Thursday, December 22, 2011

End of Year update

I would love to say I will get in more than one additional post this year, but I should be realistic.  And since this is probably it, I will try to make it a good one.  And since this will take the place of a Christmas newsletter from our family, let's make it a proper update on this bunch, shall we?  Yes, let's!

Madeleine: Loving 2nd grade at the wonderful school located just behind our house.  She has 2 fabulous teachers and is in a class full of top performers so they move through the curriculum quickly, which suits her very well.  For extra-curricular activity she does gymnastics twice a week.  She is a very graceful little girl and she's doing great in both classes she takes (tumbling level 2 and gymnastics level 2).  She is such a good big sister (almost always to Alayna and pretty often to Ian) and a very helpful child.  Madeleine is looking forward to turning 8 in May and being baptized soon after.  Anyone planning a trip to Houston for that?

Ian: This kid absolutely cannot get enough of video games.  His top fave is Super Paper Mario, which is a really fun game, but since it's one of two games we own (the other being Wii Sports) it may be by default more than anything else.  Luckily he has some other things going on in his life to give him a little balance.  He is still at a nearby Baptist church for pre-K but he has moved into a kindergarten class since he was already proficient in the pre-K skills.  (We plan on him doing kindergarten again next year once he is old enough for K at public school.)  He told me today that he thinks it's pretty cool that he goes to a school where they are teaching the gospel.  I couldn't agree more!  He's playing basketball again through the YMCA and enjoying that somewhat.  I think we all know what he would rather be doing, but again, we are aiming for some balance. :) 

Alayna: Words to describe Alayna....busy, funny, sweet, busy.  Oh, did I say busy twice?  I should have said it 3 or 4 times!  This girl is at the age where she is into everything, and climbing on everything else.  Our Christmas tree has multiple conspicuous bald spots at Alayna-height.  And you better believe that if there is something or somewhere we want her to stay out of, it's a never ending battle to get our way.  But we love her and she is pretty hilarious.  She's a good little talker.  For quite some time she has been shaking and nodding her head.  Awhile ago she added "yeah" to her repertoire.  She's figured out that "uh huh" and "huh uh" can be used to indicate "yes" or "no," respectively, and she's expirimenting with that.  The problem is she says "huh uh" when she means "yes."  I'm sure in no time at all she'll have it all figured out.  We're eagerly waiting for her to start saying Maddie's name.  She's been saing "Eee-uh" (Ian) for a long time and "Mama" and "Dada" too.  Madeleine is feeling a little left out. 

Spencer: Really enjoying work at ExxonMobil.  He is doing such a good job and his superiors are all thrilled with what he's accomplished.  One of his colleagues at the company Christmas party told me that Spencer is single-handedly changing his department.  That might be a slight exaggeration, but a very kind thing to say and an indication of how well he's doing.  In February he will be starting a new position as an Asset Portfolio Manager and he couldn't be happier about it.  It's exactly the position he was hoping to attain and we feel extremely fortunate that he was able to get to it so quickly.  The only move associated with the new position will be down the hall from his current office.  At church, Spencer serves as the Sunday School President. 

Rachel: I find it most difficult to do my own update.  Each day for me is so full of things that are hardly worth mentioning.  And so now a year has gone by and I feel like there's not much to note.  I'll say this: I feel like we have really settled in to a good life here in Texas.  We have made some really wonderful friends and that is such a source of joy for me.  I have not been doing many household projects lately, but I have a feeling there are several in store in 2012.  I love being a stay-at-home mom.  It sure isn't glamorous, but I find it really challenging in a good way.  And I love my kids.  They are just so wonderful.  I think about them and think, "Are those awesome kids really mine?  Wow!  I am a lucky mom!"  Of course there are times when my thoughts are a little less gushy, but that's part of the gig I signed up for, right?  I wouldn't trade it.  At church, I am still the Nursery Coordinator overseeing about 45 kids ages 18 months to 3 years.  

We hope all of our friends and family are enjoying a wonderful Christmas season!  We are grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and this special time of year to celebrate His birth.  We are also grateful to have each of you in our lives and for the happiness it brings us to know you.  Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

(Family pictures were taken in Mesa, AZ in November by Jessica Drew

Monday, November 7, 2011

How We Spent Our Summer Vacation

*Warning: This post is also not well thought out, but I had to do it.  I wish I had done it earlier to devote more time to it, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

This post has been a long time coming. The main thing of note from the summer was our mega road trip from Houston to Oregon (and all over other parts of the West) and it took a looong time to recover from all those days in the car.  We've been recovered for quite some time, but then school started and everything else and I just barely looked again to see this post sitting as a draft since September.  Ooops!

The picture above was at the Mulolla Rodeo.  I think the rodeo each summer is the main thing Mulolla is known for.  We loved it.  I much preferred the quaintness of this little outdoor rodeo to the Houston rodeo and all its giganticness.  Is that a word?      
Since thrift store shopping is one of my favorite pastimes, I was sure to do as much as I could while on vacation.  At some point before our trip I found this sleeper for Alayna.  Then in Oregon I found one in Madeleine's size at one of the secondhand stores there.  What are the chances??  How many size 7 footed pajamas even need to exist??  I couldn't resist them.  Now our girls wear matching p.j.'s about once a week.
There's a fabulous little park right around the corner from Spencer's parent's house.  We played in the water there several times during the 2.5 weeks we were there.  While the weather actually felt cold to us Houstonians, we loved being in a cooler place for a while.  And of course being with cousins and grandmas and grandpa made it even better!
Ian and Noah are exactly a year and a day apart in age.  They had such a great time together this summer!  We are hoping and praying and crossing our fingers that Mark gets to do his residency in Houston so we can have them nearby.
Alayna at another fun park one day.  The summer in Oregon is so beautiful!  It makes you want to live there.  The non-stop drizzle during the winter doesn't.
We spent one day at the children's museum.  So fun! 
On our way home we were able to see friends from college who are now in different parts of the west.  This is Allen, who introduced Spencer and me.  I wish we lived closer!  Spending the morning together wasn't nearly long enough, but it was better than nothing.
Grandma Sandi and Aunt Shelley took Alayna and her twin cousin Maren to the library one morning for an activity geared at babies.  Just look at that cute face!
Grandma Montelius lives right by Spencer's parents so we were able to spend lots of time with her too.  She's awesome.  Kris and Cameron (not pictured) are Spencer's cousins who came out from Ohio for the reunion.  You can just see how helpful everyone was.
Here are the twin cousins.  Maren was born on July 1 last year and Alanya was born on July 13.  I just know they are going to be BFFs. :)
On one rainy day, we went to the Family Fun Center and played a few video games as well as climbed around in the Kidopolis playland.
Spencer and I left the kids with grandma and great grandma while we went rafting on the Deschutes River with Holly, Mark, Drew and Aunt Shelley.  It was so much fun.  Though the water was super cold and I vowed to not get all the way in, tradition says you must at a certain point and I gave in to the peer pressure.  The frigid water took my breath away but obviously I survived.
Spencer drove us out there then had to fly home to work for week before flying back for the reunion.  This must have been one day while he was home.  Check out Madeleine's hideous gorgeous necklace.  The things weighs a ton and I doubt it was really meant to be worn as a necklace, but she sure thinks it's the most beautiful thing around. 
Here we are with the whole Rands crew on beach day.  Pretty creative sand building, right?  I had absolutely nothing to do with that.  That was all Grandpa Paul and Uncle Drew.  Very impressive, don't you agree?
A family picture on the beach. 
One last photo-op with Grandma M before we had to hit the road and head for home.

Last but not least, our family photo from the professional photo shoot.

I think I will have to find more pictures to post because there was so much more to document.  Stay tuned for another post on this topic.  Hopefully before next year!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween 2011

*Warning: This post is not very well thought out and is a major picture dump.  Sorry if you're expecting something more eloquent.

Halloween was so great this year!  We went trick-or-treating with a couple families from church and it was pretty much perfect!  Spencer kept Alayna with him at the house with the other dads and another baby.  The other moms and I took the bigger kids out.  Madeleine and Ian are both big enough to really get it and really enjoy it.  Plus we were with really great friends!  No complaints from us whatsoever!  Hallie brought an extra cow costume for me to wear.  Madeleine told me I shouldn't wear it.  "That will be so embarassing!"  I'm not sure if she thought it would embarass her or me, but I did wear it and I wasn't embarassed at all.  I'll have to ask if she was.  Ashley's the cute witch in the middle.  You maybe can't tell but she is wearing a witch hat. 
This was not for Halloween.  It was just an instance of Maddie putting Alayna in dress-up clothes.  I love her nice round tummy.

Carving pumpkins was so great this year too!  Again, Madeleine and Ian are big enough to help, and appreciate what we are doing.  And they took a break from fighting with each other while we did it.  The icing on the cake was part-way through when Madeleine went and got the scriptures to read to us during the carving.  Thinking ahead, I tell ya. 
Ian as Ben 10.  I'm pretty pround of his costume.  I bought the pants at Goodwill for about $5 then used fabric paint to put the stripe on a white shirt we already had.  And the omnitrix (or ultamatrix, who knows?) we already had too. 
Good likeness, right?
This picture is horrible, but Madeleine's costume is adorable.  She had decided a few months ago that she wanted to be a fairy and we were planning to use some stuff we had and add a few things to it, hopefully items found at the thrift store.  Well, I happened upon this dress with the wings at Goodwill for $5.  Amazing, right?!  The dress was about 6 inches longer and there were some tears in the tulle, but I was able to make it the right length above the rips in the fabric and put the ribbon back on and it turned out just perfect.
Alayna was Marie from the Aristocats.  I haven't even seen that movie, but we've had this costume from when Madeleine was a baby so this is what Alayna got to be.  She only wore it to the Trunk-or-Treat at church and since it was actually pretty chilly that night, I think she was glad to be in such a warm get up.  Her face in this picture cracks me up!
We made it to a couple Fall Festivals too.  One at Maddie's school (no pictures from that one) and this one at the church where Ian goes to Pre-K.  They really went all out!  There were several different bounce house type things.  On this one, you see how long you can stay on the surfboard while it moves around.  Ian told me I messed him up by telling him to look at me for a picture.  Oops!  Sorry!
They also had a pony ride.  Oh and by the way, everything was free.  
Alayna wasn't too sure about the pony ride.  She was quite upset at first, but once they got moving and she realized Spencer was staying with her she calmed down.  I'm not prepared to say that means she liked it, but she didn't cry the whole time.  Just a little at first.

I can't believe how fast the year is going by!  I feel like I'm being catapulted into the holidays.  Am I ready?  Probably not, but I better get there.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October, so far...

I am sitting here wondering how in the heck I have let so much time go by without posting anything to this blog of mine.  And to tell you the truth, I can think of a few reasons.  One is that I have a new calling at church as the Nursery Coordinator.  As the person in charge of overseeing 3 nurseries with over 40 kids total, I have spent a good bit of time and mental energy there instead of here.  Also, Ian's birthday just passed (which I will cover shortly) and again my time and mental energy was required there.  Finally, and probably the real culprit, is that I finally got into Pinterest and nearly every time I sit down at my computer I get sucked into Pinterest for more time than I care to admit.  And though I feel bad for neglecting my blog, I am so in love with Pinterest!  Corralling so many awesome ideas, recipes, etc. into one neat little spot is genius!  I feel strangely productive after browsing around and gathering ideas even though I've really accomplished nothing.  Anyway, this post isn't supposed to be all about Pinterest.  I better move on to more important things.

Believe it or not, Ian turned 5. It actually is so silly to say that because it is not at all hard to believe. He's seemed like a five-year-old for at least a year already. 

We had a Ben 10 themed birthday party and it turned really great.  You'll just have to take my word for it though since, as usual, I forgot to take a single picture.  (I have previously mentioned his love of Ben 10, who you can read all about here, if you're so inclined.)  It was decided long ago that Ian would dress up as Ben 10 for Halloween this year so I let him wear his costume to the party.  We played a couple games, ate yummy food, played at the park, had cake, and opened presents.  Same as most parties I guess, but since we were at the park and not our house it was much less stressful.  Plenty of great friends were there and Ian got lots of fabulous gifts, so to him it was perfect. 
He had a couple gift cards to Target (thank you, Grandpa Gus and random lady at Target last week) and this is what he picked out.  The plug-in-and-play video game controller.  He couldn't be happier.  Well, that's a lie.  If we let him play non-stop like he wants to, then he couldn't be happier.  We gave him another video game for the wii, too, so he has lots of games he wants to play and that equals lots of motivation for getting the homework/reading/chores, etc. done in a hurry.

I can't say enough what a wonderful kid Ian is!  I can almost always count on him to be quick to obey whenever I ask him to do something.  He's also a really good eater.  His most recent favorite foods are carrots and apples.  He's a great conversationalist, even if his favorite topic is video games or tv shows.  Every now and then it will be about a book he's read.  And he is a really good reader!  He loves to lay on the rug in our entryway where the library books are and read and read and read.  It's awesome.  We are endlessly impressed with how smart he is.  And we'd love to take credit for it, and maybe we can take a little since we are trying to be good parents who teach our kids a lot, but he is just really gifted.  I have a feeling his smarts will keep me on my toes.  Anyway, he is just so sweet and so kind and such a blessing in our lives!  Happy birthday, Ian!  You are the best and we love you!!   

Friday, September 23, 2011

11 Years and counting....

Last Friday, Spencer and I celebrated our 11th anniversary.  Congrats to us!  We went out to a lovely dinner, lazily walked around the shops while we waited to go see The Help (which we really liked).  It was so nice to just hang out together.  Our lives have become so busy that it takes real effort to fit in time to just hang out and often all we get is a few minutes here and there.  So we greatly appreciated being able to spend a good hour and a half just talking, walking around, holding hands, enjoying each other's company.  Of course we usually enjoy each other's company, but most times we are enjoying it simultaneously with our kids' company, which you know is not the same.  And being out of the house meant we weren't multi-tasking, like watching tv together and folding laundry.

Lately I have been reflecting a lot on how truly fortunate I am to be married to Spencer.  As a 21 year-old bride, I was so in love and was so sure I had snagged the best possible husband.  Now as a 32 year-old veteran wife and mother, I am reminded daily of how right I was.  And I really had no clue back then.  I couldn't ask for a husband who works harder to provide for our family.  Or for a husband who is so concerned and interested in our children's lives, their progression and devleopment.  Or for a husband who readily sees past my many flaws.  I'm sure I should be better at showing my appreciation for all he does for me and our kids.  And I hope he feels equally blessed to have me as his wife.

P.S. Sorry to be so sappy.  Sometimes there's just no way around it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pre-K and Basketball

Here's Ian on his first day of pre-K.  He is going to a nearby Baptist church's pre-k program and so far he is really liking it.  His teacher is very nice and it sounds like he's already made friends with the kids in his class.  No surprise there.  Ian might be the friendliest kid there is.  His schedule is two days a week from 9:15-2:30, which I love.  I wouldn't have minded a bit if we got him into a program that was 3 days a week, but this one was the right for for us.  I will admit that I am jealous of the moms I know from back in California who all had babies around the same time I had Ian and they are starting their kids in kindergarten.  The birthday cut-off here for school is September 1 so his October birthday means he won't start kindergarten till next year.  And while a part of me wishes he was in school across the street already, I know that this year of pre-K is going to be a really good transition from preschool last year (2 days/week for 3 hours) to kindergarten next year (5 days/week for 7 hours).  One of his comments about school so far is that it's kind of long.  Yeah, good thing he's got a year to get used to it.

The other thing Ian gets to do right now is basketball.  He's in the tiny tots league at the YMCA and it's pretty awesome.  Most of the kids (Ian included) do not have any baskeball skills already so their "game" last weekend was quite a sight.  Aside from one kid on the other team who was a total baller, the kids hardly dribbled (very few can actually do it at all), they weren't making many shots even though the basket was only about 6 feet high, and more than once I saw kids stealing the ball from their own teammates.  Like I said, pretty awesome.  Anyway, Ian is excited to be in basketball.  He's a pretty good shot and he's interested in practicing dribbling so maybe he'll be the baller at one of his next games.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Madeleine's version of events

Madeleine wrote this account of Ian's zipline fiasco for school.  Her teacher told her it was the best story in class.  I hope you can click the picture to enlarge so you can see all the cute details.  This paper's a keeper!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why we are the best parents around.

I know I already have earned "meanest mom."  A couple weeks ago Spencer and I earned "Parents of the Year" hands down.  We accomplished this feat by allowing our 4-year-old son to ride on a friend's zipline, without his foot in the rope for added security and without a helmet.  Why would we do such a stupid thing?  Well, Madeleine and our friends' kids were all riding it this way like a bunch of old pros and we obviously didn't think through the situation very well.  So, here's what happened:

He climbed the ladder up to the start of the line (which truthfully was a red flag in and of itself) and started his ride down the zipline.  Spencer and I and the dad of the other family were all standing there watching and cheering him on.  Then he hit the end and the momentum he gathered along the way sent him flying.  His feet went up in the air and his back hit a tree about 10 feet away, then he went down and hit his head on the ground/brush at the foot of the tree.  Thankfully, he sprang right up, but he had cut his head pretty good and the blood was gushing.  Needless to say we were freaked out.  Considering how awful the whole thing looked and how bad it could have been, we are really lucky.  We didn't feel lucky to sit for 5.5 hours in the ER, but it's a blessing that we have access at all the necessary medical care, right?  Anyway, that gave us plenty of time to think of all the things we could/should have done differently so we could have saved our boy the pain he had to endure.  He ended up with 4 blue stitches.  They came out last week and the doctor let him keep them.  He's hoping to bring them to school for show-and-tell soon. 

I have pictures of the wound pre-stitches, but I thought it would be a little too gruesome for some.  Honestly I don't even like to see it.

His glasses went flying too went it happend and they seemed to have vanished into thin air.  I looked around for a few minutes before we went to the ER and then throughout the week our friends continued to look for them, all to no avail.  We couldn't imagine where they could have gone, but they definitely weren't in the yard by the zipline.  Until Saturday of that week (this happened on Monday) when they finally appeared in the grass.  Very strange.  Good thing he had his old, taped up pair to wear in the meantime.

Without a doubt, Parents of the Year, right?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

One New Outfit

Madeleine had a pretty great first week of school (mostly).  She was really well behaved the first couple days so I let her have access to one new outfit.  Her excitement at the prospect of showing up to school in this ensemble got the best of her and made it difficult for her to sleep the night before.  So, although she felt like a million bucks thanks to these clothes, her behavior took a bit of a backslide.  Spencer and I thought rather than give her everything back at once, she could earn one outfit each day.  Hopefully that way she would keep trying her best to be nice.  Obvioulsy we think that's a pretty ingenius idea, but she feels robbed because she thought she could be good for 2 days and get everything now.  I can understand her frustration, but I do think she is beginning to see it our way.  Since I also took away all of her dress-up clothes I am thinking that I will let her earn one real outfit and one dress-up too.  Any ideas?  I welcome any and all advice on how you would deal with your own strong-willed child.   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Favorite Child

I know I can't really have a favorite child, and for the most part I don't, but I sure love having one that doesn't talk back and pick fights with anyone else.  Are you sensing a theme in my recent posts?  Can you tell there's been a bit of dischord around here?  Sheesh!  Anyway, Alayna is about as sweet as they come.  And she is really funny.  She's at that stage of babbling really intently but of course none of it comes out as real words.  Also, there is no mistaking it when she is trying to communicate that she wants something.  She stares it down and does a sort of growl/grunt.  I'm thinking she might be ready to try and come up with another way to get that point across since the current method seems to hurt her throat a little and make her cough.  Another of her talents is shaking her to say "no."  She pretty much always means "no" when she does it, too.  If I ask her if she wants her milk and then ignore her head shake and give it to her anyway, she promptly throws her cup to the floor. 
This picture makes her look like she is moving at light speed, doesn't it?  Madeleine picked out her outfit this day, cute baby skinny jeans and a tunic.  Very fashionable.  You can kind of see how darling Alayna's hair is getting to be.  The back and sides are filling in finally and she's got a little curl going on.  And she's so blonde!  Her hair likes to fall straight into her eyes and she won't keep bows in her hair so lately we have resorted to the one ponytail on top.  She really works that look.

Here again in her favorite place.  Notice the final touch on her fashionable outfit--the shoes.  What 13-month-old doesn't need a pair of pink platform sandals?
One last bit.  She's pretty excited about learning to eat using utensils instead of her fingers or having someone else feed her.  On several occasions she has turned her nose up at something I try to feed her on a fork or spoon, but if I let her hold it herself she'll gobble it right up.  She's a cute girl and we can't get enough of her!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meanest mom EVER!

According to Madeleine, that's me.  That little girl has been giving us a heck of time lately and our efforts to crack down and help her to shape up have earned me this new title.  I don't think it's true, but perhaps it is. 

As I have previously indicated, Madeleine is really into dressing up/dressing fancy/looking cute, etc. This is the thought that came to me as I was trying to figure out what I could take away in an attempt to motivate her to be a kinder, sweeter, more obedient child. So a couple weeks ago I cleared out her closet of all items that were not totally plain and told her she had to earn them back by changing her behavior. She also would not be allowed to have her new school clothes if she didn't earn her other clothes back. I hoped she would quickly turn things around, but I guess we have given her reason to believe that more and bigger fits equal getting what she wants. Well, we are determined to not give in to that anymore (I thought we already weren't giving in). And so we in the midst of an epic battle of the wills. 

She had to start second grade in old clothes.  I did let her carry her new book bag and her new lunchbox.  Maybe I shouldn't have, I'm not sure.  
And I let her decide on her hairstyle.  I don't think the "meanest mom ever" would do that!  I am happy to report that she actually had a fabulous day!  Especially compared to how our days have been going around here, it was like a 9 out of 10!  Can you sense my happiness and relief?!  If she can keep this new attitude up for a couple more days I'll have to have another "first" day of school post for her so we can showcase one of her new outfits.  She's been really excited about it.  Wish us luck!  I might get that title revoked soon enough. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quote of the Year

Background: Ian is a fabulous kid who doesn't complain about much, but he regularly gives us grief about going to church on Sunday.  We've told him that in our family it's non-negotiable and we will do it every week no matter what, but still he complains.  The other thing that must be pointed out is that he is fascinated with the computer.  This took place one Sunday on our way to church.  Are you ready for it?

Ian: "Mom, why do we have to go to church?"

Me: "Because we need to go and learn more about Jesus."

Ian: "Can't we just do that on the computer?"

Me: "Where do you think we would go on the computer to do that?"

Ian: "I don't know...maybe"

Did you check the link?  After this conversation we had to check and we were pleasantly surprised to see that it took us to  Pretty cool, in my opinion.  And I know that it's only August and a better quote could come along, but this one is staying strong for now and I just had to share.

P.S. I cannot wait for Madeleine to start school tomorrow!

Friday, July 29, 2011

you're fighting about what??

I know none of you could possibly think that our kids are perfect. And even though no one asked for it, I will give you some proof.
  • Not a day (no, not even one single day) goes by without Madeleine and Ian fighting over who gets to sit in the coveted seat at the back of the kitchen table. This might make sense if the tv were on while we're eating (since that seat would have the best view), but it's not. It seems like maybe the reasoning has become that that seat is closer to Alayna's highchair. Either way, it makes me want to scream.
  • You could hear statements like these at almost any mealtime at our house:
"I want the blue plate!"
"No!! I want the blue plate!!"
"Mom! He got the blue plate yesterday!!"
"You get what you get and you don't get upset!"
  • Our older kids also have a real talent for arguing over what they watch on netflix. There are a few shows they agree on, like Avatar: the Last Airbender and the Fantastic Four. But mostly if Ian wants to pick something besides those two, Madeleine will fight it. Pretty much if it's not her way/choice/idea/etc. it's worth fighting over.
  • If you're like me, you hope that prayer-time will be a brief moment of peace in your home. But again, if you're like me, you are disappointed on that one. Those two even have to fight over who gets to say the prayer. Unbelievable!
I could come up with several other examples, but I think that's proof enough for now. At this moment however, I am pleased to say that Alayna is sleeping and Madeleine and Ian are playing nicely enough together with the fort they built in the playroom. So, for this moment, I am enjoying some relative peace and a break from wanting to scream.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

One year old!

Here's our sweet Alayna Camille screaming her lungs out just after she was born on July 13, 2010. That first washing wasn't fun for her. Since then, she has come to love the bath. :) In fact, she has been very good natured and a real sweetheart about most everything. Just a good baby!
At about 6 months she was chewing on everything, working hard at getting teeth. Now at 1, she has eight teeth and the doctor said Alayna's molars look quite swollen so I expect we'll be seeing more teeth soon enough. As a 9-month-old, Alayna was exploring all over the place! She had mastered crawling by then and really wanted to go everywhere. She particularly enjoyed climbing the stairs, and still does. Her sweet personality began to emerge more and more around this age.And now she is a big 1-year-old. She is such a wonderful girl! She truly keeps a smile on our faces since everything about her is absolutely precious! She started walking a few days before her birthday. A baby just starting to walk has got to be one of the cutest/funniest things ever. It's adorable!
We got to celebrate her birthday a little early while we were in Oregon with all of Spencer's family, including our niece Maren who was born about 2 weeks before Alayna. Maren was kind enough to let Alayna share the spotlight that day. Back here on her actual birthday, we just had a little family party. Since she doesn't know to expect anything, I think it was just the right amout of celebration. I must say, the cake was delicious. I had to eat waaay too much of it. Alayna liked it too:
Happy birthday, baby girl!! We love you!