Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Jackson's First Step - 11.5 Months

HE DID IT!!! First Step!
(Wednesday, March 27, 2013)

As I was cutting up veggies for our dinner, I let Jackson play with his beloved Swiffer on the kitchen floor. After crawling back and forth between the top of the broom to the bottom for several minutes, he became bored with that and moved to the pantry, where he loves opening and closing the door...over and over again.
Not the best picture but Jackson standing on his own a couple weeks before!

I was busy cutting red and yellow bell peppers as fast as I could without chopping off my fingers. I guess I was too focused. I realized things were quiet. Too quiet. Which usually means Jackson is either eating dirt or ripping out plants or doing something naughty. I looked over at him and he was standing, smiling at me. JUST STANDING THERE.

He's done this before, but this was for longer than 10 seconds. Then he took a step forward and started to get wobbly and leaned forward toward the pantry door. The door was still too far, so he took another step and fell to the door. He caught himself and played with bag hanging from the door.

I couldn't even believe it. I cheered. Jackson clapped!!

I caught him WALKING to DAD tonight (March 28). Here is the video -

And then bedtime came. Oh...the dreaded bedtime. For the 8th night in a row we had another rough night. Could it be this major walking milestone affecting his sleep? Maybe. But he sure pooped a lot. Poor thing. I knew this was coming since I wrote in a previous blog how we haven't had to deal with a whole lot of blowouts. I hit publish, and sure enough, he soiled TWO outfits at daycare because of blowouts and went through a few diapers every couple of hours last night. See what happens?

So what could these sleepless nights be coming from?

  • Teeth? Maybe... But he has the top four and bottom three. I don't see anymore coming in but he sure is drooling a LOT and chewing on the wood in his crib and on the chair wood base boards...
  • Maybe even molars? Could be... He stopped nursing on and off for a week. Wouldn't have ANYTHING to do with it or me. Nothing. I was left VERY engorged and pumping. Yuck.
  • OK...then what? Ears?? He's not pulling on them. They do not smell. Wax looks normal.
  • A little bug? Maybe... He was also given corn at daycare. A food he has NOT tried. I think that wreaked havoc on his tummy. He had a TON of gas and a swollen belly last night.
  • Learning to walk... Sure. That is a biggie and maybe he just doesn't want to be sleeping??
  • Change in his routine with the new daycare? Probably... I guess he freaks when people go in and out of the room.
  • Separation anxiety? Possibly... I read babies go through this starting around 9 months, lasting up to 24 months old. He will sometimes freak when people try to take him from me, though he warms up to them. He has no problems around my brother Mike. And he's warming up to Karl more. The art of distraction, I say!

Seriously...who knows!

There are SO many factors. All I know is mom and dad need some sleep!

We are so proud of our little man though!!! Go Jackson, go! WALKING MAN! Watch out!!!

Daycare called and I had to pick Jackson up today. Every couple hours he was blowing up...(out). We ended up going to the doctor. Just a virus and a red throat (probably why he wasn't nursing). So I boiled apples and made applesauce and blended up some white rice and boiled it for 10 minutes. I mixed it all together with some Yo-Baby yogurt and banana baby food and that seemed to do the trick!! So we'll see...

PRAYING for GOOD SLEEP tonight!! Off to bed I go.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Transitioning to a Daycare Center - Jackson 11 Months

Daycare center two days a week
So we did it. We put Jackson in a center two days a week. This has been HARD on me. HARD. HARD. HARD. Am I freaking out about the germs? Yes. Am I worried Jackson isn’t getting the one-on-one time he gets with me or Karl’s parents or our previous in-home daycare? Yes. Am I worried he’s crying all day long? Yes. Am I worried he thinks I’ve left him at a strange place? Yes. Am I worried he could possibly disown me? Yes. Am I worried he’s eating unhealthy food? Yes.
Picture sent to me from Jackson's new daycare. Looks like he's having fun!
Like I said this is HARD!!!
But there are reasons we did this. First, we are both working parents. With Jackson at in-home daycare - when those sweet kids caught a bug - I’d have to stay home. Anyone knows this winter has been BRUTAL with illness. And it was ME who was staying home and burning through all my time off. We need my job. And every time I stayed home, I’d get more and more behind and more and more anxious. What was work thinking? Would I lose my job?
It’s been tough. Plus our in-home care was ready for a new chapter in her life. Of course we wanted to honor this. So it was time for us to move on as hard as it was on ALL of us. But we adopted them all as our family. For real. We love them that much. Like...LOVE THEM. This isn’t goodbye!!! Helloooo play dates!
Secondly, Jackson is 11 months old. He is getting older before our eyes and is going to keep growing. I want him to be around kids. I need him to be. I need him to learn to be in a center kind of setting. I need him to get into a different routine, see a different environment – to learn new things. Before I know it, he’s going to be heading to preschool. He’ll be ready for it. And it’ll be easier on me too.
I am leaning on God like crazy right now. My non-existent fingernails are down to my knuckles but I am praying constantly. The second I doubt anything, I’m talking to God. I need him more than ever right now. I feel guilty we haven’t been to church, but I feel like God is carrying me right now. He isn’t far. I don’t feel so alone when I’m conversing with him. This also tells me I need to make sure Jackson has the best relationship he can with God because I need him to lean on him too when he goes through the hard stuff. Nothing is impossible with God. WE NEED HIM.
Really, mom...I'm OK.
So I have been telling myself germs are OK. Jackson is building up his immune system. Remember…somehow Jackson avoided getting my stomach bug or the pneumonia Grandpa Jim had or the influenza my mom had and all of us were drooling all over him. Something must be working…
He IS getting one-on-one time from me and Karl’s parents. And that is AWESOME. He is learning patience at the center. Which is something we all need more of.
Would I be doing this sweet move if I was mad? Nope!
I have been told to give this new change a few weeks. Yes, he will cry, but the end results will be positive. Sometimes we have to go through really HARD STUFF to get to the GOOD STUFF. And like Jillian Michaels said on The Biggest Loser – we wake up every day and we go about our day and we bust our butts and keep going because one morning we wake up and WE FEEL IT. MAGIC.And that moment is AMAZING and the BEST DAY OF OUR LIFE. We get a TASTE. It’s not forever but that feeling is ridiculous and awesome. We’ve all been there. We know what it feels like to be on top of the world. So we keep going and we keep waking up fighting so we get to that most perfect day again…and AGAIN. I’m waiting for it all to click for Jackson and for him to be OK with being dropped off at the center. I’m ready for MAGIC!
I’m trying to be better about the food at the center. I can’t control everything he puts in his mouth. I could if I was stay-at-home, but I’m not. So I have to accept the fact that he might eat white breads and canned fruits and veggies. BUT…I am on a mission to change this. It’s time to educate centers and schools. We are facing some serious problems out there but at the same time, we’re to blame…
For now, I’m here… praying, praying, praying.

Traveling with a 10.5 Month Old

Flying to Carefree, Arizona

We flew with Jackson to Arizona for the second time. The first time he was 4 months old. This time he was 10.5 months old.
Our family of three in Arizona

I can’t tell you how nice it is having a brother who travels all the time, who is willing to share his frequent flying perks with us (i.e. Diamond status). We again were able to use the Delta club so Jackson kept busy as we waited to board and we enjoyed free snacks and drinks and comfortable chairs. We were also able to take up an entire row on the airplane and bring Jackson's car seat with us. *cartwheel*

A world of difference. Jackson nursed and he was out the entire flight. Yep, it was really that easy.

I started to feel funny, but I waved it off as nothing…

We started to descend and I nursed him again. And then Jackson was up, which was good because he was able to greet Grandpa Gary and Uncle Smike at the gate.
Loved being outside all day and checking out everything

I still felt icky when we arrived at my parent’s place but thought maybe it was the nerves wearing off. Again, I got myself so worked up before we left – I was so scared we’d have a screaming baby.

When I woke that morning, I had the full on flu. Chills, fever, aching skin, you name it. GROSS. The sun was out, but I knew the next days were going to be cold and raining…maybe even snow!!! I tried so hard to get out of bed, but my body kept forcing me back to sleep. The next two days were like this. Then my mom went down. Then my grandma. Then my uncle. Then my dad. Then my brother. Somehow Jackson and Karl missed the evil bug. The next two days were COLD and rainy. It was the same temperature in Arizona as it was in Minnesota. Go figure.
It finally got nice enough to go for walks!!! SO NICE!

Jackson was actually napping OK this time around. I would have to force longer naps on him every now and again by staying in the room because I knew he was tired. He’d get up once or twice during the night and changing his diaper was a bear. My parents couldn’t believe it took three people to change him. He’s OK at home, but anywhere else… Dear God. What a challenge.
Dad dressed me:)

This was also our first time giving Jackson baby food from packets and glass jars. And let me tell you…his poop was so much different. WHOA. We haven’t experienced a blowout yet, and we got close with the different textures coming out of him… He also didn’t eat a whole lot in Arizona because so much was going on at all times.
Jackson LOVES LOVES puppies. He even says..."Pup, Pup"

Karl and I were able to go on walks!!! Even in the frozen tundra of a desert. That was my ONE expectation for us. I wanted to be able to go on a few walks. That’s about as simple as I need to make my expectations when traveling. AND…Karl and I were also able to go out for a lunch. Sure my brother came, but it was the fact that we were getting out of the house. My stomach still wasn’t right, but I was glad we made it out.
Jackson loves his Uncle Smike.
Had a blast with Grandma!!

The flight back was a bit challenging. We were told they were full and we couldn’t move the guy sitting between us. However, @DeltaAssit (thank GOD for Twitter) got things moving and at the VERY last minute, we were able to move the guy in the middle and steal the whole row again and take on our car seat!!!! Jackson wasn’t as eager to go down this time around. We were now facing Daylight Savings Time (a two hour difference) and flying during supper time. So…a few screams and he was finally down.
Love playing with this lil guy

We arrived in Minnesota exhausted and stressed to the max and decided we won’t be traveling for a little while. BUT the more we do it, the better it becomes. I will say that.
Spent most of our time on the deck!

Jackson at 10.5 Months Old

Action Jackson is on the Loose

Jackson is into EVERYTHING right now. And he is incredibly fun to be around. He crawls so fast he can’t keep up with his head. Not kidding. It’s the cutest thing to watch. His head bobs down as he flies down the hall and he tries so hard to lift it back up but he is going SO FAST. We can’t help but giggle.

Want me in your ad, New Balance?

It’s hard for me to do anything when Jackson is awake, so I really don’t (hence why there are fewer blog posts). I don’t mind playing with him either because I love when he discovers something new. All the things we are used to and take for granted are SO new and exciting for him. Like a box full of oranges. These are the coolest things on the planet right now. Who knew?
World's strongest baby

And then there are those bathroom breaks. I can’t pass Jackson off to someone else when I have to go to the bathroom. Down goes the vase and fake flowers. So I try to busy him with other things as you can see in the picture. After all, I do need to use the bathroom…

He loves knocking over our speakers, which we have now tied up. He’ll still digs up our plants. The night we left for Arizona he stuck an entire fist into the dirt and before I could get to him…into his mouth it went. All I heard was “MMMMMMMMMMM”. Black lips. Black teeth. So, he likes dirt. Great. Good fiber, maybe??

He opens doors like nobody’s business. And he’ll pull everything out that’s in a cabinet. DVDs, paper, the smallest piece of plastic, a crumb, CDs, you name it. He gets so excited that he sometimes loses his balance and falls face first into the wood. He shaved some skin off his nose when he face met sharper wood. And I was standing RIGHT THERE. He is so fast.

Up and down the stairs Jackson goes. He is SO incredibly smart that he turns around when he comes to the stairs and goes down backwards, thanks to Grandma Judy’s training sessions.

What’s up with MOM?

The past month has been pretty hard on me. And here I thought I was getting over all the hard stuff. I’ve now accepted that the hard stuff is really only beginning. Labor? Cha… Yeah, it hurt for 37 hours, but that is nothing compared to the day to day stuff now.

But I am working on my reaction to things. Meaning, a better attitude, more positivity and celebrating the small successes. I’ve been faced with a lot of changes in a short amount of time:
  • Right now I’m adjusting to a bigger workload at my job. Our department is spending a lot of time organizing other departments within our company and that has created a ton of work. I wear a lot of hats in my position. I kind of feel like that one children’s book, Caps for Sale. One second I have one cap on and quickly I’m putting another one over that one, until I have a ton stacked on top of one another and a wobbly head. Ha. I do like being busy – the days go so fast - but I do like coming up for air every once in a while.

  • Karl’s work is ridiculous and I feel like it’s really taking its toll on both of us. I don’t know what else to say about that. He is working ALL THE TIME. I feel like he’s MISSING OUT on Jackson’s first year. I miss him and I really would LOVE more of him.

  • We went on a trip to Arizona to see my family and I caught the stomach bug on our flight in – not to mention it was rainy and cold. It was the first time in the 33 years I’ve traveled there that I never put on a swim suit. Oh, and then everyone got my bug. Everyone but Jackson and Karl. Sorry!
  • Upon returning from our stresscation, we put Jackson in a center two days a week. Rough.
  • Lastly, Jackson had five teeth that cut through at once. AND I experienced what it feels like to get bit with those sharpies..not just once but time and time again. He goes on strikes. He might nurse from one side but refuses the other so he bites. Or he just starts biting right away. IT HURTS and I'm soooo close to giving in because I'm SO close to the year mark. Let me tell you…Karl thought I was getting murdered when he bit me for the first time. Yes, it hurt that bad.

Throw this all together and you have ONE CRAZY house and one exhausted mom.

Change is HARD, but I’ve realized as a parent, you MUST embrace change or else you will burn a hole in your stomach from the constant worry. I have been leaning on God A LOT. Because I don’t know what else to do.

But I will tell you that Jackson is my world. Laying with him in the hospital bed seconds after labor, I'm not sure if I could ever put into words what I felt. I loved him so much, but there I was and there he was and I had NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON. Everything was SO new and SO scary. AND FOREVER. I didn’t go through a surgery or a procedure and everything was going to be done and back to where it was. Our life from that point forward was different. And I wanted to be PERFECT for Jackson.

Guess what? I am not perfect. There isn’t a manual to follow so I can become perfect either. I never knew how much I have always wanted to be THE BEST at everything. School. Volleyball. My job. Being a wife. My health. My fitness. A friend. A daughter. A sister.

It’s taken me a bit, but now I see I’m doing great without following some checklist because JACKSON LOVES ME. It’s written all over his face. In the way he hugs me. The way he reaches for me. The way he smiles and giggles when he sees me. In the way he crawls to me just so I can pick him up and kiss him all over.

Motherhood has been a process for me. I feel like life is flying by so fast and slapping me in the face constantly and I have no time to slow it down. I haven’t had a moment to sit back and just ENJOY what is going on before us. I keep thinking I will. I thought I would in Arizona, but things continue to pop up and we keep going and going. If that makes sense? I’m always worried about the next thing or I’m busying myself with house work or catching up on laundry or writing grocery lists. Or I’m at work, working. When I do sit down, it’s time for bed or Jackson is down for a nap and I have to fly through a list of projects that normally could wait for the weekend. In short, things are nuts.

Right now though I feel like Jackson and I have this special something going on. I would do ANYTHING for him that’s how much I love him. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Jackson is 10 Months Old

What's New with Jackson?

9 Month Check-Up

Results of 9 Month Check Up (little behind here):
Weight: 19 1.25 lbs - 21%
Height: 29.5 inches -  82%
Head: 17.75 - 39%


Oh, boy...I'm starting to see my personality shine through our lil guy...

Jackson's pediatrician called him a lean, mean fighting machine. He is one healthy (skinny) little boy. She suggested we start feeding him more fats (i.e. butter) and meats, but I have been giving him chopped up avocado every day, which is loaded with lots of healthy fats. I did try the butter deal but he pretty much threw that up. We did give him breakfast sausage too like she suggested and he is LOVING that. Not the most healthiest in my mind.

Learning how to set the ball. Future volleyball stud.

Healthy Nutrition
Today, as I was eating a banana, Jackson leaned in to get a bite too. Then he gagged. I realize now that maybe it's not the grains he has issues with...maybe it's the banana?? For some reason, he decided he didn't want anything to do with any type of grain. BUT, he will eat our oatmeal cinnamon pancakes. I'm trying to sneak in oatmeal whenever I can.

So far this past month Jackson has tried cauliflower, kale (LOVES!), watermelon, pineapple (LOVES LOVES), sausage, pork loin, quinoa, he's back to eating blueberries, steel cut oats with pumpkin and pumpkin spice, apricots, nectarines, salmon, cod, he had my lasagna dinner and ate the whole thing and ate my Fage Greek Yogurt too... I think that's it? I might be missing a few things but so far he will try everything. He just throws a fit or gags when the banana is involved or grains. BUT if I get some yogurt in there, we seem to be good.
I'm letting Jackson eat more and more of our foods. This was WAY good. WAY!

I make sure to pack a couple pancakes for him every week at daycare, some sausage and lots of veggies for finger food - peas, carrots, broccoli, kiwi, etc.

And yes, people try to feed him cake and sweets... I think they feel bad for him that he's eating so healthy. I don't know.  Try not to let that bother me so much.

Jackson now walks behind his bike. He will push it and hop on it as well. He will walk beside our coffee table with one hand on it or will go between laundry baskets or cupboard doors without holding on at all for short periods of time. Walking is SO coming.

He crawls up the stairs in record time. He is crazy fast. Action Jackson is ALL over the place.

We took his mobile down in his crib since he was trying to hang from it like a monkey. I realized once that went down, Jackson also went down a lot quicker.

Still wearing size 3 diapers and is fitting in 12-18 month clothes.
Swear this guy would win a crawling contest. He is FAST.

Road Trip and Outings
We took a road trip to see my grandparents in Wild Rose last weekend. We left late on Friday so Jackson could sleep most of the way. He did. The way home was a different story. And dad had a different idea of what he would be doing the entire weekend (ice fishing and fishing for drinks at the bar). Mom wasn't too happy and a break was desperately needed after two hard weeks.
Jackson and Great Grandpa had a special bond
And there was the doll my grandma made. Jackson had to kiss her when he crawled by. SO SWEET.

My grandparents couldn't believe how much Jackson moves and how curious he is. My 86 year old grandpa chased after him while I took a shower. It blows my mind what my grandpa can do at his age. I swear I have the coolest grandparents ever. Mind you, my grandpa has a few clots in his heart, a pig valve and has a little brain leak...

My 86-year-old Grandpa chasing Jackson around

He LOVED looking out the window and sitting on the warm vent at my grandparent's.

Karl's grandparents celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary in Gaylord, so we went out there to celebrate. I'm getting better at not feeling like I can't ever leave Jackson's side. I let everyone hold him and grabbed a glass of wine in the other room. I needed a little break and I didn't let the guilt get to me one bit. Jackson and I also polkaed a little bit. He liked the music a lot. It's in his blood.
One good-looking bunch
Celebrating 60 years of marriage!
Playing Mozart with Gpa and Gma Koester

Jackson celebrated his first Valentine's Day! He loved the gifts from Uncle Mark and Aunt Amy and the card with the spinny heart from Gpa and Gma Koester. He couldn't get enough of both.

This plane is awesome!
All in a day's work

Trying to figure out how to stop this crazy heart

This thing never stops spinning!
Got it!

First words
Since 9 Months Jackson has been saying "da-da" and "ba-ba" and "ub-ub' and "ma" and "pa-pa". But a lot of the times he just rambles...UNTIL this week. Karl came home from work and Jackson and I crawled over to the stairs and Jackson kept saying "da-da!". Sweetest ever. Still, it didn't totally register because I thought maybe he was rambling once again. But when I had him in my arms to put him to bed, we walked half-way up the stairs and looked back. Karl peeked his head up the stairway and Jackson shrieked and said "da-da". MELT. MELT. MELT. I seriously felt my heart explode. Karl and I looked at each other with tears in our eyes.
Loves looking over the stairs when "da-da" comes home.

The next day...SAME thing. My heart grew even more. He is just the sweetest little boy ever.