Dear Jillian (11 months)

Dear Jillian, 

You are turning out to be quite the diva, my dear. We still love you to pieces of course, but my oh my do you require much attention! I think it's because you've been going through a heck of a growth spurt lately. 

You are so FAST at cruising! You're also getting much braver- you'll let go of something and then reach out and lean towards the next piece of furniture (or wall) to walk along. But, you still have no interest in doing it yourself. I try to get you to walk with your little musical push walker, but you refuse and sit down. Silly girl. Sometimes you'll only hold one of my hands and try it for a few steps that way. You'll get there. :-)

You FINALLY started to clap your hands and it's downright adorable. I'll sing "patty cake" to you and you clap with me and throw your hands up at the end.

Lately you've been trying to mimic words we say! The other night we were at our neighbor's for dinner and they have a dog. I kept saying "dog" to you and you would say "daw daw" when you would look at it. You've also done the same thing with the words shoes ("shs"), all done ("da un"), yay ("aay") and snack ("nanc"). I can't wait until the first REAL word pops out of your mouth! 

Your motto lately has been "early to bed, early to rise." We don't mind the early to bed part (between 6-7pm), but waking up between 5-6am is starting to take its toll. If only you knew the beauty of sleeping in...

Despite a bucket full of toys, your favorite things to play with are my computer (especially when I'm trying to use it), Aunt Michaela's iPhone, and keys.

You're all TEETH! You have a total of 5 now, the top two are both in! Another one on the bottom just popped through and there are two more coming in at the top (which will make for a grand total of 8!) I can tell it hasn't been fun for you getting three at the same time. I don't blame you. 

I think your absolute favorite thing in the world is being around other little kids. You think you're one of them and you get so excited and just want to be on the move. You're not that interested in kids your own age (or younger) than you though, unless you get to hit them in the head, you do like that.

I love that you are starting to understand a lot of what we tell you. You look for things when I say, "Where is your ___?" You always look at what I'm talking about! You also listen when I tell you to sit down in the bath tub or come here. We're still working on "no" when you get into something you shouldn't. When you start doing that, sometimes I make a loud "ah ah ah" sound to get you to stop, but the other day you did it right back to me! Silly stinker.

The other night I was holding you in the rocker and couldn't believe how BIG you are getting. It made me a little sad to think that I won't be able to rock you in that chair much longer, when you're officially a "big kid". But it's so fun watching you grow!

I couldn't love you anymore!!!



the two best dads

I have the best Dad in the world. I'm biased, but I should be. He helped me to know what I wanted my children's dad to be like.

He is incredibly funny. Some of the times I laugh the hardest are around him (especially when he tells gross stories from work). 

He's passionate. About guns, finding a car with decent lumbar support, how steaks are cooked, my mom, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and making sure his daughters have and know how to properly use key chain mace.  

He wears socks with sandals and huge sunglasses. It's kinda his thing. 

He might ask you to pull his finger. ...don't. 

He enjoys a good "zombie killin' " game. 

He's selfless. In a quiet, nonchalant kind of way. 

He's actually a really good singer.   

As James says, "he's the only person I know that will call you out of the blue just to give you a compliment." 

I think you start to re-realize just how special your dad is when you see him around your own children. It's almost like witnessing parts of your own childhood. I'm excited for Jillian to grow up and truly get to know her "Papa," finger-pullin' and all.   
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The OTHER Best Dad- Jillian's Dad

I knew James would be a good Dad as soon as we started dating, then especially when our first niece was born. He adored her. But I can honestly say I've been blown away with just how good of a job he is doing.  I think Jillian already knows how good of a Dad he is, because she LOVES him. She prefers him to me, most of the time, and lights up as soon as she sees him. Sometimes he'll come home from work and she'll already be asleep, so he will go check on her. Then I'll go check on him (to see what's taking so long) and find them both snuggled up asleep in the rocking chair together.

She's as completely smitten with him as he is with her. 

He definitely deserved breakfast in bed this morning!

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Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there, but especially and mostly to my two favorite Dads in the whole wide world!!!


swimming buddies

The BEST thing about summer is the pool (I would say beach, but since there isn't any of that goin' on here in the desert, the pool is definitely the next best thing). 

Going to said pool with a baby takes a LOT of preparation. Getting the child into a "little swimmy" diaper and swimsuit is at times traumatic (have I mentioned how much Jillian HATES getting dressed?) and then there's the lathering down with sunscreen. All of this takes lots of tears and like 15 minutes, which is about how long she likes to stay in the pool. Figures. 

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It no longer has the same meaning for me though. Gone are the days when I could lay out and listen to music, then jump in when it gets too hot (and repeat, repeat, repeat). Now I officially accept I will be pasty forever. Just no time. 

(Brynlee 8.5 mos, Jillian 10.5 mos, Bentlee 2 mos) 

Jen, Kristen, and I had our first weekly swimming play date. Jillian actually stayed in the pool for like 30 minutes! We only got out because keeping a baby in the pool for that long is exhausting (more for me than for her I'm sure). Nevertheless, we loved it. Looking forward to many more times like this!


jillian's nursery

One of my super cute friends from college writes a baby design blog and wanted to feature Jillian's nursery! She asked me right when we moved in, so it took a while for the finished product to actually happen (and then take pictures while it was actually straightened).

Check out the rest of the pics and where I got everything on her blog: I Heart Pears

Thanks Elise!  


first zoo trip

James had the day off today for his birthday (that was last week), so we decided to go to the zoo! Have you been to the zoo lately? Junk is expensive. But we thought it would be fun to let Jillian watch all of the animals. Go figure, she was actually more interested in the other millions of kids running around. James said we should've just taken her to an elementary school (would've been cheaper). Once we took her to see some animals in smaller cages where she could be more focused on them, then she loved it! Especially the monkeys.

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We planned on only being there for about an hour, which was perfect, because at 55 minutes (when we happened to be on the little train going around the zoo) Jillian proceeded to meltdown. Good timing. 
I think our next zoo trip will be when 1) she can walk by herself and 2) she recognizes how cool giraffes are and 3) appreciates a $3.00 ice cream cone. 


birthdays and bacon

James' birthday was on Wednesday- the big 27! He's getting dangerously close to 30. I feel like once we're 30, then we're really just getting old. 

I made his traditional birthday breakfast (a few days late this year since we got back from Florida the night before his birthday) which always consists of pancakes or waffles and bacon. James is to bacon as peanut butter is to jelly. So much in fact, that his present from his coworkers was a package of bacon. 

I tried out these puffed pancakes (German pancakes) from Taza @ the rockstar diaries. They did not disappoint (and they're much prettier than regular pancakes...and don't you enjoy eating food that is pretty?)

We used James' birthday present bacon to make sweet and spicy bacon. After you make it this way, you will probably make it this way until you die (which may occur sooner than you had planned because you'll eat so much of this bacon). 

Sweet & Spicy Bacon

1 package of any thick cut bacon
about 1 cup of brown sugar
some cayenne (red pepper)
6-7 turns of a black pepper grinder

Put foil on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the brown sugar, black pepper, and cayenne together (the more cayenne you use, the spicier it will be be...I never measure, I just kind of do it by sight...but it's probably..1/2 to 1 teaspoon?). Dredge each piece of bacon in the brown sugar mixture and lay on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet within 5 minutes of removing from the oven (and clean up your pan as well, or you'll never be able to get the bacon or foil off of that pan...maybe it should be sweet, spicy, and STICKY bacon). 

Birthdays 'round here are DELICIOUS. 


The airplane miracle

Have you ever had an experience where you think, REALLY?! Does this have to happen NOW?! Once you have kids, that happens at least 3 times a week. Sometimes 3 times a day. 

So it was our last day in Florida and our flight was leaving at 4:20 pm from Jacksonville. It was nice not to have to wake up in a mad rush to get to the airport on time. I noticed Jillian felt a little warm all morning, but chalked it up to her crazy schedule the past week. 

About 15 minutes away from the airport, Jillian starts crying. Hard. She got a crappy afternoon nap and was just exhausted. I was already picturing the rude glances I'd get from other people on the plane with a bellowing baby in my arms. 

Right when we pull up to the airport and Michaela is getting her out of her car seat- BARF. EVERYWHERE. Thick, orange, chunky, vomit. 


Michaela had to change her shirt, we got the car wiped down and calmed Jillian down. I wasn't sure what to do at this point- risk flying the rest of the day with a potential ticking time bomb? Or wait it out and fly home the next day...

It was about this time that my mom was holding Jillian, where she proceeded to puke again, all down the front of my mom's shirt. My mom hardly flinched. What a champ. 

Now I REALLY didn't want to take her on the plane. Michaela informed me (oh so lovingly) that she was flying home anyway since we were already there, and if I flew home the next day it would be without her help. 

Double crap. I literally didn't know what to do. After about 15 minutes of sitting there, Jillian perked up a little (but was still burning up). We decided to just go. My mom said a prayer before we left that Jillian would be okay on the flights and we'd be able to get home without any major events. 

That prayer was definitely answered. She cuddled me and slept on my shoulder almost the entire first leg of the trip. She's NEVER that calm. When she was awake, she was very easily entertained. She slept from take off to touch down of the last part of the trip, a total of 3 hours.

I almost wonder if the answer to prayer was her getting sick in the first place, because that's what made her so calm the whole time (The trip out was a completely different story- she needed constant movement and entertainment...).

I was SO thankful that she didn't barf anymore and wasn't even fussy. The other travelers probably were too.
God is GOOD. 

Trip to the Sunshine State

Florida was hot. And humid. You forget what humidity is when you don't live in it 24/7. It's like living inside your shower ALL THE TIME. Just think about that for a minute. 

But it was still a fabulous trip. I got to catch up with some old friends, see lots and lots of family, and of course got lots of pool time. Winna' winna' chicken dinna'. 

I'm not sure when we'll be able to go to Florida next- it's our year to stay in Utah for Christmas...but maybe another impromptu trip will happen. I definitely wouldn't complain about it! 

And next time hopefully James will be able to get the time off of work to come!!! One night Milly was saying the family prayer and Ryan was helping her. Ryan said, "And bless James in Utah," and so Milly said, "Bless James in Utah...by himself." Haha. I will say I was impressed to come home to a clean house and he even hung the last of the curtain rods for me! (YAY for the last of the curtain rods!! What a pain...)




We are absolutely loving summer by the way. Florida pics coming soon. :-)