On Sunday we had a few friends over for pizza. For dessert we ate way too much candy while we decorated gingerbread houses. Actually they were cardboard houses covered with graham crackers, but whatever. No one actually eats the gingerbread anyway, right?
Jared was the only one who got the idea of an action shot.
And the finished products:
(Patrick and Keegan)
(Nancy, Hazel, and Justin)
(Jared and me)
I think Jared had the best roof. It was made with nilla wafers. But I really liked Justin and Nancy's love wall. It was lots of fun. Can't wait to do it again next year.
We celebrated Luke's birthday over a few days. On his actual birthday (Saturday) he woke up bright and early and found his presents (that I had stashed in the corner of my room) before I had a chance to wrap them. He didn't see to mind that he didn't get to tear any paper off of a present. He's not a big fan of that part anyway. But he WAS THRILLED to discover "ki-oh-kee." I found this at a thrift store for $5.25 and knew that Luke would love it. His favorite part is that he can see the CD spinning. To be honest, that's the ONLY part he cares about. He hasn't used the microphones at all. He turned the CD player on and off over and over and over all morning.
Ignore Jared talking in the background and ask yourself this question: How many times could I listen to the first 10 seconds of Joy to the World without wanting to rip my ear off? Apparently, for Luke, it will take days. (He still hasn't gotten there.)
We went to Luke's all-time favorite place Chick fil' A for lunch (It's becoming somewhat of a tradition), and this year the Taylors joined us. Caleb is Luke's best buddy.
Usually Luke doesn't want to leave, but this time when I said we had to go, I didn't even have to do the "say good-bye" rituals like I normally do. He just yelled, "Go Luke's house! Ki-oh-kee!" There was a HUGE meltdown at nap time because Luke didn't want to stop playing with his karaoke machine. I'm not exaggerating when I say huge. He cried for over 40 minutes. Finally, after threatening to throw karaoke in the dumpster and after he wore himself out Luke went to sleep. From that point on, he's been okay to put karaoke away after telling it good-bye. Good thing too because I was serious about getting rid of it.
Luke got a few other presents too. With my mom and dad's money, I got him his very own rice cooker. Yes, you read that correctly. A rice cooker. To go along with his blender and mixer.
Caleb gave him a drill that spins. "It's spinning! It's spinning!" He carried it all over the Chick fil' A play gym.
Luke also got a new kid k'nex dump truck. He likes to load the bolts from his drill set into the truck and dump them out.
I had planned to do some of Luke's favorite things on his birthday (besides Chick fil' A). We were going to go to Yankee Candle to throw pennies in the fountain, and we were going to go to Target ("Circle Store") to see the blow dryers. (No really. Luke LOVES the blow dryer aisle in Target because they have samples of the blow dryers down the entire left side of the aisle. He wants to pick up each blow dryer. He says, "It's off. Yep. It's off. It's all done," and then he moves to the next one and says the exact same thing. And he wants to do it to all 20 of them-- down the aisle and back again.) Alas. He didn't want to leave the house. He just said, "Yuke's house. Ki-oh-kee." So that's what we did pretty much all day until the karaoke machine lost its ultimate appeal, and then he just wanted to play with his rice cooker.
We waited until Monday for the cake and candles because we still had so many Thanksgiving leftovers through the weekend. Luke was pretty upset by the idea of cupcakes or cake. He wanted to make cookies, so we had birthday cookies instead. Luke loved blowing out the candle. Here's the first go-round.
He took just two bites... and then wanted the candle lit again. He kept saying, "Turn it on. Turn it on." So Jared re-lit it...
about 10 times.
On Thursday we had his birthday party at the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex. They have a bounce house area that is only $3 per family on Thursday mornings. Score! The party went smoothly for the most part. There were only 4 crazy things that happened.
#1. When we first got there (to the parking lot), Luke was very upset because it wasn't the bounce house place we had been to before. So he started to cry for the bounce houses. Once he saw them he stopped crying, but he also refused to go into the bounce area. I was worried that I would have to sit outside in the hallway with him while all of his friends got to play. But once Caleb, Rachel, Sophie, and his other friends arrived he went right on in. So no big deal.
I didn't think Luke would bounce because he wouldn't bounce when Megan and Taylie took him to Inflation Nation when they came to Virginia when Micah was born. And when he went to Inflation Nation with Nathan, Skyler, and Sarah it took him over an hour before he would even touch a bounce house. I expected him to do this the entire time:
check out the fans that blow up the bounce houses. (In the Thanksgiving post, I talked about how Micah loves Nancy. Luke does too. He kept making her sit down to show her the fan.)
Nancy's daughter, Hazel, also liked the fan. But not as much as Luke. No one likes fans as much as Luke.
In this picture, Luke was trying to convince Keegan to turn the fan off. It didn't work. She wouldn't do it.
Here are some of his friends and my friends at the bounce house of choice for most of the smaller kids.
The babies slept mostof the time.
Crazy thing #2: I was talking to a friend and scanned the room to look for Luke. He was standing in the middle of the room with his pants around his ankle yanking at his diaper tabs. So I ran over and reminded him that we have to wear our pants. Not sure what was going on his head-- he's never done that before.
Crazy thing #3: The bounce house closed at 11:30. While everyone was gathering their things together to get ready to leave, Luke went over to the big bouncy slide and watched his friend Luke P. climb up the ladder. He started saying, "Climb up." I thought he meant that Luke P. was climbing but when my Luke started trying to get on the bounce slide I realized that HE wanted to go. So I took him up one time.
He loved it and shouted "Again! Again!" But it was closed. The other houses were already deflating. Leave it to my kid to refuse all bounces until it's no longer an option and then throw a fit about it.
But for $3, we'll go back again soon.
Crazy thing #4: On the way out Luke wandered off. I thought he was with a friend up ahead but he wasn't. While looking down the hallway, I heard a little , "Hello? How's it going?" coming from an office to my right. Luke was in the office pretending to talk on the phone. Oops. Sorry about that, Head Manager.
I guess Luke must have had a great time and tired himself out because when we got home he actually SENT HIMSELF TO BED-- he told me "go night-nights," went to his room, climbed up on the bed, pulled up his "green sheet" and fell right asleep. He's definitely never done that before.
Luke had his 3 year check-up last week, and Micah had his 2 month check-up yesterday. As Jared's sister, Rachel, said of her boys, "I just keep feeding and watering them," and it's working for us too because our boys are growing. Here are the stats:
Height: 36.5 inches (23rd percentile)
Weight: 31 lb 8 oz (50th percentile-- don't know how because he doesn't eat anything)
Head Circumference: 20 inches (60 something percentile. For some reason the exact percentile isn't on the print out.)
Height: 23.25 inches (64th percentile)
Weight: 11 lb 11 oz (50th percentile)
Head Circumference: 15.5 inches (36th percentile)
I can't believe how fast Micah is growing. In 2 months he's grown 4 inches and gained over 4 pounds! It's his growth in length that really blows me away. I think I'm going to be pulling out the 3-6 month clothes this weekend because I can barely zip up most of his sleepers. He was very calm at the doctor's office until his shots. He didn't like that at all and screamed pretty intensely, but he calmed down quickly. Later in the afternoon, however, he hot really upset and screamed intensely again for almost 30 minutes before falling asleep. He seems much better and happier today.
Luke was a nut at his check-up. He was opening drawers and trying to push buttons. He even crawled into the cabinet under the examining table and discovered that there are cabinets that open on the other side as well, so he kept crawling through the examining table in his very own tunnel. He was pretty good for the doctor, but he started freaking out as soon as he saw the nurse. I guess he remembered his flu shot from a few weeks ago. Poor kid. He's getting a second dose tomorrow. But I'll bring him a cookie and some chocolate milk to make it better.
This year Nancy arranged for a student Thanksgiving dinner which ended up being only 4 out of the 20ish couples.
(This is Nancy, and Micah loves the way she holds him. She can always calm him down.)
But having a small group turned out to be very nice. I got to talk to Melissa Howell a lot more than I ever had before. That was fun because now I feel like we are better friends now. We all met at the church which was great because 3 out of the 4 moms have nursing babies and all of us had kids. So we had a perfect Mother's room for feeding newborns and all the nursery toys for keeping the older kids entertained.
We had a full table-- turkey, ham, stuffing, green bean casserole, jello salad, cranberries, rolls, sweet potatoes, corn, and lots of desserts. Yum! After we ate the boys played a game of Risk and the girls chatted. Time went by so fast! Before we knew it, it was 7:30 and bed time for the kids. I still can't quite figure out how the time passed so quickly. But we did follow one tradition before we broke it up and went home. In Keegan's family, they would take turns naming things they were Thankful for until they had reached 100 things. So we did the same thing. With 8 of us, we each had to list 12 or 13 things we were thankful for. It was a great exercise in recognizing blessings and it led me to do the previous post. It's a tradition that I would like to continue in our family each year. And before we left, I had Melissa take a quick family picture-- our first since Micah joined the family.
Luke had a blast as well. He spent most of the time playing with the "CD play-der" that is kept (usually) in the kitchen at the church and the rest of the time chasing Rachel and Caleb and screaming.
All in all, a great Thanksgiving.
P.S. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving birthday, Michael!
I have always had a lot to be grateful for, but his year I feel especially blessed and would like to write down some of the greatest blessings in my life right now. I think it would be easiest to do it is list format, but even so this will undoubtedly be really long as I want to expound on many of them.
1. JARED: I love Jared so much. He is an exceptional husband and father. I think he has been under-appreciated lately even as he has stepped up and tried so hard to help me more. I take out my sleep-deprivation on him, but he has arranged his schedule so that I can sleep in most mornings. He takes Micah when he knows I need a break. He helps with Luke when I can't get to him because I'm feeding Micah. And not only that but he tells me I'm beautiful. He lets me rant about my day and complain about my frustrations. He listens to my "deep" thoughts. He laughs at my lame jokes, and he truly loves me back. And most of the time he takes out the trash. I am thankful that we are sealed in the temple. (Consequently I am very, very thankful for temples.)
2. LUKE: I love Luke's enthusiasm for life. Jared said something to me along these lines: How would it be to be so excited for the day that you couldn't fall back asleep-- you just have soooo much to look forward to? For Luke, Jared observed, a blender is enough to make it impossible for him to sleep. I think that kind of enthusiasm is amazing. I (usually) love his enthusiasm for Micah. I love that he is obedient most of the time. I love that he is gentle with babies, friends, and animals. I am thankful that he continues to make progress with speech, etc. It is so fun to see him grow up. And I am thankful that he will (knock on wood) make it to his 3rd birthday without any major illness, injuries, or setbacks in his life.
3. MICAH: I am so grateful that he is a healthy, beautiful baby. As complicated as the whole creation of a human life is- with all the processes that have to take place- each healthy baby is a miracle. I am thankful that Micah is usually a good eater and sleeper. And he is starting to smile! I am so thankful for that.
4. My body. To be honest, I wish it was thinner. But I am so thankful that it works. I made a baby! I got it out! And know I'm feeding that baby. Isn't that amazing? And to top it off all my body parts work. I am thankful that my eyes allow me to see my beautiful family and my ears let me hear them and my hands let me feel them and I can walk to get them, etc.
5. My family of origin. As the Jan in my family I got everything. I had 2 great big brothers, an awesome big sister, an amazing younger brother, and a better than terrific little sister. And in addition parents who love me and who love each other. I am so grateful for all their advice, examples, friendship, and love. I really, really believe that my life is as wonderful as it is because of them. They taught me how to make good decisions, how to (mostly) be responsible, how to exercise faith, how to parent, how to work hard, how to wait, and much, much more.
6. I have great in-laws. After reading The Art of Racing in the Rain I have truly pondered the blessings of having a wonderful in-law family. Mom and Dad Wilkerson were so wonderful to come when Micah was born. Mom sewed crib bumpers, made meals, and taught me some new recipes. And Dad was Luke's best friend for the week. Thank you for accepting and loving me.
7. I am lucky enough to have THREE great families. I have an adopted mom, Debbi; dad, Terry; sister, Jennifer; and brother, Daniel. I guess I also have an adopted dog named Annabelle though I don't think she likes me very much. I am grateful for the love and support I continue to receive from them.
8. I am thankful for Jesus Christ. I know that on the days I consciously try to follow Christ's example I am a more patient mother and a happier person. I am thankful for His example and for His power. I am thankful that I always have the ability, through His Gift, to become better, to repent, and to live again. I am thankful that through Him death is not the end of life.
9. I am thankful for prophets. I am especially thankful this month for the Ensign. I have re-read Elder Uchdorf's talk several times because it gives me comfort and strength. This is my favorite part: "My dear brothers and sisters, we would do well to slow down a little, proceed at the optimum speed for our circumstances, focus on the significant, lift up our eyes, and truly see the things that matter most." This advice has helped me let go of the house a little bit, enjoy my children more, forgive myself for the things I just can't do right now, and focus on my blessings.
10. I am so thankful that we made the decision to come to Williamsburg for school. I love it here! We have great friends and a great ward. Jared likes William and Mary. He's had many wonderful opportunities there. It's a beautiful place to live!
And for the others:
11. I am very thankful for modern medicine and that I have access to wonderful modern science. 12. I am thankful that I was born in and live in America.
13. I am thankful for my education.
14. I am thankful that I achieved my childhood dream of becoming a teacher.
15. I am thankful for our safe, clean, warm, and in all ways adequate apartment.
16. We have plenty of good food to eat and warm clothes to wear.
17. I am thankful for the Christmas season starting up. I love Christmastime!
18. I am thankful that Jared has a job for this coming summer.
19. I am thankful for good books.
20. I am thankful for Netflix, especially in the middle of the night.
21. I am thankful for helpful advice. Currently I am especially grateful for the book The Happiest Baby on the Block. It has helped a lot.
22. I am thankful for Chick fil' A-- Luke's favorite restaurant.
23. I am grateful for modern appliances (stoves, vacuums, microwaves, DVD players, etc.)
It's always nice to look at a sleeping baby or child, but there are days when it is imperative in order to help one remember the true joys of motherhood.
Monday was one of those days. It actually started out nicely thanks to Jared who let me go back to bed for awhile in the morning while he worked from home. Worked is a relative term because with Luke running around in his office he doesn't obtain a perfect level of focus, but he took one for the team.
When I got up I decided that I'd try to clean the bathrooms. Let me just say that cleaning a bathroom with Luke tagging along is like trying to clean a bathroom with a monkey tagging along. He was climbing on EVERYTHING and grabbing sponges, sucking on toothbrushes, flushing toilets, pumping soap, etc. So I decided it was a day when we needed to go outside for a bit. While I was getting ready to go, Luke went into his room to find his jacket. Pretty soon he started tattling on himself for being bad. I could hear him yelling, "No, Luke! That's so naughty!" I went over to his room where I found he had emptied both his and Micah's shirt drawers and thrown their shirts all over his bedroom floor. After cleaning that up I found his jacket and got both kids into the car. We got into the car and I looked at the clock and realized that more time had passed than I realized and it was actually lunch time, so instead of booking it right to the playground we went to Chick fil' A. Admittedly this was mostly because I wanted a pick-me-up of sorts, and while I am a little irresponsible for spending money on lunch I was very responsible by not ordering the peppermint chocolate chip milkshake that looked oh so good. Anyway, he was very well behaved at Chick fil' A but was disappointed not to swing, so we went over to the playground that is across the street. While Luke was swinging and laughing a nice mother commented on how adorable my children are. I agreed with her (nicely of course) Unfortunately after only 10 minutes or so it was Micah's lunchtime, so we didn't get to swing for very long and Luke threw an out and out HUGE fit when we had to go. I had to pick him up kicking and screaming with one arm while carrying Micah's car seat in the other. I don't think that mother found my child so adorable anymore, but I didn't catch her expression.
Once we got into the car, though, he was his angel self again and was very well behaved. He even took a good nap. Then in the afternoon it was Micah's turn to cause some problems and Luke made the most of a bad situation. We went to CW with my friend Nancy to have a short walk. Luke did not want to ride in his stroller because it limits his rock-chucking-into-garbage-cans hobby as well as his ability to dart across the street to any and every air conditioner he can find. (Which is exactly why I wanted him in the stroller in the first place). Nancy wrestled him into the stroller for me and I wrestled Micah into his baby carrier. All went well until we said good-bye to Nancy and headed into the gardens. Luke's favorite place in CW is the palace gardens, and his favorite place in the gardens is the bridge over the canal which is the prime location to throw rocks into the water and to look for fish. I let Luke out of his stroller so we could descend the 3 sets of steps to get down to the water, and he was so good on the way down. He held my hand without any argument and said a polite Hello to all the squirrels. Really. He would yell "Hi, Squirrel!" very loudly. So cute. Unfortunately right when we got down to the canal, Micah had a huge blow-out and as I was wearing him and as he started to scream for a change, we didn't make it to the bridge. Holy Luke melt-down. I had to pick him up kicking and screaming, this time in a body bind behind my back so that I could protect Micah who was strapped to my front (I hope you can picture this-- but to get the full effect you have to imagine me in black sweat pants and crocs and with my hair sticking out funny because I didn't blow dry it. The only thing missing was my "white trash" sticker stuck to my forehead. How far I have fallen. Sigh.) Anyway I carry him like this huffing and puffing back up 3 sets of stairs to strap him back into his stroller and then wheel him as fast as I can to the family restroom where I change Micah's diaper and frantically yell at Luke to get his hands out of the urinal. Next time I will park the stroller facing the opposite direction. Then I get Micah back into the baby carrier and head out. But 2 minutes later Micah decides it's time to eat and he starts screaming again. So I book it as fast as I can back to the car where I stuff Luke into the drivers seat to let him "drive" while I nurse the baby-- with no nursing cover because I forgot it and in a crowded parking lot where I had the prime spot right across the street from a fairly busy shopping center. Awesome. Amid regretting letting Luke drive (which consisted of him re-adjusting all my mirrors, opening the sunroof and turning the volume dial up full blast) Micah had another blow-out. So I had to change him on the front seat after strapping Luke into his car seat. All this added up to a pretty intense half hour.
Well we got home. Luke was good during dinner meaning he actually ate. We mixed up some cookie dough and then I put Luke in the bath. The timer went off so I ran to the kitchen to take out the cookies. I could hear Luke playing and figured all was okay so I took the time to spoon out the next batch and pop them into the oven. Mistake. When I got back to the bathroom I saw that Luke was playing by dumping cupful after cupful of water onto the bathroom floor. I finished washing him really fast and then dumped him into his room and locked the door (which is what we call "big time out" in our house) while I finished mopping up the floor. I was a bit concerned because Luke wasn't screaming his head off as he usually does during "big time out" and then I heard his tell-tale trouble warning, "Luke! That's so bad!" Dang it! I opened the door to his room. He had peed on the floor. So I cleaned that up, stuck a diaper on him, and made him finish mopping the bathroom floor. And then I stuck him in bed. It was 6:50. Luke's normal bedtime? 8 pm. But sometimes it's just time to call it a day.
But later when I peeked in on him this is what I saw:
And somehow it made me laugh. I really do have a good kid and a good life even if they're both a little crazy.
I can't believe Micah is over a month old and these are the first pictures I've taken with him!
He's such a cutie! He sleeps a lot more than Luke ever did, and when he's out he's out! I try to wake him up to make sure he's tired when I'm ready to go to bed, but it's almost impossible to make him stay awake when he doesn't want to. The only 2 sure-proof methods are changing a diaper and giving him a bath. He HATES both of these things. He gives a soft little fuss when he wants to eat. When he's poopy or getting a diaper change it's a full-out screaming wail. He still isn't on much of a schedule, but he IS going longer stretches at night. It's pretty common to get a 5 hour stretch at night before he wants to eat again. (That's 5 hours from the start of the last feeding, so I get to sleep about 4 straight hours during his long stretch. That's a big improvement from 2 hour stretches the first 4 weeks.) He loves being swaddled and held on his side. He's a big fan of his binky, and he likes to hold our fingers. He's growing a lot every week. I'm pretty sure he'll be out of his 3 month clothes by the beginning of December. His eyes look red in these pictures (oops! meant to do the red-eye reduction), but we're pretty sure they're going to be blue.
I wish I got to hold him more often. Sometimes in the middle of the night I just cuddle him after I feed him. I should probably go right back to bed, but it's the only chance I get to just completely love on Micah. During the day most of my time is still consumed by Luke. Even when I'm feeding Micah I'm yelling at Luke or listening for Luke or singing songs with Luke or reading books with Luke. And when I'm not concentrating on Luke I have so much to do with the house. So I love my little cuddle times at night. Weekends and evenings are also good for cuddling because I can play with Micah while Jared wrestles Luke, but at night when it's all quiet... I love that the most.