Some people call them Hand-Me-Downs...but a sweet friend, when I gave her some of Christopher's outgrown clothes for her boys a few years ago gave me the term "Hand-Me-Ups" and I loved it! And in reality, that's exactly what they are...because some of these clothes carry some pretty expensive brand names! Name brands I couldn't justify purchasing on our current budget (I didn't even realize some of the brands made kids clothes!). And so, I'm thankful. Not because I'm a brand-name kinda gal (I'm just as happy putting my child in something from Wal-Mart or Target as I am from the Gap or Gymboree, especially since they wear them for such a short period of time!)...but because they are quality clothes...most of which look brand new! And since I don't have to spend money on clothes that he will outgrow all too soon, it opens up opportunities to do other things with my boys that I might not otherwise have been able to do. And again, I'm thankful! :)
OK, ok...you are probably thinking right about now that I promised you an update on my Valentine post and here I am posting again without so much as an update on the last five months of our lives! No need to fear...an update is here! LOL! OK...reality check...I'm pretty sure most everyone who reads this blog is already a Facebook friend of mine or gets a Christmas letter from us, so you are probably pretty much up to date and don't really need or want me to rehash it all anyway. If this is you, no worries...you can stop reading here and not miss anything (except maybe a few really cute pictures of the boys)! :)
For the rest of you still reading (if there are any of you)...here's an update on our lives:
Lots of firsts for Jayden in October...he began holding his head up pretty regularly and really wanted to see all that was around him! He also started eating baby food this month. We started with veggies, moved on to fruits, and eventually meat (not sure when we introduced each food...except I know he had his first meat on Thanksgiving...turkey!). ;)
Christopher was a month or so into his second year of Classical Conversations (CC). He's the only boy in a group of girls...and we're ok with that (he seems to be ok with it for the most part, too)! ;) I am amazed at all he learns in his CC class! Each week they do a presentation to the class of their choosing (in the picture below, Christopher is sharing his lapbook that he'd made of the memory work from the first six weeks) and a science project (below are the owl pellet dissection - not a favorite of my little germaphobe, but with some encouragement, he did participate - and observing the sections of crawfish). The year is divided into four quarters, each six weeks in length. Their Fine Arts section is divided by those quarters. The first quarter is focused on art lessons, the second quarter is tin whistle lessons, the third quarter is art appreciation (focusing on the artists of the period we are studying in our memory work), and the last quarter is music appreciation. These are things I probably would never (or even have the ability to) offer on my own...which makes me even more thankful for our CC community!
Another benefit of homeschooling is that when Daddy has a conference for his work (sometimes in the summer, sometimes in the fall), we get to go along! This fall, Daddy's conference was in Orlando, FL...so we loaded up the van and headed toward the hotel! Unfortunately, we hit a nail or something on the interstate, which caused a flat tire. The good news is that my van has a warning feature when the tires lose pressure to let you know before it goes totally flat and causes a problem on the road. Because of this, we were able to pull off at a rest area so Daddy could have plenty of room to change the tire...with a little help from his favorite assistant (and not worry about the danger of traffic)! ;) We ended up having to stop in Brandon and get a new tire since the spare isn't really intended for long-term use or interstate speeds. We stopped at Costco, but they didn't have a tire to fit and they recommended Sears. So, off to the Brandon Town Center we went. While Daddy worked out all the details, the boys and I wandered around the mall and Daddy caught up with us for dinner in the food court while our tire was being replaced. :)
While Daddy was in his conferences all day, the boys and I headed out for a "field trip" to Wonderworks. Christopher, being the scientist that he is, had a BLAST! He blew some giant bubbles, experienced what an earthquake would feel like (several times), walked on a giant keyboard, moved a ball with his mind, and many other wonderful things! Jayden...well, he pretty much slept through it all! ;) Someday we'll go back and let him experience all the fun with his brother!
Jayden did get an adventure of his own while we were in Orlando, though! He had his first ever swim in the pool...and unlike his brother at that age, he LOVED it!! Now that Christopher has learned to love swimming, I see many fun summers in our future! :)
Jayden also had his first Halloween...unfortunately, he was sick with a cold and couldn't go out. :( So, instead of dressing up, he dressed like Daddy and stayed home while big brother and I headed out!
Our tradition every year is to stop at Grandma Jansen's house to trick-or-treat and then go to our church for their Halloween alternative. Christopher dressed like a fireman this year. Each year, we usually shop for the next year's costume after the holiday is over (when they are 50-70% off). I just now realized we didn't do that for next year. Guess I'm gonna have to make them something! ;)
November was a very important month for our family! It was the month where Jayden OFFICIALLY became a Jansen! Of course, in our hearts, he had been a Jansen long before he was even born...but now, he was legally ours! It was a crazy roller coaster ride. We had gotten information from the attorney about the hearing in October (just before we went to Orlando) stating that we needed to return the paperwork she'd sent, along with $2,000. Thinking this was a mistake, because all legal fees were included in Christopher's adoption and in a breakdown we had gotten from the agency, a chunk of what we'd paid was allocated for legal fees, we called the agency to confirm. Turns out, the money we'd already paid for legal fees was to cover what the attorney had done for the agency...not her fees for the hearing. It was a rough few weeks...but it all worked out in the end! And on election day, November 6, 2012, Jayden officially became our son!
Having seen pictures on a friend's facebook page, I knew there was a chalk art festival in Sarasota while we were up that way for the adoption hearing...so, after the hearing and lunch, we stopped by to view the 3D chalk art. It had rained, so not all of them were as good as the one above...but some of them were amazing!
With my new-found love of sewing, I decided to make pillow pals for all the littles in my family. The only girl, Hannah Kate, requested a "ballerina one"...and so, I learned to make a tutu...thanks to a Youtube video (and descriptions from friends and a lady that works at JoAnn's)! Not only does the tutu fit the pillow pal, but HK can also untie the ribbon, take it off the pillow pal, and wear it herself (which she did as soon as I told her that was a possibility)!
Above are all the pillow pals I made...each one just a little bit different. If the child had a favorite color, I used those colors...otherwise, I picked fabric to make it somewhat unique to that child. The two on the ends are for my nephews...same colors, and yet, still different!
In December, Jayden got to go with me to my Avon Christmas party...all decked out in his Tiny Tillia by Avon attire! Even though he slept through most of it...he was the hit of the party! Christopher got to enjoy a day with Daddy at the office...he loves doing that!
Another big event for Jayden was that on 12/12/12...he got his VERY FIRST TOOTH! The second one came just two days later! All that drooling had finally paid off! And nothing like a couple of toofers to make you wanna eat something more than baby food! When we went for his six-month check-up, his pediatrician told us that he could eat anything, as long as it wouldn't choke him & gave the example that he could eat peanut butter, but not peanuts (due to the choke factor). Boy! Things sure have changed from when Christopher was a baby! Anyway...we started feeding him whatever we were eating in hopes of helping him avoid his big brother's picky eating tendencies! Grandma Jansen gave us a Baby Bullet for Christmas...so now he can have pretty much whatever we do! WOO HOO!
Another big event was that Jayden played Baby Jesus in a couple of the performances of The Living Christmas Tree at our church. They do seven performances...so three babies shared the role so that no one baby would have to be there at every performance...though we were there anyway because Christopher sang with PraiseKids (children's choir) in the performance and David was helping with Resonate (youth choir)...so we attended every rehearsal and every performance! But, we loved every single minute of it, too!
On the day after the last performance of The Living Christmas Tree, Jayden learned to sit up on his own! He was the oldest of the babies to play baby Jesus and they were a little concerned that he might not like laying down like a baby, as many babies who have learned to sit up on their own are like that. So, I wouldn't let him even practice sitting up on his own until after the performances were over (one of his performances was on the LAST DAY)! When I finally let him try to sit up on his own the next day, I was amazed! Of course, there was some falling over (which is the reason for the pillows behind him)...but he's come a long way since then! :)
Part of our Christmas traditions include going to the Christmas Eve service at our church. It's a candlelight service and all the adults, teens, and older kids get a candle as they enter. Little kids get a star on a stick. This was Christopher's first year getting a candle and Jayden's first Christmas Eve service...a first for both my boys! :) I love this service because we always sing Christmas carols together as a church family, then the Christmas story is presented from the Bible (this year it was read by some of the pastors and their families), and a message is given by our pastor. At the end, candles are lit across the sanctuary and the overhead lights are dimmed...it's absolutely beautiful!
Christmas morning was so much fun at our house! This was the first year that Christopher got REALLY excited about it. In the past, David and I have always gotten up before him on Christmas morning and had to wait for him to get up...sometimes even making lots of noise in the hopes of waking him up! Thankfully, I had an inkling it was going to be different this year and we roped off the door that led out from his bedroom and bathroom to the rest of the house so he couldn't get out if he got up before us. "Santa" left him a note letting him know not to bust through it until after Mom & Dad were up to let him out. Of all the things he got, I think Christopher loved his Hexbugs the most! Jayden seemed pretty interested in them, too! I am so thankful that Christopher is the type of big brother that he is willing to let his little brother see his new toys (as much as it is safe for him, anyway). I am so blessed by the relationship these two have already!
On New Years Eve, our tradition is to stay home and watch the ball drop as a family...then we have sparkling grape juice in fancy glasses to celebrate! Both boys stayed up to see in the new year...and Jayden was very curious about what we were drinking...so Daddy gave him a sip, too! Wanting to post the picture on Facebook, but not wanting to give the wrong impression, I also took a picture of Jayden with the bottle so everyone would know that it was just grape juice and nothing stronger! ;)
In January, Christopher decided that he wanted to learn to sew. He has watched me make things for him, his brother, and his cousins with my sewing machine and decided he'd like to give it a go. He not only made, but also designed, a pillow toy for his brother as his first project! He did very well...and I'm very proud of him! At least I know who will get use out of my current sewing machine if I'm ever able to upgrade to one that embroiders! In the meantime...I'll just have to share! :)
On January 11th, several homeschoolers from our area took our annual field trip to LEGOLAND! It's a great deal because the kids get in for about $5 and the adult tickets are around $25...much less than the normal ticket fees! This was the second such trip for Christopher and me...but a first for Daddy and Jayden! Christopher and Daddy had a blast on the rides while Jayden and I enjoyed the scenery! We ALL enjoyed a lunch at the pizza and pasta buffet inside the park! We are already looking forward to next year's trip!
As I mentioned in a previous post...DaRuMa's has a very special meaning to David and me on Valentine's Day (our first date)! This year, we celebrated our 11th Valentine's Day together by taking Christopher with us to DaRuMa (Jayden had some Grandma Jansen time). :)
Christopher loved watching the guy cook the food in front of us! He wasn't the most entertaining of chefs we've had there...but Christopher, not knowing any different, enjoyed it all the same!
Christopher especially loved the onion volcano (being that volcanos are his thing and all)! He was amazed! There's no doubt he enjoyed the whole experience...and is already asking when we are going back again! Oh Boy! I don't think it will be anytime soon (due to the cost factor)...but I know my favorite part of the whole dinner was watching him enjoy it all and his precious expressions! I just love being this little boy's mommy!
OK...that was quite the update...but, at least now you know what we've been up to! ;) I packed a lot more pictures into this update than I usually do...and it was no easy task! Internet Explorer kept refreshing itself and I kept losing pictures (especially if I tried to add more than two at a time)...so it took me a few days to complete the update as a result...but I needed the pictures to help me tell the story...so I persevered! You're welcome! LOL! ;) Hopefully, it won't be so long before the next blog post and I won't have so much updating to do! =)