Friday, December 30, 2016

Jamison at 20 months

This month has been a big crazy with the new addition to our family, and with you turning in to a full blown toddler, melt downs and all.  I still refer to you as the baby, because you are very much still my baby, but you are also trying very hard to spread your wings a bit too.  You are lucky you couldn’t be cuter if you tried.


We had a bit of a rough patch with your sleep this month before Josie arrived.  You were waking up 2-3 times per night and we never really knew why.  You had a bit of a cold and you also had a bout of bronchitis where you sounded horrible, but it didn’t dampen your spirits too much.  You were on rounds of steroids and antibiotics though to help clear out your lungs.  Luckily once we got Josie home from her hospital stays, you were back to sleeping through the night.  You still take a 2-3 hour nap most days and then are in bed between 8 and 8:30pm and get up around 8am most days.  You’re not asleep that whole time usually, but you’re in bed anyway.


You’ve been a little more picky this month with eating, but again, you’re asserting your independence.  And you still eat better than the big kids.  Your favorites are little oranges, yogurt, eggs, any type of cookies (which you call keecoo’s), any sort of chocolate and cheese.  I’ve been trying to get you to drink your milk out of a cup, and you do, but you still get bottles as it’s just easier to give it to you in there.  You eat well with a spoon and you can also drink well out of a cup without a lid too.


You LOVE baths.  You ask to take a bath every single night and you throw a fit when we say no, it’s not bath night.  But it’s adorable.  You say “bafffff” and do the sign for it and if we say yes, you run as fast as your fat little legs will carry you to the bathroom and if we say no you throw yourself on the floor and flail around.  You also LOVE going outside.  You’d be happy if I just let you roam around outside all day, but I can’t because you try to climb up on the play set by yourself which terrifies me.  You are pretty fearless and you like to climb.  But you also like to try to ride the bikes and scooters out there too.


You try SO hard to keep up with the big kids.  They have a bad habit of going in to a room and shutting the door and you get so mad, which I can’t blame you.  If they are doing something, you are watching and trying to do whatever they are doing too.  You are learning to push your weight around with Ben and you’ve been known to smack him when he’s bugging you, which is most of the time.  I think you’re going to be bigger than he is in general, so it’ll be interesting when you get bigger and he can’t dominate you like he tries to do now.  If I am taking their picture you run up and get into the middle of them and smile really big.  Pretty darn funny.



Now you love turning things on and off, especially lights.  If lights are on, chances are you’re going to turn them off very shortly.  If doors are open, you will shut them.  This is especially fun when I try to put clothes from the washer into the dryer and you’re standing there trying to slam the dryer door shut.  You love riding your giraffe bike and you love putting the Duplo Legos together too.


You have been great with Josie so far.  You can say “Josie” and you always say “baby” and point to her every time you see her.  It’s pretty cute.  You are very interested in her and sometimes you like to test you’re limits.  Like if I tell you to touch nice, sometimes you try to smack her.  And you’re not a big fan of when she’s crying.  You tend to try to make just as much noise as she is.  That’s especially fun.



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You are talking a bunch now.  Yesterday you said “Mommy!  Gook!” when you wanted me to look at something.  You can say all the dogs names now.  (You used to just call them all Sadie.)  We’re working on more body parts and animal sounds.  You LOVE to sing songs and if a song comes on the TV, it ALWAYS catches your attention no matter what you’re doing.   You discovered juice this month and you ask for it quite frequently.  You still like to snuggle, but you’re definitely in to lots of things now including – climbing on chairs, Ben’s train table and bed and the kitchen bench, getting the covers off of outlets, trying to stick anything you can into the outlets, riding the Roomba, etc.  It makes it hard when I’m tied to a pump or a baby when you’re doing all of that….




But you’re still pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Your cheeks are super kissable and I call you my little love bug and you are.  You are a sweet boy who gives the cutest little grins ever and we still can’t get enough of you.  And you smile every time you see us hold up a phone or get out the camera which is adorable.  I can’t believe you’ll be 2 in a few months!  I don’t want you to get bigger!



Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Christmas Letter

Greetings from Tehachapi, CA!

This year seemed to have flown by for us, as the years seem to be doing lately. It seems as though if you want to know exactly how quickly time goes by you just need to have kids and watch them grow up at lightning speed right before your eyes. And ours are doing just that, which is why we just keep having them. Ha! Not really, but kind of. =)

Abbie is 7 years old and is in 2nd grade. She loves school and is a social butterfly. Abbie is doing very well in school and loves to learn. She is still our strong-willed girl, but she is also very kind and compassionate and is a HUGE help. She loves helping with her little brothers and thrives the most when we give her responsibility. She is maturing daily.

Benji is almost 5 years old and going to a preschool near our house. We weren’t going to put him in preschool this year, but decided to enroll him after he begged to go back to school. We are THRILLED with the preschool we found for him as they focus on learning and education versus just playing. He is memorizing sight words and has shown a great interest in reading and all things involving space. He has more energy than he or I knows what to do with, but I suppose that’s typical of 4 year old boys. He is learning what it’s like to have a little brother that wants to do everything you do and he’s not always thrilled with the idea.

Jamison is now 18 months old and is learning new things every day. He is a very happy little boy, although we are starting to see a little bit of his temper shine through when he doesn’t get what he wants. He loves all animals, especially our dogs and cats and he loves to watch the chickens. He loves to sing songs and be outside and he knows quite a few animal sounds and body parts and around 30-40 words. He is our snuggler and I think when baby girl shows up it will be a rough adjustment for him.

Mark has been busy with working at Edwards AFB. He is working in OGV and flying a bunch as well. Working in the ops group isn’t his favorite job, and he’s been pretty busy between that and flying 2-4 times a week. He is in the process of applying for a job with the Air National Guard and we are praying that that works out the way we are hoping it will. When he’s not at work, he’s busy renovating our house here in Tehachapi. So far we have laid engineered hardwood floors, tiled all 3 bathrooms and the kitchen and entryway, completely redone the kitchen cabinets, counter and back splash, painted the majority of the house, replaced the vanity in a bathroom, put a door and a walk in closet on a den, making it a true bedroom, and added lots of shelving in the garage. The end is in sight but we still have a little bit to do. He also built a chicken coop in our back yard. We had a chicken randomly show up in our front yard so we decided to keep her and get 3 more. We decided that 3 kids and 3 dogs weren’t enough and we wanted more things to take care of….

I am kept busy by the kids and dogs and chickens and trying to keep up with all the messes they all make. But in between the cleaning and refereeing I have found some great friends in this little town. I am a table leader for our local MOPS and I help out at church with greeting and the welcome desk. We are also hosting a life group from our church here once a week, which I love. And I usually have 2-3 play groups per month here as well. I’ve done a little bit of photography and I try to keep up with the blog but I don’t have nearly as much time for it as I did before we had all the kids and dogs. I taught myself to crochet this year and have been quilting a little bit, but not as much as I would like.

We’ve been putting our travel trailer to good use this year and are so glad we bought it. We went up to Petaluma in January and explored Napa Valley, the coast and San Francisco. We camped along the Colorado River in Needles, CA and also went to Bishop, CA with our church. We took trips to Yosemite and Redwood National Parks too. Recently we went to Point Mugu and camped on the beach, which was a blast. We are trying to explore as much of CA as we can before we move from here. We also flew to my parent’s house in MO in July for a visit. It was fun to see them and spend some time at the lake by their house.

Baby #4 is due mid-December and we are all excited about her arrival. So far this pregnancy has been the easiest for me, which has been very nice. Hopefully everything will go smoothly from here too and her birth will be as easy as Jamison’s was.

We hope this letter finds you happy and in good health. Best wishes to you and yours for the holiday season and all of 2017.

With love,

Mark, Monica, Abbie, Benji and Jamison



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

And then there were 4

Having 4 kids isn’t for the faint of heart and quite honestly, the thought of Mark going back to work tomorrow terrifies me and makes me cry just thinking about it.  We’ve gotten off to a rough start with our little Josie girl, but the big kids all love her and so do we.



Jamison was most interested in her when we brought her home.  He points and her and says “baby” every time he sees her and now (at 12 days old for her) he’s also saying Josie.  He cried a few times when she cried in the beginning but he’s over it now.  He loves to try to help with her by handing us wipes and he loves pointing to her and looking at her when we hold her or she’s in the swing or bouncer.  Hopefully he will always been this gentle with her.  He really is a sweet boy so I think he’ll be a good big brother.


Ben actually wanted to hold her right away, which surprised me.  He loves to talk about how cute she is and he’s said multiple times “I want to keep her.”  Or he asks if we can keep her or get to keep her.  He always wants to make sure she’s going with us when we leave and he asks to touch her a lot too.  It’s a lot different from when Jamison was born as he didn’t want to touch Jamison for a few days and it took like a week or two before he’d hold J.


Abbie is a natural of course.  She asks to hold Josie ALL the time, and I try to let her as much as possible, but Abbie has also had a cold recently so I’m trying to keep her away from the baby.  All the kids know they need to wash their hands before they get near her and also use hand sanitizer and Abbie changes her shirts when she gets home from school.  Yes, I’m being anal, but no, I don’t want a newborn to get whatever crud is going around and land in the hospital.  Again.



The house is pure chaos right now.  The boys run around and make as much noise as possible.  Abbie is constantly talking about something or other or doing her crafts that make huge messes.  The baby is held pretty much all day by either Mark or myself.  She cries when we put her down.  I am able to wear her some, which helps.  She isn’t nursing great at all because we’ve been bottle feeding her and supplementing her.  I try to pump as often as possible, but in the chaos of everything I don’t have a lot of time.  And when I do have time, I just want to sleep and not pump.  I can get her to latch occasionally, but she almost always falls asleep on me immediately, so her nursing sessions last about 3 mins.  She’s a lot easier to keep awake with a bottle.


Our adventure as 6 begins.  I’m excited and terrified at the same time, and I’m not sure which one is more prevalent right now.  Hopefully we’ll get into a routine soon and I’ll get the hang of managing 4 kids all day by myself and we won’t have so much to worry about with Josie.  Thank God I’m in this with Mark.  He’s a God send in more ways than one.