Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Festival at Daycare

Friday evening was the Fall Festival at Jackson's daycare.  As expected, he cried when we dressed him in his bear costume.  He wanted to be held, until he saw his favorite teacher.  He ran up to her and she helped him "fish" for candy after smothering him with hugs.

Our little hoarder was perfectly content helping himself to unlimited candy.  There were all kinds of age appropriate games (miniature corn hole, ring toss, bobbing for doughnuts, duck pond, etc) but he was happier running around the gym.  Jack didn't actually play any of the games, but he managed to confiscate an impressive amount of candy.

Jesse and I put most of the candy back when he was distracted, though Jackson still indulged in a Twix and some taffy.

It was after 7, so Jackson left a very tired bear!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Discovery Place

After the disappointment of the pumpkin patch, I talked Jesse into a family outing to our favorite museum.  Even though we have a family membership, we hadn't gone in several months.  It was so much fun to see how much more engaged Jackson was in the various exhibits.  He could climb up the stools to peer into the aquariums all by himself.

 He was also able to go across the rope bridge through the rainforest exhibit!  He was initially cautious but became increasingly confident.
Jackson was also intrigued by the bed of nails.  Jesse was reluctant to put him on the rising bed of nails, but Jack was surprisingly still. 
Another exciting exhibit was the "floating" balls.  Jackson enjoys blocking the airway to make the balls fall, or to use it as a fan and blow his hair back.
Jackson's favorite feature is the mega-water station.  There are rubber vests that the kids are supposed to wear, but Jackson screams wildly and rips them off.  Needless to say, this was our last stop and we left with a soaking wet toddler. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Patch Fail

Our experiences with the pumpkin patch has been a bit disastrous this year.  Last week we tried to go to a farm but were appalled at the fees to get inside.  This week we went to the same farm as last year, which is free and filled with fields of pumpkins.  Unfortunately, Jackson was in no mood to be bothered.  He fell asleep in the car and couldn't quite recover from his sleepish state.  He refused to give up his pacifier and he demanded to be carried most of the time.  There were so many adorable photo opportunities with wagons, hay, pumpkins, fences, and more.  He was going to have none of that!  Here are the best pictures from dozens of crying pictures.

He was moderately intrigued by the pumpkins until he tripped and fell. 

The only thing that made Jack happy was unlimited kettle corn, and even that was a temporary fix.

We all left frustrated and without any pumpkins!

18 Month Well Check

Jackson had his 18 month well check this past Thursday.  They were short staffed and the appointment took almost two hours!  Jack passed the time by pushing around chairs.

Here are his stats:

8 lb, 15 oz
21.75 in
14 in
1 Month
11 lb, 1 oz
23.25 in
15.25 in
2 Month
12 lbs, 15 oz
25 in
15.75 in
4 Month
14 lbs, 4 oz
25.75 in
16.5 in
6 Month
16 lbs
27 in
17.5 in
9 Month
19 lbs
29 in
18 in
12 Month
21 lbs, 5 oz
30 in
18.5 in
15 Month
23.2 lbs
31.5 in
19 in
18 Month
24 lbs, 15 oz
33 in
19 in

The doctor wasn't worried about his head circumference.  She said the nurse probably read it wrong.

Jackson is still taking prescriptions for reflux and ointment for dermatitis.  We've already noticed an increase in dry, cracked skin since the seasons are changing.  (Note: This is not the kind of dry skin lotion can cure.  It's the kind that cracks and leaves creases in the folds of his armpits, behind his knees, and along his feet that can ooze.)

According to the 18 month survey, Jackson has highest ranks in problem solving and social skills.  He is definitely behind in communication, which we already knew.  We were referred for a speech evaluation.  The doctor told us to expect a phone call and home visit from the speech pathologist to evaluate his speech.  She also warned us that they wouldn't likely do anything until he was two years old.

We did opt for the flu shot, and Jackson also got the Hepatitis A shot which is required by our daycare.  Of course, there were lots of tears involved during the two shots, and he was pretty clingy the rest of the evening. 

That's all the updates on our boy!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Anniversary Trip

Jesse and I decided we wanted to do something special to celebrate our five year wedding anniversary.  Oct. 13 happened to fall on a Saturday this year, which was the perfect excuse to spend the weekend in Boone.  This was the place where Jesse and I met, fell in love, and married.  The biggest debate was whether we would bring Jackson or allow him to stay with his MiMi and PaPa.  I knew I couldn't spend a whole weekend away from Jackson, so we agreed to just spend Saturday night alone in the mountains, after we had some family time at the pumpkin patch that morning. 
We packed our bags and headed to Patterson Farms.  Jesse and Jackson cracked me up during lunch! 
We didn't actually end up picking any pumpkins, due to the $24 fee for our family to enter the field!  The cost included face paint, corn hole, corn maze, etc, all of which Jackson is too young to enjoy.  We settled for a cute family photo and running around the field.
We then headed to Jesse's parents.  The last time Jackson was at his MiMi and PaPa's house he came running through the living room carrying scissors and a knife.  Jeff thought he would be funny by rounding up all the scissors for Jackson to play with.  Thankfully, I appreciate his humor.  Jackson was in good hands, and Jan texted us several pictures and updates throughout the trip.
It was an easy drive to Boone.  After checking in at the infamous Boone Trail Motel, Jesse and I took a leisurely stroll around campus and downtown.  ASU was on fall break, so the campus was strangely quiet.  We were able to go inside our old dorm and walk up and down the halls where we first met.  I forgot how breathtaking the campus is in the fall.
Our next stop was Howard's Knob.  Jesse had managed to spend four years of college without ever going to the top.  I have distinct memories of praying for my car to make it up the ridiculously steep roads.

Jesse and I decided that we would take advantage of our evening away from Jack by staying out late (aka past 7:30 p.m.), splitting a pitcher of beer, and enjoying one anothers company.  We had a restless evening as the hotel room had blinding lights shining through the windows and noisy neighbors.  We both awakened to gunshots at some point during the night.  I suppose that's what you get for paying $30 a night for a hotel!

Sunday morning we splurged on a lavish country breakfast at Dan'l Boone Inn.  I talked to a few old co-workers who still work there.  After breakfast we headed to Moses Cone Center.  We took a spontaneous 6 mile hike.  I nicknamed Jesse the Wolly Worm Murderer as he kept accidentally stepping on wolly worms.
We were literally amidst clouds once we got to the top.  While the view was disappointing, it was an invigorating, carefree hike that we would not have been able to enjoy if Jackson were with us.

After lunch at one of Jesse's favorite pizza places, we headed back home.  We made a final stop on an overlook to admire the beauty one last time.

All in all, I could not have asked for a better trip or a better husband!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wedding Bliss

Our family had the pleasure of celebrating the wedding of a friend from middle/high school.  The event was everything I love about weddings:
  • getting nostalgic when the couple says their vows
  • catching up with friends from out of town
  • admiring flowers, violin music, wedding gown
  • taking advantage of an open bar and buffet
  • having an excuse to dress up and take pictures
  • eating wedding cake
Before the wedding we met up with my favorite newlyweds, Ellen and Drew.  It was nice to relax at home and visit for a bit before the ceremony.

The couple had a very simple outdoor service and reception at the Whitewater Center.  You could watch people kayak, raft, rock climb, and zipline from the balcony of the reception.  Once inside the venue was completely private.  One unique thing I loved was a photo booth set up where guests could put on silly accessories or just pose for a family photo.  There was also ample outdoor space for photo opportunities.

It's rare for us to get a decent family photo, so here is our best one:

Jackson's favorite part of the reception was eating caramel apple popcorn.  He ate two party favor bags full of popcorn before sampling barbecue, beans, bread, and slaw.
My favorite part of the reception was the cupcake stand!  (I recommend the pumpkin spice with cream cheese icing.)

The bride and groom still cut the cake, while the guests chose from four delicious flavors of cupcakes.  We stayed for the toasts and first dance, then headed out to put Jackson to bed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

18 Month Milestones (or lack thereof)

At almost 18 months, the only words Jackson can clearly say are uh-oh, kitty cat, Mama, and Dada.  His teacher claims he says "no", but we've yet to hear this.

Jack still clings to his pacifier and Clifford like they are food and water. 

The only new "developments" to report are:

1. Jackson has mastered climbing and dancing on most surfaces: coffee table, rocking chair, high chair.

2. Jackson has excelled at opening, closing, twisting, pushing, and pulling open most items.  He gets into cabinets, drawers, trashcans, jars, bottles, the dishwasher, etc.  He rarely plays with real toys.  He'd much rather empty the pantry, entertainment center, etc.

3. Jackson is surprisingly good at holding a cup and drinking out of a straw.  Jesse and I were shocked to discover that the toddlers drink out of small solo cups during snack time (without a lid or straw).  We still use a sippy cup at home and a regular cup when we're out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Classroom Tour

Here is the basic layout of my classroom.  I exchanged student desks for eight trapezoid tables.  The classroom library is in the back corner with a small rug.  Math stations and manipulatives are in the green tubs (cool storage I got from Ikea).  There are three computers (not pictured) along the wall on the side, and a laptop on my desk in the opposite corner.  My entire class can fit on the large rug directly in front of the SmartBoard, where I teach all mini-lessons from. 
I have a slight obsession with children's books. Three-fourths of my classroom library is personal books I've accumulated over the years, mostly at thrift stores and yard sales. All of my books were sorted by genre with color coded stickers on the spine, and labeled with the AR levels. This year we were required to use Fountas & Pinell levels, so I spent several hours converting all of the book labels to guided reading levels before school started. My library is my favorite area of the classroom!

For years I have been looking for one of those wooden mailboxes to sort papers and such.  I've never found one for a good deal.  After making myself crazy with piles of papers over a foot tall on my desk, I bought the organizer below at a local teacher store.  It is made of a thick cardboard and cost $25, but it is seriously one of the best purchases I've made for my classroom.  I wasted so much time looking for everything.  It's amazing how much paperwork a teacher has to keep up with! 
Now I have a slot for reading, social studies, math, science, and writing handouts on one side.  The other side has slots for papers I need to copy, grade, pass out, file, and a section for referrals/ parent contacts.  My desk has stayed clean all week!  And it makes me much more conscious of how much I have to grade, so I've stayed on top of all my grading.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Goodbye Juice, Hello Ice Cream

I am still convinced that the main reason why I got pregnant was because I eliminated all processed food from my diet.  I went on the juice fast, found out I was pregnant, and had even more motivation to continue eating extremely well and exercising regularly.  I was eating mostly fresh produce, lean meats, and beans.

Ever since the miscarriage, I've punished my body with junk food, to the point where I don't even feel well.  I went back to old habits in a blink of an eye.  Jesse came home with seven cartons of ice cream (two from Aldi, then saw "buy 2 get 3 free" at Harris Teeter).  I'm sure I'll return to healthy eating when we get the clear from my OB to begin trying to conceive again.  Until then, happy binging...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cheap Thrills for All

On Sunday evening, our neighbor whom we have never once spoken to in the two years we've lived here, randomly asked us if we wanted a tricycle.  Their son is a few years older than Jackson and just got his first bicycle with training wheels.  They were going to get rid of the tricycle, and just happened to ask us when we were both outside.  Of course we accepted the offer.

Jackson's feet can't quite reach the pedals, but that didn't stop him from having fun!

My exciting find was this dress for $3 at Wal Mart.  While spaghetti strap isn't the most flattering, the dress is perfect with a cardigan over it.  It happens to be extremely comfortable, too.

Jesse loves all things related to Halloween and Friday the 13th, especially scary movies, candy corn, and decorations.  He stocked up on some Dollar Tree decor and made our front porch fall festive this weekend.