11 Months

What. A. Year.

On this last day of 2013, Jaxson Bennett turned 11 months old. J and I are both shocked that his first birthday is just around the corner. You would think after nearly a year of adjusting to life with Jaxson, each month wouldn’t come as such a surprise when he gets just that much older, but it still does.

For Christmas, we got a photo frame for his monthly pictures during his first year, so I worked on printing out the pictures and filling it in this weekend. There are only two spots left for his 11 and 12 month pictures and even then, looking at this nearly-completed frame, I still couldn’t believe he’s almost a year old. It feels like he’s always been here, and I think that’s part of the reason for the amazement. Jaxson filled a void in our hearts that we never knew existed until it wasn’t there anymore.

Life has a totally different meaning once you have a child and we are no exception. Each day, each moment, with Jaxson makes me strive to be a better person and to appreciate life – yes, even those moments when he’s spilling his juice all over the floor, chasing our senile cat, and screaming bloody murder because he’s just that upset about getting a fresh diaper. There are new joys, new frustrations, new hopes and fears each and every day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a parent, you learn to take the bad with the good. You learn to let the little things go because that’s just what they are – little things. You wipe the juice up off the floor, rescue the cat by putting him behind the baby gate, and figure out how to make Jaxson laugh on the changing table instead of screaming. Parenthood, like life, is about adjusting, adapting, breathing, and enjoying.

When I was filling in the photo frame, I had to go back through all of my pictures from 2013. At the beginning, there were only pictures of J, super pregnant and ready to pop! Next came the pictures from Jaxson’s birth day: the tears, the smiles, the happy grandparents. Somewhere in the chaos was my wife and I – quietly realizing that it wasn’t just the two of us anymore, we had the responsibility of raising a person now. Being pregnant gave J 9 months to become a mother from the inside out. I had to learn how to become a mother during the next 9 months. There were tough times and learning curves, but we finally got the hang of it. The months flew by, bringing their own milestones. One, two, three months and he’s rolling over. Four, five, six months and he’s sitting up on his own and eating baby food. Seven, eight months and he’s crawling. Nine, ten months and he’s starting to pull up and cruise and say “mom”.

And now at eleven months he’s starting to figure out this walking thing. He’ll walk with you holding one of his hands and jets across the living room while holding onto his rolling toy. He tries to lure Bubba over to him by dropping food from his high chair. He loves big people food and “begs” now until you share your food with him. He blows spit bubbles and knows how to shake his head “no” (and he knows what it means). He pats your face to comfort you if you’re crying and he loves to be scared (like when you face away from him then turn back and yell BOO! or when we pretend like we are losing our grip and “drop” him). He loves animals, real and stuffed, and enjoys going shopping. Disney Jr. is on in our house 24/7 because they have all his favorite shows. He actually watches TV now and laughs at what’s happening. He laughs at himself randomly, too, and likes to “sing” along to the radio in the car. He is smart, kind, and handsome, too – the full package. We are so very lucky to have this little boy in our lives!

As we’re saying goodbye to 2013 and heading into 2014, I’m reflecting on the past year and how great 2013 really was. Jaxson was born. We bought our first home. I finished college. J is back to her pre-pregnancy weight. We have a healthy savings account and good credit. And I’m proud to say we accomplished all of our goals for 2013 and are looking forward to what we can do in 2014.

We’re doing Jaxson’s 11 month pictures tonight, so I’ll put them up as soon as I can. Happy New Year everyone!

Jaxson’s First Christmas

First off, Merry Christmas everyone! I hope that your day was lovely and full of happiness and good food. Oh and a gift or two of course.

Our Christmas celebrations started on Sunday before Christmas when we went to Nana and Papa’s house, since they would be out of town for Christmas day itself.  We showed him how to start tearing the wrapping paper so he could open his first gift. He would very precisely grab a piece of the wrapping paper between thumb and forefinger and carefully pull it off, then discard it on the floor, and return back to the gift to do it all again. After that, he took off with gift-opening like he was a pro, even grabbing for the next gift in his pile once he was done with that one! It’s amazing how quickly he caught on, and I was surprised (and happy) that he was old enough to “get it”. 🙂 Jaxson got some clothes, a bouncing Tigger toy (which he loves), and a bunch of books (also a big hit!) and also a keepsake ornament from Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa. We had dinner together, too and Jaxson tried some lettuce from my salad (he was like WTF is this!) and some prime rib – YUM!

At our house, we kicked off our Christmas Eve fun with breakfast for dinner. J made eggs and bacon and I whipped up some cinnamon sugar pancakes that smelled heavenly. Jaxson ate with us and loved the pancakes and bacon (no eggs for him just yet!) especially once syrup was added to the mix. Although we don’t have any holiday traditions (yet), we decided that Christmas Eve breakfast for dinner will be making an appearance each year forward. Afterwards, we let Jax open one gift from under the tree, and he got two mini plastic Elmo books he can take in the bath. This kid loves books!

The next morning, Jaxson’s Christmas gift to us mommies was getting to sleep in until 8! YAY! When he woke up, we went and grabbed him and brought him back to our bed for family snuggle time, which we all loved. Finally he was ready for his breakfast, so he ate, and then we went and sat by the tree so he could open his gifts. We got him a pack of big piece puzzles, a Duplo block set, a pirate ship toy, and a mini basketball hoop – all of which he loved and wanted to play with instead of opening the next gift in line. Santa (in this case, J’s cousin Betti) gave him a puppy toy that sings songs and teaches you body parts (it giggles when you touch its tummy) and a walker/activity toy which he LOVED because he could finally walk around like he wants. He did pretty good with it too, making it all the way across the living room on his own before he fell over. I have a feeling he’ll be walking on his own soon once he gets some practice in!

After all the gift-opening fun of the morning, Jaxson took a nap and when he woke up it was time to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for lunch. Jax had a huge pile of gifts in front of their tree! Grandpa helped him open each one and he got tons of toys: a pull-along turtle (he loves the string) from Aunt Panda (my sister), a workbench with tools, some books, a musical instrument set, an interactive book toy, and a hooded monster towel from Great Aunt Lee. We had to make three trips to the car just to get it all in! We got a couple keepsake Jaxson gifts too, a silver spoon ornament and an ornament with his name and birth info on it. After presents we had great food, and Jaxson ate turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, bread, and even tried some cranberry relish – he seemed to like it but wasn’t sure of the texture/tartness so he would keep making funny “ew” faces followed by his “yum” sound. Mommies don’t like to eat cranberry relish, so Grandpa shared his with Jaxson.

Jax made out like a bandit at his first Christmases and he is one very lucky, very loved little man. He seemed to have a good time, opening gifts and eating “real” food and playing with everyone, and by the time we left to go home from Grandma and Grandpa’s yesterday, he was falling asleep in the car.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful holiday also, and from our family to yours:

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Official 10 Month Pictures

Okay, now these are worth naming the “official” 10 month pictures of Jaxson! Enjoy! 🙂

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10 Month Pictures…Sort Of

So we tried to do Jax’s 10 month pictures and we ended up not liking the outfit he was in, he wouldn’t smile or pose, and they just generally weren’t what we were looking for. We still ended up with a few share-worthy pictures and he is almost always super handsome regardless of what he’s wearing/doing.

Before I put up the pics, I have a few updates on Jax:

1) He’s a crawling machine. Even though he doesn’t have “perfect” form (although he’s using both his legs now, he still has the zombie death crawl a little!) he gets from Point A to Point B in a flash. He’s speedy!

2) Jax can now stand up on his own by pulling up on things, and even does some cruising. He’s determined to let go of our hands when we’re holding him to help him “walk” – almost like his mind is ready but his body just won’t listen. I think he might be walking on his own by the end of the year.

3) Jax also sat up on his own from a laying down position for the first time! I woke up Sunday morning to get him out of his crib and there he was, sitting there playing like a good boy and he gave me the biggest grin when I walked in like he was so proud of himself! Now he does it all the time when he’s playing on the floor: he’ll crawl a few paces, then he kind of does this back-up butt wiggle in the air and then plop! he’s sitting there like a champ.

4) Teeth – he’s got the two bottom middle ones and the two top middle ones mostly in all the way, and FOUR more coming in up top! Poor little dude keeps chomping on his hands, toys, pacifiers, etc. like nobody’s business. I have to give it to him though, despite the annoyance of growing new teeth, he does really well about not being super fussy like some horror stories I’ve heard. Thank goodness!

5) He’s got brains and good looks! The other day we went to Nana and Papa’s (J’s parents) and Papa came in to play with him. Jax took one look at Papa and started going “Puh! Puh! Puh!” to him. Every time Nana leaves our house from visiting, Jax will start going “Nuh Nuh, Nuh Nuh” and when Grandma and Grandpa visit he’ll go “Guh Guh, Guh Guh”. So I think he knows what he’s saying, after all me and J are “mum” and “mum-mum” and he knows who he’s talking to when using them. Oh and we can’t forget our cat Bubba! If you say “Where’s Bubba?” Jax will look all around on the floor to find him and will say his name when he does. This kid is smart, and its a little creepy. LOL

So I think that’s about it. He’s still allergic/intolerant to sweet potatoes, but he’s loving the 3rd foods (he eats a whole big jar in one sitting now – geez!). Also he loves ice water in his sippy cup and can feed himself his snacks now. And he just had a growth spurt (up and out!) since clothes that were getting snug around the middle are now loose again and he went down a diaper size, even though he feels heavier than before. I’m amazed every day at how big he’s getting and how much he is learning. He’s amazing!

Enough of my chatter, here are the pictures! 🙂

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10 Months

Now that we’ve moved into December, we’re in the final stretch of this year. 2013 has been such an incredible year for our family and I’ve enjoyed our journey and all of the many blessings we’ve received throughout the year. We have such a great life!

Jaxson is 10 months old now and finally getting the hang of crawling. He’s still a little dead-legged but getting much better at moving both legs now when crawling and is getting quite speedy! He’s also figured out how to pull up on things and despite our best efforts to redirect him, he likes to use our living room TV stand to try to pull up and inevitably turns on or off the DVD player or cable box. Nevermind the fact that we really don’t want our 60″ TV falling over on top of him, so we’re looking into getting a wall mount and securing the TV well out of his reach.

Along with pulling up comes walking and this boy is ready to just take off on his own. Every time he stands he wants to just let go of our hands and start going on his own, and he gets so mad when he can’t. He’s fallen down plenty and loses his mind when he does! He gets so mad and throws a little fit (complete with real tears) and then he gets over and gets up again. We’ve been trying to learn different ways to redirect him when he acts out in anger or frustration (oh yes, we’re at that hitting/kicking/pinching/biting stage now) and its been difficult. The worst is when we know he’s doing something on purpose. We’ll say “No Jaxson, don’t play in the garbage. That’s icky.” and redirect him back to a toy on his walker and move him into the living room. Five seconds later and he’s back in the garbage. Repeat. Back in the garbage. Repeat.

Sigh.

Or how about when he is throwing a fit on the changing table (he has started screaming and crying when you go to put him down on it now – oh boy what fun) to the point where he will launch himself out of your hands and he even hit his head (hard) the other day because of this attitude. He got mad at me and threw a fit the other day and kept kicking and grabbing at me while I was changing his diaper, until he stopped and looked up at me and pinched the side of my boob  so hard it bruised! Boy did it hurt – I was so mad!

In other news, he’s been off the Prevacid for a month now and is doing amazing. He gets annoyed with the bottle now and really only has two, sometimes three, a day. He’s eating mostly 3rd foods now with texture and he’s apparently gotten over his meat-aversion since he now enjoys Beef & Veggies, Herb Chicken & Noodles, and even Turkey on Thanksgiving (he didn’t like the mashed potatoes though). He loves the Gerber snacks too – puffs, fruit melts, and wagon wheels oh my!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it was great. J and I worked our butts off to make a great meal and I think it went off without a hitch! After seeing the turkey and having to prepare it though, I don’t know that we’ll ever be doing this again (J was literally turning green and had to leave the kitchen while I was getting the turkey ready for the oven!). It was enough to almost make us go back to being vegetarians! We made our own apple pie (J) and pumpkin pie (me) and had J’s parents and sister and her family over as well as my parents and brother and sister. This year Hanukkah coincided with Thanksgiving so everyone got a Hanukkah gift and we got some super cute pictures of Jaxson!

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He is growing so fast, stuck between infant and toddler with not many months left until he turns one! I’m already planning his first birthday party, although I’m a little hesitant to have that many people in our house after just 10 adults and 3 kids for Thanksgiving being a handful!

Right now, we are enjoying Hanukkah together as a family and we decorated our Christmas tree together this past weekend and wrapped all our gifts. I’m happy to say we are all done! We started shopping right after Christmas last year and it really worked out well and cut down on the holiday stress.

Despite his attitude, Jax is a little chatterbox, but not so much when other people are around. I guess he takes after me! Just last night though, he was talking up a storm and of course we talk back to him as if we’re all having a conversation together. It even sounded like he said “grandpa” at one point! True story though, he did say “Bubba” (our cat’s name) and looked over at Bubba and said it again. So I think we’re safe to say that he knew what he was saying and meant it. (How did we know Bubba would be his first word? Probably because he’s just as obsessed with Bubba as J is!)

Jax also says “mom” (me) and “mom-mom” (J) although he also says it when he wants to get up out of his highchair/walker/etc. so we’ve started saying “up” when he wants up instead of him just using “mom” as a catch-all alternative.

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Official 10 month pictures will be coming up soon, but for now I hope these hold you over! Happy December! 🙂