Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A wave of visitors

After each deployment, my brother gets a little bit of time on leave.  This time, he chose to come to Indiana.  We were all thrilled!
The kids could hardly wait to play with him.  Uncles are just the best-- even if they do bring new weapons at each visit.

We met up with Kylie for lunch one day.  Unfortunately for Kyle, her friends loved him!


That evening our second visitor stopped by: Uncle Corey.  Each year his company has a trade show in Indianapolis and he always makes it a point to stop and see us.  And each time, he leaves with a drawing from the kids-- lucky guy :)

The rest of my family arrived the very next day.  I sure love having a house full of family!
 

 We took the girls to an Easter egg hunt one morning and, despite the chilly temps, they had a blast!


That evening we warmed up at our favorite restaurant, Tucanos.  Jackson was a big fan of the strawberry lemonade.

We always have such a great time when we're reunited with family.  Unfortunately, my mom came down with the stomach flu and it was pretty awful.  Hopefully we'll all be healthy next time we see each other!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Suite Birthday

Josh turned a year older on Wednesday.  We didn't have anything special planned except maybe a dinner reservation for two.  As luck would have it, we were unable to find a babysitter so we were prepared to spend a quiet evening at home.
The next day Josh's manager asked if he would like to have his tickets to the upcoming Pacers game.  This time we were able to find a babysitter, so off to the game we went! 
{Let's just pretend that this was our original plan all along}.
We had no idea that we would be watching the game from a suite... and it was sweet!  We had such a great time.




Happy birthday, husband!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

18 Months

I can't believe that 6 months have already passed since Jackson's birthday.  Time has flown by!

18 MONTH STATS
Height: 32 1/2 inches (50th percentile)
Weight: 25 1/2 pounds (50th percentile)

Since his 1-year appointment he's gained 1.5 pounds and grown 2.5 inches!

Now that Jackson is 18 months old, he can attend the Nursery at church.  This means that, rather than spending the last 2 hours of church fighting to keep our active little boy as minimally distracting as possible, Jackson can play with toys, sing songs, and have snacks.  We actually get to enjoy our meetings!  {By "we" I mean Josh because he's the one who's been on "Jackson duty" ever since I got called to Primary last year in May}.  

This also means a lighter diaper bag, cracker crumb-less suit jackets, and less distracted 12-year-olds in Josh's class.  In case you can't tell, we're pretty excited about this new phase!

Jackson had a great first day - no tears!  Every time I peeked in the window to see how he was doing, he was perfectly content.  We're all so proud of him.

ANYWAY, here are a few fun facts about Jackson:
  • He gives the TV his full attention whenever someone turns it on.  He'll run to the couch, plop down on a cushion, and wait expectantly while we select a show.  He doesn't sit there long, mind you, but it's funny to see someone so small sitting so properly on the couch.
  • He loves music.  He'll dance to just about anything and has started to make up his own songs.
  • He's not very picky when it comes to food.  Some of his favorites are meat {any kind}, PB&J, yogurt, bananas, applesauce, vegetables, cereal.  You name it.  Surprisingly, he doesn't really like a lot of fruits: oranges, grapes, strawberries.
  • He can't finish a book to save his life.  I'm determined to change that.
  • His nap schedule is still very erratic.  This is not a fun fact, but a fact nonetheless.
  • It doesn't take much to keep him happy.  A ball.  A spoon.  A toy car.  As long as he can take it with him as he runs back and forth, he's a very happy boy.
I'm excited to see what the next 6 months will bring!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Connecting

"The natural drift of family life in contemporary America is toward slowly diminishing connection.  Only an 'intentional family' has a fighting chance to maintain and increase its sense of connection over the years." -William Doherty, Ph.D.

I came across this quote while reading a book about sleep habits, of all places, but I believe it with all my heart.  One of the things that I fear most is that my kids will slowly pull away from me as they grow up.  How I hope that we can always cherish each other.

This week was another busy one but I made a conscious effort to slow down and connect with my kids.  Memories were made, laughter bubbled over, and life just felt happy.

I learned a few things too.  Like, Summer is just as happy on a rainy day as she is on a sunny day.  To her, life itself is just beautiful.

Jackson learned something too.  We practiced blowing kisses while on a walk one day, and by the end of our walk he was blowing kisses to every car that passed.  Instead of saying "muah" he says "mmmmom."  He's got me wrapped around his little finger {and he knows it}.

I surprised Kylie during lunch one day.  I wish I could've captured a picture of the look on her face when she saw me!  She may not always be so excited to have impromptu lunch dates at school so, for now, I'm soaking it up.

Lunch dates are always a little interesting when you have younger kiddos in tow :)

I really enjoy watching my kids connect with their peers too.  Kylie and her friend dressed alike on "twin day."   We moms even had to call each other up and coordinate the night before.

Today I got the chance to connect with just the girls.  We went and saw Cinderella and had such a great time!  Yes, Kylie is wearing a tiara.

It was fun to be with the girls as they experienced this movie theater for the first time.  It's called Studio Movie Grille and it's a fabulous place for kids.  There's ample legroom, the seats recline, and servers bring you food from the menu while you watch the show.  Like I said, it's fabulous.

Later on, we went for a walk as a family.  I have a feeling that we'll be taking many, many more during the warmer months.  It's an activity that we all enjoy and it's an opportunity for us to connect in a different way.  While the girls chatted away about how cool it will be to have a cane when they're little old ladies {seriously}....

....Josh and I were able to have an uninterrupted conversation--a rare thing these days!  Yes, these moments of connection take effort but they are so very worth it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

This Week

When this phase of my life passes-- the one that revolves around nap times, sippy cups, and bedtime stories-- I'll probably have a hard time remembering what it was like having 3 little kids at home.  The details will be fuzzy and I'll wish I had listened when friends told me to write them down.

Basically, each day is different, yet somehow the weekly schedule is very much the same.  Here's what this week has been like.

Mondays and Wednesdays are preschool days.  Jackson is my little co-pilot during drop offs, pick ups, and errands in between.  His shoes and socks come off almost instantly after getting buckled in.  Unless we're going someplace where he'll be running around, I skip the shoes altogether now.
 

I love preschool pickup.  Summer is always thrilled to see me and greets me with the biggest bear hug around my legs.  Sometimes she's sporting a fantastic yogurt mustache, which gives us both a good laugh.  She spends the entire ride home filling me in on every. single. detail from her day.
 

Tuesday.  We had ballet in the morning, which should be a piece of cake considering it's only a 30 minute class, but I find it to be a bit of a bear.  Parking is always a nightmare and when you have 2 little kids in tow, you can't escape the downpour of freezing rain fast enough.  Once inside, I do my best to keep Jackson in the stroller for as long as possible so I don't have to spend the entire 30 minutes pulling him out of spin or yoga classes.

Afterwards, we headed home and had an early lunch-- sandwiches.  On Tuesdays I try to make a menu and grocery list for the upcoming week during any spare moment I can find.  This is what Jackson usually does when my back is turned-- or when I'm looking right at him.  Either way. 
 

Wednesday this week was much crazier than usual.  After dropping Summer off at preschool, I came home with just enough time to grab a quick snack and a few diaper bag toys for Jackson.  Then we headed off to a long-overdue doctor's appointment in which I was diagnosed with bacterial bronchitis.  It's very uncomfortable so I was happy to walk out of there with a prescription.

After the appointment I dropped Jackson off at home, where Josh was kind enough to spend his lunch break so I could enjoy a lunch date out with a friend sans wiggly toddler.  

From there, I went back home to pick up Jackson and then we made our way to preschool pick-up.  Thankfully we were able to spend the rest of the afternoon at home, but don't think for a second that we weren't busy.  Our time quickly filled up with post-school snacks, homework, dinner prep, and the bedtime routine.  Once that was done, I paid my family a hasty goodbye and I left to visit a friend who is recovering from a double mastectomy.  Time well spent-- she's amazing.

Today-- Thursday-- was a beautiful change of pace.  No plans whatsoever.  And it felt amazing, especially since my bronchitis medication significantly raises my blood sugar and makes me reeeallly sleepy.
 

Unfortunately my levels went from bad to worse.  What you're seeing here is my post-breakfast and pre-dinner readings.  I generally try to stay somewhere between 100-150 so these levels are a complete shock to my system.  Hopefully they'll return to normal in a week when I'm off the meds.
        

On days like these I wish I had the energy to push through my groggy haze and be supermom, but I can't.  Instead, I rested while Jackson napped and allowed Summer to play on the computer.  She absolutely hates these lazy kinds of days, can you tell???


No matter what day of the week it is, this is my view as I prepare dinner.  They're so fun.  I usually have a Pandora station going while I cook dinner and the kids like to sing along to Michael Buble and Jack Johnson almost as much as I do.


Sometimes a little more effort is required to keep the little guy happy, but I don't mind that either.  The goofy giggles make it all worth it.

And this little face is the one that I smother with kisses each night at 6:30.  He goes to bed earlier than either of my girls did at this age but it's what he wants.  As soon as dinner is over, he stands at the kitchen doorway begging for "muk."  When he's finished with his cup, he'll play with his sisters for a few minutes more and then happily say "nye nye" when we bring him to his room.  The past few nights he's slept from 6:30pm-7:15am.  It's bliss, I tell you.

Tomorrow is Friday, library day.  We usually get 3 movies-- one for each of the girls and a VeggieTales for Sunday-- and anywhere from 7-10 books.  It may seem like a lot but the kids absolutely devour their library finds, and I am just grateful that they enjoy reading so much.

Friday is also my laundry day, weather permitting.  {I'd like to meet the dummy who decided to put our washing machine drain on the exterior wall.  Sub-zero temps cause the pipes to freeze, making them completely useless.}

And that, my friends, is a pretty typical week at the Steorts household.  Someday my life will look so very different, but for now I think I'll enjoy the yogurt mustaches and 6:30 bedtimes.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Josh

I really need to be better about posting things about Josh.  The trouble is that he's great at avoiding pictures so I don't have very many of him.  But he's going to get a post anyway :)

One of the things I love most about Josh is that he's such a hard worker, and yet he still finds time to be a devoted husband and father.  He is always performing selfless service, simply because he knows I will appreciate it.  For instance, last night he emptied the dishwasher, cleared the dinner dishes, swept the floor, and tidied the living room... just because.  And that was after he spent an hour and a half removing the snow from our cars. {It took him so long because he worked patiently with the girls when they expressed an interest in helping}.

A few fun facts about Josh: he wraps Christmas presents better than I do; he loves to grill and he's excellent at it; he will watch Downton Abbey with me without complaining; he recognizes when I need a break {daily} and is happy to help however needed.  He also wakes up at 5:00 everyday-- three of those mornings he goes and plays basketball; the other mornings he studies for a test he'll be taking for work.  That's dedication!

I love how involved he is with the kids.  I'm impressed that he can play energetically with them or patiently help with homework, even after a long day at the office.  He's especially my hero on Sundays when he takes our very wiggly little boy during the last 2 hours of church so I can fulfill my responsibilities in Primary.
Years ago when we got married, I knew I was snagging a great guy.  But now I'm finally beginning to understand just how lucky I am!