Saturday, August 30, 2014

Maternity Photo Shoot - Rachel

When we were pregnant with Jackson, we decided to ask Dave to do some maternity shots of us to capture those joyful moments of being 38 weeks pregnant with our first child. He is an amazing photographer (check out his work here) but had never done any maternity photos before. It worked out really well since Jonathan and I weren't used to posing for pictures or being very formal. Dave simply followed us up and down the beach and snapped some pics along the way. It's so fun to look back on those pictures and remember how we were feeling about getting to meet little Jackson in two short weeks!
Now, we eagerly wait for Rachel to arrive and had the pleasure of working with Lael for some gorgeous shots of our little family.  We met Lael when she lived across the street and was also in our church Community Group. Jackson and Jordan were born two months apart, which made for an easy friendship between our families.  I had the joy of hosting a triple baby shower for Kristi, Val and Lael last year before they all delivered their sweet babies in August. Now, all three left Norfolk (taking all of their cute kids with them) and I am left to keep tabs on them through social media and occasional meet-ups when we can! 

  Lael is taking a photography class and putting together a portfolio so we accepted her offer to do some maternity shots for practice and to add to her collection. Check out some more of her AMAZING work over here. She is very talented and if you live in the Northern Virginia area, you should look her up once she goes professional! 
 This was also a very relaxed shot with minimal hassle of dealing with some very bright sunlight as it peeked between the cloud cover that afternoon. We managed to escape the nasty 80% chance of rain forecast, which was a blessing.  We did the shoot down near the Pagoda in downtown Norfolk, which was a great way to capture some of the essence of Norfolk with the water in the background.  
 Jackson did not make an appearance at this shoot, but not on purpose. Lael was in town for her son's first birthday and to visit friends and we happened to have this weekend free with Jackson over at BB and Grandad's. While we missed having him in these pictures, it was also nice to have some shots of us with Rachel alone as we did for Jackson. Trust me, there are PLENTY of Jackson pictures floating around our house! 

Thanks again to Lael for capturing these moments. And now, signing off, 36 weeks pregnant and eagerly awaiting our sweet little girl. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Daddy's Boy

This has been the summer of dad, granddad and pop pop. J just loves his guys and we love watching all of them together! Here is a little Jackson update.

Our J-man is going to be 3-years old this October. He has surpassed the 3 foot mark and weighs somewhere from 32 to 36 pounds. He has started to thin out a lot now that he never.stops.moving. He certainly has gone from our Silent J to our loud and crazy man! He never talked to strangers or even people who he knew from church or the neighborhood. Now he narrates whole stories for them, whether they have time to listen or not :)  We are figuring out the fine line between letting him be a full-of-life child and realizing that our neighbors need some quiet at 7am.  His vocabulary is increasing daily and it's so fun to see the words and concepts he picks up from books. The other night, he declared that I should lay down on his bed so he could cover me up and turn me into a sarcophagus!  Oh that imagination! His grammar still needs a little work, however.  If you say to him, "Jackson, you are not a boy," he will respond back, "Yes am are!".  I have tried to start teaching him to say, "Yes I am" but instead it comes out as "Yes am am." It's super cute and part of me hopes that he keeps some of his errors for just a little longer.  
 He has inherited my puzzle genes and we love to watch his little mind work. He just looks at the piles of pieces and finds two that go together. There is no typical logic to his puzzling (like doing the edges first), but he has amazing knack for completing a puzzle. I am super excited (and JB is rolling his eyes) for family beach vacations when J and I can do puzzles on the kitchen table all week! 
We have made a breakthrough in learning colors and Jackson finally knows the last of the major colors...YELLOW!!!! For the past 3 months or so, he knew the rest but could never get yellow. He could tell you that something was the same color as a school bus or the sun and he could point to all things yellow but could never name it. Finally, he knows yellow and likes to proclaim it at the top of his lungs with lots of enthusiasm and pride! 
 We had a family trip to the dentist last week and it was a huge success! Jackson was curious but not scared and got a thorough cleaning and flossing. We got some instructions to start flossing his teeth at home.  Let me tell you what the hardest thing is...flossing someone else's mouth, esp when that someone is a 3 year old! We also learned that he is partially tongue tied which means that his frenulum (the piece of skin under your tongue) is not as far back as it should be. This could present problems with certain sounds as he reaches kindergarten but our dentist said it's benign in 99% of cases. Just something to be aware of if we try to put him back into speech therapy later. 
 In addition to his exuberant talking, J also runs everywhere and loves to be moving, climbing, jumping, running, hopping, falling, spinning. You name it. If it's physical, he is doing it. He started dancing this week with the typical little kid bounce that most kids do when they are one but he was never a big dancer. We're excited to get to see him get a little rhythm in his body! He's a pretty great climber at they playground in in neighborhood trees. His favorite game of the month is tag or simply, "I am going to chase you and then you chase me!!!!!" He will play with anyone he can convince to run with him and then he turns into a sweaty ball of exhausted little boy, and still wants to keep running! It will be a great way to get in shape after Rachel is born. 
 JB bought a longboard last month and has discovered a new form of entertainment that keeps all of my boys happy...JB boards, Link gets exercise and Jackson goes along for the ride when Link is sufficiently tired and unable to pull fast anymore.  I love seeing how much J looks up to his daddy. 

I got in a nice ocean swim last week 
 Finally, I am 35 weeks pregnant this Friday with a due date of September 26th. No word yet if she is anticipated early or late but we are ready whenever she is. Jackson might be the most overtly excited one in family. He proclaims daily that he is going to have a little sister and her name is Rachel! He is going to "rock her, hold her, feed her but not french fries." Yesterday he told JB that Rachel is going to be a giant! Oh goodness, I hope not, at least not until after she is born :) 
I've been feeling pretty good with a few episodes of SIJ (tailbone) pain that have resolved with some self-treatments and from the help of co-workers. It's one of the perks of being a PT; quick relief of pregnancy pain.  My cravings have subsided and I am back to eating a normal diet with a few more sweets than I would normally have just because I deserve them! I've had many more belly touches this time and people seem to be completely fascinated with my outie belly button. My 3-week period of extreme grumpiness has passed and I am back to my normal self (JB might note that grumpiness is part of my baseline however!). The hormones really have been different this time around and are reflected in stranger moods than I had with Jackson.  
 I am so ready to meet this little girl. I am ready for a period of rest from the other activities of life. I am ready to be at home with our family of 4, figuring out what she is like, letting Jackson get to know her and enjoying our new normal.  We are all so grateful for a healthy pregnancy and a girl who is continuing to grow (if my stomach is any indication!) 

Saturday, August 16, 2014


I can't really remember what we did in July, but here are some pics to give you a glimpse of what we were up to! :) 

J had a great visit with Aunt Dwyn and Uncle Kenny. I think I posted this picture already, but you can never have too much Dwyn in your life! They adore each other
We often spend early mornings playing outside on the porch, attempting to be quiet for the neighbors who are still sleeping. However, "Silent J" is no longer silent and in fact, he has become a very loud child! He loves to narrate every event in life. He announces to everyone that he is "GOING TO SEE BB AND GRANDAD!", or that he is "GOING TO HAVE A BABY SISTER AND HER NAME IS RACHEL!" We're trying to find the balance between allowing our neighbors to have some peace in the mornings and allowing him to be the full-of-life-and-energy kid that he is.   
 Jackson and I regularly visit the local fire station but this time Andy took us to have a tour with a guy he knows there. The kids loved climbing up in all the trucks and being with each other in general. Jackson was sitting in the driver's seat of the Rescue truck and I was in the passenger seat. Somehow one of us managed to set off the loudest siren on all of the trucks.  The fireman assures me that it was me but I beg to differ as I touch NOTHING when I get up in those trucks with Jackson. If he really knew me, he would know that I am a rule follower and hate to do anything wrong, so obviously, I could not have touched anything to activate the siren :)   I'll blame it on my 3 year old son!  In any case, we all had some ringing in our ears that evening! 
 It is so encouraging and warms my heart to see Jackson form new friendships with kids in the neighborhood and those from church. We have really enjoyed becoming better friends with the Doyles and Jackson just adores Eli, who is 5. They shared a Blueberry Trader Joes bar at the pool one afternoon and a few days later we found this on our doorstep. Kindness from friends always makes me thankful for those who God has placed in our life. 
 It wouldn't be summer without many trips to the zoo! The petting zoo is FINALLY open and has about 20 goats. We happened to stumble there the first day it was open and enjoyed petting the goats while they tried to nibble on our clothing and bags.  We also hit up the sprinklers every time we go. Surprisingly, Jackson loves the ocean and the pool but he is not a huge fan of any type of shooting water, whether at the zoo or the botanical gardens. He loves to run around and 'talk a big game' but when it comes to getting in the fountains, he will just skirt around the edges most of the time. You can't get this kid out of the ocean, however, especially when he is there with Grandad or Pop Pop.  
 Beth and Matt (BB and Grandad) have been so amazing with taking Jackson multiple weekends in July and August to allow me some time get things ready for Rachel and have some child-free moments to just rest and take care of myself (which is something I often forget to do).  On one of those weekends, JB and I enjoyed the last ever Music on Monarch Way. I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep in my lawn chair! It was the perfect evening of music, great weather and time with my sweet husband. 
 We never had a moment of, "We should take Jackson to see this movie" until we saw a preview for Planes: Fire and Rescue.  This preview produced a heart-response in both of us and we knew that Jackson would love this movie.  in fact, our response was, "We HAVE to take J to see this."  It's planes, fire trucks, helicopters and cars all in one.  We went to an early morning showing at Cinema Cafe and J really seemed to enjoy it. He sat perfectly still like this, holding his ticket for the first 1/2 of the movie and then I think his attention span started to fade.  However, he continues to ask to go see the Plane movie again. I see a Christmas gift in our future. 
 When JB is working nights, or just working in general, J and I get to enjoy lots of quality time at the zoo, Botanical Gardens, library and the park. This adventure was to jump in the fountains at the Botanical Gardens with Leah and Kai and then to watch the planes take off from Norfolk Airport.  We enjoyed a sweet snack of summer cherries which were a very messy experience for one of us!
 As much as we feel that Jackson is growing up too fast, he still has these moments when we realize that he is still very much a little kid.  We walked to Tropical Smoothie for a treat and he slept through the whole thing. Sweet boy 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mommy Fail

Today my frustration with Jackson's disobedience, talking back, asking 'Why" (out of disobedience and not just curiosity), and general poor behavior reached an all-time high for me. While he was misbehaving on the changing table with a messy diaper underneath him, I blurted out, "If you continue to do that I will smear poop all over your face."  Yes, I stooped to the level of my toddler this afternoon. #mommyfail

Praise God for forgiveness even when I act like a 3 year old!