Thursday, April 30, 2015

We love having local grandparents!

We had a wonderful Lent and Easter season this year. Jackson really started to understand the Easter story and wanted me to read about the crucifixion and the empty tomb every morning at breakfast. His current favorite Bible story, however, is Jonah and the BIG FISH! 
J and I dyed eggs the night before Easter and then I got a little ambitious and hid about 100 eggs. Pop Pop keeps giving us these really neat eggs - camo, football-shaped, glitter, etc. So I hid the whole stash of eggs. J ran around the house in the morning screaming, "OOH! AHHH! GOT IT!" He missed about 10 of them, which I proceeded to find in the days to come (we didn't hide the real eggs...good thing!)
 After celebrating at church, we went to BB and Grandad's for Easter brunch with the Speasmakers and Lou. It's always good company and great food. Jonathan was on call but thankfully the EDs were pretty quiet that day and he got to enjoy the whole holiday with us! 

We got to see Leya, Brock and their two kids for Josh's first birthday party. It's great to catch up and watch the boys grow and see how our kids are becoming friends despite only seeing each other 1-2 times a year. 
Celebrating Josh's 1st birthday!
Grandad took J to Great Clips for a haircut. I gave him a heads-up that he needed to ask for it to be "SHORT. Like, cut it and then you are going to ask me if it's good and you'll need to go shorter. That kind of short". The hair stylists are always afraid to cut his hair short (and probably for good reason after being subject to many unhappy parents following a too-short haircut). Grandad didn't want to bring him home to me with long hair, so he stopped at the Speasmakers to grab a bag I forgot and gave J a little trim there. Then, when he got home and I saw J's hair, he gave him another haircut in the kitchen :) There's nothing like 3 haircuts to really get the job done! 
I wanted to take J to Touch A Truck again this year but it seemed a little overwhelming with two kids. There is no way I could lift him into all the trucks with a baby carrier strapped to my belly. So, Beth and Matt agreed to come on what turned out to be a very cold, rainy but fun day. 
J loved the army trucks, school busses and ambulances. He still talks a big game and then when we get close to the trucks he loves so much, he freezes up and doesn't know what to say or do.  He had a blast in the bounce house again this year! I think we should invest in a small one for our backyard. THAT would be hours of entertainment! 
Forecast said rain at 3, not 10am. Good thing Grandad let me borrow his raincoat!
We are so grateful that Jonathan's parents live down the road and that mine come often. There is nothing like grandparents and it's such a blessing that our kids get to spend so much time with them. We are also so thankful for the help (babysitting, sleepovers, meals, yard work, etc).  It truly does "take a village" and ours includes our amazing parents! Thank you :) 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rachel is 5 months...and also 6 months

Poor second child. It's not that we don't love you just as much as we love Jackson. It's just that we have no time left now that we are taking care of both of you. So, your 5 and 6 month celebrations of life on this earth are combined into one! And, let's face it, not much happens at 5 months anyways ;) 
You are 15lbs and 3oz and are 26.5" inches long. Although you started out bigger than your brother at birth by almost a full pound, you are now trailing behind him in stats (he was 18lbs and 27"). You are more of a beanpole to his potato. Your blonde hair is getting longer and your eyes remain sparkling blue. You smile more and will even chuckle at things on a regular basis. You love when people kiss your belly and cheeks, and funny noises will always make you laugh. 

This month you started sitting up by yourself and are getting better each day. Although you originally resisted, you are now realizing that your arms can prevent you from falling and also allow you to scope out the room more, looking for Jackson or dad's voice.  Your toes were interesting for all of month 5 but you've moved onto bigger and better things....aka anything you can get your hands on. Which at times is not much, since you have no desire to crawl. Your world is still somewhat limited to whatever we put right in front of you. But that's ok as Jackson has not quite gotten the concept of "you must clean up your small toys because Rachel is going to eat all of them".  J did not like to eat things but R does and it's quite scary to think of the legos, cars and beads we have in our house.  

We started you on solid food when you were just shy of 5 months. I know...why would we willingly subject ourselves to the messiness of an infant eating sooner than we had to? But, you were shrinking and we wanted to get in some extra calories and see if it boosted you back up. Your monthly menu consisted of: oatmeal, peas, pears, apples, avocado, bananas, sweet potato, butternut squash and carrots. We'll soon be moving onto prunes, zucchini and maybe green beans (pureed green beans....yuck!). You were hesitant about the whole food thing but now just love it, usually singing as you dive towards the spoon. J has enjoyed feeding you, but that gets super messy and usually ends up with a spoon shoved down your throat (he means well). 

Things you love: food, your brother, dad's singing voice, church/gym nursery, Sofi the giraffe, new people, chewing on things, sleeping, sitting up, shaker toys, Taylor Swift, dancing, back rubs, splashing in the bath, older kids, birds, walks, Lincoln, faking like you can drink from a cup, grandparents, FaceTime, belly kisses, cuddling
photo credit: Jackson
Things you don't love: going to your room for naps, being left alone, waking up on your belly, pressing up during tummy time, shots, taking a bottle.

We adore you, Rachel. We are so glad that God gave you to us to care for! 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The great indoors

The start of spring in Norfolk is lovely but hard. Some days are glorious and sunny and we rush outside right away. Then the next day is windy and cold and it makes you want to hunker down. It's amazing how temperature can be so relative.  After the summer, 50 degrees feels FREEZING but after the winter, it's amazing. Needless to say, when we have experienced a few 70 degree days in March, I don't like to have the windy 30's come back and visit again. So, much of our March was spent enjoying the indoors with the freedom to go outside when it was nice.  
St Patty's day 
my favorite time of day...story time before bed. Full Lap. Full heart. 
 Rachel loves books. Well, she really loves to eat them but hopefully that means she'll love to read. 
 J has been my big baking helper. We've made cupcakes for his school St Patrick's Day party and the Easter party (although the church heater was broken and we missed a full week of school prior to Spring Break). This is how he attacks the bowl when we're finished. Atta Boy! 
 He loves to be helpful with Rachel. Now, if only we could get him to be a better listener
 Sleepover and baking cookies with BB and Grandad. What fun! They play flashlight tag, eat snacks, go to the beach, bake, visit William and Sonoma and do other crazy things. He loves being there and we are so grateful for some alone time with Rachel. We are so blessed to have family close by who is willing and able to help with the kids

 JB and I went to Charlottesville for a few days for my PT continuing ed course and Leadership Retreat. We've had the pleasure of attending this retreat for the past few years, in Staunton and now at the Boar's Head. We made it there Thursday and Rachel went right to sleep. We enjoyed a bottle of wine and March Madness. JB and Rach played around the Inn Friday, Saturday and Sunday with some attempts at naps thrown in there.  It was a great weekend but also stressful with a 6 month old. She didn't sleep great a night (we had to cancel a babysitter we had for a wine pairing dinner on Friday night) or during the day (crying it out works great at home but not when people next to you are paying $$ to be there for a relaxing weekend!). JB did amazing with Rach in a really tough situation. He was a true prince this weekend and allowed me to focus on the tasks at hand (you know, feeding a baby in between planning sessions and meetings).  I really enjoyed the course I took, which is such an answer to prayer. It was refreshing to feel like I do remember how to read, think and learn despite so much time away from professional life.  

Seeing moments like this never gets old

We've followed-through on our new movie night tradition. The first one was Planes and last week's was Aladdin. We weren't sure if J was going to like it or be scared but he didn't take his eyes off the screen the whole time. He now talks about his tiger friend, "Roger".  He was SUPER exhausted from waking up early and not napping, so at one point he said, "I'm going to fall asleep soon" as he snuggled up in the blanket. It was sweet coming from the boy who adamantly protests sleep.  
I had the pleasure of hosting a baby shower for Allyson with Kaitlin, Heather and Maria. They were amazing people to hostess with as the division of labor made the shower feel relatively effortless. We all needed a nap that afternoon, however :) We're so excited to meet baby Sabin #2 in May! It was lovely to be surrounded by people who I love and to spend some time praying for Ally and her growing family. 

J and JB played upstairs during the shower 

 Our big sitter! 

Gratefulness in late February

February brought many things to be grateful for:

Seeing family many times this year, including Hana and Libby's cheerleading competition at the TED. The "Sparkle Girls" as J called them, did so well and we enjoyed watching them perform in a sport that means so much to them. 
Aunt Janis, Hana
Aunt Janis, Grandpa and Libby
 Our little girl is eating solid food! She was cautious at first and then really began to enjoy it. Since this picture was taken, I realized that clothes during mealtime are not an option. Naked baby makes for easier clean up! 
 J sustained a pretty large injury that left a scar but thankfully his eye was ok. He slipped on a book on the floor of his room and gashed the corner of his eye on something (or at least that is the story he tells us....that week he had been playing around on his chair/bookshelf/window ledge, which we quickly shut down. However, I have a feeling there was a brief moment of disobedience that led to this scar).  The next morning he woke with his first black eye. I proudly exclaimed, "J you have a black eye. Check it out in the mirror!" and he cried and cried. Poor guy. 
 Jonathan has been super dad with both kids even though parenting in the early months is not his favorite age. Rachel adores him, as you can see below.  They are snuggle buddies.  J loves to be dad's helper with the grill, the yard and anything that involves tools.  They also still love their skateboard/scooter adventures with Lincoln around ODU. It's a spectacle that turns heads of all the college kids!  JB has also given me a little time to sneak away for coffee, sunshine, reading my Bible and blogging. Grateful :) 
 We enjoyed a great visit from Grandmom and Pop Pop! J's favorite article of clothing is PJs and if given the chance he would stay in them all day. He also likes to wear 'comfortable pants', however we only own two pairs of sweatpants and one is filthy and the other is too short. So, jeans it is my friend. He knows how to undress fully and can dress himself 3/4 of the way. Although, he is 'stubborn like his mom' as Jonathan likes to say and pretends like he can't dress/undress most of the time.  I'm really excited for when he can do a zipper and buttons (we're SO close to both of them!) and then my morning routine will get MUCH easier.  The hardest thing about parenting recently is that both kids are still very needy in many ways. I'm trying to find joy in being needed because it won't last forever, but really, it's hard. Very.Hard.
 Rach loves bathtime! Evening is the most difficult time of the day, as most of you know. Our routine recently consists of playing outside (Sunshine and friends!), eating dinner at 5pm, bathing both kids, feeding R and putting her to bed and then story time/bedtime for J. She's asleep by 6 and he's not far behind, at 6:30/45. Then, momma gets a glass of wine while I clean up from the day's adventures!

 I'm reading this book which is really interesting (and kinda nuts at times): The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It's about going through your home in a very systematic way over the course of 6 months or so. You take out every.single.item. You hold it and ask if it brings you joy. If so, keep it and if not, discard it. Then, you can put your home back in order and maintain the minimalist standard. I'm already very neat, but this has given me new words and ideas to describe what I have been feeling in our house. We have plenty of space in our home but we have accumulated so many things (some of it is the phase of having a preschooler and a baby, but still...most of it was here before the kids!). I don't use a large majority of things. I keep things that that I did love but don't love now. So, over the next few months this is my project. We're getting rid of things that no longer bring us joy or use. And then, with less things there is less to step on, put away each night, fix when it breaks, etc. My mom is probably chuckling right now.  My sweet husband thinks I'm crazy and that I'll get rid of all of his things. I'll let you know how it goes :) 

The Ergo (baby wrap seen below): Useful for taking walks, getting your kid to nap, cooking dinner, going grocery shopping, enjoying snuggles, keeping your littlest close to you as long as possible, cleaning the house, etc.
 Our final snow for the season! We love having these kids next door and we also love having Spring here again. 

 #bjorntobewild #bjornfree #bjornintheUSA #CoolDadsRockTheBjorn
 Our dog used to weigh 72#. Now he weighs 86#. Hmmmm....I think that having an infant in the house could present a problem to his newly-instated weight loss program.  
That's all for now! 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

And then it snowed. And Snowed. And snowed. And snowed some more.

I had this draft sitting around since the end of February. In the past month and a half, it stopped snowing...thank goodness! Now we are in the season of April in Norfolk where it can't make up its mind. Is it hot or cold? or a little of both on any given day? Just when you think you can get out the summer clothes and put the winter ones away, a cold snap happens and it's 32 degrees again. 

Why sit on the couch when you can sprawl on the top?
Family fun in the snow
J had a great time out in the snow with Caroline, Charlotte, Luke and Katie. The guys spun the kids around in an inner tube and we went sledding on boogie boards (only in a beach town!)