Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Jonas - 21 months

How is it possible that the next update will be for a 2-year-old! He is growing up so fast. Jonas's language has really exploded in the past few months. He now can talk in full sentences and uses prepositions, pronouns, and adjectives. It's so fun to hear what he comes up with. Much of his speech is still unintelligible to outsiders, but Darby and I have gotten pretty good at decoding what he's saying.

He has started hitting and shoving occasionally, so we're working on that. Overall, though, he's still very sweet and compliant. He loves to give hugs and kisses (sometimes he goes overboard with hugging strangers). He is such a sweet boy. 

Since I'm working on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays this semester, we had to take Jonas out of his Tuesday/Thursday school. He now goes to the home of another ACU professor, where a nanny watches the kids. He seems to really love it. When I drop him off in the morning, he tells me "bye-bye, Mama" very matter-of-factly and doesn't like it if I linger too long. 

Favorite foods: cheese, oatmeal ("eatmo"), Goldfish ("fishy"), chocolate chips (thanks to helping Mama cook), raspberries ("raz-beedies"), blueberries ("bee-bee"), "salsa" (any kind of sauce), applesauce, carrots, donuts (which we get on Sundays before church)

Favorite toys: Forever and always, balls. He especially loves to name all the different types of balls. Baseball bat, little fuzzy craft pom-poms, measuring cups and spoons, puzzles, Mega Blocks, anything "Minion" related, cars.

Favorite words/phrases: 
  • Heavy, which he uses for anything difficult. If he can't reach something, it's "heavy." He also likes to try to pick himself up and says "heavy" when he can't do it.
  • "Help me up", which he says when he wants someone to get up off the floor. This is accompanied by yanking on the person's arm. ("Me" in this case means "you.")
  • "Noo-nat," which is how he refers to himself. He likes to narrate everything we do. "Noo-nat eat bek-fast"; "Mama eat bek-fast"; "Dada eat bekfast." 
  • "Bee-dee pah-dy" (birthday party). We had several family birthday celebrations over the summer, and Jonas really enjoyed them, particularly the tissue paper involved. Now, anytime there's a fairly large gathering or anyone gives him a gift, he says "Bee-dee pah-dy!" I think he's really going to be excited come December. 
  • "Fall down". He falls a lot and almost never cries, just says "Noo-nat fall down." If he drops something, he says "Dat fall down." Actually his first full sentence was "Raspberry fall," after he dropped a raspberry at breakfast. 
  • Choo-choo, said with extremely pursed lips. 
  • Dump truck, which refers to any piece of machinery. 
  • Too. He adds too to the end of many sentences. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes not. 
  • Poopy, pee-pee, tootie. For some reason, he has latched on to all the potty words. (Maybe this is a good sign for potty training?) Every time I change his diaper (whether he has pooped or not), he says, "Noo-nat poopy. Mama poopy. Dada poopy." We try not to encourage this. 
  • "Tat-dy" (khaki). I taught him the phrase "khaki shorts" and now he is obsessed with pointing out anything khaki (which is a very broad category in his mind). 
Favorite activities: "helping" Mama cook while standing on a chair at the counter, playing in the kitchen sink, going to "Bible tass", singing "Big Sun" ("God Made the Big, Round Sun") and "BBC" (ABCs), playing "Ring Around the Rosie" ("Ring Roadie"), going to friends' houses, especially if they have toy trains, visiting grandparents, watching Tai-Tai, playing guitar with Daddy. 

Favorite books: Chicka-Chicka Boom Boom, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Peek-a-Boo Book (a very weird book that he of course loves), Jonas's Night-Night Book (a personalized book G-Ma and Papa got him for his birthday)

Favorite tricks: Making silly faces, doing a fake laugh on command, filling in the words in books if I leave a pause for him. 
Watching our neighborhood 4th of July parade with his good friend Luke ("Yoop").

Enjoying his new pool and still loving "ya-yo ball"

Our friends Dick and Billie came to visit from Illinois. Jonas took to them like a 3rd set of grandparents. It was very sweet.

He likes to be very close to Tai-Tai.

Giving Grandpa some sugar.

Loved his first churro at "Entra a la Plaza" at ACU.

It's been fun to see him actually be able to enjoy playgrounds. He's a little cautious, but he usually ends up doing everything.
Jonas likes to sleep with "Fox," "Elmo," "Baby Hippo," "Mama Hippo," and "Monkey" every night.

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.