoyed playing with your Little People nativity scene, but we've lost baby Jesus, and that could present a problem in your theology soon.  Mary?  Check.  Angel?  Check.  Jesus?  Who's that?

Thanks for lighting up my life, little girl.  I can't believe that in another month, my baby will be two whole years old!



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sad, but also Thankful

I've decided to write this post and make public some sad news because it's part of our life, and sometimes sharing helps.  Eric and I were thrilled to learn quite a few weeks ago that we were expecting our second child.  By our calculations, baby number two would arrive the first week in July, meaning that Emily and baby number two would be exactly two and half years apart.  It seemed perfect, and we knew we were ready to do this baby thing all over again and grow our family.  We got Emily a t-shirt that said 'I'm going to be a big sister' and planned to have her announce our big news to our family this weekend at Thanksgiving.

But instead, things didn't go according to our plans.  For whatever reason, God decided this wasn't the right time or the right baby for us.  We found out yesterday that I'm experiencing a miscarriage; an ultrasound revealed that this baby wasn't nearly as big as it should be for how far along I'm supposed to be.  We were sad, obviously, and we still are.  I already miss this little person, and the place I was imaging he or she would hold in our family.  But I'm also filled, appropriately enough, with a sense of thankfulness.  We're already a family.  I have a husband who is strong and supportive, who loves me and listens to me, and who I'm glad I get to spend every day of my life with.  And together, we're already parents.  We have the most wonderful, loving, and vibrant little girl who gives lots of hugs and kisses, and frequently walks around the house saying "mommy...are you?  Are you mommy?".  And though we want another child, if that's not in the Lord's plans for us, that's okay because my heart is already overflowing with love for my family and the blessings that God has bestowed upon us.  So during this week of Thanksgiving, yes, I'm sad, but also thankful.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Score One for Mommy!

No, I didn't post this somewhat gross picture of my daughter to make you queasy. Instead, I want proof (and a hearty congratulations) that she is consuming broccoli and cauliflower. Emily and I have daily battles over what she eats. In short, I offer up a variety of fruits and vegetables, and she rejects them. That (with the exception of bananas and sugar-free applesauce, both of which she truly loves) pretty much sums it up. I've tried to be tricky, and occasionally can sneak in vegetables in soup without her realizing it, but they can't really amount to much. Yesterday, Emily and I went to the Farmer's Market and bought some locally grown broccoli and cauliflower. We went home, I cooked it, pureed it, and added it to some (organic!) macaroni and cheese and voila - success! Score one for mommy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Our Little Genius

Emily keeps amazing me with the things she knows how to do and say.  Take today, for example:

1.  Tonight before bed, we were watching Wheel of Fortune, and when it was time for the bonus round, Pat asked the contestant for three consonants and a vowel, and Emily responds "S", "B", "C".  I could hardly believe my ears.  I asked her if she knew those were letters, and she said "yeah!".

2.  She said her first five word sentence tonight when I tried to brush her teeth:  "No, mama, I do it".

3.  I always end our day by singing Emily a lullaby or two while she rests her head on my shoulder.  It's been this way for as long as I can remember, and we rotate through a few songs, but almost always sing "Goodnight, Emily" (for obvious reasons).  It's a song I used to listen to when I was little, and it goes like this:

"Goodnight, Emily.  Sleeptight, Emily. Jesus be your dreams.
The God above is the God of love, so little girls sleep in peace."

Tonight I hesitated before saying the last word (I had to hiccup) and Emily says to me, "peace, mama".

What a sweet (and brilliant) little girl!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

22 Months Old!


You are 22 months old now, inching your way towards the big 2nd birthday.  Reading through these posts, you're going to think I forgot to write a 21 month post, but the truth is, I did write it.  And, it was going to be great, with videos and everything.  But then your dad and I got busy.  Really busy.  We still have not edited those videos.  Argh!

I'm going to keep this post short and sweet as well.  Here are some of the cute things you do these days:

  • You pat the space next to you if you want someone to sit there.

  • You laugh out loud for no reason, and then call yourself silly over and over again.

  • You ask me if I'm ready to go as soon as it becomes evident we're leaving the house.

  • You correctly identify two Sesame Street characters: Abby and Elmo.  And, your face positively lights up when you see them.

  • You give real, honest to goodness hugs now, locking your arms tightly around my neck.  Sometimes, you even ask for them!

  • You sing "round and round" after I sing "the wheels on the bus go..."

  • You do the motions to the Itsy Bitsy Spider song (that was one of the videos too)!

  • You say "please" when I ask you "how do you ask nicely?"

Here are some of the not-so-cute things you do:

  • Whine.  A lot.  And then some more.

  • Stick your hands down your diaper once you realize it needs to be changed.

  • Want what you want when you want it, thank you very much.

  • Whine.  A lot.  And then some more.

I guess the cute outweigh the not-so-cute, so that's good.  And speaking of cute, here are some pictures!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Carving

I know I've been terribly behind with posting recently; we've just been SO busy.  But, tonight Emily and I had a few hours to ourselves to play, so here are a couple of quick pictures of us carving a pumpkin together.  I have fond memories of carving pumpkins from my childhood (mine always had toothy grins).  I'm not crazy about Halloween as a holiday, but pumpkin carving is something I can totally get behind so enjoy these pictures of us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Black and Gold Spur Verbal Prowess

Yesterday was a big day for our family for two reasons.  First, Eric and I got to attend the Steelers/Lions game at Ford Field.  And second, Emily began to speak in sentences.  Now, before I go on, I would like to point out that this is not the first time Emily hit a milestone coinciding with a big moment for the Steelers: she took her first several unassisted steps in a row on February 1, 2009, when the Steelers won their record setting sixth super bowl.  Maybe yesterday wasn't really much of an accomplishment for the Steelers franchise, (beating the Lions isn't exactly momentous) but we attended the game, so it, along with the aforementioned super bowl victory, was a big moment for us and our personal Steelers memories.  I think there's a connection here, don't you?

The Steelers once again played just well enough to beat their opponent.  If they don't learn to close games out, I'm going to have a heart attack.  What amazed me most though, was the sheer number of people in the stadium decked out in black and gold.  A radio announcer declared the stadium was probably 60/40 in favor of the Steelers fans, and I'd have to agree with that.  I wholeheartedly believe there were more terrible towels being waved than people cheering for the Lions.  Crazy!  Also, we had amazing seats, only eight rows back in the corner of the end zone. A couple of particularly awesome Steelers fans in front of us were wearing Ben's Miami of Ohio jersey and Troy's USC jersey (which I mention in case anyone reading this blog needs a Christmas idea for me).

Meanwhile, Grandma Evonne and Grandpa Don where kind enough to watch Emily while we hit the game.  She's been babbling quite a bit recently, and I've been wondering if she's trying to put several words together.  Once Eric swears he heard her say "I want to watch Elmo"!  But yesterday, those babbles undeniably became real, honest to goodness sentences.  Several people witnessed her ask "where is ball?" multiple times and then in the car on the ride home, she told me twice, "I want arf" (a.ka. her stuffed puppy dog).  What a big, articulate girl!  We're so proud of you Emily; keep up the good work!

Celebrating a touchdown late in the first half!

The picture doesn't do it justice - there were a TON of terrible towels waving at the end of the game!

All smiles for another victory!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

21 months old!


Okay, I'm a little late again with your post, but I think our readers (a.k.a. your grandparents and a handful of other friends and family) will forgive me when they learn that instead of pictures embedded in this entry, they are going to get videos.  I have a hunch that grandma Ruth will be particularly pleased.  At any rate, let's recap what you've been up to.  First, you are so, so stubborn.  Our eating battle continues, and as Julie remarked the other day, "you seem to be getting more picky - if that's possible - as you get older".  Honestly, breakfast is either oatmeal or cereal and a banana (or occasionally waffles as a treat), lunch is either a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or hummus, cheese, and crackers, and dinner is whichever of those two things you didn't eat for lunch.  Now, I'm not really worried because you're gaining weight, seem healthy, and I sneak veggie juice and crushed up vitamans in with your fruit juice, but still, live a little.  Try a bit of scrambled egg, or - gasp - even a piece fo pizza for goodness sake!  But, to make up for it, you are becoming so, so smart.  Here's a video of us (okay, really just me) singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, but you do very well with the motions (and to be fair, you do better when I am doing them along with you but as I was holding the camera, that just wasn't happening this time).

You continue to learn new words at an alarming rate, and are putting small phrases together.  For example, "where dada" or "watch Elmo".  Yes, that furry little guy continues to be your very best friend, and you angle to watch one of his videos at least a dozen times a day.  However, lest grandma Evonne or our other readers become concerned, let me reassure them that you only watch 30 minutes of an Elmo video a few times per week.  You also can remember what pages in books are coming up, and this morning, when we were reading a Spot book where flaps are hiding different animals, you made the sound of each and every animal BEFORE lifting the flap.  You knew exactly what would be there, and we've only read that book maybe a dozen times.  What a smarty pants!  Oh, and speaking of pants, you are already exhibiting signs of being a teenager.  You totally have an opinion on what you want to wear, and if I try to dress you in something you don't like, you will throw a fit.  If, however, you do like my choice, you will shoot your arms up in the air, and say "there!" when it's on properly.  It's a little scary, to be honest.  You are tons of fun, and love to listen to music and dance, as this video shows!

You continue to be very social, very strong willed, exuberant, obedient, often whiny, and always so stinking cute.  You're getting better at playing by yourself, especially when I leave to go take a shower.  You used to wail if I left you alone to do that, and now you just shout "bye!" and go on playing with Noah (a little person that you actually know by name) or whatever else has caught your attention.  Lately, puzzles continue to be a favorite, and here you are showing your prowess.  The video is a little long, but again, I think the grandparents will like it and since they're a big portion of our audience, here you go!

I love you Emmy!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Not me Monday

One of the blogs that I typically read has a weekly column tradition entitled "Not me Mondays".  This is where you can write a post about all of the things that you most certainly did not do (except of course, that you actually did do them and now can get all the guilt out of your system while having a laugh at yourself in the process).

Here are my not me moments for the past week:

I did not decide to take Emily for a walk but forget to pack some kleenex in case of a runny nose.  When her nose started to run, I definitely didn't search for something to use and end up wiping away her snot with a leaf.

When we returned from a weekend in Ann Arbor last Sunday, and Emily was dog tired, having had a fun filled weekend with less sleep than usual, I definitely did not use an Elmo video to get her to stay happy until bedtime.  I would never use videos as a babysitter for my child.

When I couldn't find my deoderant one day this week, I didn't decide to use Eric's instead and then spray some feminime body splash under my armpits as well to make me smell girly.

And finally (I think this was actually last week), I did not decide that I needed chocolate so badly one night that I delayed Emily's bedtime, and took her (in her pajamas) to the grocery store so that I could find some.

Care to join in the fun with me?  Leave a comment about what you definitely did not do in the comments!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009


This weekend, our good friends Brandon and Annie came to visit from Washington, D.C. They came to see us and our other friends, Josh and Kristy. They also came to meet Josh and Kristy's baby, Micah, and see Emily as a toddler. (They hadn't seen her in over a year. Needless to say, she's a little different now). The visit was a lot of fun, with lots of good food, fellowship, and laughter. We played Scattergories, made sand castles, and alternated turns taking care of the kiddos. We remembered why it's so important to hold on to old friendships, and also made new memories. Here are some pictures:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

20 Months Old!


Another month, and more milestones. This has been the month of random attachments. It started, I think, when we took our family pictures last month.  You did great, and we got some awesome pictures, but almost all of them have "arf" in the background.  Ironically, this small stuffed dog was your dad's when he was little.  You became attached to this recently, and it complements your love of your baby blanket quite nicely.  I think it's absolutely hilarious that you have chosen the same two respective comfort objects that your parents cherished as children.  And I swear it was all on your own; we actually didn't push you to like these things.

Lately though, you've decided to carry around a couple of plastic food items everywhere you go.  Corn and grapes, for whatever reason, amuse you to no end.  They must go together, and you can't find one without searching for the other.  Speaking of foods, Emily, why don't you eat vegetables?  Seriously, the closest you come is hummus, and I'm so worried that you're missing out on essential nutrients that I let you eat hummus until your heart is content (which roughly translates to, well, a LOT of hummus each day).   Also, you are not what I would call a graceful eater.  No, you stuff food in your mouth until you look like a chipmunk, mumble something that sounds like more, and cry when I won't give it to you until you've finished chewing.  It's crazy, child.  Slow down!

You want to do everything by yourself, from buckling your own straps on your booster seat and car seat to walking up and down stairs (with my hand) to brushing your teeth and washing yourself in the bath. You throw tantrums a LOT, but you also listen really well. So, if I tell you it's time to leave the library, you'll cry and say "NO" but then, after a minute or two, you stop and come. It's almost funny, or it would, if it didn't attract so much attention. One final thing, Emily: your dad is a good guy who loves and cares for you every bit as much as I do. So, do you think one day - just one - you could decide to attach yourself to his legs instead of mine? That'd be great. But remember, only one, because although it drives me to the brink of craziness, I'm sure I'd miss it, and you. Love you!

Love, Mom

P.S. - This was also a big month because we found out that you will be gaining a second aunt. Your uncle Jeff got engaged to your soon-to-be aunt Kara, and someday you'll appreciate how cool that is! Congrats Jeff and Kara!

Monday, August 31, 2009


One of my favorite things as a parent thus far has been watching Emily learn new things, and master new skills. She's so proud of herself, and it's fun to know that every month, she can do things that she couldn't do just a few weeks ago. Today we got out the wooden puzzles again; they hadn't been used much lately. Earlier this summer, Emily could match up the pictures well enough, but couldn't quite ever get the pieces in. Today, not a problem! She not only matched the pictures, but would twist and turn them until it fit right in (or occasionally ask for help if she got too frustrated). She completed six puzzles in under ten minutes while also making all the animal sounds and having the kangaroo hop all over the floor (because I could never think of a noise for him)! It's the small things sometimes, isn't it?

P.S. Yes, Emily is wearing pants and a long sleeved t-shirt because it was 45 degrees when we woke up this morning. In August. Yikes!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Emily's friend Reuben came over the other night while their mothers went out to book club together. Thanks to the church down the street, Plymouth Heights CRC, Emily and Reuben enjoyed a special kids carnival. They watched the ducks:

and pet the rabbits.

When they went inside the rabbit pen, Reuben nervously tried to pet one, while Emily frantically tried to climb the gate when a small bunny "attacked" her.

Reuben also got downright giddy about petting the chicks:

After some riding some big wheels, watching the dunk tank, and drawing with chalk:

it was time for the duck pond and a wagon ride home:

The end.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Camping 2009

Last weekend was the second annual Alpha 11 reunion camping trip.  Josh and I drove down to Salt Fork State Park for three nights of camping with Brandon and Peter.  Although we had to endure hot, humid weather and some buckeye fans as neighbors, we still had a great time.   We even learned lessons from last year's stay at Raccoon Creek State Park.  Our first night as we were almost asleep, Brandon sat bolt upright in bed, and announced "guys, they're here!".  He was of course referring to raccoons.  We quickly jumped out of the tent and scared away what must have been one or two raccoons, a big improvement over last year when they stole hot dog buns and marshmallows and then taunted us from the trees while eating them.

Besides besting the coons, we enjoyed Hosak's cave:

excellent food, including fire-grilled pizzas:

large campfires:

trying to take pictures with the camera's timer:

as well as bocce ball, frisbee, swimming, basketball, general camaraderie, and our teams quadrathlon competition (stay tuned for more details on that).

One of the few things we didn't enjoy was Josh getting stung by a bee.  Despite the intense pain, Josh remained upbeat and calm the whole time, confident in the abilities of the two nurses present.  This may have been a mistake, since our specialties are not bee stings, but ICU and pediatric ER.  The treatment plan discussion went something like this:

Josh: Forsooth, a bee has stung my foot!
Eric: Maybe his airway is swelling, let's intubate!
Peter: Look at the size of those veins, I could get a 16 gauge IV in there!
Brandon: Let's put some pancake mix on it!

Having no other supplies at hand, we went with the pancake mix:

Overall, a great time was had by all, and we are already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nineteen Months Old!


You turned nineteen months old yesterday, inching your way closer to the day when I'll be able to count your age in years instead of months.  As it is, I somehow thought you were turning twenty months old today, until I looked at our last post and realized my error.  We're having a good summer together as a family.  It's been busy, but at the same time also relaxing and tons of fun.  This month, you spent some time with grandma Ruth, pap pap Barry and aunt Elsa, while your dad and I went to New York City with our good friends Peter and Susan.  It was hard being away from you for almost a week, but it was good for us, I think.  I sure had fun seeing you at the airport waiting for me when we got back!

You've got such a strong personality, Emily, and if I could learn at the rate that you do, I'd be the smartest human on the planet by now.  It seems like every few days you have a new word, a new game, learn a new animal sound, etc.  Your favorite things to do now are watch Elmo videos on youtube, which you request to do at least five times per day and I consent to at least twice, take walks down our street, have a "nack" (snack), carry your "arf" around (stuffed puppy dog), and read any touch and feel book.  You're able to identify me, your dad, and yourself in pictures.  You can identify Grover's feet or Spot's eyes.  The way you say your own name just melts my little heart.  You've also started asking "why" but I'm not certain that you fully understand that you're asking something.  I'll tell you it's time to change your diaper, you'll ask why, I'll tell you because it's dirty, you'll ask why, I'll tell you because you ate too many beans, you'll ask why, and on and on we go.  I think you like saying why because it keeps the conversation going, and I keep talking to you, which is pretty sweet.

You're still as busy as ever.  You don't stay still.  At all.  But, in general, you're pretty happy.  You still like to be wherever we are, and do whatever we're doing.  And you're still most contented whenever everyone in a room is paying attention to you.  But it's so, so easy to get you to smile.  And you've been sleeping like a champ.  I don't want to jinx myself here, but after months and months of fighting naps, there have been more than one occasion where you've looked right at me, said "nigh nigh" and then settled right in to sleep after a quick song and some cuddling.  Let's keep that up, okay?  You are so much happier when you're well rested.  And for the record, that means we all are.

I love you little one.  Thanks for being my sweet little girl.



Friday, July 3, 2009

Eighteen Months Old!

Dear Emily,

Another month has passed us by, and you're hitting another milestone - a year and a half!  You're now as close to being two years old as you were to being a year old.  That's pretty unbelievable!  Your language skills continue to develop at a quick pace.  You've started occasionally asking for things because you think of them, and not just because you see them or I prompt you to say them.  Most frequently the objects of your affection are "yooce" ( juice) and "bay-BE" (your blanket).  The other night, you were so exhausted that you, unprompted, looked at me and said "nigh nigh"?  This hasn't been repeated since, but it's good to know that if you're really, really, REALLY tired you do actually want to sleep.  You just don't get really tired all that often.

Your favorite activities these days are playing in water, and you love the water playground near our home.  It takes you awhile to warm up to the idea, but eventually you are running through the cool mist shrieking with glee and watching the other kids.  You love sand, and the beach, and playing with your bucket and shovel on the beach.  In general, I think summer must be your favorite season.  You also love hearing the door bell ring, and run anxiously to see who is there.  You like giving and receiving kisses and hugs, being tickled and chased, doing puzzles, reading, "petting" the kitty, building towers of blocks, putting on sun tan lotion, throwing balls, and cuddling with your mommy before and after naps.

You also love ice cream, but there was never really any doubt about that.  You would eat pizza and macaroni and cheese for every meal if I would let you.  You also love strawberries, and we had fun going to a farm and picking them this month.  We picked two quarts together, and although you ate more than you put in our baskets, you definitely did some of both.  It was a hot, sticky, wonderful summer day.

Emily, you are a beautiful, vibrant, happy, and strong-willed little girl.  You are learning so much everyday, and it's fun to be on this journey with you.  I am realizing that even though I don't think your baby years will be my favorite of the ones we'll spend together, there is something undeniably precious and valuable about this time.  I'm doing my best to savor it all!



Thursday, June 25, 2009

Emily Shows Off

We have been working for quite some time on teaching Emily her anatomy and zoology, and not only is she learning quickly, but she finally decided to show off for the camera, as you can see in this video.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/5330666]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shopping with Emily

Bye Mom!  I'm off to get some things!

Look, I found my blankie. A good purchase, huh?

Shopping is fun, but stretching is even better.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Seventeen Months Old!

Dear Emily,

Oops, I'm a little late again with my thoughts this month.  Hopefully you won't hold it against me.  But, if you're reading this when you're older - say a teenager - you're probably already mad at for at least a dozen other offenses, so what's one more?  The thing about you that has impressed me most this past month is that you're getting so much better at your self control.  All I have to do is give you a look, or say your name in a certain tone when you're about to do something you're not supposed to, and you stop almost every time.  Sometimes your hand will sneak forward again, but then you think better of it and move on to something else.

You are also learning to imitate noises and sounds, and will repeat a lot more of what I say.  Your vocabulary is growing all the time, with the most recent additions being "bye", "ouch", "this", "up" and "down".  You use all the words in proper context too, except that sometimes you get down and up confused.  Opposites can be so tricky!

You really love taking walks outside, and will collect sticks, rocks, and wood chips as you go.  And so help anyone who tries to take one of those precious commodities away from you.  Lots of screaming and "no!" ensues.  Sometimes there are even tears, so I've been giving that fight up lately and if you stab your eye with a stick, it's not my fault, okay?

You've also been enjoying the benefits my garage sales have been reaping upon you.  You have lots of new favorite toys, and I even managed to save a couple for an upcoming Christmas or birthday.  It's a win-win situation.  Your favorite things to play with these days are puzzles (especially puzzles of animals), books with flaps to lift as we read, and an old-school Fisher Price house/garage that I swear I played with when I was little.  Your favorite foods are strawberries, peaches, french toast (especially when I give you an accompanying bowl of syrup for dipping), goldfish crackers, and pizza.

You are endlessly entertaining, and laugh at any face I make, along with a slew of other things I had no idea were funny in the slightest.  But I can't help smiling at your giggle, and your happy, care-free personality.  You are going to be a joy to be around as you get older, Em, I can just tell.  Love you!