Wednesday, November 16, 2011

14 Months Old

This month certainly feels like it went by the fastest so far. When I get asked how old Alexa is, I can no longer say "she just turned 1." I know it seems silly, but she is now moving her way into the toddler years. Moving is something she is certainly getting quick with. She is running around everywhere. If she is in the grass or on something that is hard to walk, she will just sit down. She will not get upset, instead she just watches what is going on. When she feels like trying again she will stand up & move slowly. She is such a thinker! When we are walking on a normal day she prefers to have me holding her hand. If I am not holding her hand she will just stand still. This is not something I or her school taught her. I believe it is more of a comfort thing for her.

This month started out with a visit from Megan & Matthew. When we got to the airport we met them by the baggage claim. Matthew looked like a wild man wanting to get out of his stroller. I took him out & quickly regretted it. He was trying his hardest to get down and run around. Normally this would not be a problem, but he was barefoot, in an airport. There was no way I was going to let those adorable little feet hit that dirty ground. So Matthew ended up back in the stroller.

When we arrived back at the house Matthew & Alexa were not real sure what to make of each other. Matthew cried when Megan left him. Reflecting back this is really funny to me. Who knew in a matter of 48 hours these two would be playing like they were siblings? Alexa just loves watching slightly older and more mobile children playing. Matthew was no different. He even climbed the latter to the slide & went down on his own. Alexa found this to be really funny. At one point in the weekend, Matthew went down the slide, right into Alexa who was there waiting to "catch" him. Alexa then proceeded to fall on her butt and then laid on her back to make a dramatic scene. Though no tears were shed at that time. The kids sure did play hard & slept really well both nights.

On Saturday we took them to Carolyn's Cousins Pump Patch. This is the largest farm in the area & a site you should not miss when in town. We drove the hour drive while both kids took a morning nap. When we arrived Megan and I had to assemble the wagon. We had to take the handle off to fit it into the trunk. Once inside we did every photo op. that was available. The kids were posed with a school bug, pigs, pumpkins, and MANY other adorable signs. Last year the first weekend we arrived we actually stumbled across Carolyn's website and went to the pumpkin patch. For a family who has moved more times then even I like to admit, having this small tradition was fun. We took Alexa's picture next to the same "How tall this fall?" sign. Last year, Justin held her tiny 8lb body against the sign an we snapped a quick picture. This year she was over the 2 foot marker & smiling like the toddler she is.

While at the pumpkin patch the kids were able to feed some goats, watch a pig race, dance to some banjo music, ride on the hayride (which Alexa fell asleep), pick some pumpkins and so much more. We spent a little over 4 hours there and we were all exhausted. So we took the wagon a part, load the kids in the car and headed home. About 20 minutes in to the drive, I was the only one awake. Later in the afternoon we took the kids to the Carousel Museum. I am not sure if either one really enjoyed it. However we were going to make the most of our weekend. That evening while eating dinner, Megan's phone rang. Alexa put her fist up to her ear and said "hello" then proceed to move her fist towards me and said what sounded like "here you go." Megan and I both thought it was super adorable. We tried to get the video camera but were not fast enough. That evening the kids worked on their spider craft project. We put two toddlers in a small baby pool with black paint. Why did we think this would be a good idea? At first the kids just sat there and looked at the paint. Eventually they got a little messy. Alexa threw one of the tiny foam balls at Matthew (or at least in his direction) and hit him square in the chest. It left a little splat mark. Like always Alexa decided to eat some paint. To make Matthew get a little messy I started playing with my lips while blowing air. Matthew saw me and repeated, getting paint on his face. Both kids left black hand prints on the carpet before getting carried upstairs for their bath.

Once in the bath Matthew who was undressed and standing started peeing on Alexa who was sitting in the bath with her onesie still on. Matthew had no idea what happened, but we all laughed. Sunday morning was hard to watch Megan and Matthew leave. We were able to take them to security & even talk to them through the security exit door by their gate (we have a TINY airport).

The next weekend was Halloween weekend. We started out by participating in the Halloween Fun Run for Kids. We had the option of doing a 1K or 5K. We opted for the 1K and brought Angelina with us. It was ~40* when we arrived at the run. Alexa, Angelina & I were all bundled up. We started out last & remained there through the entire thing. Alexa did her best to walk but did not understand the point. At one time I put her down and walked backwards in front of her. I think she was a little confused but also had trouble because of her 3 outfits I made her wear. We did finish the race in about 20 minutes. Alexa & Angelina both received metals and did a small trick or treating event inside. Later in the afternoon we had a neighborhood block party. Alexa and Ariel even had a chance to jump in the bounce house. Ariel enjoyed falling on her face, Alexa just sat and watched. Lastly that evening was Justin's units Halloween party. Alexa won 3rd place in the costume contest among ~30 children in her age category. She was certainly the cutest bug there.

On Halloween we did a few houses with Adam, Angelina & Ariel. Alexa was fascinated by her bucket and kept putting her head inside of it to make noises echo. When we were walking around, Alexa would clap for Ariel when she would walk up to the doors. Alexa came home with 2 small suckers. I did let her try one (I know bad Mom) but she did not care for it at all.

November started out with some exciting news about the deployment. We were told that we are officially in the home stretch. I am doing my best to not get all worked up and just try to enjoy the next month or so. We had our last Deployed Spouses dinner at the Chapel. Normally Alexa is very excited about playing with other children. This night was not normal. She screamed the minute we went in and cried until we left. I bounced between the toddler room and the dining facility. After an hour I just felt terrible that she was so upset, so we left.

Saturday was a much better day. I got up early to get my haircut. Alexa was in her stroller right next to me. When the hair would fall to the ground she would say "ut oh". It was too adorable! We then went on to Angelina's piano recital. Ariel & Alexa were being a little loud, so we played in the back until it was her turn. Ariel was trying to wave to Angelina & got upset when it was not returned. In the afternoon we went to the units Fall Festival. I went with Angelina in the bounce house to help with the little girls. That was one move I quickly regretted. The other children treated me like one of their own. I was pushed around and basically stepped on. We got out rather quickly. Oh well! That evening we went and painted our square for the Welcome Home quilt. I tried to get Alexa to help, but she just wanted to run around. She LOVED all the other children.

Alexa had her second to last therapy session this month. Maureen was very impressed with how far Alexa has come in the last two months. She gave us our last set of goals. If we achieve them all in a month then Alexa will be released from the program. I am confident that this will be the case. Alexa has become before attached to Maureen. When she left on Tuesday, Alexa waved and cried. It was cute. The Thursday before Veterans day we rushed to the airport to fly to Atlanta. Alexa pushed her stroller around the terminal and made a lot of friends. She did AWESOME on the flight. She played for a little while and then slept until we landed.

The three nights we were in Atlanta, Alexa did not sleep well. She would wake up ever so often crying. It was a rough few nights for us. She ended up sleeping in the bed with me and we still woke up very early. On Friday we went to Donna's school, the mall & out to dinner with Brandon, Chase & Austin. Late that night Jayson, Leah & JB arrived. On Saturday we took the kids to get their picture taken together. JB and Alexa look so much a like. They both really enjoyed each other even though Alexa is a "baby" as JB would call her.

On Sunday afternoon we headed back to the airport. The Atlanta airport is much bigger than the Kansas City airport. We had to check in at curbside just to avoid all the crowds. Then we had a 20 minute security line that was feeding about 10 different aisles. Once we made it through security we had to find the elevator to go down to the train, 5-10 minute train ride & then find the elevator back up. Once in our terminal we had a long walk to our gate. Of course it was the second to last on in the terminal. We made it with 5 minutes to spare until boarding. The flight was not as good as Friday. Alexa wanted to run around and play and then got very tired. Unfortunately she had a hard time falling asleep. The man in front of us got irritate every time Alexa made even the smallest of sounds. She fell asleep about 20 minutes before we landed.

The Monday we got back we had our first gymnastics class of the season. Alexa enjoyed holding the hula hoops & the running trampoline. She did not like sitting still for stretching or walking on her hands. Basically the class is set up into three different circuits. One had a bar & balance beam, one is set up for handstands & somersaults and the last is the large bars and horses. We were both very worn out after the class ended.

Overall we had another great month. Alexa is such a joy to be around. She never seizes to amaze me with her very social & happy personality. I am a little sad that all the big milestones are passed us. Next month we are looking forward to Thanksgiving in Chicago & Justin's homecoming.

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