Monday, August 31, 2015

Big Brothers' Room

Getting ready for Benjamin has required a bit of a shuffling domino effect. First, back in April, we moved Andrew up into Jackson's room to free up the nursery. But we left all of Jackson and Andrew's clothes in the dresser downstairs because we intended to paint the furniture that was in their room upstairs (you know, the furniture we bought when we moved into this house two years ago with the intention to paint it...) But now with laundry baskets full of baby clothes that needed to be put away but didn't have a home (and a baby who will be here in about 3 weeks), we had the deadline we needed to get motivated!

Nana coming to town this weekend was a good opportunity to make it happen since I had reinforcements for getting the boys out of the house so Justin could knock out the furniture painting project. So while we hung out with these adorable bucket heads, Justin did all the hard work.

The boys were pretty excited about the finished project!

While Justin took care of the furniture painting, I got to put the finishing touches on the walls--decorations that actually reflect BOTH boys who live there, rather than just Jackson (so sorry sweet Andrew that it took Mommy a few months to make that happen for you).

This one's not a ham at all, is he?

Hopefully this a room these two brothers will enjoy sharing for years to come!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Happy Birthday Justin!

The love of my life turned 35 on Friday, and I'm not sure I've quite wrapped my head around that. After all, the two of us celebrating his turning 20 doesn't really seem like that long ago. 

Well....then again maybe it does seem like it was a while ago. =)

He didn't want a lot of fanfare for his birthday. His only requests were mexican food and a salted caramel cupcake. Easy enough! After dinner out where both boys ate their weight in queso, we returned to the house to fulfill the second part of his request. 

Nana got to be there to celebrate too! I'm positive the 35 years have flown by for her too!

Guess who enjoyed their cupcake the most? As soon as he spied them in the box he demanded the "shocowate one" (that I had picked out for me, but that's ok buddy...if the shocowate one makes you happy, then go for it).

Thanks to Nana for babysitting, we did get to have an adult celebration too with Amber and Julian on Saturday night. Julian, Justin and Amber all celebrate their birthdays within 10 days of one another so we got together for dessert and drinks on Saturday night. No drinks for me, of course, but nobody claimed my dessert on this night so it was a good night! And we stayed out til past 11! Crazy, I know!

Happy birthday, babe! I'm glad you are paving the way for all these milestone birthdays for me!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

First Day of School

Well, after basically a whole summer of anticipation, the big day was finally here! First day of kindergarten for Jackson! And first day in the promises class for Andrew!

How did we get here so fast? 

And my goodness how big this boy looks!

Wahhhh. Where did my babies go?

With our bags all packed, breakfast eaten (at home, not in the car since Jackson's school is too close to get more than a couple of bites in), and pictures taken, we were off to school. Since it was the first day and everyone was getting walked inside, we had to park quite a ways away. Jackson told me as we were walking up to the building that he was a little nervous. I reassured him that everyone was a little nervous on the first day, and reminded him that since it's a brand new school, it was literally everyone's first day there.

He strode in quite confidently until he hit the doorway of his classroom. There were a couple of kids crying and having a hard time with the separation and he got a little freaked out. But he found his cubby and hung up his backpack like an old pro.

We made our way to his seat and that's when he kind of froze. He looks super sad in this picture, but he was really just solemn trying to take it all in.

He got started playing with his play dough and got a hug goodbye from his brother. One last hug from mom and dad and we were off. (Don't tell Jackson but it was in that last hug I teared up just a bit but he didn't see so it was ok!)

One drop off down, one to go! The remaining Malnar boy at the WDS ran in with no hesitation. He didn't seem to be too bothered by his brother's absence.

Andrew moved up to the next class at his school too. This was a pretty easy transition because 8 kids in his class all moved up together and they already know the teachers from seeing them on the playground and in the halls regularly.

4 days into the new school year and both boys are doing great. Jackson has simultaneously broken our hearts and made us so proud with the way he's become such an independent, big boy pretty much overnight. We lay out his clothes the night before and he gets fully dressed by himself before coming downstairs (oh, and he wants to wear a polo shirt every day "because it makes him look more handsome"...mmmkay). On Tuesday, his daddy walked him in to the gym where they meet each morning and starting on Wednesday he insisted on just getting dropped off and walking in by himself. This morning I had a meeting scheduled first thing after their morning assembly with his principal to discuss some PTO stuff so I walked in with him...sorta...he was annoyed that I was walking in with him and took off ahead of me without so much as a hug. When he saw me standing there watching the assembly (with a dozen or more other parents), he glared at me and turned the other direction. Thanks, buddy.

When we pick him up in the afternoon he is absolutely exhausted but happy. He's getting great reports from his teacher and he's especially loving his after school program where they play lots of games and even have computer time. I had to pick him up a little early on Tuesday because we had an event to go to that evening and he was so angry at me for cutting his time short. "Why did you pick me up early?!? Never ever ever pick me up early!" Alas, I am grateful that he is enjoying himself and it's far better than the alternative!

All in all, it's been a pretty smooth transition!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Redemption Day

On Wednesday, I mentioned to Justin that I would love to find some time for Jackson to get some one-on-one time with us before he started kindergarten on Monday. He agreed but we didn't know how we would work that out. Well, I got my wish, but not in the way I would have chosen. On Wednesday night, we had Ms. Kari come over to stay with Jackson, Andrew and their buddy Caleb while the parents went to the Kindergarten Parent Orientation. An hour later, Ms. Kari texted me telling me that Jackson was complaining of a stomach ache, insisted on taking a bath by himself, put himself to bed, and was crying for mom. Sounds like normal behavior, right?

The next morning he wasn't any better, crying in pain as I was trying to get him dressed for school. It seems as though he was, ahem, just a little backed up, but he was so very uncomfortable. I knew he had to be really miserable because Thursday was actually his last day at his preschool and he had been looking forward to his class' end of year pool party for weeks. I decided to keep him home with me that morning and try to catch up with his class at the pool in time for the party that afternoon. We snuggled on the couch and snoozed a little and I tried to get him to drink lots of fluids, but without much success.
Poor baby
At lunchtime Jackson insisted that he was feeling up to meeting daddy for lunch and then going to his class party. But when he dissolved into a hot mess of whining and tears during lunch, I knew our next stop was urgent care rather than the party. The doctor at urgent care was worried about him too since he was in so much pain and had a fever, but a blood draw and an x-ray determined that he was just super constipated. Even though he was so uncomfortable, he charmed the pants off of all of the staff at urgent care. He told the doctor his whole relevant medical history, starting with a detailed account  of the timeline of the onset of his symptoms several days earlier and even including his peanut allergy. We left with a list of over the counter remedies to start on. Jackson really wanted to see his friends, so we caught up with them at Dairy Queen. He was feeling so crummy by this point though that he just sat and moped the whole time and then told me he wanted to go home. He did not want to hug or even say goodbye to his friends and teachers. It was an extremely anti-climatic and sad end to the year.

When we picked up Andrew, I insisted on trying to get a picture of both boys to commemorate their last day at the same school (until they are in 3rd grade and Kindergarten!) Key word there was "try".
Yep, that went well.
Of course, Jackson wasn't feeling up to going to his new school's meet the teacher night so I went by myself. It was a rough day for all of us.

Throughout the evening though, the medicines began to kick in and Jackson was feeling much better by bedtime. And by morning, we had our happy boy back. On Friday their school was closed, so Justin and I split the day at home with the boys. And oh my goodness, it was a day that totally redeemed the whole crappy (pun intended) day before. Thank you, Lord!

Jackson asked to go feed the ducks, and since a miraculous cold front had blown through I happily agreed. After weeks of 100+ degree temperatures, it was overcast and about 75 degrees mid morning in August in Texas. This just doesn't happen. It was truly a blessing.

The boys made some new waddling and quacking friends!

Andrew waddling like a duck.

After feeding the ducks, we were able to stop by Jackson's school for a do-over on the meet the teacher night, and it couldn't have gone better. He had totally undivided attention from his teacher and got to check out his classroom without any of the overwhelming crowds he would have contended with the night before. It was really a pretty perfect scenario.

After meeting his teacher, Jackson requested to go to campus and ride the buses and then have lunch in the MSC. We had a few minutes to kill in the MSC before our bus arrived, so Andrew made himself at home.

And the bus riding did not disappoint! 

We had the best time together. It really was a perfect morning that more than redeemed the terrible day before.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

34 Weeks!

How far along? 34 Weeks, 4 Days! About 31 days to go!

How big is baby? BabyCenter says about 18 inches long and almost 4.75 pounds. But let's be real...if he's on the same weight trajectory as his big brothers (and I'm betting he is), he's probably already about 6.5 pounds...and I've got a month to go carrying around this big ol baby.

Best Moment this Week: Lots of good stuff in the last 2 weeks...a surprise diaper shower with my bible study group, a fun baby shower lunch with my work friends, a girl's weekend getaway last weekend, and a massage today! Lots of love all around!

Movement: Still moving and grooving. There is what I believe to be a heel that digs sharply in to the top of my belly in the same spot as long as I am standing. If I've been cooking dinner or doing chores, I have to lay down to get him to move and get some relief.

Sleep: I'm noticing I feel less rested in the morning now. I know I am waking more to toss and turn (and groan as a I do so) because I can't stay comfortable in one position.

Food cravings/aversions: This week it was all things refreshing and cool--Sonic strawberry limeaid, watermelon, a fruit smoothie for breakfast. Yeah, the Texas summer heat is getting really old.

Gender: Boy! Benjamin Thomas.

Symptoms: This big belly gets in the way for almost everything now. Just sitting in a ladylike manner is pretty much impossible. My clothing options are getting more and more limited as I'm pretty much relegated to just the shirts that have some stretch to them (so long cute, fitted blouses) and have just a few pairs of pants that still fit without constricting the belly, especially when I sit down. Things I drop on the floor tend to just stay there's just not worth it to bend over! Thank goodness for sweet Andrew who is generally always willing to help mommy and will come and pick things up for me!

Labor Signs: Contractions pretty much every hour of the day now and getting stronger.

What I miss: Umm is "everything" an acceptable response? There's pretty much no part of my life that isn't significantly impacted at this point. 

On the to-do list: Still so much to do! We have been focusing on getting Jackson ready for kindergarten so there just hasn't been much time to focus on baby stuff. Poor third child. It has begun already for him. =(

What I am looking forward to: Settling into our new routine with Jackson's new school, orientation season being over (just one to go!), and getting to focus on getting ready for baby!

Daddy is...going to be busy in the next few weeks painting furniture for the big boys room and setting up all the gear and such. He has commented (quite affectionately) that I've reached the point in the pregnancy where he feels like the merciful thing to do would be just to take me out back and shoot me to put me out of my misery. 

Jackson and Andrew are...coping quite differently with the impending changes coming their way. Jackson, who is older and more aware that a new baby means less of mom and dad's time and attention and also dealing with the big change of starting kindergarten is going through a very challenging phase. He's testing the limits in terms of his attitude and demanding to call the shots all the time. He's reminded on a nearly daily basis that the world doesn't revolve around him. I understand why he's acting the way he is, but it's nevertheless exhausting.

Andrew is blissfully ignorant. He loves to kiss my belly and say hello to Benjamin. He's eager to help (although his "help" is rarely actually helpful", of course) and gets so excited when we talk about him being the big brother. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

St. Francisville

Ever heard of St. Francisville, Louisiana? I hadn't either (and I was born in Louisiana). But when presented with the chance to escape there last weekend with just these three pretty ladies, I didn't hesitate. As it turns out, plantations are the main feature in St. Francisville, which was right up my aptly named niece, Scarlette's, alley. Our girl's trip was to celebrate her 21st birthday (which yes, her turning 21 makes me feel terribly old). 

We stayed at a B&B which was a plantation itself and the grounds were just breathtaking. 

Our first plantation stop on Friday night was to The Myrtles plantation, allegedly one of the most haunted houses in America. We enjoyed our spooky tour of the house, and were relieved we were not spending the night there (Well, I was anyway. Scarlette may have wanted to hang out longer with the ghosts but not me, no way, no thanks.)

Our Saturday morning stop was Rosedown Plantation. It's pretty much exactly what my mind conjures when I think of a plantation. Big, old, beautiful, hot. Ok, maybe my mental image doesn't always think of it as hot, but it was, outside anyway (thank goodness for AC!)

The grounds were lovely and featured a number of meadows that begged to be frolicked in! I couldn't exactly frolic but Scarlette and Mel did the honors for me.

After lunch and some antique shopping, the girls hit up another plantation while I opted for a nap. =) It was an excellent choice.

Perhaps the highlight of the trip for me though (outside of quality time spent with my favorite ladies, of course) was all of the delicious food. I happily introduced Benjamin to shrimp and crawfish poboys, crab cakes, shrimp etouffee topped fish, Nachitoches meat pies...mmmm.

As much fun as the weekend was and as much as the girl time was seriously needed, by Sunday evening I was pretty eager to return to my boys, and the greeting I got when I walked in the door was rock star worthy.
Pictures texted to me while I was gone. Jackson wanted to show me his biggest piece of pizza ever!
Thanks for a wonderful weekend Mom, Mel and Scarlette. And a huge thanks to Justin for holding down the home front in my absence! 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Water Balloons!

We've reached that point in the summer when it's just too stinking hot to do much of anything. Our poor boys have been begging to go outside and play, but even the neighborhood pool feels more like a bathtub than a refreshing place to cool off. So when we were buying Jackson's school supplies and found a huge container of water balloons on clearance, we dropped them in the cart without a second thought. Last Saturday morning Justin filled up as many as his fingers would allow him to tie and sent the boys outside.

Oh you should have heard the giggles!

Especially when daddy made himself the target!

Actually, you can hear the giggles!