height & weight
You don’t have your one year appointment until Nov. 5, so we will find that out then.
Just recently you have filled your little tummy out. Probably because you’re an awesome real food eater.
diapers & clothes
Mostly right around 12 months for clothes.
the past months firsts
Oh, baby, what haven’t you done lately!? In the past two months, you have been teething hard, with just the last two weeks of some relief. They all seemed to come relatively at once. Now you have four on top and four on bottom. Your top middle two are such big chompers, I am still not used to seeing them when you smile. But, oh, do they make your sweet smile that much more sweet.
You took two small, quick steps on October 8. You’re pushing you little airplane toy all around and can walk behind anything, but just aren’t too eager to walk just yet. Jack likes to pull the kitchen chair around the floor with you pushing behind it. He says, “Baby walk!”
I swear you are saying a few words! I’m not crazy, either. Grandma Shelly heard them too. So far you can say mama and dada on command. You also have said juice, kitty and cheese. I swear. You’re a tiny genius.
I left you for a whole 26 hours at the beginning of September when your daddy and I went to Denver. You stayed with grandma Judy and did just fine without me :) I know you could probably be weaned now, but I’m not quite ready. Not just yet.
Your brother. Man, is he the funniest guy to you.
Mama. Lately you’ve become a little mama’s boy. I’m not complaining about these shy neck snuggles when someone talks to you. I know this little season won’t last long, so for now I’ll hold you any time you’re needing me, babe.
You’re finally old enough to really, really love on your daddy. The past month or so you started following him around the house and being excited with your brother when dad comes home. You get in on the man wrestling in the house and crawl all over dad’s long legs. Dad loves it.
You also like food (any kind). And being outside. If Jack is out with you and you have a shovel or a truck, you boys are happy for quite a while. Until Jack dumps a shovel load of dirt on your head. Although, last night I watched him dump several piles of dirt on you as you boys both laughed and laughed.
You love baths and trucks and balloons. Daddy’s cup/straws. Playing with my hair dryer, opening and closing drawers. Climbing off and on the couch a million times in a row. Dancing! You even sing :)
Sleeping. By yourself. You’ve been easy to put down for a nap or bedtime your whole life. You may fuss me a few seconds, but then you’re out. At the farm this weekend I fell asleep with you in the middle of the night and you weren’t having it, thrashing and tossing around. I woke up enough to put you in your bed and you were out in a second. I would love to be able to take a nap snuggling my baby, but then again, we don’t get the opportunity to do so often. So for now I will praise you for your wonderful independent sleeping (thank you, thank you!) and linger a little longer when you fall asleep on me nursing.
you don’t like
This whole teething business. Avocado. Strangers, at the moment. Usually you are happy-go-lucky with anyone. Being hungry. Not much else to add here. You’re a content little kiddo.
Sweet baby James,
Happy first birthday, baby!!!
I’m a bit tearing writing this morning, much to my surprise. I am sitting on the couch at 6 a.m., surrounded by 17 balloons and a big farm John Deere tractor wrapped up, just waiting for you to wake up.
Sweet babe, I will say it again: you are such a joy. Minus all of this teething business, you are a happy, smiley, loving little guy.
This past year has truly been the best of my life. Sure, you boys drive mama C R A Z Y some days. That includes your dad :) But this mama (as well as simultaneously wife) thing has finally smoothed itself seamlessly into my being and is now simply who I am. And last night after your bath you escaped my attempts at diapering you and you crawled around the house in all your naked baby glory while Jack laughed and yelled, “Baby butt!” and I pinched your sweet, tiny, soft baby bootie and tickled your “chicken gizzard” and you were being the silliest little monster with your messy hair and toothy grin and it was the happiest 20 minutes I have ever had!
It is so neat to see the difference in innate personalities in two small boys raised in the same house. You are calm. You don’t get riled up easily and you take things as they come. Everyone says you look just like me, and I love it.
You have the best face. I’m serious. Your lips puff out when you fall asleep in the car and form into the craziest smile when you’re being silly. You roll your eyes when we play by looking up and to the corner when we play. You tilt your head down and form your lips into a tiny “o” and pear up at someone who makes you shy. You scrunch your nose up when you smile really big.
I feel so much incredible guilt that these monthly updates were not monthly and so many months passed in between them. I am sorry. It is not because you are not important in my eyes. It is just that my time has been spent in more useful ways lately. (And because I’m a bit lazy :( I do apologize.
But here we are, babe. One whole year old and you’re the cutest one year old in this house :) And I think I hear you waking up now. Can’t wait to see how excited you are at all the balloons!
I love you so, so much!
Two years ago right now I was waiting to hear if we should go home or be admitted into the hospital to have you. I had wild ideas of bonding and feeding and taking you home to the beautiful room I made for you and my life not being interrupted too terribly much from what it was.
But, baby, you’re a game changer.
You have been my biggest challenge. And my fondest challenge. And I’ve never worked so hard and so earnestly and with so much determination (and the least complaint) as I have being your mama.
At two, you are 32-33 pounds of cheeks and belly. Your belly, man. It’s quite the site. When you run it is always two feet ahead of you :) You’ve got these wide, usually sticky and dirty, little hands and your legs are still these chubby little boy legs. The dimples your daddy gave you are showing up more and more and when you are feeling really feisty, your nose crinkles all up into your forehead with this mischievous smile.
You can run alarmingly fast for how short your legs are right now. And I chase you around the island for 80% of diaper changes. You love Mickey Mouse Club House and Mimi and Bebe, your stuffed Mickey Mouse and little beaver grandma Shelly gave you. You love trucks most of all and love to crash them together and zoom them around the room with dad. Outside, you push your trike all around because your feet don’t reach the petals (and you don’t quite understand peddling.)
You are feisty. With determination and quite the strong will. You say “no” about 10 times more than I’d care to hear and you’re possessive of your toys from your brother (but pretty good with sharing with other kids.) You get spankings for blatantly ignoring my commands and for tipping your brother over. Both of which you know are not ok.
All of your molars are finally in, so you have been a lot more cheery. For a few weeks you were hell on wheels. And I thought I was going to eat you. Thankfully you snapped out of that.
You say “mama, dada, baby” about 50 times a day and it seems like you really have a sense of family.
I could go on and on about your “stats” right now. About how you are this advanced here and lacking there and every other comparison. But now I just want to take time to remember who you are to me right now.
When I had you, I couldn’t imagine the impact you would have on me. As your parent, your dad and I are responsible for you. We are responsible for who you become and your kindness towards others and your work ethic and your love and fear of God. You hear all the time the impact parents leave on children. But no one talks about the footprint children have on their parents.
In two short years, you have humbled me. I am nothing by myself. I control very little apart from my own self. Things do not go the way I plan them. And all of that is perfectly ok.
You have taught me grace. Grace for myself and grace for those around me. And a deep, deep appreciation for the grace God gives me daily. I will not get it right the first time, most of the time. And I snap quicker than I should. And I have been known to discipline out of anger. But grace – sweet, unearned grace – gives me a second chance to make things right.
Because of you, I have calloused knees and sit on the floor more than I sit on any chair in the house. I appreciate a good night’s sleep. I am ok with messy counters and dirty floors.
Because of you, I love your daddy even more.
Because of you, I see God’s wonderful and perfect plan being laid out. I know that this, right here in this place, with you and your dad and your brother, is where I am meant to be and is who I am meant to be. I have never been more sure of anything.
Two years ago you made me a mother. You will always and forever be my baby boy who flipped and turned and twirled my world into something I never ever knew it could be. And I will always be in debt to you for the pure love and adoration you shine on me that I do not deserve.
You are the reason I get up in the mornings.
You wake me up at 6:30.
But you are the reason I can wake up cheerful and with purpose.
You and your brother and your dad are my joy. And I am glad to serve you. And grow and change and learn with you all.
I love you so much, little boy. The happiest of second birthdays to you.
height & weight
26.5″ and 19 pounds. Long and (pretty) lean. Just perfect.
diapers & clothes
Size three. Will be for a while. And anywhere from 6 to 12 months in clothes. You have a skinny waist. But I just bought a bundle of white onesie tanks that I’m assuming you’ll live in this summer. And these red striped swimming briefs that are going to be game stoppers. Trying them out Friday at Jack’s birthday :)
these month’s firsts
A lot has happened in these two months! Starting with finding your toes and loving them. Then talking and squealing (like a little girl, frankly :) ). You rolled over onto your stomach for the first time at Sheila’s and her, Linds, Jennifer and I were watching and we were just rooting you on while you squeezed and tried and then finally flipped and we all cheered for you! And that scared the bejesus out of you and you just started to bawl, haha! Quite the spectacle. Just a few days ago you started to sit up all by yourself and it’s been so wonderful. You sit for long periods of time and play by yourself and with your brother. This is such a great age. And we cut your long mohawk-like hair for the first time! Grandma Shelly thought it was getting straggly, so we snipped the way ends off.
Your mama. Oh, do you love your mama. But your brother is by far you favorite person. And my heart aches at the sight of you boys playing. You love trucks, from an early age you are such a boy. You like other kids and crinkle books and big water bottles. And you seemed to enjoy avocado as your first food, but don’t care for oatmeal. That’s all the food you’ve had so far. Joyce did let you suck on a pickle and you didn’t seem to mind that either.
you don’t like
Having a stuffy nose. Who does? Being on the bottom of a blanket mountain, thanks to your brother. This has happened multiple times. Other than that, you’re a pretty chill baby. Easy going. I hope you continue to be.
You have little dry patches of skin in various spots. Knees, arm, back, stomach. The doctor says it’s baby eczema. Up until the avocado and oatmeal, you have been solely breast fead. And I’m oh so proud that you are big and chunky and that I am nourishing you adequately. It is my joy. And I’m already sad to think that this season of our lives together will end.
My sweet baby Jammy,
I cannot tell you enough how much of a pure joy you are. You have a quiet spirit. And I can already tell that I will be able to relate to you more than your brother throughout our lives. You have this wispy wild hair that reminds me of my own dads. Oh would your grandpa love you and your brother. To the absolute end of the earth. What I wouldn’t give…
You have these dimples and cheeks and gummy smile. And those eyes. Perfectly found and the deepest blue.
Being your mom (and your brothers) is just the pride of my life. I cannot believe I was chosen for this.
I love you so, so ever much, sweaty.
height & weight
26 inches and 16 pounds 12 ounces
diapers & clothes
We just moved you up to size three diapers. It seems so strange to me because Jack is in fours. We are running out of clothes here for you. In jammies and anything that is a one piece, you’re wearing six month things. But you’re relatively thin (compared to your brother at this age) so three month pants still fit well. I need to bring the 6-12 month boxes here from Washburn.
these month’s firsts
You started rolling from your stomach to your back very early in your third month. And you roll onto your side from your back but haven’t quite made it all the way to your tummy. You have started to giggle and laugh and you always keep your eye on me whenever someone else holds you. Makes me feel like the best mama in the world.
Your hands have started to cooperate with your little mind and you’re enjoying rattles and clothe books. You like to sit up on the couch while your brother rolls his trucks over you legs and shakes toys in your face. You reserve a certain smile and most of your stares for Jack and it’s a strange notion knowing that you two will influence each other in such dramatic ways.
Your brother. And your mama. Daddy get smiles but since you only see him for about an hour a day you’re a little reserved around his deep voice. You love tickles and smooches.
you don’t like
When you can’t get your rattle all the way into your mouth. You pitch a fit. You also aren’t a fan of your car seat yet, but still fall asleep quickly one we are in the car for a while. Getting your shots. The initial shots aren’t the problem – this time the day after was horrendous for you, and me. You cried every waking moment :( You also don’t like sleep, apparently. You have been getting up every two hours at night and it is leaving me tired at 6 a.m. when brother gets up, even when I go to bed at 9 p.m. I can’t seem to let you cry it out for very long. Dang you and your sweet adorable face.
My sweet Jams,
You are a joy. Pure, simple joy. You are as sweet as can be and make my days brighter each time I walk into your room once you’ve started stirring and find the brightest smile and hear the inhale of your giggle once you spot me.
You are so incredibly happy. It is only when your tummy hurts or you are sleepy and hungry that you cry. I think this is one of my favorite ages. You are not old enough to manipulate and hold this wonderful innocence that makes me want to move mountains for you.
My favorite times are when we sit down and nurse. It has allowed me to take time to rest and focus and slow down. You cozy in and rest your tiny hand on my chest and knead every so softly. The fact that my body has made and, now, nourished you into this child with wonderful soft chub is unfathomable to my mind. God, thank You.
You are bashful. When you’re done nursing, you’ll peer up and me and then smile as you turn your head into my arm pit and then look at me again with one eye. Your curly eye lashes and crazy hair… you’re wonderful.
Maybe it is because you are my second baby, but I have just been able to enjoy you. Jack was a hard transition for me, from being responsible for myself to being a mom. And maybe I have been able to lose myself more and give more of me to you boys this time around. I am just completely in awe of my affection for both of you. People ooh and aww over you when we go out and I just think, “Yep, I know how stinking cute they are. I get to stare at them all day long.”
I’m really great at planning. And thinking wonderful things up in my head and going over them time and time again.
So the thought of writing a “plan” for my new year is exciting. Really exciting. As can be seen from my actually taking the time to sit down and think through the writing process to get this down.
New anything sends adrenaline through my veins. Staying in one place, physically and seasons of life, tires me. I itch for a change often. I am always reading and searching for new ideas to try, new ways of doing the same old thing. Bigger, better. Older, wiser ways.
So I have a few ideas for this brand spankin’ new year ahead of my family and I:
As I’ve said a million times over. I want to simplify. My mind, my thinking, my house. My things. Our stuff.
When we got married (a short two years and 9 months ago) we didn’t have too many things. Then we bought a house. And I had whole house to fill. And Scott had a garage beckoning to him. And then we had a baby. And another baby. And those guys keep on grown’ and accumulating and BAM! we have a house full of stuff that we don’t really need.
So I want to cut back. On everything. There’s already a big ol’ box of toys on the porch ready for the Salvation Army.
Less TV. More music.
We had about three channels when I was growing up. Back in the day. When we walked to school uphill both ways, ya know. But I’m so glad because I learned to love to read and love to hear the words in a song and think. TV is so mind numbing, which is welcoming sometimes (maybe all too often), but it’s an unnecessary evil no matter how much I want to think it isn’t. I love TV. I don’t want my boys to.
Love on my husband.
Because he’s the best guy I know and my partner through all of this. Because it’s easy to put him on the back burner when I have just sat down from filling the 17 millionth water bottle of the day. But we have a duty and responsibility to our babies for only so many years until they are gone and living their own life. Scott and I are in this for many, many years after.
But most of all, I want to
that it’s in the million little things.
Not the big dramatic resolution to get my body back or eat better or spend more time listening than talking.
The thousand times a day that Jack can really push my buttons.
When I’m in James’ room putting him to bed for the fifth time.
When Scott asks for food 10 minutes after the dishes are done and I’ve sat down.
Read or turn on the TV.
Put the laundry away or put it in the back of my mind.
Yell or calmly relax and explain.
“In these unremarkable moments, He is working to rescue you from you and transform you into His likeness.
By sovereign grace,
He places you in daily,
that are designed to take you beyond your character,
so that you will seek the help and hope that can only be found in Him.
In a lifelong process of change, He is undoing you and rebuilding you again.”
And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the sun. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.”
Happy new year, all. May you think on all your blessings and thank Him. May you start over fresh or continue on your path. Ring it in with cheer.
James Michael Kingston
December 15, 2013
weight & height:
You are a whopping 13 pounds 4 ounces and 24 inches long. You’re still my little, tiny man. Mama is in no hurry for you to grow up, sweety, as no mamas are. You and your brother are enough to make my heart overflow, but if you two are the only babies I will ever have (you will be enough), I need to constantly remind myself to slow down and live. I know that these are the days I longed for through high school and college, and I will long for them again when our house is empty and you boys have grown. You give me a sense of completeness, James. I am not wanting.
diapers & clothes
Size 1 Pampers. But with you, lucky man, we are attempting clothe. At least when we are at home. I like the idea and the comfort for you. Your brother drinks too much water and pees WAY too much (an no longer has “baby poop,” gross) for him to be in cloth. I ordered a few different kinds, so you will be in them regularly starting this week. We’ll see how it all goes.
this month’s firsts:
You are smiling!! This is the very best thing in the entire world. You have a handsome smirk and a great dimple. You’re great at tummy time and are holding your head wonderfully. You’re pushing up with your legs like a pro and become very excited when doing so. Jack is very good to you, but this month you two have had a few scuffles (unintentionally). Jack stepped on your foot with his boot and kicked you (while he himself toppled off the couch.) You cried both times quite loudly and your brother felt so bad that he began wailing too.
You love attention and smile at anyone who catches your eye. You like being propped up, sitting on the couch like a big boy but spit up a lot while doing so.
You’re a good sleeper for the most part. We get up 2 times a night and you eat and go right back to sleep (in your rock n’ play in your room). You don’t sleep as much during the day but still fall asleep almost every time I put you in the car. Which was good on our road trip this last month to get the vehicle fixed. We spent time with aunt Lindsay and uncle Brandon as well as our other Stroh family, Metzs, grandma Shelly and even Jackie.
Your doctor said you were in perfect health. You’re in the 75 percentile for weight and height and 50% for your head. Almost ever since your umbilical cord fell off, your belly button looked like an “outie,” only a little more out than an outie should be. Apparently your have a slight umbilical hernia, which the doctor assured me doesn’t hurt or harm you. You just have a slightly funny belly button that sticks out about half an inch. Your aunt loves to poke at it :) But it can stay like that anywhere from a year to 6 years. If it doesn’t go back to normal, we can get you a belly button tuck to make it look “normal.” We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
I think you’re just perfect, Jammer. I love your full head of hair and your wonderfully curly eye lashes and almond-shaped eyes. And I love that God chose me to be forever your mama.
I am absolutely loving:
I want to remember some of these small things in 10 years. And in 20 years. This holiday season will never be the same as it is this year with two little boys. I cannot even write how much I love it.
James Michael Kingston
November 15, 2013
Yesterday you, my little man, were one whole month old.
Your birth seems so long ago and it’s hard to think of my days without you now. I cannot tell you how much you boys and your dad light up my life. I am in my bliss. I have never loved a season of life as much as I do right now. I do not deserve any of you and I will forever praise God for each and every day that I get to be with you guys.
So, it has been a month. A whole month that seems like it has been a whole year or decade. In a great and wonderful way. You are this great baby. If you are not sleeping, you’re in my arms or laying on the floor acting as the road for Jack’s trucks and cars.
You are roughly 10 pounds. You were 8 lbs 4 ounces when you were born and 7 lbs 8 ounces when we took you home. At your two week checkup you had almost gained your birthweight and were 8 lbs 2.5 ounces. At your three week appointment you were 9 lbs 9 ounces.
Diapers and clothes:
I have graduated you onto size one diapers. Newborns fit a tad snug and ones are a bit big. I have also switched most of your clothes to 0-3 months. You swim in some of them, but you stretch newborns to the max. I have started buying a few Christmas pieces for you boys and I very much enjoy it :) You are both going to have matching ugly sweaters and you’re going to look adorable.
This month’s firsts:
Well, everything obviously. But you took a bottle of breast milk while your dad and I were out deer hunting. Aunty Lindsay gave it to you and said you took it easily. Yesterday I gave in and gave you two ounces of formula because you seemed to be starving after you had sucked me dry. That won’t be happening often.
Your first outing was to Albertsons for groceries with your dad, brother and I. It was a tad hectic. I then took both of you boys to Walmart by myself and it went so smoothly! I was very proud of myself. You sleep the whole time.
Your first trip was to Gackle to the farm on deer opening weekend.
You puked A LOT straight down my shirt tonight. Good aim, kiddo.
This past week you have been holding your head really well.
You got your first battle wound in the battle of the brothers – Jack whipped a truck straight at your head. You only cried for a short time and brother bear got a time out and his truck taken away.
You don’t sleep very well at night, but it doesn’t bother me. You’re up every 2-3 hours, eat a little and fall right back asleep. You and I have been sleeping in your room in the recliner, it’s just easier. Most of the night you sleep on me because I fall asleep before you’re done eating. I really enjoy our nights, even though there isn’t as much sleep as I would like. I know this part won’t last very long.
Your dad gave you your nickname when you were about two weeks old. We now call you “Jammer” more than your actual name. I call you “Rammer Jam” a lot, along with various other dorky rhyming names.
It’s been a really great month.
It’s been three weeks of this new normal. Three weeks of a familiar chaos that has been less chaotic than anticipated.
Brutally honest, I was a bit scared. I’ve said it a million times, but bringing Jack home was a difficult transition for me. And I half expected this time around to be the same.
But with an extremely thankful heart, we have all welcomed this newness in a beautiful stride.
James Michael joined our family in an early morning on Oct. 15. He came via c-section with nice loud screams flowing from his lungs. Few things in my life have been more emotional than hearing the healthy cries of my babies the second they joined our world and seeing the look on my husband’s face as he squeezes my hand.
Surgery was pretty routine. The spinal shot was the worst part, with me vomiting in my hair while strapped to the surgical table in close second (from the drugs). I’ll write his birth story the next time I get a quiet moment.
From the beginning he was mine. I was already a mother. Jack had trained me in. I had been preparing my heart as well as I could. Motherhood was oozing out of me this time around and I was able to welcome James into my heart readily.
He was a pro at nursing from the get go. I was the amateur. We are still figuring out how to not be awkward while nursing, but I know it will come in time.
Jack was pretty fascinated with his little brother from the start. He is always very concerned when James cries and wants to hold him frequently. Jack tickles the baby’s little toes and shows me his hair and eyes and nose and fingers. Since bringing James home, he has been the source of most of Jack’s kisses and hugs. Mom and dad are old news.
Jack did seem to be mad at me while I was in the hospital. He wasn’t allowed on my bed or really near me at all because he’s a rambunctious toddler and I was pretty fragile at that point. He clung to my mom and to Scott. Normally that would have heart my little mother heart but through all of this God has given me a calm and relaxed state of mind. I knew he would get over it eventually. He had to. I’m his mama and thats that.
It took a few days for Jack to understand that I wasn’t going to carry him whenever he wanted anymore. He now had to hold my hand if he wanted me to go to the kitchen with him. He had to walk up the stairs by himself. But while growing independent in a quick fashion, he clung to me the second I wasn’t holding or nursing James. He has become much more cuddly during nap time and bed time. Overall, the change for Jack wasn’t drastic. But nonetheless, he has done so incredibly well. He is helpful and throws the diapers in the garbage for me. He pushes his chair in at the table, takes his cups into the kitchen when he’s done, brings James his nook. I’m just so proud of him.
Scott has really stepped up helping me. I think he expected me to be a little more bat crazy than I am :) He remembers last time, too. Jack is at a really fun stage for Scott right now. They can interact and play more. In the past month, Scott has said, “I love you, son” hundreds of times. I am thankful for him and his willingness to humble himself as a big strong man to tell this little boy that he is loved. That is going to leave Jack with unremovable impression for his whole life that will trickle down onto every person he loves in the future.
As for me, I’m in my bliss. I’ve never been more comfortable with my role as a wife or as a mother than I am right now. I will forever learn and shift in these roles and I still only know about 10% of what I’m doing raising babies, but I’m perfectly ok where I am.
I cannot fully express my thankfulness for my demeanor. For the calmness I feel, for the peace of mind I have. For the ease of adjusting to middle of the night feedings and early mornings. This is not of me. If I were doing this on my own, I’d be a wreck. I praise God for his steadfast hand on me. I feel it every day. I am surprised many times a day at how well our home life is going. And I am in no way bragging. Or saying this to make anyone feel bad. I am simply giving thanks where thanks is due. Thank You, Jesus. “But He gives more grace.” James 4:6
So this is just the tip of what has been going on with us. I have 3 weeks of James to write about as well as Jack’s 18 month update. Yes, I’m behind. But I’ll get there. I’m only writing now because James and I have stolen away while grandma Judy give all her attention to Jack at home :)
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