Life on Cottage Hill: PAGES

Saturday, February 21, 2015

jackson at FIVE years!

I'm a little - or maybe a lot- in denial that our little handsome butt just turned five years old. That's a whole hand full of years! And honestly sometimes it feels like Jackson is even older because if you ask anyone who knows him well they would agree that he's wiser beyond his years. He is kind, sweet, generous, patient, loving... I could go on. This little man of mine makes me proud every single day and I have no doubt that will continue for all of time. A little bit of Jackson at FIVE years old:

-He's a smarty pants. That is for sure. My biggest worry for him going into Kindergarten next year is that he will be bored because he's already mastering 1st grade material with Mrs. Mansfield. He absolutely has his daddy's engineer mind, endless curiosity and the focus and patience to figure out any thing. He has a love for learning that is so rare and so valuable. I continue to check in with his preschool teacher and she continues to have absolutely no concerns to discuss- with Jackson it is just smooth sailing. 

-He is overly protective of Jonah in the sweetest way. He is always the first to notice if Jonah is playing or getting into something he shouldn't be, constantly taking things out of his mouth. If Jonah is upset Jackson will distract him with a new toy or a song and it's not uncommon for him to say to me that he thinks Jonah is tired or hungry... he's so in tune with his needs. 

-He adores- ADORES- Audrey. They certainly have their moments when they've spent too much time together and will argue or hurt each other's feelings, but the vast majority of the time he is the sweetest with her. He knows what she loves- all things girly and Princess- so he is constantly humoring her with playing make believe Princess games, helping her with getting into her dresses, spinning her around our makeshift "dance floor" and just loving on her constantly. I'm certain there is no other relationship in this world that makes me smile more than the one between Jackson and his Audrey. 

-Speaking of Audrey, we always called him "Jackson" or sometimes "JP" until she came into this world and began calling him "Jackie" so I often catch myself calling him this as well. Just the other day I asked him which name he likes the best and he replied "Jackie." So, Jackie it is!

-Our picky eater has made such progress this past year, thanks in large part by us just not giving him the choice to turn new foods down completely. His acceptable menu of options has slowly grown and the fits become less dramatic each day as he is faced with new foods to try or foods that he has had many times but still claims to dislike. Honestly, if this is the biggest challenge with Jackson I will take it. While sometimes frustrating it's really not a big deal at all. 

-He LOVES school, loves going and loves his friends. He continues to claim Grace and Canaan as his best friends, but also loves his time with all his cousins as well as all his classmates, friends he met in soccer, friends from church and others. Jackson is somewhat of an introvert when it comes to completely new places and faces, but has such a good time once he feels comfortable. 

-While Audrey can busy herself all day long with very few needs and requests, Jackson definitely wants and needs to be kept busy with new challenges. In a span of one day it's incredible how much he will get through. His favorite activities are definitely anything outside, he LOVES riding bikes and has mastered doing this with no training wheels, he prefers helping daddy with work/projects over playing, he is a big time pretender with Audrey and the games they make up, he loves to build with blocks and legos and is always up for learning by reading, doing worksheets, doing projects, etc. 

I know I'm missing so many things... Jackson, when you read this some day I hope you realize how much we LOVE you, buddy, but just as importantly how I pray that you will never change because Jackie, your heart is so pure, so full and in such the perfect place. It's refreshing and breathtaking all at the same time and I couldn't be more thankful to have been chosen to be your mom. All my love, little man... 

Stats: 45" tall (87%) & 42lbs (59%)

jonah at ONE year!

I'm sure someday the bear will forgive me for taking so long to give his one year update. But, the thing is, Jonah, that you NEVER stop moving, getting into things, climbing, trying to give me a heart attack... so, you know, it's kind of your fault, little man! But, my goodness, how we love you. Maybe it's because you're my last "baby," maybe it's a 3rd child thing or maybe it's just those cheeks... but you melt my heart constantly (and I think you know it, you little stinker). 

A few things about Jonah at ONE year:

-You are not only walking, but running. Everywhere. Oh, and dancing... if ever in a bad mood or throwing a fit we simply turn on your favorite song (Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off") and you instantly get up, run across the room to the music and dance, dance, dance. 

-Speaking of throwing fits, you do this now and it's adorable. Jackson used to do the same full body spread on the floor when he was your age. Thankfully you typically forget that you're mad in less than a minute and then are back to being on the go. 

-You're saying a few "words" including mama, dada, baba (bottle) and ga (dog). I can tell you're really beginning to study me when I practice words with you, soaking it all and now when I begin to sing the ABCs you immediate start to mimic how I always "sign" the letters. Smarty pants. 

-You leave no questioning that you're going to be a trouble maker. A cute trouble maker, but a trouble maker nonetheless. You know the hot buttons for each of us (getting into the garbage for Daddy and trying to turn on/off the TV for mommy) and so you push those buttons with an ornery look on your face as often as possible. I especially like it when you walk towards the TV and automatically start shaking your head and sometimes even pointing to me... oh, Jonah. 

-You continue to adore Jackson and Audrey and the feelings are mutual all the way around. Audrey loves on you all day talking to you in the sweetest baby talk and Jackson is your most over protective brother. I hope that never changes. 

-Your night sleeping isn't always consistent- you still crave an extra bottle or cuddle time in the middle of the night sometimes, but I don't mind that at all, especially since you're so easy to put to sleep. All you need is your paci and your doggie in your arms and you're a happy boy. (fun story on doggie- when Jackson was around a year old we bought him a stuffed dog at Ikea... this became his comfort item and he has slept with it every single night since. A month or so ago your daddy and I were in Ikea and saw the same stuffed dogs! So, we bought one for you and it automatically became your favorite comfort item too. So sweet). 

-I say this a lot and that's just because it's true... you are crazy. See that picture of you up there that I took today? See that bruise on your cheek? Yep, it's just one of many you've had lately. Thankfully that one is fading because it was pretty nasty looking and honestly, who can bruise a cheek that chunky? You. That is who. Because you are crazy.

-You love to eat... pretty much every thing. And all the time. Your absolute favorite are berries, specifically blueberries. But you pretty much love all fruit and all vegetables. You also really like Daddy's soup, any meat, yogurt, etc. You're not a huge fan of carbs like bread and granola bars but I'm totally fine with that.

I can't tell you how much we love you, Jonah, because words would never measure up to that, but I do hope that one day you will read this and realize how much joy you bring us. How much we love you. How hard we will try to do what is right for you. You are our bear, our crazy, sweet, lovable Jonah bear. 

Jackson at one year HERE and some reflections HERE.
Audrey at one year HERE.

Stats: 30" tall (54%) & 22 lbs, 12 oz (71%)

Monday, February 16, 2015

::catching up:: geneva.

...just a few shots from geneva. I did a lot of exploring in the evenings after coming home from the office, but it was COLD! and since I was alone I didn't love pulling out my extra large "I'm a tourist" camera a lot so have just a few below worth sharing. the city itself was gorgeous- very much so what you think of when you have in mind old europe. being so close to the french border everyone spoke french and I also had a fine time finding my way in English. with our European headquarters based in geneva I'm sure I'll be back...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

::catching up:: a birthday for my favorite 2 superheroes.

last saturday night, under a fog of jet lag, we hosted jackson and jonah's superhero birthday party. my two little men ushered in their fifth and first birthdays with ample sugar, chaos and gifts. jonah bear wasn't a fan of the cake which is just fine with this mama- I will hold off on the treats just as long as he'll allow me to. and if I could hold off on the rest of what comes with growing up I would do that too. 

these two come with so much joy- bringing us smiles, laughter and healthy doses of both humility and awe each day. 

sweet boys. when you read this some day, please know how thankful we are to have been chosen to be your parents. may you know that while we probably won't perfect this parenthood thing, we will certainly go to bed knowing that we tried with our whole selves every day. 

every. single. day. 

::catching up:: paris.

happy love day.

happy love day from the 3 sweetest (and craziest) valentines i know. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

the blur of life lately.

Friday- I arrived home late afternoon from Europe.
Saturday- Jonah turned ONE!! We toured the home we want to buy and we threw a birthday party for the boys.
Sunday- Jackson turned FIVE!! We went to church and then took care of more house stuff.
Monday- Jackson & I had date day for his birthday and we met with our realtor to go over contracts and such. 

There has been so much good woven throughout these days but also a lot of stress and anxiety. My time with Jackson today was the perfect antidote to all that is swimming in my mind, but it ended all too shortly and I feel the pressures of this week creeping up. 

Thankfully I know it will all be as it should be. We just need to get through this little bit. 

I have LOTS of catching up to do, but for now here is a snapshot into the joy that was today with my best little buddy. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

hello from geneva.

It's Wednesday morning in Geneva.
Otherwise known as T minus 2 days until I come HOME.
I've reached my wall. This always happens on business trips. 
I'm tired and I miss my babies. 
But, on the plus side this city? It's gorgeous. 
I mean, look at the view when I walk out my hotel. 

I also find it incredible how at home I feel when I'm so far from home.
Over the years I have made so many friends from around the world who I work with and in times like these I'm thankful that I can tell stories about Jackson, Audrey or Jonah and they already know who I'm talking about and I know their families and what they're passionate about. It's comforting. The more I travel, the more I learn, the more I work for this massive yet tight-knit company, the smaller the world feels and the more I realize yet again how alike we all really are. And that is a beautiful thing.

Monday, February 2, 2015

from gluten-free to gluttony.

Remember that one time when I ate 4 chocolate croissants before 6:00 in the morning? Yep, must be in France. 

This morning I woke up at the beautiful hour of 4am to get to the airport for my flight from Paris to Geneva. This was a flight I most definitely could not miss since I'm landing and then going straight to the office to lead an afternoon-long training so I arrived extra early just to be safe. It was all worth it when I was greeted with an Air France lounge full of endless cappuccinos and chocolate croissants. I've already had 4. Of each. 

I unfortunately forgot my camera chord so have few pictures I can upload until I arrive home, but it's safe to assume my memory card is practically full of every possible angle of the Eiffel Tower. *Amazing*

More to come from Switzerland where I'm hoping a smooth and successful meeting and early bedtime await me. 

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