These are a few of my favorite things

1. Anna crawling into bed with us when Theo is crying in the middle of the night. My BK (Before Kids) self would always say "I'll never let my kids sleep with us!" Now I love middle of the night cuddle sessions. Except when they turn into me getting a foot to the face. Then homegirl can march herself right back into her bedroom with her crying brother.

2. Anna's creativeness. It's beautiful to witness. From making up her dolls' names--Tuti, Peiver, Hever, Pah, and sometimes they are just sounds; to how she dresses. We're already experiencing push back when it comes to clothes and she's only 2! It's either dresses all the time or mismatched tops and bottoms (when I say bottoms I mean pants, never shorts, even when it's 100 degrees) and maybe with an added tutu. She's also named her dresses. The big pink frou frou one is her "Anna dress" (like from Frozen, "Ah-na") and her African one from Aunt Stef is her "Merida dress" (the movie Brave). I'm learning it's not the worth battle especially when I want her to be able to express herself. But if the mismatching continues much longer I may have to hang a sign around her neck that says "I dressed myself".

Princess "Ah-na" eating a donut. Naturally.

3. Almond milk. Who knew?! We recently discovered Theo may (but most definitely) have an allergy to dairy so I've had to eliminate it from my diet. Sad day. Until I tried almond milk. I may not go back to cow's milk after I'm done nursing. Except when it comes to ice cream. I'll always go back to ice cream--and the real kind, not soy or coconut milk.

4. Anna quotes: "Mommy, I want to wear your boobs." (aka my bra) "Cause it happens" (after pooping in her underwear) "Oopsie-DAN-sy" (instead of oopsie-daisy) "Cinder-Aura" (mix between Cinderella and Aurora), "foop-pops" (flip-flops), "ers that?" (what's that or who's that or where's that or when's that? It's all one in the same) and the kicker: "Mommy, you're beautiful!"

5. Theo's long bangs that curl up when wet (most likely from sweat since it's been 500 degrees here in the south).

6. My little music man. Whenever Theo hears music he starts bouncing and even hums along. I was singing him his lullaby just the other day and he started humming. Super sweet.

7. My little dancing queen. It's always "shut up and dance wif me!" Not really but might as well be. At a recent wedding we couldn't get Anna off the dance floor. It was 11 o'clock, the bride and groom had left, and Anna was still dancing! We eventually left with her kicking and screaming.

 Dancing Queen in her Merida dress.

8. Their already amazing friendship. I love seeing how much they love each other. I only pray it continues as they grow. I wish you could hear the laughter going on as I took this pic. My heart was a puddle on the car floor.

9. Our little neighbors who come over almost daily to share with us their findings in the creek. Turtles, snakes, and crawdads/crayfish/whathaveyou.

Notice the tutu and this is one of her favorite shirts, usually paired with fuchsia pants and hot pink flip-flops.

9. Theo's bottom tooth popping through. It's the cutest little tooth that I ever did see. I wish I could take a picture of it but he just won't sit still long enough. Rude.

10. And this man right here. Can't get enough of my baby daddy ;)


On the Move

It's official: we have a mover. No more placing baby in one spot and expecting him to be there upon return. This stage has come way too fast and I'm not ready! We're finding that we're having to re-baby proof the house which the second time around is proving to be a nightmare. Having a toddler who has tiny dollhouse paraphernalia, minuscule hair ties, and leftover crumbs of food splayed all across the floor all throughout the house is driving me insane as I try to make sure Theo doesn't choke on anything. Thankfully he's more interested in power cords than Anna's hair ties (insert eye rolling emoji). He's not quite crawling, it's more of an army crawl or pull. The belly isn't officially off the ground just yet but that isn't stopping this guy. I've lost him a few times on the side of the couch, under the table, or the absolute worst, behind the toilet. And not only has he started crawling, he's also pulling up on anything in front of him: boxes, large toys, baby gates, the steps, my leg. He's not very steady and most of the time it ends in him falling and then crying, but again, it's not stopping him from trying. This guy is on a mission and I think it has something to do with trying to catch up with his sister, with whom he is madly in love. I mean, can you blame the kid?!

And for the books, here is his 7 month stats:


Home Bodies

After the winter we had of staying indoors all.the.time. I was so ready to be on the move and out of the house. It would be an understatement to say we came down with cabin fever. About the time the weather was turning beautiful and our constant sickness was subsiding Theo started to get into a groove. Which for most mothers is a wonderful thing! Yay, routine! What could be better?! Except for the fact that his two hour morning naps keep us stuck, yet again, indoors. Don't get me wrong, I'm so thankful he's finally in a good routine. Two hour nap in the morning, two hour nap in the afternoon, maybe a 30 minute cat nap in the evening, and in bed by 6:30--I couldn't ask for a more perfect routine for the kid. But for Anna who just wants to be set free from the four walls that encloses her she gets bored in about 2.5 seconds after I put Theo down for his morning nap.

I knew I needed to come up with something other than "go find something to do, Anna." I knew I needed to be proactive especially when she's begging me to play with her. "You wanna pay with me, Mommy?" How could I say no? The asking only lasts for so many years until I'm begging her to play with me. We're really considering home schooling in a few years so I began to think "why not start now?" She is only 2 1/2 years old but she's a sponge and I'm observing the earlier she learns the faster it comes.

I started researching and the first place I went to was, of course, Pinterest. I typed in "toddler preschool" and so many pins popped up full of great ideas and resources. Most of the suggestions were super simple and super easy...Carving out intentional time to sit and play with your child while encouraging learning, using materials and toys you already have around the house--no need to go out and buy a bunch of stuff. I found this awesome blog from the Intentional Momma with printables. I immediately printed out the "Super Simple Tot Pack" and stuffed the pages into paper protectors to save on ink and paper. I found Crayola WASHABLE (thank the Lord!) dry erase markers for Anna to write with, added the paper protectors to a binder, and voila! Anna has her own little notebook.

Every day that we're home during Theo's morning nap I try and sit with Anna for about 30-60 minutes playing while inconspicuously encouraging learning. I've started very simple.

One day we may read books.

Other days we may go through her "Super Simple Tot Pack" binder that I mentioned above. It includes letter, number, and shape recognition, tracing, and matching.

We've used bath time to work through our letters.

We've built towers (or wands as Anna would say) out of blocks to separate colors.

Puzzle time has turned into make believe where one time Mommy was the hippo, Daddy was the giraffe, Anna was the ostrich and Theo was the zebra.

Excuse the laundry basket full of clothes--folded, I might add. Multitasking at its finest.

I used paint swatches and clothespins to make a color matching game that, again, turned into make believe where the clothespins are people.

I may be the one bringing out the materials and toys to play with but I allow Anna to lead the playing and learning. I don't want to force it. She's not even 3 yet and by allowing her to lead she feels in control and at the same time is learning so much. I'm shocked every day with what she already knows. My mind is blown that she knows her letters so well, she can count to 20, and her colors are coming along. She can call out blue, orange, and white like it's her job. We're still working on purple, green, and red. As we continue and as she gets older I plan on incorporating more worksheets to her binder and more activities to get her mind thinking. I've thought of doing scavenger hunts inside and outside (close enough to our home where I could still hear Theo if he wakes). I'd like to add activities that work on her eye-hand coordination such as threading laces through cardboard (the paint swatch game is great for working on eye-hand coordination!) More books, more puzzles, more materials that incorporate letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and more. Dancing and songs would be a great addition as well!

Even though we're home bound until Theo grows out of his morning naps I'm excited for the precious time Anna and I have to spend together. It's giving me a taste of what this whole home schooling thing could turn into and that pumps me up. Plus seeing Anna blossom and turn into a intelligent little girl is simply amazing. I don't take for granted one second the fact that I get to stay home with my children. It's been such a blessing and I'm grateful and humbled that I'm the one teaching them.

If you have any other suggestions for Anna and me I'd love to hear them! Again, we're taking it really slow. I plan on implementing a schedule that feels more like preschool come September but for now I'm looking for activities that cost hardly anything and that look more like "play" rather than "school".


zero point five

It's hard to believe we've come to the time where Theo has been with us for half a year already! Some days I feel like we just brought him home last week. Most days I don't remember life without him and feel like he's been with us forever.

Two days ago we went to his 6 month well visit and I was hoping to get the miracle answer for making him sleep longer. Apparently the miracle answer is that I need to feed him more. Wait, what?! Feed my already chunky monkey even more?! Dr. Brown said I'm starving him. I'm sorry, what?! The kid is 19 pounds and is in the 60-75%-tile. He already weighs more than Anna weighed when she was a year old! When the pediatrician says I need to be feeding him more she means I need to be feeding him solids and 3 times a day! So much for baby led weaning! I tried that for a few days and it didn't seem like he was eating anything--which I guess is how it works at first. I'm totally conflicted because everything I read online tells me babies under a year mainly need milk, solids are experimental, and baby led weaning is how the rest of the world feeds their babies. However, the pediatrician seems to be saying the exact opposite. Guys, I felt like she was going to call social services on me right then and there when I told her I'm not even feeding him solids everyday. I'm pretty sure at this point with Anna she was eating 3 times a day and loving it. For some reason with your second kid it's just not as exciting to jump into solids and I didn't feel rushed to start.

So we've taken starting solids slower with Theo. I would love to think that's exactly the reason why he's not sleeping through the night. But my motherly instincts are telling me otherwise. Even if he had been eating solids 3 times a day for a while now I believe he'd still be waking up throughout the night because it's not like he used to sleep through the night and now he's not because he's hungry. He's never slept through the night and by feeding him solids he's just going to all of sudden start? I just don't see that happening. Regardless, now that he's 6 months, I probably should get a move on. I'm going to try both purees and baby led weaning. Maybe spoon feed him oatmeal with bananas while he gnaws on a steamed apple slice. At least that way he's getting the calories the pediatrician said he so call needs and he's still practicing feeding himself.  I guess I got to go dust off the ole Ninja and de-ice the ice cube trays because, baby, we're going to be chowing down!

Oh so close to crawling!
Well hey there, Mama ;)

And just for fun let's compare my twins babies:
Anna at 6 months; weighed 15 pounds and was eating solids like a champ.
Theo at 6 months; weighs 19 pounds and would be happy drinking Mama's milk and that's it.

Let's not forget those awesome stats:


We're singing in the rain

Because that's all that's been going on over here.

Rain, rain, go away!

I'd usually exclaim but when all your daughter wants to do is go jump in puddles you let her because she's only two for one year and you can only jump in puddles for so long before it's just not cool anymore.

...Wait, is it ever not cool?

Someone's pretty proud of her little puddle. All in a day's work, Momma. 


All work and no sleep makes Jess a dull girl

You would think we took another break from social media but that is not the case. I really don't know how you mothers of more than one actually have time to sit down and write. It must be the fact that your babies are actually sleeping through the night. And if that's the case, oh, how I do envy you.

I really believe God gave mothers extra energy. He had to have. There is no humanly possible way someone can get by on multiple nights of only 2 hours of sleep at a time. And when I say multiple nights I mean five months. Basically since we've been a family of four. I can count on one hand the number of nights I've been able to sleep longer than 4 hours at a time. Does it sound like I'm venting? Yes, it does, and yes, I am. I feel like this is a safe place to do that. And you may say, "that's what you've signed up for in being a parent" or "get over it, we all go through tough times". And I don't want a pity party. I just want to hear an Amen! that parenting is hard as crap! After people ask if Theo is sleeping and I just laugh they ask me how I do it. I just do. I've learned to love coffee again. So there's that. I get by just getting what needs to be done and some days not even that (hence why the blog has been put on the back burner). Baby books are still sitting empty, pictures are still on my phone and camera and have yet to be uploaded to Shutterfly to make beautiful photo books, and projects around the house are being left incomplete. But those things can wait right? Even though every time I think about them I get a twinge of guilt because I want to work on them, I realize at least the most important things are being tended to. My kids are being fed, the house hasn't totally fallen to shambles (it may have taken me a week to finally fold 3 baskets of clothes but hey they eventually got done), and since I took a fast from social media for a month I've been able to find time to fall more in love with Christ and find a new hunger for the Word.

Speaking of sleeping, or lack there of, we tried putting Theo in his crib for the first time two weeks ago. Travis and I were both so ready to move him over to his and Anna's bedroom. Travis has been wanting to do it for a long time but I just didn't want to keep getting up every 2 hours to feed Theo and I was afraid he'd wake up Anna every time. After I realized he was waking himself up because he was outgrowing his bassinet I finally relented. The first night was awful! Theo was up every hour. But since then he's been sleeping so much better. Not 9-11 hours like Anna was at this age (I just can't even. I hate my former self for ever complaining about anything!) but between 3-4 hours and that's better than what it was when he was in the room with us. Anna's doing great! She sleeps right through his crying. And so does Travis. He's all "I didn't hear him last night. Did he even wake up?" Yes, Travis, like every other night he woke up at least twice. You'll know when he sleeps through the night, I'll throw a huge party. Naps have been really good. They nap together and it'll usually last 2-3 hours so I'm able to catch a quick nap or get things done around the house or finally finish that blog post I've been trying to write for the past month. Nap times make up for the rough nights for sure. In the next month or so we're going to try dropping the middle of the night feedings by letting him cry it out a bit. Since Anna already sleeps right through his cries I'm hopeful he'll be able to learn to soothe himself without bothering her. **fingers crossed**

Yesterday was rough. Theo was very clingy. I told Travis he's going through a growth spurt because he seems ravenous, he's teething, or he's super tired because he hasn't been sleeping well. Travis reminded me that unfortunately at Theo's age he could be experiencing all three! At one point during the day while he was inconsolable I was trying my best to stay calm and tell him he was ok and in the midst of crying he gave me a huge smile. I had to stop and thank God for my sweet little guy. In that moment I was reminded that time is fleeting. My kids won't always be vying for my attention like they do now and one day I'm going to miss that. So instead of getting upset that I couldn't console him, I held Theo even tighter in that moment. He eventually calmed down and fell asleep in my arms. Usually I'd lay him down in his crib. Instead I let him sleep on me while I took a little snooze as well because, again, time is fleeting.

So maybe I'll be back in a few days or maybe it won't be for another 6 weeks. In the meantime please grant me grace while we try to catch up on sleep over here.


As of Lately (and a 4 month old Theo)

We've taken a little break from Social Media, a whole month in fact. And while I'd like to say so many crazy things happened with the Joneses, I have to admit, life continued on as usual. I think the biggest thing that happened was that Anna pooped in the potty after going on a little hiatus and continues to do so. Which, if you're a parent of a toddler or ever have been, then you know this is major news! Travis continued playing soccer with the boys on Mondays and Tuesdays, my girls nights continued as usual, we went to the mountains for our staff retreat while Anna stayed home with Mimi and got spoiled rotten--that's what Mimi's are for ;) And the kicker to end it all: we all got sick AGAIN!!! complete with double ear infections, pink eye, upper respiratory colds, sever sore throats, and RSV for the second time in less than a month. We've been to the doctor so many times in the last 7 weeks that any time we leave the house Anna asks if we're going to see Dr. Brown again. A majority of the time the answer is yes. She doesn't seem to mind. She loves Dr. Brown.

Taking walks on warmer days. Somehow as February has gone on it's gotten colder.
That's not how it's supposed to work--doesn't it know that?
Staying warm inside taking bubble baths.
Proof that bibles are being read! They're falling apart. What a beautiful sight. 
Mrs. and little Mr. Sickie. 

Our first, and hopefully last, snow and ice storm came through the other night. While we only got a few inches (if that) of snow, the ice was pretty thick so they called school. I'm sure they would've called school even if we didn't get the ice because that's just how it goes down here. I didn't mind like I usually do because we were stuck inside being sick anyway. Anna and Travis got out for a bit though and played with the other kids who turned cardboard boxes into sleds because that's just what you do in the south. At one point Travis said, "I wish we had a sweet sled!" And I'm all, "what would be the point?!" Plus sifting through the dumpster to find the perfect piece of cardboard is the cherry on top. 

My mountain man and sweet little eskimo

In other big news Theo turns 4 months old today. I remember when Anna was 4 months old. We were in Ohio while Travis was in SE Asia. She was getting over RSV too. We were excited about starting solids with her. Starting solids with Theo really hasn't crossed my mind. The first time we tried with Anna we decided to wait a few more weeks because we knew she just wasn't quite ready. I may wait a few more weeks for Theo too. Besides being twice the size of his birth weight he hasn't really shown any other signs that he's ready for solids yet. I'm pretty sure he started a growth spurt a few weeks back. He all of a sudden started waking up every two hours at night to eat like he was a newborn again. The first few nights weren't too bad but by the fifth night I was becoming exhausted and a little annoyed. At almost 4 weeks later he's still waking up every 2-3 hours. My body is finally get used to it again but that doesn't mean I don't long for the nights when I'll be able to get a consecutive 4 hours of sleep! His day schedule isn't any better. I feel like with Anna at Theo's age we had a pretty good schedule going but when you've got a toddler who has her own needs too the second child tags along for the ride. He naps 3 to 4 times a day and thankfully takes a long nap while Anna naps in the afternoon which means I can catch a shut-eye every now and then. It's been extra difficult with Theo being sick twice in one month and going through a growth spurt but we know we'll eventually get in the groove, it's gotta happen at some point. Plus he doesn't seem to mind getting the extra cuddle time at night.

Who needs Christian Bale when I have this little guy as my Batman?
Big Boy
Yup, I went there. It needed to be said and I'm just trying to be honest.