Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jackson is THREE

What happened? It seems like it was only last week when our sweet little Jackson Lee was released from the NICU and into a room with me... it feels like I quickly blinked my eyes and BAM -- our 5 lb. 13 oz. Jax is THREE YEARS OLD!

I don't know where to even begin this post... Jackson has absolutely flourished this year and has become his own little person. I'm sure I'm not the first parent to say this, but Jackson really is the sweetest little boy I have ever known.

His smile spans his entire face and his big eyes can light up a room.

He loves watching/observing (and copying!) people and literally squeals with delight whenever he sees "big kids" that he can play with.

He's smart and amazes his dad and me every single day. (He has a tendency of putting his mind to something new and doing it on his own -- like the other day when he just randomly started singing the ABCs to me during lunch or when he had just turned two and started just randomly counting things!)

I have never seen him push or hit another child, which seems to be a pretty feat at 3.

After months and months of worrying about how our only child would do with a younger sibling, he completely exceeded our expectations and hasn't shown an ounce of jealousy toward Gabe since we brought him home... In fact, he won't leave him alone and will often stand over him until he wakes up! One of the sweetest Jackson/Gabe moments was a few weeks ago at mom's group when I had a giant box of pastries I was taking home to freeze for our next meeting -- anyway, I can never leave Jackson alone at church (because he's completely scarred from the one time I left him in the childcare room with his friends for an entire 3 minutes), so I brought him out to the car with me to leave off the pastries while a few of my friends were still in the room with a sleeping Gabe. I guess Jackson thought we were leaving because he began to fuss and I couldn't figure out why and asked what was going on and with tears in his eyes, he points back to the door and starts saying "Baby! Baby!" He was NOT about to let me forget his brother and became really upset at the thought of leaving him behind. Gabriel is very lucky to have such a loving and protective older brother :) Other memorable big brother moments include him informing us that Gabe is "WAKE" every time he walks by (which is comical when we're either holding him and/or Gabe is crying), his random forehead kisses, and making faces at his brother in an attempt at making him smile.

Jackson loves to "read"/be read to, which makes this book loving mamma very happy. (I have even found him laying on his bed, legs crossed a few times just reading a good book to himself!)

He gets SO engaged with whatever he is watching (which has recently been Fixer Upper and Finding Dory), acts out what is happening with toys (like cars, if the characters are driving), and copies whatever is being said.

I have never seen a toddler act so well during church! He is usually really great about sitting through mass with or without his snacks.

The list seriously goes on and on, so instead of sitting here making myself tear up, I will share a few pictures from his 3rd birthday party!

Our original plan for Jackson's birthday party was to once again have it at our local rec center, but they were completely booked through the month and we needed to come up with a Plan B. Since Jackson LOVES movie theaters and talks about seeing Finding Dory in the movie theater last summer, we decided to throw him a movie theater birthday party at home! Since our December was crazy busy, we threw it the Saturday of the month and the kids had a blast!!!

Happy Birthday, sweet Jackson! Thank you for making me a mommy three years ago today!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Gabriel's One Month Update

It's hard to believe that our sweet Gabriel Anthony turned a month old on November 21st! I once heard that the days with a newborn are long but the months go fast and boy is that the truth. Our first week home actually seemed to go by at a nice pace (probably because Brandon was home and we did a lot of fun little outings but also gave ourselves some time to rest), but since then it has just flown by. Gabe is about as sweet as they come and I love seeing him grow and watching him and Jackson interact.

Without further ado, I give you Gabe's first month:
Something tells me that every photo shoot from here on out is going to be photo bombed by big brother...

Weight: 9 lbs. 6 oz. (Up nearly 3 pounds since he was born... oy!)

Length: I believe he was at 21 something at his last appointment, but I will double check and update later.

Nicknames: Gabe, Gabey, Baby Gabey, Baby, Chunk

Wearing: Unlike his older brother, Gabriel outgrew newborn clothes in about 2 weeks and is starting to outgrow 0-3 as well... I definitely wasn't planning on him growing so quickly! 

Sleep: As long as I'm holding him (or he's sleeping in the crook of my arm), he sleeps wonderfully. On his own though is a big no-go. He does okay in his car seat, but cries a bunch at first before falling asleep. 

Gabe likes: Eating, Jax, cuddling, sleeping, diaper changes, bath time, stretching out on the floor, watching mommy and/or daddy, being held and bounced, rocking, singing, 

Gabe dislikes: Dirty diapers, hunger, tummy pains, when mommy sets him down to help Jax, car seat, being laid down for long periods of time

Mom & Dad's Favorite Things: How much he looks like daddy, watching he and Jackson interact, how cuddly he is, how well he sleeps at night (in the crook of mommy's arm -- which we swore we would never do again, ugh), his cute little jabbers and big eyes, and his adorable rolls of fat

~It's really amazing how similar, yet different the boys look! I can definitely see a lot of the same facial features (like their lips, eyes, and hair) and expressions, but at the same time they look so different (coloring, head shape, and noses) -- it'll be interesting to see how Gabe looks a year from now!

~We had Gabe's newborn pictures taken at around 17 days (which was close to when Jax had his taken) and got some absolutely adorable ones that I will share later this week :)

~For the most part, Gabe is a pretty good trooper wherever we go and does a pretty good job of just sleeping... (With the exception of a few trips where I had to either wear him in the Ergo or walk and nurse him while trying to keep us both covered.)

~This poor baby got sick for the first time at about a week and a half... it all started when I came down with a cold on Halloween, passed it onto Jax the next day, and then -- of course -- gave it to Gabe, who ended up getting really congested :( Thanks to the Nose Frieda, I was able to keep him somewhat clear, but found out at his two-week checkup that he wasn't only congested, but had an ear infection as well.. ugh! After 10 miserable days of tummy destroying amoxicillin, we went back to the pediatrician only to find that he still had it, but not nearly as bad as before. The doctor gave us the option to either start a new round of more potent meds or to try keeping his nasal passages really clear to see if that helped drain it. (This next part actually happened after one month, but since I'm late in writing this update, I'll just go ahead and finish the story!) At his next appointment, we had some good news and bad news: The good news is that his ear was clear -- yay! The bad news is that now he had it in the other ear :/ Since he eats like a champ, looks great, and was no longer congested, the doctor said we could just keep an eye on him until his 2-month checkup (since it didn't look too terrible) or start him on that new medicine that would just upset his stomach and make things worse. We decided to keep an eye on it for the time being and will find out in a few weeks if it cleared up on its own... Pray for us!

Oh and she also diagnosed him as colicky (which didn't come as a huge surprise), but I'll save that for his two month update. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

We Survived...

Well, it was my first week at home alone with both boys (with Brandon working and without the help of my mom) and we survived! I'm not going to lie: It was rough and humbling, but I know that the day will come when Jax is getting married and Gabe is graduating from college when I will miss these crazy, sometimes stressful days with a toddler and a newborn. Anyway, here is how our week went:

Mirror selfie with my little shadow before heading out for a girl's night!
~On Saturday night, I had the opportunity to get out of the house (with baby in tow) to attend a friend's birthday at a local sip and paint parlor. It was a much needed couple of hours of adult time, laughing with friends, and painting some hideous trees (above -- I'm so not an artist and plan to give my canvas to my brother as a joke for Christmas) -- and Gabe slept like a little angel a majority of the time!

~No pictures, but on Sunday I packed up the boys and we drove into Denver proper to visit my aunt and uncle, and to do a lot of Christmas shopping!

~On Monday, the boys and I walked to the park for what is our last solo park trip for awhile... Gabe was on his last day of amoxicillin and was hating life the entire time :(

~I started telling Jax at 10 am on Monday that we were going to walk to the park and he was so excited, but we didn't actually make it out the door until about 2 pm (due to Gabey not feeling fell and just wanting to nurse)... He was SO good and patient while he waited and would ask "park?" every so often and go back to doing whatever it was he was doing in the playroom whenever I said we'll go in a bit... Anyway, we both needed out of the house that night so I took him to Safeway with me and surprised him with a cafe pop from their Starbucks, which he thought was the greatest thing ever. 

~This kid... I decided that after Monday, we would just lay low the rest of the week and stay home, so on Tuesday we wrapped and decorated some Christmas gifts, played outside, and watched A LOT of Fixer Upper, which is his new favorite thing. Here he is browsing through my very worn copy of HGTV Magazine, which he keeps asking me to read to him. 

~On Wednesday, we laid low again, watched more Fixer Upper, and had my friend Sondra and her three kids over for a bit to play that afternoon.

~Thursday was the first snow of the season (YAY!) and I took Gabe with me to mom's group at church while Jax stayed home with dad to sand down trim and watch Fixer Upper. I needed to get a bible personalized for my goddaughter's First Communion gift, so I took Jax with me to the Family Christian Bookstore that afternoon and guess what he found immediately and clutched on to the rest of the trip? (I ended up buying it so I could read it... he has already made me read the captions on the 4 pages of pictures to him about thirty different times!)

~Can you believe this little chunk STILL has an ear infection D: I took him to have his ear rechecked on Friday and lo and behold, still infected after 10 days of stomach destroying amoxicillin (but she said it did look better than it had two weeks before)... Before putting him on an even stronger and more potent antibiotic, she said we could try just keeping his nasal passage really clear, keep him elevated, and steamed up to see if that would help the ear drain on its own, but if it doesn't in a week, he has to start the new meds. Please pray this sweet Buddha baby is 100% again by next Friday!!

The good news from his appointment? Gabe isn't even a month and has already gained almost 3 lbs. (up to 9 lbs. 5 oz.) since he was born, which doesn't surprise me one bit... this kid likes to nurse! 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

I-Tee-A, Newborn Pics, and Both Babies First Election

It *only* took me a year and a half, but I think I may have finally found a balance for work and blogging! I came to the realization that other day that if I can get one day ahead on my OIYS articles, I can have a day off to dedicate to updating this blog/working on my new Catholic blog/doing museum marketing work! Genius, right? 

Anyway, as I have mentioned several times in the past, one of the reasons I do this blog is so that I can one have it printed and made into a memory book, so what I will probably do from here on out is update Annie One Can Cook with our weekly family updates, plus the boys' milestone posts. 

Come next week, I should be able to finally publicize my Catholic lifestyle blog as well (that I have been working on for over a year now), so be sure to keep your eye out for that! Living Like St. Martha will have all kinds of simple recipes, easy decor tips, fun party ideas, reflections, and other ways to simplify your life (and keep what matters at the forefront), so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the big launch! 

Without further ado, here is a look back on another week with the Sandmeiers:

~Before Gabe was born, I found these brother shirts on clearance at Target and knew I had to get them! Jax wore his "Promoted to Big Brother" shirt when he came to visit us in the hospital the day Gabe was born and I have been meaning to get pictures of both of them together... I got out the Nikon and got them posed, but as you can see, none of the pictures turned out quite like I had envisioned...
Oh well... maybe I'll try it again tomorrow!

~Last week we had Gabe's newborn pictures taken by the fabulous Brandy Caruso and I am DYING to see them! He was a little stinker for most of the shoot and wouldn't sleep (which I blame on his congestion :( ), but she still got some great shots of both him and the family. Stay tuned to see more!

~After pictures on Friday, I took Gabe to his 2-week checkup and discovered that not only was our poor guy congested, but he has an ear infection :(. His doctor said that she would normally be more concerned about such a little baby being sick, but he looks so good and has been nursing like a champ (he gained almost a pound in one week!), so she sent us home with a prescription and told us to keep a close eye on him. Luckily, we're almost finished with his 10 days of tummy destroying amoxicillin and have a follow up with her next week, so hopefully we're on the mend! 

~My mom came to stay/help with the boys Sunday-Wednesday and I didn't take any pictures, ugh! It was so nice to have an extra set of hands while Brandon was at work and we had such a fun time Christmas shopping (we made the trek to Ikea -- or I-tee-a, as Jackson calls it, Costco, and other places), visiting, and sipping wine on Tuesday night during the election.

~Jackson has his check up at the dentist on Thursday, so we made it a family outing by playing at a playground and getting some Hagen Daz after his perfect appointment!

~Happy Veterans Day to all active and retired military! We are going out to get our veteran his complimentary meal and to do a little shopping, so I better wrap this up. 

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Party of Four

It's hard to believe that Gabe joined our family two weeks ago -- part of me feels like he's been here forever and the other part can't believe these two weeks have flown by so quickly!

Thankfully, the transition has gone extremely smooth thus far... Gabe is such a happy and easy going little guy, big brother can't get enough of him, and having Brandon around to help where needed has been a huge blessing. But alas, my maternity leave ends today (meaning I have to take the Mac to the comfy chair in Jax's playroom to write) and Brandon goes back to work on Sunday, so prayers for another somewhat easy transition would be greatly appreciated!

Here are a few lot of pictures and memories from these last two weeks:

If I am being completely honest, our first day home was a complete mess... Besides being overly tired and having crazy postpartum hormones (I lost count of the number of times I cried over nothing that day -- seriously, I cried because we were leaving the hospital that I couldn't wait to get out of; cried because my parents were going home; cried because Jax suddenly seemed so much bigger than he did 36 hours earlier; cried because my baby was already 36 hours old, etc.), Jackson was throwing tantrums and freaking out over every little thing, which we worried was because of the new baby. Fortunately, after a good nap, he was back to his sweet old self  and has been obsessed with his brother ever since. 
One of the things that Brandon and I have strived our hardest to do is to keep everything as "normal" as possible for Jax. Even though there is a new baby, we still do everything the same as before (baseball 24/7, play dates, bedtime routine, etc.) and I think it has helped him see that even though he has a new brother, our love for him hasn't changed at all and that being a family of four is even more fun!
Nap time during Finding Nemo :) I will forever treasure these sweet moments! 
We had a very busy first week home!
On Sunday (the day after our hospital release), we went to church and ran errands.
Monday we took the boys to the library to play and check out books.
Tuesday we went to Gabe's four day checkup (pictured), Christmas shopped, and had lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant.
Wednesday we took the boys to open gym at the rec center.
We played in the backyard and did yard work on Thursday.
On Friday worked around the house and had my parents and brother stay the night.

Jackson seriously dotes over his brother!! He is constantly wanting to hold him, is always giving him kisses, wants to rock him to sleep with me every night, copies everything he does (which he thinks is hilarious), and loves to cuddle and play with him. Gabe is very lucky to have such a fun older brother! 
My twins: Born (almost) three years apart! (Both are four days old in these pictures and are wearing the same jammies -- Gabe is on the right.)
While daddy and Jackson raked leaves, Gabe and I supervised. 
One of Jackson's buddies turned two last week so we went to his birthday party on Sunday! (Gabe's first ever party.)
Trying to get a group picture before trick or treating with friends -- it was like herding cats!
After arriving home from our Halloween festivities, I started getting really congested and had a sore throat... luckily, my cold only lasted a good 36 hours and I had this handsome little guy to keep me company at 4 am and watch reruns of Fixer Upper on Netflix. 
Go figure... the day after Halloween, Jax woke up with a cough and Gabe was (and still is) super congested... the three of us had a sleepover on the sofa bed on both Tuesday and Wednesday night!
My poor sick and sleepy boys :(

This morning we are having Gabe's newborn pictures taken and then my mom is coming on Sunday to stay for a few days and help with the boys! (We are so excited to not only spend more time with her, but do lots of Christmas shopping too! It'll be both baby AND grammy's first trip to Ikea -- or I-tee-a, as Jax calls it.) Here's to another fun and memorable week with our boys! 
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