4 Pictures

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and one of my bestest best friends is turning 30 over the weekend (HB shout out, you know who you are!) so I’ve been a’thinking because I turn 30 in just six months. Even though most days my to-do list feels endless and my thoughts are kept captive keeping the gears turning, in the moments I’ve been able to catch my breath in the last few weeks, I realize how thankful my heart really is and hope lucky I really am…to have 4 incredible pictures of blessing ever before me…an awesome husband, two beautiful babies, and my dream come true.

Truly…Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

234705362578895237560886nimg_4096laurajames_5x7vlk-family21img_6245

Preschool

14199694_961063610453_2568028891237091852_nI was struck this week by how many different attitudes toward school I saw on my Facebook feed as Virginia officially started back to school this week and decided to write down my own thoughts.

Little J’s start to preschool isn’t all that emotional for me as he’s been in daycare two mornings a week since he was 18 months so that I could work. I believe that the time was valuable for him as it provided socialization and helped reinforce many of the things we were learning at home (colors, numbers, etc.). I also very much enjoyed the assessments from the teachers and that he learned to be disciplined and respectful there as well as in the home. I see preschool as the continuation of what we started at daycare just with a Christian component. Instead of teaching just “Wheels on the Bus” I expect he’ll also learn the “Fruits of the Spirit” song and be challenged with some scripture memory as well.

We took the summer off from daycare (between Alex finishing school, my maternity leave, and family in town it made sense) and I think little J is genuinely excited to be in school – he certainly loves wearing his R2-D2 backpack! He’s going only two days a week in the mornings but after being home with him all summer, I miss him! It’s a delight to pick him up and now that he’s communicating extremely well, I look forward to picking him up and hearing about his day. I feel good about the arrangement for both of us and am delighted that though we’re moving toward a full week of school for him in a few years he still has lots of time to play outside and be a little boy this in his week.

img_3837

My Post Partaum Brain

I’ve been trying to write this post for two weeks and finally decided this afternoon to give up trying to make it gel and instead decided to just get the thoughts down and the memories recorded before I lose them. So here’s a very stream of consciousness post of the handful of fully formed thoughts that I’ve had in the first 3.5 weeks of baby D’s life.

My two year old is huge. Everything about him, his legs, his feet, the sheer weight of his body, his head. Everything that seemed so small about him before baby D are now gargantuan in comparison. And though little J is a huge cuddle-er and I love him for it, I’ve determined that baby cuddles are sweeter in round two because its nice to sit quietly with someone who doesn’t squirm and weighs so little!

Those little legs and hands that I could feel in my belly are amazing. I’m more enamored with them this time with baby D’s features perhaps because I know that in two years, they’ll be gone. I remember feeling very overwhelmed in the first few days of his life every time I held him by the miracle of conception and the growth of a baby in the womb. Psalm 139 was frequently on my mind.

These first few weeks where I’ve had to rely on help from others to watch little J have been hard. I was so present in his life a month ago and now I feel like I barely see him. The care that my parents and Alex have provided for him over the last three weeks has been immeasurably valuable but it breaks my heart a little that I’m not able to do more for him right now.

I can’t imagine doing this alone. Being able to tag team parent with Alex right now because he’s done with school and in transition mode has been an HUGE blessing. We’re getting closer to having bed time and nap time routines that work for everyone’s needs but we’ve had some off days and its been wonderful to know that he’s got my back so that I can deal with whichever kid needs me more at the present moment.

And lastly, of course, I can’t help but compare baby D to little J when he was a baby. Some of this things are easy comparisons – physical features for instance. Baby D has much darker and longer hair and longer, more slender fingers. His birthmark is over his lip where little J’s was on his nose. They have the same chin, but I think that’s the extent of their shared facial features as newborns but judge for yourself from the pictures below (D is first).

IMG_5649 (2)

IMG_1925

Who Are Those Kids?

The images below were capture 10 years ago. 10 years July or August, I forget now which. Seriously, who are those kids?

As I approach my 29th birthday in a few days and stand on the precipice of two very big life changes I find myself in a rare moment of self-reflection. Thinking back to where I was decade ago which is captured by these pictures. Carefree. In Illinois. In love. Headed to IWU to start my sophomore year of college in the fall. Williamsburg wasn’t even a blip on my mind.

And what about now? Where am I now? Loving this town that I get to call home. Realizing that I need to mentally start preparing to welcome another little one into the world. And totally unsure of what the summer will truly hold but excited to spend it with the goofy boy in the pictures below and to take on our newest set of adventures together.

 

009_28A

009_291025_12A1

Language Aquisition

I’ve been interested in language acquisition since I read a book my junior year of college about a child who was raised in isolation in a single room. At the age of 5 when he was rescued, he had no language. I don’t remember the name of the book but it broke my heart and made me contemplate double majoring in linguistics and therapy for a few weeks.

I obviously didn’t take the route but I’m now deep in the weeds of the linguistic study I’ve been waiting years to undertake – how to children actually learn language?

The answer is a question itself. “What-ist-ith?”. (translation: “What is this?”).

A question that little J asks me 3,000 times a day at 25 months. It takes us what feels like forever for us to read books these days because he won’t let me turn the page until he has asked “What-ist-ith” about every single picture on the page. He asks the question for almost every noise he hears and every thing he touches through the day. Hence my 3,000 estimation. How happy I am that I get asked this question and then little J is acquiring a language!

My brief study has also lead me to conclude that when children learn English, nouns come first, then pronouns, then adjectives and then verbs and adverbs. We’re not to the later two yet but he said me for “My big blue ball” a few days ago and my heart skipped a beat! We’re almost to sentences!

Excited to be on this journey with him and can’t wait to see what his mastery of the English language (and perhaps others!) will produce!

In the Bleak Mid-Winter

IMG_1735this song is just lovely – the view out my window could be titled the same. The sky is gray, the temperature is cold, and we have about an inch of snow on the ground.

It’s been a while since I wrote. Lack of inspiration and lots of feeling of transition in my heart have been the root causes. Like many others in the blog-sphere, the turning of a new calendar page makes me pause to think through the big W’s of writing (why, what, when). This space is my journal, my memories, my musings. I’ve decided on a new “header phrase” for it and it very much encapsulates how I want to move forward with this space – 2015 and beyond.

“the goings on of our house and the people who call it home”

I mentioned transitions in my heart. Though I don’t have fully formed thoughts to share yet, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of “putting down roots” and “home” and “raising little J”. The longer I live in this town, the more it grows on me. The more I learn about what’s here, the more adventures I want to have here. There are very few house projects left on my list that don’t require buckets of money and I feel settled. Content. Organized. At peace. At peace enough to enjoy the Duplo cars under my kitchen table and the little arms wrapped around my legs while I do the dishes and stalking birds and squirrels in the front yard.

Eight Months

IMG_46591

This morning when SBJ woke up, he looked like a little boy. Over the weekend Alex and I both remarked to each other that he felt heavy. I weighed him today and he’s 20lbs!

Of course, there are a few baby traits hanging around but we’re inching toward that 1 year mark and it’s obvious. His personality is coming out, he exhibits his will over his toys and his food, and I’m pretty sure he’s figured out that he can make us laugh.

He’s not crawling yet but he’s got the up-on-all fours and rocking thing down.
He’s not walking yet, but he’s got really strong abs and can pull himself up to a standing position from seated if he has someone’s fingers to use for leverage. He’s also a lot more purposeful in his rolling activity and can stand on his own for a few seconds without anything to hold onto a for a few minutes if he’s holding onto the coffee table.
He’s working on teeth numbers 3 and 4 and it’s been rough on him. A few nights ago I (for the first time in his young life) think that I spent more of my early morning hours rocking him in his room than in my bed. Poor little man just wanted to be cuddled all night. Needless to say it’s been a few days of schedule to the wind, buffet is always open, where in the world is his Tylenol, make him happy kind of life.
His favorite activities these days include taking things out of baskets and off shelves and eating summer fruit including watermelon, strawberries, and nectarines. He can’t get enough!

Though I’m not around him constantly because I’m working, he’s a total momma’s boy and I get the biggest smiles whenever I come into the room. He’s also got this adorable affinity for holding my hair and sucking his thumb when he’s near me and it’s become a staple of our bedtime routine. He’s also totally in love with his daddy. It’s clear that SBJ wants Alex’s attention at dinner and he is down-right giddy the first few minutes they spend together after Alex gets home from work. They have a thing…and it melts my heart.

Tonight when I put him to bed, he feel asleep in my arms and I just held him for about 15 minutes…thinking and loving on him. Remarking as I have many times in the last few days at his hands. They’re growing. The soft, pudgy baby mit-like hands are becoming long-fingered little boy hands. And wondering. Wondering what the world will be like when he’s 15, what he’ll think of me, what he’ll love and hate and desire, and about how clueless I am about all that we have yet to face together. One things for sure, I love him more than when we met for the first time 8 months ago and if my love trajectory continues – all will be well.