Monday, February 20, 2012

Boys Weekend

Well, I finally did it! It was probably long overdue but I finally left Jackson overnight (2 nights actually!). Not having left him up until now has not exactly been intentional....neither of our families live close enough to leave him with grandparents overnight without us making the trip too, and we've been lucky that the boys have gotten to travel with me to conferences up until now. But I travelled to Oklahoma City for a conference this weekend and the boys stayed home. And they did great! Daddy reports that they had a really fun weekend!

Here's Justin for the full recap....

It was a rainy Saturday, so we decided to start off the morning at Barnes and Noble for story time with Beebo the baby signs bear (Beebo is puppeted by the lady who we did our baby signs training with about a year ago). We listened to a story about the colors of the rainbow and sang a song about feelings. Jackson was pretty wild during the story but enjoyed dancing to the songs. Since it was still raining out side, we explored the various activity tables in the kid's section. First, we found a table full of lego blocks...

He's getting pretty good at stacking and building block towers!

He was distracted from the Legos momentarily by this alligator puppet. He wanted to stick his hand in its mouth and laughed when daddy said "OW!"

When he got bored with the Lego table, we found this train table. It was awesome!

His favorite thing to do was push the trains across the blue bridge and down the hill.

I didn't think we would ever get to leave and I would have to be that dad carrying the screaming child out of the store.

But it was getting close to lunch time so I made a quick diversion with some of the decorations on the wall, turned our back to the train table and made a break for the door!

Up next was lunch at Chick-fil-a! Jackson enjoyed his waffle fries, with ketchup of course, drinking his milk through the straw like a big boy, and I even managed to trick him into eating 2 whole chicken nuggets....a major accomplishment for our self-proclaimed vegetarian.

After lunch, he burned off a little more energy in the play area.

Such a brave little boy! He climbed all the way up but did like staying within eye sight of dad.

I succeeded in wearing him out and he fell fast asleep on the way home and stayed asleep for 3 hours once we were home. Yes, I napped too!

Saturday evening we hung out around the house, and he was easy company for dinner, bath and bedtime. Usually mommy handles bedtime duties, but I enjoyed getting to snuggle with my clean and sweet little boy, even if it was just for a few minutes before he pointed his demanding little finger and said "bed!"

Bright and early on Sunday morning, Jackson woke up and we watched our morning "toons" while I made homemade pancakes--"paycay" in Jackson language. He ate two pancakes all by himself!

"Yummy, these are good dad!"

All done!
We had a relatively uneventful Sunday with a trip to Target and the grocery store. On Friday, Jackson asked "Mommy?" and I told him she was at work. He was pretty satisfied with this answer and went back to playing. On Saturday, he asked again and I told him again that she was at work and would be home tomorrow. He seemed somewhat less satisfied with the response this time, but moved on. By Sunday when he asked, I don't think he bought it at all that mommy was still at work, and was more clingy and whiny than the previous two days. Thank goodness she came home that evening and all was right in our world again!

I definitely have a new appreciation for parents who find themselves playing the single parent role for whatever reason. And I am definitely thankful for my sweet wife for her companionship and contributions that make our family work!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

20 Months

20 months! Our boy is 20 months! 20 months sounds so much closer to the big TWO than 19 months seemed. How is it possible that we have an almost-two-year-old? Like it or not, he's still growing by leaps and bounds, surprising us every day by the new words he knows or the cool thing he can do.

 His independent streak is growing! Among other things, he prefers to feed himself, climb into his car seat, and carry his own lunch box into school. At bedtime, he lets me cuddle him for a little while and then he says "bed?" I put him in his bed and he curls up in his favorite position and goes right to sleep. All by himself. Tear.

Jackson may be a tad dramatic. Like when we put something on his plate he doesn't like...he makes the most awful face, vigorously shaking his head and squealing "no!" with increasing urgency until we remove the vile offender. It's not funny. But it is. Of course, we try not to let him see us laugh.

"Belly button!"
He notices and narrates absolutely everything he sees as we drive down the road. The backseat is a chorus of "truck", "bus!", "dog", "tractor", "airpane!" and the all time favorite "choo choo!" He prefers riding in daddy's truck over mommy's car, I think because he can see out the window better.

He is engaged in pretend play more and more. Last week, I took him back to the Infant Cognition Lab at A&M for his last follow-up study. They are studying the effects of gender and testosterone levels on a child's interests/how they like to play. We went into a room with various toys and he made the rounds to all of them. At one point he picked up the teapot, poured himself a cup of tea, then "drank" it all, complete with slurping sounds. WHAT? Where did he learn that?! We don't own a teapot! I suppose they have one at school but still, I was floored when I watched him do that.

He absolutely loves our cat Gracie. He follows her around the house and when he can't find her, he goes looking in all of her usual hiding places calling out "Racie? Raaaaaacie!" And you know what? She loves him too. Most of the time. =)

He is the sweetest, most loving little boy. He makes us laugh and want to pull our hair out--often in the same moments. But he also teaches us that we can love deeper than we ever knew was possible.

 Happy 20 months sweet guy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Celebrations

We had a fun day of celebrations yesterday. For lunch, my sweet Valentine took me to lunch at our favorite place. It's always fun to slip away in the middle of the day and have some adult time together. 
I love my handsome Valentine!

At the end of the afternoon, we went to Jackson's school to take part in his class' party.

The kids all enjoyed their special snacks and we were so impressed by how well all 12 1-2 year olds sat there in their little chairs! Miss Donna and Miss Rachel have these kiddos trained so well! They were so polite--no throwing food on the floor, the plates stayed rightside up on the table, if they wanted more they asked for it politely with "pleases" and "thank yous"! 

I think they thought it was weird that all the parents were there watching them eat their snack, though!

Jackson liked the Cheetos the best! I don't think they have them very often, but he has come home some times asking for "chee chee" and we couldn't figure out what "chee chee" was (we don't have cheetos at home). Now we know! At one point he had eaten all of his cheetos, but the little girl next to him still had one on her plate. He kept eyeing it, then looking at us, then looking at his teacher...all the while with his little hand sneaking closer and closer to the tempting cheeto. Little stinker!


I love my handsome little Valentine, too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jackson brought 12 of these to share with his friends at school. So fun!

Hope you get to spend the day with someone you love!

Monday, February 13, 2012

East Texas Weekend

We made a quick trip to Nac this weekend to take care of some to-dos for my parent's upcoming 40th wedding anniversary. While I scoured the family photo albums and Justin scanned my selections, Pop kept the boy very happy and busy!

It was a chilly weekend for 4-wheeler rides, but the boys bundled up and headed out anyway. Jackson never wants to wear his hat but didn't mind one bit once he saw Pop wearing his. Mommy fail...I forgot to pack his gloves but you know what? Socks do the trick in a pinch!

"Bye bye mommy!"

Waiting anxiously for Pop to pull the cover off the 4-wheeler.

All bundled up and ready to ride!

Mom and I made a king cake!



Jackson approved too! And check out his fork skills!

Jackson wasted no time in reminding Pop that he needed to get his train out too. When we arrived on the first night, he took off up the stairs, headed straight to the man room where the train was set up at Christmas saying "choo choo!"

Pop obliged and set up the train for his little buddy.

Jackson is Pop's boy! When Pop is around, everyone else is chopped liver.
Thanks for a fun weekend Grammy and Pop! We look forward to seeing you and celebrating with you next month!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

O be careful...

Now that Jackson's language skills are really taking off, we are getting more glimpses into how his little mind works. Simply, it is terrifying how smart this child is. He is such a sponge and makes connections about things we have talked about once or twice and remembers experiences months later.

Here's an example from last night....

I was helping Justin get dinner started and Jackson was playing quietly in his room. I peaked in on him a few times and he was busy "reading" books and such. (Yes, I know we are lucky to have a kid who can play alone for a while!) All of a sudden, he comes running down the hall to us exclaiming "Pop! Pop!" He's carrying one of his books--an "All About Vehicles" book with pictures of all sorts of different cars, trucks, tractors, etc. I crouch down next to him to see why he is saying Pop...he has the book open to a specific page and then he points right at the picture of a 4-wheeler and says "Pop!".

Remember this?

Jackson's favorite activity with Pop is riding the 4-wheeler so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that he made this connection. But it's been months--since Christmas--since we've been to Grammy and Pop's house and he's gotten to ride the 4-wheeler with Pop. But he remembers! And made the connection to a somewhat abstract representation of that memory! And he's only 19 months old!

So that brings up the question (and here's where the terrifying part comes in)....what else is he absorbing and remembering without us even realizing it? WHOA. How careful and intentional we must be about what he is hearing, seeing and experiencing!

O be careful little eyes what you see
O be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above
Is looking down in love
So, be careful little eyes what you see...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Busy Weekend

We are usually such homebodies on the weekend, but this weekend we were busy! On Saturday, we ran errands in the morning, made it home in time for nap (for all of us, LOL), and then went to sweet Jillians first birthday party. I can't believe I didn't take a single picture there! But the party was wonderful and Jillian's mommy (and committee of family members) did a great job! Jackson especially had fun chasing around Radley, a big four year old. He thought Radley was SO cool.

After the party, we came home to get ready for our night out! My brother Matt and MaryAnn came into town and we all went for a late dinner.

We had a great time and a delicious, leisurely meal thanks to our beloved Aunt Abby who stayed with the boy.

Abby reports that they had a great time and Jackson went down for the count without a fuss. Thank you Aunt Abby!!! We appreciate you so much!

The next morning we got to hang out with Matt and MaryAnn some more and no one was more excited than Jackson to get to hang out with his Uncle Matt!
He was "helping" Matt with his strawberries.

Jackson flirted a bit with MaryAnn and Uncle Matt taught him the names of all of his Mack trucks.

Here he is demonstrating his newfound knowledge of the meaning of the words "Up" and "Down"! He says this all the time now!

We were so glad for the chance to meet MaryAnn and so enjoyed our visit with her and Matt! Please come back soon, you two!

On Sunday evening, we headed over to the Hayes' House to watch the Superbowl. Gosh, I love Christen and her creativity and willingness to entertain our boy! They played with this yoga mat for probably an hour. Who knew a yoga mat had so many uses? Here they are demonstrating the fun of the "Barrel" form of the mat.
He loved crouching down inside the barrel and then popping out, jack-in-the-box style.

Jackson was also inspired by the halftime performance and put on a little show of his own. Here's a quick snippet...

Hope you all had an equally fun weekend!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Routines and Murphy's Law

Around here, we love our routines. Routines provide structure, stability and sanity to our busy life. Jackson thrives with his routine in place and it's obvious by his attitude and behavior when we stray from them.  Simply, routines work for us. This is our morning routine:

6:15-6:45ish- Jackson wakes up and starts chit chatting to himself which we can hear via the baby monitor. When he's ready for us to come get him, he starts calling us. This morning, all he said was "Dada, Dada, Dada, Dada" over and over until, you guessed it, Dada went and rescued him. If it's closer to the 6:15 time frame, we all snuggle in bed a while. If it's closer to 6:45, I go ahead and get up and try to dissapear before he makes it to our room because he gets upset when I get up to shower. He and Daddy snuggle until Jackson decides that snuggle time is over. He sits up, finds his Daddy's hand, places his paci into it and says, "Toons?" (cartoons). He will keep repeating "Toons?" until Daddy wakes up and turns on Curious George. The two continue to snuggle while George is on. It usually looks something like this:

When Cat in the Hat comes on, Daddy must be out of bed and getting ready. Jackson happily stays in the bed although the closer we get to the 8:00 hour, the more likely it is that we will find him jumping rather than laying on the bed.

Once I'm all done getting ready, I go to get him dressed and no more than 15 minutes later we are walking out the door. Usually we don't stop to take a picture, but this morning we tried.
 He wasn't really feeling it though. ;)

So that's our morning. Every day.

We also have a routine in the afternoon. I pick him up from school and we are usually pulling in the garage right at 5:30. Daddy has beat us home so when he hears the garage door open, he comes out, Jackson squeals with delight, and he helps us get everything inside. One of us plays with the boy while the other prepares dinner, we sit down for dinner no later than 6:30, play until 7:30, then bath and bedtime for Jackson. Like I said, this works for us.

So why on earth did I think it would be a good idea to stray from this winning plan? No idea, but I did. I had to drop off something for work at another office on campus today, so I saved that errand for 4:30 and just headed to pick up Jackson when the errand was finished. So that meant we were pulling into the driveway at 5:15--before Justin made it home. I go to get Jackson out of the car and he told me "no! Dada?!" Sorry buddy, daddy's not home yet, blah, blah, blah. This is where Murphy's Law went into effect. Literally, everything that could go wrong did.

We walk in the house only to be greeted by a giant puddle of pee in the entryway. Our 19 year old dog, Samantha, had obviously had an accident. I go to shoo her outside so I could clean up the mess and, unbeknownst to me at the time, our cat, Gracie, slipped out the door into the backyard too. I clean up the pee, Daddy comes home, and all is right in the world, right? Wrong. When I go out to get the dog, I find that apparently she had slipped in the puddle, so she was covered in pee and by now, tons of grass from the yard. So it's into the bath for her. In the meantime Justin has started cooking dinner. We are still managing just fine. No worries.

While I have the geriatric dog in the bathtub and my little assistant is being so helpful, giving the dog his bath toys and such, we start hearing the sound of a cat in distress. Thinking she is just locked in one of the bedrooms, Justin starts checking closed doors but can't find her. Then our doorbell rings. Our neighbor has apparently found our cat the front yard! How she got to the front yard, we have no idea. When Gracie saw the neighbor coming though, she bolted to hide underneath Justin's truck. When the door opened though, she beelined for the safety of indoors and was safely inside. We then discover that she is covered in grease from being under the truck. So I have one pet already in the tub and another pet desperately needing a bath too. I quickly finish with Sammy and move on to Gracie only to determine what I really already's impossible to bathe a cat alone. It takes one person to hold her down and the other to do the actual washing.

So we are in the middle of washing the howling, struggling cat when the doorbell rings again. How lovely that the Suddenlink man decided it was a good time to come by and offer us a digital converter box. Oh joy. Remember that dinner that Justin was cooking? Yes, it got abandoned during all of this. So finally, we have a clean dog, a clean (but pissed!) cat, and a happy but hungry little boy who has thought all of this bathing of the pets was great fun. That was really the one bright side to all of this--Jackson thought it was a great time!

We decided that tonight's not quite cooked dinner would be great tomorrow and I went and picked up Wings 'n More for us. Phew. Moral of the story? Don't mess with the routine!