Monday, February 6, 2017

Brooke Ellie is 2 years old!

It's a little mind blowing to me that I'm writing Brooke's two year post. She is such a sweet, fun, and energetic girl, and I'm excited to share about her! In the past for monthly updates, I've written about Brooke and Brecklyn together. However, I really want to showcase each one of them as individuals (partially because they are soooo different), so I'm writing separate posts this time. Also, it's been a year since the last major update I posted, so there is a lot to share about my sweet girls!

Brooke is a big girl for her age. She wears size 2T and 3T clothes and size 7 shoe.

She weighs about 29 pounds (79th percentile) and is 36.5 inches tall (off the charts). This is three pounds more and 2.5 inches taller than her twin sister!

Until recently, Brooke wore a size 4 diaper, but could have easily been in a size 5 (we put her in 4s because that's what worked for both her and Brecklyn). We started potty training a few weeks ago, and Brooke caught on easily and immediately. She loves wearing panties, and even tries to go potty all by herself. She's very independent, and this manifests in most areas of her life. 

So proud to be wearing panties!

When Brianna was around this age, her eyes changed from a vibrant blue to green in color. Brooke has always had a unique eye color - different from any of the other children - and I've often wondered if they would change as she gets older. So far, they have remained a dark hazel color with hints of green. She gets many comments on the color of her eyes, and we think they're just beautiful!

Another feature that is different from any of her siblings is Brooke's curly hair. The other children all have a little wave or curl to their hair, but Brooke's is actually curly. It's taken some trial and error for me to learn how to care for her hair, but I think we're getting there! One thing that I've learned not to do is brush her hair . . . that just makes it frizzy and BIG. I'll generally just run my fingers through it when it's wet and let it dry. Sometimes after I fix it, I will spritz it with water to help relax the frizz. Her hair is long (goes to about the middle of her back), but because it's curly it's difficult to tell. 

Gotta love those sweet little dimples!

We are so thankful that Brooke is overall healthy and thriving! She has been sick a few times this year, but nothing major. Even when she had pneumonia a little over a month ago, it was mild and she recovered well. One interesting thing about Brooke is that when she is sick, her eyes drain lots of goop and gunk. She'll often wake up with her eyes matted shut. Sometimes, her eyes will start to drain before she's actually sick, so we know it's coming. 

Brooke is a good eater, and pretty much eats whatever we eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She still sits in our space-saver chairs with a tray, but we will soon transition her to eating at the table without the tray. She is good to eat a wide variety of foods, but especially enjoys beans, bananas, chili, peanut butter, peaches, green beans, cheese, bean burritos, pasta, baby carrots, tomato soup, and oranges. Really, she will eat just about anything we set in front of her (minus tuna . . . I've tried to feed it to her a few times and she always says, "That yuck!" haha).

She always insists on feeding herself - which is often messy - but she's getting more efficient at it.

Waiting patiently for food when she's a little hungry has never been Brooke's strong suit. She certainly gets "hangry" sometimes, and when she does she just wants to cry and be held. This can make preparing meals (especially dinner) a little difficult because she can be very fussy during this time. However, once she gets a few bites of something into her system, she's our happy little girl again!

Brooke is a Daddy's girl through-and-through. She gets super excited every day when Daddy gets home from work, and will ask about him often throughout the day, as well. If Daddy is around, then she wants HIM!

She definitely loves Momma, too, but only if Daddy isn't available :-).

Brooke is good to go to just about anyone and gives lots of affection, but G-Jo is definitely another one of her favorite people.

Our kids are all on a pretty solid schedule, as we find that things just flow better for us that way. The twins go to bed at 8:00pm each night, are up around 7:00am each morning, and take a two hour nap during the day. This may vary a little, but not by much.

Brooke still sleeps in her crib and always has to have "Tundra" to snuggle.

I'm sad to say that out of all our children, Brooke is the one we have the most difficulty with when it comes to sleep. It took her months longer to sleep through the night than it did Brecklyn, and honestly she's still not as consistent with her night sleeping as we'd like her to be. Some nights she does great . . . she'll go to sleep easily and sleep all night with no problems. 

She loves having lots of dolls in her crib with her :-).

Then, there are the other nights. She will still sometimes wake in the night crying and crying and calling for us. Sometimes, we can go in her room, pat her a few times, and she'll settle right down and sleep all night. Other times, she'll settle down for a time, then wake again and again and again throughout the night. And, there are still other nights where she'll cry until the entire house is disturbed, absolutely refusing to settle down. The child loves to be held while she sleeps, and would be perfectly content to sleep with us in our bed and be held by us all night, every night. 

We try to stand our ground with her, but I'll admit that sometimes we just bring her to bed with us (this probably happens about once a month). We're tired and need sleep and the last thing we want is everyone awake because of Brooke's screaming. If she's sick or teething, it's pretty much guaranteed that she WILL NOT sleep unless we are holding her. 

She is much better to self settle and sleep in her crib during nap time, but even then she insists on being held if she isn't feeling well. When she had pneumonia after Christmas, I held her every day during her nap for almost a week. As frustrating as this can be, I know it won't last forever, so I try to just enjoy it.

It's amusing to me how many photos I have of Brooke sleeping, but it's because I hold her and think about how sweet she looks and take pics on my phone. I don't have near as many of Brecklyn sleeping. Ironically, pretend sleeping and playing like she's going "night-night" is one of Brooke's favorite games! 

Bath time is a favorite around here for Brooke and Brecklyn, and Chris gives them a bath on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings (and sometimes more if needed). They are generally bathed separately because it's much easier (and less messy), but sometimes he will bathe them together. Neither of them are very good at waiting their turn while the other is being bathed because they just love bath time SO much!

As I've already mentioned, Brooke is very independent (with everything but sleeping, ha!) One phrase we hear from her constantly is, "Do it" or "I do it". She wants to do everything from buckling herself in her car seat to feeding herself to putting on her clothes to brushing her teeth. I try to let her do things by herself when possible, but sometimes I just need to get them done! This can cause a power struggle between us as Brooke can be quite stubborn about doing things herself. 

Along with "I do it", there are many other little phrases that Brooke uses often. I don't think she speaks nearly as much as Brianna or Brenson did at this age, but she is starting to say three and four words sentences. She says, "I wuv woo" and "night-night" to everyone before she goes to bed. She says the names of everyone in our family, and she says "That mine!" a lot. She also uses "no" and "yet" (yes) frequently. One evening, I asked her if she was finished eating and she said, "Noooooot yeeeeet." She will try to repeat just about anything we ask her to, which is always fun! She is also good about following directions, and certainly understands language well.

She and Brecklyn do have a little language they use with each other that no one else understands. It's really cute and interesting to watch them communicate because they know exactly what they're talking about!

Although she and Brecklyn play together all day, every day, and are oftentimes affectionate, loving, and cute together, they can also get quite aggressive with one another. I wouldn't say that either one of them dominates the other, but they both have their moments of being assertive and sometimes a little violent. They will steal toys, hit, and even bite each other. For the most part, I let them work things out between themselves, but I will intervene if it escalates too much. Right after they turned one, biting was a big problem between them (like almost a daily occurrence). Things are much better with the biting issue now, thankfully!

Brooke's bite mark on Brecklyn . . . 

. . . Brecklyn's bite mark on Brooke.

For the most part, Brooke is a very smiley, happy, silly girl.

She is observant and curious, often asking, "What that?" and pointing random things out to us. She also says, "Hear that?" a lot about different noises. 

She loves to tease and play with us, and her precious giggle is a sound we hear often.

She is very expressive and is always making us laugh with her silly faces. Of course, the more we laugh, the more she'll do silly things. She brings so much joy to our family!

Along with her silly personality, she definitely has a serious side, as well. Sometimes when she's not too sure about a situation or when she's not getting her way, we will see her serious side.  

Such a pretty little serious face!

Brooke is a girl who knows what she wants. When she doesn't get her way, she doesn't generally throw a fit, but she is likely to use her pout face. She can really work that lip!

A few months ago, she started sticking out her tongue when something isn't satisfactory to her. This is not acceptable behavior in our house, so we worked hard to nip that in the bud. Thankfully, she will rarely try it anymore.

This was at Brianna's holiday party at school . . . Brooke was ready to eat, not take pictures!

Speaking of Brianna, she is one of Brooke's very favorite people (second only to Daddy, I think)! Brooke calls Brianna, "Anna", and will say it over and over and over again throughout the day. She wants to do what "Anna" is doing, play where "Anna" is playing, and be by Anna's side all the time. Every time we pass by Brianna's school during the day, Brooke will shout, "Anna! Anna!". She will also say, "Anna's comin'!" when we pull into the pick up line :-). 

Thankfully, Brianna adores Brooke just about as much as Brooke adores her, so it works out well. They are very similar in personality . . . definitely cut from the same cloth.

One of Brooke's very favorite things to do is to read. She loves being read to and will bring us book after book after book to read. She also loves to sit and look at a book independently. I find her sitting on the bottom step of our stairs looking at books at some point almost every day. She will often study the pictures, but she will also sometimes "read" the books aloud. I remember that Brenson at this age would go through phases where he always wanted to read the same book over and over again. Brooke isn't so much like this . . . she may have a book she carries around for a few days, but for the most part she likes to read different books. 

When we lived at our Shiloh house, Brooke loved to get on Bren's bed and read. 

Brooke and her stack of books :-)

Brooke (in pink) reading with Brecklyn

Brooke (in flowers) sitting on the bottom step . . . her favorite reading place!

She also loves to lounge out in our Book Nook.

Brooke (in pink) in the Book Nook with Brecklyn

Being read to by G-Jo

Being read to by Granny Tiger

Being read to by Brenson (she calls him "Boogie")

Being read to by Meme

Being read to by Momma

We attend our local library's story time each week, and we all enjoy it. Brooke is a great listener when Ms. Tena is reading, and she also enjoys dancing when Ms. Tena plays music.

Along with reading, Brooke also loves to write, draw, paint, and color. She will sit with crayons, markers, or colored pencils for a long time and entertain herself. 

Coloring at Chris's Grandpa's visitation

Painting with watercolors

Taking notes in church like the big kids :-)

She is so serious when she's working ;-). 

Creating with Play-doh!

Brooke can count to 10, knows some of her colors and shapes, and loves to sing the ABCs (although she doesn't quite get every letter in there). She can recognize a few of her letters, and her favorite letter is B, of course! She can name lots of body parts, and also knows the names of many animals and loves to make animal sounds.

The girls each have a puzzle they received for Christmas that spells their name, and it's a favorite for both of them. Brooke will sometimes say the letters as she puts them in the puzzle.

The twins just recently moved up to the two and three year old bible class at church. They are still learning to sit and listen, but Brooke will participate and is even answering questions. She's also doing her best to say her memory verses. For Christmas, they each received their own bible and carrying case, and Brooke loves to tote hers to Bible class. 

Brooke loved her cradle roll class, as well . . . especially the unit where they dressed up in winter clothes!

Speaking of dressing up, this is something that Brooke loves to do, especially wearing someone else's shoes! If there are shoes out somewhere in the house, Brooke will find them and put them on (unless they're her own . . . she'll almost always take her own socks and shoes off as soon as we get home). 

Clomping around in Daddy's shoes

Wearing Momma's flip-flops

Walking around in Brenson's boots

Brianna's flip-flops are probably her favorite shoe to wear.

Trying on Brianna's shoes.

Modeling Brianna's flip-flops again!

And again . . .

And again!

Trying Brianna's boots on for size :-).

Sporting Brenson's socks and shoes!

Along with shoes, Brooke also enjoys putting on Brianna and Brenson's clothing. If it's left out where Brooke can get it, it's fair game!

Wearing Bren's hat

Trying on Brianna's jacket

Another noteworthy characteristic of Brooke's is that she is quite mischievous. Even when she was just crawling, she would find ways to get to what she wanted. If we blocked one way off, she would just find another way. Because of this, we weren't too surprised that she's definitely our climber! If she wants to get to something - or out of something - she just climbs. It started small, but quickly escalated to climbing just about anything to get where she wanted to go. 

She had just turned 14 months when the climbing really began. 

She climbed into the chair by herself - 14 months

She loved climbing on the stool (and would even stand up on it) - 14 months

On the coffee table! - 14 months

She quickly learned to push a toy over to something that was too tall to climb on and use it as a step - 14 months

On the play kitchen - 14 months

Climbing from the chair onto the table - 14 months

She turned her back to me because she knew she was breaking the rules, haha.

At 15 months, Brooke climbed into her dresser drawer and got stuck. Brecklyn came running to get me (I was loading the dishwasher). THIS is why ALL of our furniture is secured to the wall. Please don't underestimate the importance of doing this if you have littles!

At the time, Bren and Brianna would keep toys out of the twins' reach by putting them on the kitchen table. Things were no longer safe from Brooke (16 months)!

She started climbing out of her crib at around 16 months old, but I didn't get these photos until she was 18 months old. It took us several months, but we were able to break her of this. 

The bunk beds in the Big Kid room in our Shiloh house quickly became an issue. Brooke would climb up to the top bunk SO quickly and it scared me to death! The look on her face in this photo says it all, haha!

After we moved to our new house, the stairs were definitely an issue. I spent a lot of time training Brooke to not climb the stairs, but that didn't stop her from climbing on the outside of the banister. Sigh. More training and persistence on my part, and she no longer does this, either. Photo at 20 months old.

Brooke also quickly learned to push the footstool around to reach whatever she wants at our new place (wood floors make this way too easy). She went through a phase where she was constantly getting water out of the refrigerator door (and making huge messes). This photo was taken when she was 21 months old, but she's tall enough to reach the water spout without the stool now. 

Climbing on the arm of the couch - 21 months

Using the play shopping cart to reach the lock on the back door - 22 months

Most recently, she has started pushing the stool up against the cabinets and climbing onto the counter top to reach the bar. I know a simple solution to this would be to put the stool where she can't access it, but she will just use something else (like a chair, a toy, or even pillows). This girl is persistent and a problem solver!

Like I said above, Brooke has a knack for finding mischief. She's my child that I can't take my eyes off of for a minute or she'll find trouble of some sort . . . and it's not just climbing that can be an issue. 

She (along with her siblings) is a master mess maker!

Brooke loves clothes and will empty a bin, laundry basket, or even dresser drawer in seconds (yet another thing I've had to work hard to break her of).

She also likes to empty my kitchen cabinets (and boxes of plastic baggies). 

Or help herself to a snack.

At our Shiloh house, she learned how to open my craft closet. After just a few big messes, I started tying the doors together so she couldn't open them. This worked for a few months until she figured out how to untie my string!

Brooke has recently developed a bad habit of taking her hair down and putting the pony tail holder on her wrist. One day we were at Wal-mart, and I noticed that Brooke's hand was kind of blue. I was confused about what was going on until I saw the tiny plastic rubber band around her wrist. I now only use the larger pony tail bands in her hair so they don't cut off her circulation. I took this photo after I pulled the rubber band off her wrist.

Of course, if anyone was going to find the sticky mouse traps in our house and make a mess of them, it was going to be Brooke!

Aside from finding trouble and mischief, there are many other things that Brooke enjoys!

She loves to groove and dance when music is playing (which is often in this house!)

She enjoys "fixing" and playing with my hair (and Brianna and Brecklyn's, as well).

She also likes having her hair played with.

We have a bin of Snap-n-Style dolls that were Brianna's that Brooke really likes.

She also likes all of Brianna's smaller Magic Clip Princesses, My Little Ponies, and Littlest Pet Shop. Really, she likes anything that is Brianna's!

Brooke loves her baby dolls and is a sweet little Momma to them. She likes to "nuggle" them, feed them, and especially put them "night-night".

Pretend cooking and playing in our play kitchen is also a favorite activity!

We have a few ride-on cars that the girls get good use of frequently,

and they also love building with blocks and Legos (both the small Legos and Duplo).

 Anything they can climb in - whether it be a laundry basket, 

the footstool turned upside down,

or a regular ole box - is always a big hit!

As you can see, Brooke is a busy, busy little girl. She has little interest in watching any type of show on TV or other device, and that's okay with me! She does, however, LOVE playing outside. Any day that we play outside is a good day in Brooke's book! Sidenote: I don't have many photos of Brooke playing outside because I'm always too busy chasing her! She is always on the go, and I have to watch her very closely.

These two have taken over Bren's car,

and they have a blast in our playhouse!

Anytime we played in the water this summer, Brooke was a happy, happy girl.

The splash pad was always a huge hit!

Running in the yard and chasing bubbles is the best!

She's all smiles when we go to a playground,

or using our swingset at home!

 A few more things about Brooke:

She is obsessed with napkins and tissues. At every meal, she asks for napkins and will use and use them until we won't give her any more. She has also been known to use an entire box of tissues "blowing her nose" before we caught her. She loves to snuggle . . . whether it be when she's tired or reading or just randomly sometimes during the day, she's sure to get those snuggles in! She is almost always grumpy when she first wakes in the morning or from nap, but it doesn't take her long to start smiling. Names that she answers to include Brookie, Brookie-boo-boo, Brooks El, Brooke-Brooke, and Brooke Ellie :-).

Brooke doesn't really like to wear clothes. She'll often take them off when we're at home (which is why there are so many pics of her without clothes). She also pulls her hairbows out of her hair, and generally takes off her shoes and socks.  Characters she loves include Minnie Mouse and the Paw Patrol pups. She is fascinated with shadows, and oftentimes a little scared of them. When she's scared, she'll say, "scaaaary" and kind of shiver (so cute!) When she sees photos of our family or of her and Brecklyn together, she'll point to Brecklyn and say, "That Becken", then point to herself and say, "That Becken". Sometimes, I'll correct her and say, "No, that's Brooke", and she'll say, "No, Becken." She does say "Brooke" when looking in a mirror, though! She loves to sing and can sing quite a few little songs including the ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Happy Birthday, and Jesus Loves Me.

Happy 2nd birthday to my cute, full-of-personality, independent, dimpled, mischievous, smiley Brooke! We thank God daily for the blessing you are to us and for everything you bring to our family!

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