December 24, 2013

Three Things

A few nights ago, I was with Benjamin as he got ready for bed. He was having trouble focusing (i.e. He was frolicking around his room nekkid instead of getting in his pajamas), so I left the room for a minute, telling him he needed to be dressed by the time I returned, otherwise no stories.

When I got back to the room, I found him dressed in his pajamas, walking around his room talking quietly and counting on his fingers. "What are you counting?" I asked. "Three things Mommy," he replied. "There are three things I always need to remember: Work hard. (1 finger) Play hard. (2 fingers) And Always. (3 fingers) Believe in. (4 fingers) Myself! (5 fingers) That's FIVE things Mommy! Five things I always need to remember."

As if that wasn't enough, after he climbed into bed and we were done with stories, songs and prayer, I was kneeling at his bedside. He reached his little hand out, cupped my cheek, looked right into my eyes and said, "Don't worry Mommy, I will always breetect (protect) you. From predators." And he proceeded to go into great detail about situations where we might be in a field and a predator might come after me and how he would "breetect" me. 

Once again, I acknowledge to myself that it simply doesn't get any better. 

December 11, 2013

Seen around the house today ...

We are remodeling part of our kitchen. Jacob has seen our contractor Johnny using a drill a lot today. Tonight after he was done with dinner, Jacob went over to his basket of toys, picked this out and walked over to the kitchen. He held it out towards the contractor and made lots of precious baby talking sounds. 

This morning, I asked Ben if we could sing some Christmas songs, and suggested my current favorite "Sleigh Ride". He countered with the suggestion to song "an M&M song" (as in the candy, because he is very into trail mix right now, but only the M&Ms part - LOL). So I said "just hear those M&Ms jingling ring ting tingling too..." He laughed, and without skipping a beat, HE made up on the spot and sang - in perfect melody of the song - "come on it's lovely weather to eat M&Ms with you!" The song went on with him changing parts to make it about M&Ms, all in harmony and perfect rhythm. I'm not sure the true genius of the situation comes through in writing, but he (and all of us) were laughing with joy and wonder at his creations. 

This was super-fun bath time with Grampa. "Thomas the Toothpaste" and brushing Grampa's thumb make for the best bath time ever!

November 4, 2013

Jacob's First Steps!

Jacob took his first steps tonight! It was extra special because Jeff, Benjamin and I were all there to see it. He was so proud of himself, and so were we!!! A video says it all …

Jacob's First Steps! from Katy on Vimeo.

November 1, 2013

Me n Dino

Benjamin is loving The Land Before Time, the animated movie about dinosaurs, right now. He often acts out scenes and pretends he is a dinosaur. When he is a "three-horn" I am Mama three-horn. If he is Littlefoot, he calls me his Mama Littlefoot. He calls Daddy Bigfoot. 

This afternoon, he wanted to swing, and naturally his Dino friend wanted to swing with him. "Mommy, push me and Dino on the swing!"

 I asked him to look at the camera and he turned away. So I said definitely do not look at the camera, and this is the shot I got. Oh to be 3 ;-)

Cloud spotting

We were eating dinner outside tonight. All of a sudden Benjamin yelled out, "I see North America!" He pointed up to the clouds. There was a little continental drift by the time I took the picture, but I must say I agree with him.
A couple minutes later he looked up ... "Where did North America go?"

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

We had friends over for pizza and trick or treating around our street this year, just as we did last year. Benjamin and his friend Harrison made it A LOT further around this time ... Last year we made it about 6 houses down, and this time we went around the full loop, I would estimate about 20-25 houses. It was so cute because at first they didn't quite know what to do. They would go up to a house, but not knock or ring the bell. We encouraged them to do so and when someone answered, they would try to walk into their house. They tried to remember to say "trick or treat" but didn't always do so. Walking away from each house we would remind them "what do you say?" (hoping for a "thank you") but instead they would say "trick or treat!" again as they left the house with new candy in tow. Towards the end, they started to get the routine, and we did more watching and enjoying and less teaching and correcting. By the end, Benjamin's bucket was so heavy, he walked tilted over to one side ;) Jacob rode along happily in his stroller. One other highlight of the night was when the town fire department's big ladder truck came down our street with firemen to hand out glow necklaces and bracelets so kids would be safe and visible as it got dark. 

Three Hugs

Benjamin this morning:

"Mommy, I need to give you a good morning hug!" He gives me a huge hug. 

"Now I need to give you a vitamin hug!" I've never heard of this so I don't know what it means, but he squeezes me tight. Then explains, "This hug will give you energy for the day!"

"Now I need to give you aaaaaa .... HEART HUG!!!!" He hugs me tightest of all. "Do you feel me squeeze that love out?"

These are moments I will cherish forever. *Benjamin sweetness*

October 30, 2013

The Sound of Music

... My favorite movie of all time. But lately, the sound of music has been filling our lives even more because Benjamin started a Musikgarten class in September. He absolutely loves it! He lights up whenever it's time to go there, and I have never seen him be so consistently excited about an activity he gets to do. In class, he sings songs, does movements (I.e fly like a bumblebee, gallop like a horse, slink like a caterpillar), learns poetry, uses instruments, tells stories, learns interesting animal sounds (the downy woodpecker, the African honeybee, the whirligig beetle, etc), and more. We are very proud of him for immersing himself in these new lessons and finding joy in the sound of music!

He has always loved singing ... Before he could even talk in full sentences, he would complete lines of songs he loved, like life is a highway, on top of spaghetti, twinkle twinkle little star, we love mommy (that's one Jeff made up ;-) ) but this class has taken it to a new level. He sings randomly throughout each day. I really like his teacher Ms Morley. She reports that he is a really special kid who is doing exceptionally well vocalizing, matching pitch and engaging in class. 

Way to go Benjaminprecious!

It's difficult to get pictures as the parents only come in for a few minutes at the end of class, but here is one from today. Daddy got to meet us there after work ... Yay!

New favorite Ben-ism: Tree Stars

Benjamin found a leaf while he was running outside after music class today. "Daddy, look! I found a tree star!"

October 24, 2013

Horseshoe Bay

Recently, Jeff and I returned to Horseshoe Bay for the first time since getting married there 5.5 years ago. What a special trip it was! Being back there exceeded my expectations. I thought I remembered a lot from our wedding weekend, but it brought back even more great memories and made me realize that this will always be one of my favorite places in the world. There is a peaceful, quiet, beautiful way about it that I will always love. I hope we are able to go back there often, and someday even take our children there. 

We took the scenic route there and back. Once there, went out for lunch before an afternoon on the golf course. We had a champagne toast and went out for a nice dinner overlooking the pool and lake where we got married and had our wedding reception. We walked around these areas and reminisced about what a magical day our wedding was. The next day, I did spa time while Jeff golfed, we met up for lunch and then went jet skiing around Lake LBJ. We saw many beautiful homes and explored a few of the many coves around the lake. The last morning we had a buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant, just like we did the morning after our wedding :)

More than a focus on our wedding day, this weekend was a celebration of the marriage we have made together since that day.

A big thanks to Nana and Grampa who cared for our everything - our boys - so we could have this special time away! We are so grateful xoxo

October 15, 2013

Jacob is ONE!

Oh Sweet Jacob, where do we begin?! One year ago, you entered the world, and we've all had more love, joy and laughter in our lives since. There are so many things I love about you, I could never write them all down, but here are a few:

- you are so smart! you learn quickly and are so satisfied by learning and doing new things ... how to use new toys, feed yourself, climb stairs, get into chairs ... when you were only 4 months old, you would help by getting your arms out of the car seat straps when i unbuckled you. you now climb up to the sink to try and wash your hands and brush your teeth. today i caught you trying to put your own shoes on.
- whenever I pick you up, you lay your head on my shoulder and immediately reach around to twirl your fingers in my hair
- when i make a kissing sound, you bring your open mouth to my lips like a little bird. i think you like the sound of my kisses echoing in your head. or, maybe, you're trying to kiss me back ;-)
- when Daddy brings you in to our bed Saturday morning, as soon as he sets you on the bed, you speed crawl toward me, "crashing" into me with excitement and laughter. life for this Momma doesn't get any better.
- you have a perfect, round head with a perfect swirl at the crown
- you were the best baby, sleeping well from the beginning. one of the things i remember most about those newborn nights is the way you wouldn't even cry when you woke up. you would just make little sweet baby noises, gently waking me up from my deep sleep.
- you LOVE food. you will try (and you like) everything you've had so far in your little life.
- you have a mouthful of teeth ... much more than average for your age. all your teeth on the bottom are in (fronts, molars, canines) and the top just has canines and one molar to go. you make the most of your teeth ... you would rather have bites of our food instead of eating your own smaller, cut up portions of the same food!
- you really get excited when Daddy and Benjamin are playing ... you speed crawl to them and you try to throw yourself onto Daddy and get involved in the mix. you do the same when Daddy or Benjamin are tickling me.
- you love reading, especially books with textures you get to feel. you love the touch and feel farm animal book, the big book of animals, little blue truck, and i love you through and through.

September 20, 2013

Game Player

Jake is starting to play games with us. The first one I noticed last week ... He is purposely biting down on the spoon and not letting me take it out of his mouth after a bite. He laughs so hard and thinks its hilarious. He keeps doing it for every bite!

Then, a couple nights ago, he took a sip of water from his cup, looked right at me, and let it dribble out of his mouth. I acted shocked and said what are you doing silly, which delighted him. So he did it again! And again and again! For several minutes this went on, and we are we're laughing SO hard. 

I love seeing him realize he can do things to make us laugh. 

The darker side of this new personality coming out was on display when he crawled over to an electrical outlet and was trying to get the baby safety plug out of it. I said "Jacob, that's danger. No touching!" He smiled and went right back to grabbing for it. I walked over, crouched down, offered him another toy and said again "that is dangerous to touch and you may play with these other toys." I stood up and started walking back to the kitchen. I heard a Jacob noise behind me, like trying to get my attention "Meh!" I turned around, and there he is crouching in front of the outlet, with one hand on it, staring right up at me with a smug smile on his face.

Look out world, here comes Jacob! 

In other news ...

Since the end of July, I have been experiencing severe pain in my neck, left shoulder and left arm, and weakness in my left arm. At first I thought it was simple muscle strain from sleeping wrong, tension or physical activity, etc. But after a week of the pain getting worse instead of better, I went to a chiropractor. He took x-rays and reported seeing signs of disk degeneration, cervical (neck) spine curving the wrong way, arthritis, misalignment ... Some serious issues! But he assured me with just a few weeks of coming to his office, he could cure me! I was freaked out enough to go see a spinal dr before proceeding with any other treatments. The spine dr prescribed medication for the pain, but was most concerned about the weakness in my left arm - an indication of damage to the nerves. I had an MRI done, which showed a herniated disk at C6-C7, with much of the disk material protruding out the left side where the spinal root comes out, sending signals to the left triceps muscle. He said surgery will be necessary almost immediately to prevent further nerve damage. He recommended ACDF surgery, which involves removing the disk and fusing together the vertebrae above and below. This came as a big shock, as I was mentally still thinking of this as a small problem that would go away pretty much on its own. 

I researched drs and set up appts for a second and third opinion. In the meantime, I had an epidural spinal steroid injection to reduce inflammation and pain. Visiting the second and third drs was enlightening.  They both also said that my exam and the scans point towards surgery being the most likely outcome, but that they would not recommend ACDF. Cervical disk replacement is a newer, less limiting, more favorable surgical option. The recovery time is faster, and the ability to lead an active lifestyle is greater. The last dr we saw, Dr. Cattorini, suggested there are some conservative treatment options yet to explore before we determine surgery is absolutely necessary. This includes a series of 2 more steroid injections, along with physical therapy and cervical traction.

I am in the process of this right now. Physical therapy is going well, and that was the first non-pharmaceutical thing that started to help with the pain. The initial steroid injection did not help at all. I got a lot of relief from the second one. I am in the per-op room right now waiting to go in for my third and final injection. In tow weeks, I will return to Dr. Cattorini to assess progress and see if we can avoid surgery. So right now I am feeling good overall.  The pain is much less than what it was when this all first started. I am down to taking pain medicine 0-1 times per day, usually later in the afternoon as the activity and strain of the day builds up. I know the issue is there still because I feel it in my neck/shoulder blade area and down my arm, especially my forearm. But it is not nearly as intense as before, and for that I am grateful. 

At this point I don't know how this story will end, but I do feel confident that we are doing everything we can to help this resolve without surgery, and ultimately if these things don't work, then surgery may be necessary to enable the nerve to rebuild conductivity to my left triceps, and to make the pain go away for good. 

September 15, 2013

Standing & Cruising

At 10 months, Jacob started standing up and cruising along furniture. He absolutely loves his independence and I sense that he knows he is getting closer and closer to being able to keep up with his big brother.

He has also started walking easily while holding onto our hands. He has no hesitation and gets right into an easy gait, one foot ahead of the other.

This week, as he turned 11 months old, Jacob started standing on his own! He first just did it for a second, and now he goes for 2-3 seconds. It's only a matter of time before he puts steps together with that balance :) And then, it's a new ball game. For now, I am enjoying these last baby days before we get into toddlerhood. 

August 26, 2013

On our way to school

Singing Ants Go Marching (five by five) on the way to school this morning ...

August 10, 2013

Eat a peach

Jacob has been getting very fussy around mealtimes, and I think we've figured out that it really just has to do with his desire to hold the foods he's eating ... Pick them up, bring them to his mouth all by himself. Part of his march towards greater independence.  The problem is he doesn't yet have the coordination to bring spoons of food to his mouth or the teeth to chew large chunks of food. So there are very few foods that meet his desire to bring the big, whole food to his mouth and eat it safely/successfully. Tonight at dinner, we found one. And boy did he dive into it with gusto!

Captain Adorable

Aaaaaaand .... this is what happens when I tell Jeff he can dress Jake in whatever he wants.

Yes, those are legs through the arm holes and shorts over his head. 

Captain Adorable, indeed. 

August 9, 2013

Family Movie Night

This week we rented a movie - Madagascar 2 - from the library, and we had our first ever family movie night! We got the boys ready for bed, ordered pizza, and watched the movie together. It was so fun! Jake only made it a little of the way through before he headed to bed, and then Mommy, Daddy and Benjamin had some good snuggle time :))) I hope it's the start of a new tradition we will carry on for many years to come. 

August 7, 2013

Free-association, 3.5yo Ben-style

Did you know there are only 5 degrees of separation between a raccoon and a space ranger? It's true! Last night, as part of his "talk as much as possible in order to stall bedtime" routine, Benjamin said, "Hey Mommy, it's almost nighttime. That's when the raccoons come out! And then ... the stars come out! And theeeehhn ... the planets come out!! And theeeeeehhhn ... the rocket ships come out!!! And theeeeeeehhhhn .... the space rangers come out!!!!" His excitement, smile, and voice pitch grew with each association until he was overcome with excitement and ran and crashed into me with a huge hug. I don't mind the stalling routine nearly as much when he is this darn cute.

July 24, 2013

I've been waiting for this day!

Ever since we were pregnant with Jacob, I looked forward to the day they would be sitting in the backseat together, able to hold hands and laugh with each other. It seems like a small thing, but it seems each day the small things are really the big things. Precious Backseat Brothers :)

July 17, 2013


We've had rain the last few days. It seems like forever since the last time we had a nice, cool stretch of rainy weather. The Texas summer has a way of beating you down. So tonight we went out after dinner and ran around in the rain, jumped in puddles and had a grand old time. Love the rain. Love these moments. Love this family.

July 10, 2013

Library story time

This summer, we have been going to story time at the local library. We sing songs, listen to a story, play games Nd have fun with the librarians and other children. Then, we go to pick out some books to bring home for the week. Benjamin gets very excited to look at all the possibilities and choose his books. We have mutually decided he can rent 5 books, so he carefully selects each one. Then he takes them to the counter, shows his library card and loads them into his backpack. ***precious***

My lil monkey

Benjamin has really been showing his imagination, and one of his favorite things is pretending to be a certain kind of animal. If he is running fast, he pretends he is a cheetah ... "I'm running seventy miles a hour!"

He jumped onto my leg and said, "Mommy, I'm holding onto you like a monkey!"

 **legs wrapped around mine, full weight on me, wants me to drag my leg along because I'm the "Mommy monkey"**

He also put his shoes on his hands the other day and called them his "monkey climbers" because they help him "climb like a monkey". Tried to get a photo of this and he ran like a cheetah.

That stinks

Benjamin, Jacob and I were reading a book about sharks tonight before bed and we got to the threat of them being "extinct". Ben started laughing and saying those sharks pooped because "it stinked". Love what comes out of his mind & mouth these days :)

"Real" foods

The last few days, Jacob has been kind of fussy eating his puréed baby foods as we eat regular food at the table with him. Up to this pint, we had given him an occasion bit of bread, Cheerios, a bit of banana, etc, but his meals still consisted of "baby" foods. Until Yesterday. While eating lunch, he fussed as has become par for the last few days. So I put a piece of pasta to his mouth and let him bite it off with his super-sharp 4-top and 2-bottom teeth. He smiled and then squealed with delight. I gave him another bite. More of the same reaction. Then I gave him a bite of strawberry. He grabbed my arm and pulled it to his mouth. In the last two days, he has had pasta salad, chicken salad, guacamole, hummus, pita, strawberries and more. He LOVES "real" food! Sweetest baby ever!