Sunday, July 05, 2015

Jonas - 18 months

Jonas is still a joy; I love seeing him learn new things daily. He has become quite affectionate and loves to give hugs and kisses, even giving them unprompted. He is going through a bit of a "mama" phase and prefers to be around me if both Darby and I are in the house. If I'm gone, he does fine, though. We are seeing the first glimpses of the terrible twos, I think. He can throw a pretty big tantrum when he doesn't get his way and has preferences that seem illogical to us. He gets mad if we fill up the wrong cup, for example, or if we break a banana into chunks instead of giving it to him whole. And he likes to test the limits after we've told him not to do something: putting his feet on the table, pulling hair, etc. He's also asserting his personality in positive ways, though. He has his own little sense of humor and enjoys performing for us. He also recognizes himself as a person and calls himself "NoNo."

As Jonas gains independence, there are fewer physical demands on me. However, I can see the mental and emotional demands really ramping up. We have to be firm and consistent in our discipline. And he wants to help us around the house, which is very sweet, but also taxing. It's so much easier to just do it ourselves. Darby is very good about patiently showing Jonas how to throw away trash or put away his toys. I'm trying to get better about this. It is very humbling to see how much Jonas learns from watching us. I want to make sure he sees me practicing good habits as much of the time as possible. It is a blessing to be his mom.

Favorite foods: cheese, oatmeal ("hatmo"), pretzels ("puh-puh"), berries ("bee-bee"), Goldfish ("shee-shee"), beans, bananas ("nana"), crackers ("tah-tah")

Favorite toys: BALLS!, his play kitchen, mama and baby hippo Beanie babies, sidewalk chalk

Favorite words: football, beach ball, yellow ball (which are all used interchangeably for balls of any kind), chip, Matt, Yaya (Aunt Leila), mama, dada, no (he never says yes), VeeVee (his friend Avery), down, help ("hep"), outside ("hotsai"), sweep ("fwee"), Papa (both grandpas), Ama (both grandmas), snack ("nack"), cup ("tup"), water ("wawa"), milk ("nilp"), car ("tar"), baby ("bee-bee")

Favorite activities: stacking his cups to make a "tow-a", carrying as many balls as he can at one time, digging in the dirt with his gardening tools, playing with ice in a bowl, watching "Tai-Tai" (Daniel Tiger), watching videos of himself on my phone, hiding behind the living room curtains, playing with his cups in the bathtub, swinging

Favorite tricks: making animal noises, saying "knock, knock" while knocking on the table or wall, saying "dump" and squatting down like he's going to jump but not actually lifting off the ground, saying "shee-shoo" if he has a dirty diaper (we have Auntie Hannie to thank for that one!), giving high fives ("hi-pi").

Jonas's first Easter egg hunt. He was surprisingly good at it. 

Just doing a little light gardening. 

Swinging with Daddy

Jonas's first trip to the beach with Mamaw and Grandpa. He loved collecting shells and playing in the surf. 

Grandpa and Mamaw. Our condo on South Padre Island was in a perfect location. 

Enjoying the local splash pad with gal pal Avery. 

His other gal pal, Myla. 

Learning how to cook already. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jonas - 15 Months

Now that Jonas has passed the one-year mark, I'm no longer writing monthly posts about his milestones. But, I still do want to post fairly regularly so I can remember what he was like at each age.

I'll be honest. 12-14 months was a pretty difficult time - probably the hardest stage other than newborn. I felt like Jonas was grumpy most of the time, and would often express his displeasure loudly. Mealtimes were especially trying, with Jonas squawking at Darby and me and until we somehow figured out what he wanted. And heaven help us if we had to spend time cutting up his food. Actually, during this time, he was probably acting like a normal baby. But he had been such a good baby that we weren't used to it. If he cried a few times during the day, it was like he was a monster. We were so spoiled!
Boy can pitch a fit. He did not want to take a cute Valentine's picture. 
But then, just before 14 months, he learned how to walk. And as he's gotten more proficient, he's become happier and happier. He never really took to crawling. He only got up on to his hands and knees after he turned 1, and even then, he wouldn't do it very often. So, he was pretty frustrated with his immobility. Now that he can get around on his own, he's back to his old, laid-back self. He walks with his pudgy tummy sticking out and has as much lateral movement as forward, so it's quite comical.

Now, I would say this is my favorite age so far. His development has just exploded. His first word was "ball", which was quite an obsession for several weeks. I am not exaggerating when I say he would say it at the very least 200 times a day. My aunt came and visited and said it was probably more like 200 times an hour. He still loves that word (and playing with balls), but he can say quite a few others now - mama (very stingily), dada (all the time), book, bath, block, apple (ba-ba), banana (nana), cheese (tsee), chip, papa, down, thank you (dee doo), no. He likes to point to noses and say "no." He is also obsessed with belly buttons and will try to pull up people's shirts to find them. He can point to our ears and eyes when prompted. He says quite a few animal noises. My favorite is "mbooo" for cow.

His beloved Thomas the Tank Engine ball. 
He loves books, although he rarely will sit still for a whole reading. He prefers to turn the pages very quickly, so books with few words are best. He sometimes becomes frantic, bringing us book after book after book very quickly, like he thinks he has to read all of his books in one sitting.
He loves this book that G-ma and Papa got him for Valentine's Day. When he sees the page with all of the fruits, he begs for berries. 
His favorite pastimes are taking all of our books off the bookshelves, taking all of the tea bags out of their box, and taking all of his socks out of his sock basket. (Do you notice a pattern?) He also enjoys playing the piano and building with blocks.

I hope his obsession with pulling books off shelves will someday lead to an obsession with actually reading.
An outtake from his ACU alumni magazine photo shoot. I was really tempted to submit this picture, but I went with one of him actually smiling.

He is much more cuddly than he used to be and rests his head on our shoulders whenever we pick him up. He still loves to play with hair - his own or ours - especially when he is sleepy. He also is still a dedicated three-finger sucker. That is going to be a very difficult habit to break, I'm sure, but right now it is still cute.
Consoling himself after his fairly traumatic first haircut. 
He also still loves to eat and surprises nearly everyone with his huge servings. Favorite foods are apples, cheese, Goldfish, peanut butter sandwiches, and frozen berries. Vegetables are not popular, so I'm having to get creative in how I present them. He still does not like citrus fruits. Any time I eat a clementine, he asks for a piece and then spends several minutes trying to work up the nerve to actually eat it. He always spits it out. He really wants to like them because they look like balls, but he just can't get over the taste.

There are still challenges, of course. He has started hitting when he gets angry or excited. And he recently went on a week-long nap strike, which was very trying. But, overall, I'm really loving this stage. It's awesome to see both his productive and receptive vocabulary growing daily. He is starting to show us affection in return, which is really rewarding. For the first time since he was born, I find myself wanting to freeze time so we can stay in this stage a little longer.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Jonas's 1st Birthday Party

Well, 3 months later, here are the details for posterity.

Auntie Hannie
It was very important to me to have a party for Jonas in Abilene because I want to set a precedent early of celebrating his birthday separately from Christmas. Even though Jonas has several baby friends, we decided to keep his party to just family. I think it was a good decision for us. I tend to get overwhelmed when we have large groups over, and each toddler counts for about 10 people, I think. I was much more sane with a smaller group. My parents, Hannah, Matt, Leila, and my Uncle Al and Aunt Lea came. Unfortunately, Darby's parents weren't able to make it because of a previously scheduled trip, but they gave Jonas his presents over Thanksgiving.

Uncle Matt and Aunt Leila
Uncle Al and Aunt Lea

G-ma and Papa

Although I didn't want to go overboard, I did have to have a few decorations. I chose sock monkeys as the theme because Jonas has a few sock monkey toys, and Darby and I like them. I made a little banner with Jonas's monthly photos and another little banner for Jonas's high chair. I ordered a $15 downloadable party pack that had invitations, labels, etc.

We had a grilled cheese bar, which was really delicious and fun. And super easy for me. I highly recommend it as a party menu. I just got a bunch of meats and cheeses and provided different topping options (pear, apple, caramelized onions, jalapenos, tomatoes, pesto, bacon, basil, etc.).

For dessert, we had red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. While I thought about somehow trying to create a monkey face with frosting, I decided that would most likely end up as a Pinterest fail. Instead I used the picks that came in my party pack. Best decision ever. I spent 10 minutes decorating the cupcakes, and they looked way better than they would have.

Jonas was a bit skeptical of his cupcake. 
But once we mashed it up for him, he got into it. 
Jonas got lots of great presents. He wasn't too into opening them. And he was a little scared of the rocking horse G-ma and Papa gave him. :) But since the party, he's enjoyed playing with everything.

Auntie Hannie rode the scary rocking horse to show Jonas it was ok. 
It was such a wonderful afternoon celebrating our little boy. I really don't think the party could have gone any better. It was the perfect mix of low-key yet still special. I'm so thankful for everyone who loves Jonas. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy New Year?

Ok, so my blogging more than once a month thing obviously hasn't panned out well. I've been meaning to post about my New Year's goals since the beginning of the year, but I just haven't made the time.

I love goals, so I love New Year's resolutions, even though I'm not necessarily better than the general population at keeping them. For the past several years, I've been focusing on my "30 before 30" goals. I've since realized that 4 years is way too long to maintain a goal list. Many of them are no longer applicable, and I just got kind of bored. So, I've decided to abandon those. I did all the ones that were really important to me, and I'm ready to move on.

In the past, I've participated in the "one word" movement and chosen a word to focus on for the year. That kind of broad focus appeals to me. Since having Jonas, I've come to the realization that there's never going to be a perfect time to do the things I want to do. I've been making excuses for most of my adult life: "when I get done with college, when we have more money, when we get done with grad school, when I'm not pregnant, when I don't have a newborn, when we get settled in the new house," etc., etc. I finally realized that life is never going to be not busy. There are always going to be reasons not to do something. If it's something I really care about, I have to make time. So, I think I've settled on this being the year of "now," as in "do it now."

In particular, I'm trying to take advantage of opportunities to help others. I read a blog post over a year ago called "To Be Inconvenienced" that really convicted me about my own reluctance to help others when the opportunity arises. Of course, no one is ever going to need help on a day when I have absolutely nothing else planned. When does that even happen? So, if I hear about a need, I should just step up and do it. I've been focusing on this for a while, and, of course, I'm not perfect, but I have done a lot more than I used to.

While still focusing on that, I'm also trying to focus more on seeking out work opportunities. I really miss teaching ESL. And while I don't think I'll be able to find steady work doing that right now, there are a lot of part-time opportunities that I could be a part of if I put myself out there. While the lazy part of me would rather just sit on the couch, I know I'll feel more fulfilled if I expend the effort to do work that I enjoy.

What about you? What are you focusing on this year? Or is mid-February too late to talk about New Year's goals?

Monday, January 05, 2015

One year!

I know everyone says this, but this year really has flown by! I can't believe we have a one-year-old. I got a bit sentimental thinking about leaving the baby days behind, but mostly I'm really enjoying this new phase. He's so much more fun to play with now. And since he's totally weaned now (hallelujah!), we have a lot more flexibility in our schedule, and I have a lot more freedom. I treasure all of the sweet memories we made this year, and I'm looking forward to the new joys and challenges ahead.

  • First Thanksgiving. We had a lovely time with both of our families together for the big meal. Jonas, of course, enjoyed all the food, especially the sweet potatoes. 

  • First visit to Santa. Someone at our church dresses up as Santa every year for our "Bread Sunday." As you can see, Jonas wasn't too impressed. We actually took him to the mall right before Christmas and got a cuter picture. But I love his expression in this one. 

  • First birthday presents. I'll do a separate post later about his birthday party. But Mamaw and Grandpa went ahead and gave him his presents at Thanksgiving since they wouldn't be able to come to the party. He didn't really understand what unwrapping gifts was all about. 

Things I Want to Remember
  • Jonas loves to say uh-oh. He says it randomly, but he'll often say it appropriately when he drops something. He loves to drop things - especially food from his high chair - and now he'll hold his hand out to the side of his high chair and say "uh-oh" even before he lets the Cheerio drop. We're really trying to discourage dropping food on the floor, but it's so hard not to laugh when he does that. 
  • He waves bye-bye all the time now. Any time Darby or I leaves the room, he waves at us. 
  • He has discovered that things can fit inside of other things now. He loves to put toys in cups. Seeing his little brain working is one of the most fun parts of being a mom to me. He had never put anything inside of something else until one day he did and then he started doing it all the time. Before I had Jonas, I thought of him learning his first words, how to walk, etc., but I never thought of all of the simple things about how the world works that he would have to learn. 
  • Any time he gets a hold of a cup or a bowl, he pretends to drink out of it. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Semester in Cookies

Now that the semester is over and I'm not teaching next semester, I'm hoping to have a bit more time to blog more than once a month!

I decided this semester to bring cookies for my class every Friday. It was a good way to make it through quite a few of my pinned recipes without eating tons of cookies myself, and it seemed to be a big morale booster for the class. One week I brought some leftover Halloween candy on a Wednesday, and one student said, "Wait, you're still bringing cookies on Friday, right?" I assured her that the candy was not a substitute for the cookies.

Here were some of my favorites:

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
These are my new favorite pumpkin cookie. They are chewy, not cake-y, like most pumpkin cookies are. And, most importantly, they didn't get soggy after a day.

Several students said this combination of brownies and cookies were their favorites. They're a bit tedious to make, but the wow factor is worth it.

Peanut Butter Nutella Cookies
These are simple but really good. They have a nice texture and are a little bit fancier than a standard peanut butter cookies.

Cornstarch Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
The cornstarch in these is supposed to make them very fluffy. Mine actually didn't turn out fluffy, but they were very soft and delicious. It's my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

11 Months

At the end of this month, Jonas made some big leaps in his development. He's now a lot more mobile and is seeming much more "toddlerish." I can't believe he'll be 1 soon. I get a little sad thinking of him leaving the baby days behind, but it's a lot of fun seeing him grow up. 

  • First time to go from laying down to sitting up on his own. He learned how to do this in his crib. It was so funny the first time I went to get him up from his nap and he was just sitting there looking at the door. He looked quite proud of himself. I thought maybe he had used the bars to pull himself up, but later I saw him do it in the middle of the living room floor with no assistance. 
  • Soon after that, he pulled up to stand on his own. He also did that for the first time in his crib (and spent many days avoiding napping by pulling himself up and screaming until I came in and laid him down). But the first time I got it on camera is the picture above (Blogger won't let me put it in the right place). He now loves to pull up all the time and can cruise around furniture. 
  • First Halloween. He was a lion and looked adorable. I don't think he knew what to make of his costume. Every time I put him in it, he got kind of quiet and timid. 

  • I took him to our neighborhood church's Fall Festival with my friend Laura and her son, Gabriel. The look of scared confusion on his face is pretty much how he seemed anytime we put his costume on. 
    Our playgroup went to a pumpkin patch. Jonas just wanted to eat the pumpkins. 

    I hosted a small Halloween party for our playgroup. We had Halloween-themed snacks, read a Halloween book, and played with spaghetti "brains." From left to right: Silas the lumberjack, Myla the giraffe, Jonas the lion, and Avery the ballerina. 

  • First cow's milk. The pediatrician said we could start him on cow's milk at 11 months. We cheated and started about a week before. He seems to like it pretty well, so I've started the weaning process. I'm looking forward to having some more freedom. 
Things I Want to Remember
  • Jonas is going through a phase where he constantly says "mmm-hmm" or "uh-huh" with varying inflections. Because of this, it often seems like he can understand a lot of what we say, although I think it's just a coincidence. He does seem to understand that when we ask him a question, he should have a response, so he always says "mm-hmm." Or, when Darby and I are talking to each other, we'll say something like, "Jonas is so cute," and he'll say, "uh-huh." It's hilarious. 
  • He has now really gotten the hang of clapping and claps when he hears or sees other people clapping or if we say "Yay!" 
  • He likes to wave bye-bye, but he only does it when he is the one leaving. He also associates it with walking through doors, so sometimes he'll wave bye when I carry him out of his bedroom into the hallway. 
  • Ever since daylight savings time ended, he's been waking up at 6 or 6;30 instead of 8 like he used to. So we've started putting him to bed at 7:30 instead of 8:30, which gives us more time to get stuff done at night. In the mornings, we'll often put him in bed with us and he'll usually sleep at least 30 more minutes. However, he only likes to be close to me in the mornings. Specifically, he has to be holding on to my hair. So Darby gets to sleep peacefully while I have a little person pulling my hair, slapping me in the face, etc. To his credit, Darby has tried to take Jonas to his side of the bed, but Jonas protests so much that I have to take him. Good thing he's such a cute snuggler!