Monday, November 22, 2010

Loose Ends

We are having a great time down in Springfield visiting friends and going cool places. The best part is that we still have two days ahead of fun before we head home!! I didn't bring my card reader to upload pictures of what we've been up to over the past weekend, but I have some loose ends to cover from last week!

Jackson had his first sleep-over on Thursday night. Elizabeth had to travel that night and I volunteered to keep Chacey. I took them to the community center that night (we all know swimming makes kiddos tired!) and they had a super fun time. They were both asleep by 8:30 and were so excited to see each other first thing in the morning.

I took Jackson to get another haircut. It seems like I just took him in for his last hair cut, but I guess that's how it works with little boys. I told her that I wanted it pretty short so it wouldn't be in need of another haircut in just a few weeks. She did a great job. I'm still adjusting to his hair being so short, though. It makes him look too grown up! You'll get a good look at it when I put the pictures up from our mini vacation.

We went to Sports Cuts and he loved that football was on TV... and all of the attention the ladies were giving him!!

Jackson had his 2 year well-baby check up on Friday. I am SO excited to be back at Jackson's original doctor (we had to chose a new pediatrician when his hospital system dropped our previous insurance). Jackson was pretty funny throughout the appointment. He sat really still when Dr. Munger came into the room and just eyed him up and down for the longest time. He eventually warmed up to him and called him Papa.

Jackson has continued to impress me so much with his level of understanding. I explained to him on our trip there about what would the doctor would be doing. And while we waited for the doctor after the nurse came in, I showed him what the doctor would use to look in his ears. He was completely compliant throughout the entire appointment! Even when he got his flu shot, he just looked annoyed but went right back to looking at his book. He is completely healthy!

Height: 34 inches (50% percentile)
Weight: 31 pounds (80% percentile)


Thursday, November 18, 2010

26 weeks

I have waited weeks and weeks to post just so I could have a picture to post too. I still don't have one, but it's been eight weeks since I've posted about the pregnancy and I just couldn't wait. I am sure I will get one eventually.
*How far along?: 26 weeks
*How big is your baby?:14 inches, head to heel
*Total weight gain?: 9 lbs. (7 of those occured within the last 4 weeks- Holy Cow!)
*Sex: Girl
*Maternity clothes: I have plenty, but I find myself just wearing sweats and Derek's t-shirts a few days a week. 
*Stretch marks: Still none. Hoping it stays that way.
*Movement:She's definitely active. She is low, way low, so I feel her move underneath my belt sometimes. It's just really weird compared to Jackson who was always up near my ribs.
*Sleep: Sleep isn't the greatest, but I am sure I'll sleep wonderfully once Derek comes home for Christmas.
*Best moment this week: It didn't happen this week, but Elizabeth has dropped off several of Chacey's old clothes and they are so much fun to go through!
*Food cravings: Nothing crazy. I just get in a mood for something and eat it for, like, a week before moving onto the next craving. This week it's PB&J.
*Labor signs: Not real ones
*Belly button in or out: Still in, but it looks funny...
*What I miss: Having days when I took less than ten trips to the bathroom in one day.
*What I'm looking forward to: Picking out a name. Maybe over Christmas?!

And since I don't have a picture to show my ever enlarging belly, I'll include a picture of this nifty contraption instead- the Especially for Mom Maternity Support that I had to go out and purchase a few weeks ago! Aren't you like super jealous?! I know you want one. It makes a total difference in how I feel at the end of the day. Even though it can be a hassle, it's a life-saver.


Monday, November 15, 2010

My Christmas List

I've been asked multiple times for a Christmas list and I am so behind at actually getting one made. I just hardly have time to think about it and I totally feel guilty when I do because I need to be getting other things done (like right now-- I should be working on my 8-page paper that's due tomorrow and I haven't started).

I really only want one thing and this is it:
I want this hottie back home! Seriously, is he not just completely handsome?! Put a bow on him, place him under the tree and  will be a very happy girl!

And since I am the one made the travel arrangements, I do happen to know that it's one present I know I will be getting this year!! Only 32 days (not that we're counting or anything) until I pick him up at the airport and then we'll have 17 wonderful days to spend together! I am SO excited!!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Real American Heroes

To celebrate Veteran's Day today, we headed out to the Hy-Vee breakfast with Grandpa. We started this tradition last year and I hope that we can continue for many years to come! It's more than just having Jackson spend time with Great-Grandpa, it's about exposing him to the real heroes of our society. He's still a little young to understand, but I did my best at explaining that the men and women there today were all soldiers like Daddy! It is so important to let him know that we honor and support our veterans-- of all branches, active duty or retired, family members and even strangers!

Jackson and Great-Grandpa Duff, Retired Air Force

Jackson really surprised me this morning as I was getting him dressed. Chacey had on her shirt first and he pointed and said, "flag!" I really didn't know he knew the concept of the flag. And then he cheered, "wooohh!" I haven't quite figured out where he picked up on cheering for the flag, aside from maybe at Derek's Basic Graduation, when he had a flag and we cheered for Daddy. Either way, it was just really sweet.

Jackson and Chacey got really into waving their flags!

And of course, eating breakfast!

We can't wait to celebrate with our number one Veteran next year! We love you Derek and we are so very proud of you!! He is heading off post this evening to attend an appreciation dinner at a local church and he is VERY excited. (He was very disappointed about missing a pot-luck dinner at our church last week and so this is his consolation!)

A big thank you to all the servicemen, past and present. Derek and I both have several Veteran family members and friends, both active duty and retired, and they each were contributed inspiration in Derek's decision to enlist. And lots of prayers go out to the men and women serving in battle right now.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I took this quotation from a friend's facebook page. I just love it. For some good, easy ideas to do something for a soldier, check out this link.

But let's not just focus only on the members serving in combat. I think we tend to reach out to families and pray intently for those on Active Duty, which I undoubtedly believe is our civilian duty. However, let's not forget about the ones who've already served and are now back home. Soldier suicide is at an all-time high these days- June marks the all time high with 34 deaths. This is not okay. Have you seen last years Oscar-winning movie, The Hurt Locker?! (Not that I recommend it for a relaxing night in, but as a good image of the psychological battle our soldier endure).

Thousands of men and women come home each month and are fortunate enough still have all of their limbs, no visible scars, and most of their friends. However, each and every soldier will come home with psychological scars that may haunt them forever- some more serious than others. The divorce rate upon returning soldiers is through the roof. These people are not only fighting overseas; they have intense battles to fight upon returning home.

The military has improved the services they proved greatly in the past decade, but we need to do our part too. Granted, there's not a lot we can say or do considering they experienced something we can not even fathom to understand. However, genuine love and support, deep gratification, and reaching out to them can go a long way. Never trivialize what they do. Listen if you have a friend who wants to talk about it. But more likely, if they don't want to talk about it-- don't pry. You can let them know you are there for them without having dig. And truth be told, we probably couldn't cope with the real details anyway. Most importantly, remember these soldiers in your prayers, and pray intently. Thank the Lord for our real American heroes.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

Jackson's been two now for about 10 days. It turns out that two is a pretty funny age. Granted, there is the never-ending battle of the wills at this age too, but it's not nearly as fun to talk about. Jackson equips me with a cute or funny story just about every day.

One of the coolest things he has done over the last week is that he is vocalizing aspects of events without being prompted. When I told him that we were going to go swimming with grandpa last week, he said "water!" And then after the fact, I had Jackson to tell Grandma about swimming and he said "turtle" because he played with the turtle at the pool. It is so cool to see him getting bigger and growing developmentally!

Random little stories:
  • My mom bought Jackson a pair of light-up shoes at a garage sale. Whenever he wears them, people tell him his shoes are cool. So one day, when I'm trying to put on his non-light-up shoes, he is say "cool! cool!" and it took me forever to figure out that he wanted to wear his "cool" shoes. Can we say peer pressure?!
  • There have been multiple times within the past week that I have had to tell Jackson to stop praying at dinner. How weird/inappropriate/sacrilegious does that sound?! But seriously, he wants to pray the entire time. And he can't just pray by himself, he wants me to do it. So, how many times is acceptable to pray at dinner? The Bible doesn't contain these types of answers.
  • While changing his diaper the other day, Jackson found his penis and as with all words, he likes to repeat them over and over. It just so happens that Jackson's pronunciation of "penis" is very similar to his pronunciation of "please". I did my best to explain that they have very different meanings without laughing (as to not reinforce the mistake!). Talk about a conversation I never expected to have.
  • Poor Jackson really needs his Daddy to come home, a person to teach about manly hygiene. Because when Jackson's in the room while I am getting ready, I regularly have to "apply" deodorant (that wasn't just a phase), hairspray, and blush on him. Oh, and the other day... he insisted that I "shave" his legs after he came across the razor.
  • My sister got Jackson a little Tiger-ear headband for his birthday and Jackson calls this his "zou" (Mizzou) ears. Except that they aren't just ears. He puts them over his eyes and calls them glasses, on his chest and calls it a shirt, and around his tummy and calls it a belt. It's safe to say that his non-pretending days are over.
  • Jackson loves to Skype and he gets all crazy and in a show-off mood whenever we Skype with Derek. The other day, Jackson chucks his sippy cup at my laptop screen and says, "catch!". So, I explain to him that even though we can see and talk to Daddy, we can't actually play catch. 
  • And speaking of throwing things, yesterday Jackson was throwing his cup in the kitchen over and over and over. It was a fun game for him, it makes a loud noise on the hardwood floors. Well, immediately after telling him (loudly) not to throw his cup one more time, he proceeds to pick him up and throw it back down again. I march over to him, expressing my frustration about how I said not to throw and he says, "shoot, Mommy, shoot". Because "shooting" the cup (like a basketball) is totally different than throwing it. Ugh! No Shooting Either!!!
"Sacks, Mommy!"  Yes, thank you so very much for you help, Sweetie!
 Though this kid definitely keeps me on my toes, he totally makes life interesting and so much fun! At least I have good stories.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I came out alive...

While I once prided myself with a clean car back in my college days, we're talking monthly washings and vacuuming... that's just not a reality anymore. In fact, the last time it got a really good, full interior cleaning was the month before Jackson was born. Yes, he just turned two. Sad isn't it!? Even worse, is that only a few months ago the filth got to the point where it bothered my dad and he dug out the wet vac on the front two seats.

On the way to the mall today, after Julie and I dug our way to find our seats I vowed that I just had to clean out my car sometime soon. The weather today was fabulous, the clutter and dirt finally got to me, and I went to clean out the car. I worried that I might not survive, but I did. Though, I did have to warn friends to come check on me if they hadn't heard from me in awhile!

This is kinda embarrassing, but I'm determined that I'm not the only mom with a car like this. So, maybe another friend will see this and feel a little better about herself.

The backseat-- no visible floor, period.

The passenger floor that Julie navigates through every time we go somewhere.

I brought our large trashcan over to the car ready to pitch whatever needed to go and sorted through the rest. Well, sorta... there are still boxes on top of my kitchen table that I have to go through more. But this is what I came up with.

Two boxes of crap. Three pairs of shoes (two pairs Jackson, one pair mine). Random toys. Portable high chair. Monkey puppet. Two pumpkins. Can of green beans. Unopened roll of Christmas wrapping paper. Child-size life vest. My missing music folder for ladies' ensemble. Various DVDs.


Six adult jacket/coats. Three toddler sized.

Two large blankets and a never-been-used set of queen sheets that I purchased in summer 2009 before I knew we would have a king sized bed. Never made it inside.

Lots of papers-- including this take home sheet from Jackson's 12 month well baby visit, from October of 2009. What is this still doing in my car?!

At least I found several of my missing plastic containers!!

And Jackson helped. He was mainly in charge of the music and hitting the button on the garage door opener so it opened and closed about a billion times.

Of course, lots got thrown away too. It feels good! If the weather is nice tomorrow, I'm gonna invite myself over to the in-laws to use their carpet-cleaner vacuum to really get this good and clean. Good knows that it might not get cleaned out again until this baby celebrates her second birthday!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Train, Bonfire, Zoo and Candy fun!

We had a very action packed weekend, which of course means it was super fun! Here's what we did:

Thursday Night
Celebrated Jackson's birthday at Fritz's Railroad Restaurant. Basically, lots of trains everywhere and even a train to deliver your food. Chacey (and her mom) joined us, which made the night pretty much perfect for my little two-year old!

We sat next to a ginormous train track! Little boy heaven!
 Jackson was less excited about having to stop looking at the trains to take a picture.

My parents, sisters (and "ack" aka Zach, Ashley's boyfriend), Derek's parents, and Grandpa came over for a little bonfire to celebrate Jackson's birthday. It was perfect weather and everyone had a really nice time!

Mom had free tickets to the zoo, so we headed out to Boo at the Zoo on Saturday morning! The costume I had planned for our Halloween festivities wasn't warm enough to wear outside for the day, so I had to improvise. Thanks to the overalls that Grandpa gave Jackson for his birthday the night before, we had a great farmer outfit!

The hayride with Grammy and Aunt Laura

Yes, Jackson. Please eat the corn that hundreds of kids have touched all over today.... not to mention that it's dried out and really just a decoration.

So, here is the conversation I had with Jackson at nearly every animal exhibit we saw....
Hey Jackson, Look, A Polar Bear!!!
Yes, but it's a bear!
Water! Water!
What sound does a bear make?
RAARRHH!! Water! Water! ......

Can you see the Hippos Jackson?
Yep, they're in the water. Can we count the hippos?
Yep, they're wet.......
Seriously, kid!? You're so excited about stinkin' water!? We did get to ride a train (really, just a tram) and that was probably his favorite part. Whether he enjoyed seeing the animals, I'll never know... but we all had fun and that's what counts!

We celebrated at the Fall Festival at our church. I love that our church has activities on Halloween. The kids enjoy playing silly little games and getting lots of candy, but we aren't out surrounded by lots of scary costumes or crazy people.

Check out the cutest little Danish soccer player that you ever did see!! (along with his cute little bee-friend!)

Eating a donut from a string

Making Fruit Loop bracelets 
Snack time-- Fruit Loops!

The bounce house that Jackson absolutely loved.

And squirt bottle races (I'm still not sure if I like the idea of him knowing how to work those things...)

Not all of the fun was about Jackson. Julie and I got to meet up with a friend for dinner on Saturday night and went to see the movie Secretariat, which is a great movie btw. Both Saturday and Sunday night, friends came over to roast s'mores, only we used our wood-burning stove instead of a bonfire. It was a wonderful weekend!



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