Give Me Five

Well, here we are. Hannah is half a decade old. When you say it like that it seems like a pretty long time, right? Well, I think most parents would agree that it flies. I’m sure I’m not the first one to say that when it comes to parenthood the days are long but the years 544466_10150888169785940_187973573_nfly by.  I can’t say that it feels like yesterday we were pacing the basement of Sam’s mom’s house trying to soothe Hannah to sleep, encouraging her first steps, or dismally potty training, because when you throw a second kid in the mix it all becomes a bit of a blur. But I do remember quite vividly the exact moment she was born, completely blue and silent, and that hour-long 5 seconds before they cleared her lungs and she let out the first of a million future wails.

We have a remarkable little girl. I know, I know, you think your kids are remarkable too. And they probably are. But it’s so incredible how much of a pedestal we put our own kids on, I’m not ashamed to admit it.  For all the parental training we went to, I think something that would have been the most valuable is if someone we respected told us: “Look, you’re going to think your kid is the greatest thing ever. Everyone does. But that doesn’t mean you have to go around telling everyone, including your kid, such a thing.” Humility isn’t easy and we all know plenty of people who are self-declared super-humble beings.

19424285_10109407802220799_8242603081089313193_n (1)My point is, I’m not going to go into all the amazing things Hannah does that your kid probably doesn’t. I’m not going to talk about how she’s pretty much the smartest preschooler in North America or that she’s funnier than Tina Fey and Chris Rock combined. Or even that she’s stunningly cute and beautiful (fact: if you google “cutiful” she’ll be at the top of page 1), but that’s not what I’m writing about tonight. That would be way too obnoxious and I’m way too humble to do that.

For posterity’s sake I do want to write a little bit about what she’s into. If you don’t care because you already threw up from my previous obnoxiousness then feel free to go back to your Facebook stream.

Hannah’s favorite activities: eating sweets, doing gymnastics, doing anything with her IMG_0179older cousins Monica and Mariah, who she completely adores and admires; spending time with her Aunt Heather and her many loving grandparents; going to the park; drawing/coloring, doing projects with her momma, playing with her world of little animals and people (Littlest Pet Shop, Palace Pets, Disney princesses, etc.), playing with Barbies, playing with stuffed animals, reading books, watching movies/shows/videos, swimming, riding her bike/scooter, playing with her friends in the neighborhood and at school, and, of course, making poop jokes.

Hannah’s least favorite activities: eating vegetables, getting her hair washed, taking naps, and sharing with her little brother. And, sadly, t-ball. Maybe she’ll come around in a couple of years, but since she was about two and a IMG_0096half it’s been pretty clear team sports may not be her thing. And I’m totally fine with that as long as she finds things to do that she loves and involve movement.

Dad’s least favorite things Hannah does: she watches those ridiculously useless and pointless surprise eggs videos on YouTube. I cannot fathom what so enchanting about them but she gets complete zoned in on them. I don’t go around kicking people in the shins a lot, I’ve grown out of that, but if I saw one of the people who creates those videos I’d put a boot on and take a Messi free kick right to their tibia. Also, she whines and throws fits a lot when she doesn’t get her way and that’s pretty annoying. But show me a 5 year old who doesn’t do that and I’ll call bullshit.

Sorry, that took a dark turn there. Back to Hannah. If you’re still reading you’re probably aware of most of these things. But here’s something that really only Hannah IMG_6018and I know – every time I drop her off at school I make her pinky swear that she’s going to have an awesome day, or some variation of that, and I usually get a kiss or five. But, I’ve noticed something the last couple months that shows that she’s getting older and makes me want to cry a little – she’s slightly embarrassed to do our little routine in front of her friends.

 

She’s developing some self-awareness, a huge part of maturing, which is awesome, because I want her to be mindful and confident. But while she’s always been a little shy about being in the spotlight, this feels more like “daaad, the other kids are watching, be cool and just leeeave.” I know she won’t say that for at least a few more years, and maybe she never will because I think she probably already knows that’s just going to encourage me to be even more embarrassing. I’m pretty excited about that part of her getting older. She’s as goofy as I am and the older she gets and the more she understands the real world, the more important I believe it is to have a sense of humor and not take one’s self too seriously.

One last story that is more for us to look back on. I mentioned Hannah can shy away from the spotlight and can be a little self-conscious when it comes to other kids.

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But she surprised me a couple of weeks ago when she showed some grit and “who cares what others think” spunk. She ran into another kid at the Y and knocked some teeth out of place – it was pretty nasty, a lot of blood, pain, and tears and we thought they were going to have to pull the teeth. And that would have been the start of an interesting couple of years. However, instead of the teeth coming out they went back into place, but are turning gray, which you can kind of tell from the photos. Hannah told me one of those days that she doesn’t care if the teeth fall out or turn gray and she knows that it might look odd and other kids might make fun of her – “I don’t care dad, it’s OK.” she said. I absolutely love that attitude and hope she carries it with her long after her old goofy dad is gone.

Happy 5th birthday to my lovely little girl. I can’t imagine life without her.

 

 

 

June 27, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 2 comments.

Look at those beach birds!

It’s hard to believe summer is coming to an end and it feels weird to say it’s September (happy birthday Sam!). We probably all say that every year, but we really do have a pretty short summer compared to, you know, warm states. This was definitely a fun summer, one of many firsts. The biggest highlight was our first family vacation – we went to Silver Beach in July. More about that in a bit. Other firsts include itIMG_3766 (2) was our first summer having two mobile kids instead of one; first Chuck E. Cheese birthday party (Hannah turned 4); Hannah’s first amusement park visit; our first vacation without the kids (technically that was April though); Hannah’s first helicopter ride; I’m sure there are more.

What I was planning to focus on is the first family vacation. First, from Hannah’s perspective. Then I’ll write a post from Logan’s.

Hannah is at an incredibly fun, cute, challenging, and frustrating age. She’s such a beautifulfun-loving, goofy, artistic, energetic ball of fire. But sometimes that turns into a wildfire and the defiant, moody, grumpy Hannah comes out to play. Four out of five times I can find a way to break that mood by getting her to laugh and smile. But there’s often times when I’m either not having it or she’s holding out and is just incredibly irrational. Such is life with a
daughter I’m told (sorry ladies, that’s just what I’m told!).

So vacation from Hannah’s perspective was a blast. There were some moments of frustration, but for the most part she was super well behaved and had the time of her life. She got to swim in a beautiful, clean, giant lake. Play on the biggest beach she’d ever seen. Play in the biggest splash pad she’d ever seen. Ride a carousel a dozen times. Explore a couple of children’s museums. Sleep in her oIMG_3806 (1)wn big hotel bed. Color and draw. And eat lots of ice cream and other treats.

Something we thought was pretty cute and funny was when Hannah saw some seagulls
she said “what are those?” We told her and she said in her cute high pitched voice, “noooo, those are beach birds!” So now anytime she sees as seagull it’s a beach bird.

If you read my last post on here you know Hannah loves art, “projecks,” drawing, crafts, etc. and she still absolutely does. She also has quite the imagination and flair for the dramatic so we’re thinking she might enjoy some kids drama classes. Of course, we love sports and want her to be active in them IMG_3894 (1)too, and her favorite by far is gymnastics. She also has enjoyed soccer and I’m pretty excited to see if she likes tee ball next year.

We did find out this summer that Hannah loves heights, roller coasters, or pretty much any kind of thrill ride. She got to ride in a helicopter at the Sweet Aviation open house, here’s the video. She sang and smiled the entire time. We also went to Paige’s Crossing and we’re sort of doomed now if we go back because we had unlimited rides, which resulted in riding the roller coaster approximately 25 times, and I’m not exaggerating. Here’s a video of that, I believe it was our 3rd run. There were 20+ more and she loved it the final time as much as the first.

That’s pretty much all that’s new with Hannah right now. She still eats like 5 things so that’s a bit problematic at times. We’re probably as much to blame for that as anything because we let it slideIMG_3506, but she is getting better at trying new things at least one or two bites at a time
.

Oh and we got a crazy ass dog. His name is Chance and he is really good most of the time. But I’m sure I’ll share some stories down the road about our adventures with him. He won’t be getting his own blog though.

Check back for an update on Logan’s vacation perspective here: https://adventuresoflojac.wordpress.com/ in a few days. Needless to say going on a trip with a 1 and a half year old is completely different experience. A year ago I was amazed at how laid back he was, how much he slept, how little he cried, etc. Well, things change.

 

September 1, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 1 comment.

Let’s do a projeck!

IMG_3008We have ourselves a little artist. And I don’t mean just a painter. A true creative, artistic, dramatic character of a kiddo who loves to paint, draw, sing, tell stories, and throw fits (which is really a very understated term to give them). It’s so cool and cute and frustrating and challenging and rewarding all at once. Which is something I imagine every parent can say about every kid. To call Hannah unique wouldn’t quite cover it. We’re all unique, that’s really just a synonym for being alive if you think about it (don’t think too hard, these posts aren’t supposed to be that deep).

Hannah is a lot like most 3-going-on-14 year old girls – loves princesses, ponies, fairies, and dolls. She’s not totally a girly girl, she loves bugs and doesn’t hesitate to pick up a worm or ant or random unidentified beetle. We’ve always had “boy” toys for her too, and she likes playing with them to an extent, but she has an above-average attention span when it comes to the stuff I mentioned before. However, if you really want to get her excited and having fun, give her a “projeck” (that’s how she pronounces it). Arts and crafts, painting, drawing, gluing, stamping, stickering, sewing, cutting, singing, it doesn’t matter. Last rainy weekend we had a fun time drawing on each other with washable markers – we did that for almost 2 hours I think, so we may have to get her a little toddler tattoo kit!

She’s not really one to sit and listen to you read a book to her, which is something we’ve been doing sincIMG_2999e she was just days old. She’d rather take the book from you and make up the words herself.

One of the best memories I’ll ever have of her is the first time she told me a story off the top of her head. Not borrowing from a book she heard or a story I made up for her, but her own little parable with a beginning, a plot, and a happy ending. I don’t remember the exact specifics, but it was about two animals who weren’t friends at first, were doing an activity and didn’t like each other, but then ended up being friends. This was a couple months ago and lately she’s been more into making up songs about current situations. She isn’t always comfortable singing in front of people, but when she does you can tell she is paying attention to the sound and at the same time understanding the words.

You always want to think about what they’re going to get into when they get older, and Hannah could end up doing a wide range of things, but I thinkIMG_3106 we may have a performer on our hands if we can continue to build her self-confidence.

Hannah is a big sister now and the jealousy seems to be waning a bit. Sure there are moments when “baby brudder” has a toy that she wants or has one of “her” toys, and we’re teaching her not to snatch them away and to be nice and caring and sharing. And I think she gets it. The sweetest moments are when they’re playing together nicely and she says “here you go buddy” in her high pitched voice. Very rarely is he “Logan” around our house. He’s Logey, Rogey, Yogi, baby brudder, buddy, or the boy.

I haven’t written in a few months, so there’s probably so much more to tell that I can’t wait to share with her when she’s older, but for now this is what jumps out at me. Sam is doing an amazing job with Hannah and Logan when she’s home with them 2 days a week, and it’s nice that they have a mix of a few days of socializing and a couple days home with momma. Crazy to think that she’ll be in Kindergarten before we know it!

May 7, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 1 comment.

Hugs for everyone!

 

There are so many things I love about my daughter, some are obvious, typical 2-3 year old traits, some not so much. For instance, the way she says certain words, like calling her friend across the street Briley when her name is Riley, or how she rarely calls Logan by his name and just says “Baby B10333455_10152762065615940_1632903796570632761_orother.”

There are a million others that I can’t think of, and oftentimes I have her repeat silly or unusual phrases just to hear how she’ll interpret and repeat them. And I can watch her talk to and play with her stuffed animals, princesses, barbies, etc. for hours while they act out random scenarios.

I think these are fairly common, but she is extremely particular about the most random things, wanting to do it by herself, her way, in a certain order. And she’s a super picky eater, which leads to some interesting and taxing mealtimes.

Some of the cute and silly things she does are more subtle and unique to her, like her adorably infectious laugh or when she sings a song normal then fast then raps it then whispers it, all within 30 seconds.

Speaking of songs, I’ve been at Sweetwater for just a few weeks now and I’m one of like 5 out of the 900 employees that doesn’t have an ounce of musical talent. The best I can do is make up lyrics to the tune of random songs, usually to something Hannah’s been singing recently.

HoweIMG_3745ver, I think and hope Hannah will get into music. She loves to sing, most toddlers do I imagine, and when she’s a little older I think we plan to have her start taking piano and/or other music lessons. I can’t imagine anything that will make me prouder than to one day see her on a stage playing a piano or guitar while singing a song, and call me a softy, but I already know I’ll be in tears.

What made me think of this topic is we were at the softball park tonight and she spotted a handful of 2-4 year olds playing together and she excitedly says “there’s my friends! Come on Daddy, let’s go see my friends.” She didn’t know them, but you wouldn’t guess   that. This happens every time we’re at the park or any playground. Everyone is her friend.

I know there are some potential drawbacks to this. First and foremost is “stranger danger” – she’ll just go up and hug any mom she sees, or adult women in general really. We go get a donut every Sunday morning and she always hugs the girls working there before we leave.

She’s a little more wary of men, thank goodness, but still, at some point she’ll have to learn people have boundaries. Until then I just shrug my shoulders and smile, hoping the people aren’t offended or lepers. Another sad thing to think about is she’s going to get her feelings hurt easily when she gets a little older and not every kid wants to play with her. That will crush us to see, but that’s life.

You know what else she’s obsessed with right now? Bugs. Potato bugs. Spiders. Flies. And especially worms and ants. She loves nothing more than to walk around the mulch beds or anywhere there’s dirt and dig for worms. She hugs them. She talks to them. Then she puts them in the yard “in their home” when she’s done.

11088229_10152630437680940_7476979560827857102_nUnfortunately for the ants, they don’t get off so easy. The only way she knows how to pick them up is to basically squash them with her finger, and then she’s holds it up and says “look, I pick him up!” We try to tell her it hurts the ants, but she just doesn’t get it. So, sorry all you ant lovers out there, don’t call PETA on us. We trying to teach her respect for living things, but her attention span and memory are as fleeting as the butterflies she chases.

So that’s what Hannah’s up to as she approaches her 3rd birthday. She’s tolerating her baby brother more and more, but definitely doesn’t like it when he’s got both Sam and my attention at the same time. I think as she gets a little older she’ll be more helpful, she’s got such a loving heart there’s no doubt she’s going to be a great big sister.

 

June 6, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 1 comment.

Say Cheesepickles!

Sam and I have a super power. It’s not going to last forever, maybe months, hopefully years, but for right now we have this power and we’re going to abuse it. We can’t fly or bend steel or even shoot spider webs (though if Sam had that power she would probably cut off her own hands). We do kind of have x-ray vision, but it only applies to diapers, though that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m referring to our ability to get Hannah to smile simply by making eye contact. It isn’t 100% automatic. When she’s sleepy or hungry or gassy or distracted and/or just NOT in the mood. But usually when she sees one of our faces she gets the biggest grin, it’s 100% impossible to not return it. In the first few weeks of her life the only smiles we got were when she was about to fill her diaper with something smelly, whether it was a colorful collection of crap or a colorless, but certainly not odorless, gas. It’s always hard to pinpoint when she starts or stops doing something. I’m terrible with dates, but it’s quite possible Sam remembers the date and time of Hannah’s first smile. I do know that, despite the fact that she just went to the doctor for shots (she no longer hates us), for the past couple of weeks whenever she looks at us she cracks a smile. And we love it. Often it’s our favorite, a big ol’ toothless beam. We can never, ever get enough of those. We find ourselves making the weirdest noises and faces just to get another one. Occasionally, she’s smiling when we don’t want her to. Why in the world would you ever not want your child to be smiling, you ask? I’ll tell you when. When it’s midnight and she (and I) should be in bed, but instead she’s just staring up at me, playfully cheesing away. That means she’s wide awake and is either going to keep playing, or if I’m not cooperating, cry till her mom comes to the rescue. I try to avoid looking directly at her, because according to something I read, and I believe it, making eye contact with a baby is the equivalent of giving him/her a cup of coffee. But how can I not? So instead I try to outsmart her by keeping my head facing the TV or my phone, but peek out of the corner of my eye. Or, another “trick” I try so I can sneak a peak – my face is down toward her, but I’m squinting my eyes so it looks like I’m asleep. It doesn’t work. She just smiles even bigger and starts riding her invisible bicycle. Ever tried to smile with your mouth full? Well somehow she can even smile with her pacifier in, so it just hangs there like Winston Churchill’s cigar. When she pulls that it’s difficult to suppress a chuckle or two.

We are extremely blessed to have a happy, healthy baby, and we’re very grateful. Some updates: She’s up to 13 lbs and is long. According to the doctor’s chart, her head is not small. She’s managing to hold it up quite a bit though, she’s extremely curious and just wants to look around at everything. She recognizes certain voices and she really loves her Grandmas. We know these moments aren’t going to last forever. There is going to come a time when we she won’t smile at us no matter what we do. That being the case, please forgive me for not having written for awhile, I’ve got a baby to stare at!

September 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. Leave a comment.

Well…I’m a Dad.

Three words I’ve always imagined saying. Someday. When I met Sam and then was finally able to conviImagence her that this goofball living in Indy was worth the time and effort, I started to feel like that day was getting just a little bit closer. We fell in love, took a couple of vacations, she moved to Indy, life started settling down a bit. Then we got married, jetted off to Aruba and made “history.” After a long 9 months (certainly felt even longer for Sam), the day has come. On June 27, 2012, Hannah Marie Pickett was born and we became parents to someone other than a cute little weiner-beagle puppy. We were blessed with a beautiful, precious, amazing little angel.

Everyone says it’s life-changing, and it certainly is, but not in that TAAA-DAAA-bright-spotlight-shining-down-from-the-heavens-immediate-sudden-revelation way that you expect. To me it’s been a subtle process. Watching the doctor tug Hannah out of Sam like when Harry Dunne’s tongue was stuck to the ski lift. Squeezing Sam and holding my breath waiting to hear our baby’s first sound. Fighting back tears as they squeegeed Hannah off and suctioned her dry. Releasing those tears upon seeing Sam hold our baby for the first time. Awkwardly helping the nurse give Hannah her first bath. All the poop and piss and crying. And all of Hannah’s poop and piss and crying. Staring at Hannah, watching her sleep. Seeing her big new eyes gaze around at seemingly nothing and everything at the same time. Each of these moments are new memories, and it’s tough to shake them, like little bouncy balls in my brain (on second thought, maybe I should see a doctor). I look forward to creating new memories with my family every single day.

As I think back over the past week, the only real sudden feeling I remember is being innately protective. The slowest, bumpiest drive home in history, introducing her to Cleo’s kisses, carefully carrying her down the stairs, attempting to not break any of her limbs putting her clothes on her, balancing her on top of the fridge while I grab a beer (gotta have two hands to open it duh, don’t judge) (OK, I didn’t do that)…but the point is, every little movement, sound and breath has me on the edge of my seat. It’s an overwhelming combination of stress and LOVE. It’s new and will take some getting used to, but man, what an amazing journey we’ve begun.

By the way, Sam was absolutely amazing through the birthing process, she’s friggin’ strong. Couple of pushes into it and they were telling the doctor to get her ass in the room, baby’s ready to go! Sam is going to be the most amazing, caring, loving, fun, protective, smart and HOT mom around. No doubt about that. And no offense to the other billion moms out there, including our own, who are awesome, you are all awesome.

Stay tuned, I feel like this is going to be quite the adventure, so I’ll try to jot some thoughts and musings down as we go if anyone cares to read them.

July 7, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Observations and musings, Updates. 2 comments.

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