so happy togetherrrrr

Well, at least two of the three are.

I promise Jake was enjoying the afternoon (and loves us), but he was completely and utterly concerned about whether or not a train would be visiting our favorite park. So concerned--no, obsessed-- was he that he wouldn't play on the playground and couldn't take more than one bite of his lunch without asking "train?" and pointing to the tracks. We finally all settled onto the park bench to wait for a train (that never came) and eventually Jake began to wander around, giving Deric and I a few moments to sit back and enjoy the perfect weather. Jake rarely explores on his own, usually asking either Deric or I to "tome" with him, so we were happy to see him exercising his independent side.

Back at home, Jake went down for his nap while Deric and I knocked out weeding a flower bed and cleaning up some stumps we had removed a few weeks ago. Dinner with friends rounded out a pretty good Saturday in my book. And now on to a week that, so far, has temps above 60 every day!


a good start to Spring Break

Not that Spring Break is actually any different for us than any other week, but 70 degree sunny days at the start of the week sure did make it feel like a vacation from the norm. We were outside all day every day from Sunday to Tuesday, playing hard and even getting slight sunburns! We hit up the park, the playground, grilled burgers in the backyard with friends, went for a run, geocached with friends, and kept the windows open all day. Cooler temperatures today are a bit of a disappointment but at least we squeezed all we could out of those gorgeous few days!

Enjoying a pizza dinner with some of our college students on a rare Sunday night at home.

Walking over to pick up Dad from work.

We'll have to try this geocache again, we looked everywhere! Even Jake helped, tapping the bricks and looking in the cracks.


Jake // 22 months

Jake is too quickly approaching two years old so I should probably stop thinking of him as my baby, but I just can't! While he's definitely a "kid" in a lot of ways, he's still got some babyish traits lingering that I love, like when I pick him up when he's tired and he immediately shoves his hands under his belly and sticks his booty out. Or when he gets his pacifier before naps/bedtime, he'll start murmuring contentedly. But you know, other than those two things, I can't think of many baby traits left. Sigh.

Jake's definitely not a morning person (wonder where he gets that from?) and while he'll usually call for me in the morning, he's much happier if Deric's the one to go get him. He's for sure an introvert, taking quite a while to warm up to most people and situations but eventually having a good time. He continues to be incredibly helpful, especially if we need anything thrown into the trash or vacuumed with the hand vac. 

If he's feeling funny, Jake will yell out "cupcake!" or more recently "peaches!" and belly laugh until his face gets red, which makes us laugh too. In his not so funny moments, he gets frustrated very easily and will throw anything nearby to show his anger, but is good about picking up those toys and putting them back where they were. Any sternness from Deric sends Jake into tears because man, does that kid love his dad. Thankfully, he's quick to get over his frustration and can be back to smiling in no time.

Jake loves to count to himself (1-3-5-6-7-8910!) and recite his ABCS (A-B-C-H-I-J and repeat), and the ABC repertoire especially makes me laugh because he's just so proud of himself. The kid's got a lot of quirks and we love every bit of him, even when he's a scowling introverted early waker. 


new kid in town

We had a little visitor at the house today and I was completely surprised by Jake's behavior around her. I figured I'd have to keep a close eye on him because he might accidentally drop something on her or be too rough, but he was so gentle! And very interested too. Almost every time I came back into the room he was standing near her. At one point in the afternoon, she was on the play mat and Jake came to sit right (and I mean right) next to her, so we spent a few minutes talking about the baby (and trying to say her name, so funny!). Jake was totally enthralled by her duck pajamas, especially the duck footies. We named her head and her fingers, her feet and her belly and he loved to touch her head and hold her hand. Even after she was picked up, Jake would ask "baby?" every time he saw some of the baby toys out. Granted, the entire day wasn't quite so warm and fuzzy-- we had a few jealousy flare-ups on Jake's part and a few well-coordinated meltdowns between the two, but it was still a much smoother day than I expected. I'm going to start watching this little girl full-time after Easter so I'm glad our trial run was successful!


No-Sew Blanket for Angel Babies

Last fall, a friend of mine lost her little girl, Olivia, about halfway through her pregnancy. Her due date was a few weeks ago and to commemorate Olivia, we made some blankets to take to nearby hospitals for other "angel babies", i.e. stillborn babies or babies who passed away at any point during the pregnancy. The no-sew blankets are cut in half and then woven back together with ribbon so that the baby can be swaddled in the blanket and when mother and baby are eventually separated, one half of the blanket remains with the baby and the other half goes home with Mom and Dad.

A friend of mine coordinated this blanket project but had a hard time finding a pattern for blankets that don't require sewing, so she asked me to post her tutorial so others can make blankets without any sewing skills.

**There are two straight edges to sew but if you want a truly no-sew blanket, use iron-on adhesive instead of sewing.

1. Fold a square baby blanket/receiving blanket in half diagonally. Cut the blanket in half down your diagonal fold (or mark the diagonal line, unfold and cut).

2. Sew the freshly cut edges. To make it easy, fold your edge in about 1/2 inch first. Then sew a straight edge. (Or use your iron-on adhesive, just follow the directions on the package.)

Like so.

3. Cut (very small!) holes for the ribbon along both freshly sewn diagonal edges. Fold the edge over about 1/2 inch and cut. I didn't measure my cuts but eyeballed them to be about an inch apart. Make tiny cuts-- keep in mind that your cut will double in length when you unfold it.

4. Line up the two pieces of the blanket with right sides of the fabric in. Weave the ribbon in and out of the blanket, leaving about a foot of ribbon on either side.

5. Tie the excess ribbon into a bow on either end. I didn't leave enough ribbon on either side, hence my miniscule bows. So learn from my mistake and make a normal-sized bow.

6. Unfold, and your blanket is finished.

When we finished our blankets, we worried for a minute that they wouldn't be big enough to swaddle the babies. But most angel babies are much smaller than a full-term baby so the blankets will cover them well. When its time for mom and baby to be separated, the ribbon can be unwoven and rewoven into one side of the blanket.


family weekend, part dos

Two weekends after my family came to town, Deric's family visited last weekend to help further break up the monotony that is weekends in the winter (i.e.: play trains/ball/puzzles, trips to Target, Netflix, bake cookies and repeat). Deric's parents and his nieces stayed with us while Deric's brother and sister-in-law enjoyed some time to themselves in Gatlinburg. The big events included watching Big Hero 6 twice (hilarious, Deric was cry laughing at Fred) and hitting up a nearby children's museum on Saturday morning. I'm glad we crossed the "children's" museum off our list with some older kids in tow because I would have been sorely disappointed had we gone with just Jake. Doesn't "children's museum" put a nice mental image of a very interactive, touch-everything kind of museum in your head? Me too, so imagine my surprise when almost everything in the very first room of the museum was labeled "Please don't touch".... Right. But luckily, not every room was quite so hands-off and everyone had a good time. Just don't look for any "Children's Museum Recap!" posts in the near future.

In and around our excursion to the museum, we spent most of the weekend at home where Jake trailed after his cousins lap after lap after lap around the dining room, through the kitchen, and back to the living room to play trains and/or cars to his heart's extent. God bless grandparents and cousins, amen.


snow days (and days and days..)

Between ice, frigid temps, and finally some snow over the past two weeks, we've been...bored. So bored. Just the possibility of "winter weather" sends Knoxville into chaos, shuts everything down and brings out all the bad drivers in hordes so we've had no social interaction for quite some time. (Except for church on Sunday, during which I managed to catch the stomach flu and alienate us even more from society.)

Exactly how I feel too, man.

That said, our two-week confinement really didn't differ from our usual weekly routines. We lost out on trips to the gym (so bummed about that one!), trips to Target to "stretch our legs", and trips to the grocery store.

So to fill in those hours usually spent at our many diverse and cultured hotspots, we educated ourselves on the three basic shapes of playdoh [snakes, balls and pancakes], got really good at our four puzzles,

rearranged the train tracks again and again and again, built a fort,

 finally worked up the nerve to use fingerpaint somewhere other than the bathtub, learned most of the names of Thomas' train friends (sigh.  I'll forever hate Thomas and blame Deric for Jake's love of "Ah-mas"), learned to navigate the dining room chairs,

watched the weather for any signs of spring,

 read lots and lots and lots of books, and otherwise entertained ourselves with any and everything around the house.