Madeleine officially entered the "terrific twos" recently and with that turning she continues to be a pretty terrific kid.

As her vocabulary explodes we have wondered "Where has our little girl gone?" when she now says "Peek-a-boo" instead of simply "peek." Her favored manner of communicating continues to be with shouted exclamations and imperatives. She did enjoy announcing to the entire congregation during an especially quiet moment at mass recently "Poop!" as she pretended to change her baby doll's diaper.

Favorite activities continue to be playing with her doll (now she likes to nurse it), feeding the chickens and going on egg hunts (she can identify their cackles when they've just laid an egg), visiting our two beehives where she flaps her arms and implores the bees to "fly!", and any other outdoor activity, especially if it involves dirt, water, cats, climbing, swinging, or riding on the back of mommy's bike. We are fortunate to have many wonderful neighbors who welcome her presence in their front and back yards, because she thinks those are extensions of her yard anyway.

In this most recent quarter of her life, Madeleine became a seasoned traveler. We spent five days in Santa Cruz on a retreat in April where she loved the ocean and beaches. We then took a week-long road trip to Oregon in May, where she quickly took to farm life with its various domesticated animals, tractors, and a large trampoline. The week-long trip to Illinois and Indiana via airplane in June was exciting too. Her introvert side came out strong on the first two trips, but  she proved to be quite the precocious show-off to her grandparents, great-grandarents and other extended family in the midwest.

We had a great birthday week—remember we have 3 days of labor to celebrate. It was the second year in a row we tried plum pie as the birthday dessert since July brings us thousands of plums from our three trees. This year Madeleine took one bite of pie and wailed, "No. Crackers!" as in "I want crackers instead." We had a small party with mostly neighbors present. It was gratifying to see what a well-loved figure Madeleine has become on our block. Two of her godparents also came and they suggested a small parade around the block with the birthday girl leading the way. She happily blew her kazoo at the head of the procession, but later was upset when we returned home without having witnessed a "real" parade that included horses in it.

Photos from the past few months can be seen here.

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