Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jeremy Campbell Hopper

Self Portrait
Our little man had his three year checkup last week, and he is very healthy! Panic attack at entering the doctor's office aside, we were pleased with his appointment. Jeremy was described by the doc as "lanky" due to his measurements. He is 36 pounds and 39 3/4 inches. That is 75% for weight and 95% for height. We have a tall young man on our hands. The doc said his reflexes and development look great - which is a nice relief as his 2 year checkup was a different story since the speech problems made his entire development chart look horrible. He got two shots, a flu mist, and three Thomas stickers. We also got a referral to a pediatric dermatologist to have the mole on his cheek looked at. I have a lovely history with unfortunate moles, so better safe than sorry. Amidst the constant tears for literally an hour straight, I am happy to say he was still polite and said "thank you" multiple times as well as "doctor nice." Good to know he thought the doctor was nice considering the screaming that would have otherwise led us to believe he thought the doctor was a toddler-eating monster. I do love my odd kid. :)

Some photos of the last few days:
Still loving the "color bath."
Still loving the robe and mom's homemade pancakes on a Saturday morning.Another view of Saturday mornings. Brian took this photo and I never even woke up. I am glad Jeremy did not walk out the front door while I was sleeping. I am a very good mother. Sorry, PBS Kids just does not excite me the way it does Jeremy.Still loves William. Yes, this is at a restaurant. William's daddy had a birthday party so naturally, we let our boys run wild. Aren't they cute, though?Still loving a good cuddle with mommy. Notice that he puts his hand on my tummy now to feel Violet. Does it get better than that??

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Violet Cordelia Hopper

Well, we finally decided on a name. What do you think? Brian is in love with the name 'Cordelia', which is from King Lear (Cordelia is the good daughter, you know, the one who does not plot to kill her father), and I really like the name 'Violet' because I just think it is pretty and while it is not quite 'Velita', it does remind me of my mommy. Put together, Brian and I love them both!

So, here is little Violet at 22 weeks gestation. She is growing fast, in my opinion, and kicks her mommy all the time. She is the length of a spaghetti squash (whatever that is) at 11 inches, and weighs about 1 pound. Here is a photo - I wore this dress in all my Jeremy stage photos as well, so it is cute to look back and see how this pregnancy compares to the last. I am a bit bigger this time around and carrying higher, but it is not a huge difference.Jeremy has agreed to make room for Violet and even decided to share his pictures! We have the space for the crib and dresser, but the wall photos were all out of wack after we moved the furniture. So, Jeremy chose which pictures Violet could have and which he got to keep. He gets all the books (mine!), the ABC posters, the baseball pictures, and vehicle pics. Violet gets the baby animals and the clown. Makes sense to me!We are over halfway there and very excited to meet our little girl. :)

Oh, one of my friends at work said I should register in case people wanted to get Violet anything. I already have most of what we need, though we still only own the one dress and most of the hand-me-downs are blue. What is the thought on registering with a second child? Is that kosher? Should I do it? Any thoughts are welcome!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

3 Years Old, Going on 25

Jeremy is getting old. I see signs each day of how his babyhood is slipping away before my eyes. It makes me sad, as I am not quite ready to send my 3 year-old off to college. Here are some highlights from the last week that document his rise to adulthood:

1. He sat through an entire wedding (congrats Keith!) and did not disrupt the service - not even once! He also danced with the wedding party, upstaging them completely (which is no small feat since the couple met in salsa dancing class and had their whole group there with choreographed moves).2. He was playing with his toys the other day while I was reading a book and I heard him saying "one a Jeremy, one a Baby Trains" over and over again. He was separating his toys (trains included) into two piles. When I asked him about it, he said matter of factly, "I'm sharing a Baby Trains." What?!3. He started his new speech therapy at Bearden Elementary - a big kid school. His therapist, Ms. Joann, was shocked at how well he spoke and had to throw out her entire lesson plan for the day. At one point, he skipped 5 steps ahead on one of her pattern activities and read out the most difficult pattern perfectly. I thought Ms. Joann's eyes were going to pop out of her head. I rarely have to defend his speech problem, but there I was promising her that he spoke his first words in May and has just been on the fast track ever since - "he really does have a problem, please don't kick him out of speech!"

4. He regularly sits on the potty at home and at school. Granted, nothing has actually entered the potty, but he enjoys sitting there. We are hopeful this will in fact work itself out before college. (Thanks to Lauren for the Potty Train book! It has helped tremendously!!)5. He reminded me the other day that he needed to brush his teeth. I completely skipped this step in our bedtime routine (I blame the pregnancy for my mind being gone), and after one bedtime story he abruptly got up and said, "Mommy! I have to bruss my teef!" He even uses big kid toothpaste and an electric toothbrush.6. He can name all the Star Wars characters and spaceships. We were watching Star Wars over the weekend, and Jeremy started labeling things for us. "Mommy, that's the Millenninum Fulkon..That's a TIE Fighter...That's Obi One Kennoby...That's RD2." I did not even know the names of the TIE Fighters, but yes, that is indeed their name - see below. (Fun side note, he thought Keith's lovely bride, Laura, was Princess Leia!)7. He can sing all the Glee songs. I believe I have mentioned this obsession of his before here. He loves Glee and now sings along to the songs in the car. Gone are his requests for Dora, now all he wants is Glee. He puts his fingers in the L shape on his forehead and yells "Glee!" He even tells me who is singing. "Mommy, that's Rachel...Finn...Mr. Shu." They are his new Sesame Street. (Note: I have quit letting him watch the shows after he started calling his teachers MILFs, but I think listening to the music is fine).8. He assists in unloading the dishwasher and loading the washing machine. He loves to help with chores. He will undoubtedly reverse on that one soon.

9. I was crying the other day (again, blame the pregnancy, as there was no actual reason to be crying - I think I was reading something), and Jeremy walked up to me and put his hand on my back and said, "Mommy sad. Give a kiss. Give a hug. All better. Fank you, Jeremy."

Is there a way to make time stop before he is married and has kids of his own?? I cannot handle this.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Civil War, Ken Burns Style

I know the major players: Lincoln, Davis, Grant, Lee, Sherman, Forrest, Douglass, Barton. I consider myself to be pretty well-informed for an average person when it comes to the Civil War. I mean, how many times have I seen North and South? (This is no joke, by the way. George, Orry, Billy, or Charles were pretty much in every single major battle and event from 1861 - 65, it's a fact.) But, after finally completing the award-winning Ken Burns PBS documentary The Civil War with Brian this week, I am now familiar with some of the lesser-known heroes of the war, at least to me. And, as I find this fascinating, you get to read my random and often quite childish thoughts on the subject. Enjoy!

First of all, two disclaimers. 1. I find that I enjoy documentaries and highly recommend Ken Burns to anyone. I infinitely prefer a book, but it is nice to get all the fun pictures and hear the dramatic narrations. 2. I am in no way shape or form a history buff. That is Brian's area. So, no judging of my opinions or lack of previous knowledge please (I am talking to you, Melissa, Mrs. AP History teacher).

First up, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. This guy won my New Crush Award for his bravery, intelligence, honor, and awesome mustache. He was an academic who joined the army in Maine and became a Colonel after only 9 months. His most notable battle was at Gettysburg when he successfully held Little Round Top despite overwhelming numbers of Confederate soldiers. He took a risk, it paid off, and it was a huge factor in winning this major battle and turning point in the War. Chamberlain was wounded in battle four times, but each time kept fighting despite the wounds. After his most significant injury, he dug his sword into the ground and leaned upon it to keep himself upright as he continued to rally his troops. Turns out he was wounded so severely that the surgeons declared him a goner, Grant promoted him on the stretcher to Brigadier General, and his obituary ran in the paper the next day. Fun times since he lived for another 50 years, though that very wound was indeed what killed him in 1914. Anyway, he was present at Appomattox and was given command of the Union troops for the historical moment when Lee's Army of Northern Virginia surrendered. He was a determined soldier and commander, but my love was sealed when after the war he went back to his old job as a professor at Bowdoin College and taught every subject except mathematics. He was awarded the Medal of Honor, became president of Bowdoin College, governor of Maine, and never missed a war reunion until his death. So my big question: why on earth have I never heard of this awesome mustachioed man??

My next discovery was Elisha Hunt Rhodes. He wins my How on Earth is That Possible Award for literally being in every single battle of the war, ever. Yes, I expect it from the fake characters on North and South, but even that ridiculous miniseries needed 4 guys to accomplish what this one guy did all by himself in real life. Ok, so possibly I am exaggerating (a little), but he was present at many, many integral battles, so he was highly featured in the Burns doc since he was a soldier we could follow from beginning to end. Several times when he showed up on screen, I turned to Brian and said, "Him again? That is insane. How was he in every single battle?" He too was quite intelligent and had some interesting comments on the war, from his excitement at the beginning, his despair in the middle, his random bursts of humor when things were going well, and his triumphant return home at the end of it all. He was only 19 when he left his home in Rhode Island to join the Army of the Potomac, and his bravery and luck in surviving to be able to pen a lucid and interesting war diary about his experience is impressive. He put a face with the war, an average, every man face that fought hard, suffered plenty, and ultimately emerged victorious.

The Civil War has always been fascinating to me, I guess that comes from living in the South, and it's funny, I have always heard Sherman spoken of as a madman and enemy. I have attended reenactments, dreamed of hoop skirts, and drooled over Patrick Swayze. But, it was not until I saw the war through the eyes of people like me and thought of my own son in their shoes that their sacrifices became more than legend or romantic story to me. Josh and Eli brought it home for me in a way presidents and famous generals could not. They fought for what they believed in (on both sides) and they fought hard and long. I respect and admire that.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Adventures of Jeremy

We have had a nice 2011 so far, and I realized that I have tons of photos I have not shared (sorry Mom!), and since they have no rhyme or reason to them, this post is simply a smorgasbord of Jeremy adventures in the new year. I hope you enjoy!

On New Year's Eve, we went to the Holiday Express at UT's campus. It is a huge model train exhibit, aka Jeremy Heaven. It was impressive, and Thomas himself was even there. The old men who run the trains came up to us and said they could tell he was a true train aficionado, unlike the other kids. They even told us about the Knoxville Model Train Association that he can join. He would be the youngest, but they were THAT impressed with his train devotion. As you can guess, Brian and I had to concoct an elaborate plan to get him out of the place with little commotion. It involved intricate herding, grabbing, and running amid the screams. We looked like kidnappers.Bud loved painting his wooden trains so much at his birthday party, we have continued the fun on our own. He also painted a picture for his daddy. He said it was me. Gotta love paint all over the face and in the hair!A recent obsession is apples. He just goes to the fridge, gets an apple, and chomps right in. I have to be sure to wash them immediately after we buy them now so that we are prepared for this. I realize in the grand scheme this is no big deal, but it seems so grown up for him to eat an apple without me cutting it up for him.Kristin got Jeremy these crayola bath dyes for his birthday and he loves them! I don't think we will be able to live without them. I totally recommend for anyone with kids - they leave no residue on the tub, he comes out totally clean, and the colors are very rich.Jeremy continues to love watching himself on the computer. He calls it "The Buddy Show" and can literally sit there for an hour laughing hysterically at himself.On our snow day, we decided to pull out the board games. We played his new Thomas one, then Connect Four, then Memory, then Candy Land. My brain turned to mush, but Jeremy had a blast. His speech therapists use games like these a lot, so he is quite good at them.Bud and I went to Target on Sunday after I drug him to work with me and we bought a treat for Baby Trains. She now has her first dress!! Jeremy was cute: after I hung it up he looked at the two closets and said, "One for Jeremy, one for Baby Trains." :) We also rearranged the room and officially now have an empty space for the crib. I think this way of slowly incorporating change is helping Jeremy accept her eventual presence better - I hope anyway.Hope everyone is staying warm and cozy in this crappy weather. We love you!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


So, maybe I burst into tears on the ultrasound table. Maybe.

I really would have been thrilled with either sex, and I must confess I cried when I found out Jeremy was a boy, too. I think it just becomes so much more real when you have a solid person to focus on. SHE is healthy, measures perfectly for her age, and all her organs and bones look great!

When we got back from the doctor to pick up Jeremy from Katie in Massey Hall, she had made crafts with him (because she is great), and now we have this lovely picture to add to Jeremy's door, in anticipation of his sister's arrival. She also made a blue one, just in case, but Jeremy obviously knew it was a girl, because he insisted on blowing up only pink balloons.So, now that it is official, I can let my imagination run free. With Jeremy I dreamed of baseball caps, books, dogs, playing in the dirt, football, trucks, and Star Wars. Little did I know something named Thomas the Tank Engine existed. For Baby Trains, I am excited about ruffly bloomers, books, pigtails, baseball caps, twirly dresses, and princesses. I wonder what she will discover that will take me by surprise? My breath is bated.

Here are some photos from the ultrasound:
Her hands, it looks like she is holding them together to pray.Her feet, crossed at the ankle. It took a lot of pokes with the ultrasound stick in my gut to get her to spread her legs so we could get a look. She is obviously a lady.Her lady parts. Having seen what Jeremy's ultrasound looked like, I knew when I saw this it was a girl before she said anything.Her profile. I think she looks like me (ie: stunningly gorgeous).They are going to do another ultrasound at my next visit since this one was kind of early (18 weeks) in order to get a better look at her heart. They said it looks totally fine (all 4 chambers are there), but they couldn't get all the measurements they need since it is still so small. So, I'll have more photos after February 1st!

So, maybe I pulled Brian out of bed last night to watch the ultrasound DVD again. Maybe.

Oh, and Jeremy got a robe from his Godmother Jack and now he wears it all the time. All I can see when I look at him is Hugh Hefner. Isn't this the worst photo ever? I love it!Hee, hee. Soon I will have two kids to post embarrassing photos of. I can't wait until they are teenagers and hate me! Wha-ha-ha-ha-ha.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Thoughts...

2010, I will miss you. What a year! We learned so much this year and came so far that I am really reluctant to let you go. Jeremy started the year with no words at all, tantrums, and few social skills. Now he has a million billion words, is much better behaved as long as we don't ask him to share his trains, and has made lots of new friends at his school. Brian and I started the year not sure how we were going to keep our little man in school, struggling with a broken down car as our only transportation, and suffering with medical ailments that left us wondering if our dreams of a larger family were never to become realities. Now, we have 2 steady sources of income, a new used car to compliment our newly fixed old car, and a precious Baby Trains due in June! If you told me we would come this far last year, I would have looked at you like you were crazy, attempted a brave smile, and then burst into tears, because that pretty much sums up my state of mind one year ago.

What a difference a year makes.

Family, friends, prayers, and lots of hard work got us where we are today and I, for one, am not ready to let that momentum go quite yet. 2011, welcome. You have a lot to live up to, and I promise to do my part. The ball is in your court.

Here are my goals for the year:
  1. Always be reading a book. Reading keeps me sane, and keeps me, well, me. A day does not go by that I am not reading a book, and I want that to always be the way I live.
  2. Be financially responsible and continue hacking away at the student loans. I worry entirely too much about money, and you know what? We are fine. I need to stick to my budgets, be smart, and our family will continue on the right track.
  3. Clean or organize something every day. I can be downright slovenly sometimes when it comes to housework, so this is a big one for me. As my mom can attest, I never could manage to clean my room. Now, I have like 10 rooms that I don't manage to clean. Something's gotta give, so I am starting at step one. Wish me luck.
  4. De-clutter the house BEFORE June. We are bringing another member of the family home in June, and I am not quite sure where he/she will fit at the moment. I need to take a page out of my friend Jack's book and think minimalist. I think it will do wonders for our space issues.
  5. File my papers at work every Friday. This is pretty self-explanatory. I am pretty organized and on top of things at work (unlike home), but my filing in my office needs help.
  6. Get my hair cut every 2 months. I am sure this sounds ridiculous to most, but I average one haircut per year. On a good year. That is bad, and it makes me feel ugly, and I want to feel pretty, especially in a year that will see me pregnant for 6 out of 12 months. I must take care of myself if I expect to take care of others.
  7. Spend QUALITY time with Jeremy. I love this kid to pieces, and this will be a big year for him as he moves from only child to big brother. I want to enjoy every moment of his single childness and make sure he knows he is loved even when my attention is on the baby. I want to create lasting memories for him this year.
  8. Spend QUALITY time with Brian. I have an amazing husband, and I don't think I tell him that enough. He works very hard with long and odd hours. I need to create time to spend with him and to show him that I appreciate what he does for this family.
  9. Update my resume. Simply because it is time. I am having a kid, so job searching is not an option this year (besides the fact that I love my current job), but I can get all my ducks in a row to prepare myself for a new career step in the future. Plus, resumes make me happy. They are pretty.
  10. Bring a healthy baby into the family. This one is last only because it means so much to me that I am nervous even writing about it. I had no fears with Jeremy. I have every fear in the world with this one for some reason,and it is making me crazy. Baby Trains, I love you.
Not too tough, I think I can manage these goals, but 2011, I need you on my side. 2009 was not so nice, 2010 was my hero, and 2011, I have big hopes for you.

Don't let me down.