Monday, December 26, 2011

hoop it up

Sometimes you just need to take off your pants (if you're not out in public, that is) and unwind with a friendly game of b-ball!

And sometimes a hook shot is the only way to go.

He shoots! He scores! He does this all day long!!!! (And we adults say thank you God for nap time!)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

the waiting room

First things first - this isn't a typical blog post so tread carefully and don't be scared away if this is the first you've read of our family's story. Now that you've been warned, read on.

I can't think of anything likeable about a waiting room. I'm not a patient person in general so waiting itself is never fun. And waiting rooms are usually at a doctor's office where the sick people and germs hang out so the company is literally miserable, the magazines are contaminated, and the smell of antiseptic lingers faintly (at least, I hope) in the air. Nope, I don't like waiting rooms. And yet I've been in one waiting room after another for quite awhile now....

Oh, I'm not necessarily talking about the literal waiting room (although I have seen more than my fair share of the doctor's office lately) but rather the figurative type. The more torturous of the two options, in my humble opinion. I'll explain...

It wasn't long after Jackson was born that Dan and I felt the deep desire to have another baby. We actually had a month or two when Jackson was still just an itty, bitty, little baby where we thought we were in fact pregnant again but the doc broke the news that we in fact were not and so the waiting began. We waited and waited and waited and waited some more. There were a few more times when my hormones went wild and we thought again that we might be expecting, but then a negative pregnancy test would dash all of our hopes away and we'd go back to the waiting game. (Remember now, I am not a patient person!)

At last, while we were living in Italy over this past summer I woke up on the morning of August 20th and realized I was feeling really good for the first time in quite awhile and that seemed weird. I'd been sleeping a lot at night and taking naps during the day which was weird but other than that I felt amazing. Just for the heck of it, I took a pregnancy test and lo and behold that little plastic contraption told me that the waiting game was finally OVER! We were pregnant.

I could barely contain myself as I thought about how to break the good - no, AMAZING! - news to Dan. I ran to Jackson's closet and found the Big Brother onesie I'd made for him months earlier (wishful thinking) and I dressed him in it, excited of course to see that it still fit after all these months of hopeful waiting. With the words BIG BROTHER boldly written across his chest, I set Jackson loose in the kitchen where Dan was and I video-taped his daddy's response. Let's just say that all 3 of us were really, really excited (even if Jackson didn't actually know what his mommy and daddy were so excited about).

We didn't waste much time before we let our family and a few friends back in the US know about our good news since we wanted people to be praying for us and the new baby. Having been through a miscarriage before we had Jackson, we decided to hold off on announcing the pregnancy to most folks for awhile. It made things pretty easy being thousands of miles away from most of our loved ones, but it was especially difficult to keep the news from our friends in Italy. Here we were in the waiting room again...waiting for the freedom to shout our joy from the rooftops for the whole world to hear!

The following month I was still waiting for my morning sickness to kick in but it seemed a little late in comparison to my pregnancy with Jackson. I wondered tentatively if maybe this baby would be a little girl and that's what was making it feel different but I couldn't quite remember how far along I was when the 24/7 morning sickness began with Jackson so I knew it could arrive any day now. I was in no hurry to feel that sick, trust me. It was one type of waiting I didn't feel impatient about.

On September 8th, it was our 34th "monthiversary" (yes, I made that word up and, yes, I still count how many months we've been married) and Dan and I were in Paris making a dream come true. A friend was watching Jackson for us back in Italy and we - just the two of us - were spending 2 nights in the world's most romantic city. Only that night was anything but romantic. I was crying uncontrollably in Dan's arms because the preceding warning signs culminated in a miscarriage that night. I was 8 weeks pregnant, just like I had been when I miscarried the first time. For the second time in 2 years, I was experiencing the physical and emotional pain of losing a child and all I could do was ask God "Why?"

Why again? Why while we're on vacation? Why in Paris of all places? Why on a date that is supposed to be sacred for us? Why me? Why?

Dan held me tight as my tears flowed unceasingly and he prayed over me there in our tiny, Parisian hotel room. I don't know what his thoughts were as he ended his prayer but I remember mine ever so clearly. Just then, right as Dan stopped praying and all was still and quiet in the hotel, somewhere in a distant room of the hotel a baby started crying. It was the only sound and it permeated our room and I knew it was God's gentle voice that was speaking to me through that baby's cry. I know I could've been angry and thought of that cry as the likeness of rubbing salt in my very fresh wounds, but in my heart I knew so very clearly that it was God's reminder to me that our baby would never cry. Like our first child, this sweet baby was now in the arms of Jesus in heaven where he or she would never, ever feel any pain or suffering. There would never be a tear shed by our little one. God created this baby and loves this baby more than Dan and I could ever hope to and here He was reminding me that all was well. After that, I slept. Over the 3 days we were in Paris, I never once saw or heard any other sign of there being a baby at that hotel despite the paper thin walls. A part of me wonders if there was a baby staying there at all or if it was simply God's voice I heard that night. (No, I'm not looney - it's just that God is really that cool and I know it.)

Emotionally, there is intense pain when you miscarry a baby that you've loved and prayed for, but the pain that comes with your second miscarriage is indescribably worse. While knowing that the family and friends who knew of our grief were praying for us was a truth that gave me added strength, I fought the familiar fears that I'd battled just 15 months prior - the fears of "Would I ever be pregnant again?" Dan and I both were wading through uncharted waters of grieving a second child while finding increasingly more joy and delight in the blessing of our son, who we couldn't get back to Italy fast enough to see.

The onesie I'd made for Jackson was now a painful reminder of our loss, and the plans I'd made to creatively announce our good news to everyone were discarded with a hint of bitterness and a heavy dose of mourning. The video of Dan's reaction to my news was not to be re-played. The friends who had due dates near mine were starting to show and were announcing their sweet news to the Facebook world, while we were suffering quietly and intensely half a world away where literally no one had any idea of what we were going through. When it came time to leave Italy and all of our beloved friends there, I felt a sharp tinge of pain as I thought about the fact that we were a family of 3 - not 4 - boarding the plane for America.

Coming home to Washington was a strange mixture of sadness and joy. We were sad to be leaving our friends in Italy and still grieving our loss, but it was a turning of the page and the beginning of a new chapter. We were back to the waiting game of waiting for our hearts to heal and for the right time to start trying again for a baby. Thankfully, it was a busy time of traveling, unpacking, re-packing for a trip to Florida, and more traveling. With so much going on, there was little time to dwell on sadness and I clung to Jesus tightly to get me through the difficult moments that crept into each day while the distractions were at a standstill.

While Jackson and I were in Florida visiting my family, I was facing a whole new waiting room. I was waiting for evidence that it would be time to start trying to get pregnant again. Instead, however, I got the surprise of all surprises...a pregnancy test showed that the wait was over already! Surprise! We were pregnant before we'd even left Europe and we'd had no clue! This definitely explained why I had been feeling so nauseous and exhausted for weeks now.

Now I was ushered into another waiting room of waiting to go home to Washington to hug Dan and to see my doctor. I'd already made an appointment to see her because of what had happened in Paris but her first availability was in mid November so I'd had to wait. In the mean time, we were curious as to how many weeks along we were and when we should venture to tell people again. A part of me was scared to be even the tiniest bit hopeful or excited. What if my hormones were just still being weird? What if it was a false positive?

Weeks later I was back in Washington and was still feeling nauseous 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. My paranoia had led me to take 2 more pregnancy tests and they were positive as well. I swear the lines were getting darker pink on each succeeding test, although I have no idea if there's any science behind that. Maybe it's just wishful thinking. Either way, I had some assurance that I was still pregnant as I waited for the day of my doctor appointment to arrive. We went ahead and told our families that we were expecting again. Everyone was excited...but I was still holding my breath for that doctor appointment. I had to. I needed to know when the first 8 weeks of pregnancy were officially over so that I could breathe easy and be happy about another baby. I was definitely going to hold off on making another Big Brother shirt for Jackson (although I will admit that I did go ahead and pick up the plain T-shirt from Target just in case).

Finally the wait was over and I was literally in the waiting room at the doctor's office. Usually nobody talks or even makes eye contact in the waiting room. Why is that? It's awkward. This time, however, an especially loud woman started chatting it up with a young mom who was toting 2 very little ones. The young mom was soon equally as loud as the first lady and was sharing with everyone (by default) that she was waiting to see the doctor because she was pregnant with her third baby even though her other 2 children were under the age of 3 and she had been on birth control this time just like she had been with each previous pregnancy. (I'll let you know my thoughts about that in a minute.)

Not a moment too soon, it was my turn at last to don the awesome paper gown that was provided and be seen by the doctor. Naturally, I sobbed through the account of what had occurred in Paris but was thrilled to switch gears when the ultrasound cart was wheeled in and my appointment officially turned into Baby's 1st visit.

I knew the doctor was taking too long to say something as she moved the ultrasound wand and looked at the monitor. I knew it. My heart sank before she even spoke. Finally she said it, "Jill, I see a sack. I see the amniotic sack measuring 7 1/2 weeks...but I don't see a baby. I'm sorry."

I don't know how to explain my physical and emotional reaction to hearing those words. Disbelief. Inexplicable grief...AGAIN. Shut down. Confusion. More nausea. More tears.

This was just the beginning of the next wave of waiting - and boy was it ever a roller coaster ride! We were now in search of answers to the questions of was there a baby still living in my womb or was the unthinkable happening again so soon. Dan and I were at the hospital later that afternoon for 2 more thorough ultrasounds. Again, there was no heartbeat or sign of a baby but the technician couldn't rule out that a baby was still growing inside of me. I was told we would have to wait and see. I cried so many tears that day as we sorted through our questions and feelings and told friends and family what was happening.

That night I was struck with the intense contrast of the woman whose situation had juxtaposed mine there in the OB/GYN's waiting room earlier that day. There on one side of the room was a woman who had 3 times tried to avoid becoming pregnant and yet her efforts had resulted in 3 healthy pregnancies. And then there was me, a woman who was most likely now for the 3rd time grieving a baby that I desperately wanted to be the mother of. Why God? Why me? Why me and that mother in the same waiting room? Why does she get the babies that I desire to hold?

The waiting game continued and that long, horrific day turned into more days and finally weeks of more blood tests and more ultrasounds. My pregnancy hormone levels were suspiciously and continually going up and yet no baby was showing up on the the monitors yet. There was still a slight chance that we had a miracle baby growing that was much younger than initially expected and that the amniotic sack was just unusually large. But with each day we spent waiting and not knowing any answers to our questions, the threat of miscarriage was imminent. Meanwhile, I was still feeling nauseous around the clock, crying over non-sad things like Live with Regis & Kelly, unable to stomach the scent of soap, or look at a raw piece of chicken. I "felt so pregnant" despite the fact that there still was no sign of a baby. Why God? Why is this happening?

Our families and the friends who knew were incredibly supportive. Dan was amazing as always, even in his own grief and processing he was a rock for me. We both have been in complete agreement that we can't help but be more overjoyed and feel more blessed by Jackson with each passing day as we've become increasingly more grateful for this healthy little boy that was born to us a year and a half ago.

The unanswered questions carried on through the Thanksgiving holiday and into December. It was a back and forth struggle of feeling peace and a sense of God's grace one moment and then the next moment asking Him again why He was allowing this to happen. Why can't we just know now whether it's another miscarriage or not, God? Since I'm thinking it is, then tell me why it's happening again so soon? We didn't even try to get pregnant this time so isn't this all the more unfair, God? Is there something wrong with me that I can't ever have kids again? If I'm going to miscarry, when is it going to happen and when am I going to stop feeling like I'm about to throw up all the time? If I do get pregnant again, will I ever get to feel excited about it or will I always just be waiting for the bomb to drop?

Finally my nausea subsided and my blood tests showed that my hormone levels were starting to return to normal. We had our answer. Our baby is not alive and this is indeed another miscarriage. Now we are officially waiting for the physical part of the miscarriage. Another waiting room.

My doctor was amazingly sensitive and supportive to me throughout the whole process but especially at this point. I know it was God who led her to put her arms around me and tell me that she knows I'll be a mommy again someday. She assured me that there is still no reason to think that this will happen again. She pointed out that it's obvious that my body can carry a healthy baby to full term. I had thought for sure 3 miscarriages would warrant a myriad of tests and a "Damaged Goods" label on my medical chart but she insisted that there is nothing wrong with me and no tests are necessary.

The wait that followed was different in that we supposedly had some control over the wait time. The doctor gave us some leeway in allowing us to choose whether we wanted to continue a few more weeks waiting for the miscarriage to occur naturally or to induce things with medication. While I had previously been very hesitant to take the meds, I now felt so clearly God's peace either way and was really just waiting to see what Dan thought about waiting or filling the prescription, considering the fact that Christmas is just around the corner and it wouldn't be a very merry time to be losing a baby while everyone is celebrating the birth of Jesus.

As much peace as I was feeling, I was still questioning why God was allowing the wait to continue. It seemed so wrong to explain to people that we were waiting for a miscarriage. Who waits for something as horrible as that? I really was getting to the point where I just wanted it to happen so we could put this chapter behind us and move on already. Enough was enough.

For the ten thousandth time it seemed, I broke down in tears when asked how I was doing at our Mars Hill Church community group one night. No matter how much grace I felt was being poured out on me by the Holy Spirit, it was still painful and that's the raw truth of it. That night the whole group, including Dan, laid their hands on me and just prayed for me. The steady stream of tears threatened to cause a chain reaction from my nose and throughout the entire prayer I felt so humbled to be prayed for in such a loving way by not only my family (Dan) but my church family as well. It wasn't until the middle of the night that I realized this was a specific part of the story of this pregnancy. I woke up and realized that things had started to happen physically toward the actual miscarriage. Our wait was coming to an end at last. God had wanted to start the end of the wait with that time of prayer and humility and tears.

On December 15th, at 12 weeks exactly, I had my third miscarriage. It was actually a really scary day. For awhile I thought Dan was going to have to take me to the emergency room. Having had two miscarriages doesn't necessarily prepare you for your third, obviously. The doctor talked me through my symptoms over the phone and the worst of it has passed, thank God. I'm still healing physically and of course emotionally, but I'm happy to be entering back into the part where we wait for another baby instead of wait for a miscarriage.

Dan and I had a long talk the other night about how amazing it will be to go to heaven and meet our 3 kids that we haven't yet met -- and then spend eternity with them and Jackson, not to mention Jesus!!! It's hard to not selfishly want them here on wish to be able to hold them and love on them like we do with Jackson. Ultimately, I know that their place in Jesus' arms is a far better place than my own but I still long for them. And I know that's okay. I love that Dan pointed out that each baby that we lose is another victory for God's kingdom. That's pretty awesome, you have to admit.

So, we're not out of the waiting room yet and in a sense we never will be. There's always something we'll be waiting for -- whether it be waiting to get pregnant, waiting to announce a healthy pregnancy, waiting for the birth, waiting for the baby to stop waking us up every night, or eventually waiting for the teenager to come home before curfew. We'll be in some kind of waiting room right up until we enter heaven. And what a glorious end to our wait that will be!

I know people don't know what to say to you when you've lost a child. I don't know what to say either. I really am okay and so is Dan and we owe it all to our faith in Jesus Christ. Even when it doesn't seem possible, He really does bring peace and joy in the midst of the darkest days and the toughest of trials. We want to make sure our story is read because we know that someone out there needs to know they're not the only one going through something unspeakably difficult. We want this story about our lives that's unfolding in the form of a blog to be about our whole lives, not just the happy-go-lucky days when Jackson did something cute and we snapped a photo or filmed a video. We have good days, bad days, and terrible days just like the rest of human civilization. But thankfully, God helps us through each of those days the same.

I think that Paul's words from 2nd Corinthians chapter 12 verses 9 & 10 sum things up best...

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I can't say that I feel completely content with the hardships that we've faced but I will attest to the fact that God has given me peace despite them. It's definitely through the times of turmoil and trial that I cling to Jesus and His Word more fully and desperately and that's where the weak (yep, that would be me) become strong. I praise God for loving me through so many questions and tears and fears.

We gave Jackson his name because it means "God is gracious" and we felt so much grace in being blessed with his birth one year exactly after our first miscarriage. The theme of grace pervades today and we will continue to rest in that GRACE and find contentment in the SUFFICIENCY that is met in Christ.
Someday I'll get to make Jackson a new Big Brother shirt...and it will be a really, really good day!

(If you've not yet read about Jackson's name & its meaning, you can click here to read about it.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

a potty story

From what I gather, no early childhood is lacking in potty stories. Since we're relatively new to the whole potty training era, we expect today's story to be the first of many laughable tales.

This morning I awoke to the sounds of Jackson shouting "Potty!" at the top of his lungs as he stood in his crib and held onto the railing with white knuckles. I emerged from dreamland in time to shuffle across the hall to his bedroom, scoop him up from the crib, and carry him down the hall to the bathroom while he chanted "Hurry! Hurry!" in an urgent tone.

Now remember, it's winter and the temperatures have been pretty close to freezing so the house is cold in the morning when the heaters have been off for the night...especially the bathroom. It's painfully cold in that room first thing in the morning!

I unzipped Jackson's puppy pajamas and took off his diaper so he could sit on his little froggy potty. As usual, he requested a book and so there he sat with his Jesus Storybook Bible on his lap, pointing at Abraham, Daniel, Jonah, and Jesus while intermittently yelling out "Cold!" for obvious reasons as his cozy PJ's pooled around his ankles. I tried to keep him warm by cranking the heater and rubbing his back but he was covered in goosebumps as another shout of "Cold!" preceded the usual "Check it!" as he stood and looked between his legs and into the potty to see if any progress had been made yet.

Quite a bit of "reading" and quite a few Check it!'s later and we still had seen no deposits in the potty or felt any significant warmth in the chilled air. Jackson stood up and asked for a hug from me as I sat there cross-legged on the cold tile floor in front of him. The hug was really a ploy to suck some of my body heat because once he wrapped his arms around me, he didn't let go for about a minute. Suddenly, in a frantic tone, he began shouting "Potty!" and just as I was readying to lift him back onto the potty, I felt something land on my foot.

Something warm.

I tentatively placed Jackson back on the potty and looked down at the poo log sitting on my foot. Then the giant wet spot on my pajama top caught my eye.

"Jackson! You're supposed to go potty on your potty, not on mommy!"

Wide-eyed and cheerful with teeth still close to chattering from the chill in the air, Jackson responded quickly to my words with two of his own...

"Flush it!"

Which we did.

Somewhere in the dialogue that exchanged as I began the clean up of myself and the bathroom, Jackson said "Proud of you," meaning that he wanted me to tell him that I was proud of him for going on the potty. I assured him that I was definitely proud of him, just not too fond of having poo on my foot.

An excessive amount of antibacterial wipes, shower, and load of laundry later we were both good as new.

Monday, December 12, 2011

o Christmas tree, o Christmas tree

We finally did it. After 2 consecutive weeks of plans foiled by illness or road conditions, we finally made our way back up into the mountains with hacksaw, tree permit, snowshoes, and toddler in tow to pick out our 4th annual cut-your-own family Christmas tree. The winding drive up the mountain was both beautiful and icy as snow fell silently and steadily. Dan expertly steered clear of the tree-topped vehicles descending the mountain on the narrow forest road (including a minivan that was sliding back and forth across the road -- sheesh!..and I know what you're thinking but it was a man behind the wheel!).

Once we found a place to park, we didn't have to hike too far up the mountain before we found it. And by "it" I mean the tree, of course. In Dan's words, "I don't know if it's the perfect tree, but Jackson approved of it." Now, the tree is a little on the slender side so it wasn't long before Dan had sawed through its base, we all yelled "Timber!" and the tree came to a silent halt on the snow-covered ground. I dragged the tree down the slippery, snow-covered slope of the mountain while Dan carried the more fragile cargo, Jackson. We had fun taking some pictures on our tree hunt adventure. Jackson especially had fun yelling "Poof!" as he whacked a snow-covered branch with his mitten-clad hand and watched the snowflakes scatter in a thousand directions.Once the tree hunt was over, Jackson savored a blueberry muffin snack......and cried when he found out there was only one muffin.Back at home, decorating the tree was primarily a job for Dan and me but Jackson tried to lend a hand while putting on the lights.He's a fan of the tree and we haven't had too terrible of a time keeping him from touching the ornaments. No broken glass yet!Now with a decked out tree, Christmas music playing, the manger scene on display (with a few extra characters perhaps), Christmas cookies baked, and Christmas cards in the mail (most of them), it really is feeling like Christmas around here!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

a special birthday message

Tomorrow is Julie's birthday so I've been making Jackson practice saying "Happy birthday, Julie" all day long. I think we may have over-practiced a bit...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

18-month-old Jackson

I keep saying it, but only because it's true...Jackson is more and more fun to be around with each passing day. Eighteen-month-old Jackson is ridiculously fun and I'll tell you a few of the reasons why...One of my favorite "new things" of late is that Jackson has really gotten into giving and receiving hugs. He hugs his stuffed animals, he "hugs" Grandma in Florida by hugging my cell phone during a call, he hugs his friends, and best of all he hugs his daddy and mommy.

His language skills are pretty impressive, if you ask me. He busts out all kinds of words that we don't expect him to know and he'll repeat any new word you ask him to say. That being the case, conversations with him are getting to be pretty frequent and amusing (in person or over the phone).He likes to pray. We usually hold hands and pray as a family at the table before eating dinner. Well, Jackson now insists on "pray" time at least 3 times during each meal, sometimes a couple more prayers while he's sitting on the potty, and a few more as he's being tucked into bed at night.

Oh yes, I did mention the potty. That's right, he's on the self-directed potty training fast-track. He's been telling us for months when he needs to poo and not too long ago he added a pee-pee warning. If we weren't quick enough to respond to his declaration, he'd run to his room and return with a diaper in hand, which he would promptly throw at our feet. Dan's been pretty thrilled with these developments and insisted we pick up a little potty for the kid, which we did. We got Jackson a froggy potty and he's quickly become prince of the potty. Grandma Tyckoson even gave him a book called Prince of the Potty.We stop everything when Jackson says the magic word, "Potty!" Usually as we scurry toward the bathroom at lightning speed, Jackson is yelling "Book! Book! Book!" because while he's sitting on the potty, he absolutely must have a book in hand. Sometimes we read, sometimes he just looks at pictures. His favorite book to read on the potty is his Jesus Storybook Bible and he likes to flip through the pages pointing out birds, the moon, Noah, Jonah, Jesus and John the Baptist (who he insists on calling "Matt" for some reason). We can be found reading in the bathroom fairly often these days.Here's a snapshot of Jackson pointing out "Matt" (John the Baptist) in his Jesus Storybook Bible.
Jackson has been busy learning his colors and shapes (if you ever have the chance, ask him to say "triangle" - you will not regret it!), but he seems to like learning about letters the most. He's partial to J, A, O, and V, but his very favorite letter is W for some reason. He points it out everywhere we go -- on store signs, in books, and even on the digital compass of the car's rear-view mirror. I finally got out the wooden blocks I bought for him before he was born and they're definitely on his top 10 list of favorite toys to play with. He likes to open the blocks' canvas storage bag and yell "Mess!" as he dumps the entire contents of the bag onto the carpet. Then we randomly talk about different letters and shapes on the cubes until he's bored and ready to move onto something else. At that point, I open up the blocks bag and we turn clean up into a rowdy game of basketball with Jackson yelling "Booyah!" with each block that he tosses into the bag. We repeat this cycle at least 3 times a day.Jackson is also really interested in social media now, not unlike the rest of the population. Several times a day, we have to log in to Facebook because he wants to see pictures of his friends from Italy, local friends, or of Uncle Rob & Aunt Beth's dog, Cooper.

To Dan's delight, Jackson is a sports enthusiast who dunks balls into his Little Tikes basketball hoop throughout each day with an enthusiastic "Booyah!" for each score and a "Miss!" when the ball goes awry. On the weekends, he watches football with his daddy and yells "Touchdown!" at random intervals. He practices his golf swing, first yelling "Fore!" before swinging the club wildly in the air back and forth while making a "swish! swish!" wind noise. We are forever searching for plastic golf balls that have rolled under every piece of furniture. Often the search concludes with Jackson's ear pressed hard against the carpet as he looks under the couch or TV cabinet yelling a slightly muffled "Help you!" (instead of help me) for assistance in retrieving a hard-to-reach ball. Note to self: must buy more golf balls.We're so grateful to God for this gracious gift of a son to laugh with, play with, and learn with. A price can't be put on the joy that he's added to our home in this last year and a half.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

a taste of Chicago

My family is from Chicago and Dan has family in nearby Wisconsin so neither one of us is a stranger to Al Capone's hometown. We visited The Windy City together just after our engagement in July of 2008 and had some of Chicago's finest mouth-watering, thick-crust pizza.Well, I'm pretty sure Dan's been talking about (and drooling over) Chicago pizza ever since. So, over 3 years later he decided to finally take the plunge! He ordered pizza. Not just any ol' pizza though...Chicago pizza.

Today FedEx delivered 3 Giordano's famous stuffed pizzas, packed in dry ice and shipped all the way from The Windy City.Thaw. Heat at 450 degrees for 20 minutes. And Bam! The taste of Chicago in your mouth. De-lish!
We highly recommend you give 'em a try. Just click and order!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

giving thanks

Today was a good day. We started off Thanksgiving as all American should...watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Packers game simultaneously. Clearly, we are thankful for the invention of the remote control.

Here's Jackson pointing out the Tom Turkey float.A quiet morning in our pajamas at home soon gave way to the hustle and bustle of prepping food for the family gathering. We packed up the kid and the food in the car and headed south to Tacoma to feast on turkey and all of the trimmings with the Blankenship Clan.Here are a few more pics from the day...

After the meal, Jackson "cleaned up" with his popper toy.This is the Thankgiving card that Jackson "made" for Grandpa & Grandma Blankenship. It's truly a one-of-a-kind card because it turns out that Jackson HATES to have his hand traced (the body of the turkey is Jackson's hand outline) so I only got him to hold still for one card. The other cards we made for family in Florida involved leaf rubbings and coloring - two things Jackson enjoys.

Then we played in a giant cardboard box...just because it was there.
Grandma Jan showed Jackson some magic tricks she could do with her magnetic balls.

All good things must come to an end and all good days must end with a bang! This time the BANG! was quite literal - Jackson smacked his left eye into the edge of the coffee table and got his first black eye. He's now our "little black-eyed pea" instead of our "little sweet pea."We're so thankful to God for the blessing of our sweet, little, black-eyed boy and all of the joy that filters into our home through him. Dan and I feel incredibly blessed by God in His outpouring of love and blessings ! Today is definitely a day for giving thanks.