when family comes to town

Sarah, Drew and Joel got in late Thursday night (of the weekend before last, because I'm always prompt at blogging) and we spent Friday doing not a thing at all, which was glorious. We traded babies/toddlers (also glorious because we obviously got the better (read: quieter and calmer) end of that stick) and both Deric and I fully enjoyed napping with baby Joel while Drew and Sarah kept up with Jake. We did venture out of the house for frozen yogurt that night which was Joel's first trip and Jake's first bowl of his own. Milestones!

Mom and Dad got in late Friday night and we spent Saturday playing more rounds of pass-the-babies in between hitting up Jet's for lunch and making sushi for dinner (complete with Japanese music in the background thanks to Deric's quick Pandora search). We packed so much into Saturday that thankfully our weekend felt much longer than the one day we all had together. Sarah and Drew left mid-morning on Sunday and unfortunately Mom and Dad had to leave earlier than they planned because of a winter storm headed our way (but not before Mom got Jake to color with her for a solid *hour*). Of course, said storm didn't blow in on time but its always better to get home ahead of bad weather and I'm glad the storm didn't ruin our weekend entirely. Every time family comes to visit I can't help but think of how fantastic it would be if everyone lived in town. Thanks for the fun-filled weekend, everyone! (And especially thanks for driving to us...wink!)


Galentine's Day

We celebrated Galentine's Day last Wednesday with our middle and high school girls' Life Group. Heart-shaped pizzas, fondue, eighty-some sugar cookies and loads of frosting made for a messy but fun night (and a packed two-hour time frame!). Some seriously impressive cookie decorating skills made their appearance while others used sheer frosting volume to make up for a steady hand. (I won't tell you which category I fall into, but my cookies definitely wouldn't make the photo cut.) In honor of Galentine's Day, we talked about the qualities of a true friend and asked the girls to both evaluate themselves to see if they possessed those qualities (trustworthiness, positivity, respect, etc.), and then to think about their current friendships to decide if their friends are true friends. The eighty cookies were decorated and (hopefully not eaten on the way home) given to their friends at school to encourage and express their appreciation to their friends. They're no 5,000-word essays or cross-stitched pillows, but I think those cookies were pretty loved by our girls' friends. I'm already looking forward to next year!


January recap

Let's run through the photos snapped throughout January that didn't make the cut for Instagram but are good memories nonetheless. January wasn't exceptionally exciting--no major milestones for Jake or fun trips or whatnot--but as I think back over the month it was full of quality time at home, lazy weekends (a nice change from our usual "weekend warrior" attitudes in better weather) and rearranging a lot of areas in the house to make every room more useful since we can't be outside.

Deric is the master of forts around here and in the mornings when those two are up before I am (which is often), I can almost guarantee a new fort will be set up somewhere. This fort was on our bed to keep Jake occupied while we both got ready. Jake loves to climb on our bed.

Deric spent a long weekend in Gatlinburg with the students and while he was gone, I got desperate enough for two uninterrupted minutes that I actually put something from Pinterest into play. It was almost not worth it....all that corn was outta the pan in no time. 

I've started stockpiling puzzles because Jake's finally able to complete them without throwing pieces in frustration. They're a perfect activity for us to do together since I lack the imagination it takes to play pirates for more than one minute. Also a very easy way to reinforce colors/numbers/letters and its funny to hear him answer "What's this color?" with "boo", usually before I can even finish the question.

Killing time at a car dealership while a friend dealt with car repairs. Jake won't be fooled anymore, he knows good things come in brown and white cups.

Bathtub fingerprints from the dollar store provided us with exactly one dollar's worth of activity. Worthless paint, but toddlers aren't exactly art critics.

Shopping for new books at McKay's. Even with rotating books in and out, and with frequent trips to the library, Deric and I are still so tired of all the books we own. How is that possible?

Breakfast with a view, as mentioned in the last post. That was the quietest breakfast we've experienced in a while. Snow is definitely magical!

A perfect platform for a tiny climber, and never neglected on our treks to and from church.

 Finally, some decent help around here! I don't know if its normal for toddlers or not, but Jake loves to help with chores. He gets mad at me if I start to vacuum without him, so I gladly pass it off and let him wander around the house vacuuming. I found him vacuuming under our nightstands so I pulled the furniture back and let him really get at the dustiest corners of the house. He also gets (too) excited to throw things away in the trash and to wipe off his tray after eating. He's also enthralled with the sponge so I've showed him how to wipe off the cabinets. You better believe we're riding this train forever. Toilets are up next, bud.


first (and likely only) snow day

Things are definitely looking up today after yesterday's whine fest. We woke up to just enough snow to cover the ground for a few hours, and that fact certainly cheered both of us up. Deric's not in any way a fan of snow, but I'm always glad to see some white in place of the typical brown + gray. I dragged Jake's high chair into the mudroom so he could eat while watching the snow and he was pretty excited about the few lazy flakes that concluded our winter wonderland. After breakfast we threw on our puffiest jackets (brought out approximately once each year), I stuffed Jake into two layers of sweatpants and out we went to explore the very wet and muddy snow. I hoped we'd get as much accumulation as last year seeing as Jake couldn't really enjoy it then, but I'm glad we got at least one dusting. Despite my love of snow I'm still a winter weather lightweight so I called it quits about fifteen minutes in, but I'm pretty sure Jake could have stayed out until it melted despite his wet and freezing toes.


january shmanuary

Jake and I have enjoyed some extra quality time together this past week due to his nose turning into a faucet and keeping us from attending our normal sanity-savers, i.e. childcare at the gym, church, and trips to Target. I don't know what's next on the teething docket and if that's to blame for the faucet-effect or if its just a run of the mill cold, but its driving both of us slightly crazy. Jake wants only to sit on my lap or scour the pantry and fridge for food (only to turn down every single option), so my attempt to get through a Jillian Michaels yoga video this morning was laughable. Jake and I sat on the yoga mat together and watched most of it. (And yet, I still worked up a sweat.) Putting him down for naps and bedtime are an hour-long affair suddenly, but there's one bright spot in that: I haven't held him while he sleeps since he was so much smaller, and his little snores are pretty cute. Oh, another bright spot: he slept in until 8:30 this morning! I guess that cancels out the incessant whining that followed. But he is slowly becoming more understandable and I appreciate every single word so much. Oh, you want to get down? Got it. You want me to come? I can do that (and every time we end up at the fridge, imagine that.)

Now that the complaints are out of my system, I do love that when he doesn't feel good he prefers me over Deric, a rarity for sure. He's more snuggly and wants to be held 90% of the day, often laying his head on my shoulder for extra sympathy points. And I do love snugglin', but Jake, if you want dinner you're gonna have to play trains for just a few minutes there sir.

PS. You're the cutest cracker eater I know.