Saturday, August 22, 2009

There's a First Time for Everything

Today Ian is eight months old. I'm going to stop asking where the time went because it just makes me sad. Tonight, as I fed him his bedtime bottle, he was spilling out over my arms and had his feet dangling off the sides of the glider. I looked down at him, wondering when exactly he got so big. Because one day not-so-long-ago, I was cuddling with him and his tiny toes, all wrapped up in the crooks of my arms. And now, I can barely contain him on my lap. I swear it happens overnight.

But today, another milestone was reached. Ava sat for a photo with Ian. Not only did she sit for a photo with him, but she also gave him hugs and kisses for the camera. And she enjoyed it! Avaloves being in front of the camera. In fact, last night during a really strong thunderstorm, Ava saw the lightning outside and exclaimed, "Cheese!" as if the flashes of light were actually flashes from giant cameras snapping her picture. Stefan and I just laughed with her. So today, when I whipped out the camera to take Ian's monthly birthday picture, Ava immediately started posing and saying, "Cheese!" So I said, "OK then, Ava. You want your picture taken? Why don't you climb up onto the chair next to Ian?" Every month I say the same thing. And every month she runs in the opposite direction screaming, "Nooooooo!" But today, she got right up next to Ian and let me have a field day. She gave Ian hugs. She gave him kisses. Oh it just made my whole day!

Ava gets a giggle out of Ian.

A big hug from big sister.

Too cute.

And finally, a kiss for baby brother.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ava's Big-Girl Bed

Last night was Ava's first night in a big-girl bed. It could have and should have happened much sooner than this, but I had the hardest time making it happen. Not because I was sad to see my baby reach another big-girl milestone. But because I have been totally incompetent at making decisions. New furniture or convert the crib to a full bed? Paint the walls or wait until we get new furniture? Themed room or just pretty bedding? Go all out or stick to the budget? White furniture or darker? The list was overwhelming (seriously, people, it doesn't take much these days to tip me over the edge). I just couldn't imagine spending thousands of dollars on children's furniture that will get beat up and outgrown. But on the other hand I really wanted to make a special place for her. I delayed and delayed until it hit me that I had better do something or send my daughter to college in a crib. Stefan assured me we could always do more later. So we converted the crib into the full bed it was designed to be converted into, and I took Ava shopping Friday night for her very first big-girl bedding. She was so excited in the store that she kept yelling, "Look, mommy, it's my big-girl bed!" I was finally getting excited, too, and I suddenly couldn't wait to get her in it.

While Ava watched a movie last evening, Stefan put her bed together and we set everything up. Ava walked upstairs and into her bedroom to find her brand-new bed. She was stoked. And I mean beyond elated. I gave her a bath, brushed her teeth and did our normal evening routine, but my little girl turned into a squirmy worm as the excitement to get into her new bed built. She didn't even want to sit through story time, which has to be one of her most favorite times of the day. She climbed into her bed and we tucked her in. I very sternly laid down the law about not getting up out of bed or jumping around. Beds are for sleeping after all, not for playing. She sweetly said "yes, mommy" to my demands. We sang our usual list of bedtime songs and kissed her goodnight. She was immediately quiet and I said under my breath, "That was too easy." We didn't hear a peep from Ava the rest of the evening. I tucked her in before going to bed myself and was shocked at how well this was turning out. I was so proud of Ava for listening and going to bed like the fabulous little angel she is.

The Before Pictures

At 1:30 a.m., I was awakened by her crying. I ran in to her room and found her drenched from head-to-toe in sweat... and throw-up! With the exception of baby spit-up, Ava has never, ever, ever thrown-up. Ever. Seriously, never. I had no idea what to do. I turned on a lamp and there was stuff everywhere. On her. Her pajamas. Her hair. The sheets. The comforter. Her stuffed bunny. Everywhere. So I cleaned her up, but by this time she was wide awake. Then I had to get her bedding and her bunny in the wash. I only had one set of sheets and one mattress pad because Kohl's was out of stock on additional sheet sets. So then Stefan had to set up her pack-n-play. By this time she was even more upset because I had to take her beloved bunny away to wash it, and there was no sleeping after that. She came into bed with us and I listened intently until the laundry was done. As soon as the dryer clicked off, I ran in, got bunny and put Ava in her pack-n-play. Ava didn't sleep much the rest of the night, waking up every hour or so, bless her little heart.

I think she was simply overheated in her new bed. Ava was never one to like a lot of blankets and pillows in her crib, etc., so I think she just got too hot with everything on her new bed. She napped really well today in her bed with no covers, so tonight we put her to bed with just the top sheet and we'll see how that works. So far, so good.

The After Picture

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Few Things About the Kids, and Ian's Seven-Month Picture

Because I am apparently inept at comprising a decent post these days, I thought I would mention a few things that are going on with Ava and Ian right now.

Ava can now sing the entire alphabet without aid or help. When she reaches the end - "Now I know my ABCs" - she forgets to end the song and just loops it... "Now I know my ABCs-D-E-F-G-H-I-J..." She does this continuously until I divert her. She is also very into tea parties right now. She sits her stuffed bunny and a larger-than-her sized Mickey Mouse at her playroom table. She then sets the table with cups, saucers, a tea pot and little play cupcakes from her kitchen. She then sings happy birthday to herself and "blows out" the pretend candle in the cupcake. The "tea" is actually little plastic balls from another toy that she puts into the cups. And the ball color has to match the color of the cup. That's the little OCD in her popping through, and I'm so proud!

Ian giggles up a storm when we say "beep-beep."

Ava has recently become OBSESSED with Barney the Dinosaur. She absolutely loves him and his show. I used to mock it, but seriously, it's a great show. Kids are nice to each other, they have manners, and Ava has never given me so many hugs due to the "I Love You" song they sing at the end of EVERY episode. We sing it together everyday and she gives me "a great big hug and a kiss from me to you" every time. That, in and of itself, is reason enough for me to love the show. At night, I can hear her singing the song to her stuffed bunny in her bed. So sweet.

Ian turned 7 months old on July 22nd. I took pictures but didn't post. Actually, I never posted after his 6-month well-child exam last month, either. Now it just seems anti-climactic, so I'll just give the numbers: Ian weighed 15 pounds, 14 ounces, and measured nearly 26 inches long. As usual, the shots stunk. These days I'm sure he's pushing the 17-pound mark. I am LOVING this stage with Ian right now, despite the perpetual teething. He's big enough to play and interact with us and his toys, but he's still small enough to hold and cuddle. He is giggly and snuggly and oh-so wonderful right now. He "talks" to us constantly and is entertained by the sound of his own voice. I love to blow kisses on his belly and he's super ticklish on his back. He's getting more hair down the center of his head (think mohawk), just like Ava did when her hair was first coming in. Every night, when I go into his room to tuck him in before heading to bed myself, it takes every ounce of will power to not pick him up out of his crib and bring him into bed with me and Stefan. But the teething, yeah, that's not fun. We're hoping those teeth pop through soon!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Monotony of Motherhood

I know it's been forever since I've posted. And to be honest, it's not from a lack of fodder. Believe me, there is enough going on at my house to publish 50 posts. It's the author who's the problem. Me. And my apologies to those who read regularly with the hope of finding a new cute picture of the kids or a new recipe (oh yeah, the recipe thing. Hmm, gotta get back on that.). I have just been exhausted and lazy recently. I have thought to myself a million times, "You know, I should blog about this cute thing Ian is doing right now." But then the thought of sitting down at the computer and actually typing the post turns me off. I'm just flat-out exhausted, and there's really no excuse. Well, actually, I do have an excuse, I'm just not sure how viable it is.

I remember getting this way when Ava was Ian's age (6 months). It's more of a mental exhaustion than a physical exhaustion. It's the tiredness felt from doing the exact same thing, day-in and day-out, as a result of having your children on a schedule. Wake up. Feed. Play. Feed. Nap. Feed. Play. Feed. Bath. Feed. Bed. Repeat. Whether it's a Tuesday or a Saturday, my days are identical from beginning to end, and after so long, I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. I AM Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. I love my job - it's the best one in the world - but it's about now I start realizing the importance of Mommy Solitude. When Ava was 6 months old, Stefan instituted "Mommy's Night Out," and one night a week, from 5 p.m. until whenever I wanted, I was Jackie, not mommy. I left the house and did whatever I wanted. Met friends for dinner or coffee. Ran errands. Shopped. Went to Barnes and Noble and read with Starbucks in hand. Drive around with MY music on at absolutely ridiculous volume levels. Whatever. It was me time, and it broke up the monotony of the week. Stefan asked me last week if it was time to reinstate "Mommy's Night Out," and while it was tempting to say yes, I said no, because I know that if I desperately need time away, I'll take it. Stefan is awesome like that - he will take the kids for a night if I need him to, without question. He never holds it over my head or makes me feel guilty about it. He actually encourages me to do it. Because he knows I'm better for it: a better mom, a better wife and a more balanced person. This Wednesday I am taking my very dear friend Mandy out for her birthday, and I am SO looking forward to it.

Here are a few pictures from the past few weeks. I hope to be posting regularly again soon!

Ian getting some kisses from Annie.

July Fourth - Ava & Ian.

July Fourth - Ian and Dad.

July Fourth - Ava dancing to the music. She has this quirky little dance she does - picture Elaine from Seinfeld and you have the gist. It's just adorable, and she LOVES to dance!

July Fourth - Ava sliding out of the bouncy thing.

July Fourth - Ava: contemplative and beautiful.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Look Who's Got the Giggles

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the sound of a child's gut-busting laugh is the best thing in the world.  This video is proof.  I have no idea why Ian found this so amusing, but once I got him going, I couldn't stop.  Oh, and incase you're wondering, what you hear in the background is Ava saying "happy birthday," and "I love my Pooh Book."  She couldn't let Ian have the entire spotlight!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ian's Half Birthday

Ian is 6 months old today. As I thought about what I would write to commemorate the occasion, I watched the video Stefan took tonight of us singing Happy Half Birthday to Ian, and I stumbled upon some old videos of Ava.  Old, as in December 2007, when our baby girl was a mere 12 months old.  At first, I couldn't believe there was video from 2007 still on the camera, for Pete's sake.  But then, after a minute, I was so grateful to have found that treasure trove of beautiful memories.  There were several video snippets, including her crawling, playing with Annie, and her very first steps.  There was a video of her pulling up into a standing position for nearly the first time.  There was a video capturing her nightly sprint to the bathroom when I mentioned the word "bath."  I ran upstairs, grabbed Stefan, and the two of us sat on the sofa in our bedroom for 15 minutes, stunned at what we were watching.  Was that really Ava?  I was shocked at how much I had forgotten - the sound of her squeals, the adorable toddle of her first steps.  How wobbly and clumsy she was as she attempted to do everything for the first time.  I watched myself in the videos and loved how engrossed I was in the moment.  You could read the strain in my eyes: "Remember this, Jackie. Don't forget this, Jackie. Don't you dare forget this."  I cried as I continued to watch those videos, wanting that time back so badly, feeling sad that she'll never again be that size.  Here is this beautiful little girl, sleeping soundly just down the hall, and here I am, sobbing over home movies of her just 18 months ago.  I miss her.  I know she's only two-and-a-half, but in my eyes, she's all grown up.

So then I got back to the task at hand: thinking about Ian.  He's growing so fast and changing every minute.  I'm living the moments with him now, but in just 18 short months, I'll look back at his half-birthday video with the same nostalgia and awe with which I watched those videos of Ava.  And I'll hate myself for not remembering.  I'll be shocked at how little he was, how fragile.  I'll want it back.  So as I sit here typing this post, I'm telling myself that this is the time.  These are those moments.   Don't forget.  Soak it all in.  Take pictures.  Enjoy him.  

Happy half birthday, Ian.  I love you so much, and while I can't wait to watch you grow and do things on your own, please know that I am loving this time, too.  I just want to be sure I remember it forever.  Get ready... you are going to be seeing a lot of the video camera.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mad Love from an Old Friend


Lookie at what I got!  Oh boy, I'm so very excited to have received my very first blog award from my sweet friend
Colleen.  We have known each other since high school in Florida, but we lost touch during the college years even though we attended the same university (how sad is that?!?!).  P.S.  GO GATORS! Anyway, we found each other again a few years ago and have managed to stay in touch, although I wish I could see her more often.  Colleen's blog is a true inspiration for several reasons.  First, the girl gets real. Very real.  She tells it like it is, and usually, this means I am doubled-over in laughter. Second, Colleen's blog is just down right adorable.  It looks professionally done.  Seriously, follow the link above and be amazed.  I fully admit to having blog envy when it comes to her spread.  Love it!  Colleen has also reminded me that there is more to my life than children.  For over a year now, I have blogged about pregnancy and children - my children - and little else.  And as a mom of two tots under age 3, I'm sure you can understand that there is little time in my life for all things unrelated to diapers, toys, car seats, spit up, pureed food, houseproofing, peanut butter and jelly, discipline, potty training, and watching my language around a very sponge-like 2.5-year-old. But reading Colleen's blog reminds me that I exist apart from my children, even if I don't really enjoy writing about that existence.  Because let's just face it: life is a hell of a lot funnier with kids!  So I'll try to write more often about other things that interest me.  Hmm, what is it that interests me?  I forget.  I'll figure it out and let you know.  On to the award!  Oh, and thanks Neener!


The "Love Ya" Award states: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Would I be totally snubbing the greatness of the award if I passed it on to only four people?  I know the rules say to award eight, but seriously, I barely know eight bloggers!  So pathetic.

1. Tracy at The Wagstaff Family. Tracy is one of my dearest friends, and she resides in Utah.  We met through church and came to know the awesomeness of God's grace together.  Tracy is an AMAZING photographer and has her own business.  She cans her own pumpkin, makes her own home decor, designs her own artwork and is a damn good mom.  In a nutshell, she's a domestic goddess, and I love her.  Love her blog, too.  Tracy harped on me for months to start my own blog, and so I did.

2.  Bonnie at The Real Jackson Five.  My totally wonderful sister.  Older, wiser and did I mention older?  Bonnie taught me how to design my blog so it actually looked nice, and I will be forever grateful for that!  Bonnie is very similar to me in that she blogs about her three beautiful kiddos and the big family events.  It's just darling.

3.  Lori at I'm The Manager.  I have known Lori for a few years now, and even though we moved back home to Atlanta before Lori and I had the opportunity to really get to know each other, I still keep in touch and read her blog regularly.  Lori is a very balanced blogger because she blogs about her adorable little boy, her own life, and even about things such as her favorite jewelry pieces.  It ROCKS! I seriously look forward to reading Lori's posts when she writes about her favorite things because it's from her that I get so many ideas for myself and for my own home.

4.  Stephani at Ham Fam On The Go.  Steph is a cousin of my husband's, but I love reading about her kids and life in upstate New York.  She is as busy as busy gets!  Love your blog, Steph!