These days Malorie is much more of a chatterbox than she used to be. She is her little brother's shadow, following that guy wherever he may crawl. Routinely, we have to go get Micah out of trouble, like when he gets into Tyson's water bowl. No sooner do we set Micah down in a safe place do we have to run back into the kitchen because Mal was just a step behind him. She laughs at her brother all the time, which eggs him on all the more. For instance, Micah will bop a toy against the ground and Mal will giggle; so Micah will do it three or four more times to keep making her laugh. Malorie also thinks Tyson is hilarious, and loves to touch his fur. Mal can pull up on anything in the house, and then is the most careful baby I have ever seen, slowly lowering herself down from the standing position so as not to hurt herself. Our sweet princess also has grown her first two teeth, which may not sound like much, but those suckers really hurt when she uses them on my fingers. She is also a far cry from that tiny baby we plucked from the NICU; she's now taller than her brother, measuring 29 and three quarters inches and weighing in at just over 20 pounds.
An equal number of traits have changed for Micah James as have for his sister. He also stands up incessantly, but is much less fearful of falling than is Mal. He loves to let go of whatever he is holding on to and crashing to the ground in a heap. Occasionally, he will let go and just stand there for up to ten seconds, looking around wondering why he has not fallen yet. Whereas Mal crawls very delicately and femininely, Micah crawls like a steamroller, barrelling into walls, over pillows and through anything in his way. Micah is also beginning to master his baby sign language, and knows how to sign his favorite word - milk. He uses it at least two or three times a day when he wants a bottle. Micah also has fully mastered clapping, is moderately proficient at waving to people, and has learned to play his baby basketball game with me (by the way, thanks Casey, that basketball set is number one!). Although we have anticipated Micah's first tooth coming any day now since about Christmas, he still does not have any. However, we let him "brush his teeth" when Mal does it too. I guess it's never too early for good dental hygiene, right? Micah can be a bit of a bully to his sister at times, like when steals her pacifier every morning. But then he makes up for it when he chatters with her in the car, making up sounds for her to try to mimic. Micah still outweighs his sister by a few pounds, now tipping the scales at 22 pounds ten ounces, and is 29 and a half inches long.
While I am on the subject of things changing, I may as well address how things have changed for Rachel and me. Last month I submitted my letter of resignation to the Navy, and received it back as accepted this month. So, I will be trading in my flight suit for a suit and tie starting in May of next year. This is a drastic change for our way of life, and one that we did not take lightly. However, after eight years of active duty service, I simply did not want to endure another extended tour abroad without seeing my beautiful wife and babies. We hope to sell our house here in Jacksonville this fall, and then move to the Saint Louis area in the early spring of 2011. As for Rachel, she has begun teaching again, in a way. She tutors for an academically challenged third grader named Miguel twice a week. She still prepares like an absolute perfectionist, and I couldn't be more proud that she is using what little spare time she has to make a difference in Miguel's life.
Looking ahead, I truly have no idea where we will be as a family nine months from now. I mean, if this job change goes poorly, I could be writing a blog post about how filthy it is living in a sewer. But most likely by then, I'll be talking about a new house, the twins saying new words, or Rachel's new winter wardrobe. But like I said, nine months is a long time, and I plan on savoring every moment of these next nine. I'm sure they'll be gone sooner than I think.