Sunday, July 31, 2011

Letter to My Baby boy!

In Jacksons baby book there is a spot for a letter from Mommy…. with the billion things I have felt and wanted to say over the last year, I just never got around to writing one. So, I decided to write it now….a year after he was born! Goodness, still can't believe it has been a year! I hope one day he reads this and knows how very, very much he is loved.

My Dear Jackson,
            Hello baby, this is your mommy writing you! I have been meaning to write this letter since the day you were born, and now you are over a year old! I have had 12 months to watch you grow and to fall even more in love with you than I knew possible.
Jackson, when I was a little girl all I ever wanted was a baby doll, and to play house and be the mommy. When I grew up, all I ever wanted to do was babysit and dream about the day I would someday have my own. When I met your daddy, I knew that he felt the same way, and that someday, we would make both of dreams come true.
Sweet boy, you were all I ever wanted my whole life! When we found out you were on your way, I was nervous, but I instantly felt a love for you that I couldn’t explain. Throughout the next nine months I enjoyed every second of being your home, I loved watching you grow and feeling you wiggle around and I anxiously awaited the day you would join us on the outside.  The moment you were born I felt every little piece of my heart fill up and overflow. That night I stayed awake all night and held you on my chest and watched you breathe in and out and stared at your sweet face. There was nothing in this world I wanted more than to be right there in that moment. You were perfect, everything I had ever hoped for, dreamed of, and wished and prayed for, right there in my arms.  You had to stay in the hospital for an extra night and I couldn’t sleep right next to you. I remember feeling so lost and thinking that I would give anything just to hold you in my arms and you were only a few miles away.
We brought you home and that night I laid you in your bassinet next to my bed….for about 5 minutes. I couldn’t sleep worrying if you were too hot, too cold, if you were lonely, or if you just wanted mommy. So, I laid you next to me and there you stayed for about 9 more months, my little snuggle bunny! You were the cutest little newborn I had ever seen. You had great big hands, big feet, your mommy’s eyebrows, and a full head of dark hair! I had never seen anything more handsome in my entire life! Every day that passed, I swore you got cuter! I would wake up and tell Daddy, “Look, he did it again! He got cuter!!!” How could you be so cute?!  I saw your sweet smile for the first time about a month after you were born and my heart absolutely melted!
I have enjoyed watching you grow so much my boy. I remember being SO excited the first time I noticed you were looking at something and watching it, following with your eyes! When you rolled over the first time I think I cried from excitement! When you started crawling, your Grandma Suzi and Auntie Kelsey were here to witness along with Mommy and Daddy. We were all cheering you on and couldn’t stop smiling! Your first steps, my goodness, what excitement that was! We had the biggest grins and clapped our hands for you, we were so proud!
Sweet Jackson, you are such an amazing boy. Everything you do, you do with such character and such enthusiasm. You are always focused on what you are doing and busy with something that interests you. You never sit still, and you are always on the go looking for something else to do or to get into, or something else to make us laugh! We knew from your first couple months of life that you were a comedian. You love to make us laugh and to laugh yourself! You laugh at everything and every time you do, my heart warms up! You have the sweetest, greatest laugh I have ever heard! Your laugh could probably bring peace to warring nations! You also have the best smile that never goes away! You smile even when you are crying. You smile when you are happy, when you are tired, when you are grumpy, and even when you are sick, you smile through coughs! Everyone who sees you comments on how smiley you are and what a happy baby you are. You are such a flirt, you love to smile at every person you see and I know that it brightens their day, just like you brighten mine every single day!
You are so young, yet such a little person already. You love to run and climb everything. You love “petting” the dog and playing fetch with her and you love to be outside in the grass barefoot. You don’t like wearing shoes, and you really don’t like wearing much of anything! You wake up happy every morning and instantly you want to go explore and find something fun to do.  You love to read books, sometimes I find you in your room with twenty books pulled off of the shelves and you are just sitting on the floor going through the pages. You like to play peekaboo and chase me around the house while I pretend I am running from you, it cracks you up… If I even look at you from around a corner or through a hole or a window, you start laughing. You are very well-behaved. You like going places and you never throw a fit or cry. I can take you anywhere. You are the messiest eater I have ever seen. You don’t eat anything without some of it ending up in your ears, in your hair, in your eyebrows, and all over your lap! Oh and all over me!
Jackson, you have made my life so enjoyable, and so fulfilling. You are everything I have ever wanted and more. There just aren’t words to describe how much I love you and what you mean to me. I pray that you would know how special you are, and just how much you are loved. I pray that you know that no matter what happens in this world sweet boy, I will always love you and I will always be proud of you and who you are. You are such a vibrant, kind, and funny little man and I pray that you keep that forever. Above all else Jackson, I pray that you will grow into the man that the Lord has planned for you, and that you would become a mighty servant of him and that you would always take comfort in Him.
The love of a parent is amazing, incredible, and indescribable. Thank you for blessing my life so richly my little man, I can’t wait to continue watching you grow and to share in all of your adventures!! Happy first birthday big boy!!!


July 31, 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It's a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Party!

When Jackson was very little I would take him into my bed for his nap at 10:00 every morning and turn on the Disney Channel more just for me, but also, it's appropriate for kids and it calmed us both down to just lay and watch a quick cartoon before nap! Well, at 10:00 Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on! We would sit and watch the other shows that came on before and he never really cared…but when that silly mouse came strolling down that polka dotted sidewalk, my boy's eyes would LIGHT up! He would have his pacifier in mouth and behind it I could see the hugest smile ever. Sometimes the pacifier would even drop clear out of his mouth to make room for that gummy grin! He was obsessed… I started DVRing it and very quickly our lineup was full, over 80 episodes of MMC! haha. When he got a little older we stopped watching before naps because he just won't sit still for a cartoon anymore, AT ALL. He could care less. But, I still turned it on in the afternoon for some background noise and he would be across the house and the second the "hot dog song" came on….that little booger would come scooting/crawling/walking/running and the dancing would commence! Still obsessed… So, when it came time to start planning his first birthday party (TEAR!) I knew exactly what it would be!
 M I C K E Y      M O U S E!
So, here is a description of everything I did for the party and how I made everything! Have fun!

Here is the Mickey flower arrangement we had outside the front porch. My mom planted it and just used a few pony packs…well, it looked like a heart, not Mickey, and nobody even noticed. Maybe more flowers would have been better, or just single flowers instead of pony packs? Either way, it was probably the least impressive of al decor. Wish it had turned out cuter! Oh well!

The banner I made! I got a big pack of black cardstock and a pack of these simple colored/patterned cardstock and some red polka dotted ribbon at Michaels. I cut out the black squares and then the colored ones a bit smaller using fun patterned scissors. I hole punched two holes in the back of the black cardstock and strung the ribbon through. Piece of advice, try stringing it at the TOP of the letters so they don't flip over like mine did (I had to tape the middle ones to the window!) After I strung them I glued on the colored cardstock and taped the back of the black to the ribbon to keep it evenly spaced. I printed out the letters and the Mickeys and glued them on.  Super easy, but time consuming and it really hurt my fingers using the fun scissors so much!

I had a TON of the black cardstock left, and a few of the red polka dotted paper, so I printed up each of the clubhouse members and glued them onto the red and then black background and I just punched one hole at the top and strung it with some red ribbon and cut them to different lengths and taped them to the fireplace, in the center of course, is the cutest little Mickey Mouse in the world :) Anyway, the clubhouse was all here!!! 

These water bottle labels were SO fun and easy to make! It took me forever to find a background but I eventually found one on google images and then used Word to type the words "Happy Birthday Jackson" onto it. I used the fun scissors again to cut out the banner and then glued it into red cardstock that I measured using the original label. I then wrapped it around the water bottle directly over the label and used packing tape to seal 'er up! Super easy! And they held up great even in the ice chest!

Door hanger/welcome sign! One of my favorites, it was just so cute! Pretty self explanatory, downloaded Mickey font and printed up the words onto red cardstock, cut out, again with fun scissors, and glued onto yellow cardstock and then glued that onto a big piece of red! I also put some extra little Club member stickers on the sides to make it a little more attractive. I also printed that Mickey at the bottom.

Now THIS was probably my favorite piece!!! My mom made it! SOO cute! We got this medium sized blue pot at walmart for like 2 bucks and then planted some cute yellow flowers in there! She used a wooden dowel and wrapped it in some really cute red checkered ribbon. She used 1 big round piece of styrofoam and 2 smaller pieces and painted them…. using spray paint! Ah….the styrofoam melted! So, we salvaged it and painted with ACRYLIC this time! She then used stencils and red paint to paint his name across it and then wrapped a cute Mickey head ribbon under it. She fastened the ears and the ribbon on using toothpicks.

This was the fruit tray I made, I really tried to stick with the color theme as well, so we did watermelon, pineapple and blueberries! Red yellow and blue! We used a Mickey cookie cutter and it worked GREAT on the watermelon, but the pineapple was a disaster, I had to hide most of them under the few good ones I got. 

The cupcake tree! I bought this at party city it was so cute! I also got stickers to write Jackson on the top, but silly me…I bought black stickers. Don't know WHAT I was thinking!! So, I made rainbow chip cupcakes using the mickey baking cups and then I used a pastry bag and regular frosting to ice the cupcakes. I put yellow and red sprinkles on each of them and then on some I cut out blue polka dots from fondant to put on the edges. We ran out of frosting so we used fondant on a few of the cupcakes like you can see in the middle, and put on some Mickey sprinkles…REALLY cute, but of course, no one at them…who wants to eat a fondant cupcake?! When they were done I stuck in Mickey toothpicks! Turned out really cute!

A view of the food table, the fruit platter and that is hummus and flatbread that I also cut into Mickey shapes. For lunch we barbecued hamburgers and hot diggity dogs! I wanted to make sure that everything was yummy for adults and also easy for tiny toddler fingers!

Here are the shirts I made….round 2. I made the cutest shirts for the 3 of us and they were PERFECT, took HOURS upon HOURS of work and time to design on the computer, and I used an iron on transfer.. FAIL. I can't believe Michaels would sell such a product! The transfers did NOT stick to the shirt and peeled off, and what did stick ripped right in half as soon as I stretched the shirt over my head! So frustrating… I cried! We tried using fabric glue to adhere luck. Puff paint around the luck. Okay, day before party, we are starting over friends! Walmart 3 shirts for about 4 bucks each and one teal flat sheet… I cut out the number ones from the flat sheet and hand sewed them on. I then used stencils to trace letters (Mommy, Daddy, Jackson) onto the front and traced over it with puff paint. On the back I used the same stencils but with teal acrylic paint to paint "West" across the back like a jersey. I loved them… even if they were second choice :)

My cutie booty tooty boy and his giant one year old hands!

Really bad view, but this is my cake! Well, Jackson's cake (whose birthday is it again?!) .. It turned out PERFECTLY! I practiced several times and finally figured out how to get it perfect! I baked two rounds, cooled COMPLETELY and then flipped and cut the top off to make them even, frosted the top of one and stuck the other on top. I then put a plate on top of the whole thing to flatten it out and stuck it in the freezer and let it freeze for a couple hours. I then used a template that I just printed up on Word to cut it into the Mickey shape. I then brushed off the crumbs and froze it again! I iced it once and then…froze it again! Iced it a second time and then used fondant and circle fondant cutters to make polka dots and then I cut out a JGW for the corner of it. Love love love...

Enjoying my cake, I ate til I threw up! That's the way it should be!!

Yum mommy yummmm!!!!

All in all, we had a BLAST! We had great friends come out for it and everyone had a good time. It was so great to see how many people love my boy! I also made a video of his first year and it was about 30 minutes, to my surprise, most people actually watched it! I couldn't watch it…I cried everytime and I had to chase around my track star, but it was great to feel the love! My baby boy is such a special little man and is SO very, very blessed to have so many people love him! We were even fortunate enough to have several friends send birthday gifts for him from out of state! What a blessing! His birthday party was perfect, and as I brought out his cake to him and started the birthday song, my eyes welled up and I realized that THIS was what I had waited for my entire life… THIS boy is my life, my whole world, everything I ever dreamed of and ever wanted to be. I love being a mommy :) can't wait for the many, many more birthday parties to come! 

Friday, July 15, 2011

4th of Ju-Ly

Okay so I'll start this with the story of the farm since many of you are interesado… My husband's grandparents bought the property (50 acre pecan farm) many years ago and moved their house (the house my mother-in-law grew up in) here… So yes, Jackson's room was his grandmother's room when she was a little girl, kind of sweet :) Anyway, it made its way through the family and now Thomas and his 3 sisters share ownership of it and we are living here taking care of it for now. It is a pecan farm but there are animals (cows and horses) on the property but we don't take care of them…someone else does. We really love it here and we are having so much fun fixing it up and "playing house", but we are also looking forward to buying our own home in a nice community sometime next year! It's nice being secluded and having privacy, but I want my boy to be able to play with the neighborhood kids too. BUT, here is one big plus of the farm---parties!
We had a 4th of July party and it was so much fun! 4th of July's have always been both mine and Thomas's favorite holidays. When I was little we would always go to my grandparents house and have a big party, eat lots of good food, and then at night we would walk over to the lake and watch the fireworks and play games and then we would all lay out a million blankets on the floor and everyone slept in the living room. It is still one of my favorite memories of my grandparents and I hope that one day we can make these lasting impressions and memories for JJ. For Thomas, he always had…welll…farm parties! His dad used to do it big, as in BIG big…well, we are just getting started and trying to carry on tradition! This was our 2nd annual 4th of July party, and I would say it was a big success! Last year I was 37 weeks pregnant and although it was fun…. it was pretty stressful for me and having to clean with a giant belly is impossible enough as it is much less cleaning after a big party! So, this year I was determined! I planned everything way ahead of time, cleaned the whole house before, and on the invitation I made sure everyone knew to bring something…aka, no cooking for me wohoo!!! So, needless to say, this year was much easier! I would say we had about 30 or 40 people here between family friends and coworkers.

The meat smokin!

setting up the volleyball net

just some of the cars parked out front


flying the flag by what used to be the lake, it has since dried up…oh drought

having fun

thomas and lee

my little Jackie Bear, his shirt says, "Mommy's little firecracker" He is so precious

These are some of the decorations I made, the banner and the tablescape

I thought this was pretty cute for some paper and puffy paint and about 2 minutes! Surrounded by twizzlers and gumballs! I wanted redvines but I couldn't find them, what is that Texas!?

So, the day started…well…the night before! At midnight Thomas started the brisket and woke up every couple hours to check the temperature in the smoker. Around 11, Thomas's grandmother came over and it was great to see her, she was in great spirits and she and my mother in law and her sister all had matching shirts on--so cute! Jackson was having the time of his life pushing her wheelchair around and she even took him for a ride! He much preferred pushing the wheels himself, but he appreciated the ride! We also set up his baby pool and he had a blast getting in and out and filling the pool with grass and drinking the water (EW!) Friends started arriving and the fun began! We had a pool full of ladies, including the very pregnant Christi (cousin) who thought it would be cool to copy me and be 9 months pregnant for the 4th of July party… We had 2 washer pits set up and the guys were pretty occupied with that! Later in the afternoon we started in on volleyball! One of T's coworkers brought the net and what a great idea! SO fun! We must have played 10 games…and let me just tell you, a certain little lady happened to serve 10 consecutive points during one game…ahem, thank you verrrry much..haha.  I really only played a couple games because I hate that nasty rash you get from the ball. Yuck.. So when it got dark the party moved back into the pool for some pool basketball and then after being attacked by killer mosquitoes for an hour, it moved inside and the games of pool began.. Side note, mama was not happy about this! Hello, my baby is sleeping 15 feet away can we NOT hit balls with sticks right now?! Okay thaaaanks. We couldn't have fireworks because of the drought, there was a ban, so that was sad. But, there is always new years! Mark your calendars for fireworks people!! Everyone left and someone broke the gate on the way out and that was about the only bad thing that happened the whole time! No other damage and no huge mess! Success!!! There wasn't too much to clean up, I kept on top of everything all day and we just vacuumed and swept and mopped after everyone left and we were good! It was so much fun and I had such a great time planning it and spending time with friends and family and playing outside! Can't wait for next year!