Friday, July 24, 2015

Catching Up

We celebrated Avery's 6th birthday, Jack's first birthday, Easter, Mother's Day, my birthday, our 10th wedding anniversary (!) the last day of kindergarten, and Father's Day over a two-month time frame.

May had record rainfalls plus many tornado warnings. Avery was a little stressed. Eleanor was just happy to have a cookie.

happier with a helmet on

Avery won the Science Award this year!

Avery treated me to a spa day, but we quickly moved indoors due to mosquitoes.

Last formal day of school (kinder)

Last day of school.

Our 10th anniversary. Luke had someone recreate the top tier of our wedding cake (different flavor inside), plus bought me my wedding flowers. I cried. A lot.

Also, this blog feels forced now, and my time is short. It's great to have a record of our days, but I'm feeling the need to find something that requires less planning, less time at the computer, and something I can just jot down quickly. I love long stories, but I don't know that this is the space to share them anymore. I'm not sure how I'll document our family life in the future. Right now Instagram is doing a good job of capturing the snippets of daily life, and all of my favorite photos end up there these days. I know I'll want a more extensive record, but I think something more private is in order for that kind of journaling now that Avery is in school. The blog will hang around, since I want to capture all of this in a couple books. If anyone has other ideas on how to document life (that isn't paper scrapbooking), send them my way.

The First Year

Happy Birthday Jack!

Your first year flew by so fast. One minute I was welcoming you into my arms, and I closed my eyes for but a second, and you are one. I cried on your birthday, mourning the rapidly ending days of your babyhood, but I'm so eager to see who God is shaping you to be. You are funny and charming, and you have a million-dollar smile. You happily play all day long, sometimes on your own, sometimes with your sisters, and though you'll wander off to explore, you are always back near me, checking in, touching, making sure I'm still there.

You are cruising still, and I keep thinking walking is imminent (since I'm writing this more than three months late, you didn't walk until 15 months). You are a "rascal-baby" as Eleanor has dubbed you, into everything. Your favorites are the office to mess with the computer and the pantry, and if you can get your hands in the toilet, it's an extra special day for you.

You have yet to grace us with what I would call good sleep, but you aren't the worst sleeper ever, so I'll survive. You go down for naps very easily, twice a day, and each nap is usually a couple hours long.

Mealtimes are fun, because you aren't a picky eater yet (and hopefully never). You seem to like a lot of seasoning and don't mind spicy foods too much. We had to get you tested for nut allergies before we could introduce anything, and praise God you aren't allergic. We started you on almond milk and almond butter, since these are also safe for Eleanor, and if we get a moment without her around, we'll try out some peanut butter just for fun.

You seem to have sensitive skin, and we are constantly battling eczema on your face (to come over the summer - an elimination diet that seems to prove it isn't dietary, but it did give your skin a break and your face cleared up, with no reaction when the foods were brought back in).

You clap and point and babble and sit back and observe and love bathtime and your sisters and you are just the most fun.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

10 Months and 11

Avery took this one for me!


At 10 months (plus some), you are the biggest mischief-maker ever. You always have something in your mouth that you shouldn't. We are constantly fishing those items out of your mouth, and we've had a couple choking scares. I feel like I need to follow you constantly, and we've taken to putting you in the pack-n-play when we are working or playing outside, or in the walker, just so that you won't eat something. You adore emptying the tupperware and kid dishes out of the bottom cabinets, and banging on the pots and pans in the play kitchen is another favorite past-time. Our phones are fascinating to you, you reset the tv remote and now it won't work, and we've lost a few phone chargers and headphones because you gnawed on them.

You are now up to seven teeth, which makes your face look so much older.

You have separation anxiety in the nursery at church.

You eat anything we put in front of you. Yogurt, fruits, mum-mums, puffs, squash, sweet potatoes, and eggs are some favorites.

You started pointing last week (that I actually took notice of), and you started clapping two weeks ago.

You love to play the piano and we often hear a soft tap-tap-tap coming from the piano keys as you stretch on your tip-toes to reach.

You follow the girls around the house, trying to keep up with their games. They are sweet and try to include you as much as they can, but they are quick and run off a lot.

You like to move the stools and chairs around, but the felt pads keep falling off the legs, so this is a very noisy activity.

You like to stand and watch the clothes spin around in the dryer.

**TMI alert** You discovered your penis in the bath a few weeks ago, smiled, and then promptly pooped in the tub. Since then, every diaper change is a battle with your hands to keep them out of the way, and at one point, I ended up with poop on the floor and poop on me because of your gravitational pull towards that area now. I will never understand boys.

You are generally sleeping through the night, but you were sick again this month a couple times, so that messed with it. We are trying to get you back to your normal schedule of sleeping til 4 or 5, waking to nurse, and then back down til 7ish. 11 months:

You have 8 teeth.

You are a bad sleeper again, and a few times this month you have been up and down multiple times at night, with one night where you screamed for hours before finally conking out around 2 am. I was such a prideful mom when Avery was a baby, but now, after you and Eleanor, I understand that some kids just aren't great sleepers.

You are eating many more finger foods now. You love strips of toast with fruit puree or a teensy bit of jam. Sweet potatoes, bananas, noodles, peas, zucchini, carrots, winter squash, puffs, mum-mums, scrambled eggs, beans of all kinds, pulled pork bbq, broccoli, pears, cooked apples are all things you've fed yourself, plus you scarf yogurt and fruit or oatmeal and fruit. You eat just about anything I put in front of you, but I feel bad because I'm not very inventive. I do experiment with herbs and spices to help expand your palate, but it's usually always on roasted or steamed veggies of some sort.

You have developed a new cry where you insert some screaming in. This is not my favorite.

I've been keeping you out of the nursery at church the past few weeks to hopefully avoid more illness. You had your first ear infection and round of antibiotics.

You nurse 4-5 times a day still.

You are learning how to use a straw sippy cup, but you mostly just like to chew on it and shake the cup around.

You are STILL into everything.

You discovered toilet paper and the toilet.

Your big skills this month are walking behind a walker or the toy shopping cart! You cruise all over the house pushing those toys. You are definitely motor-oriented like Eleanor, and words are not on your radar at all besides the occasional Mama.

You consistently wake up happy (unless it's the middle of the night), talking to yourself until we come get you, or until you start yelling because we've ignored you too long.

When you are tired, you put your thumb in your mouth and tuck your other hand under your chin. This is still my favorite of your mannerisms.

Bath time always brings a smile to your face, and you like to play with the faucet and use it to pull up on.

I thought you might like balls or cars, but you tend to ignore those in favor of toys with faces (a stuffed panda bear in particular, plus Little People), and all of the play kitchen toys. You like toys and objects with handles. Magformers are a favorite as well as Lincoln Logs, though you have no idea how they are supposed to work.

You chew on puzzle pieces anytime you can get your hands on them.

You gravitate towards my houseplant, so that moved outside and is now dead.

I cannot get through most nights without having to change your sheets and your clothes in the middle of the night - this might be the cause for all of the night waking, but I'm not sure how to fix this.

I still love our cloth diapers, but I'm frequently behind on laundry, so you are more often than not in disposable. Your daddy hates the cloth diapers now, so I tend to only use them on home days when he's not around.

You mimic our silly moves, like shaking our head, playing peek-a-boo, leaning one direction or another, clapping, pointing....

You LOVE when Daddy gets home from work and race towards him. If he walks past you just to put his keys down or take off his shoes, you start crying instantly.

You also love when Avery hops in the car after school. She talks to you on the way home and tries to make you laugh.

In less than a month, we'll be celebrating your big ONE YEAR OLD self. We love you to pieces, Jack-man!

Monday, February 23, 2015

8 Months and 9.

 (I've been trying out an app for blogging from my iPad, and it's given me nothing but headaches. Found this in the drafts, when I thought it had published. I also have more pictures somewhere.)

Sweet Jack,
These two months have been good to us. Not enough sleep because you seem to enjoy hanging out with me a couple times in the night, every night, but those times are precious to me because when you're done nursing, you lay your soft fuzzy head on my shoulder for a second, and then you pop up to grin at me, pat my face, and give me kisses. So, we cuddle for a minute and then I lay you back in your bed.

You are finally loving solid foods, and you'll happily eat from a spoon or gnaw on something you're holding yourself. You love pears and bananas, mum-mums and puffs, most other purees, but you aren't a fan of oatmeal. You flap your arms when the mum-mums come out. Cups of water are merely toys still.

You started crawling shortly after 8 months and then immediately followed with pulling up to your knees and two days later pulling up to standing. You have 6 teeth now, your top two finally cutting through after weeks of swollen gums, and just yesterday your sixth one cut through without any warning. You have a snaggletooth on the bottom, quite noticeable since you are always grinning.

You are still the easiest and happiest baby I've ever known. You have started to lean over to me so I'll grab you from whomever is holding you at the moment. Your sisters are your biggest fans.

You started "talking" this week, saying mamama and bababa. You are officially my favorite child, because the girls both said dada first.

We think you're tops!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

One Little Word 2015


Abide with me; fast falls the eventide; 
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide. 
When other helpers fail and comforts flee, 
Help of the helpless, abide with me.
Thou on my head, in early youth didst smile; 
And, though rebellious, and perverse meanwhile, 
Thou hast not left me, though I oft left Thee, 
On to the close Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence, every passing hour. 
What but Thy grace, can foil the tempter's power? 
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be? 
Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.
I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless 
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness 
Where is thy sting death? Where grave thy victory? 
I triumph still, abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross, before my closing eyes; 
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies. 
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee; 
In life, in death, Lord, abide with me.
This hymn spoke to me during my times of deepest despair. I couldn't sit through it at church some Sundays without crying. Sometimes I let the words wash over me, and sometimes I had to flee to the privacy of the bathroom. And while those days are past, this hymn and this word, abide, have stayed with me. 
Those who've kept up with our family happenings on the blog over the years will know where this idea of One Little Word comes from. For those who are new, this is my version of resolutions for the new year. The word isn't prophetic; I have no idea what the year will look like. It tends to be more of an intention, something I'd like to embrace or see change in myself over the next twelve months. In years past, the words that I've picked have sometimes fit my year perfectly, and sometimes they haven't. The words tend to come to me in the shower, where all great thinking happens. 
My true intention for this next year is to delve deeper into prayer. To have a rich, meaningful, life-giving prayer life. I pray all day long, snippets here and there as events occur or thoughts pop into my head while I'm folding laundry and reading books to the littles and cleaning up the gazillionth mess that day. What I'm longing for, though, is to become a woman of prayer. To become one who knows how to pray, one who prays deeply, one who prays humbly, one who prays faithfully. Lord, teach me to abide. 
2014  2013  2012  2011

A (Quick) Look Back on 2014

1. We welcomed baby Jack into our family! What a joy he is, and we are all so delighted by him - you can't help but smile when Jack's around.

2. We enjoyed our second year in our new home, knocking out just a couple small DIY projects, like getting the nursery ready. One day we'll tackle the big stuff, like when we aren't paying hospital bills for having babies.

3. Avery finished up an awesome year of preschool and started kindergarten. We love her new school and will be returning next year.

4. Luke started a new job; he's still at Dell, but finally out of finance, much to his relief.

5. We went on our first family camping trip, survived the worst thunderstorm I've seen in a long time (in a tent, naturally), and Luke and I are still married after that epic weekend.

6. Luke decided a mustache was the way to go. Shortly after the first, he shaved it off, as well as all of his hair. Phew.

7. Eleanor declared a love for Superman that is deep and abiding.

8. We have settled into a really nice rhythm at home. Many days are crazy and chaotic and the house is often a mess, but I finally feel settled. It's a good thing.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Christmas 2014

This year we celebrated Christmas at home, just the five of us. Our first Christmas at home, and it was just what we needed. We opened presents and stockings, with Avery playing Santa. She passed out all the gifts before settling down to open her own, which surprised me at first, but really, it lines up with her desire to savor the good things in life.
I spent the entire week before Christmas sewing an Elsa dress for her, even dragging my machine to Houston for our visit with my family. I'd say she loved it.

It was all Frozen on Avery's end, and all Superman on Eleanor's. Sometimes they couldn't be more opposite.
Fun fact: Jack is exactly the same age (plus two days) that Avery was at her first Christmas. He managed to stay awake through all of the present opening however, while Avery needed a nap partway through.
Pancakes for breakfast, a nap for me, and then hours in the kitchen cooking Christmas dinner. I think we'll go simple next year so I can play with the kids more. Or we'll be home the days leading up to it and travel after so that I can do food prep.

A quiet day with my most favorite people in the world, celebrating the birth of Christ.