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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Travels

We got back last night from visiting Josh's grandmas in both Covington and New Hope. We left Tuesday afternoon for Covington and stayed there until Saturday morning with Meemaw. Then we spent Saturday with Gramma before heading home that night.

We headed right to Cucci's on our first night in Covington! The pizza was just as delicious as I had thought about all day :) Jackson and Meemaw had a good time playing cars while we waited for our food.

Josh helped Meemaw cook a delicious Thanksgiving meal on Thursday!

Jackson loved playing at Meemaw's house. She has a coffee table perfect for playing cars and all sorts of fun spots to stick little people, etc. Josh had a little fun by sticking Momo in Jackson's pants! Jackson thought it was hilarious and just walked around with Momo stuck to him.

We were SO full! On Friday we met our good friend, Tish, and her husband, Will, for dinner in Roanoke. That was a nice little outing--I even got Josh into the mall on Black Friday! We didn't have an agenda, we just got to Roanoke a little earlier than we thought so we killed time at the mall :)

We had a nice, relaxing day in New Hope with more yummy food! Jackson even got to help Gramma start dinner.

Jackson had fun looking out the windows at Gramma's house for the birds that like to hang out in the trees.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Score Sheet

Now that we have celebrated Thanksgiving, it's time to start looking forward to holiday cards in the mail! WAY more fun than bills!!!

I saw this in a magazine two years ago and tore it out. I thought it would make holiday-card time even more fun! I did keep score last year (I forgot what I got!), and it was kind of fun to really examine all the different cards. I'm not proposing we play, just thought it was fun to share :)

Gain points when you receive cards from:
*Dentist, insurance agent, hairdresser, dry cleaner, mailman +0.5
*Your own mother +0.5
*Another relative +1
*Friend via e-mail +0.5
*Your boss +1
*Friend you see at least once a week +1
*Above, with reference to an inside joke +3
*Long-distance friend, devoid of any personal message +2
*Above, with personal message of at least three lines +5
*Anyone who includes a handwritten personal note of more than three sentences +5
*Long-lost friend who hasn't been heard from in 20 years +10

Lose points when:
*Card and envelope are the same piece of paper -1
*Signature is imprinted rather than handwritten inside card -2
*Photo is of a helpless pet in a holiday costume -3
*Your name is spelled incorrectly -4
*Card plays annoying music that you can't turn off -4
*Highly religious card celebrates faith other than your own -5
*Card is the same one you received last year -6
*Return-address label was provided by charity to which sender may not have actually contributed -7
*Family newsletter contains words such as gallbladder, spleen, and gout -8
*Family newsletter is from ex who is (not so) subtly gloating over his recent wedding and cushy new job -10
*Long-lost friend who hasn't been heard from in 20 years asks for money or a place to live -20

Bonus points
*Gilded envelope +0.5
*Sticker decoration
*Handwritten return address +1
*Handwritten address +1
*Card in which all family members appear to have signed their own names +2
*Newsletter or family photo in card +2
*Card with moving parts +3
*Extremely clever handmade card +4
*Oversize card requiring extra postage +5
*Card sent from foreign country +6
*Newsletter with humor at progeny's expense +8
*Card with check, cash, or gift certificate +20

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Day 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Jackson

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fun with Leaves!

Jackson had his first jumping in leaves experience on Sunday! We took Pax for a walk, and then Josh decided to rake up the leaves from the front yard. We just laughed because at our old house in Illinois, we had to plan a whole weekend (or two) to rake up ALL the leaves! We had HUGE trees with tons of leaves that never fell all at once. It was quite the undertaking. While we would love a larger yard one day, it was kind of nice to just decide spur of the moment to rake and be done half an hour later! Jackson had a great time watching, picking up leaves, jumping in the piles, and helping Josh cart away the leaves :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

O Christmas Tree!

We set up our Christmas tree this past Saturday night :) We are getting ready to head to Covington to celebrate Thanksgiving with Josh's family, so we wanted to be all set to enjoy our tree when we get home. Plus, once we get back from Thanksgiving we have about 10 days before we leave for Evanston for the holidays!!! Soooo...we wanted our decorating efforts to be worth it!

Josh and I actually decorated the tree after Jackson went to bed. We have a little tradition of listening to Christmas music (we always start with Mariah Carey's album) and enjoying hanging out together while creating our tree :)

Jackson was SO excited to see the tree Sunday morning when he woke up! He started inspecting the ornaments and was very gentle! Last year we positioned our coffee table in front of the tree to act as a barrier, but this year seems to be going well without it. After checking out the tree, Jackson immediately realized his shoe basket and little blue chair had moved to the other side of the toy shelves! What an observant little boy!

You can't really tell in this picture, but Jackson's using his Handy Manny tools to "fix" the tree :)

Jackson's love of the tree has carried on and he ate breakfast and lunch in front of it.

It is also a handy suggestion when we are trying to come inside from outside or downstairs from upstairs. "Want to go see your tree???" His face usually lights up and he runs toward the tree :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Baby! (Not Ours!)

Jackson LOVES babies these days :) It is really sweet! We really feel as if we are one of two or three other couples NOT pregnant with our second (or third!) baby! It's amazing all of the stages of life: first you hear about your friend's new boyfriend or girlfriend. Then you hear about an engagement. Then you hear about pregnancy! Then there is a second pregnancy, and a third... Time is FLYING! When did we all become grown-ups??? Anyways, Jackson has been super cute with my pregnant friends and some of the new babies.

A girlfriend that I actually knew from Evanston moved here with her husband, and they had a baby girl this summer. Jackson has come with me to visit Rebecca and Baby Eloise a few times. Most recently we met at the Natonal Zoo and Jackson liked peeking in on Eloise :)

When we were in Virginia Beach with the Buerstattes, Jackson started to notice Brandi's pregnant tummy. Then, we hung out with the Bascoms (barely 24 hours before Baby Brodie made his arrival!), and Jackson pointed to Sarah's belly and said, "Baby!" He did take it a step further and point to my belly and say, "Baby!" I quickly corrected him that there's no baby here! LOL Jackson made a big sister card for Maddie at the beginning of the week and a picture for Baby Brodie. He went around all day saying, "Baby!" SOOO cute!

I got to go meet Mr. Brodie yesterday, but Jackson will have to wait until after Thanksgiving :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jr. Golfer

I must say that I think my brief break in blogging is due to my mourning the loss of some VERY cute pictures :( Last weekend I took adorable pictures of Jackson in these same snuggly jammies checking out a HUGE caterpillar that was hanging out on our screen door. He LOVES caterpillars, and he was so excited to have this guy to watch! Something went wrong when I transferred the pictures from the camera to the computer, and they are lost :( I kept hoping I'd find them somewhere, but I didn't. So, here is a different scenario! We bought Jackson his first set of golf clubs this summer and he has loved playing with them the last week!

The golf bag and clubs go with him all over the house! He loves taking them up and down stairs with him. I even found them in the bathroom the other night!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Soup and Chili Weekend

We had a great weekend! Josh had yesterday off, so we had a nice three-day weekend to enjoy :) We didn't go out a whole lot, but we enjoyed a walk in the woods each day, some yummy food, and lots of laughs together!

Our weekend kicked off with dinner at Qdoba with Mary Jo, Mark, and James. I think Josh and I both could eat Qdoba every day of our lives! It was really yummy :)

On Saturday, the Shapiros came over for dinner. Katherine and I LOVE our weekly playdates for the boys, but we really enjoy the rare occasion we can hang out as families. I made Pizza Macaroni Bake for dinner with Pumpkin Brownies for dessert. Seemed like a good fall meal :)
Liam, Jackson, and Colin: All dressed in stripes :)

Jackson handled the time change on Sunday morning pretty well. He didn't wake up TOO early, and was in a pretty good mood all day.

Josh and I made our first batch of potato soup for the season. This is one of our favorite fall and winter staples. It was really yummy, and we had Red Lobster Cheesey Biscuits to go with it
(Jackson is smelling the beautiful flowers Katherine brought me on Saturday night!)

On Monday, Jackson hung out with Josh while I ran to a quick doctor's appointment. In the afternoon, I took Jackson with me to Giant to pick up a few last minute things for dinner. Since I only needed a few things, I let Jackson push one of the mini-carts! It was SO cute! It is a little toddler-sized green shopping cart with a pole and flag labeling him as a Customer in Training. He LOVED pushing his cart around. Whenever I gave him something to put in his cart, he grabbed it, grinned up at me, said, "Tank oooo," and happily dumped it in the cart. There was quite a meltdown when we had to return the cart, but it was well worth it ;)

After we got back from the store, Jackson helped Daddy get started on the chili we were making for dinner.

Emptying the beans into the pot.

Opening the next can.

In go more beans!

Stir, stir, stir!
We also had Southern Biscuits to go with our yummy chili!

I thought it would be fun to include our recipes for Potato Soup and Chili since they are two of our favorites!

Potato Soup
3 stalks of celery--chopped
1/2 of an onion--chopped
7-8 potatoes--peeled and cubed
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup of evaporated milk (or other milk of your choice--just don't make the mistake of using sweetened condensed milk--trust us ;))
3-5T flour

1. Put potatoes in a large pot and cover with water.
2. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until they are fork tender. Add celery and onion after a few minutes.
3: Stir in butter and milk. Lower heat to medium high.
4. In a separate bowl, quickly whisk together flour and water (we usually start with about 3T of flour and just a little water--you can always add more water!) Once this mixture is smooth, slowly pour into the pot while stirring.
5. Lower heat to medium low and stir occasionally.
6. Add salt to taste.
7. We like to top our potato soup with oyster crackers and shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Some of us also like to add chopped green onion...

2 cans of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of corn
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 packet of chili mix
1 lb of ground turkey/beef

1. Open all of the cans and add to a large pot.
2. Cook ground turkey/beef in a large pan.
3. Once the meet is finished cooking, add the chili mix. Once the mix is in, fill up the packet with water, and stir that in as well.
4. Let pan get to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and stir until the liquid is mostly absorbed.
5. Add meat to pot and turn heat to medium high.
6. Stir occasionally while the chili heats up.
7. We like to top our chili with oyster crackers and sharp cheddar cheese (do you see a pattern?).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Momo: Lost & Found!

Jackson and I had had a lovely day: a playdate with Susie and Rachel this morning and a walk this afternoon with Katherine, Colin, and Liam. The weather was beautiful today, and we were just enjoying our walk through the woods. Well, Jackson wasn't quite enjoying the scenery to it's full extent, and kept tossing things out of the stroller: his snack trap, cup, and Momo. We had just given him back Momo, and tucked him into the seat with him, when all of a sudden Jackson started "chattering" a lot. Katherine finally realized he was missing a shoe. Well, not the end of the world. But, a few minutes later we realized Momo was MISSING!!! This is a moment I've been dreading, folks... So, we immediately turned around (of course we were about as far into the woods as we ever walk, so we had lots of ground to cover), and started searching. We found the shoe pretty quickly, but no Momo :( We asked a couple of people heading towards us if they had seen a stuffed monkey. No one had seen him. We did ask them to just sit him on the side of the path if they did find him. So, we made it all the way home without Momo, I dropped off Pax, sent Katherine home, and then headed back into the woods with Jackson to look again. I was nervous about it getting dark before we finished searching! I was really getting nervous we wouldn't find him (he is the exact same color of the leaves), when I hard someone running behind us. I wasn't planning to ask this guy if he had seen Momo since he was coming from the same direction we just were walking from, but then I realized HE HAD MOMO!!! I have no idea where he found him, I'm just glad to have him back! I kept thanking him, and didn't quite know how to let him know how much I appreciated him returning our beloved friend. I wondered if it would be weird if I hugged him... (I didn't--don't worry!) I did let him know his shoelace was untied... ;) So, we made it back home, and Jackson and Momo are relaxing with a little "Elmo" before dinner. What an afternoon!

BFFs reunited!



Momo is very lucky to have had so many people worried about him while he was missing: Katherine, Colin, Liam, Mimi, and Daddy were all thinking happy thoughts! They paid off :)

"Nate" Night

Rachel came over the other night to have dinner and play with Jackson while her mommy and daddy went on a "nate!" (Susie and Joe will be kind enough to return the swap in a couple of weeks so Josh and I can go out on a nate of our own before our crazy trip to Evanston for the holidays.) Anyways, Jackson and Rachel were playing before dinner when Rachel suddenly announced, "Mommy and Daddy are on a NATE!" It was super cute :) Here is Rachel and Jackson's nate night in pictures :)

A romantic dinner (complete with flowers) of chicken fries, blueberries, pears, and yogurt.

Some serious after-dinner dancing!


A little "Wonder Pets" before bedtime.

A bedtime hug before stories and sleep :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Old McJackson

Jackson has had quite the supply of animal sounds for a while. Those were a lot of his first words. He really seems to like when we "quiz" him and he gets to show off a whole bunch one after another. These aren't ALL of the sounds he knows, but it's a good showcase!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fun Facts About Our Two-Year Old Bug...

THIS is the face of a little boy who has just realized there will be paving work done on our street RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS HOUSE for TWO WHOLE DAYS!!! Holy big machinery, Batman!

In more general news, here is what Jackson is up to:
**He loves to have Momo "do" things (give treats to Pax, clap, shake hands, help him up off of the floor, drink coffee, and happy with his cup (this is our equivalent of "Cheers!" before drinking))
***Whenever he knows he isn't supposed to do something, he yells a very convincing, "No!' (He still does the thing anyways...)
***Jackson went on a bib strike a while ago. It wasn't such a big deal until he started liking peanut butter on various things. Peanut butter is just messy! I was doing so much extra laundry because Jackson needed changes of clothes more often during the day! I decided to embrace his love of Elmo and buy a pack of Elmo bibs at Target. Worked like a charm :)
***Jackson LOVES eating things out of little bowls! Not sure why, but he likes his banana sliced up and served in a tiny condiment bowl in the mornings. He likes pretty much any fruit in a little bowl during the day.
***Jackson is obsessed with cats right now! We have some very nice, new neighbors two houses down. They have a bright white cat that loves to lie on the back of the sofa in the front window. Jackson can spot her from the car when we pull up to our house, and he immediately says, "Meow!" When he wakes up in the morning or from his nap, he either asks for Elmo or the meow. I have no idea where this came from since we are definitely dog people... However, this is a great incentive for getting his shoes and jacket on in a timely fashion when we are headed somewhere!
***Jackson also really likes babies! We were at a friend's house and she was watching a friend's baby girl. Jackson LOVED her! He will happily exclaim, "Baayybeee!" when we see one in a store or at a friend's.

Jackson has many more words now and is stringing them into sentences on a more frequent basis.
***One of his first consistent sentences was probably, "I want something else," when eating.
***He also says, "I want Jack (or Wonder Pets)," when choosing a show.
***He has broken out with, "I love you, Mommy," and "I love you, Dada!"
***He has great manners and will usually say, "Please," "Thank youuuu," and "Thank youuu, Mommy!" without prompting.
***We have the following conversation about ten times a day:
Jackson: Mimi?
Mommy: Mimi is in Evanston.
Jackson: Bampa?
Mommy: Bampa is in Evanston with Mimi.
***Just yesterday, Jackson started talking in the car, "I love you, Mimi! I love you, Bampa!" THAT never gets old :)
***"Good boy, Pax," is another popular phrase these days.

I really love this little guy! We have been having some really fun days! We are also getting in the groove of a new schedule now that I am officially a stay at home mom with just Jackson :) We are enjoying our days together full of playdates, library outings, walks, and other fun things!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stuffed Friend Flashbacks

Jackson meets TC: October 21, 2008 (Twelve days old)

Jackson and TC: November 1, 2010 (Two years old)

Jackson meets Pumpkin Bear: October 13, 2008 (Four days old)

Jackson and Pumpkin Bear: November 1, 2009 (One year old)

Jackson and Pumpkin Bear: November 1, 2010: Two years old

And, just for some more fun, here's a recap of our brief, but much-looked-forward to visit with Uncle Larry!

On Monday, we went to Arlington National Cemetery to watch The Changing of the Guard Ceremony. It was Jackson's first time, but he did more climbing of some stairs off to the side... He did an excellent job walking! He walked all the way from The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to The Kennedy Grave Site! I was impressed--seems like a long ways for his short little legs! After that bit of tourism, we dropped off Josh at Union Station. He was on his way to Philadelphia and came back Thursday nightt. On Tuesday, Uncle Larry took Jackson to Target to pick out his birthday present! Jackson came home with the Fisher Price Stop 'n Surprise School Bus, and he played with it all afternoon :) This lucky boy is going to think his birthday always lasts all month since he's had visitors belatedly celebrating with him! Then we went for lunch at Firehouse Subs before dropping Uncle Larry at the train to head to the airport. We were sad to see him go, but super excited for our next visit for Christmas!!!