Friday, August 28, 2009

Jazzy Milestones V

Jasmine Olivia had her 4 month checkup yesterday (4 months and 9 days, to be exact). Her new weight / length / head measurements came in at the 40 / 75 / 30th percentiles (weight was 12 pounds, 13 ounces, btw); and overall she got two more shots and a clean bill of health. As for milestones, she's rolling over in both directions now and has surprisingly gained full control of her walker. Of course, once I pulled out the video camera, she only wanted to do donuts in the kitchen... but ordinarily she'll follow you around the house, running over toes and clipping ankles at her leisure. Also, if there was a market for drool, we'd be rich since she also has turned into a mean, lean, drooling machine over the past few weeks. Last but not least, she has traded her hands for her feet in the snack department, loves to laugh (check out the end of the doindonuts video), and will soon get her first crack at rice cereal in hopes that the switcharoo will get her eating and sleeping routines back on track.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two By Four

It's feet grabbin' time! Justin & Jasmine @ 4 months old.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jazzy Milestones VI

At almost 4 months old (17 weeks and a day to be exact) Jasmine has made a mockery of any concerns I expressed 2 months ago regarding how little noise she made. Let's just say that the floodgates of speech have burst wide open. You'd think she had a talk show as much as she rambles through the day (except when I turn on the video camera... then she goes from top of the lungs to quiet as a church mouse). And the fact that she already has mommy's raspy voice just pushes her over the top on the adorability meter.

As for milestones, Jasmine Olivia...

Loves to grab and play with her feet... and apparently holds the world record for the number of fingers she can put in her mouth at the same time (I think she's up to 9). Her hands have definitely become her favorite snack over the past few weeks... and with the amount of drool that she delivers, bibs are no longer optional accessories around these parts; they are a way of life.

• Has gone from moving backward to moving forward in the walker. Her motor skills still have a long ways to go, but it's definitely still fun to watch her scoot back and forth... sometimes intentionally and sometimes not.

Has the biggest cheesy grin since pre-teeth Justin. You don't have to say anything to make her flash her Ronald McDonald smile... just make eye contact with her for 5 seconds or more and she gets all slaphappy and delirious. It's hilarious.

• Started laughing consistently a week or two ago. Make a funny noise, or tickle her tummy and she'll chuckle for you.

Has mastered her grabbing skills, and has nothing short of a monster grip.

• Just that quickly, is starting to outgrow her nickname "Frazzle", as she doesn't scare nearly as easily as she did just 10 days ago (incredible how quickly things change)... 2 weeks ago, I'd say "boo" and she'd go into hysterics. Now I'll do the same, and she'll giggle. Go figure.

Is starting to make conclusions. For example, mentions that, "by now, most babies are quite fond of doing one action over and over again until they are sure of the result. Then, they'll switch things up just a bit to see if the result is different." We see this a lot with Jasmine these days. Whether it's kicking a toy, or pressing a button, or spinning a rattle, etc.; it's fun to watch her make her assessments of the world around her and seemingly take note of what everything does.

• Has thrown her eat / sleep schedule out the window since we've returned from our summer travels (case in point... she woke up today at 7:40am... it is 1pm as I write this revision, and she has slept for 20 minutes so far today). She is now staying awake much longer in the daytime and had recently reverted back to an every-3-hours feeding schedule during the night hours, with no detectible pattern for how long she'd sleep or how much she'd eat during the day. So once again, sleep became a rarefied thing for us. Luckily after a week of midnight binges, things are starting to fall back into place now. Her sleep window is starting to look like 9pm - 7am again, and we're back down to one sleepy feeding during that window... just in time for Daddy to regain his sleep & sanity before starting work this week. Hooray for small miracles.

Seems to redouble her daytime activity every three days. In short, the girl is just plain ol' hyper when she wants to be. Yesterday it was like she was on an exercise circuit: 35 minutes of high impact aerobics on the activity mat, 35 minutes of punching bag activity in the bouncer, 20 minutes of squats and screams in the walker, and a 15 minute cool down period in the swing. It's so easy to forget that just a few weeks ago she was content to lay someplace and stare at the ceiling. Now she kicks, rolls, talks and grabs anything and everything in sight.

• Has done well to avoid being in a roll-over video... even though Daddy has tried... and tried... and tried. Attempt 1: she rolled over 3 times in a row, but refused to do it again once the camera was rolling. Then did it 3 times more in the 20 seconds after I pressed pause. Nice. Attempt 2: Rolled over. Daddy went to put her on her stomach again so that she could do it for the camera... but then she rolled over so quickly that I didn't even have time to back up and press record. By the time I looked in the viewfinder, she was already on her back again. Laughing at me. I guess the joke was on me because she did this again, and again, and again... Attempts 3, 4, 5, and 6 all went something like this: I'll be in the midst of trying to get her to roll over again, and somewhere in the background I'll hear "ut oh...." and a big bang... followed by, "Justin!!!!!!!... what are you doing?" So much for tummy time. There's just no way in the world to video her and watch Justin at the same time. And so goes the life of the second child.

(Unless she is really hungry...) is almost impossible to feed with Justin in the room. For their 4 month update, mentions, "Your baby is easily distracted now, and feedings can become frustrating as she stops to watch a sibling or respond to an outside noise." I guess "easily distracted" is the nice way to say it... but I just call it nosey! She can't stand to miss anything, and will fight and fuss until you turn her towards the action... which might be the television... but is usually whatever ruckus her brother is making on the other side of the room. In all, it has made trying to feed her in the daytime pretty frustrating at times... but in the end, as long as she's still growing, I guess we're good to go.

In other news, we learned in SC that she is very selective about who holds her (Babycenter mentions this a being normal around this age). This quality couldn't be more polar opposite from her brother at the same age... even though, at two years old, his separation anxiety has finally crept in as well... but that's a different topic for a different day... As for Jasmine, she has already hurt a lot of feelings with her "don't pass me to that person!" holler over the past 2 weeks... Which Daddy doesn't mind, as I hope it translates into intense selectiveness when it's time to choose a boyfriend 25 years from now :o) Picky Picky Picky.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Banana Split

You are so not getting any banana.

You are kinda cute, though.

I knew you loved me... I knew it I knew it I knew it.

Whoa... slow down...

Hellooo... can someone get her her own banana please?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Now I Know

If anyone ever tells you that owning rental property is a piece of cake, tell them that you don't like cake! Rewarding? Certainly. But easy? Maybe 354 days a year. But those other 11 days can be a doozie.

A few months ago, our best tenant ever received his military transfer notice and subsequently gave notice to vacate Rental Property #2 by the end of July. The bad news is, after 2 weeks of receiving ZERO calls about the property, we had to drop the advertised rent about $100 just to get a few leads. The good news is, we found a new tenant pretty quickly after that. Yep. Tenant #4 (we've had two at each property now) is moved in and (fingers crossed) hopefully in position to stay an awfully long time. The toughest part of owning these properties so far has definitely been the transition work between tenants, and this time was no exception. But in truth, this is the first time that we had to experience the full brunt of the transition, as we got away with the bare minimum during the first transition a year ago (the good part about the first exiting tenant beating us out of his lease was that he wasn't there long enough to really mess up anything). But this time was the full monty. And if nothing else, at least I can say I now have realistic expectations of what to expect in the future with a tenant transition: 4 days of fun.

Day 1: It took half a day just to walk through the property and make my multiple lists with 3 things in mind: What needs to be done (some repairs, some replacements, and lots of cleaning), what will the exiting tenant be charged for, and what needs to go on my Day 2 shopping list. After that, the second part of Day 1 was making phone calls to schedule contractors / painters / cleaners / whoever will help me for cheap. We got lucky in that everyone was available on pretty short notice.

Day 2: What surprised me the most was that I needed a FULL DAY just to shop for everything on my list. Of course, with a fresh pair of eyes, there was also a whole lot of revisions to all the lists made on Day 1. But after trips to 4 different Home Depots, 2 Lowes, and a Walmart, I was set to get to work on Day 3.

Day 3: Easily another a 12-hour work day. This is when you become the plumber / electrician / dry wall / cleanup guy (it's either that or pay someone else to do it). Rewire light fixtures, install tile flooring, put up bi-fold doors, blah blah blah... Basically git er dun... because you've got 36 hours until the new tenant gets the keys to the front door (oh yeah... that reminds me, add "change / re-key locks" to the list).

Day 4: Finally, the help arrives. Maid service, house painters and carpet cleaners. That wasn't the preferred order, but hey in a pinch you do what you've gotta do. And of course, be ready to work around all of them as you find a half dozen other things that you've overlooked during the first 3 days (like broken shelves in the closets, and a garbage can riddled with compacted trash, flies and maggots... can you say 5 gallons of bleach and a very long scrub broom?)...

About $1500 dollars later ($1800 if you include newspaper advertisement and lawn service... $1300 if you deduct from that the $500 we kept from the previous tenant's deposit) the renovations are a done deal. The keys and cash are exchanged, the tenants move in and everyone is happy...

Until you get the call that we got today about there being a crack in the master bedroom bathtub. And you're thinking: Bathroom... crack... upstairs... water damage... through the floor... downstairs ceiling... rotted wood in between. This can be expensive. Good Lord. I need a nap. And the carousel spins again.

The Colliers

Last week I had the pleasure of photographing the Collier Family and their adorable 4 month old. After so much work on the real estate front lately, it was a pleasure to be back behind the camera. And it was definitely a pleasure to work with such a fun couple. Thanks for trusting me with your precious moments, guys. I look forward to working with you again soon!

Double Stroller

"I'm still not getting why Justin can't sit up there... I called shotgun!"

Friday, August 7, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Thankfully Jerome allowed me and the kids to travel with him to SC as his stowaway luggage while he went down to take care of some rental property business (I'm sure he'll blog about that later). This marked the 3rd out-of-state trip that we took this summer with our 2 year old and newborn (now 3 months old). During each trip we thoroughly enjoyed visiting with our families and friends and allowing grandparents, aunts and uncles to spend time with Justin and Jasmine whom they only get to see a few times each year. That being said . . . there’s no place like home!

With an action packed summer behind us, we look forward to enjoying the next week or so at home before Jerome goes back to work and I (by the grace of God) take a stab at this stay-at-home-mom thing! We are all excited, yet nervous about the months that lie ahead. If all goes well, you can expect to see more blog entries from me . . . if not, send up a prayer because it probably means that the kids have me tied up in the attic! LOL!

Here are a few pictures of the kids from about a week ago, before our most recent travels. Enjoy.