Sunday, December 27, 2009

Jason's first solids

On Christmas night, Jason got to have his first taste of solid food. He had a little rice cereal, and in all honesty, he wasn't that impressed. But we got the normal video of the experience. :-) And Jilly wanted to help feed him too. Sorry there's no sound. Not sure how that happened, but oh well. Enjoy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas to you all!

We hope that this holiday season is finding you with health and happiness. We have been spotty about sending out Christmas letters, and figured this was an easier way to do it. You'll find links to previous blogs with more details throughout this one.

This past year has been quite the interesting and life-changing one for our family. Last fall, we found out we were expecting our second baby. We were absolutely thrilled! However, the horrible morning sickness I suffered with Jilly, returned just as intense and soul-draining. Jillian turned 2 last Thanksgiving Day, and with that birthday came all the attitudes, tantrums, and destruction you'd expect from a two-year-old. The holidays were spent mostly with me being very sick and getting dumped on by tons of snow, but they were nice anyway. With the new year, I felt renewed and was finally able to get really excited about our new baby. Jilly has definitely kept us on our toes with her appetite for destruction. Who knew we had such a crazy girl on our hands? Oh right, we did. ;-)

In March, Steve and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. We are in love a little more each day. ;-) Come April, we started seeing the midwife. For this birth, I had a much different plan. I was seeing a midwife and planned a natural (unmedicated, eek!) home birth. We loved the midwife we saw and would highly recommend her to anyone. We also had the ultrasound and found out Wildcat was a handsome little boy! Once we knew he was a boy, things got very real, very fast. We had so many preparations to make!

May found Jilly and myself, along with my family, traveling to Pullman, WA for my sister's graduation from a college which shall not be named. It was quite the trip, with a 2 1/2 year old and a 7 months pregnant mama, but my family took awesome care of us since Steve had to work at the last minute and couldn't come. The spring was quite nice and we got to spend lots of time outside. As we got ready for Wildcat's arrival, Jilly kept surprising us, and not always in a pleasant way! Soon enough, it was time for Wildcat to come! He faked us out on a Friday morning, and we ended up going to bed that night rather disappointed. But it was not to last! After a crazy, fast, intense, and short labor, our baby boy Jason Emmanuel Hall was born in his grandparents' bathtub on June 27th. It was a beautiful birth!

We spent the summer settling in as a family of four, learning a new family dynamic, and enjoying all our friends and family and the awesomely warm weather! Jilly had an extra special trip, when her grandparents took her to Lake Chelan for the first time. It luckily coincided with the record breaking temperatures here in Seattle (it hit 103*!!!). While it was still hot over in Chelan, she was able to play in the lake lots and get tons of attention, instead of being trapped in a sweltering 3rd floor apartment (like me and Jason!) while Daddy was at work. In August, Steve and I had our birthdays (Steve turned 30 and I turned 25) which were great! We did so much fun stuff before I had to start going to back to work. We hit the zoo, got late night Blizzards, and discovered our love of coloring.

At the end of August, Jason was blessed by Steve at church. It was a wonderful day with lots of family and friends there to share with us. We are so grateful for all of the amazing people in our lives! Our friend Will came for a visit over Labor Day and we had tons of fun with him. Soon, it was time for Jilly to sleep in a toddler bed! Crazy times, I tell you. I swear, she was just born, and before I knew what happened, she was sleeping in a big girl bed! The nursery turned out awesome!

Halloween brought us lots of parties and fun times, but also a big change. Steve was laid off from his job at the end of October. It was a shock and very scary for us. We have been blessed beyond measure by amazing family members and friends who drop by or send gift cards, notes of encouragement and anything else they think we might need. It has been a very humbling experience to watch the hand of God working through others. We are being taken care of for sure! It may not be the path we planned on or imagined for ourselves, but we have faith it is the right path for us and will lead us to bigger and better things.

November held even more exciting events! My friend Sariah and her girls came to visit for Veteran's Day, and even though it was short, we jampacked it full of fun! :-) I took on a challenge to blog about something I was grateful for everyday of November. It was no struggle to list my amazing blessings. I have so much to be grateful for! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday with my family, followed the next day by Jilly's 3rd birthday! What a special and fun day that was.

Now in December we are just having fun playing around and getting ready for Christmas. I am still working at Kenmore Air part time (evenings and weekends). I love my job and am lucky to have it! I am also still serving in our ward's Primary (the children's organization at Church) while Steve serves in the High Priest group leadership. We've joined the ward choir as well. So between our meetings, activities, job/job-searching, playgroups, and parenting two small kids, we are quite busy!

Jason is a cuddly, smiley, giggly little boy of almost 6 months now. He is adorable! He lately really loves watching his big sister walk around and do silly things. You'll see him just staring at her and following her every movement and then dissolving into giggles. It's pretty hysterical to watch. He is sleeping pretty well at night, most of the time, and still nursing mostly. He wants to eat solids SO BAD but I am waiting until 6 months old, because it's safer and I want to keep him nursing as much as possible. So I made him a deal, that he can have rice cereal for Christmas dinner. ;-)

Jilly is an eccentric, silly, goofy, sweet, dramatic Birdie Girl who always keeps us guessing. She still has her delicious cheeks to you just want to munch all the time. (Go ahead and do it, I do! ;-)) We've had some concerns about her speech and language development, and will be having her evaluated in January. She understands what we say to her and can pronounce words well, but tends to just repeat back to us, like a parrot. But we do feel that whatever it is, once we find the key, it will unlock and we'll never get her to stop talking! ;-) Jilly is very musical! She has always had a great sense of pitch and can sing along. We're finding now she learns best through music and can sing much more complex phrases than she can speak. And she has such a cute little girl voice! She'll be starting Sunbeams in a couple weeks, which should be pretty exciting.

We've had quite the life-changing year for 2009!! And we have loved it! We are very blessed in so many ways. We hope this season finds you in good health and happiness. Please keep in touch all year long here on our blog, via email or Facebook! We love you!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Playing Together!

This is why I had two kids. I have been looking forward to moments like this for years! :-D

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Jilly's birthday

Jilly’s 3rd birthday was the day after Thanksgiving. And I think it was one of the best birthdays a 3 year old could have! She was pretty happy and cheery the whole day and got to have lots of fun without too much stress for her parents. Here is my Birdie Birthday Girl first thing in the morning.

That morning, Jilly’s bff, Maya, came over to hang out, a min birthday party. They watched the Dora the Explorer “Singing Sensations” DVD, which is a sing-a-long with tons of the songs from the show. The girls were sooooo excited to watch it, but both sat very still and just stared at it. Steve was the only one who got in on the singing action. ;-)

Maya brought Jilly a present. It was hilarious. When Maya first got there, she comes in and announces, “I brought Jilly a present!” and then started to open it herself! After the movie was over, we said it was time to open the present, so again Maya grabbed it and started pulling it out. Hehehehe. We put it back in and let Jilly open it herself.

Lip Smackers! What a perfect gift! Jilly is obsessed with Chapstick/Carmex/Lip Gloss/Makeup, so how perfect for her.

And of course she wanted to use it right away.

There were also Princess fruit snacks. YUM! Fruit snacks are Jilly’s favorite. I honestly think this was the most perfect and well-suited present for Jilly. Thanks Maya!

After presents it was time to decorate cupcakes! I had baked chocolate cupcakes the night before and had some frosting and sprinkles for the girls. Here are Maya’s.

I would usually have to start the frosting on the cupcake and then let them ‘finish’ it.

It often devolved in to this.

Jilly’s cupcakes.

Messy Maya face! She licked all the icing and sprinkles off her cupcake and left it bald!

Jilly liked munching on cupcakes too.

Next it was Spa Time! I sat the girls on the couch, turned Nickelodeon and painted their toenails. I let them pick their colors out of Dark Red, Blood Red and Pink. Maya picked Dark Red and then picked Blood Red too, so I did alternating colors on her toes, even though you can’t see it too well in the picture.

Jilly picked pink.

They also ate apple slices while they got their pedicures! ;-)

While they had decorated their cupcakes, I also decorated some for us and for Maya’s family. For her family, I put each of their first initials on the cupcake. I even made one for baby Reagan (it was a really tiny cupcake) and told Michelle she got to eat it. ;-) And then I did some other designs for us.

Maya definitely made Jilly’s birthday very fun and exciting!

Once the festivities were over and our guest had gone home, I got Jason fed and settled and scampered off to my mom’s to decorate Jilly’s birthday cake! My mom found a Wilton Dora cake pan with all the instructions to decorate it. She baked the cake and did the background frosting, and then I came over to mix up the colors and do all the stars and piping.

It took quite a while to get the frosting black enough. And I had to keep licking my fingers. Can you tell?

All the outlining on Dora was quite a chore. Once the filling-in got going, it went fast. But the initial part was looooong.

After 2 ½ hours of just decorating, we have the finished result! Dora the Explorer!

Then I went home to get the family ready to come back to Granny & Grampa’s for the birthday party! I did Jilly’s hair all fancy.

When we got back to the party, we showed Jilly her cake. And what does she do? Not express amazement, wonder and gratitude, but rather stick her finger right in the frosting!! Punk!!!

We sat down and opened presents first.

She got a Teddy Bear Dress Up set.

And the “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” masterpiece compilation! This book has all four stories, recipes, songs, a CD and other little tidbits in it. It’s awesome! Thanks Aunt Becky!

Granny and Grampa out did themselves and got her TONS of Crayola Color Wonder art supplies. She got 2 Dora coloring packs (coloring books plus markers), 2 blank pads of paper, and a travel kit that has a clipboard that stows the coloring book and markers inside of it.

They also got her this fun bright rainbow striped teddy bear backpack.

And this sweet little set of dolls (the dress on this doll is actually a pocket that has a bunch of teeny tiny dolls in it). They also got her some other washable markers and colored pencils.

Auntie Terry and Uncle Kevin sent some cute clothes, including this unbelievably soft hoodie.

There was also some jewelry (necklace and bracelet) which she loved. Auntie Juliet and Uncle Kelly got her a wooden block set which is just awesome!!

The Bells included a little purse for her with ‘the essentials’ inside. There are sparkly stickers, band-aids and a granola bar. Perfect for a three year old on the go! ;-)

And this super cute outfit as well!

My mom found a smokin’ deal on this easel at Jo-Ann’s. So that is what Steve and I gave to Jillian for her 3rd birthday. It’s pretty cool.

Chalkboard on one side with a white board on the other. There is also a roll of paper that gets pulled down over the white board side. It can either be this low to the ground or add the ‘legs’ and it is much taller. When the legs are on, there are storage baskets to go under and keep everything in it. For now, we’re leaving it low like this, otherwise she can only use the lower 1/3 of the boards!

She got in on the coloring action right away! Auntie Juliet helped.

Then it was time for cake! We lit up her Dora cake and she was pretty impressed! She couldn’t quite blow out the candle, so I helped her again this year.

While we were eating cake, she reached for Grampa’s hand and would not let it go for a long time! So cute!

We all just hung out in the living room, chatting and eating for awhile. Steve and Kelly took care of the couch.

Auntie Juliet held Jason so that I could sit and enjoy my cake.

Granny perched in her super awesome chair and a half.

And my goofy Birdie! She was giggling like crazy with Uncle Kelly.

My super happy big giant 3-year-old girly pants! :-D

We love this little girl way too much and are so glad she had such an awesome birthday! Thank you to everyone who sent gifts or cards or messages, and have been a part of her life. :-D


Thanksgiving was really fun this year! Steve played in the Turkey Bowl with all the guys from church in the morning. He doesn't have any cleats, and the field was super slippery because it was so water-logged. After taking a few cartoon-ish tumbles (you know, where your feet shoot right out from under you and up in the air?) he just took of his shoes and played barefoot. It actually worked really well and the High Priests took down the Elders, but he paid for it later. ;-) But he had a good time, so that's what matters. We hung around our house and made some preparations for dinner (pumpkin pie and creamed corn), then headed over to my parents' house for the meal.
Of course, having 2 small kiddos, being on time is almost impossible (at least for us it seems), so we were a little late. Oops! We got in and put the final touches on the meal. Andy played with Jilly quite a bit and she was having a ball with him! The meal was delicious! Turkey, gravy (lots!), creamed corn, mashed potatoes, salad, green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. But sadly, we forgot about the stuffing until the meal was over and we were clearing the table. Paul found it on the counter, all ready to go, but by that time no one had their plate anymore. It wasn't a loss to most of us, but Steve really likes it, so we got sent home with a lot of it. :-D
After dinner, we just sort of hung out. We turned on the Texas v. Texas A&M game and watched the Longhorns obliterate the dirty Aggies. Juliet brought Jilly these ABC puzzle flash cards. On one side is the letter, upper and lowercase, on the other side a picture of an object starting with that letter (Aa - pic of an apple). Jilly and Uncle Kelly sat and played with them for awhile. It was pretty cute.
Soon enough it was time for desert. Lucky Jason pretty much got passed around and held by everyone- which was just fine with him! The dude LOVES being held. For dessert we had pumpkin and apple pies. They were pretty good. My only complaint was that Martha Stewart sabotaged her own recipe. Maybe I did it wrong, but my assessment was that by using coarse salt in the crust and not normal fine-grain salt, there were these 'pockets' of salt. You'll be munching along and then BAM! A super salty bite. So, I would definitely make the pie again, but just use normal salt- not fancy Martha-recommended coarse salt.
I gotta say, this is probably my favorite picture of the night. Jilly and Uncle Andy had SUCH A GOOD TIME TOGETHER!! They were giggling and being silly constantly. It was utterly adorable. When she was first born, he thought she was cool and all, but not super involved. He was only 16, so it made sense. Well it seems like every time since then, he is more and more exciting to see her and play with her. These two are so goofy! Gotta love 'em!