I'm so bummed because I'm becoming more convinced that Eli simply does not like being in a swing. The swing was SO nice with Lydia because she could hang out in it (happily) and then drift off to sleep when she was ready for a nap. It really helped me get a break once in awhile.

Thus far Eli has only had one decent nap in a swing. Beyond that, he tends to cry whenever I put him in it until I transfer him to his bouncy chair. I'm really hoping he still grows to enjoy swinging!
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I always have high hopes of keeping up with my blog, but there always seems to be so much going on and so little time to write about it! So here's a brief update on our lives.

Lydia is doing great, but noticeably approaching the terrible twos. She tests limits constantly and we've had to introduce timeouts (which she seems to find amusing...) and spankings (which have only happened a couple of times). She usually stops the bad behavior after a warning, but the annoying part is that she gets a warning once or twice a day. A part of me feels like she should get warned if it has been several hours since she was told not to do something... she isn't even 2 yet afterall... but another part of me KNOWS that she is aware of what she is not allowed to do and perhaps enough is enough with the warnings. We're still learning around here.

Her speech continues to skyrocket and she is now using combinations of phrases (ex: "Where is the bear? Oh here it is. I found it.") She knows the appropriate response when asked what her name is and knows the sounds all of the letters make (except vowels). I get a running commentary of what she sees/does/wears/holds throughout the day, and she absolutely INSISTS that I say "Bless you, Lydia" any time she coughs or sneezes. She, of course, makes sure to tell Eli "Bless you" when he sneezes, as well as anyone else in the house. We've been working on counting with her and she quickly recognizes when there are two of something, but generally any quantity above one gets labeled as two or three.

As for Eli, he's still growing! I took him in for a follow-up appointment after he had an infection at his one month well check and he was 13 lbs at 5.5 weeks old! He is now almost 7 weeks old and I'm moving him into 3-6 month clothing already. He smiles a little bit, but it's much harder to get smiles out of him than it was with Lydia. But when he grins and coos at things it melts my heart. I love my little boy!

I've tried to get him on a semi-regular schedule, and he's doing okay with it, but he definitely has a mind of his own. I haven't quite been able to figure out his pattern (if there is one). He's eating 8 or 9 times a day - usually once or twice during the night. He does alright at night, sometimes going 4 or 5 hours between feedings, so I'm hopeful that I'll eventually sleep through the night again. It took Lydia until she was 3 months old, so here's hoping Eli will meet or beat that!

And... now I have to stop blogging because the boy wants to eat. See? This is why I can't blog anymore...
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Today marked day 1 of our "new normal" around here. All of my family members are back at their respective homes and Brent was back at work. It was just me and the kids here all day. I admit the day did not pass tear-free. I had high hopes for at least a short nap after a rough night last night, and it was looking promising when I had Eli fed before Lydia went down and she didn't throw a fit about naptime. I was SO close to having Eli asleep in his bouncy chair and could see my nap on the horizon... but fate would not have it. Lydia slept well (got to give her credit there), but Eli continued to fight it. I'd get him so close to being out, or so I would think, and then his eyes would pop open, he'd start to squirm, and we'd be back to square one. Why oh why must kids fight sleep so much?!

This attempted sleep continued until it'd been a couple of hours since he last ate and I decided to give up and just feed him instead of fighting to get him to sleep. Brent was home for lunch by that point anyway, so I took the boy downstairs and fed him... and cried over my failed attempt at getting some rest. Of course, he eventually settled down and slept. Just in time for Lydia to wake up. *sigh* But his long nap did allow me some time with Lydia and a chance to get some laundry done.

All in all I feel we survived the start of our new normal okay. I know each day will come with new ups and downs, but such is the life of a parent. It's definitely feeling a little overwhelming and I still don't know how I will ever get much done, but ultimately I'm glad we are moving forward. It was SO nice to have the help I have had for the past 3 weeks. I can't thank my mom enough for all she did for us! But I think it will be good for us, Lydia especially, to get back to a sense of normalcy. It's got to be hard for a not-yet-two-year-old to adjust when things are still changing on her. Now I feel like we can get back to her routine and she can better adjust to life with her little brother.

At the same time, I do recall how quickly life with a baby changes. When Lydia was this little, I remember that as soon as I felt like we were at a point of calling something "normal" she would change and we'd be adjusting again. Eli will do the same thing to us. Before I know it he will have a completely different schedule and completely different needs than he has right now. I can hardly believe he's going to be a month old this weekend. Wasn't I just pregnant yesterday?? Oh how time flies...

So here's to our new normal... and the next normal after that, and the one after that, and the many more we have to come. I can't say life is boring anymore!
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Life is definitely different with two kids, but I feel like it was all "normal" the instant we came home from the hospital. But maybe that's because it hasn't been too hard with all the extra help.

Brent has been off work since Eli was born until yesterday. My mom & dad came up this past weekend and Mom is staying all this week to help out. It is SO nice to have extra hands around to keep Lydia occupied while I tend to Eli. I'm a little nervous about how things will work out when it's just me with the two of them! It has also been helpful to have someone else around so I can get a break and get some extra sleep if needed. Most nights have been pretty good and Eli has often only been up once in the middle of the night to eat. It is great to only feed him once between 11pm and 7am, but I admit I wish the process was a little faster. It seemed Lydia was always a very quick eater - we'd be done within 15 or 20 minutes. But Eli takes his time more than she did. He'll get through half his meal in 15 minutes or so, then we'll have to do a diaper change (because he poops like a madman), then it's another 15 or 20 minutes of eating, finishing up with possibly another diaper change, burping, and trying to get him settled in. The entire process can easily take a one hour chunk out of my night. But I'm not complaining! I know it could be much much worse and I also know that he will likely get faster as he gets older.

Last Friday we had Eli's one week checkup. If I recall correctly, they mostly aim for babies to be at or a little past their birth weight at this appointment. My boy? He was up 10 ounces... weighing in at 9lb 8oz! The doctor even commented that he didn't need to ask me how feeding was going, he could tell! He was measured at 21 inches long... actually less than they had him down for at birth, but they guess that's due to cone-head. Either way he landed in the 90th percentile for both weight and length. 50th %ile for head size. Everything looked great at the checkup and the doctor kept saying he looked perfect. He's strong and has good reflexes. So fun to see him grow!

I'll be taking him to MOPS with me this week. Looking forward to showing him off and thankful that my mom will be here to stay with Lydia. So far Lydia has not made it through an entire MOPS meeting for the year. I always have to go get her before we are done. So I'm looking forward to sitting in there the whole time with my little man this week!
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Before the memories get too foggy, I need to document my sweet Eli's birth story! So here goes...

As mentioned before, my 37 week checkup had me excited thinking that my son may arrive ahead of schedule. So naturally I was anxious to see the doctor on November 3rd for my 38 week appointment. I was really hoping we'd see lots of progress and have a better idea when he might make his debut. But try as I might not to be disappointed, I admit I was pretty bummed when my doctor said I was the same as I had been the week before. No more progress made despite the fact that I'd been having quite a few contractions that morning (strong, but 10-20 min apart and had stopped by late morning). The doctor did however offer me the option to induce that weekend (the 6th/7th) if I wanted to. It was the only time she would personally be available for the birth, otherwise I would have some other doctor in the practice.

I went home after the appointment and spent the rest of the morning into the afternoon stressing over this decision. It wasn't my first choice to get an induction, but with a toddler to deal with and my mother having a 3+ hour drive to get here, I was considering the option. I couldn't come up with a decision, and Brent thought we should go ahead and take the induction on the 6th, so ultimately I figured that would be the conclusion. I called my mom and coordinated with her under the assumption that we'd be telling my doctor to schedule me to be induced on Saturday.

The rest of the afternoon continued as usual until around 4:00 when I started to feel contractions again. This time they felt even stronger than they had that morning, but were still far apart. I sent a text to Brent & my mom just telling them fyi the contractions were back and around 9 min apart. No need to take action at that point, I thought. I tried to get up and keep busy around the house knowing that activity often slows down or stops false labor, but by 5:30 the contractions were ranging from 4 to 6 minutes apart and getting stronger. Fearing he'd be delivering this baby on the side of the road if we didn't act fast, Brent went into action mode. He ordered a pizza and called his sister while I went to take a shower (still wondering if this was truly the "real thing"). I then called my mom and told her we'd probably be heading to the hospital and she could either wait until we knew if we'd be admitted or could just start driving this way. She opted to hit the road!

We ate dinner, got Lydia fed, and packed up the remaining items to be brought with us to the hospital. I was driving Brent crazy by not hurrying as much as he wanted, but I was trying to make sure Lydia was set for the night and into the morning if necessary. We left the house around 6:30 with contractions still around 5 minutes apart and some of them quite painful (hard to talk through). Though these didn't seem to hurt my back as much as they did with Lydia.

After some difficulty getting to Labor & Delivery (lots of areas of the hospital under construction meant that we had to enter through Emergency and get taken on a long walk to the other side to get there) I was in triage by 7. The nurse went through a whole long list of questions and ultimately said she wasn't sure what the doctor would do if they didn't think I was in active labor yet. My chart had two due dates on it: November 13 (based on LMP) and November 5 (based on the ultrasound). Neither had been specified as the ultimate one to go by. But we were told that they could not legally induce labor before 39 weeks, meaning if I wasn't in active labor and the doctor went by the 13th as the due date I might get sent home. In the end that didn't matter much because when they checked me at 7:30 I was 3cm dilated. The doctor (Dr. Neuhoff) said that if I had been at 1 just that morning and was at 3 now, things were progressing and she would keep me there.

By 8:00 we were settled into a delivery room watching Survivor while the RN (Renee) continued to ask more questions and get IV's and monitors hooked up. They did not give me pitocin and said we would wait and see how things progressed on their own, especially after they break my water. The doctor was busy with another delivery, though, so we kept being told she'd be in to break my water soon and then it'd feel like we waited forever. Around 9:30 the anesthesiologist came in to see if I wanted an epidural. My plan had been to wait until after they broke my water since I wasn't in too much pain at this point, but the anesthesiologist said he was called down to help with surgery and wouldn't know when he might come back to L&D. Not particularly wanting to risk not being able to get the epi later, we had him go ahead and do it. The procedure seemed more uncomfortable than I remember it being the first time, but ultimately it did the job.

Just after that was done the doctor came in to check my progress and break my water. I was at 4cm at 9:35pm when that was done. Eli's head was in a position such that he was plugging the hole as they tried to break the water, so it took a little while but it finally broke and we continued on. Brent hooked up the laptop and we watched the movie Yes Man as we waited. At 11:50pm I was up to 6cm, and when checked at 1:45am was unfortunately still at 6. I'd been lying on my right side to watch the movie and they said Eli's head was in a bad position for dropping into place, so we switched to my left side and put my leg up to help him reposition. I was feeling the contractions a bit more due to the epidural meds pooling on my right side, but still didn't feel pressure to push at this point.

We decided to try to get some rest while we waited, and I might have dozed off for a brief minute here and there, but my blood pressure monitor kept going off and beeping until the nurse would come adjust it. The second or third time this happened (2:55am), the nurse was adjusting Eli's monitors when I started to feel pressure. I told Renee and she asked if I wanted her to check me again. I said she could if she wanted, not really feeling confident that I needed a check, but she immediately exclaimed that it was time, I was at 10! She hurried around the room constantly telling me "don't push... don't push..." It almost made me laugh because I wasn't feeling THAT urgent a need to push. In fact, I was slightly afraid they'd go to all the trouble to get ready to deliver and then see that it wasn't really time.

Less than 20 minutes later (3:11am) there were 4 or 5 doctors/nurses/med students at the end of my bed talking me through pushes. I still never felt the strong urge to push, but I knew how I needed to do it and did my best to get in 3 good pushes with each contraction. Three contractions and 7 minutes later, Eli Anthony arrived at 3:18am on Thursday November 4th! I heard them say he had the cord around his neck, but they quickly unwrapped it without a fuss. He was much more purple than Lydia had been (she was unusually pink for a newborn) and had some bruising on his head from how he'd had to shift to get into position, but he was perfect. Tears welled up when I heard his first little cries, but he didn't cry for long. They put him on my stomach to clean him up (where he promptly peed all over me), then we cuddled and nursed. This was when I knew my son would be ALL boy... he snuggled up against me eating... and farting! Yes, my son wasted no time getting around to peeing, eating, and farting. Haha!

He weighed in at a whopping 8lb 14oz. The doctor knew he was big and had even commented that she didn't want to go too far away because she wanted to know how big he was! He's tall too. They measured him at 21.5 inches and said he has big feet too! Going to be tall and strong like his daddy, I bet.

Being the middle of the night we didn't have too many visitors right away. Tom & Rita came in to hold the little guy, but that was it for then. It seemed to take forever for the nurses to finish everything they needed to do. Finally at 5:20am we were moved to our recovery room. More nurses reviewed necessary paper work with us (while we struggled to stay awake enough to at least nod like we were listening) and by around 6 we were attempting to get some rest. I still couldn't believe that not long before I'd been stressing over the option to induce and it didn't even matter. Eli had his own agenda!

We only stayed in the hospital one more night and headed home Friday evening. Lydia had not been very enthusiastic about seeing Mommy in the hospital and I was anxious to get home to be with her and adjusting to life with our new little man.

Nine months of waiting (more if you count the time trying to get pregnant) all wraps up with 7 minutes of pushing and the first sweet cries of my firstborn son. It seems funny how quickly things can change. The waiting seems eternal and then in a flash it is done.

Eli is 11 days old today and I have loved every bit of it thus far. He is SUCH a good baby! He eats well and sleeps well and hardly ever cries. I can already tell that he is laid back. Lydia took a little bit of time to warm up to him, but she loves him now and gives him plenty of kisses. I am so in love with my family of four!

Eli - Words can't express how happy I am to have you in my life. It is such a joy to hold you in my arms at last. I love looking into your bright eyes when you are awake, and watching you peacefully sleep too. You are going to be a spectacular little man, I can already tell. Though the time is already flying by faster than I'd like, I'm so excited to watch you grow. I love you SO much! Welcome home, little buddy.
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Eli Anthony arrived early in the morning on November 4th. He weighed in at a hefty 8lb 14oz! I love my big boy! There will be more updates to come and pictures I'm sure. But I've been enjoying the time with my new family of 4 rather than being on the computer. Just wanted to let everyone know that my son is here at last!
Just had my 37-weeks-and-2-days doctor appointment this morning and things are looking good! First of all the scale this week lied to me (in a good way) and said I'm only at 157lbs (less than 40 up from starting weight), but that's about 4lbs less than last week so I know it is lying haha. With Lydia I ended at 169 though, so I do think I'll manage to stay under that this time around. I did not get to see my regular doctor because she is out this week, so I am trying to keep in mind that different doctors may say different things and not to get too caught up in what I was told. But regardless, this doctor said I am currently at "a good 1cm", 80% effaced, baby's head is nice and low, and the cervix is nice and soft. I talked to her some about the possibility of scheduling an induction if he hasn't come by his due date and her response was something along the lines of, "There's no way you are going past your due date." Ha!

Honestly I hate it when doctors say things like that because I know that it still may not be true... and I hate to get my hopes up or anyone else's hopes up! But she said it, so there we go. It's in my head now. She said she was pretty convinced that I will go into labor on my own. But again, can one really know THAT well? As always, only time will tell.

It is exciting, though, to think that Eli's arrival could be a little sooner than later. I'm looking forward to meeting him and experiencing what it is like to have a son. I'm looking forward to hearing those sweet baby cries again, holding a sleeping little one, seeing how Lydia reacts to him, and just getting to know another of these little miracles. I've been busily preparing as much as I can around the house. Most of the baby equipment has been cleaned up and moved into Eli's room until he arrives. I've got the spare freezer stocked up with frozen pizzas and other quick meals so resting and getting to know our boy can take priority over having to cook dinner. And I am *trying* to get the house relatively clean so I don't feel so bad about letting it go for a couple of weeks post-baby. The biggest things that are not done are the little keepsake things I want to have - his baby blanket (which I've already decided will not be finished until after his birth - sorry Eli!), his baby book, some scrapbooks that are in progress, etc. But these are nice-to-haves, not things that I need done before his arrival. However, there are still things to be done so I really should get off the computer and do them. It's much harder to prepare for a new baby with a toddler to tend to, so naptimes are crucial!
I'm so horrible at making myself sit down and write what's going on in our life. Do I say that every time I post? Probably.

As of yesterday I am full-term with the pregnancy (37 weeks). I'm excited for the day of Eli's arrival, but at the same time feel very at peace about when he decides to make his debut. I am enjoying life as it is now, understanding that change is coming, and will be fine if it is another 3 weeks before my son is ready. At the same time, I would be just as thrilled if he wanted to show up tomorrow! I've been bad about posting little details of this pregnancy, but have one I wanted to be sure to write down. A few days ago we were relaxing and watching TV while Eli danced around in my belly. Usually I am not good at differentiating between body parts (his elbow as opposed to his heal, for example), but that night I was poking at him and could very clearly feel his sweet little baby foot. Looking forward to kissing on that tiny foot next month!

At my last OB appointment I was showing no signs of progression towards labor yet. My next appointment is tomorrow (on weekly visits now) so we'll see if anything has changed. I have felt a few Braxton Hicks contractions (I think... I never had them with Lydia), but nothing substantial. I am not at the point of counting on him staying in there until his due date, but also not convinced he will certainly come early. All we do now is wait and try not to schedule anything too important in the coming weeks.

Lydia continues to do well, growing and learning as always. She gets better by the day at speaking in sentances, though the words are still sometimes out of order. She is a fantastic little helper and does well picking up her toys when we are done with them and following directions. I'm sure if I was not expecting a baby in less than a month we could be successfully potty training. She will talk about the potty and has started to put her toys on the potty for them to use it. But alas, I still don't want to be dealing with all of it when I have a newborn, so we will wait. Good thing I continue to get cheap/free diapers with my couponing. :)
My friend Kim is doing a $50 Hallmark Giveaway! Go check it out... and be sure to check out the rest of her stuff too!
Some much needed Lydia updates:

  • While I try not to let her watch too much TV in any given day, she has a few favorite shows that we enjoy watching together. Super Why ("Why Why"), Cat in the Hat ("Hat"), Word World, Sid, Curious George, and Elmo ("La-lo") are all enjoyed in moderation, though the programing schedule changed and we don't see Word World or George very often anymore.
  • Lydia still loves to run, spin, jump, and dance. She has now started to insist that we join in with her at all times. "Mommy up! Mommy spin! Mommy jump!" or perhaps "Ball Mommy! Mommy ball!" when she wants us to play with her ball. It's super cute but she can be really demanding!
  • For those wondering, potty training is still on hold. As Eli's due date moves closer, I just don't have the time and energy to put into it right now. We will be waiting until she is closer to 2 or perhaps just after her 2nd birthday... depending on what things are like with Eli here.
  • Lydia is getting good at routines and does excellent following directions. When it is time to clean up she will help put all the toys back in their place. She usually even knows where they all go without being told. Bedtime routine is similar. Once she is in her PJ's we can put her down in her room and she will go pick out a book, give it to one of us, and sit on our lap for her story. As soon as we say "the end" she will take the book, put it away on the shelf, give us each two hugs (one on each shoulder) and a kiss, then crawl into bed on her own. I have a feeling she will love routine just like her mama. :)
  • Her language abilities continue to amaze me and she talks in short sentences throughout the day. Most of the time I can understand her, but she gets carried away at times and rambles a whole lot of stuff together that I can't figure out.
  • Lydia's favorite games are pretending to go night-night and playing with her pink ball. Whenever we are in her room she insists that we both flop on her bed and pretend to be sleeping. She also enjoys helping with the laundry and "sweeping" the kitchen floor.
  • Colors and letters are all pretty well mastered by Lydia now. There aren't any letters that give her trouble anymore, so we are working more on numbers. She knows most of them and will usually count to five if you show her your fingers one at a time. I also randomly hear her saying "six, seven, eight, nine, ten!" though I don't think she's actually counting anything. As far as colors go, we've taught her red, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple, pink, white, black, and brown. She gets them right 99% of the time! She really absorbs information like a sponge. I can't keep up with writing it all down!
  • One funny thing she picked up is the fact that Nana drinks coffee. This is hilarious that she latched onto it because my mom never made a big deal about it. Yet Lydia has decided she loves to talk about coffee and pretend that she is drinking it! She even takes her toy barrels and will pretend to be drinking coffee out of them like a cup.

There are probably a hundred more things I could write down, but I'll still miss some. It's so hard to really capture what life is like around here in words! All I can hope to do is at least give myself a few things to remember when I look back.

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Well... technically 33 weeks 4 days... but who's really counting?

I am beginning to remember why the end of pregnancy is very not fun. As Eli grows and grows, my body is starting to feel the effects. If I'm standing up or walking around for any length of time my back, hips, and legs begin to ache. I guess an extra 40 pounds will do that to you. This wasn't such an issue last pregnancy because I could basically sit and rest whenever I needed to, but with Lydia it is much harder. She is constantly begging me to get up and dance, jump, spin, run, etc and she really doesn't understand that mommy needs to rest sometimes. I wish we could find more sit-down activities that she enjoys.

The heartburn has kicked up a notch too. I've relocated to a couch to sleep at night so I can prop myself up better, but I have to be super careful what I eat in the evening or I may regret it. Between that and how much Eli wiggles around in my belly, sleep is getting hard to come by. Often I am up every couple of hours. I suppose I could say this is just preparation for when Eli gets here, but lack of sleep isn't really something I like to prep for!

But really, I don't mean to complain. I know that all of this has a beautiful end result that is completely worth it, and I do not take that for granted. I'm so excited to see and hold my little boy! On a lighter note, we continue to make progress preparing for his arrival. He has a good supply of clothes washed and put away in his room along with clean bedding to welcome him home. Brent is almost done with decorating the new nursery then all that's left is to clean up the baby equipment that's been stored in the basement since Lydia used it.

Mom & my mother-in-law are both still thinking Eli will end up being an October baby. As long as he is healthy, I would not be opposed to this!
As my sweet little girl grows deeper and deeper into the toddler stage it has never been more apparent that we are born with a sinful nature. I never worked to teach her selfishness and manipulation, yet she is learning every day how to leverage these things.

This is a new realm of "tough" in parenting.

I love my daughter. I want with all my heart to believe that she will forever be sweet and innocent and obedient. But sadly I know this is not the way it will be. Not in this sinful world we live in. And lately I am beginning to see the root of sin - selfishness - creep into my little girl. She doesn't mean it to do any harm, but I can tell that her actions are turning into the result of the question, "What do I have to do to get what I want?" Sometimes it is sort of sweet... like insisting on never ending hugs and kisses at bedtime so that I won't leave her room. Other times, like the past couple of nights, it is screaming and crying until Mommy comes into the room - then the waterworks turn off and she wants to play and read books. When did she learn to manipulate like this?

It is really hard to be an honest parent. I have to admit that my child really ISN'T an angel and that she was born into sin in a fallen world, just like the rest of us. My job description is beginning to get longer. I can't just get by with meeting her basic needs anymore. She is reaching an age where teaching and training will become crucial in shaping her behavior. She will need to learn to obey, and more importantly learn about the One who gives us the strength to obey even when it goes against our human desires.

I am (and always have been) excited to watch my little girl grow. I love watching her learn and seeing her gain independence. I'm so proud of who she is becoming. But at the same time I'm a little terrified at how major a role I play in shaping who she becomes! I thank God that I have him by my side... and an awesome church home to help me out as well. But I sure do wish that they could stay innocent forever!
When I was showering on Friday I noticed a small line of what looked like bug bites under my left arm. I didn't think much of it until that night when my back was itching and Brent saw I had a cluster of around 14 more bumps on the left side of my back. We assumed they were bug bites until I did some research on Sunday night and found that rashes in pregnancy are not only common, but something that should be discussed with your doctor.

So yesterday (Monday) I called my OB and went in to have her look at the rash. I was expecting to hear it was something pregnancy related, so I was surprised when she told me it looked like shingles! I know some people who have had shingles and it was NOT fun for them. The doctor said I am more susceptible to them because of the pregnancy & subsequent compromised immune system. She actually said I was the third case she's seen recently.

Now I'm on medication for the next 10 days to help get rid of it and trying my best not to scratch my back despite the constant itch. It's so funny to me to see the various differences in pregnancies. With Lydia we had several scares that resulted in a lot of stress at the start, but not a whole lot of physical ailments for me personally. With Eli I've already had two illnesses that I've never had before: sinus infection and shingles. Let's hope this is the end of it... less than 8 weeks to go!
With less than 2 months to go until his due date, Eli and I are doing great. I'm still feeling really good with the only complaints being some aches and heartburn at night (oh and the getting up to pee a lot). Eli moves a ton but not in such a way that it is uncomfortable for me often. He stays out of my ribs and only occasionally uses my hip as a punching toy.

Had my latest checkup today and all is going well. I'm still measuring big, but only by a couple of weeks this time. I was that way with Lydia too (I'm short... there's only one direction for the baby to go...) so I'm not too worried anymore. The doctor estimates he will be in the 8lb range. I can handle that. My weight was also better than I expected. 154 lbs. That's up 33 from my first weigh-in at the doc's office. With Lydia I gained almost 50, so I'm quite pleased with 33. 8ish more weeks to go, so even at a pound a week I shouldn't end much more than 40 pounds up from the start. Not bad if you ask me.

Eli's room continues to come together. All of the base painting is done with just a decorative tree left to be painted. Today I bought the letters to spell out his name on the wall. So besides the tree, we just need to buy/install curtains, buy picture frames, and print out the pictures (images from his bedding) to put in the frames to go on the walls. I've been doing occasional loads of laundry to get clothing ready for his first few months and am looking forward to organizing it all now that the furniture is arranged.

It still seems so unbelievable that I'm going to have a son in a couple of months. What a wonderful Thanksgiving I have to look forward to this year! So much to be thankful for... hopefully including a healthy little boy in my arms.
I know I probably say this in pretty much every blog post, but things seem so busy these days and I find it hard to remember to stop and write it down. I can't believe it is September already! Here are some updates on the kiddos:


18 months old now and getting smarter by the minute. I was asked the other day how many words I thought she says now and I guessed around 100. Today I decided to try to make a list and made myself stop after passing 250. So the real number is probably somewhere between 250 and 300, and these are words she actively says without us having to say them first. There's no way I'm going to try to add to the total with words she won't say unless we say them first or words that she clearly understands. Within the past week or so she has also become more and more confident with using multiple words together and forming small sentances. Mostly these consist of "Bye-bye {insert person/object here}" or "All done {insert item here}", but there are a few others that pop up here and there in her daily chatter.

At her 18 month doctor checkup I loved seeing the doctor's reaction to all that Lydia knows. Especially the face she made when I said Lydia already knows most of the alphabet! She now recognizes all of the letters and only has slight hang-ups on a couple of them (such as, sometimes "C" starts out as "G" and we have to correct her before she will say it properly). She's getting much better at colors now too and frequently points out orange, purple, pink, and green objects... which I find funny since blue used to be the one she assigned to everything, but now she seems to ignore blue things.

Sleeping, eating, playing... Lydia does them all well and she is a complete joy to watch. She continues to be on the go constantly. My mom, Brent's mom, and I all took her to the butterfly house last weekend and it was nearly impossible to get a picture of Lydia because she wouldn't stop even for a second! She just ran around saying "buh-FLY!" As she is getting older and gaining more independence, we are starting to see her testing her limits a bit more than she used to. I hate punishing her and wish she would go back to just listening right away (and don't get me wrong, she is a GREAT kid and obeys very well), but sometimes she pushes it too far and gets a hand slap for touching things she was told not to touch. But like I said, in general she is very obedient and loves to help clean up, do laundry, or other small tasks I set her on.

Potty training is sadly on hold right now. I was hoping to be getting a good start in these coming weeks, but Lydia decided she was going to get some sort of stomach... something... and be pooping like crazy. We even got to the point of being told to bring a sample in to the doc's office so they can check for bacteria, but as soon as they requested this Lydia has seemed much better (this was just 2 days ago). But there's no way I was going to attempt potty training a child that is pooping out some nasty stuff 5 times a day. So for now we are waiting for her system to get back to normal and will go from there. Still hoping we'll give it a go at some point this month.

As a final note on Lydia's life at the moment, I am getting excited to see her as a big sister. I really think, and hope, that she is going to absolutely love Eli. We talk about him all the time already and I try my best to convey the idea that he is a baby and will be here soon. She loves to give kisses and hugs to my belly and will smile and say "Eye-Yeye" (Eli) whenever she notices my belly or even sees baby boy clothing around. Can't wait to see my two little ones interacting!


Pregnancy week 30 is just on the horizon. So far things continue to be going along smoothly. If I remember correctly, I seem to recall being a lot more uncomfortable at this point with Lydia. My only complaints right now are heartburn and aches at night, but those are pretty minor irritations.

I had my most recent doctor appointment at about 28 weeks along and she said I was measuring 33 weeks! Yikes! I know those measurements can be off by quite a bit, and that I measured big the whole time with Lydia too, but now I'm slightly nervous that I'm cooking a 10-pounder here. Perhaps this will just mean he will arrive a little sooner. Mom is predicting a halloween baby... so we'll see! I also took my glucose test at that time and sadly failed the 1 hour test. This meant I had to go back in for a 3 hour test where I would get my blood drawn 4 different times and checked for glucose tolerance. While it was an annoying way to spend a Saturday morning, I did get a lot of work done on Eli's blanket while sitting around for over 3 hours, and I passed this time so no need for a special diet.

We finally got started painting the nursery this past weekend. And by "we" I mean Brent and my dad. My parents were here last weekend and Dad helped Brent with Eli's room while Mom & I were at the butterfly house. The walls are slated to have tan and green, so the tan was started and finished on Saturday. This coming Saturday we'll be working on the green, then Brent plans to paint a tree in one corner of the room. So excited to see his room come together!
Tomorrow will mark week 27 in this pregnancy. Eli is due exactly 3 months from today! I'm happy to report that he is doing great as far as we can tell and I'm feeling great 95% of the time too. I also looked up how things were going at this point in my pregnancy with Lydia and was thrilled to see that my total weight gain this time is the same (or possibly less) than it was with Lydia. I was so nervous because I gained a weight a lot earlier this time, and with Lydia I had some major weight gain around 25-26 weeks. If I did the same this time, I'd be HUGE! But Eli has kept me gaining steadily and it's now evened out with my first pregnancy. I weigh around 145 right now and was 119 at my first weight check. With Lydia I started the same and ended just shy of 170. I know that's more than the "suggested" weight gain, but it came off fine the first time and my doc wasn't (and isn't) concerned about it. Though ultimately I'd like to stay under 160 with this one.

We had some maternity pictures taken around week 25. Always a fun time! We had trouble getting Lydia to do much with us since 1) there were toys to be played with and 2) we haven't done much working with her on hugging or kissing Eli. But we got a few cute ones anyway! Check my Facebook page for some of my favorites.

On Monday this week we had the pleasure of going in for a 3D ultrasound! I loved having that done with Lydia and was thrilled to get some of Eli. We had Lydia's done around 26 weeks as well so it is fun to compare.
Lydia at 26 weeks 4 days

Eli at 26 weeks 2 days

This is what a typical day in our house might look like right now:

Lydia wakes up around 7am and begins talking, singing, and "reading" her books on her bed. I always make sure to leave a few books on the end of her bed after she falls asleep so she'll have them there when she wakes up. She LOVES books and we commonly wake up to hearing her chant "books! books! books!" As soon as she sees me coming to get her, she will either grab a book or toy to give to me or will say "skooch skooch" as she scoots herself off the bed (usually to grab a different book off of her bookshelf). We regularly spend the first few minutes of the morning reading through a couple of her books. She loves it so much that I have a hard time getting her to let me change her diaper in the morning!

After the diaper change we go hang out with Daddy and make sure he is up for work. Then it's time for juice and breakfast! Lydia drinks a sippy cup (8oz) full of a juice/water combo first thing in the morning, then has water for the rest of the day. She doesn't care for milk much unless it is chocolate, so we stick to cheese, yogurt, and milk on cereal for dairy intake. Lydia continues to be a pretty good eater and uses lots of words for her favorite foods including cereal, waffles, chicken nuggets, apples, bananas, pizza, and spaghetti (aka "getti"). She cracked me up yesterday at a birthday party when she kept begging for cake as we were getting ready to do candles. I didn't realize she knew the word cake so well!

When breakfast is over, we usually have a laid back morning. Lydia loves to watch the shows on PBS. Her favorites are Word World, Super Why, and of course Elmo on Sesame Street. We try not to watch too much in any single day, but letting her watch a little while she plays in the playroom can't hurt. She is usually running all over the place playing with her toys and puzzles while the shows are on anyway. Rarely does she sit still for more than a minute or two!

Naps continue to be unpredictable (what's new?). We have tried going to one after-lunch nap, but I feel so bad making her stay up when she's super tired in the morning. I stuck with it for a week or so in hopes that she would adjust, but it didn't really work. Some days she just really seems to need a break in the morning. But of course, some days even if she is acting completely worn out (rubbing the eyes, yawning, sucking her thumb, and even lying down on the floor), she will decide it's play time after I put her down in her bed. Most of the time I can at least get a 1 hour afternoon nap out of her, but as always she is hit or miss.

Afternoons vary around here. After lunch and cleanup, sometimes Lydia naps (if she didn't rest in the morning) or we will play or go out until she needs a nap. We don't have a lot to do to get us out of the house, so we try to enjoy our trips to the grocery store or when the weather happens to be good enough to go outside. Unfortunately this pregnancy makes it quite uncomfortable to be outside in the heat... and this summer has been one of the hottest on record! As a result we don't get out as much as I'd like. Poor Lydia, she loves being outside! Oh and one other thing I wanted to mention is that Lydia can now go both up AND down stairs. I'm pretty sure she learned how to go down because just a day before she started to do it I was telling some other moms that she wasn't figuring it out no matter how I tried to teach her. Guess she didn't like sounding incapable! She scoots along on her rear-end from stair to stair and is getting quite good at it. This makes me feel a little safer knowing that if she encounters stairs and I'm not right by her side there's a chance of her safely navigating them.

So mostly we hang out and get things done that need to get done while we wait for Daddy to get home from work. Lydia loves her Daddy! She will excitedly run up to him yelling "Daddy!!!" when he walks in the door, then often promptly runs off to grab a ball so they can play. Balls are still amongst her favorite toys, along with her rubber ducks, fish bath toys, and any toy letters we have. She loves music and will dance and sing all around the room. When we are in the car and the radio turns off, she will start singing and making her own music!

There isn't anything in particular that Lydia dislikes. She continues to be pretty easy going. Sometimes she has a rough time still when we clean her off after meals or when she lays back in the bathtub to have her hair washed, but even then she can usually be distracted away from a tantrum pretty quickly. Lydia gets a bath every two or three days, depending on how messy she has gotten, and she continues to enjoy bathtime. She especially loves her foam letters and numbers and nearly knows them all now! 99% of the time she can get all of the letters correct except for "R" "X" and "Z". She's still working on learning those. We haven't worked as much on numbers, but she usually gets 1, 5, 7, and 8 correct. The foam letters are also great for learning colors. Lydia still tends to respond "blue" to any question involving a color, but when not prompted she has been known to point out yellow, pink, purple, and orange objects. I swear at the rate she is going the child will be smarter than us by the time she's 3. Yesterday when we were saying bye bye to Brent, Lydia informed me that he was going to "work." When I told her she was right, that he was going to work and he'd be back later, she looked at me and said "minute" ... as in, he'll be back in a minute. Ha!

Bedtime routine around here is pretty simple. Bathtime comes first if it's bath day, then pajamas and a diaper change, bedtime story, then down for bed. Lydia is doing great in her big girl bed (twin mattress on the floor). No regrets about moving her out of the crib! We don't use a sheet yet, just a toddler-bed-sized blanket that usually has to be put back on her after she falls asleep. She also has a flat pillow to help her not squish herself up against the wall and because she just likes going night-night on pillows.

She falls asleep pretty quickly most of the time, sometimes after a few minutes of talking to herself, and stays asleep throughout the night. Brent and I sneak into her room before we go to bed to place her back in a good position on the bed, re-cover her, or just to give her a little kiss to end the day. I love ending the day kissing my sweet angel... and starting each new one listening to her sweet voice!
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25.5 weeks pregnant now and feeling great! I keep meaning to look back and see how I felt at this point with Lydia, but pregnancy brain combined with chasing a toddler around makes me incredibly forgetful.

Currently I get comments ranging from "you're so tiny!" to "you don't look like you can make it until November!" so I'm not sure how I really look haha. Tomorrow will mark 100 days remaining until Eli's due date. It's really going by fast lately!

Lydia and I took a quick trip down to Cincinnati this past weekend to visit with a friend who was passing through. While he had the house to himself, Brent took the opportunity to do some work on Eli's room. The guest room is no more (for now). The guest bed has relocated to a corner of the playroom and the crib & changing table are assembled in its place. Brent is super handy with Photoshop and graphic design, so he decided to do a mock-up of what he thinks Eli's room will look like. Here's what he came up with (bad quality on here, but you get the idea):

You have to imagine that folded up into a cube, but there it is. I really like it! I'm looking forward to getting the paint picked out and seeing the room come together. We may make some changes as we get going, but this is our starting point.
In other pregnancy news, we had some maternity pictures taken last week. I'll be sure to share them when I get them back!
We got a potty seat for Lydia and installed it this week. For the past few days I've been taking her into the bathroom for diaper changes and letting her sit on the potty for a few minutes before putting a clean diaper on her. This is really just for practice and getting her comfortable with the idea of sitting on the potty. No expectations at this point. But today when I sat her down I asked, "Do you want to try to go pee pee on the potty?" And she DID! Could have been total coincidence that she went after I asked, but I was a very excited mama! Lydia turned 17 months old yesterday so official potty training won't begin for another month or so, but I'm loving the potential she's showing!

Lydia has also made the move from the crib to a twin mattress. The first night did not go super well, but I think it was just a bad night in general - not fully related to the bed situation. She had been really clingy to me that day and had a rough time when I left her in her room that night. So we ended up going back to the crib that night, but yesterday jumped right back into the big girl bed. After two successful daytime naps, she also slept all night last night in the twin bed. Yay! The crib is getting disassembled today since we know she will be fine in the new bed.

Eli also continues to do well. Tomorrow will mark week 24. At my appointment earlier this week I was measuring big - a couple of weeks big in fact. But no due date change. I was usually a bit big with Lydia too but she was still less than 8lbs at full term. So I'm trying not to panic at the thought of having a huge baby! He'll come when he is ready. Still feeling great so far!
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I was not planning to buy new furniture for Eli's room. The plan was to transition Lydia to a twin mattress and transfer the crib & changing table over to the new baby's room. However, yesterday a friend passed along a deal too good to let go. Walmart had a crib & changing table set (originally $180) marked down to only $99 for both pieces of furniture! On top of that it will ship directly to our house for free. Yay! I decided to go for it. While my penny-pinching practical side said it was a waste, my preferences really wanted a darker color for the furniture in Eli's room. I wasn't too thrilled about decorating another white-furniture nursery. Plus, there are lots of other benefits to having this set instead of reusing what we already own. It makes things much less complicated with dressers. Now we can keep the changing table/dresser that is in Lydia's room there. It's small with only 2 drawers, so it won't last forever there, but it will be fine for awhile. We also already have a large set of drawers in a dark wood color that will now (more closely) match this furniture in Eli's room. So we'll be able to move that into his room for more storage. All in all, we spent $100 and were able to avoid buying a new dresser for Lydia's room and will get some use out of the dark wood drawers we already have. I'd consider that a win!
I must apologize about the lack of belly picture to go along with this post. We have been so busy lately that I keep forgetting to take a decent new one! I'll be certain to get some to share during our upcoming camping trip.

In the meantime, here's a new picture of Eli!

This was taken at my ultrasound appointment today (21 weeks 3 days). He weighs a bit over a pound and was measuring about 5 days ahead of his due date, but that's not enough of a difference to change it officially. So the due date will be staying put at November 13th! This appointment was way different than what I expected... and way longer! When I had my mid-pregnancy ultrasound with Lydia they had me in and out of there in 15 minutes or less. This time I had to go to the hospital because our insurance changed and required that we go there. They have a totally different process at the hospital. The tech took over 120 pictures and the entire ultrasound lasted a whole hour! I really feel like my baby boy got a thorough examination. And yes, we did indeed confirm that we are due to have a son!

Another benefit to the hospital visit instead of my OB's office was that they had 3D capability on their ultrasound machine. I always prefer to see the baby's face in 3D... it looks a little less like a creepy skeleton! Eli was not in a very good position to get great pictures of his face, though. He had his arm up by his head and it kept casting a shadow. Then he kept trying to turn his face inward. I think he was tired of being messed with after an hour of poking!

In the end I couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome of the appointment. The tech was very friendly and talked us through all of the parts she was looking at. We asked if everything looked good and she said they did as far as she could tell. A doctor has to look over the pictures and write an official report, but I assume if there were any major problems a tech of 16 years would know (and she said the doc would get called in right away for anything major).

So now feeling completely confident in the gender determination, I spent the afternoon browsing Amazon for a few of the "boy" items we'll want to have for our little man. I think we will be in good shape with everything except for clothes. I'm sure I will pick up some new things for him in the coming months and will fill in the gaps with gently used items from a big sale I go to in the Fall.

Oh - and we'll be even more set for his arrival now because today we bought a van!! I think this officially makes me a mom. ;-)
It feels like there is so much going on these days yet nothing that I feel needs a blog post about it. So instead of lots of little posts, I guess I'll do one here-is-everything-in-my-life post.

It's officially summer and the weather around here has not proven otherwise. It has been hot! Thankfully this week has brought us some milder temperatures and Lydia and I have enjoyed more outside time without me feeling like I'm seconds away from melting. I'm currently enjoying having almost all of the windows in the house open, keeping our home at a lovely 70 degrees inside. Fabulous! We will be taking advantage of this weather and going to the zoo on Friday with Grandma (Brent's mom). I'm seriously considering getting a "leash" for Lydia so she can run around without me worrying about having to hold her hand. She hates when I make her hold my hand.

We are currently transitioning to a one nap schedule for Lydia. After a few days in a row of having her talk/play in her crib for over an hour any time I tried to put her down, I decided she must not really be tired enough to take two naps anymore. Since dropping the morning nap she has been much better about falling asleep shortly after I lay her down and has been sleeping well. Occasionally she'll still only nap for a bit more than an hour, but most of the time since we have made the switch she rests for closer to 2 hours. So for now our routine is to eat lunch, clean up, then take a nap. Today she went down at noon... currently 1:30 and she's still up there snoozing.

Lydia is definitely a bundle of energy these days, as well as a sponge for knowledge! I'm starting to run out of body parts to teach her now that she has mastered hair, head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, cheeks, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, belly, legs, knees, feet, and toes. She picks them up faster than I can figure out what to point out next! She loves her letter puzzle and her bath letters so we are constantly going over which letters are which even though she doesn't seem to remember most of them. Her current favorite is O and she is sure to point them out whenever she sees one, even on our clothing. She loves to go outside and point out the grass, rocks, bushes, trees, and birds. I'm pretty sure she knows flowers too, but she doesn't use a specific word for them that I've noticed.

Besides her constantly growing vocabulary, Lydia is learning a lot of other skills as well. She likes to mimic what I do and helps me put laundry in the dryer or get shoes to go out. I've stepped up our "potty" talks in hopes of making an attempt at potty training around 18 months. She loves the concept of flushing the toilet, but hesitates to push the handle hard enough to actually make it go. Usually I help her and we both wave bye-bye to the toilet's contents. Lovely, I know. :) I'm hoping to get around to buying a potty seat and step stool for her soon so we can start practicing sitting on the toilet. With any luck I'd love to have her potty trained before Eli is born!

Speaking of Eli, he is getting stronger and stronger every day! I'm past the halfway point now - will be 21 weeks on Saturday. He loves to be awake and kicking when I am trying to sleep, so I may as well get used to being tired again. Nightly heartburn has also kicked in, but thankfully the pain in my hips that I had with Lydia has not shown up yet. Maybe my body is a bit more used to it the second time around. Oh, but for some reason my knees click when I go up stairs. No pain, just noise. *shrug*

Only 6 more days until our official ultrasound. So excited!

Aside from news about the kids, we have been in the process of refinancing our mortgage lately (and when I say "we" I really mean "Brent" because he basically handles those kinds of things and I just sign where he tells me to). In theory we are supposed to be having our closing tonight, but I think it's still pending. Hopefully soon. Brent has also been able to do a sizable side-job recently that's going to bring in a decent amount of extra income for us. He just finished it up last week and sent the bill to the company. That money combined with our tax return that we've been holding on to, plus some money we've been setting aside for car related things, will hopefully be buying us a van soon! The thought of having two kids in our little cars, especially for any kind of travel, just doesn't work. Our cars are both getting old and we're looking forward to getting something different. We will by no means be getting an awesome NEW van... we have already committed to NEVER having car payments again, so we have to stick with what we can afford to buy in cash... but we're hopeful that we can get a decent used van. Anyone interested in buying our 1998 Saturn while we replace it?

Tomorrow marks the start of July - a very busy month for us! We have a wedding to attend this weekend and my parents will be visiting as well. This month we also have a super exciting camping trip planned and several birthdays (including Brent's birthday and his sister Natalie's 30th!). It seems like I will blink and summer will be over already! Which isn't such a bad thing considering I'm counting down the months to my sweet Eli's arrival. Once we confirm the gender at next week's ultrasound, I'd love to get paint colors picked out and really start getting the nursery figured out. But since his room is currently our guest room, we may delay getting it set up until closer to November. Lydia is still using the crib and changing table, but I'm hoping to work on transitioning to a "big bed" and working on potty training soon (as mentioned above).

So there's a glimpse of my life at present. I love it. I love my family and feel so incredibly blessed. I'd be remiss if I didn't turn and give all the credit and glory to God for these wonderful blessings in my life. I am simply amazed and in awe of what I have been given and am humbled that my God would think to honor my family as such. To God alone be the glory. :)
Today I looked down while taking a shower and realized that my toes are gone. The belly is taking on a life of its own (literally!) and has overtaken my downward view.

I'll be 20 weeks along on Saturday. I can hardly believe we're halfway there already! Oh and let me just take a moment right here to tell Eli how sorry I am that I haven't written a whole lot about my thoughts during this pregnancy. Everything has just been so smooth this time around, and I'm simply not on the computer as much as I was last time. So I'm sorry, Eli. I do love you tons and am so very excited to meet you in another 20ish weeks, even if I'm bad about documenting it all!

I had another appointment with my OB on Friday, just shy of 19 weeks. So far I've put on around 12lbs since my first appointment. I was pretty pleased with this, honestly, despite comparing my number to several others due in November who all seemed to still be in the single digit weight gains. I put on just shy of 50lbs with Lydia. I was okay with that too (not necessarily thrilled, but okay), and all of it was gone by the time she was roughly 6 months old. So I won't freak out if I get close to that number again, but I'm aiming for more in the 30-35lb range for this pregnancy. I must be doing okay so far because my doctor immediately commented on how skinny I look and had to double check my chart to make sure I'm gaining weight okay. So I guess I'm at least carrying those 12lbs well!

Eli's heartbeat was once again around 150 (the boy is consistent for sure!) and the doctor quickly exclaimed "Girl, girl, girl!" ... I just chuckled to myself and decided not to tell her that we already know we are having a boy. I know that she doesn't really believe in the old wives tale about heartrates predicting gender, but she does like to mention it at every visit.

My ultrasound is scheduled for July 6th. Just 2 more weeks! I'm looking forward to getting all of the official measurements and confirming that the name Eli will be appropriate for this little one. :) I'm curious if my due date will change too. Not that I'm getting my hopes up, but I've sort of had a feeling that this one is a little further along. My pregnancy test results were much stronger/darker than they had been when I tested with Lydia, he looked really developed at the 15 week ultrasound, and I've already been feeling really strong movements for weeks now (including Brent being able to feel him very well from the outside). I suppose a lot of this could just be attributed to this being a second pregnancy, thus why I'm not getting my hopes up. But still, I'm curious. Anxious to get another look at my little guy and praying that all looks good in a couple of weeks.

Other pregnancy news: I'm HOT!!! Maybe because most of my last pregnancy was during the Fall/Winter, but this time I'm way more toasty than last time! Lydia loves to be outside, but I can hardly stand it after 10 or so in the morning. I'm okay in the shade, but we have very little of that at our house. This weekend we pulled out the baby pool. It's really nice that the pool is big enough for me to sit in it while Lydia still has plenty of room to walk around and play. I have a feeling the pool is going to be our afternoon outdoor activity a lot this summer! We have a camping trip coming up in a few weeks and I'm very happy we tried to get a site with shade. We've never been to this particular campground so I'm hoping it will be true to the description. If not I may have to train Lydia and Micah to fan me with branches or something while we are there (feel free to let him practice ahead of time, Kim... haha!).
There has always been a debate amongst women (pregnant women especially) about whether it is better to find out the sex of the baby ahead of time or to wait until the baby is born to find out. I've always been a big planner and don't think I could ever possibly wait until the big day to find out. With both pregnancies thus far we've kept the mindset that you will always be surprised at some point... either getting the fun news at an ultrasound or in the delivery room, both will be fun and surprising moments.

A part of me still feels this way, but I did have a thought the other day that made me think it actually could be more fun to wait (though I know I'd never have the patience). You see, I AM very excited to know that I am having a boy. And I am already having TONS of fun thinking about what it will be like to have a son, preparing his room, and calling him by name. But the one thing that delivery has over ultrasound any day is 100% certainty. There's no denying after a boy is born that he is in fact a boy. Unfortunately with ultrasound, I find myself constantly having this nagging in the back of my head making me scared that it was wrong. What if I get all attached to "Eli" only to discover later that my son is in fact a daughter??

Granted, I plan to have a couple more ultrasounds before the big day arrives and if all three times I'm told I'm having a boy, those are pretty good odds. And trust me, if you saw the pictures of the "proof" - there's really no denying I've got a son on the way. But kinda in the same way that the ultra faint pink line on the pregnancy test robbed me a little of the "Oh my gosh I'm PREGNANT!" moment when I was testing the first time (with Lydia) because I wasn't really sure if it was a positive result, an ultrasound is never 100% fool proof and it causes me to be scared to celebrate and to embrace the idea of having a son.

Maybe I'll feel differently in July when (if) I get confirmation from my next ultrasound that I'm having a boy... and again, I still don't regret choosing to learn the gender and will likely continue to do so for any subsequent pregnancies... but I now feel like I can understand a little bit of why it could be more exciting to wait.
I found it fun that Lydia turned 15 months the exact same day that Eli was 15 weeks along. Fun. :)

So I realize I'm behind in posting this update, but life has been busy! We've had all kinds of activities including a big family trip to Florida! But those will wait for another blog post. For now, here's an update from Lydia's 15 month appointment.

For starters, she continues to be tall and lean. She is 31" long (75%ile) and weighs 21lbs 3oz (25%ile). I wasn't surprised by these numbers at all. She is definitely getting taller all the time as evidenced by the increasing number of things she can reach throughout the house. And she is a MOVER... all the time! So no wonder she doesn't have any baby chub left. All day long she is walking everywhere. She does laps around the island in the kitchen, runs back and forth across the living room, explores the hallways... it's tiring just to watch her!

There were no concerns at all at her appointment and the doctor was very impressed by Lydia's cognitive developments. I knew I had a smarty pants on my hands. :) When I told the doctor that I had lost count of all of the words Lydia uses, she was thrilled (saying she would have been pleased with just 5 or 6 words). It's true, my girl is a talker. She is almost constantly going around saying the words that she knows really well (ball, mama, daddy, juice, shoes, go, nose, toes, books, no, nana, hi, hello, etc) and often wants me to tell her what other things are. When I teach her a new object, she wastes no time in attempting the word herself. Lydia surprises me on a regular basis by trying to say words I didn't even realize she had learned.

She is also surprises me with how smart she is in other areas. She loves to organize items and put them in their proper places. She understands a ton of commands and usually does whatever I ask her to do. My mom even asked Lydia to give her puppy a drink and she immediately took her sippy cup and put the straw in her stuffed puppy's mouth. She also "sings" for me when I ask her to sing a song. It is adorable! It's usually just 3 or 4 "la's" in some tune she makes up, but I love it. I have lots of fun teaching Lydia different body parts too. So far she can say the word (for most of them) and point to her eyes, ears, nose, mouth, head, hair, neck, hands, fingers, knees, feet, belly, toes, and we're working on shoulders. And at bath time I'm working on teaching her all of the vowels. She's pretty good at E and O, sometime I, but A and U need more work. It's so fun to watch her learn! Even more so, I'm looking forward to watching her help Eli learn. It's going to be so cool to see my babies interacting with one another!
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I love that this post is immediately following my one about potentially having a girl. Haha!

On Thursday (the 20th) I had my 14 week checkup at the doctor. Everything looked good and the heartbeat was strong around 150bpm. Before leaving I asked her about scheduling the ultrasound (typically done between weeks 18 & 20). I was a bit surprised and disappointed when she responded saying she wanted me to wait until 21 weeks... and even more bummed when I heard that the hospital where I have to go to get my ultrasound won't do it before 22 weeks! I had really been hoping to find out the gender of our little one... and more importantly know that he or she was healthy... sometime in June. It was so hard to think I might not see our baby until halfway through July!

As I sat around bummed about this situation, it eventually dawned on me that I have friends who know an ultrasound tech and they were able to see her for a gender check around week 16. Had I been able to get my regular ultrasound at 18 or 19 weeks, I could have been patient... but knowing the long wait I was in for I decided to talk to one of my friends to see if I could possibly get in with this tech that they know.

Lo and behold I get a phone call on Friday morning saying that the tech was not only able to see me, but could get me in that day (just one day shy of 15 weeks at this point)! We were scheduled to meet with her at 3:45, so I spent my afternoon watching the clock with anticipation. So excited to see my little one!

Brent, Lydia, and I all went to the appointment - which was fantastic! The tech was so wonderful as she pointed out our little one's head, heart, tummy, and feet. At first the baby was squirming around a ton and kept crossing legs and putting hands between them, but eventually we got the view we were looking for. There it was... the "kickstand" as our tech put it... our baby is a BOY! We had fun getting different views of our son and eventually I asked the tech how sure she was about the gender. Her first response was that she never says 100% because she believes nothing is for sure until you are holding the baby. Then a bit later I asked her if we would get the 95% sure from her and she said, "Hmm... I think I'm actually going to go ahead and give you guys the 100%!" When a professional who has done this for 12 years gives you 100% certainty, I think that's trustworthy!

I left still feeling a bit in shock. I was afraid to really let myself believe we're having a son (I'm sure I would have reacted the same way to a girl... because I'm a skeptic like that), but as I sat in Red Lobster waiting for a table (our traditional celebration dinner after baby ultrasounds) I let it sink in and my heart melted at the thought of holding my little boy in November. Over dinner Brent and I discussed names a bit. We had already tentatively decided, but now it was time to set it in stone. We mostly tossed around various versions of the name Eli - Elijah, Elisha, Elias, Eli... in all cases planning to call him Eli. So in the end we decided that our baby boy will be named...

Eli Anthony Pirolli

I've always been a fan of Biblical names and want our children to be named after worthy characters in the Bible. Eli was the high priest who raised the prophet Samuel. Additionally, I've always liked the idea of our children having middle names that reflect our ties to family. Lydia ended up with my middle name and Eli will have Brent's middle name - which has actually been passed down through Brent's father from his grandfather.

So there you have it. Come November, we will be the Pirolli family of four - Brent, Sarah, Lydia, and Eli!

Random fun fact - Lydia's first, and so far only, letter that she learned is "E" ... and we never really made efforts to teach that to her. Perhaps she knew she'd have a brother named Eli someday?
I know I've been pretty lax about writing about this pregnancy compared to my last. Maybe it is in part because it's my 2nd and I just don't think about it as much... or maybe it's because I've not had nearly the complications this time around that I had last time. Regardless, I really AM excited to be pregnant again and do think about this baby quite often! I just don't have the time to sit and write about what I have been thinking or feeling as easily as I could the 1st time around.

This past Saturday I officially entered my 2nd trimester. Yay! I am 14 weeks and 2 days along now and have my next OB appointment on Thursday. Still very much looking forward to hearing that sweet heartbeat (even if I do have to get up waaay early for a 7:45 appointment this time)! I've been feeling really good. It's easy to forget that I'm pregnant since I've been feeling so great. No sickness, the fatigue is wearing off, and no other complications. Still waiting to feel those first little movements, though I've felt a few things that have made me wonder at times. Nothing but shrinking clothes (aka growing belly) to remind me of the sweet little one growing inside.

Random side note - I compared pictures that I took of my belly at 13 weeks with this pregnancy to ones at 17 weeks with my first and they look pretty darn identical except that this baby seems to be carrying a little lower. Looks like the estimate of "showing" 4 weeks ahead of the first pregnancy is holding pretty true for me!

So you are probably wondering what the title of this post means. It's a girl? No we have not confirmed the gender of Baby 2 yet, but I couldn't help but grab an at-home gender test for $10 when I had the chance. These normally cost upwards of $30, which I was not willing to pay, but by agreeing to share my results I could get one for 1/3 of the price at bestbabygender.com. They claim 99% accuracy after week 14 (I don't really buy it), but figured... why not? I followed all of the instructions carefully and took the test this morning. The result? Apparently we're having another little girl!

Green or yellow indicates a girl result (red or orange means boy). Again, I don't put a whole lot of faith in this test. We will still wait for our ultrasound in about a month before calling the baby by name and painting the nursery. I would love for Lydia to have a sister... and I would love to have a little boy... so I'm going to be happy either way. I'm just curious to see if the test turns out to be correct.

I've been meaning to take the time to write out the story of my Christian walk on my blog and just haven't gotten around to it. But here I am with a little bit of time on my hands (seems so hard to come by these days!) and I decided that now is just as good a time as any.

My journey has been a simple one. Or at least a straight-forward one. I don't have one of those major conversion stories about how I was a druggie and prostitute who ended up in jail at the end of my rope when God opened my eyes and changed my life forever. Nope. That's not me. And for a long time I felt like my story wasn't worth telling because it wasn't very dramatic. There aren't any crazy intense moments that reach a climax before I at last "see the light" and turn to the happily-ever-after that I've always wanted.

I was so incredibly blessed to grow up in a strong Christian household with parents who were (and are) REAL. They loved me and my brothers. They taught us to value ourselves, respect others, and learn about all that God created us to be. I am eternally thankful that God gave me such wonderful role models, and as a result of their love and prayers I remember sitting on my bed with my Daddy and accepting Jesus into my heart when I was just 5 or 6 years old. And somehow, no doubt only by God's grace, that decision stuck. Even as young as I was, it changed my life. I never looked back and I never questioned if I really "meant it" when I prayed that prayer. I knew that I did.

Unlike many who come to faith as children, I did not hit a rebellious stage as a teen or young adult. Like I said, the decision I made was real and it stuck. I remained active in youth group throughout my high school years and knew that God had a plan for my future that didn't involve all of the teenage drama. However there was one big defining moment for me as a teen. Crazy kid that I was, I remember standing in our kitchen one day and just crying out to God, "Test me! Try me! If faith is strengthened through trial, then bring it on!" Bad move. Ha! Seriously, if you ever ask God for a trial, He will deliver!

Over the course of the next year or so I faced a most unexpected challenge. Something I hadn't anticipated and certainly had never experienced. My expectations were that God would put me through the kind of trials that others would see... a death in the family, some sort of injury or life crisis, you know, the typical hardships that people endure. But God had something different in mind for me. Something I would have to get through more or less on my own. For the first time ever, I suddenly felt alone. God got quiet.

I can't explain why things suddenly felt this way, but confusion and doubt quickly flooded in. Where are you, God? What am I supposed to be doing? As I worked through this time in my life, I came to understand that God had taken my request for a trial and gave me the opportunity to stand on my own. Like a parent who lets go to allow a child to take her first steps. It's not that the parent has left or that they no longer love or care about the child, but they recognize the need for growth. God was helping me grow up.

I struggled for about a year, analyzing my beliefs, considering what God wanted for my life, and ensuring that this truly was the path I wanted to follow. I learned a lot in that time. For starters, I quickly learned that faith is not about feelings. When I no longer felt like God was near me, did that mean that He wasn't there? No. He was always there. I also grew confident that my faith was not just a result of mimicking my family... just following it because it's what I had been taught... but rather an honest decision that I made for myself. And I also learned more about loving others. I learned about stepping out of my comfort zone. Reaching others for Christ rather than sitting in my "holy huddle" of fellow believers. I learned that it's not just about knowing the Bible, but rather about caring for people.

After that period in my life, I felt rejuvenated and recommitted to what I had chosen on that day sitting in my room with my Dad. I definitely still struggle at times with finding the passion in my faith that I've seen in the past. My life feels crazy right now with raising babies and growing a family. Sometimes I feel like I'm failing at my mission. But being a mom is part of the mission that I have always wanted to have. I love my parents so much and am so grateful for the Christian example that they were. They helped me find the right path in life and keep with it. I hope and pray that I can do the same for my children. Even if the only lives I feel like I ever change are theirs, it will be worth it to me. I can only hope to one day be a part of their stories of falling in love with their Creator. That would make the perfect end to my story.
I keep trying to maintain a mental list of all the words Lydia knows now and I'm beginning to lose my grip on said list. So for my own memory's sake, I'm going to try to type up a list. Some of these are words that she regularly says without any prompting, others she understands and will use if we say them first or prompt her to say them, and still others are barely "words" at all but a good "mom translation" knows what she is trying to say.

So here we go... Lydia's 14 month vocabulary...

Hop Hop
Sssss (snake sound)
Oo Oo (monkey sound)
Lala (Elmo)
Nana (for either her Nana or a banana)
Grandpa/Papa (these ones are rare)
Night Night
Mmmm (when eating)
Mmmmuh! (giving or blowing kisses)
Uh Oh
All Done
Bye Bye
Hello (in context of a phone)
Fish (most definitely her favorite animal currently)
Bless You (doesn't really sound anything like that but she says it after I sneeze!)

Additionally, she does signs for more, all done, eat, please, I love you, and help.

Ahhh I love it! She is at such a fun age!
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So I've been trying really really hard this time around to not be a crazy, nervous, nutcase pregnant lady. While I have held firm to the knowledge that God is in control, I have to admit that I was super excited to be going to my first appointment with the OB today to hear the heartbeat. Other than being crazy tired, most of my other pregnancy symptoms dissipated by week 6. This left me with a nagging thought in the back of my mind that maybe something was wrong. Or maybe I just convinced myself (and 2 at home pregnancy tests) that I was pregnant when I really wasn't.

Regardless, I was thrilled when the doctor put the doppler on my tummy and almost immediately we heard the lovely thump-thump-thump of Peanut #2. I had so many little complications with my first pregnancy that by 10 weeks I'd already had 2 ultrasounds (and 2 more followed just a couple of weeks later). So it felt strange this time to not really have "proof" of anything going on. Very happy to have received my proof today. Doctor said the heartrate was around 150 and everything looked to be going as expected. Yay!

On a side note, Lydia was with us at the doctor's office and it was funny watching her face when the doppler got going. She kinda stared at my tummy with a confused expression. It will be interesting trying to explain to her in coming months what is going on!
"There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears." -Philippians 1:6 (The Message)

As I stood in church this weekend singing the song "God of This City" I couldn't help but expand the concept behind those lyrics to other areas. The song could just as well be about greater things to come in a country, in the world, in a local church, or even in an individual. Emotions welled up as I sang...

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God...
Greater things are yet to come,
Greater things are still to be done here...

Sometimes I get so stuck in the moment. I get stuck thinking that the day in and day out of life is all there is going to be. I'll never be anything special. I'll never achieve anything great. I'll never be who I want to be. But those are lies. The Bible tells us that we can be confident as Christians that God is going to continue to work on us... and we aren't going to be finished until the very end! There will ALWAYS be greater things yet to come because he who started the good work in us promised to carry it on to completion! It is an overwhelming and humbling realization. To know that God is working on me. Right now. In this very moment. He has not given up on me or decided that this is as good as I'm going to get. My life, my circumstances, my family, my church, my city, my country, my world... all of them are works in progress, being perfected by the Master Artist himself.

So stay tuned, blog world. Greater things are still to be done here.
Lydia had a very big weekend this past week! It all started on Thursday with her very first trip to the zoo!

She absolutely loved it. Lydia is very much an outdoors girl, so she enjoyed being out in the sun and wind. The weather was perfect! Temperature got up into the 80's with lovely sun and a cool breeze. Besides watching all of the people walking around, Lydia's favorite part was the aquarium. We walked in and she immediately sat up in her chair and started chanting, "Fish! Fish! Fish!" Such a cutie. :) I have a feeling we are going to love having a zoo membership this year.

Thursday night we got to hang out with family at Grandma and Papa's house for family dinner night. Spaghetti, bananas, and brownies made for a happy little girl. She showed off her walking skills and all of her animal noises and, unfortunately, got a nasty boo-boo too! Poor thing's legs just gave out while she was drumming on the folding chair and she smacked her face on it busting her lip. After a little loving and a wet washcloth, Lydia was back to her happy self and we all enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood to finish off the night.

Friday through Sunday Lydia and I took a trip down to Cinci to visit my family. Brent had to work so he didn't get to go with us, but us ladies had a lovely time! Nana and Grandpa had lots of Elmo toys at their house and also lots of balls for playing catch. Lydia just LOVES rolling balls back and forth with people. She also greatly improved her walking skills over the weekend... growing more and more confident each day. She also stood up on her own without holding on to anything for the first time. Not much longer and I suspect she will be doing more walking than crawling. Over the weekend she also decided to learn the word "no" and finds it so much fun to use. At first it just seemed like she just enjoyed saying it, but caught on to the meaning very quickly. "Lydia, do you want a drink?" "No!" "Do you want more applesauce?" "No!" Time to start working on teaching her "Yes" before she gets carried away!

For too long I've felt like my spiritual life has been stalled. It's not that I want it to be that way, or even that I'm just too lazy to do anything about it. Well, maybe there's some of that in there, but I'd like to think it isn't a primary factor. Basically I just don't know where to go from here. Books, Bible studies, even reading the Bible itself (in multiple translations)... it just feels like I've heard it all before. You'd be hard pressed to find something in the Bible that would make me go, "Wow really? That's in there?" Not trying to toot my own horn here or anything, it's just how I feel. I grew up in church. I've been a pretty straight-forward Christian for over 20 years. I've been to more conferences and Bible studies than I can count and I'm having a hard time getting fresh perspective. I've often felt like if I knew what to do, I'd be happy to pursue doing it, but I just don't know what it is that I can do to get that connection to God again.

I've heard it said before that when you get to such a point in your spiritual journey that it's time to turn around and start teaching. Teaching is not my favorite thing. I tend to clam up when it comes to talking in person (one of the reasons I love blogging... I can communicate my thoughts and get them organized before anyone gets to see them!). But I truly do love to encourage people and I love love love talking to people who are truly interested in learning about what God has to say in the Bible. THAT fires me up. Being around people who are on fire. So Brent and I have tossed around the idea of leading a Bible study for new believers through our church before, but it didn't take root. We were already leading a married couples group and didn't want to drop that. But lately our couples group has been changing, and with us now having 1.5 babies, we knew that we couldn't keep up with our current group of young married folks.

Yesterday at the church staff meeting it was brought up that there's a huge need for new believer groups right now. We have around 200 people who are waiting to get plugged into one of these groups and leaders are desperately needed. This was the confirmation we needed. It's time for us to move.

The new group won't be starting for us until June so I'm glad we have a bit more time to officially step out of our current leadership role and prepare for this new one. I'm excited and scared at the same time... have I mentioned before that changes make me incredibly apprehensive? But I fully believe this is a good move for us and I hope to have the opportunity to see lives changed, including our own! Will keep you posted as we embark on this new adventure.
Brent commented tonight after putting Lydia to bed that she is becoming a little sponge. She is definitely starting to soak up EVERYTHING! He was reading her an Elmo book and asking, "Where's Elmo?" then pointing to all of the things that were NOT Elmo and saying, "Is this Elmo? No..." Lydia then proceeded to point to all the different things and say "no."

She's working hard to pick up the words that we use. She's added more since the last list I made including "crash" for when things fall down and some more animal sounds. She recently picked up on "meow" and "oo oo" (monkey), but my all time favorite is when I ask her what the lion says. With a deep throaty sound she goes "rawr rawr rawr!" I love it! We need to try to get it on video soon before she decides she's done with that game. In addition to the words she will say unprompted, she does very well attempting to repeat what we say. On Easter family members were playing with her using bunnies and saying "hop hop." It was so cute to hear her try to say it back (sounded more like "bop"). I think she's working on "more" and "all done" too. Oh, and she's much better at saying "mama" and "dada" now too. Which makes me smile. :)

At long last she is also starting to make some progress with walking. Just yesterday she decided to try a few more steps, so today I tried to encourage her some more. She was doing so well taking 5 or 6 little steps at a time to get to me... one time she was holding something out for me to take it and I backed up a little and made her walk to me to give it to me. She did great! She even did a little walking this evening without any encouragement from me at all. So perhaps we'll finally see her take off soon! She's also become quite a stair climber. We finally got gates to put at the top and bottom of the stairs, but I try to let her still climb up on her own as long as I'm right behind her. Yesterday we took her to the park for dinner and some play time and she climbed up several stairs to a slide all on her own! (Brent was right behind her, of course) And those stairs included some BIG steps that we didn't think she'd be able to do. She is always proving us wrong!

As for baby #2, things are going well. Having been pretty nauseated when I was 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, I was pretty worried that things would get worse before getting better. But I was wrong about that and have felt much better lately. Still very tired, but I don't feel sick as often. Just a little over 2 weeks from now we'll get to hear the heartbeat. Really looking forward to that! Oh, and I've realized that people who say you show sooner with your 2nd pregnancy were not kidding! I'm already ready to get out the maternity jeans and I'm not even 9 weeks yet! I started wearing mostly maternity stuff around 16 weeks with Lydia... I'll be shocked if I make it to 12 this time.
It's fun watching Lydia grow and seeing which aspects of her personality are like mine and which are like Brent's. From me she gets her incredible impatience. Sorry to see that I passed that on! But this child hates to wait for anything, especially food. If I put her in her highchair and do not have food to her within .3 seconds, I will hear about it. We continue to insist to her that we WILL feed her, we promise, but this does not seem to help at all.

Another, perhaps slightly less unpleasant personality trait I seemed to have passed on to my daughter is a sense of caution. Kim noticed this when we visited earlier this month. Her son Micah would barrel all over the house, tumbling as he went. But Lydia is more precise and careful with all of her movements. She is good at what she does, but does not venture into new territory until she is sure she can master it. I fully believe this is the reason we still have not been able to get her to walk more than a couple of steps on her own. She can stand flawlessly, without so much as a wobble, but when encouraged to take a step I can see her little mind processing. She considers it, but still does not feel she can do it perfectly and thus opts to crawl instead.

I never thought much about this tendancy of hers until recently, but it dawned on me that she is anything but daring. We haven't had to deal with many trips, spills, bumps, or bruises because Lydia doesn't do anything she isn't confident she can do successfully. Even as I've seen her go to lean on something that is unstable, and family members nearby get nervous that she will fall, I know she'll be okay. She'll test it out first. If she senses it isn't sturdy, she won't mess with it. It's rare to see her topple over at all.

In some ways I'm glad she has this trait of mine. It may keep her out of some sticky situations in life because she will take the time to cautiously assess them. But at times I wish that I wasn't so analytical and could just throw caution to the wind and enjoy things. But it is what it is and it is fun to see reflections of myself in my baby girl.

It's also fun to see some of Brent's personality coming through in her. Lydia is definitely laid back like her daddy. She isn't sensitive about things and there isn't much that she doesn't like. She does not at all seem to be a crazy emotional girl. We'll see if this changes some as she gets older, but as it is now she doesn't cry much unless she gets hurt and isn't shy at all either. She doesn't care where we go as long as we let her have something to play with, she'll happily ride around in the car all day and sleep or stare at the scenery out the window, and generally speaking she is not clingy to either one of us. Every time I worry that she'll have a hard time with a change (like when we were weaning or when we changed our morning routine), she isn't phased. I'm always impressed by how easily she handles whatever it is that we decide to do.

Just a quick note about other recent Lydia developments: She has picked up the word "Lala" as the name she gave to Elmo. She somehow knows the letter E and will pick it out of the sea of bath letters floating around her if asked to find it. She says "Dada" in reference to ducks... "duck duck" perhaps? She is also getting better with the words "fish" and "crash" (which we say whenever we knock over a stack of blocks). Lydia gave me kisses on the cheek for the first time the other day (made me cry too!) but refuses to do it again for me or for Brent. She is NOT a touchy-feely girl! She will point to her toes, belly, head, hair, and ears, but despite my efforts to teach them usually will not point to her eyes, noes, or mouth. If I ask her to point to anything on her face, she tends to just point to her ear. As smart as she is I don't get why she won't do this! I think she's doing it to spite me. :-P She thinks it is hilarious when anyone makes a horse noise, and the other day she appropriately called my mom "Nana", even with no bananas in sight!

She is the love of my life and I can hardly imagine what it is going to be like to have another one! It will be cute overload for sure!
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