Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fall Fun

Here's Jackie at his second visit to the Pumpkin Patch. I'm guessing he doesn't remember much of his first visit, spent in the baby sling, asleep at just 6 weeks old. This year, the boy ran around, played in the dried corn, rode in the wagon, and sat among the pumpkins observing the bigger kids. Here are some photos to show the fun.

Here's a couple more photos-- first, of Jackie with Aunt Betty. Although he didn't want to be held by her, he loved on her a lot while she was here, even giving her like 10 kisses in a row when she left our house. I think she fell in love a little bit.

and here's my little one wrapped in a towel after his bath. I love that slippery worm!

and here's Jack with his big sis, playing babies together.

Buddying Up

Harper got a chance to visit with Aunt Betty recently as she was out here from New Mexico for a week. Harper loved Aunt Betty; they read books together, they sat together for meals, they chatted it up (Aunt Betty even offered to take her home to NM with her several times). Harper asked "if Aunt Betty was going to be there" when we'd go places for a few days after her visit.

Here are Harper and Jack at the Pumpkin Patch, living it up sibling style.

And here are my babies playing one of their favorite games-- babies.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh, boy!

This one is a quick shout out to our baby cousin in IL-- a little boy who is getting bigger everyday in his mama's belly. We can't wait to meet you in the Spring! Jackie is going to love having a little partner to do daring things together, like climb up on stools when you're only 13 months old, etc...

Mazel Tov, Aunt D and Uncle Marty. We love you, we're excited with you, we miss you!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Playing Around

Sadie jumped up on the highchair tray to give an eager hello one morning during breakfast. Harper's not so sure...

Harper loves the Manichewitz at the holidays. Happy New Year!

Daddy with a tortilla mask... Silly Old Papoose!

With buddies at the farm... Chloe and Miles.

Mostly September

Here's the family at the top of Dome Rock. Jack was glad to be tethered tightly to Mama up there, and I was glad to hold him securely on my hip, too!

Jack and Harper are becoming great buddies. The girl has always said that he's her best friend, but now that Jack is 100% mobile and talking more and more every day, they are playing more and more together. Here are a few photos documenting this deepening friendship.

(eating Dada's next-day Challah with butter, mmmmmm...)

Jack is a real family man. He's begun loving on baby dolls, giving them kisses, humming little lovey songs to the baby and rocking dollies, too. Here he is with Harper's famed "Haffie".

Although Harper's been the one up on the counter cooking with Daddy lately, Jack has absorbed some of the learning, too. Here he is whisking away.

Ever since Sue and MaryAnn's wedding a couple weeks ago, when Jack met his first horse (their "Class"), Jack loves to say "Neigh Neigh" to refer to horses. He's been so obsessed with horses that he began to call cows "neigh neigh"s, too. In an effort to correct his mislabel, we took a field trip with some buddies to the COS farm, where Jack met some real cows, sheep, pigs, a goat, and (to his delight) more horses. Here's the group: me and the kiddos, Chloe Clark, Cat and Jovie, and Erin and her boys. Grandma Arlene also came with us (she's taking the photo).

These shots show his joy. There was a bounce in his step, many smiles, signs, and animal sounds. He had a great time checking out the farm.

Jack loves being outside, and he really loved seeing the real, live animals that we've been reading about and mimicing in his board books. Here he is keeping up with the big boys.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ponderosa Adventures

Harper had a great time at the Ertls' cabin up in Ponderosa. Her "hike" to Dome Rock really wore her out so she needed to stop for a quick drink.

Even with all of that outdoor excitement, Harper found time for one of her favorite pastimes...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bad Dreams

Poor girly, poor family... we had a rough night last night. Harper woke at about 12:40 AM crying with a bad dream. It took her a while to be able to talk about it and at first we thought she wasn't feeling well. Her brow was sweaty, and after she took a few drinks and used the restroom I asked her again if she had had a bad dream. She began to cry and tell us that a monster was trying to eat her. I held the girl as she worked through some of her fear and Ethan and I reassured her that the dream, although it felt real when she was asleep, was only a dream and that real life was her lovey family and her safe house. She laid her little head on my shoulder and neck like she hasn't done in about a year (baby style) and her getting-big body shuttered as she regained her breathing. She hugged tight. When we sang "This is" to her, she wanted to get back in her bed so we set her there and sang the song with all the family members' names (she specifically requested the "Jack Jack" version), and rubbed her little back. We put on a second night light in her room and replayed "The Elephant" song. She went back to sleep hugging Hop, and Daddy told her he was going to be hugging Humphrey bear in his room and sending love through Humphrey to Hop to Harper. Harper liked that idea a lot.

At 2:30 she woke again. Ethan helped her through some more tears and she went back to sleep within five minutes.

At 3:30 she woke again. This time I told E to just bring her to our room. She climbed into bed with us and she slept there until 7:10AM. This morning when I asked her why she struggled last night she said she had seen "two hands coming through the door to get her". This is like the 10th time she's said that she's seen hands on/in her door, usually as she starts to fall asleep at night. E and I are going to try to see what might look like hands on her door tonight and see if we can problem-solve. If there's nothing shadowy causing this, then it may just be our Harper's vivid imagination and we'll continue to work on separating and delineating what is real and what is not, and reassuring her that we're always protecting her.

I guess this is the age for bad dreams. I remember having a few as a child and how terrifying they can be. They come at a time when your pretending and reality can blend so easily and you can be duped. Anyone who's played with girl in the last year knows that when she's pretending, there are moments when you can tell she isn't just playing a part but choosing to believe it, too. She gets invested in her play. If anyone out there, any moms or grandmas, dads or grandpas, uncles or aunts, have good ideas about how to help girly, please pass them on!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Jack is One!

Our good boy is getting big, and he's as curious and adventurous as ever.

He's trying to talk more and I wish I could replicate for you the sound little Jack makes when you ask him how old he is. He holds up the single finger and swallows the word "one". It's clearly in his throat. And since he turned one, this kid has turned some sort of corner and all of a sudden, he's a big boy. They say the official threshold from babyhood into toddlerdom is when the kid walks and that was a big change for us. But seriously, the birthday marked a major transition for Jack. He can basically run now, and he is just tons of fun. He fake reads, much like Harper did, but his is full of 'g' sounds rather than z's. He's beginning to follow directions (i.e. "Give to Mama", "Close the door", "Put it in the hamper.", "Don't touch!")and he's trying to mimic words more.

We made Jackie's 1 year old words list (all of the words he could communicate at his birthday, including spoken and signed words). Here's the official list(as far as we can recall right now), the asterisks mean signed words:

kitty cat, said and *
car (bbb)
all done *
owl (hoo hoo)
cow (moo moo)
sheep (aaa aaa)
flower *
Itsy Bitsy Spider (puts arms up to cue us to request it)*
Twinkle, Twinkle (opens and shuts hands to request it)*
one *
sing/song (sings)
pig *
yum (mmmm)
yay *
hot, said and *
grapes (gggg)
elephant (trumpets)
bye bye
boo, said and *
beep *
phone *
bonk a head *
knuckles *
high five *
cheers *
shake *
ear *
nose *
tongue *
eye *
hair *
hat *
blow a kiss *
light *
quiet *
loud (laaaa)
lion *
bite/eat (smacks lips)*
monkey *
baby *
talk-talk (while holding a phone)
"flap those wings" * (and makes wings' flapping sound)
crab *
silly *
cold * (and says "brr")
song/dance *

That's fifty four words. He is clearly a communicator and very involved in his world around him, but he cannot enunciate words very well yet and this is his biggest block toward acquiring more. He has a classic, ascending "uh?" sound that he uses often to get us to name things or answer whatever question in whatever context. Sometimes it means "hand that to me", sometimes it means "what's that?", sometimes it means "put on a song".

He's also a man of many faces. Here's some of our favorites that we've captured.
making the bbbbb sound, look at those lips! Ha!

rooting for Michael Phelps-- go USA!!!

doing snorty nose, the sign for flower

just the regular interested Jackie face

the upset Jack face

clapping after Uncle Marty played a song on the piano for him

Jackie adores his sister. He often gives hugs and kisses to the girl, but mostly prefers to initiate these lovey acts himself rather than have them pressed on him. When he isn't hip to the idea, he will swing his little arm to create some personal space for himself and say, "uh uh, uh uh!" This sometimes upsets the eager-to-"queeze" Harper, but she still says Jackie is her best friend, so it must not be too damaging. For as sensitive as Harper is, she has really done well rolling with Jack's babyness and they have more and more fun together all the time.

Here's Jack imitating Harper. I watched as Jack climbed up onto Harper's bed (he's quite a climber, that Jack), scoot over to the head of the bed to where girl usually sits, and pull out one of her books and pretend to read it. This is the way Jack first sees Harper every morning as we ALWAYS find her already awake, reading quietly to herself when we open her door to greet her. They say imitation is the best form of flattery...

Jack is still a Mama's boy. Here he is doing his regular lovey lean, typical of the after 7 P.M. hours.

Jack had two birthday parties: a family one and a friends one, what a lucky, loved guy. When my kids have birthdays and my house fills with the people I love, I get really grateful and happy. I am reminded every year at the end of the hot summer months that I am a part of a "village" that is remarkable. Such great, salt of the earth but simultaneously smart and sophisticated people. It's why we're still here in Visalia; we love our community. Here's a couple shots of the festivities.

And last, but not least, our boy got his first haircut yesterday. Here's a couple befores (it's getting pretty long-- looks like a rocker)...

during... (notice the red, wet face from crying... he wasn't stoked on this)

And... dum dum dum duuuuum... here are a couple after shots.

Special thanks to Erin Largoza for "cleaning up" his messy, hacked hair cut. I did my best, but it's thanks to Erin that the boy ended up cute. With two boys of her own (and a brand new baby girl, born yesterday), she's experienced and quite capable.