Friday, November 23, 2012

Holiday Festivities

 Thanksgiving came and went for us quickly. We enjoyed the day off just being with each other. I made pumpkin bread, a pecan pie, and a yummy dinner, just for Justin, Jude, and me. We had a friend and her son come over for dessert and for the boys to play, but other than that, if felt like an ordinary day. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE spending time with family and miss our family terribly. But, every holiday since we've been married, we have to travel. Though I would have loved to be with our family, it was also nice not having to deal with the stress of long drives and flights, traffic, living out of a suitcase, blah blah blah. I'm ready to be close enough for a day visit! Hint hint, wink wink Justin!

We woke up this morning, well, I woke up this morning, ready for Christmas. Justin and I always promised each other that we would never decorate or get in the hype of Christmas until after Thanksgiving. We don't judge those who do, but we both feel that life is so stinking short, let's not rush something away. Justin, Jude, and I joined friends at the Seattle parade this morning. Jude LOVED it. The bands were great and he especially liked the "big dinos" (dinosaurs), dancing cupcakes, and the reindeer! He was so stinking cute. We got soaking wet, but it was fun.
 When we got home, I was ready to decorate. We pulled out all of our decorations, turned on the Christmas music, and started. Jude was really into it with us. He had bows all over him and played with the ornaments as we got them out. He really liked the Duke basketball ornament I bought him last year but didn't quite get we shouldn't throw the "ball" because it might break.

Justin's mom started a tradition for him and his brother that I also started for Jude. She got them an ornament every year that she used on her own tree and she tried to get them things that were personal for that year. For example, when Justin was in high school, he had longer hair his senior year and people started calling him Ringo from the Beatles. That year, she got him a Beatles ornament. When we got married, she graciously handed over the ornaments to us to use in our own home and I LOVE the tradition! Jude has a "baby's first Christmas" with his picture from last year, as well as the Duke Basketball one. I thought it was cute. :)

I am pleased to say that I think our tree looks lovely!

Also while putting decorations up, we of course got out our nativity scene. As we put up the scene, Justin went through the story with Jude, one that we've read to him before. However, by being able to see and touch the characters, Jude really got into it. We also have a tiny little one just for Jude's room to make his own. If you notice from this picture, Baby Jesus is missing. Jude wanted to nap with him. (For Baby Jesus to take precedence over Big Horse and Brown Cow, that's a big deal in our house!) I sang Christmas carols to Jude while I rocked him this afternoon, and as he sat there holding Baby Jesus, I couldn't help but tear up. I was reminded of the verse that we must come to Him as innocent children, and to hear Jude's innocent voice refer to our Savior as Baby Jesus simply moved me. He is beginning to understand and recognize already. Oh what a job we've been give. To point our sweet boy to our Savior!

I am so excited about the upcoming festivities. We have several things planned in the community and with friends before we fly home for Christmas. I know this season will bring lots of joy and happiness, filled with memories we will cherish forever!

"O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. The hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

First "School" Picture

Coming from a child who when Mommy brings out the camera says "no" and runs away, or usually frowns, I can't believe how darn cute this turned out. He looks like such a big boy and makes his Momma's heart melt. Muah baby boy and Happy 20 Months!

Monday, November 12, 2012

In A Name and 20 Month Updates

Let me start this post with "We are not pregnant." but we have SEVERAL friends and family members who are. With that said, the names of new little ones have been on my mind, and if you know me at all, you know I'm obsessed with names. When I was in the 3rd grade, I requested a baby name book for Christmas because I wanted all of my animals and dolls to have just the right name. As Justin and I hear new names and think about what we would like to use when we do get pregnant again (which I hope to be sooner than later :)), it really reminds us that we want our children's names to have meaning. *We do not judge those who do not share this feeling by the way. However, we all know "those names" that you look at it and think, "did they really name their child that?"

When we got pregnant with Jude, we had several boy names lined up and only 1 girl name. As we tried to make a decision, we knew we wanted to use Aaron as the middle name, since that is Justin and Papaw Derrick's middle name. Justin and I agree that we like using a family name some how and then using part of the name to be just that child's. A little new with a little old. As we researched the meaning of the SEVERAL boy names we liked, we decided on Jude for 2 main reasons. 1. We liked the meaning and 2. Jude and Justin would have the same initials. (Jude was the only J name on the list). So, without further ado, Jude's name literally means:

Jude (praised) Aaron (enlightened) Dellinger (quiet place in the valley)

We pray that Jude will live a life worthy of praise in the eyes of the Lord. That he would follow in Christ's footsteps and love others with a powerful love. The actual definition of enlightened means "having or showing a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook/being spiritually aware". In the world in which we live in, I can't think of a more appropriate way we would like our son to be, to be well-informed, rational, yet spiritually aware in the decisions he makes. So, there you have it, what's in Jude's name.

For fun, Justin means "justice" couldn't have guessed, right? Nikki means "victorious" and Elizabeth (my middle name prior to getting married) means "consecrated to God". I really like the meaning of my name. :)

I do want to fill in with Jude's 20 month updates. He will be 20 months on the 15th, which is super bittersweet for me. This little guy is cracking us up. I don't know his height and weight, but at his 18 month visit, he was in the 50% for height and 75% for weight. Unfortunately, this past month he had hand, foot, and mouth and went 72 hours without eating anything except watered down juice and milk. I'm sure he lost some weight during that time but I'm not sure if he's put it all back on or not.

Jude is doing well at school. He has friends that he talks about at school and he's still obsessed with animals. I don't use the word obsessed lightly. He also enjoys watching Veggie Tales and Elmo. There is a youtube video called "Big Red" about a horse he enjoys too. We try to let him watch these for about 15 minutes a night to minimize his tv time and he seems satisfied with that. He still enjoys reading and playing hide and go seek. He is learning new words like crazy and has started to use a cup without a lid. He continues to eat and sleep well. He usually goes down around 8:30 pm and wakes around 7 am. Unfortunately, depending on when I have to be at school, sometimes I have to wake him up during the week and he does NOT like to be woken up. He is very happy in the mornings if he wakes himself up, but not so much if he's woken up. He only takes his bap at night during the weeks (none at nap at school) but he does get it during naps at home. His teachers swear he goes right down without any problem for them without it, but not for us. Oh well. Here are some of the cute things I love that he's doing now (some of this he's done for a while, but I haven't blogged about it. Please remember the blog serves as a memory tool for me too.):

1. Telling everything "night night" before bed, including Jesus when reading our Bible story
2. He folds his hands and waits to eat before meals to say the blessing
3. When you ask him "Who made you/the animals?", he'll respond with "God"
4. He loves to run and dance. 
5. He is a good helper. He wants to help feed and water Mason, carry in groceries, push the cart at the store, etc.

Here are some of his favorites:
1. Food: cereal, preferably, organic mini wheats
2. Candy: M&M's which he calls just M's and he likes the brown ones best
3. Color: yellow
4. Animal: horse
5. Song: Old McDonald
6. Book: I'll Love You Forever and Animal Bible
7. Game: Hide and Seek, Ring Around the Rosies
8. Activity: Looking at animal cards with Daddy and sliding at the park
9. Best friend: Reese at school
10. Movie: Veggie Tales "God Loves Us Very Much"

I feel like there is so many details I need to write down so I won't forget. Please know, our child is not perfect. Whew, we had a super tantrum just his morning, but he is so loving and 95% of the time, a pleasant little one. We are so thankful for this beautiful blessing and we can't believe Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Whirlwind

As I have posted about before, Fall is my favorite time of the year, and this year has proven that it continues to be just that. however, this year, October has flown by and Thanksgiving will be here in just a few weeks. Holy Cow! I had a wonderful birthday a few weeks ago, celebrating yes, 27 wonderful years. Justin and I had our first date night since our anniversary, (that would be since July), so it was long over due. The following weekend, some special friends from Arizona visited with us. Cash and I taught together in Globe and honestly, there were some days, without him, I don't know if I would have made it. He was a great Christian guy and introduced us to his adorable fiance, now wife. :) He was in Seattle for a conference any way, so Melissa flew up for a long weekend. We enjoyed visiting the Space Needle with them! It was an amazing view and we really enjoyed spending time with them. We also went to the Market and had some great seafood and thai food with them.
Here is one of the views from the Space Needle. Jude enjoyed looking at the boats and "choo choos" down below. There was a rugby game going on and they looked like ants playing.
Our sweet friends, the Veo's.
Cash and Melissa left on Sunday and the following Thursday, my Mom (Mo Mo) and sister (JJ) flew in! Talk about a visit I longed for. It was so great to see them and have a piece of home here. Don't get me wrong, this transition has been easier for me than our move to AZ, but I still miss them so much. It was also wonderful celebrating my sister's birthday with her and getting to feel Baby Eli move in her tummy. While they were here, we did some shopping, also visted the Market with them, and took them to the Salmon Hatchery, which Jude loves. Above, here is Mo Mo and JJ checking out the fish. It's a pretty neat place to see where the fish spawn, watch the fish ladder, and learn about the process.
Jude got the tiniest bit spoiled while they were here for a week. Not only did he not have to go to school, he probably got to watch Elmo a little than he was used to, as well as nibble on M&M's and cheetos. Something we don't usually have in the house. :) He loved playing with them and showing them his new "tricks". When you ask him "What does JJ say?" he'll respond with "No way!" because she says it all the time.
While at the hatchery, we took advantage of the beautiful fall colors for a mini photo shoot. This picture above is probably one of my favorite pictures ever of Jude It totally captures his personality. His whispy blonde hair that never lies down and the sweet sparkle in his eyes. He loves to run around the house, dance, and play with his animals. He also is picking up EVERYTHING. Just last night, I asked him if he wanted to snuggle and he said, "yes, snuggle" and he refused to eat the cranberries in the pumpkin mummets (his word for muffin) because he said they were bugs. He's a hoot!
Jude has also learned to make leaf angels, which Mommy loves since it gets his good clothes good and muddy. Thank you Daddy. He will throw the leaves around and anything he does, he wants everyone in the near vicinity to do with him. He'll point and say "Dada leaf." "Momma leaf" "Mo Mo leaf" and so on.
We had a wonderful time with my Mom and sister. We played around, laughed, ate great food, and made memories that I wish we could do on a weekly basis. I have so many friends that live near family and complain. It may be different for me if we lived super close, but coming from a girl on the other side of the country from her family, nothing bothers me more than to hear someone complain about spending time with family. I would love to have the opportunity.
Here is us being silly. Justin and I have an engagement picture just like this one so I love the fact that Jude is here to share in this particular picture.
Jude climbing trees like Daddy. :)
And, lastly, my Mom and sister's last full day was Halloween. This little tiger was pretty darn cute. When we first tried on his costume and showed it to him in the mirror, he growled. They all came to school with me to meet my students and friends at work. Since I teach at a middle school, we had a spirit day and all students were welcomed to wear their costumes. My kids LOVED seeing Jude. I was so excited to see him interacting with my kiddos. He even did a reading group with a few of them!

He did super with trick or treating. We walked around our neighborhood to about 15 houses. He did so great and got some yummy treats. He mostly just likes his M&M's, so we give him a few every couple of nights for dessert. He knows what it means to wait and he's done well with finishing dinner to get his treat.

My family left the following morning. They went with Justin to drop Jude off at school and we all balled. He was crying for Mo Mo and JJ when they left and when I picked him up, the first he said was "Mo Mo gone." and "JJ gone."

The good news is that Christmas will be here before we know it. He goes around and looks at pictures of all our family, and knows everyone by name. I know he will be ready to see everyone at the holidays!

Well, there's our whirlwind. Weekends go back to normal, but it was wonderful having our visitors.