Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in books & pictures {+ our first broken bone}

2015 will begin in T-minus 2 hours! Hard to believe, both because it is the year Marty McFly visited in Back to the Future 2 and also because it is the year Thomas and I will both turn 30. Yikes!

2014 was obviously a big year for our family, as it brought us the addition of our second baby boy. It was so wonderful watching him grow and develop this year. We also loved watching Jamie continue to develop, and it has been a joy to continue seeing him learn new things. He finished his co-op preschool and started regular preschool in the fall, he became a big brother, he has become more social, and his drawing, writing, and budding reading skills have improved like crazy over the last few months. Also this year, my parents left Kirksville, Thomas went to Europe twice, we had our first real family vacation, we said good bye to our first car and purchased our second, I lost my grandmother, and we had our first Christmas at home.

our year in pictures--January: saying good bye to my childhood home and Thomas's birthday // February: snow! and Valentine's Day // March: Jacob Wilder joins our family // April: family comes to meet Jacob and Easter // May: fire station field trip and Memorial Day in Atlanta // June: more family visits, Jamie's birthday, and swim lessons // July: vacation to Charleston // August: another visit to Atlanta and a fun camping trip // September: my birthday // October: Benj's visit, including a family day in Chattanooga, and Halloween! // November: Thanksgiving in Atlanta // December: my grandma's funeral and Christmas

And right as the year wound to a close, it brought us our family's first broken bone. On Monday, Thomas had an accident while riding his bike home from campus, and he broke a bone in his forearm. It's awful, but we are all grateful it wasn't any worse.

And because this represents how I spent nearly all of my free time, I'd like to review my year in books. Thanks to a certain baby, I didn't read nearly as many this year as I have in the last few years, but hopefully that will improve in 2015! Many were rereads, because, as my favorite Oscar Wilde quote goes, "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all." 

Without further ado, these are the books I read in 2014.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein
Birth Day by Mark Sloan
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them / Quidditch Through the Ages / The Tales of Beadle the Bard by J. K. Rowling
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche
Now I’ll Tell You Everything by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster
Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I’m a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
As You Wish by Cary Elwes
Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris

Here's to a year filled with new books, milestones, trips, family visits, and hopefully more sleep than this year brought. Happy 2015!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

9 months

Jacob turned 9 months old two days before Christmas.

According to our scale, Jacob weighs around 21 pounds now (he has his 9 month well check in about a week, so then I'll have an official weight).
He wears 12 month or 18 month onesies and 9 month or 12 month pants.
He's still in size 3 diapers.
He has 4 teeth.

At 9 months, Jacob can:

  • crawl very well and very quickly
  • pull up on everything
  • cruise around holding onto furniture
  • very briefly stand alone
  • clap
  • play peek-a-boo
  • click his tongue
  • make cute babbling noises
  • sign "milk"

He loves:

  • Mommy more than anything or anyone else
  • pulling hair and grabbing glasses off your face
  • tickles
  • shaking his head
  • being thrown in the air
  • swinging
  • playing with the dishwasher
  • playing with water
  • playing with things he's not supposed to have
  • apples, bread, meat, and beans

He hates:

  • when Mommy leaves a room, puts him down, or gives him to someone else
  • sleeping
  • diaper changes, clothing changes, and anything else that requires him to be held still
  • having things taken away from him
  • dairy products

His nighttime sleep, which hasn't been good since he was 3 months old, continues to be awful. He has a morning and afternoon nap, which generally go pretty well, though he frequently has a hard time going to sleep in the afternoon these days. Maybe he'll go down to 1 nap really early like Jamie did. That would be fine by me; I hate having to schedule things around 2 naps.

We quickly gave up on feeding him purees because he just wouldn't open his mouth for them. Instead we decided to try baby-led weaning, and we love it. We just put regular food on his high chair tray and he decides if he wants to eat it or not and that's that. I don't think he really eats much of it, but he has been tasting plenty, and it is so much less stressful than trying to get a spoon into an unwilling mouth. He still nurses all the time.

We love this baby!

More pictures from the last couple months:
He loves opening and closing this drawer and, now that he knows how, pulling up on it and flinging out all its contents.
broccoli face.
our books are definitely in danger now!
first time in the snow! There wasn't much, but it was November in Tennessee, so any snow at all was noteworthy.
at the library
Since I missed posting about it, here's his 8 month picture.
taco night :)
spaghetti baby playing peek-a-boo
He loves sticking these big Lego people in his mouth and crawling around with them hanging there. It's too funny.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

our recent activities

Thomas left November 1 to spend 3 1/2 weeks in France {hardest month of my life}.

He returned home on the Monday night before Thanksgiving, and we left the following afternoon to go to my brother's house in Atlanta. 

My grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving Day, so we spent all of three days home together after Thanksgiving before the boys and I went to Utah for a week.

We got back to Knoxville on the 11th, and on the 13th Thomas's family came to visit us since we won't be going back to Kirksville during the holidays.

After a wonderful visit, they left to go back home yesterday morning. 

Now there is exactly 1 week until Christmas, and with all the traveling our family has been doing in the last couple months, we aren't as prepared as normal.

In case anyone was wondering why the blog has been put on the back burner recently, this is why. Eventually I will get caught up. I hope.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2 things

1. In the last week or so, Jacob has started pulling himself up on absolutely everything. He is content only if he is standing while holding onto something. Unfortunately, he loses his footing or balance pretty quickly and has also been falling a lot. I no longer feel safe leaving him alone for one second. I just lowered his crib a week ago, and thank heavens I did because today after his nap I found him standing in it. I thought he couldn't pull up if he was in a sleep sack, but I was wrong. He will not give me a moment's rest, the little stinker!

2. Today while I was nursing Jacob in the boys' room, Jamie rushed in and said, "Mommy, I saw a bug." I asked what kind, where it was (a stinkbug--man, I hate those things), and I told him okay, but I needed to finish nursing Jacob before I took care of it. He ran off. A few minutes later I heard the toilet flush; then Jamie came back to announce he had taken care of it. Apparently he smashed it with his rain boot, picked it up with a tissue, and flushed it. I never even saw it. Having kids has officially paid off.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Halloween party!

Jamie has always loved Halloween. This year he kept asking over and over for a Halloween party. He also asked several times to see his preschool group from last year, so finally I decided we could combine the two and have a party for that group. I involved Jamie in the planning as much as I could, showing him different ideas I found online and letting him pick the decorations. We had a great time planning it together, and the party turned out to be so fun!

I am really lucky my friend Brianna was there. She took some awesome pictures, and I am so thankful! Almost all of these came from her.

Jamie was so excited to decorate. He wanted to do it days in advance. It was hard to convince him to wait until the day of the party.
We had them guess how many candy corns there were in the jar. I thought it would be funny with preschoolers. :) And on the right are the bat party favors I made.
some of the guests! a "peacock princess," Snow White and Cinderella, and Sully from Monsters, Inc.

I don't know what it is about Thomas that encourages little kids to chase and tackle him, but this happens every time Jamie has friends over.

When the guests arrived, we had them create monsters with construction paper cut-outs and googly eyes, but I don't have any pictures of the actual process. I was busy still trying to get the food ready. :)

Then Thomas told them a couple of Halloween stories. First, he told them "In a Dark, Dark, Room." Jamie loves scary things so much that I forget other little kids actually get afraid. A couple of them were legitimately scared by his storytelling! Then he read a library book called Ten Creepy Monsters.

We had three games planned for the party. The first was pin-the-nose on the jack-o-lantern.

The second game was pumpkin bowling. The pins were paper towels with black eyes and mouths to look like ghosts, and the ball was a pumpkin.

Our last game was bobbing for doughnuts. We had doughnuts hanging from a string and the kids were supposed to try to eat them without using their hands. It was hilarious to watch. Most of them did a good job following the no-hands rule, but not Jamie. He was going to eat that doughnut right then and there, rules be darned.

Finally, we had some Halloween-themed snacks prepared. We had mummies and vampire blood (hot dogs wrapped in crescent roll strips with ketchup), ghosts and pumpkins (bananas with chocolate chips and clementines with celery stems), witch fingers (string cheese with sliced almonds), and graveyard cups (chocolate pudding, crushed oreos, Peep ghosts, and candy corn pumpkins). Again, it didn't occur to me that kids would actually be weary of any of that because Jamie is actually more likely to eat something if we pretend it's something spooky or gross. But at least one girl wouldn't touch the "blood." Oops.

When they finished eating, the kids talked and played a little more and that was that! We made sure they got their bat favors before they went home.

Oh, and we announced the winner of the candy corn game. There were actually 153.

We had so much fun at this party!! I'm glad Jamie convinced me to throw it. I wouldn't be surprised if there are more Halloween parties in our future...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

pumpkin patch and a conference in Atlanta

Thomas had a conference in Atlanta a few weeks ago, so of course we planned to go with him and stay at Mark & Sarah's. Then Jamie's preschool scheduled their pumpkin patch field trip for the same day. So Thomas ended up taking a bus down to Atlanta while Jamie, Jacob, and I went to the pumpkin patch and then drove to Atlanta on our own afterwards.

The pumpkin patch was a lot of fun for Jamie! It had been raining and was a cold, wet, muddy morning, but he loved getting to play with his friends, go on a hayride, choose the "perfect pumpkin," and play in the hay they had in one area.

We left straight from the field trip. The pumpkin patch was fortunately in the right direction, so it took 20 or 30 minutes off the regular travel time. I was nervous about the drive because Jacob is typically a very bad traveler and it was the first time I'd driven them by myself anywhere longer than maybe half an hour. However, I got lucky, and he actually slept for 2 hours! It was a miracle.

We had a great weekend at Mark & Sarah's. Jamie had so much fun (as usual) playing with his cousins, and it was so nice for me not to be alone while Thomas was at a conference! He was gone all day Thursday and Friday and half the day Saturday, but I still got to see him in the evening and then we all got to spend Saturday afternoon and Sunday together. The kids' favorite activities this time were "painting" the deck with soapy water as the "paint" and raking up pine needles in the backyard. Doesn't sound too exciting but they loved it. We are lucky to have some family so close!

For once, I really didn't take that many pictures, but here are a few.
Adriana's school had their fall festival while we were there. The kids all got their hair sprayed different colors and their faces painted. 
Jamie, Abigail, and Elena put on what they called a "puppet show" though it involved no puppets. They're pretty funny.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jamie catch-all

Just some random pictures of Jamie from the last few months that haven't made it on to any other posts...

Superhero Day at the zoo
for a long time he would put his hair down by Jacob's hands and wait for him to pull it...
...then he'd complain, "Ow, Mommy, Jacob's pulling my hair!" but always with this grin.
I found this one day. Made me laugh.
We noticed that the weight limit for the Ergo is 45 pounds, which is about what Jamie weighs, so he went for a ride. 
He LOVES to dress up! He'll put on the most random assortment of things and turn it into all kinds of different special suits. I don't remember what these were anymore.
He hasn't done it in a bit but for a while he wouldn't stop covering himself in stickers.

He's getting excited about learning to write.
He also went through a stage where he wanted to use tape as "protectors" all the time to pretend to be a Ninja Turtle. When he was sick in September, he would NOT take his medicine. One day I used the tape as bribery and he drank it right up. 
He loves to do "science experiments." We did one with coffee filters and markers and then turned them into butterflies.
Jamie likes to try and take pictures sometimes. I love all the little feet in them.
He thought he was soooo funny when he added "poop" and "pee" to our weekly dinner menu.
working out with Mommy.
his favorite way to play with Jacob is for both of them to be on his bed while pretending it's a boat
this makes me laugh every time
When I was sick in September, Jamie decided to take care of me. He took my temperature, brought me a wet paper towel for my forehead, brought me (admittedly random) food and water, gave me crayons and a coloring book so I'd have a "quiet activity" I could do while I rested, brought me a teddy bear, etc, etc....
One day in September, Jamie and Thomas went to the Smokies by themselves. They had a great day. The main event was a junior ranger program in Cades Cove. Jamie got to learn about a saw mill and some other old ways of life. He LOVED it.
The day before my birthday, Jamie and I went to see Seussical, the Musical at the Knoxville Children's Theatre. We had so much fun! It was his first time going to any type of play or musical, and he still talks about it and requests to hear the songs. I can't wait to take him to more!
We've been reading a lot of books about pirates. One day Jamie asked if he could go out on the balcony with a bucket of water and some rags and "swab the deck." He spent at least an hour doing this.
He wanted me to make him into a mummy.
I found this paper that had a rocket ship drawn on one side and "Halloween" written on the other. He's getting lots better at drawing and writing! And he knows how to spell Halloween because of a song Thomas and I learned in elementary school and taught to him.
He drew all the Ninja Turtles.
Jamie has a difficult time entertaining himself, but one day I managed to get him to play most of the day while I was working on something (I can't remember what anymore though). These pictures don't quite capture how disastrously messy the apartment was at the end of that day. I suppose that's the price for getting him to play by himself.
a couple of times I've noticed him writing his ABCs or just found a paper with them later on. I love it! This was all done of his own volition.
This just makes me laugh.