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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Our Stay in Staunton (and Nearby)

We spent this past weekend in and around Staunton visiting Gramma Jarvis, Meemaw, Aunt Murph, and Uncle Larry. We had such a good time! We really got to relax and enjoy time together :) We left Thursday evening and drove to our first stop: Gramma J's. Jackson slept the whole way in the car and went right back to sleep once we arrived. On Friday Jackson enjoyed showing off his new tricks. We went to the Waynesboro Park (which used to be one of the awesome wooden play areas, but has been replaced with that "safe" metal stuff...) and Jackson enjoyed climbing on the equipment.

Once he saw the ducks in the pond, however, that was clearly his favorite part!

A nice woman shared a piece of bread with Jackson so he was able to feed the ducks--he LOVED this!

We went home for lunch and a very short nap, and then we took advantage of Gramma's huge yard! Jackson had fun blowing bubbles, playing Frisbee, playing with rocks, and getting wet with a bucket and sponge.

We ended the afternoon with a bath and dinner out at our favorite pizza place near Gramma's. After giving some good-bye hugs and kisses, we headed off to Aunt Murph and Uncle Larry's.

They were just on their way out to dinner with Meemaw, which worked out well since the quiet helped us get Jackson settled and asleep. We had a really nice time relaxing and enjoying their house. Their is a great deck a little ways from the house and it was such a pretty night! Saturday morning, Jackson and I went with Aunt Murph to the Staunton Farmer's Market. We got lots of yummy treats--it was really fun! Josh went golfing with Larry and Robert (Josh's cousin). Murph offered to stay with Jackson and lay him down for his nap while Meemaw, Goldie (Robert's wife), and I went to see "Eat, Pray, Love." That was SUCH a nice offer and I didn't hesitate TOO much in taking her up on it... We got all settled in the theater only to wait for a good twenty minutes with no movie starting :( Apparently there was something wrong with the projector, but there was no real estimate of when that might be fixed. It was disappointing, but I still had gotten to have some popcorn and then I got to finish my book while sitting on the screened-in porch back at the house while Jackson took a nice, long nap. It was still a really nice afternoon!

We had a delicious dinner that evening with Robert and Goldie and then I spent a couple of hours making butterfly cupcakes as a belated birthday present for Aunt Jeannie, who we were visiting the next day.

On Sunday morning Josh, Jackson, Aunt Murph, and I went for a walk at Gypsy Hill Park. I LOVE this park! Not only is it a great place to walk, but it also has a duck pond, a pool, several play areas, picnic tables, a ball field, and a really neat display of lights at holiday time!

After our walk, we went back to the house for lunch and a nap. Then Meemaw, Jackson, Josh, and I left to go visit Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Wayne. It was really nice to have a little visit just to ourselves with them. Jackson was a little nervous at first, but he quickly warmed up when he discovered the fun dog toys to play with and all of the fun doors he could open and close...

We headed back to the house and Jackson had a quick bath followed by a little quiet TV time. We all were able to enjoy a yummy grilled dinner before we packed up and headed home. (P.S. This is Jackson's new monkey which he LOVES! He is SO cute!)

It was at great "end of summer" weekend (the weather shows no sign of it being the end of summer, but with school starting soon, it feels like it should be!).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Bug the Dog Walker

I feel like I need to admit that I find my son so irresistibly adorable at times that I am afraid I might squeeze him to death! That would be so sad! Yesterday was one of those times. We were heading out for a playdate and I was trying to get Jackson to hurry. Let's just say that the under two set does not understand that term... I went out to put something in the car, and over my shoulder I asked Jackson to go get his shoes. I turned around and saw Jackson standing in the doorway wearing MY running shoes and holding Pax's leash. He had a huge smile on his face :) It was so adorable! I picked him up and carried him to the couch so I could put on HIS shoes, and my shoes stayed attached to his feet the whole way! He just cracks me up :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friends! Cousins! Family! Oh my!

We got back yesterday afternoon from a great getaway weekend! On Friday afternoon we headed to Charlottesville as a pit-stop on the way to Louisa, VA to stay with our friends, Charron and Andy (this is the earliest we could re-schedule our pre-Snotorious B.I.G. trip!). This past weekend was move-in weekend on Grounds, and it was fun to walk around for a little and reminisce about when it was us moving all of our worldly possessions into a shoebox! LOL After wandering around a little, we got back in the car and drove the rest of the way to the Montgomery's house. Charron began her spoiling of us that night and cooked a delicious dinner! The food spoilage continued with breakfast AND lunch on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday--I could get used to this! We had a great time hanging out and catching up with good friends. Jackson had a great time (of course) showing off all of his best tricks. My favorite trick he showed off was sleeping in until 8am Sunday morning!!!
Hugs for Charron...

Hugs for Charron's mom...

And dap for Andy!

We left Charron and Andy's house Sunday morning and drove about 45 minutes to visit Jackson's aunt Jenny! Jackson's cousins, Drake and Killian, were there too and they were really excited to see Jackson! They even inflated their cool fort to show Jackson! He thought it was pretty cool and liked climbing around with his big cousins :)

Jackson's uncle Bob was there too, but he had just finished working in the yard and I didn't get any pictures of him :( Aunt Jenny and Uncle Bob have two Great Dane dogs, Hondo and Eddie, and Jackson LOVED them! He also loved their two cats. He kept pointing to them or going over to them and meowing. It was so cute!

Swinging with Aunt Jenny :)

Killian, Uncle Josh/Daddy, Jackson, Drake

Of course, Jackson found the broom on the stairs and started sweeping! He was invited to stay everywhere we went this weekend because he likes to clean up after himself :)

Lunch at the fancy Arby's (seriously, the interior is super nice--like a sit-down restaurant, they bring your food TO you, and they have a bigger menu with delicious-looking rotisserie chicken!)

Daddy, Jackson, and Aunt Jenny

One last hug from Aunt Jenny!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stuffed Friends!

As silly as it sounds I have been making a concerted effort for most of Jackson's life to get him attached to some stuffed animal(s)! He LOVES his pacifiers, which is fine, but a stuffed animal or two or a blanket would probably be better. Today I was taking Jackson upstairs to play in his crib for a little quiet time when he ran over to the mess of toys on the floor and grabbed these two guys: a purple bunny named Heather (she came with that name!) (she also is missing all facial features thanks to Jackson's big furry brother) and a yellow ducky. He played with them in his crib and when it was time to come back downstairs he clutched them in his arm all the way down! It was so cute watching him grasp them however he could so he could hold on to the railing and his friends!

The new friends came in the car with us to the library and on the way home Jackson took a brief snooze with each friend on a side of his head. SO CUTE! After lunch, Jackson found his friends again and we had the following photo shoot:

Snuggles for Ducky!

Contemplating a kiss for Ducky...

Kisses for Heather!

A sweet boy and his new friends :)

A Little Tidying Up

I realize we are blessed to have a huge back storage room/laundry room/under-the-stairs storage space, but it is a little tricky to keep it organized ALL the time! It has a door so it is so easy to throw stuff down there, promise to get to it later, and shut the door! I always feel better after cleaning and picking up the other rooms if I can at least move all of the clutter-y things to one area--the back room. After various trips, some yard work, and some cleaning out of other closets, the back room had gotten a little out of control. I took a few before and after shots because I felt like I really had accomplished something during nap time :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mooching Koala Bear Style!

Jackson is still not a particularly adventurous eater, but we are having some success when he sees us eating some different things. He runs right over, stands directly in front of us, and opens his mouth just like a baby bird. He just waits for a bite! This morning I finally got to pour myself a bowl of cereal after feeding Jackson and cleaning up the kitchen a bit. I sat down, heard little feet running, and all of a sudden had a baby koala bear right behind me! It was super cute! Jackson just climbed up on the back of my chair and stood behind me with his hand on my shoulder waiting for a bite of my cereal!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

22 Months (and Five Days) Old!

Our trip to Evanston was very well-timed. I felt like we all, including Jackson, needed a break from our routine. Even though I switch out the toys and had just reorganized the living room, I felt like Jackson didn't quite know what to do with himself anymore. I remember thinking that by the time we came back to Springfield after 12 days away, Jackson would have changed so much! I was right! We watched him change before our eyes even while we were in Evanston! It is amazing to me (and so much fun!) to watch him learn to do new things. He is at a point where he really values mastering new tricks/tasks.

Mimi and Bampa live in a split-level house so there is a half set of stairs going up and another going down. Until now we have had to have someone manning the stairs or use make-shift gates. This time we didn't do any of that! It was SO nice! After just the first couple of days, we all felt pretty comfortable with Jackson going up and down the upstairs stairs by himself. The railing on those stairs is perfect for him to hold on to all the way. We somehow have managed to convince Jackson that there is no reason to go downstairs, so he doesn't really try! It was much more relaxing to just hang out in the main living area without being right with Jackson wherever he was. He got to have more free roaming space :)

Until now, Jackson hasn't been super adventurous at the pool or playground. We went to the playground by Mimi and Bampa's house a couple of times and Jackson "learned" how to do new things just in the five days between visits! The second time we went, he LOVED going down the slide! There was also a neat plastic climbing slope (for lack of a better term), that he got into right away the second time. We came home after that and I just couldn't get over how much he liked playing at the playground all of a sudden!

On a related note, we played at a play space at the outdoor mall near Mimi and Bampa's house and Jackson mastered walking up and down the sloped areas in a matter of a half hour! He was really proud of himself! He didn't seem to mind too much when he ended up sliding down on his bottom at the end!

In the pool, Jackson has done a total turn around since we were last at our neighborhood pool! I thought he was just showing off for Nan in IL when he spent the whole time jumping into my arms from the side of the pool. But, I took him on Wednesday when we got back to Springfield and that's what he loved doing! Yesterday we went to the pool with the Shapiros and Jackson kept asking for jumping again and ad again! It's a little exhausting (especially when you are trying to carry on a conversation), but it is so fun to see him so excited for the water! He doesn't even mind being dunked anymore. He seems to have a little more interest in the actual aspects of swimming like kicking and paddling, so hopefully we can make a little progress there. (I don't mean I expect him to start swimming, but just to be more comfortable practicing those things.)

Jackson now says, "Please," pretty much unprompted when he would like something. He has also gotten very good at, "Thank you!" Although it sounds like, "Dank-usshh." He seems to have a special link to the fridge because he comes running ANY time I open it to grab a grape or strawberry! This kid just loves fruit! Jackson is breaking out his dance moves all over the place! I feel like lots of his friends were dancing from a very young age, but he is just now getting into the fun of it. His moves are definitely better than mine, and so stinkin' cute! On a related note, he just can't get enough of the UVa fight song! We have a bottle opener that plays the song, and Jackson knows how to use a spoon to start it. He gets a huge smile on his face and sways to the song and then pumps his fists in the air and cheers at the end! I think he's ready for a football game with Daddy this fall!!!