The Tree

Picking out our Christmas Tree was the easiest experience this year.  When we got to the lot, Justin took Jake in to start looking around while I got Dylan out of the car and bundled up.  On my way in I saw a neighbor and stopped to say hi and chat for a few minutes and when I turned around I saw Justin and Jake standing by our tree.  When I walked up to them, Justin said “This is it.”  I briefly looked around and agreed that he had picked out the best one. We hadn’t even been there for 10 minutes and we were done.  After paying for the tree and getting it loaded up ontop of the car, we decided to stick around for a bit and let Jacob play.

IMG_4635ed

I came really close to getting a Charlie Brown tree after Jake kept carrying this one around with him.

IMG_4638ed

Dylan getting his first grasp of a Christmas tree branch

IMG_4642ed IMG_4653ed

They had Santa’s sleigh there to use for photo ops, but Jake is not really cooperative in that department these days, so this is the best we got.

IMG_4656ed IMG_0480ed

Back out on the lot Jake was heading for the BIG trees

IMG_4673ed

One of the men working there restocking the trees heard me calling Jake’s name (as Jake was ignoring me as usual), so when he walked by he said “Hey Jake!” that stopped him in his tracks.  Then he asked Jake if he wanted to help him with the tree he was carrying.

IMG_4677ed

Of course Jake jumped at the chance to get his hands dirty!  The man talked to him the entire way to where he was setting up the tree, and thanked him with a high five when they were done.

IMG_4678ed

We practically had to carry Jake out of there to keep him from running after the man to help him over and over and over again.  Maybe we should have asked if they were hiring.

I never thought our family would really get into the Elf on the Shelf. But this year, this little guy, who Jake named Red, joined our family.

IMG_4689ed

After the boys went to bed, Justin and I put lights on the tree and wrapped a bunch of Christmas books and put them under the tree.  The next morning with Red perched on top of the tree, Jacob was excited to see that Red had put lights on the tree and brought books from Santa.  So now every night before bed Jacob gets to choose a book from under the tree to unwrap and read.

IMG_4697ed

I put our fragile/glass/breakable ornaments at the top of the tree and bought a big box of shatterproof ornaments that we could put everywhere else.  So Jacob “helped” me decorate the tree.

IMG_4726ed IMG_4715ed

Which resulted in a low patch of the tree that was beautifully crammed with ornaments.

IMG_4724ed

The next day, my mom was in town, so the two of us spread out the crammed ornaments and finished decorating the tree.

One night I sat Dylan down in front of the tree and told Jake to show him the ornaments.  Jake took his job seriously.

IMG_4815ed IMG_4774ed

Then Dylan decided to liven things up a bit and pick on his brother by pulling his shirt, over and over and over again.

IMG_4795ed IMG_4787ed IMG_4791edHe he he…good one, huh mom!

IMG_4790ed

Okay now, back to the ornaments.

IMG_4801ed

It’s going to be a FUN Christmas this year!

Month 7

What a fun month this has been!  This kid is on the move!  When you sit him down on the floor, he launches himself forward and rolls across the room, does the backward scoot and gets up on all fours and rocks back and forth on his hands and knees. He is desperately trying to keep up with his brother. When holding him if he sees something he wants he will leap towards it with his arms reaching out, if you are not prepared for it or holding on tight enough he is usually successful in getting what he was going for.

IMG_0371ed

Due to all this moving around he is doing, I noticed this month that my chunky baby is starting to slim down a bit.  You can see a difference between the first and last picture in the weekly photos.

He is finally sleeping SO much better!  A 11 hour stretch of sleep at night is becoming more the norm now.

He enjoys his foods (and the messes he makes with it!) I think his hair in this picture makes him look like Alfalfa from Spanky and the Gang (yes, I do know who that is)

IMG_0443ed

Here are this months weekly pictures

27 weeks

Dylan 27 wks

28 weeks

Dylan 28 wks

29 weeks

Dylan 29 wks

30 weeks

Dylan 30 wks

Hal-whoa-een

No I didn’t misspell the title of this post…That is how Jacob prefers to say Halloween.  I am still way behind and have lots of catching up to do, but before I can even think about picking up my camera for the Christmas season, I need to get the Halloween pictures up.  So here goes.

You may remember that Jacob had a cast on his leg for Halloween last year, because of that, we still dressed up but didn’t really do the whole trick or treating thing.  This year however, he spent the entire month of October gearing up for the big event.  He kept practicing by closing all the doors in the house and telling us to knock on them and when he opened (answered) the door he would yell trick or treat! Yes, it was a little bit backwards, but he was having so much fun.  I kept reminding him that after he got a treat he needed to say thank you, so while driving or walking or any time when he jabbers away he would recite the trick or treating scenario in preparation for the big day…We go up to the door and ring the doorbell, when they open the door we say trick or treat, they give us candy and we say thank you!

One of his favorite things to do during the month of October was go to Home Depot to look at all the Hal-Whoa-een decorations. We did buy some tombstones and skulls to put in our yard, however, they never made it outside since Jacob decided that they were his new favorite toys.  He carried them around the house, held them while watching TV, set them up on the couch in his room while playing and constantly talked about them.

He is one of those kids who likes to be scared. If something scares him he will cling to us, bury his face in our shoulder then with a sideways peek ask that whatever was scaring him to happen again. There was a skull hanging on the wall next to the front door at a Halloween party we were at.  It had motion sensors in the eyes so anytime someone walked by the eyes lit up and the mouth started opening and closing.  Jacob was scared of it but fascinated at the same time, he would not leave the skull and spent quite some time watching it.  By the end of the party when it came time for us to leave, he waved goodbye to the skull as we walked out the door and said “good to see you!”  like it was an old friend of his. And to this day he still talks about the skull at the party.

All of his excitement was rubbing off on us and knowing that there were lots of families in our new neighborhood, we had a feeling that it was going to be fun. We started off the celebration with pumpkin carving.  First daddy helped with cutting out the top and scooping out all the seeds.

IMG_3777ed IMG_3784ed IMG_3788ed IMG_3799ed IMG_3824ed IMG_3828ed

My smiley boy 🙂

IMG_3835ed

And my ‘mom don’t take my picture’ boy

IMG_3838ed

Then it was moms turn to talk about how we wanted to carve the faces and what shapes he wanted to use.  IMG_3850ed IMG_3853ed IMG_3855ed

And I love a love affair with the giant pepper tree on the golf course behind our house and the way the light filters through it in the late afternoon, so you can expect to see it a lot in the pictures I take in our backyard!

IMG_3860ed IMG_3868ed

Success!

IMG_3876ed

When trying to figure out a costume for Jacob we kept showing him costumes that were given to us, but he wasn’t really excited about Spider-man or pirates.  Knowing about his love for trains and how he is always pointing out the train conductor in the books and shows, I got him a train conductor costume.  When I showed it to him, he was so excited and wanted to put it on right away.  So we had a skeleton and a train conductor this year.  When trying to get a picture of them Jacob had to mess with the pumpkins until he was satisfied with their placement.

IMG_3891ed

Then he started tickling his brother and they spent a few minutes giggling together

IMG_3908ed IMG_3895ed

Then finally they both looked at the camera and smiled!

IMG_3920ed

We got good use out of that costume.  First, on the Thursday before Halloween he had a costume parade and party at school.

IMG_0101ed

Then on Friday, we visited my old office and daddy’s office to go trick or treating.  That night we went to our friend’s annual Halloween party, where we dressed up as the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty.

IMG_0125ed

The morning of Halloween, after daddy made pumpkin pancakes, we took our train conductor and mummy (Dylan had several Halloween outfits) to trick or treat at Oma’s house.

IMG_0135ed

That evening we set out with some friends in our neighborhood for Jacob’s first real trick or treating experience.  It didn’t take him long, he caught on really quick on what to do.  By the time we got home, he had quite the stash!

IMG_0179ed

I took a quick look back on last years Halloween post, and I can’t believe how much Jacob has changed in just a year!

Month 6

We are so thankful that we’ve been blessed with another happy baby!  Dylan very rarely cries and when he does he is usually just fussing to either get his brothers attention or to let us know that we are not getting food in his mouth fast enough!  This month we started to see a big improvement in Dylan’s night time sleep. We started to get 10-11 hour stretches here and there and it makes for some happier, better rested parents!

Just like his big brother, he started sitting up the week he turned 6 months old.

IMG_0331ed

Along with sitting he is rolling all over the place and I can no longer set him on the bed and know that he will stay there.  He is putting everything in his mouth, including his feet. We’ve been trying all different kinds of foods, some he loves and others not so much.

Dylan had his 6 month check up and he now weighs 19 lbs 12 oz and is 27.6 inches long, his head circumference is 17.1 inches.  He is a healthy baby boy.  His wardrobe continues to be constantly evolving and he is now sporting his 12 month clothes.

Here are the weekly photos

Week 22

Dylan 22 wks

Week 23

Dylan 23 wks

Week 24

Dylan 24 wks

Week 25

Dylan 25 wks

Week 26

IMG_4031ed

Big boy bed and underpants

As a continuation of the Being Jacob post, there are two pretty big changes that happened in the past 7 months that are worthy of Jacob’s promotion to big boy status. First off is a big boy bed…

Jacob loved his crib.  He was perfectly happy in it.  He could crawl out if he truly wanted to, and started to a couple times, but I either distracted him or picked him up before he had a chance to do it.  He was perfectly content sleeping and sometimes playing in his crib.  However, as we all know, siblings have a way of changing things up.  We were ready to transition Dylan into the crib in his own room and really didn’t want to buy another crib.  So in July we got Jacob a toddler bed.  I wanted to get a full sized bed, but that would have required moving furniture, re-configuring his room and we had just moved in and his room was one of the first ones that we set up.  Along with all the other projects we had going on at the time, it was not something we wanted to take on at the moment.  So we decided to get a toddler bed that would just replace the crib in the same place in his room without having to change anything else for the time being. I took Jacob shopping so he could pick out his bedding (he chose tractors and dump trucks, big surprise there!)  Honestly, because of how much he loved his crib, I was a little concerned about how Jacob would handle Dylan sleeping in it, but it was no big deal and he handled it great! Of course the best way to test out a new bed is by jumping on it, right?

IMG_4557 IMG_4554

I’ve heard so many stories of kids who won’t stay in bed when they transition out of the crib, so we were anticipating that.  I thought for sure the first week I would be sending him back to bed, but it didn’t happen, he stayed in his bed, all night long, during naps too! And when he wakes up he doesn’t get out either, he waits until one of us comes into his room to get him. We were so surprised at how easy this transition was.  Just a couple weeks later we were talking with a friend who has kids around the same age as ours and they had just transitioned their daughter into a big bed a few months earlier.  They told us the same thing happened, she never got out of bed, until 2-3 weeks later it started.  So they warned us that it was coming.  3 months later, he was still staying in bed.  We kept talking to each other about how good he was sleeping in his big boy bed and we were so lucky that we didn’t have to deal with teaching him how to stay in his bed, etc, etc, etc…Right when we were comfortable and sure we had tackled this transition with no issues at all, BAM! It was like a light switch turned on and he realized that he didn’t have to stay in his bed if he didn’t want to.

At first it became a game, after we would put him down, he would come out of his room giggling, and we would be standing in the hallway waiting for him and send him back to bed. Then that stopped and he quickly learned the fine art of scaring the bejesus out of us!  He would wait until 1-2 hours after we put him to sleep, and we would be picking up around the house, watching TV, doing the dishes and he would quietly walk out and stand behind us, when we turned around we would jump out of our skin and try not to scream so loud, and with our hearts pounding we would send him back to bed.  Our home became the scene for a scary movie with the crazed psychological killer being our innocent (or not so innocent) 2 year old.  We were tip toeing around our haunted house, checking around every corner and mentally preparing ourselves every time we turned around that he could be there.

Then instead of getting up in the early evening, he started doing it in the middle of the night.  He would quietly walk down the hall and stand in our doorway, waiting.  You know that feeling you get when you can sense someone watching you, I’ve learned that you can have that feeling while dead asleep.  Again, it was like a horror movie, I would open my eyes and see this black silhouette of a tiny human standing in our doorway. Once he knew we were awake he would run and jump into bed with us.  This was also during the time when Dylan was not sleeping great, so I was getting up to go back and forth into his room, which would wake Jacob up if he was in our bed. And there were plenty of times when I was so tired from all the back and forth between our room and Dylan’s room that I would just bring Dylan to bed with us.  So often times we had all 4 of us in our bed, and we were all sleep deprived.  Then there was one night that kind of stopped the late night visits.  Jacob had come into our room, so I took him back to bed and when I got back to our room Dylan woke up, so I went into Dylan’s room and soothed him back to sleep.  When I was walking out of Dylan’s room Jacob was coming out of his room at the same time and started sneaking down the hallway towards our room.  Since he had his back to me, he didn’t know I was there.  I said in a loud, stern whisper “Jacob what are you doing out of bed!!” it scared him so much he flung himself against the wall and was clutching onto the doorjam for dear life.  Ha! I got my payback!!  Since then his night time sleep is much better, we get an occasional late night visit, but once we send him back to bed, he stays there until the morning.

Then…Jacob decided to stop taking his nap.  He clearly still needed it, but he would not stay in his room.  I tried everything from sticker reward charts, bribing him with MnM’s, a clock that would change colors indicating when he should be sleeping (or at least stay in his room for quiet time) and turn green when it was okay to get up, nothing worked. His excuse for not napping, “but the sun is up!” Duh mom, you don’t sleep when the sun is up!  I began talking with him about it trying to prepare him, saying I was going to feed Dylan and put him down for a nap because he was tired, then we needed to rest too.  And Jacob would reply with “Noooooo Jacob’s not taking a nap, Dylan is taking a nap. The sun is up!”  So I began telling him that we were not going to sleep for the night, it was just a rest to recharge our bodies for the rest of the day.  “But the sun is up!” is always his response, and he even goes to the window and opens the curtains to show me how bright it is outside as if I didn’t already know.  If I was able to get Dylan down for a nap around the same time then I would try staying in Jacob’s room with him until he fell asleep, that worked a couple times, but then he realized that I would sneak out after he fell asleep and started fighting it.  So then I told him he could nap in mommy and daddy’s bed and that worked a few times too.

IMG_5189 IMG_5198

A sleeping boy is just too precious, I can’t help but snap a quick picture before sneaking out.

IMG_5201 IMG_0192

Then he figured out that I was only letting him in our bed so he would nap, so he fought it again. No matter what I tried, he would not sleep!  I knew he still needed his nap because if I drove anywhere in the late afternoon he would fall asleep in the car.

IMG_5160 IMG_0017

So I did that a few times, taking long afternoon drives.

IMG_5126

But it really wasn’t fair to Dylan since he would wake up from his nap then have to be strapped in the carseat while I drove around trying to get Jacob to sleep.  So I stopped doing that.  Then I decided to start going for long afternoon walks with the stroller, and he could at least rest and have some downtime.  He started falling asleep in the stroller, even at 4:30 in the afternoon (or would that be considered evening?)

IMG_0362

Then we figured out that he would take a nap for Justin (or my mom) but not me.  The poor kid was tired, but would.not.stay.in.his.bed (at least for me)! That means during the week he doesn’t get a nap and on the weekends when Justin is home, he does.  So I gave up trying to get him to sleep and we just put him to bed really early during the week. I’ve learned with this parenting thing, you have to pick and choose your battles.

Next is we are officially down to one kid in diapers!  Almost a year ago when Jacob turned 2, I got a little kid potty and we just set it in his bathroom. He was curious about it and would occasionally sit on it and would use it at night before taking a bath.

IMG_4335

He was interested, but I was not ready to tackle potty training yet.  Then with the upcoming move and arrival of a little brother, I didn’t want to do it before, partly because I still wasn’t ready to do it and I didn’t want to go through the training process then risk the chance that he may regress during all the changes that were coming and then have to do it all over again.  So we waited…and after the craziness settled down a bit (is there such a thing?) we picked a weekend and put it on the calendar.  We did some research on different methods and got advice from experienced parents, stocked up on underwear, MnM’s, potty prizes, juice boxes and hunkered down at home for the weekend.

IMG_0202

The first day there were a couple accidents which is to be expected, but then the rest of the weekend there were none.  I can’t say that he was exactly excited about the process (which makes me wish I would have done it a long time ago when he was really interested).  When it was obvious he needed to go and we kept trying to take him to the bathroom he was showing his stubborn independent side and kept saying “My not want to!”  and after what seemed like spending hours in the bathroom he would finally go.  But about 5 days into it, he really got the hang of it and is so proud of himself now.

Because he is such a good communicator and has really good control (he held it for 4 hours on his first day back to preschool after the potty training weekend!) it really has not been that big of a deal. We make it a habit to go potty every time we leave the house and he usually doesn’t have to go again until later when we get home.  Even traveling in the car out of town has been easy.  He also is comfortable telling others when he needs to go. So far, it has been a big success!

There is one funny story though…On the first outing the Monday after the training weekend, Dylan had a check up with our pediatrician.  I brought our little “travel” potty with us.  After getting checked into the exam room we were waiting for the doctor and Jake started doing the “potty dance”, so I loaded Dylan back into the stroller and we all went across the hall to the bathroom.  But after a while Jake didn’t go, so we went back to the exam room.  Then Dylan was getting hungry, so I started nursing him and Jake started doing the potty dance more urgently.  Because I was still nursing Dylan I just got the potty out and set it in the middle of the exam room, I figured it wasn’t anything that would scare away our pediatrician.  Jake sat down and immediately started to pee, but in typical boy fashion he hadn’t quite mastered the skill of pointing his aim down, so it was shooting directly at me (and an eating Dylan).  I quickly put my hand up to block it and thankfully there was a sink in the room so I was able to get some wet paper towels to clean up. While I was washing our hands and cleaning up the mess off the exam room floor (while still nursing Dylan), I kept thinking that there must be some kind of health code that we were violating and I was praying that the doctor would not walk in right in the middle of it all (thankfully he didn’t!)  After the appointment was over and I got everyone loaded in the car, I literally sat there laughing at my life and wondering if it was too early to have a glass of wine! This parenting thing is quite a journey.

IMG_0013

One observation I made after the potty training weekend, was about all the time we spent together. We always seem to be on the go. During the week, it’s off to preschool, running errands, the museum, the zoo, playdates, etc… then on the weekends it’s working on a project around the house, off to Lowes or Home Depot or going to a party or church.  That weekend, we did not go anywhere, we didn’t do any projects, no one came over we just sat and played games, did puzzles, talked and spent quality time together.  It was nice, and it was a reminder for us to slow down and take a day off every once in a while, forget about everything that needs to be done and just sit down on the floor and play.