Happy halloween

Tonight we ventured to our old ward for the annual Halloween party and Trunk-or-Treat.

I expected the girls to go as Anna and Elsa from Frozen but, about a week ago they said they wanted to be Tinkerbell and Periwinkle.
Easy enough.

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I couldn’t figure out how to include Jacob in a fairy theme so…I didn’t. :)

But he may have had the most fun of everyone.

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Oooops…

Celebrating six months of survival

Baby J turned six months old last week. To celebrate, we spent the afternoon with the doctor — a checkup for two and flu jabs for four.

This kid weighs in at 18.5 pounds.

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I honestly don’t know how that is possible. He is a spitter by profession, so it’s a miracle he’s managed to pack on the pounds.

We started solids a couple weeks ago in hopes of (1) helping with the spitting and (2) helping with sleeping. If it’s possible, the spitting is worse. However, for about a week I have been sleeping through the night. (J may or may not be).

Daytime is an entirely different situation, which I’m at a complete loss for a real solution. What used to be an inconsistent 45 minutes to two hours of random napping has now evolved into very consistent (and unchangeable) 30-minute, two nap habit. I don’t know how to break it. I’ve tried changing feeding times (when he wakes vs before naps), playing with length of awake periods, car rides, rocking, swing, swaddle, leaving him when we wakes after that short of a nap…

I could go on.

For my own sanity, sometimes all I can do is leave him in his crib and try to occupy myself, usually outside so I can’t hear him.

But enough of that…
Jacob sits well on his own now and often prefers that over tummy time. Aside from spitting up, slobbering is another favorite pastime. He spins around on the floor faster than a bottle at a middle school boy-girl party.

My absolute favorite is bath time. Each and every time he’ll be going about his usual business of finger chewing and the likes. Then, I just dip his toes in the water. He will stop in his tracks and then turn to me with the biggest smile. Every time. This is of course followed by a squeal and splash session.

I took some pics a few days ago. I was initially trying to get a feel for the lighting in our living room but J ended up happy and I got a few archive-worthy shots.

So please enjoy the following of our Jakers at six months.
And in the event that my sister accuses me of exaggerating the challenge this boy brings to my life, I’ve included one picture to prove otherwise.

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Number Five is alive

The month of October is crazy in these parts. We have a weeklong birthday marathon right in the thick of Devin’s busy season at work.

My birthday was great. Devin managed to escape from work for the day so that I could enjoy a few chunks of time to myself, sans kids.

But the highlight of the week was, of course, Katelyn’s birthday.

{say hello to our newest FIVE-year-old}

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Katelyn had specific expectations for her birthday. She let us know that when we woke her up, we were to say, “there’s the birthday girl!” She wanted a cake that was half chocolate, half vanilla. For dinner she requested to go to Apple for pizza. And we made sure she had a great day.

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We love this girl.

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On becoming perfect

At church today, one of the speakers was from the High Counsel. I caught the first minute or so as he told a story about his childhood. Then one, two or all three of my children stole my attention. Towards the end of the talk (which I really don’t know what it was about) he talked about striving to be perfect (as in becoming perfect like Christ).

I had a shift of perspective when he said “what can we do to be more perfect today than yesterday? Or actually, what can we do today to become less imperfect than yesterday?”

A simple change of words makes the goal seem more achievable.

The great divide

I don’t consider myself a feminist. Some of those ideas are short sighted, narrow minded and generally lack common sense or critical thinking. With that said, I am often irritated with gender stereotyping and the unnecessary divide that still exists, especially in the child rearing world.

A common debate among the human development and psychology gurus is nature versus nurture. Which one determines how a certain gender behaves, looks, dresses, and so on? It is of my opinion that there is more to nurture than most realize.

As a mom I’ve been careful not to push gender stereotypes on my children. Don’t get me wrong. I believe that gender is a fundamental part of life. But, that doesn’t mean that I have to dress my girls in tutus everyday.

As a parent I try to expose my kids to various things and let them decide what they like. For example, Katelyn loves the color blue. This is not common for young girls as pink or purple are often the choice colors. Abby loves purple and orange. (Seriously, orange?) She has always loved balls and cars (or anything with wheels). Would they know they liked these things if all I offered was pink play doh and aprons to play with?

Over the last year or so Katelyn started categorizing things in terms of gender. Observing her interactions at school, I realized those things were unintentionally being taught or reinforced at the school she attended. Her schoolmates were often unnecessarily separated girls from boys. It wasn’t uncommon for girls to play dress up while the boys tinkered with Legos.

Sadly, somewhere along the line Katelyn learned that blue is a color for boys. She still loved blue but was strangely conflicted when asked about her favorite color. More recently she has chosen to favor pink, which makes me sad in a way.

Additionally, it drives me nuts when someone says, “he’s so boy…” Or something similar. Just because a kid enjoys playing with cars doesn’t mean it’s because he’s male and he’s manifesting this inevitable boy characteristic. Likewise, I wish the sex of a child wasn’t used as an excuse to allow certain behaviors that are otherwise unacceptable for the opposite.

Of course I say all of this with only knowing my son for six months. At this point, there isn’t one trait that I can exclusively attribute to the fact that he’s a boy. (Besides the fact that he is, in fact, a boy).

It’s been how long?!

We recently got around to having one of my longtime friends over for dinner. For a few years we’ve lived within 30 minutes of each other but never took the time to catch up until now. For a couple hours, Devin and I talked with him and his lovely wife of just a few months.

We go way back — kindergarten to high school graduation. There aren’t too many people like us that stick in one place for that long. We were never best friends, but since we were both of the band geek crowd we always had friends in common and thus we remained friends.

His parents were well known to my peers and all for good reasons. They were the ones that helped with fun projects at school and chaperoned long distance field trips. So many things I remember. From their gingerbread house modeled after their actual home (I think that was in kindergarten) to playing ping pong on a field trip to Olympia (8th grade) to one day of randomly stopping by their house for an impromptu hangout during the high school days.

It’s funny how people change and yet they are exactly the same as you remember them. We figured that we hadn’t seen each other since high school graduation, more than 13 years ago!

This pic is from our high school graduation, June 2001.

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I’m kicking myself for forgetting to take a picture during their visit.