Friday, August 29, 2008

Vocabulary Explosion

Grandma and Grandpa Gant arrived yesterday. It's been 3 months since their last visit, and they are completely amazed at the difference in Jasper's vocabulary. When they were last here, he was just saying "hop, on, off." Now, there is no limit to what he's saying. As long as he can get the word to initially roll of his tongue, he'll say it when he hears it. Then if he finds it particularly fun or funny, he'll say it repeatedly. The sampling of words below just can't even begin to demonstrate everything he's saying, but it's a taste.

Earlier this week after our trip to the grocery store, we were unloading the bags and I was telling Jasper everything we had bought. He found "soup" to be particularly funny and laughed out loud when I'd say it. Then he repeated it and laughed. Over the weekend he started saying "cool" and liked the response he was getting from us. He then heard it repeatedly on Tuesday morning, overhearing an adult conversation. Since then, "cool" has been a staple of his vernacular. Fire trucks are especially "cool."

Speaking of fire trucks, Jasper still remembers the visit from the fire truck over two weeks ago. He's retell it the following way: "two firetrucks" or "big firetruck" ... "stop" ... "our house" ... "cool!" We figured he says "two firetrucks" because the fire truck passed the house twice, and clearly Jasper can't differentiate it was the same truck.

This morning Jasper got out of bed, came into the kitchen and asked Grandpa to come with him to his room. He said "bed" ... "on" ... "read." In the course of their reading, Jasper learned "awesome" and has been saying it since.

When we go out for drives, it's fun to listen to him call out everything he sees - particularly trucks. He says "backhoe" the most distinctly, and for a couple weeks there was a backhoe we'd pass multiple times on our way in and out of the neighborhood. He calls out dump trucks, garbage trucks, semis, choo-choos, cement trucks, buses, fire trucks, ambulances, pick-ups, airplanes, daddy's car (every time he sees a Toyota 4Runner the same color as ours), tractors, and if there were any we could see from the road I'm sure he'd call out the combines. I really need to find a farm to take him to. His favorite book these days is a big, john deere farm book. He loves the combine and all the tractor attachments - knowing the hay baler, baler fork and plow.

We'd gotten to the point where I can ask Jasper what he wants to eat. He can tell me: chicken, meatballs or quesadilla (which he can't say much at all - but he tries). He can also tell me peas, carrots, cauliflower, grapes, apples, pears, strawberries, craisins, muffin, crackers, cheese, milk, water, cheddar bunnies and of course ... Cheerios. And in the morning, as he's walking around while Drew is getting ready, he'll hold onto Drew's insulated coffee mug (closed) and say "coffee" as he lifts it up to his mouth like he's going to drink some.

This morning we're hearing "grandpa" repeatedly. I know Jasper loves his nana and grandma, but wow! does he ever attach to his papa and his grandpa. It's funny.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Boy Bed!

The developmental goal for this week was to get Jasper napping in his big boy bed. He's still sleeping overnight in the crib until napping is established. I have been telling him leading up to this that he was going to start taking naps in the big boy bed. When I'd do that, he'd fall onto the mattress and give his best impression of sleeping (except with eyes open & smiling). We've also been doing all our pre-sleep reading on the bed. He loves the bed and willingly gets on there all the time, generally saying, "read." So ... we took the plunge.

Day 1: Monday.
What a novelty. Clearly he wasn't overly tired at naptime and the idea of staying in the bed had not sunk in one bit. So, he was up and out of the bed, reading books, finding other things in the room to mess with, etc. 5 or 6 times. I tried discipline at first, but it didn't sink in. Then I switched to logical reasoning and singing to calm him down. That didn't work. Finally, at the last intervention I returned to discipline. Either he was really finally exhausted at this point or I was more firm. Whatever the case, once I put him back in bed and talked to him again he then stayed in bed and slept for just under 1.5 hours. This is less than a typical nap these days, but completely abnormal. Froggie was his companion on Monday.

Day 2: Tuesday
Jasper had three other kids over for a playgroup / mom's chat in the morning while I was at the doctor's office and having lunch with Drew. (Gayleigh was home with him, and these women are mutual friends of ours.) When I got home, he was running around fully enjoying the added energy of the company. We didn't get down for his nap on time. In fact it was about an hour late once we finished books. I could tell he was tired. Before I left I explained again that he couldn't get up and would be disciplined if he did. ... That was completely immaterial to him. He didn't even MOVE from the position in which I left him. And he slept for 2 hrs 40mins! His companions Tuesday were puppy and his new baby.

Day 3: Today

Old hat. Jasper woke up early this morning, so I decided an early nap was in order. It didn't turn out to be totally early, but I finished reading & singing to him as well as having our discussion about being obedient and staying in bed by 10 minutes to 1pm. I thought he might be a little squirmy, but I hoped it would be limited. I told him he could roll around, hug froggie, chew on his blanket, etc. but not get out of bed. I left, and he never got out of bed. I watched him from the hallway for a little while and told him he couldn't play with the lamp, but other than that he squirmed around just enough to wear out and fall asleep in less than 10 minutes.

Who knows if this is going to continue, but I'll be pleased as punch if napping in the big boy bed is a non issue by the end of this week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Videos

There have been so many good vidoes over the past few weeks, we just decided to post a sampling.
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NYC!

Two weekends ago we traveled to New York City to visit our dear friends: Joel, Stacy and Gideon Hock. Isn't Gideon a cutie-patootie?!!! (That term sounds adorable but looks really weird written out.)



It was a great weekend! I traveled out early, leaving Wednesday afternoon, for some girl time with Stacy. Two dear friends who love Jasper (Gayleigh and Teri) alternately took care of him Wednesday - Friday so that Drew could go to work. Then Drew and Jasper followed me out to NYC on Friday night. Everyone did well with the separation. As you've probably already read, the Austin firetruck visited the house later in the afternoon after I left. Then Gayleigh took Jasper on a trip to WalMart the following day to get something to commemorate the firetruck's visit. They found a t-shirt with a firetruck on it with LED lights that flash red light. It's pretty cute! On Friday Teri took Jasper to the park and then got him all set and delivered to Drew at work so they could leave for the airport right from there. Unfortunately, that's where all the smooth sailing came to an abrupt halt.

Drew ran into gridlock traffic on the south side of town just after he left work. It probably took him close to an hour to go less than 5 miles. It turns out there had been a bad accident that completely brought traffic to a standstill. He arrived at the airport 20 minutes before the flight was supposed to depart. Thankfully he had already checked-in and had no bags to check. (I brought our only checked bag with me.) But he had to park close to the airport in short term parking and sprint through the airport. As he arrived at the gate 10 minutes later, he called me completely out of breath to tell me the flight was delayed 2 hours. The gate agent was a lovely woman who showed compassion on Drew and encouraged him to go move the car and come back, taking his name and cell phone # and promising to call if the plane (which was at the gate) boarded early. But it didn't.

At 7:30 they boarded for a hopeful 8pm departure. That was missed, and then at 9:30pm they finally took off. By this point, Drew had burned through all the books with him and was coloring with Jasper. Jasper did well through all this (thankfully there was an extra seat he could sit in), but he would not fall asleep until about 2 hours into the trip. Add to this that we flew into Newark and didn't bring the car seat. You can't take a cab outside NYC without a kid in a car seat, but Drew was going to take the train when he arrived. He was cool with that. He loves public transportation. However, at 1:30am - when they were supposed to arrive - we were concerned about the train schedule.

Thankfully Joel and Stacy are well connected and were able to borrow a car seat and a car. So, at 1:15am after just coming in from a party, Stacy and I changed into comfy clothes and drove out to Newark to pick up the boys. We pulled up just as they walked out of the airport. Of course you'd think Jasper would be sound asleep at this point, but he wasn't. There was too much activity. All the way home he pointed out all the buses we saw.

On Saturday morning, on precious little sleep, Jasper was up around 8:30am. None of us were alert to move quickly, but we did finally make it out and down a few blocks to Tompkins Square Park for some R&R. Jasper did all his normal stuff: running up and down the ramp, swinging and generally burning off steam. It was a beautiful day!






By 1pm, Jasper had hit a wall. He & I came home from lunch so he could nap (and I could, too.) After nap, the boys ate a mid-afternoon snack together.




Jasper had peas.




Gideon had cereal.
Everyone had a good time!

Saturday night, we took a taxi up to Central Park for a birthday party for Sarah Graham. (Jasper just soaked in the entire ride.) Here is the beautiful birthday girl with Stacy. Sarah is a friend I originally met in Austin. She and I were walking buddies, especially after Stacy moved north. But then Sarah followed (less than 1 year later), and I have since been walking-buddy-less, and all the worse for it. But it was great to see her in the city. We three girls went to a show on Friday night together and generally had a blast.
While we were in the park, Jasper had so much fun just running around. He could run as far as he wanted, and we were still able to keep an eye on him. At one point, Drew said to me, "I wonder how far he'll go." Here you can see, he enjoyed just being free! (He's the blonde in the red shirt.)
In addition to just letting him roam free, we played catch and spent time spotting airplanes and helicopters that flew overhead.


Here he's inspecting a helicopter.

here's a family shot:

Jasper and Stacy became buds while we were in NYC.



Gideon is quite an accomplished little guy. He's already feeding himself! (Not quite, but pretty darn close!)

Central Park is such a beautiful place. As the sun goes down, and the eastside buildings glow in the sunset light, I can think of few other places I find so beautiful. Unfortunately, you can't capture it on film (or digital imagery) like it is in real life.

At the end of the evening, as we hailed a taxi on Central Park West, Jasper said "Our Taxi!" This became what he said for every taxi he spotted. Sunday was our rest day. The boys napped in alternate schedules, and Joel did his best to recover from whatever bug had him down and out for the majority of the weekend (although he was a total trooper despite being sick). We made an afternoon trip to Washington Square Park before heading back out to Newark to catch our flight home.

On our return trip, Jasper was again good on the plane but squirmy. He's becoming quite attached to me, so he was less than willing to sit with dad. Despite my significant lap shortage, he eventually fell asleep on my belly after I sang to him over and over. I found if I stopped he would ask me a question. He'd say "airport?" and I'd say, "We left the airport. Bye-bye. We're going home to Texas. It's time to sleep." Pretty soon, Jasper would respond, "Home. Texas." But even that got old. So I just stuck to "Daisy" and "Jesus Loves Me" ... over and over. We all got some sleep on that flight - not much, but some. Despite the difficulty of traveling with toddlers, it was a great trip. We so enjoyed seeing Joel and Stacy's new apartment and spending time with them - up on the roof deck, over meals, attending church, etc. and spending more time with Gideon. We're looking forward to when they're back in Austin with more frequency.

Parting shots of our gracious hosts: Joel getting goofy with Gideon.
Stacy and her big little boy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

20 Months!

Sooner or later we're going to have to figure out how to make this a blog for two and how to chronicle things fairly for both boys. Until then I'm falling back on our given structure by Jasper's age. He's creeping up on being 21 months old. I find this hard to believe ... mainly because I didn't think it was that late in the month of August. I don't really keep track of what day it is anymore - especially in the summer, and when I have to fill out the date on some type of paperwork, etc. I am always scrambling. (This is another reason why I don't use checks anymore.) I really only mark time by the weeks until baby #2 is supposed to arrive (6 as of today!).

Here are some shots of Jasper over the past month, hanging out with mommy and daddy.

I thought the best way (maybe) to get Jasper ready for his little brother's arrival is to get some books that talk about becoming a big brother or having a baby come into the family. We've been reading them since the beginning of the month, and he loves these books. He usually wants to read them more than once. This photo was taken at the beginning of August.


That very same weekend we went to IKEA to buy Jasper's "big boy bed." It's a twin size, but the mattress can sit low in the bed frame, so it's virtually 1 foot off the ground - similar to toddler beds. He has tried to crawl out of his crib (he's succeeded once), and sometimes when we go in to get him up he grabs us and uses us as leverage to climb out with his feet. So, it's probably a normal time to do this. More than that, Drew thought it would be a good idea to have him transitioned before his brother comes so we have one less transition to deal with. For the first three weeks it's been up we just have used it as a reading spot. Jasper loves it! He loved helping his daddy put it together.

The bed does make things a little crowded in the room (although not as bad as it looks here).


He's getting the hang of things right away!

Sometimes Jasper pretends that his MP3 player (maybe he's not pretending, actually) is a phone. He disconnects it from the headphones and then walks around with it held up to his ear saying, "Hi, Dad."


Jasper and Drew like lounging on the couch and ottoman. The ottoman has to be close enough for Jasper's legs to reach, but he certainly has the ab control to perch himself up there between the two. Drew of course will position himself like this, and then Jasper loves being just like his Dad.


Here they are, just chatting ...

discussing the finer points of life.


Yes, I'm getting big. This photo was taken on August 10th, when I was 32 weeks.


One of Jasper's favorite activities is talking on the phone. Mostly he wants to call daddy, but sometimes it's Auntie or Nana. Whenever I talk to Drew on the phone, Jasper insists on being part of the conversation. Really all he says is "Hi, Dad!" while holding the phone up to his ear, cradled by his shoulder. He hardly says anything else w/o prompting by me (and even then not so much). So I put the phone on speaker, so Drew and I can carry on our conversation which is intermingled with "Hi, Dad."


This past weekend we absentmindedly let him play with the phone on Saturday morning before we were meeting friends for breakfast at 8am. It finally dawned on me that it might not be such a good idea since he was unsupervised and could make a call (all he has to do it push the send button twice, and the last person I talked to gets called). I told Drew that it wouldn't be such a big deal since he'd only call Drew's phone. But Drew looked at me and said, "Ah ... no. You talked to Lindsay last night." At this point I ran for Jasper and found he had just called Auntie Lindsay. I terminated the call but was unsure how many rings it got in first. I then said, "Yep, he called Linds!" Drew responded, "Well, at least it's a quarter to 9 for her." (Thankfully the phone did not connect on her end and wake her prematurely on a Saturday morning.) We both wistfully laughed when we found out later Auntie Lindsay did not wake up until another phone call at 11am that morning.



After his nap last week, Jasper hauled the package of diapers out to the living room and started driving his bus across a diaper. He likes to have the cars/trucks "jump" or go over hills as they drive, and I think that's why he liked using the diaper. I don't know. I was in the kitchen and thought he was being a little too quiet, so I came out to look and found this cute scene.




Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dreams do come true!

I realize that the posts recently have been text heavy, and I promise that we will be posting more pictures in the near future. However, I have to tell you about the experience Jasper had yesterday. Unfortunately, neither Erica nor I were there to try and capture some pictures of the event. Consequently, you just have to imagine this story. I have to say that I am intimidated by the task of trying to tell this story as an engineer by training with limited writing skills. Here we go...

Our friend Gayleigh came over to watch Jasper yesterday afternoon. Gayleigh loves Jasper and takes great care of him. While she and Jasper were playing out in the front yard, an Austin Firetruck went down our street. For those of you that haven't visited our home, just know that our street is only one block long, and having a truck drive down the street is not normal. Jasper was VERY excited, and quit playing to watch the truck disappear out of sight. Once she was sure it was gone, Gayleigh tried to encourage Jasper to go inside because it was getting late in the afternoon, but he just kept looking down the street where the truck disappeared. As time passed, Gayleigh was certain that the firetruck was gone.

Jasper wasn't convinced. He kept looking down the street saying "fi-truh". Then...it came back!

As the truck approached our house...IT STOPPED!!!

A fireman came out of the truck and stated that they had been on a call in out neighborhood. Instead of going straight back to the station, they decided to cruise through our neighborhood on a "goodwill" tour greeting children along the way. Just take a moment and let that settle in...then look at our home location on Google Maps.

What are the odds that the truck turns down our street?

What are the odds that Jasper is outside in our front yard as the truck comes down our street?

What are the odds that the truck comes back after going down our street once?

As I am writing this post, I'm thinking about the discussion that may have happened in the firetruck.

"Did you see that little kid in his front yard?"

"How could you miss that hair!"

"Why didn't you stop?"

A few minutes pass, and then one of them says, "We should go back and see if he wants a sticker."

Regardless of how it happened, the firetruck came back. Jasper got to walk up close to the firetruck, and the fireman gave him a fireman's badge sticker. He flinched a little when they turned on the siren, and he was pretty quiet during their short visit. Once they were gone, it was all Jasper wanted to talk about.

Gayleigh said that it was even tougher to get Jasper to come in after the truck left. Then, once he was inside, he kept saying "fi-truh" and pointing out the window. He wanted to look at his firetruck book, and he walked around carrying the sticker.

When I arrived home from work, Jasper greeted me with a cute "Hi dad!", but then he said "fi-truh" and came running to me holding up his badge. It was so adorable, and I didn't even know the story at that point. My jaw hit the floor as Gayleigh explained his experience...dreams do come true!



Saturday, August 09, 2008

Word Update

Here are a few more things Jasper is saying that I forgot about earlier.
  • Karin & Nea - these actually sound like "Karar" and Nanea" for his cousins.
  • Mark & T - it helps that Mark sounds a lot like milk, and T is for Teri since she's learned from experience that kids just can't say her name at an early age.
  • shark & dinosaur - Jasper has two sets of summer PJs - one with sharks on them and one with dinosaurs. Whenever he's wearing either PJ, he'll tell us what's on his shirt. He generally follows up dinosaur with "roar!"
  • pirate & argh! - Before I got Jasper dressed the other day I asked him if he wanted to wear his pirate shirt. He pointed at it and said "argh!" Later in the day he'd look at his shirt, point and say "pirate."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

He Speaks!

At 19 months, Jasper finally let us in on all that's going on inside his head. It took a while, but the words are finally coming out.

Before we left for the cabin, his consistent words were hop, off, on & bowl. These are totally not normal words, as far as I'm concerned, but he always used them appropriately and without prompting. He'd run into the room carrying his stuffed frog saying hop. Or he'd point to our ceiling fan/light and say either on or off based on what he wanted us to do with the light. He was considerably proud of the power those words held in that particular situation. Each morning he would use great gusto to say bowl when he saw it, knowing it would soon be loaded up (generally three times) with Cheerios for him to devour. He'd also say dad (or da rather) when i'd point to Drew, but it wasn't as unsolicited as the other words.


At the cabin, he really started to pick up steam, saying Daisy, papa, nanananan (for nana), auntie & uncle. He also picked up (in one shot) that a snake says hiss. Auntie Lindsay taught him that one - for what reason I have no idea! Truck did not come quickly, but car came before our trip was over. The drive from the cabin to the airport provided many opportunities for him to practice that word. Animal sounds were some of his first "words": moo, hoo and roar being the most consistent. And as previously mentioned, he started and hasn't stopped saying romp from his dinosaur book.

The week after we came home from the cabin, Jasper came running into the kitchen holding the very hungry caterpillar book. He had the first page open and was saying egg. then he'd turn to the second page and say pop. He was proud, but I couldn't be more proud of him for that. It was too cute!

Now, that we're at 20 months, the list of words is constantly growing. He tries to say nearly everything we say, and usually we can figure out the unsolicited words. But there are some that still have my stymied. The following is the best I could do at remembering what all he's saying right now.


  • milk (it sounds like "muck"), water, spoon, bowl and fork, waffle, cracker, peas, meatball, muffin (those two words sound a bit alike), apple, grape, pineapple, egg & pear.

  • truck, dump truck, bike, bus, tractor, fire (for firetruck), choo-choo (for train) & airplane (sounds a lot like apple, but you can tell from the context - especially if he's pointing up, accompanies it with "zoom" or if you can hear an airplane flying overhead).

  • Instead of boat he says ship, but for a while his "p" sound was not being enunciated well, so you can imagine how that was sounding. We hoped there would be no ships in the church nursery. He's also trying to say helicopter.

  • Motorcycle and race car are still associated with the sounds they make. We have a photo of a Porsche race car in a picture book for him, and when I asked him what it was, he said "vroom." I kid you not, it sounded like the actual thing. It was deep and with feeling. Drew couldn't resist showing him the Cayenne commercial on YouTube after that.

  • Animals sounds are increasing, and actual animal names are also being used instead of just the sound they make. Now Jasper will say cow, monkey, sheep, pig, bee, frog, whale, fox, turtle, duck & dog. He'll also say baa, quack, oink, buzz, neigh (for the horse), growl (for the bear), tweet & meow. For a while the bird and the cat made the same noise. But now these are distinct and pretty adorable!

  • Here are some additional words in his vernacular: ball, shoe, mountain, flower, bubble, bye, floor, baby, wah-wah (the cry sound a baby makes - learned from "wheels on the bus"), up, down, house, bath, pop and uh-oh. He likes to say "our car" or "our house" and this morning said "dad's shoes." Yesterday morning we heard him in his bedroom talking after he'd woken up. It was happy talk, and then all of a sudden we heard "uh-oh. uh-oh. frog. frog. frog. frog. frog. ... (about 15 times)" Drew went in to confirm our suspicion: he had indeed dropped froggie outside the crib. Time to get up!

  • One of his favorite activities is to call Drew, put the phone up to his ear (even though I turn on speaker phone) and say "hi, Dad." He doesn't do much other talking over the course of the phone call, but at the end he'll wave at the phone and say "bye-bye, Dad. Love you." This sounds like "wuv you" of course.

  • Hot and cold are also commonly used. He can't quite tell the difference when something is really cold vs. hot. He picks up an ice cube and says hot, and I have to say "no, that's cold. Then he'll say "cooooooold" (all drawn out like that). He doesn't really know what hot is, except that we tell him his food is hot and needs to cool, etc. Also, he likes to hold food up for us to blow on when he thinks it's too hot. Even after we've blown on it, in front of him, he'll take it to his mouth, touch his lips and pull it back saying "hot." So then we lean in, give it a little blow and he's good to go. It's pretty cute.

  • poop. yes, he knows this already. how can you blame him. every time we change his poopy diaper we say "it's poopy" or something to that extent. So, yep - add that to the list.