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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snowy Walk and a Plate

We got another big snowfall over the weekend! It snowed pretty much all day yesterday and left us with a lot more than was forecasted. Jackson and I took an early morning trip to the grocery store (when it wasn't even flurrying), and I got a kick out of overhearing people's conversations. People make such a big deal about snow here! I just wasn't that worried, being from Chicago and all. I did find myself thinking that I had some really yummy food in case we were stranded! LOL Josh did a good job clearing off the cars and shoveling so we could go ahead with our plans to go over to the Mullens' for dinner. Today was a beautiful post-snow day! It wasn't super-duper cold and it was so pretty! We took the pups for a walk later in the afternoon and the sun looked so pretty shining through the naked trees. We walk on a path through the woods behind our house, and we knew there was no way the path was clear. Josh used this opportunity to carry Jackson in the backpack. Jackson wasn't too thrilled with his new ride at first, but loved it once we got going! I think the fresh air really helped him feel a little better!

After our walk I gave Jackson his dinner on a plate for the first time. It went pretty well! He wasn't interested in the chicken at all, so there were some lucky pups... That wasn't related to the plate at all. He loves the little Gerber raviolis and blueberries! Those were all a huge hit. After he finished that, I put some yogurt melts and goldfish in a little bowl, and that didn't go as well... Jackson immediately emptied the whole bowl on to his tray and then picked around the goldfish to only eat the yogurt melts... Baby steps!

Bubble Fun!

Jackson still was not himself on Saturday :( He mostly just wanted to be held, which is nice once in a while, but he is a heavy little guy! In an effort to distract him, I pulled out some bubbles! He LOVED watching them and trying to catch them. Pax and Dutch were pretty amused too!

Saturday, January 30, 2010


5:00am: Wake up...unhappy :(
5:40am: Finish snuggling with Mommy and head downstairs.
6:00am: Eat one slice of banana and no toast :(
7:00-8:00am: Alternate between happily playing and whining at Mommy while she makes a double batch of applesauce pancakes!
8:00-9:00am: Bath time and then play in crib while Mommy takes a shower. Cry for a little bit while Mommy vacuums the stairs...
9:00am: Hork down THREE applesauce pancakes and some yogurt melts for a late breakfast! Score!
9:30am: Sob hysterically when Dutchess gets dropped off :( A very sad story!
10:00-11:30am: Go to Old Navy and Target with Mommy.
11:45am: Make friends with Dutchess while eating lunch. She liked having a peach held over her head, but not fed to her, and then getting to lick fingers!

12:30-1:30pm: VERY short nap! Wake up quite cranky :(
1:30-2:30pm: Take doggies for a walk. Enjoy fresh air!
2:30-4:00pm: Play happily with puppies and toys!

4:00pm: Mommy packs up and loads the car in hopes that the Bug will fall asleep on the way to dinner and he can keep sleeping with the extra time.
4:15pm: Mommy's plan is obviously shot down as the Bug is quite chatty on the way to the restaurant! But he waits patiently in the car playing with toys.
5:15-6:30pm: Dinner with friends. Eat pretty much only blueberries and yogurt for dinner!
6:31pm: Fall asleep in car.
7:00pm: Arrive home, get ready for bed, pass out in crib.

Ah...the life of an almost 16 month old!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Architect or Chef???

So, Jackson's favorite item to pull out of the pantry has been the bottle of vanilla. Yesterday he saw the little spice jars and started stacking them. Today I pulled out a few to let him experiment. He was so cute! He sat right down and started building away!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

At Peace (and 15-Month Check-up)

Well, we have been struggling with Jackson's sleeping habits for a few weeks now. I have to admit, I was really hoping the doctor was going to have some magic solution when we talked at the well baby check-up. I also know that Josh was REALLY worried about how I would react when the doctor DIDN'T have a magic answer. It was true, she didn't :( But, I am learning things about myself in this whole parenting game. I actually knew these things about myself, but I'm working on functioning in spite of them ;) I get the most frustrated when I don't feel in control. BIG surprise, right? LOL Anyways, I have referred a few times to Josh complimenting me when Jackson was just a wee one about my easy-goingness about getting up multiple times in the middle of the night. That was easy for me! I knew that was coming before we even started trying to get pregnant! It just goes with the territory.

Jackson deciding on his own to stop nursing was really hard for me since he decided, not me. I was a HUGE mess while we were going through that. Josh figured out how to help me before I did. He suggested that I give Jackson a formula bottle (his first one) the next day and use that as a way to catch up and get a little ahead of the game with pumping. I was feeling completely overwhelmed with trying to keep up with my hungry little guy! He ate for such long periods of time and pretty frequently. I didn't know when I was supposed to pump while still having enough milk to feed him when he was hungry! I really liked having a bottle or two in the fridge of my milk to use whenever I wanted. I was so frustrated that I was losing control of my bottles, and our nice little breastfeeding habit. So, taking control of the situation and deciding on MY terms when to give a bottle of formula really helped. It was still quite a mental battle after that, but it was a quick fix.

Similarly, my frustration over the past month or so has come from the fact that Jackson is making up this new schedule on his own. I felt better once we started putting him to bed earlier because it was giving him an opportunity to get some more sleep in his day. He is still determined to wake up for the day at 5:30am, however. Maybe, if I can find some way to own this transition, I can cope a bit better and not be such a mess for my lovely husband... I find that running has been an easy habit to keep up with since it is something I do for myself and I feel quite accomplished when I've run during the day. It calms me down and I know that even if I don't accomplish any other around the house stuff, I did something for me! I'm not quite sure how I'm going to take control of the sleeping situation, but I'm working on it. Of course, Jackson has a full-blown cold so that will make the sleeping thing that much harder...Grrr!!!

The doctor said that it definitely sounds like Jackson is transitioning from two naps to one and that we should focus on getting the naps under control before we worry about altering his nighttime sleep at all. So...that's the plan! I think it's interesting that people talk about pushing the morning nap later and later until it settles in the desired afternoon time slot. I think that does sound better instead of talking about skipping the morning nap. It's such a psychological game!

The doctor also said that we can go ahead and offer Jackson some of whatever we are having for dinner and if he doesn't want it, then he's done. Hmmm... Sounds intriguing, yet scary. She assured me that kiddos can go much longer without eating and drinking than we might think. I think I might give that a whirl. Maybe that will give him the right number of exposures to certain foods that he will eat them! I don't want to, but I can see myself becoming a mom that fixes a separate meal for her picky eater. I so DON'T want to do that! I didn't think there was any way to "reason" with Jackson at his age and get him to change his eating habits. Apparently there is a strategy...we'll give it a shot! I know he'll do fine with the fruit part of our meals, hopefully this will help him expand his main course options!

Jackson's 15 month stats are:
Weight: 23 pounds 15 ounces (40%)
Height: 31.5 inches (60%)
Head circumference: 19.5 inches (96%)--we still get such a kick out of this! LOL

***Picture caption: Jackson's pants are too big today. He was playing in the kitchen, and this is the predicament he got himself in! Hee hee hee!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Weekend with Mimi

We are having a great time with Mimi here! Yesterday Jackson wore his super cute new outfit Mimi bought him! It is overalls with a matching onesie and socks all themed around monsters rocking out :) He had a great time lounging in his new chair!

The Mullens came over for dinner last night and we had Pork Wellington, macaroni and cheese, and chocolate banana pudding! Here is Jackson helping Daddy make the pudding:

I think we might need some vanilla. I'll carry it around for a while just in case...

Jackson discovered the joy of playing with the recycling this morning :) I just love this picture of his feet kicked back under him.

Jackson spent some time showing Mimi how much he loves kissing Paxton with the bear puppet!

I love this look and had to post this! He was SO thirsty before bed tonight! Usually I can get him changed into his pjs before we sit down to snuggle with some milk and stories. He just wanted to drink tonight. I got as far as changing his shirt, and then he just wanted to hang out on his changing table!

One of the fantastic books we found at TJ Maxx the other day was this Elmo puppy book. It is a lift-the-flap book, and the flaps are bigger to make it easier for little fingers to lift them. I like that and Jackson loves kissing the puppies on each page! It is just too funny!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fun Friday!

I previously posted about Jackson needing a little guy chair to relax in: Winter Break: Part 3: Chapter 4 and We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Program. Mainly, I was really excited about finding a really cute one on sale at Pottery Barn Kids. The info online was not very clear and it ended up I just ordered a slipcover! Not so helpful! I found this one on AND it was on sale AND it was a WHOLE chair! LOL So, here it is! I picked it up yesterday and he LOVES it!!!

The other exciting part of this Friday is that Mimi arrived last night! She is staying until Tuesday :) We have had a very fun day or lunch and shopping! The outcome of our shopping trip was many new books for Jackson and some super cute new clothes! The books were from TJ Maxx--already a good deal AND they were on sale! YAY! It was awesome because I had a short list of new ones I wanted at the bookstore and the first two books I picked up at TJ's were on that list! Here is a picture of Mimi reading a new book to Jackson.

He is one sneaky bug: Mimi had stuck two new books in her purse as emergency distractions. She had just put her purse on the floor when we got home and forgot about it. Once Jackson got up from his nap, we were hanging out in the living room and he went right over to her purse and pulled out one of the new books! As I was writing this, I heard him pull out the other one! So much for surprises!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haircut and Hugs

I was quite proud of myself for the strategy I used to cut Jackson's hair last night. I brought his booster seat down to the family room and sat him in it in front of "Max and Ruby." I also brought down a stash of honey wheat pretzels. As long as he was noshing on a pretzel, he didn't seem to mind so much! Phew! The buzzing of the clippers got a little loud towards the end, and that seemed to bother him. Otherwise it was quite a success!

Jackson loves giving hugs and kisses! He especially loves giving them to James. James is not such a willing participant. He puts up with it for a bit, but then he turns to Jackson like, "Dude! Seriously! Enough!" Hmmm... What if Jackson ends up liking James more than James likes Jackson??? These are the things I spend time worrying about...

Two random cutes:

Jackson likes to pretend pump lotion onto his hand while he's sitting on his changing table. Then he rubs his hands together like I do after lotioning him up after his bath :)

This afternoon I was holding Jackson while taking a sip from my water bottle. He reached for a sip, so I shared. Then he had another sip, then me, then him, etc. He seemed to think it was a very fun sharing game :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Double Trouble Pretzel Style

Nothing like a good laugh to make a good day even better :) I went downstairs to switch loads in the laundry room, and when I came back upstairs I found Jackson and James snacking on some pretzels. Not such a big deal, you might think, if I had GIVEN them to them!!! I had packed a zip-top baggie of them when we went to the grocery store earlier. Jackson LOVES pretzels and I knew that if he got antsy, a pretzel would keep him busy. Fast-forward to after lunch and Jackson had pulled my bag off of the table by the front door, undone the baggie, and doled out pretzels for himself and James! Not only did they look super cute sitting by the front door snacking away, but when I went to reclaim the pretzels and clean up the boys, I saw they each had many soggy pretzels clenched in their little fists! Oy!

Long Weekend Recap

We had a fantastically long weekend thanks to Josh's compressed schedule! He gets every other Monday off, and since this past Monday was a holiday AND his regularly scheduled Monday off, his day off got pushed back to Tuesday! It was so nice to have such a chunk of time at home as a family :)

Saturday was Daddy and Jackson day because I had the last of my tests to take in order to finally get my Virginia teaching license! I knew that I would be gone most of the day because I had two testing sessions--one starting at 8am and the other starting at 1pm. I assumed that each session was two hours since that's how pretty much every test I have taken has gone. Each one was FOUR hours! Luckily, we were allowed to leave as we finished so I still had a break between. That was not a fun surprise! That was the longest I had been away from Jackson, but it seems like he and Josh had a fun day :)

On Sunday Auntie Em and Uncle Josh come over to go out to lunch and play. We had a really good time visiting with them and wedding planning!!! On a related note, we booked our flights and hotel rooms for their wedding in New Orleans in May! We are really excited!

This picture shows Jackson's new love of bringing a toy over and then climbing into my lap to play with it! Sometimes he brings over more than one toy or a book, but it's so fun! He is still really great at playing by himself, but it's super cute when he makes it clear that he wants us to play WITH him!

On Monday I took Jackson with me for a run, and when we got back our neighbors were raking their leaves. After I unloaded Jackson from the stroller, he stood by the front door for at least ten minutes just watching them rake! Such cheap entertainment!

On Tuesday we got to enjoy Josh staying home for another day! We could get used to this! Jackson had a rough day that started with no nap in the morning :( We do have our days when he needs to cry it out a bit before he settles in for a nap, but yesterday I could just tell there was no calming down. Unfortunately, he had already woken up Josh with all the crying :( Fortunately, James seems able to sleep thru anything! I took the boys for a run (Jackson fell asleep in the stroller almost immediately--go figure!) and then we came home and picked up Josh and Pax and took a really nice, long walk up to the lake near our house. It was such a beautiful day! The afternoon ended up being pretty hectic. Jackson went down pretty hard for his afternoon nap, and slept for barely an hour. Yikes! He was not a happy camper after waking up either. We decided that we would put him down as early as possible for bed since he obviously did not get enough sleep yesterday. The earliest I could manage was 6:10 once we had dinner and a bath. Phew! It was quite the afternoon! There were definitely some cute moments though:

The bug fireman on his way to his next adventure!

Deep in conversation!

James trying on the deeley-bobbers!

Working hard on sharing and letting James have a turn with the deeley-bobbers :)

Jackson still loves when we build his towers for him, but he is getting pretty awesome at building them himself :)

Now this is how you drink!

Pausing for a photo-op! Daddy was running back and forth with him across the kitchen. Apparently, it was quite hilarious!

I feel like we are making progress on our sleep training. Putting Jackson to bed earlier has definitely made a difference. While he still wakes up at 5 or 5:30 pretty consistently, at least we know he's getting more like 11 hours of sleep instead of 9.5 or 10. I am leaving him in his crib until at least 6. There have been two mornings recently when he has skipped the first wake-up and just cried at 6! YAY! Progress! I also think the middle of the night wakings are getting better, but those are more sporadic. We still have a mix. I am glad to see that the theory of earlier to bed=longer and better sleep is still true even though Jackson is a bit older. I don't know if we will be able to change his wake-up time (maybe once we are down to one nap?), but at least I feel like I have a way to help him if I know he's not getting enough sleep. We also know it's the right choice because he doesn't even fight it a little when we put him down early. Poor little guy :(

Thursday, January 14, 2010

End of the Week Randomness

Someone had a Facebook status the other day explaining that it was a good thing her kid was cute because it saved his life sometimes. I cannot think of a truer statement ;) We have definitely been having some crabby days, but there has been a lot of cuteness infused in there :) I was pleased to read on Facebook statuses that Wednesday seemed to be an off day for everyone! Phew! My child really hasn't been replaced with a cranky stand-in. I was trying to rent him out to his Auntie Em, but she said she didn't do overnights. I don't blame her... We are working on Jackson's sleep schedules and while I know it will take a little time, I really wish it would just fix itself instantly! Poof!

Let's see...cuteness:
Yesterday morning I was getting things together to start breakfast and look down to find Jackson sitting IN the bottom drawer! He was so proud of himself! He did it a few more times during the day, but got very upset when I explained he couldn't sit in any drawers higher than the bottom one. (Cause #804 of a meltdown yesterday afternoon.)

James has been having a hard time watching Mark leave in the mornings, but we have found that a ride on the firetruck makes everything better! I had just taken him on a lap through the dining room (with Jackson "chasing" us) and stopped in the living room. Jackson came over and put a reassuring hand on James's shoulder. Then he leaned in for a kiss! So sweet! He spent a good fifteen minutes pushing James around on the firetruck, and I caught other kiss attempts during the morning. What a good friend!

The look on Jackson's face when he realizes I plan to carry both he and James downstairs is priceless! He LOVES that! I usually pick up James first and then Jackson hops on to my shoulder. As soon as he can tell it's coming, he gets a huge smile on his face, and his arms shoot up at high as they can reach :)

Jackson has started grabbing the burp cloth off of the side of the glider while we are reading stories before bed/nap and using it to wipe his mouth or the book after he finishes his milk! It is too funny! He sprays milk sometimes when he takes the straw out of his mouth and I usually try to wipe the spots off of the book before it has a chance to get sticky. He's being so helpful!

On an unrelated note, Jackson always seems to have one outfit that cannot stay clean! When he was really teeny it was his Bears onesie. If I dressed him in that, it was only a matter of time before we had an emergency diaper and outfit change on our hands. There have been a couple of others at different stages. The current culprit is a really cute layered shirt with basketballs on the sleeves and a big basketball on the shirt and it says "Swish." Really cute. He wore it for the first time last week and that's when he threw up all over himself. He was wearing it today until he decided he was finished with this whole bib thing during meals and got lunch all over himself. Poor shirt :(

Just a typical morning:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tuesday Entertainment

Jackson's beloved reindeer antlers from Christmas met an untimely demise when Paxton found them one day... It was a sad time :( Luckily, Mary Jo found these new deeley-bobbers as a replacement! I think they might be even cuter...

Who's Sleeping at 8114 Willowdale Court?

NO ONE come 5am!!! What is that all about?! Josh and I both LOVE sleep. Where did this kid come from? Seriously though. Since our Christmas travels sleep has been a challenge. After visiting the doctor and learning nothing was wrong with Jackson besides a massive amount of teething, we managed to get back on to some sort of track. I felt comfortable letting him cry in the mornings and he usually went back to sleep for at least a half hour or hour. If he was waking up, bright eyed and ready to play, that would be one problem. But, you can tell he is still sleepy, but can't stay/get back to sleep. I felt like we were making progress, and then Jackson got sick. The night he was sick he slept from 5pm-5:30am. I wasn't frustrated with him waking up them since he didn't feel well. But, since then, he's been up between 5 and 5:30 every morning! We aren't quite sure what to do to fix this.

I've been letting him cry it out to go back to sleep like the doctor suggested, but he just cries for a whole hour! Almost an hour and a half this morning! I would love for 6:30 or 7 to be our regular wake-up time. But, I'll settle for 6 at this point. The way I understand it is that the point of crying it out is to let your child settle back to sleep on his/her own. If you keep going in or go pick them up and get them out of bed, they will learn that if they cry long enough, you will come. I've been really strong on that front. BUT, I think he would cry forever these mornings! How can I get him up without sending the message that I'm rewarding his crying? ARGH!

Last night Josh and I decided to try a later bedtime. The problem here is that if that's the solution, I think it will take a few nights to show improvement. I want to know we are making some progress! We managed to keep Jackson up until almost 8 last night instead of the regular 7. He was still up at 5:15! That's the thing. He usually is visibly ready for bed at 7 (or before!). It's not like we have this arbitrary time, he's playing happily, and we just send him to bed. He also needs his two naps still. Same thing. I'm not just laying him down twice a day. He is definitely winding down and getting a little cranky at those times. In support of that information, an article in this month's Parents' magazine addresses the problems of an early waker. They say it can be due to a too-late bedtime, nap deprivation, or too long between the last nap and bedtime. That leads me to think that we should be laying Jackson down earlier, not later. I don't know which way to try first! We also have been really good about our sleep routine for a long, long time.

I know that in a few weeks I'll look back at this post and know it was just a short-lived phase. But, that is so hard to really believe when you are in the middle of it!!!

Little Guy Shoes

I looked over the other night and Josh had added Jackson's shoes to our mat by the door. How cute are they?!

Another cute thing I noticed the other day was Jackson's demeanor when he is at someone else's house with his/her toys. He gets the sweetest look on his face that captures a really adorable combination of a little nervousness about playing with new toys and pure excitement about getting to play with new toys!

I don't like that Jackson has been sick AT ALL! BUT, he gets so snuggly when he doesn't feel well! Why do those two things have to go together? In Covington, Jackson was getting up ridiculously early, but not really wanting to be awake, so he would just sit on my lap and we would rock in Meemaw's recliner. The other day (the day he got sick, it turns out), he woke up on the earlier side here and fell asleep while I was holding him in bed. I usually try to buy a little extra time by bringing him in our room either to cuddle or to hang out with Josh before he gets ready for bed. For some reason, Jackson usually starts screaming as soon as I even bend one leg to sit on the bed. Weird, I know. But, that morning he just laid on my chest (a lot harder than it was a year ago) and fell back asleep for a little while. For the rest of the weekend he would just want one of us to hold him and he has started laying his head on my shoulder periodically during the day. I LOVE that! I see people when we are out and about who are carrying their sleeping toddlers. I never thought I would get that experience because Jackson is SO stinkin' busy! But, maybe we will...

The Dynamic Duo is Back!

Both the Smith and Mullen families are back in town and working on getting into a routine again :) Last week was not our friend in that department, but this week is looking good! We went out to dinner the other night and then Mary Jo, Mark, and James came over to hang out. The boys had a great time playing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jackson's First Birthday Party!

Jackson attended his first birthday party yesterday for James's FIRST birthday!!! In spite of working hard on recovering from not feeling well, he seemed to have a great time :) There were three other little people there. Just enough chaos ;)

Of course Jackson and James enjoyed playing together, but Jackson enjoyed playing with the older kids too. He played basketball with Evan and watched Kaitlyn as she paraded down the hall on James's race car. Jackson's friend, Lily, was there as well and he kept sneaking her little smiles. Jackson didn't feel much like eating while we were there, but the grown-ups enjoyed some yummy slow-cooked meat sandwiches and very tasty mac-n-cheese! James did an awesome job smushing his cupcake around and even styled his hair with chocolate frosting! It was a good look! The cupcakes were adorable monkeys, but even those weren't enough to entice our little guy to eat one :( Man, he didn't know what he was missing!