Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

9 Month Update

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

As usual, I am running a little behind.

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Micah turned 9 months old on March 23.  He weighed in at 20 lb 4 oz, and was 29 inches long.  I don’t remember what percentiles that put him in.  They are starting to seem arbitrary anyway.  Overall, he is a big boy.  He definitely wins the chunkiest thigh award among our boys.

At 9 months old, he is into EVERYTHING . . . all the time.  I jokingly ask Jeff “Guess what Micah can get into now?”  The answer is always “Everything!”  If I leave a single child lock off a kitchen cabinet, he will find it within seconds.  One day I left one of the bottom cabinets unlocked while putting dishes away.  He got into the cabinet, of course, so I locked it.  He then ripped the lock off into 3 pieces, opened the cabinet and chewed on the crock pot cord.  At that point, I just let him.  He earned it.

He also enjoys splashing in the toilet and chewing on shoes laces.  A lot of my day is spent moving/distracting him.

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We barricaded off the fireplace in the living room using the coffee table, ottoman, and leather arm chair.  The idea was to keep him away from the bricks and out of the fireplace.  Caleb and Ethan have claimed the blocked off area as their own though, and spend a lot of time back there building (usually castles, they are knights after all) with their Duplos and wooden blocks.  Micah spends a lot of time standing at the coffee table, banging, and screaming “brubru, brubru!” (his word for brother.)

Micah seems to be following in his brothers’ footsteps as far as the talking goes.  Already we have clearly identified the words “Mama,” “Dada,” “Brubru,” “hi,” and “more.”  He is definitely eager to communicate.  He also crawls and cruises like a wild man.  Walking is probably not too far off.

Although he now has 6 teeth, he is uninterested in eating finger foods.  He eats pureed food like a champ, usually screaming “more!” the whole time, but he spits out and throws any finger foods other than cheerios.

He still wins the worst and most inconsistent sleeper award.  He is up at least once a night, and often will wake up and refuse to go back to sleep for a few hours.

Luckily, he is also super cute, sweet, and cuddly.  He loves giving hugs and kisses, especially to his Mama.   Every morning, he spends several minutes giving me hugs and kisses before he will even nurse!

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6 Month and 3 year updates

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

In late December Ethan turned 3 years old, and Micah turned 6 months old.  We were out of town for Christmas, so we didn’t schedule their check ups until early January.

Micah was 28 inches long and weighed 18 lbs even.  The funny thing is that Ethan at 6 months was 28 inches long and weighed 18 lbs 3 oz.  At the time the doctor told us that this put Ethan in 70th percentile for weight, but this time he told us that Micah was in the 49th percentile!  I don’t believe 3 oz really make that much of a difference!

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Micah was by far the happiest, easiest newborn this family has had.  At 6 months though, he has become more challenging.  He loves attention, which means that he is super happy as long as he has Mommy’s undivided attention.  However, when he doesn’t have my attention, he tends to be really whiny.  He also is having a hard time falling and staying asleep.  We did a little bit of sleep training, and after one bad night, things seemed much better.  He went from waking up every 1 to 2 hours all night to waking up just once a night for a whole week!  It was a great week.  We seem to have regressed since then though.  Also, he loved solid food the first couple of times we fed him, but lately refuses to open his mouth, spits food, or even gags and pukes.  Oh well, we are operating on the assumption that at some point he will learn how to sleep and eat!

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In the mean time he is super cute and super active.  He can’t actually crawl yet, but he does get around a little by scooting, twisting, rolling etc.  He also LOVES his brothers.  He enjoys watching them play or talking with them.  We can tell he is dying to be able to play and move like they do!

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At his check up, Ethan was 39.5 inches tall and weighed 34 lbs.  Even the doctor remarked about how much he had grown in the last year!  He grew 4.5 inches and gained 4 lbs in one year!  He is 2.5 inches taller and 4 lbs heavier than Caleb was at 3 years old.  He is well on his way to being a big boy!  He loves to tell people that he is big now because he is 3 years old.

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Ethan at 3 is bursting with personality.  He loves dressing up and pretend playing with Caleb.  They are forever putting out fires, building houses, operating farms, putting on performances, or any other scenario they can possibly imagine.  For the most part Caleb and Ethan play really well together and collaborate well, though they do have some squabbles.  Ethan seems to have endless energy and keeps moving all the time . . . unless someone reads to him.  He will sit quietly and listen for as long as anyone is willing to read.  I don’t think I have ever met another child who loves to be read to so much.  He is just as happy with a board book he has read a million times as he is a “chapter book” with no pictures.  He can tell you all about any story he hears too.  Our biggest challenge with Ethan is bed time.  He happily takes a nap every day, falling asleep minutes after he is in bed.  However, night time is a different story.  He takes forever to fall asleep.  We do seem to have finally broken him of the habit of coming out of his room, but he still talks for an hour or so, which often means keeping Caleb up as well.

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All in all, all of our boys are growing well and each day is an adventure!

Desensitization

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Anyone who knows me, knows how I feel about violence in popular culture.  I am extremely aware of how prevalent it has become in movies and video games, even those that are marketed to children.  I believe that desensitization to such violence is one of the major issues with our culture today.  Avoiding this desensitization as much as possible is one of my largest challenges as a parent to three small boys.  Our children do not play video games, and we avoid the vast majority of television and movies.

Jeff and I take our jobs as parents seriously and strive to raise Godly men.  As much as we are carefully selecting what our children encounter and learn, we are continually amazed with how much they teach us, especially about human nature and our own short comings.

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During the month of December, we have an advent calendar that lists a Christmas related activity for the boys to do daily.  This year, one of the activities was to select livestock from the World Vision catalogue to send to a family in need.  The boys had been hearing about www.chickensandgoats.com on the radio station, and though this was not the exact same thing, it is similar.  Jeff told the boys how it worked, and we watched a video on World Visions website showing how we could pay for chickens, goats, ducks, cows, etc. and the animals would then be sent to a needy family in another part of the world.  The family could then use the animals for food and income.  We thought that in doing this activity with the kids, we would teach them about not only wanting things for ourselves at Christmas but thinking of others, including people we don’t know.

We chose our animals, and Jeff paid for it online using our credit card.  Rather than seeming proud and content to have helped another family, Caleb was immediately frantically concerned.  He looked at us and said, “I have money in my piggy bank too.  We can use all my money to buy some more.”  Caleb probably has less than ten dollars in loose change in his piggy bank.  After talking to him, we learned that he was concerned that more families might not have enough money to eat and live, and our sweet, sensitive son wanted to use all his money to help them.

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Of course, our first reaction was to congratulate ourselves on having raised such a generous, caring boy.  We really are amazing Christian parents after all.  Right?  The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that his reaction is (or should be) the instinctual reaction to hearing that others desperately need help that we can easily give.  As we go through life though, we become desensitized to this need.  Especially during this time of year, we are made aware of others need continually.  When we check out at the grocery store, we are asked to donate money and food for needy families.  When we buy gifts are the department store, we are asked to donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital to help kids with cancer.  When we stop at a red light, we are asked for money and food by local homeless people. When we get our mail, we are asked to donate money for holiday meals, needy children overseas, missionary families, and the local Salvation Army just to name a few.  All of these are very real needs.  Giving money (or food, time, items, ect.) to any of these causes would certainly make a difference.  Seeing Caleb’s reaction though, I realize just how desensitized I have become to the very real plight of all these people.  There is so much need around me, that much of the time I don’t really even consider all of it.  We give to our chosen causes and generally feel good about what we have done.

I am not sure what the real solution is here.  Clearly we cannot fix all of this individually.  For now, I guess my course is just to pray.  I will pray for God to show me where to help, and I will pray for God to help our entire fallen world.  I will also make an effort to notice and acknowledge all of these very real souls in need and not just pass them by as part of the “white noise” of life.

4 Month Update

Friday, October 26th, 2012

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Our tiny new baby is already 4 months old!

At his check up, Micah weighed in at 15lb 13.5oz, and was 27 inches long.  That puts him in the 67th percentile for his weight and 97th for his height.  That combined with a 97th percentile head makes him a typical Akins baby.

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At 4 months he has mastered rolling in both directions, which means he is now able to move around quite a bit in bed and playing on the floor.  He is now a full time belly sleeper, and prefers to play on his back.  He loves to play on the floor with his brothers.  He is dying to be able to run around with them!

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He is the world’s happiest baby most of the time.  As long as he is getting attention, he is all smiles and giggles.  We did have a few rough days recently though, as he broke his first two teeth.  The first tooth came through the day before he was 4 months old, and then the second came through on his 4 month birthday.

Our Little Songwriter

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Each night before the boys go to bed we all read a Bible story together and sing 3 songs.  This routine has been in place since Caleb was a baby.  Tonight after we finished our third song, Caleb looked deep in thought for a minute and then said, “Before there were songs people had to make them up.”  We explained that people still create new songs all the time, and that it is called song writing.  Caleb immediately declared that he was going to write songs and made one up on the spot.  I made sure to pay close attention, so I could record his first original song!

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Jesus love everyone,

loves everyone,

loves everyone,

Jesus loves everyone,

loves ev-er-y-one!

He even loves pirates,

even pirates who are bad

and when there is a war.

Jesus loves ev-er-y-one.

And God loves everyone too!

Micah’s 2 Month Update

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

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On August 23, Micah turned 2 months old.  He weighed in at 13lb 6oz and was 24.5 inches long.  That puts him in the 85th percentile for weight and 91st percentile for height.  He is now 10 weeks old, and I think it is safe to say he is a super easy newborn.  We never really knew babies could be this easy.  He sleeps a lot and is happy and smiley when he is awake.  He sleeps most of the afternoon these days and cat naps in the morning and evening.  The only time he really gets fussy is after 7pm, and that is because he wants to be put to bed.  If we are home, we start his bath then, and he is usually in bed by 7:30.  On the other hand if we are out, say at our life group, he gets really fussy and can’t seem to fall asleep.  Overall, we can live with a little fussiness given his good mood the rest of the time.

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He also LOVES his brothers, and smiles from ear to ear whenever they pay attention to him.  Of course, they love seeing him smile so they give him lots of attention.

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This morning we had a baby dedication at church for Micah.  With both of our other boys, we were never able to do this because of issues with changing ministers at church when they were born.  We were really glad to be able to use this opportunity to commit to raising all of our children to know Christ, and have the church commit to supporting us in this.  We are so thankful God chose us to be parents of these boys and find ourselves asking daily for His guidance and strength!

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Micah’s Birth Story

Friday, August 10th, 2012

**Warning, this post is LONG and contains birthing details. If either of these will annoy you, don’t read this post!

When we first found out that we were pregnant, I called my midwife to make an appointment only to find out that they were currently in negotiations with my insurance company.  The day before my first scheduled appointment (at 8 weeks) I got a call to say that no agreement had been reached with my insurance company, so they were no longer accepting my insurance.  I really loved my midwife.  She had been amazing during Ethan’s birth, so I was really disappointed.  After doing some research, I found that the OB who had delivered Caleb had added a midwife to her practice.  I called them, was assured that they accepted my insurance, and made an appointment.  When I arrived at the appointment a few days later, however, I was told that they no longer accepted my insurance either.   It turns out that most of the OB practices in Boca were part of one management group.  After some more searching I found that there was one (only one!) OB in Boca who would take my insurance and deliver at Boca Raton Regional Hospital (where I had delivered my other 2 boys), so that is who I saw for this pregnancy and delivery.  By the time I had my first appointment I was 10 ½ weeks along, or so I thought.  At the very first appointment, they did an ultrasound and decided I was only 9 ½ weeks.  I never really trusted this as I had actually been keeping track of my periods this time around.  I fully expected to deliver this baby a little before my due date.

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I was quite surprised when I was still pregnant at 39 weeks and then 40 weeks!  My pregnancy was very easy and complication free.  However, on a Friday afternoon when I was 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant (according to my OBs calculations) I didn’t feel any movement for a couple of hours.  I called my OB, and she told me to go to the hospital as quickly as possible to have them check on the baby.  The baby started moving again as we sat in the hospital waiting room, where they left us for an hour!  Good thing we got there quickly!  The baby checked out fine, but this experience had 2 important repercussions.   First my OB, who had assured us she would be happy to be but a “spectator” to my natural birth, started pushing for an induction.  She sent word to the nurse that I could be sent home, but “she didn’t want this to go on much longer.”  Second, being in the hospital reminded me how little I liked being at the hospital.  This further encouraged me that a natural labor with as much as possible at home, was the way I wanted to go.

Though, the hospital staff joked that we would probably be back within 24 hours, another week passed before my labor started.  At my OB appointment that week, my OB said that she would be willing to wait up to 41 weeks, but then she would insist on induction.  She would have liked to induce me sooner, but since the baby and I seemed so healthy she had no real reason to.  I hadn’t had any swelling with this pregnancy, and my blood pressure was as low as it has even been.  She even insisted that I have an ultrasound to estimate the size of the baby.  They estimated he was 8 lbs. 8 oz., which didn’t worry me.  Ethan was 8 lbs. 4 oz. and came out in a single push.  I asked her about stripping my membranes, as that had worked to get my labor started for Ethan’s birth.  She refused, saying that if she stripped my membranes during office hours, she would have to get up in the middle of the night to deliver the baby.  This was apparently unacceptable.  Needless to say, from this point on, neither of us was happy with the other!

Determined to get my labor going without the use of Pitocin, I actually bought Castor oil and planned to try and induce my labor naturally.  I planned on taking it the next Saturday, so that if it made me really sick, Jeff would be home to watch the boys.  That Friday though, I started noticing that my contractions were coming more regularly, though they still weren’t painful.  Friday night it was very rainy.  At around 10 pm, there was a break in the rain, and Jeff and I walked laps around the parking lot in our neighborhood hoping that would help things along.  It didn’t seem to make much of a difference though, so around 11pm we went to bed.  I had been having contractions for weeks, so I wasn’t really convinced yet that this was it and expected to wake up Saturday morning still pregnant.  Instead I was awakened a few times by pretty strong contractions.  By 3:30 am, they were so strong that I could no longer sleep.  I lay in bed lazily timing them using my alarm clock, and they were still about 8 minutes apart.  By 4:30am, they were so strong that I could no longer lie down through them.  I got up, woke Jeff up and told him this was it.  I decided to take a shower as the warm water would help me to relax, and I thought this would be my last chance for a shower for a while.  Jeff went back to sleep.  I was in the shower for about an hour I think.  The warm water felt nice and the contractions became stronger.  I was able to just focus on relaxing through them.  I kept reminding myself, that though this was painful, nothing was wrong.  This is the way my God created me to bring new life into the world.  I relaxed through the contractions, welcoming them to get stronger and open me more.

Eventually I got out of the shower and dressed.  I told Jeff he should get up and start getting ready to go.  I wanted to leave before the boys were up.  I went downstairs and stared using and I-pad app to time the contractions while I ate breakfast.  The contractions were strong and lasted about a minute each, but were still not coming consistently.  They were anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes apart.  To this point I had been standing through all contractions.  I would close my eyes and breathe deeply and slowly.  I was starting to get really exhausted, though.  I tried sitting down, but that spaced the contractions out more and made them even more painful.  I tried sitting on my yoga ball with the same results.  I tried one contraction down on my hands and knees.  That was quite possibly the worst minute and a half of my life.  By this point it was 7 am, and the boys were waking up.  I had wanted to leave by this time but the contractions were still spaced out.  I was so tired that I collapsed on our bean bag chair, and it was 15 minutes before I had another contraction.  I was concerned my labor was stalling, and since the boys were getting up, I took the opportunity to go back upstairs and take a nap!  Now, it seems crazy that I took a nap when I probably should have gone to the hospital, but at the time it seemed like the logical thing to do.  I actually slept for 20 minutes until a monster contraction woke me back up.

I decided to get back into the shower.  Standing in the hot water helped me to relax and focus once again.  My contractions picked back up strong and regular.  It finally occurred to me that standing in a shower alone was probably not the best place for me now.  Our shower is like a cave, and I don’t know that Jeff could even hear me if something happened there.  I went back downstairs and told him it was time to go.  I called the doctor while Jeff called our baby sitters.

While we waited for our sitters, Alexandra and Meredith, to arrive, my contractions were so strong that I started humming through them.  Remaining quiet was no longer an option.  This was the first time the boys had seen me go through contractions, and though Jeff had already explained to them what was happening and assured them that Mommy was okay, they were a little scared.  Caleb wouldn’t come near me or even look at me.  Jeff asked if they wanted to pray with us before we left for the hospital, but they said no, they were busy doing a puzzle.  Jeff and I prayed.  Then while we stood in the kitchen waiting for the baby sitters, I started shaking and felt like I was going to throw up.  Knowing this meant I was transitioning, I became very anxious to leave.

As soon as the sitters arrived, we headed out.  Luckily our drive to the hospital was very short, and I had only one contraction in the car.  Sitting down through it was horrible.  We arrived at the hospital at a little after 10:30am, and walked into reception where there were about 30 people having a tour!  I assured the receptionist that I was well into my labor, and she sent us right upstairs.  I refused a wheel chair in order to avoid having to sit.

When we got to our room, the nurse started the admitting process, and then checked me.  I was 7 cm and fully thinned.  My water hadn’t broken, but she said that as soon as it did, I would be ready to go.  She immediately called my doctor.  My OB arrived a few moments later, and assured us that she had not stopped for a single red light on the way over.  She asked if I could hang on while she changed her clothes.  Since my water still hadn’t broken, I said I could.  She changed, came back to my room, and checked my progress.  She then offered to strip my membranes.  If I hadn’t been almost delirious by then, I would have punched her.  She got ready to break my water and the nurse asked her to let her know as soon as I was fully dilated.  She told the nurse that it would happen immediately as she broke my water.  As soon as she broke it, I felt the baby drop so quickly and with such pressure I thought he was coming all the way out.  He didn’t.  With the next contraction I started pushing.

With Ethan, as soon as I started pushing he came out quickly.  Such was not the case this time around.  Pushing was effective, but MUCH more painful.  My OB and the nurse kept telling me to just keep pushing.  Normally I am reserved and quiet when in pain.  I screamed!  I can’t really remember what the pain was like – just that it was immense.  I had to keep reminding myself that if I could just (literally) push through the pain it would end very soon.  I felt his head come out, but my OB told me to just keep pushing.  My memory is pretty fuzzy at this point, but Jeff told me later that as I pushed the head came out, then my OB worked one shoulder out, then the other, and then the chest.  Finally, my OB told me to open my eyes and take my baby.  At 11:19 am, 34 minutes after we were admitted, Micah Jeffrey, all 9 lbs. 6.6 oz. and 21 inches of him, was laid on my chest!  The third time was every bit as amazing and miraculous as the first!

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Despite some tension in the final weeks, he came into this world, completely on his own schedule and with absolutely no Pitocin, before or after the birth.  Even more amazingly, there was absolutely no tearing!  Though I felt like the pushing had lasted forever compared to my other births, my OB assured me I had only pushed for 4 minutes.  My OB didn’t even have to come to the hospital in the middle of the night.  She was in and out in less than one hour!  He nursed hungrily right away, and within an hour I was up moving around feeling surprisingly great!  Since he was such a big baby, they did measure his blood sugar one hour after birth.  His blood sugar was low, so the pediatrician said we had to give him a couple ounces of formula, making the first one of my children to have any formula.  Don’t worry – he hasn’t had a drop since!  We were able to take him home the next day, only 30 hours after we pulled into the parking lot the day before!

Micah Newborn

1 month and 2 1/2 year updates

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

I know that it has been a million years since we updated this blog!  As Micah is growing though, I realize how much we enjoy looking back at old blog posts to see what our older boys were like at various ages.  I am going to attempt to start updating the blog again, with basic stats if nothing else.

To start with, we welcomed Micah into the world on June 23 at 11:19am, almost a full week overdue.  He was 9lb 6.6oz and 21 inches long.  A BIG boy!

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At 2 weeks, Micah was 9lb 14.5oz and 22 1/2 inches long!

At one month, he weighed 11lb 11.5 oz and was 23 inches long!  He started big and is just getting bigger!  He also holds his head up well and loves to smile.  He is by far our easiest newborn.  He sleeps a lot, and eats only every 2-3 hours — unheard of for an Akins baby!  The only difficult time we have with him is getting him to sleep at night.  He seems to want to wake up after his brothers go to bed and stay awake until midnight!

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Here is a fun comparison of Micah getting his first bath at 2 weeks old and Caleb getting a bath at 6 weeks old.  I think Micah is bigger!

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Ethan, also had his 2 1/2 year check up recently.  He weighed 30lbs and was 34 1/2 inches tall.  That put him in the 49% for weight and 88% for height.  He is tall and thin just like his big brother now.  At 2 1/2 Ethan is our handful!  We are working on obedience, but his first reaction is to say “No” to whatever we tell him!  He is also very bright and loving at times.  He LOVES doing jig saw puzzles, and will even do the 100 piece puzzle we have.  He is generally very busy and active, but will sit and read as long as someone is willing to read to him.  When we have friends over or when we drop him off at the church nursery, we generally find him reading with whoever he can talk into it!

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With all 3 boys our hands are full, but not as full as our hearts!

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Stat Updates

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

In April, Caleb turned 3 years old.  He was 37″ tall and weighed 30 lbs.

In June, Ethan had his 18 month check up.  He was 33.5″ tall and weighed 25lb 8oz.  A couple weeks before that, he had actually weighed 26 lb 11 oz, but after a couple weeks of a cold and double ear infection, his weight was down a little.

15 Month Update

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

On March 19, Ethan turned 15 months old.

He is now 33.5 inches tall and weighs 24lb 3oz.  That puts him in the 95th percentile for height and 40th for weight.  His head was in the 90th percentile.

At 15 months he is full of energy and personality.  He loves to be outside.  Sticks are by far the best thing ever created.  He often carries 5 or 6 of them around at a time, and they can become brooms, power tools, or even trains at a moments notice.  He has also discovered playing in water and LOVES splash parks and pools.  Even a bath can be tons of splashing fun.  He also loves to climb.  He likes to climb on playgrounds (and go down slides) and also on furniture.  Lately he has been climbing over the couch, and jumping down behind it.  Mom is trying her best to put an end to this behavior, but is having little success.  On a related note, “stuck, help!”  is one of his favorite phrases.

Like his brother, Ethan is a good talker.  He can say all sorts of words and short phrases.  Some of his other favorites lately are “Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy . . . ” and “hold me hold me hold me . . . ”  He general lets you know what he wants.  Unlike his brother he is loud.  He likes to yell and will talk to people he doesn’t know.

Given his energy, activity level, and intensity we have started lovingly comparing him to a Tasmanian Devil!