Sunday, January 31, 2010

Christmas 2009 - Part II

On the Wednesday between Christmas and New Years, we left VA to head north to a cold & snowy Western PA. We had decided ahead of time that we were going to stay at Keith's mom's apartment and I admit that I was a little worried about how it would go. This would be the first time that all three of us would be staying there. Keith and I have stayed with her numerous times before, but because she lives in a small one-bedroom apartment, it can get quite cramped pretty quickly.

Thankfully it went a lot better than I had imagined. We were certainly in close quarters and the sleeping arrangements weren't ideal for anyone - I slept in my MIL's bed and Jacob slept in his pack and play with me in the bedroom, Marge (my MIL) slept on the couch and Keith slept on an air mattress in the living room. It wasn't great that Keith and I had to be separated and sleep in different rooms, but it was only for a few nights, so we just dealt with it.

Jacob did remarkably well even though we were up watching TV most nights while he was sleeping. We tried hard to talk quietly and have the TV on low, but there is only so much you can do when you are in a small apartment. He mostly slept well for his naps during the day when, again, we were moving around the apartment while he slept.

He got to eat his meals in the portable high chair while sitting in Grandma Marge's living room

and he, once again, opened many more presents from Keith's family (and again, just wanted to eat the wrapping paper).

Even though we had opened our presents from Marge on Christmas Eve, she had to wait until New Years Eve day to open her presents from us.

We got her a variety of presents including a "I Love Grandma" picture frame with a picture of Jacob in it. She loves pictures so we knew she would love this present.

Keith, Jacob, Marge and I went out to dinner for New Year's Eve and then we had our own little "party" in Marge's apartment. We got snacks and watched football and then watched the ball drop at midnight. It was different than we had done in years past, but it was nice to spend it with Keith's mom.

On New Years Day, we went to Keith's aunt & uncle's house to celebrate with his extended family. Jacob got to visit with his second cousins again

He enjoyed more time with Grandma Marge

and he loved looking at the lights and decorations on Aunt Kay's Christmas tree.

We had a very enjoyable time, although the trip up and back were a bit rough for Jacob. He does really well in his carseat for the most part, until he gets overtired and wants to sleep. He slept for short 30-minute spurts, but both going up and coming home, he had a few meltdowns where he cried (pretty hard!) for close to an hour each time. We felt really bad for him and knew that all he wanted to do was get out of the carseat and lay on his stomach to sleep, but there wasn't much we could do. Keith and I tried singing his favorite songs to distract him - which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't.

All in all, even though it was very cold (and snowed almost every day!), we really enjoyed our time in PA with Keith's family. It's always nice to see everyone and for Keith to be able to visit his hometown.

Friday, January 29, 2010

On the move soon?

Yesterday afternoon Jacob didn't want to take a nap. He wasn't fussy in his crib - he just talked and laughed and made various noises until I decided to get him up after an hour of him being in his crib.

While we were playing in the living room a few minutes later, this is what happened.....

Should I be excited or scared that he is almost crawling??

(Note: I included another minute or so of video after the "hands & knees" episode just so you could get a glimpse of Jacob's cuteness right now. I just love being with him everyday!)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Christmas 2009 - Part I

I realize that Christmas was a month ago, but I wanted to do a post about our awesome first Christmas with Jacob! Better late, than never, right?!

We had a very busy holiday season filled with family time, traveling, food and of course presents...lots of them! Jacob especially received a boatload of gifts (some of which are still in the boxes in our spare room. There are only so many toys this boy can play with at one time, so I am keeping some for the future.)

Our wonderful first Christmas as parents started on Christmas Eve morning. Keith's mom insisted on mailing us all of our presents from her (even though we were going to see her a few days later for New Year's). Since we were going to be heading to my parents' house on Christmas Eve afternoon and staying through the weekend, we decided to start our present opening that morning.

Keith surprised me by making a trip to Dunkin Donuts for my favorite donuts and coffee and while we enjoyed those yummy treats, Jacob experienced his first present opening. At first, he wasn't really interested except for looking at the pretty colored wrapping paper.

Once he realized that this pretty colored stuff also tasted good (I'm not sure it really did taste good, although he seemed to enjoy it!), he was much more interested! It was really funny watching him try to stuff as much wrapping paper in his mouth as possible!

After Jacob finished opening his presents and went down for his morning nap, Keith and I opened our presents from his mom and then got packed and ready to head to Richmond. After I dropped off cookies that I had made for our next door and across the street neighbors, we were off to my parents' house. We arrived there in the early evening, in enough time to have dinner with them.

Our original plan was to take Jacob to the Robertson family Christmas Eve party to visit and celebrate with some of my closest friends and their family. Our plans changed though, after it was apparent that Jacob was not going to be able to stay awake long enough to go with us. My parents offered to stay with him while Keith and I went to the party since I was still very much looking forward to seeing old friends.

Well, soon after I put Jacob to bed for the night around 7pm, he woke up crying very hard - presumably with teething pain - and he was inconsolable for over an hour. It was very hard to get him to settle down and by the time he was fast asleep, needless to say, we ended up missing the party. My evening ended up being pretty boring as my parents went to their "midnight" mass (which actualy started at 9:30pm) and Keith went to "midnight" service (which started at 10:30pm) at our old church. I stayed home with a sleeping Jacob and ended up talking to my aunt and sister on the phone for quite a long time.

The next day - on Christmas Day - we had a very relaxing day at my parents' house. Jacob donned one of his many holiday outfits and we enjoyed spending time together with family.

Karen, Brian & Sierra and Mike & Blakely all arrived at my parents' house in the afternoon on Christmas day. And, my grandparents flew in from Rochester in the afternoon also. Katie and her family decided to stay at their house for Christmas so the Stank family Christmas celebration was planned for December 26th when everyone would be together.

On Christmas night though, we decided to allow the kids (Jacob & Sierra) to open a few presents.

Again, Jacob wasn't really sure what was going on, but with help from Daddy, he started to get a better idea of it.

The next morning (Dec. 26th), the Arnolds arrived around 9am and we all had breakfast together. My mom made awesome breakfast casseroles for us all to enjoy and we then started the present opening extravaganza! There were so many presents that it literally took us all day & evening (and for Jacob & Sierra...part of the next day) to open them all. We were all truly blessed by the generosity of our parents, grandparents and my siblings.

By the third day, I think Jacob was thinking "seriously?? more presents?? oooh, wait....more yummy wrapping paper!"

He was also happy to play with some of the toys that he received!

That night, after most of the present opening was complete, we sat down to a delicious dinner with the whole family. As you can see, since our family has grown so much, we have to split into two separate groups.

The Millers & Arnolds enjoying dinner

Mom & Dad, Mike & Blakely, Nana & Papa and the Weimers at the table

And, even though Jacob didn't get to partake in the same food that we did, he still very much enjoyed his first Christmas dinner.

It was so awesome to celebrate Jacob's first Christmas and to spend time with my family. I love the time that we get to all spend together (which doesn't happen very often these days). We have such a good time together and the warmth of the holidays makes it even more special!

Stay tuned for "Christmas 2009 - Part II"...our trip to PA to spend New Year's with Keith's family (and yes....more present opening!)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Seven months old

As unbelieveable as it is, Jacob turned seven months old two weeks ago. I am WAY behind on capturing all that is going on with him, but I wanted to be sure to post some of his recent accomplishments and talk about what he has been up to lately.

He did not have a well baby visit this month, just a nurse visit so that he could get his second dose of his seasonal flu & H1N1 virus vaccine shots. I was going to have them do a weight check for him, but it wasn't our regualr nurse and they seemed kind of busy, so I didn't ask. He goes back to see the doctor for his nine month visit in March. Until then, we are glad that he is a happy and healthy little boy!

Some of the new things he started doing in December are:

Reaching - He now reaches for almost anything. Especially things that he should be not touching! He loves to reach up and pull my hair or touch my face. It is really sweet to see him exploring everything with his hands. He has also started to reach up with his arms at times when he wants to be picked up from a sitting position, like in the high chair when he is done eating.

Yelling & Banging - He started making a loud yelling sound a few weeks ago, both when he is happy and when he is upset about something. I think he is just learning to make more sounds with his voice. He hasn't really started making discernable sounds yet (like baby babble) but I am sure that is coming soon. He also likes to bang on things, either with his hands or with other objects. He especially likes to bang his spoon or sippy cup on his high chair tray. Right now, I think it is cute, but I am sure there is going to come a time when it gets annoying!

Easily distractable - Thankfully, he is really easily distractable right now. If he is upset about something, he can go from crying to laughing in a second. If he is hungry or tired and I am not able to feed him or put him to sleep right away, usually singing a song like "Farmer in the Dell" or "Old McDonald" can distract him until I am able to get him what he needs. This is especially true in the car!

The only bad thing about him being easily distractable is that he is also such while he is nursing. He will stop if he sees Keith enter the room, hears a truck go by the house, sees the sun out the window, etc., etc. For the most part, it's ok that he takes his time, but when we have plans to be somewhere or we are not at home, it can be pretty nerve-racking to have him stop & start so much!

Teething - Right now, he has two very visible teeth (the two on the bottom) and so far no others have been felt or spotted. He doesn't seem to be a drooly baby so I am not sure if I will know when the next ones are coming in. Every now and then, he will be unusually fussy and we are not against giving him Tylenol if we think that will help (which is often when he is not napping like he should).

Eating - I am still nursing him 4-5 times every day and along with that he is also eating solid foods twice per day. These include both rice cereal & oatmeal. I have made homemade sweet potatoes & applesauce (which are currently his favorites) and am hoping to make more homemade fruits and vegetables. He has also had jarred peaches, carrots, and green beans. I tried a few different times to give him banana (fresh banana mashed up) but he spits them out. Other than that, he will usually eat whatever I give him, although some of the faces he makes (especially with the green beans) are priceless! I also gave him some yogurt (the plain full fat kind), but he had a lot of spit up the days that I gave it to him so I haven't given it to him since. I am going to try again next week to see if there is really a correlation between the spit up and the yogurt.

I also started allowing him to self-feed a little right after Christmas. I bought Baby Mum-Mums right before we left to go to PA for New Year's, but I accidentally left that at my parents' house. He "ate" one before we left, but he really didn't get the hang of it until a week or so after we got back. He really enjoys chewing and sucking on them and he does a good job of consuming almost the entire thing. I give him one to entertain himself while I am getting his solid food prepared and warmed up.

He is also getting better and better at using a sippy cup. My sister, Karen, suggested I get him the Nuk learner cup and he has done really well with it. He is able to chew on the nipple in order to get the water out but it doesn't spill all over when he bangs it around. His ability to swallow the water has gotten better and he seems to really like holding on to the cup. I haven't given him juice or anything but water and I am planning on sticking with that for awhile.

Positions - He is getting better and better at sitting up on his own, although he does still sometimes fall over. He also likes to be on his side a lot - I call it his "GQ pose" because he looks like he is modeling (at least I think so!).

Around Christmastime, he also started really liking to be upside down. When he is laying on my lap or I am holding him, he will throw his head back so that he is upside down. It makes me nervous sometimes because I don't necessarily know when he is going to do it. Sometimes this is a sign that he is getting tired too (especially when paired with him sucking on his fingers like he is doing in the picture below).

Jumping - Jacob loves to jump! He still very much enjoys being in the Exersaucer and he loves to jump on the floor or on our laps if we have him in a standing position. It cracks me up when he jumps so much that he gets out of breath - it is like he is doing his exercises!

Last week, while I was making dinner and waiting for Keith to get home from work, I had Jacob in the doorway jumper. I often have the radio on also while I am making dinner and Jacob seems to really enjoy the music. Well, just as Keith got home (as you can see from the video below), Jacob was really "getting his groove on" to Lou Bega's song "Mambo #5". Do I see dancing in his future?!

As you can see, Jacob is such a sweet and happy little boy. He melts my heart every time he smiles and I am so honored to be his mother. I can only hope and pray that he continues to be as happy and content for the rest of this life as he is right now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What's been happening?

I realize that I have been out of the blogging world for almost a month now. It is definitely not because there haven't been things to blog about, but just the opposite....we have been super busy and had a lot going on. And, everytime something interesting or exciting would happen over the past few weeks, I would think "I should blog about this". But then, time gets away from me and days and weeks go by and I just don't ever seem to find the time - or make the time - to blog!

One of the reasons that I blog is to share our lives with friends and family. Another reason is that I like to chronicle (get it?....The Weimer Chronicles) areas of our lives that I can then go back and look at months and years down the road. It is fun to look back and say, "oh yeah, I remember when that happened" or to see what Jacob was doing in the first few months of his life or how I was feeling at 22 weeks pregnant. We get so busy and my mind is filled with so many things that I often easily forget things that happened not that long ago.

So, instead of putting pressure on myself to do separate posts about all of the things that we have been doing since my last blog post on December 16th , I thought I would do one (probably long!) list to catch myself up. Here goes....

1. On Friday, December 18th - one week before Christmas - we experienced a colossal snowstorm! The snow started falling fast around 4pm on Friday. Thankfully Keith was working from home that day so I didn't need to worry about him getting home from work on the treacherous roads, like many other people experienced. By 9pm, we had 9 inches and it was still falling fast! It snowed from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, non-stop. At the end of it all, we got 21 inches and the cities and towns around here were pretty much shut down.

Unfortunately for us, we realized on Saturday morning that we didn't have any "real" snow shovels. Keith went out that morning and started to try to make a dent in the driveway. He used a little travel snow shovel (the kind that you would keep in your car for emergencies). It was a royal pain in the butt to use that shovel, but it did the job...albeit, veeeery slowly!

Once Jacob went down for his morning nap, I ventured out to join Keith and used a garden spade. Boy, was it fun...NOT! Eventually, once we were about halfway down the driveway, I walked over to the neighbor's house (when I saw that they were finished with their driveway) and asked if we could borrow their nice big snowshovel. This helped speed up our progress, but all in all, it took us about 5 hours to clear the entire driveway (and it was still snowing!!).

Although it's hard to see, this is a picture of the driveway once it was cleared:

When Jacob woke up from his nap, we did have fun taking him outside in his first real snow. He seemed to enjoy it, although we weren't out for very long. We set him in a snowbank and also in a snow angel that Keith had made. It was fun seeing him look with awe at all the white stuff. I am excited for him to experience it when he gets older (although I not looking forward to that much snow anytime soon!! I can wait a couple of years!!)

2. I have begun to make homemade baby food for Jacob. I decided that I wasn't going to make a lot of it before the holidays since we would be traveling, but I did make a batch of sweet potatoes a few days before Christmas. Thanks to my sister Karen who is letting me borrow her containers, it was super easy. Since then I have made more sweet potatoes and some applesauce. Jacob definitely likes the consistency and flavors of the homemade stuff better than the store-bought stuff. I am excited to try to make other things in the future.

3. Just a few days before Christmas (the same day I was making the baby food and making Christmas cookies for our neighbors & families), we had a not-so-fun experience with our washing machine. Long story short, while Keith was doing some laundry on Tuesday night, the machine would get to the rinse cycle and just stop. We tried to figure out what was wrong by playing around with it a bit and Keith went on-line to Google to see if he could find any solutions. In the end, we found out that the "lid switch" on the machine had gone bad. This is the switch that makes the rinse & spin cycles work properly.

I called Sears to see if they were able to send a repairman out (yes....two days before Christmas!) and they said it would be Jan. 7th before they could get someone out here AND it would cost us over $200! Well, we were getting ready to head out of town for 10 days for the holidays and I had laundry to do! I surely wasn't going to be able to wait for the repairman to come!! So...I did some searching on the web to see if I could figure out how to fix it myself and lo and behold it really wasn't that hard.

I figured out how to take the washing machine apart

and locate the old lid switch under the top
I was able to get the part at an appliance store up the road from us (thank goodness! that is the part that was a bit stressful for a little while since I couldn't find anywhere that sold the part!). And voila.....I replaced the part and put the machine back together and now it's as good as new!

4. Of course, the most exciting part about the last month was celebrating Jacob's very 1st Christmas! You can't tell from his photo, but he very much enjoyed it!

We started opening presents on Christmas Eve day at our house, continued at my parents' house in Richmond on Christmas Day and the day after, and then traveled to Western PA to be with Keith's family for New Year's. It was a crazy, yet fun-filled 10 days of being away from home!! I have a lot of pictures and details to share, so I am hoping to do another post devoted entirely to Christmas. Stay tuned!

5. Something fun that we were able to do during the days between Christmas and our travels to PA was to visit with my sisters and their kiddos. It was nice to have all of the cousins together and even though we didn't get an entire Stank family picture this year (bummer!), we were able to get a picture of all of the Stank grandkids in one place.

It certainly wasn't an easy task and I so wish that I had taken video of this photo shoot. There were five adult women (my mom, my grandma, Katie, Karen & me) all trying to get all of these kids to smile at the same time. One person was singing, one was saying "Smile", one was saying "Look over here" and unfortunately, as you can see from this picture, we could hardly get them to all look in the same direction!

During the whole thing, we were almost peeing our pants laughing so hard at the antics it was taking to get them to smile. In the end, Jacob was sitting there with a huge grin on his face, while Sierra & Pierce were looking at us like we were all crazy!! Reid didn't know what to think! Unfortunately, we didn't get a "great" picture, but it is a memory that will be etched in my head for many years to come!!

6. Well, if all of that hasn't exhausted you yet, when we returned from our trip to PA on January 2nd, we came home to a frozen heat pump!! What that means is that there was a huge block of ice inside and around our heat pump and the blade inside was not turning. We found out that the reason it was frozen was because the defrost board had gone bad. This was causing our emergency heat to kick on and we had to use the auxillary (much more expensive electric) heat until we could get the unit fixed.

Thankfully we were able to find a local HVAC repairman that was able to come out and replace the defrost board after only a few days. The first day he came by to look at the pump and determine the problem. Then, he came back two days later to replace it. In the day between, he asked me to melt the ice that was inside the unit. Keith had already used a hair dryer on it when we first came home to try to melt some of the ice, but that was taking forever. I used buckets and buckets of hot water but was finally able to melt it all away.

Here is a picture of it in the middle of my "melting process":

Unfortunately, as we were told, the auxillary heat is quite expensive and we just received our electric bill. It was $100 more than any other month last year!! Keith attributes some of that to having our Christmas lights on, but I think it was mostly from the heating issue. Hopefully we won't have to deal with anything like that for a long, long time!

7. And, last but certainly not least, Jacob turned seven months old on January 7th! I am WAY behind on doing a separate post about all that he is doing these days, but I wanted to share this picture of him sitting up like a big boy. He is growing up so fast and is becoming such a cute little boy and I am thoroughly enjoying every day that I get to spend with him.

Wow!! After typing all of that out, I realize again how super busy we were the past month! Now, we have a ton of clean up to do from the holidays - I am slowly going through all of the wonderful gifts that we received and trying to figure out where to put everything. We are also in the (slow!) process of converting our spare bedroom into more of a playroom for Jacob and we have rearranged some things in the living room to make more space.

I would also like to do some purging of things this year, including clothes that we don't wear anymore and things that we have had for years and haven't used! It is a slow process along with the regular daily chores of cleaning, cooking, laundry and doing fun things like playing with Jacob! But, I am convinced that over time, it will all get done. Hopefully I will have more time for blogging too!