Violet turns 2!

May 11, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oh, my girl is getting so big! I can hardly believe she’s already two. This little miss is all personality, and she gives me a run for my money in the talking department. Here’s what else she has been up to this month:

  • She’s been giving me great big hugs and saying, “I love you.” Melt. My. Heart. The other day I overheard her playing with a boy and a girl action figure — she had them hug each other and say, “I love you.”
  • Her love of Michael Jackson is almost as fanatical as her brother’s. Now she requests to hear Beat It, and at the beginning of Bad, I swear she sang, “Your butt is mine…” The also hops around singing, “Annie are you ok? Are you ok, Annie?” when Smooth Criminal enters our rotation. Perhaps I should get her a little white glove.
  • She’s getting better and better at recognizing colors, getting them right more like 80% of the time. And she’s recognizing almost all of the letters of the alphabet. I can ask her to bring me a letter from our magnets, and she usually gets it right. She’s also counting consecutively more often than not, though she doesn’t actually count objects correctly, unless by accident.
  • This girl can say anything. And I mean anything. She repeats complex sentences, though she still talks like a typical two-year-old with two or three-word sentences when she’s saying something on her own. You remember Pearl from Funny or Die? We could totally do this with Violet!
  • In preparation for potty training (we start tomorrow!!), I brought home an extra potty and some new underwear. She went totally bananas, stripping down to try on every pair, then sitting on the new potty while I read her books. I actually had a hard time getting her to come off the potty — we had to go pick up Liam at school. But I think this is a good sign that she will learn quickly. She struggles a bit taking down her pants, but she’s a tenacious little thing, so I’m sure she’ll get the hang of it soon.
  • James is out of town for her birthday, so instead of a party, we decided to just open presents with her brother and eat cake at home. I found these awesome cupcakes at a bakery in Halandri (thanks, Katy, for the recommendation!), and, honestly, I’m certain she was just as happy with this as she would have been with a bunch of toddlers and babies sitting around (and probably fighting) at a party. She’s a little social butterfly, but she’ll seriously throw down if someone takes one of her things. And EVERYTHING is hers.
  • After Violet opened her presents, she took one look at the pile of clothes she got and insisted on trying them all on…at the same time. This is a good look for her, I think.

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Here are more photos from today. Enjoy!

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Violet is 23 months old!

April 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Or, rather, she was 2 weeks ago. We were in Venice, and it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since then. But better late than never. Here’s what she’s been up to:

  • When asked what color something is, she always replies, “Blue!” Doesn’t matter if it’s actually pink or orange or yellow. She doesn’t seem to mind being corrected. And some colors, like orange, she seems to have down. She claims that blue is her favorite.
  • Colors, numbers, letters — she’s mastering all of these fairly well now. Counting, especially, in both English and Greek.
  • This girl has Potty Power! We’ve been watching this silly potty training video for the past few months, and it’s all she can talk about. She asks to sit on the potty all the time, and today she didn’t want to wear a diaper. We plan to start potty training after we get back from our next trip, and she is READY.
  • Violet loves anything that is new. So different from her brother, who always preferred the familiar. Anything new we introduce her to becomes her new favorite thing…until she quickly tires of it and we have to come up with something else. But when it comes to books, she’ll read the same ones over and over. She’s really into Pete the Cat right now, and Llama Llama.
  • Michael Jackson, Liam’s latest obsession, has become Violet’s, as well. The minute Liam plays his favorite song, Violet lights up and shouts, “Michael Jackson! Beat It! Want to dance!” And then she’ll start boogying down in that adorable way toddlers do. She’ll even try to moonwalk. It. Is. Adorable.
  • We are still nursing twice a day, despite my best efforts. We had it down to one, but she refused to drop that morning session after about a week. Looks like we may be weaning and potty training at the same time. We’ll see how that goes.
  • She’s also discovered TV in a big way. She loves watching Care Bears, Peppa Pig, and Sesame Street. But she’s also happy to watch shows Liam prefers, like White Rabbit and Mythbusters.
  • Violet is getting quite opinionated about…everything. What she’s wearing, where we’re going, what she’s eating or drinking. Even where I’m sitting — often times she come up behind me, places her little hands on my back, and grunts, “Mommy, move over there!” Ok, deary.

Some more photos of Violet from our trip:

Violet is 22 months old!

March 11, 2017 at 6:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring…” Violet loves this song. One of the many preferences she’s been expressing this month with her budding personality. Here’s what she’s been up to this month:

  • She doesn’t always get the order right, but she can say numbers 1-10 in English, and several numbers in Greek, as well. And she seems to understand the concept of counting, pointing at groups with her finger and saying the numbers one by one.
  • She’s also learning her colors. Or at least the words for colors. Many times she says the wrong color, but with utter confidence. Unsurprisingly, she gets purple right most of the time. She’s practically surrounded in purple everywhere she goes, if I have anything to say about it!
  • She’s also mastering some letters. She loves collecting all of the O’s and sticking them on the fridge. She can also name M and J. And she’s starting to know S, E and X. Should I be worried?
  • Violet is very precise with her fine motor skills, much different from her brother. Every morning she likes to help me peel my hard-boiled egg. She doesn’t get very far before giving up, but she’s always game to try. She also has a book with these little removable stickers, and she likes to get them stuck on the page and line them up “perfect.”
  • Violet is acting distinctly “two” — when she doesn’t get her way, she melts into a puddle on the floor, with much boo-hooing. But she’s still easily distractible. Those days are numbered.
  • We’re slowly but surely weaning. We’ve cut down to twice a day, once when she wakes up and once at bedtime. This week I managed to distract her enough to cut out our morning session, but she did a little reverting yesterday and today because she was especially needy. Two steps forward and one step back. But we’ll get there soon, I’m sure.
  • Violet is an empathetic little thing. Whenever Liam is crying about something (which is often), she’ll come over and say, “Are you OK?” He’ll usually ask for a hug, and she almost always obliges.
  • She’s started singing songs to me. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Row Row Row Your Boat, and Baby Beluga so far, mostly humming the tunes as she attempts to wrap her mouth around the correct words. It is sooooo cute.
  • Her favorite books this month are All Better, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,and a pop-up book Jill bought Liam years ago called Little Monsters.
  • The high chair has been relegated to the corner to gather dust. She is DONE with it. Now she climbs up in a dining room chair, takes three bites of food, climbs down to run around, and then repeats.
  • She’s also done with avocadoes, much to my chagrin. She still won’t eat fruits and veggies, save a kernel or two of corn. She’ll sometimes eat baby food pouches, and she’s hit or miss with applesauce now. She’s getting increasingly more difficult to feed, just like her brother was at this age. Can’t a mama just get a break?!

Here are more photos from our rainy day photo shoot:

Violet is 21 months old!

February 11, 2017 at 6:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’re in the home stretch… second birthday here we come! Violet is incredibly independent, but she still wants cuddles and kisses. Here’s what else vivacious Violet has been up to:

  • Violet has discovered coloring in a big way. She mostly loves coloring with markers on her own body, but she will also scribble on paper with crayons.

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  • She has mastered climbing on the dining room chairs. In fact, her favorite game is musical chairs, in which she pushes the adult (or brother) out of their chair so she can climb up there, just to climb back down and move to the next chair. Mealtimes in the high chair have become less desirable, though she still sometimes prefers it. I bought her a silicone butterfly plate that can suction to the table, and now her very favorite spot is next to her brother, crouched in her own dining room chair. She’s constantly up and down, walking around with food. It’s anarchy! I may have to break out the booster chair and see if that contains her. Knowing her, I doubt it.

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  • The entourage, consisting of three baby dolls, accompany her wherever she goes. Their newest member is an Ernie doll I used to drag around with me everywhere at this age. All four sit in the chair while I read to them. And they all find themselves in the crib with her for naps and bedtime.
  • Violet is on a constant, vigilant quest to acquire my iPhone. If I leave it on a table, she makes a beeline for it. She covets it when she gets her grubby hands on it, smearing the face as she delightedly touches the buttons. If I ask for it back, she screams, “No! Mine!” and runs away. I’ve recently taught her how to share with other kids by giving them another toy and asking for the toy they have. She tries that with me, handing me her toy smart phone while pleading for mine.
  • She’s getting better on her little push trike, tooling around the living room. We took it to the park once, but she couldn’t get very far because a small crowd of toddlers surrounded her, ooo-ing and ahh-ing and wanting a turn.
  • She’s still super into books, spending a good part of her day looking through books or being read to. Her favorite titles at the moment are Peanut Butter & Cupcake and Mix It Up.
  • Every night she still dutifully sits on the potty. She’s started informing me now when she has a poopy diaper. The other day, as I was changing and cleaning her up, she said, “Thank you very much!”

 

Violet is 20 months old!

January 11, 2017 at 9:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Look at that smile! She’ll happily say “cheese” if you ask her to. One of many developments in her budding personality. Here are some more:

  • At Christmas she received two more baby dolls and a purse with lipstick, compact, smart phone and keys. She also got a little kitchen and a tea set. She loves to walk around the house with her purse on her shoulder and a baby under one arm. Such a girlie girl!
  • She also loves to feed her babies. She’ll put one of them in the high chair and offer her snacks. Unlike her, the babies like milk from a “bobble.” She says it just like my sister used to at that age.
  • Her vocabulary continues to grow, 100+ words at this point. She heartily points to objects and names them. She repeats any word you ask her to, and some you don’t. I better watch my language! She’s also figuring out sentences. She’ll wave and say, “Bye! Morrow!” She’ll say, “Get that!” when she wants something. Today she said, “Sissy hungry.” She can also say Liam’s name, a very short and adorable, “Leem!”
  • Whenever she notices two of something, she’ll immediately call it out. “Two babies!” She’s getting better at counting, as well. “One, two, four, three…”
  • This girl loves music. Whenever she hears a song, she’ll stop whatever she’s doing (ahem…nursing) and exclaim, “Song! Dance!” Then she’ll clap her hands, wriggle to get down, and shake her booty.
  • And, yes, we’re still nursing. Once she’s finally over this jet lag, I plan to start cutting back to just naptimes and bedtime. This could be a challenge…for us both. It’s nice to have such a quick and easy way to calm her, and she’s getting increasingly agitated about things as she approaches two.
  • She often wakes up hungry, declaring she needs, “Snacks!” and then grabs my hand and marches me out the door to the kitchen. I asked the other day if she wanted breakfast. “Yes. Breakfast snacks.”
  • She grew four new teeth this month, all four canines. Add to that the jet lag and sleeping in a strange bed for most of the month, and it didn’t make for very restful nights.
  • She’ll eat eggs in take-out fried rice, but not scrambled eggs for breakfast. Perhaps I should add soy sauce.
  • And just for fun, here’s Liam’s 20-month write up. Check out that silly smile! They are definitely siblings! Although it’s funny to see the differences. Like how she can say 100 words and he could only say a handful. How fearless she is, and how fearful he was (and still is!). How I was so thrilled that he went down the slide all by himself on his tummy, and she’s been a pro at the slide for months. She’s like Liam 2.0!

More fun photos!

Violet is 19 months old!

December 11, 2016 at 10:29 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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scan0007This girl is just oozing personality now. Check out what she’s been up to:

  • Her two favorite words now are “Phone” and “Applesauce.” And she says both as clear as a bell.
  • She’s been known to voice an opinion or two about what she’s going to wear. She’s especially fond of her pink tutu, though it isn’t a daily requirement…yet. She will insist on wearing a bow every day. Now that she has enough hair for pigtails, we often have two bows.
  • So it seems we’re potty training now. At her insistence. She sits on the potty every night before her bath. She’s only actually peed once and pooped once in the potty, but we’re definitely planting the seed for success here. She’s been telling me when she poops, so that’s a good sign that we’ll be potty training this one early.
  • I finally finished decorating her room. She loves the little 3D purple butterflies.
  • Tonight when I changed her diaper, she reached her little hand under my armpit and squealed, “Tickle!” So flippin’ cute.
  • At bedtime she has to have her Dolly and her Blankie. She’ll even lead me over to my phone — she knows I like to listen to podcasts while we nurse. These are the three essentials. Whenever she needs a nap or is going to bed, she’ll say, “Nighty-go.”
  • This girl loves to sing. She’s got the ABC’s song up to E, and she’ll do all the hand motions to Itsy Bitsy Spider, as best as her clumsy little hands can manage. She’s also tried to count a little, going “two…four” and pointing her finger to things in a book that I typically count out with her.
  • Another favorite word…”again.” She likes to read books over, and over, and over again. She’ll also ask for more food with a, “more please.”

We had a very eventful weekend. Here are more photos from the Embassy Christmas Party and the Gymboree Christmas Party we attended on Saturday, and the birthday party we attended at Pipis on Sunday:

Violet is 15 months old!

August 11, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I am truly astounded by how much Violet has changed this month. Miss personality is walking, talking, signing and getting into EVERYTHING. Here’s the rundown:

  • This girl is on the GO. She doesn’t like sitting in her high chair long for meals now. The high chair we have in Greece lowers down, so after I take her out I lower it down and she treats the tray like a baby buffet. She’ll grab a small bite and walk all around the living room munching on it.
  • There’s a lot less teetering and a lot more steady walking going on. A woman in the airport even commented that she has excellent coordination for her age. I’m thinking of signing her up for dance next year.
  • Violet gives great big squeezy hugs and wet toddler kisses now. She can also blow kisses, much to daddy’s delight.
  • Poor girl is still teething and having trouble sleeping. A friend recommended getting her an amber necklace. We picked one up while we were in KC. It looks adorable, but as far as I can tell, does nothing. She still needs a dose of Advil or Tylenol at night in order to get some rest. Perhaps it gives her some relief during the day, though this molar-cutting is a nasty, long and painful process, so I doubt it helps very much. But she sure looks cute!

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  • Violet’s hair is getting much thicker and much curlier. It’s looking a lot like mine did at her age, except blonder. Her little flower headbands don’t really work with her new hair, and at any rate, she rips them right off her head now. As her hair gets thicker, I hoping she’ll let me clip in some cute bows.
  • She’s a chatty little thing. This month we’ve had a word explosion, going from just a few words to almost a dozen. Now she can say Nigh Nigh, Choo Choo, Thank You, This, Dog, Cat, No, Here, Baby and Cheese. We worked on getting her to call my mom Yia Yia, the greek word for Grandma. By the end of our trip, she’d walk into a room and holler, “Hi, Yia Yia!”, whether it was grandma OR grandpa. So adorable.
  • It takes her a little while to warm up to new people, but not nearly as long as her brother at this age. In fact, she happily smiled and greeted strangers on the airplane. One zealous Greek grandma picked her up, and she didn’t even bat an eye.

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  • But she still wants her mom. We got portraits done, and I had to hide behind a curtain while my mom held her so she would cooperate. Otherwise she just clung to me and wouldn’t look at the camera. Perhaps next year she’ll more easily pose for a family portrait. We’re about due. (hmmm…I think I can hear James sighing from here.)
  • I complained last month that Violet won’t baby sign. Now, with very little prompting, she’s signing More and All Done — probably because she’s so frustrated when she’s seated in the high chair and I’m clearly not understanding what she wants. I’m going to see about teaching her a few more signs to help make life easier — Water and Help come to mind as useful ones. Though she’s learning new words so quickly, we may not need signs for long.
  • Little Miss Independent wants to put on her own shoes, spoon out her own food, fasten her own seatbelt and brush her own teeth. She’s not terribly pushy when I step in to help, but she’s very keen to learn this stuff for herself.
  • This girl is quiet…and fast. Before I turn around she’s out the door and getting into something. She’s very inquisitive, pulling things off shelves and opening cabinets to explore. Turns out baby gates are ESSENTIAL for her personality. At a play date in KC she managed to get away for a second and tried her hand at a small set of stairs. Thankfully they were carpeted and she just landed on her cushy butt. She cried, but not for long.
  • In fact, Liam and I marvel at how little crying she does when she bumps her head or falls down. Liam was the opposite — I used to call him my little Brazilian soccer player for all of the injuries he cried foul about — but Violet is one tough chick.

Violet is 14 months old!

July 11, 2016 at 8:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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My girl is officially a toddler! Here’s what she’s been up to this month:

  • Violet has mastered the art of walking. Unlike her brother, she seemed to catch on a little bit at a time. But once we got back from our Malta trip, she really started taking off. And it is the cutest thing you ever did see.
  • It’s not Mama or Mommy, it’s Mom. And she says it like she’s from Chicago.
  • We’ve had a rough month of teething. She got two more bottom teeth, one more top tooth, and 3 molars in the past 30 days. She’s had a lot of trouble sleeping.
  • When I was a baby my mother used to put books in my crib. I’ve passed on the tradition to Violet. She loves turning the pages in her board books while waiting for me to get her in the morning. I have a video monitor, so I can watch her switch from book to book as she makes her way around the crib. So cute.
  • Even though she can walk on her own, she still wants to lead me or daddy around by a finger. Parents aren’t allowed to sit, evidently.
  • Along with “hi” she can say “hello.” Except it sounds more like “Heh-row.” She also likes to wave…with both hands.
  • No more baby signing — either I’ve gotten lazy with the teaching, or she doesn’t want to do it. Probably a mix of both. Throwing food on the floor means “all done” apparently.
  • I’m trying to teach her to be gentle…to no avail. She still pinches, hits and grabs at her family members, much to Liam’s chagrin. We had a play date with her little buddy Jaxon, and she spent most of the time abusing him. He’s a tough nut to crack, though, so he didn’t mind too much. While I’m nursing her she loves to grab my nose and my ears. Sometimes I have to hold her hands down when it gets especially annoying.
  • She’s discovered how to pick her nose. Learned that from her brother, I’m sure.

Violet is 13 months old!

June 10, 2016 at 3:52 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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DSC_0072 (2)This girl is getting some personality…which is both good and bad. Here’s what she’s been up to this month:

  • After weeks of sleepless nights and general crankiness, tooth number six finally made an appearance this week. Now she has three on the top and three on the bottom, sort of catty-corner from each other, so her smile is going to look adorably crooked.
  • She’s back to sleeping in the crib again, thank heaven! It takes a little more effort — after nursing, oftentimes I have to stick around and pat her back. If her little head pops up as I’m trying to sneak out, I have to walk over and rub her back some more. But it works! That is until she wakes in the middle of the night, which still happens every third night or so.
  • Violet loves to smile. She breaks out into a big grin whenever anyone looks at her. Her grins are infectious, especially on the bus. Oh, they love her on the bus! It also helps that she says “hi” to anyone and everyone she sees. She also says ouch, ohi (the greek word for “no” pronounced oh-hee), and I got her to say “Geia sou” (Greek for “hello” pronounced ya-soo) one time. She hasn’t quite gotten the gist of waving, but she sure loves to greet people!
  • My baby is a carnivore! She loves chicken, bacon, hamburgers, ground beef tacos, cold cuts, shredded pork, and I’m sure if she could manage it, she’d happily gnaw on a Kansas City Strip. But the only fruit she’ll eat is avocado, and the only vegetable she seems to like is corn. I gave her a raw mushroom to try, and she looked at me like, “This isn’t really food, is it?” She wouldn’t try it, and instead tried to put it in my mouth. How did I get cursed with another picky eater?!
  • Unlike her brother, Violet does not seem to care much for milk. But it kind of makes sense…with him I almost seamlessly switched from formula in a bottle to milk in a bottle. I’m still nursing her, with no plans to stop in the immediate future, and she’d much rather get milk from me than cow’s milk in a cup. I’m not too concerned as long as she’s still nursing. She’s getting old enough to tug at my shirt and do a little nose-dive at my cleavage to let me know she wants some mommy milk. I’m always happy to oblige.
  • This girl loves to cruise. She recently got the hang of her push walker, but she still prefers to hold my hand. She’s down to holding just one finger now, and she can take as many as six steps on her own before she sits down. When she gets to the edge of a table or wall, she’ll emit a single, ear-piercing screech and thrust her hand up, scrunching her face like she’s using every ounce of her being to reach me. Who could refuse that?

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  • Thanks to Gymboree, she’s gotten very good at helping me clean up. She loves putting objects away or giving me the toys out of her bath, all while I sing our special clean up song. She’s also helping me get her dressed with her arms and legs, she prefers to feed herself with a spoon, and she just about won’t let me brush her teeth for her. I want to do it myself, mama!
  • Also related to food, she likes to have a variety at her disposal at mealtimes. I find myself littering her tray with odds and ends, then going back to the kitchen to see what else I can find in the pantry. Finally I’ll find the thing she seems to want to eat, and she’ll tuck in… at least until she’s sick of that and wants something else.
  • Violet’s hair continues to get thicker and curlier, especially in the back. She’s got little wings of blond behind her ears. She looks just like the Gerber baby.
  • Her interest in climbing has only grown stronger. I caught her trying to climb the inside of the pantry, using her toys to climb up to the fireplace, hooking her feet to the side of the pack ‘n play to climb out, and I know it’s only a matter of time before she figures out how to climb over the chairs I’ve laid down over the small set of stairs in the living room. I had to put away both of her little rocking chairs because she kept standing up on them, and the other day she toppled the rocking horse on top of herself when she tried to mount it by herself. The embassy is sending some guys to hang pictures for us this week, and we’re going to have them anchor all of the bookshelves and the tall wardrobe in the foyer. And we plan to mount all of the TVs. This child is going to keep us on our toes!

 

And just for fun, here’s what Liam was up to at 13 months. Funny how different they were at the same age…and also how much the same. Oh, and two weeks after I posted that, Liam was full on walking.

Violet Turns One!

May 10, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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DSC_0004Oh my goodness, look how big my baby has gotten! We had a little birthday party for her on Saturday with some new friends we made at the Embassy. She had a wonderful time, and we adults had a wonderful time with some wine and beer! Liam had some older siblings to play with at the party, and he loved helping her blow out her candle and open her presents. So much about her has changed this month! Here’s the rundown:

  • My girl had five teeth now! Three on top and two on bottom. And the way she’s been drooling lately, I think number six is going to pop through any day now.
  • Just lately she has decided napping in her crib is NOT for her. I hope this is just a phase…and does not spell doom for that morning nap. She’s been sleeping in my lap twice a day, and she’s been getting up in the middle of the night most nights, too. She used to calm herself, but now she can pull herself to stand in the crib, and she refuses to lay herself back down. We’ve both been very tired!

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  • Oh, this girl is a CLIMBER. She puts her foot up on every available surface she comes too. We have an old rocking chair of Liam’s in the play room. It took him over a year to figure out how to sit in it. I think he was three before he gave it a go. Violet managed to pull herself into it in no time flat. She got back down all by herself, scooted it around the room until it was next to the baby gate, then climbed into the seat and stood up with a leg perched to climb the gate! Thankfully I was watching her do it, so I was able to stop her. This one is going to keep me on my toes!
  • This girl is also tenacious. We blocked the stairs from the living room to the kitchen — just two little steps up — with a couple of dining room chairs. In less than a week she had figured out how to get around them. Now we have them tied with jump ropes. Not sure how long that will hold. I’ve got some baby fencing on order. Hopefully it will arrive before the dam is breached!
  • She has added the “oh” sound to her repertoire. She says what sounds like “ouch” sort of randomly, and we got her to say, “Uh oh.”
  • Violet is the cutest little hand clapper you ever did see! She just grins and claps, claps and grins.
  • She’s just started picking up her baby signs. She’ll sign “more” and “all done” when she sits at the high chair….more or less. It’s still a bit of a work in progress. Usually I know when she’s finished a meal because she takes each piece of food on her tray and drops it on the floor.
  • No first steps yet, but she’s well on her way. She can cruise all around a room on her own now, and when she holds my hand, she can do it with just one hand.
  • I have to say, Liam has been an awesome big brother. He walks her around the room, he keeps an eye on her for me when I ask him to, and he even helps her up the stairs all on his own. (Don’t worry, I’m always right behind.) He loves on her every chance he gets, and she doesn’t seem to mind when he gets all up in her face. He jumps around like a crazy person just to get a laugh…and she usually obliges. He says he wants to marry her, and I have to keep reminding him that he can’t marry his sister. “But I LOVE her SO MUCH!” he always replies. Indeed do we all 🙂

Here are more photos from her birthday party. Thanks to Lisa for taking all these great photos for me!

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