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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winter Break: Part 3: Chapter 4

We have had such a nice day so far! The weather is pretty yucky, so we just stayed in. Jackson woke up for the first time at 5:20am and I decided if I'm really trying to get him back on track, I'm really doing it! Anything before 6am is not an option. So, he cried himself back to sleep (it took a pretty long time!). He got up again just before 7--much better! Since he had gotten up a little later than usual, he didn't go down for his nap until a touch later. It also took him a long time to settle down. He wasn't up from his nap until 11, and that pushed back his afternoon nap. Phew! Other than having a hard time getting to and staying asleep, Jackson has been so happy to play with his toys and his puppy! I came upstairs after throwing in some laundry and found him situated in James' car seat! He spent a good portion of the afternoon in it! He realized he could reach right into his toy basket--smart cookie! The first time I saw him, he had his laptop out and was dancing to "B-I-N-G-O." Then he had his Elmo remote and then his truck. Such a funny guys! My mom gave him a bear puppet/book and he has been kissing it all day. It is so stinking cute to hear him make kissing sounds! He also takes it over to Pax and gives Pax kisses from the bear. What a sweet boy :)

Winter Break: Part 3: Intermission

Uncle Larry brought these pajamas back from Jackson Hole, WY for Jackson's birthday! They were a HUGE hit! The front says Bear Hugs and the back has two paws hugging around! They are so cute! I wish they came in big people sizes... I fully intend to make a pillow out of the shirt once Jackson outgrows them. It will match the bedding I've already picked out for Jackson's big boy bed... Yes, I know that is quite a while away. Just call me prepared :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Winter Break: Part 3: Chapter 3

I totally took Jackson to the doctor on Monday for teething. Don't I feel silly! But, hear me out! For both weeks of our trips, Jackson was so un-himself! He probably was acting like a typical just-turned-one-year old, but for Jackson it was extremely off behavior. He woke up a few times in Evanston after being in bed for a few hours. He was obviously in pain. Then he was pretty crabby and overtired during the majority of our trip to Covington. He just couldn't stay asleep long enough in the mornings. I really thought he would be such a super-duper traveler since we've been doing it since he was barely two months old. Hopefully, once this teething thing is out of the way, he will go back to his usual adaptable self... I thought once we got home on Sunday, everything would be fixed. Not the case. Naps haven't been super stellar and the morning wake-ups haven't gotten a whole lot better. Monday morning he was up at 4:15am, Tuesday it was pushed to 5:55am (glorious!), and this morning it was 4:55am. When we were at the doctor, the awesome doc we saw confirmed that the symptoms of teething can really be THIS bad! He also said it's perfectly fine to let Jackson cry it out when he wakes up ridiculously early. Not only do I not want to be up, but Jackson doesn't really want to either. That made it much easier for me to let him cry the last couple of mornings! This morning really wasn't too bad, and once Jackson fell back asleep, he slept until almost 7! WOO HOO!!! I hope we are on the right track! We don't have any major plans for the next few days--just relaxing at home. I hope that our sweet boy can get back into his routine and back to his cheerful self!

P.S. At least we were able to get the boosters for both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines. I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to finish the entire protocol since there has been such a shortage. But, Jackson is officially fully protected now :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Break: Part 3: Chapter 2

We arrived back home to Springfield Sunday afternoon and we were so happy to be home AND staying for a while :) We totally relaxed with a nice, long family walk in the woods, opening the last couple of presents, and dinner at Qdoba! Yummy! Jackson's present from Santa was this toy with lots of fun friends popping up. He LOVES flipping light switches on and off, so we thought he would like to figure out all of these triggers!

Winter Break: Part 3: Chapter 1

Jackson received a birthday card in the mail that sang a song. He LOVED it! I decided that Josh and I should get him a musical Christmas card! I picked out this one and we gave it to him the other day. He just loved it! He immediately did a little dance which was SO cute! Miraculously enough, he did it again (almost exactly the same) once we turned on the camera to record him :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter Break: Part 2: Chapter 3

Christmas morning got off to quite an early start... Jackson hasn't been quite himself for much or our two weeks away :( He seemed uncomfortable at my mom and dad's house and woke up the last few nights there really upset around 10 or 11. He started to have a little cough, but with such terrible honking sounds! We kept running the humidifier and tried to get him as much rest as possible. The one night we were home seemed to go well, as did naps. Pretty much our whole time in Covington was sleep deprived :( We realized we were in a cycle of early bedtimes due to early wake-ups and short naps. We tried to fix that and actually worked in three naps in order to help Jackson wait it out until 7 for bed. That didn't do much good since he was up again at 4:30 the next morning. Due to this crankiness and lack of sleep, none of us were in the best moods, which really stinks at this time of year! It's my favorite but even I can be brought down by very little sleep. Anyways, Josh was great and volunteered to get up Christmas morning with our buglet, but that ended up being at 4:20am! Poor Uncle Wayne was sleeping on the couch, but was a good sport and tried to lift the bug's spirits. Aunt Jeannie was also restless and up for a while. Josh kept bringing Jackson back in to lay down (he slept in our room that night) since he was clingy and rubbing his eyes. That didn't work until about 7. At that point we knew he needed a nap, but he wasn't going to do it with me in the same room. So, we layed him down and headed into the living room to watch one of many showings of "A Christmas Story." I did nap on the living room floor for a little, but it was still an interesting way to start the day...

Jackson woke up from his first nap and had a snack and opened some presents. He got some super cute outfits from Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Wayne! They are nice and big too so he can grow into them! He also got a really neat toy from Meemaw. It sings different rhymes and if you push a particular animal, it will sing the sound in that voice/sound! Here is Jackson again demonstrating the ultimate toy test! He climbed right into the box of this one! What a strange kid! After playing with his toys for a bit, Jackson went back down for a second nap while the rest of us saw what Santa brought us :)

Great Christmas day picture! Complete with new toys, a beloved "old" toy, and holiday antlers :)

Stories with Meemaw

Jackson has really started showing how much he loves his big, furry brother! It is SOOO cute! He leans down for puppy kisses all the time. The best part is that if I think Jackson is being too quiet in the other room, he is just playing with Paxton now! I'll peek my head around and see Paxie lying on the floor and Jackson sitting there petting him. They are so sweet!

Jackson and Meemaw had a fun little game where Jackson would sneak behind her chair and see her on one side. Then he would come over to the other side and get/give kisses :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Winter Break: Part 2: Chapter 2

Yesterday morning we woke up in Covington at Meemaw's house! After a whirlwind of baby proofing, the house was ready for Jackson! He quickly found this fun spot and was happy to keep anyone company in the kitchen :) He first started running his truck over the shelf. After experimenting with that, he decided to try climbing on the shelf himself. He was so funny crawling back and forth!

Meemaw showed Jackson how to play the shelves like an instrument!

There was tons of snow left so we took advantage of it! Last year Jackson seemed to like "playing" in the snow. Almost a year later, not so much :( He humored Daddy a little by sledding with him, but he was much happier to stand with me and watch Daddy go up and down the hill. Daddy did a very cool thing by throwing up a snowball and then hitting it with the sled (aka plastic tub lid). It made snow fireworks!

As a preview to Christmas morning Meemaw let Jackson have his belated birthday present! It was a learning turtle that makes all sorts of fun sounds and sings lots of songs! Just in time for Christmas, Jackson developed a new trick: sitting on his toys to fully explore them. Ummm... ok? He really liked this turtle and it was an excellent diversion for a cranky boy :)

The next pictures are the 2009 additions to the new series: Goodnight on Christmas Eve:

Goodnight Aunt Jeannie!

Goodnight Uncle Wayne!

Goodnight Meemaw!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Winter Break: Part 2: Chapter 1

We got home with no trouble Sunday night. We were pretty excited at what great driving time we made, but a little disappointed with the prospect of having to shovel out our second parking spot :( I went ahead and put Jackson to bed and unloaded the car while Josh began the long shoveling process... Thank goodness for Eliza (our Xterra) since Josh was pretty much able to back her right out of one spot. After an hour and a half of shoveling and a little team work, Josh got both cars parked in our spots! YAY!

We relaxed as much as possible on Monday while still readying ourselves for the second leg of our trip. Josh spent another three hours shoveling out our spots and helping our neighbor. What was his reward? A lost wedding ring! We are both so sad, and he is just devastated. We are hoping that after the rest of the snow melts we might find it..

We left on the earlier side Tuesday morning to head to New Hope where Gramma Jarvis lives. We rolled in there right around lunchtime. Josh continued to be an excellent chauffeur as Jackson and I slept most of the way there... ;) We stayed at Gramma J's until the next afternoon and had a great time visiting! Jackson showed her all of the toys he brought with him. He made sure she knew his truck was his favorite!

Once she was able to snag him, Jackson loved rocking with Gramma! He was particularly excited when she let him sit on the footstool and do a little rocking on his own :)

We exchanged presents and Jackson got some awesome new books, a super soft teddy, and some warm and cozy sweats!

We gave Gramma a calendar full of Jackson pictures and a frame with our family holiday picture in it. I'm pretty sure Jackson is telling Gramma that he is in this picture!

Yesterday after Jackson's afternoon nap, we headed to Uncle Larry and Aunt Murph's house for the annual Christmas get together. (Yup, Jackson has TWO Uncle Larrys!) Jackson was thrilled to be reunited with his cousin Kerry who he adores! He was also more than happy to show off his antlers...and to let others try them on!

Before the rest of the crew arrived (and the sun went down), we took a walk down the lane to the nearby farm. It was really nice to get out in the fresh air. Jackson really enjoyed looking around and spending time with Larry and Kerry.

I guess this qualifies as our second family picture of the season. This one is more unofficial, but still pretty cute :)

This Christmas moose is ready for bed!!!

We had laid Jackson down upstairs, but had to get him up to drive to Meemaw's house later last night. He was such a snuggly bug and Kerry made sure to get her share of snuggles!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Break: Part 1: Chapter 5

The last few days of our visit in Evanston have been much lower-key. We visited Mimi at work (Barnes and Noble) on Wednesday and Thursday. I was hoping to get some super good naps in, but Jackson had other plans. He actually has developed quite a nice cold, so I think that coupled with at least two new teeth coming through has made him a restless and cranky guy :( Wednesday night we went to dinner with Nan at Hackney's and the carolers were there! I LOVE listening to them sing at holiday time! Jackson agreed wholeheartedly and was entranced the whole time. He was right in front of them and he craned his neck all the way around to watch them. I scooted his highchair around so he could see better and he just loved listening to the songs and watching the carolers sing :) I think he was a little distracting, but in a good way...

Thursday night we drove out to Auntie Dale's house and had a yummy fondue and salad dinner with her, Auntie Abbey, and Auntie Kelly! Auntie Kelly is due with a little girl in February so it was exciting to see her and talk about how things are going :)

This is a picture of Jackson testing out his new truck from Auntie Kelly and Uncle Robb. It is a truck that carries cars! How perfect!!! He also got a cool heavy duty truck from Auntie Dale, Uncle Eddie, and Auntie Abbey! It looks like it could get some serious work done!

Jackson tried out Auntie Dale's highchair to make sure it was safe for Baby Girl Tadelman :) It was great once Auntie Abbey figured out how to get the tray on! Jackson was also nice enough to sample the blueberries for our salad ;)

On Friday Jackson and I drove downtown to pick up Josh at The Drake hotel. We spent the rest of the day lounging around since our trip back home got postponed! The East coast was bombarded with huge snow falls and we decided it was MUCH safer to stay put. It was a great bonus to have a few extra days here! I don't think we can push it quite far enough to still be here when Uncle Larry arrives on Tuesday... We went out for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Bluestone, and Jackson had his first kid menu ordering experience! I got him macaroni and cheese (which he has not eaten on his own yet) and not only did he like when I fed it to him, he fed himself a good half of the bowl! I was SOOO excited! One of Jackson's favorite things at Mimi and Grandpa's is to climb behind the couch and visit Paxton while he's looking out the window. Pax is usually happy for the company, but sometimes he leaves and goes in search of peace and quiet elsewhere...

Nan got Jackson this neat snowman puzzle when we were in town last time. It is a wooden pole and there are different pieces that stack on it. He is actually pretty good at getting the pieces on! He works quite hard :) Jackson is going up and down all of the stairs here like crazy! He has a TON of toys, but the stairs are much better! LOL

We are hoping to leave a little after lunchtime today to drive home. We will be home for about a day and then head to Josh's family for the rest of our holiday visiting! We are crossing our fingers that this plan work out. Otherwise it will be on to Plan C, whatever that may be!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Vacation: Part 1: Chapter 4

I feel like Jackson has developed a new trick each day we've been here! Here's a run-down:

New Words
"hi-ya"= hi (not super reliable yet, but when he does say it, it is so cute!)
"uppy"= puppy (said for the first time while being licked within an inch of his life by Brandi's dogs, Jackson and Samson!
"buh-ay-uh-bee"= baby (yup, he makes it into almost a five syllable word)
"upey"= up please (he loves taking his big, green wagon down the one step into the addition room, but needs help dragging it back into the dining room)

New Tricks
Building with blocks
Climbing down the stairs (he can walk down holding on to someone's hand and he can climb most of the way down on his own)
Shakes his head "no" (I'm not super thrilled with this one since he doesn't quite get the meaning and if he's eating, he starts throwing all of his food on the floor...)
Sneak behind the couch to Pax's favorite spot and then crawl or walk behind the couch and come out on the other side

Cute Moments
How proud he is to show off his new, "real" shoes! He sticks his foot out to show people :)
Bringing his antlers over so he can wear them
Sharing Cheerios with Paxton when Grandpa throws them on the floor!

Jackson hasn't recovered quite as well from this long trip as he did at Thanksgiving. Most days have started at 5 or 5:30 (that's right: AM!) and he just is extra sensitive. He wakes up pretty upset from his naps and runs out of steam closer to 6 each night instead of the usual 7. I did see not one, but two teeth coming in on the top. While I'm sure this is the cause of a great deal of his crankiness, I'm still deciding what my Mother's Intuition is telling me about him not feeling well in a more medical sense...

I am thrilled to see that we might be making progress on the eating front. While Jackson is a wonderful eater of fruit and yogurt, I really would like him to expand his horizons on the veggie and protein front. I tried the Gerber Graduate blue tubs of spaghetti o's and mac and cheese and he LOVES them! They each have a serving of vegetables and some protein. The spaghetti o one has meat chunks! The mac and cheese one has actual pieces of veggies and Jackson eats them like it's nothing! YAY!

Winter Vacation: Part 1: Chapter 3

Tuesday was a bit of an emotional journey down Memory Lane. It started when I drove by our old house in Crystal Lake :( While I was really excited to move, I really have started to miss our wonderful blue house! We were in that neck of the woods visiting our pseudo-family members, Grandma and Grandpa Olsen. They hadn't had a chance to meet Jackson yet, so we went for a quick visit!

From Crystal Lake, we drove to Elgin and met Maria, Jane, and Ashley for lunch. It was so fun to visit with some old EA friends :)

After lunch, we went over to Elgin Academy and got to see lots of familiar faces! Jackson especially enjoyed the decorations in Sears Hall in the lunchroom :) We got to visit with some old colleagues and some of my old students. It was crazy and sweet to see some of my old kids holding my little bug!!! I have to admit that some people didn't even give me a second glance because it was like I still belonged there. I do miss teaching, and I especially miss EA.

To end the day, Jackson and I drove to meet Donna for dinner at Panera. Where else? ;) He had a good time showing off his tricks. I was so proud of how well Jackson held up without an afternoon nap!

Winter Vacation: Part 1: Chapter 2

I hope Jackson had as super and fun day as I thin he did on Monday!!! We drove to meet Auntie Cassie and Jonah to try out a trial Gymboree class. I think the age range in this class was 10-15 months. I think. It was hilarious to watch them check everything out. Neither of them really knew what to make of it (it's not like we have loads of climbing things and mats at home!), and they mostly stuck together. They started by crawling onto a chunky mat and crawling on it. It was a weird sensation since it had some give and wasn't a totally solid surface. Once we got started they had fun experimenting at all of the stations. We didn't know the "rules," but the girl leading the class didn't seem to mind when our little guys went to explore something else after taking a turn on her specific piece of equipment. That was great since there's NO way these guys understand to wait patiently for their turns ;) Jackson's favorite thing by far was this little double-sided staircase that had two steps going up and two steps going down. This is because he learned how to go up and down the one step at Mimi and Grandpa's from the dining room into the addition. He just did as soon as we arrived Friday morning! Maybe we was gearing up for that new trick on the drive??? While he definitely enjoyed the step the most, Jackson tried, and liked, the wedge to climb up, the slide (going up and down!), a rock climbing wall type of thing for babies, and a huge stuffed roller. All of the kids worked together to roll it across the floor. That was pretty funny! Bubbles got a huge thumbs up :) The parachute, however, sadly earned a thumbs down :( Cass and I were so glad we tried out the class together, but it's probably not for either of us right now.

From Gymboree, we went across the street to meet Brandi and Kaitlyn at Portillo's for lunch. Cassie, Brandi, and I spent two lovely years in the Early Childhood Education cohort together at U of I. Since then we have lived in Mississippi, North Carolina, Arizona, Virginia, and Wisconsin. It was wonderful to get together with our kiddos! Kaitlyn is seven months old and an absolute sweetheart! Lunch we super yummy! From there we moved to Brandi's in-laws' house a few minutes away.

The boys had a great time exploring the Buerstatte basement! There was a pool table and Jonah was determined to play! He was so funny once he got a ball--he just did laps around the table while carrying it! Kaitlyn was a very gracious hostess and let the boys try out her new toys! We had such a good time catching up and watching Jackson, Jonah, and Kaitlyn play together :)

Jackson fell asleep right away in the car as we drove to go meet my dad at Cheesecake Factory for a yummy snack of Strawberry Shortcake. It is our tradition to do that, and Jackson made a wonderful addition this time :) We were nice enough to share some of the dessert with him and he LOVED it!

Winter Vacation: Part 1: Chapter 1

Well, we did it again: another successful through-the-night car trip from Springfield, VA to Evanston, IL! We hit the ground running right away! My aunt and uncle were in town to celebrate their anniversary, and Josh and I were able to line up a last-minute babysitter so we could go with! My friend Amanda was more than happy to come hang out with Jackson :)

Katie and her family were in town this weekend as well. Josh, Jackson, and I headed over there on Saturday with some lunch to visit. Jackson had a good time playing with Paige. She was more than happy to show him how the laptop she picked out for his present works ;) Unfortunately, we didn't coordinate it well enough to get a picture of Paige, Lexi, and Jackson while they were all awake :( The picture below is of Jackson and Paige enjoying Lexi's new book since she was sleeping!

On Sunday we drove out to Bolingbrook to visit Kate, Brian, Kyle, and Connor. It was a long drive, but definitely worth it! It was so fun to watch the big boys play with Jackson (the boys are just about 2 1/2). For the most part they were more than happy to share their toys with Jackson. I think Jackson's highlights of the day were discovering how yummy Kix cereal is, sitting in the cool "little guy" chairs, and getting to take some hand-me-down toys home :)

Sunday night we had an early Christmas celebration and my grandma came over for dinner and Jackson entertainment! Even though it was a little early, we still really enjoyed being together and celebrating the holidays. Jackson got some awesome new blocks from my mom and dad. He started stacking them right away! Phew! I was getting nervous because What to Expect the Toddler Years suggested he should already be stacking at least two blocks, and I had never seen him to it! LOL I think I'm going to put that book away...

Jackson has loved Gerber's Puffs since he had just a couple teeth. I have to work really hard to trick him into eating "plain ole Cheerios." But, if Grandpa is handing out the snacks, Cheerios are just fine! I love watching Pax and Jackson share this yummy snack :)

I picked up a pair of antlers in the Target $1 bin thinking that between lots of hands, we could wrangle Jackson into wearing them to at least get a picture. Well, he LOVES them! He picks them up and asks for them to be put on his head. This picture doesn't have him wearing them, but we do have some of him in his wagon with them on. It's too cute! He just goes about his business with his antlers on his head!