Thursday, December 18, 2014

For the Childhood Memories: Gingerbread Houses and Candy Dreams

I love Christmas time.  I adore all the tradition and enjoy the extra fuss we make, in an effort to make the season special.  I want my kids to treasure the memories we make in our home.  But I'll admit that I can be a practicality Scrooge when it comes time to actually pull the trigger and put some of these holiday inspired activities into action.

I could have easily talked myself out of the gingerbread house making, but I'm so glad we took time to create this masterpiece.  It was a fun evening and the kids were delighted to play with frosting and candy.  Thanks Costco for selling me a pre-assembled house and all the fixings.

 Doesn't everyone decorate for Christmas in their bathing suits?  No?  I'm quite certain Lakin would ask Santa for 10 more swimsuits if she were not terrified of sitting on his lap.

 Ben was content to decorate the extra gingerbread men and leave the heavy lifting to Lakin.

 The kids demonstrated amazing self-control with the candy.

 Chris took some artistic license and added his own personal flair to the rooftop.

Once we were finished the kids had a gingerbread treat to cap the evening.

They also wanted to make sure I documented their most recent ornament creations.  Bennett is especially fond of taking photos and then looking at the back of the camera.  It delights my heart to have a willing photography subject!

 "I make dis."

We remove and replace ornaments all day long.  Where will we find our entertainment after the first of the year when the tree is down and the decorations packed up?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 32

So... I took a  month off from pregnancy photos because getting the camera out on the same day I was feeling fabulous just never coincided.  And I also had to look up what week of pregnancy I'm currently in.  But other than that I'm feeling totally on top of the fact that we're adding another human to the mix in two months.

This babe is a rocking and a rolling inside and seems to move more than she stays put.  I don't mind the constant reminders but this weekend I thought we were going to meet her sooner rather than later the way she was shakin' it off inside that womb.  It's cool.  She's still cooking and I figure we have a good month before I can have legitimate panic attacks about delivering this babe.  Did you hear that Chris?  I will remain sane and reasonable through Christmas and wait until January to send you daily text messages about possible labor signs.  Scout's honor.

We've got a lot to do before this lady makes her debut.  We're hoping to get our house almost ready to list since I will be little help once she arrives and my days are swallowed up in newborn snuggles and lactating.  We also have to transition Bennett to the big boy bed in Lakin's room.  I'm putting it off because Lakin wakes up so early, which means now, rather than one child up at 5:15 AM playing contently in her room, I will have a team of people awake at 5:15 AM staging a ruckus together.  TROUBLE.  It's not that I'm not also awake at this ungodly hour (thank you pregnancy) but if a girl can't have a little alone time and peace and quiet in the wee early morning hours, when can she?  So I often leave the lights dim and pretend I'm sleeping, sitting up with a coffee cup in my hand when Lakin takes her 5:15 AM peek into our room to see if anyone's interested in reading her the 100 page Richard Scarry book.  No takers here.  Ask me at 7:00 AM.

And last I leave you with other contenders for week 32 photo:

 too normal
 looks  like I'm cradling a watermelon

So clearly the first photo was the only winner.  Right? 

Friday, December 12, 2014


It's been a long, germ-filled week for us.  What started with a runny nose for Bennett turned into a full fledged, family plague.  All members were hit, some more severely than others, and we have used every last Kleenex in the house, all the children's Tylenol and desperately need to air out the space and sanitize everything.  Anyone want to come over for a playdate?  I kid. I kid.

For the first couple of days it was simply the kids who had fallen victim to this awful monster cold, but eventually their loving caretakers found themselves down for the count as well.

Sometimes being the grown up is so hard.  Especially when the grown up is sick herself but still in charge of the health and wellness of others.  Thursday was my worst day, I thought death was on my doorstep and could barely move myself off the couch to pour a bowl of cereal (which was the breakfast, lunch and dinner of choice for the kids) let alone offer my kids much attention and direction.  We spent all day lying around watching cartoons and snuggling.  It was equal parts glorious and torture.  And I'm sure it will take me weeks to break my children of this new pattern of TV all the time.   But you know, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  God bless Netflix.

One thing that I found interesting is just how much I enjoyed being with them non-stop.  Sure, there were times I couldn't wait to get them in their beds so I could take a much needed nap, but all our togetherness, on one couch, made me realize how little time I actually just spend with the kids.  When we're home I'm usually getting something done, cleaning up or prepping food, or - I'll say it, checking out.  And I try to have something outside the house that we do every morning so we're not going crazy with each other.  But when you're sick, and you have no where to be but in your own germy cloud, you strip away all the busyness and activity and you get to really be present.  Bennett has all kinds of hilarious things to say and was super helpful fetching things for Lakin and I while we were couch stricken.  In fact, little dude loves to help and to be asked for his help.  Hmmmm.... this had never occurred to me.  He also told me all kinds of interesting facts about himself such as, "He not like corn." and, "He want cake everyday."  And Lakin has the most compassionate spirit.  She would kiss me on the arm and rub my tummy to help me feel better.  She also seemed to understand that I had absolutely little to nothing left to give, and took so much initiative on her own.  That girl is full of sweet grace when she sees a person in need.  It's one of my favorite things about her.

Maybe we need a pause every now and then?  God must know I will only take it when it is forced upon me so perhaps this recent bout of illness was less ill fortune and more divine intervention.  I was blessed by being with my people.  Even if they needed a serious nose wipe every 2 minutes and resorted to grunts and whines to communicate their every need.  It's easy for me to lose sight of my true treasures.  Thankfully, God gives me opportunities to see things as they truly are.

Hope you are staying healthy this winter.  But if you find yourself cooped up with your sick babies, I hope you can cherish the sweetness in the midst of some minor suffering.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Next Chapter for the Jaeger Family

Well, I've been sitting on some official and exciting news for a little while.  We are in our final year of residency training in Rochester and began looking into jobs for Chris last summer.  I am delighted to announce that Chris has signed a contract with St. Louis Urological Surgeons, a private practice serving the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Being from Kansas City originally, this means we're moving back home to Missouri and will be a quick four hours from immediate family.  Plus we have some lovely life friends who currently live in St. Louis that we are so excited to be reunited with!

I am so looking forward to a slightly warmer and shorter winter, living in more of a city atmosphere and getting acquainted to our new home.  Plus, we're two hours from our college town and I've been missing Shakespeare's Pizza and Mizzou football.  My babies may be future Tigers - a mother can hope.

I'm so proud of Chris and his accomplishments throughout residency.  Amazing to think the man has been in school or training for 25 years!  I'm sure there will be more updates about our move and future adventures in St. Louis.  I'll keep you posted as we near our move date which will be late June or early July.

And now I leave you with a random photo of Lakin coaxing Ben to use the potty.  Boy is not ready.  Sister is determined.  Mom is completely indifferent.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Hollidrama

Lakin performed in her second ever preschool Christmas program and this year did not disappoint. Lakin even asked me to straighten her hair and put it in a pony.  She looked so grown up and I was delighted that we weren't going to have to fight over gypsy hair and the flower headband she's been sporting non-stop the last couple of days.  If you see my child out in public, know that I have combed her hair, I did make an effort - but as soon as it's combed and smooth, Lakin likes to add her own flair in the form of barrettes and headbands.  And you know what, I'm not going to die on that hill.  If I have to choose, I will fight the battle for clean underwear daily.

So, we straightened her hair and I helped her into her Christmas dress (which I picked out without her and without having her try it on) and immediately wondered if the ruffles made her look like a Jetson or sophisticated and adorable.  But once the tights and boots went on, the outfit felt complete and less like a Halloween costume.

Lakin also wore her Gigi's baby ring, a very special and precious heirloom Gigi had given her when we were home for Thanksgiving.  Gigi wore that ring when she was Lakin's age and the two of them had a needed discussion about how to be responsible with real jewelry.  Lakin was so excited to wear it and show her teacher and friends the very beautiful ring on her finger.  She kept it on the whole night and even asked me to hold it once we got to the car since her finger was feeling "too tired" to continue wearing it.

We snapped a few photos before we headed to school.

And Miss Lakin was eager to get to her program.  I intended to take some photos of the kids by the Christmas trees at church, but by the time we made it out of the program both children were in no mood to stand and smile and the preschool parent stampede was more than we could brave.  So glad we took the time to take some photos at home before we left.

Filing in.  Take a minute and marvel at what 5 minutes and a hair straighter can do for this girl's locks.

Lakin spotted us once she was in position.  This was the beginning of about 5 minutes of waving and blowing kisses and thumbs up.

I mean, she's so adorable.

Getting a few side eyes from her gold booted classmate.  Lakin and Ben were having a sibling moment.  Bennett kept yelling, "Lady." at Lakin.  And she would wave and smile.

She's a ham.  I don't know where she gets it from?  Thoughts?

Moved by the Spirit into silent prayer for the message of the evening?  Perhaps.

Her classmates.  Quite the production getting fifty plus kids on risers.  Bless the preschool teachers.  Bless them.

Mrs. Traff is Lakin's teacher.  She narrated the evening's performance.

Mid-program skepticism.

And confirmation that we hadn't ditched the program and were still in the same seats she's seen us in before.

Things went downhill from here.  Bennett was DONE.  But we had promised a cookie and waited in a line to get the kids refreshments following the program.  The gym was transformed into a beautiful reception but my kids were quickly becoming a hot mess.  The evening ended with Lakin laying her tired head on the table and Chris escorting a crying Bennett to the car early.  Memories.

Lakin was asleep in less than two minutes in the car seat and Bennett was mumbling nonsense and baby cursing the whole ride home.  It was 7:15 PM. These kids have no stamina past their bed time.

Chris and I put the kids to bed and enjoyed some adult conversation and a much needed adult beverage (for Chris) to conclude the sweet but exhausting evening.

Friday, November 21, 2014

28 Weeks

Hello third trimester!  I am feeling officially PREG-NANT.  I finally gave up my kick boxing class and have opted for the gentler elliptical as my main source of exercise because I just couldn't hack it anymore.  That, and my bladder was begging for a break, like every five minutes.  I'm finding that some of my maternity tops are feeling snug and a little short and I wonder if it's too early to feel like this?  With my other pregnancies I remember getting to this point much closer to delivery. We've still got two months of water retention and awkward rolling out of bed.

I had a baby fit taking off my boots and socks last night because my belly was making the task nearly impossible. Lakin witnessed the scene and asked, "Mom, what are you so mad about?"  Whoops.  Didn't realize I was having a tantrum in front of my four-year-old.  My physical limitations are have left me grumpy.  My daughter even notices my tiny fits of rage over the great effort exerted during normal daily tasks.  Chris happened to call as I was finishing up bath time and could hear my struggle over the phone wrestling a wet and freshly lotioned toddler into his footed pajamas.  Sometimes I just have to take a minute and lay on the floor.  Bennett calls it, "Mommy sleep time."  I usually need this after getting the kids suited up to leave the house.  Because putting  kids in a snowsuit, snow boots, coat, mittens and hat is a lot of work.  But it's no joke when you're pregnant.  We're slow and steady over here.

But I do know that I won't always grunt when putting on socks and that someday soon my breath will return to me and I won't feel winded delivering laundry to Lakin's room downstairs.  This is temporary and totally worth it.

Here's a bump picture to document that I am indeed growing in size.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

26 Weeks ... Just Bumpin' Along

It's that time again.... bump update.  Also, do you see what I did with that clever title?

I am, in fact, still pregnant.  My belly is getting... larger.  But this week's photo shows some serious delusion in the J Household.

Bennett is proud to announce that he also has a baby in his tummy.

This week I have felt the restrictions of pregnancy.  (Besides my desire for a glass of red which has been strong since we first found out I was pregnant.)    I bend over and the bump is in the way.  Picking up countless Halloween stickers from my kitchen floor (thank you, Bennett) and sweeping up the daily crumbs has become a real chore.  I also can hear myself breathing when I'm climbing stairs, enjoying a fun size candy bar or sitting perfectly still watching Property Brothers... Oh man, I know from experience that this level of discomfort is nothing compared to the desperate weeks before delivering a baby.  So I'm gearing up.

This week I have been rejoicing in the gift of flavored water.  Brought to my kitchen from the recommendation of my good friend, Erica.  It's literally water in a can with a hint of lime.  And I drink about three a day.  I'm sure I can enjoy something similar with a real lime and my tap water, but that's not chilled and in a can.  So....

In other news, I purchased some ankle boots.  I feel ridiculous wearing them but the interwebs tell me that this is the style and that rolling my pants up is the way to do it.     However, I am debating if this will be a flattering maternity choice because, well... cankles.

And that's about all for this bumpdate.  Carry on.