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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!

It's the start of the new year and while many are making resolutions, I thought it was the perfect time to post an update.

Things with us have been great.  The kids are thriving and (mostly) healthy and the jobs God has blessed Jon and I with are going very well.  This year brought about a few new additions to our family. In June we bit the bullet and haggled our way to a new minivan!  We couldn't beat the deal they were offering on new Odysseys and through some careful negotiation we were able to get a fantastic price.  The van's name is Vader, following the tradition that all of our cars are named after Star Wars characters.  once we found out we got the black one we wanted, we knew immediately we had our Darth so he now joins Luke and we said goodbye to IGgy.  (yes, we are weird)  Jon also found a great deal on a new DLSR camera on Black Friday, so he bought me an early Christmas present and I got a new Canon!  I am still figuring out how to use it, but hopefully I can learn the ins and outs of it little by little.  I absolutely love the pictures it takes so far.

In July, Jon went on his first mission trip to The Amazon in Brazil.  He spent 10 days there and got home the day after our 6th wedding anniversary.  The kids and I missed him, but we definitely made the most of it and filled our time as best we could.  Jon had an amazing time and was a blessing to the people they visited.  I know he is looking forward to the next opportunity, whenever God provides!  Just the other day Harper was asking him when she was going to get to go to Brazil and "go on the boat" with him.

Other than that, we didn't do any major traveling this year so I am anxious to head out west to see friends and family this Spring.  I think we will be making it a road trip in Vader! This is our last opportunity to take a trip whenever we want since Harper will be starting Kindergarten in the Fall. After that, we will need to do our best to work around school schedules.  Wow, time is flying!

We did take a mini-vacation to hill country and stayed in Marble Falls, TX.  Cousin Cody was getting married and we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to spend some family time together and break in the van.  What we didn't expect was our first trip to the ER as Jasper came down with difficulty breathing and complaining of stomach pain.  I was afraid of appendicitis, but it turns out he had a nasty case of lower-lung pneumonia.  They gave him a strong dose of steroids through his IV and that allowed him to power through for the rest of our stay.  We headed home and started a steady course of albuterol and he was on the road to recovery.

Unfortunately he had a tough month in December with back-to-back upper respiratory infections.  Two rounds of steroids and a heavy regimen of albuterol and he is finally healthy!  Harper dealt with a couple of really nasty illnesses the second half of this year (thank you daycare!) but we have both kids (and Mommy) on a steady dosage of Flonase and allergy meds, so hopefully we can stay well for a long while.  We've had our fair share of yuckies lately!  I'm hoping they will both have amazing immune systems when they're older after dealing with all this stuff right now.

2012 brought some new friends into our lives as we finally got plugged into a home group that we LOVED!  All of the couples live right in our immediate surrounding neighborhoods and all have kids the same ages as ours. In fact, almost all of the couples have 2 kids and almost all of them have an older girl and a younger boy.  The kids all love playing together, and we have formed some deep friendships with the adults.  We are so thankful to have met all of them!

Harper is in Pre-K and learning a lot each day, including Spanish vocabulary.  She can count to 20 without assistance and knows a lot of basic words including colors and people.  She is only 4 1/2 but some days I feel like she is already a teenager by the way she talks.  She is extremely motherly to most of her friends and of course her little brother - in the best way and the worst. :)  She is caring and tender, but incredibly bossy.  (I don't know where she gets that from!)  She has the biggest heart and I am continually being taught by her.  Not too long ago, I found out one of the teachers had brought her little girl who has Down Syndrome to daycare just for that day.  While on the playground, Harper took her under her wing and helped her up and down the ladder and showed her all around.  When I got there, Harper couldn't wait to tell me that she had made Alexa laugh by "tickling her chin and tickling her nose. Mommy, she is so cute!" Harper never mentioned Alexa being different, she just enjoyed being a caretaker of someone.  She is very thoughtful and has an amazing memory.  She baffles Jon and I almost daily with the things she remembers and brings up out of the blue.  I don't listen to country music too often in the car with the kids, but every time a particular song comes on, she somehow remembers it was the same song playing at the State Fair as we sat and ate corny dogs under Big Tex (pre-fire).  We hadn't discussed the song at all while it was playing that day - she just remembers it!

Jasper is our little clown who just wants to make you laugh or love on you.  He is constantly acting silly and is the first to offer a hug to most people.  He is fiercely independent and insists on doing most things by himself.  And in just the past week he learned how to open the refrigerator himself (it's a big deal - now he can get his own yogurt each morning!) and how to take off his own shirt.  Each activity draws big cheers from everyone within earshot as his excitement is contagious.  His speech is improving and we try to compliment him every time he says something clearer than the last time.  Even Harper is very good with telling him "you said that really well, Bud!" He gets his feelings hurt very easily and gets very sad when he is told he has hurt someone else's feelings.  He is very good with "I'm sorry" and "awwight" is still my favorite phrase of his because he is so agreeable (most times).  He is doing great in his class at school and will soon be moving up to the next classroom.  Once he does this, he moves to the "bigger kid" side of the school and he and Harper will be on the same playground during free time!!  I can't believe this is even possible.  She insists she is going to show him all around and be the best big sister ever.  I hope she is right.  :)

That's us in a very brief nutshell in 2012.  We are looking forward to 2013 and all that God has in store for us!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jasper @ 2 1/2

I've been meaning to write posts like these for a looooong time.  This blog will always be a scrapbook to look back on just as I've always done.  Because it's so hard to find time to sit down and just write, I've been taking notes on my phone about things I want to remember.  So really these are just things I want to notate and remember forever and ever about my adorable boy.

He is at such a fun age.  The first word I would've used to describe him 6 months ago would be Stubborn.  Now, it would be Loving.  He is still totally stubborn, but he is learning there are positive and negative things that happen for his choices.  He is a very emotional boy, though he doesn't cry nearly as much as he used to.  Much to his Daddy's relief (and our sanity!) he does not burst into tears at every little thing any more.  I've found that a quick hug or tickle will snap him out of his mood and get him redirected to the right path.

Though Jasper is stubborn, he can be fairly easily persuaded to do something.  The word he most often uses these days is "Awight".  Whether he's shouting it joyfully, or sullenly dragging it out ("awwwwwight"), if you bargain with him or explain the reason why he needs to do a certain action, he is pretty agreeable to it.  "Jasper, you can have your firetruck, but your you need to put your shoes away first".  "Awight!!"  I absolutely love this quality about him -- maybe because his sister gives us so much resistance and opinion these days!  I am soaking it up from Jasper.  :)

He has become fiercely independent and wants to do everything by himself - "I wan do it!".  From putting on his shoes, to brushing to his teeth, to getting his own water from the fridge.  Buckling his buckles on his carseat is often a battle, especially if I'm in a hurry to get somewhere.  He has relented a bit on the brushing his teeth part - he'll ask us to help him. 
He is currently sporting a spiky faux hawk hairdo and I looooove to dress him in beachy California clothes.  He has the biggest belly and it usually enters the room before he does.  He refuses to wear pants to bed, and is often running around the house without underwear on either.  One night he was sitting on his floor reading a book and he started calling me.  He had closed the book on a very sensitive part and had this terrified look in his eye. I helped rescue him and had to laugh.  Jon winced as I retold the story to him later.

His favorite toys are CARS.  Anything and everything with wheels, he loves.  He's been earning one particular brand of vehicles via his Good Behavior jar and he sleeps with all of them every night.  They are Fisher Pri@e brand and so far he has the pickup truck, monster truck, police car and fire truck.  He's currently working towards the choo choo train.  Oh, and TRAINS!! We live right near a set of tracks so he is constantly on the lookout and shouts "CHOO CHOO!!!" every time there is one or a fragment of one somewhere.  He is also the absolute best plane spotter in the family and shouts "yook, Mommy!  Airpwane!"  Inevitably we have to look for a while until we spot it too....as a little speck in the sky.

His speech is improving, but he still can be very hard to understand.  I'm pretty sure I understand probably 200% more than everyone else.  But his voice is just way too adorable that you almost don't notice you can't understand what he's saying.  Hearing him say "byyyyyye!" in his high pitched voice is the best thing ever.  He definitely learned that from his sister and Mommy.

He is now in Miss Karla's class at school, though he calls her LaLa which Karla absolutely adores.  Karla has always been Harper's favorite teacher and we have been looking forward to when Jasper would get her.  LaLa loves Jasper so much and is always whispering to him "you're my favorite".  I kind of believe her!  :)  His vocab continues to grow as he's in her class.

Our nighttime ritual is one of my favorite things.  The kids and I read a story, then pray and sing Jesus Loves Me.  He can sing almost the whole song and he is just the cutest thing ever as he sings it.  Then they go to their own rooms and as he lays down, we have the same exchange each night:
J: tay in bed! (said in a stern voice while pointing his finger at me)
M: yes, stay in your bed
J: not out!
M: That's right, do not get out.
M: When do you get out of bed?
J: cwock is gee
M: Yes, when your clock is green.  What do you do when it turns green?
J: run run run!
M: And what do you say?
J: Mommy Mommy Mommy!  My cwock is gee!!!

Then we have to do all sorts of kissing and arranging of cars on his bed.  Definitely one of my best times of the day.  Especially when he puckers out his lips and goes "mmmmmmm" as he's waiting for me to kiss them.

Here are some other random tidbits about him:
He loves to associate things with people.  I am HIS Mommy, this is Mommy's car, etc... 
To him the following words are pronounced exactly the same:
Strawberries and blueberries
Kroger and yogurt
Football and baseball
And up until recently it was very hard to distinguish between how he pronounced Harper and Jasper.  But that has gotten better.
He pronounces Noodles as Noonles.

One of my favorite things is when he tells me to "c'mere".  He looks at me very seriously and extends his arm out and summons me with his whole hand waving me toward him.
He constantly yells "YOOK!" which is "look!" to everyone else as he points to what he's excited about.
His favorite game at night right now is to "hold tight!" which is what he does with me after he gets dressed.  He hooks his arms around my neck and hangs down while I do "no hands".  He sees how long he can hang on.
He still uses sign language for some things along with the words.  Usually "please" but my favorite is still "cat".  He signs the whiskers and usually makes a really sweet face.
He LOVES to climb between my legs and it's almost always at the most inopportune time - like when I'm cooking. He pretends they are a tunnel and crawls in and out, sometimes panting like a puppy.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We've been battling some crud here at the end of summer.  Harper caught a really nasty virus that initially presented itself as Strep Throat.  She seemed fine when I picked her up on a regular Thursday after school.  But 30 minutes after we got home, she was flat on the couch saying she didn't feel well.  I took her temp and it was 103!  She had an upset tummy that night and the next morning, and the last time she spiked a fever like that and threw up, it was Strep.  I called the doctor first thing and got her in right away.  The initial in-office test was negative, but we decided to treat her for it anyway assuming it was too early to show up.  It was Friday and we didn't want her to have to go the whole weekend without trying something.  Last time she started antibiotics for strep, she was back to feeling great about 18 hours later.  I knew it was bad when she woke up Saturday morning and wasn't better.  

She felt terrible most of the weekend, being very content to stay in her room and watch Caillou on Netflix on endless repeat.  She was very proud to say she thought she had watched every single episode at least twice.  The only relief she got was when the time came back around to give her another dose of Motrin.  We took her back on Monday morning and she had clearly gotten worse.  She diagnosed her with a sinus infection, eye infection and double ear infections.  Oy!  We had to cancel her dentist appointment and Jon and I did a lot of juggling of work days.  We had a slew of medications to give her each day including eye and ear drops.  It took her until Wednesday for her eye to clear up and for her to go the entire day without a fever.  She returned to school on Thursday - one full week later!  

We took her back for an ear check yesterday and she still has tons of fluid behind her right ear.  We knew she hadn't been hearing us very well, so yet another antibiotic was prescribed to hopefully clear it up completely.  We have another follow up in 2 more weeks.  We are praying everything is all cleared up!  

We managed to keep Jasper healthy.  At least healthy enough to not catch what Harper had.  He is now battling a runny nose and cough...  what's new???  

I managed to develop bronchitis.  I can't remember ever having an upper respiratory infection before so I was in complete denial.  I had been feeling pretty run down and had a cough.  Finally when the tightening in my chest was getting worse and I had virtually no voice, I decided it was time to go get checked out.  The antibiotics are finally working and I'm feeling much better.  

Hopefully we are all on the mend now!!! 

Our sweet girl after her second Dr. appointment.  

Showing off her newly painted nails.  Her friend stopped by and brought a get well kit including some new pink nail polish!  

Here she is feeling a little bit better and being silly.  Her right eye was super red and gooey and her nose became so raw from blowing it so much.  

 Here she is enjoying her latest round of antibiotics.  It tastes terrible and per doctor's orders we needed to mix it with something sweet and tasty like frosting.  Frosting!! That's exactly what she said.  Frosting has proven to be a little too sweet so tonight we tried chocolate milk and that seemed to go down a little easier.  What a lucky girl!!

Getting her ear drops from Daddy.

Day 11 - Monday

He's home!!!!!

The kids and I had a great morning at home and we left to go pick up Daddy from the airport.  We were all very excited after having waited a whole extra day for him to get home.

I took lots of pictures and video of the reunion with he and the kids.  It was a very memorable moment. The kids were so thrilled to see him and he was very relieved to be back home.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 10 - Sunday

Well we got disappointing news late last night.  Daddy's flight was cancelled out of Brazil and we didn't know when he would be able to make it back home.  :(   We had been so looking forward to picking him up, but it was quick consolation to Harper that we would be going to church instead.  I love how much she loves Sunday school.  Jasper does too - he just can't vocalize it as well yet.  

I decided to keep ourselves busy to help distract from the fact that Jon wasn't going to be coming home today after all.  After church we went to lunch with some of our great friends with kids the same ages.  So fun! 

We came home for naps and we decided to go ahead and read the final card and open the presents.  Just like the first day, Jasper got a car and Harper got more bows!  They LOVED them!  

Afterwards we walked across the street to Baby Cora's 1st birthday party.  Nothing better than cupcakes, air hockey and helping open presents!  The kids both love Cora and had a great time celebrating her 1st year with her.  

After that we headed over to our dear friend's house.  Today is mine and Jon's 6th anniversary and I was really looking forward to having him back home!!  I gladly accepted the invitation to come over for dinner so I wouldn't have to be alone with just the kids.  The kids love visiting with them and we all had tons of fun.  It was a welcomed distraction!!!  We met up with more friends for ice cream and while there I got a call from Jon.  He is in Miami and should be flying home to DFW in the morning!!!  Woohoo!!!!!!!  

Day 9 - Saturday

We are so excited that Daddy comes home tomorrow!!!!  

Today we had to go get Jasper new shoes.  He grew out of his two main pair this week!!!  He's not allowed to grow that much, especially while Daddy is gone.  :)  We headed to Kohl's, and as usual, I found a million other things to buy.  We found the duplicate pair he already had in the bigger size which he was thrilled with since he loves those shoes.  I'll have to use my Kohl's cash to go back and find a pair of tennis shoes since they didn't have anymore in his size at that store. 

We hit up Sam's and came home for a nap.   The kids woke up and played for a while.  It was incredibly hot outside, so they did a good job entertaining themselves with games and activities.  First they played dress up.  I was doing laundry and they came and greeted me dressed up and ready to go shopping with their shopping carts.  Harper was wearing about 4 skirts, pink wings and pink bunny ears.  And her princes shoes of course.  Jasper had allowed her to put a skirt, wings and bunny ears on him as well, and the sight was too much!!!  By the time I had gotten the camera, I think he was embarrassed and had taken the skirt off.  But I managed to get this picture anyway.  Great blackmail for future years! 

They then proceeded to play this game which I found very amusing.  One would ride the rocking horse holding two baskets of puppies while the other would push them around the house.  They were very serious about it and had so much fun.  Jasper copies everything Harper says these days and once they made one pass, Harper would say "okay, other way!"  Soon Jasper started saying "other way!" too. His vocabulary has been exploding lately!!!  

Nana came over so I could go to book club tonight.  They enjoyed pizza together and watched Toy Story and had a great time of course.  We didn't read the final card or open presents.  We are saving them for tomorrow before we go pick Daddy up from the airport!!!  

Day 8 - Friday

This morning I was awakened by Jasper at my bed.  This is nothing unusual -- usually he wakes up at 5:30am every day to have me help him go potty.  However this morning he was whining more than usual and it was so dark (and I was so asleep), I couldn't figure out what was wrong.  He was saying "Shirt, Mommy! Shirt! Help please!"  I HAD to take a picture because 1 - I needed the flash to help me see and 2 - I knew I would want a picture of whatever had happened!  

I was right.  He managed to get his arm all tangled up in his sleeve.  He is hiding his face here because the flash was blinding him.  He was actually laughing about it. 

Harper has such a helpful, tender heart (most of the time) and has really been exhibiting some great mothering tendencies towards Jasper and kids younger than her.  When she's around babies, she just wants to hold, tickle and help them.  It's very sweet.  She has been trying to help Jasper do more things, but he is exerting much independence these days and hardly lets her.  For instance, she likes to try to help him put on his shoes, but he either thinks she's taking them from him or he wants to try to do it himself.  

This morning, however, he finally let her help him get dressed.  And Harper was so excited about it!  I only got a picture of the very end where she was helping adjust his shirt, but he let her help him put it over his head and help get his shorts on the right way and pulled up.  It was so sweet to see him let her to help.  He was willing to let her help with his shoes, but had a little trouble, so I finished the job.  

Friday is Show and Tell Day for Harper and over the summer, they can bring whatever they want (as opposed to the school year where they need to try to bring something related to the curriculum).  Harper was so excited to bring her superhero costume to show all her friends.  When she put hers on, of course Jasper had to wear his!!!  I felt very safe driving to school with two strong superheroes in the car with me!  

We read Daddy's letter after dinner and then opened tonight's present.  Jasper got a Spiderman activity book and Harper got a Princess coloring/activity book.  Jasper was not in the mood for pictures, but Harper was more than happy to show off her gift.