18 months

I started reading the book "Raising Your Children With No Regrets" on a friend's recommendation, and I'm only halfway finished but one piece of advice has stuck with me over the past few weeks. The author said to "Become a student of your child"-- to study them and learn their mannerisms, their moods, their reactions and personality traits-- because parents teach their children about themselves. Parents help children begin to understand themselves and we may misguide our children if we only see what we want to see in our children, or if we only see their shortcomings and the things they do that drive us crazy. Our perception of them affects their perception of themselves, so we want to understand them well!

I've reminded myself off and on throughout the days of this advice and tried to really observe Jake, rather than coexist with him and make it through another day. I watched him last night before bed as he flipped through his Bible, moving his head left and right to study the pictures on each page before flipping to another page and I thought, "He is thorough". I've realized that he is very cautious outside because he motions for my hand as he steps over roots or down uneven ground. He can do his own thing for a while, playing with toys or books in the living room, but he always comes back to me and gets involved in what I'm doing. If I'm in the middle of cooking I do my best to get on his level for a minute and give him a hug, but a hug usually isn't enough so up he comes onto the counter to watch what I'm doing. Jake loves to help me unload the dishwasher or put clothes into the dryer, and he brings me things from all over the house which I have to take from him (and keep, there's no fooling him). He either talks or he doesn't, and it takes some coaxing to talk if he's feeling quiet. I'd guess he'll be an introvert because he rarely talks to other people until he's spent some time with them. Last night we were at church and I watched Jake wander through the room for quite a while, but he resisted every person's attempt to pick him up and I saw a little of myself in him: I like to be around people, but I don't always need to interact with them. Based on how many times throughout the day he sits in my lap while we read books, I think one of his love languages may be quality time.

You're our favorite kid in the entire world, J. We love you too much!


fall at its finest

We've lived in this house for three years and last night was the first time I've ever raked our yard (I didn't even realize we owned a rake!), and Jake's face in these photos made my sore shoulders worth it. He wasn't interested in jumping into the piles but loved to kick his way through all my hard work, and of course he loved to throw the leaves every which way. Kids make everything better, even already good things like crisp air and crunchy leaves.


October recap

October was a whirlwind of weekend trips, park dates to soak in the perfect weather, and adjusting to a new schedule with the start of basketball season. Here are a few moments that didn't make it to Instagram but are good memories nonetheless!
making himself at home at the Lane's // throwing leaves in the river // strolling in the park // shopping for a new winter hat (those ears!)
riding shotgun on Jake's train // whatever makes you happy, man // practicing animal noises (and motions) // things got too quiet one morning, found J reading his Bible
using sticks to explore the water // morning yogi // blossoming gymnast // playing with crisp leaves


Halloween three-peat

Trick or treating was a three night, two weekend event this year...on purpose, and not just because of the candy. I'd decided about a week in advance to sew a Native American costume for Jake and with all the sweat and frustration that went into that costume, I was determined he would wear it as much as possible. I finished sewing it about half an hour before we took Jake to a local park for the town's trick or treating event, and I was in disbelief that I had sewed something wearable...and that I'd finished it on time. And he rocked it. That little red feather sticking up behind his giant noggin, the striped cheeks and the sticks (in lieu of arrows) inside his quiver. Chief Little Britches was cuter than I imagined he would be. 

Next up was our church's Trunk or Treat event on Sunday night. Jake enjoyed looking at everyone's decorated trunks but he didn't quite understand what was going on. He had no interest in collecting candy or even holding his bucket, and ended up spending most of the evening chillin' in the back of our van with a few high schoolers and some sticks and candy wrappers for entertainment. Life of the party right there!

On Halloween night, we partied at a friend's house and trick-or-treated on their cul-de-sac which was great since our street isn't trick-or-treating friendly. After a few houses where people shoved an entire bucket of candy at Jake and let him grab what he wanted, Jake picked up on the whole idea and would march up to porches, brushing their offered piece of candy aside and trying to get at the bucket instead. It was fun to see him start to get the hang of it, but sadly freezing rain cut into our plans so we stayed inside for the remainder of the evening.

Holidays are much more fun now that Jake's more involved, and it makes me so excited for Christmas this year!