June 30, 2010

Jack's First Year

When Jack was born, I felt happy and overwhelmed with love. Another baby, so like the others, but so different. With his own face and his own sound. His own wants and needs. His own little fingers and his own little toes. He was just so sweet.

Meeting his brother and sister on his first day

In Jack’s first month, I was so proud of my new baby. He was already on a very regular schedule, eating as if on cue, every three hours. When we left the house, he slept in the sling. I was still able to do things like read books and go for walks with him in sling and the kids in the stroller. Life was simple and he was just so sweet.

Sleeping in the sling as we took Grammy and Grampy sightseeing in Little Rock

In Jack’s second month, I turned 26 and he met his Aunt Cara. He stayed away from Mommy for a few hours for the first time while Aunt Cara watched him and we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. He slept in his aunt’s arms and even took a little of a bottle. I think. Maybe he didn’t. Either way, he was just so sweet.

Mommy's little chore buddy, He spent many hours in that sling

In Jack’s third month, the kids and I moved into our house in Abilene while Steve stayed in Little Rock. I unpacked the house by myself, decorated his nursery, among other rooms and cared for my children alone. It was a little overwhelming and I felt a little stressed out. Jack spent a lot of time in his swing and didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t giving him all the attention I wanted to. He was just so sweet.

Loving life in the swing

In Jack’s fourth month, I had enough of being away from his daddy and we drove 8 hours to Little Rock and stayed two more weeks at the hotel with Daddy. It was so relaxing. Jack chilled in the pack-and-play with flowery sheets since that’s what I grabbed for him in my rush out the door in Abilene. Jack was a Jack-o-lantern for Halloween, and he was just so sweet.

On the hotel couch under his sister's blanket

In Jack’s fifth month, we got settled into our house in Abilene. We made it feel like home and took on a big home renovation project. The house was a mess and Jack spent a lot of time away from the dust, just smiling at the mobile of his swing. He was such a content baby. So laid back and just so sweet.

In his stroller on a day trip to San Angelo

In Jack’s sixth month, we got hit with lots of snow, here in Abilene. It was weird. We got sick of the snow. Jack never really experienced the snow, but he got sick of getting in and out of his heavy, warm full-body fleece coat. We celebrated Christmas – Jack’s first. He had a crazy mohawk. He smiled at everyone and played with the paper. He was passed around and held and everyone said he was just so sweet.

Excited for Christmas

In Jack’s seventh month, I cut his hair. He started sitting up on his own, although not very well. He broadened his diet to include applesauce and soft granola bars and crackers. His eyes were still as big and blue and beautiful as ever. He was just so sweet.

His new, and only ever hair cut

In Jack’s eighth month, he was able to sit himself up and play with toys. He would reach for them and shake them and of course, always put them in his mouth. He wore my favorite overalls and looked just as cute as I imagined. He was a happy little guy and of course, he was just so sweet.

In Mommy's favorite Overalls

In Jack’s ninth month, he fed himself food and found small things on the floor to put in his mouth. He seemed capable of crawling but didn’t seem to care enough to actually try. I decided he was the most laid-back baby I had ever known. Big brother and sister, running, screaming, bumping him, and falling on him did not seem to faze him. Probably because he was just so sweet.

Eating blueberry waffles off the floor

In Jack’s tenth month, he started to crawl. It was a crazy, one-foot-on-the-floor-one-knee-being-dragged crawl, but he was over nine months old and we were just glad he was moving. He started shaking his head and rolling his eyes back when he was being silly and getting a reaction out of us. We always laughed when he did it. He met his Grandma Koper and Great-Aunt Noemi. He had an irrupted ear drum. It was a busy month for our little guy but as always, he was happy, adorable and just so sweet.

Crawling around the playplace at the mall for the first time

In Jack's eleventh month, he took his first flight. He sat on his first beach and ate his first handful of sand. He splashed in his first waves and wore his first 3-piece-suit. He snuggled in his daddy’s arms and crawled all over every surface of his Grammy and Grammpy’s house. He was a good little baby and as always, he was just so sweet.

At Jetty Park in Florida

In Jack’s eleventh month, Jack has started pushing his toy lion around on his feet. He cruises along the furniture – not often, since crawling is easier and Jack is nothing if not unmotivated. We said goodbye to his daddy and Jack seems to look with recognition at Daddy’s face on the computer when we Skype. He still naps for close the 3 hours every afternoon. He likes to sleep until 9am but only if Gabby and Steven are quiet enough to let him. He still puts everything in his mouth – from rocks to wood chips. He will eat anything. Absolutely anything. He’ll play with any toy. Dolls, cars, spoons. He doesn’t seem to have many dislikes. He loves it all. He’s been a little fussy these last few days of his eleventh month, but that just means that he needs more snuggle-time with Mommy. And that is never a bad thing, because really, he is just so sweet.

Currently one of his favorite activities - emptying drawers and cabinets

Today, my sweet Jack-Jack is one year old. I don’t know where the last year has gone. If I close my eyes and think about it, I can still feel his little foot kicking me from the inside. It seems like yesterday, I looked into those big, round eyes for the first time. He is my happy, relaxed, occasionally-loud, bath-loving, food-loving, snuggly, drooly, 6-toothed, small-for-his-age, sweet little peanut. He completes our family and brightens our days. He is his brother and sister’s favorite toy. He is my sweet little boy and I am beyond thankful for him.

Happy First Birthday, My Sweet Jack-Jack. I Love You So Very Much.

June 27, 2010

Playtime is So Much Fun

Steven and Gabby are, thankfully, very good playmates. They play together all day, every day. This week, I've been tracking some of the things they've done together. Here are few:

* One afternoon, I found them sitting around the living room ottoman, Gabby's tin dish set around their "table," pretending to enjoy a meal together. I asked them what they were eating and Gabby announced, "I made CHEESE!!! It's Hot!!" Apparently, in her wildest imagination, Gabby prepares hot cheese for her family to eat.

* They had a Go Fish card deck out and spread all over the floor in the kitchen. I asked them if they would like me to play Go Fish with them. Steven replied, "No, we're actually playing Go Shark." I listened as he asked Gabby if she had any 49s, to which she replied, "Go Shark." Then she laid a card down and Steven announced he had won.

* Jack often plays in their room with them and the other day, they came out of their room without him. When I asked where he was, Steven said, "Jack's in the dog house. He's our dog." As it turns out, that's code for, "We shut him in the closet."

* While the little ones were napping the other day, I asked Steven if he'd like to work on an activity book. He told me, "I'd brather play a computer game." He speaks so seriously and seems so knowledgeable sometimes, that it's funny to hear him mispronounce a word.

*This video was taken this evening as they played together. Their favorite game is "Family" where Steven is Steve, Gabby is me and they have three kids named Steven, Gabby and Jack-Jack. Today, they relived the birth of Jack.

(I feel like Jack is naked all the time on this blog - he does have naked time almost every night after his bath...so that's why)

*After Gabby gave birth, she pretended to sleep on the couch for about 30 minutes while her baby slept in a Rubbermaid bin that actually looks a lot like the bassinets at the hospital. Gabby told me that she had to sleep because when the baby comes out, the mommy has to sleep a lot. Huh, I thought it was the opposite - but she knows...apparently.

And now you're all caught up!

June 24, 2010

Jack's Toes have Been Busy

Gabby was playing with Jack a few days ago and she was wiggling his little toes and saying the little rhyme that we do with the kids all the time, although her version of "This Little Piggy" was one I had never heard before. I quickly wrote it down so that I could share it.

This little piggy went to the zoo and he seed animals.

This little piggy went to the market.

This little piggy was MAD! because he didn't like his friend.

This little piggy liked his baby but he was trying (translates: crying).

This little piggy went wee-wee-wee-wee-wee all the way home.

This week, Jack-Jack (who is, by the way, less than one week from turning 1!!) has started pushing Lion around the house, getting closer and closer to his first solo steps! Here's proof:

Sorry, Steven hasn't done anything very cute. It's true. He is rarely more than 3 inches from me at any time. He's spends 75% of his time arguing with every word I say, and the other 25% asking unanswerable questions...then arguing with my answer. And playing with his crotch. Although, in his defense, he is also very helpful. As seen in the video. I do love him. Really. I do. I just don't have any cute stories.

And now you're all caught up!

June 18, 2010

A Few Things, and Some Other Stuff, Too

1. Jack drank almost 8 ounces of milk out of a sippy cup, last night. This is huge. He has, up to this point, refused to drink from any vessel besides my vessels. So, getting him to drink some cow's milk out of a cup is a HUGE step in the weening process - which I am very ready for. So, Yay!

(maybe the fact that he was naked helped - perhaps I will only offer him sippy cups when he is stark-naked from now on)

2. Jack's hair is CRAZY. I will not be cutting it. He will have long, curly, hippy hair and it will be adorable.

3. Steven got signed up to start the football season in August. Yep, my little boy will be a football player in the fall. We live in West Texas so football starts at age 4. He's pretty excited - as is his dad.

4. Gabby walked through Walmart with me yesterday evening singing the ABC's at the top of her little voice. Everyone thought she was pretty cute...or pretty annoying. One of the two.

5. I've been organizing closets this week. I have an extensive to-do list that includes things like cleaning out every closet, drawer and cabinet in this house, having a yard sale and painting some walls. I plan to keep quite busy for the next 4 months. Our shoe closet used to contain a pile of shoes on the floor, and a bunch of bags hanging from one hanger. Now, look at it. It defines organization!

6. Bed, Bath, and Beyond is a very fun store. I had too much fun looking at closet-organizing items in there. Now I know why I never go in there. I'd spend way too much money.

7. I heart Skype. I've chatted and video-phoned with my hubby every day this week.

8. And now, you're all caught up!

June 14, 2010

One down, 129 to go....

Well, I have made it through Summer Deployment 2010, Day One. I may have shed more tears today than I have in the last year combined, and I may have realized at about 7pm that I had eaten exactly nothing all day, but I am alive, my kids are alive and I know that I will make it through this. Today was really hard. I shared a teary goodbye with the love of my life around 4am. I had been crying on and off all night as we spent our last hours together. Frankly, I'm amazed by the human body at this point - I could have filled a bucket with all the tears I shed. I should probably go drink some more water to rehydrate my eyes.

My favorite verses are my favorite verses because of days like this:

Romans 5:2-5
"...And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hears by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (NIV)

When the time finally comes that I get to see my husband again and feel him embrace, I will be a stronger, wiser, more patient, kinder, better person. God will use this time to mold me more and more into the woman, the mother, the wife He wants me to be. And I will let myself, broken, to be put back together by Him.

Tonight I can be thankful that I have my children, we have our health and every material desire. I have my husband, though not near me - he is safe and healthy and he loves me more than I deserve. I can be thankful that it's only 4 months, and not six or twelve or forever. I have much to be thankful for.

My next post will be more fun. I promise :)

June 7, 2010

First Word and Last Monday

Jack and His Da-da

Jack has said his first word. I have very strict rules about what constitutes a first word. And Jack's "Da-da" has passed the test. It is going in the record book as his official first word. He has been saying, Da-da, Ma-ma-ma, ba-ba-ba. etc. for a few weeks, but never in any context. They were just the random babblings of an 11-month-old (or 4-month-old if your information is coming from Gabby). But in the last few days, we've seen more than once that Jack's little face will light up at the sight of his Da-da and he'll call out, "Da-da!" It is the sweetest thing. He's a big fan of his Da-da. I just hope he'll remain a fan over the next few months.

Today is our last Monday with Jack's Da-da for a long time. All too soon, Steve will leave our home with green bags full of tan-colored uniforms and not much else. He will be too far away for too long. I already miss him. My chest hurts and my eyes sting when I think of his absence. Please pray for us next week. Pray for Steve and his safety. Pray for me and the kids; that we'll be strong, and please pray that the time will pass quickly for all of us. Pray that we are able to maintain good communication. Pray that the goodbye doesn't hurt as much as I fear.

Tomorrow we are running away. We are going to Sea World. We will play and laugh and spend time together and be happy. We'll save the sadness for another day. Soon we won't be able to run from it.

June 1, 2010

Quick Update

Edited to add: My Aunt posted almost 200 pictures of all of us here in Florida and lots of great wedding pictures. I posted it to my facebook profile, if you want to check out her album!

We've been going, going, going non stop this week. We're still in Florida until Wednesday but I thought I'd take a second to share some pictures. They're on facebook, HERE. I didn't get many of Cara on her wedding day but she was beautiful. And I will share more as they come in from everyone else's cameras. The wedding was perfect and it was a wonderful day for all of us. We've been at the beach every day. The kids are having a blast. We are sad to be leaving tomorrow. Back to life as normal all too soon. A few fun things:
*Steven, Gabby and Jack LOVE the beach. They love the water, they love the sand, they love to splash and dig and run and picnic. They've loved it all. It has been so fun to watch.
*Gabby and Steven made it successfully down the aisle at Cara's wedding as ring-bearer and flower girl, even if Gabby REFUSED to throw the petals on the floor. She was not convinced that it was okay to make a mess.
*Gabby and Steven danced at the wedding reception as if their lives depended on it. We had to drag them off the dance floor a few times to keep them from getting stepped on during fast dances.
*Steve and I both have very red backs.
*Don't ever order a wedding cake from the grocery store chain, Publix. It was the only part of Cara's gorgeous wedding that didn't work out like it was supposed to.
*We went to see Steve's Aunt Elli today. It was good to see her and to let her see the kids. But it was quite sad. Her health is quite poor and it was hard to sit with her and not just feel sad.
*Gabby was terrified of my parents' dog for the first day or two we were here. She has now become quite fond of Brinkley. It's a big step. We're very proud of her.
*My kids are brown as little berries. They are so tan! And I'm pretty jealous. This redhead does not tan.
*Time to go do laundry and start collecting all our stuff that is now spread over my parents' house and pack it up. Boo!

...and now you're all caught up!