Alice: 18 months

We had two milestone birthdays this past month, with B turning 4 and Allie turning 18 months. I’ll use that as an excuse for why this update is actually being posted on the day that A turns 19 months. The Second Child Syndrome really does get worse with each passing month.

This seemed to be a month where things happened in the blink of an eye. For example, she cut multiple teeth at once (we think she has 12 now, but it’s hard to count) and started to string three word sentences together practically overnight. It seems that both of these things have enhanced her love of food, as she can now chomp down on things like apples and carrots and can ask for “more broccoli, mama” at the dinner table.

(Lest you think she is a healthy eater all the time, she—and B—also discovered Kit-Kats this month and both of them are in love).

The only thing that hasn’t happened yet is achieving the status of being a diaper free household. But, potty training continues to go well, and I’m hopeful that we will be there soon!

At her 18 month doctor’s appointment, Allie weighed in at 24 pounds, 4.7 ounces and was 2 feet and 8 inches long. She is mostly wearing 24 months and some 2T clothing.

Allie’s favorite things this month include playing with her baby dolls, giving hugs to her sister, reading books in the car and riding her tricycle. Dislikes include being kept waiting for food, having her hair rinsed in the bathtub and socks. It was around the 18 month mark that we started to refer to B as “Bi-Polar Express” and this label seems to fit Alice as well.

There was a lot going on this month, and we went on quite a few adventures, as seen below:

Hunting for butterflies at Tyler Arboretum

Scarfing down cake at B’s 4th Birthday Party

Enjoying her first Phillies/Cubs game (we lasted one inning in the seats)

Double fisting apples at Linvilla

Happy 18 months to our Allie Girl! We love you more than Kit-Kat!

Alice: 17 Months

There is something so sweet about a little one who is hovering between the baby and toddler stage.

This is the stage of those first unsolicited and totally genuine hugs and kisses; the stage of increasing curiosity and wonder; the stage where even the tantrums are adorable; the stage where cheeks are still chubby enough that mama can’t help biting them.

Having experienced this stage of life with two kids, I can easily say that it is my favorite. This time around, though, brings the bittersweetness of knowing that this is the last time I’ll witness all of this with my own babies. I am trying to savor every second of this time between the end of A’s babyhood and her entry into toddlerhood, but she is not helping me because she seems to be doing everything even earlier and faster than her sister did.

Fortunately, she still loves to be held and cuddled. Sometimes, she’s pretty demanding about it, and although she weighs a ton, I usually give in. Often, she’ll yell, “Baby!” and she’ll arrange herself in my arms so that I’m cradling her, just like I did when she was a newborn. Then, just as quickly as the game started, she decides she wants to get down, and she’s off and running (literally) to the next thing.

This month, Allie’s became even more interested in the potty, and she’s even used it a couple of times!  Even when she doesn’t go, she loves the whole routine of sitting on it, using toilet paper, washing her hands and flushing. All the credit goes to my mom, who is the Potty Training Whisperer. Sorry, A and B, when it’s time to potty train your own kids, you are going to have to go ask Nee-Nee for help.

Her vocabulary seems to be exploding at the moment. She’s fully of questions, always asking “wha?” and “why?” and I particularly love the way she pronounces her name (“Al-di!”) and the word broccoli (“baa-key!”).

Speaking of broccoli, I would say that’s pretty much her favorite food right now, along with “mupp-ins” (muffins) and just about anything sweet—yes, both of my kids definitely take after me in that regard. She’s getting very good with using a fork and spoon, but still loves to slather yogurt all over her arms as if it’s lotion. So, if you are ever around us after lunch and wonder why she reeks of strawberry banana, that’s why.

Alice’s favorite things right now include the Teletubbies, singing and dancing, the Baby Lit version of Emma, her bumblebee backpack (a hand-me-down from B, naturally) and afternoons on the deck, where she blows bubbles, collects acorns and keeps watch for the neighborhood bunny.

I’m not sure if this is the stage where sibling rivalry is supposed to start (I don’t have time to Google this stuff anymore), but I’ve noticed that the “fights” between A and B have picked up a bit. If A has a toy, B immediately wants it, even if it’s a thing she hasn’t played with in months. If B is getting a bit of attention, A isn’t shy about loudly voicing her displeasure. Sometimes, I intervene, and other times I just let them go at it and work it out for themselves (My brother and I didn’t succeed in killing each other, despite our multiple attempts, so I have reason to believe that A and B won’t succeed in doing each other in, either). Still, if A is crying, B is usually the one who can make her feel better and if B is upset, Allie goes right up to her to offer a hug or a toy. It’s nice to see that they have each other’s backs already.

A’s been enjoying summer fun, both at home and otherwise:

Enjoying a snack at a birthday party

Scarfing up seconds of Uncle Billy’s plum tart

Visting the ancient dioramas at the Academy of Natural Sciences…

…and, making friends with a turtle

Zoo day!

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Taking the new backyard swing set for a spin, nine hours after Daddy started the assembly

Happy 17 (almost 18!) months, Allie Girl! We love you more than mupp-ins!

Alice: 16 months

 

Since Allie will turn 17 months in just three days, this seems like a good time to post her 16 month update!

It’s hard to think about Allie without bringing up B, especially since Allie wants to do everything that “Bid-gee” does. B was pretty tolerant in the beginning, but now, screaming matches are a regular occurrence. It’s a toss up between who is the loudest person in the house at this point. At what point is it okay to lock myself in the bathroom, with earplugs, and just let them sort it out for themselves?

It doesn’t help that, like her sister, Allie seems to have entered the terrible twos, fashionably early. O-M-G. The tantrums. Not just a little tear here and there, but a full on, red-in-the-face, writhing on the floor meltdowns. It’s a sight to behold. Fortunately, she hasn’t had one of these incidents in public yet, but I know it’s only a matter of time.

Allie continues to add new words to her vocabulary. She can point to any name various body parts and even has some two sentence phrases, like “E-Go” which translates to “Here You Go!” She’s also started to call me mommy and the way she says it makes me weak in the knees. However, her most favorite words at the moment are poop, potty and pee-pee. I would like to think this means we’ll be ditching the diapers soon; she knows when she has a full diaper, but isn’t showing consistent interest in using the bathroom like a regular person—apparently, she just has a potty mouth.

Enjoying a visit to the Please Touch Museum on the 4th of July

Along the same lines, Allie’s current favorite thing to do is to flush the toilet repeatedly, so our water bill should be sky high this month. She also loves nose kisses, “reading” catalogs of any type, posing for photos with my phone (Cheeeeeese!” she says), and the Hot Dog Dance from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, blowing bubbles and playing with baby dolls. She seems to want to be carried more often than ever these days, and while I love the opportunity to snuggle her, she is getting pretty heavy (But, not being picked up is the source of many tantrums…see above).

Cruising along at the Zoo.

Her least favorite thing seems to be shoes, as she takes them off at the earliest opportunity—usually in the car, so she can chew on her toes…which is just super weird.

She got one more tooth this month and is using it to devour blueberries, watermelon and strawberries. It also seems like she is trying to transition from two naps a day to one, which is good because it will open up the days for us, and bad because it’s nice for B to get at least a couple of hours of one-on-one time during the day.

Happy (very belated) 16 months, Allie! We love you more than Fourth of July fireworks!

Alice: 15 months

At 15 months old, Allie is more outspoken than ever. She’s been loud from day one, but it seems to have escalated this month, as she and her sister compete to see who can yell the loudest. B usually starts things off with a high pitched shriek for no apparent reason, Alice follows suit, and then B corrects her with a stern “Allie, stop screaming!” Apparently, practice of siblings trying to get each other in trouble starts early.

Lately, she insists on holding something for her photos. This month, it was a Tiffany’s pouch. Starting her young!

At her most recent doctor’s appointment, Allie weighed in at just over 23 pounds and was a little over 2.5 feet tall. She’s got one more tooth poking through her bottom gum, which will bring her grand total to eight!

Alice understands everything, so it is fairly easy to communicate requests to do certain things, and not to not do others. This month, I’ve noticed that if we ask her a question, she’ll say “Um…” before replying, as if she is really considering all of the options. She picks up new words on a regular basis. My personal favorites are “Awwww!” (mostly reserved for pictures and videos of cats. She will love the Internet someday). “hun-gee!” (hungry), is “dit!” (sit, usually accompanied by a firm pounding on the chair for emphasis. She, herself, has also developed a fondness for sitting in grown-up chairs and on B’s bed, so we hear this request a lot).

Allie’s love of books continues to grow (and I love how she asks us to “ree!”). It’s still hard to get her to sit still for story time, but she will gladly go about her business of destroying the house while being read to, so I consider that a win. Her current favorites are “Goodnight Moon” and the Baby Lit edition of the “Wizard of Oz.” We recently took our first trip to the library and I wish that I had my video camera out to capture Allie’s delighted expression as she took in all the books.

Other favorite things include her “lubby” (lovey, which is her little giraffe blankie), playing Ring-Around-the-Rosie and hide-and-seek with her sister, dancing to “Pop Goes the Weasel,” humming songs to herself, flipping the light switches and slamming doors.

Other fun experiences this month included attending her first wedding (congratulations Aunt Sabrina and Uncle Mike!), celebrating B’s pre-k graduation and spending lots of time playing outside.

Wedding day for Aunt Sabrina and Uncle Mike!

On B’s move-up day, at the moment that B was about to break down because there was not a balloon for her. Alice asks for help escaping her sister’s wrath.

A visit to Tyler Arboretum. Photo credit to Auntie B.

At lunch after Tyler, where she ate all of Auntie B’s fries.

A Saturday afternoon playing outside, trying on her sister’s “hat.”

Happy 15 months Allie Girl! We love you more than bubbles on a summer day!

Alice: 12 Months

I used to think that the first year of B’s life was the fastest one of mine…until these last 365 days.

Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to remember the details around Alice’s birth and it’s all a bit fuzzy. I was pretty mad that I had to be induced, feeling like I had somehow failed in some way because my blood pressure was out of control and my body couldn’t just do what it was supposed to on its own. I have a vague memory of watching reruns of Downton Abbey and repeatedly pushing the call button to summon the night time nurse every time it felt like my epidural was wearing off.

But, I clearly remember the moment that they laid her on my chest. Alice’s eyes locked on mine instantly, and it felt like we had known each other forever.

I loved her immediately.

But, bringing her home threw me for a loop. Those first few months were hard. While I was pregnant, other mothers told me how much easier it was for them to go from one to two kids. Not so, for me.

Knowing that Alice was going to be my last baby, I tried to soak in every bit of her newborn-ness, like I did with her sister. But, it turns out that’s a lot harder to do when said newborn cries almost continuously for the first five weeks of life and you are running up and down the steps with a potty train a 2.5 year old.

I remember my exact worst moment: standing in the kitchen, holding a wailing three-week old Alice, willing a bottle to just warm up faster god damn it, while an over tired B tugged on my pant leg while yelling “Mama, mama, mama” over and over again at top volume. All I could do was stare straight ahead and cry myself.

It took months for me to begin to feel like myself again and months after that to even begin to figure how to balance the demands of two tiny humans, along with all of the other things that life dishes out.

But, suddenly, one day, our new normal actually felt…well, normal. It was like she had always been in our lives.

And, before I knew it, it was February 18 again, and the littlest love of my life woke up as a one-year old. She is taking tentative baby steps, learning new words every day (her latest phrase is “good girl”) and getting bigger–in terms of size (21 pounds, 9.5 ounces and 2 and a half feet tall!) and personality–every day.

It’s hard to put into words all of the reasons that Alice is so special…but I’ll try:

Most days, it seems that no one loves life more than our Allie Girl. She smiles with her entire body, and when she laughs, her eyes crinkle so much that they are reduced to tiny little slits. When I’m having a down moment, all I have to do is think of her little face and I can’t help but laugh, too.

In spite of this extreme goofiness, she has a serious side. I frequently catch her in a daydream or intently studying her toys to figure out their inner workings. So, it seems that she’ll either be a stand-up comedian or an engineer.

A always seems to know when someone needs a hug, kiss, a laugh or a pat on the head (for her friends of the four-legged variety). I love how much she loves B. Just this morning, the two of them walked across the living room floor holding hands, and I was so happy because I know that no matter what happens in their lives they will always be each other’s “person.”

She has strong feelings, and she isn’t afraid to let you know about them. When she’s happy, she practically vibrates. When she’s pissed, it’s hard to tell the difference between her and the Hulk. She’s completely and totally herself.

I didn’t think it was possible to feel more love, joy and sense of purpose than I did when B came into our lives. And, then, along came Allie. She was the missing piece in the puzzle of our little family.

Happy Birthday, my Allie.

I’ll love you forever.

I’ll like you for always.

As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.

Alice: Ten Months

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In yet another example of second-child/second-time-parent syndrome, I almost didn’t post this monthly update. Although we actually took these photos right around Alice’s ten month birthday, the hustle and bustle of getting settled in the new house and celebrating the holidays meant that getting this post together is way, way overdue. In fact, A will be 11 months old in just about a week! But, since these photos are so darn cute—I have to at least say a few words about all that’s been going on in Alice’s world.

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Our girl now has a total of four teeth, with her top two in the front making their way in around the time she hit the ten month mark. And, she knows how to use them—she’s actually developing a bit of a nibbling habit—I currently have a bite mark on my arm to prove it!

Alice flirts with and smilies at everyone she meets. Naturally, everyone thinks she is a total sweetheart. But, man, does she have a devious streak. When she thinks you aren’t looking, she will start rummaging through cabinets, taking stuff out of bags, ripping up paper and generally, just behaving like Godzilla. When you catch her eye, she just snickers and continues down the path of destruction.

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As we settle into the new house, Alice seems to be enjoying having her own room, as well as the fact that our first floor space still needs some furnishing. She and her sister are having a grand old time racing through the empty space. Although A defied all of my predictions and isn’t walking on her own yet, she can easily keep up with—and sometimes even overtake her sister in a race. I love hearing the echo of their laughter as B races through the living room on her tricycle, followed closely behind by A, who is either crawling or pushing a toy at lightening speed.

Currently, Alice loves clapping her hands, blowing kisses and dancing. She continues to learn new words, most of them courtesy of her sister. For example, The BeatBelle that Alice got for Christmas will record your voice and repeat back what you say. B thinks it’s hilarious to hear the robot’s voice say “butt!”…and now, so does A. B is also attempting to teach her the names of all of the members of the Paw Patrol gang—so far, Rubble is her favorite.

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Happy (belated) ten month birthday, Allie Girl! I promise I’ll be on time with your updates going forward so that you have one less thing to put on the list of what you will lament about in therapy someday!

Alice: Nine Months

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As we look ahead to Thanksgiving tomorrow, I could not be more grateful that this little turkey came along nine months ago to make our family complete. There isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t bring a dozen (or more) smiles to my face.

At her most recent doctor’s appointment, Alice weighed in at 21 pounds and measured 2 feet and 4 inches long. Basically, she’s a giant. We’ve already moved her from her infant car seat to a convertible because hauling 30-plus pounds of baby and seat to/from the car was leaving me with bruises all over my legs and pulled muscles everywhere!

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A isn’t walking yet, but can now stand for a few seconds on her own—until she realizes that she isn’t holding on to anything. Then, it’s right down on to her backside she goes. Her limited mobility has not continued to get into everything that she possibly can. She is testing out her ability to climb stairs and furniture and spends a lot of time rolling around on the floor, sizing up whether or not she can fit under the furniture. Recently, I turned my back for a second to set B’s breakfast up on the table and A found the carbon monoxide detector that we have plugged into the dining room. She was quite pleased with herself when she figured out how to activate it. The ungodly noise caused B to fall off her chair. Now any time Alice even looks in the general direction of the thing, her big sister reminds me “Don’t put Alice on the floor! She’ll set off the wee-rector.”

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B pretends to be annoyed when A pulls her hair, but I think she actually likes the attention.

Alice is quite chatty and has picked up all kinds of new sounds recently. Her favorite is “uh-oh” which she learned from B’s new favorite book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” Sometimes, she’ll even use it in the right context, such as when she dumps her toys all over the floor. I believe that she is also saying “more”, “milk” and “dog,” and she loves to imitate the nonsense sounds that we make at her. Relatedly, she seems to understand just about everything when say. When we ask her to share her toys, Alice gladly hands them over. Say “Alice, kiss?” and she’ll plant the sweetest peck on your nose. Growl her name, and she knows she is in trouble and immediately bursts into tears. It’s all pretty adorable.

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As always, I continue to love watching the interaction between A and B. Alice clearly wants to keep up with and do everything her big sister does. For example, they both like to stand at the coffee table and do puzzles. In other words, B attempts to put the pieces together, Alice pulls them apart and puts them in her mouth. B yells, “Alice, no!”, pulls the pieces away and the cycle starts all over again. It’s also interesting to see the two of them competing for attention. If I’m snuggling B, Alice does everything she can to make a space for herself in my lap. And, once she gets there, she spreads herself out to take up the maximum amount of space. She reminds me of a large German Shepard who thinks she is a lap dog.

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Favorite things this month include her pink giraffe lovey (and throwing it out of her crib with dramatic flair), toys with wheels and waking up in the middle of the night to “talk” to her sister. Least favorite things? Naps. Always naps. And, as the weather gets cooler, we are learning that she is not a fan of hats.

We had a few fall adventures during the last month, including Alice’s first Linvilla Orchards trip.

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Still wearing a grin, after her first bite of cider donut.

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And, of course, we made sure to dress her up in an outfit that was guaranteed to induce a meltdown for her first Halloween.

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I would like to note that we let B pick the costume. So, Alice, when you are reading this someday, you know who to blame for the fact that the hat was so tight that it furrowed your brow for two hours.

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Trick-or-treating with Skye, from Paw Patrol


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“So, wait….I’m supposed to take candy from strangers?”

Finally, Alice received her “get-out-of purgatory for free” card, with her christening day in early November. Alice looked like a princess that day, and was so well behaved in church. She didn’t even cry when the water was poured over her head (her sister, on the other hand, sat in the back of the church with Nee-Nee, loudly announcing to everyone that she wanted to go home, that she was hungry and that she was tired of hearing those “friggin bells”).

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The most wonderful time of the year is upon us, and I’m looking forward to soaking up every last moment of Alice’s first Christmas season!

Alice: Eight Months

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Alice is two-thirds of the way to a year old. What. The. Heck?

The days feel even more hectic than ever lately, what with chasing after two kids, work and all of the rest of things that life throws our way. Alice continues to be one of the things that keeps us on our toes the most, as she is now cruising along the furniture, pushing her toys across the floor and trying to climb everything in sight. If you remember, B didn’t really walk until she was 15 months old. At the rate Alice is going, I’ll be surprised if she isn’t taking steps on her own by Christmas.

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Allie Girl finally cut two teeth (bottom, front), which have been helpful for her expanding interests in food. She is rapidly losing interest in being spoon fed purees and is only happy when we give her a food item or a spoon that she can hold on to, and feed to herself. Current favorites include puffed rice cereal, shredded cheese, pasta and B’s leftovers.

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In a continuation of what I assume are coping mechanisms developed by second children so that we don’t forget about them, Alice’s hobbies seem mostly to revolve around drawing attention to herself. Her newest tricks include pulling all the books of the shelf and tearing up the pages, sneaking up on Poor Tracy and pulling her tail and throwing herself across B’s lap so big sister will pay attention to her. She spent a lot of time this month practicing her wave, “so big!” peek-a-boo and learning to pull off her socks. She has learned that we find these habits oh-so-adorable, and if have to correct her for something, she knows she can pull out all of these out of her bag of tricks and all will be forgiven.

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We all took our first trip to Sesame Place, and while Alice was too little to partake in any of the rides, she didn’t seem to mind watching her big sister nearly pee her pants on the roller coaster. She spent the whole day perched in her stroller, looking around as if to say “Isn’t it so nice that everyone is having a good time?” She is going to make the most adorable little old lady someday.

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Happy 8 months, Alice Girl. I love you more than pumpkin spice lattes!

Alice: Seven Months

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Within days after her six month birthday, Alice figured out how to crawl, sit up on her own and pull up to stand. And, now that she’s figured all this stuff out, she’s really only happy when she’s on the floor, free to move about as she pleases. The crib is already lowered as far as it can go, and when I put her in there, I can practically see the wheels turning in her head as she sizes up the situation and tries to work out an escape plan. It’s only a matter of time.

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It’s already next to impossible to take these pictures each month

All that to say, we are just barely keeping up with our Allie Girl these days.

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Alice is proving to be an inquisitive gal, seeming to want to understand everything about everything. Nothing holds her attention for very long, so it’s hard to keep her interest with toys or stories. But, of course, she wants all the things that she can’t have—no dog toy or stray floor Cheerio escapes her eagle eye. If she hears a loud noise, she snaps to attention and immediately scurries off to investigate. I predict that when she can speak, “Why?” will be her favorite word.

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The Thinker

Speaking of vocalizing, she is usually the most outspoken one in the room, and seems to only have one tone of voice: loud and whiny. I’ll be honest—it’s kind of annoying. I’m hoping this isn’t already a fixed personality trait or some sort of survival mechanism that second children demonstrate so that people don’t forget about them.

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She continues to be a voracious eater, and we’ve moved on to finger foods, like puffs, Cheerios, bits of veggies and pasta. My mom sent me a video of A shoveling angel hair into her mouth and I don’t think I have ever seen someone look so gleeful over plain macaroni.

Allie’s favorite things this month included Tracy, things that aren’t really toys (as noted above), Baby Lit books, bobbing up and down to music, spending quality time on the swings at the park, practicing her wave and and playing with the Ballapalooza and B’s Little People toys.

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Playing with her sister’s toys, as always

Happy seven months to our noisy, squirmy, curious girl. We love you even when you are yelling at us (which is, well, always).

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Pouting away, at B’s birthday party

 

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Alice: Six Months

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Alice recently celebrated her half birthday, which means we have all survived the first six months as a family of four. I have lots to say about all the crazy that’s been associated with that (not to mention a few more grey hairs). I just wish I wasn’t too tired to write it all down.

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At six months old the only thing this girl seems to want to do is move! She’s surprisingly strong and has been working hard on getting all of her limbs coordinated enough to crawl. She can rock back and forth on all fours now and I’ve witnessed a few scoots here and there, so it’s only a matter of time until she’s off. She recently discovered that she likes to “stand” and play with her toys rather than sit on the floor with them.

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Those chubby little legs!

B wasn’t as curious of a baby as Alice is, so we’ll need to do some serious childproofing in the near future. Alice has plenty of intiative and already has a way of getting into everything! The minute we walk her into a room, she surveys the landscape for things to grab. Changing times have become quite the wrestling match, as she tries to pull the wipes, diapers and toys out of the bin next to the changing pad.

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She loves banging things together and could spend hours rifling through containers of toys and dumping them out onto the floor. She tries steal everything B is playing with. For the most part, B is pretty patient with this, and says “Okay, Alice, you can have a turn!” and makes sure that her baby sister doesn’t put small objects in her mouth. But, of course, we have some moments where B whines and says “No, Alice, your’re too little for that!,” while she wrenches the object away, leaving Alice in tears. At least it’s only blocks and stuffed animals now…before we know it, the battles over clothes and boys will start.

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BFFs

Last month, I said that Alice wasn’t really a snuggly baby. Well, I stand corrected, as she has become a champion snuggler as of late. I forgot how perfectly a baby’s head fits between my neck and shoulder. It’s the kind of thing that makes me want ten more of babies…but then B starts yelling at me and I come to my senses (also, did I mention that I’m tired?). Stranger danger has yet to set in for Alice. She chats, smiles and flirts with everyone she meets and will let just about anyone hold her.

At her six month doctor’s appointment, Alice tipped the scales at 18 pounds, 7 ounces and was 2 feet, 2.6 inches long. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to reuse a lot of B’s clothes because the seasons would be off. But, since Alice is already wearing B’s nine month sized summer items, that hasn’t really been an issue so far.

Her steady progress in the size department can probably be attributed to the fact that she eats everything we put in front of her (and if she could steal our food before it makes its way to our mouths, she probably would). Her appetitie wasn’t even dampened by the minor cold she caught from B recently, and she added peaches, prunes and squash to her repetorie this month, as well as a bit of protein in the form of pureed turkey (blech).

IMG_3810Alice loved her first ride on the swings, and B loved the company!

IMG_3869Partying it up for our friend Jack’s third birthday.

IMG_3898Modeling her sister’s hat on a sunny day.

Happy half-birthday, Alice Girl! I love you more than peanut butter!