Posts Tagged ‘Monthly Update’

Max at 12 and 13 months

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Max has grown up so much in the last couple of months.  I wish I had been more on top of the blog to give updates, so I would have them in the future, but life got busy and I just didn’t have the time.  So I am just going to combine two months into one and give a quick (or perhaps not so quick) update.

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First and foremost, Max is Mr. Independent!  Mikayla has always been independent, but Max is even more so.  Must be a second child thing.  He wants to do everything himself and prefers playing on his own.  When it comes to eating, he is always trying to do it himself.  He even started using a spoon on his own this week.  You can see the video here.  And because he is so independent he is into everything!  Always exploring and moving quickly from one object to the next.  One of his favorite things to do is to climb into the fruit and potato basket and start throwing them.  We have found oranges in some pretty interesting places!  He also really likes putting objects into containers and then dumping out to repeat. 

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He also really likes to climb.  We have had to move from keeping the chairs under the kitchen table to putting them in the middle of the house because he has become so good at climbing.  He will regularly climb onto the chair and then the table.  Check it out here.  He can even now move the chairs around and position them in such a way that he can climb on things.  He really is quite the trouble maker!

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He still loves being outside and would choose to be playing in the grass barefoot rather than in the house playing with toys.  He loves the wheelbarrow our maintenance staff uses and tries really hard to move it around (and can actually scoot it a little).  He will even "help" by picking up sticks and berries and putting them in the wheelbarrow.

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Overall, Max is a very happy boy.  He smile and laugh are very contagious and leave you eager for more.  One staff member told me last week that his joy lights up the whole room.  He has started a new thing where when he "talks" his voice is high pitched and almost squealing.  It is really precious.  He also does this thing that we refer to as "happy feet" when he really wants something.  He will bounce back and forth from foot to foot really quickly and get a big grin on his face.

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He has not picked up many signs, but every so often he will make a "sign" that is pretty close to the real thing.  We are getting there, slowly but surely.

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Max still loves food and when the pantry opens he comes running.  If he hears the crinkle of a bag he comes running.  If someone is eating something he comes running.  Can you see a pattern here?  This boy LOVES his food!  He is definitely a Swazi man in that aspect.

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Max is also very good at letting you know when he is unhappy about something.  If you try to give him the wrong thing he will grunt at you.  He is also really good at shaking his head no if he doesn’t want to do something.  And the kid can throw a tantrum!  I am thinking he learned that from his older sister. 

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Speaking of Mikayla, Max will follow her everywhere!  He really does love and adore his big sister.  Sometimes she just wants to play on her own in her room, and he gets so upset when she shuts the door and leaves him alone.  Pitiful really.

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One of my favorite things that Max does now is waving.  He will wave to anyone and everyone.  The grocery store is the best because the Swazi staff are so enthralled by his waving.  The cutest thing about it though is that most of the time it is backwards and he is waving to himself!  I wish we had a video of it.  Other things he does that are cute are pointing to things he wants and shaking his head no.

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Our toothless boy is now up to four teeth.  He actually cut three of them while Ben was in Australia for two weeks, that was fun! 

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At Christmas, my brother had made Max a Where the Wild Things Are blanket that he sleeps with every day.  We call it is lovie and he knows exactly what it means.  When you tell him it is time to go "Night Night" and to go get his lovie, he will run to the bedroom, grab the blanket and start to climb into the rocking chair to start his bedtime ritual (either reading a book or nursing depending on time of day).  When he gets really tired he will go get the lovie and let you know he is ready for sleep.  I hate that he is so attached to an object, but it works really well for him.  He is taking two naps a day, anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours.  He is also going to bed between 7 and 7:30, and sleeps until around 3 or 4.  At which point he wakes up, wants to nurse and then goes back to sleep until 6 or 6:30.  It isn’t sleeping through the night, but it is SO MUCH BETTER!

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And there you have it.  My independent, very active, loving, smiling, laughing 13 month old boy!

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You can see more of his one year shots on Ben’s FB page, here.

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Max at 11 Months

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Seriously, 11 months already?  In less than a month we will be celebrating our spunky little monkey’s first birthday (in Dr. Seuss style!)!  CRAZY!!  This last year has been a roller coaster of sleepless nights, and most recently chasing after an almost running little boy. 

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When I say boy, I mean BOY!  He is every bit of 100% boy!  Into everything, loves dirt and bugs, climbing on things (and falling off of them too), wrestling with his daddy and big sister and eating everything in sight (and I mean EVERYTHING).

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Let me just break down that last paragraph a bit and give you a picture of what our almost one year old is into these days.  Max loves being outside.  As a matter of fact, he is much happier playing in the dirt and with sticks and bugs than he is playing with his toys.  If we aren’t careful he will sneak outside and down the sidewalk.  Just the other day he was in the house and I turned around to do something.  I looked up and he was all the way at the neighbors house.  Man can he fly!

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Speaking of "flying", he moves very quickly.  At 11 months, he is practically running.  He took his first steps at 9.5 months and never looked back.  It is amazing to me just how quickly he can get from Point A to Point B. He almost never crawls anymore.

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I mentioned he liked to climb on things.  He can easily climb into his special chair and MLK size chairs.  And he can climb off of almost anything with no problem.  He can also regularly be found climbing out of his high chair!  This is one of his favorite things to do at mealtime, even if he is buckled in.  Quite the Houdini this kid!

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When Ben and Mikayla wrestle with him he just laughs and laughs.  I can only imagine what things are going to be like a few years down the road :-/

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Max loves to eat, everything!  He doesn’t turn very many foods down.  He still loves fruits and any form of carbs.  He also goes crazy for puffs and Mum Mums (baby rice crackers).  If he sees you eating something or hears the crinkle of a bag (like chips or candies) he comes running and will cry and cry until you give him something to eat.  At times it is funny, but when you are trying to prepare a meal or sneak an unhealthy snack, it isn’t so funny.

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Max’s sleeping patterns are starting to get better.  This past month we really dove into the sleep training thing and weaning him from nursing at night.  After a few nights with lots of tears and screaming, I am proud to say he is sleeping much better and not nursing at night any longer!  He is not sleeping through the night yet, but when he wakes up he is back to sleep in less than five minutes!  And most nights he only wakes up once and will sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 (which is quite the change from up 3-4 times for long stretches and waking for the day at 5:30 or 6:00).  Change and progress!  Naps are still fairly short (at most an hour twice a day), but at least he is sleeping some.

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Max is "talking" more and more each day.  In the mornings he will say "dada" because Ben is usually the one who gets up with him.  He can also say "mama" and a few other words.  He will point directly at what he wants too.  We are working on baby sign language with him, but so far he hasn’t picked any of it up yet.

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Max still does not have any teeth!  Although, one is starting to work its way through on the top right (when facing him).  It sure is taking its sweet time though.  Maybe he will have a tooth by his first birthday.

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And that is my little monkey at 11 months!

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Max at 10 months

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

10 months!  What in the world, how has our baby gotten so big.  In only two short months he will be a year old.  Yikes!  Guess I had better start planning his birthday party!

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I feel like a broken record, but Max is still not sleeping great.  I know when he is a teenager and we are trying to get him to wake up at noon I will look back at these days and laugh, but for now no one is laughing!  I wish I could say his sleeping habits have gotten better as he has gotten older, but that is just not the case.  He is still getting up multiple times at night and naps throughout the day are hit or miss.  We are lucky if he takes two, 1-hour naps! On a positive though he is starting to put himself to sleep better, at least during nap time.  So I guess we are getting there.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?!

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Last month I mentioned that Max was thinking about walking.  Well, at 9.5 months he took his first steps (over Easter weekend actually).  You can see the video here.  In the last week he has really improved with his walking and is starting to master it.  He will actually start crawling some place and then halfway there stop and start to walk.  It really is quite different from Mikayla.  She took her first steps at 10 months and then didn’t really try again until she turned a year old.  At which point she started walking no problem.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Max is running in the next month!  We joke that he looks like Frankenstein when he is walking, and call him Frankenbaby!  He is still a little unstable and holds his hands and arms out to balance himself, which makes him look just like a baby version of Frankenstein!

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Max has started to hold his own with Mikayla.  If she does something that he doesn’t approve of, he lets his voice be known and gives her a look that says don’t mess with me sister!  She is in trouble when he can really speak his mind!  But he still loves and adores her very much and will go out of his way to find her in the house and play with her.

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Speaking of playing, Max has taken a liking to one of the local dogs on the mission.  He is a little tiny dog, the perfect size for Max.  He will also go out of his way to follow after him and play with him. 

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He is 100% boy and loves being outside.  If the door is unlocked we have to really watch him because he is a quick one!  The other morning he was in his walker playing contently.  We stepped out of the room for just a second and when we came back he had climbed out of his walker and crawled out on the front porch!  This boy is going to be trouble!!  He loves playing in the dirt and eating rocks.  And he is perfectly content sitting on the front porch looking around at everything and everyone. 

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We are still working on waving and clapping with Max.  Shaking hands is something that one of the staff members has really been encouraging with Max and he almost has it!  When she sticks out her hand he will grab it to shake about 50% of the time.

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Max has become quite the jabbering boy and you can often find him playing in a corner talking to himself. 

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I am starting to think that teeth will never arrive for our blue eyed, smiling boy!  It doesn’t seem to bother him though because he is still eating great and even tackling things he shouldn’t be able to master without teeth.

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Max is still a momma’s boy, especially when he is tired or when I am trying to cook dinner!  Between him crying throughout dinner and dinner prep and trying to coax Mikayla into eating her dinner, I must say that dinner is not a pleasant place in our house right now!  If we can manage to eat early, say by 5:30, it isn’t nearly as stressful.  However, if we have a week like we did last week and aren’t eating dinner until 6:30 or so it is insane in our house!

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Max at 9 months

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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It is hard to believe that nine months have passed since Max’s birth.  He is becoming such a big boy with a big personality!  Here are a few nine month stats for him.

Weight – 18.739 pounds (8.5kgs)

Height – 68 cm

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Max is a busy, busy boy!  Always on the go and moving, even when he should be sleeping.  That is right folks, he is still a terrible sleeper!!  He taking roughly two naps a day, a short one in the morning (30-45 minutes) and a long one in the afternoon (1.5-2 hours).  But even that is hit or miss.  He is regularly waking up between 5:45 and 6:30 in the morning and we try to get him in bed between 7 and 8 at night.  Although, some nights he wants to play until midnight!  Once he is asleep he will sleep until around 9:30 or 10.  Most of the time I can get him back to sleep right away, but occasionally he will be wide awake for a couple of hours.  He is up and down all night long, with his longest stretch of sleep being 3 hours.  One day maybe he will sleep more.  At nap time he is starting to "put himself to sleep", meaning I rock him for a few minutes and then lay him in the crib.  At which point he will cry until he is asleep.  We can sometimes do this at night, although often we will have to rock or nurse him to sleep.  tutu daughter, joe leaving, max 9months 279

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Max is crawling all over the place and pulling up on everything.  He is regularly cruising along furniture while holding on.  And a new trick he learned this week was how to stand on his own without pulling up on anything.  He will start by sitting on the floor and then move into the downward dog position.  From there he will stand straight up.  He is so proud of himself when he does it too.  The kids at the hostel think this is so great and will clap and cheer for him each time.  Sometimes when we are clapping for him he will bounce up and down, almost like he is trying to dance.  He can hold this position for quite some time, but hasn’t figured out how to move his legs to walk without holding one to something or somebody.

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I have mentioned it before, but he is absolutely in love with his big sister.  Mikayla can get him to laugh and smile in a way that nobody else can.  He loves being in her presence.  And she loves being with him, most of the time!

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He is into everything.  We really have to watch him these days.  Some of his favorite things are tearing up paper (much to Mikayla’s dismay) and digging through the trash (kind of sounds like we are raising a puppy :-/ ). tutu daughter, joe leaving, max 9months 330

Max loves to play Peek-a-boo.  He has even started moving the blanket up and down to play with us.tutu daughter, joe leaving, max 9months 357

We are working on waving and clapping with him, but so far he just looks at us like we are a bunch of idiots (which might in fact be the case). 

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Max definitely knows his name and will turn towards the person saying it almost every time. 

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Max is making lots of noises too.  He can string together the sounds mama and dada well.  He has also perfected the blowing of raspberries sound.  He really likes to show off this skill when he has food in his mouth!

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Still no teeth for my boy, but he loves to eat regardless and is great at "gumming" almost any food we give him.  A couple of weeks ago he ate all the chicken off of a chicken leg plus veggies!  I am afraid once he gets bigger he will eat us out of house and home.  He loves to feed himself and will often turn down purees.  Some of his favorite foods are fruits of any kinds, especially bananas, avocados and butternut squash.  He also loves Puffs, although our stash is dwindling.  He tried couscous and quinoa this week and really seemed to enjoy both.  Smoothies are also one of his favorite foods.  He can suck well through a straw.  Other things he has eaten and enjoyed are meats (we joke that he is a Swazi man because they love their meats), orange veggies (carrots, butternut, sweet potatoes), green beans, broccoli, bread, and cheddar cheese.  He is not a fan of yogurt though, you should see his face when we offer it to him, pure disgust!  He tried some black beans and chickpeas the other day and enjoyed those, although we try to limit his intake of legumes because he is already a very gassy boy!  tutu daughter, joe leaving, max 9months 078

He is 100% a momma’s boy and wants to be around me all the time.  If I leave the room he will crawl after me or cry until I return.  Although if I can distract him long enough to escape he doesn’t seem to notice, only when he can see me go.  He will still easily go to others, especially the staff and kids at the hostel.  tutu daughter, joe leaving, max 9months 097

At nine months Max has traveled to four different countries.  I was in college before I could say that!  He was even able to visit his home country, the United States, for the first time in January/February.  tutu daughter, joe leaving, max 9months 363

Our little Max loves to give out kisses, open mouth kisses that is.  He will lunge at your face with his mouth wide open and "suck/kiss" your cheek or chin.  It is very cute if I do say so myself.  tutu daughter, joe leaving, max 9months 372

He has such a funny disposition too, he is either hot or cold.  Meaning one minute he is as happy as can be laughing and playing and then the next he is screaming his head off!  Crazy how quickly he can switch from one to the other!

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In less than three months we will be planning this big boys first birthday party!!


Max’s Six Month Update

Monday, January 6th, 2014

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Happy half birthday little boy!  It is hard to believe that six months ago Max joined our family.  He has added so much (and taken away a little sleep 😉 ) to our family.  Here is what he is up to these days.

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Max has become an independent sitter. He still occasionally topples over, but for the most part he is sitting up firmly on his own.  He loves to sit in the middle of his toys and play and throw them across the floor.

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Max adores his sister.  Seriously, he lights up whenever she is near.  She is also one of the few people that can get a belly laugh out of Max.  Mikayla can do this simplest thing, like blow raspberries at him and he is rolling!  It is so precious.  And everyone comments on how much he loves her.

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Max has started to show a little separation anxiety from me.  If he is handed off to someone other than Ben when I am in the room he looks around for me and will often cry and lunge his body towards me.  I guess this is what happens when you spend 24/7 with a baby!


Max is also still rolling all over the floor and can pretty much get wherever he wants to at a pretty quick speed by doing so.  He isn’t crawling yet, but he arms and legs are pretty strong so I would say it wouldn’t be long before this happens.

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Speaking of strong legs, Max has some serious strength.  He loves standing up when supported by your hands.  He has also started grabbing your hands and pushing up on his own.  I wouldn’t call it "pulling up yet", but that is mostly because he doesn’t have the control of his legs yet.  He definitely has the strength, but he can’t quite figure out how to maneuver his legs in the directions he wants them to go.

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We started Max on solid foods at the beginning of this month.  It was a little early (we didn’t start Mikayla until after six months), but he was nursing so frequently and so active we felt that he was hungry and ready for it.  We were right too.  He took to eating solids very quickly, like a matter of days.  And now whenever he sees a spoon he starts opening his mouth like he wants to eat.  It is so funny.  So far he has had avocado (big fan), banana and butternut squash.  We have also snuck him a few bites of potatoes, hummus, and mango.  Right now he is only getting one meal a day, but he seems to love it!

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Sleep still proves to be an issue with this boy.  He just doesn’t seem to like to sleep, no matter how tired he is!  He is still very much a cat napper and waking up frequently during the night.  He will typically take a nap in the morning and one in the afternoon and maybe a quick one around dinner time.  But none of the times are consistent and lengths vary!  I am not  a super schedule oriented person, but it would be nice to have a little more structure to his sleeping schedules so I can plan the day accordingly!


Max takes comfort in you standing and walking with him.  If you are sitting with him he cries, but as soon as you stand up he is A OK!  It is only a little annoying 😉 !

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Max is also still chatty.  He loves to make noises and of course laugh and coo.  He has also started to blow bubbles on a more frequent basis.  Daddy also gave him a small hair trim this month too.

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Max took his first trip out of Swaziland this month when we went to South Africa for a mini vacation before Christmas.  He also celebrated his first Christmas (he was not very impressed)! 

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December Update

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

December went by in a blur, partly because I think we stayed so busy! 

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Ben won the daddy of the year award when he played in the rain with Mikayla this month. She had so much fun getting messy with her daddy.

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I spent the first week or two prepping for camp and helping out with it while Ben finished up last minute reports and end of the year work stuff.  Max even made his debut as baby Jesus during the camp play.  He was not so thrilled about this and cried through the whole thing!  After the staff Christmas party we hit the road for a week of fun and relaxation in Nelspruit.

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Decorating sugar cookies at camp.  Both students and staff had a blast with this!!

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Simo and Simo hanging out at the Christmas party

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Max as baby Jesus

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Jabu and Max

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Max hanging out with Bravo

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Max hanging around while we decorated the Christmas tree.

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Max "placing an ornament on the tree".

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Hanging with Katie and Max at the Christmas party.

We spent a few days just the four of us hanging out in Nelspruit eating junk food, shopping and not cooking!  We actually went to the grocery our first day and spent over $100 bucks on junk food and candy.  Totally spoiling ourselves.  Then Katie joined us and we continued the trend.  We ate at some really fancy and yummy restaurants like Orange and Saffron.  You can read an article about both of them here.  We were also able to start and finish all of our Christmas shopping (nothing like a little last minute shopping)!  And of course we took a couple trips to Kruger National Park to "see the animals".  I am hoping to post some of those pictures soon.  Mikayla and Ben even hit up a water park that is in Nelspruit one afternoon while Katie and I shopped.  She had so much fun and that was all she could talk about that evening.  Ben said she was really brave and went down the big slides all by herself.  That kid never ceases to amaze me! 

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Sibling bath time fun!

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Don’t you wish you were this flexible?

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Max wasn’t sure what to think about the rhinos at Kruger.

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Family photo time!

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Max’s first dip in the pool.  He was not a big fan, but to be fair the water was freezing!

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Mikayla loves jumping in the pool!

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On the 22nd we headed back to our house to start prepping for our Christmas festivities.  I spent the 23rd making the annual batch of cinnamon rolls and even made a gluten free batch for Katie.  I also cleaned the house because over the next few days we would have a houseful!  Ben had some friends come in that evening, Chris and Kara, and they stayed through the 26th.  There were also a few other random visitors hanging around the mission that joined us over the next few days.

On the 24th we had a pig roast to celebrate Christmas Eve.  It was a hot day, not sure I will ever get used to it being hot over Christmas.  We had a lovely time and invited pretty much anyone who was still around the mission for the Christmas season.  I think we had between 15-20 folks over for lunch/dinner that day.  Plus I think of all the pig roasts we have had, this was the best cooked pig.  It was so tasty!!

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The next morning was Christmas, so of course Mikayla woke up extra early ready to start the fun.  We had our annual family photo shoot and then opened up packages.  Mikayla was so much fun this year.  She was so excited and appreciative of each and every gift.  She would exclaim things like, "this is brilliant" or "marvelous" each time she opened something new.  We spent the rest of the morning playing with gifts and then hosted a big breakfast for Joe, Katie, Chris and Kara.  It was a fun and relaxing day.  We also managed to play a little Settler’s of Catan that evening. 

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Mikayla talking to Lylah on her brand new Doc McStuffins cell phone.  She thinks she is big time now!!

And that pretty much wraps up our December and our 2013!  January and February will be busy months of traveling (we head to the US in just two weeks)! 


Max at Five Months

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Max continues to grow and change everyday.  Just when we think we have him figured out, he throws us a curveball and we have to regroup! 

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Mikayla still very much loves her brother and is always trying to love on him, hold him, kiss him, and blow raspberries on his belly.  She is so cute when she talks to him because she sounds just like Ben and I do when we converse with him.  So sweet.

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Sleep still continues to be an issue for this big eyed boy!  Seriously, this past month has been a hot mess for us!  One week he is waking every hour and refusing to nap during the day.  One day he went the entire day, until 3:00, with only half an hour of sleep.  Needless to say we were both ready to be crying at that point because he was so grumpy.  Luckily, he took an hour nap at that point and was ready for bed by 7:00.  I guess he just doesn’t want to miss out on anything, even at night time!  One day maybe…

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This kid is a mover and a shaker!  He is constantly rolling around and reaching for objects.  Once he grasps ahold of something it immediately goes into his mouth, no matter what it is!  The other day he got ahold of some paper and in it went.  We quickly scooped it out though, so no worries.  Mikayla has gotten really good at watching out for this and yelling at us if he is about to grab something he shouldn’t have.  His little legs are getting so strong too.  The other day we were at a meeting at the hostel and he was pushing his legs against a heavy wood table and actually pushing it forward.  The staff were cracking up at him.  One staff member even said, "He is active"!

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He has this funny way of moving about on his back.  We refer to it as the reverse inchworm.  Mikayla used to inch along on her belly and look just like an inchworm.  Max chooses to complete this action on his back.  He arches his back and then pushes off with his feet in such a way that he is able to scoot along the floor fairly quickly.  You really have to watch this kid.  You can get a little glimpse of this movement in the picture below.  I am still trying to capture a good video of it.

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Max has started to sit up on his own more and more.  You still have to really watch him because he can go very quickly from sitting to falling on his head!  And let’s just say he is not very happy when his head smashes on the floor!  He loves to be sitting up though.  We took a trip this month to a little play place that is in town.  He loved sitting in the ball pit and playing with the balls.  He actually got mad when I tried to take him out to play with another toy. 

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Photo credit to Mikayla.

Max has also gotten extra chatty this month.  Once he gets going "talking" it is hard to stop him.  And he has also found his "voice", meaning he can get really loud when chatting.

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I love the face he is making here!

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Max with his "Grow With Me Owl".

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Chilling with his big sis!  He seriously loves this girl!

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Ben decided he had enough of Max’s crazy hair and trimmed it up a bit this past month.  He snipped a little off the top and around the bottom (most of the dark hair).  It has already grown back out though!  He keeps joking he wants to give him a buzz cut, but so far I have been able to persuade him otherwise!

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We didn’t start Mikayla with solid foods until she was six months old, but as much as this boy eats I think we will be starting him sooner rather that later.  I am sure that will be a messy and fun adventure with this kid!

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Photo credit to Mikayla.

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November Update

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

I am not sure where November went, but it flew past!  One day it was October and it seems like the next November was finishing up.  It won’t be long now before our big trip in January.  December is already shaping up to be a busy month with the hostel’s Christmas camp/party, mini holiday getaway with friends, Christmas and New Years!!

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I love this "selfie" of me and my girl!

Since we missed out on Halloween in October we trick or treated in November.  You can read all about the kids costumes and evening here.  It was a fun night and I loved watching Mikayla share her candy with all her friends.

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Hanging out with some friends, watching a movie on the porch.

Speaking of holidays, we celebrated Thanksgiving with some of our staff members again.  You can read about our first year here.  This year we invited the maintenance and transport departments to the feast.  And once again, a feast was had!  There was so much food.  Of course it all quickly disappeared and everyone got to take home a hearty take away pack!

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The feast!

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Feast continuted.

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Dessert spread

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Some guests

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Katie hanging with Mikayla

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Staff member from maintenance department holding Simo.  One of the highlights from the day.  Traditionally Swazi men have little to do with young children, so this was huge that he wanted to play and hold Simo.


Post Thanksgiving snuggle session on the porch while watching a storm roll in.

And since we are on the topic of food, Mikayla had a first in the food department this month.  One morning she wanted scrambled eggs for breakfast, but she wanted to make them all on her own.  She did everything but turn on the stove and scoop the eggs on her plate.  She was so proud, and I think she did an awesome job!  She really is growing up way too fast.

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Max had a first this month too…his first overnight!  Oh dear, it was a bit of a mess.  I will leave it at there were four kids, all 4 and under (two under the age of 1) and not a one of them wanted to sleep that night!  The babies took turns crying throughout the night.  If one wasn’t going the other was!  And the two older kiddos also had a little trouble sleeping and had some bad dreams.  Needless to say we were all exhausted the next day, but still had a lot of fun playing!  We took part of our trip into town to go to a local play place called Neverland.  Mikayla and Max actually had the whole place to themselves so they played and played and loved every minute of it.  You can actually drop the kids there and come back to get them, so I left Mikayla to play and Max and I went to the grocery store.  It was much easier to shop without having to keep up with Mikayla!  All in all it was a great couple of days away from the mission, and despite the lack of sleep, everyone had a great time!



Unfortunately, November was not kind to the Kickert’s tummies.  We all three came down with some sort of stomach bug at the end of the month.  Ben had it the worst, but Mikayla was not her usual peppy self for a couple of days after.  Luckily, we were feeling mostly better in time for our annual Thanksgiving feast.

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Max was not quite sure what to make of all the picture taking while he was sitting on his own.

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Sibling Love

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She wanted to wear the towels like mommy does after her shower one night.


October Update

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

The month of October absolutely flew by!  Not sure why, because we didn’t do anything major but it went fast!  We had a lot of lazy weekends where we stayed in our jammies all day and cooked and relaxed!  We had talked about taking a mini trip, but decided to just stay at home instead.

Ben and I celebrated our 9 year anniversary during October!  Again, we didn’t do anything really, just relaxed at home.  Katie and Joe took the kids for a couple of hours and we cooked a nice meal just the two of us, played Settlers and watched some TV.  It was the perfect way to celebrate! 

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Mikayla is clearly very excited about our anniversary.

The most "active" we got for the month was the monthly Portuguese bacalhau dinner.  The dinner was held at St. Philips this time so we spent last weekend helping set up and cook for it.  We used it as an excuse to get the kids all dressed up looking cute!  Mikayla had a blast playing with some of the kids who came that happened to be right around her age.  She is not used to playing with same age peers, but rather kids who are older!  So it was a nice change of pace for her. 

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Can you tell she dressed herself?

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Halloween came and went, but we didn’t actually celebrate in October.  The week of Halloween Ben and the sisters were both gone so we pushed it back some and will celebrate this weekend.  I will try to post pictures of the kiddos and their costumes in a separate post.

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Love her and her beautiful smile!

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Early morning snuggles.  Mikayla wakes up almost everyday asking us to bring Max in to snuggle with her.

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September Update

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

The month of September flew by!  Playing dress up, preschool, snuggles, working and nursing is how we spent most of our month!

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A little early in the morning for Mikayla, but Max is loving his sisters snuggles!

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Dress up fun!!  (Sorry Ben and Katie, hope you don’t mind.)  This is Ben’s version of what a prince would look like, complete with a "baby" stick horse…

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Early morning "burrito" snuggles!!

We started back our preschool routine the second week of September.  Mikayla is doing so good!  I have started using the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.  It is similar to Reading Mastery, which I used when I taught at T. C. Cherry.  It took her a couple of lessons to get into it, but now she is loving it and wants to sound out everything!  Even make believe words.  Often at dinner she will "spell" words for us and then have us sound them out and say them fast.  I am also using some of the pieces from the K4 curriculum that Confessions of a Homeschooler created.  The rest of our curriculum I am just piecing together.  We end up spending about 1-1.5 hours a day, four days a week on preschool time.  We also have two art therapy volunteers here completing an internship so they are each coming down once a week for an art class with Mikayla.  It is a combination of visual arts and dance arts.  And Katie has started a yoga class with Mikayla a couple nights a week (whenever we can squeeze it in between bath and bed)!  She is loving it all!

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It is that season of the year when the sugar cane around our area is being burned (it is a 10-11 month cycle).  Mikayla gets excited each time she sees the big burns.  And just for the record, she still refers to the ash as black snow!

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Sugar cane being burned at night.  The picture does not do the flames justice.  They can get up to 60 feet high!

Along with sugar cane season comes the hot snake season!  We have seen a couple around our house already this year.  One was a spitting cobra in the banana fields, a mamba by the office and a speckled bush snake (not poisonous) in a mango tree in our yard.  There have been a lot of spiders this season already and mosquitoes are out in full force!  Poor Max gets bit on his face every once in awhile.

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Can you spot the green snake??

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What about now??

Ben and Mikayla took a father/daughter bush walk to take pictures towards the beginning of the month.  You can see some of them here.  Speaking of pictures, Joe’s dad was in town for a few weeks and he was so kind to take some family pictures for us.  There is an album here on FB, but I will also include a couple of the shots for your preview in case you missed them.






I got brave and drove a group of us ladies (and Max) to Ezulwini (about 1.5 hours away) for a day of shopping and eating.  It was a fun day and a much needed day off the mission.  Max was a trooper and slept most of the time we shopped.

Finally, the bananas are starting to ripen.  Won’t be long before we will have so many bananas around the mission we won’t know what to do with them!!

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