Sunday, January 25, 2015

Jacob at 10 months

Jacob is 10 months old as of Friday.

New this month:

  • Just after hitting 9 months, Jacob started really eating. He likes to eat bread, crackers, meat, beans, lots of veggies, some fruits, no dairy. He will happily eat things like red peppers slices and cucumbers, which is very strange to us after Jamie, who to this day will not eat raw vegetables. Jacob has no tolerance for people trying to spoon feed him. That's okay by me. We have loved baby-led weaning.
  • Nighttime sleep is actually better for once! A few weeks ago we (and by "we" I mean "I" because Thomas can't lift Jacob in and out of his bed right now) started doing some Baby Whisperer-style sleep training, which has helped immensely. Previously it was a really good night if he slept until 11:30 before waking up the first time, and then he'd wake up every 2 to 3 hours after that. He's not sleeping all the way through the night, but Jacob now usually sleeps from 7:30 until anywhere between 3 and 5 before waking up.  The first few days of the sleep training were really rough and I was getting even less sleep than I had before, but now we are doing much better and it has made a huge difference in our days.
  • Jacob has started climbing. A few days ago he figured out how to climb onto Jamie's bed by himself, and now that is all he wants to do. I've seen him lift up his little knee to try to climb on many other places, but that's the only one he's succeeded at thus far.
  • He can now wave, clap on command, and sign "all done," "momma," and occasionally "more" (though it looks like clapping) in addition to "milk."
  • He can stand for longer periods. The longest I've seen is probably about 30 seconds. He's getting steadier every day.
  • I can tell he's starting to recognize more words, like "no," "shoe," and "book."
  • Jacob loves to put things into containers. It's so fun to watch.
  • He's started handing us things, which is very cute.
  • He has 7 teeth. After having just 2 for about three months, he cut five more in just 3 1/2 weeks!

I really love this age!

He loves red peppers. He got visibly excited when I picked one up in the store the other day. I hope it lasts!
He loves the dishwasher. And the refrigerator.
quinoa chili... mmmm.
He LOVES helium balloons.
Jamie's idea. Jacob LOVED it.
He conquered Mount Bed.
...which means he can reach things he's not supposed to.
black beans and rice. delicious.

Sir Jacob the Cute

best picture I've managed to get of him standing
the only picture I managed to capture before he stood up and could not be convinced to sit back down :)

I took a little video of his new climbing trick.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thomas is 30!

Thomas's birthday was on Thursday, and he turned the big 3 - 0! Which means I will as well in September. Yikes.

We had a special birthday breakfast of blueberry muffins, bacon and eggs, cantaloupe, and orange juice. Thomas still had to do work that day, so much of it was just like a regular day. In the evening we had his birthday dinner--pot roast, mashed potatoes, and green beans, followed by present opening and cake.

He chose this carrot cake again. Jamie and I had a fun time making it together during Jacob's naps the previous day.

Thomas got some great presents (if I do say so myself). Jamie wanted to get him another book about the Hobbit, so we looked around and found this book, which was perfect. His present from Jacob was a stuffed badger with a spoon (inside joke), which Thomas found as hilarious as Jamie and I did. :) I got him tickets to see Guys and Dolls in April, as well as a fantasy book I've heard good things about. He also received several cards with money and some other nice gifts from parents, in-laws, and friends.

It was a great birthday and hopefully the start of another great decade!

Jamie insisted that we needed balloons for a birthday. Jacob loved them.


On January 10th, Jamie and I got to use the tickets he got for Christmas to go see Annie at the Tennessee Theatre. Unfortunately I have no pictures, but we had a great time! Towards the end, Jamie started having a hard time remembering to whisper if he had questions, but the good thing was that the audience had tons of children in it and he was by no means the only one being noisy. He loved the show and asked me lots of questions about it for the next couple of days. His main concern was, "Why was Miss Hannigan so mean?" Thomas had to have a friend come over to help him take care of Jacob thanks to his arm. I'm so glad that Jamie enjoys going to plays and musicals.

Thomas's broken arm

I mentioned briefly that Thomas had broken his arm, but I feel like the experience deserves its own post.

On December 29th, Thomas was riding his bike home from campus. It was a rainy day, and he was biking on a wet greenway. As he came off of a bridge back onto the regular path, he hit a slick patch of mud (and I'm sure the change in terrain didn't help), and his bike slid out from underneath him. When he landed, he scraped up both of his knees horribly--only just now are those scabs gone--and hurt his left arm really badly. He called me to come pick him up, and then we took him to the emergency room at UT Medical Center because he thought he'd probably broken it. It was already past 5:00 and the wait was several hours, so we left him there. When we told him Daddy was going to stay there while we went home, Jamie said very seriously, "We should visit Daddy in the hospital sometimes." He didn't realize it was just for that evening. Anyway, it turned out Thomas had broken a bone in his forearm, specifically the ulnar styloid (the bumpy bone on the pinky side of your wrist). He was giving a velcro splint/casty-thing and was told to follow up with the orthopedist in a week. A friend gave him a ride home.

Jamie was so cute the next morning. He brought Thomas all kinds of things to make him feel better and just tried to be sweet and good that day.

The following week Thomas went to his appointment with the orthopedist. The doctor was concerned that his bone had been dislocated, which could have damaged cartilage and things in the arm, and if it had been, that would have required surgery to set it back in place as it healed. So that night Thomas had to go get an MRI done. The doctor said it would take a couple days to get the images back so he could read them and see what needed to be done. A WEEK later, when the doctor had never called, Thomas called the office and found out the doctor wasn't available that day. Finally the next day, Thomas was available to get a hold of him and found out, to our great relief, that surgery was not necessary! Turns out his bone is just in a weird place. Hallelujah.

It has now been 3 1/2 weeks since he broke it, out of the 6 weeks that he is supposed to wear the splint. Since he is not supposed to push, pull, or lift anything with that arm, he has had some difficulty getting his work done as quickly as normal (though thankfully at this point he can kind of do a little typing with that hand), and he also hasn't been able to do much with diaper changes, baths, clothing changes, putting him down for naps, etc. It would be less frustrating if not for the fact that he's leaving a week from tomorrow to go back to France for 4 more weeks. Sigh. He has an appointment next week to get another x-ray and check how the healing process is coming along.

We are very grateful that Thomas wasn't hurt any worse than he was. We are also grateful that it was his left arm, that it will be mostly healed before he has to travel, and that surgery is not required. We are all looking forward to March, when Daddy will have two functioning arms and will be home for the foreseeable future!

Poor Thomas :(

New Year's

We had a fun New Year's Eve. We let Jamie stay up later than normal (though not til midnight), and we had treats and played games after Jacob was in bed. At "midnight," which was really more like 9:00, we had a countdown and blew noisemakers and pulled some poppers. Thomas and I did manage to stay up for the real New Year.

Jacob wasn't thrilled with his party hat.
I can't remember if he was excited about Sorry or about New Year's.
We didn't anything too special on New Year's Day, but we did have a nice ham dinner.

Looking forward to watching my babies continue to grow and develop in 2015!

Friday, January 23, 2015

the manuscript

When Thomas goes to France, he spends a lot of time looking at old manuscripts, and he talks about them a lot at home. Jamie has picked up on that and knows that Daddy likes manuscripts. So that's what he wanted to get Thomas for Christmas. Of course we couldn't really get one, so what we did instead was to make him one. I chose the beginning of The Hobbit for our text. I wrote out the words and made fancy letters that Jamie then decorated. He also added borders and a couple of miniature illustrations. Originally I planned to do the first chapter, but that turned out to be a crazy idea. It took forever to write out just the amount I did, and I have never so fully appreciated the invention of the printing press! Thomas loved our illuminated manuscript.

With it I included a little "scholarly" article describing the manuscript and its discovery. I had to look up a lot of terminology about both manuscripts and Middle Earth in order to write it. Here's the text of the article:

Manuscript showing onset of Quest of Erebor discovered

An illuminated manuscript, showing one of the earliest known examples of Middle-earth historical records, was discovered by an intern at the Gondor University library. It was found along with many other Ardan and non-Ardan fragments in 2014 during restoration of the university chapel. The MS is written on vellum, and radiocarbon analysis has dated the parchment to T.A. 2942 with 99% accuracy. Furthermore, it was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers, who said he was 'certain' it was from the Third Age.

Scholars believe that the text reveals the beginning of an episodic quest taking place some years prior to the War of the Ring. This fragment details the first meeting between the hobbit Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf the Grey. The ‘adventure’ which is alluded to in the text must certainly refer to the Quest of Erebor, which occurred a mere eighty years prior to the end of the Third Age. If so, the MS greatly enhances our knowledge of this last period before many important figures apparently disappeared from the record, believed to have left Middle-earth entirely, perhaps for the Uttermost West.

While believed to be only the beginning of a longer work, the MS reveals substantive findings regarding the transcription practices of the time. It contains many variations of illuminated letters. Indeed, the text, which is found solely on the recto pages with the verso pages being left blank in every case, is supplemented with substantive decoration—decorated initials, as mentioned, and also significant examples of borders/marginalia and miniature illustrations. One particularly stunning example of marginalia occurs on the seventh page of the MS. Towards the bottom of the left-hand side, a dragon’s head is featured spewing out brilliant red and orange flames that reach around the entire further length of the border. This page alone contains four initials. In the middle of the right-hand column is an illuminated letter ‘G,’ the initial of ‘Gandalf.’ Two pages have detailed miniatures, one of a hobbit standing beside the door to his home and the other of the wizard Gandalf himself. In short, these pages are exquisitely decorated and they have been beautifully preserved.

Summing up the importance of the find, the significance of this work lies in its inherent artistic and historical value, and the maintenance of a link between the Third and Fourth Ages that it affords us.

An edition will likely be published next year.

We had so much fun making it, and Thomas just loved it.

Christmas Day 2014

This was our first year celebrating Christmas at home, and I have to tell you, while we missed our families and being together with everyone, we had a wonderful day and wouldn't have traded it.

We had the best morning together. After rushing out to see what Santa had brought, we opened a few other presents before having a delicious breakfast of overnight baked French toast, sausage patties, fresh berries, and orange juice. We loved it so much that we decided to make it a Christmas tradition. Afterwards, we finished opening our mound of presents.

Jamie had specifically asked Santa for play-doh, a little bag of chocolates, and a bell from his sleigh (à la The Polar Express). He got all of those plus a few more things: No Stress Chess, Old Maid, a pencil sharpener, chapstick, a little sticker booklet, and two rolls of masking tape. Out of all of them his favorite was. . . the tape. He has been obsessed with tape for a few months, which is why it was in there in the first place. My favorite quote of the morning: "Santa is the BEST! Look, Mommy, he brought me tape!" And he kept talking about it: "The tape is my favorite! And the candy." "I'm so happy that I got 2 tapes! Now I can use tape whenever I want!" (The tape was all used up by the following afternoon.) Jamie's other presents included lots of new books (he was most excited about his new Star Wars book, Weasels, How to Train a Train and Chickens to the Rescue), more play-doh, art supplies a-plenty, new pjs, dinosaur cookie cutters, some little cars, a T-Rex hand puppet that he named Calvinall and which has become a hilarious fixture of playtime, and his big presents, tickets to see Annie with me at the Tennessee Theatre (the touring Broadway production, not the movie that just came out) and theatre classes at the Knoxville Children's Theatre from Grammy and Papy. It was so gratifying to watch Jamie open his presents. He was SO excited about every single thing, and he kept exclaiming, "This is WONDERFUL!" or "This is PERFECT!" with each one. 

Jacob was somewhat less ecstatic about his gifts. He did help unwrap a few things but got bored quickly and just crawled around playing with boxes, trying to eat wrapping paper, and pulling movies off the shelf. His main gift was a pair of Robeez shoes, and he also got several bibs, pacis, snack grabbers, a reindeer sippy cup, a couple lift-the-flap books, a couple little toys, a cute outfit with a raccoon on it, a really nice sleep sack, and a pirate bath toy set from Jamie. 

Thomas and I mainly got money, which was okay by us! Additionally, we each got books, treats, and some fun stocking stuffers. After joking about it a lot at Thanksgiving, Thomas also got me a "Team Finnick" t-shirt. The best gifts were the ones Jamie gave us because he was so excited about them and had also actually started being thoughtful about gifts this year. He gave me a book about oceans, which is totally random, but according to Thomas, he had been planning on it for months because my favorite color is blue and oceans are blue. He also made me (with Thomas's help) some coupons promising to play quietly on his own during Jacob's naps so I can read or get things done. Jamie drew Thomas a picture of a castle and got him some packages of gum because he knows Daddy loves gum. He also really wanted to get Daddy a manuscript. At first I tried to explain we couldn't get one, but then I had the idea for us to make one together. I'll have to do a separate post all about it, but it turned out to be a really fun project, and Thomas just LOVED it.

The afternoon was spent enjoying our gifts. Jamie spent time painting, playing with play-doh, playing chess with Daddy, and having new stories. 

For dinner we had homemade pizza (a tradition from my family). Jamie loved helping make it and of course eating it. After that, it was one last Christmas cookie and off to bed for the littles. It was a magical day.

And now for lots of pictures!

Jamie's Santa gifts
Jacob's Santa gifts
Jamie was THRILLED to see that Santa and the reindeer had eaten the treats he left for them.
cute Christmas boys! Jacob had a diaper blowout that morning, so he got changed into his Christmas onesie right away. It inadvertently matched Jamie's pjs. :)
Calvinall attacking Jacob, which Jacob actually LOVES.

boys reading books :)
after opening the manuscript