Thursday, December 31, 2009

Highlights from Christmas '09

We're baaaaack!! And boy does it feel good. We had a spectacular time in PA visiting with our family over the holidays, but I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to be back in my living room, blogging away on the couch while Tank sleeps soundly on his sailboat sheets in his spacious crib. It's so good to get away, and just as good to come back again!

We left the morning after Jon returned from Boston, driving just ahead of that massive snow storm that hit the east coast. Ironically, we saw very little snow on our trip up and during our time in PA. Although we did manage to run right into the thick of the storm while leaving New Jersey the following day. I love snow ... until it turns a typically 3 hour drive into 5.5 hours of crawling down the highway late at night. And so Jack slept through his first real snowstorm.

Jon had to return to VA to work so Jack and I stayed up at Marmie and Poppa's for a few days until our family was re-united again. I could go on and on about how much fun we had and all that we did during our 12 days in the Keystone State, but I'll try to keep it to just the highlights:
  • One of my favorite moments of the holiday was after we pulled into my in-law's driveway after our 8 hour drive from Virginia. We walked in the back door, set Jack's feet on the ground and off he ran to give Nonnie a huge hug. Which lasted several minutes. He just didn't let go. It was the sweetest thing. I'm so glad my big, brute of a boy is such a lover! :)

  • Speaking of his lovingness, Jack spent most of his Christmas holiday running from person to person with his arms in the air. Yes, my son "goes to anybody." Including random people in the grocery store. If you even look his direction he will most likely reach his arms out to you. I am glad for this, at least he's not overly-clingy and he only burries his head in my neck when he's exhausted. But I wonder what people think of me when it appears that my child is anxious to get away from his Mom... Then again, most people were thrilled that a baby wants to be in their arms. At every Christmas party or church service we always heard, "He reached for me!!" We don't usually tell them that he does this to everybody, it's not so special that way. :)
  • Jack got his first band-aid. It was adorable in the most pitiful way to see that little neon strip wound round his finger. My mother-in-law and I were at the mall and left Jack in the capable hands of his father, who was busy vacuuming and didn't notice Jack playing with a glass candle holder, at least, not until after the candle holder was shattered and Jack was instead playing with broken glass. I got a call in the middle of the mall from Jon, "Can you ask my Mom where she keeps the band-aids?" "Ummm, whyyyy??" ...Thankfully, it wasn't a bad cut, Jack didn't even notice it. Although he did notice the band-aid. I later found him trying to eat it along with the rest of his dinner.

  • In case you're wondering if the candle holder was the only thing Jack broke at Nonnie's, well no, it wasn't. He managed to shatter a glass Christmas bulb the second day we were there. So much for my goal of keeping Jack free of offenses. I think those are the only two things he broke though. But trust me, there were plenty of close calls.
  • For Jon's birthday his parents took us and Jon's sister and her husband out for a lovely dinner at DiSalvo's. Not that we don't enjoy Jack's company when we're eating out, but it was so nice to have an adult dinner with adult conversation. I didn't have to spend half the night cutting food into bite size pieces or bring out the dust buster to clean up under Jack (okay, I don't really do that, but I feel like it would be a lot easier if I could!). Jack went to Uncle Micah's house while we were out, where it apparently took 6 other guys to keep things under control, particularly Uncle Jared, who is the only Uncle that changes diapers. Jack was very excited to party with the big boys! I did get a good laugh in when we went to pick him up. Apparently Uncle Jared thought the zipper on Jack's pajamas went on the back. He claimed the feet were still facing the right direction, until I pointed out that the seam was completely twisted around Jack's leg. :)

  • The boys must have completely worn Jack out because he slept until 9:30 the next morning. HELLO!! That's a Jack record! I wondered around the house in the my pajamas all morning, trying to figure out if Jack was going to wake up any minute now or if I had time to get a shower. Since we're on the subject of sleep, Jack did sooo well. I can't help but think back to last Christmas, when we would be up all hours of the night. Sure our routine gets a little messed up when we're traveling and visiting lots of different people, but I was very relieved to see how flexible Jack could be. Occasionally his lack of sleep would make him a bit more crankier than normal, but for the most part he did pretty well. Just a little more wild than usual, and that's pretty wild to begin with. :)

  • Jack sleeps in the pack 'n play at both our parents' houses. I always check on him before I go to bed. You know, just to make sure he's breathing. :) I have to wonder how long I'll keep doing this. Anyway, one night I peaked into his room and couldn't find him anywhere. I could hear him breathing, but his bed was empty. My eyes adjusted after a few more seconds and then I noticed a large bump under the crib mattress. Somehow Jack had managed to creep under the mattress and was sleeping soundly in his cave. I wish I could have gotten a picture.

  • One of Jack's favorite presents this year was his Radio Flyer tricycle from G.G.Ma. He's not quite big enough to get on it by himself, although he certainly tries. But he did figure out how to push it around on his own. He also loves it when one of us puts him on the seat and takes him on speed rides around the house.

  • It has been well-proven these past two weeks that Jack is my active, energetic little boy. He can even keep up with his older cousins. Jack LOVES his cousins. His energy level shoots up a couple degrees as soon as they walk into the room. He thinks bigger kids are very exciting! When Jack gets excited he does a little dance. It's so cute, it's like he has ants in his pants and can't keep still. He also likes to dance with Marmie. I never saw him laugh as hard as he did the night she was showing him how to jump and dance. He was literally doubled over with laughter. Yet another moment I wish I had captured on video!

  • We did get some snow while we were visiting, although not enough to send Jack out to play in. One morning when Jack got up Jon put him in our bed. He stood up, peaked out the window blinds at a semi-white world and said, in his childish whisper voice, "Whoa!" I think this is one of his very favorite words, second only to "more." He said it often this Christmas season, especially when standing in front of the decorated tree or driving by Christmas lights. I just loved having him around this Christmas season, it really puts a new perspective on the phrase "childish wonder."

Naturally, we can't help but think about what next Christmas will bring. Jack will be another year older, and hopefully another year wiser. :) #2 will be with us too. Great Aunt Jane has started knitting his stocking to hang by Marmie and Poppa's fireplace. And Nana has already fashioned his first sweater. I will say this baby definitely enjoyed his share of the holidays this year. He likes to kick Jack when I'm holding him (sibling rivalry!) and Daddy finally got to feel him move (it's been tough with Jon traveling so much!). And Mommy made sure she ate lots of extra Christmas goodies for "the two of us."
Jack will be up soon, it's time for Mama to stop "resting." We hope you all had a wonderful time with family and friends, celebrating our Savior's birth. We'll be packing up our Christmas decorations soon, but I can't help but think about how grateful I am for a beautiful, special end to the year. Saying goodbye to 2009 will not be difficult when there's so much to look forward to in 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy V-Day Baby!

No, I'm not getting my Christmas trees confused with red hearts. Today baby is 24 weeks along and that means he has good chances of surviving outside the womb, should he choose to make his entrance anytime after today. It is viability day, the point where most doctors will make an attempt to save your baby, before 24 weeks many insurance companies won't even cover such attempts since survival rates are so low. Now, I am quite sure, J Jr. here has no plans to begin his exit. It is wayyy to comfoy in Mommy's belly, and we like our babies to be big and healthy in this family. But isn't it amazing to think that, thanks to modern medicine, he has a chance at life should he arrive earlier than planned?
To be honest, v-day never even crossed my mind with Jack. I mean, I am just starting to show. It was only yesterday that I realized a belly was starting to get in between me and putting on my socks. Baby hasn't even been kicking me in the gut that long. The last thing on my mind at this point is going into labor.
But after hearing about my fellow J-namer, Michelle Duggar, who had her 25-weeker via emergency c-section 2 weeks ago, V-day has really hit home. She was only 3 weeks ahead of me. I've been anxiously awaiting for them to announce the gender so I could worry about her stealing my J name, and then I see on the news that baby girl Josie Brooklyn is here and stable. (In case you are wondering, that is not one of my names.)
And so, in the midst of this beautiful holiday season, while we're busy celebrating Jon's birthday, and taking part in numerous Christmas celebrations, we're also happy to toast (sparkling grape juice of course) to today - V-Day, to our healthy baby #2 and to the next 16 or so weeks I'm planning on keeping him to myself.
I'm wishing you all the merriest of Christmases, see you next year! :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Photo Shoot

Anyone with kids knows how pleasant a Christmas card photo shoot can end up being. We only have one right now, and that's tough enough. It's a good thing I've got my boys matching sweaters for next year, because with two under two those sweaters may be the only things that both look good for the picture.
This is the second year we've asked my brother to take our family photos. He's got a good eye, and a great camera. And we get the "family discount". ;) You would think that with all that time over Thanksgiving we'd be able to plan a proper photo shoot, but no. For the second year in a row Jack was cranky, Mommy's hair was a mess, and Daddy was in a hurry. Here's is the progression of our family photo:

This is one of the first photos we took. Jack is downright gleeful ... but we were still working out the lighting.

More lighting difficulties, and Jack would prefer to look at anything but the camera.

We lost the smile when we moved him away from the tree.

Jack's done with picture-taking, and we've barely even started.
We decide to change settings. And Jack decides he's ready for a nap.
Still acting tired and cuddly, and not smiling, but this ended up being our card for 2009. I just love his eyes in it!
More on-camera crankiness. I'm clearly overcompensating for the both of us.
Jack trying to escape from the camera.
Back inside, where Poppa manages to get Jack to smile, but not while looking at the camera.
And then Jack looks super-cute when Mommy and Daddy are cut out of the picture.

So at least we were able to find one shot out of the gazillions Uncle Micah took. I wonder how many shots it will take next year? :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Second Pregnancy Syndrome

I think I'm suffering from second pregnancy syndrome. You're probably thinking, "Hmm, I've never heard of that." Well, I just made it up. And I haven't had a chance to Google it to find out if it's real yet. Google. Apparently that's how I define reality. Sad. Anyway, what I mean is that I was so in to my pregnancy with Jack, which was my first and only pregnancy, that I tend to hold that experience as THE definition of pregnancy. I'm slowly realizing that all pregnancies, and babies, are different. And, more importantly, that the baby in my belly is not Jack, it's somebody completely different. It sounds so simple, but honestly it feels weird to me to think that I'm carrying another, new baby. Kind of like when you go back to your parents house for Christmas, and your bedroom isn't your bedroom anymore. Well Jack's womb is not Jack's womb anymore. Haha, bad example.

Anyway, I really want to make sure I'm being fair to #2. I want him to have his own pregnancy, his own special experiences, his own time with Mommy. So this post is dedicated entirely to him, now that I'm done mentioning Jack. :) I can't help it, I just love that kid! And he has the advantage of giving me kisses, #2 can only kick me in the gut at this point.

Speaking of kicking, the next Baby J is quite active, which I've mentioned before. He seems to move a lot, especially late at night. Which I love. I think he realizes that at the end of the day he finally gets Mommy's full attention. He's probably got lots of extra space in there since his nearly 9 lb. brother was the last to occupy that area. We call him by his name now (just first since the middle is still up in the air) but I have to keep checking myself on the blog. I promise to make a formal announcement after our next ultrasound, just to make sure he's really a "he."

I'm happy to say nauseousness and headaches are behind us! But not without one last hurrah, at 19 weeks, in which I threw up in the car, while driving. Fortunately I just so happened to have a plastic bag with me. Throughout this pregnancy I've tried really hard to not get sick in front of Jack. I mean, if I was 14 months I think I'd be a little freaked out if I saw my mom throwing up. Then again if you're Jack you'd probably start trying to figure out how you could do the same thing. Well, in this case, with Jack in the backseat, it was a little tough. He just stared at me. Thankfully, it hasn't happened since. And I've got all my energy back, just in time for the busy season at work and getting ready for Christmas.

#2 can hear now. Which also makes me feel bad. I'm pretty sure he's going to think his older brother's name is "No-Jack-no." His first word may end up being "don't touch" since he hears it about 20 times a day.

Other than the sweater and one pack of diapers, #2 isn't going to be benefiting from Mom's pregnancy induced shopping sprees, although I have made him a few things (separate post). #2's not getting a cute, nautical themed nursery either. In fact, he'll be stuck in Mommy and Daddy's room for at least the first 6-8 weeks until we move. (Jon's not too thrilled about that).

It's funny, at first I was worried that Jack would get less attention when the baby arrived, but I'm beginning to be afraid that, with a big brother with as much personality and energy as Jack, the baby is the one that's going to feel neglected.

Like I said, I'm slowly starting to realize what I have coming to me in 4 months. But it's going to be fun too. The more Jack's personality shines through, the more I wonder what the next baby is going to be like (Jon's hoping for a quiet, artistic, guitar player; Poppy is hoping to watch two grandson's play football at the Coast Guard Academy in 2028; and I'm just hoping for two boys that get along with each other and are best of friends). Since Jack is my "spirited" baby I'm secretly hoping this one is going to be a "textbook." At the very least, I can't have two "spiriteds" in a row, can I?? I can't wait to see if this baby has big cheeks like Jack, or if he ends up being a tiny, little guy. Is he going to love exploring every inch of the house or will he be content to sit on Mommy's lap and read a story... the whole story. Will he slide down the stairs with his hands in the air like his big brother, or will he cautiously crawl down one hand and knee at a time? Will he be a sleeper? (yes, please) A big eater? Is he going to always be wearing a size bigger than his age?

I have a lot of questions to be answered over the next year or so. But I'm glad #2 is on his way. I'm glad that I'm broadening my pregnancy and baby horizons. And as much as I love Jack, I'm glad that I'm going to have a another little man to love just as much. Sure it'll be twice the work, but when I think about the smiles, giggles, and big, sloppy kisses ... I'll be getting twice as much of that too. So I'll keep praying. Praying for Jack because, as much as I try to tell him about the baby in Mommy's belly, he's really in for a big surprise this April. Praying for new baby, who's busy carving out his own little niche in this family. And praying for me, I'm going to have my hands full!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just another day in the office

I've been playing single mom again, and not enjoying it. Last week Jon was in sunny Miami, this week he was in brisk Boston, and in between he was in the home office working on his final paper. So we haven't seen much of him lately. Surprisingly, these past two weeks have been easier than I expected. Not "easy" but "easier." Jack is still as active as ever, but he hasn't been so clingy lately. In fact, he may be becoming a little too independent. He's officially learned how to "crawl" down the stairs (actually, he turns on his belly, puts his hands in the air and slides down, and usually make my heart stop in fear for a few seconds). He's also figured out he can climb off Mommy's lap when she's reading a bedtime story and head for the stairs faster than she can turn the page. Oh, and last night he attempted to get out of the bathtub on his own - twice! About gave me a heart attack! But with this newfound independence also comes an ability to play longer by himself and find new entertainment without Mommy's help. It's been very nice! I'm beginning to wonder if the previous few weeks were "just a phase." He's almost like a completely different kid now!

Well, when Jon's away he takes the laptop (i.e. my home office) with him. Which means I have to do all my work down in the cold, dark guestroom. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm able to accomplish A LOT when I'm down there, with no other distractions, but only when Jack's asleep. When he's awake, which is the better part of the day, it's "a whole nuther story" (I think that's my favorite grammatically incorrect phrase).

First of all, it is deadline time in my world. My phone is off the hook, and my email inbox keeps sending me warning messages that I've reached 497.5MB of my 500MB limit. I think this is the first time in at least a year I've been geniuinely stressed. I almost forgot what it felt like! So I'm spending much more time on work than usual. Unfortunately, the office is our least baby-friendly room in the house because Jack isn't down there very often. When Daddy got back he was in for a little surprise.

Take the other day for example. I gave Jack some toys to play with on the floor while I logged in to my email. The toys were fun for a few minutes, and then he found the tissue box and pulled out all the tissues. I took that away and then he attacked the trash can, spreading papers all over the floor, which are fun to walk on when you're a 14 month old with little balance to begin with. After he broke the candle holder and Daddy's barometer, he started eating my plant. The one that I've brought back from the brink of death on numerous occasions. We'll it continues to teeter on in the land of the living, despite several Jack attacks.

At this point I thought I'd better step in. So I held Jack with one hand and typed with the other. Then Jack noticed my eyeballs. For some reason he thinks they are fun to poke. I couldn't take it anymore so I put him back on the floor, where he crawled under the desk, and hit the blue, blinking button that turns Mommy's computer off. Right in the middle of my work.

Needless to say, I was perturbed. While we were waiting for the computer to re-boot I took Jack for a spin in the computer chair. He likes this and it keeps him calm for a few minutes. Probably because he gets a little dizzy. Well, I may have taken a few spins too many. I could hardly see straight. I closed my eyes for a few second and when I opened them Jack had managed to shut himself in the dark, windowless bathroom and couldn't figure out how to get he door open. Mommy to the rescue! A nap soon followed.

Much to my delight, the hubster is now home and these weeks of single-mommyhood are ended. Even better news is that we'll soon be on our way to Pennsylvania where I know Jack will get all the attention he needs and I'll get the break I deserve!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Baking with Tank

I must officially be a grown woman now, as I have been required to bring "a dozen cookies" to several Christmas parties. In fact, one invitation actually specified that they be fancy cookies. I've never made more than one or two kinds of cookies at a time, at least, not without my mom. So, in an effort to appease family and friends, I jumped into Christmas cookie mode in full force last night, and made 5 different kinds in 7 hours. Yeah, it was a late night.

I was reading a few weeks ago about having your child assist you with cookie-making as a learning activity. The suggested age range was 1 and up. I was like, "Really, one year olds can help make cookies?" So I thought I'd give it a try.
Ehhh, not so much. Jack couldn't even manage to keep his stocking'd feet on the chair so he could see the mixing bowl, much less assist in any manner. Maybe next year kiddo! So we had a modified baking day with Tank helping from the floor. And surprisingly, the arrangement was quite successful!

Do you know how long he sat and played on this blanket, quietly, BY HIMSELF?! Well, I don't know either. I lost track of time. But it was long enough for me to mix up two different recipes. After a while he got hungry and started trailing me around the kitchen and pulling on my pants (which, I might add, is a completely different scenario when you're wearing maternity pants!). So he sat and ate dinner while I mixed up another batch and started putting sheets in the oven.

Dinner time was over and would you believe it? He went into the living room and played by himself for a little while. Granted, he did throw half the toys down the stairs, and he did dig up some potting soil from the plant, but I'll take this over hold-baby-with-one-hand-mix-cookies-with-the-other any day.
After a while he got a little lonely and rejoined me in the kitchen, where I happened to leave the cupboard door open. That's when he pulled out all the pots and pans (and then sat in the saucepan, as you can see in the picture above). Baking cookies is slightly more challenging when you're tripping over skillets and babies, but not impossible. When that wasn't fun anymore he turned to one of his old favorites - throwing objects into the great abyss (a.k.a. the fake drawer below the sink).
He must think a fairy comes every night and rescues said objects from the dark, dark hole. Because the fact that they may be lost forever has not yet deterred him.
Now, I don't have a lot of counter-space in my kitchen, so I was cooling cookies on every flat inch I could find, including the table. Guess what that little stinker did while Mommy's back was turned. He reached up to the table, grabbed a cookie, and ran off to the living room where he gobbled it down. I was stunned. Did my little baby really just sneak a cookie off the table? How does he even know that cookies are good and that he really wants one? (Trust me, he knows now, as he had 4 more failed snitching attempts throughout the evening.) Seriously, sometimes I feel like I'm raising a miniature teenager.
The sad thing is, this mini-teen really is big enough to beat me up now. I have the bruises on my arm from a conch-shell-in-a-14-month-olds-hands to prove it. Where does the time go?!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I was reading my husband's WORLD magazine then other day when I came across a blurb stating that Disney is offering refunds on Baby Einstein DVDs sold from 2004-2009 because it has been discovered that, *gasp* they actually do not make your child smarter. WHAT?!? Really? They don't? Bummer.

I jest. I really didn't think they were going to make Jack smarter. But I do wonder just how many people will take advantage of this opportunity and return their DVDs. We only own a few that I picked up at the thrift store, but they are some of Jack's favorite videos. And very helpful if I need 20 minutes of "quiet time." Then again, there was the time when Jack cranked up the volume to 40-something (we usually keep it between 4-8) when "Old MacDonald" was playing during the movie ... while I was on the phone with a student!! He's learned how to turn the volume up but hasn't managed to figure out how to turn it down yet. So I had to run down to the garage to finish my phone call. So much for "quiet time."

Anyway, to continue my original thought. I never expected these movies to make my baby smarter, but I do value them for what they are - simple, occasional entertainment for the littlest consumer. And, pretty much the only thing on TV he'll watch for longer than 5 minutes. I can't imagine a trip to PA without them!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A day in the life

Sometimes I forget that I'm pregnant. Or perhaps I'm just pushing it out of my mind, because the thought of two little guys running around my house practically freezes me with fear. Okay, so maybe I have some time. Aren't you glad God made babies so inactive those first few weeks, or months. It's nice to have that lead-in time to just stare at them and take lots of pictures. Speaking of which, have you noticed that lack of pictures on my blog lately? Well I have. It's because my little stinker will not stay still long enough to take a shot. I have tons of blurry pictures of Jack turning his head or trying to grab the camera. The child just does not sit still. And not only does he not stop moving, but he's always touching something. Touch, touch, touch.

Evidentally this is completely normal at this age. At least that's what everyone tells me. Which makes me think I must be some sort of wussy mom. Because Jack is just about the limit of what I can handle. And if #2 ends up being like him ... well, we'll just have to wait and see. I keep telling myself that people have 2,3,4+ kids every day, it's certainly not impossible. But I'm just having a really hard time picturing it.

Out of curiosity, I decided to keep track of what a typical day looks like with Jack, this is what happened:
7:15am – kick crib so mom knows I’m awake
7:20am – drink a few sips of milk, throw cup on ground when done
7:23am – eat lots of Crunchy Corn Bran, pound on tray when ready for more
7:28am – take two bites of oatmeal and 5 bites of applesauce, wave hands in front of face to signal “all done”
7:35am – eat three more handfuls of Crunchy Corn Bran, push on tray to tell Mom I’m done
7:45am – Mom gets me out of high-chair, try to pull wrapping paper off table, Mom blocks
7:46am – try to pull scissors of table, Mom blocks
7:47am – play quietly behind curtain, make Mom wonder what I’m doing
7:49am – pull salt shaker off table, shake all over windowsill until Mom takes it away
7:51am – yank Mom’s recipe folder off shelf, spread all over floor while Mom is eating breakfast, tear pages out of folder until Mom stops me
7:53am – attempt to pull stack of papers off table, Mom blocks
7:54am – successfully pull another stack of papers of table while Mom isn’t looking
7:55am – Mom transports me to Living Room with instructions to “play with toys”
7:56am – lean over safety gate and shake the Christmas tree branches
7:57am – successfully remove one Christmas bulb from tree
7:58am – throw entire weight onto safety gate to reach more ornaments
7:59am – find a secret way to crawl behind safety gate and under the tree
8:00am – Mom looks up from checking email and catches me, says “Look don’t touch” and fixes gate
8:02am – grab one more ornament off tree, fall into corner of gate, cry for help
8:04am – Mom transports me to other side of Living Room
8:05am – chew on Christmas bulb while planning next activity
8:06am – open drawer on stand, pull keys out of drawer
8:07am – alternate putting different sets of keys in my mouth
8:08am – walk over to tree, throw one set of keys on other side of gate
8:09am – walk over to Mom checking email, throw other set of keys onto laptop
8:10am – wonder around Living Room looking for new activity
8:11am – wonder too close to Mom who wants to “get my boogers”
8:12am – yell “Maaa” with hands up in air, Mom pulls me up on her lap
8:12am – sit quietly next to Mom for .5 seconds
8:13am – crawl over Mom’s shoulder and pound on window
8:14am – crawl over pillow and couch arm, attempt to dig out potted plant
8:15am – Mom puts me on floor, reach hands for up
8:16am – Mom wipes more boogers, try to crawl over her and laptop to reach cup of hot tea, Mom is too quick
8:17am – back on ground, cry to have Mom pick me back up
8:17am – back on Mom’s lap, put head down on shoulder, lift head up, put head back down for quick back scratch
8:19am – attempt to chew on Mom’s arm, back on floor
8:20am – cry and dance, Mom picks me up and we go look at the Christmas tree together, I point at ornaments and say “goo” and she says “mm hmmm”
8:23am – Mom puts me on floor with toys, play with toys, then pull more keys out of drawer
8:24am – put Blockbuster membership card in mouth, accidentally drop it in toybox
8:25am – bring Dad’s cell phone holster to Mom, throw on laptop
8:25am – back to Christmas tree to shake more branches
8:26am – Mom says “no”, back to sitting on her lap, blow raspberries
8:27am – give Mom lots of hugs, try to touch her teeth, she says “no” and I get angry
8:28am – back on floor, cry a little, Mom says “do you want to go upstairs” and removes gate from stairs
8:29am – first step, try to take things out of diaper bag, second step find pen, throw down stairs, third step, play with Daddy’s razor sharpener until Mommy takes it away, continue up stairs
8:30am – find socks on room floor, find pacifier under crib, head to bathroom where Mom finds me standing over the toilet
8:31am – Mom says no and shuts bathroom door
8:31am – sit in hall, point at lights and tell Mom a story
8:33am – crawl into Mom’s closet, take shoes off shelf, insert red heels in mouth, attempt to open hidden Christmas presents
8:34am – remove books from Mom’s bedstand, one at a time, while she is making bed, laugh at Mom
8:34am – back to closet to throw more shoes off the shelf while Mom picks up books, Mom says no and moves me out of closet
8:35am – walk down hall, come back and go back to closet, Mom pulls me out and holds closet doors shut
8:36am – attempt to open closet one more time, walk down hall, turn around and throw more books down on floor
8:37am – walk to clothes hamper, pull dirty clothes out onto floor, stop and stare at “Babywise” lying on floor
8:39am – throw G’Ma’s Christmas gift on floor, play with Daddy’s alarm clock, pull on window blinds, Mom picks up books
8:40am – discover rolls of wrapping paper, collapse on pile of pillows while Mom is still trying to make the bed
8:41am – throw Christmas cards on floor, walk to Mom’s bedstand and throw books on floor, start to read “Supernatural Childbirth”
8:42am – Mom finishes making the bed, I throw the Christmas cards on the floor again
8:43am – pull trash out of trash can and run around room with it, while Mom picks up Christmas cards
8:44am – throw Christmas cards on floor, pull more trash out of can, play with wrapping paper from trash can
8:45am – walk to hamper, pull dirty clothes out onto floor, crawl back to trash can, sprinkle floor with dirty tissues, turn trash can upside down and dump the rest out onto floor, sing to self while pounding trash can like a drum
8:47am – Mom sends me to my room to play with toys
8:47am – successfully plays with toys in room
8:52am – realizes Mom is in bathroom, goes to her room and throws Christmas cards on floor, then to bedstand to throw books on floor
8:54am – Mom returns, thumb through “Babywise”, hand book to Mom, thumb through “Supernatural Childbirth”, hand book to Mom, reach up to Mom
8:55am – get diaper changed, throw book on the floor, roll over three times, throw stuffed animal on the floor, attempt to stand twice, Mom finishes changing diaper
9:00am – naptime, lights out, snuggle with Mom for .5 seconds, then reach for crib

10:28am – kick crib to alert Mom to wakefulness
10:31am – kick crib some more in case Mom didn’t hear
10:32am – greet Mom with smile and kiss when she comes to retrieve me
10:33am – play with toys
10:35am – walk to tree, stand at safety gate and hit tree with flashlight, touch branches
10:38am – hit window with flashlight, play with tree branches, hit window with flashlight
10:40am – walk to Mommy, hand her flashlight, Mommy shows me how flashlight really works
10:41am – throw flashlight down, find keys, insert keys in mouth
10:41am – crawl under Mommy’s legs to other side of coffee table where Mommy’s drink is, Mommy moves drink
10:42am – crawl under Mommy’s legs to other side of coffee table where Mommy moved drink, Mommy moves drink again
10:42am – find second set of keys, put first set in mouth so I can grab flashlight and walk to window, bang window with flashlight
10:44am – Mommy announces “I smell poop” and carries me upstairs, I give Mommy two more kisses
10:48am – sit still reading book while getting diaper changed
10:47am – Mommy takes me to bathroom to wipe dry snot off my face, I point at self in mirror and laugh
10:48am – alternate between playing with keys and throwing Christmas bulb
10:53am – sit on Mommy’s lap, we play “watch how still Jack can sit when something is put on top of his head”
10:56am – crawl behind Mommy and start pulling tissues out of the tissue box
10:57am – Mommy puts me down on floor, I cry
10:57am – Mommy picks me up, I snuggle on Mommy’s shoulder
10:58am – eat a snack in kitchen while Mommy gets lunch ready
11:04am – eat lunch
11:30am – play in “Jack drawer” while Mommy eats lunch, attempt to pull wrapping paper off table, Mom stops me, pull papers off table, Mom stops me halfway through, go back to “Jack drawer”
11:34am – Mom takes a phone call, I attempt to pull Mom’s soup off the table, Mom stops me and continues with phone call
11:35am – play with his plastic dishes in Living Room
11:40am – see Mommy watching me and run out to kitchen with ball in hand, throw ball across room
11:41am – play with bottle cap on windowsill, attempt to pull wrapping paper off table, attempt to pull mail off table
11:42am – try to pull leaves off plant, Mommy says “no”, give Mommy innocent look
11:43am – attempt to pull things out of trash can, Mommy says “no” and turns can around
11:44am – attempt to pull wrapping paper off table, Mommy says “no”
11:44am – play with magnets and pictures on fridge
11:45am – attempt to get into trash can but Mom outsmarts me, bang hands on fridge, then pull hand towels off oven door
11:46am – take a break for milk, yell “Mama!” and hand Mom the sippy when I can’t figure it out, Mom helps me hold the sippy high enough to get a good sip
11:47am – pull tray off of high chair, go back to playing in Jack drawer, Mommy announces it’s time for a walk
11:48am – dance to music of Mommy’s cell phone ring
11:49am – throw toys down stairs while Mommy talks on the phone
11:55am – Mommy again announces it’s time for a walk, we head upstairs, I'm detoured by candles on steps
11:57am – I bust into bathroom, throw hair gel into trash can, Mommy removes me from bathroom
11:59am – Mommy finds me in her closet, throwing shoes on the floor
12:00pm – Mommy puts my shoes on, I head towards Christmas tree to play with ornaments
12:01pm – Mommy picks me up and takes me down to stroller, I try to grab Daddy’s work boots off garage shelf
12:02pm – Mommy and I go for a walk, I'm still and quiet the entire trip

Phew! I ended up keeping track of the whole day but the list is so long I thought I'd only include this much on the blog. First off, I meant for this to be a typical day, but it wasn't. This would be considered a difficult day. Not all days are like this. Plus I was still getting over being sick and probably not giving Jack the attention he's used to, and Jon worked extra late that day.

It is rather comical to read through Jack's day like this, but I have to admit, it was a great learning experience. This is not how I pictured raising a 1 year old. It is more obvious to me than ever that I really need to work on giving Jack some more structure. He needs to learn to entertain himself for longer periods of time, and he needs to learn how to focus on one or two objects for longer periods of time, rather than running about from activity to activity. So you can bet my goal for the next few weeks, or maybe I'll wait til after Christmas, is to institute a regular roomtime or independent playtime. Also, what's not included here is the most difficult time of day - the late afternoon when I'm trying to get dinner ready. Jack is always hungry and clingy when I'm trying to make dinner. This day was particularly bad because my grocery trip ran late and by the time we got home Jack was more than ready to eat. My other goal is to make sure Jack gets a good sized snack in the afternoon to hold him over until dinner and to start prepping dinner during his nap so that it goes more smoothly after he's awake. These are all part of "Operation: Organized" slated to begin at the New Year, because really, what better time to get your life in order than 3 1/2 months before a new baby arrives, right? :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Call me crazy but ...

... last night I ordered matching sweaters for my boys for next Christmas. :) The thought of coordinating outfits for two little boys makes me giddy.

In fact, I can't believe I hadn't thought of it sooner! It's a good thing Jon's out of town this week *wink, wink*. But no, I was very good and limited myself to just two sweaters, despite all the adorable matching hats and mittens I also found. And it's the very first thing I've bought for Baby #2 so far. Besides, it was a deal I couldn't refuse. The Children's Place has rugby sweaters on sale for $5, I found a code online for 15% off, made my purchase through Mr. Rebates for an additional 5% back, and only paid $5 in shipping. And just in case you're wondering how I got so good at internet shopping, well I had some help from my favorite blog - Money Saving Mom. Man I love snagging deals! It's almost as thrilling as planning out a forthcoming photo shoot of two chubby, little blondies in striped rugby sweaters, playing the snow ...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I think my doctor reads my blog

Last week baby and I had another check-up. This is how my appointments usually go:
  • I check in - I noticed something different with this pregnancy than the last one, there's hardly anyone else in the waiting room when I come for my appointments. With Jack there were 3 or 4 nurse practitioners available to see, this time there are only two, and I rarely have to wait. Either the pregnant military population has significantly dropped this past year, or fall babies really are more popular than spring.

  • The nurse checks my blood pressure - Something else I also noticed, my blood pressure has been totally normal this pregnancy. With Jack they always took it twice, after I had time to "rest" because it tended to be borderline high.

  • I get weighed - I'm up 10 pounds so far. At this point with Jack I was up 12 pounds. I think this is a good thing since I gained well over the recommended amount with Jack. Or maybe it's because I was sick this past week. Either way, I feel smaller this time around, but comparing photos I look pretty much the same size.

  • I sit in the waiting room and read - this particular trip it was "Rilla of Ingleside" and after waiting FOREVER at the pharmacy to pick up my pre-natals, I'm happy to say I've finally completed all 8 books in the Anne of Green Gable series!! Now on to the other 10 books on my nightstand ...

  • The nurse calls me back to a room, I sit and wait

  • The nurse practitioner comes in, measures my uterus, puts some jelly on my belly, and checks the baby's heartbeat, which has been very difficult to track down the past three visits. That kid MOVES!

  • Then she asks me if I have any questions, I usually don't. Althought this particular visit I was prepared to discuss my due date with her.
So it's no secret that I think I'm due the week after April 14, it's what I've thought since the day we found out we were pregnant. And then the baby was measuring a few days behind at our 11-week ultrasound and was measuring a week behind at our 19-week ultrasound. My uterus was measuring a week behind at my last appointment, although it was only half a week behind at this one.

Anyway, I really wanted to sit down with Nurse Brown, explain this all to her, and possibly get my due date changed. My top priority is to avoid an induction. Despite Jack's 39 week birth, I still feel like I'm the kind of person who could carry late. I want to carry baby as long he is happy to be in there (this is easy to say when your 21 weeks pregnant and hardly feeling it.) And I know how the Navy is about sticking with their schedule and going by the book.

So Nurse Brown walks in, and immediately asks about the ultrasound I had two weeks ago. She says everything looks great, baby is doing fine, etc. And then she starts saying that my dates are EXACT, baby is RIGHT ON, my due date was April 14 and will remain April 14, it was based on my first ultrasound and all my measurements are within that timeline, that baby is transverse and that often causes your uterus to measure a little behind, and on and on and on. I was a little stunned because I hadn't had a chance to say anything. I just stared at her, nodding my head. So now I want to know, who told my doctor I think I think my dates are off? The last time I mentioned anything was at my first appointment. Jon thinks she's been reading my blog...
Anyway, the more I think about, perhaps I'm being just a tad hormonal. Pregnancies aren't exact, maybe I'm relying too much on numbers and data, just for the sake of 6 or 7 days. Chances are it won't even be an issue. Is it worth stressing out over? Probably not. Although I did make sure I mentioned to my doctor that the only reason I was worried about them being off was in case I went overdue. I hope she realizes she may be seeing me at 43 weeks pregnant...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Jack's on the move

I realized that I left you all hanging a few weeks back when I announced that Jack has started walking. Well he's continued walking, and seems to really have the hang of it now. It's too stinkin' cute. Sorry it's taken me so long to get a video posted!

So I was thinking the other day about all the warnings I've received in the past few months. It seemed like everyone I talked to felt obligated to tell me how much more difficult things get once your baby starts walking. I got a little worried. Motherhood had gotten challenging enough when Jack started crawling, probably because this occured right around the same time he learned to exercise his will. I thought and thought and thought about what life would be like with Jack walking, and couldn't picture how it would be any more difficult than the present. And so I'd like to say, for once, that I think I was right. Maybe it's because Jack started crawling right around the time some kids start walking, or maybe it's because Jack-the-crawler was already way too active and adventurous for his own good, but this whole walking thing has been easy-peasy.

The only added challenge, that I can see, is that he spends much more time upright now than he used to. And he's learned to expand his circle of influence by reaching up. In other words, just this week Jack has learned that he's capable of pulling objects off the kitchen table.

Other than that, I am very entertained by his two-footed adventures. Especially when his center of gravity is off, and he gets stuck running around in a circle. Or when he gets going too fast and can only stop by running into something or someone. Or the fact that he hasn't quite figured out that he doesn't need to keep his hands in the air the whole time he's walking. Alas, he's certainly no Brian Boitano, in fact, he consistently falls when making the transition from carpet to kitchen floor, or from carpet to living room rug. Every. Time. You'd think he'd figure it out by now. But it doesn't seem to deter him. So far there's been no serious injuries, he's one tough cookie. I hope Nonnie is prepared for Jack's arrival in a few weeks. So far he's the only grandson that hasn't broken anything at her house. Granted, he's only been around for a year, and he doesn't get to spend as much time there as some of the other cousins, but I'd prefer to hold on to that record a just little longer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Look, don't touch

I forgot to mention one important part of our Thanksgiving holiday - the Christmas tree! For the third year in a row we walked down the street to the creepy guys house to inspect his overpriced trees. I comfort myself with the knowledge that he ships them in from a farm in Pennsylvania. If I'm going to pay that much for a tree, at least it'll smell like home! Anyway, as I am now halfway through this pregnancy, I had to pee as soon as we got to the tree lot. There's no restrooms there, I don't think, I didn' t even want to ask. So this year I was in a bit of a hurry to find the perfect tree and bring it on home. At a place like this it's really not hard. All the trees pretty much look the same. It's all about finding the one "touches" you.

Growing up in PA, finding the perfect tree was a family event. We'd all pile into the minivan along with Cody, our black lab, and head out to the tree farm. There we'd spend at least an hour tramping through the woods. Dad quietly studying the different types of branches, Mom making her classic "triangle shape" with her hands, trying to find the best shaped tree, Micah, Jared and I fighting over who's tree would "make the cut" this year, and Cody running rampid through the forest chasing squirrels and gnawing on sticks. Back then finding a tree was much more involved. Around here it's fairly easy, and not nearly as much fun. But hey, I'm just thankful my husband let me get a real tree 3 years in a row now!!

So anyway, back to the creepy, overpriced, city tree lot... Unlike last year, Jack was wide awake for this expedition. He also let us know which tree he liked best. (Don't tell him we went with a different one!)

So Jon drove it home, hoisted up onto the balcony, placed it in the corner of our living room and strung it with lights in what seemed like a matter of minutes. By the time the tree was fully decorated Jack was fast asleep in bed. He didn't get to see it in it's full glory until the next morning. This is when, according to Poppa, he said "Look" i.e. "...k" and pointed to the tree.

We put the tree in a corner by the window, and behind the easy chair and couch. That way there is only one small entrance between the two seats to reach the tree. Which we typically block with the top of Jack's toy box during the day. Usually there is a large plant in this corner. Given the opportunity, Jack will crawl back there, unseen, and pull potting soil out of the plant. As long as we remember to put the toy box lid across the entrance, we're good. Well apparently a Christmas tree is much, much more tempting than a potted plant. Jack quickly learned to muscle his was through the toy box lid and right up to the tree.

Not only is Jack capable of destroying our tree and ornaments, he's also very likely to eat some pine needles or a hook or two. So he is not allowed to be near the tree unattended. Now I do not want to be anti-Christmas spirit, or one of those "don't touch, don't touch, don't touch!!" kind of moms. So I try to make it a point to let him explore the tree and ornaments as long as I'm next to him. Typically, every morning, Jack points to the tree and makes some noises. Then I pick him up or hold his hand, and we walk over and check out the tree. And then I proceed to say, "Look, don't touch" a million times. Which I think currently ranks up there on my list of unfavorite things about being a Mommy. I wish I could just let Jack loose on the Christmas tree. I wish he was allowed to touch every ornament and bury his hands in the pine needles. Because I bet he'd think it was a lot of fun. And I'm sure it's taking everything he has on his little insides to keep his hand back. But unfortunately, self restraint is something we all must learn. And I don't feel like cleaning up pine needles and broken ornaments. So this is what works for now. Sorta. The other morning, when I wasn't paying attention, I heard a small crash and saw the tree shake out of the corner of my eye. There was Jack, an ornament in each hand, face-first in the tree, with pine needles covering his pajamas. Maybe some lessons are best learned the hard way.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You can tell a lot about a person ...

... by the books on their bedstand.

Or should I say, by the volume of books on their bedstand. I'll admit, I was slightly appalled myself when, whilst cleaning and organizing in our bedroom, I discovered that I was "currently reading" not 1, not 3, but 11 books. Yes, that's right there are bookmarks in the midst of all of these. Now a few I've read before, and several I purposefully only read a chapter out of every day or so, but for the rest there's no excuse. And so therefore, my goal is to finish this stack off by Christmas. Not only so I can remove the clutter from my bedstand, but more importantly so that I can start on the stack of books not shown in this picture, the ones that I've been patiently waiting to start on until I finish these others, but which keep calling my name night after night. *sigh* Have I mentioned that I love books?
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