Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Thursday, June 30, 2011

grandpa charlie

Today we will say goodbye to Grandpa Charlie. A man who undoubtedly lead a full life. I love this photo from almost exactly a year ago- doing what he loved to do best, tell baseball stories, from the days when he played in the minors with some of history's greatest. And as much as he loved to tell them, I think Dan loved even more to hear them. I was not fortunate enough to know Dan's grandma Sue, but I feel like I know her through Grandpa Charlie and through the family they built together- one that continues to grow in size, but never grows apart. Jackson most likely won't remember his times with Grandpa Charlie and Audrey will never meet him at all... but he knew them and loved them both and there is no doubt in my mind that they'll know him through the stories Dan will keep alive.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Audrey Danielle

In a little over 4 months we will welcome our most beautiful baby girl, Audrey Danielle, into this world. I can't tell you how in love I am with her already and in love I am with all of the dreams I have for her. It's amazing to me how once you know there is this tiny little person growing inside of you, you realize that you have already loved them your entire life, just waiting for them to become a part of you even though they've always been a part of your heart. This must be the way God loves us- unconditionally before we even existed. Life just wouldn't be complete now without Dan, Jackson and Audrey. 

Audrey: When you read this someday I want you to know how much pride and sober responsibility I feel knowing that I am bringing you into this world. I felt this with Jackson too, but I think the 'responsibility' piece feels even stronger knowing that I am to show you how to be a woman in this world. I'm sure this is the same thing your Dad feels knowing that it is his job to teach Jackson to be a man who is loving, respectful, strong and honorable. I have been thinking a lot the past few days about this, knowing that I am going to be your primary example of what being a 'woman' means- I pray that God will give me strength, confidence and patience as I dig deep to give you the absolute best example possible. 

We love you so much, Audrey. I wish you could see the smile that erupts on your brother's face when we talk about his "sistuh" - it is enormous and yet still only a fraction of what I feel in my heart every time I feel you move inside of me. 

All our love,
Mama, Daddy & Jackson

Monday, June 13, 2011

We are coming off of a beautiful, sunny, relaxing weekend where our number one priority was soaking each other up. Its in those moments- of complete and utter simplicity- where I find there to be a spotlight on the blessings in my life, just pulling me towards it, urging me to take a moment to be thankful. And thankful I am.
In service yesterday we focused on Deuteronomy 6: 4-9. To say that I take this passage lightly would be the epitome of an understatement. This passage reminds me that when God chose me to be Jackson's mother, he was choosing me to introduce my little man to Him. To show him the way to having a life-long relationship with Jesus. It is not an honor that Dan and I take lightly. 
When I see Dan and Jackson move with complete ease and harmony as they do more and more... I am so thankful to have a husband who places such importance on being the absolute best father possible. I love so many things about him, but to see the patience, love and joy he has with Jackson far exceeds anything else. They are best buddies and that is so amazing to watch. I glanced back to see what we were doing exactly one year ago and I was amused to find that the scene was just as sweet- (June 12, 2010).
Jackson takes this job of watering the baby trees very seriously. Very. It is not a laughing, playing matter- it is a big boy job that he and Daddy do together. Moments like this remind me once again that new toys and television are not what children need to be happy or entertained. In fact, that is actually what they need less of. Instead, lets give them more of this:

The countdown is on: less than 2 weeks until we learn if we're having another baby boy or a baby girl. I wasn't sure how pregnancy would feel the second time around, but it is not even a little bit less amazing or miraculous. I still find myself reading daily on what my baby is up to- how he or she is developing. As of today baby is 5.5 inches long and weighs around 7 ounces. I will never get over the fact that I have a baby inside of me. A baby- INSIDE of me. Honestly, think about that. Amazing. We can't wait to meet you, baby, only 155 days to go!

Monday, June 6, 2011

16 months

In just a couple of days Jackson Philip will be 16 months old- that is nearly a year and a half if you do the math. A year and a half-old doesn't seem that far from being a baby, but if you know my little man, you would know that he is far into toddler-hood, bordering on manhood at times. He has enough personality for someone three times his size and he continues to brighten our every day, pushing us to be the best we can be for the sake of being the best possible example for him. Because time is going too quickly and because he evolves so much every day, here is a rundown of Jackson as we know him today, at 16 months:

-He has inherited many things from me and many things from Dan, but one thing is for sure... he has my independence. He yearns to do as much as possible for himself, studying how we do things so that the next time around he won't need as much help. 

-His vocabulary continues to grow- a few of the things he says: mama, dada, nanna, poppy, mamaw, papaw, bubba, "dan" (for Uncle Jordan), sammy, ling-a-ling-a (for Bing), bye bye, night night, diaper, up, help, no, yes, waffle, pears, apple, banana, more, down, outside, wagon, tree, dog, cat, shoe, sock, juice, milk, mail, truck, baseball, ball, block, pray, church, amen, baby, hooray, uh-uh, oops... and others I'm forgetting at the moment.

-He does sounds for dogs, cows, chickens, monkeys, pigs, sheep and points to his ears, hair, tongue, nose, eyes, hands, feet, belly. He mimics frogs (sticks his tongue in and out) and when you ask him what monkeys eat he tells you proudly, 'bananas.'

-He shows you how to close your eyes (dramatically, of course), if you ask him to smile he cheeses it up as big as possible and if you say "It's nice to meet you, Jackson" he extends his hand out to shake yours. All hilarious, making Dan and I crack up every time, which he, of course, just eats up. 

-He loves prayer time at dinner- often initiating it himself, extending his little hands out and saying "pray"- I'm not sure if God would be so pleased because Dan and I concentrate more on how cute and funny it is to watch his serious little face as we pray out loud instead of looking down and focusing on the prayer, but he appropriately finishes with an "amen" along with us. 

-He loves to be outside and gets offended when Dan is outside working and we are inside playing when it's too hot or rainy out. Wagon rides are his favorite, especially his daily one with Dan to get the mail. He thinks getting the mail is his job and is pretty possessive of it when he brings it into the house. He walks around with the stack of mail for awhile and then when he decides it's time he will hand it over to me, but don't you dare try looking through the mail until he has given you permission! 

-We still don't allow Jackson to watch television and don't plan to do so until he's at least 2, if even then, but he has caught on to the fact that baseball (the Reds) are on the TV a lot lately. It's pretty much the only thing we watch when Jackson is awake so the naive little guy thinks that the TV is made for baseball and points to the TV and says "baseball" even if a commercial is on. 

-His favorite things to play with are his wagon, blocks, balls and reading books. There are some days when I have to remind myself how much I always wanted him to love books as much as we do in order to keep my patience when I am reading a book for the 10th time in a row. The boy has his favorites and insists on reading them over and over. Beyond his toys, he is just as happy to sit down and figure out how to put lids on his cups and dishes- you can almost see his mind working out loud, learning how things go together- that would be the Dan and Papaw in him. 

-He and Sammy continue to have a love-hate relationship- he LOVES "mammy" and Sammy sometimes loves him back, although Ihe's more annoyed with Jackson 80% of the time. Jackson chases him around, laughing, thinking that they are best buddies but not realizing that Sammy doesn't so much love it when Jackson pulls his hair, body-slams him or "hugs" him. But, JP makes up for his rough play when he gives Sammy more treats than he needs. 

-JP lets us know when he needs his diaper changed- making the "yucky" sound and then proceeding to go into his bedroom to get a diaper out. We have been talking about the 'big boy' potty and reading potty training books to him so he begins to understand the concept. I was hoping to wait until I am on maternity leave to potty-train him, but he may actually be ready to begin sooner, but we'll see how it goes. 

-I am continuously amazed at how much of what we say to him he understands. We made it into a little game a couple of weeks ago- I write down on index cards words of things around the house and then I read it to him and he takes the card and places it on the object (for example, I will write down "diapers" and he will take the card and put it in his diaper drawer. I'm hoping this will help him begin to connect the verbal words he understands with the written forms. 

-He and Dan are best buddies. Dan claims that he is now Jackson favorite. I correct him in saying that now he and I are just tied for his favorite, but either way they have a lot of fun together playing. 

I'm sure there are so, so many things that I'm forgetting to document, but the moral of the story is that there are no words to describe how much we love you, Jackson. No words to explain to you how much richness you bring to our every day and how in awe we are of you every day as you continue to grow and learn and emerge naturally into the person you were intended to be. We love you forever!
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