Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from our Little Turkey!



We want to wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving. We hope all of you spend time with loved ones today and let them know how thankful you are to have them in your life.

Enjoy some photos of our "Little Turkey" on this first Thanksgiving morning!

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories


The holidays are just around the corner.

I know this. Yet, I keep telling myself they are not.

Three and half months ago when I lost my Dad, people told me the holidays will be tough. I thought to myself, "Why would the holidays be tougher than any other day?". My dad was a larger-than-life figure in my every day world. I couldn't imagine how Thanksgiving or Christmas would be any different.

I talked to my Dad everyday by phone (sometimes two times a day). I had a routine of calling my parents before I went to bed every night. I had done it since college and my routine never changed after getting married. Justin would even remind me if I was busy with something at
home. Needless to say, my Dad was a large part of my life and so I didn't understand why the holidays would make me miss him anymore than any other day.

Now that the holidays are approaching - I understand. The holidays are harder.

I grew up with an amazing family. I had two parents who taught my sisters and I that the holidays were about family and family traditions. They created such amazing traditions for us
that we all have passed them to our own children.

In honor of my Dad, I thought I would share my Thanksgiving traditions with you.

Thanksgiving

As a little, girl my parents would make a large Thanksgiving meal. Each year we would beg my mom to use paper plates (we didn't want to wash dishes), but she always used her wedding china. Mom would make a Turkey and Dad would carve it. My sisters and I would sneak by him and grab a piece of warm turkey and my Dad would scold us to "stay out" until dinner. However, Dad would always manage to drop a few pieces of turkey for our family dog, Midnight, who always stood next to Dad while he carved the turkey. Smart dog!

During dinner we would go around the table and say what we were thankful for that year. I was always the sappy one. I would always mention how thankful I was for my family (my parents and my sisters) and I would be in tears. My sisters would roll their eyes and ask if my turn was over. I always enjoyed hearing how my parents were thankful for each other. My dad always had some wise crack...but would be very sentimental as well. I will never forget the year Michelle announced that she and Tom were "thankful for the baby they would welcome in June (Maddie)," or the year Justin was thankful for "Kristen's new rack". I was pregnant and was carrying a chest I never had before. My mom had to explain this one to my 85-year grandmother whom I am certain thought Justin was referring to plastic surgery. I will never forget my Dad's face. It was red with embarrassment, yet he was wiping the tears from his eyes because he was overwhelmed with laughter. I love that I have that memory of my Dad...even if it came because of my husband's odd sense of humor. Thanks Justin!

Each year after dinner, we would pack up our left-overs and head to downtown Indianapolis. When we were young, we would spend the night at Embassy Suites. Deb was always fascinated that the bathrooms had telephones in them. She would make me call her in the bathroom and pretend to have a "real" conversation (Hey Deb, "Chick-a Mock-a La").

The day after Thanksgiving we would head to the mall. When we were young, before Circle Center was built, we would head to L.S. Ayers. I loved looking at the window displays. I can still remember my Mom and I hunting the little girl who was ice skating around a light post in her plaid skirt. Years later, the Indiana State Museum displayed these historic window displays as an exhibit and my family made sure to see it once again.

Our shopping trips would also include a trip to the "talking tree" and the cookie shop where kids could ice their own cookies. I think more icing went into my mouth than on my actual cookie. My sisters, though much older than I, also participated in the cookie eating. :)

Last year, at the Circle of Lights with my Mom and Dad.

I can't remember a Thanksgiving that my family missed the lighting of the tree on Monument Circle. I can remember watching this event on top of my Dad's shoulders. Then there were my teen years... I watched standing a few feet away from my parents. There was the first year I took Justin with me... Justin watched the tree lighting while talking with a homeless man (he has a soft heart) while I held my Dad's hand. On the other side of my Dad, my Mom was holding my Dad's other hand. As the years went by...a grand-daughter or grand-son watched the tree lighting on top of my Dad's shoulders...just like I once did.

The past 5 or 6 years, we have put the meaning of "black Friday" to shame. You would have thought that just my sisters and my mom would be up a 5 a.m. for black Friday shopping. Not a chance! My Dad wouldn't have missed out on the fun in a million years. To this day we continue our hotel stay in downtown Indy...so we always meet in the lobby at 5 a.m. on black Friday. My sisters and I joke in the elevator that we will most likely need to wait on Mom and Dad... Every year...my folks sat in the lobby...waiting on us. My Mom would be applying her make up...Dad would have on his "robber cap", as we called it, and his leather coat with cigars in his pocket.

I loved our shopping trips. Dad would drop us off at the door. He would park and read the paper. He would smoke his cigars and talk to other men doing the same. Sometimes, especially if we were at a toy store shopping for grand kids, he would venture inside. He would complain about the crowd, but would always walk out with a gift better than any of us could come up with.

I'm sure there are many other Thanksgiving memories that I could share...ones that I'm sure will come to me in the next few days. It will tug at my heart when I can't turn to my Dad and say, "Hey, Dad - remember when...".

I think I am in a little shock that I am about to celebrate my first holiday without my Dad. But it is fitting that it is Thanksgiving. I will forever be thankful for my father.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Not a fan of peas!




We have been trying lots of different baby foods lately. I put off peas for as long as I could.

I hate peas. Why would I make Jackson eat them.

I finally bought some and added them to Jackson's
menu.

Check the photos above to see how well he likes them.

His trick? He never swallows. We keep giving him more and he just stores the peas in his cheeks...just like a chipmunk.

I guess he has the cheeks for it. :)

This week, we are moving on to green beans. I will keep you posted.
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Can Mom's call in sick?

I had the flu on Friday.

It has been going around my office and a few of my friends have had it. I was hoping to avoid it, but that wasn't in the cards.

I woke up Thursday night sick. Usually, I just would have called in sick to work and rested with soup and soaps (daytime soaps can cure any illness). But this time, I had someone else to worry about. While I was up sick, my mind raced with all the times I had hugged and kissed Jackson earlier that day. I was certain he would have it.

I did call in sick to work and spent most of the day in bed. Ashley was here to help with Jackson. However, it was tremendously hard not to hug and kiss Jackson each time I peeked out of my bedroom. I felt like he would think I was ignoring him. That is when I decided Moms should get to call in sick. We need to be excused from our Mom duties. We need time to take care of ourselves and rest up for the next day.

I think that should be a bylaw of motherhood....

Lucky for me, Ashley and Justin were a great help! And...Jackson doesn't seem to think I ignored him too much. I'm felling much better and will be back to work tomorrow!

P.S. So far, I'm the only in my house who has had this horrible bug. Keep your fingers crossed.

I hope all my flu buddies are feeling better too!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jackson hit the scales!


I'm ready for the larger car seat. So is Jackson.

Jackson is no longer comfortable in the pumpkin seat. His feet hang over the bottom...not to mention the buckles are so tight around his big belly.

Jackson needs to weigh 22 lbs to use the larger car seat. As you can see, we've got two more pounds to go.

We are going to start feeding him steak.
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A new toy!


He had to stop for a minute to watch a little ESPN.

Justin and I have noticed that lately Jackson's infant toys are not keeping his interest very much. We know Santa will bring lots of new toys for him at Christmas so we haven't gotten him many new ones. Tonight, I made a trip to Target (we live next door - that is soooooo dangerous for me). I couldn't help but buy Jackson a new toy. I stuck with an oldy, but a goody....you find the shape that matches and drop the toy in the box. The age was 6m+.

I showed Jackson how to play...then he showed me his way. Pick up the toy...and chew on it!

What can I say...he's teething!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What happened to my face?


Tonight my sister, Michelle, e-mailed me asking for some pictures. I am known as the family "photographer." If you are looking for a photo...chances are I have it. So, here I am sitting at my computer...hunting for her photo.

I came across this photo. This was taken last Easter.

I am officially not speaking to any of my friends or family.

Someone should have told me that my face looked like it had been stung by 100 bees. Also, standing to the side when you are 8 months pregnant is not a good idea!

Ok....back to searching for Michelle's photos...
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Even my son loves a good manicure!



Every girl loves spending her Saturday getting a pedicure and a manicure.

I lucked out and married a man who liked joining me on my trips to the nail salon. Justin has always gotten teased from the other men in my family about his pedicures and manicures. He claims it is just good hygiene.

I have been a bit surprised how calm Jackson is while we cut his nails. It is almost like he enjoys it. :)

Perhaps, he is like his Dad...and enjoys a good manicure!
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Monday, November 17, 2008

First big boy bath!

Tonight, we gave Jackson his first "big boy bath" He loves his new bath seat. He can splash all he wants without getting it all over me. Not that I ever really cared too much. He is so fun during bath time! Tonight was no different.

Perhaps Santa will bring some fun bath toys....

Enjoy a short video and some photos from the main event!




video

Jackson's 6 month photos are here!

We had Jackson's 6 month photos taken last week. It was a rainy day, but the photographers made it work and we still got some amazing photos of our little guy.

Justin and I love the one above!!

You can check out a few others on the photographer's blog here: http://brandphotodesign.blogspot.com/2008/11/jackson-is-six-months-old.html

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You're Gonna Miss This...

Moments after becoming parents

Jackson at 6 months

When I was pregnant, I found a country song that really "hit home" with me. I would find myself walking into work in tears because I had just heard the song on the radio.

The song? Your'e Gonna Miss This, by Trace Adkins.

The song talks about how a newlywed couple should slow down and enjoy their years just the two of them. Justin and I wanted to be parents more than anything...but this song sent me into tears. I loved our time with just the two of us and I couldn't imagine giving it up.

I remember calling my sister, Deb, upset after hearing the song. She told me to listen to the rest of the lyrics...she said they would make me feel better. I remember listening to it over and over and I never felt any better. I finally just quit listening to the song. It would come on the radio and I would turn it off.

Tonight, Justin and I watched the 2008 CMA awards. Trace Adkins performed this song. I decided not to turn it off. Of course, I ended the song it tears once again. But this time, it was because I finally understood the last verse.

In the last verse, the same couple have kids years down the road. A plumber reminds the mother to slow down and enjoy her kids...she "will miss them when their gone". This time, this is the verse that sent me into tears.

Now, just 6 months into parenthood, Justin and I couldn't imagine life without Jackson.

Jackson is what makes us a family.

For those who aren't familiar with the song, I have posted the lyrics below. Please read them. I think most people can relate to some part of the song.

For me, it was the last verse that "hit home".

You're Gonna Miss This

She was staring out the window of their SUV

Complaning, saying "I can't wait to turn 18"

She said "I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules"

Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school


Then she kissed her head and said "I was just like you"

You're gonna miss this

You're gonna want this back

You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast


These are some good times

So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you're gonna miss this


Before she knows it she's a brand new bride

In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by

He tells her "It's a nice place"
She says "It'll do for now"
Starts talking about babies and buying a house

Daddy shakes his head and says "Baby, just slow down"


Cause you're gonna miss this

You're gonna want this back

You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you're gonna miss this


Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater

Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
And she keeps apologizin'

He says "They don't bother me.

I've got 2 babies of my own.
One's 36, one's 23.

Huh, it's hard to believe, but...


You're gonna miss this

You're gonna want this back

You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast

These are some good times

So take a good look around

You may not know it now

But you're gonna miss this"
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Wave "bye-bye" Jackson!

Wave "bye-bye, Jackson!"
These are words that have been repeated over and over at our place for about a week now.

My mom had been baby-sitting for a couple of days and she came back and said she and Jackson had been working on waving. Justin and I continued to work on it with him. This weekend, he had it down pat! There was just one problem. Jackson wouldn't let us catch it on camera.

So, we decided to out smart our 6-month old son. I fed him sweet potatoes and Justin filmed the magical moment from behind the highchair.

Check it out!
video

We love to watch Jackson's new trick. He waves when we are cooking dinner, when we arrive home from work, and our favorite - at 6 o'clock in the morning! It doesn't matter when it is...we love to watch him grow and learn each day.

He is getting so big. If we are not careful...we will blink and he will be waving "bye-bye" as he pulls out of the drive way with his girlfriend in the car...and I, of course, will be in the back seat joining them.

Only kidding...sort of! :)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jackson!


Dear Jackson,

This week marks your 6th month birthday.

I can’t believe you have only been in our lives for 6 months. It seems we have been a family forever. It is as if we knew you before you were truly you.

I want you to know what a gift you have been to your father and I. You brighten our lives each day with your adorable smile. We love watching you grow and develop. Each new milestone is a milestone for us too. We love to celebrate your achievements and I promise we will continue to do so as you grow older.

These past 6 months our lives haven’t been what I expected at all. I knew I would love you and I would cherish my time with you. I knew you would rely on your Dad and I to care for you and help you grow. However, I didn’t know how much we would rely on you.

Jackson, you have been our strength when we didn’t have any these past few months. You have been our joy when it was hard to find any. You have been our hope when life seemed to not have it. You have been our reason to continue to love life.

I am not sure how I would have gotten through these past few months without you. You have been my rock and you don’t even know it. We are all put on this earth for a reason. I will never doubt that God gave us you to help us move forward through something very difficult. I will forever be grateful to you.

However, I know this is not the only reason you are here. I know there are bigger and better things in your future. I don’t know what they are. But I can only imagine the possibilities. If you are capable of being this amazing strength for our family at just 6 months…I can only imagine what the rest of your life holds. I can’t wait to find out!

I love you.

Mom (Any chance this could be your first word?)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

His toes must be yummy!





Though we have tried several baby foods (squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots), Jackson's favorite snack is still his toes. Check out his latest bath photos!

Hey Jackson...need any salt or pepper? :)

P.S. I finally got some time to add some more photos to the web album. Check them out if you have time!
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Carrots are a hit!


Jackson loves carrots! However, they are officially the messiest baby food we have tried so far. These pictures were too cute not to share them.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get your tissues ready!

I had been told by many people to watch this video. The story is very inspirational and has taught me to enjoy every minute I can with Jackson.

Justin and I are so lucky to wake up each day to such a happy-healthy baby boy.

Elliot and his parents are very inspirational.

Please watch the video...but have tissues near by.


Click on link below to watch video.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6Njr-qkq0

We are 3 cents richer!


If you read this blog often you know about the "'pennies from heaven" theory that was told to me when my Dad died. This theory is still helping me when I am missing my Dad.


This weekend when we were moving, Justin and I would stop what we were doing and say "he should be here". He wouldn't have missed it. He would have gotten a kick out of bossing Justin and the other son-in-laws about how best to pack the truck. He would have directed them with a cigar in his hand.


I stopped Justin as he was loading a box on to the truck and told him how much I was missing my Dad. He told me that he found two pennies on the truck earlier that morning. He knew Dad was with us and probably celebrating us moving closer to our families.


Later that day, a friend and I were unloading some stuff from the car. As I had an armful of items, I looked down to see a penny right next to my car. I shouted, "I found a penny!" I'm not sure who I thought was listening...but it made my day.


Justin and I both kept the pennies we found. We are three cents richer...but of course these pennies joined all the other "pennies from heaven" we have collected.


Thanks, Dad.

Thank you!!

After four days of moving, we are beginning to get settled into our apartment. Justin and I have decided that moving a three story home into a three bedroom apartment is sort of impossible. However, we know it is only temporary. We are just going to enjoy being closer to our wonderful family and friends.

Speaking of our wonderful family and friends…Justin and I owe a huge thank you to all the great people who helped us move this weekend.

We owe a huge thank you to the following people:

John Bixler
Tom Boyd
Greg Pope
Scott Travis
Adam McCord
Sara McCord
Charlotte Symmes
Penny Bixler
Grandma Evy (the chicken and noodles were great!)
Shelly Chamberlain (thanks for babysitting Jackson)

We appreciated all of our friends and family helping us this past weekend. We are so excited to be living closer to all of you!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Still moving...

I just wanted to post a short post to let you know that we are STILL MOVING!

About right now...the "way to expensive" quote the moving company provided isn't sounding so bad. I'm about to get out the checkbook!

I better get back to work....Justin doesn't like to see me taking a break! He is getting bossy!

We hope everyone is having a better weekend than we are having!