Friday, November 28, 2008

Patagonia Store Opens in Austin

Early in November, Patagonia opened a store in Austin. I own many things from Patagonia, and I was thrilled to learn that they had chosen Austin for one of their stores. I started crafting a plan to visit them on the opening weekend, and I wanted to involve Jasper in the adventure. Jasper and I made pancakes on the first Saturday that the store was open, and we set out for some fun.

We started off by driving to the Triangle to catch the bus. As many of you know, my son loves any big vehicles, and he loved riding on the bus. He was practically a celebrity with his sunglasses on as we boarded the bus. The ride was a short 10 minutes, and we arrived at the store. As we entered, the staff informed us there was a play table in the back of the store. When we made our way through the nice store, we found a table with blocks and other fun toys. Jasper enjoyed this very much.


I know there isn't a need to have a puff ball jacket in Austin, but I wanted to just see how it fit ;-)

After we left the store, we had some lunch with friends, and we explored the Capitol Grounds before catching the bus home. Overall, it was a fun experience that I want to repeat with Jasper in the future.

Friday, November 21, 2008

14lbs

We took Benjamin to the doctor this week for his 2-month appointment (a little early - he's 6wks) and found out our big boy is weighing in at 14lbs 2oz. Yes, he's following in the footsteps of his brother and wearing 3-6month clothes already. I guess we grow them big.

As a reference point, we had Jasper at the same doctor the same day and he is weighing 32lbs.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Smiling Benjamin

video

Little Parrot

Jasper is developing with leaps and bounds! He is talking up a storm and repeats nearly everything we say. A current favorite phrase is "just one more time." We have no idea where he learned it, but he says it appropriately. The one thing is that he says it over and over again even after we've completed his request just one more time. This weekend he was enamoured with the phrase "clean your britches" heard in the church nursery. He'd repeat it and then laugh. Drew and I (I more) have to be careful what we say because he is a sponge with an amazing regurgitation process. It is astonishing some of the words he can get to roll off his tongue.

In addition to the talking, Jasper can count to ten, knows many colors, can finish the text of most of his books, converses with us using complete thoughts and close to complete sentences, sings multiple songs, knows people outside our family and asks to pray for them, can step and/or jump between adjacent raised platforms (with the effect of getting my heart racing), is great at dribbling a soccer-size ball with his feet, has become very brave and does not cry at the doctor's office (not even getting a shot!), loves his baby brother to death, loves to watch Clifford the Big Red Dog and loves Tasha from the Backyardigans.

Of course none of this does him much justice, which is why we're happy "5 Minutes with Jasper" has been such a hit. We'll have to take more videos in the future. It's just too hard to capture his unique and fun personality in words.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dinoland!

On November 7th Jasper, Benjamin and I went on a outing. We went to Zilker Botanical Gardens to walk through their "Dinoland" exhibit. Positioned within the vegetation are life-like and I think life size dinosaur models. There are docents at each station to tell about the dinosaurs, and there were several school groups going through the exhibit the same morning. It was a cool but gorgeous fall morning.



Here are our companions: Luke, Debbie & Gayleigh walking along the path with Jasper.


Jasper loves Luke! Luke likes Jasper, too. But Luke is a little older, so there is a little bit of adoration Jasper has for him which Luke does not quite return. But they get along well and have fun together. They often hold hands. That morning Jasper kept asking to hold Luke's hand. :)


While the dinosaur models are cool, they are not very eye catching. However, all the T-Rex wood cutouts decorated by the local elementary schools were bright and eye-catching. It was clear that Luke and Jasper thought they were cooler than the brown and green models which blended into the vegetation.


Here the boys are roaring like dinosaurs:




Here are the three of us:

Benjamin was a good traveler. He took a bottle when we arrived and then was pretty content to hang out in his car seat in the stroller for our visit and nearly through lunch at Panera. It is becoming easier to go out with him. He's not quite predictable yet, but he's getting easier to manage. For the most part, we feel like we're able to figure out why he cries, and most of the time it's because he wants to eat. He's a growing boy!

Benjamin is getting bigger!

On October 23rd, Benjamin was weighing in at 10lbs, 13oz. WOW! He had gained nearly 1.5lbs since his appointment two weeks before. I don't know how much he is weighing now (likely between 11-12lbs), but he can't fit into any newborn clothes anymore and I find it surprising that he can't fit into hardly any of Jasper's sleepers. So, I bought him some Carter's 3month sleepers thinking they would last us a little while. Nope! After one washing and one wearing, they are tight. Perhaps he's just longer than his brother and that's why were running out of sleepers that fit. I don't know. But, he's moving up in the world and perhaps on the growth charts.

Here are some shots from early this month during some precious awake time. He loves to look out the window in the living room. I don't know what catches his eye, but it's a favorite spot.






and after any activity time, he's zonked out.



Diaper Fortress

Fall over laughing. ... I think this term is overused. I'm sure I've been guilty of such a fault. However, there are times when Jasper does something that is so funny we do almost: fall over laughing.

Jasper is still resisting going to bed at night. Regardless of how wide awake or totally tired he is, how early or late it is in the evening or how long or short he's napped in the afternoon, he still resists going to sleep. He'll get out of bed, read books, empty the bottom drawer of the bookcase, and sometimes rearrange the room. (Side note: he does not resist napping in the afternoon. He'll be virtually wrestling with me during singing/prayer time, but once I leave the room he rolls over and nearly immediately falls asleep. crazy!)

One evening early this month, Drew went to check on Jasper after he had finally fallen asleep and stepped back from his door clutching his mouth and his side. He suggested that I too have a look inside the nursery. When I got to the doorway, I bent forward clutching the gate because I was laughing so hard. Major tears started to obstruct my view because I was laughing so hard.

We don't have a clue what he was trying to do, but look at how methodical he was? Those diapers are neatly lined up like some fortress wall.



Hanging with Daddy

Now that there are three boys in the house, they sometimes band together. So far at least they haven't banded against me. :)

Jasper loves to hang out with Drew while Drew is bottle-feeding Benjamin and even help him a little. Here he was mimicking Drew a little bit with his own baby.


Jasper is exceedingly proud to be a big brother!

Thankfully Benjamin takes a bottle just fine. Phew!





After work, Drew likes to spend time bonding with the boys. It's generally a short amount of time he can spend with Jasper before bedtime, but he does the best he can to make it fun and intentional. He of course also likes to hold Benjamin. Benjamin is a cuddler at this stage, and it's tough to go 12 hours without holding him like Drew does every work day.


The set of truck puzzles on the floor is one of the activities Drew likes to do with Jasper. There are four puzzles: a dump truck, an excavator, a bulldozer and a cement mixer. Nana Jasper brought these puzzles (geared for kids age 3+) for Jasper when she came last month. Initially it took a little work & outside help for him to figure them out. Now he can snap through them. So Drew decided to make it a little more challenging and turned over all the pieces, mixed them up and then asked Jasper to pick out the pieces for individual trucks / puzzles. Not only can he pick them out, but he can generally do it without guessing and without making mistakes. He'll pull all the pieces for the cement mixer out then put it together. And yes, he is quite proud of himself when he does it.



Here Jasper is trying to take a picture of Drew.



Here is Drew multitasking: calming Benjamin with his pacifier and giving Jasper a horse ride.


And this is classic bonding time with Benjamin. After his last evening feeding (which can come anytime between 9-11pm), Drew gets to burp him. And since we think he might have some mild reflux, we're trying to keep him upright for 20 min after each feeding so the milk is less likely to makes its way back up and irritate him (aka make him scream). This helps to make us less irritable, too. I think Drew thought Benjamin was more upright than he actually is, but regardless it was a peaceful evening.


Benjamin is quite cherubic looking, isn't he? I love the placement of his hand right under his cheek. so cute!



Faces of Jasper

Jasper can be funny (exuberantly laughing out loud),

bashful,

goofy (nice smile, huh?),


and precious


... and everything else in between.

Take a Picture!

Jasper LOVES his baby brother. I mean, would kiss him all day long if he could kind of "loves him." Most of the time he wants to smother him with kisses, hold his hand, play near him or the more frightening - dance and flail his body all around him. I haven't figured out what that is accomplishing for him yet. Perhaps it is the combination of elevated excitement from being by his brother and having a brush with danger - danger as in discipline - were he to actually hurt Benjamin.

Here are some photos of Jasper cuddling with his brother (taken 10/31):














Jasper doesn't ask to hold Benjamin much, but when he does we generally comply. A couple of weeks ago while I was out, Jasper asked to hold Benjamin. Once Drew had them all situated on the couch, Jasper looked at Drew and said "take a picture." It was pretty cute!

Crowe's Nest Farm

On October 25th, Drew and I took the boys to Crowe's Nest Farm. It's a small farm just east of Austin that is motivated by educating kids about animals and farming in general. They have an assortment of animals on their property, and this weekend they were having their fall festival. It was a glorious "Indian Summer" day.

Despite our late arrival, due to napping inconsistencies that day, Drew and Jasper snuck in a hayride. On the tour they saw ostriches!



It was unclear to me why such giant turtles would be part of the farm, but they had multiple.









hanging out in the pumpkin patch.




Benjamin was just under 3 weeks this weekend, and Jasper was just under 23 months.



Pigs snort and grunt and said "oink, oink."





Some pigs are ... huge!





Up close and personal with the donkey.



"llama, llama red pajama reads a story with his mama. ..."




Benjamin did not get into the visit. He was pretty much fussy the entire time. Before we left, I fed him in the car. Jasper and Drew played in the farm for a little while but still got back to the car before Benjamin was finished. Jasper loves sitting in the front seat of the car and this day enjoyed hanging out the window.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Reinforcements

Starting at the beginning of October, Nana Jasper stayed with us for 2.5 weeks. She played with Jasper, held Benjamin, changed diapers, cooked food, did laundry, etc., etc., etc. Most helpful - she took the graveyard shift with Benjamin during those first two weeks when raising a baby is more like utter guesswork than anything resembling educated decision-making. Our goose would have been cooked without her!


The last weekend Nana Jasper was here, Auntie Brittany also came. She loved holding little Benjamin and also played, played, played with Jasper. She brought brightness and levity to our otherwise tired household. She's always good for injecting energy in whatever's happening. As a significant sidenote, neither Linnea nor Karin got sick while she was here, breaking the streak which has plagued her (and Adam mostly) since Linnea was a baby. woo hoo!



Auntie Brittany helped Jasper create a cool obstacle course for his trucks. It's been added to by daddy and our neighbor, Cameron, since then. However, we finally got rain last night - so it is just a memory now.


After the Jasper family left, Grandma and Grandpa Gant arrived for a visit. They loved taking Jasper to the park for his daily dose of fresh air and exercise. Grandma unfortunately woke up sick the first morning she was here, so she did not get as much cuddle time with Benjamin as she would have liked. She'll be looking forward to our visit in December.

Grandpa learned the swaddle / jiggle / pacifier technique pretty quickly and could pinch-hit for Drew without missing a beat.