Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunshine, Parks and Pictures

AAh! Warm enough to go outside without 2 coats and the bundleme. On average, we still are sporting jackets and hats, but every now and then it's warm enough for sweater weather. Like this day a few weeks ago when our friend Tabitha took some family pictures of us at nearby Bluemont park. She's starting a small photography business and asked if we would let her take pictures of us. HELLO!? How lucky is that! Couple that with good weather, and we were set. This last weekend it was chillier but we took on a great adventure and expanded the family to include 2 other little kids--Dathan (2 yrs) and Lilia (6 mo, and Jackson's most recent girlfriend). I was kind of apprehensive about jumping to a 3 kid family for 5 hours, but it was such a blast! The kids totally entertained themselves, and they seemed to behave better together than by themselves. We even braved a walk to the park. Is this out of control or what!?
Not sure what Jackson's face is saying, but it looks a little dejected.

Lilia and Jackson LOVED the swings

(why is it so hard to catch those smiles!?)

And Jackson got very close to going down the slide by himself. Woo hoo! We're looking forward to more sunny days to come--especially before the humidity, bugs and heat waves come at full force!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Consequences

Boy oh boy. The consequences of freedom--or at least a new level of freedom. Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, and Tunisia are the most recent big names to experience various "freedoms", but we could add Jackson to that list. I am not trying to say that the struggles and consequences for freedom in the middle east are anywhere near Jackson's crawling struggles. I just find the timing of both to be significant enough to point out.

He's had a few negative and positive results from his new crawling skills.


-He can now crawl all around our bed and really wrestle with Mark. Mark feels like he's reached the peak of his Fatherhood dream, especially since the wrestling was coupled with this the night before:


Jackson figured out how to open the door to the closet that holds the vacuum. After being physically removed from the location twice, he managed to go back a third time while mom wasn't looking and pull the vacuum on to his head. Lovely. Maybe he won't feel so much love for the thing in the future.

I received a phone call while I was out shopping for Jackson clothes last weekend. Mark was not happy to report that Jackson had taken a tumble down the stairs. Guess we know to keep that door closed all the time now. Rough day. I'm pretty sure Mark was way more shaken by the event than Jackson. Jackson was of course, as chipper as ever.


On a happy ending note, Jackson has learned to dance away his troubles. I first noticed it when I realized there was a connection between his hands in the air and the little music ditties NPR plays between their news stories. He then started doing it whenever he felt like he heard music--one of us whistling, trucks rumbling by on the street, my opera singing, etc. Despite its reoccurring appearances it was very difficult to capture on film. We were finally successful while blasting an accapella boy band from the previous decade. We're really not picky around here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Red Knees

I was holding a birthday suited Jackson the other night (sans clothing), and noticed his knees were bright red.

What could cause red knees???
Playing in red paint... no
Eczema... sometimes

At 10 + months he finally has mastered the art of getting where he would like to go. He's still got some smoothing out to do, (we think he looks similar to a wind-up toy or a jerky caterpillar), but he is moving and we're thrilled.

When he started showing desires to move around, I decided to see if crawling practice might help. So at the end of february I would spend time putting him on his hands and knees so he could feel what the position even felt like, and then moved his legs back and forth. He soon started moving from the floor to sitting, and then was able to start crawling backwards, and last thursday he moved forward and hasn't stopped yet. Who knows if the crawling practice is what pushed him over the edge, or if he figured it out by himself, but it's so nice for him to be able to go and get the ball that rolled away, or crawl to dad when he comes home from work.

It's all videos today... for the aunties and grandmas who have been very excited about the prospect of seeing him.

His facial expressions on this one are an added bonus.

I love him crawling from behind. His little bum is hilarious. These pants are not the most flattering, (nor are they on straight), but at least he's comfortable.

Bonus from from a week and a half ago. Jackson used to never move his feet when you'd stand him up to walk while holding his hands. He would just keep his feet glued to the floor and fall forward (we surmised it was the size of his thighs that was preventing movement). However, his thighs are the same size, and his feet now move! Woo Hoo.

Excuse all my "yaaay Jackson"s. We're just a little excited for all this growing up of late.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Baked Spring Rolls

Dinner seems to be the ever looming question in our house. It's a rough decision which requires asking Jackson (the only other person around) 3-4 times a day. "Bud! What should we have for dinner?" "Hey kid, what do you want to eat tonight?" "Dinner, dinner, dinner, what should we eat for dinner?!" Generally I get some kind of look like this:

or this.

Now that he eats pretty much what we eat, it does affect him, but he does not seem to care as long as he can smoosh it around, pick it up himself, and throw it on the ground later to be consumed in one of his classic vacuum moves.

But since I care, I decided to shake things up and make something out of our normal menu rotation. I bought spring roll wraps at the Asian grocery store, and put together my version of a spring roll. Since deep frying was WAY out of the questions, I spread egg on them, and stuck them in the oven. Amazingly, all members of the family enjoyed them, especially the Y chromosomers.

Shaunel's Baked Spring Rolls

1 Onion
2 Cloves crushed garlic
2 Pork chops chopped
1 Head Bok Choy or Cabbage shredded or chopped very small
2 T Soy Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
Package of Spring Rolls Wrappers
1 Beaten Egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute onion in some olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, saute until fragrant. Add pork and saute until cooked through, add bok choy or cabbage until lightly wilted (1-2 min). Add soy sauce, and season with salt and pepper.

Fill spring roll wrappers with 1/4 c of mixture. (I had to double up my wrappers because they kept braking). Roll the rolls like a burrito, closing in the sides. Seal them closed with a little bit of the egg. With a basting brush or your fingers, cover the spring rolls with the egg.

Space evenly apart on a baking dish, and bake until golden, 10-15 min.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Little Vacuum

Now that Jackson has improved his booty scooting abilities, he seems to be very good at mimicking his favorite household appliance--the vacuum. Not only can he lower himself into a floor kissing position (perfect for the best suction), he has mastered the finger-thumb pinching skill and uses it to clean up our floor.

Luckily, he shows signs of consuming--as he dutifully tries to chew anything he has found on the floor. Chewing is never a good thing to see, but much preferred to coughing or gagging (at which point I've missed the chewing stage). When I see any of the above, I rush down, and try and pry his locked mouth open--with his arms insisting he would rather be left alone. In lifeguarding they made the finger sweep seem so easy. Not so. But, I'm grateful to have the skill. UGH. The worst is when I can feel it, but can't get it out.

The following are some non-edible items we KNOW he's eaten:

-Sticky Pads
-Did I mention Paper?

The following are things we've been able to pull out:

-Whole garlic cloves
-Small pieces of plastic
-Stale pieces of bread
-Small plastic toys
-Remnants of things from the bottom of our shoes

I realize this is only the beginning of a long journey, since we're still figuring out how to crawl.


(image found here )