Wednesday, January 30, 2008

California Bar

No, it's not some new favorite chocolate bar...but it will soon be a swear word in our home. For the past year or more Jake and I have been kicking around the idea of moving to California after law school. It's gone back and forth...one minute we're sure we want to go, then we get settled back in to NYC life, then we go back to the CA idea, then we considered the NYC suburbs.

We stuck on that one for awhile, then we actually visited the suburbs. We had envisioned some sort of oasis outside of the city, but we were disenchanted. It would do, but we definitely kept to the idea that if we lived there, it would just be long enough for Jake to get some good experience, then we would move to really settle down.

During our visit to MO Jake had a great talk with my home ward bishop who also happens to be a great friend of our family and a lawyer AND the son of the man Jake did his internship for when we were living in MO. Anyway, he reinforced some ideas Jake had been told before...saying that we should not waste the time and money to take the bar in a state where we don't intend to stay for a long time because it's hard to stop and do it all over again once you get into a job and are making money. He suggested Jake just decide where he wants to live and just find a job there, no matter where it is.

After talking with a few of his professors and hearing the same thing, Jake decided to take the leap and transfer his registration from the NY Bar to the CA Bar. Since then we've been spending hours researching the different big cities in CA and trying to decide exactly where we want to live. That's the biggest advantage of taking the CA bar...we have 4 big hubs to choose from. LA, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento are all on the list, though our first choice is the San Francisco area. That's where we're concentrating most of our efforts, but we're open to the other areas if opportunities arise.

So there you go. Mid-August we're hoping to pack up and move cross-country to the SF Bay Area. In the mean time, we need to have a baby, Jake needs to graduate, study for the bar, then fly to CA to take the bar. Unfortunately, CA has arguably the hardest bar in the country. However, I'm confident Jake can rise to the occasion. He'll be taking a BarBri course to help him prepare and the kids and I will spend a large portion of his study time with my parents in MO so Jake can concentrate on the bar. It will be a long, grueling 2 months of studying, but hopefully that's all it will be and we'll get on with life in a new place, in a house with a backyard and a washer and dryer and room for our kids to have fun and run! Oh yeah...and nicer weather!

Yes, the Bay Area is expensive, but we've been living in NYC--the most expensive place to live in the US. Yes, the traffic can be horrendous, but we plan to live out of the city and Jake will hopefully be able to take the BART to work. And yes, the Bay Area is beautiful and we can't wait to be there!

Isn't life an adventure?!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Baby Update

I'm officially into my 30th week now. Baby girl is moving ALL OVER the place! She's gotten her feet up into my ribs and is playing some sort of sport with my bladder. All fun parts of pregnancy that I sort of enjoy, in a weird way. It's always comforting to feel the baby moving, knowing she's alive and well.

Last week we had another ultrasound where they checked the baby's growth. Because of my diabetes, I'm more likely to have an abnormally large baby (Jackson was 9 lbs., Sydney 10lbs., both at 38 weeks) so they like to monitor growth closely. So far, so good with this one. She's measuring at about 3 lbs. so that means she's only in the 60th percentile. If this growth continues, I'll be able to carry her to 38 weeks. If the growth spikes, they'll induce me earlier.

It's so hard to believe that this pregnancy will be over in just 8 weeks and we'll have a new little girl in our house! I'm so excited and completely overwhelmed at the thought. It's truly amazing that in 3 short years, we've managed to bring 3 amazing little miracles into the world. Jackson and Sydney are such fun and interesting little people. They definitely have their own distinct personalities. I can't wait to meet and get to know this little girl!

No names have really stuck yet. We're still kicking around a lot of the same ones we did with both of the other kids (before we knew Jackson was a boy). Because of last time, being determined on either Savannah or Paige and then choosing Sydney, I'm not too stressed about the name thing. We'll take our lists and all, but ultimately, I think we'll go off of our feelings once we meet this little one. I sure wish she could just whisper a name in our ears or something, but I'm hoping at least something just feels right.

I can already tell that Sydney is going to be an amazing big sister. She's a big sister to Jackson in that she tries to help me change his diapers and goes to get his pajamas & shoes when I ask him to do it. She just already shows those "mothering" qualities and I'm absolutely sure she will use them on this little girl. It will be fun to watch, though I'm sure I'll have to give her some "constructive criticism" on her techniques. :)

I feel so blessed to have these kids. There was always something in the back of my head that wondered whether I'd be able to have my own kids because of my diabetes and yet here we are on #3 in 3 years! Who knows if we'll be able to do it again, but I am so grateful for the ones we have! I know it's going to be hard to have 3 so young, but I'd rather have that than none at all and I'm positive in the years to come the kids will benefit having each other as friends and confidants.

MO sweet MO!

Over the MLK holiday weekend, Jake and I decided to take a trip to Missouri to visit my family. We missed seeing family at Christmas and the kids were in desperate need of time out of the city, with grandparents to spoil them. And spoil them they did! My mom and dad are so great and giving them tons of attention and loving them to pieces. Needless to say, when I told Jackson it was time to go back to New York, he protested saying "I don't WANT to go back to Yew Nork...I just wanna stay at Grandma & Grandpa's house and play with Aryn and Braden!!" I hated to think that I agreed with him...when I was this far along in my pregnancy with Sydney we were already living with my parents while Jake was doing his internship with the Orscheln legal department. It was hard to think about coming back here and pushing the stroller through the streets of Manhattan 8 months pregnant! But we're back, and life is back to normal and all is well, though not quite as comfortable as my parents' home!

While in MO we got to see my niece, Andrea, crowned as the MHS (my alma mater) Courtwarming Queen. She is such a great girl! She's an example to me of the girl I wish I'd been in high school. She is friends with everyone and never compromises her standards. It's truly amazing to watch...and others notice too--as shown by her accomplishments, namely Student Body President and Courtwarming Queen! Way to go Andrea! I'm so proud of you!

We also got to go swimming with my parents at the new Moberly YMCA. Moberly is certainly up and coming...an indoor pool?!!! I could only DREAM of such luxuries when I lived there! It's wonderful that the Orscheln family and others have donated so much to the community to make that possible.

My niece, Aryn, was such a big help with the kids while we were there. Both Jackson and Sydney LOVED playing with her and she never seemed to tire, even though she's 6+ years older than both of them!

We also had a fun celebration of Jake's birthday, complete with mom's famous lemon cake. It did not disappoint...YUM!!

The last pic is of Jackson and Sydney on the airplane. Jackson is becoming a great big brother. Here, he's holding Sydney so they can look out the window together at the lights of NYC as we fly in. He was so proud of being able to hold her.

Anyway, thanks to mom and dad for helping to make the trip possible and for all the long car trips to come get us and take us to the airport! Thanks for always making us feel so welcome and loved. We love you!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jacob's THIRTY-ONE!!!


Yesterday was Jacob's 31st birthday! Friday night we had our friend Melanie Grover come over to watch the kids while we went to dinner at a trendy restaurant in SoHo called Prune. It was really fun, as we rarely go anywhere "fun" to eat. It was "New American" cuisine, so we tried things like bone marrow on toast for an appetizer (very rich), mussels, lamb, and butter cake made with orange blossoms. Jake described the latter as tasting like "gardenias." It was definitely an experience, and as we contemplate our eventual departure from this fun city (more details to come on that subject), I'm certainly glad we did it. And what better reason than my sweetheart's birthday?!

Saturday Jake had to study in the morning but that night I made fillet mignon (we got a screaming deal on an entire fillet roast around New Years so we froze a bunch of steaks), mashed potatoes, and Cinnamon pound cake with stewed peaches. The kids were so excited to have a birthday party. Jackson sang "Happy Birthday" several times. He and Sydney also made a crown and sign for daddy to wear. I told Jackson we should write "Happy Birthday Daddy" on the hat and he said, "Jacob doesn't like words, he just likes colors."

But really I want this entry to be about Jacob, and not what we did on his birthday. He really is an amazing person and I want everyone to know why I think so. SO...to steal an idea from my friend, Kendra, I'm going to make a list.

31 Reasons Why I Love Jacob...on his 31st Birthday

1. He has a fun, boisterous laugh.
2. His big, luscious lips he has so graciously shared with our kids.
3. He has lust for excitement and adventure.
4. He loves good chocolate...and so do I!
5. He loves to dream big.
6. He's more creative than I am. In the past 3 years he's made a kevlar plated backpack, a leather briefcase, badger fur gloves, and countless small projects with Jackson.
7. He gets up and WALKS to school everyday...even through rain, snow, or worse, sweltering, humid heat!
8. He eats a bowl of ice cream almost every night.
9. He does projects with Jackson.
10. He can fix anything...well, so far!
11. He's Sydney's favorite.
12. He helps me maintain my diabetes without being condescending.
13. He makes me feel good about myself...even while I'm fat and pregnant.
14. He sings to Jackson and Sydney even though he never sings any other time.
15. He's faster at getting the laundry done than I am.
16. He's going to practice law even though I know he'd rather own a kite shop in Maui.
17. He's supportive of anything I try to do.
18. He likes to look nice & notices when I do too.
19. He acts excited about everything the kids have to tell him, even after a long day.
20. He likes to get popcorn at the movies.
21. He gives great pedicures.
22. He likes diet coke too.
23. He's protective of me and our family.
24. The look on his face when he tells me about a new project idea and asks if he can do it.
25. He can pick up our double stroller and carry it up and down the subway stairs.
26. He never lets me feel embarrassed about anything.
27. He's very intelligent & determined.
28. He has an amazing speaking voice and public presence. I once had a friend ask if he was a professional speaker after he gave a Sunday School lesson.
29. He tries hard at everything he does.
30. He's the only person in the world that loves our kids as much as I do, agreeing that they are, in fact, are the cutest and smartest.
31. Every time I say "I love you" he says "I love you more."


Friday, January 25, 2008

Jackson's "stuff"


Jackson panics when it's time for bed and likes to collect any toy or book or anything he thinks he might want to play with or look at in bed. I'm not sure why he likes to be surrounded by all his "stuff" but he does. He does the same thing when we leave the house...stuffs his pockets with all the little cars and things he can until we leave. Sometimes he stuffs my diaper bag too. In fact, when we went to the Statue of Liberty and they x-rayed the diaper bag the man laughed at me for all the toy cars in my bag!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A day at the zoo.


















Last week we decided we were going to make the most of a day off with Jake, so we headed to the Central Park Zoo. The kids had a ton of fun, though they were a little afraid of the animals at the petting zoo...well, only when the animals got close enough to eat out of their hands. You'll notice Sydney was excited about the sheep until it licked her hand. Same story with Jackson. He loved watching Sydney feed the sheep till it came time for him. Sydney was such a funny sight in her marshmallow snow suit. It was funny to watch her walk around in it...it looks like her feet shouldn't be able to support her. But she was warm! I love the picture of Jackson airborne over a puddle. This is one of his favorite tricks...puddle jumping. Most of the time he's pretty good at it too...sometimes I get wet! Sydney is a little obsessed with noses...she likes sticking her fingers in our noses...and the turtle was no exception.

A box on a cold day





It's amazing what kids can come up with out of desperation...and how little it takes to make them so happy. Jackson was trying to crawl into a diaper box the other day because he wanted to hide. He quickly determined that the box was NOT big enough. Realizing his frustrations and knowing it had been a hard couple weeks with most of our time spent in the house I decided to sacrifice a box I'd been saving to store old clothes in and set it up for the kids. Not only did it keep them busy that first day just climbing in and out, but we've been "decorating" the box for a few days now. Jackson loves using the scissors to cut up construction paper and I help him glue it on. Sydney has gone to town with the markers. If only we had space for a washer and dryer...not only would I love it, but then the kids would have HUGE, matching houses!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Potty Training


We've been half-heartedly potty-training Jackson for the past couple days. Actually, we started, had a great first day, then hit a road block when we realized we would be traveling next week to Missouri. I realize to make the potty-training work you have to be totally committed...so maybe I'm not ready. All I know is that it MUST be done by baby #3's arrival on the scene...so the clock is ticking.

Anyway, Sydney is a very sympathetic child and wanted to be involved in the potty-process. So...here is her contribution. Maybe Jackson is just getting stage fright?!

Happy 2008 from NYC


Our New Years celebration was very low-key. We had big plans to go join Greg, Cheryl & Co. in Times Square, but after hearing of Fort Knox-like conditions to get to their hotel, we bagged that idea and just spent a quiet night here. I did make some fun snacks and we let Jackson stay up with us. We were all set to go up on the roof at midnight to watch the fireworks and Jackson suddenly backed out...so Jake and I went anyway, leaving Jackson in the apartment to watch Cinderella.

Pregnancy Update

I don't think I've really even mentioned anything about my pregnancy since announcing the event, but it's definitely not something easily forgotten...especially with my growing belly. I don't remember getting this big this quickly with the other two, but I feel enormous! I'm 27 1/2 weeks now so I guess I'm pretty far along, but it still seems so far away. Well, that was until last week when the dr. told me that she is VERY conservative with her diabetic patients and usually induces closer to 36 weeks than 38 weeks. Now it's starting to feel a LOT sooner because that's 8 1/2 weeks away. WHOA!

Everything seems to be going well though. I feel her move all over the place all the time. She's definitely very active at this point, which is actually a blessing because it puts my mind at ease. Also, she's not so crammed in there yet that she's bouncing on my organs. I'm having more Braxton-Hicks contractions than I remember with the other two, but that could be that I just know what they feel like now and didn't notice them before. I am a little nervous to see how I hold up trying to keep up my normal schedule as delivery time gets closer. By this time with Sydney we were living in Missouri and happily driving a car wherever we went. Walking isn't always the most comfortable thing when you're hiding a beach ball in your belly.

I guess I should've been taking pictures of my progress all along so I could have some pictures to compare to, but unlike my sister-in-law Brittany, I don't plan to be 8 months prego in every family photo! ;) Actually, I think I'm just more self-conscious of getting big this time because it seems to be happening so much more quickly. One of my friends at church here is due 1 week after me and you can't even tell she's pregnant! Sure, she's a "skinny mini" and this is her first baby, but it still makes me feel like a whale!

Heidi asked me yesterday if people can tell I'm pregnant yet. Well...here's a resounding YES to that question!

Monday, January 7, 2008

We're so glad when daddy comes home!



We've LOVED having Jacob home with us...especially the kids.

Christmas Morning Carnage










The first words out of Jackson's mouth when he saw all the presents was, "HOLY COW! How did Santa DO all of this?!" It was so precious! Once all the presents were out, we realized just how many presents there were for the kids. Between the things we got them and those from family, they really "raked it in." But they had so much fun opening all their gifts and playing with each one. Some, sad to say, are already broken. I guess that's pretty typical. Sydney got a cute fuzzy bunny and a fuzzy blanket...she's all about soft and fuzzy. Jackson's Christmas was all boy...cars, tractors and dinosaurs! He was in heaven! He also got a Superhero starter kit from Braden and LOVED dressing up like a superhero...cape, mask & "power cuffs." Sydney loved the stickers and stuck them all over the house.

Twas the Night Before Christmas



And Jacob was reading to the kids before bed. We're very fortunate that both of our kids love books and stories. They got a new book from Grandma & Grandpa Skousen this year with the story of the birth of Jesus set to the song, "O Little Town of Bethlehem," which they loved. Then we read our traditional "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Last year I bought the version illustrated by Mary Engelbreit. It's so beautiful and the kids love all the details she's drawn in. After their stories, the kids went right to bed but Jackson made it clear he did NOT want Santa in his room that night, but he could leave presents if he wanted to.

Christmas Decorations




I didn't take as many pictures of our Christmas decorations this year because I never felt like they were really "up." They were constantly being rearranged by the 4 little hands that follow me around. Some things I didn't even put out because I didn't want them to get broken. Someday I will make our house a Christmas wonderland...until then it will have to be a kid-proof "so-so"land. I do love our Nativity scenes though. Grandma Jorgensen gave us the Demdaco one and Grandma Skousen made the fabric one. Both Jackson and Sydney are enamored with these and carry them around everywhere, even though they have their own Nativity Grandma Jorgensen sent this year. They play with that one too. Jackson likes to refer to them simply as "Jesus"...the whole set.