Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's a boy!

Awwww, so cute!

We had our 20-week ultrasound last week and everything looks great! 4 chambers to the heart (yay!), normal spine, normal mouth/nose, normal belly. Growing well at 13oz already (just short of a pound). And....he's a boy!

The arrow points to his, well, boy parts. :)

We are 95% sure that his name will be Caleb James Jackson. Well, we're 100% certain about the first name, so we call him Caleb now instead of "little bit" or "baby J." It's so nice to finally know! Now we can start looking at nursery themes and buying little boy clothes & blankets! :)

We're over halfway there now, and we're so excited to meet him. He's very active now, though still in a breech position (head up) so it's harder for anyone else to feel his kicks. Both Levi and Olivia have been patient enough to feel them, though, which is lovely. Olivia often comes to "say hi to the baby," and Levi and I are so glad that she's so excited. She went with me to the ultrasound and was able to see the baby on the screen!

So much fun, and we are so thankful to be blessed with another healthy child. We're praying that all continues to go well and that in a few short (but not too short!) months we'll be welcoming our little boy into the family in good health and without complications. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New House!

Levi and I are excited to announce that we're buying our first house! It's something we have wanted to do for such a long time, but the circumstances were never right. Now, however, we are able to and are very excited about it!

We're buying a new construction home, so it will take about 6 months...our family is going to be very busy next spring, with a new baby AND a new house!

The really fun part is that we get to choose everything that goes into the house, from the faucets to the floors! I am meeting with the design company this week to get things started in that regard.

About a week ago we signed our contracts and picked our lot. I'm planning to chronicle the home building process in pictures (which I will later scrapbook, of course!), and we thought we share them with you all here, as well!

Our lot! The trees will stay behind the house, so we won't be looking directly into someone else's backyard, which was something we really liked about the development.

I also thought maybe you'd want to see our floorplan...they have several to choose from, but we liked this one the best. It's 2 stories, with 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It also has a loft/game room/bonus space that will be nice.
First floor. Bedroom 4 could have been a study, which is why it's in yellow. It will be Baby J#2's room until he or she is old enough to have a room upstairs with Olivia! Then Bedroom 4 will become our guest room. Another change from this first floor plan shown is that they moved the Utility Room to where it says "Mud room" to give us a bigger dining room. It makes for a very nice open living/dining/kitchen area! We can't wait to host Thanksgiving and Christmas in our new house in years to come!

Second floor. Olivia will likely have Bedroom 2, since it has a walk in closet. :) Bedroom 3 will be our guest room until we move Baby J#2 upstairs. Also, we're planning on using the Game Room as a mixed space - maybe a couch & second tv watching area, office space, and small craft space. :)

One of the things we liked the most about the development we chose is the style of homes. They call it "Santa Barbara" style; we call it "Mediterranean." Our favorite home styles are Mediterranean and Plantation, but Plantation doesn't really go in Austin. :P Here is a sketch of the what the front of our house will look like:

And, so you can get a better idea of what it really looks like, here is an actual picture of the model home:

Lovely, yes?

As you can see, we're super excited (and so is Olivia, though she thinks the model is our new house, since we've been there so often!). I will post pictures as we go along!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

This was our first Thanksgiving in Austin, and the Jacksons (Levi's parents - Joe and Melba) came to celebrate with us.

Levi and I cheated when it came to cooking, because I had to work the holiday (though it was nothing like working through the holidays in Residency, thank goodness!). So the Honeybaked Ham store made our meal for us! It was yummy - sweet turkey, creamy green bean casserole, whipped mashed potatoes, and to-die-for sweet potatoe souffle! I did make dessert - pumpkin cream cheese rolls and blackberry cobbler. I think we all ate more than enough food - as to be expected on Thanksgiving!

We had to take a post-meal walk, and of course, ended up at the playground by our house...

On Friday, Levi, Joe, Melba, and Olivia went to the park. It looks like they had fun!

On Saturday we all went downtown. It was sprinkling a bit, but for those of us who have been living through a drought all summer, it was a welcome relief!

Fun times!


One more picture, because it's just beautiful and I can't resist. Thank you to Levi, who made it happen!

such a lovely, lovely girl!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Baby Update

We are now 17 weeks along with Baby J#2! (I'd meant to post last week, at 16 weeks/4 months, but kept forgetting).

Things are going very well! According to BabyCenter, the baby is currently about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. I definitely feel little kicks daily - usually in the mornings and early evenings. Olivia is funny, too, because she will put her hand on my belly and then jerk it away very quickly and say, "OH! the baby got me!" :) I can't wait for the movements to be strong enough for her to feel,

In about 3 weeks we'll have our Anatomy Scan ultrasound, where they check for birth defects, etc, and make sure the baby is growing well. Olivia will be going to that one, which should be fun...and we'll find out if Baby J#2 is a boy or a girl! Anyone have a guess yet? Post it in the comments if you do!

I have a few pictures to share, though I confess they are a little old...
12 weeks along - I love that you can see the whole baby in the picture!

On the left is 12weeks along with Olivia, on the right is 14weeks along this time. Big difference! Oh, and Olivia is the blur at the bottom of the picture. :) Funny. I seem to have the exact same haircut, too!

Finally, though it may seem a little redundant, I do have another, more "baby-centric" blog. It's actually the same blog I used to chronicle my pregnancy with Olivia, I just reopened it. The link is http://my-twiglet.livejournal.com/ if you want to check it out or follow it. I (try to) make weekly updates about how the baby is growing and developing, including a picture of the week. I'll post occasional updates like this here, but the bulk of the info will be there. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Happy Halloween!

This was really one of the first years that Olivia knew what Halloween actually was...she had a Fall Festival at preschool where she got to wear her costume, and went trick or treating through the neighborhood instead of at a random Trunk-or-Treat. :)

We made Halloween-themed sugar cookies, and also got to decorate pumpkins together - me with a knife, her with a paintbrush, and Daddy with a camera. :)

(see picture at the top to see our final pumpkin creation!)

She was very cute about the whole costume thing - she'd been saying for a long time that she wanted to be Belle for Halloween, which is exactly what she was last year...

(Olivia, Halloween 2010)
But when we got to the store and I held up several different princess costumes, she zeroed in on Rapunzel. Which isn't suprising, given the number of times we've watched Tangled in the past few months...

Levi even found her a long blonde wig, which she wore for just long enough to take pictures...

Raise your hand if you understand why she's holding a skillet! :) hee hee.

We told her that she could be the Rapunzel-after-she-got-her-hair-cut-off when she didn't wear the wig...I'm not sure she cared either way.

She was really good about going up to houses and knocking...but she wouldn't say Trick or Treat! She'd just stand there, smiling. She did say "thank you" at least. :)

I took her around one part of the block, and then Levi took her around the other part (we didn't want to leave our house unattended during Trick-or-Treating time). With Levi going to the door along with her, she would actually say Trick-or-Treat. I think she had a lot of fun! We did, too.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

MS Walk

Join The Movement!
Walk MS is the rallying point of the MS movement, a community coming together to raise funds and celebrate hope for the future. Walks happen all around the country, all year long. Austin's walk was today, October 29th. There was a surprising amount of people there - many had signed up for the walk in teams, with creative names like "Don't MS With Texas" and "MS Avengers."

Why I Walk
In March 2010, my right leg went numb from the waist down. Two days later, I was seeing double because a muscle in my eye was no longer working. I was lucky enough to be diagnosed quickly - many people spend years of confusing and frustrating symptoms before being told they have MS. After two courses of steroids and many weeks, I finally felt normal again - though "normal" suddenly included daily injections and the knowledge that I had an illness that would never go away and would likely become worse with time.

Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body and stops people from moving like they should. I walk for those who no longer can. I walk for my aunt, who also has MS. I walk for my husband, who is my foundation and support. I walk for my daughter, to teach her strength. I walk for myself, in hopes that I will be able to do so for a long, long time.

Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment, made possible from the funds raised in events like the Walk MS, are moving us closer to a world free of MS.

This was my first year to participate in the walk and fundraise for it. I didn't know what to expect, so I set a goal of $300...and my wonderful friends and family exceeded that, at $330! A special thanks to all of you...you will soon be receiving a picture and a card in the mail! Maybe next year we'll expand and have a team of our own...

After the walk, we went to Taco Cabana for lunch. While there, a woman read my shirt, and then Olivia's shirt. "You wear orange for your mommy! How cute! Are you going to the game today?"

(for those of you who dont' know, University of Texas is in Austin, and their predominant color is Burnt Orange)

I explained that the orange was actually for MS, and that we had just come from the MS Walk. The woman was so surprised, and said that her husband did the MS Bike 150 a few weeks ago in Galeston, TX. The MS Bike 150 is a 150-mile bike ride for MS awareness. When her husband came over to join the conversation, I thanked him for doing the bike ride, and he said, "Do I know you?" :)

The woman then asked if I have MS, and when I said yes, she said, "Well, you'd never know! Honestly!" I thanked her for that, and said I hope that will be the case for a long, long time.

I really do.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sea World!

Since moving to Austin, we are constantly learning from other Austinites about things we should do, places we should see and go. Most of the time our answer is, "We'll try that when it gets cooler!"

Well...Austin has been strangely reminiscent of Tucson this summer, in it's oven-baking heat and sun (I think we've only seen rain twice since we moved here!). It has cooled down a bit - we're more in the upper 80's than in the 100's now - but still isn't quite fall enough.

All that to say that Sea World in San Antonio (a mere 2 hours away from our house) was definitely on the list of Things To Do. We'd been talking about it a lot lately, and had decided on last weekend. It turned out to be even better timing when we learned that Olivia was the Star of the Week in her preschool class, and thus got to take home Dangles, the class stuffed monkey. Each child does something fun with Dangles and then takes pictures and a story back to the class on the following Monday...so we thought, Why not? Sea World with Dangles, it is!

This is at the entrance to the park. Notice Dangles with Olivia. He will be in most of the pictures. :P

Meeting Shamu! She was not even a little bit afraid of the huge walking killer whale...

We actually got to the park about 30min early, but they still let people in. We went first to the dolphin area, where we thought it would be fun to feed the dolphins. Turns out, we didn't need to feed them - they came right up to the side of the pool and let you pet them! It was pretty awesome. The dolphins reminded Levi and I of puppy dogs...they just had this "pet me! pet me! love me! love me!" demeanor about them. I'm glad I got this picture of Olivia touching one of them, because right after that one came up out of the water right in her face and scared her...she didn't want to pet them after that!

It's hard to see it under the water, but that's a sting ray she's touching. Very squishy!

In the middle of the park was the Sesame Street Bay of Play. I'm not sure what Seasame Street was doing in Sea World, but it's a match made in heaven for little kids. There were lots of smaller, kid-sized rides,which Olivia loved. This is Levi and Olivia riding on the Shamu Roller Coaster. We were worried that she'd get scared, since it went pretty fast, even for a kiddie-coaster. But no. Apparently the only thing she was afraid of was the dolphin. :P

Olivia, Dangles, and I on the Merry Go Round. She's pretty excited.

This was a ferris wheel made of little egg-shaped cups. It as also the only ride I was able to go on (other than the Merry Go Round) with Olivia due to being preggers. :) It was fun, but not fast enough for Olivia. She stood up at the top and said, "Can I get off now? I want to do something else." Oy.

Good thing daddys have strong shoulders, because girls get tired after all that walking!

Ice cream! which, of couse, was shared with Dangles. :)

This was one of those boat rides that swings fast back and forth. Now, look closely at the second-to-last row of seats. That's Levi and Olivia. Do you see her hands? They're up in the air like on a roller coaster. Did we teach her this? No. Are we in trouble when she's a teenager? Yes.

I had to include this picture to show that no matter where you take a child - and no matter what the cost of admission - they can be perfectly happy playing on a playground. Forget the dolphins, whales, otters, sea lions. Give the girl a rope ladder and a slide, and she's happy! I think we spent an hour there, which allowed her to get out a lot of energy, me to sit down for a while, and Levi and I both to have heart attacks trying to keep her in our line of sight. It is quite scary how easily you could lose a child in a place like Sea World.

We saw three shows during the day, and this is the last one - Shamu! I wanted to include this one because it has Baby Shamu jumping with his mommy. Awww. He was so cute.

And that's it! We had a lot of fun, saw lots of animals, bought a lot of expensive park food, and walked about 5 miles. No one got hurt, and to Levi and I's enormous relief, made it back to the car at the end of the day without losing Dangles even once. :)