Jake turns THREE!

Jake turned THREE this last Friday! We celebrated all weekend, starting out with blueberry muffins for breakfast, per his request. I had asked him if he wanted pancakes for breakfast for his birthday and he was adamant that he'd rather have blueberry muffins, easy enough! And perfect for a candle.

We played inside for an hour or so after breakfast and waited for the morning to warm up enough to take Jake out to the backyard to see his present from us, a pirate ship water table that arrived just in the nick of time. We're hoping that this water table gets put to good use this summer since it'll be too hot to take the baby to the pool for an extended amount of time, so we're making our own water park in the backyard. Jake played with the pirate ship for a good while...until he realized how fun it was to pour water on himself. Since he was still in his jammies, no harm no foul!

For lunch we met our neighbors at "Chick-o-way", Jake's second request of the day. Nuggets, fruit and chocolate milk made him happy as a clam and he never even noticed that Deric and I split his free birthday milkshake. ;) Our neighbors were so kind to get Jake some big bubble wands that he just loves and a set of Lincoln Logs. He's really enjoyed building "big walls" and a few log cabins with my help or his dad's. I'm all about any toy that's open-ended and I'm looking forward to when he really gets the hang of his building sets all by himself. Right now he still needs some help building towers with Legos or the Logs because he doesn't yet understand some concepts like needing the base of the structure to be bigger than the top, but we're working on it! I love to ask him what he's making and hear the wide variety of answers.

Side story: tonight Jake got a splinter from playing with some pieces of scrap wood outside and as we were trying to get it out, I tried to distract him by asking him what animal he would want to be. His answer was a "hippo-giraffe-lion!" All one word, apparently all one animal. Not quite sure how that would work. ;)

Back to the birthday celebrations. The rest of Friday was pretty low-key since Jake's birthday party was the next morning and Deric and I still needed to get some things done. We ate dinner outside and played in his water table and enjoyed a gorgeous spring day. After dinner we ran over to church to play on a big inflatable that had been rented for an event going on. I'm pretty sure Jake thought the inflatable was solely for his birthday, and we didn't tell him otherwise. :) Jake jumped his heart out in the bounce house but didn't quite understand why I wouldn't jump with him...so instead I took on the role of pushing him down the slide. For some reason, he didn't want to go down the slide unless I pushed him but he laughed so hard when I did! 

On Saturday morning, we woke up and went right into party mode. Jake's friends--and some of their parents-- came over to play in the backyard at 10am. We set up a [much smaller] bounce house that we got for Christmas, the sand and water tables, and basically all of Jake's outdoor toys all over the backyard. The weather was just perfect and the kids played hard, especially on the bounce house, while the adults sat back and relaxed/refereed every so often.

Around 11:30 we served lunch for everyone: pizza for adults and dinosaur-shaped sandwiches for the kids (thanks to a sandwich cutter I found on Amazon). The party was very loosely dinosaur themed, as in the cake and the sandwiches had something to do with dinosaurs. For a few weeks leading up to Jake's birthday, I would ask him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday. His answers rotated between a green dinosaur, a truck, and Thomas. But most of the time he wanted a dinosaur, so I did my best with that request. I won't say how long it took me to frost the cake...just way too long. But it turned out mostly how I hoped, so it was a win!

We sang Happy Birthday to Jake inside since the wind picked up so much that the candles wouldn't stay lit, then promptly took the cake and ice cream back outside, where most every little party guest chose chocolate cake. (One circle of the cake was chocolate, the other vanilla. Since I don't like chocolate cake, I can't say I was sorry to see a lot of vanilla left!) I had to make sure my hard work didn't go unnoticed so I was sure to point out to Jake that the cake was shaped like a 3. ;) And he loved the dinosaurs!

After the party wrapped up, Deric and I realized that a morning birthday party is the way to go. Jake's last two parties were in the afternoon so the morning was spent prepping and by the time the party was over, the day was gone and we were beat. But celebrating in the morning left us all day to relax and gave Jake plenty of time to enjoy his new gifts. All in all, a great birthday weekend. Its so fun to celebrate Jake and the amazing kid he's becoming. I'm blown away by his thoughtfulness and willingness to help with anything and everything. He's goofy and silly and I love watching him laugh so hard when he plays with Deric. I wish I could freeze time and enjoy this age with him...but I would never choose to freeze time while pregnant. ;)


Mother's Day 2016

Deric had asked me a few times in the weeks leading up to Mother's Day if there was anything specific I wanted to do or a specific gift I had in mind, and all I could think of was that I'd like to go clothes shopping after this baby comes. :) So because that present will have to wait a few more weeks, we kept yesterday pretty low-key and it ended up being great.

We started the morning off at church and followed up with lunch with our neighbors, which is always a treat. Even with a longer wait time than usual thanks to Mother's Day, we were able to keep Jake occupied and happy throughout the long lunch. And thankfully a big lunch meant a big nap for both Jake and Deric, who both needed one. I fully expected I would nap as well but I ended up preparing lists for the hospital bag when the baby comes, plus Jake's bag when he goes to our friends' house, and then I wrote out our to-do list for Jake's birthday party this weekend. It was a pretty productive afternoon spent sitting on the couch, even if I did feel a little overwhelmed after writing out those lists! Overwhelmed and a little impatient, since thinking of packing baby onesies and pacifiers gets me so excited to meet this baby!

Deric and I ended the night watching The Avengers Civil War movie (or whatever its called, there are so many now!). We realized we've got quite a few movie gift cards to get through soon since there's just no time to go to the movies once the baby comes.

Its crazy to think that three Mother's Days ago I was in labor with Jake, who would be born the next day. And that next year we will have two boys to celebrate with! Shoot, by Father's Day we'll have two boys! I'm thinking Father's Day may not be as relaxing as Mother's Day this year....sorry, Deric. ;)


catching up: april

The days really picked up some speed over the course of this last month! I've been waiting and waiting for May to finally get here and now I can't believe that it already is. I've reached 36 weeks and can officially say we'll be having a baby *this month* (due date is the 31st!) ((assuming I'm not overdue, please Lord!)).

That nesting instinct is in full force which is kind of unfortunate for Deric seeing as most of what I want to get done before the baby is some sort of house project that I can't do, like painting, spraying garden beds with weed killer, planting our gardens, cleaning out the garage, etc. He's a trooper though and is knocking things off the to do list for me. But while he does those bigger projects, I've been trying to get Jake's room pared down and organized enough to fit all of the baby's stuff. Its proving to be more challenging than expected, but we'll get there!

Some friends from church threw a baby shower for me this past weekend so we are about 90% ready for the baby now! We got the two big items we needed most--a video monitor and a carseat--plus some new baby clothes, diapers and wipes, and other paraphernalia, and what we didn't get we are more than covered for with gift cards. Much of this week for me has involved putting away and organizing all these gifts, which I am all too happy to do. Its fun to hang up all those teensy newborn-sized onesies! I've even cleaned out and restocked our diaper bag for d-day.

On the big brother front, we're way overdue for an update. Jake turns THREE next Friday and I just can't wrap my mind around it. (He asked me a few weeks ago, "How old will I be at my next cake?") He's so big in some ways and still so little in others, its a good balance. Lately he's started telling us he's "berry tired" and this morning he kept asking to lay down on me. So we compromised and he laid *next* to me while we read books. But if we're not at home, he'll tell us he's "berry" tired and try to lay down in the most ridiculous places, like in line at a restaurant or on the playground. Maybe its a growth spurt?!

Growth spurt or not, he so wants to be like his dad! I caught him trying to put his shoes on like this and he said he puts his foot on the bench because that's how Daddy puts his shoes on. :)

Jake is still the biggest helper for both me and his dad. If he sees us doing some sort of chore, he'll run at us literally yelling "Can I hay-lp you?!" (He sounds as southern as can be sometimes!) I really need to buy him a child-sized broom and vacuum because then we'd really get this house clean.

The question-asking is through the roof right now. I know kids ask a ton of questions but for some reason, lately it is just non-stop. Every answer I give is followed with "Oh why are they?" or "Oh why do they?" I do my best to answer him but seriously, sometimes I just don't know what to tell him!
^"Mom, can you tickle me?"

He's started to reference things he does or needs by saying "Boys need/want...." For example, he put his head on his shoulder the other day and said "Sometimes boys take naps on their arms." Another time I had to spank him for who knows what and after he stopped crying he said, "Boys don't like when you spank them!" Hilarious but also heart-breaking in that instance.

Deric and Jake think its just too funny right now to say that they're going to eat either dog food or goose poop. So the other night at dinner we were having cous cous for the first time in a while and I told Jake what it was called. A second later he (genuinely) asked, "Mom, do you like goose poop?" I about spit out my cous cous from laughing.

He constantly wants to play on the playground next door but when he gets there, he beelines for the swings and we can't get him to play on anything else. Deric is much more gracious and will push him for half an hour on end... but I taught him to swing on his belly. Number one parent, I know. But now he loves to "belly swing" and pretend he's a jet, or a duck, or superman. I also taught him to twist the swing so he can spin and he thinks its a pretty sweet trick.

Jake's really amping up the charm at night and spends about an hour trying to sweet talk us into laying with him for "just one minute". Or once we leave the room, he'll pitifully say "Mommy I just neeeed you." He kills me but also...no. Go to sleep. ;)

Yesterday Jake and I made a paper chain to count down the last month until the baby comes. I'm not sure he totally understands the concept but maybe as the chain gets shorter it will start to make sense. At the very least, he really enjoyed operating the stapler.

^he got "berry tired" by the end so he just handed me the strips and let me put it together

While Deric and I were on a student retreat, Jake spent the weekend with friends of ours and learned the "God is great" prayer. Since then--about a month ago-- he's prayed that prayer for dinner, bedtime, and any other time. He'll ask me to ask him if he's prayed so that he can say it again. Its cute, especially when he's got the lyrics wrong so he sings "God is good, God is great, let him thank him for our food, amen!" Add in his squinty eyes and I can't stop laughing during his prayer.

Praying for dinner from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.

And to wrap up this surprisingly long post, a little video of the guppy song that Cana passed down to us!

I am a guppy! from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.


getting there...

Currently 35 weeks and already feeling so impatient, which I blame on the fact that Jake came so early (at 36 weeks). So I feel like I should have next to no time left, but in actuality we've still got at least a month. Still, it was exciting to hear my doc say yesterday that it really could be anytime from this point on. We're all so ready to meet this little boy and decide on a name already!


smoky mountain air show!

Over the weekend we went to the Smoky Mountain Air Show, the first show held in Knoxville in over 16 years apparently. (I didn't learn this until we were walking in on Saturday, so I'm glad we went!) Some friends invited us to go with them--and carpool so we could use their $40 parking pass-- so we took them up on their offer even though I was a little nervous about an entire day of huge crowds, long waits for bathrooms and overpriced food. That kind of scene is never my thing, especially not when I'm pregnant and honestly expected to spend most of the day bathroom-hopping. ;) But we had a blast!

(Side note: most of the pictures are totally overexposed. It was incredibly sunny!)

Saturday was a beautiful day to be outside; cool in the morning as we arrived and plenty warm by the time we left. Deric and I got a little sunburned but thankfully we were more vigilant with Jake's sunscreen so he was fine. When we first arrived at the airport where the show was held, hardly anyone was there. So we found a good spot to watch the afternoon show and then explored the planes parked on the tarmac. We only explored maybe one-third of the entire venue but there was plenty to see.

^checking out a helicopter first

We went inside a few of the huge airplanes and climbed up on the wings of the smaller planes to look inside the cockpits.

Inside one of the planes they had some sort of artillery...things. (Bullets, basically? I'm obviously not the person to ask.) They weighed more than Jake does--about 45 pounds--and they're all stored in what looks like a card catalog. The soldiers have to load each one individually but incredibly quickly. It was impressive!

By the time we'd walked through all the planes, the air show was starting up so we headed back to our spot on the grass. The only downfall of the day was waiting over an hour in line for cheeseburgers for lunch (and paying about $40 for food and bottled water by the time the day was over, but that's to be expected).

^'Aeroshell' planes started off the show
^You can barely see it, but the planes are circling around a skydiver holding the American flag while the anthem played at the start of the show.

The friends we went with have a little girl Jake's age and they did so well all afternoon, playing together and being goofy. I didn't pack much in the way of entertainment for Jake because I thought he'd watch the airplanes most of the time. And he did watch the planes but after an hour or so, his attention wandered. That's when his little friend came in handy and they played in our makeshift tent together off and on for the remainder of the afternoon. We weren't allowed to bring an actual tent, so Deric was smart and packed a tablecloth and those clips to hold your beach towel to your chair and rigged up a tent between the strollers. It ended up being a lifesaver because by the afternoon, it felt like July outside and we didn't want those babies frying in the sun. I stayed under there for a little while too. ;)

^the grand finale, the Blue Angels! This was the only decent picture I got; those guys are fast!

As we've talked about the air show over the last few days, it seems like the jets left the biggest impression on Jake. He really loved wearing his headphones and will tell anyone who asks about how loud the jets were. At church on Sunday, one of the teens asked him about the airplanes and Jake told him that he had to put on his earrings because they were so loud. :) Close, buddy, real close. It was overall a great day and I'm glad we braved the crowds to experience something we probably won't do again for quite a few years.