Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jazzy Stones IX

At 7 months and 8 days, Jasmine Olivia is evidently not willing to stay a baby for much longer. Babygirl is crawling, cruising, pulling up, holding her own bottle, and starting to vocalize word-like sounds. The only thing left is walking... and we've got bets going as to if she'll be doing that by Christmas, New Year's Eve, or neither. She has also sustained her first major bruise, and it's a doosey: A shiny black-eye that makes her look like an extra from the movie Gangs of New York.

She's still breast-fed, but has also moved up to big-people status in that (when things are not too hectic around here) she gets 3 solid meals a day: oatmeal, and homemade sweet potatoes & pumpkin. And yes... we've still got pumpkin left. Hey, it was a big pumpkin.

In the "miscellaneous" category, every kid has got their quirks, and at this stage hers is this facial expression she does about 4 times every 7 minutes. I call it "smell your face", but whatever you call it, it's really funny. Click here to see for yourself. Otherwise, things are going well. Still no teeth. But sleeping through the night with no feedings (finally!!!!!!!). She's on a 9 pm to 7 am sleep schedule with a 50/50 shot at going back to sleep after eating at 7. Two naps a day if we're lucky. And a mohawk that would make Mr. T proud.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Justin Milestones XXIV

Sometimes I realize that we don't say much about Justin on the blog anymore (all Jasmine Jasmine Jasmine)... but in fact, the truth is that, given the opportunity I couldn't say enough about him or about how fortunate I know I am to have a son. I love that little boy to pieces. Sometimes I feel like my eyes will well up just to talk about him because I'm so overwhelmed with pride for the little crazy bugger. But that of course, is the trap of parenting. Milestones are the most adoring thing when you are still keeping track of your child's age by how many months they are... but then there's that fine line... when it crosses over to that unbearable brand of bragging that no one but a grandparent can appreciate. No parent knows when they cross that boundary. One day it just happens. And there's no turning back. It quickly turns into keychains with photos... and then morphs into Honor Roll bumper stickers... and from there you become (gasp) that parent. That parent that people avoid being in the room with for more than 4 minutes, because every conversation transforms into a discussion of how fantastic their child is. I should know... my mother was (gasp)... that parent.

But with that said, I thought it was finally time that we checked back in to see what the little tyke is up to these days. So with everything that I have, I will fight the urge to stand on top of a milk crate and scream through the crowded streets that my child is the greatest... Instead, I will sit here quiet and composed, and do my best to sound matter-of-fact as I mention a few things about the greatest son ever.. (ahem)... I mean, my son Justin.

At 29 months old (ha ha just kidding)... Justin Alexander...

Is a practical joker. He's a funny guy. He's got jokes. All. Day. Long. I remember reading about how it takes a certain level of cleverness to be funny; particularly in the realm of practical jokes, because you've gotta know the right answer in addition to which wrong answer will be funny. Kinda like how sarcasm takes wit. And so, understand my amusement when I'm being set up for practical jokes by a then one-year-old. The kid's hilarious. His only comedic flaw is that he laughs at his own jokes before he delivers them. But we'll work on that before he goes national with is stand-up routine.

Is shy. And that's very funny to say after just talking about his stand-up comedy. But he is definitely slow to warm to new people, and then totally a ham once he has deemed you a friend. No idea where he gets that from... I'm just such a people person (what are you laughing at?). He went from willing to go with anyone, to being that kid that cries every time we leave him at Sunday nursery.

Is bilingual. I'd say that his vocabulary is about 60/40 in terms of the spanish/english split... but in terms of actual speech and comprehension, I'd probably weigh it a little heavier on the spanish side. It also seems like his vocabulary just EXPLODED about 3 months ago, and from there he just took off. The changes are so subtle that it's really hard to pinpoint specific milestones. For example, we pretty much have no idea when he learned his alphabet. It's like he just did. And it would be equally hard to pinpoint when he started counting. But one funny moment that I will document, however, is about 2 months ago when we were counting with him to ten (in spanish) in the usual fashion: subdued for 1 thru 9, and the big exclamation at 10 ("DIEZ!") as if that was the last number ever made... and as we walked away, he goes... ONCE... DOCE... TRECE... and proceeds to count to twenty. V and I just looked at each other like did YOU teach him that?! Hilarious moment (evidently he learned it from tv, btw). And that was topped only 20 seconds later when he showed us that he could do it in english, too (though not quite as well)... which goes back to the shy part, because ask him to count in front of an audience at music class and you'd think that he was a deaf-mute with no home training. Gee... thanks for making me look like the superstar parent on that one. Way to go, kiddo (argh).

Is super affectionate. Words couldn't describe how great he is with his little sister. From spontaneous hugs and kisses, to the whispers of "don't cry Jasmine", to his level of restraint when he's minding his own business and she decides it's time to tear his face apart. I've always been content in my own status as an only child, but in watching the two of them interact, for the first time I feel the envy of how wonderful it could've been to grow up with a sibling that loves me as much as they obviously adore each other. Yesterday, V and I entered the room with Justin already there and Jasmine in our arms. Justin erupted with joy and ran to us. Both V and I were feeling the love... for about 3 seconds... until he grabbed Jasmine, the two of them smiled from ear to ear, greeting each other with hugs and kisses as if they hadn't seen each other in years, and then he went back to his business as if we weren't even there. I guess we don't rate.

And sometimes it's the little stuff that displays a level of thoughtfulness and perceptiveness that I would've never equated with a two-year-old. Like the times after a long day that he comes and pats me on my head and back, and look at me in silence as if to say, "you're alright with me, dad". And even though I take thousands of pictures of him and the fam, those are the moments that could never be captured, and that I know I'll miss the most.

Still confuses colors with sesame street characters. My shirt is not red, it's elmo. His action figure is not brown... it's Ernie. And the sun is not yellow... it's Big Bird. Mommy is a little distressed about it, but I just think it's hilarious. He'll grow out of it, but for now I'm enjoying the quirks and quarks of the learning process.

Just finished about two months of music class (no particular instrument) and swimming lessons.

Throws like superstar. We're still working on the catch, though.

Uses my ipod (vocab building apps) more than I do.

Is the greatest son ever. Okay sorry. I just couldn't resist. What can I say. I guess I'm that parent.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Granted, it's the middle of November... but I am still happy to announce that part III of the Summer Project Trifecta (deck, garage, and fence) has officially been completed. When we first moved into this house the two obvious downsides were the neighborhood not being the greatest, and living on a busy street. Well, between a local hangout burning to the ground, and a very conscious, directed, and concerted effort by the City of Norfolk and the Norfolk Police Department to keep Five Points off of the evening news... the neighborhood has turned around quite a bit. However, the busy street in front of the house doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

And it's funny because we swore that we wouldn't be here when we had kids... and that soon became, "we definitely won't be here when our kids are walking"... "oh wait... what I meant was when our kids are in school..." Okay... so fast forward five years and two kids later (wow... time has in incredible way of flying by and making a mockery of your plans, doesn't it?)... here we are, at the same ol' house we've come to know and love. And so with one kid ready for a bicycle and the other crawling at the speed of light, it was finally time to set some boundaries.

"I'm the foreman... and I say it's crooked!"

Justin tests the fence by pounding his soccer ball into it.

Put 'em to work

"I'd like my one phone call, thank you."

Welcome home, Peace of Mind.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Summer Days

Okay, so yes, we're nearing the end of the Fall season and this is a post about our summer. It's a running joke around here that if it were left to me to update our blog, we would not have many memories recorded. It's true. I'm that person who is still working on her wedding scrapbook (almost 5 years later). No kidding!

I definitely admire and appreciate people like Jerome who have a knack for being able to capture those memorable moments as they are happening (while remaining engaged), and being able to add it to our scrapbook before it becomes a distant memory. So, as I've said in the past, thanks, Jerome for helping us to document our lives so that we'll have something to look back on and share with our children and children's children for years to come.

And now, in the most "better late than never" fashion (LOL), you can click here to visit the photo archives and check out some photos from our summer. Enjoy.

A day at the beach with the mommies & our children . . .
I almost forgot about about Justin's summer hairdo! :-)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Jazzy Stones VIII

11 days shy of 7 months, Jasmine Olivia had her "6-month check-up" yesterday. In short, she is doing great. She and Justin are still fighting off cold symptoms that have been lingering for a couple of weeks now, but otherwise, all is good. In terms of measurements, she is 14 pounds and one ounce heavy, plus 27 inches long. That puts her in the 20th and 90th percentiles for weight and height, respectively. Head percentile was 75th, if I remember correctly. And as far as other milestones go, Jasmine has been up to a lot lately. In particular, Jasmine Olivia...

  • is pulling herself up on just about ... which is obviously a problem since not everything is stable enough to support our little wobbly woman... which means that "thud" you just heard was probably her falling from somewhere she didn't belong. Happens all day long. If we had a dollar for every time her head hit the floor, we'd be able to make an extra mortgage payment this month... (okay, so it's not that bad, but it does make for good reading, doesn't it?).

  • is slowly transitioning from the seated walker to the push walker. She still needs a whole lot of supervision with it, but I'd say give her about another 3 weeks and she'll be a champion on it. As for other means of transportation, she now whips the seated walker around the house like it's motorized. If she had one, she would've gotten her license revoked a long time ago for both speeding and vehicular manslaughter (watch your ankles!). She has also graduated to full crawl status, getting from room to room at a decent pace on all fours, and therefore reminding us of how un-baby-proof our house has become in the short time since Justin became a toddler.

  • has finally slowed down on the drooling... but still has zero teeth.
  • is still enamored with her brother; but is starting to dig her parents, too.

  • has officially booted Justin out of his high chair as she has graduated to solid foods (which, we were quickly reminded, means solid "something else" too)... This week, the featured menu item is pumpkin (hey, we had to do something with our souvenir from our trip last month). In short, she loves it. The first 2 weeks or so were touch and go, with Jasmine going from loving her solids, to despising it, to a steady state of being luke warm about eating from a spoon. But something changed (maybe the menu)... and as I fed her last night for the first time in weeks (Mommy has been the exclusive solid food provider of late) I had to marvel at how well she did. Not only did she eat well... but she ate A LOT.. and ate it with a level of neatness and patience that kind of left me baffled. It was nothing like the good ol' days of feeding Justin his first solids, when the 3 seconds between bites seemed like an eternity to him, turning his mealtime into more of a feeding frenzy than anything else. But little miss muffet just sat there and smiled (and even posed for a few photos between bites), opening wide and doing everything short of wiping her own mouth to make the experience pleasurable. Now I know, you're not supposed to compare children (yeah right... good luck with that!)... but Jasmine is so doggone emotional (i.e., over the top dramatic) with everything else compared to Justin back at 6-to-9 months, that I simply have to give props where props are due: This is one area where she's got Justin beat. So in the "calm and collected" category of achievement, the score is now Justin, 43, and Jasmine, 1.

  • is wondering why daddy gave up on the photo archives 4 months ago... leaving more than 1/2 her life "photographically unaccounted for". Don't worry Jasmine, I'll catch up... as soon as we get your brother off to college.

Elmo's World

Last Sunday was a prime candidate for one of those days that you stay in the house, hide under the covers, and just wait for the next day to arrive. Here's a written snapshot of our household last Sunday at about 3:15 p.m. Daddy was sprawled out on the couch with a headache for the ages... mommy was fighting off cold symptoms that the kids were intent on sharing with her. Justin was asleep after a tumultuous afternoon of fighting off his nap and running circles around his worn down parents. Jasmine ... I can't remember where Jasmine was... but I'm willing to bet that, wherever she was, she was not happy about it. It was just that kind of day. So the three kids (me, Justin, and Jasmine) were home and mommy had managed to drag herself out of the house on a rainy day to meet the commitment of attending a friend's birthday party about 25 minutes away.

Halfway there, her cell phone rings. It's Charlette. And she's got 4 free tickets to see Sesame Street Live at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. The show starts in an hour. And just like that, a weekend is transformed. V called me right away to ask me if we'd take the tickets, but in truth we both knew the answer to that. This was the no-brainer of all no-brainers. Justin's love affair with Elmo is indescribable... and not taking him to see this show would be tantamount to a crime in at least 42 States. And so despite every reason to say "thanks but no thanks", we were officially on our way to meet a furry red superstar.

In short, it was incredible. To simply say that Justin loved it would be equivalent to saying that the Sun is hot. The look on his face when Elmo, Big Bird and the rest of the gang showed up larger than life was priceless. Our inside joke was that this was the 2-year-old equivalent of meeting Jesus. Justin was so awestruck and overwhelmed that he just sat in frozen silence, with "the chills" to the point of teeth chattering (no exaggeration), for the first 20 minutes of the show. But it was obvious that it wasn't fear... it was just the most sincere combination of excitement and bewilderment that you'll ever see. Like I said, priceless. And so, Charlette and Shawn, we thank you guys for thinking of us. Because that outing was definitely one to remember.