June 2010

Dear girls,

This has been a big month for both of you, and I was having trouble trying to decide who to start with. But it’s only fair that I start with the birthday girl.


Rachel, you turned four years old this month. Four. Years. Old. I can hardly believe it myself. I can’t believe how quickly you’ve gone from being such a tiny baby into this little person that we see so much of ourselves in.

Basking in the sun

You had a big birthday party at Chuck E Cheese (not our first choice) and you absolutely loved it. This was the first birthday party where we invited kids we actually didn’t know, because we sent out invitations to everyone in your class from school. You were so excited to see those friends of yours that I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered where we had the party.


Everything with you now is about being four. You put everything into a timeline of before four and after four. You ask us if you can do thing “because I’m a big girl now because I’m four.” When we told you that you were one of the youngest kids on your soccer team, you about had a fit because, “but I’m a big girl! I’m four!” Trying to get you to understand that you’re younger than other kids is a hard thing to do.


Speaking of soccer, you started playing on a team this past month. And like I said…you’re one of the youngest on the team. There is only one other boy who is younger than you, and it looks to me like all of the other kids have played soccer before. But you’re learning, and that’s a good thing. It’s really hard for us to teach you how to play because we’ve spent the last four years teaching you to play nice and share with others. Now, you’ve having to learn to do just the opposite.


You also started riding a big bike this past month. Your grandparents brought it down for you at the end of May, and it sat in the garage for two weeks before we gave it to you, and you never even noticed it was there. When your grandparents came down for your birthday, they spent a lot of time teaching you how to ride your new bike “with 2 wheels and 2 extra wheels,” as you say. You got really good at riding up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, and then one day I got the idea to take you down to the trail to see how you’d do. You actually did better than you did on the sidewalk. There aren’t any curbs on the trail, and even up the inclines you did really well. You ended up riding about a mile and a half the first day, and the next day we went back and did it again. I can tell we’re going to have a lot of fun exploring the trail together.


Emily, finally, we’re on to you. You had a huge month too! It started at the end of May with you beginning to turn over on your own, and within a week, you were rolling all over your room to get around. In that same time, you also figured out how to get from being on your stomach to sitting up, which prompted us to move your mattress down in your crib after I found you peering over the edge one day. And then, just a couple of weeks later, you started to crawl! We were wondering if you were ever going to do it, and I had been trying to show you even since you learned to roll. You would get up on your hands and knees, then flop yourself forward onto your stomach to get what you wanted. Of course, if it was still too far away, you’d get upset and start screaming. Once you figured it out, though, it was just a matter of days before you were all over the house. And into everything. I can’t count the times that I’ve turned my back on you for 2 seconds to find you in another part of the room picking up something that I’m sure would find its way into your mouth if I’d leave you alone for 2 more seconds. Your crawl is still a bit of an awkward thing…you sort of move your hands up, then drag your legs into your tummy, but it definitely gets you where you want to go.


You’ve also started standing up, with help. If we stand you up next to something, you’ll hold on, and play (if it’s a toy) until you get tired, then you’re start to whine for help. We’re trying to get you to figure out that you can get yourself down on the ground by yourself, since it’s really not that far to drop, and you’ve always got padding on your butt. But you’re still working on it. What you’ve gotten the hang of, though, is getting up on your knees and getting back down. You’re starting to play in the curtains and pull yourself up to look out of the windows in the living room, and thankfully, you love looking outside, so we can keep you occupied with that for quite some time before you’re off across the room trying to put more things in your mouth.


And speaking of your mouth…TEETH! You finally got your first tooth about 2 weeks ago, and then within a week you had another one show up! We’ve been wondering when those were going to come in, and it seems like they’re showing up all at once. I think you’re working on a couple of back ones now because you’re constantly putting things in your mouth and chewing on the sides of your mouth.


I think we’re finally done buying baby foods for you, and that includes formula. That’s a big money saver for your mother when she goes grocery shopping, but now she’s going to have to buy 2 gallons of milk every week instead of just one. It’s funny, though…you’ll drink milk just fine out of your bottle, but when we try to put it in a sippy cup for you, you don’t want to have anything to do with it. You’ll drink juice and water just fine out of the sippy cup, though, so I don’t know if you’re getting more of a taste of the milk from the sippy cup, or if you’re expecting something different and are just disappointed, but you will not drink milk out of a sippy cup. Juice or water, you’ll drink the whole thing in one sitting if we let you.


You’re eating almost everything we eat now, too, and you like some variety in your meals. If we try to give you too much of one thing, you’ll start throwing food on the floor to let us know that you’re done eating that part, and you’d like something else, thank you. But then we can go back to that original food later, and you’ll eat more. It’s great that you’re willing to try so many things, but you really like to pick things up and eat them with your fingers, and you really don’t like us spoon feeding you too much. Our next step is to get you to start using a spoon and fork for yourself.


I have to tell you both, it’s been a lot of fun to spend the last couple of weeks at home with you. I love being able to go and do things with you during the day, and I’m going to be sad when I have to go back to work in the middle of next month. Even though we haven’t done a lot with our vacation, it sure if great to spend it with my girls.


Your mother and I love you both very, very much.


May 2010

Dear girls,

I want to start off this month by telling you both what amazing children you are. We are so fortunate to have both of you in our lives, and we can’t believe that we’ve been so lucky to have such wonderful children. I know that you have no idea what any of this means right now, but I hope that some day, you will understand just how much your parents love and cherish you.



Rachel, we are nearing the end of your first year in school, and my goodness, what a difference. We hear things come out of your mouth now that we know you didn’t learn at home, and that’s actually not a bad thing. You are so eager to learn and I was telling your Grandpa Rick the other day that if I didn’t know any better, I’d guess that you were one of the oldest kids in your class instead of one of the youngest. We were never really worried about you starting preschool this year just because we knew that you were a very smart little girl, but you have shown so much intelligence and maturity this year. I just hope you’re not bored next year.


Emily, you are such a different creature than you sister ever was. We’ve been waiting for you to crawl and get teeth for months now, but you’re just taking your sweet time with both of them. You have started to explore your space a little bit more this month, and in the last week you’ve really started scooting around on your bottom, but it’s mostly turning around in circles. And while most children start turning themselves over at about 4 months, you just decided that you wanted something badly enough that you finally flipped yourself over from back to stomach. If we put you on your tummy, you’ll scoot yourself backward for a bit, then realize you’re going the wrong direction and stop. You have the motion down, it’s just getting you to figure out how to do it the other way.


You’ve also started doing a lot of imitation this past month. You and your sister will trade little noises back and forth, and the other day when Mommy was coughing, you coughed right back at her. When I sneezed, you looked right at me and made a coughing/sneezing sound and smiled as big as you could without any teeth. You’ll also try to make us do things that you want us to do. Every day when you wake up, you put your arms over your head so I’ll say “soooo big!” and you’ll lay your head to the side so I will say “night-night.” And then you’ll clap your hands. It’s funny to watch you do all of these things in rapid succession, and laugh about it knowing that you’re being understood.


Rachel, you’re at the point now where you’ve stopped asking “why” so much and you’re now starting to ask what everything means. You’re such a little sponge, and it’s really cool to hear you ask about words that you’ve been saying and hearing for a long time. I think a lot of times you have an idea of what a word means, but you just want to be sure.


Your fourth birthday is coming up in just a few days, and we’re having a party for you the weekend before. This will be your first birthday party where we have people we don’t really know attending. We invited all of your friends from your class, so we’ll get to meet some of the parents of these kids that we hear you talk about all the time. This will also be the first time we’ve had your birthday party somewhere besides our house. We really wanted to have it at one of the parks in the area, but getting a pavilion reserved proved to be a rather difficult task. In the end, we were in a crunch and needed to get invitations out, so we decided to have it at Chuck E Cheese. This was definitely not our first choice. Or even our second choice. In fact, it was kind of our last choice. But we think you’ll have a good time (you would have had a good time regardless of where we had a it) and we don’t have to spend all day cleaning to get ready, and it will be inside, which is good because the day of your party it’s supposed to be 100 degrees outside.


Emily, you’ve started eating more and more solid foods. You’re moving farther away from the pureed baby food and eating more of what we have on the table. You’re getting to the point where you don’t really like us feeding you from a spoon anymore, either. You’d much rather pick up your own food and feed yourself, which makes for quite a mess. Just the other night, you sat there and ate an entire piece of toast in addition to the jar of food we’d given you. I don’t know where it all goes, but I sure know where it all comes out.


You absolutely love music, and one of the things that I’ve found out over the past month is that you love to make music. I’ve been playing my guitar for you for a long time now, and you’ve always been fascinated by the tuning knobs because they are shiny. But recently, you started grabbing at the strings, and when I set the guitar down in front of you, you started pulling your fingers across the strings to make sounds. Your favorite thing to do with it, though, is to pound on the box and listen to the whole thing vibrate at once. You get the biggest smile on your face when you do it, and you always cry when I try to take it away from you. Looks like we’ve found the musician in our family!


The two of you are going to be spending a lot of time at home with your mother over the next couple of months. It should be interesting to see how much you grown when she’s there to talk to you and play with you ever day. We always look forward to you learning new things, and seeing how your bodies and minds grow every month. We love you very much.


April 2010

Dear Girls,

I realized as I started writing this that I’d taken fewer pictures of the two of you than in any month since you were both born. Note to self: start taking more pictures.


Emily, you got tubes in your ears this past month, and what a difference it has made! The surgery literally took 10 minutes. They wheeled you in, I went to get food and as I was walking into the waiting room, the doctor was coming out to tell us that you were all done. They sucked a bunch of gunk out of your Eustachian tubes – it was so bad that they called it “glue ear.” You’ve had a little bit of congestion here and there since the operation, but you haven’t been on any antibiotics, which is wonderful.


You still haven’t gotten any teeth, not that we’re really worried. We know they’re in there…they’re just taking their time to come out. You also haven’t started crawling…yet. But you’re getting there. You will scoot yourself across your room backward on your tummy, but you haven’t gotten the control thing down yet. You can’t really direct yourself where you want to go. You’re so close, and I suspect you’ll get it sometime next month.


Rachel, you are on a HUGE princess kick, and I don’t know how long that’s going to last. You know every single one of the Disney princesses, even though you haven’t seen all of the movies. Your grandparents gave you “The Princess and the Frog” before they left, and you love to watch that. The Easter Bunny brought you “Snow White,” and I downloaded Sleeping Beauty for you, so you’ve got three movies that you want to watch all. the. time. We’ve had to have some talks with you about going outside to play, and how watching movies is something special, and that if you watch movies all the time, it won’t be special anymore. But at least once a day, you ask if you can watch one of your princess movies.


You are becoming quite the girly girl. Not that you ever weren’t, but now it’s becoming almost too girly for me to handle. You love wearing dresses, and you want to put clips upon clips upon clips in your hair every day. You love to twirl so that your dress spins around. You want to BE a princess when you get older, and I’m a little worried that you just might be. We’ve been talking about putting you in soccer this summer, so maybe that will help toughen you up a bit.


I was going to write how both of you had been healthy this past month, but I just remembered that Rachel got really sick at school one day. You had been coughing all weekend, and when you went to school on Monday, all of the yuck that you’d been coughing up and swallowing all weekend finally came up. Ten times. Before lunch. Then you got prescribed an antibiotic that you had a bad reaction to, which made you more sick. We stopped that right away, and after a few days you were right as rain. But it was not a fun week. Especially since it fell during Fiesta.


Emily, despite not having any teeth, you’re eating everything in sight. It seems like you’re hungry all the time. From the time you get home, until we put you to bed, you’re eating. You will try to eat almost anything we put in front of you, but your favorites, by far, are flavored puffs (which are made just for babies) and saltine crackers. You’re getting really good at putting things into your mouth, and you’ve started using just your index finger and thumb to pick things up. You are also starting to drink from a sippy cup. So far, we’ve just given you water and apple juice, and the apple juice makes you make funny faces. I guess it’s still a little tangy for you.


We’re heading into summer after next month, so your mother is going to be spending a lot of time with both of you. We have some adventures planned for our family this summer, too, which we’re looking forward to. We can’t wait to see what the next month brings for the two of you. We love you very much.


February/March (and a tiny bit of April) 2010

Dear Girls,

So, another 6 weeks goes by, and here I am doing another 2-month letter for you. I promise, it’s going to get better. I’ll start doing monthly ones again this month. I promise. Really, I do.

My girls in the bluebonnets

So…a lot has been going on in our lives lately. The end of March marked the end of your grandparent’s visit for this year. Emily, I don’t know how you feel about this, or if you’re even aware that they’re not around every day anymore, but I know that your sister is very aware. Rachel, you’ve asked us a few times over the past week why Nana and Dodd had to go back to Illinois, and I know that some day you will understand what’s going on, but for now, at this point in your life, your world is our neighborhood and the people immediately around you. You don’t have any concept of Illinois, where it is, how far away it is, or how special it is that your grandparents come down here to see you for months at a time. It’s a pretty big deal, and I hope that when you’re both older, you remember how much your grandparents loved you, that they would come and live in another city just to be able to see you.


Emily, the past 6 weeks for you have been probably the worst of your life, thus far. It started with a little cold at the beginning of February that turned into an ear infection, then a sinus infection, then bronchitis, and will result in your getting tubes in your ears in the middle of April. It seems like you’ve been sick for the past 6 weeks. Every time you get off one round of antibiotics, you pick up something new. Hopefully the tubes will help, and we’ll have our happy little girl around all the time instead of just every couple of weeks.


You also got your loaner hearing aide in March, after what seemed like months of waiting. Right now, we’re trying out a hearing aide that goes into your ear that amplifies and frequency-shifts sound so that you can pick up on the frequencies that you don’t hear so well. It’s an amazing little computer, that hearing aide. Of course, we’ve had a hard time getting you to keep it on, with all the ear infections and stuff, so hopefully it will start doing its job a little better once the tubes get put in too. In a few months, they’re going to try a different type of hearing aide on you that conducts sound through your skull.


Rachel, I think I’m regretting saying that we had made it past the “why” phase when you were two years old. Now we’re getting it all the time. You’re such an inquisitive little girl, you want to know how everything works and why it works the way it does, so you always have questions. ALWAYS. The fun thing is that you’re not doing the annoying 2-year-old thing of just asking “why.” You actually rephrase whatever it was that why just said and ask us why. “Daddy, why is it not raining today?” “Because the clouds are not heavy enough for it to rain.” “Why are the clouds not heavy? Do they not have enough rain in them? Why is there blue sky poking through?” Most of the time we love it, because we know you’re very smart and are just trying to figure things out. Sometimes, though, we just need a little quiet time.


Emily, you’ve started holding onto your bottle almost all the time now, and you’re sitting in a high chair at the dinner table now when the rest of us eat. Even though you haven’t gotten any teeth yet, we’ve started feeding you these nasty, styrofoam looking things called Mum-mums. They’re actually rice cakes made for babies that dissolve in your mouth. We’ve also started giving you crackers and other small bits and pieces of our food when we think you can handle it.


You are sitting up all the time now, so much so that your little bald spot where your hair had rubbed off from laying on the floor all the time is almost completely gone. You still haven’t started crawling or showing much interest in moving beyond where you’re sitting yet, but you will move yourself around your bed during the night. You’ll lay there on your back and push your stomach up in the air by planting your feet on your mattress and scoot around your bed so that in the morning, you’re completely sideways in your bed. You won’t be able to do that much longer, because you’re starting to grow taller and taller. You’ve started to thin out a bit and you grow because you’re not packing on the weight like you were the first few months of your life.

My girls in the bluebonnets

Rachel, you’ve grown up quite a bit, too. We measured you a few weeks ago and you’ve grown over an inch since Emily was born. You’ve pretty much outgrown everything we bought you for the winter, even though it seems like we just moved from 3T to 4T clothes. Thankfully the warmer weather is coming and we can put your skinny butt back into 24 month shorts. Sure, they’re really short, but they fit your waist perfectly!

My girls in the bluebonnets

Emily, you’ve started to dance when you hear music, which is really cool to watch. You have this toy that, when your sister had it, annoyed us to no end. With you, though, we don’t seem to mind as much. I guess it’s just because we’re better able to tune it out now, than we were when we were new parents. Anyway, this toy, it plays songs, and every time a song starts, you’ll start bouncing to the music. You’ll look around as if to see if anyone else is joining you in your dancing…and sometimes, I do. When your mother isn’t looking.

My girls in the bluebonnets, pt 2

It is so much fun to watch you play with your baby sister, Rachel. I honestly think that when you both are older, you’re going to have this secret language that your mother and I won’t understand, and boy, will we be in trouble then. You do such a great job looking after her, talking to her, and playing with her. She already knows how to play “bonk” with you. We were watching the two of you play it the other day and I was amazed at how you’d lean in to bonk foreheads with her and when you’d get close, she’d lean in a take it the rest of the way.


You’re doing really well in school, and I’m just amazed at how much you’re learning. You can write really well, and last month, we came home to drawing all over the driveway. There was a spot where you’d written your name and I was very impressed to see how far you’ve come with your letters. You are also learning your numbers and one day, while I was feeding Emily, you lay on the floor of her room and counted all the way to 100 with very little help!


You are very concerned about the future, and talk all the time about things you’re going to do when you get older. I know you’re very excited about turning 4 this summer, and when it comes to school, you’re ready to skip right over Kindergarten and go into 1st grade. You have asked me a few times about when you will be in 1st grade, and it’s funny to watch you try to figure out how long from now that’s going to be. It’s interesting for me to try to think about it too. When you’re in 1st grade, your sister will be the age that you are now. We’re really looking forward to that time in your lives because we can’t wait to see what kind of sisters you’re going to be.

My girls in the bluebonnets, pt 2

Finally, Emily, we had you baptized this past month. We really wanted to do it sooner, but the stars just didn’t align for us until now. Luckily, we were able to do it when your grandparents were still here, so they got to see it happen. Your Godparents, Jose and Lucy, love you very much and we’re so happy that they agreed to babysit for you whenever we want them to. Rachel, it’s so funny to see how things come back around to you days and sometimes weeks after you learn about them. You were sitting in the bathtub one evening playing with some animal toys, and you were pouring water over the head of a penguin. Mommy asked if you were washing the penguin, and you said, “No, I’m baptizing him.”

Emily's baptism

The two of you are so much fun to be around. Even though your mother and I struggle at times to get everything done, you need to know that we love you very much, and there’s nothing we’d rather do than spend time with you.

My girls in the bluebonnets


December 2009/January 2010

Dear Rachel and Emily,

What a couple of months. Things change so quickly around here that by the time I get to the end of a month, I have a hard time remembering what happened at the beginning of the month. Or the month before. Or maybe I’m just getting old.


I want to start off by apologizing to both of you for skipping December and combining these two months. We’ve had so much going on that before I knew it, it was the middle of January and I hadn’t finished you letter. Then it was February, and well, here we are halfway through the month. I promise I’ll do a better job of writing to you for the rest of this year.


Anyway, Big Changes is the theme for the past 2 months, and the biggest change of all is that your Grandpa Rick and Grandma Connie are here for the winter. We’re very excited to have them here and they have been a huge help with the two of you over the past couple of months. We are a little worried about what’s going to happen when they leave at the end of March, because Rachel, you ask for them every single day. If there is a day that goes by that you don’t see your Nana and Dodd, you get very pouty and tell us that you miss them.



Christmas was a huge hit with both of you. Rachel, you finally “got” that Santa was coming to our house, but only if you were a good girl, so you were on your best behavior leading up to Christmas. You asked every day how long until Santa came to our house, and we used a paper chain to help you keep track of the days. You really loved all of your presents.


Emily, you had a good Christmas too, even if it was just as much fun for you to play with wrapping paper as it was for you to play with your toys. You were perfectly happy to just explore all of the colors and crinkly things that were left laying within your reach.


Rachel, you have been enjoying school so much, and you’re getting really good at writing you letters. You have even started “reading” on your own, and showing us all the pictures will you read through your books. It’s funny, though, because in books that you haven’t completely memorized, you’ll “read” the first few pages, then turn to one of us and say, “What does it say on this page?” at which point one of us will take over reading. You read to your sister, your dolls, the dogs, whoever is around. We think it’s wonderful that you enjoy reading so much, but we really wish you’d pick a different book…we’re getting a little tired of Cinderella 2: An Uncommon Romance.


You’ve also taken to telling us about the letters that you’re learning each week in school. It’s a lot of fun for us to listen to you talk about each of the letters and name off words that start with those letters. Inevitably, you’ll throw in a word that ends with the letter we’ve been talking about, and we’ll have to go through and explain why that word doesn’t start with the letter, even though the letter is in it. I even recorded you telling me about it a couple of weeks ago:


Emily, your growth has been just amazing over the past couple of months. I’m sad that I’ve waited this long to talk about it because you are just growing and learning and exploring more and more every day.


This is by no means the extent of what you’ve started doing, but over the past two months, you’ve started holding your own bottle, learned how to transfer things from one hand to the other, you are sitting up all by yourself, you are ticklish, you’ve started eating all kinds of solid foods, and you’ve gained all kinds of weight. In fact, you went from 17 1/2 pounds at your 6 month checkup, to 18 1/2 pounds just 2 weeks later.


Your Aunt Sarah and Uncle Britton came to visit us in January for a few days, and you were both very happy to see them, too. We don’t get to see them nearly often enough, so we let them have a lot of time with both of you. It was the first time either of them had even met you, Emily, so it was an extra special trip.


The two of you love each other so much…it is so much fun to watch you play together. Rachel, you will snuggle up with Emily and talk to her, and play with her toys with her, and Emily will just smile and giggle and get so excited. I can tell that the two of you have a very special connection, even though you are both so young.


We love the two of you more than words can express, and we are so thankful that we have such wonderful children to brighten our lives every single day.


November 2009

Dear Girls,

Yet another month flies by. As I sit here writing this, I can hardly believe that we’re almost to Christmas, and that so many firsts for Emily are flying by.

Rachel, your favorite phrase this month has been “See, you told me!” Evidently we’ve been telling you “I told you” too much. But that’s how you work. We tell you something, you don’t believe us, so you go check it out for yourself, and now you’re beating us to the punch on the “I told you so” line.


Your biggest wish for the year has finally come true – your grandparents have arrived! They got here on Sunday while you were taking a nap, and once you woke up, the smile didn’t leave your face the entire rest of the day.


You have been writing a drawing quite a bit at school, and everything is starting to become much more clear to us. At the beginning of the year, it was all just scribbles, and you’d tell us what the letters were that you wrote, or what the picture was that you had drawn. Now, you are writing letters and we can see which letters they are. You can even write your entire name, in order. And just the other night, you were making a drawing of a baby, and I could see where the head, eyes, and neck were on the baby.


Your are still being a great big sister, and help us take care of Emily, or get out of our way when we need to do something specifically with her. You’ve been very understanding, and you always say how much you love your little sister. You’ve also been asking to hold her more often, even though she is getting heavier and harder for you to hold.


Emily, you turned fourth months old a couple of weeks ago, which meant one thing: shots. Lots of shots. Four of them, to be exact, and evidently the nurse who gave you the shots went to the Torturing Babies School of Nursing because she gave you each shot excruciatingly slowly. Like she enjoyed hearing you scream as she plunged the needle into your leg. When your big sister was that age, I remember your mother telling me that the nurse was so fast she almost missed it. Well, that nurse made dang sure that I saw it all. You were a trooper, though, and only cried as long as she was digging around in your leg with a needle, then you stopped, and when we got into the car, you promptly fell asleep.


Your have been talking to us almost the entire month, and man, are you ever LOUD! If no one is in the room with you, and you want some attention, you won’t cry, you’ll just start talking and babbling to yourself as loud as you can. You’re making a lot of different sounds, which is really good, and next month we’ll probably try a hearing aide on you to see if it makes a difference in the sounds you hear and produce. But you’re doing really well, we think.


You are grabbing at everything now. You grab onto the little toys we have on your car seat and play with them, you grab onto the rings and other toys we have hanging from your play mat, you grab onto my thumbs while you’re drinking your bottle, and the other day, you grabbed onto your sister’s hair and wouldn’t let go!


You have also gained a lot of strength in your neck and abdomen, and you don’t get quite so cranky when we put you on your belly anymore. You are able to hold your head up on your own, and you can sit up on your own in your bumbo seat, and you love to sit up while you’re leaning against a pillow. In fact, you get kind of mad if we put you on your back, unless there are toys for you to play with.


Speaking of gaining, you gained a couple of more pounds since your last doctor’s visit. You’re now over 15 pounds and boy can my back ever tell! You’re getting so big that we are having to put away all of the 3 month clothes and start to get out the 6 month stuff.


It is amazing to watch both of your grow and learn so many new things. As always, we can’t wait to see what the next month will bring. We love you both very much.


October 2009

Dear Girls,

This has been another amazing month for both of you. There is always something new and exciting for each of you, and this month has been no exception.


Emily, you’ve started talking to us quite a bit this past month. This is what we’ve been waiting for, because if you didn’t start talking, it meant that you probably weren’t hearing very much. But you’ve been gurgling, cooing, and making all kinds of wonderful baby noises. You also have started laughing at silly things we do. It’s so much fun to make you smile and laugh, and sometimes you’ll just lay there and laugh and talk to yourself.


You’re using your hands a lot more now, and you’ll grab your own hands, grab at your head, and the other day, you finally grabbed your bottle by yourself. You are eating less often, but more each time…currently, we’re feeding you about 8 ounces of formula every 5 hours. Give or take.


With all that food, you’re getting big really quickly. We went to the doctor a couple of weeks ago because your eye was all red, and when they weighed you, you were over 13 pounds. You’d gained over a pound since your last visit.


You still are working on keeping your head up. It will wobble from time to time, but you’re really good at keeping it up to look around. We’ve been working with you on “tummy time” too, to help you get your neck stronger. A lot of the time, you’re perfectly happy to just lay there and not pick up your head at all. You’re such a snuggler, that whenever you have a chance to lay your head on something and just snuggle in, you do it.


We finally got you on a schedule this month, too. You’ve been sleeping through the night for the past few weeks, but over the last few days, you’ve decided that 4 AM is a great time to wake up. I don’t know what caused the change, but we’re hoping you go back to sleeping until we wake you up soon. Of course, with the time change tomorrow, you’re going to be all screwed up again.


Rachel, you’ve been pretending a lot this month. It seems like every time we talk, you’re pretending to do this, or pretending to do that. You came home from school a few weeks ago and told Mommy that you’d gone to the nurse. When she sounded surprised (because neither of us had gotten a call that you’d been to the nurse) you very quickly clarified, “The pretend nurse, Mommy!”


You’ve been working a lot at school on your writing, and it’s really paying off. Last weekend, you were coloring, and you told me that you were going to draw an “A.” In the past, you’ve just drawn a couple of lines on the paper and told us what letter it was. This time, when I looked at your paper, you sure enough had made and “A.” I was so excited, and I asked you to do it again just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. I gave you a big hug and a high five, and pretty soon, your whole paper was filled with “A’s,” each one requiring a hug and a high five.


You’ve been obsessed with Halloween ever since the month started. You asked us how long until Halloween starting at the beginning of the month when you got the lunch calendar and it was decorated in Halloween colors. When we went to pick out costumes earlier this month, you decided that you wanted to be Ariel, the little Mermaid. You’ve never even seen the movie, but she’s one of the princesses on your princess stuff, and you’re totally sold on the whole Disney princess empire. You refuse to wear any underwear that doesn’t have a princess on it.


So Ariel it was, and you were all about what princesses wear every time we put it on. “Do princesses wear shoes?” “Do princesses have pony tails?” “Does my costume have legs?” And when it ended up being a little cool tonight for trick-or-treating, you had a fit when I tried to make you wear a shirt under your Ariel dress. “Princesses don’t wear shirts under their dress!”


You’ve been walking around the house for the past couple of weeks saying the Pledge of Allegiance, for both the US and Texas flags, which you say at school every day. It’s funny to see how the 3 year old mind puts things together, and how you get stuck in a loop because you mix them up. The US pledge comes first, and we all know how that goes, but immediately after comes the Texas pledge, and it goes like this:
Honor the Texas flag.
I pledge allegiance to the, Texas.
One state, under God.
One and indivisible.

Except that you mix it up with the US pledge, as 3 year olds are prone to doing, and when you get to the “One state” part, you say, “One state, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Then, because you’ve just said the last part of the US pledge, you immediately launch into the Texas pledge, which you screw up with the US pledge, and then go into the Texas pledge again. And over, and over, and over, until we stop you.


You have also become a puzzle freak. You love doing puzzles, and according to your mother, you have this ability to see where pieces are supposed to go that she claims you get from me and my mother. You’ll ask us to do a puzzle with you, and you’ll just pick up random pieces and put them in the right sopt.


You’re such a good big sister, too, and you love to watch and imitate what we do with Emily. You’ll even repeat things that we say to her, often right after we say them, which is annoying, and we’re trying to break you of that. But you’ll also get your dolls and put them in Emily’s bouncy chair, or have tummy time with them. You do a great job of being a mommy to your dolls.


We only have one more month before Nana and Dodd come down for the winter. We’re all very excited to see them, and as always, your mother and I can’t wait to see what this next month brings for the both of you. We love you very much.


September 2009

Dear Girls,

This past month has seen a couple of firsts. Rachel, you had your first day of school, Emily had her first time going to Miss Judy’s, and your mother had her first day back at work. A few days ago, Emily turned two months old, and a couple of weeks ago, Rachel turned 3 years and three months old.


Emily, you’ve been very busy taking everything in. You’re still not on much of a schedule yet, but you are getting closer. We have a pretty good schedule once we all get home, but I don’t know how consistent you are with sleeping (which is the key to any schedule) at Judy’s house. When we’re all home, you generally are awake until about 10 PM, then we feed you and put you to bed. Every once in a while you’re sleep the entire night, but usually you’re awake somewhere between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning.


You are eating bigger bottles less frequently now, and I’ve been kicking myself because I never wrote any of this stuff down about your big sister. If I had, we could compare, and jog our memories about the things we were doing to get her to sleep and be on more of a regular schedule


You’ve started smiling a lot, and I’m sure at this point it’s more than gas. You smile whenever you see someone you recognize, like me, your mother, or your big sister. You also turn to look at us when we talk to you or when we walk by.


You’re also able to keep your head up on your own quite a bit now. You still get tired and let it flop over from time to time, but you have a lot of control over your head, and we can see your neck getting stronger every day.


We found out that you do indeed have some hearing loss in your left ear. We had some extensive tests (to the tune of several hours) run on you, and it was determined that you have mild to severe hearing loss in your left ear. You can hear low pitches really well, with just a little bit of amplification, but high pitched sounds you have a really hard time with. Since your right ear hears just fine, they’re telling us that it’s very possible that you will develop speech and language normally, but we’re going to have a team of experts helping us keep a close eye on you. We found out that you will need get a CT scan when you turn 6 months to find out exactly what’s going on in your left ear.


Rachel, you’re still being an amazing big sister. I keep wondering when the honeymoon will end, but I’m really enjoying how much you love your little sister right now. You still want to sit with me every time I feed her, and help me out. You hover right over her face and say “Hiiiieeeeeeee” to her in the high pitched little voice, trying to get her to smile at you.


You wake up every day asking if we go to school today. Never once have you said that you didn’t want to go, and most of the time when I drop you off, I have to remind you to come give me a kiss because you’re off playing with your friends the second you get there.


You come home singing songs, counting, and telling us about things that we haven’t taught you. It is amazing to me how fast you’re learning things, and it’s fun to listen to you talk and sing to yourself. A couple of weeks ago, you were in sitting on the potty, singing a song to yourself, when I heard you stop and say, “One, two, three….eyes on me!” And then you continued singing your song.


Lately, you’ve been telling us what letter everything begins with. “D-D-Daddy…does Daddy start with the letter D?” Of course, sometimes you get the sound of the letter and the way you actually say the letter mixed up, but it’s very cute. “D-D-Double-U…just like D-D-Daddy” I never truly appreciated just how hard it was to learn things like language and letter sounds!


You have your very own computer now. Since the hinges on Mommy’s laptop started going out, we bought her a new one, and set up her old one on a table and hooked it up to a monitor. You know exactly where the PBS Kids shortcut is on the desktop, and you ask all the time if you can play with your computer.


You are both amazing little girls, and we are so lucky to have you. We love you both very much and can’t wait to see what this next month will bring.


August 2009

Dear girls,

So…we’re starting this month off a little differently. You’re going to have to get used to sharing things, anyway, so I figured I’d give you a bit of a head start.


Rachel, you turned three years and two months old last week, and we are still amazed by you every single day. You have become very independent, and while it’s a relief that you are so able to go and do things on your own, it’s a bit scary for us too.


While we were in Illinois last week, you went next door and played with the neighbor girls, Kimmie and Tricia, most of the day. All by yourself. Every hour or so, we’d peek across the fence to make sure you were still there, and then go back to whatever it was we were doing. You also had two successful trips to a public restroom all by yourself. Both happened while we were on the road, after I’d decided that the men’s restroom was far too disgusting for you (your mother was feeding your sister both times). You went it, did your thing, washed your hands, and came back out all without any help from me.


That’s really good because you’re going to start pre-school next week. We went to meet your teacher on Friday and you took off, playing with other kids all by yourself for about 30 minutes. You’ve been looking forward to this day ever since we told you that you were going to school. When we had to come home, you were very sad. You were ready to stay all day.


You’ve been such a good big sister this past month, and we only had a small worry right after we brought Emily home. We were playing outside one day, and I had the baby monitor out there with me because Emily was sleeping. She made some little noise in her sleep and you asked what it was. I told you it was Emily, and you said, “I don’t care. I don’t care about Emily,” and that was the last we heard of it. The rest of the time it’s been “I love my baby sister,” “I want to kiss her!” and “Can I hold her?” You give her kisses all the time, and I’m hoping that continues as the two of you get older.


Emily, your first month with us has been amazing. I never knew that my heart could open up and have any more love in it than I had for your sister, but it has. We were very excited to meet you, and we still can’t believe that we’re parents to two beautiful little girls.

Welcome to the world, Emily Marie!

I don’t know how we’ve managed to juggle having two kids in the house, and just like your big sister got to experience all of our first child mistakes, you will get to experience all of our having-to-deal-with-two-kids mistakes.


We’ve had some adjusting to do with you…it turns out your tummy didn’t agree with the formula we’d been giving you, and your first week or so, you’d squirm and kick and scream trying to get rid of the gas and the poop you had built up inside of you. We switched you to a different formula, and it seems to have made a world of difference.


You’re to the point now where you’re sleeping 5 hours (or close to it) every night. Of course, we’d like for you to be sleeping longer than that, but we’ll take what we can get. Speaking of sleeping, girl, you sleep like an old man. You make so many noises when you sleep, it sounds like you’re waking up all the time. When we went to Illinois, you were sleeping in a play pen in the same room as us, and after a couple of nights, we had to move you out to the dining room because you were keeping us up all night with all of your moaning and groaning.

baby smile

When you wake up in the mornings, your eyes are almost always covered in goopy eye boogers. We don’t know what’s causing it, but if you’re anything like me, you might be allergic to something in our house. I hope that we can figure it out and get you to stop waking up with crusty eyes.


One thing that has us a little worried is that you failed your hearing test in the hospital. Your right ear was just fine, but your left ear failed. We have a more extensive test scheduled for you later this month, so hopefully we’ll know more about what’s causing that after we get those test results.


We all went up to Illinois last week to visit with your grandparents. It was your first flight, in what will probably be a long string of air travel for you, Emily, and you handled it like a champ. Rachel, I think we figured out that this was your 5th time on an airplane in just three short years. Your frequent flier card is in the mail.


We are so happy and so fortunate to have the both of you in our lives. We love you both very much, and as always, we can’t wait to watch you grow up.

The Lalemans

Love always,

Three Years, One Month

Dear Rachel,

This past week, you turned 37 months old. We’ve had a lot of fun this month, and you’ve been spending a lot of time at home with Mommy. She’s off for the summer, but I still have to go to work four days out of the week. It’s been really nice to have long weekends with you and Mommy, though, so we can do more things together, like going to the beach.


Momma feels bad for you because you’ll stop being our only child in less than a week, and she’s worried about how you will handle it. She never had to go from being the center of attention to not being the center of attention, and I told her that you’d do just fine with it. And if you don’t, I’ll tell you to suck it up. It’s part of life. We have been watching you when you’re around other babies and you seem to do fine. We just don’t know how you’ll be when there’s one around 24/7.


Since Emily is coming in less than a week, we decided that you would switch rooms, so that Emily would be closer to our room in case we neede to get up with her in the middle of the night. Listen to me, “in case.” Like it might happen. Anyway, you were very excited about getting a new room, so last week, we moved all of your stuff, and sorted through your toys to decide which ones to keep, which ones to leave for Emily, and which ones to throw out. It made quite a difference in the amount of stuff you had, and the built in bookshelves in your new room gave us a great place to put a lot of your things that had previously been on the floor or in your closet. This weekend, we got new carpet in all of the bedrooms, and you got a new “big girl” bed. You’re making out pretty well in this whole deal.

My three girls

Your attitude seemed to change overnight this past month, too. About halfway through the month, I said to your mother, “Have you noticed that there haven’t really been that many fits this month?” Then I immediately knocked on wood, threw salt over my shoulder and ran backward in a circle three times so as not to jinx it. You’ve gotten really good about taking “no” from us, and listening when we’re trying to correct you. I don’t know if the sudden change has to do with being home with Momma all the time, or turning three, or what. I guess we’ll know for sure once school starts again.


Like last summer, we’ve been trying to stay cool by staying in the water as much as we can. We went to the beach a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve been hitting the pool pretty often too. You are a regular little fish, and love to be in the water. When we were in the ocean, you were riding the waves in your little blow-up ring, and you wanted me to let go of you. Every time a big wave would come, you’d laugh and laugh and say how much fun it was.


You’ve also been going to the library and the movies with Momma during the week while I’m at work. You’ve been to three movies now, and Momma says you’re doing better sitting through the whole thing, but you do have to go potty during the movie a few times.


We’re trying to get you to understand the concept of “borrowing” since the first time you brought home books from the library, you thought they were yours to keep. You’ve also gotten to borrow a little tiny laptop from my work, which you think is yours to keep also.

Sleepy kids

I know I always talk about your personality, but this month, you’ve started saying things that just make us roll with laughter. Not things that are inappropriate, but just things that are completely unexpected. We can really tell that you’re starting to think on your own, and below I’ve listed just a few of the best Rachel-isms that we heard this month.
“I had so much fun here!” said coming out of HEB
“I miss Mommy,” two seconds after she got out of the car
“These are too much kids,” said after gathering all of your stuffed animals in your bed.
“It’s de-yishis!” about a Jimmy John’s sandwich
“That will probably be fun!”
“I need appetizer soap!” instead of hand sanitizer. When I told you slowly how to say it – hand san-i-tizer, you said, “hand san-appetizer soap.”
“Mommy, George is ALL done, so that means I need to play on your computer.”


As always, we’re very excited for this coming month, and can’t wait to see how you handle being a big sister. We love you very much, and you will always hold a very special place in our hearts as our first child.