Monday, January 20, 2014


Dear Jackson,
On January 9th you turned three and a half years old.  It doesn't seem possible that you are so close to FOUR!  My, oh my, is your personality  blooming.  You have very definite opinions and you know exactly what you want.  You can be the sweetest boy and you can make Mommy and Daddy want to pull their hair out too.  You can be pretty funny too!  You love to make people laugh, especially Charley!
Charley thinks you are the best big brother and most of the time you like her too.  Now that she is much more mobile, you can get very frustrated by her and take her toys and yell at her.  You say "No, Cholly!"
You are loving playing games like Hungry Hungry Hippo and matching card games.  You "play" Mario with daddy and you get so excited when he gets stars.  Your love for DVDs has morphed a bit.  You are still really interested in sign language but now you mostly just want to sort and stack your DVDs and cases.  Your favorite shows are Paw Patrol, Bubble Guppies, and Mickey Mouse.  Your favorite music is Laurie Berkner and Raffi.
Now that mommy is back to work you are taking naps!  You sleep about 2 hours at school each day.  You go to bed around 8:00 and we wake you up for school around 6:15.  Bedtime has been so difficult lately.  You will do anything to prolong the process.  We put on pajamas, brush your teeth, read a book, read your Bible, then your bed time book, and then the Mommy Loves You song in one of many variations.  Then you try to delay it more by requesting different toys to be in your bed with you.  It wears me out but I know this phase will pass and I'll miss the extra time with you.
School has been the best thing for you.  You really love it!  Your current teachers are Miss Eswari and Miss Lauren.  They love you and always tell me what a good boy you are.  They are shocked that you give us any trouble at home.  You recognize all your letters and numbers and you can write most of them too.  You are getting really good at writing your name!  When I come to pick you up after school you are usually at the craft table, sand table, or dancing in the mirror. 
You make us laugh every day and we are lucky to have you as such a healthy and happy boy.  Your dancing, singing, and performances keep us smiling.  We love you so much, Buddy!  Happy 3.5!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Christmas Catch Up

I have tried for two nights to get these photos loaded and something is up with the photo loader.  I finally have just decided that I'm using the photos that are up and apologizing for the neck stretches you'll have to do reading all of this.  Since Christmas almost a month ago, it's time.
A couple weeks before Christmas I had a Favorite Things party.  It was so, so fun and I will definitely be doing it again!  We ate, drank, exchanged gifts, and chatted and had a blast!
We set up all the Favorite Things so we could see.  I shared the glass canisters and others brought books, lotions, socks, travel cups, wine sippies, nail polish, caramel corn, scarves, silicone mats, burp cloths, and jewelry.  Everyone got to pick three different things to take home.

The next week was Jackson's Christmas program.  He did so well.  He cried a little when he had to leave us to go with his class but once he was there, he did so well.

See?  He LOVED it!
They sang Must Be Santa and We Wish You A Merry Christmas.

After a long week at school, Mike, Lindsay, Nana, and Papa came for the weekend!  Mimi had already been here since the 13th.  We had such a fun Christmas weekend planned.  We had a great mix of planned activities and chill at home time.
Lindsay and Jackson made ice cream cone Christmas trees.

and Mike and Jackson played the guitar.
We exchanged gifts on Saturday morning and Charley was so please with her Rody until she fell off.
That night we had a sitter and went to dinner and our annual viewing of Let It Be Christmas at our church.  It's the nativity story told through Beatles music.
Sunday was our city day.  We had brunch at Pomegranate Cafe and then headed downtown.  It was so helpful to have several extra pairs of hands in the city!
This one is completely out of order but I had to decorate the basement for my family.  I wanted them to feel the spirit in the basement too!
Charley had the craziest hair.
Jackson, Charley an Mimi!
We started a new tradition this year that turned out great!  We packed up care bags to take to give to homeless people we saw.  Jackson is holding one of our bags before he gave it to a sweet man and said Merry Christmas.  The bad thing is that this little activity also taught him how to spot a homeless person from a block away.

We spent some time looking at the Macy's windows
and went  to KrisKindle Mart.
Jackson loved this traveling puppet show on the corner.
He especially loved telling jokes with Miss Lindsay all day....and weekend.
We even went to Daddy's office and had fun looking out the windows.
Nana loved the city and experiencing it with Jackson.  It helped that he was so well behaved.
When we got home Mike and Lindsay made us a fantastic meal!
Another fun tradition this year was opening a wrapped Christmas book each night.  It took a lot of time to wrap 25 books but he LOVED this!  Nana read this one to him.
On Monday before everyone left, we made some sugar cookies.

We had a blast visiting with my family.  The best part is that it wasn't even Christmas yet!!
Christmas eve was wonderful.  We did our usual Chicago Christmas tradition (which has only been twice.) :)
We went to church at 3:00 and then had dinner at Ted's Montana Grill.  The Starbucks in Downtown  Naperville closed at 6 so we got there just in time for some quick drinks before headed out to see Christmas lights.  It was so, so great!!
Christmas morning was fun too!  The kids loved their gifts and handled all the excitement really well.

Jackson was beyond thrilled with his new drum set!
Mimi had to get a photo of her with her grandbabies and their matching shirts before she left!

At the end of a fantastic break was our New Year's Eve party.  We hosted our small group and had a fondue night and played games. 
I was really looking forward to this break and it proved restful!  It was even better because with the Polar Vortex that blew through, we got two extra days off!!!
We had a wonderful Christmas and now we're looking forward to Spring Break!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Caroline Jane ~ Eighteen Months

Caroline Jane, at eighteen months you:
  • weigh 26 pounds and 9 ounces.
  • are 33 inches tall.
  • wear size 24 month or 2T and a size 4 diaper.  You also wear a size 5 shoe.
  • are such a good sleeper.  You go to bed around 6:30 and on school days we wake you at 6:15.  On the weekends you'll sleep until 7:30 or 8:00.
  • take a two hour nap most days.
  • are still crawling around like crazy.  You pull up on everything and cruise everywhere but you won't walk.  You are able to stand unassisted really well but once you realize you are doing it, you sit down.  Silly girl!
  • have taken a few fairly stable steps but that's it.
  • have a few words that you say regularly like no-no, uh-oh, mama, daddy, bye bye, baby, nana, papa, mimi, and ball.  You are doing a lot of gibberish babbling but we have no idea what you are saying.  You aren't as in to sign language as your brother but we are still encouraging it.  You get frustrated easily and then just grunt.
  • are getting speech therapy and physical therapy once each week.  Your speech therapist is Miss Sinead and your physical therapist is Miss Heather.  You do really well with each and they both compliment your sweet personality.
  • are still in the infant room at school but you go to the toddler room a lot.  You can't be in there full time until you are walking well but you love the time you love the time you spend in there.
  • love playing with your brother and he loves tickling you.  You laugh so hard!
  • say "Cheeeee" when someone takes your picture.  You even sign cheese while you say it.
  • are the cuddliest little love bug and we couldn't love you more!