January: Arianna said her first sentence this month. At 4 am, she said to Marc "Please please please want Momma." Music to a mother's heart. Except at 4 am. Generally, her vocabulary really exploded with new words like "house," "ring," and "pants." Arianna has decided that the universal word for fruit should actually be "apple" and that the letter 'g' stands for "shoe." Learning to talk is fun!

February: Arianna and I have had our first conversation. Noticing that she was leaving a single wet footprint on the kitchen floor, I said "Ari, what's wrong with your sock?" Calmly, she replied "Water." I knelt down and responded "Where did you sock get soaked with water?" Arianna: "Dog's bowl." It was all very clear. As I began to lecture her (again) on staying out of the dog's water bowl, she took off the offensive sock and wandered away. A mother's lectures are never ending.

March: Easter was this month, and happened to coincide exactly with Marc's 42nd birthday. Yep, ask Marc the questions, he knows the answers. Arianna wore a pink poofy dress for Easter that Aunt Linda picked out for her. After hearing Linda and I explain that Linda had chosen Ari's wardrobe, Ari now explains to everyone that "La-la got dress" whenever she appears in public in it. Arianna wandered around Grandpa's yard on Easter wearing her tan work boots in place of fancy Easter shoes because the ground was just too wet. The boots didn't really work with her outfit, but everyone was kind enough to overlook it.

April: More talking updates: Arianna regularly uses sentences/phrases now. She has even started counting, though she is rarely accurate. By the end of this month, though, she started going from 1-6 in English and in German. It was a busy month! Bob and Krystel got married this month, and Arianna was their flower girl. She was partnered with Drew, and on the night of the rehearsal it looked like everything would work out wonderfully. On the day of the wedding, a sleepy Arianna and a sick Drew both rebelled at cooperating. Marc calmly picked up Arianna, took Drew's hand, and helped them down the aisle. Not everything goes as planned, but both kids looked great all dressed up. Everyone is still talking about what a princess Ari was that day. She got all the way through dinner without spilling anything on herself... but it was all for naught after Marc gave her an apple for dessert. Her dress is covered with apple juice stains. Oh well, it was great while it lasted.

May:  Well, Arianna turned 2 this month, and we had a great time. She got some great gifts (including a trampoline and a sand box) that she's been having a blast with. We were able to celebrate with most of our family, but we did miss those that couldn't be here! The trampoline is seeing quite a bit of use and Ari gets the most enjoyment out of it when someone stands around counting with her jumps, or saying the A B Cs. Ari also rode the train at the zoo for the first time this month, and still talks about it weeks later. She's counting to 10 (in English) with no prompting, but with encouragement she makes it to 20. You have to be sneaky to hear her count in German with no help because she only does it when she's talking quietly to herself.

June: June just flew by! As we neared the end of the month, Ari was using more and more actual sentences. She also developed a new night waking routine, where she gets up, gets a drink of water, snuggles for a few minutes... and goes back to her own bed to sleep by herself. This is a fabulous thing. The next step is to teach her that she can just drink out of the water bottle by her bed and lay back down without any help. She'll get there eventually. Much to our suprise, Ari really latched on to a complicated puzzle of the United States and for most of this month insisted on putting it together every night before bed. She happily points to the picture of the Arch and says "St. Louis!"

July: Cornerstone! As usual, we trekked to Bushnell, IL, to enjoy the July 4th holiday. We camped out for a few days - the weather was mostly great, the air matress finally bit the dust, and Ari had a wonderful time. Marc spent some time with Ari letting her decide which music stages she was interested in exploring. Much to our suprise, she was strongly drawn to all heavy metal. We're guessing it's the strong obvious beat, but who knows.... Ari loved swimming around in the lake and spent as much time as possible in the water. She also spent quite a bit of time giggling at the silly songs Uncle Ronn sang to her.  Her verbal skills are growing and she continues to amaze us.

August: It was a busy month, and a loud one. Ari has moved into more complicated sentences and her vocabulary grows every day. We drove up to the new Confluence State Park, where the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers join. Ari and Marc kicked off their shoes at splashed in the Mighty Muddy Mississippi. Ari thought it was funny, especially when it started to rain on us. She's now counting accurately in German and in English, though she still interchanges them. She's also started to sing a lot - her favorite songs are "Baa Baa Black Sheep" and anything VeggieTales.