2010 has been quite an eventful year. We became pregnant for the 2nd time, then decided to buy a house. Wonderful experience (no sarcasm) and we've spent the year unpacking. I still have issues with the closet but that's not for discussion here. What is for discussion here is some of my thoughts on how the family is doing at this point in time. Really, I wanted to write letters to the babies about what they were like right now and how much I loved them. Can't find or make the time to sit and hand write that, but I can do this!
We used the TAMU Big Event to renovate a few places in the backyard. Awesome experience with the Geology students. We're trying to plan for next years Event. We had a lot of fun growing an herb garden (parsley, lavender, sage and maybe oregano are holding strong!), squash, tomatoes and jalapenos. Many plants experienced a resurgence in the fall (here's looking at you tomatoes, eggplant and jalapenos). Others boomed and went a little out of control as mommy became more and more pregnant (basil-WOAH, yellow squash-explosion until the bugs hit it). We've learned that the corner garden spot needs extra watering attention as it does not get nearly enough water when the yard sprinklers run.
Michael has grown up from a crawling 90% Breastmilk 10% picky-eating-baby-food eater to a weaned walker who's still a picky eater. However, he has progressed from eating only yogurt and finger snacks to eating this avocado-couscous-chicken mix with yogurt or applesauce to self feeding yogurt, bananas, toast and lots of those toddler snack-i-doos. He's never refused a fruit (when hungry). His recent advancement has been toast with American cheese sandwich. We're really excited about that.
Michael had dramatically improved on the verbal front. We've taught and learned quite a few signs this year. First was "milk" for nursing. "More" and "please" were also early signs. It took a while for me to seek out and teach other signs but now he's up to: all done, book, bath, eat, Thank You, cookie (not the real sign but something I did with him and said cookie so it's his sign), yes, no. Early this year, we taught book when he was constantly bringing books to us and just whining. I taught him "Book, Please" and he did it. Then I would make him give me a kiss, first. I still get my kiss from my sweet boy. Recently, we had a Christmas party and one of our guests saw this ritual. Our guest (who has all daughters) said, "Aw, I never knew boys could be so sweet." Thank you and cookie were advancements this summer. I was totally impressed when Michael started signing "thank you" on his own without me prompting him. Usually it was for food, but earlier, today, he signed Thank you when he did something I asked (put a brush on the counter). Yes and No have been very recent developments (this month) but have been vastly useful!! Much better than the grunts and whining that preceded the signs. I really think that Michael is also grateful that his intentions can be expressed.
Michael has been vocally trying to say things we understand for quite some time. His toddler chatter (his own language) is also hilarious and very serious and animated at times. He'd been saying "baaa" for ball, and when ogling my pregnant belly, belly-button and nearby mole he'd play at jabbing my belly button and then the mole. Each time I'd say what it was he was touching. Sometime this summer he said, quite clearly, "Mo" for mole. I was a bit horrified that his first real word was going to be mole, but he never really repeated it after that.
When we put up the Christmas tree, one of the ornaments was a dog laying down. One night, Michael held the ornament in his hand and started saying, "Dah.... Gee." He'd repeat this over and over but slowly, really emphasizing the two parts of the word. He really worked on the hard 'g' sound. Within a span of only about 5 or 10 minutes he started saying, "DoGuh." We called it, first official word is "dog." He does it pretty good now. He also likes to point to parts of the face (be it on his doll or the baby). I try to always say the different parts. Now, he's pretty good at saying "eyes." "Head" is almost there. He did say "nose" pretty clearly at least once. He also says Book and Box pretty well.
I started asking him if he wanted to watch a show on TV in this past month. I didn't take long before he started saying "show" whenever the TV was turned on. In the last week, he's also been saying "I sit" when he comes to sit in your lap. Today, it actually sounded like he said, "I sit down" when we were telling him to sit down at the table with us.
It's wonderful and amazing to see this rapid improvement with the language. I still love all the baby chatter, babble that he does with his toys, books and Jane. I wish I could get more videos of it, but it's tough to have the camera ready on the spot when he starts doing it.
Michael, you're a wonderful blessing in our lives. You bring us joy, amazement and hilarity each and every day. You're our little guy. Soon you will be 2 and I know that next year we will be just as surprised at the advancements that you've made.
We planned and prepared for our first homebirth experience. It actually happened on Saturday, October 2nd. Beautiful little girl, Jane, came into our lives and into our hands right in our own bedroom. An amazing experience shared by my sister. I think we will definitely do a homebirth for our future children.
Jane has been a little blessing in our lives. We're more comfortable with this second baby and she couldn't be cuter!!! It's been more and more fun in the last 4-5 weeks. She started smiling at everyone, even mommy! It seems like she's smiling sooner than Michael did. Her coos are such a fun sound. She's a great talker and loves to mimic birds, both happy and sad. :) We discovered in the early weeks that she's sensitive to when I eat or drink milk products. That's been an adjustment, to cut them all out, but it's worth it to have a baby who doesn't spit up everything.
The cooing and talking and smiles just melt our heart every time. We're so excited to see what she becomes. We know that next year we'll be looking at this year's Christmas pictures and saying, "Where did our baby go?" and "Can you believe she was that small?"
Jane, we love every pudgy little inch of you. You're a lovely little girl who loves her mommy, daddy and big brother, even if he leans on you and pokes his finger in your eye "ayhes." We love your sweet sounds. I love nursing you and watching you develop. You've given us a little scare this New Year's Eve night with your first little stomach bug and 3 x vomiting sessions. But New Year's Day has shown a healthy baby. Please, Lord, give us healthy children in 2011.
As for me and Tony, what can I say, we bought a house and had another baby and we're still here. We're crazy in love because essentially we're still newlyweds.
What will 2011 bring to this Reiter clan? Emily will be working on losing the baby weight. At some point, I'll start back at Weight Watchers (this leave of absence keeps getting longer). Tony will be working on working. :) We both will be working HARD at raising a very precocious 2 year old and making sure he doesn't squash the baby who we will be raising to put up with her big brother and not let him squash her.
Resolutions? I'd like to not get distracted by the computer before a modicum of housework has been completed. It'd be really great if I could get my act together with finishing a load of laundry in a timely manner (folded & put away!).
Blessings to all of you out there who actually took the time to read this whole thing. Honestly, it's a writing to and for myself, but nothing I wouldn't share with you.