Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Happy Father's day, JB

I'm not good with really emotional words, which is why this blog has been somewhat easier to write than I though it would be. Keep it objective with pictures and thoughts of what we are doing lately. But on Father's day (or several days late), and really every day, I must say THANK YOU to the amazing father that JB is to our little Jackson and our soon-to-be Rachel. 
JB is a sacrificial father. He learned how to clean a bathroom during my first pregnancy to protect me from fumes. He got peed on (several times) during our newborn photo shoot. He sacrifices quality sleep even when he is on night rotations to allow J to be a kid (aka LOUD) around the house.  He shares his bacon and granola bars. He plays outside in the hot sun for hours with J, teaching him about soccer and just being silly. 
 He cares about our kids before they are even born. 
 Jonathan is thoughtful about how we want to raise Jackson, from discipline to activities to school. He prays for J all the time, which has to be the most important thing we can do for our children.  He also makes a great husband and father because he saves us from unnecessary trips to the doctor. It's nice to have a voice of reason saying, "It's ok. He'll be fine by morning, etc". Despite, or maybe in spite of, his extensive medical knowledge, he worries about little J, which is so sweet. He is such a protective, nurturing father. 
 He and J took killer naps together when he was younger. 
 He enjoys outings with us that would otherwise not be so fun for him, like strawberry picking, hours at the zoo and children's museum and the play area at the library. 
 We struck a deal early on in Jackson's life that I would do all the nursing and he would do all the diapers when he was home. That deal is still in place to this day (well, just the JB changing diaper part).  
J was 100% momma's boy for the first 2 years of his life, but, like this picture, he is looking up to Jonathan and you can tell that he wants to be just like him. I wouldn't mind having a Jonathan and a mini-Jonathan around :) 
Happy very belated Father's Day to the best dad! Jackson and I love you so much!  

Stay-Cation #2 and 3!

Thanks to my parents and their amazing time share, we got to enjoy two weeks at the beach in May. The first week was just the three of us on 16th street. The weekend started off with a girls' day at the beach with some of my favorite friends from church. We talked, laughed and got caught in a sudden downpour on the beach! After searching high and low for a place with no wait (it was Monster Truck weekend), we ended up at Rockfish for dinner and a homemade birthday cake to celebrate Erin's "29th" birthday! I love how we are all still in our 20's. Forever young.  

Mother's Day brought a day of rest for me. Ally and I enjoyed Chai Lattes at Starbucks and then I read on the beach for several hours, enjoying God's good creation and some peaceful time to myself. Jonathan and Jackson joined me later that evening and we had the rest of the week together! 
J won this cute shirt from Bitsy Boutique, via a giveaway on my friend's blog, Life with Pizzazz.   
During our stay-cation, we search for shells, spent hours at Grommet Island Park (a playground that is accessible for children with special needs!), went running on the boardwalk and ate lots of Dairy Queen. A rainy day allowed us to hit the aquarium without having to miss out on any sunshine! We also learned that J can get out of the pack n play and open door handles. We had a surprise visitor at 5:00 one morning!

Then we packed our things, JB dropped J off with my parents for their timeshare week, he headed home for a week of work and I headed to ODU to attend a PT conference for the weekend. J was so excited to visit with Grandmom, Pop Pop, Aunt Karen, Uncle Bob, Riley and Piper. When I arrived on Sunday night he was looking pretty sluggish and felt warm. Mom and dad said that he was out of sorts all day. A dose of Tylenol took his fever down but he had an awful night sleep and woke with Hand Foot and Mouth, round two. At least we knew that it would not be something to worry about, as long as he stayed hydrated and we kept his fever down. We were mostly concerned with the other two girls avoiding it! It took him all week to recover, as evidenced by a 'Jackson wake-up' on Tuesday morning at 12:30am....where he refused to go back to sleep! We watched Nemo twice, Disney and then tried to read some books before Grandmom took over for me at 5 so I could catch an hour nap before work. 

He ADORED Riley, who was so good about generously sharing her stuffed animals and cars. Aunt Karen was also generous and gave J his first big juice box and first package(s) of gummy snacks! I suppose that is what aunts are for :) But according to me, gummy snacks only exist at the beach when Aunt Karen buys them. Just like M&M yogurt only exists in stores near Grandmom and Pop Pop.  When they were driving away, Riley remarked, "I want to marry Jackson". Technically she is my cousin, but we still hate to break it to her that they are just going to have to settle for being best buds. 

Some of my dad's family made it for the second half of the week, including Grandpa and Aunt Janis and our local family, the Coles. It was great to visit with everyone and catch up on all the mother-of-the-bride wedding planning details and cheerleading happenings! 
J called them his friends, so sweet 
Our boy knows how to relax on the beach
Grommet Island
J loved spending time with Pop Pop and Greatgrandpa and was even outgoing enough to call GGPa by his name at the end of the week. He was running around playing hide and seek, taking baths with pop pop in the 'bubble tub' and eating lots and lots of goodies. 

Grandpa and the Coles 
Wednesday of this week was our big 22 week ultrasound where we confirmed that we have a healthy-looking baby girl! I am not one for big gender reveal surprises (who has the time! not this girl), but I swung by Plaza Bakery for some cute petit fours with pink icing to share our news.  
It was a great two weeks, but we were completely exhausted from all the fun and glad to be back at home! 

Memorial Day weekend

We had a great Memorial Day weekend, packed with fun!
First, we saw THE DUCK.  Not just the duck, THE DUCK. This is a famous piece of art which travels the world and unites people, brings peace and  harmony and just makes people laugh. It was in the Haugue for just over a week and attracted thousands of people, public entertainment, food trucks and picnic-goers, like us.  Despite J's face in this picture, he actually did enjoy it! He talks about seeing 'the big ducky' and asks when it will come back. 

 On Sunday we had a memorial Day picnic with the Speasmakers. Joel and Caroline were in town before their big move out to California.  We also got to meet their newest addition, Josh. Jackson and Max would be good buds, if only they lived closer and we could see them more often!
We hit the beach, of course! 
The boys played baseball, or more like Cricket as Jackson has interpreted it. 

Then JB and I celebrated 8 years together with dinner. JB made us dinner once when we were dating and ever since then, it's our special day tradition. He has an unlimited budget to buy whatever he wants but he has to do all the cooking :) 
Then, J and I took an impromptu trip to go strawberry picking at this great farm which is practically on the NC border. We picked pounds of strawberries, with him telling me, "Only the red ones, mommy. God keeps growing the green ones".  We played on the bounce house and pet some goats and pigs too! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

JB here, I don't normally post a lot here, but I figured this blog with its daily readership of 1600 people* would be a good place to post about my dad.  We've shared some fun adventures throughout the years including ski trips, furniture building, and a trip to Ireland, but none have been more rewarding that watching Jackson and my dad become the best of friends.  It's a unique window into what my early childhood may have been like to see them constantly giggling and playing and to see how much J adores his Grandad.

 My dad models fatherhood for me in a few different ways.  The first of which is dedication.  Being a father can be exhausting, especially in context of Jackson's endless supply of energy.  But Grandad always seems to be available to play with Jackson and interact with him even when the easier thing would probably be just to turn on a kid's show on Netflix.

The second thing I see in my dad's interactions with J is being a servant.  This does not mean catering to a child's every whim, but rather working to provide for Jackson even at the cost of one's own personal time or "to-do"list.  Examples include the things that my dad has built for Jackson including a table for his trains and a stool to help him get into bed, or just taking an afternoon off from work to help take care of J when we have childcare issues.

Finally (and this list is by no means exhaustive) I see fatherhood modeled in my dad's relationship with Jackson in their friendship.  I see their faces light up when they see each other.  I see how they really enjoy spending time together, whether it's walking on the beach or trying to play baseball.

So all of this is to say, Dad/Grandad we couldn't ask for a better father, grandfather, role model, and friend.  We are so thankful you are in our lives and wish you a
Happy Father's Day!  

*this is an estimate, not based on actual numbers or readership

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Favorite Books, 2 1/2 years old

I don't remember a ton from growing up, but I do remember a few books. Mom and dad were generous and let me have some of them to fill Jackson's book shelf. Many of them have been looked over, tossed over and just plain ignored until recently.  Here are some my favorites turned J's favorites
 There's a Monster at the End of this Book. I mean, who doesn't love Grover and how 'interactive' this book is. Cousin Riley has it on her iPad which makes it truly interactive as you click away at the brick wall, etc.  But even in hard copy, J loves when we act scared and he is the brave one turning the pages.

Miss Nelson is Missing. A great story about rowdy kids and a teacher who teaches them a lesson when she comes back to school dressed as the evil Miss Viola Swamp! A great, funny mystery for little kids. 

Ten Apples Up On Top. This was not one of the books I read growing up but came in a group of books from Jamie and Jim McNabb and we read it several times before nap and bed.  It is really helping J to count objects as he points to them and he can usually get up to 4 reliably and 7 more recently.  Of course he loves the big crash at the end where all the apples fall (sorry if I spoiled it for anyone). 

The Clown Arounds. J loves the nutty adventure of a clown family and their sweepstakes entry to win the grand prize of a new clown car!!

Henry's Awful Mistake. This is the story of a sweet duck who cooks dinner for his friend, Clara. The dinner, and his house, are increasingly ruined as he chases an ant around his kitchen.  When his house floods and Henry is forced to move, he invites Clara over for dinner in his new home...and sees an ANT. He looks the other way. J loves finding the ant on each page and talking about Henry's silly antics. 
Wishing all of you happy reading!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

May 2014

This post takes it way back to January for some pictures since JB just downloaded his whole album for the past 6 months or so!

Jackson is just the love of our lives. He's just over 2.5 years old but I round down to an even 2.5 until he becomes "almost 3" about when our baby is due, in September. Oh and speaking of baby, it's a GIRL and she will be named Rachel. We are in love and so is Jackson. We moved him out of the crib into a big boy bed on Memorial Day weekend and it went much better than we expected. He was enthralled by Lightning McQueen sheets (even though as my friend put it, they are 50 count and so uncomfortable)! Whatever it takes to convince him to sleep in the bed. We are making it without a guard rail and have placed a few pillows strategically on the floor to protect him from falls (2 small ones so far).  He does great with staying in bed but has recently shifted back to waking at 5am. Listen my sweet little child. I love you SO much but I like you less at 5am!  I'm in the process of searching for a good toddler sleep training book, but I don't know that I can convince him to sleep later if he got my early-to-rise genes. I have cursed myself! 

We love playing pretend and it has been amazing to see his imagination take off! We play firemen, zoom our cars around the racetrack in the living room and play forts and castles. He is much better at playing by himself and I will usually find him laying on the floor talking to himself with all of his toys in a line in front of him. Who knows what goes through that little brain of his but it sure is cute to watch. Favorite toys are still cars and now sporting equipment of all types (see below). 
This was a hard-to-get picture from Ellie's second birthday party, which was super fun! 
Many mornings are spent building forestations, firetruck garages and ramps. If we come downstairs at 5am, I try to keep him indoors until at least 6 out of respect for the neighbors. J is all about ambulances, police cars and firetrucks. I have accidentally taught him that firetrucks go one of two places. As he remarked the other day, "Two firetrucks!! One goes to the hospital! One goes to breakfast!" Well, what do you expect? It's pretty quiet around Norfolk most of the time (thank goodness) so we usually see firetrucks at De Egg, Harris Teeter and Farm Fresh. We have taught him that firemen and police officers are people to help him if he is in trouble. So, they are helpful people who like to eat breakfast! Daddy is also a helpful person, or maybe part of the mob. As J puts it, "Daddy puts boo-boos on people". Well, not quite. 
JB and I took a trip to Charlottesville for my PT state planning meeting. It's been such a treat to vacation at the Boars Head Inn for the past few years and we can't wait until next year! 
I really love spending time with Jackson. We still love the zoo, the botanical gardens and watching airplanes take off near the airport. We play ball and go on walks to explore. He continues to be our sensitive little guy and has started asking us, "Mommy, how was your nap? Daddy, how was work?" It's so amazing to see how our patterns of behavior, phrases and the way we love and care for each other are being mirrored in our child. It also makes us think about how easily we get angry and frustrated and to try and take a step back, breathe and pray when that happens. 
Happy birthday to Charlotte and Caroline! We celebrated at the park with pony rides, a petting zoo and delicious strawberry cupcakes. He thinks these girls are the bees knees (with Katie McNabb too). Again, we are grateful for our little 'compound'. 
J is all about sports now. He really has a great arm and it can be trouble if you are not looking when he throws something. He loves anything that can be used as a bat...tennis racquet, bubble wand, lacrosse sticks. JB is working on skill development with his soccer and lacrosse game, and surprisingly J is pretty good. He knows how to dribble the soccer ball and he can make a proper attempt to scoop the lacrosse ball up. I just love seeing my two boys having a blast together outside.