Monday, February 28, 2011

Cure for your Monday Blues

Got a case of the Mondays? I've got something that will cheer you right up!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mid-Weekend Update

We've had a great weekend so far! After the conference last weekend and basically not having any down time, I was in desperate need of some rest, relaxation and quality time with my boys. I feel like we've done a lot already this weekend! Not surprisingly, Jackson usually wakes up close to his normal weekday waking times on the weekends, so on these mornings, Justin and I alternate who takes the "first shift". Justin took first shift yesterday morning which let me be able to sleep until about 10. It was glorious! Then I took second shift while Justin went back to bed so Jackson and I had breakfast! This is deserving of an exclamation point because I usually I eat breakfast alone. Justin is not much of a breakfast person, so it was a fun first and the realization that I now have a breakfast buddy. Jackson and I shared a banana and some cheerios.

My breakfast companion.
 Jackson has been working on his motor skills a lot! He can transition easily now from sitting to a crawling position....

And, if adequately motivated (like with new toys he got to pick out yesterday) he's doing a great army man crawl.

He's also pulled to a stand a couple of times this weekend while holding on to furniture and his standing in general requires much less support.

He also now has 4 teeth! When I gave the last update, I mentioned that his 3rd tooth was cutting. Whereas we had over 2 weeks between the other teeth, these last 2 were only 8 days apart in their appearances, which basically means the poor boy has been teething non-stop for the last two and a half weeks. As I've said before, this blog is his baby book, so I made a teeth chart so I can keep track!

We did some shopping and ran some errands yesterday afternoon and then had dinner and game night here with some friends. Understandably, Jackson did not want to go to sleep last night when there were other people in the house that was out of his routine, but otherwise he was so so good. We have a few more errands planned for today to get ready for this next week and then church this evening. The sweet sleeping boy is starting to stir in my arms, so I better wrap this up!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Eating like a big boy

Since Jackson was sick, he hasn't wanted to eat solid food at all. Except for puffs, he would eat maybe two bites of whatever delicious puree I had prepared for him and then refuse to take another bite. We noticed, however, that he would very willingly try anything from our plates and want more. This weekend while we were out he tried turkey, green beans and mashed potatoes at C&Js, and cheese and boiled egg yolk from my salad at Texas Roadhouse. So tonight for dinner we decided to try a different approach--diced and steamed food. It worked! I don't really expect anyone but grandparents to stick with us through the full two minutes and forty seconds of the following video, but there is some bonus cuteness in addition to the eating. He has learned how to, when we ask a question, he nods as if he's saying yes. Super cute and he does that a bunch in the video.

So proud of himself for cleaning his plate tray!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

NODA Region IV Conference: Aggieland

This weekend was the culmination of about a year and a half of work for me. About 18 months ago, my team at work put in a bid to host our regional NODA conference. At that time we were fully staffed with a team of seasoned professionals and thought the conference planning would be a piece of cake. The bid was accepted and we've been preparing ever since, but it hasn't been easy. The last year in particular has been a whirlwind with a multitude of professional and personal changes among our team of co-hosts including new jobs, a new baby, wedding planning, and a long-distance co-hosting relationship, but we made it happen and our conference was a complete success. It is a huge relief to be done and definitely feels like a triumph in the life of this working mom. I'm looking forward to getting back to normal and being able to focus on my actual job for a change!

NODA Region IV Conference Co-Hosts. I absolutely love these women!

The conference also gave us the opportunity to catch up with someone who is near and dear to our hearts....the great Bobby Tucker! Bobby served as the keynote speaker at the conference and inspired everyone with his touching stories and always eloquent words. Bobby has been present for nearly every milestone in my adult life. I first became aware of Bobby Tucker when I was a senior in high school and attended a prospective student event at Texas a&m in which he was the closing speaker. Through his moving speech, he brought tears to eyes but a clarity to my heart regarding my choice of colleges. A few months later I discovered that my high school's graduation committee had chosen Bobby to be our commencement speaker and his words challenged me to make the most of the opportunites that lie ahead....words that I took to heart as I planned my college career and the decision to get involved on campus. Once I arrived at Texas A&M and got involved in Student Government, I realized that none other than this Bobby Tucker was my advisor. From that point, he went on to be my teacher, mentor, pastor and friend, and was ever present through most significant milestones in our lives, even marrying Justin and I. So When my cohosts and I began to discuss our featured speaker for this conference, the choice was quite simple....when it comes to "leaving your mark" (our conference theme) , Bobby leads by example. Bobby has moved to Arkansas in recent years so we don't see him as much as we would like. It was wonderful catching up and he even got to meet Jackson!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

8 Months!

Happy 8 months sweet boy!

Time is flying! Our boy is now 8 months old! That's 2/3 of a year! He's been a busy boy this month...

He's extraordinarily active....unless he's sleeping, he's moving! If you are trying to hold him on your lap, prepare for a workout trying to contain all the wiggles, grabbing, and lunging. His favorite activities include emptying all of the toys one by one from the his toy bins, knocking down towers of blocks and throwing his toys/cup/spoon off the side of his high chair. He LOVES my necklaces, and looks for them when I'm not wearing one, pulling at my shirt to see if I've just hidden it from him. I have begun to hide them from him because he has broken 2 in the last week. He's so quick and strong and usually goes for them when my hands are full. He loves rough and tumble kind of play and still loves the adrenalin rush of being startled.... nothing makes him laugh more than mommy or daddy popping out from behind the couch with a loud "BOO!"

While he's grown rowdier, he's also become very affectionate. He loves to cuddle and has started giving great hugs! He will raise up his arms if he wants to be held and then throw those arms around your neck and nuzzle his face into your shoulder. It absolutely makes my heart melt.

He loves everyone! Stranger anxiety should be setting in around this time but he's showing absolutely no signs of it. I think he fully realizes that someone new is unfamiliar to him, but instead of being afraid he just charms them. He will babble, smile and flirt until he gets a smile back from them (which usually doesn't take long). Could it be possible that my kid has WOO as a strength?? Even while at the doctor last week with a fever and really sick, he was still smiling and flirting with the nurse.

He has been working a lot on his motor skills but he's still not quite crawling. He's almost there...he just needs to put all the components together. Gracie is his best motivation to be on the move. She will often come and sit at the edge of his blanket while he's playing. He wants to grab her so bad!

"Listen Gracie. I may not be able to crawl over there and come get you today. But watch your back...I'm coming for you."

Almost there!
We have introduced a wide array of food and he's not excited about any of it, except for the puffs which he can feed himself. I don't think it's so much that he's a picky eater...I think he just wants to do it himself and doesn't have the patience for the sitting still that is required to eat from a spoon.

His growth seems to have slowed down a bit as he's not outgrowing his clothes at the rapid pace we have experienced in past months. At the doctor last week he was weighing in at 18.5 lbs, but he hadn't had much of an appetite all week. On a healthy day, he's probably more like 19 lbs. He has 2 teeth, and a 3rd (top right central incisor) on the way. We can see it just under the gums and will likely cut through in the next couple of days.

We love you more than you will ever know, sweet Jackson! Happy 8 months!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

So this was the result of one of my afternoons last week with a sick, sleeping baby in my arms and a computer on my lap. Cute, custom Valentines cards! We got some minis printed for his little classmates at school (yes, even the babies exchanged Valentines today!) and some bigger ones for the grandparents (if you haven't received them yet Grandparents, sorry to ruin the surprise!)

We hope you all have a wonderful day with the love(s) of your life!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nana to the Rescue!

You know how I posted on Wednesday that Jackson had been sick with "just a virus" but was hopefully on the mend? Yep, he wasn't. Not even close. After two days at home, he did seem to be feeling better so we took him to school on Thursday morning. It was barely 11 a.m. when his teacher called and said he had a fever and needed to be picked up. Sigh. So thinking that he had played and napped fairly happily the past two days at home and desperately needing to catch up on things at work, I decided to just bring him to the office with me. Bad idea. He was fine for about an hour...played a while and even fell asleep and took a nap on the blanket on the floor.

And then it was if a switch flipped. He was inconsolable. He's usually so even tempered and easily soothed so we knew something was wrong. Justin came to the rescue and picked him up from my office and I called the doctor to get an appointment for the next day. Justin also called his mom, Jackson's Nana, who was planning to come for a visit this weekend anyway to see if she could possibly come a little early. Thank goodness she could! So she stayed home with Jackson all day on Friday so Justin and I were able to work almost the whole day. At the doctor's appointment that afternoon, it turned out that his "just a virus" had rapidly turned into a big, nasty ear infection. I believe the words "pus" and "bulging ear drum" were used to describe the situation. Poor baby. The doctor offered us a 10 day round of twice a day oral antibiotics or one big shot. I'm the mean mommy who chose the shot. But he truly has been on the mend since then, praise the Lord!

By Saturday he was clearly feeling much better, so Justin and I decided to keep our plans to go on an early Valentines date. It was only our second date night since Jackson was born so we had really been looking forward to it!

Jackson with his fabulous babysitter/Nana

One of the good things about needing a babysitter--we now at least have a photographer for our pre-date snapshots! =)
 We went to Madden's, our favorite special occasion restaurant and had a lovely time! (Thank you, Megan, for the gift card you gave us right after Jackson was born--you bought our wine!) We returned home to a sleeping baby and a happy Nana who was able to spend some quality alone time with the boy. Win-win!

While Jackson is not quite back to 100%, he appears to be feeling much, MUCH better.

He's becoming such a ham for the camera!

Playtime with Daddy.

Check out those two teeth!

Daddy's phone--best.toy.EVER.

Thank you, Nana, for coming to the rescue this weekend! We had a great time with you!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cabin Fever

Since we had a 3 day weekend due to the snow day, we got to play a lot! So much, in fact that while Justin and I were trying to get some things done around the house, Jackson started getting bored with his toys and a little restless. For a change of pace, we put in a video for him to watch (we very rarely put him in front of the tv, so this was fun and novel). The video we put in was a Baby Signs video. Last weekend while my parents were here, Justin and I went to a Baby Signs class to learn how to introduce sign language to Jackson. I like the idea of being able to communicate with him when he is still non-verbal, and research indicates that babies who learn to sign actually learn to talk sooner. I digress...back to the video...he LOVED it. Especially the part where they show actual babies and toddlers signing. He just got a kick out of seeing the other kiddos and liked the little cartoon monkey who introduces the various signs. He even happily watched the whole video on his tummy and practiced his form for that elusive crawling skill.

On Sunday, our friends Jake and Christen Hayes graciously hosted us for a Superbowl watching get-together. None of us had a particularly vested interest in the outcome of the game, but enjoyed the company while we ate some delicious and mostly healthy food, rewound some of the better commercials to watch them a second time and scrutinized the half time show.

"Christen, can't you see I'm trying to watch the game??"

It's a long game...a nap was necessary.
Aunt Abby was also there!
So we had a great long weekend, but Jackson decided he needed a few days more at home with Mommy and Daddy and is apparently fighting a pretty nasty virus. Over the weekend, his seemingly perpetual runny nose developed an accompanying cough that seemed to get worse as the week began. On Monday afternoon, his teacher at school called and told me he had a fever. So he didn't go to school yesterday and we made a trip to the doctor. Thanfully his lungs and ears are clear and the rapid flu test they gave him came back negative. Since he had a fever yesterday, that meant no school today and even without the fever we would have kept him home anyway because he still just isn't himself. Since we are now on the second full day of keeping him home, we really hope he's on the mend! Justin and I are lucky that both of our work situations have allowed us to work half days, so we've been able to split the time at home with him. We've been spending most of the time with him asleep in our arms, so I've been able to catch up on all of my blog reading, our photo albums on Facebook are up to date and I've even designed a cute little Valentine's card. What should I do next??

Monday, February 7, 2011

Jackson's Daddy

I have a GREAT daddy. My dad is everything a dad should be...strong, patient, fun, wise, caring, silly, dependable...the list goes on. I've never once in my life questioned whether my dad loved me or if he would be there for me when I needed him. The safest place in the world is in my daddy's arms. Simply, I'm a daddy's girl through and through. As I grew up, I realized that the man I married would have seriously big shoes to fill, and I secretly worried that no man would ever be able to live up.

But you know what? I had nothing to worry about.

I know that someday, Jackson is going to tell the world that he has the best daddy in the world. And that makes my heart happy. I know he already thinks it...don't these pictures just say it all?

Watching Justin with our son has made me fall in love with him all over again in a whole different way. Jackson brings out a whole other side of him that I never knew existed. For example, my husband is not a morning person. I can probably count on one hand the number of words exchanged between the two of us before 8 am in the 5 years of our marriage before Jackson. I'm only slightly exaggerating. This morning, this same man was gleefully chatting and singing "You are my Sunshine" to our grinning little boy as he put on his shoes and strapped him in his car seat.

He also cooks, does the laundry, and packs my lunch every day. Oh yeah, and he's handsome too. Am I a lucky lady, or what? =)

I am so, so blessed.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Jack and Jill

Jackson's girlfriend, Jillian, has finally arrived! Our friends Amber and Julian welcomed beautiful baby Jillian on Thursday morning. We found out Amber was pregnant about a month before Jackson was born, so we've been awaiting her arrival with much anticipation!

Due to the yucky weather, Amber's mom was not able to make the long trip from El Paso until Friday, so I was honored to serve as her female moral support throughout the labor and delivery. I went and hung out with them after they checked in to the hospital on Wednesday night until they were settled in to get some rest. I got up early on Thursday morning to head back up there, and Jackson decided to make it an early morning as well. He was in a ridiculously good mood--it's as if he knew that it was an exciting day and that his girlfriend was almost here!

Hurry up and come play with me Jilly!
 Just a few hours later, at 10:38 a.m. to be exact, sweet baby Jillian arrived. All 9 lbs, 6 oz of her! Way to go Amber! She's perfect in every way! Justin was in the waiting room and eagerly waiting at the nursery window when they brought her in for her first bath.

Check out those chunky legs!

She has a full head of hair--good thing her Mommy has so many bows!

Presh-us. =)

I think her Daddy is just a bit smitten already, don't you?
 Later that evening, we brought Jackson to visit and to make the long awaited introduction!

"Hi Jilly!"

"Ready to play?"
So excited to finally get to hold this precious bundle!

Uncle Justin got a turn too!

While Justin and I were delighting in the sweet, little newborn, Jake got a workout holding our excited, active little boy. He.never.sits.still.
We couldn't be more excited that our little ones get to grow up together. While the almost 8 months that separates Jackson and Jillian seems like a big gap now, I know that she is going to grow so quickly and catch up with him before we know it! If you want to keep up with Jillian and her mommy and daddy, visit their blog. Amber and Julian, thank you so much for letting us share in the most exciting and life-changing day of your lives. We love you!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Catching Up

Today we had a snow day! We bundled up the boy this morning and took him outside to introduce him to snow. We took a ton of pictures and it was going to be a spectacular blog post to capture all of the fun memories of today. We were using our old camera to take the picture because I left my regular camera at the hospital last night after going to visit our friends who just had a baby (more on that in a separate post!). Our old camera still takes great pictures, just the LCD display is broken; however I had forgotten that we took the memory card out of the old camera and put it in the new camera. So all those great pictures we took this morning in the snow? Yep, non-existant. I was so, so sad when I realized what happened.

Alas, we've had a great day hanging out at home. We slept in a little and we've played a lot. I was able to play Suzy Homemaker and get our freezer restocked with Jackson's baby food. Today I steamed/baked, pureed and stored mangos, apples, sweet potatoes, acorn squash and a new food--chicken! We'll see how he likes it tonight. We've also added yogurt to his repertoire which he seems to like most of the time.

Last weekend my parents came to visit! Between our busy schedules, we won't be able to see them again until March, so we made the most of it.

They brought Jackson a sweet Valentine's present.
And they all had fun hanging out in their pjs.

Can you see his little tooth?

Jackson loves his Grammy and Pop!!

This week Jackson also cut his second tooth, the lower left central incisor at 7 months and 16 days old. The tooth's appearance was preceded by a restless night, just as with the first tooth.

We had a very low-key weekend planned and were blessed with an extra day. Whoop for a 3 day weekend! I've got a few more posts planned so stay tuned....