Thursday, January 27, 2011

(Almost) Standing!

Did you miss us? We've had a crazy week, with me having an evening work committment every night this week. We are looking forward to slowing down a little this weekend, and enjoying some time with my parents who are coming to visit. We discovered that Jackson has a new skill--standing! Sort of. We are calling it the "tripod" stand. If we stand him up (he's definitely not pulling himsel up yet) and prop him against something, he can stand there almost indefinitely with his chest and belly providing some balance and helping his legs support his weight. He thinks it's fun!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big boy bath and new PJs!

We had another "big boy" first! Jackson's first bath in the big tub by himself! He loves his bath so I knew he would enjoy it and we debuted some new toys--foamy bathtub letters. I think they might be his favorite new toy. At one point, while gnawing excitedly on the 'u', I swear he shot me a look that said "Mom, why have you been holding out on me? These are great!"

After the bath, it was time for PJs. He's only ever worn footie sleeper pajamas, so something about this sweet little set from his Nana just seemed decidedly toddlerish! Doesn't he look like a big boy??

Gotta love the drool splotches on his shirt seconds after we put it on him!
Tonight he was in bed by 8:15 and we had a relaxing evening on the couch complete with a fire in the fireplace, girl scout cookies, and a little tv. Ahhh bliss.

Monday, January 17, 2011

7 Months!

Jackson turned 7 months yesterday! We were in Nacogdoches and busy with tons of family members loving on him so we didn't get a chance to do our monthly shoot until today. It's been a busy month--so what has he been up to?

It's becoming easier to know his likes and dislikes (mostly likes though, there's not much he really dislikes). But there are a few things that make his face light up and wiggle with excitement. He loves his Sophie giraffe. I think he would be happy if she were his only toy. He enjoys most anything he can shove in his mouth and gnaw on though. And for good reason...his first tooth appeared last week on Thursday (since this is his virtual baby book, it was his lower right central incisor at 6 months and 28 days old)! We woke up that morning and he grinned at me with a little white glimmer in his mouth that wasn't there before.

He weighs 18.5-19 pounds and is getting taller. We realized that he only has a couple of inches to go until he is too tall for his infant seat. He now responds to his name most of the time and also interacts with our family members when we talk to them on Skype. He loves for us to sing songs and dance with him. He especially likes Old McDonald and it is the go-to distraction. If we are in the car and he begins to fuss, he will quiet when we start to sing...the more realistic the animal sounds the better, of course.

His little hands have been very busy this month, continuing to grab anything within reach. His efforts have grown much more coordinated, with one example being his near mastery of the skill of grabbing his paci from anywhere within his reach and putting it in his mouth. He's pretty skilled at the sippy cup, although there is much more chewing on the spout rather than actual drinking happening. His pincer grasp is developing and he can now pick up cereal puffs, although he hasn't figured out how to get the little puff in his mouth while his fist is wrapped around them--I know he will soon learn to use just his thumb and forefinger.

He and our cat, Gracie, have also been getting to know one another this month. I think Gracie has finally realized that Jackson is not going away, and that he's also a pretty interesting creature. She is a very friendly, personable cat so I knew it was just a matter of time until she warmed up to him. She comes up to him when he's playing on the floor or sitting in our laps and lets him pet her grab her ears and fur. We've been trying to teach him to "be gentle" to his kitty, but thankfully she's very sweet and patient.

*Note: In this video it looks like he is yanking really hard on her ears and fur. I promise in real life he wasn't that rough--we would never let him hurt her! Oh yeah, and the growling you hear is Jackson, not Gracie!

He still stays in one place when we sit him down to play but I know our days of this sweet simplicity are numbered. Now that he can roll over with ease, he has decided that sleeping on his side or tummy is much better than sleeping on his back. This makes his mommy a little nervous, but after trying multiple times to flip him over only to come back a little while later and find him face down again, I've decided not to fight it. He is usually asleep by about 9 and sleeps soundly in his own bed until about 4 when he wakes up and will only go back to sleep if he's in bed with us. Once in bed with us, he will sleep until morning, often until 9 or 10 on weekends.
He contimues to be such a good, happy, easy baby. Anyone who spends much time with him comments on this fact and reminds us how lucky we are. This weekend was my dad's 60th birthday bash and Jackson got to meet lots of relatives and friends. He was completely out of his routine and environment, but was a perfect angel. He was happy to be passed from person to person and had the best time playing and spending time with everyone.

Jackson with the birthday boy.
Each month, I think that life with Jackson can't get any better or more fun, but you know what? It does. It's amazing how much joy and love this one tiny person brings! Happy 7 months sweet Jackson boy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

He Eats!

Jackson has really been making some progress lately with his eating! He has now tried rice cereal, banana, avocado, prunes, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, pears, green beans and oatmeal. I think his favorites are apples and pears. No amount of cajoling or favorite foods mixed in can convince him to eat rice cereal or oatmeal. But he's a rockstar 6 month old with his cup!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

He likes me, he really likes me!

I know my son loves me. He knows who feeds him, who comforts him, who bathes him, and who sings silly songs to make him smile. It's been evident since the beginning in the way that he quiets most quickly when I hold him and as the recipent of his earliest smiles. But tonight he did something (twice!!) that just makes this mommy's heart sing with the knowledge that he really likes me! The first time I was doing a silly dance around the living room and went to him with arms outstretched and said "do you want to dance with me?" And you know what he did??? He stretched his arms out for me to pick him up! Later, he was fussing for his daddy and I went to him again with arms outstretched and he reached right for me. Twice is not a fluke. He likes me! He really likes me!

My mommy is so funny! I like her!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This and that

We had a great low-key weekend. It was just what we needed. We hung out with "Aunt" Abby on Friday night while watching the sad Cotton Bowl and got to have lunch and spend some time with my brother Matt and Sarah today. We also finally got our Christmas stuff taken down and put away. It is weird to think about the next time we see it all again we will have a walking, talking toddler on our hands! We separated the unbreakable, kid friendly tree ornaments from the others and put them aside so that next year, Jackson can help decorate the lower branches. Ha, it will be funny to look back and see if my vision for that day works out like I am thinking it will! While we were putting away Christmas, Jackson jumped! He still loves his jumperoo and we just had to raise the springs to the next level since we noticed he had gotten too tall for it on the lowest level.

We've been having fun playing with all of Jackson's new toys he got for Christmas. One is the Fisher Price Busy Ball popper. Jackson is fascinated by it, but we learned that another member of our family thinks it's just as entertaining...

Finally, remember our trip to the park? I had forgotten that we took some video while we were there and just found them on our other camera. The videos were too cute not to share so I added them to the post. Go check them out!

Jackson says "have a great week!"

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And the word of the day is....

This is all he's been saying all week! While we know he doesn't connect those syllables to anything or anyone, it's still exciting to hear him beginning to babble something that we recognize! Hopefully I'll get to hear some mamamamas soon!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to the Grind: Meal Plan Monday (1/3-1/7)

Today was our first day back at work and school after the holiday. Sigh. I never enjoy leaving Jackson at his school but I get used to it. However, some days are harder than others. This was one of those days. As much as I love his school and teachers, I just hate being away from my boy all day. But, we are relatively back in our routine now, including our weekly meal plan....

Monday- Taco Salad (a repeat, see details here)
Tuesday- Red Beans and Rice--this is serious comfort food for this Cajun girl. We are trying out this recipe, because it seems pretty spot on with my Grandmother and Dad's made-from-scratch versions. One secret, at the end of the simmering, take a fork and smush some of the beans against the side of the pot to thicken up the consistency.
Wednesday- King Ranch Chicken (recipe below), garden salad
Thursday- BBQ potatoes- This is a favorite week night meal--Go to HEB (come home a hero!) and buy a container of the HEB fully cooked lean beef brisket with BBQ sauce. We buy several of these when they go on sale and freeze them for later. Bake a couple of potatoes. Microwave the BBQ. Add all of the bad for you good stuff--butter, cheese, and sour cream.
Friday- Aggies will be beating the hell outta LSU in the Cotton Bowl and we will likely be ordering pizza. =)

King Ranch Chicken

4 or more chicken breasts
2 tsp. of Seasonall
1 onion
salt and pepper
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
12 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces
2 cups grated cheddar cheese

Cook chicken in crock pot with Seasonall, salt, pepper and the onion. Cut/shred cooked chicken into bite size pieces. Turn off the crockpot but add to the pot the soups, tomatoes and chicken broth. Layer in 9x13x2 (or 2-3 smaller pans for freezing) as follows: soup mixture, tortilla pieces, chicken, cheese. Repeat with cheese as top layer. If eating right away, bake at 350 for 45 minutes to 1 hour (this is the baking time for the large pan--if using a smaller pan, adjust baking time down).

As for what Jackson is eating this week...a lot more than he was this time last month! He's now tried rice cereal, banana, avocado, pears, sweet potatoes, prunes, and carrots. So far he seems to like the pears, prunes and sweet potatoes the best. I've been making most of his food (this is a great website for homemade baby food if you are interested), although he did have some commercial baby food while we were travelling. Making our own baby food is cheaper and there's a lot less waste, especially right now when he's not eating all that much--we freeze 1 ounce portions in ice cube trays and only take out what we need. I wouldn't say that he's an eager eater just yet, but he is on his way! He's so funny because when he decides he's done (which is sometimes just 3 or 4 bites into the meal, sometimes 15 or 20), he will blow raspberries. It makes a lot of sense...there's just not much use in trying to feed sweet potatoes to someone who is blowing raspberries at you! We have also introduced a sippy cup. We just put a little bit of water in it and let him take a few sips during meal time. He seems to enjoy the novelty of it and acts like an old pro with grabbing the handles and bringing it to his mouth. I think he is doing more chewing on the spout rather than drinking, but it's a great start!

We hope you have a great week!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome 2011!

Happy New Year!

We spent New Year's Eve with our dear friends Julian, Amber and Jillian (technically, Jillian is still in utero but only has about a month left to "cook" and is definitely making her presence known). We rang in the new year with a low key evening, but the quality of the company couldn't be beat. We went out to dinner--can I say that I LOVE restaurants that do call-ahead seating? Knowing it would be packed, I called Texas Roadhouse to put our name down about 30 minutes before picking up Amber and Julian...we were number 262 and as we were walking in they were calling 261. We were seated not a minute later. Love it. After dinner, we went home to change into our PJs then went to Amber and Julian's to ring in the new year with Carson Daly, Dick Clark, etc.

Jackson with the ladies (including his girlfriend, Jillian!)

Just the boys.

Jackson made a heroic effort to be awake to ring in the new year. I was surprised by how long he made it. When we are in our normal routine, he is usually asleep by 9:30. Even while we have been on vacation, he has been making it to sleep by 10:00-10:30. The poor boy made it to 11:51 before finally giving up. He was so close!!

We are looking forward to sharing the excitement of the next year with the growing Acosta family. We can't wait to meet baby Jillian and feel so lucky to have them all in our lives!

On New Year's Day, we had a lazy yet productive day at home emptying our suitcases, doing laundry and finding homes for all of the new Christmas gifts. Late in the day, we decided to make a quick trip to the outlet mall that is about an hour away. As always, Jackson was so so so good, sleeping most of the way there and through much of the shopping. We grabbed a later dinner near the  mall and Jackson got to sit in a big boy highchair instead of his infant seat! He loved being able to look around at everything and people watch.

It looks like he is saying "Whoa! This is different!" But I think the flash was just really bright in the dim restaurant.

All is right in the world when Sophie (the giraffe chew toy) is around. She is hands-down his favorite. 
We haven't really made any New Years Resolutions but are just committed to savoring every moment with our precious boy. We have lots to look forward to: first crawls, first words, first steps. In addition, the year will bring new challenges for me at work, a big first birthday bash in June and welcoming Jackson's first younger cousin in August. We also hope to have our first family vacation in September. While not as life-changing as 2010, I know 2011 is sure to be as memorable.