Sunday, August 26, 2012

Andrea's 40th Birthday Party

Robbie's sister Andrea turned 40, so she had a big blowout celebration up in Chattanooga. It was 80's theme & they went all out with decorations, food, DJ & so much more!

The cake

Some of the table decorations

The birthday girl making her grand entrance

Robbie & I in our 80's wear. Robbie actually wore his hair like this in the 80's. And i actually wore my hair like this. (My hair is SUPER straight and would never curl & blow out big. This was crushing because it meant my hair was never "in style" during the 80's. I've never been so happy for flat irons to become so popular! Finally a style that works with my hair!)

Robbie, grandfather & father

Robbie, his mom & sister

The Cousins Meet Woody

Last weekend, my sister (Lindsey), husband (Brooks) & new baby (Woody) were spending their first weekend in Prattville. This was going to be the first time that all 4 cousins met. Let all of the failed photo opt attempts begin!

First off, we had no idea how Jake would be. When we were at the hospital when Woody was born, Jake could have cared less. He was very uninterested in baby Woody. Well, something has changed over the last month, because this go around, he was OBSESSED with Woody. As soon as Lindsey & Brooks walked in the door, they put Woody down in his carrier. My mom got up to go pick Woody up and I thought that Jake was going to knock her down trying to get to Woody first. After a slight shoving match to pick Woody up, Mom won, but Jake was right on her heels pulling at Woody to hold him. (I give Woody's parents credit. They kept their cool as my grimy excited 3-year-old tugged and begged to hold their child.) Jake kept looking at Woody touching him. He kept saying that Woody had "beautiful feet" and "beautiful hands". He also told my mom that she needed to share and it was his turn.
A very excited Jake

First picture of all 4 cousins together - Marrell (3), Woody (1 month), Maddox (8) & Jake (3)

Checking out the new cousin

Typical picture fail. I was trying to get a picture of Nana & Gran with their 4 grandchildren. Instead, I got a blurry picture, Marrell freaking out, Jake looking like he is picking his nose, Maddox's eyes are closed & Woody looks like he is taking a poop. Definitely frame worthy.

My 2 little messes. They really are like brother & sister. They love each other so much. They get very excited when they see each other and cry when they have to leave. But, all that time in between, they fight. Over everything. Then make up. Then fight again.

The 2 calm cousins. Maddox & Woody

Can't wait until Woody is old enough to join this wild bunch!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jake's First Bike

We finally caved and bought Jake a "big boy" bike because we found one at Toys R Us on clearance. Bikes are a lot more expensive than what I imagined. Of course, in true kid fashion, as we were walking out, we stop by the train aisle. He tells us he no longer wants the bike, but wants a train instead. Seriously? We leave the store with the bike & with him crying saying he wants the train (like we don't already have 30+ trains & he got 2 of his favorites just last week). But, thankfully, we did the parent thing & bought the thing we thought he would enjoy the most. I'm pretty sure he thanked us (even though we didn't hear it) once we got home, because he has had a ball riding his bike! He has since said he is glad we got the bike (but he still also asks for the train we had to leave behind). What are you going to do?

On to the bike riding...
Pre-helmet hair

He usually rides with his mouth open

He did good. He feel a few times (either taking a turn too fast or getting his wheel off the sidewalk), but each time, he got back on.

There are 2 little boys (ages probably between 7 &10) who live down the street. They are building several new houses on our street & with all of the rain, it has created some pretty big mud puddles. These boys were barefoot, just wearing shorts riding their bikes through the mud (with no shoes, no shirts & no helmets!). In true parent dork fashion, I'm out there with our big camera and video camera, running around taking pictures/video of Jake's first ride. Robbie is riding right beside him just to make sure everything was fine, and of course Jake was wearing a helmet! Jake better be glad I wasn't making him wear arm & knee pads! Safety (& memories) first!

He has ridden his bike every day since. He loves it!

Monday, August 13, 2012

What we've been up to...

I've been a horrible blogger. I'm trying to keep up with all of the trashy summer reality television. Work has just been super busy for both Robbie & I. I've also not had my camera out a ton. I love our camera, but sometimes, I get so caught up in trying to "catch" the perfect shot, that I forget to just sit back and enjoy the moment. I've started taking more pictures with my iPhone, but I don't really know how to use the features on the camera phone, so they are not the best. But, I guess it's better than nothing!

So on to what all we've been up to...

...Playing with cousins 
Jake spent the day down at my parent's house playing with my brother's daughters (Maddox & Marrell).
Climbing trees

Maddox the monkey!

The little monkeys

Playing with the water table


Jake & Maddox
 Jake went to Chattanooga with the Bush's to spend time with Robbie's sister's son (Jackson).
Having fun swimming with Jackson
 The weekend Jake was in Chattanooga, Robbie was in Chicago on a guy's trip. Of course I couldn't spend the weekend by myself! I put on my big girl undergarments and risked my life driving in Atlanta traffic to go spend some time with my sister & her new baby. If you know me, you know I'm TERRIFIED to drive in busy traffic. Granted, I was driving over to Atlanta Saturday morning at 8 AM and I didn't even have to go through downtown, but I'm still pretty sure I risked all of the people around me my life getting to her house. But it was SO worth it! Because I got to snuggle with this little bug.
Woody giving me a power fist for driving in  Atlanta all by myself
How cute are these cheeks?

Or these little hands?

Or these tiny little feet in their first pair of loafers?

Sweet sleeping baby

Precious tiny fingers. Oh I could just eat him up!
...Attending birthday parties
We headed up to Chattanooga for the day to attend Addie's 3rd birthday party. Jake was so excited to see Addie.
Sweet friends! They were missing their 3rd amigo Connor who has moved to New Orleans:(

Catching up

The party was at the Little Gym

Look at that balance

We went to Madeline's 5th birthday party. It was a tea party. The boys minded their manners, but sweet Madeline made sure to have entertainment for them outside of tea. She had a huge castle bounce house! Jake loved it!! Too bad I forgot to take a picture of it!
Having a little cake with Henry & Owen
...Catching up with family
Granddad Jake & his wife had to cut their summer RV tour (during the summer months, they take their RV all over the US). Granddad Jake got a little sick on the trip and they felt it would be better if he saw their doctor at home. But, because they cut their trip short, they stopped in Birmingham to have dinner with us & spend the night! We loved seeing them! Feel better soon Granddad Jake!
 Robbie, Granddad Jake, Granddad & Jake (Excuse the horrible blurry picture)
We also LOVED the Olympics. Especially me. I loved them being in London, because I could read everything that happened live, and then be prepared as I watched it that night. (Robbie thinks that is crazy. But I love it. I like knowing what happens. I loved watching Gabby and knowing the whole time that she would win the gold. And I would have been heartbroken watching if wouldn't have known that McKayla Maroney fell on her 2nd vault. So I think Robbie is crazy for not wanting to know & be prepared.) Jake's favorite was the swimming. I had hoped that maybe seeing the swimmers would encourage him to jump in the pool & put his head under the water. No such luck. I guess if he will compete in swimming in the 2032 Olympics, he will be the first to do so without jumping in the water or putting his head under. Maybe it could happen?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Jake - 3 1/2 Years

I'm pretending I posted this on June 24, 2012. I wrote it in my mind on that day, but I'm just getting around to actually typing it now.

Here is where we are at this fun little age...

Things he loves... playing trains on his train table, kicking the soccer ball with Daddy, coloring, reading, bubbles, puzzles, cars, singing, dinosaurs
    • Trains - he loves Thomas trains. The knock-offs no longer work. Right now, Diesel 10 is his favorite.
    • Coloring - I think he likes to color, but I think he really just likes to dump all of the crayons in the floor and then color a few pages. Before he can color, he has to dump out every single crayon.
    • Reading - His favorite book right now is If You Give a Pig a Pancake. He loves all of those books in that series. He is also in love with a dinosaur book that my sister gave him a while back.
    • Singing - he will sing anything. He especially loves to sing songs from movies & TV shows that he likes. He sings loud & completely off key.
    • Dinosaurs - I love to hear him talk about dinosaurs. He is actually pretty good at naming them. His favorite one changes each day. 
  • Things he loves that I act like he doesn't.... anything to do with the iPad, laptop, or TV. I'm actually torn about this one. On one hand, they will occupy him, which is especially handy when he's home & I'm still working or trying to cook dinner, etc... But, I certainly don't want to raise a child that is just glued to a screen all day and never wants to play outside. Before Robbie & I had a child, we talked about how we grew up playing outside and were both very active. We felt like too many kids today just stay inside playing video games or on the computer. We wanted our child to spend as much time outside & active as possible. (Don't you just love pre-kid conversions?!?! If we only knew!) We are still in agreement, that we want to limit Jake's time he watches TV, iPad, etc... But I would be a hypocrite if I didn't say that they ARE LIFESAVERS. We need them, we use them & we appreciate them. Plus, I try telling myself that technology plays such a role today in schools & workspace, I'm just preparing him for the future.
    • iPad - funny thing about the iPad. Both grandmothers have one, but neither Robbie nor I do. He loves the Thomas app & Jake and the Neverland Pirates app.
    • Computer - he loves to watch Thomas You Tube videos. They are ridiculous. Some grown man playing and showing off Thomas trains. I try not to think about what grown adult actually sits and videos himself playing with trains. We've researched them, and the makers of the videos, do seem to just be dads who have made videos with their kids about trains, but it still seems creepy. So we definitely keep an eye on that one.
    • TV - he loves Netflix. He likes to watch Thomas movies, Veggie Tales & Leap Frog videos. Robbie showed him the old GI Joe cartoon from when we were kids & he loved it. I feel like it is too violent for Jake's age, so we limit that one.
  • School... school this summer has been a struggle. Since his regular school (Westwood) is closed for summer, we had to find a daycare for the summer only. We found a daycare close to our neighborhood that would accept kids part time. It was perfect. He could go Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday. The great thing was he could go "daycare" hours (drop off as early as 6 AM, and pick up as late as 6 PM). While I didn't take/pick up Jake that early/late, it did make it nice that I had a big block of hours (Mom's Day Out is only 9-1) I could get work & conference calls done. They feed them there (no packing lunch!) and they take naps there. Yea! I really liked the director & his teacher. Unfortunately, Jake has just not loved it. At first I thought that it was just that it was just him adjusting to a new school. But 2 months later, and he still cries when I drop him off and tells me he doesn't want to go to "that" school. For some reason, he calls the Summer Daycare "Sunday School" (oddly enough, it is the only school/daycare he has gone to that is not actually in a church). We have to pass the turn for his regular school on the way to daycare. He starts crying when we don't turn. He begs for me to not leave him. He says he wants his Ms. Michelle (his teacher at Westwood). He cries for Carson, Tanner & Miller (his friends at Westwood). I won't lie, it is hard. Truth be told, if he was going 5 days a week, year round, this probably wouldn't be the daycare I would pick, but it is only for the summer, its location & cost is right what we needed and they accept part time. I certainly don't think he is in danger emotionally or physically. We just don't love it like we love Westwood. Speaking of Westwood, last time I wrote about it, we had just missed the availability for the Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday class. They had an opening in the Monday-Wednesday-Friday class, but unfortunately, that wouldn't work with my work schedule. I have to have him in school TWT due to my work schedule, it is not something I can adjust. The director of Westwood is so completely awesome. She said she prayed about it & called another parent who had a child in the TWT class that had a more flexible schedule and that parent agreed that they would take the MWF class, so Jake could have the TWT class spot. That is why we love that school so much. The love & sweetness of the director & the other parents. It means the world to me and I'm so grateful to other parents. So Jake will be back at Westwood this fall. YEA!!
  • Jake's Personality... I love watching Jake's personality grow as he grows. He is shy at first around people, especially other kids. But once he warms up to them, he is very talkative and outgoing. Sometimes I think his "shyness" around other kids is just an act. If we are playing in the driveway & someone walks by, he runs up to them, waves and talks their ear off. But at the pool, I basically have to force him to talk to other kids. But once you are his friend, let me tell you, he LOVES you. He talks about his cousins, his friends at school and the children of our friends all the time and gets so excited to see them. I wish he just felt as happy about new friends! He is also very scared of things. At first, it was a very nice trait to have. Because he was so scared of things, he hasn't been the type to be nosey or adventurous. Made it easy on his parents. But now, I fear that it is becoming a handicap. It gets frustrating because it is so hard to try to get him to try new things. I don't want my kid to be the one climbing on top of the school, but I also don't want him to be the kid hiding under the bleachers! Jake is a very affectionate child. He loves to hug and sit in your lap. People think because of his height & size, that he is probably an older, meaner more aggressive child. My sister puts it perfectly - he's like Ferdinand the Bull.
  • Some favorites:
    • Foods - pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, cheese sandwich (either grill cheese or cheese quasadilla), carrots, fruit. (Not the healthiest of diets, but we are working on it.)
    • TV Shows - Dino Dan & Bubble Guppies
    • Movies - Veggie Tales, Toy Story, Curious George
    • Place to go - either set of grandparent's house, pool or grocery store (he calls any store, like Wal-Mart or Target the grocery store). He likes to play the "games" (which is the little arcade as you walk into Wal-Mart. We never have coins to play, he just pushes the buttons & sits on the rides) and look at the toys.
    • Place to eat - Chik-fil-a
  • Size - right now, Jake wears a 3T in shorts & 5T in shirts. He really needs a 4T in shorts, but they make kids shorts soooooooooo long (huge pet peeve of mine) and I refuse to put him in shorts that go below his knees. He wears a size 11.5 wide shoe.
  • My favorite thing about this age - we can actually have a conversation together. He puts things together and catches on to things we are saying. He is independent, but yet still a little child. This is such a perfect age. I love watching him pick up on new things and figure things out. I love talking to him & getting his point of view.
There are definitely days that I feel like I've lost a thousand different battles with a 3 year old and I'm at my wits end. But I feel like I'm so blessed and so lucky to have such a precious little boy. I've learned not to take for granted the precious happiness a child gives you. As you could probably figure, at this point, we thought that we would already have a second child or at least be pregnant. It's been a tough pill to swallow, but it's made me so much more grateful for the one child that we have been blessed with. Every child is a miracle, a gift from God. Just the other morning, Jake had crawled into bed with us for his last hour of sleep. As he slept curled up with my arm around him, I couldn't help but thank God for that amazing feeling and love. Jake is a precious gift to us, and I am forever thankful.

Happy 3.5 (+ 2 months) Birthday Jake!