News and Updates

Callie's Pictures

Peter's Site

Taryl's Site

Lilah's Site

As with Lilah's site, I must apologize on the lack of updates here. Life has been busy, time on computers has been short.

Callie is such an AMAZING little person, and really growing in leaps and bounds. She has a huge vocabulary now - can name almost all major body parts, from eyebrows to back to armpits and toes, as well as count fairly well up to 20-30, and visually recognize most letters and numbers. She is making intelligible long sentences and gives the BEST hugs and kisses around. In short, she's a total joy.

Okay, not a *total* joy, but tantrums are few and far between. She's also become a pickier eater, but what toddler isn't? 98% of the time she's great.

One new skill she picked up just last weekend was peddling - she can now ride her tricycle at Grandma and Grandpa's, and with impressive speed. Climbing, swinging, and sliding are also very popular pasttimes. Her favorite food is cheesy lentils, and her favorite color seems to be purple most days, and blue sometimes.

We're also almost positive that Callie is right-handed, and her eyes are still entirely blue. She's a very observant little girl, preferring to scope out a situation rather than jump right in. Animals are a good example of that - she likes looking at petting zoo animals, but isn't too fond of the actual petting. Once she figures something out, though, she is almost fearless.

Callie regularly uses 'please' and 'thank you' when asking for things, and always tells us if sister Lilah is upset. She's very good at watching out for Lilah and treating her kindly, only rarely stealing toys.

So yeah, that is Callie in a nutshell, these days. She is regarded by our friends at church to be a very happy, mellow kid, and she and Lilah are still two of the easiest babies in the nursery. Speaking of nursery - Callie will sit quietly and color through almost 50 minutes of church service now, and is well on her way to graduating from Nursery. They boot them out of there on their third birthdays so we wanted to have her trained to sit quietly and patiently by then, and she is doing remarkably well for only being 2 and some change.

Hopefully new pictures and DVDs are on their way, we'll try to keep this a little more updated. Until then!

taryl | General | 15 September, 10:03pm | Comment on this

Lack of updates in the picture department continue to be entirely Peter's fault, or rather, Peter's-boss's-fault. So sad, but there's just been no time.

On Callie updates: she's learned how to jump and hop successfully, her vocabulary has exploded to include pretty much every body part from eyebrows to elbows to thighs, in addition to all the major stuff like 'TOES!' and 'TUMMY!'.

She can also count out loud to about 15, which not-so-coincidentally also happens to be approximately the number of steps it takes to get up our stairs. I started counting them as she'd walk up, and now she can fairly reliably count them herself. She definitely have 1-6 down cold, but she's doing well with higher numbers too.

Except for occasional confusion on interim hues like lavender and teal, Callie also has her basic colors down. Her favorites seem to be blue, green, and pink if her drawings are any indication, but yellow and red seem to be more fun to say.

Her only verb is 'go' right now, and she uses this to string together all manner of words. "Baby go nap", "Daddy go work go car", "Mommy go....WUNCH! (lunch)", "Wiwah (Lilah) go play go ball", etc etc. She understands others, but just doesn't use them in sentences. Despite her difficulty pronouncing L's and R's the pediatrician isn't worried, and in fact thinks she's very verbally advanced for her age, which is great considering she was at or a bit lagging behind the average skillset at 18 months.

I take the kids on walks around our block (up a HUGE hill) and down to the park almost every day, and especially on the trip out it is nonstop chattering about cars, dogs barking ("doggie go WOOF!"), school buses and trucks, boys, girls, and anything else she sees. Not all of it is intelligible, but a good deal.

And on 'so cute it breaks your heart' news, Callie is now consistently saying "Hi!" and "Goodbye" or "Bye Bye!" with enthusiastic waves to almost everyone now. She also FINALLY said "I love you" when I said it to her before she went to bed. It was very gratifying to hear it, especially given the tantrum levels of late.

Callie's just chugging along and doing very well. She's healthy, friendly, and still tantrums less than most kids her age. YAY!

taryl | General | 21 May, 10:13pm | Comment on this

Callie had a rough birthday. Apparently she decided that entering the toybox in nursery face first was a good idea, and that resulted in a lip rupture due to impact with a tooth. Then we got home, and she bolted for the slide with her shoes still on before I could even get in the door with Lilah. It appeared that her right shoe got traction and pulled her right foot under her and put her in a position such that she was partially ejected from the slide. When I got over there, her left foot was on the floor, her right foot was on the slide and her right leg was at what appeared to be a rather uncomfortable angle under her. Nothing appears broken, but she is limping around a bit.

peter | General | 6 April, 8:06pm | Comment on this

... would all be on the list of things Callie has gotten into, without permission, and made righteous messes of lately.

She loves to color now that she's getting older, but she also loves expanding her horizons to... surfaces other than paper. Yes, this includes her teeth, too. Best invention ever? Washable crayons.

I should have gotten pictures of The Sharpie Incident. Truly. It was epic. I leave the room for ten minutes and BAM! A purple, scrawly explosion on every.single.surface of the living room, dining room, and kitchen.

Cue mommy freakout.

She walked up to me, purple from head to toe, so proud of herself and her art. I was in such shock and she was so cute I couldn't even be properly mad. I think the only thoughts that crossed my mind were "Uh oh, the counters are officially open for business" and "man, she must have RUN around the room to hit that many surfaces to fast!".

Fortunately for me a lot of elbow grease, rubbing alcohol, and a sense of humor can go an awfully long way to covering up the damage wrought by a toddler and a purple permanent pen. The surfaces I thought it would be the worst to get off and the worst if they stained cleaned up the EASIEST, and the ones that were harder to clean are ones we can easily fix with a bit of sanding or paint touchup. With the exception of a spot or two on the exersaucer and some faint lines left on our cabinet you'd NEVER know the entire room was covered in it, Callie included.

So no harm no foul. The sharpies were moved up to a high cabinet, the little girl was put down for a nap and given a thorough scrubbing later on, and the paint help up remarkably well to cotton pads, solvent, and a teensy bit of swearing.

Now, the Bag Balm incident was earlier today, and yes I do have photographic evidence of it. Callie managed to grab Peter's hand balm off the counter and decided to not only dip her fingers in it, but slather her clothes, the couch, my jacket, her hair, and yes, even her tongue, in the lanolin/vaseline-y goodness. It took two separate baths and dish soap to even moderately cut through the slick in her hair, but she seems fine even for the little ingesting she did (it doesn't taste very good, I would hazard that was what limited it).

We do have literally dozens of photos of Callie and Lilah to upload to their sites, but things have been ridiculously busy around hereewith all manner of car, computer, and furnace trouble, work deadlines, the holidays, and just plain forgetfulness when it comes to these blogs. But we're not dead (not for Callie's lack of trying) and the girls are growing well. Callie can name most of her body parts, which we will video tape and post here one of these days. Lilah has learned to roll around (though she still can't sit unsupported for more than a few seconds without toppling) and started solids almost at six months on the dot. She's a great, enthusiastic eater, too. Peter and I are surviving, just barely, but have been very blessed in our circumstances and the Lord providing exactly what we need right when we need it.

Either way, the blog silence isn't for lack of trying, we're just ridiculously busy :) Hopefully pictures will be coming in the next week, but for now I leave you with these:

Callie and her baby mesmerized by Blues Clues

Callie: The homeless can stacker (who puts on her own pants and hat, thank you very much!)

Lilah says "I am OBVIOUSLY a girl. DUH!"

Yummy Yummy Solids!

taryl | General | 28 January, 10:33am | Comment on this

Wow, we didn't update at all in November. There was so much fun stuff too. Like the day that Callie pooped during her nap, removed her clothes, removed her diaper and started playing with the poo.... Mr. Hankie the Thanksgiving poo, we love him and he loves you, even if he is a poo....

Anyway, yesterday once we got home, Taryl decided to drink the coolaid. Grape coolaid to be precise. She gave Callie a sip and Callie's sippy cup full of water went over her shoulder and she started begging for more of that grape stuff. I took Callie's sippy cup and filled it with the grape drink and tried to give it to her. She thought it was still full of water, so she got all mad, wouldn't drink it, kept pushing it away, etc. I stuck it in her mouth and she finally accidentally took a sip. It was hilarious. She went to recoil away and kept trying to push it away for a second, then she realized what she had just tasted, and greedily grabbed hold of the cup.

peter | General | 8 December, 9:21pm | Comment on this

Callie gave Lilah her first sloppy sister kiss. It was very cute.

Coincidentally she also is finally realizing sitting in poop is no fun. Yesterday she came up to me very deliberately patted the front of her diaper, and low and behold she has just gone poop. The first step to potty training is realizing you need to go, so we're making progress!

taryl | General | 28 October, 10:17pm | 1 comments

I'm still surprised I did it, but it had to be done.

I cut Callie's hair, pictures forthcoming as soon as Daddy posts them. I was just going to let it grow and grow (since I favor longer hair on girls) but she can't stand hair clips or headbands and it kept getting in her eyes. In addition to being super long in the front it was SHORT in the back because she still rubs it like crazy. It was split and matted back there, the hairs just looked like a completely different texture thanks to her friction on it.

We aren't big fans of paying for haircuts, especially for babies (and rarely do they do a decent job from what I have seen!). So I did it myself. I decided it would be better to just even it up now and make it short so that when it would continue to grow out the back wouldn't be damaged and could get some length on it. So I aimed for bangs that weren't cut too far into her hair (which I think I achieved pretty well, actually) and evening up the back and sides (which, truth be told, also wasn't all that bad except she has a crazy cowlick over her ear that makes it look hacky even though it's completely even with the other side!).

I was afraid she'd look like a little boy, I really was, especially since I can cut hair quite well but I had no idea how well she'd sit still. But cartoons, a few Hershey's kisses and strategically doing the bangs FIRST, when she'd have more patience? It worked very well. My friends online have seen the pictures already and everyone thought it looked quite cute and feminine (and I trust they weren't just blowing smoke en masse, but I can't be sure!). The high chair made it extremely hard to cut the back but I did the best I could, hopefully next time the urge to cut her hair strikes me Daddy will be home to help so I can put her on a stool or booster instead.

It really does look fine, but it's SUCH a change! I miss my baby's curls :( She looks like a toddler now, not a baby, but it was surprisingly more emotional to give her the cut than I thought it would be. I hadn't realized how attached I was to everything about her until a little piece of it was gone. But after a few hours I got more used to it and now I like it. It needed to happen, I was just resisting. But when Grandma commented on it I decided I just needed to suck it up and stop procrastinating.

All part of growing up! *sniffles*

Other Callie news, let's see... She's in a big 'getting dressed' stage right now, and likes putting her clothes on and pulling them off around the house, which is fine by me (except it means more laundry!). If I ask her for her arms she puts them in the sleeves and she understand what "give me your leg" means and reacts accordingly. She's also learning to label body parts and has a particularly good time with (n)ooshe (nose) that sometimes does or doesn't have the 'n' on the word. It delights her to no end to poke our faces and label. She also likes grabbing eyelashes and making our eyes open and close - we don't let her demonstrate this new ability on sissy, needless to say!

Books are her new favorite thing. She actually want to READ them instead of just turn pages, rip pages, and generally destroy them. Thing is, she wants to read the same one OVER AND OVER. So we have been rotating the downstairs 'toy' books so mommy doesn't go insane. A good two dozen times per days she'll grab a book, whack us in the leg with it and ask to be read to (kook, koh, khk are all the 'book' word) and it's quite nice as its the only real cuddle time she'll allow anymore, as a toddler who never stops! She'll also sit around and 'read' to herself, making silly noises and sounds and turning the pages and pointing at the pictures. It's very cute.

She's also wielding a fork and spoon better and better. She's learned to spear food and things she WON'T eat any more of she'll often take a few more bites of provided we skewer them on a fork and hand it to her. Spoons are rather amusing, she doesn't *quite* get that you shouldn't tip the spoon upside down before delivery into the mouth. But she's definitely getting the idea and especially with the fork can now manage to 'feed' herself for a few minutes with reasonable proficiency and dexterity before ditching it in favor of hands or face-in-the-bowl.

She was 26 pounds at her appointment and if I recall right around three feet tall, 75th percentile for both weight and height (which is WAY up from when she was little and definitely on the small side!). She's very, very healthy and hardly ever gets sick, she eats from all the food groups very well and won't drink juice - just water most of the time and milk with breakfast and dinner. Her coordination is good and she's right on target with all her milestones. She did get her shots, which as I mentioned on Lilah's blog were followed by ANGRY cries more than hurt. She got over it though the site of the shots on one of her legs puffed up and then scabbed over and she keeps picking at it. Then she gets mad when it hurts and cries but picks at it more. Bandaids make her pay more attention to the bump than she would if it was naked, but it is slowly healing on its own no thanks to her fingers!

Oh! What we didn't mention is that for cost purposes we switched both girls to cloth diapers. Diapering two at once was ridiculously expensive and we decided cloth would just be less fuss. I tried it initially with Callie when she was a newborn but between our novice, nervous parenting and my real inability to do much of anything after the c-section we promptly gave up. Prefolds and covers were not a system we could make work readily enough.

Now we're using Pocket diapers, which are contoured with fleece and have inserts that go into them and vary the absorbancy. They're also one-sized diapers, so Callie and Lilah can wear the same diapers and we essentially get to cloth diaper two for the price of one, and if one girl runs out she can use her sister's. It's a lot of washing each day and each change does take a bit more time but it is worth it and very workable. We're using two brands, Fuzzibunz for Callie and BumGenius for Lilah. They're both one-sized, but one style fits Callie's shape slightly better than Lilah. Initially I thought I liked both equally but now I am finding the BG's seem slightly more durable and hold up better. So when we need to buy more for both of them I will likely only buy more of that brand.

We stick the girls in disposables for other people and church but truthfully these are only one step more complicated than disposables, and that is stuffing them. They work remarkably well and I'd estimate in the month we've been using them that we've probably recouped half their cost already in what we haven't spent on disposables. The single size means that it's essentially like diapering only one child financially, which is an extra savings. Each diaper just has extra adjustable velcro/aplix tabs and several rows of snaps on the front so the rise of the diaper can be adjusted - Lilah on the smallest setting (though she is almost into the next setting, wow!) and Callie on the largest. There is PLENTY of room for Callie to grow and I am hoping that this will make it easier to potty train her. I have heard that to be the case from multiple cloth-diapering moms as the kids feel wetness much better than in a disposable and they function more like big-girl underwear.

Anyway, that's a new development. I feel crunchier already ;)

She's also in 2T (toddler) sized clothing now! Another big step towards growing up, and MAN is she growing fast. I still can hardly believe she's not even two yet, some days she feels like she was just a baby and other days I swear she's all grown up already and have to remind myself she's still very, very young. Time flies when you're tearing around the house like a maniac!

Okay - to be nice, I will include a preview of Callie's new hair since I am not sure WHEN Peter will update pictures - it's a bit "Mia Farrow", thank goodness, and not "bowlcut"! Ignore the chocolate dribble, remnants of the bribe!

taryl | General | 14 October, 10:36am | 1 comments

Here is some video of Callie swinging from the grandparents. Its a short 4 MB avi file.

Posting new pictures tonight too.

peter | General | 29 September, 5:29am | Comment on this

Toothbrush. It sounds more like "goosebush", but the general idea is there.

Oh, and all four eye teeth are erupting sat the same time, there's varying levels of white points showing. This leads to... you guessed it - teething poops! Diaper rash and crabbiness abounds. Good times.

taryl | General | 5 September, 7:55pm | Comment on this

It's like a new word a day.

Callie's version of "banana" is "manamas". :)

taryl | General | 21 August, 9:09pm | Comment on this

Callie is using her words (a bit). She babbles like crazy and there have been words in the babble for months, but barely discernible to anyone but her. Now she's starting to use words, specifically and alone, for the items or people they apply to. She will walk up to Lilah and try to say her name or call her the baby (and when Lilah's screaming Callie will actually find a pacifier and try to put it in her mouth!), and she'll ask for her pacifier specifically too. The other night we noticed, very obviously, that she said 'nana' and was looking at (and reaching for) her nani. She's done it multiple times so it's not a spoof. She will also say 'brush' for her hairbrush, though her 'r' kind of comes out a little funny still. And when she's in her high chair she'll ask for "chee" or actually say "cheese", or grab for the bag and say it as well.

She's said 'excuse me' and several other words too, and there's many things she says that I know she's trying to convey meaning in but they're still too garbled for me to understand.

She's not all that intelligible, sure, but she definitely responds back and forth to commands and understands what we say, and is FINALLY starting to say a few things back or proactively on her own.

Callie is also very interested in her sister, and she wants to play with her and touch her as much as I'll let her. She definitely is aware of Lilah but no jealousy... unless Callie's SUPER tired she doesn't seem very bothered by Lilah's screaming jags either, except that she occasionally joins in to 'get Lilah's point across' a little louder. Yeah, those are ear-ringing days.

Both galleries are updated a bit, more images to come.

taryl | General | 21 August, 7:08am | Comment on this

... the evening after we head to the pediatrician her fever breaks on its own. It turns out it was something viral that was causing her throat to be quite sore among other things. It looked, visually, like strep but after a (rather traumatizing) swab it turned up negative for that. I do think we may have terrified her out of liking her doctor, though! She continued to be mildly feverish for an additional day or two but NOTHING like it had been - she was so hot her HANDS felt feverish, not just her head!

Unfortunately she continues to not eat well, residual from her sore throat, we think. Last night was the first time she ate a decent dinner in 5 days or so, and this morning she was eating even better but still not 100%. Either way it wasn't an ear infection or something worse and as miserable as she's been it's over now with only time and IBuprofen to help. She's been sleeping better too, with medication last night she slept from 9:00 or so to almost noon, and she only woke up because I went in there to wake her, she'd have probably slept longer otherwise.

I just wanted to update everyone who was concerned for her - she's not completely better but we're out of the woods. Her sister is doing quite well too, so overall we're a happy household. Good night!

taryl | General | 3 August, 9:11am | 1 comments

As noted in her sister's blog, it has not been a good time for the girls.

Callie has been fussy for several days, and it was hard to tell if it was because of Lilah, teething, or something else. Yesterday she refused to eat pretty much anything but smoothies and bottles, and would bat our hands away with ANY food. She wouldn't even mooch off our plates. She felt quite hot so I brought out the thermometer and she was running a high fever right around 103. She was also drooling a ton, so we still don't know if it's teething related or she's teething AND fighting an infection. We've been fortunate that she hasn't been ill with a high fever yet in her life, just a cold or two and a stomach bug. The fever reducers got her temperature temporarily down to 101, and we administered as we could. But even with those and a bottle she fussed, tossed, turned, and cried ALL NIGHT. She never fell into any deep sleep as far as we could tell, she was just miserable. By the middle of the night she was crying in her sleep, she wouldn't even wake up all the way to fuss.

This morning her temperature was still fairly high and fluctuating so we've been keeping up on alternating Tylenol and Motrin, but that's all we can do. Today she ate a *little*, but nothing we tried to feed her. She wouldn't eat ANYTHING even remotely resembling a puree or even the casserole Peter and I were eating, but for lunch she ate peas and cheese easily. At dinner all she'd touch was rice and she wasn't showing much interest in large amounts of food. So I am perplexed. It could be her teeth, especially since she keeps pawing at them, but her appetite is just not there.

Either way, hopefully she'll feel better soon.

taryl | General | 31 July, 3:41am | 2 comments

For updates on Giessel Baby 2, see

peter | General | 22 July, 8:47pm | Comment on this

... we don't dress her in these outfits. She will hunt down any discarded clothing, hers or someone else's, and wear it around for an hour or two. She LOVES playing dress up already, which does not bode well for daddy's wallet.

Also for the record, it only LOOKS like all we feed her is chocolate and chocolate pudding. While we may be in the running for the Bad Parents of the Year award, it wouldn't be in the food category. But it does make a photogenically impressive mess, right up there with spaghetti (which we also don't feed her with as much frequency as this site would suggest).

We've had something like four molars in two weeks and she's STILL teething. Nothing major, but definitely pickier eating and general fussing, along with poor sleep. But popping that many big teeth that fast, I am actually impressed with how little she's whined. I didn't even realize the first two broke through until Peter pointed it out to me.

She's definitely getting bigger! Her time to surmount the stairs has been reduced to about two second. I will see her disappear around the corner and by the time I get my (very rotund) self over there she's laughing like a hyena at the top. While I am sure SHE enjoys the climb, I am not exactly in top StairMaster form of late!

Obviously new pictures are up, complete with cheeser smile and a toga.

taryl | General | 18 June, 7:48am | 1 comments

Hey everyone! New pictures of me are up, and as always they don't do me justice.

I pulled mommy's computer on the floor. A bunch. And I kind of chewed on it and kicked it too.

It died. Like, dead.

So mommy is unable to update or answer emails about me and stuff. For the record, it was TOTALLY not my fault the cord was so tasty. I blame Steve.

taryl | General | 14 June, 11:02pm | 1 comments

Well, we had mentioned previously that Callie likes climbing, but can't always get down. I am pleased to announce she can officially climb up ON to the fireplace and get her cute little diaper butt right back down whenever she wants. She's done it several times today, she finally connected the 'on your belly, one leg down, then the other leg down' method of getting off of EVERYTHING ELSE and applied it to the mysterious beast that is the fireplace ledge.

Now if only she would TALK!

taryl | General | 10 June, 9:42pm | Comment on this

Yesterday we stopped by my office on the way back from a fundraiser for our state representative (so it was long after hours and the parking lot was empty), and we let Callie walk around. I didn't have my nice video camera, but here is the cell phone video of her walking:
Callie walks in the Reid Middleton parking lot (Quicktime, 636kb)

peter | General | 4 June, 6:44am | 1 comments

So, the little stomper was toddling around the downstairs and we turned our back for a moment, and she was gone. A search of the downstairs did not reveal her whereabouts, so after a bit of confusion we found her upstairs. She just shot up the stairs apparently. The next time she disappeared we checked upstairs again, and there she was again, so apparently she can climb stairs really well now.

peter | General | 28 May, 4:39pm | Comment on this

As Taryl apparently won't write on the subject, Callie has started walking. Taryl says I should be more verbose, so what Callie does is she stands on her feet, then moves one foot at a time, and therefore propels herself without her hands touching any stabilizing items (such as a chair or the floor). Indeed, she often carries things in her hands. She can't seem to walk with confidence and often plops down after about 5 steps, but she is definitely walking.

This weekend I was using the Shop Vac to clean up some items, and Callie was very interested in that, so she watched intently. I moved the hose over to her, and she stuck her finger in the end, felt the suction and quickly withdrew her finger and scooted away. Taryl claims that she will be forever afraid of the vacuum now. I find this unlikely as it didn't do anything bad or painful to her.

New pictures are randomly posted from time to time, usually a couple of times a week (unlike some friend's sites which haven't been updated in months).

peter | General | 19 May, 8:16pm | Comment on this