Saturday, February 28, 2015

Finding Our Voice

Anyone who has raised a child will likely agree with me; every sound your newborn baby makes is music to your ears. The coos, the snores, how they breathe. Every sound is so sweet, and so innocent.
Jackson was about 3 months old when we got our first real giggle. He had mastered the sweet coos and babbles, but I will never forget when our little family was sitting on the couch and Mike made fart noises (typical boys) and Jackson let out the biggest belly laugh. Mike and I looked at each other, amazed at what had just happened, and I whipped out the video on my phone and captured a stream of giggles. I still watch it almost every day. Those giggles were music to our ears, another huge step in our baby developing his personality.

Now, we get many giggles, many times a day. The innocent coos are no longer a part of our little mans vocabulary, as he is now so aware of his voice that he is busy making any noise he can manage. Blowing spit bubbles, screeching, and indecipherable baby language have replaced the coos, and while I already miss those sweet noises, oh how I love the new ones.
This last week, Jackson discovered a new ability that he possesses: screaming. When daddy comes in for tickles or growls, a screaming, squealing, giggle fit immediately follows. When mama makes silly faces during dinner, he is so overcome with excitement that a shriek no doubt escapes from his little body. 
On Friday, the little man and I grabbed lunch with my girl Ally, and the egg beaters and pancakes were too exciting and obviously warranted screams. I am not a fan of publicly loud children. I cringe when a child is acting unruly. I get annoyed when a person won't quiet their child throwing a tantrum. But let me tell you; I held my smiling, screeching baby in Perkins and thought it was the cutest thing ever. Everyone else seemed to agree, because the elderly couple next to us and the 40 something construction worker at the next table were all holding back giggles and smiling at my sweet baby. I also gave it about 30 seconds before I offered Gerber puffs in exchange for silence. I understand cute, but I also understand the toll a screaming baby can take on a persons ears.
Most likely screeching for food

I keep wondering when the day will come when I am irritated by the noises. I'll be honest; we were watching a show a few nights ago and Jackson would NOT stop blowing spit bubbles. It's cheap entertainment, and I wish I was so easily amused. But annoying? Sorry baby, mama can only take so much spit being blown in my face..
A break from the screams to enjoy some tasty strawberries

I always remind myself to enjoy these moments and drink it all in, because I am all too aware that the next step in him finding his voice will be calling for mama and dada. I am so excited for that day to come, but I'm just not quite ready yet. Stay small, little guy, I'm enjoying every screech and babble that comes out of your little mouth for now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Winter Blahs

Is it just me, or is there absolutely nothing inspiring about February in Minnesota. Really. I wake up every day happy because it is one day closer to the misery of this state being over. I don't like snow. I don't like cold. I sure as heck don't like driveways that could pass for skating rinks when I am carrying a precious baby in for his morning drop off before work. I don't like it at all.
Needless to say, I have been feeling particularly uninspired lately. No holidays coming up, no trips, no events. Just school, work, and being cold. And, because I actually like the people that read my blog, it doesn't seem very nice to remind you every day that we choose to live in a place that makes us miserable. So, for that reason, my blogging has been...lacking.
I do have this guy to keep me happy and entertained though, and I am always happy to share his cuteness.
Jackson supporting the SCSU Love Your Melon crew!


Yes, life with a baby is stressful, but he makes it so much more fun. Who knew sucking on cantaloupe through a mesh teething bag would be so entertaining to watch? Or cutting our first tooth. Yes, we officially have a tooth. And a second one is not far behind. Baby boy is growing much too fast, but he is getting to be so cool. He is like a real miniature person now, and not just a fat blob that smiles on occasion (of course I loved him like that, too. I love him all the time!)
This picture was during he peak of his 'blob' days. So chunky, and soooo squishy!

I keep trucking through these long winter days, dreaming of going on runs in the spring, grilling out in the middle of the week, and the first time I will get to take my squishy squish swimming. I absolutely cannot wait. In the meantime, I am plotting a way to get both sides of my family to agree to move across the country. Once I finally have my plan ready to be put into action, spring will arrive and I will be reminded why I love Minnesota. Until then, I'm coming for ya California..

Thursday, February 12, 2015

About Me: Baking

Have you ever realized how every person has their 'thing'. Or their list of things. A hobby that they love, a trait that everyone notices, a certain product they have to have? We all have our 'things', and I thought it would be fun to share the things that make me, well, me. It is a fun way to share a little but about the way I am and how and why I do things the way I do them. I figured I would start off with something pretty basic so here we go:

I would bake all day, every day, if I could. I can cook as well, but I wouldn't deem myself a chef. If the recipe calls for sugar, sweet, and lots of calories, I am all about it, though. I have decided that baking is kind of my thing. I love finding new recipes, using new ingredients, and experimenting with new flavors. Of course, I am all about the basics too. Brownies? Yes please. Every weekend is a little bit happier with a pan of brownies waiting in the kitchen. Or Special K bars. Ridiculously easy to make, and ridiculously good to eat. Sometimes you can't go wrong with the tried and true favorites.

I also absolutely love baking new things. I love showing up to holidays or parties with a new recipe I am trying out and hearing what everyone thinks. I have had my flop recipes that I would never make again, and I have found some keepers for life, too. I love love love food, but nothing is better than dessert. And yes, replacing your dinner with dessert is totally acceptable. 

A few favorite recipes that have been total successes for me:
1. Caramel apple pie. According to Mike this is the best dessert I have ever made. A mans taste buds don't lie.
2. Banana bread brownies. I DARE you not to eat the entire saucepan of frosting. 
3. Chocolate cherry shortbread cookies. I have added these to my holiday baking each December, because they are red. And delicious.
4. Sugar cookies.. Ok this is a basic recipe, but after a few that provided me with burnt, average cookies that stuck to the pan, I can tell you these roll out and bake up AMAZING.
5. Caramel chocolate trifle. My new favorite thing is putting a bunch of delicious ingredients on display in a pretty glass bowl. These recipes are easy and fun to look at!
6. Black and white cookies. Another newer recipe I have tried out. These are a fun alternative to more traditional cookies, and totally delicious.

I hope to share new recipes as I find them like I had once intended, because it is always great to hear from a person who has actually tried the Pinterest recipe to know if it is worth the time or not! I love baking, and am happy to be the taste tester on all of those fabulous recipes Pinterest teases us with!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Being tall

For those of you who don't already know; I am tall. Like, really tall, people comment everywhere I go and I have never worn high heels for fear of being an amazon woman kind of tall. And for all of my life, I have despised it. I have mastered the art of popping my hip out almost all of the time to create the illusion of being 2 inches shorter. I online shop like a pro to find flat shoes that aren't completely hideous or ruin an outfit. I stand on slanted ground so that in pictures you would swear my husband is, in fact, taller than me (we argue on this one: I say we are even, he claims I have him by a hair. But hey, the guy married me, so clearly my height isn't too much of an issue). 
Popped hip, standing on a slanted rock. My finest height deception skills hard at work.
And the reality. Likely arguing over who is taller.

As you can see so far, my height is not something I typically wear with pride. And, that can be a challenge, considering height is not exactly something I can downplay or disguise. I specifically remember coming home from being measured for a figure skating costume in middle school and being so upset over how tall I measured that I sat in the shower and I cried. And cried. And prayed to God to please just make me a little bit shorter. God works in mysterious ways, and the big guy upstairs didn't magically shorten my legs like I requested. However, in the past year I really feel like I have finally grown into my height (pardon the pun). I still have days where I wish I was shorter, but I have noticed my list of pros is getting longer than I knew it would, and so after years of dwelling on why I hate being tall, I am going to reflect on all the reasons it's not so bad.

1. Food: most people always guess my weight to be a solid 30 pounds less than I actually weigh. Why? Because when you are tall that weight is spread out and you have more body that need nourishment. And so, I am allowed to eat more than all of you ladies without gaining weight (or, I at least can eat quite a bit more before the pounds start creeping on). This is a wonderful partnership with my sweet tooth, truly. I am not saying I can eat endlessly and not gain weight, but I do need to watch the portions a bit less, which I can't complain about.
2. Being pregnant: finally. FINALLY I saw the extreme advantages of being tall while pregnant. Little Jax attack had plenty of room to grow without needing to stretch my belly out like a torpedo. I wasn't particularly achy, I was able to wear my regular pants well beyond the halfway point, and I really just saw my body taking less of a hit, and I credit this to my height. I should knock on wood, my next pregnancy may very well be a nightmare, but at least I know any babes I grow have plenty of room to stretch, grow, and play.
3. Better view: this one is pretty obvious. I can see over everyone's head. I can reach things on the top shelf. I am easy to spot in a crowd. I also get to feel great when not so tall people ask for my assistance in doing tall people type things. Being tall has forced me to be a Good Samaritan, at least some of the time.
4. Passing it onto my son: after decades of despising my height, I am excited to have a boy now that (so far) seems to be taking after me in the height department. He is already my tall, dark, and handsome, and he is only 6 months old. With my genes and his daddy's love of all things sports, I am hoping one day he will be appreciative of his height.
5. Shopping: ok, so this one is kind of a pro/con. I am a 36 inch inseam, wear a size 11 shoe, and have fabulously long arms (note sarcasm). However, I am grateful because in the past 5 or so years, it seems like everyone is starting to accommodate tall gals. The buckle, gap, old navy, american eagle..all of them have rolled out extra long and tall sizes in almost all of their clothing options, and for that I am so grateful. I really cannot say enough how nice it is to have options besides the Buckle. I love their jeans, but not the price tag. The day has finally come that I can find a pair of clearance jeans online for $20. Hallelujah!! Now if I can get Target on board with carrying tall sizes, I will be their most dedicated customer for life.

I am not going to lie and say I wake up every day loving that I am tall. I still get grumpy. I still smile through clenched teeth when people feel the need to tell me that I am tall, as if I didn't already know. There are positives though, and I am stuck with the height I have been given, so I am continuing to move forward and enjoy the advantages instead of dwelling on the negatives. And in case you were wondering about the weather, yes, the air is better up here. ;-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Six Months.

All of the sudden my baby is half a year old. When did this happen? It feels like a lifetime ago we brought a brand new, precious little boy home with us. And at the same time, it feels like yesterday. I still catch myself thinking of our cozy mornings and going on walks while I was on maternity leave(can I just be on maternity leave forever? I suppose that's what they call being a stay at home mom..) oh how I would love to join that club...
Life continues to be crazy and busy, and there is no slowing down with Jax! He is a busy little guy, and he loves to be a part of every conversation. No really. He will drop everything he is doing to eavesdrop on a conversation, and mid sentence I will look across the room to see very big dark eyes staring at me as if truly interested in every word I am saying. We have a nosy one on our hands, people.

Age: 6 months.
Height: 28 inches. 95th percentile. His tootsies are reaching the end of the 9 month jammies but I will squeeze him into those babies as long as possible!
Weight: 20 pounds. 90th percentile.
Milestones: He is rolling over non-stop. The second we put him on his back, he flips over and pulls his knees up in an adorable effort to crawl. He hasn't yet figured out that the hands and feet work together on that one, but I don't think it will be long. Time to baby proof!
Sleep: We officially started sleeping through the night all night, every night(except of course for last night, because he is a baby, and why not wake up at 2am?) We have even had nights where he went almost 12 hours. Mom and dad have been loving it!
Best Moment: Having conversations and playing. He has really developed a personality, and he has some favorite things that are guaranteed to make him laugh and giggle, like when his mama stops feeding him his veggies to make a grumpy face. My grumpy face must be hilarious with how he laughs at it! He also loves to suck in his breath and make a screeching noise, after which he laughs at himself because he is so amused by the sounds coming from his little body. He is getting more and more fun every single day.
Worst Moment: Like I just said, we have been sleeping through the night. However last week, for whatever reason, he was waking up not once, but twice every night. And we still can't figure out why. He wasn't sick, he wasn't in pain from teething, but he did want to eat and eat and eat. Fortunately we got back on track over the weekend, let's hope it continues because we like our sleep in this house.
Health: All has been well with our little man. We don't have his six month checkup for another week or so, but ultimately we have a pretty healthy buddy on our hands.
Eating: Our boy loves food! We introduced really basic solids like rice cereal back at 4 months, and since then we have progressed to fruit/veggies mixed with cereal, and now our routine is oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, fruits/veggies for lunch, and another fruit and veggie for dinner. He has even given in and eaten peas this week, which are NOT his favorite. Such a good little eater. We also have tried out teething biscuits, which he loves. Nom nom nom.
Teeth: Still none! Lots of drooling, rosy cheeks, and TMI extra smelly diapers, which I have been told are all signs. Does that mean a tooth is coming this week, or not for a few months? I honestly have no idea on this one. The mysteries of our universe I guess.

So just like that, our first half a year has flown by. And our next big mark will be the first birthday (here I plug my ears, squeeze my eyes shut and say LaLaLa. Never gonna happen!) I know I say it every month, but he brings us more joy than I knew possible. I cannot wait to see what he learns and masters in the months to come!
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