Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wrapping Up 2010

As I'm sure was the case in many households across the US this year, Toy Story dominated the Heebner family Christmas. As you can see by the expression on Jack's face, he is completely mesmerized by Woody. He's also got a major man crush on Buzz Lightyear... and now Anna's gotten in on the action with a Jessie doll. We even ended our Christmas Day by curling up on the couch and watching Toy Story 3 as a family. In other news, Jack got lots of toys he can throw, punch, smash, and otherwise destroy which is pretty much his main pass time these days. It's hard to believe that this was Jack's FIRST Christmas. This time last year I was pulling just about every trick in the book to try to deliver him before the new year... to no avail. He'll turn one on January 4th. I still can't believe a whole year has gone by. I had money on him walking by Christmas, but he shows absolutely no interest in the pedestrian arts. He's quite content with his speed crawling. He has redeemed himself, however, by mastering three words: Anna, Mama, and Dada (in that order). I think this is sort of backwards for a boy (don't they usually walk early and talk late?), but I'm secretly thankful because I imagine the number of destructive acts per day will increase exponentially once he's up on two legs. Meanwhile, Anna continues to be her thoughtful girl self, regularly taking it into her own hands to care for Jack (wiping his nose, reinserting pacifiers) and to teach him the ways of the world ("Jack, this is called an efelent on your sheets." (read: elephant). Anna was super busy at preschool this year, making enough Christmas parephenalia to overflow two underbed storage containers... but my favorite project was the wood block Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus pictured above. Anna quickly replaced the petite plastic Mary, Joseph and Jesus that came as part of our nativity set with these clunkers and really, who was I to argue? So anyways, I think that's about enough blabbing. I'll end with a couple pictures from the snow day yesterday. It took us 20 minutes to get all bundled up and then poor little chapped Jack only lasted seven minutes in the whipping wind. The upside is that they both napped for four hours, so I guess it paid off.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jack Around The House

Jack has two new favorite pastimes. The first is opening up my (pathetically stocked) make up drawer and tossing all of the contents on the floor or into the sink above. Had Anna pulled something like this back in the day, I would have been all over her, but frankly, any time Jack's not crying, I pretty much let him do whatever he wants. Much to Jack's chagrin, Anna often gets in on the action and tries to "make up him" while he's playing, as pictured.

Jack's second new activity is hiding in his outhouse. This cardboard beauty was initially intended for Anna, but Jack has now claimed it at his own. Sometimes he's just in and out for a quick game of smash-the-house/peek-a-boo, but he also uses it to take care of his serious business which has led Josh's dad to correctly assert that we now have a 3.5 bath house. We'll be cutting the crescent moon in the front door shortly.

Monday, December 6, 2010

11 Months (Side by Side)

Pathetically, we still have at least six or seven moving boxes that we haven't unpacked. It's been almost a full year since we started the moving process... and yet. Happily, however, I finally dug out the old hard drive that has all of our pre-2010 photos on it, so I could FINALLY put photos of Anna & Jack side by side. Here they are at 11 months. I think they could almost pass for twins if it weren't for Anna's (still) wildly oversized noggin.

And now for a video of Jack's latest "go crazy" move:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happy Halloween Jack!

As usual, Halloween was a sugar-fueled whirlwind. This video (especially the end) pretty much sums it up.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Down On The Farm

This past weekend, we finally got a chance to visit my family in Delaware. Living in Rhode Island for the past four years made it more or less impossible to get down to the farm for any stretch of time, but now that we're just two hours north, we're thinking of making it a monthly event. Since Sugar Hill Farm holds a special place in my heart, I was really looking forward to sharing it with Anna and it did not dissapoint. Anna was completely in love with the whole deal. The house in the middle of the woods. The snacks. All the animals. The pond. The dirt. The Trail Gator. And most of all, getting to ride Snickers the donkey. As it turns out, I think Josh is just about ready to pack his bags and move down to the farm too. His list of loves is a bit different. Guns. A knife show. Multiple fried chicken-laden events. Snickers the donkey. So, if you see a sale sign in our front yard, you'll know what happened.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September Update

The two big headlines this month were "Anna Starts Pre-School" and "Jack is a Boy". We'll start with Anna. Back at the beginning of the month -- September 14th to be exact -- I dropped Anna off for her first day of pre-school at Happy Times. I've never been more thankful about having a child who is completely fearless about venturing off into the world without me. Her school uses a drop-off and pick-up car line, so I didn't even get out of the car. Anna just hopped on down, grabbed her teacher's hand, and said goodbye to me without even looking back. As I pulled away, I caught one last glance of my sweet girl and her enormously oversized Dora backpack heading into the building. For a moment, I got weepy, and then, very quickly, my overarching feeling of happiness (for her and for me) took over. Anna loves being around lots of people and doing organized activities, so I knew she would love pre-school. And she does. She goes two days a week and is now also going to AWANA at a local church on Sunday nights with her friend Emma and she loves that to. Her ability to memorize Bible verses (or at least the gist of verses) for AWANA completely amazes me. As for Jack, well, he's definitely a boy. Everyone told me how different boys and girls are, but I don't think I was fully prepared for the wild abandon with which my newly mobile baby boy approaches the world. Just last week I found him climbing Anna's bookcase which made me think back to those furniture anchors I saw once upon a time in Babies R Us. These seemed silly at the (pre-baby-boy) time. Now I get it. I think even Josh is a little surprised at how recklessly Jack launches his whole body toward whatever goal he has in mind. He's also fabulous at just generally getting into things he shouldn't. I'm still trying to figure out how to manage Jack and a world of windpipe sized objects.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sweet Jack On The Move

I love Jack's initial determination in this video... and then ultimately how easily distracted he is by a new toy. He just started crawling two weeks ago, but now he's all over the place. My sweet boy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Finally (sort of) Settled In

It's been so long since the last time I blogged and so much has happened since then that I hardly know where to begin. For starters, we're finally semi-officially moved into our new house. Unfortunately thanks to a handful of unexpected, um, glitches, it will probably be a couple months before we feel fully settled. The good news is that at least Anna's room is done. After all the upheaval, Josh and I wanted to make sure that her room was all girly and good to go before we got into the house. Mission accomplished. She loves her room. She especially loves her big new closet because she can see all of her clothes at once and put together fancy ensembles and demonstrated below. Mary Kate and Ashely Olsen have nothing on Anna when it comes to creating those wildly disheveled yet somehow chic looks. She is a true fashionista which must be the result of my eBay escapades because it certainly did not come from me directly. (And doubly certainly did not come from her father whose idea of great fashion is his "Many Faces of Chuck Norris" t-shirt that he paid a dollar for at a thrift store.) What's not so great is just about everything else that's going on with the house. There are about four hundred years of weeds and overgrown trees to deal with, a broken dishwasher, a broken dryer, and a leak in the downstairs bathroom ceiling. All of these, though, pale in comparison to the wonderful buckling wall that we discovered shortly after settling on the house. Josh eneded up having to rip the whole back of the house -- roof included -- apart and basically rebuild it. Right now that skeleton of a room is just standing there staring at us and has forced us (and the oversized furniture we bought for the room) into our tiny living room. It feels constantly cramped and chaotic and frankly, if I step on a plastic farm animal one more time I think I'm gonna lose my mind. I'm sincerely hoping we're able to finish the family room off soon, soon, soon. At least we know (or hope) that this is our forever house, so all the work and money is a good investment. And lest I give the impression that everything is just awful right now, let me state for the record that I love my hard working husband and my two crazy kids more than ever. Jack is still a ridiculous handful -- shunning sleep almost as much as ever -- but he's adorable and sweet. It also doesn't hurt that now we have about a billion family members and friends who are nearby and willing to help me whenever I need it. So, even though the move has been stressful, it is all working out for the best.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Big Guy

All of the sudden, Jack has changed from a blobby newborn into a spunky little baby. It feels like he learned to sit up overnight and now he's a total wild man in his walker. He's grabbing for everything in site, laughing up a storm, and has even mastered the uber tricky pointer finger - thumb pick up technique... which means he can officially be amused with a small pile of Gerber puffs on his high chair tray for at least eight minutes... which, in turn, means I can feed myself once in a while (yeah food). At 28" and almost 18 lbs, he has also officially outgrown his infant car seat. Yikes. While all this super fast growing up makes me a little bit sad, I'm mostly just happy to see him finally enjoying his world... sleeping more... spitting up less... and giving me enough toothless grins and giggles to make up for the fact that he still seems bent on starting his day at 5:15 every morning.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Nothing New Under The Son

Some twenty-odd years ago, I participated in my last week of Daily Vacation Bible School (DVBS). The Chelten Baptist Church DVBS theme that year? Son Seeker Safari. Frighteningly enough, I still remember a good portion of the theme song and accompanying hand motions. (Amazing what your brain hangs on to). This past week, Anna participated in her first DVBS program and I found that there isn't much new under the sun (or Son if you're going with the single most overused DVBS play-on-words known to man). The theme for her DVBS program was "Kingdom of the Son: A Prayer Safari." Eerily familiar... as were the cotton ball & pipe cleaner-laden craft projects, the 1980's-esqe pop melodies, and the adorably disorganized closing night ceremony. Typical Heebner blog sarcasm aside, I will say that Anna absolutely LOVED Bible school (thanks again Katie for inviting her!). And I loved watching Anna's unbridled and completely unselfconscious enthusiasm. There's something wildly endearing about the wonder and abandon with which a toddler approaches new things and people. She has no fear, no worry, and no expectation of disappointment. If only we could all experience life like a three year old does! So, without further adieu, allow me to present a video from Friday's closing ceremony. No need to strain your eyes to find Anna in the group. She's the one right out front...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Like Mother, Like Daughter (well, sort of)

History has officially repeated itself. Sort of. 27 years ago, I was a flower girl in my aunt & uncle's wedding and, as the tale goes, completed the task in typical Laura fashion, carefully placing small, meticulous piles of petals in several very specific locations. I was quiet, timid, demure, and fulfilled my flower girl duties with no extra fanfare or amusement. Fast forward to July 3, 2010 with Anna as flower girl in her Uncle Ben's wedding. In the lobby beforehand (and the rest of the night for that matter), there was giggling, crying, dancing, twirling and plenty of undefinable flailing. She was up the stairs, down the stairs, scattering church pamphlets, dumping petals preemtively, trying to stand on her head, and generally trying her best to completely destory her dress & hair. And then the big moment came. She headed down the aisle without hesitation, sprinkling her flowers as directed until she got halfway and decided to dump the whole basket, saying, "I just dropped them all right here!" Everyone laughted and she retreated. Fortunately dad-dad was waiting at the back of the church and was able to convince her to head back down the aisle and finish the job -- petals or not. As this all unfolded, I was sitting in the front row getting all choked up. It sounds pathetic, but it was my first experience with feeling nervous for my daughter and it broke my heart! There she was, heading down that aisle all by herself with everyone staring at her. Not that it would have mattered if she did something totally crazy or didn't do anything at all, but it was big for me because I realized it was the first of many times that I'll have to send her out into the world and let her do something on her own. Oh the sadness of realizing that I can't hold her hand forever! This may sound dramatic, but the feeling was real. So anyways, getting back on track... despite a very serious case of the wiggles and an approach which bore no resemblance to the one I took as flower girl, Anna was a true success. Charming. Amusing. Fearless. My girl.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My Peaceful Little Boy

Since birth, Jack's life has been characterized by complete chaos. In fact, even before Jack was born, Josh and I had already started down that long, disruptive, stressful road toward relocating back to PA, so perhaps my little boy was doomed before he even got out of the gate. When he did finally come into the world, it was abundantly clear that he was not happy about it. While both of my babies came out screaming, Anna was instantly comforted by Josh's voice when he said his first words to her. Jack, on the other hand, just kept on screaming even after the nurse had him resting gently on my chest. At that moment I knew Jack was going to be different. Since then, Jack has busted apart all of my Babywise-driven notions of the normal course for a newborn. At six months he's still spitting up all day long, has yet to sleeping consistently through the night, and cries pretty much any time he's not asleep or being held. As that's the case, you can imagine my joy when I found my angsty, refluxy, needy little boy passed out -- at will -- in our bed this morning. I laid Jack down so I could help Anna get dressed and completely forgot about him because he was so quiet. In fact, when it occurred to me that I had left him on the bed, my heart jumped thinking that if he wasn't crying, he must be dead. (Maybe this is why he cries to so much -- so I don't forget him!). I went back into our room and there was my little belly sleeper, dead asleep on his back! Anna used to fall asleep like this all the time -- on our bed, on her play mat, in the back yard... anywhere. But this was a true first for Jack and it made me happy to see him so peaceful.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Back in PA

A lot has happened since we made our way back to PA three weeks ago. For starters, Anna turned three back on May 29th. We did our best decorating our interesting little temporary house by the dog food factory here in Quakertown with streamers and ballons. It was sub-par at best, but Anna was completely thrilled. Her big gift this year was a bike. She doesn't exactly get the concept of peddling, but she sure looks cute in the helmet. (I love this picture of her going cross-eyed trying to look at it.)

Since we got back, we've been spending lots of time catching up with family which, unfortunately, means driving 45 mintes back and forth from Quakertown to Lansdale and Hatboro over and over (sigh). Anna got to hang out with Eowyn a couple times already, including a trip to the sprinkler park. I was really happy that we were back in town for the last Kulp family event at 544 Melody Lane on Memorial Day. I forgot my camera for the big event, but my cousin Melissa took this great picture of Jack that I've shamelessly stripped off of her blog. So anyways, we're definitely anxious to get into our new house so that we can be closer to civilization (and have cell phone service!) again. We also can't wait to enjoy our big new back yard... we're already making plans for an Octoberfest complete with a Lederhosen-wearing accordian player we just met this weekend (long story)... more details to follow...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Goodbye RI

This is it. Our last night in Rhode Island. When we moved here three years ago, you couldn't have convinced me that I'd ever shed a tear over this place and yet here I am getting that lump in my throat for at least the sixth time today. I still vividly remember sitting in our bedroom one of those first February days we lived here, staring out the window at the abysmal winter weather, listening to the unfamiliar snap and bang of the steam radiators, feeling horribly homesick and absolutely certain we had made the worst mistake of our lives. But here I am on the last night and my heart aches even thinking about taking one last look around and then closing the door behind me forever. While it was only three years, it felt like a very long and very full three years. This house will always hold a special place in my heart because this is where I brought two of my babies home and because I feel like this is where we became our family. So as I think about leaving tomorrow, I have that sad and creepy feeling I get every time I consciously take a turn down a different path, abandoning another possible path forever. It's a feeling that's always been hard for me to put into words, so I'll steal someone elses:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.

Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Last Weekend In Rhode Island

Lately our weekend routine has largely been dictated by Jack's nap schedule and his marked aversion to riding in the car, but since this was our last weekend in RI, we decided to live it up for better or for worse. We packed a picnic lunch and drove to Sakkonet Winery in Little Compton (yes, there is a Little Compton, RI), taking one last opportunity to slowly wind our way through all the charming, quintessential RI towns along the way. Wind gusts aside, it was the perfect day for a picnic and Anna had a great time chasing butterflies, picking peanut butter cups (i.e. buttercups), and taking her first crack at watermelon. (For the record, we didn't purposely dress her in that watermelon skirt... sheer coincidence). Jack sat happily in his car seat like a champ and Josh and I got to enjoy a nice bottle of red wine with our lunch.

On our way home, we decided to pay one last visit to our favorite RI beach, Second Beach. It was definitely way too cold for my taste, but I firmly believe that given the chance,Anna would have thrown on her bathing suit and made a day of it.The whole way back to the car, she kept stopping to dig holes in the sand, merrily singing the Seven Dwarves "Dig, Dig, Dig" song as she went. We gave her a good long time to say goodbye to the beach and then put our two over-tired munchkins back in the car and drove home from the beach for the last time.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Photo Update (Delaying The Inevitable)

Sooner or later I'll get around to writing something substaintial about our impending move back to PA. At the moment, however, it's all still a jumble of emotions that I can't quite sort out, so for the time being I'm just doing a plain old photo update. Of course, come to think of it, the photos themselves speak volumes about why the move back to PA is bittersweet. I'm happy to get back to family and friends, but at the same time, this is home. This is where we brought our two babies home from the hospital and this house is filled with many of the simplest and sweetest memories I've known. (tears starting... let's move on)
Recently, I've been plunking Jack in his little chair while I get Anna dressed in the morning. Now she's taken to giving Mr. Jack a fashion show following each dressing session, including commentary such as, "This is from the TV store (Gymboree), baby Jack," and "I'm wearing three hair clips, baby Jack."
Here's another picture I love. Josh, Anna, and Jack took me out to breakfast for Mother's Day and since we knew it was likely our last trip to our favorite breakfast spot, we finally let Anna order a chocolate chip pancake. She liked it. A lot.