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Friday, January 18, 2013

Adventures in Speech

I'm sure some have been wondering why I haven't returned e-mails & messages, and I do apologize, things have just been a little hectic around here. We ended up moving last minute; we found a place, packed up our house, moved to the new place, and cleaned the old place all within three days. Needless to say the time before we moved was busy with work, Christmas and deciding what we were going to do, and the time after has been busy with work and unpacking. And all this is/was being pregnant and with an active toddler...so I'm sorry if you've been waiting for an e-mail response from me; responding is on my list of things to do!! I will be sending out "change of address" cards soon, but if you'd like our new address sooner, then please don't hesitate to ask :)

So as mentioned, I have an active toddler. Adelynne is now 18 months old, and well, is busy, has an attitude, is particular, and just plain old lovely. And at 18 months her vocabulary is growing each day - both her verbal vocab and her signing vocab.

I love the fact that Ady signs; it's incredibly helpful for when she is asking for something and trying to communicate. The other day she asked to go swimming; and she is able to ask for a bath when she wants one (other than just running to the bathroom pointing at the tub). She's also able to tell me some of the foods she wants to eat, like an apple or popcorn (she asks for popcorn A LOT), or if she prefers milk or water. She signs sleep if she is tired and wants to go to bed. And recently she has learned the sign for help and for hungry. These two signs are super helpful...but...she does use "hungry" to stay up later hahaha. I have found that signing is helpful for teaching manners. Please and thank-you go a long way. It's also fun when she does the actions to songs, and then she tells me when she wants to sing certain songs, like the "Slippery Fish" song. She can show me both of the different fish signs, as well as shark. Signing is fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone to teach their little ones. But it can also be confusing because there are so many signs that are very similar for babies, (like water and eat can come across very similar in the beginning), as well as if the sign isn't done exactly how you've been trying to teach it, it can be quite the guessing game. For example when Ady first signed book she was holding her hands way out to the side, almost like she was saying 'I dunno' or something; but book is hands together in a prayer like position and then open and close them. Needless to say, she was VERY excited when I finally clued into the fact that she was asking me to read her a book :)

Some people don't want to teach their babies sign language for fear that it will delay their actual speech. But, I would disagree; in my experience I'm positive that sign language has actually helped with Adelynne's speech. She is literally adding new words everyday to her vocabulary, and with clarity. We can understand so much of what she is saying. And she has now learned to add the end of words, for example she use to only say the beginning of 'duck' as in, 'du' but she says the whole word, and quite clearly too. She also now says "daddy" in it's entirety too. Recently we bought an alphabet puzzle that has pictures underneath each letter, and so we've been teaching Ady the ABC's. It's been a ton of fun; she picked up quite quickly where many of letters go and the pictures underneath them. She can say 'a' 'b' 'd' 'e' 'g' 'i' 'k' 'l' 'm' 'n' 'o' 'p' and she knows where the 'q' 'r' 's' 'd' 'e' 'o' 'a' and 'f' go for sure. Adelynne can now also say some of her body parts: eye (and shoves her finger in who's ever eye she is pointing to), arm (and grabs onto each of her arms), knee (touches her knees), and of course she knows where several of her body parts are when asked :)

It's a lot of fun watching Adelynne learn and repeat things. I am amazed at how much she picks up in a day and at how much of a copy-cat she is. This month alone seems to be a big growth period for her: she says "um" when asked which song she wants to sing, and sits there thinking about it; she can say "two" and hold up two fingers to match it; she says "uh oh" when something has dropped; she says a very pronounced "nnnnoooo;" she puts her hands on her face and says "oh no!" and in just the past couple of days she has learned to say milk, bib, and mango, as well as the letters and words I mentioned above. She also says "YAY" very excitedly, and "varoom" for a car sound (and crosses her arm across her body in the action too), and she also knows "hoo hoo hoo" when asked what does an owl say. It's really cute too because she knows her name, and she points to herself as well as to pictures of herself and says very excitedly says her name :)

Well, clearly I could go on and on about my incredible daughter, as I'm sure I've mentioned before ;) She truly is a sweetheart with a humungous personality and a growing vocab. These little adventures in her ever growing speech have been delightful :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Adventures in Christmas Part 2

I think this is the fifth time I am attempting to type this blog post. So I think this time I'll keep it super simple. Originally we weren't going to be "doing" Christmas; we didn't have the funds to buy gifts for Adelynne or one another. And we were more than OK with this, we realize that this season isn't just about giving gifts and it gives us more freedom to focus on what we feel is important with this season.

Well, when Ben went back to work (a week before Christmas) he began working with someone who absolutely LOVES Christmas, and he was quite appalled that Ben wasn't able to buy a gift for either myself or Ady. The next day he came to work with a little monetary gift so that Ben could buy us a couple gifts, as well get decorations & lights for a tree (a tree that they cut down in the woods after work).

We had fun buying a few gifts for Adelynne, and had even more fun watching her notice the little Elmo doll in her stocking and open up her gifts. She freaked right out when she noticed Elmo. It was the cutest thing I've seen. I wanted to video it, but Ben did it too quickly and I was trying to make some toast; thankfully I did get a few pictures though.
Other than the little Elmo doll we also got Adelynne some books and a baby doll because she is obsessed with babies. (Seriously, if she see a baby, or even just sees a stroller or a car seat she starts "bay bay bay bay" {she only says the first part of the word, she hasn't really added the "bee" to the end} and repeats it until we fully acknowledge that yes, there is a baby.) It was a joy and a treat to be able to watch Adelynne get so darn excited about things she loves; we are so very grateful that we were blessed this Christmas season to be able to partake in the joy of gift giving.

It was also my very first time hosting Christmas. We had Ben's brother Jesse and their cousin over for the day and for dinner. And, like I'm sure most of you could guess, I didn't cook what some would consider a traditional Christmas dinner. It was delicious though!! Everyone enjoyed it! This is what I made:

Breakfast

For breakfast I made Red Velvet Waffles with frozen berries and Lemon Cream Cheese Topping. SO GOOD! You'd never guess they were gluten free and had beets in them :) Jesse was quite surprised to hear that they contained beets! I got the recipe out of my Quinoa Revolution cook book.




First Course
 

This broccoli soup is actually called "Detox Green Soup Recipe with Broccoli, Spinach and Ginger." found on the Gluten-Free Goddess blog. And the picture to the left is taken from the website where I got the recipe from (I didn't get as many photos of the food as I wanted because I am a bad judge of time and dinner ended up being later than I thought...and...well...whatever). Like most people, the guys were kind of skeptical of the green soup, and I didn't tell them the real title of it until they actually tried it -turns out they all enjoyed it :)





Second Course

Chicken with Cherries and Kale. For this dish I went to nearly every single store trying to find frozen cherries, with no avail. So I had to buy the expensive fresh ones. Thankfully this dish was delicious enough that it made the cherries worth the buy. The recipe can be found at Elana's Pantry. (Again, this pic isn't my own, I borrowed it from Elana's site.)





Winter Rice Bake. Another delightful dish. I'm actually loving rice-bakes currently, and this one didn't disappoint. Well at least it didn't disappoint me. Because I am kinda bad at timing, it did begin to dry out a bit...but for butter lovers, I'm sure this wouldn't be an issue ;) This recipe came from the website Delectably Free (this photo is also taken from the website).




Carrot Beat and Apple Slaw, also found through Delectably Free, was refreshing. Ben found it to be a little sour, so he didn't enjoy it quite like I did, but that's OK. Nothing's perfect, right? :) (Again, the photo is from the website.)





Dessert

Non-traditional Christmas Cake. This was yummy! I won't be making it too often because there are a few ingredients that Ady & I shouldn't really be eating, but it was delightful and we all enjoyed it.I found this recipe also through Elana's Pantry (this lady has some other recipes that look terribly good; just browse through her site! And this picture is her's too). 



I also made some yummy Puffed Quinoa Balls (which were a big hit and also came from my Quinoa Revolution cook book) and some Holiday Nog. I decided to make some Holiday Nog because of Ben's love for Eggnog, which is usually full of so much junk, and we are trying to cut some big specific things out of his diet (another blog post on that one). I ended up serving this when some of Ben's cousins stopped in, and sure enough everyone was a little skeptical in giving it a try, so I didn't tell them what was in it until they tried it. Sure enough, everyone was delightfully surprised with how good it actually was. But, while everyone else enjoyed, Ben was slightly disappointed because he was somewhat expecting it to taste like Eggnog...even though it has none of the main things that Eggnog has in it. The Holiday Nog is full of deliciousness though: pears, almond milk, chia seeds, lucuma powder, sweetener...if you're up for something new I do highly recommend you give it a try :) The recipe comes from the Diet, Dessert and Dogs blog.

Overall, we all quite enjoyed our little Christmas up here. We had great company, ate great food, and had great joy watching our little girl. We hope that you too were able to have a lovely time with family, friends, and of course, food.

Here are just a few photos that I did actually take from Christmas (I'll be posting more at our picture site very shortly!)

Adelynne LOVED the Christmas tree with lights & ornaments!

Excited to see Elmo

Very Excited!!

Wine, coffee, tea, chocolate covered coffee beans = A Happy Man!

Opening up her "bay" (baby)


Very very excited to have her very own baby

Enjoying some new books by the lovely tree