Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Black Book Story: Big Lyrics for a Little Man

Jackson loves to sing. He'll sing songs like "The ABC's" or "Jesus Loves Me," but he prefers to sing songs he makes up about anything and everything. I posted a video awhile ago of one of his made up songs.

The other day I heard him singing in his bed to a made up tune with the following lyrics, "because you're my favorite one, you're my favorite one, beeeecaaaause yoooooouuuu'rrre myyyyy faaaaavoooorite oooooooooooooonne." I'm pretty sure he was singing about his his new cars he got at the store.

I love that Jackson loves to sing. I love that his creativity is unbridled by what other people think. I hope he can keep that for a long time.

Of all the things Jackson sings I love it most when he sings praise music. Lately his favorite song is "Mighty to Save" by Hillsong.

I love hearing his little voice sing such big words. I don't just mean literally how big the words like "compassion" and "author of salvation" are, but rather the grandeur of their meaning. There's something about it that makes the meaning even more magnificent.

I love that he will sing them at random times during the day without any prompting at all. In the grocery store, for example, for everyone to hear. I caught myself being paranoid when he was singing "my God is mighty to save, he is mighty to save" over and over again. I didn't want anyone to take offense or judge me or ask me about what he was singing for fear that I might actually have to evangelize. My paranoia was only for a split second, and a good reminder of my fallen nature.

The Holy Spirit is at work in that little boy and I love seeing the fruit! It shines new light on the idea of faith like a child (Matthew 18:3). I pray for that kind of faith.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Our Surrogate Family

One of the hardest times to live far away from family is during holidays and birthdays. I can't tell you how many times Jackson asked me if Grandma and Papa and Grandma Deb were going to come to his birthday party and I had to disappoint him by telling him that it was too far for them to travel.

So, I wanted to have a birthday party for Jackson and his friends this year. I thought about what I would do and where I would acutally hold the party because we are living in a townhome right now with no backyard. There's a common's area, but it's not the same as having it in the comfort of your own home. I was also thinking that since Jackson's friend,Patrick's, birthday fell in the same month that the parents could share the task of throwing a combined party for the to boys. Mostly I just wanted a party where Jackson would be able to play with other kids his age ... where he could celebrate being a KID!

My friend Katy, Patrick's mom, gracisouly said that she would help throw a joint 3rd birthday party for the two boys at her house. She had already had some ideas of what she was going to do for Patrick's party and was going to go with a water theme. We each invited some of the boys' friends and Patrick's family members.

On Thursday night Katy and I went grocery shopping at 8:30pm at night for the party and also had a mini girl's night out at Kohl's and Starbucks (I hadn't done that with any one besides my sisters for a little over a year ... THANK YOU Katy!).

On Saturday Katy picked Jackson and me up at 9am so that Colin could keep the car and let Micah nap at home until the party at 11am. Patrick and Jackson got to play while we set up the back yard. Here are a few pictures of the party, but first let me just say ... Katy and her family did ALL of the work for this party!!

Patrick's Gramma Kitty made both of the boys a cake!

Patrick's other Grandma let them use her bounce house and water slide for the party!

Jackson's one request was a pinata!

It really hit me when Patrick's family sang happy birthday to Jackson how special this whole event was. I had been sad that all of Jackson's grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins wouldn't be able to share his special day with him. Having Patrick's family as our surrogate family made missing our real family a lot easier.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

8 Months Old and 3 Years Old

In order to organize my thoughts about these ages, I thought I'd write out a typical day in the life of my eight month old and three year old.

7:30am - If Micah's not already awake (which he usually is), I wake him up to feed him before Jackson wakes up because once Jackson is awake and vying for my attention Micah has lost all interest in nursing regardless of how hungry he really is. Micah nurses pretty fast now. Even in the morning when I'm pretty full he can drink everything in about 10 - 15 minutes and only needs to burp at the end of the feeding.

7:45am - I can hear the pitter-patter of Jackson's little feet as he comes running out of his room ready to start the day. He goes potty (usually he'll go all by himself, but still needs help putting his clothes back on when he's done) and I change Micah and we all head downstairs for breakfast. Of course there's usually some time to cuddle a little or read a quick book or play cars for a few minutes.

- Our breakfasts usually consist of scrambled eggs or oatmeal with some sort of fruit and a glass of milk. Micah is taking a mixture of pureed fruit (he's had applesauce, apricots and blueberries so far) and oatmeal cereal (rice tends to stop him up)about 3/4 of a tea cup full.

8:30ish - Micah plays in his saucer until he gets bored and we've picked up the toys he's dropped for the millionth time and then he rolls around on the floor. (I haven't baby proofed yet, but that time is coming VERY quickly. Luckily Jackson has been very good about keeping the big kid toys out of Micah's reach.) Jackson usually wants me to play cars with him. He sometimes drives them around on the couch or floor or makes them fly around the house, but most of the time he just wants them to talk to each other. He has quite the collection of hotwheels and pixar cars, most of which he paid for with his own money (he's now getting $3.00 a week for allowance... plus he got a bunch of birthday money).

9:30am - Micah goes down for a nap. I love how he snuggles up to me right before I lay him in bed. He's no longer taking a pacifier and whenever I give him one he treats it more like a toy than an object to sooth himself with (I can sometimes here him clanging his pacifier on his crib like a jail bird with a tin cup ... it's pretty funny). Jackson and I usually have some play time together during Micah's nap. We pull out the toys that are not safe to play with when Micah's awake like Legos and Play Doh. Some days Jackson will play by himself while I get things done, or he'll play on the computer while I take a shower. More and more Jackson wants me to play with him though and is very disappointed when I tell him I've got other responsibilities to take care of before I can play. It'll be nice when the boys can play together ... I hope.

11:30am - Micah wakes up and I nurse him. I'll usually let Jackson watch a video while I do this feeding because otherwise he's in and out of the room a lot and Micah gets too distracted. Micah LOVES Jackson and is mesmerized by him whenever he's around. Right now Jackson's favorite DVDs are "Thomas the Tank Engine" "Curious George" episodes and "Mickey Mouse and Friends." They have several short episodes on each of them (perfect for his attention span) and no "scary parts" as Jackson would say.

12:00pm - We all eat lunch. Jackson will eat just about anything. I try to serve him a variety of foods. He likes all of the regular things like hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly and chicken nuggets, but he also eats salmon, black beans, avocado, asparagus, etc. Micah usually has about 1 tea cup full of a mixture of pureed meat (so far he's just had chicken), a starch (like sweet potatoes) and a vegetable. Sometimes I'll mix in a fruit, but sometimes I'll serve the fruit in a different tea cup depending on what I'm mixing.

12:30ish - We finish lunch and play for awhile and then head upstairs to read books and get ready for naps (change diapers and go potty). If we do have the car for the day this is usually the best time for us to go to the library or store (I'll even pack a lunch for Jackson sometimes and take it with us).

1:30pm - Both boys are in bed and I get some time to blog, facebook, read, make phone calls, sleep, etc.

3:15ish - Micah talks to himself for awhile in his crib. Sometimes he'll go back to sleep and other times he'll stay awake until his next feeding.

3:30pm - Micah nurses and we have one on one time. He's figured out how to roll to where he wants to go, but he hasn't figured out how to creep yet.
He's getting there and he gets frustrated when he doesn't get or can't get what he wants. He's also starting to get frustrated when I take something away from him that he wants (particularly books).

4:00pm - Jackson wakes up groggy from his nap. He LOVES to cuddle after his nap and is usually pretty sweaty from sleeping so hard. This is probably one of my favorite times of the day. Then we all head downstairs and have a snack (all except Micah). Then we may go for a quick walk.

5:00pm - The past couple of days Jackson has befriended the girl next door. She'll be 5 in September, but they play very well together. Jackson has played at her house once and she has come over to our house a couple of times. This is the first friend that Jackson has had that I WASN'T good friends with the mom first. It was kind of weird, but a good reminder that I should be expecting that in the near future when he becomes school aged. Anyway, it's been a nice break to not feel like I have to entertain Jackson until Colin gets home. Jackson's been getting good at putting on a pouty face and saying, "but you said you would play with me Mom." Oooo ... it gets me every time. Micah's usually content enough to play by himself at this time and I can start working on supper.

6:00pm - Colin comes home and we all have supper. Micah eats with us in a high chair. I was feeding him in the Bumbo up until this week when he was insistent on bending over backwards (literally) to watch the TV (whether it was on or not) and it was very difficult to feed him that way. At the end of supper Colin and Jackson usually work on catechism or Bible memory work.

6:30pm - Micah starts getting a little fussy as bedtime approaches. He doesn't take a third nap, but he's definitely ready for bed when bedtime comes. However, he's been getting better during this time more and more every day. Jackson and Colin usually play outside while I clean up supper.

7:00pm - We get ready for bed. If they take a bath it's during this time.
After we're ready for bed we read books or play until Jackson's night light comes on at 7:30pm. Then Colin reads the Bible story. We try and get Micah to stay all the way through the Bible story, but sometimes he's just too fussy and I nurse him and put him to sleep in his own room while Colin and Jackson have one on one time.

8:00pm - Colin's already said good night to Jackson and I get some one on one time with Jackson in his room before bed. We usually talk about the day or talk about "Dis-a-neyland" (yes, Jackson STILL talks about it almost every night). I sing him one song, pray with him and say good night.

To end, here are a few of Micah and Jackson's favorite and least favorite things:

Micah's Favorite Things:

His brother.
Rolling, rolling and more rolling.
Experimenting with the sounds he can make with his mouth.
Putting anything and everything in his mouth.
Sucking on the collar of his sleep sack and or rubbing the collar on his cheek.
Playing tug of war with any fabric hanging above his head (it makes him giggle).
Going for walks in the stroller or in the wrap.

Banging, banging and more banging.

Micah's Least Favorite Things:

Coffee grinders
When his brother cries.
Strangers (although he's getting much better)

Jackson's Favorite Things:

His brother (making him laugh).
Cars, cars and cars!!
Puzzles (he's mastered his 25 piece puzzles)

His Cool School computer game.
Trains (particularly Thomas although we have Geotrax toy trains).
Watching movies.
Playing outside (he pretends the lamp posts are rockets and launches to outer space)

Jackson's Least Favorite Things:

Having to stop playing to go to the bathroom.
Mr. Incredibles boss (the short guy) in the the movie "The Incredibles"
When Sully "roars" in "Monster's Inc."
Playing cars by himself.
Being stuck in a car or airplane for too long.
Getting his hair cut (although he's getting better).
Bees (but he's not at all afraid of spiders)

It's an adventure every day with my boys ... some might thinks it's kind of a boring adventure at times, but I like it ... no ... I LOVE it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Photo Fun

I retook some pictures of my haircut so that you could get a better idea of what it looks like. I think the natural lighting makes all the difference. I also took a few fun pictures with the boys. Micah is EIGHT months old today... CRAZY!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Festivities

I'm not always the best at giving Colin surprises or making a lot of fun plans, but this Father's Day I did both. It wasn't too elaborate, but I hope I did enough to make Colin feel special, because ... well ... he is.

I feel a little guilty that I didn't wake up early to put up signs or make a huge breakfast, but Colin took me out for our anniversary the night before to a community theatre in Solvang, CA (a little town like Orange City, IA ... it even has a windmill) to see their production of Les Miserables and we were out until midnight. It was a wonderful evening.

After church we fed the kids and put them to bed and then I made Colin this feast:

It's a beef burger with sauteed mushrooms and onions, bacon and provolone cheese all drizzled with a red wine sauce. The pasta salad had a mayonnaise and sour cream sauce, chopped pecans, bacon, celery, nectarines and fresh chives. I got the recipe from an "Every Day with Rachel Ray" magazine, so I guess I should say ... YUM-O!

You can decide for yourself if Colin liked it. While we ate our feast we watched "In the Shadow of the Moon" (Jackson and Micah's gift to their dad).

Then, of course, a full tummy requires a good nap (something Colin doesn't get to do very often). That evening we were able to wish Colin's dad a Happy Father's Day on Skype. It was a WONDERFUL and relaxing Father's Day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Haircut

I got sick of wearing a pony tail every day, so I cut my hair (about 4 inches). Here's what it looked like before (of course I was wearing a pony tail before I took the picture so it doesn't look styled or anything):

Here's the style I was going for. Colin and Jackson helped me pick it out:

Here's the final product:

Not exactly Katie Holmes, but I think it turned out pretty good, don't you?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

3 Year Check Up

Jackson had his three year check up today. I'm SO grateful to have a wonderful pediatrician. This time last year I took Jackson to a pediatrician in Santa Maria and it was a night and day difference.

I remember thinking to myself at last year's check up, "Aren't they going to ask him some questions? Don't they want to know how much he can say? Don't they want to know if he's potty trained or not? Or if he's sleeping well at night and during the day?" I don't think the pediatrician even talked to Jackson once and neither did the staff or the nurses.

This year was totally different. The nurses and pediatrician talked to Jackson more than they talked to me. I LOVED it! Both of the boys have mild colds right now, so the doctor even checked Micah's ears for an infection. After the check up was done I was rescheduling an appointment for Micah and Dr. Macias and Jackson were just hanging out for a little while. I think Jackson would have followed the doctor to all of his appointments if he let him.

Anyway, I wanted to make a note about the details of Jackson's check up, here are some stats:

Weight: 33.6 lbs (75%)
Height: 36 1/4" (50%)
BP: 82/54 (This was the first time he's had his BP taken and he did very well.)
No shots this time (YAY!).

Dr. Macias told us that 95% of 3 year olds can count from 1-3, can recognize one color and recognize a circle. He was impressed that during the appointment Jackson could count from 1 -12, recognized at least 5 different colors, recognized 6 different shapes, 3 different letters and can draw a circle on a piece of paper. Jackson spelled his name out loud for him too. Dr. Macias is anticipating that Jackson will be an early reader considering the fact that he already knows all of his letters and he has a good grasp on phonics.

As far as his physical skills Jackson is normal. He can jump, throw and kick a ball. He hasn't gotten pedaling down yet, but that's normal for a 3 year old.

I write all of this not to brag about my oldest child (although I am very proud of him), but it will serve as a reminder of what my expectations should be of Micah at this age. There will always be a danger in comparing my children.

I pray that God will give me the ability to always see them as two different individuals. I'm amazed at how God is growing Jackson into who he is and I'm anxious to see who Micah will become. Although (for simplicity's sake) it'd be nice if they were cookie cutter children ... nah ... how boring would THAT be?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Father's Day Cards

I made these Father's Day cards today for my dad and father-in-law.

They are very simple. You can find the instructions on this website.

Here's what I wrote on the inside:

Some dads are short
and some dads are tall,
Some fish and some hunt
and some like to play ball.

Some dads like to fix things
when they are broke
Like dishwashers,
and bicycle spokes.

Some dads work on computers
all day 'till they're tired,
Some dads have gray hair
and now they're retired.

So whether you fish
or hunt or play ball,
Whether you're short
or even quite tall,
Whatever your role
as a Dad may be,
To us you will always be

We love you Dad!
Happy Father’s Day!

Colin, Corinne, Jackson & Micah

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jackson Turns THREE!

Jackson celebrated his 3rd birthday today ... and on Saturday and he will again on the 27th with friends. He's been kind of spoiled this year, but it's been really fun to watch him get excited about cake and presents and all the things he can do now because he's THREE!!

We spent the weekend at my grandparents' house in Glendora, California (the northeast area of L.A.). My grandma decorated the house and made yummy cupcakes and all sorts of delicious food. My sister, her husband and her in-laws also came to celebrate. Although we don't have a lot of family in the California area to help celebrate Jackson's birthday the ones we do have made it pretty special.

On Sunday I made a car cake for Jackson because that's what he requested. He actually requested a pink car cake, but Colin insisted on having a different color, so I opted for orange. Later that night Colin and I decorated the house with birthday signs and balloons and when Jackson woke up in the morning the table was filled with cards and presents. It was such a joy to see his face light up!

He got to open his presents at breakfast, so he could play with his new toys all day. Then after lunch we took his birthday money to Toys R Us and Jackson picked out a helicopter and Ramone from Pixar's "Cars." He's starting to get quite a collection.

After his nap Colin came home early and we had dinosaur chicken nuggets, french fries, peas, fruit salad, car cake and chocolate chip mint ice cream. All of which Jackson requested for his birthday meal.

It's a privilege to make my children feel special. I hope all of the presents, food, phone calls from family and friends remind Jackson that he is loved. More importantly I hope those things show Jackson how grateful we are to God for Jackson's life on this earth. God is so gracious and so good. Period.