Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving love.

This weekend was one of the best on record. To see Andy so much was awesome. This guy works. A lot. So we love every 'extra' minute we can share. We debated a trip (specifically to Paris) but decided against it with our upcoming cruise and general recent lack of laid-back family time.

 You already saw how we spent Thanksgiving Day. It was a wonderfully lazy weekend all around. We had some great time relaxing and enjoying, but still managed to squeeze in a family photo shoot, a walk in a winter wonderland and a Christmas Market. (More on those later, if I find time.) But our highlight was the time we spent at home as a family.

Jackson’s toy shelf is overflowing. I know I need to pull some toys upstairs and ‘rotate’ them so a) he has ‘new’ toys to play with on occasion and b) so he can actually SEE what toys he has to pick from. One of the toys we decided to pull was the ever-annoying ball popper. Minutes after Andy and I discussed moving the ball popper, Jackson pulls it off the second shelf with a crash and then proceeds to play with it almost continuously for the next few days. Go figure.

I think since he’s gotten good at standing the toy holds more interest for him. He stands above the blower (air pushes the balls out) and picks up the balls as they come out. It’s actually pretty cool because these balls are floating on a stream of air, he has to carefully grab the ball, if he grabs too hard the ball gets pushed back down into the tube. He also enjoys leaning over and letting the air hit his face. I love his ‘what was that’ expression he gives me before he leans over to do it again J

Of course we also got our tree up this weekend. It looks a little bare with only kid 'safe' ornaments, but we'll be buying more soon. I'm so glad we decided to put it up (there was some slight debate- would he pull it over? Break ornaments? will it be worth it if we are going to be gone over Xmas?).

It’s been totally worth it and it’s only been a few days. I LOVE watching holidays come alive through little eyes reflecting countless twinkly lights, through little hands carefully ‘rearranging’ ornaments, and through little ears and bodies listening and dancing to Christmas carols.

“Rockin around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock” are both favorites at the moment and are a guaranteed daily occasion of dancing and singing.

First thing in the morning I pulg in the tree and we enjoy looking at it all day and night. It’s magical and there is no better way to describe it. Why can't we do this all year? Christmas Carols? Lighted Trees? Extra time with those we love? Ah, mazing.

Another thing I love? Unplanned naps. I crashed out on the couch watching a movie and my little man joined me.

More on snowy adventures and the German-famous Christkindlmarkts soon!

***and the Christmas Card posted earlier? I just want you to know it took 4 attempts and at least 50 pictures to get that one picture with both of the dogs looking and close enough to each other- it was such a hard space/dimension to fit! (and for whatever reason whenever Patton sits on a hardwood floor his but slides back CONSTANTLY)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Pictures In Red Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly.com for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.
Sorry to ruin the surprise for some of you, but I love these cards so much I had to share! I used my 50 free cards code for blogging about Shutterfly in a previous post, along with ordering 20 more at 30% off and free shipping on everything, talk about an awesome deal. Can't wait to see them in person. Can you? So many reasons to love Shutterfly! Maybe we need some Christmas/1 year books next? Where to find the time!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

Who could ask for anything more?

We spent Thanksgiving dinner with friends at the dining facility (DFAC) on post. The food was good and plentiful, and there was no cleanup! It was nice to see so many Army families together celebrating and sharing the holiday. We topped the day off skyping with family, making some sweet turkey finger-paintings, watching Elf (I totally cried) and singing along to Christmas carols.

Funny story about the DFAC?  I have to ask Andy frequently what DFAC stands for. He tells me "Dining facility.". . .I always respond with "But what are the A and C for?" . . . Apparently it should be written D-FAC, that would help me a lot. (The A and C are part of facility)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kid update

So has Jackson officially transitioned into a 'kid' or 'toddler' because he turned 1 YEAR OLD? I don't know. I used to think Yes- 1 year olds aren't babies, duh. But AREN'T they? Mine is, to me. I'm sure when people see him screaming his head off they don't think "Oh, that baby" but more likely "Ugh, kids." but whatever. Jackson is my baby and I hope I'll always find his excited yells as a sign of his developing milestones and growing personality (Yeah, I know, remind me of THIS in a few years! And, hey, I said EXCITED yells.)

He's also into everything. All the time.

This morning I made the bed and was picking up the water glasses from the night before (I actually took up my water bottle) when Jackson looked up at me. Put his hand, fingers spread, perpendicular to his mouth (the sign for water is 3 fingers in a W shape tapped by the side of your mouth, but still pretty darn close) and then pointed (well reached) for my water bottle. He may very likely have meant nothing by it, but I really think these 'kids' know more than they are letting on. I think they understand more and try to communicate more than we sometimes give them credit for. So I'm giving him credit, and if he never does it again, that's ok, too. :)

Walking. No he's really not a 'walker' yet. He will take 6-7 steps between Andy and I. This is, in fact, his favorite game right now. We sit on the floor and he walks/lunges between the two of us, immediately turning around after he falls into Andy or I waiting to steady himself and send him off the other way. He will also 'attempt' to go between pieces of furniture, but because our house is not so large most of the furniture is within finger-tip-touching distance. He'll stretch pretty far to get from one piece to the next. He is however, an expert stair climber. Even when climbing our see-through stairs which gives me a heart attack.

Sleeping. We won't even go there. My great sleeper baby is not such a great sleeper (toddler?). Trying some new things that seem to be working, but honestly I think the biggest 'pro' in our book lately is lack of teething symptoms. Jackson has 6 little teeth and as sure as I've said that I'm sure the next two will start their ascent any day now.

With Andy home it seems I have unlimited time and energy. Well obviously not UNLIMITED, but finding time to do those little extras (upload pictures, work on my household notebook (more on this later), BLOG!) and just generally get a little more sleep and change a couple less diapers. It's fantastic. Fantastic to have someone to share your highs and lows with, someone to pick you up and step in when you need a little help. I appreciate him so much!

I’m constantly amazed by the relationship between these two. Had you asked me a year ago which dog would be his ‘buddy’ later, I would have undoubtedly answered, “Bentley”. However, Patton and Jack seem to share some kindred, goofy spirit and I love watching them together.

I also love watching Jackson with his guinea pig ‘Chewy’. I keep trying to convince Jackson that he and Chewy should be great friends. Jackson keeps trying to ‘share’ Chewy with his great friend Patton. Oh well.

 Forgive the fact that Jackson apparently lives in that orange striped shirt, and is also addicted to the pacifier.

**I forgot to add, my favorite thing right now is when Jackson is doing something he shouldn't be (as in playing with the computer cord in this picture) if you say his name and look at him sternley he shakes his head. As if telling you he is NOT really doing that thing he shouldn't be.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like. . .


I read on my friend Rachel's blog today that Thanksgiving is in a week. I laughed when I read this, thoroughly convinced she somehow had it confused. Um, no. She is right. Thanksgiving is a week from Thursday. Over here, far from celebrating family and friends, we keep it low key. Many families opt to travel Europe on this long weekend. We, however, will be staying put. Not yet sure what our Thanksgiving day festivities entail, but I'll be sure to let you know when we figure it out!

Thanksgiving is usually the deadline for me to order our Christmas cards- it takes a while to get them over here, just to sign, seal, and deliver them back to our loved ones in the US.

I recently heard of an offer for bloggers to get 50 free Shutterfly cards!

(Honestly) Every year I end up choosing Shutterfly because of their beautiful designs, high quality prints, and often discounted prices. If you sign up for their emails you'll recieve special promo codes throughout the year.     

This is the card I'm thinking of for this year with a picture for each of the seasons as our family has grown over the past year. I had an idea that I wanted to do something along those lines, and of course when I checked out Shutterfly they had the perfect one. Simple. Beautiful. Pictures speak louder than words.

I also like this one though. Hmm. Really there are tons of awesome choices. I could look through them all day! So many great ones to choose from. You should totally check out their holiday photo cards! You're bound to fall in love with more than one!

So if you too want free cards- check it out HERE! (updated)

**Update. Apparently I jumped the gun and wrote the blog before the directions came via email. I also sent you all to the wrong link! Oops. I updated it above. The original one I posted was for after you signed up and after you blogged. Good luck all!

**Update again, just wanted you to know I got my promo code. . .now just to use it!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Home of the free, because of the brave.

Being an Army spouse is about so much more than deployments.
About more than having to pick-up-your-whole-world-and-move every few years.
About more than the ridiculously long hours.
About more than the all too consuming fear of losing the one you can't imagine living without.

It's also about pride.
About love.
About caring.
About respect.
And strength.

The Army spouses I know are by far some of the strongest women I know. (No offense intended to the other amazing strong women I know). It's just something so difficult to explain, a world you can't imagine until you've been there. These women do it all. Whatever it is that needs to be done. Spending hours, days, weeks, months and years worrying. working. single parenting. volunteering. You name it, she does it.

All often with little complaint, because you know while your husband gives so much, others have given more, others have given all. So it makes the tireless days seem like gifts and the future, though often uncertain, seem like a blessing.

But today is not about the Army spouse. Today is about their husbands and wives. About the soldiers who have fought for our freedom, about those who have given everything.

Military spouses have an incredibly difficult job, but our husbands possibly have a tougher one. They have to do endure stressful, dangerous deployments while worrying about and providing for a family back home. Trying to keep the connections with their spouses and children while missing countless milestones and holidays. And when they come back? They are able to pick right back up where they left off, helping at home and still often working exhausting hours. They don't know what it would be like to work 9-5. There is no such thing as calling in sick. They do their job not only for themselves, but for their families, and for their country. No rest for the weary.

Our men (and women) in uniform are heroes in every sense of the word.

We are so proud of our soldier, our veteran, our daddy. Honey, thanks for EVERYTHING you do.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A little late

Our little guy is officially one. We had a wonderful party for Jackson on Saturday with great friends and family. Yaya even made the trip to be here for the big day! Though there were many friends and family missed, we know they were with us in spirit and we look forward to celebrating with them in years to come.

I can't believe this little guy has been in our lives a whole year (ok a little longer, but I'm sure the view is different on the other side of the belly). I've felt so amazingly blessed to have this opportunity. I'm pretty sure being a parent is the coolest. job. ever. Watching these little beings explore, learn and grow is such an awe inspiring experience.

Loving the journey.

PS- Another thing I wanted to note is that I loved my friends wishing ME a happy birth-day and I thought that was pretty awesome. You know, to acknowledge my small part in the day!! I will remember to do this for all my amazing mommy friends from now on!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Headlines from our household.


Seriously. I find them in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the car, in my purse, in my REFRIDGERATOR. . . pretty much anywhere.

"Lock up your toilet paper. . . suspected thief on the lose"

Whereas Legos I find everywhere, toilet paper is an elusive commodity. It is either shredded to pieces on the floor, located on a high window ledge or has disappeared completely. . .into the mouth of one beast or another...apparently we've always had toilet paper issues.

Circa 2007

"You thought only puppies chewed furniture?!"

Not sure what it is about these new chompers (Jackson is working on his 6th tooth) but he gnaws my table legs. No joke.

We're busy. Well, Jackson is busy and I'm following him picking up messes, pulling things out of his mouth and attempting to entertain with 'appropriate' toys. Ha. Not that I don't love every minute of it, but Oy! single parenting can be tough. . . .

Here are some pictures from the past week. I wanted to share with my hubby who is working and exploring Jordan. Per my hubby's facebook: Today I was on Mount Nebo, visited the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized and then went swimming in the Dead Sea.

Awesome. Miss you, babe.