Friday, November 27, 2015

2015 Annual Holiday Newsletter

Happy 2015 holidays to all of our friends and family....
I am astounded about the leaps we've made over the last year.  And yet, so many things remain the same as always.
Palmer is all-boy.  As I pored over the pictures from 2015, I noticed a theme: We are an active family with many sporting-type activities.  

I sometimes poke fun at Rick for having so many different hobbies (this mainly happens when he calls me from some sporting store telling me about an expensive piece of equipment that he just "has to have" for hunting or skiing or boating or fishing or golf, etc.)  
However, looking at photos I think Palmer may have that same level of all-inclusive interest.  This past year, he dabbled in soccer, swimming, BB gun shooting (Davy Crockett pretending), tubing on the boat, snow skiing, ice skating/hockey, bike riding, and golf.  He also regularly inquires about when he can start tennis lessons and play tee ball... Sheesh.
Meanwhile, Grace has gone from a young infant to a thriving toddler full of movement, activity, words, and opinions.  
This fall, Grace graduated to a stage of having her "own" activities and started preschool and attends a weekly music class.  We've seen Grace develop into a little girl who loves to entertain and be silly.  She is also good at entertaining herself and plays on her own or alongside her brother very well.  We discovered this year that Grace has inherited the same curly locks as everyone else in her family.
Rick continues to work as a corporate attorney at Gardere.  A lot of his clients and connections are down in Austin, Texas, so he (and often the rest of us!) trek down to the Hill Country regularly.  

No complaints on this end.  I enjoy seeing my brother and sister-in-law (and their almost born baby boy!) who live in Austin, and we always love to spend some time in Horseshoe Bay/Lake LBJ during the summer.  
Meanwhile, I have a wonderful life balance between a part-time gig making commercials and freelancing for the news networks.  As such, I get to be with the kids a lot - which is ideal (albeit hectic).  Although it's sometimes a crazy juggle, usually it's a great opportunity to dabble in work while still being engaged at home and flexible to handle everyone's schedules.  We also have some real estate investment projects that I manage in my "spare time".  I am very thankful that Rick is supportive of me in all of my roles.
As in past years, we enjoyed some time away with an annual snow ski trip.  The Burrus family met us in Taos, New Mexico, and we sent the kids to ski school.  Rick and I marveled at Palmer's continued improvement on the slopes and his enthusiasm for "someday getting to ski on the big mountain."  Palmer's instructor told us that Palmer is just a few lessons away from being able to ski anywhere at the resort with us.  Rick intends to hold the instructor to that next year.  ha!
Over the summer we traveled up north to one of my favorite places from childhood - Mackinac Island. Northwest Michigan is such a special place in this country (and to me).  I was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and went to Mackinac Island from time to time as a kid.  Our dear friends Brian and Sara Cordell joined us on the trip.  We traveled together through the various towns and harbors and got to know Will, their newly adopted son from China.
The other Cordell, Maggie, has been a great friend of Palmer since they were little, and we enjoyed throwing Will into the mix.  The trip logistics were too hard to bring Grace along, but we look forward to the foursome banding together for future vacations with the Cordells.
But don't feel sorry for Grace - she gets plenty of attention and even had her very own girls' weekend in Washington, DC with Aunt Samantha earlier in the summer.
Things are always interesting around here...
...and we look forward to your updates and wish everyone a happy holiday season and a wonderful season of new beginnings in 2016.

-Bethany, Rick, Palmer, and Grace Jordan

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Eighteen Months With Grace

Oh eighteen months.  Such a fun age and also such a challenge.  We are in the thick of what I would call a tough life stage.  I remember Palmer was difficult at this time and Grace is also in the middle of a time that is very frustrating for her.  It's that age where a child has opinions, but doesn't have the language to back it up.  It's also that age where independence starts to exert itself and the trials of discipline begin.
Don't get me wrong, we love our little Grace so much.  She is also social, funny, and laid back.

Grace's language is blossoming and she loves to repeat what people say.  Palmer is keen on making fun sounds to Grace and she will mimic it right back.  She is silly and another entertainer in the family.  Grace's teachers told me one day that Grace spent an hour at school making everyone laugh with her funny antics.  I would say it's safe to say we do not have any shy kids in this family.
Grace is also pretty chill (except about important topics like eating and drinking) and usually plays happily by herself with toys or right along Palmer's side.  She enjoys big brother's trains and Legos most days.

Milestone photo with Miss Kitty:
Eighteen-Month Stats:
Height: 30 3/4 inches, 23rd percentile
Weight: 22 lbs, 4 ounces, 19th percentile
Head: 44.5 cm, 12th percentile
Teeth: 7 (Grace is pretty behind in the teeth department)


BOOKS: Grace loves to sit and read her books.  Occasionally, I catch her trying to read some of the books out loud like "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" and "Go Dog Go".
CRAFT SUPPLIES: It's funny how Palmer and Grace are both really getting into this at the same time.  Palmer has always had little to do with coloring, paper crafts, etc.  But lately, he has been making things like paper parachutes and thank you notes/drawings for people.  Meanwhile, Grace loves to sit with some paper and scribble or do stickers.  There is a drawer in the breakfast nook where I keep a lot of these items and I often find Grace happy amidst all sorts of paper and stickers spread everywhere.

EATING: Both of my kids like to eat.  Grace's first words: eat, snack, comer ("to eat" in spanish), agua ("water" in spanish), and hungry.  Grace gets pretty angry if you don't figure out which drink and which food she is trying to tell you she wants.  Now.

BABY DOLLS: Grace has a few baby dolls that she plays with from time to time.  It's cute to see her pat a baby to sleep and put a baby in a stroller.  But honestly, she is also just as happy playing trains so I don't think we've experienced the full-on doll mania (yet).  She is still a little young.
MUSIC CLASS: Grace and I go to a music class once a week and it's fun to have some alone time with one child.  She is very outgoing with the other children and quick to stand next to the teacher and demonstrate something.  One little boy follows her around and she prefers her private space by often telling him, "No!" if he gets too close.  (She exhibits the same strong-willed behavior with her brother!)
Gracie girl, we love you so much.  You are curious about the world around you and finding your place in it.  We love seeing you blossom and grow every day.
Happy eighteen months!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Hockey Camp

I heard and wrote about the Little Rookies FREE hockey camp for Dallas Moms Blog last year.  The gist of the program is: we live in the South where hockey isn't as big as it is for our friends who live closer to Canada.  The Dallas Stars and Mike Modano created a way for parents and young children to try out the sport for free.  

Palmer has been attending his cousin's hockey games for the last few years and has recently shown an interest in playing.  So, we've enrolled him in the camp.  It's a great way to trial the ice, the sport, and all of the gear without investing any money.  

And then if Palmer is really interested, we can consider all of the 36 pieces of protective equipment (plus skates and a stick) needed for hockey....

Before his first lesson, I took him on the ice a skating lesson.  

Checking out the ice:
Rick and I have told Palmer a lot recently that he can't play hockey if he doesn't learn how to skate first.  My goodness, Palmer was so focused and determined when we skated.
 Not bad for Palmer's second time ever on the ice:
Next stop: gear fitting.  I wasn't joking about so many pieces for hockey.  We spent an entire hour the night before practice getting fitted for all of the pads, skates, etc.  Some sweet volunteer high school players helped us figure out how to get dressed.  Palmer had three high school boys helping and we still spent nearly 30 minutes getting dressed.
I kept taking photos of Palmer and Grace was sitting over in the corner going, "cheese!!".  Oh my.  Is someone not getting attention, little one?
Rule number one of hockey: You gotta carry your own stuff.

It is laughable to see all of these children at the rink carrying gigantic bags.  Always ones to take the burden off of ourselves, Rick and I made it clear to Palmer that he had to carry his own stuff if he wanted to play.  Palmer happily rose to the challenge.
Palmer has watched Coleton play hockey many times.  Now, the tables were turned.
Sweet Coleton was so eager to come help Palmer get dressed and cheered him on during the first practice.

The tiny kids were so cute on the ice and I think Palmer forgot that he didn't know how to skate very well.  He did his best to get over to the pucks as fast as possible and took an aim at the goal immediately.
I found a creeper dad...
Three more weeks of the camp and then we'll make some decisions on if we continue the sport (or transition to tee-ball or soccer or tennis.  So much to choose...)
Of course, Palmer tells us he wants to play every sport.  Um, this mama says one at a time!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Halloween Frontier

I gotta hand it to Palmer... For the past few years, he has chosen a costume in August and stuck to his guns all the way to Halloween.  This year's choice was Davy Crockett.
Grace fulfilled her sidekick role (how many more years do I have left of that??) and was an Indian princess.  Thanks to Grampi for the arrow holder.
Our first seasonal stop was a fall party at the club.  Complete with carnival rides (do NOT let me ever EVER get on those swings that DO NOT stop again!) and carnival food, we had a fun time despite the damp weather.
There was a costume contest during the festival.  Before the contest, Palmer and some buddies were smack-talking with the ninja turtle...
The non-princess princess...
Lo and behold...
 We have a WINNER!! "Mom! I've never won a real trophy before!!"
A few days later, Palmer desperately tried to organize his playgroup friends into a costume contest.  He was disappointed nobody listened to him.
Can you believe our lil playgroup has grown to 20 tiny humans??

Last but not least, we had a wonderful time on Halloween night trick or treating in the neighborhood.

Grace was excited to get in on the action:
Grace did really well and mustered her best "trick or treat" and "thank you" at about six houses with the coaching of big brother and Dad.
And after about 6 houses, we stuck Grace in the stroller with a sucker so the bigger kids could move as fast as they thought they needed to...
Speaking of the big kids, Palmer enjoyed having Cayman (and family) join us for the third year in a row.
The neighborhood gang was all tough until they got to Ms. Liz's haunted house...
A bush (who was really a human) jumped out and grabbed the kids.  Palmer was totally freaked out and told afterwards to "watch out for that bush at Ms. Liz' scary house!".  My boy just doesn't have a shy bone in his body.  Mr. Social warned the entire neighborhood!

Such a fun Halloween in the books!