Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Gant Family!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sledding on Christmas Eve

Jasper enjoyed some sledding on Christmas Eve. These photos were taken outside of Erica's parents house in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They received about 4 inches of snow last night.

Jasper enjoyed trying to walk in the deep snow, but it was pretty tough for him.

Jasper would laugh the entire time the sled moved.

Bad Hair Moment

Dad, I'm not nearly as excited to be up as you are.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Not the greatest 12 days of Christmas...

The week started off with fun things like Jasper reorganizing our freezer. Then...

...the adventure started with a very innocent decision. On Monday night, we decided to attend Yobany's birthday party at his house. To accomplish this, we loaded Jasper up without bringing the pack-n-play. We didn't plan on staying very long. While there, Jasper started feeling ill, but he didn't show any signs until...he sat down and threw up on the Mayen's floor. Not only did he deposit his dinner from only about an hour before, he still had some of his lunch in there. It was surprising how much he had packed away in that cute tummy of his. I caught some of it in my hand, and Erica was quick to help me clean up the floor. Jasper had thrown up all over his outer clothes, but his onesie underneath was in pretty good shape. Jasper kept such a good temperament through the whole thing that we assumed the ravioli for dinner didn't agree with him. We thought that was it.

We let Jasper roam around the party in his onesie while Erica and I tried to maximize the time. While sitting on the couch, Jasper wondered close to me. Not anticipating the next event, I picked him up and put him standing in my lap. He chose that moment to empty an astonishing amount from this stomach considering what he expelled just a few minutes prior. Luckily, my lap caught all of it instead of Yo's nice black leather couch. After calling for help, I got a plethora of towels to try and contain the mess. Erica took Jasper to the bathroom, and I sneaked behind them like a naked man using towels to cover his lap. The following picture shows how Jasper looked just prior to our departure. Yes, he only has a diaper on under that fleece jacket.

Jasper proceeded to empty his stomach twice on the way home, and about every 30 minutes from the first event at 7:45 PM until around 12:30 AM. Erica and I spent the the early morning hours keeping Jasper hydrated before he settled down for a few hours.

He woke up feeling a little better, but Erica took him into the doctor. Dr. Sharp gave us some information about how to help Jasper adjust back to normal eating, and we worked to follow her instructions. Jasper had one stomach emptying set back on Tuesday afternoon but improved as the week went on. However, Erica and I started suffering the affects. Erica was knocked out on Wednesday, and I was on the couch most of Friday.

We had a 10:25 AM flight Saturday from Austin to Cincinnati combined with a 3 hour layover before arriving in Kalamazoo, Michigan for Christmas. The first flight and layover went well as you can see from the picture. Jasper loved pushing the stroller around the airport.

Then, the flight from Cincy to the Zoo started. Jasper initiated the flight by filling his diaper on takeoff. The flight is a "short" 35 minutes, and the pilot decided to not turn off the fasten seat belts sign because of rough air. It wasn't very bumpy, but it was his decision. I kept Jasper in my lap trying to meter the escaping gas from Jasper's dirty diaper. Then, as we descended into Kalamazoo, Jasper turned his head to his right, directly toward my chest, and emptied his stomach multiple times. Erica was quick to help, but the damage was done. He and I were both soaked. Once we landed I took Jasper straight into the bathroom to clean both of us up. (Erica tried to clean up the seats and alerted the flight attendant to the goings-on. She said she'd have to call HAZMAT to clean up the row - yikes!) At the airport Jasper had the luxury of a completely new outfit. I wasn't that fortunate. I smelled bad. My father-in-law drove us home as we watched to see if Jasper would throw up again. He did not, and he has been improving over the past 30 some hours. He has no shortage of caregivers including his cousins Karin... ...and Linnea.
Needless to say, we are looking forward to a nice Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Good Stuff

Wednesday was a big day for Jasper.

#1 He did not wake up with a snotty / congested nose, after having been in the MOPS nursery last Friday and in the church nursery (all morning) on Sunday. Since September, Sunday - Wednesday has been the germination time for a cold or sinus infection or something to appear in Jasper after spending time in the nursery. This is a really big thing for us! It was a tough two months of sickness, but ever since he's had his tear duct probed, he's been well. We're very thankful for his health. Immunity building is good long-term, but not good short-term.

#2 Jasper took his first STEPS!
Drew is great at pushing Jasper to make big developmental leaps - far better than I am. He notices changes in his behavior and creates situations that encourage Jasper to be pushed a little. He doesn't get to spend as much time with Jasper as I do, but the time he spends he really tries to make into quality time.

Based on how well Jasper's been walking with his walkers (how he can steer them, even picking them up slightly to steer) and how much longer he's been able to stand unassisted, Drew tried a little trick with Jasper. He built a tower of the cardboard bricks on top of a diaper box. That way, Jasper had to stand up to knock it over completely. Then once the tower was knocked over, Drew held out Jasper's puppy for him to grasp ... and he moved it far enough away that Jasper had to walk for it. At first Jasper grasped the puppy and walked while putting a small amount of weight on the puppy and thereby on Drew. But we repeated this activity multiple times until we could hold the puppy out far enough away that Jasper couldn't reach it but walked toward it. Drew got this idea remembering how Linnea learned to walk - to fetch her moose.

He's still wobbly, but he is getting braver at walking around. I worked with him today to build up his skill, but he's also been walking on his own initiative.
  • This afternoon we stopped by Azalea's house to drop off a gift and chatted with her mom, Ame. Their two dogs were milling about, and Jasper loved that. He walked a little at Ame's trying to catch the dogs.
  • This evening while I was making dinner, Jasper was playing with his trucks in the kitchen. All of a sudden I looked up to see him walking out the kitchen door for the living room. He essentially made it from the kitchen table, across the ceramic tile to the carpet in the living room. It was really a weird feeling to see him walk away from me without any prompting.
  • And tonight, when Drew came home from work, I stood Jasper up, pointed / showed him who walked through the door and let him go ... and he walked, wobbly legs, arms in the air, laughing all the way across the kitchen to his daddy. It was precious, and to say it made Drew's day would be a total understatement.

Here's a video of Jasper walking tonight:

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

... Not really (when you look outside) but we're pretending anyway. The front and back of the house are decorated as well as the inside. I have a portion of chocolate crinkles baked, but that's it. I won't count how many days we have until Christmas. I don't remember when counting the days started being panic-filled rather than pleasure-filled, but somewhere around about when I became an "adult" is when that set in. I can't seem to shake it.

We decided to try to just save ourselves the aggravation this year and get a tree for on the table so Jasper couldn't reach it and want to try and topple it over. He spent a few days testing us on the tree skirt which he could barely reach. But at this point, he doesn't even notice it.
In search of outdoor holiday decorations, we headed over to the Domain this weekend. We arrived to throngs of people - more than I've ever seen there. We couldn't figure out what was going on, until we saw people lining up on the sidewalk outside Macy's (on the south side ... the side with the parking lot). Then it dawned on us ... fireworks. Don't ask me why, but they shot off a pretty nice display of fireworks. They were LOUD! And Jasper wasn't much of a fan. He didn't cry, but he certainly clung to Drew's shirt with a firm grip.
I gotta say I was disappointed with the holiday decorations, but we found a spot in front of one of the lit trees and tried to get a Christmas card-worthy shot. There was a parade of people walking by us (the fireworks had ended), so Jasper was fairly distracted. Amazingly, we got a couple shots of him looking at us - like this one:
(I think he looks elf-like in this shot.)

The airplane walker and ride-on toy from Grandma and Papa Jasper has fallen into the rotation of Jasper's other walkers. One can be seen behind him in the kitchen. Other things he uses are empty diaper boxes or a large package of toilet paper. He's very discriminating. ;)

Jasper got these cardboard bricks from the Shivelys and Atkinsons for his birthday. Right now he's not too into building anything, but he loves knocking down everything we build. He'll come scurrying from across the room to knock down anything, and he'll keep batting to knock things down even as we're trying to rebuild simultaneously. It's lots of fun because he just laughs and laughs and laughs!

This is Jasper's version of beating his head against a brick wall.
Earlier this week our street was filled with trucks and workers as the house across the street was getting a new roof. Jasper was overcome with excitement. He stood at the window and banged on the glass, squealing with delight at all the activity. There hasn't been that much activity outside our front window ever since he's been born. It was a treat.

Give Peas a Chance

Don't ask us how, but Jasper got a pea stuck on his eyelid during dinner last week. We had two additional witnesses to this event: Jorge and Sarah Angulo. Jasper was eating while we were transitioning to leave for the M3 Christmas party, and all of a sudden we all took a double take and saw this green spot on Jasper's eye. Drew, in fine fatherly fashion, captured it for posterity. In case you're concerned, it did not bother Jasper one bit. He didn't even appear to notice it. Crazy boy!
Peas are still a crowd favorite. But green beans have shown an emergence as of late. I nearly fought him tonight to eat sweet potatoes. He reacted the same way he did yesterday morning with oatmeal. I had to get it on his lips so he'd taste it. Then he'd open up wide for another bite. But only one bite. Beyond that it was another wrestling match. We repeated this multiple times. This morning, oatmeal went down without a fight. I'm hoping for the same with sweet potatoes tomorrow. We'll see!

In addition to nursing and taking one bottle of formula at night, Jasper is also drinking whole milk. He's not a fan of traditional sippy cups. He takes big gulps (b/c we remove the valve inside), and then he lets it all run out both sides of his mouth. Lovely! So we introduced a cup with an integrated straw, and he took to it immediately. The cup has a cover that flips over the straw, so right in front of the straw is a little alcove in the cup design. Jasper has started (yesterday) putting food in there. Every meal, he takes something from his tray and tries to cram it into that little alcove. It's getting kind of gross, but it's really great engineering insight. So we'll let it go for a while ... until he starts trying to stuff a grilled cheese sandwich into the dvd player or something.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Playground Fun

Isn't this just the picture of chillaxin' (chillin' & relaxin')? Jasper loves to swing! Luckily we have two good parks nearby. This one Drew and Jasper explored on Saturday while I was out shopping. It has swings ...a playhouse ...

and even tractors and trucks! What a treat! At first Jasper did not like the feel of the wood chips, but he eventually warmed up to them and got down on his hands and knees to play. It was a beautiful day to be outside. Yes, he's in shorts.
Did I mention there are swings? Jasper wanted to swing a second time before they left the park.
The park nearby our house has stuff for bigger kids, but Jasper still likes to play on it. He crawls through the tunnel ...
swings ...
and enjoys the slide. On this particular day he thought he could climb up the slide after he had come down. He didn't make it up, but watch out ... it might not be long.

1 Year Old!

Yes, you already know he's a year old, but we just had to make it official with the official couch shot.

Our little guy isn't so little anymore. He weighs in at 23lbs 13oz and is 30.5 inches long. He's trimming down in weight, but his head continues to be big ... the 92 percentile to be exact. As it's been recorded before, he had no way out on that one. Big noggins run in the family. :) Here he is at 1 month old. He wasn't interested in reading books at that point.

It almost seems like it's been the blink of an eye since last year, but here Jasper is in all his post-birth glory ... 8 lbs, 15.75oz.

This little giraffe (which remained nameless) has been with us since the beginning. Here are some comparison shots from 1 yr old and 2 months old (below). When he was 2 months old, the giraffe was about the same length as his entire arm. Now, it's just about the length of his forearm. Wow!

The day after Jasper's 1st birthday we went shopping for a Christmas tree. We've had some crazy balmy weather in Texas, and that day started us off on a week of mid-70's. We were all in summer clothes for this expedition, and Drew especially thought that was great. This picture of the two of us at the nursery really strikes me. Jasper looks so old. Granted, he's 1 year old now - but he looks even older than that. His countenance is so much more of a toddler than a baby. It's crazy how time flies. Just earlier on this morning, I sat in church and listened to a song about Mary going through a labor of love to carry, deliver and raise Jesus Christ and it brought a flood of emotions to me as I contemplated how just one year prior I was in labor with Jasper. God is so good and so faithful to us. It's been a great year!

Jasper wanted to help me decorate the tree, so I let him play with the lights a little.

At his 1-year appointment, Jasper's pediatrician said he should be strictly on big people food, no more baby food. She wants him exposed to a variety of textures to make sure he doesn't have a texture aversion. That thought never dawned on me before. I mean, he is totally a texture eater. He takes everything new and squashes it in his fingers first. (Sarah Prather, I think of you every time does that!) However, I never imagined an aversion could spring up. So, out went all the pureed stuff (except pears - the boy needs help staying regular) and in came, among other things, pasta. He makes a MESS of himself when he eats this or macaroni and cheese. It's straight to bath after this type of dinner.

Just for the record, we think it's adorable how Jasper sleeps. He's almost always on his tummy, on his knees with his butt in the air. During naps when he has a blanket in the crib with him, it's generally under him. Sometimes he gets it wrapped around his neck like a boxer and we have to pull it away to make ourselves comfortable that he's still breathing (he always is).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Here is a video to compare Jasper's cupcake eating technique to Azalea's technique. The kids are funny, but the background conversation among the adults is hysterical in my opinion.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Jasper's 1st Birthday Party in Texas

On Saturday, December 1, we celebrated Jasper's 1st birthday at home. Drew & I were up late the night before trying to get ready while Jasper was sleeping. It was similar to circumstances the year before when we were up late getting the house ready for Jasper. Outside our house, workers from the city of Austin's electrical department were working to remove a street light that had been compromised structurally by a large water leak during the afternoon. (Water started springing up from the base of this street light and flooded our parking spot and the side of our yard that had no grass). The water department guys came sometime after midnight to fix the water leak that for some hours in the early evening had me trepidatious that we'd have our water turned off at some point in the evening. Drew & I both laughed as we contemplated the potential of the water essentially "breaking" with all that mess, sometime around 3am ... exactly when, one year prior, I crawled back into our bed to inform Drew that my water had broken. Thankfully nothing like that took place.

Jasper decided to take only two short (~30min) naps on Saturday, yet he was a perfect gentleman with his guests. Before people arrived, we did a trial run on the frosting to make sure he'd like it and want to get all messy with it at the party. He did like it!
I did not make a specially designed cake. Instead we just had cupcakes with whipped chocolate frosting.
Guests at the party were (seen below, clockwise from left): Kathryn & Andy Rouse, Ame & Ryan Schillington (and Azalea - not shown, but she's in the corner digging in her mom's purse) and Chris & Holly Thurman. Jorge & Sarah Angulo, Julie & Kevin Weaver (and kids) and Yobany & Denise Mayen were not photoed.
Also at the party were Mark and Teri Burchfield. They entertained Jasper with books on the couch while the adults ate. In the course of getting the food ready and managing the oven between the brie and the side dishes, I must have inadvertently turned off the oven between courses. Therefore, when we were ready to eat a short time after 6pm, I discovered that the corn casserole and cheesy potatoes were not cooked. So ... dinner was late, at 7pm. That means all the kids had already eaten and entertained themselves while we ate.
Here Jasper is taking a reading break with Mark after dinner. He loves this "Dig, Dig, Digging" book ... of course, because it's about trucks!

Here we go ... everyone is crowded around the table singing to Jasper, and he is really transfixed by what's going on ... not by the fire in front of him.

He was not eager to eat his cupcake, but Azalea was. We thought she would set a good example for him and encourage him to polish his off ... but alas, he just wasn't interested. In this way Jasper is totally his father's son! I was happy to lick the frosting off the cupcakes all weekend, and Drew could just take 'em or leave 'em.

We did get Jasper to try a little frosting, and I added a little to the face painting. Regardless of whether he liked what was offered, he was still having fun.

Jasper's friends were sweet to bring him gifts, and he had gifts to open from us and from his aunties, uncles and cousins.

From Azalea and her parents, Jasper got a play blackberry. I think he's trying to tell me, "Mom, dad won't let me play with my present."

So Drew relented and let the kid play on his own. Look, he already knows exactly the way to hold the blackberry. It's hysterical!

Jasper LOVED having Azalea at his party. Azalea is walking, and Jasper really enjoyed trying to catch her. She was sort of playing hard to get again. :) They shared playing with a big pink ball, and they both shared dismantling a kleenex box. I did not see what went down, but I was told that Jasper pulled out all the kleenex and Azalea tried to shred them. I came upon this mass of kleenex on the floor and could tell they had a good time. At the end of the night, Jasper gave Azalea a good night kiss.

It was a great night, and were very blessed to have our friends here to celebrate with us. We also enjoyed treating them to dinner and dessert (which included Teo's gelato) to thank them for all the ways they have supported and cared for us over this past year. It's been a good year!