Solid Foods!

Jack hit a big milestone Sunday - he started solid foods! He got his first taste of rice cereal and he did pretty well. I'd say about half of the 1 tablespoon made it into his belly, with the rest landing on his chin and bib. He looks so stinking cute in his high chair. It was a shower gift (thanks Lisa, Amanda and Alison!), but we just put it together for the occasion. He has started every morning since Sunday with 1 tbs. of rice cereal and I have to say he's getting better and better at keeping it in his mouth. He even opens his mouth when he sees the spoon coming.

After about a week of the rice cereal, we'll make our way through the other cereals (oatmeal, barley, wheat) for about a week at a time, working up to 3-4 tbs. at a time. Then we'll start introducing vegetables and then fruits. Fun times at the Clayton household! Our little baby man is growing up so fast!


Jack's First Christmas

Jack had a great first Christmas! We got to see a lot of friends and family, and spent a lot of time with my sister and Greg, who were in town from New York.

The first holiday event was a happy hour with the family friends for the Mizzou/Illinois basketball game. We didn't make it to game time (8:30 pm) since it was Jack's bedtime, but we did spend several hours hanging out with our friends. Laura & Paul were in town from San Francisco, Jules was in town from Chicago and Angie & Eric (and kiddos) were in town from South Carolina. And Jack met a few people he hadn't met yet too. It was a fun night.
Future beer drinker - it's definitely in his genes:
On Christmas Eve we went to my parents' house, first to just hang out and exchange gifts with my parents and Kelly and Greg (Jack slept through most of this), then for the Gibler Christmas (my mom's family). Again it was a fun night - Jack took a good nap despite the noise and played with his new toys, including a football and a floor mirror.

Family photo - yes, Jason had on a Hawaiian shirt - he had a little cream soda incident and had to take his shirt off. He raided my dad's closet and this is what he found. (I think the Woodford Reserve whiskey he had been drinking had something to do with his selection):Jack's new football from Aunt Kelly & Uncle Greg:
The new floor mirror from Great Uncle Mike and Great Aunt Kathy:
All bundled up and ready to go home:Christmas morning, we went over to Jason's sister's house to watch our nieces and nephew open their presents. The morning is always chaos, but it is so fun to watch. My favorite was Mia's enthusiastic "Oh my gosh!" as she opened each and every gift. It was a hoot. Jack had a good time too - spent some quality time with Grandpa and Grandma and was a happy man even though we woke him from his nap to go there.

All the grand kids with Grandpa and Grandma:
Daddy and Jack watching Grandpa's train:After we went to Grandpa and Grandma Clayton's house to exchange gifts and play with Grandpa's train, we went home for a few hours. Jack got a little nap in and he opened his presents from Santa. He was in such a happy little mood and loved to eat the wrapping paper. So fun!

We headed to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Ree's house in the afternoon to celebrate with my dad's family. Again Jack got to meet a few of my uncles and cousins for the first time, which was fun. We skyped my cousin Sarah and her husband Phil who are living in the UK for a year while Phil obtains his MBA from Oxford. It was cool to catch up with them and they got to "see" everyone, including Jack. Instead of exchanging gifts with the Langs, we adopted a family and then just played rob your neighbor. This year's theme was funny hats, and there were some good ones!!

Me holding Jack in front of the webcam - look at Sarah & Phil's faces on the big TV. Too cute!
All the cousins (and spouses) displaying our new hats:Jack wearing Daddy's "hat":We ended the night with dinner at the Claytons' house. Jack received a very special gift from his grandparents - his first train! It is an old classic Lionel (older than Grandpa, they said) and they gave us a nice wooden chest to keep it in, complete with custom-made (by Grandpa) trays to hold each train car. We can't wait to put it up next Christmas - Jack will love it!
Jack in his train conductor's hat:
Saturday, we met up with my college friends. Alison, Mike and Giana were in town from New York, so we saw them, as well as Lisa, Michael and Ella and Emily and Adam. It was a fun night. It's always fun seeing the babies together. Jack and Giana were even holding hands for awhile. So cute, future husband and wife.All in all, we had a great holiday. Jack is a lucky little man - he got a ton of fun toys and clothes, including a Nike, a Puma and an Adidas track suit and a Mizzou sweatsuit.


4 Month Check-Up

Jack had his four-month check-up Wednesday and all is well. He weighs 20 lbs., 13 oz. (99.7th percentile), is 27" long (97th percentile) and his head circumference is 16 3/4" (50th percentile). The doctor said he's not overweight for his length, so nothing to worry about (we weren't worried). He said developmentally he's right on track: he's talking and gurgling, grabbing for things and bringing them to his mouth, smiling and laughing, etc. He also gave us the green light to start introducing solid foods. More on that in a later post.

Jack had to get 3 immunizations - one was a liquid squirted into his mouth and the other two were shots. He took them like a champ and barely cried. A vast improvement from the last time when all three of us cried! He was a little fussy that night, probably from the shots, but a little Tylenol cured that!

We've been busy getting ready for the holidays. Jack sat on Santa's lap again, this time at Bass Pro.
He also helped Mommy bake cookies one day.
Our little rascal:


Catch Up

I've been on a blogging hiatus for a few reasons. First, December is a busy month for me at work. In order to still spend as much time as possible with Jack before he goes to sleep, I've been leaving work at a normal hour and then getting back on my computer after he goes to bed to finish up some work. That doesn't leave much time for blogging! Also, Jason had all but hijacked the laptop in his massive search for a bass boat. He seriously spent about 2 weeks straight scouring the Internet looking for a perfect boat for Steve and him to buy. Thankfully (I think) he finally found one, which he's going to pick up next weekend, so I can now use the computer at will again.

Anyway, let's review what's new with us. Jack is doing great. He's been a little congested lately - I think I gave him the cold I had a few weeks ago. It doesn't seem to be bothering him, but I have gotten really fast at using the dreaded nose aspirator bulb thing to clear him out. He also had a rash on his forehead two weeks ago, so I took him to the doctor to get it checked out that Friday (12/4). He said it's nothing - just the face equivalent of cradle cap (it has a real name, but it's long and technical and I can't remember it). He said it'll go away on its own, or I can put Lotrimin (yes, the ringworm anti-fungal cream) on it. It is pretty much cleared up with the cream, and I'm glad to know it's nothing to worry about. While we were at the doctor, Jack got weighed. For sick visits, they weigh them with clothes on, so it might be a few ounces off (I have no idea how much clothing weighs), but he was 20 lbs., 10 oz. I'm sure that's still off the charts, but I have to say it's a little smaller than I expected after his unofficial weigh-in showed 21 lbs. 2 1/2 weeks earlier.

Jack is on the verge of rolling over - he can get onto his side, but then he just hangs out there for awhile and rolls back to his back. He hasn't rolled tummy to back yet, which they usually do first, because he really still despises tummy time. I think I mentioned before, the doctor told us at his last appointment that he might take longer to roll over because he's such a big guy. We're in no rush, but I always have the video camera nearby just in case. :)

He's still smiling all the time and laughing out loud at us. He loves to grab at things and bring them to his mouth. He really gnaws and bites on things now, so we suspect teeth may be in the near future (or maybe not - you never know). New this week, he grabs for Maggie when she comes near - it's pretty cute, but inevitably ends with Maggie trying to lick Jack's face.

He loves to watch football (can we say Daddy's son??) and still loves to gurgle and talk. He's found some new sounds, but I wouldn't say he's making consonant sounds just yet (should be soon according to the books). Can't wait for that first "mamama" and "dadadada" even though he won't know what he's saying just yet!

He's still eating like a champ. He has five meals of breast milk per day - I nurse him in the morning and at night, and he gets 3 bottles during the day, usually about 7 oz. each. He goes to bed pretty routinely at about 8:00 pm each night and sleeps until about 6:00 am or 6:30 am, but still wakes up occasionally when his arms come unswaddled and/or he loses his pacifier. He takes two solid naps per day (morning and afternoon), usually about 2-3 hours each, with a few cat naps mixed in. He hasn't been napping great at Grandma & Grandpa Lang's house (Mondays and Fridays), but Grandpa has apparently found a cure for that: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. For those who don't know, my dad is known among his friends and family for loving this 18 minute song by Iron Butterfly. Well, apparently my son likes it too - Grandpa and Jack listen to it almost every day and that's how Jack falls asleep for his nap. Rocking out to Iron Butterfly on Grandpa's lap.

I signed us up for swim classes starting March 6 (he has to be 6 months old first) - I can't wait! Maybe that will motivate me to exercise more since I'll have to don a bathing suit and get in there with him. Melissa & Addison are signing up for the same class, so it's going to be a lot of fun!

We finally got our Christmas tree yesterday - we planned to go cut one down, but in the interest of time decided to go to a tree lot instead. Turns out, trees are pretty picked over on December 12. We got one that is fine, but now we have to wait for the branches to drop before we can decorate it. We won't be waiting this long to get our tree next year - it doesn't feel right that we won't have a completed tree until mid-December.

Yesterday, Paige and Mia had their semi-annual dance recital. It was cute as always, and I used my new video camera. I didn't know until afterward that I was breaking the dance studio rules - no video allowed. Oops!

Here are some pictures of Jack from the last couple weeks:

All the cousins on Thanksgiving:
Addison & Jack meeting Santa at a Parents as Teachers meeting:Jack and Santa (he was neither scared by nor interested in who was holding him):Our little tiger:Almost rolling over:Snoozing in his car seat all bundled up in his adorable hat - I couldn't get the camera out fast enough - right before this he had a death grip on one of his toys.Here's a video of Jack laughing. It's the cutest sound we've ever heard:

And here's one of him just being cute playing with his toys. At the very end he whacked himself in the face with a toy and scared himself, so we had to cut the video short. :)



Jack had a very nice first Thanksgiving. We went to my Aunt Jan and Uncle Lynn's house for lunch, then went to Grandma & Grandpa Clayton's house for dinner. Jack was a good boy despite being toted all around and missing one of his naps!

He is just getting more fun each and every day - the latest development is his laugh. He's been laughing out loud for several weeks now, but just in the past week he's really started to belly laugh. It is the cutest thing we've ever heard! The littlest things just make him crack up - so fun!

Cyndi and I braved the stores on Black Friday, as we do every year. It was a looooong day of shopping - we started at 5:00 am and got home after 3:00 pm. It was worth it though, I made some great progress on my Christmas shopping, and got a couple good deals for myself too!

Since we had a beautiful 70-degree sunny day yesterday, Jason got the Christmas lights put up and got to wear shorts while doing so. Crazy! Hard to believe we had that weather at the end of November, but we'll take it! I had grand intentions of getting out the Christmas decorations this weekend, but with Sunday coming to a close, it's not looking too promising. Maybe next weekend...

Jason gave me my Christmas present early - a new camcorder!! I am so excited! We've taken a couple of videos to test it out, and we hope to document all of Jack's upcoming milestones!

Here's a video of Jack's morning wake-up routine. After we unswaddle him (if he hasn't done so on his own already), he stretches and rubs his eyes and then just smiles and smiles at us! Mornings are fun - even though they start at 6:30!


3 Month Pictures

We got Jack's 3 month pictures taken today. We went to Portrait Innovations in Chesterfield Valley. The pictures turned out really well, but they were running an hour late and the place was a madhouse - not a good combination with a 3 month old and an impatient husband. It was not a great experience. However, like I said, the pictures turned out very cute, so that's good at least.

Here's a sample:



First, we did an unofficial weigh-in and length measurement of our little 3-month old Tuesday night. You'll never guess how big he is now....21 pounds and 26"!!! Holy cow! To give you some perspective, here are some other stats from the past week: Giana Marciano (also 3 months old) = 13 lb., 4 oz.; Addison Asher (6 months old) = 20 lbs. 9 oz.; and Lily Knichel (15 months old!!) = 22 lbs., 8 oz. Yes, our son is a very big boy!! We love his big cheeks and his cushy little body. He is such a snuggle bug! Plus, I'm confident my arms are now stronger than they've ever been! Jack is cruising through the clothing sizes - he's been in 3-6 months/6 months for at least a month now, and he can almost wear 6-9 month/9 month clothes in some brands. Wow!

Now, for the subject of this post. We discovered awhile ago that Jack is a big fan of music (as most babies are). Jason loves to play the Black Eyed Peas for him and has even showed him their videos on youtube. We've switched from his regular lullaby CDs to Dave Matthews Band and Amy Winehouse and 311 (more for our sanity since we listen through the monitor, but Jack likes it too). BUT, the song that is the most soothing for him is from my Chi Omega days...Shades (you Chi-Os know what I'm talking about). I happened upon this when I ran out of songs I could remember all the words to without the music - you can only sing the ABCs, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb so many times. So I sang Shades to him and he fell asleep! The next day, same thing! And now, almost every time he fusses I can calm him by singing that song. The most shocking part about it is I'm completely tone deaf, but somehow I manage to soothe him by singing. Hey, whatever works, right?


One Week Down

Well, we all survived my first week back at work. I cried a lot on Sunday, but was relatively tear-free during the week. That is, aside from Tuesday night when Jack refused to smile at me when I got home - that brought on some tears. He's learning though - I received smiles galore when I got home Thursday and Friday! I've got a lot going on at work, so that certainly helps to make the days go by quickly. Jason spent a lot of time home with Jack this week and he is now on my bandwagon praying we win the lottery so we can stay home with our little man!

Jack is doing very well - he enjoyed all the extra time with his daddy and grandparents this week. He's really starting to use his hands more and more - he grabs onto anything he can reach: the bottle, my shirt, his burp cloth, toys, etc. He's also making some more sounds - I've been hearing the 'O' sound a lot more - though he still loves that gurgle!

We currently wrap him in a Swaddle Me blanket every night and during naps, but lately he finds his way out of it almost every time. The other night I went in to calm him down, and this is what I found. Silly little man. It's probably time to start weaning him from the swaddle. The problem is, he seems to wake himself up more if his arms aren't confined in a swaddle. We'll have to gradually get him used the freedom I suppose.

Three nights this week, Jack slept the entire night (about 8:30pm - 6:00am) without waking up at all!! Usually he needs a pacifier replacement once or twice. That was quite a blessing during my first week back!

We tried out his new Baby Einstein video this morning (thanks Grandma Lang) and he liked it, but was not mesmerized like I expected. I think he was getting sleepy when I turned it on, so maybe another day he'll pay more attention.

Hard to believe Jack will be 3 months old Tuesday!! Time flies!



Jack had a new first. We were at the Minchers' house last night for their annual friends Thanksgiving and Jack tried out Nathan's jumperoo. He loved it!! Didn't do a lot of bouncing just yet, but he had this expression like "whoa!" I brought his exersaucer upstairs this morning because apparently he's ready for it, but I'm thinking we might have to ask Santa to bring him a jumper too.Here are some more pictures from the Thanksgiving party.

Ryan & Nathan and Jason & Jack:
Jack and Addi:Little chubby cheeks man:Our family:
My maternity leave has come to an end - I go back to work tomorrow. It has completely flown by - I wish maternity leave was a full year long like it is in parts of Europe. I really wish I could stay home full time with Jack, but at least I know he will be in good hands (Grandma & Grandpa Lang 2 days/week, Grandpa Clayton 2 days/week and Daddy 1 day/week or more as his schedule allows this winter).

In other news, Jack was on the front page of stltoday.com on Friday! At the suggestion of one my mom's friends, I submitted a picture of him in his Marine costume to the paper. It was the "featured photo" on the front page for almost the whole day. Our famous little man!

You can see him in the middle of the page in the screen print below.
If you open his picture on the website, you can see the comments that people have made - people were saying things like "my brother is a Marine - he would love this" and "Jack you look so cute in your Marine costume." So fun!


Jack & Addi

We also went to the Ashers' house last night, where of course we had another baby photo shoot. Jack has almost caught up with Addi size-wise!! If you remember, she looked so much bigger than him when he was born as she's 3 1/2 months older than him!

Then (August 27th):
Now (October 31st):

First Halloween

Jack's first Halloween was a big success! We surprised Grandpa Clayton with a Marine costume and he loved it! Jason worked hard on putting the outfit together - found the jacket and shoes online and made the hat, the belt and the "badges" for the sleeves. Grandma Lang made the pants and Grandma Clayton sewed all the buttons onto the jacket. He looked so adorable!

Our dapper Marine:
Grandpa seeing him for the first time:The two Marines:All the kiddos: Lily (Cowardly Lion), Mia (Dorothy), Jack (Marine) and Paige (Devil):Mia & Lily looking cute!