Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Here are some pictures Jackson and I had taken the other day. Hope you like them. Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Come and Go

Well Christmas is over and sometimes I feel like it is a huge let down only because I tend to build up to Christmas all month and then the day comes (which is wonderful) but then it is over. . .back to reality. Thankfully reality is pretty great for us too. We had a great first Christmas with Jackson. He actually did pretty well at opening his presents and he really loved the ribbons on everything. He is a pretty spoiled little boy, lots of toys and books and even a new pair of shoes. Our little apartment is being run over with all of his stuff! We had the traditional Stoker Christmas with snacks on Christmas eve (I made Chinese BBQ pork and it was AWESOME!), we watched Luke 2 and read the story of Christ being born, and then opened a few presents and went off to bed. The next morning we had Grandma Miller's breakfast bread (and that is no easy task to make) then we opened the rest of the presents, watched the Sun's lose by 1 POINT (what a heart breaker), and had a very yummy Christmas dinner. Then that night we went to see the Temple lights and that was the highlight of the day for Jack. He loves those lights, even though it was freezing cold (according to Arizona standards). The most important thing to remember is the birth of Christ and the sacrifice he made for the world. All and all it was a great Christmas and I am already excited for next year, but until then we should try to keep the Christmas spirit alive in our hearts all year long.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Last night we watched the movie White Christmas. I am a little ashamed to say I had never seen it before. It was very wonderful, especially the end when the snow is coming down. This got me to thinking about all those places where the snow is coming down right now. One place is WA where the family is. It is beautiful there with the snow covering all the green trees. I can almost smell it. . .but not quite. It is raining in AZ which does not = a white Christmas. I guess living here does have the benefits of not driving in the snow or for most people being trapped in their house. We also do not have to wear big heavy clothing yet which is nice for Jackson. But for all of you not living in a white Christmas here are some pictures to enjoy and a real Christmas tree pine fresh smell and all.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

11 Days Till Christmas

So there is only 11 days until Christmas. I hope all of you have done your shopping, decorated your trees, and gone to see Santa. We went to visit Santa this week and all I can say is I am grateful to have such wonderful and patient parents. We went to see him in the mall and the line was pretty short (only about 10 people). However, Mall Santas are very inefficient. Santa goes on break at 12:30pm sharp no matter where you are in line. We got there at 11:45am so plenty of time, however the line was moving at a sluggish pace. I really didn't think we were going to make the cut. Brandon couldn't stand the wait so he went walking. I love babies and all but how long does it take to take a picture with a newborn? Seriously! Thankfully we made it in.

Jackson wasn't so sure about the big guy. He really liked the bell that the photographer rung (if you can even call her that). The first picture is him checking Santa out. I love this one because Jack always makes that observant face. Then I think he had a little bit of a panic attack and almost started crying but the bell saved him. The last picture is the best one we got of him actually looking at the camera. He is not smiling but what more can you ask of an 8 month old? I think all in all it was a good experience and thanks to Grandma Miller he had a cute reindeer outfit just perfect for the occasion. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

How to trim your tree?

Picking a tree is a tough job, but it is a must for Christmas. First of all do you buy a real tree or a fake one. The real ones smell so good and it is always fun trucking out into the muddy tree farm and picking out that perfect tree that most likely is too big for your house. However, the fake ones are nice too because you only have to buy it once, the lights are already on it, and you don't have to worry about it drying out. . .fire hazards are a big concern in Arizona. Every year I agonize over how to decorate our tree. Having an A personality a part of me really wants the "Martha Stewart" tree where everything matches and is elegant. Then the other part of me wants the fun tree with lots of colors and random ornaments that we have collected over the years. Also, how do you know what to put on top, star or angel? Right now we have an angel which I think is fitting because it reminds me of Christ which should be the whole focus of Christmas but it really doesn't match the rest of our tree theme since our tree is not elegant but more free and fun. I guess I when we live in a house and have more room we will be able to have both elegant and fun trees, but in the meantime we will just have to settle for a bit of both trees.

On another note, where are the people that go all out with decorating their house? I want to see the neighborhoods that have the HOME IMPROVEMENT houses with the ridiculous manger and Santa on the roof with the entire sleigh and reindeer set. Where are these houses? All I see is boring ones that look beautiful but everyone once in awhile I want to see a really tacky Christmas house that looks like the lights are going to explode.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Jackson has done it! He crawled, yeah! We have been trying to encourage him to do it for a month now and he was so close. He would rock back and forth and then get frustrated and breakdown crying. I felt so bad for him. But then yesterday, we were over at the Stoker's and he wanted these Christmas bells that were too far to reach so he just decided to go for it. Let me tell you, it wasn't a slow creeping crawl either. It was a I'm gonna get those bells as fast as I can crawl. With his little arms and legs a turning he got those bells. Then we tried to see if he would crawl to other things. I kept moving the bells away and he would chase after them. At one point I was thinking to myself is he a baby or a dog because I was making him fetch after every toy I could find. He really got excited when Grandpa Stoker put out his phone for Jack to play with.

*On a side note, Jackson is no longer to play with our keys because he slobbers all over the key remote and the batteries wear down so we can't get into our cars. It has happened 3 times in the past 2 weeks.

By the time the night was over I think he got sick of crawling after things because he was not doing it anymore. He would just get mad at me when I moved the toy farther away. I guess it is his right to be mad, I would get angry too if I went after something and it just kept getting farther and farther away, lol.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In the Christmas Spirit

I know it is only Dec. 3rd but I am already totally in the Christmas spirit. Shopping for gifts, wrapping paper and ribbons, wreaths, the tree and all the lights. Even the round the clock Christmas music. As soon as December 1st hit I was out hanging the lights, putting up the decorations and making Brandon trim the tree (even though it is a fake tree). I think that Jackson loves Christmas too. He is in awe by all the lights and loves playing with wrapping paper, naturally. There is just something infectious about this time of the year that makes me want to sing out Christmas songs at the top of my lungs and drink in every moment. With that in mind. . . you will be seeing a lot of Christmas pictures on the blog. So to get the season started.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I don't want to grow up!

Jackson is growing up so fast. I remember last year at this time I thought Boneyard Bob would never come. Now he is almost 8 months old and being more and more independent. He still can't crawl yet but he is getting closer and closer everyday. He actually prefers holding onto our hands and walking more than getting around on his own. I have a feeling he will go directly from crawling to walking. He is talking more than ever and is always trying to go go go. We hold him and he just wants to be on the move. His new favorite toy is the standing fans at Grandma and Grandpa Stoker's house. I don't know what it is about them but he is just enthrawlled by the fan and always wants to go and see it. He is getting really good with his hands now too which is fun. He can usually pick up cherrios all by himself and put them in his mouth. His favorite snack is toast strips though. I don't know what it is about them but he just gobbles up that toast. It is amazing what kids learn and how quickly they can pick up on things.

On sad aspect is that he has also been rejecting his jumper lately. I am hoping it is only because he has been held so much this past week by all the family members so he doesn't like being stuck in it right now. I really like it so I hope he is not permenentaly rejecting it.

It has finally started to cool off here so I can dress him in warmer clothes which is fun. I am really excited about putting up the Christmas tree. I know he will like the lights and I am sure he will want to pull off all the ornaments and put them in his mouth. I guess I will have to make sure only ribbon hanging plastic ones are on the bottom.

Thanksgiving is a day to be Thankful

Well Thanksgiving week is over and I am pretty sad actually. I say week because the fam was here all week and we did activities everyday and had so much fun. I am really sad to see everyone go. Brandon even noticed that I was sad, and I just realized that I love holidays and spending time with the ones we love. Not that everyone else doesn't love that but I think that since I became a mom I have been a lot more sensitive about people leaving. Every time family comes whether it is my mom or Brandon's sisters or grandparents, when they leave I get a little teary-eyed. Having a baby is making me soft (haha). Anyways, more about our week. We went disc golfing which was really fun and for those of you who don't know what disc golfing is well it is like golf but instead of using golf balls and clubs you use freesbies or discs. I only sent one over the fence but thanks to Justin we got it back. We also played lots of ping pong, wallyball, football, soccer, wiffle ball, and whatever other game you can think of. It was nice having everyone see Jackson again. He is getting so big so fast and Grandpa Stoker and Brianna hadn't even met him yet. I was just a fun week and I am sad that it had to end but at least Brandon is still around to cheer me up. What a great husband!!

5 things I am the most thankful for this year:
-my husband that loves and supports me
-my son who is growing up healthy and happy
-our families that are so close (if not geographically at least close in heart)
-my mom for all the new mother advise
-my job, I can teach and work from home so I can raise Jack

Friday, November 21, 2008

Cookies anyone?

There is something about this time of year when all the goodies come out that you just can't resist trying a sweet or two. . .or in my case 10. Just a few bits can really make a difference though. So I decided that I am only going to choose one sweet to try and leave the rest be. Here are the best and worst sweets of the holidays:
Best Sweets (lowest in calories or fat)
  • Pumpkin Pie: at least you are eating a vegetable right?
  • Apple Pie (without top crust): fruits are always nice to add to your diet
  • Apple Cider
Worst Sweets
  • Pecan pie
  • Cheesecake
  • Eggnog
  • Fruit cake
  • Fudge

This is the last time I let Missy babysit. . .just kidding. I gave him the half oreo. I know sugar is not good for babies but how can you resist a face like that?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Happiest Place on Earth

Many of you know that a few weeks ago we decided to take a break from studying and the baby and go to Disneyland with Brandon's parents. Don't worry we didn't leave Jackson alone. . . Grandma Miller was happy to come out and spend some one on one time with the boy. Although I think by the end of those 3 days she was thinking "what did I get myself into" and she was happy to be going back to Seattle. I really do love Disneyland. We left on Wed morning and got there around 3:00pm (the time change worked out nice). I have never seen it so empty there. Most of the rides we could just walk onto and if we had to wait it was maybe 5 minutes which is the time it took to get to the ride (some of those rides have a pretty elaborate setup). We stayed until it closed and spent most of the time in California Adventure which I thought was awesome because I had never been there before. The next day we went early and it was still pretty empty. It was fun to see how much they have changed that place. The new Finding Nemo submarine ride and autotopia were a big change. We also spent a lot of time going to shows or other attractions that I wasn't interested in when I was a kid. The tortilla factory was really fun. . .nothing beats a fresh tortilla. By the end of the 3rd day I think we had been on every major ride at least 3 times and I have to admit I could have gone on them about 10 more each but everyone was getting a little worn out. . .or at least our feet were. We spent all day there on Thursday and Friday and I think we did everything that Disneyland had to offer; including eating a corn dog which I had been craving ever since I was pregnant. And let me tell you it was just as tasty as I had remembered. All and all we had a great time but I was excited to get home and see Jack.

Top 10 Things to do at Disneyland
1. Ride California Screaming
2. Ride the Tower of Terror
3. Get soaked on the Grizzly Mountain ride
4. Get soaked and take a picture on Splash mountain
5. Score over 100,000 points on the Toy Story shooting game (NEW!!)
6. Eat a corndog
7. Ride Space Mountain until your brain is a little loose
8. Eat at the Saloon in Adventure Land and watch the show
9. Pretend you are a Pirate on the Pirate's Lair (formerly Tom Sauwer's Island)
10. Watch the disney parades

Where have we been?

(I think this first picture is so cute! This is him saying, "mom do you really have to take soo many pictures of me?")

I know I know, I haven't posted in a while but we have been super busy around here. Brandon is still studying for the GMAT, I am still teaching online, and I am taking a class online for my certification. Plus Jackson is a crazy man and takes up a lot of our time so. . . here is a short update. Jack is over 7 months now and not crawling yet. He is very close though. Right now he gets up on his hands and knees and does that rocking thing babies do right before they take the first "steps" towards crawling that is. He also has 5 teeth now and likes to bite things like my face or sometimes my neck when I think he is giving me kisses. I'm not sure what to do about that. How do you teach a baby not to bite? (haha)

He really h
as the rolling over thing down though. If he wants something he just rolls himself over to it. I am actually surprised he isn't crawling yet because when we brought him home from the hospital he was already rolling from side to side so I thought he was going to be an over-achiever. He has been standing on things since he was 5 weeks old (hence the thunder thighs), so maybe he will just skip the crawling and go straight to walking. Who knows? Other than that he is doing great. Still sleeping through the night, starting to eat finger foods, very observant of everything going on around him, and he has the best gut laugh I have ever heard. He still loves his jumper too. He really can get that thing rocking and he laughs at himself when he gets going. I am just sad most of you can't see him in person.

We put him
in his new car seat and let me tell you he loves it! I think he feels like it is his own thrown or something. It is really soft and comfy and he can see better so he really likes that. One funny thing that I have noticed him doing lately is getting startled. He used to like to be scared a little but now he gets really worried and scared. Not so much that he cries but he definitely jumps in certain situations like when I turn on the faucet in the bathtub or when we go through the car wash. My favorite is when Brandon turns on the garbage disposal because it is really load and Brandon pretends like the noise is coming from him (opening his mouth and turning it on). Jack does not know what to make of that. And he still makes his funny faces. He is a great little boy and we love him so much.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

I thought I had picked the perfect pumpkin for my carving this year. Turns out it was the perfect size but it was SUPER thick. Brandon and I have a deal where he gets the honors of carving out all the guts and I get to do the fun part. He gave up on getting ride of the insides because the more he scraped the more pumpkin guts appeared. Finally we just gave up and started carving. I love those carving books because they have such cute ideas but they never turn out like the picture. . .even for a talented carver like myself. I think next year I will just stick to my own creative intuition and create a design myself. Everyone's pumpkins turned out great but my favorite was Missy's Harry Potter pumpkin. Maybe next year I will have to figure out a way to make Dumbledore.

Happy Halloween!

There is something about children that make holidays exciting, even when they are just little babies. I think I was more excited about Halloween so I could dress Jackson up than he was about wearing his costume. I looked all over for the perfect costume and I finally found one that I fell in love it, however it was way too expensive. So after talking with Diane (Brandon's mom) we decided we could make the same costume for Jack ourselves. Now I am not the best at sewing. Actually the only thing I can make is skirts and lovesacks. But I decided to be ambitious and make my son's costume. After all the furry mess, the cutting, the stitching, and gluing. . .I think it was a total success. He even let a a little lion roar to let me know that he liked it. If only it wasn't so hot in AZ, he might have been able to wear it longer. Here is the finished product with his cute little face looking out at me.

Jackson loves Halloween because he gets to play with the candy. He is not interested in eating it so much as he is playing with the wrapers.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NBA. . .It's on like Donkey Kong

Can I just say it was a long summer with my beloved Sun's going out in the first round. So I only think it is fitting for their first game to be against San Antonio (the team that dismissed them last season). And the Spurs are up to their old tricks. Hack a Shaq, flops, throwing elbows left and right. Only two things can make me happy when I see the Suns play the Spurs. First is us beating them, which we did tonight (103-98). Then seeing Ginobli out for the first part of the season. There is not a player that I loathe more than Ginobli. Both of those things happened tonight and the Suns have started their 08-09 season 1-0. Only 81 games to win! Don't get me wrong, I know they won't win all 82 games but beating the Spurs is definitely a good start. The team looked good tonight. I like the new additions, especially Matt Barns, and I have a feeling the new coach is going to do a great job! Still the same old Suns running and gunning, but slowing down every once in a while and playing some tough D. We are going to the game on Saturday, but before they beat down the young Trailblazers they will have to play the Hornets and another player I hate, CP3. Chris Paul is a great player but Nash is still the best and most effective point guard in the game. Tomorrow will be a good example of Nash's impact and greatness. Tune in to TNT for a great game.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hot Mommas keep me sane

So I am in this mother's play group called the hot mommas and I love it because I can get out of the house (and not just to Target where I spend way too much money). We do all kinds of fun activities. Last week we went to the zoo which was so much fun. I love the zoo. The Phoenix zoo is pretty nice. Not as good as San Diego or even Point Defiance (in WA) but we had a good time. Jackson liked the giraffe because it can right up to the fence and he sees giraffes in his bedroom all the time. I actually think he recognized the giraffe from the ones in his bedroom which is exciting. It is amazing to see babies change and grow. We also painted pumpkins the other day. Jack is not so good at painting but he did like smearing around the paint that I put on the pumpkin. Thankfully it was non-toxic, washable paint because as soon as he was done he decided to give the pumpkin a big, open mouth kiss. That crazy kid puts everything in his mouth. I guess it is a good thing I'm not obsessed with germs. Anyways, thank you Hot Mommas!

Check out the drool machine. He is like a faucet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

1/2 a year

Here is an update on Jackson's stats. He is 6 months old now and doing everything a 6 month old should be able to do. He talks (mama), sits up on his own, can hold objects and switch hands (although he favors his left so I think he is going to be a lefty). He is also looking like he wants to get in position to crawl but he is just not sure how to do it yet. He is a really good boy and we are so happy to have him in our lives. We had a photo shoot the other day and here are some shots that I thought were cute.
Height: 28.5 inches (95%)
Weight: 19lbs (85%)
Head: 44 cm (75%) He has a pumpkin head.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Peas Please

I read in some text book in college that it takes 7 times for a child to like a new food. That means that it takes 6 failures of introducing a new food until they finally will eat it. Well I thought I was ahead of the game because the first time Jackson tried anything new he liked it. He would eat peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, any kind of fruit, everything was the same to him. Now that he is getting older he is learning that some foods taste better than others. For instance peas and green beans=yuck. .. peaches and pears=yummy. I am trying to provide the best nutrition possible but it is so hard to get the kid to eat a green vegetable. Every time I offer it he makes a sour face and then gags. Brandon finds it very comical while I am beginning to get a little frustrated. I guess I will have to offer them a few more times before I get him to like them, but until then it will be green bean spew.
This is our getting ready for bed ritual. We put him in his PJs and then we make him laugh like crazy to wear him out. It is really funny and it works because he usually sleeps 10-12 hours a night. How lucky are we?