Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Texas Thanksgiving

To celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we traveled down to Texas to visit some friends who moved down south this summer. We drove down with Brad and HanNah after the guys got off work on Wednesday and drove until the wee hours of the morning. 

We finally entered TX around 1am. 

We ate our Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel. Eating out on Thanksgiving was a first for me. It wasn't bad, but I'd much prefer to eat home cooked turkey next year {as long as I'm not the one cooking it!}. But most importantly, it was fun to be with our friends and what a treat that no one had to cook or clean up!

We skipped Black Friday shopping this year and visited some places around Fort Worth instead. We had breakfast at some cool pancake place. Delicious! And then we headed over to the stock yards {where the real cowboys come out to play}.

Jackson enjoyed looking at the long-horn steers, but he wasn't so thrilled about me taking a step back to take his picture.

Jackson was so thrilled to be hanging out with his BFF, Carter. He was attached to him practically the entire weekend.

Texas is clearly the Dr. Pepper mecca {and we've even been to the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco}. Derek has had the jelly beans before, but Dr. Pepper jerky-- GAG!

I love me some boys in cowboy hats!!!!

And check out our cute little cowgirl! She's waving for the camera.

We went to this awesome ice cream place. You pick out a flavor of ice cream and two cookies and they smash it together to make your custom ice cream sandwich! Ah.may.zing.

We don't have many {or any pictures} from Friday afternoon on-- mainly because, well, sickness invaded our living space. We had nine people in a cozy two bedroom apartment, three who got sick at exactly the same moment. It was way weird. Lots of vomit. All night long. Lots of sleeping and recovering filled the following days. Thankfully, our family dodged that bullet. I did get the naseau bug on Saturday night, but fortunately, I was able to hold down my meal, but I was thought I was dying for a couple of hours for sure. 

And then, Derek and I were stuck with a little baby that WOULD NOT SLEEP! Oh my goodness. We had to drive Belle around at every moment we needed her to nap-- morning, afternoon, and bedtime! She had a high fever and was so cranky. She hardly ate anything and my word was she difficult! Did I mention how much time we spent in the car just to get her to sleep? We drove all the way to Texas so we could drive around and sit in the McDonalds parking lot so we could use their wi-fi because some little cranky-pants would wake up the moment the car engine went off. She has already been told that all the gas money we spent getting her to sleep will be deducted from her college fund.

It's really kind of comical to look back upon. Pathetic really. We were so careful to plan to make sure that our Texas trip wouldn't turn into a disaster {after our last trip ended up costing nearly $1,000 more than planned} and this bug just came and invaded our plan. I can't help but chuckle at how the whole thing panned out. But, we wouldn't have traded our visit for anything. I really miss Brooke {and Trey and Carter too} and it was just super great to hang out with her again. 

I'm sure we'll go visit again, but Derek has already made it clear that the kids will be kenneled the next time we venture out of our city. Yes, kenneled-- his words.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from our cute, little turkey!

We have so many things to be thankful for this year, but more than anything I am thankful that we get to spend the holiday together, as a family this year!


Monday, November 21, 2011


Jackson has been three now for almost a month. I'm so glad I finally got around to doing an interview. This was so much fun to do. I am a few weeks late on getting this done, but I’m pretty sure the answers would have been the same. The actual interview process was interesting. I opened a package of smarties and gave him one piece for every answer he gave me, but it was still quite challenging!


Aren’t some of his answers just so sweet!? When I asked him what made him happy and he said, “You make me happy, Mommy” he actually leaned over and patted my leg. Swoon! Then when he answered that he loves that I hug him, he gave me a big hug too. And then all the answers about his daddy, those are just so sweet! I hope he grows up like his daddy, too!

*The what makes you sad question took a couple of tries. This is the answer I got when I first asked: “My toes don’t make me sad. They are stuck! It’s hard to take my toes off!” all said while he is pulling on his toes actually trying to take them off. Where/how he comes up with stuff is soooo beyond me.
I am really looking forward to keeping up with this each year!

Here are a few pictures of our favorite little fella.301093_213813158679181_210478509012646_585792_2093619938_n


We sure do the little guy. He definitely keeps us busy, but he always makes us laugh! Here are a few more Jackson-isms:
  • He introduces himself, “I’m dude, babe, and Jackson and I’m 3” but he says it so fast no one has any idea what he’s said. Dude, Babe, and Jackson are the three nickname he deems acceptable.
  • He pronounces the “k” sound like “ch” as in ‘ch-itchen’ and ‘ch-etsup’ and he does it with the K in his name so it still sounds like “Jackshon”.
  • He uses adjectives to differentiate things in humorous ways. “can you pass the tooty-mustard” {because sometimes it makes that sound when you first try to use it}. “Are we going to the bumpy church” {the church where we attend MOPS has a speed bump in the parking lot.
  • He will NOT let you get away with calling our van a car. As Derek and I simply cannot grasp this idea, we often say things like “I think his jacket is in the car” and Jackson will interrupt, “It’s not a car, it’s a VA-AA-N!”. It was pretty bad when Jackson had to correct us three times the other morning as we were loading up for church. Why can’t we learn?
  • He will say “open” to the automatic doors at Target when we leave. And he say's “thank you” when we pass by. Ohmigoodnes, it’s hilarious. Especially when sometimes he stands in front of the non-automatic door shouting, “OPEN!!!” and it doesn’t' work.
  • He pronounces ‘hamburger’ as ‘hang-a-ber’. It’s the only word besides “Santa” that he has ever outright mispronounced consistently, regardless of correction. It’s kind of cute.
Thee year old stats:
38 pounds-- 94 percentile
37 3/4 inches-- 59 percentile

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nine months

Belle turned nine months yesterday!! She just gets more and more fun as time goes by and I just love her to pieces!! 

Dearest Belle,
You're nine months old!! You're such a big girl and SO full of personality. You are just the happiest little thing. You are way determined and don't give into my distractions very well. I think it's safe to say that you are strong willed and opinionated, but it suits you. I love watching you grow and getting to know you better each and every day.

You are wearing 6-9 month clothes, but I did unpack your 12 month clothes just because I wanted to switch up your wardrobe a little bit. The outfits are a little big, but just oh-so-cute. I just know there will be a day when I get no say in the clothing that you wear and so I am determined to play dress up with you as much as I want while I can. You started wearing size 3 diapers this month too.

Things that you like to do: crawl everywhere, stand {holding on whatever you can find to support you}, stick out your tongue, squeal, put everything in your mouth, and anything Jackson is doing.

Jackson is your favorite person. It is so much fun to watch you two play together! You get so excited when he comes in with me to get you out of your crib and you just love when you get to play on Jackson's bed after he wakes up from nap. You love to destroy his train tracks play trains with Jackson and any toy that he might be interested in at the moment. {I foresee the moment when we're on vacation and I want you to get a pretty little pick umbrella with your name on it as your souvenir, but you insist on getting a coon-skin hat and a cap gun. It happened to some other little girl I know and it drove her mother crazy. I wouldn't recommend it. Don't ask Grammy about it, K? And PS, this why I'm taking advantage to dressing you up now.}

You've been saying Dada for the longest time now and this month, you've started to say Mama and it is SO CUTE! Your little mouth is just so cute when you move your lips. I am a bit disappointed that Dada is your happy sound and Mama is often used when you're fussy. That's not cool.

Did I mention that you're a little strong willed? Well, this month you've decided that you no longer need to eat any food that comes from a utensil that I may be using to feed you. Nope, you only want to eat food that you can pick up and put in your mouth yourself. And you go totally out of your way to make sure the spoon doesn't get shoved in-- you close your mouth so tight and you squirm in your highchair and hid your face in the corner by the tray so there is no even trying. You turkey. What am I supposed to do with the cabinet full of baby food that you won't eat!? And you're appetite is just about half of what it was last month. Totally stressed me out for awhile, but you're cheeks are still chubby so I guess you're just fine.

Sleeping hasn't gone super well this month. This month was kind of a long month, really. With teething, flu shots, stomach bugs, the time change-- sleeping just wasn't as smooth as it has been in the past. Waking up multiple times a night, fighting naps... it's been rough, but we're back in a groove and you're back to sleeping better. You go to bed around 8-8:30 and generally you get up around 6am, but if I give you a bottle, you'll play and go back to sleep until around 8am.

You spent a decent amount of time being sick this month and you weren't your typical easy-going, always happy little self. But really, it made me realize what a great baby you are most all of the time! I knew you felt crummy and that made me sad for you, but I enjoyed the cuddling, because that is just something you never really do!! You even fell asleep while I held you for the FIRST time. I didn't want to ever put you down, but eventually I did. However, when you fell asleep on Daddy, he just held you so still for two hours. You've kinda got a hold on him. And me. And Grandma, Grandpa, Grammy, Papa... you're just so sweet that everyone just loves you so much.

Some pictures from this month:

{I may or may not have bribed you with an oreo so you'd be continent sitting in your high chair for longer so I could clean!}

Finally captured the classic pose- you lay like this often. It's only cute because you're a baby-- not when you're older. 

I can't believe I don't have a picture of you standing up! You love to stand up on anything you can, even if it's the chair that some other patron is using in the doctor's office waiting room! The good news {for me} is that you haven't shown a big interest in walking yet. I'm totally okay if you want to wait awhile! 

You're our little princess, Belle! We love you lots and lots.
Love, Mommy and Daddy

Nine month stats: 
  • weight: 18.9 pounds (40%)
  • height: 27.5 inches (47%)
  • head circumference: 18 inches (91%)


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Photo dump

I haven't blogged this week because I have been without a camera! No one likes to read posts without pictures-- especially when my last post was so long! I happened to be playing with Derek's phone tonight {because mine has totally gone ballistic after getting a little Dr. Pepper spilled on it} and I stumbled across a ton of pictures I forgot I used his camera to take and even some pictures I haven't even seen before. So, I thought I'd share.
Jackson and his birthday ice cream at Yogurtini

Again, out for Jackson's birthday {which I haven't blogged about because I until now I'd forgotten we had any pictures from the evening- expect one soon!}I love the look Jackson is giving Derek!

Blurry-- but aren't these kids cute!?

Belle is super happy to be eating Oklahoma Joe's-- the best KC BBQ!

Ha- this poop fiasco happened while I was out{thank goodness!} and Derek took a picture to make sure I know what he had to deal with! I found the seat out in the backyard when I got home....

Driving cars at the Home Depot

Chacey came to visit {in May}!

Jackson and Papa worked on building an airplane

Where'd this sweet and innocent looking kid come from!?

Smiley little girl!!!

Jackson getting off the train with Grandma {coming home from St. Louis!}

Jackson and Daddy watching some baseball at the Royals game

At the Maverick's game on my birthday

Cutie pie.

I love seeing Derek all dressed up in his Class A's, so he took this and sent it to me back when he was still in Georgia.

The day Belle was born-- with Aunt Ashley!


Friday, November 11, 2011


Today is Veteran’s Day! Let’s celebrate, honor, support, and pray for our soldiers today {and every day!}.
To all the Veterans who’ve served—thank you for all of your sacrifice. To the men and women serving today—I pray for your safety every day. To all the military families—from one to another, let’s stand together and support our heroes. I happen to live with an American hero—what a lucky girl am I.

As a country, we have really stepped up to the plate in terms of supporting our troops {after the disaster of Vietnam-era wake up call}. Many send care packages, others support families of deployed soldiers. We thank soldiers in uniform. And on a day like today, we remember those who’ve given the ultimate sacrifice.

And now for a soapbox if you will. We are dropping the ball at really, *really* taking care of our veterans. All politics aside, it is undeniable. I am a student of Counseling Psychology, and with a newly appointed military psychology focus. {Just ask Derek who has had to repeatedly listen to my plan about moving to Chicago so I can join the Doctoral Clinical Psych, Military track program at Adler School of Professional Psychology}. 

My research into the military psychology is heartbreaking. And I know that I am just a very empathic, passionate person and being that I have chosen to focus my education and my career in this, I of course am more vested in this than most. {Again, just ask Derek who has to listen as I vent, I cry, I anguish into the wee hours of the night about the psychological distress that is evident in a war movie/tv show we watched, i.e. The Hurt Locker, Battle Los Angeles}. But even for the rest of you, this should matter to you.

This is a tiny portion of what Adler Professional School of Psychology has to say about today’s veterans:
Collectively they suffer above-average rates of psychological problems, substance abuse, suicide, and chronic homelessness. Veterans… often experience challenges with reintegration into society, preparing for additional deployment, recovering from a traumatic injury, trying to further their education, and trying to manage all of the above while attempting to seek treatment for mental health or substance abuse problems.
Did you read that!? And these are the soldiers who have been returned to us alive. These aren’t just the ones who’ve lost limbs and/or have other medical issues. These are the “normal” guys! Yet, these guys {and gals} are struggling to stay sober, to find a place to live, to stay alive in our own country. It’s not only the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice that are our heroes—our heroes include every single man and women who make their way back onto free soil and attempt to live a “normal” life that will never, ever compare to our civilian normalcy.

It turns out that the National Guard and Reserve soldiers have suicide rates that are higher than active duty. The military community in our area consist of mainly of guardsmen and reservists, so this hits home. These guys are caught between two worlds—the military world and the civilian world the rest of us live in. While the active duty guys like to poke fun at the guardsmen and reservists because of the “easy” life they are granted— only dealing with army stuff {PT, army BS, so on and so forth} once a month. And it’s true—they only have to do those things once a month, but it also means that they only experience the camaraderie and support once a month. They are not surrounded by people who “get it”, who have “been there”, or with whom they can share an unspoken bond. They have been more affected by the economic downturn. Many are unable to find employment, unable to pay for housing, which are primary benefits of enlisting full time. Many are falling through the cracks and we need to make sure we are reaching out to our civilian warriors. They may seem so much like us—going about their daily lives, working at a normal job, but you can’t take the warrior out of a veteran. It is still there, whether you can see it or not.
But guardsmen or reservist or active duty, whether serving in Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force— they all suffer. In fact, another article states:
Although only 1 percent of Americans have served in the military, former service members represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States.
Holy cow. We are losing just as many {if not more} soldier here on our turf than overseas.
One of life’s questions that I will never understand is why those who’ve made the commitment to fight for others, why must they carry such heavy burdens for their remaining existence? Shouldn’t they be free from mental warfare for volunteering to go into physical warfare!? Physical warfare for you and for me. It’s just not fair. 

Many of our veterans are fighting still today— fighting to maintain mental stability, fighting to keep their marriages together, fighting to find a purpose in life, fighting to become what they used to be before the scars of war were etched in their souls.

Please read sentence over, and over, and over again. Let is sink in to the depths of your toes. May your gratitude, thankfulness, respect amplify ten-fold. The sacrifice our soldier have, and are, making is not simply to lay their life on the line if duty calls… but to sacrifice what is often considered “normal” mental health. Marriages are failing, drug and alcohol rates are sky-rocketing, and we’ve already taken a look at the suicide rates. Our soldiers have sacrifice continues for a lifetime and we civilians need not to forget it.

What are you doing to help, support, encourage the veterans near you?

We all need to be doing something. Something bigger than what we may already be doing. Something more than a simple facebook status on this holiday, more than forwarding a sentimental email. Go out and actually *do* something. Find a group that supports our veterans; create one if you can’t find one. Shake hands of vets. Teach your kids. Send care packages. Adopt a veteran. The opportunities are endless. The important thing to remember here is to continue to support, encourage, and pray for those soldiers who’ve already made it home. They still have a battle to fight.

Consider sending a card to a veteran, courtesy of Tiny Prints. Just like them on facebook follow the directions. I’ve done it—it’s super simple and it doesn’t cost a thing. They have even teamed up with an organization to determine where to send the cards!377692_10150404309903769_30596038768_8521466_1616239804_n

We met up with great grandpa for our annual visit to the Hy-Vee breakfast. Derek had the day off, so he was able to join us! We love our vets—especially Daddy and Great-Grandpa!

Happy Veteran’s Day! Enjoy it! And make a wish—it’s 11.11.11, a once in a lifetime occurrence {for most of us anyway}. God Bless!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Be kind, Please rewind!

Though we normally view most of Jackson's movies on Netflix, there has been a major flashback at our house... videotapes! I happened to come across several at a garage sale awhile back and at 50 cents a piece, I couldn't pass it up! It's cheaper than renting, way cheaper than buying the DVD {whenever Disney decides to release them from the vault, which if you ask me is a dumb concept anyway}, and as long as our VCR works-- we're in business!
Jackson likes to look and make sure the video is still in each case. And when he stacked all four on his lap… he said, “whew, these are heavy.” Haha. {maybe it’s time to start lifting weights buddy!?}
A few weeks ago, my aunt and uncle were in town and so they stopped by one evening. Jackson had just finished a movie so we had turned off the tv, but started the rewind right as they walked through the door. My uncle sits on the couch and looks around, perplexed, and asks, “What’s that sound?… Is that… Is that a VCR???” Ha. It’s definitely a distinct sound! I remember my best friend in elementary school had a VCR rewinder and I thought she was living the life of luxury!!
While it’s annoying that our remote isn’t compatible with the VCR and we have to stand and wait {and wait and wait} for it to rewind or to fast forward through the previews… it’s nice that we can actually fast forward through the previews. No anti-piracy ads that you can’t skip and no annoying menu screen playing the same song clip over and over {and over and over} until you hit play.
And truthfully, these movies are better than the ones coming out these days anyway. And waaay better songs!
Hanukah Matah!


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