The Way He Is

ThewayheiscollageWith the new baby coming, I have been trying to soak up my time with Clark lately.  Just like it was hard for me to imagine becoming a mom, it’s hard for me to imagine being a mom of two!  Right now, Clark is my world, and having the blessing to be at home with him every day has given me the privilege to get to know every little thing about him.  He is growing up so fast (as it seems children do…) and I just want to remember some of my favorite things about him right now.

The way he says ‘shoes’.  He has started saying a handful of actual words and a couple of them just crack me up.  He says ‘shoes’ a lot.  When he does, for some reason his voice goes up at least 2 octaves and he drags out the ‘ew’ sound.  ‘SHeeeewwwwws’  It’s so cute and funny!  He’s also really into putting on both mine and Bob’s shoes lately and attempting to walk in them.  Clarkshoes

His independence/bravery.  I absolutely love spending time with Clark, but let’s just be honest…  There are plenty of times that I need  to be away from him to get housework done, make a quick phone call, or even take a shower!  With him, it’s easy because he totally doesn’t mind playing independently.  He’ll go in his room and browse through whatever books are on the floor, play with toys, or open all his drawers and rearrange stuff (not my favorite game).  It’s great to get some breathing room.  Now, I have to admit that I do have a love/hate relationship with this part of Clark.  It makes him really brave, so he takes risks that sometimes make me sweat.  I’m the type of parent that knows full well that he will get bumps and bruises and maybe even a broken bone or two some day.  I’m actually totally okay with it and think that it’s part of growing up to experience those things.  (Clark knows to “rub it out” when he gets a bump of some sort.)  But it would not surprise me if this kid is the first of his age group to have an ER visit due to injury.  Like for breaking an arm jumping off the couch or something.  Just sayin’….braveClark

How helpful he is.  I’ve mentioned before how much Clark loves the Swiffer.  He’s really helpful with other things though too.  Whenever Bob or I come home with groceries, he gets really excited.  He starts pulling things out of the bags and putting them in the fridge (he thinks everything goes in there).  We assist him with some things of course (eggs?), but for most of it we just point to where it goes and he puts it away.  He helps me unload the dishwasher too.  Unfortunately, he can’t reach where we keep most of our dishes, so he’ll hand me plates/bowls, etc. and I just put them in the cabinets.  Another favorite of his is wiping things.  I could give him a damp paper towel or rag and he would be entertained for at least 30 minutes wiping anything from the floor and furniture to his toys.  Of course, since he’s a toddler, he sometimes thinks he’s helping when he isn’t.  Like when he tries to fill Bruno’s food bowl himself and the kibble goes all over the floor.  But it’s so cute that he wants to help.Clarkhelper

His dance moves.  I think a video is in order.  The kid loves to dance and he puts on music every chance he gets.  Hopefully he has better moves than mom and dad as he gets older.

(Yes, that’s a bottle of Jack Daniels.  Don’t worry, he can’t reach it!)

His kisses.  My absolute most favorite thing about Clark is that he is so lovable.  He is very generous with his kisses!  Even if he’s meeting someone new, we can almost always get him to at least blow a kiss.  Since we converted his crib to a toddler bed a few weeks ago (more on that later), he’s able to get in and out of bed on his own.  So in the mornings, he crawls out of bed and into our room and wakes us up by giving us kisses.  There’s always an audible ‘muuaahh’ involved too.  I just love it!  Bruno is no stranger to a Clark kiss either.  It’s the first thing Clark does when we go downstairs in the mornings.  (Bruno sleeps on the couches in our living room.)ClarkBrunokissI don’t know how long these things will last, but I want to remember them.  Love him so much and can’t wait to see what kind of little boy he’ll be in a few months from now!

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Baby J – 17 weeks

17weeks

 

Nothin’ to say about the pregnancy this week.  Just the picture (which always seems to show me deceivingly smaller than I actually am – I am definitely showing!)

We have had the best time with my sister, Sally and niece, Jo staying with us this week!  My mom was here most of the time too!  They left this morning and we already miss them!!  I just loved watching these two play together!JoClark

 

Don’t know the next time we get to see them, but I’m SO EXCITED that Southwest is soon going to have direct flights to Memphis out of BWI.  I hope to take FULL advantage of that!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Baby J – 15 weeks

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We are in the second trimester!  Wow does time fly!  Can’t believe we’ve only got 25 more weeks till we become a family of 4 (+Bruno, of course!)!!

So here’s some random info about this pregnancy, etc. so far…

  • We will not be finding out the gender of the baby.  We didn’t with Clark and it was so much fun/exciting!  I’m not worried about not knowing what to buy for baby because we already have so much that we used for Clark (including plenty of gender neutral clothes for those first few weeks – hello plain white onsies!!).

 

  • This baby won’t be getting a room designated as his/her “nursery”.  As much as I would love to decorate another nursery like we did for Clark, we just don’t have the space or time/energy.  Our house has 3 real bedrooms upstairs, with an extra “room” in the basement (with no closet and an unfinished ceiling).  Right now, we are thinking that Clark will stay in his room and continue to sleep in his crib.  Then we will get another crib for Baby #2 and put it in what is now the guest room upstairs.  Hopefully, we can either keep the queen bed that’s in there now, or replace it with a full-sized or daybed, leaving enough sleeping options for when the grandparentsmothers visit!

 

  • There is a good chance that this baby will be delivered via C-section.  Clark was a week late and because he was so big (weighing in at 9 lbs. 6 oz.), I had to deliver him via C-section.  I labored for 14 hours (with an epidural…I wasn’t trying to be a hero), and he literally just didn’t fit.  I dilated to almost a 7 and then started to “go backwards”.  It was funny because he was SUCH a cone head for those first few days in the hospital.  My doctors suspect that I will probably just always have big a$$ babies, and they think they will all result in C-sections.  As of now, I’m not scheduling a C-section.  I love my doctors and we will figure things out together as baby grows (and grows and grows).

 

  • I have been feeling really great so far.  I didn’t have a whole lot of nausea with this pregnancy.  With Clark, I was horribly sick (especially weeks 7 – 9 while Bob and I were vacationing in Italy!).  On Saturday, we were at a wedding reception for some friends and I got really sick there, but Bob thinks I was dehydrated or something.  It was definitely a fluke because it was a one time thing and I’ve felt fine ever since.  My only “woe” would be that I’m tired.  Bob has given me a strict bedtime of 9:00pm, otherwise I fall asleep on the couch.

 

  • We have a Pocket Fetal Doppler and it’s AWESOME!!!  I had heard about home dopplers and told Bob how cool I thought it would be to have one.  He found one for a good price on Amazon (the link is the one we have) and surprised me with it when I was about 9 weeks along.  It took us a couple of weeks to find the heartbeat (I’d say I was about 11-12 weeks), but it’s so sweet to be able to listen to it now whenever I want.

I may not have a post with info every week, but I’d love to at least get a picture up.  I never did that when I was pregnant with Clark, and I wish I would have.

That’s it for now.  Any questions, ask them in the comments.  Have a good weekend everyone!!!

 

Clark’s Promotion

This kid…1-DSC03312Yes, YOU!!

You have been such a wonderful blessing for daddy and me!  So…we decided to promote you.  It took us longer than we expected because God has a different and much better plan than our’s, but we are so excited to announce that you are going to be a…

Wait!  Where’d you go?1-DSC03307

Oh! There you are!

Anyway, I was just saying…

You are going to be a…1-DSC03313Are you excited??1-DSC03300

We are too!  It is going to be so cool watching you grow into your new role.  We sent out this announcement to our parents and siblings a couple weeks ago.  They are all pretty stoked as well!BabyJ2

We are just overwhelmed with joy and thanksgiving over here at the Julius house!

**A post with more details to follow in the next week.

To Clark’s Daddy

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Bob is a wonderful dad!  He loves Clark so much and it melts my heart to see the way he looks at him.IMG_0175

 

It is adorable when he says, “Look how cute we are!”DSC00107 DSCN1144

 

He loves to make Clark laugh!  Even if it’s by doing something mommy hates! (Most recently, Clark loves when Bob holds him up and spins him to make him dizzy!)  DSC01957

 

I think most of all, I appreciate that Bob takes care of us.  He works hard and sacrifices for us.  He is teaching Clark how to really be a good man!  A man of God.  I’m so thankful for that.DSC03061 DSC01986 DSC02888

Clark is lucky to have such a great role model and I am so lucky to have such a wonderful partner in this whole parenting thing!  I think we are a pretty good team and we’re doing alright!noname

With the holiday coming up, I have been getting so frustrated that I haven’t come up with the perfect gift to express how much I love and appreciate all that Bob does as a father.

I think he’s hard to “shop” for when it comes to gifts.  Sure, there are things he needs and maybe a few out-of-my-price-range treats that he would love (uh…hello new golf clubs!).  But when it comes to something really special and meaningful, it’s hard to surprise him.  I did get him a gift that I know he’ll appreciate and in addition, I’ve decided to (try) to keep the nagging to a minimum this weekend and let him just relax and watch TV or do whatever he wants.

Bob, I just want you to know that Clark and I love you so much!  You are a great dad and I hope you enjoy your holiday!!

“A righteous man who walks in his integrity – How blessed are his sons after him.” Proverbs 20:7

Color Me Rad

 

This past weekend we were in Pittsburgh to see family, celebrate a graduation, attend a bridal shower, AND…

 

RUN A 5K!!!

Anyone who knows me is probably like, “WHAAAAT?!?!?”  I am not a runner.  And I go through what I call, “workout phases”.  I really WANT to be a person that enjoys some form of workout, but I have yet to find something I don’t just resent.

Anyway, Bob’s entire family from his mom’s side, lives in Pittsburgh so all the cousins (and their spouses, children, etc.) are very close.  A few months ago, one of the cousins decided to organize a team for the Color Me Rad 5K. I figured if I signed up (and paid for it!), that would motivate me to “train” for it, therefore having to exercise!

I did pretty well with keeping a running schedule, but was still pretty nervous come race day.  My goal was to not walk.

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Let me clarify that it’s not really a race because there’s no times or places or anything.  It’s really more of a fun run.  You can read about it on the website here.  Basically along the course, there are color stations that throw different colored powder or squirt colored corn syrup at you so that by the end of the race you are tie-dyed.  It was fun!

I did run the whole thing (with my 24 week pregnant sister-in-law) so I was pretty proud of myself.  But I used an app on my phone to sorta time myself and track the distance and found out it wasn’t a full 5K.  It was really more like 2.5 miles.  But hey!  I’m still patting myself on the back!!

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It was so fun to do it with other people, especially family!  So…Color Me Rad 2014???  Who’s with me?!

Visitors from Memphis

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My older sister, Sally had a wedding Memorial Day weekend in our hometown so she and my niece, Jo, came up from Memphis for the week.  She flew in the Monday before and stayed at my parents’ house, then came down to our place from Tuesday-Wednesday.  It was such a treat to see Clark and Jo play together!  My mom, little brother, Sam, and little sister, Ellen all came too!

Tuesday was really hot, so after lunch from Applebee’s, we put the kids in their swimsuits and made a “water table” for them.  (It was just a big beverage container that we filled with water from the hose and then brought out some tupperware and plastic cups.)1-watertable

Jo is so cute and sweet, but she still has a little bit of separation anxiety (especially since she doesn’t get to see us that often.)  At one point, my sister had to take a phone call so Ellen initiated what we call “the force hold”.  Jo pretends she doesn’t like it, but “Ellen” is the only name she knows from this side of the family.  (As in, she also thinks that’s MY name! :-))  1-photo 2 1-image_11After dinner, we took some family photos since we were all together.1-DSC03198 1-DSC03201

Obviously, the kids were pretty tired so we gave them a bath and put them to bed.

Wednesday, we took the kids into the city for lunch.1-image_12

Then we headed to a park near our house for a while to let the kids wear themselves out before my mom, brother, Sally, and Jo headed back to PA.1-image_13

That Sunday was when we all met in State College, PA for our 5 generation pictures.  (And my grandmother passed away about a week and a half later.  I’ll say again how incredibly PERFECT God’s timing is!!!)  Here are some pictures I didn’t share from that day trip.clarkjostatecoll

We just loved having Sally and Jo visit us and spend the night!  We can’t wait until July when we get to see them again on our family vacation!!1-photo-44

5 Generations

My older sister, Sally and niece, Jo visited last week from Memphis.  (I’ll write a separate post about their stay here at our house.)  While she was in town, we decided to take a trip to State College, PA with our parents and grandparents to take a 5 generation picture with my 106 year old great-grandmother.

106 and 8 months actually.  We call her Grandma Ruth.  She’s an incredible woman.  She is my dad’s dad’s mother.  She has lived in State College for pretty much her entire life.  She drove until the age of 100!  The greatest thing about her is her memory.  She doesn’t forget things!  It’s so fun to listen to her tell stories from when she first met Pappy Bruce (her husband) to when my brother was a toddler and basically told her that she was sitting in his chair.  She remembers all of her grandkids’ birthdays too.  That’s not even an exaggeration!!  She’s got 5 children, about 20 grandchildren, and…let’s just say we have a huge family!!  (I’m not going to try to count the great-grands and so on.)  We have been so incredibly blessed to have her around for so long with such a sharp mind.  You can read a little more about her in this article from her last birthday (which she celebrated AT a Penn State game!!)  1-DSC03223Me, Clark, Grandma Ruth, my dad – Don, and my grandpa – Jack (Ruth’s oldest of 5).

1-DSC03228With my sister – Sally and her daughter – Jo.

My dad’s aunt, June was there with her husband, John and we all visited for a while and watched the kiddos wrestle around.1-jo.hugAfter an hour or so, we knew Grandma was getting tired so we headed to my grandpa’s hunting camp just outside State College for some lunch.  It was Clark’s first time there and Jo hadn’t been there since she was about 3 months old.  1-jackscamp 1-clark.jo.woodGE DIGITAL CAMERA

I am so so thankful we did this!  I mean, not many families are able to have 5 generations all in the same room together.  I am so blessed to be part of this huge, amazing, loving family!  And I’m so lucky to actually know my GREAT-grandmother!  Love you Grandma Ruth! 1-May 26, 2013

 

2nd Annual Clark Jackson Invitational

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About a year ago, right after we had Clark, Bob’s brother Brian was coming to visit (and meet Clark for the first time) from Florida.  He went to Virginia Tech also, so we have a lot of mutual friends that live in the Baltimore/DC area.  As he and Bob were discussing his upcoming visit, they decided to get some guys together to play golf.

One thing led to another and the Clark Jackson Invitational was born!

Last year they played 2-man scramble with about 12 guys and while the men were on the course, the ladies came to hang out with me and Clark and get ready for the BBQ after!  Some pictures from last year:

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Original CJI golfers

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Bob’s cousin Paul and brother Brian with Clark

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Receiving the winning cash

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Winners! Jeff and Bob’s cousin, Dave

Because everyone had such a great time last year, we decided to do it again this year.  And we weren’t messin’ around!  I mean, Bob even got a trophy made with the winners of last year engraved on it!DSC03182But we’ll get to that…

This year there were 16 guys and they played 4-man scramble, with some other challenges like longest drive, etc.  We have a really good friend who works as a golf pro in Florida.  He wasn’t able to make it last year or this year, but he has officially been name the commissioner of the CJI and he made awesome score cards again this year using photos of Clark and all the guys playing.  nonameThe girlfriends/fiancés/wives came to our house to hang out with me.  We basically had a baby/dog play date with margaritas!  Seriously, there were 4 girls (and one who came a little later), 4 dogs, and 2 babies.  And we lost count of the margaritas :-)!

We could not have asked for a better day for the guys to golf.  It was just gorgeous!  When they got back, the winners were announced for each of the categories and the 4-some that took it all.DSC03172 DSC03169DSC03174 DSC03179

Oh the winners?  Yea, it just so happens that both my hubs and my little brother were on the winning team.  The 4-some from back left: Andrew Atman, Ben Grossman, Sam (my bro), and Bob.  We’ll get the winners’ names engraved on the trophy each year, but keep it at our house for safe-keeping.

Then we ate!!  DSC03166We had all kinds of BBQ foods, and one girl even brought Georgetown Cupcakes from DC!!!  Those were obviously a hit!

Once the BBQ started and the keg was tapped, I didn’t get a whole lot of pictures.  We had an awesome time hanging out in the beautiful weather, watching babies and dogs play together, and catching up with old friends.  Not to mention eating large quantities of food.

In the end we had 26 adults, 4 babies, and 9 dogs who made appearances at our house at some point on Saturday.  It was a blast!  Let’s just say we were exhausted on Sunday, but we can’t wait till next April for the 3rd Annual Clark Jackson Invitational!

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Easter

Two weeks late, but finally…the Easter post!

We spent Easter in Pittsburgh with Bob’s family.  It was a really special weekend since our niece was baptized AND Bob’s sister shared some exciting news!!

However, it was an exhausting couple of days!!  We stayed with Bob’s sister, Leslie and her husband, Kev and because of traffic issues on Friday night, we didn’t get in until a little after midnight.  Clark slept the whole drive and must have thought it was morning when we finally got there because he refused to go back to sleep until we brought him in to bed with us!  Not fun!

Saturday we woke up pretty early to take care of Bruno and then went to Bob’s parents’ house for breakfast with a bunch of the family.  Which also included our sister-in-law’s family (her sister and brother-in-law and their 2 kids).  Bob got to spend most of the rest of Saturday at a Penguins hockey game while I was on baby duty with a kid too exhausted to take a nap!!  At least I was in good company!

Saturday night, Bob and I got some adult time with some high school friends of his for a couple hours while grandma and grandpa put Clark to bed on the dining room floor.  (not joking, he passed out on a blanket and was more than comfortable there until we brought him back to Leslie and Kev’s house)

Sunday came with so much to celebrate!!

The Julius family has an easter egg hunt tradition.  This was the first year that I’ve experienced it AT the Julius house.  Here’s how it goes:

  • Each kid gets assigned a color egg to look for.  You only collect your color! 
  • Once all the eggs are collected, we open the eggs to find numbers inside.
  • The numbers coincide with our gifts.  For example, if your egg has number 3 inside, you open the gift marked #3!
  • There’s also special multi-colored eggs that have candy or some other kind of treat inside.  Those eggs are anyone’s game!

It’s really a TON of fun!!  Plus, I was lucky to participate after an unfortunate incident of accidentally posting pictures on Facebook of my mother-in-law that she had not pre-approved.  :-/

After the hunt, we all had breakfast, took some pictures and got ready to head to church.  (Bob, Clark, and I headed back to Les and Kev’s to let Bruno out first and Clark took that opportunity to catch some ZZZ’s)DSC03110After the church service, our niece, Taylor Rose, was baptized.  I can’t think of a more perfect day to perform this sacrament than the day we celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation!!  And it was so sweet to have so many family members there to witness it.

We headed back to Leslie and Kev’s to pack our things and pick up Bruno, then went to Bob’s parents’ house again for a huge Easter lunch with most of Bob’s extended family.

When the aunts/uncles/cousins/etc. had left, I insisted we get a Julius family picture.  This was the first time all of us were together since Taylor and Clark were born.  There were a few complaints, but I think everyone is glad we did it!  Right?!?

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Back: Kevin, Leslie, Earl, Mary, Brian, Jason, Taylor
Front: Bob (with Clark), Kara, Lauren

 

We drove home that evening with full bellies, full hearts and REALLY tired eyes!!  It was a wonderful weekend!

…And who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.  Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.  Romans 1:4-5 (NIV)

1-Apr 3, 2013