Jackson- 2 years! (a little late)

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Happy 2nd birthday, sweet boy! You bring so much joy to my life and it is so fun seeing the person you are growing into! God has given you such a bold, brave spirit. You have never met a stranger and you certainly demand the attention of a room! While your will is difficult for me to steward and shape, I have no doubt that God is helping me raise you into a very gifted leader. My prayer for you is that you would use all of your confidence and drive for good and not evil; to bless others and lead them to the King. I love you, Jackson!

Here are a few favorites this year on your birthday:

Favorite food: Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets with honey
Favorite snack: fruit snacks
Favorite drink: diet coke (When he gets a sip of mommy’s)
Favorite toys: cars/choo-choos
Favorite song: “The hot-dog song”
Favorite books: Click-clack-moo, 100 words books, “Punkin” books
Favorite movies: Planes
Favorite show: Leapfrog Phonic Farm, Mickey Choo-choo Express
Best friends: Ana (Eliana) and Sam
Comfort items: blankie
Routines: Sleep til 8/8:30, long afternoon nap, no more paci, begging for snacks morning til night, loves watching shows, content to play by himself with toys, and loves to make Will laugh.
Fears: Diaper changes
New skills: riding his balance bike, swim lessons, and saying 2-word phrases

Jack- 18 months

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Dear Jackson,

You are a year and a half old! I can’t even believe how grown up you have become. I am so enjoying this stage! It is trying at times, but I love helping you discover your world, understand your emotions, and enjoy life! God has given you LIFE and I want to help you live it fully and passionately!

Here are some highlights from the past 6 months:

-Weight: 28 lb. 8 oz. (93%), Height: 33.5 in. (85%)

-You are still an AWESOME sleeper. You sleep 8pm-8am and nap from 1pm-4pm. We tired transitioning you to your big boy bed, but you slept on the floor. We decided to keep you in your crib a little longer. You love it!

-You are a pretty good eater, although you are picky– matter-a-factly saying “no” when you don’t want to try something…(almost in the tone of “why would you even ask, mom?”) You are, however, more apt to try anything if it is on a fork or a spoon. Sometimes you need us to load the fork/spoon for you, but the past few weeks you have pretty much mastered using utensils! You have been enjoying this new way of feeding yourself! Your favorite foods are: apple cinnamon oatmeal, pancakes, blueberries, mashed sweet potatoes, chicken with honey to dip it in, cut up cheese, spaghetti, chicken and rice soup, and mandarin oranges. Your favorite snacks are: Mini chips ahoy cookies, vanilla wafers, raisins, Lara bars, cheese crackers, and applesauce pouches. We have cut back significantly on juice and only really drink it watered down or when sick. You love milk, and have also been enjoying water more and more.

-In terms of gross motor development, you can run, climb, dance, spin, bounce on your mattress, walk down one step without holding the wall, and go down slides. And when I say you can climb, I’m talking about scaling up the side of a barstool and flipping light switches. Ah!

-Your play has also changed a bit! You like to drive cars on the track, instead of just banging the cars around. You also love to build with your big legos. You love magnets, coloring, books, and cars!! We usually watch one t.v. show a day and you love Curious George and Sesame Street.

-You have added a few more words to your vocabulary: Mama, Dada, juice, more, no, baby, hi, bye bye, moo (cow), this, book, uh oh, all done, shoes. We still are working on saying “down,” “up,” and “help.” However, you respond to most commands I give, which amazes me! For example, when I say, “are you thirsty?” you run to the fridge. When I say, “throw that in the trash…” you run and throw the item away. When I say, “Oh no, where is the baby?” you run to the living room to find Will. It is so fun to be able to communicate with you and I look forward to having less one-sided conversations in the months to come.

-We have also been working on learning animal sounds, body parts, and letters. You like to sing the tune of the “ABC’s” and daddy says you can identify a handful of letters during bedtime while reading “Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom,” your favorite book. You also love to read “Snuggle Puppy,” “All of Baby, Nose to Toes,” and any of your books that make noise or have lift-a-flap.

-Socially, you love interacting with Will and “playing” with him…Rocking the car seat, giving him his paci or a toy, etc. You also give kisses on demand now!! I love it! I’ve been waiting months for a snotty, crusty-faced kiss on the lips! I’m a happy Mama! You like playing with friends, but still struggle to interact with others in a group setting. You tend to parallel play when we go to brunch club or the Mama’s Hip playgroup.

-We have entered full-blown toddler tantrum stage now. Lots of crying, falling to the ground in anger, screaming at mama or a friend when a toy is taken away or play is disrupted with a diaper change. We also are seeing a little “stranger danger” shyness or clingy-ness when new people talk to you or when we drop you off at the church nursery.

Some things to look forward too:

-We started “school.” Everyday during Will’s first nap we have learning time. The teacher in me can’t waste that 80 k education on nothing! We have short plan for each day, mostly taking a week to learn one letter, practice some skills thru centers, and work thru the catechism. I’m looking to helping you extend your attention span and spending intentional time introducing you to a few new concepts. We are mostly starting with simple concepts of letter identification, colors, sorting, matching, fine motor, and one-to-one correspondence counting. And there will definitely be some fun art along the way! It has brought me joy to create some age appropriate activities to start with you. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while.

-I have also been trying to take you on more outings lately. Play groups like brunch club and mama’s hip have been good for teaching you to share and be kind to others. It’s also good for Mama to learn how to speak to you and discipline you in public. I love taking you to gym class, however it’s expensive. Hopefully every 6 months or so we can do a class. You are so active so I love having a outlet to focus your energy in a positive way!

-We are looking forward to lots of walks, playing at the park and splash parks, trips to the zoo, and playing with others!

-We will also probably transition you to your bed in the fall and give up the paci!

Jackson, you are still my baby. I love holding you and loving on you and hearing you laugh. You are passionate and determined and will be a fantastic leader someday. I am learning more about you everyday…You need “time outs” (not for punishment) to cool off and be removed from the situation that is causing you to feel intense and frustrated…You need me to empathize with you and understand the confusing emotions you feel when you disobey…You need me to communicate to you why you are being disciplined. I am learning to slow down and have lots of opportunities everyday to say, “Yes!” to you. I love seeing your personality emerge and watching you learn new things. It’s so fun being your mom!

Love, Mama

on pleasure, displeasure, & steadfast love…

Tonight at dinner it was one of those rare moments when I was not hurried to clean up the dishes or get Jackson to bed, but instead we were all sitting around laughing. Jackson was minicing the crazy sounds Kevin was making and giggling so hard he was spitting applesauce…it was a good time. Then he got so excited he picked up his food and threw it off his tray (which he knows has been a no-no since 6 months old!) Kevin and my smiles immediately turned stern and we said “No-no” in a very direct way. Jackson knew what he did was wrong, in fact I think he was a little surprised he threw the food to begin with! He looked at our stern faces and his eyes started to well up. His lip was quivering, shifting his gaze from Kevin, to me, and back. And then after about 10 long seconds of the saddest face you could imagine, huge, silent, alligator tears rolled down his cheeks.

My heart sunk.

I immediately wrapped my arms around him which made him full-out cry, and it took a few minutes for him to calm down again. I’ll never forget that moment.

Jackson was finding so much joy in our company tonight. He saw the pleasure in our faces and knew we were enjoying him too. All was the way it was meant to be. But when our faces turned to displeasure because of his disobedience, he was grieved to the point of tears. What a powerful picture!

Because of Christ’s death on our behalf, our sin no longer separates us from God’s steadfast love. In the same way, nothing could EVER change my love for Jack. There is nothing that he could do that would lead me to turn my back on him or disown him. However, just as life with Jack is more enjoyable when he is obedient and we are able to laugh together instead of discipline him, life with God is more enjoyable when we are living godly lives and communing with Him the way we were created to. It saddens and displeases the heart of God to discipline us, even though it is for our good, in the same way we are saddened when Jackson disobeys.

The grief that Jackson displayed tonight when our pleasure turned to displeasure was a very dramatic, emotional experience for me. I long to feel that kind of grief when I see my sin and the way it hurts my Heavenly Father. I pray that I would only long to bring pleasure to the heart of God always. However, regardless of whether I’m at my worst or my best, I have assurance that I am loved, accepted, and kept forever by God. As Jackson grows, I hope that I can always communicate to him that even though I may have to discipline him, he is never outside of my love.

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12 months: Baby Jack turns 1!

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Happy Birthday, my sweet baby! You are ONE! It is literally amazing how fast the year went! It feels like YESTERDAY when they placed you on my chest and called you mine. You have grown to be a determined, adventurous, fearless, and joyful toddler! I am often amazed (and fearful) of all you try to do and how curious you are. Little Jack, you are truely adored by me and daddy, and everyone who knows you!

This month has been a great month! You started walking! You are working on standing up without support (you need a wall or table to help pull up most times), but once you’re up, you can walk across the room with a good bit of stability! And each step you take comes with a huge smile and jabbering! If you hold my fingers, you can walk for a long time, which gives me another option when I am tired of carrying you! You also love to climb on and off things (the dishwasher door, your big boy bed, through the kitchen stools, up a flight of stairs…) and you love to open and close things (kitchen cabinets, doors, toilet lids…)

You’re favorite toys are the soccer ball (you are getting good at catching it!), kitchen utensils, and books!! I put away about 20 books a day that you pull out and flip through! You don’t enjoy walks as much now, because you get restless and want to stand in your stroller. You LOVE playing with friends!

1174882_2409605566288_511793_nMeal time has been a bigger focus this month: 3 BIG meals and 1-2 snacks. You eat so much! I can no longer get by skipping a meal here or there…I feel like I am preparing and cleaning up baby meals all day! Favorite foods are squeeze pouches, baked beans, corn, strawberries, mac and cheese, veggie soup, spaghetti, and you are eating more and more meat! (Yay!) You also love diet coke…That was a mom fail on my part– I gave you a sip and now you are hooked. When you see my cup you try and get to it or start jabbering for me to share. Sorry bud, that will not be a normal occurrence. We only do 2 bottles a day, 8oz at morning and night, but are slowly giving you smaller bottles to wean you off of formula. Per the pediatricians advice, we started offering you whole milk in a cup at all meals. You get juice or water during play time.

Sleeping is still the same, 8-8 which can fluctuate depending on the day, and 2 naps. Sometimes you can go without a morning or afternoon nap if we have a busy day, but I prefer to keep that part of your schedule for as long as possible.

993377_2411847582337_970993697_nOne funny quirk about you: You poop in the bathtub all. the. time. Its almost humorous…almost. I’m getting a little tired of taking you out, cleaning the tub, and then giving you another bath, but at least I know everything is flowing like it should be in your tiny tummy!

image-6Another fun update from the month is that we added the “big boy bed” to your room! You don’t sleep on it yet, but we talk about it, you read books on it, and we drink nighttime bottle on it. Hopefully over the next 4-5 months we can transition to it so that Baby Will can sleep in the crib, but for now you are definitely not ready to switch.

You weigh 24. 8 lbs (91st percentile!) and are 30inches long! You are strong and developing skills quickly! You may be big compared to other babies your age, but you are a TODDLER! It is so fun! I love playing with you all day and being your mama!

I get a little sad when I see you walking around in jeans, tshirts, and shoes…You are looking like such a “kid!” But you still follow me around everywhere and cling to my leg to be picked up, which tells me you still need your mama. I will cherish that as long as you let me.

Happy birthday, little Jack. I look forward to many more birthdays celebrating you and worshiping the God who created you!

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Love, Your Mamabird

11 months!

20130815-161727.jpgHappy 11 months, Baby Jack!

Only one more month for me to call you “Baby Jack”–then you will be “Little Jack” and soon “Baby (unknown name)” will be by your side! I can’t believe this is my second to last monthly post! From then on out I will post yearly or every 6 months to track major milestones, life events, and Jack-isms. I just think this year has flown by. I never wish that you would stay a baby or that time would stop because I always enjoy each new stage more than the past one! I just wish the clock would tick a little slower sometimes.

This month has been a testing month for mama! We have had a lot of falls and tears because you are so adventurous! You love to climb, grab, and get yourself stuck in strange places. There has been some fit throwing when you don’t get to carry around the forks or climb up the 15 foot staircase to the upstairs apartments. But this month has also been full of celebrations! We had a successful ear tubes surgery and you also took a few first steps! You are beginning to say a few words: “Mama,” “Dada,” and we are focusing on practicing “Up,” “All done,” and “baby.” Sometimes I think I hear a word, and usually its just a mush of consonants and vowels all blended together in a sort of squeal.

You are still rocking the 8am-8pm bedtime and 2 long naps. You are also transitioning to less milk (around 20 oz) and more solid foods. Your favorite foods this month are grilled cheese, bananas, puree pouches, strawberries, blueberries, gram crackers, and grapes. You still don’t have much interest in veggies or meat.

Favorite toys this month are: your Sydney Dog, maraca, the little leap frog house, BOOKS!!, the push walker, and the old cell phone. You love Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger. You also just love playing with KIDS! Even if they are bigger than you, you are tough and jump in! We moved you to the “walkers” room at church because you are too adventurous for the babies (and double their size). You have been enjoying it much more and are much less fussy- even since you have to skip your morning nap those days! Right now your best friends are Eliana and Athan who live in our apartment complex!

Jackson, you are such a boy already, and I love it. You’re not much of a cuddler, but you are definitely a mama’s boy and I will treasure these days you “need” me and want to be held. I can’t wait for one more month to call you “Baby Jack.”

10 months!

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hey there, 10 month old!

Life has been good this month! You got to publicly announce your BIG BROTHER status, you’re crawling and climbing EVERYWHERE, and we got a nice long visit to Ohio!

Our days are spent mostly at home, playing, eating, and sleeping. Kinda like your newborn stage, I feel like the schedule is becoming more and more important. Not only do you eat 3-4 bottles a day, you eat 3 meals and a few snacks! Your favorite foods this months are: pb&j, strawberries, blueberries, and mac & cheese (you have been picky this month!) With all the eating, and then throw in two 2-hour naps, we barely have time to leave the house!

And I hate leaving the house anyway because you are in such an active stage! You love to be home where you can crawl and climb and play with your toys. Some of your favorite toys this month are the magnetic numbers and letters that are on the refrigerator, your play table, and your little plastic animal figures. You also love kitchen utensils, the dishwasher, and the bathroom (you just love hanging out in there, not sure why!)

You are also growing a ton socially! You love playing with other kids, especially kids that are a little bigger than you! You also love to scream back and forth with me, play peek-a-boo, and crawl after/away from me when I crawl on the floor with you!

You are generally really happy, despite having an ear infection for a few weeks. We are leaving it untreated (since no medication has worked!) until you get your eartubes surgery on July 29th. I CAN’T WAIT for you to have relief from this nagging problem. It has made me so sad!

36540_2359812681497_130400106_nJackson, it has been so fun being your mama this month. You are so goofy and smiley and sweet! Mama and Daddy have been working on loving each other better and growing in our marriage so that we can love you to our fullest and give you a picture of God’s relationship with with Church! We love you so much and we can’t wait to give you a little brother or sister to play with and love on!

Love, Your Mamabird

A friend for Jack & a listening, sovereign God.

Jackson has something to say!!

We’re pregnant with baby #2!!

So let me start from the beginning…

When Kevin and I started discussing family plans, we decided to make a decision once my cycle started back up again from nursing. My supply went down when Jackson was 4 months, and then unfortunately was empty at 8. All that time I waited and waited for my period. It never came. (Awesome, right?!) Kevin wanted another baby ASAP, I at least wanted Jack to be walking. But before we even had the chance to compromise, God decided for us! I found out I was pregnant in May!

I was surprised and apprehensive at first… (how was I going to do this with a nearly 9-month-old!?) but then my apprehension turned into joy! I couldn’t wait to meet this baby and I imagined all the fun Jackson would have growing up with a sibling only 16 months behind him! We had an ultrasound to see when my due date would be and discovered that on January 21st, 2014 that tiny little blob with a beating heart would enter our world!

Having had a miscarriage in 2011, we were slow to tell people, even family. Because of that sensitivity, we wanted to wait til my first OB appointment at 11 weeks. But I couldn’t very easily fool my friends by sneaking Sprite into my champagne glass at Steph’s wedding or by ordering a coke and vodka (hold the vodka) at the bachelorette party. I eventually caved and told some close friends who committed to praying for us.

Thankfully they were, because at 9 weeks I started having some bleeding. It was heavy and red at first, and I knew I was having a miscarriage. All the signs were there. I laid down and cried, asking friends to pray, and praying to God that he would stop the bleeding. I knew that prayer and God’s sovereignty were somehow intermingled, but I had never personally experienced  God changing his direction of an event in response to my prayer. But I prayed anyway. I knew God was powerful enough to stop me from having a miscarriage. Hours later, the bleeding stopped. Did God have mercy on me? Did he respond to my prayers?

I continued having light spotting, nothing that my doctor was worried about, but enough to keep me praying….

And then yesterday at 11 weeks, we went to the doctor. She put the monitor on me and immediately we heard a fast, beautiful heartbeat. It was such a sweet sound. All I can do is praise the God who saves. He saved our baby from death thus far, and he answered my prayer. I don’t know what his initial plan was, if it was miscarriage or not, but I do know that God loves me and he chose to give us a great gift! I am so excited.

And so is Jackson!

hello, 9 months!

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HAPPY 9 MONTHS, BABY JACK!

It blows my mind how big you are. I am not going to make this a long post, because I am worn out after our day together, as I am everyday! You are a busy (and heavy…) guy!

photo-36This month you started sitting yourself up, pulling up to stand, and crawling on your hands and knees which has been so exciting! You also love to walk with our help. Because you are so curious, you often get frustrated if you can’t figure out how to reach something, or if you are getting tired. You are going through a phase where you want me to sit next to you at all times so you can use me as a ramp or to lend a steadying hand as you try to walk alongside a piece of furniture. Recently if I am not there to help, or if I don’t get your bottle to you quick enough, or if I need to change your diaper, you throw fits like this:photo-37

Not cool. I’m still trying to figure out how to respond to these tantrums–so far a lot of hugging has been involved.

In fact, you have become much more snuggley recently. We’ve been dealing with an ear infection/fever for most of the month, and often when I hold you, you put your head on my chest. Even though I know you are feeling bad, I like the cuddles.

Sleeping has been a little odd this month. All of a sudden you don’t like to stay up past 7ish. around that time you begin to get really frustrated and rub your eyes a lot. We moved your bedtime up a whole hour and half from your regular 8:30 bedtime last month! The downside: you wake up around 7am. You are still rocking 2 good naps a day!

Some fun updates from the month:

  • You love water! Pools, baths, splash parks, you name it! You are so confident it scares me! You will crawl right over to the middle of the splash park and put your face over the fountains!
  • We have moved into mostly 12-18 month size clothes!
  • You weigh over 21 lbs! That is what you weighed in at the doctor 2 weeks ago, so I’ll be eager to find out where you are on the charts when we go for your 9 month well-check this week!
  • Favorite foods this month are: bananas, bagels with cream cheese, corn on the cob, and baked beans.

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Life is a little crazier these days, but it is so fun to watch you grow into a toddler (gasp!) Holding Baby Elias made me miss your smallness, but I love all the personality and interaction I have with you now! I can’t wait to watch you learn more this month!

Love, Your Mamabird.

8 months!

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This month flew by, baby Jack! You are getting to be such a big boy! You are so close to crawling, although you prefer to army crawl! You slither around so fast! You also love mama’s help standing. You are trying to pull up on my leg and on furniture, but so far can only pull up by holding my fingers. You can stand unassisted for a small amount of time, but have taken a few scary topples. I figure these little falls will not be the last, but it is still scary for me! You want so badly to be more mobile than you are–I can’t wait to see what you will be able to do after another month of practice!

You love books (both chewing them and turning the pages), the musical puzzle box filled with smaller balls and blocks, and the play table. Sometimes you are content for hours just playing and rolling around with your toys. You also love watching Sesame Street, swinging at the park, and stroller rides!

This month you got 4 more teeth (all on top), and you are eating like a champ! Your new favorites are black beans, baked beans, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, and strawberries. You also love those little squeeze pouches of pureed food, although they are expensive and we only use them for on the go.

You’re still sleeping 8:30-8 with 2 naps during the day. Not much new on that front, although I have discovered you have a “blankie” that helps you sleep! Every night you snuggle that blue blanket up next to your eyes and you are instantly out.

You are also talking up a storm. I know I say that every month, but this month you have taken off. You are so loud and your babbles have so many different sounds that I really believe you are telling me a story in your own language that I can’t decipher yet. Maybe in the next month or two I will hear a real word?

This month I have smiled so much because of you! You are such an easy, happy baby and I am so thankful to know you & raise you! God is so kind to add you into our family.

Love,

Your Mamabird

7 months!

ImageI can’t believe its been 7 months since you were a teeny tiny guy! Now you are rolling around, babbling up a storm, and developing your own smiley, personality! Its been so fun to see you take off this month!

This month we are working on becoming more mobile. I put mini vanilla wafers in front of you and we work on crawling, or rather “slithering” to get them. You also love to roll now! I walked away today and came back a minute later and you were literally across the room! That was NEW and definitely unexpected! You still love standing, and so sometimes I lean you against the couch to practice. You are also interested in EVERYTHING! From what sounds baby Kate is making to how the sun shade of the car seat works–you are always intently staring or grabbing to take in the world around you! Peek-a-boo with a blanket has been a favorite this month, as well as the exersaucer which you go crazy jumping in!

Some foods you loved this month were: Apple slices, Muffins, Vanilla wafers, Sweet Potatos cut in finger-size, Applesauce squeeze pouches, and Deli meat! (You do not like avocado….)

Sleep has been better this month. Usually sleeping 8:30-8 without waking up. Recently I have gone in to find you sleeping on your belly! Other moms say it helps their little ones sleep better so maybe you will too! You also take 2 2-hours naps!

You are also transitioning to primarily bottle feeding. Its sad for me to say, but you just are not interested in breastfeeding anymore, and I am down to only being able to nurse well 2 times a day. I am going to hold on to those 2 nursing sessions as long as possible, purely for the benefits of breastmilk! Bottle feeding does allow us to do more things away from the house, so for that purpose, its convenient!

This month we’ve experienced 2 high fevers and a trip to the ER with a throat virus (which I later got!) Hopefully we’re in the clear for a while in terms of sickness!

A few fun things coming up this month:

  • Your baby dedication at St. Vincents! We will stand before the church and commit to raising you up in love and truth, and the church body will commit to pray for and help us!
  • Zoo pass! We got a zoo pass and now can visit as much as we want! I’m sure we will go often, and especially visit the splash park there!
  • Trip to Columbus! We get to go visit Gramma and Grandpa, Great Grandma Martin, and Granny to see Aunt Cari graduate college!
  • First overnight trip to Grammys! We will leave you at Grammy and Papi’s while we celebrate our 2nd year wedding anniversary in Oxford!

Can’t wait to spend Spring with you, Jack! We are going to have so much fun. I am blessed to be your mama!

Love,
Your mamabird