Oh dear. Once again, it's been a very long time since I have blogged anything of significance. Well, I guess announcing Baby #3 was rather significant. Regardless, my long-neglected blog is going to get a little love today. Alas, since I am on the laptop, there won't be any pictures. You'll have to come back for those. :-)
Jason is almost 19 months now, and dude! The kid has grown up!! He started walking at 16 months (right around Halloween- nice timing ;-)) and hasn't looked back. He definitely prefers being upright and wandering around. It's really fun to watch him toddle about, with his baby belly hanging out, even though he's a fairly lean little guy. He's also really started talking in the last month or so. Let's see if I can remember all (or even most) of his words: Daddy, Mama, Ji-yee (Jilly), Gehn-goo (Thank you), Peas (Please), Joo (juice- used for any drink, milk or juice), Ea (eat), Ball, Ow-sigh (Outside), Byebye, Yeah, No, Cah (Catch). There are more, but I'll have to have Steve fill them in later. Most of his words, he says spontaneously and he has a couple signs too (eat, drink, more). Jason is really trying hard to communicate with us and often he gets his point across. I love this stage, when you can really start to communicate with the little one and finally understand what's going on in their head. He's also starting to mimic us when we count, he says either two or three after we start counting.
Jason is still in love with his Monster lovey and his monkey Jimmy and often will sleep with his head on Jimmy like a pillow and his other arm over Monster. We've noticed that Goo will move around so that he can sleep with his face on his flannel blanket or his monkey, so we put a pillow in his crib and plan on getting a flannel pillowcase, so the boy has a soft, warm and fuzzy place to rest at night. Our guy is quite the tenacious little sucker too! He is really really strong and certainly gives his (much bigger) sister a run for her money. If she is sitting next to one of us, and he decides he wants to cuddle with us too, he will climb right on and over her to get to us, often kicking her and shoving her out of the way. Same with if she has a sippy cup or something else he wants, he will grab hold and just not. let. go. until she gives it up to him. She certainly dishes it back out, but they are an even match. He started Nursery a couple weeks ago, and true to form, was rather nervous at first, so I spent that day in there with him. Sure enough, he overwhelmed with the newness of it all (the room, the leaders, the kids, the toys, everything) but warmed right up to everything by the end, and the next week he went right in and had a ball.
Jilly turned 4 at the end of November and is very much a 4 year old. She can be quite the drama queen, but is also incredibly sweet and loving. Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds all the time. Just yesterday she fell down and as she was getting back up, she said, "Oh no, I fell down! I crushed myself!" Hahaha! She was not crushed at all, but she put together exactly what happened and verbalized it right away. She has some funny quirks; when she's upset about something and crying, she'll often start talking about her boo-boos. It doesn't seem to make a difference if she got physically hurt or got her feelings hurt, she'll come over to me, holding out her hand, "My boo-boos! My boo-boos hurt! Kiss them!" Steve jokes around that she has stigmata. ;-) She has very strong opinions on certain things. Two examples: First, she will not let me call myself Mommy. I am MAMA, NOT MOMMY!! Second, she is adamant that Steve has black hair, not brown (his hair is close to black, but is really dark brown with a little bit of red, so it's easy to confuse). If you try to dissuade her of either of these ideas, it will eventually lead to tears and change no one's mind. My strong-willed little lady. :-)
Her favorite color is PURPLE. She prefers purple anything, her purple bowl, her purple spoon, her purple shirt, whatever. If purple is an option, you can bet she will choose it. Another prediction Steve made before she was born that has come true. ;-) She is loving every second of school; still going 4 days a week in the afternoons. Her teacher and helpers are fantastic with her. We are still working on potty training, though being completely honest, it's mostly an issue about her parents taking her to the potty. If we keep on her and take her every hour or so, we can get her to pee in the potty most of the day. She definitely gets pull-ups when we go out or she's at school or at night, but if she asks to go potty while we're out we'll take her (I often take her at church before Primary) and I've been trying to keep her in panties at home. It's just a matter of making it so routine to go in the toilet that she gets out of the habit of going in her undies/pull-up. And considering she hates wearing half of her pull-ups ("I hate Woody with orange! I want Woody and Buzz!"), it's time for her to be done with them.
Together, the kids mostly get along really well. Their personalities are very well suited to one another, so I wonder how Baby Ducky will change/fit into their dynamic. They both love reading books, together with Mama or Daddy, and on their own. Jason's favorites are Hop On Pop ("Pah! Pah!) and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? Jilly is currently obsessed with Punk Farm and Curious George (both Christmas gifts). One of the awesome things is that we can usually read the book once and then hand it back to the kid, and they will read it to themselves several more times. They are both working on their throwing skills, sometimes to my detriment (getting hit in the face with a book or Hot Wheels car- not on my list of favorite things), but I think Jason has better skills than Jilly. That girl is not going to be the softball player in the family. Soccer perhaps, but not throwing anything, so basketball might be out too. ;-)
Steve started an MBA program with City University this past fall and has completed his first of 8 quarters. At the end of Summer 2012, he will have an MBA! He is working hard in his online classes and enjoying having something else to do besides just take care of the family. It's nice to have an intellectual endeavor. He is still out of work (about 15 months now), despite many many applications. We're hoping being an MBA candidate will make his resume more attractive and things will turn around, employment wise, soon. In the meantime, I gotta say, he is a much better housewife than I am! He has a great routine down with the kids, makes awesome food and cleans the house mostly single-handedly. I do love having him around so much. I just kinda like him. ;-) We're all ready for him to get back to work, but until that happens, we're doing all right the way we are.
I am still working, about 30-35 hours a week, usually 3 or 4 days. The early mornings are hard, as are 12 hour days, but my schedule will change in February, which should be easier on me. It's winter so it vacillates between being really quiet and quite busy. Choir is going better for me. After our Christmas program was over, I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. Preparing three songs, with little experience, for two separate performances, and a surprise pregnancy on top of that, really overwhelmed me. Now, I feel like I've gotten my footing at least a little bit, and we'll just be doing one song a month, which is much easier to handle (::knocking furiously on wood::). I am so grateful for everyone that comes and shares their talents with us; you guys rock! And those of you who haven't come yet, please do! Now that Jason has started Nursery, I'm getting to enjoy Sunday School and Relief Society totally on my own for the first time in about 4 years. I was in Primary for three years, so I didn't get to go then, and then when I got released, I often had Jason with me. So now, I plan on enjoying the next four months of stillness, before I am back to juggling a baby. ;-)
As for Baby Ducky, the morning sickness is mostly gone, but I am still taking my medication first thing in the morning, to get over that hump, enabling me to eat, which then helps me feel good the rest of the day. I've been feeling Baby Ducky growing a ton this past week. I can feel the baby's movements getting stronger and in more places, as well as the stretching and general discomfort of the expanding uterus. My belly just keeps getting bigger. You'd think this being my third pregnancy, I would be expecting it, but it still surprises me when I see my reflection in a window or mirror. We have our ultrasound on Friday, Jan 28th, and we are planning on finding out the sex of the baby. I think we're each hoping for a different sex. I would love a girl because I love dresses and bows and all the frilly little girl things, plus I just understand girls better and would love to see Jilly with a little sister. But every time she throws a fit, Steve will say, "And you want more girls?! Imagine once they all hit puberty! I hope Ducky is a boy!" Hahaha. He would probably relish two little boys, just under two years apart, while the thought of that scares me (thanks to Triscuit and AM for all the stories of their crazy boys!).
We have one upcoming adventure that should be a ton of fun. Steve's sister Erin is getting married next month in Houston, so we will be traveling down there for that. We'll be flying standby again, but it's free, so we'll take it! Now that we've done the big trip to Connecticut, I'm much calmer about this trip. Travel time will be about the same, but the kids are 8 months older and much better equipped to handle it. And luckily Steve's sister Becky is letting us borrow car seats once we get down there, so we don't have to lug them through the airport. Hallelujah!!! Erin decided not to have traditional bridesmaids and groomsmen, but instead have all the nieces and nephews wear matching outfits and be 'the attendants'. There are 10 in total! Seven on the Hall side and 3 on her fiance's side. The five girls have these beautiful red dresses and the five boys are all wearing tuxedos. Let me tell you, we tried the outfits on the kids the other night and dude, they are going to be the cutest wedding party EVER! I can't wait to see all of them together! This will also be the first time in FIVE YEARS that all of Steve's siblings will be together!! That means one of his brothers has never met either of our kids, and a couple of his sisters haven't met Jason. All seven cousins have never been altogether either. It is going to be awesome to get to see everyone!!!
Alrighty folks, you have the low down on what us Halls are up to these days. I need to get pictures up soon, but I am making no promises. I will update next week after the ultrasound though, so if you're not friends with us on Facebook (it will be up there right away, I'm sure), then check back here Friday evening.