This little cutie is TWENTY TWO months old today! Just two months from his second birthday. I can’t even believe how much he has grown in recent weeks. His language has exploded, and he speaks in full sentences, perfectly able to articulate his desires and needs. He has begun potty training and is really great with going #2, but we aren’t really forcing the issue at this point. While some of Jackson’s attributes make it so evident that he is becoming a big kid, there are pieces of baby dispersed throughout his personality that serve as a welcome reminder that he is still part baby. He loves his paci (this one I could actually live without), and is the sweetest, snuggliest, loving little bug on the planet (all of these I wish to stay forever).
Jack loves anything that is classically “boyish.” He is obsessed with tractors, trucks, cards, motorcycles, firetrucks, airplanes, and being generally destructive to his safety. He started swimming lessons last month and is loving the opportunity to be in the water once a week. He can wall walk with his hands all on his own, and knows how to get himself out of the pool if he were to fall in. It’s pretty incredible.
He also has the w.o.r.s.t. tantrums in the entire universe. This is no exaggeration. He goes from “milk” to “MILK!!!” to high pitched screeching screaming dying “MMMMMIIIIIIILLLLLLLKKKKKKK!!!!!!” (The agonizing scream that makes you want to instantly punch yourself in the face). All I have to do is say “How do we ask for milk?” and he stops and sweetly says “Milk, pleeeasseeee?” and all is forgiven. He also has grown rather fond of a few choice words that I regret ever flying out of my mouth (damnit and shit are at the top of the list…). And he loves to hit - only me though.
In short, we are really settling into toddlerhood and actually enjoying all of the trials that come from a tiny being with no outlet for expression of emotions. We are learning the best ways to explain things in toddler terms and what works for us and Jackson in terms of discipline (time out is really working for us these days - he actually understands that he is in trouble, and we always have a conversation about what behavior should be altered). Each day we get to spend as his parents is such a privilege, and I have never been given a job that I love more than this one!
I am a freak about water safety. My dad has a pool, so we tend to spend a lot of time at his place in the summer months. Last year was frightening and nightmarish to say the least. Jackson was running all over the place, and I was terrified that he was going to fall into the pool and drown. I would have kept him strapped in a life vest permanently if they weren’t SO BULKY at his size. He’s like a turtle trapped on his back in those things. All of this is why I was so excited when Jackson received -a truckload of personal swim lessons as a christmas gift from his grandparents. Seriously, it was as if the heavens opened up and angels started singing hallelujah and all was right in the world. Ok. Maybe not THAT dramatic, but seriously, swimming lessons are good stuff.
Jack started his lessons 3 weeks ago, and he has been loving them! He loves anything having to do with water anyway, but after watching him splash around and learn the routines at swim, it is clear that this love is another level. The most important thing that they have been emphasizing wiht Jackson is how to get OUT of the water if he were to ever fall in. It goes Hands, Elbows, Belly, Legs!
He also learned to blow bubbles into the water:
He is also learning to jump from the edge of the pool, float, paddle, use his hands to move around the edge of the pool, and to catch his ducky toy. Its all big stuff, but lord, does he have fun with Ms. Roxanne while doing it:
After the lesson, she took him to have a bit of fun on the slides :)
If you live in the area, you should definitely check out the WARF, by the way - the indoor pool is awesome and they have a GIGANTIC slide for bigger kids too :) Bottom line, we love the pool.
You guys. Christmas. It’s magic. I haven’t been this excited about the holiday season since I was a child, and it may sound cliche, but having a child makes it eleventy million times more magical than it ever was. The best gift
we Santa got for Jackson was probably his train table. I was so excited for him to go to bed on Christmas Eve so that we could set it up for him. I knew he would react to it, but I could have never been prepared for the most adorable, sleepy-faced boy lighting up at the sight of it, and exclaiming “choo choos!!!” in his groggy morning voice.
All he wanted was to play with that train. FInally, he realized that there were toys underneath the wrapping paper, and gladly tore into them :). He took his time with each new toy and kept demanding “ofen it!” over and over until we opened every single toy and allowed him some play time before moving onto the next gift. He was over the moon.
Later in the day we scooted over to Grandma & Grandpa’s for dinner. Jackson was thoroughly spoiled there too :)
He also discovered the magic of a snow globe…and hershey kisses:
And, in the interest of not going to crazy photo-spam on you, I will leave you with this last, lovely compilation. I don’t know if I have mentioned it here, but Jackson is OBSESSED with the Psy/MC Hammer - Gangnam Style/2 Legit performance from this year’s American Music Awards. He demands it daily, and goes WILD dancing to it. Lately, though, he has been paying close attention to the choreography and mimicking the movements. Kid can gangnam style with the best of ‘em:
20 Months Already, huh? So close to two. I can’t even begin to fathom how quickly you are growing. You are my most favorite treasure. In the past few months your vocabulary has exploded. You speak in sentences, and can be quite demanding when you want something. Your unbridled joy and amazing ability to just live life to the max is beyond refreshing, and I am so grateful that I am lucky enough to spend my days with you. You are thriving, and I couldn’t ask for anything more. I celebrate you today and always.
Here are a few shots of you preparing for the holidays:
20 Months looks good on you, baby.
Heritage Farm Museum
(I am so behind on this post) Last week, my best girl and Jack’s best girl met us for lunch, and to have a play date. Becca has a great deal of experience with kids, and so she knows about all sorts of awesome places to hang out in the area and let the littles run free. B suggested that we go to this amazing place called the Heritage Farm Museum. If you live in Northern Virginia or the DC Metro. area, it is definitely worth checking out. Located in Sterling, VA, the Heritage Farm Museum’s mission is to “preserve, promote, and bring to life Loudoun’s rich agricultural heritage and the history of rural life.” (A far cry from parts of Loudoun County today). The museum has a gigantic warehouse style play area where kids can ride fake horses, tractors, and shop and a general store. It. was. awesome.
Lately, I have been plagued with a great deal of mommy-brain, so naturally I forgot my camera. Lucky for you guys, I have a smartphone. Here is our outing through the eyes of instagram:
How cute is this general store?!
Kids can go in and take a basket and fill it up with all sorts of (fake) veggies and fruit and other essentials.
They also have tiny mops, that Peyton (aka athlete) thought could be golf clubs or hockey sticks - she put them to good use:
Jackson was also very dirty - she mopped him too :)
It was actually a challenge to get Jackson to do anything BUT ride the tractors (such a boy) - he kept trying to bring one into the store:
After awhile they got tired of the store and tractors and needed to ride the horses to have a nice home-cooked meal:
And pause for a family photo:
The chicken coop had a milking cow and a bunch of fake chickens and eggs. Jackson thought it was appropriate to load up the wheelbarrow with a single egg and wheel it around.
It was so funny to watch these two. Without any encouragement, they gravitate towards such gender roles. Jackson ONLY wanted to ride the tractors for 95% of the visit. Peyton gravitated more towards shopping in the store and riding the horses. It’s so interesting to me to watch his little personality develop over time. He genuinely loves anything dealing with trucks, tractors, and trains. Such a boy. (Let me be clear - if he chose to play with dolls, and dresses, and ponies, I would be all for it - I am a fan of encouraging his interests and individuality, not gender roles, and if he identifies himself as Jacklyn and not Jackson, then cool. I am down with that!)
Bottom line - this place was awesome. I think it has GOT to be one of Loudoun County’s hidden gems. I never knew it existed, and I have lived in this area for the entirety of my life (minus college - those were a well-spent four years at the beach). Its tucked away in a little woodsy area, and is totally worth finding if you are looking for an indoor activity when the weather is cold or rainy. We can’t wait to go back!
if you want to find me on instagram, i snap photos as @christylately
October in Virginia: Pumpkins & Corn Mazes
We took Jackson to a local corn maze/pumpkin extravaganza this morning. He was in heaven. When we walked in, the first thing we saw was Peyton! We were pretty excited about that.
There was also a giant pumpkin and a really fun tractor, identical to the one my sister and I used to climb all over as children:
My favorite part was the corn maze. We grabbed a pole with a yellow flag and let J lead the way:
J’s favorite part was definitely the animals:
In fact, he did his chicken wing move and screamed “bock bock bock bock!!!!” at the chickens:
Here are a few (hundred) more photos of our day:
Lord of the Gourds:
18 Months has flown by. I can’t believe we are 3/4 of the way to two years already. It has been my greatest honor and joy in life to watch him grow each day, and I am astounded at the amazing little boy we have created. Here is to the next 18, and many, many more.
A ginormous thank you and cyber-hug to my lovely friend, Ali, for the beautiful photo.
A Very Merry Un-Birthday!
Half birthdays are a celebration in this house. Complete with a half birthday cake! I started this tradition last year when Jackson turned 6 months old. Technically, he will be 18 months old tomorrow, but I am working in the office all day, so I couldn’t be sure that I would have time to come home and make a special half cake for him, so we celebrated today instead.
What a difference a year makes. He couldn’t even eat the cake last year, and today he was sneaking tastes of the icing when I was trying to snap a few photos!
Clearly he was a little charmer while I was conducting my baking. I went with an Ombre (half)Cake this year with shades of blue:
Jackson enjoyed it very much.
18 months looks good on you, baby.
If you want to make an Ombre Cake, I posted a little tutorial here.
The Personality of a Toddler
I have been thinking a great deal about this job of parenting lately. It is a lot of responsibility. I am, in effect, in charge of another human being. I need to keep him well, feed him, protect him, and really, mold him into the best kind of man he can possibly be (more on that subject here).
With my main man Jack turning 18 months old on Wednesday (WTF! Slow. Down. Time.) I find myself being faced with new challenges in parenting. Jackson has always been curious. I have always thought of him as the Go! Do! See! type of kid, and have always enjoyed watching his independence take hold, continually trying to reign him back in when he pushes the limits too far. In recent weeks this task has become more difficult. This kid is IN-DE-PEN-DENT. It is no strange action for him to run away from me as fast as he can while squealing with delight (it’s all a game to him), he surprised me at around 7 months by climbing up the entire staircase without my knowledge. In fact, just tonight he scampered into the kitchen and within three seconds was sitting in a bar-height chair shaking salt all over the table. He is sneaky. He can push chairs to the counter and climb on them to get whatever he wants at the moment. I am thanking my lucky stars that he hasn’t started habitually climbing out of his crib yet…just a few examples of his daily antics. Needless to say, I am exhausted when bedtime rolls around.
^concentration face - could you just die?!^
Even with the exhausting nature of his daily activities and games, I adore all of the things he does - I feel like when he is truly being himself, I can see his true personality shining through all of the crazy. I have already mentioned that he is independent.He likes to hold the rail and walk down the stairs on his own. He gets mad that I brush his teeth for him and wants to do it himself. Will only eat with a fork or spoon, and he really doesn’t like to have help on many things, and will scream “NOOOO!!!!” “JAAAHHHHSOOOONNNN” or “MINE!!!” when someone tries to help, or god forbid, share his toys.
But I can also see that he is curious. So darn curious. He constantly wants to know how things work. He is in love with “toos” (tools), and is constantly trying to unscrew various things, pulls off vent covers and “hammwahs” the table daily. He loves building towers with blocks and taking his train tracks apart to reconfigure them in wavy tracks.
Jackson is SMART. Just the fact that, at 18 months old, he can push a chair to the counter to climb and get what he wants astounds me. Further, he understands every single word I say, and can follow two and three step directions. It’s unbelievable. He counts to three all the time, and mimics everything we do, his itsy bitsy spider moves are my fave so far. Also, he has taken a liking to calling me Christy (issty!), and my husband Zac (zat!). He also has mimicked his grandpa in….disposing of stink bugs wtih a fly swatter. He took a spatula out of the kitchen drawer, and walked into the living room the other day and hit a piece of dirt and said “BUCK!!!” (jackson speak for bugs).
My boy is also very…regimented. He likes things to be a certain way all the time, including his daily schedule. He is very punctual, waking up at the same time every day, and if I miss naptime by more than a half hour, he will either come to me and say “nigh nigh?!?” or he will grab his blanket and lay on the floor and say “nigh nigh mamas!”
I can also see how much of a littleboyhe is. It is seemingly inherent to him. Never in his life has he shown any interest in the toys and things that society would deem “girl toys” (I wouldn’t mind at all if he did - he can play with all the barbies he wants). Even when having play dates with his lady friends, he gavitates to the more “manly” toys. He is OBSESSED with trains, tractors, and trucks. He loves mickey mouse, but has no idea who minnie mouse is, and I swear he spends hours each day riding his “truck truck” which is a yellow, construction ride on toy that makes all sorts of beeping and gravel crushing noises.
Most of all, what I see from his personality each day is that he is sweet. So very sweet. A million kisses. That is what I get every day. I get endless hugs, and a bazillion cuddles. He says “luh you” regularly, and his genuine, unabashed love of life is the most refreshing, invigorating, inspiring thing I have experienced. I am so very lucky to have him. And, as much as a responsibility as this parenting thing is, it is the most rewarding, wonderful, exhilarating job I could have ever dreamed of. I don’t think I ever really grasped the purpose of my place in this world until he joined me here.
my best buddy.