Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lining Up

Jackson has been developing a new skill of organizing objects. Generally the objects end up in some kind of line. However they end up I'm thrilled they're not in a big messy pile, and it's so fun to watch his brain make connections between objects.

Notice the diversity of objects, locations and ways in which Jackson has utilized this skill.

Setting the table. [He's as enthusiastic about it as I am!]

Placing baking ingredients on the couch.

Vertical towers. [Jackson placed all the blocks successfully, with only boosting help from Mom]

And group play.

Do notice the animals are gathered around the 15 year old boom box. And did you check out the upside down pink ostrich. Mad skill.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter Magic

Christmas trees have had a rough start in our little family. It's not that we don't love them, it's more that they're expensive, they take up a lot of room, and we generally travel for the holidays.

Our holiday tree history has been mostly documented in pictures. Let me take you on the tour.

Our first was a small green plant that I barely managed to keep alive in our little basement apartment. I cleverly figured out if I set in on the counter, I could put the presents "under the tree"--it was a bit of a long shot as far as trees go, but at least it was green.

Our second Christmas had me making a tree out of material, ribbon, staples, and straight pins. Definitely the most creative by far. We had a large blank wall we had never filled, and it was just the artwork that we needed to complete the house. I was very sad when I took that tree apart, but impressed it was created con no sewing machine.

Last year (no pic), I put some dead branches in a vase and hung ornaments from them. It was very homely, and Charlie Brownish, but it worked for us.

This year... we thought we'd go all out:

We decided since Jackson was getting older, we could at least splurge on a little tree that would fit on the end table. Luckily, my wonderful Aunt Mitzi sent us home with such a tree free of charge at thanksgiving! The ornaments were all from our wedding (and are all on the upper half to avoid Jackson's ever looming hand), and the colored X-mas lights--though not my favorite-were salvaged off of a neighbors pre-lit fake Christmas tree this summer. They only work partially, but that's the beauty of a small tree!

As ghetto as it looks, I have been thrilled by its effect. Jackson is enamored by the lights. He asks for them every morning, and seems to get such a thrill out of their simple radiant beauty. After they're plugged in, he can stare at them for upwards of 5 min. (In his life, that's quite a bit of time.) I've also been impressed with the warm feeling they give the house on a crisp night. Totally magical.

Along with the magic of the lights comes the magic of Disney. I periodically make up my own aerobics moves to an old Disney mix CD from high school. It's absolutely energizing to be my own instructor and just dance for fun and exercise. The other day when I whipped it out and stuck it in my 15 year old boom box (yes Middle School), Jackson's eyes became alive with excitement. He joined me for the entire 30 min dance-a-thon, and since then, a few times a day he goes over to push play on that old boom box, hoping Belle and the French towns people will start singing from the speakers. "Prince Ali" from Alladin is likely his favorite as he jumps and twirls like crazy as soon as Robin Williams starts the song.

Too bad every video I took of him dancing has him eying the camera, and suddenly stopping and leaning into the couch for a pose. One of these days!

The last item of magic has been hats. Jackson has quite a collection this year, and we have made a trade off. I don't force a coat on him, if he's willing to wear a hat. I feel as long as his head is warm... he's in decent shape.

Love the look of Kelsi's cute vest and plaid shirt she gave us last year! If only I dressed as cute as my son. Thanks aunt Kelsi :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Joyful Journey

Some days I can hardly believe how much joy Jackson and I experience. I love watching him run--as his little feet kick out to the side, and his arms find inefficient positions to tag along with his feet. The acquisition of words is especially joyful as he figures out how to say the right consonant at the correct time (almost all words sounding like ba and da). He finds incredible joy in practicing his jumps, pointing out all the body parts he knows and reading his favorite books. The other day, on the way home from the park, both of us found great pleasure in just sitting on the side of the road eating an apple together. Total Joy.

Of course there are other days where the journey may seem more... frustrating. With many unplanned bumps that detract a bit from the joy.

On Tuesday, after making waffles together, Jackson managed to get the cooking oil into the living room, and unscrew the top. I found it 5 hours later, and was grateful he did not purposefully dump the oil out. The bottle was merely knocked over, with half of its contents gone. Lovely.

After realizing my futile attempts to wipe it up were only making oily foot prints from the kitchen and back, I googled home remedies for the oil spill. It's hard to believe how much comfort I felt after reading accounts of victims of other toddler oil spills.

Most of the advice said to put some sort of liquid sucking stuff on top, let it sit and vacuum it up. My choices seemed to be: kitty litter, paper towels or baking soda. Since baking soda is all of 50 cents a box, I went with that one. The instructions said to leave it for 24 hours. So I dutifully placed the couch over the spill spot and left it for a while.

On Wed I began the cleanup excavation. I found vacuums don't handle oily baking soda very well, making for a very arduous cleaning project (as I now had a vacuum and a carpet to clean). Two hours after starting, I decided to move all the furniture, and take the carpet (which is just a gigantic rug) to the basement--to see if a lot of hot water in the laundry sink might do a better job.

Like the gulf oil spill, it will take time to find out the actual damage to the rug. Hot water seemed to help, but it is really too soon to tell for sure.

But, it is not too soon to realize how enjoyable it was watching Jackson discover all the new corners of the living room that popped up with all the furniture moved. He was unusually pleasant and independent during the entire cleanup process. AND, our Provo plaid couch is quite festive without the oily couch cover.

Additionally, I found the floors don't look as horrendous as I imagined without the carpet. In fact, the oil spot (partway under the couch), actually makes the wood floors look good! Maybe we'll have a larger scale oil spill and pull up more of the rugs.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Comfort Objects

I've never been a huge fan of stuffed animals. I don't mind them, I just find them cluttery and difficult to sleep with. There are a few random ones lying about the house (an alligator, a singing
dog and a globe), but Jackson seems to be fine with his one comfort object: the Bink.

Pacifiers are nice comfort items because they also serve as noise stoppers in public places, and they're easily replaceable. But recently, he's become especially attached to it, and I'm starting to think it's about time to get rid of it.

Thankfully Jackson's picked up some other comfort objects from around the house or porch. Perhaps we can substitute one of these awesome new finds for the piece of laytex that is so comforting to him.

There's the mini-rake that now (thanks to Jackson) resides in the bathroom. Apparently it's extremely important to have rakes close by while taking care of business. Jackson throws a fit if it's not there.

He's also become well attached to a 1x2 wooden board. The board was left by some workers who fixed our moldy closet last weekend. Jackson found it, and started dragging it around the house similar to Linus and his Blanky. We had to leave to do errands, and yes. The board came with us.

Thankfully, Jackson was ok with leaving it in the car, as long as it's next to his seat for easy comforting.

Today, he became attached to the grill scraper.

When we went inside for a nap, it was an exhaustive struggle to force him to leave it on the porch. I decided to put my foot down on what could be brought to bed. Carcinogenic filled iron wool with a nice metal scraper just didn't sound safe to bring to bed.

Maybe stuffed animals don't sounds so bad after all.