Patio Chalking.



Over the summer, when the heat kept us indoors, the coolest part of the day was usually in the morning. Jake loves being outside, so I would often set him loose on our tiny balcony with sidewalk chalk and a cup of water. His mess usually resulted in a bath, which provided another 30 minutes of play out of the heat. The evidence of his play still remains on our screen door and the walls of the balcony.

Bedtime.

Most of the time, Jake goes to bed at night without too much of a fight. Tonight, I had to go to the grocery store late and so he was in bed when I got home. Apparently, that didn't mean he was asleep. As soon as he heard me, he begged for me to come in his room.

"Mommy, lay down!" he demands.

And so I oblige, because something about even a quick jaunt to the grocery story by myself somehow renews my sense of affection and erases away the day's annoyances. So I lay down.

He can't stop talking. He tells me all about the 40 minutes of his life that I just missed.

"Watch Turtles Daddy," he says."
"You watched Ninja Turtles with Daddy?" I question.
"Yes. 'Cary Turtles?" he questions.
"No, they aren't scary."
"Oh, good Turtles. Read Daddy scrip-scrips?"
"You read scriptures with Daddy?"
"Yes, Gake scrip-scrips."
"That's good, I'm glad you read scriptures. But now it's time to stop talking and go to sleep."
"OK," he says. And then he starts singing, "This Ha-ween, this Ha-ween," from the YouTube video TJ let him watch just before Halloween.
"No, Jake, it's time to sleep. How about I sing to you?"
"OK!"

And so I sing to him. And then I leave his room, to his protest. I make it about five minutes before he calls for me again. This time, saying, "Gake hungry. Eat Cheerios?" But I know his game, because next he asks to "Play choo-choo?" and so I try to leave again, but he just cries at his door. Finally, I give in and go back to his room, pick up that little boy that is getting to be so big, and cradle him in my arms like a baby. I hold him close and smell his hair, clean from his bath. He doesn't fight it. In fact, he seems to relish it just as much as I do. And when my grip starts to slacken, he wraps his arms around me and adjusts his head against my chest, and I hold onto this moment for just a little longer before I put him in his bed, lay down by him, and sing "Peace, Be Still" by Nate Noble along with my phone which is playing the song on repeat because it's his magic sleeping pill.

Eventually, I hear his breathing slow and deepen, and I sneak out of his room.

I've had very little patience in general lately, especially with that sweet boy. I think tonight, we both needed a few moments to reconnect. Sometimes, it's OK if bedtime isn't as quick as usual.

Jake-isms.


(Just to show how expressive he is. These were taken last month, in Flagstaff.)

My friend, Emma, has been documenting things that her daughter Holland (who is a day older than Jake) says, and I thought it was a good idea. It's something I've always wanted to do and even though Jake isn't talking quite as much as Holland, he's talking more and more all the time and says some funny things.

For some reason, he associates the word "good" with "food." And so:

Jake: Tree? Good?
Kylie: Yes, trees are good.
Jake: Nummy tummy!
Kylie: No, Jake, we don't eat trees.

We're working on other adjectives besides "good" for obvious reasons. Another thing he does is if he likes what he's eating, while he's chewing he will look at you and with his chin up say, "Good," sometimes naming the food first, "Kicken (chicken), good."

Jake: Guys? (Talking to me and TJ.)
Us: Yes, Jake?
Jake: Ummm, church?

He reaallly likes going to church.

Kylie: Jake, what are you thankful for?
Jake: Uhh....Jesus.

*** ***
So I've had this post saved in drafts since September. It's amazing how much Jake is learning (and repeating) every day, and he's now moving into more complete sentences. It's so much fun. Here are a few more conversations with Jake.

Kylie: Jake, what did you do at Mamaw's (grandma's) today?
Jake: Um, nine, ten, 'lelen (eleven).
K: Oh, really? And what did you have for lunch?
J: Um, kicken (chicken).
K: Yummy, chicken! And then what did you do?
J: Firteen (thirteen)?

Jake's response to a lot of things is "nine, ten, 'lelen," for some reason we do not know.

Kylie: Jake, would you like some barbecue sauce with your chicken?
Jake: Yes! Goober sauce!
Kylie & TJ: *burst out laughing*
Jake: (after trying some) Nummy goober sauce!

While we are eating, if Jake really likes something, he will tell us with the following phrases:
Tastes SO GOOD!
Nummy tummy!
(Name of food) SO GOOD!

When he's being silly, he will say, "Boonanana?" Sometimes TJ and I talk gibberish to Jake to make him laugh, so we're guessing this is his form of gibberish.

He loves to call people funny. "Mommy, funny? Daddy funny? Gake (what he calls himself) funny?"

He recently learned his full name.
Anyone: "What's your name?"
Jake: "Um, TroyGakePond."

We love this funny boy!

Halloween Bats.



There are several tutorials for these toilet paper roll bats, and I thought it would be a fun mommy-son project to do. This is the tutorial/template we used. However, instead of using black construction paper for the bodies, I had Jake color on brown kraft wrapping paper. It would also be cool to use crayons on black paper or something like that. It made our little apartment festive for the holiday, and Jake referred to them as "scary birds."

Date Night.

TJ and I have been struggling to go on regular dates lately. I could list the sundry reasons, but truthfully we just haven't made it a priority and have seen the effects of that. Well, TJ's mom called us a couple weeks ago and said she had some vacation hours she needed to use up and wondered if they could borrow Jake for a few days. After a family get-together in Anthem last Saturday, Jake went back to Flagstaff and we went home childless. It was actually really emotional for us both, as we have only been away from him that long once before.

With no child to find a sitter for, we decided to plan some dedicated time together. On Monday, we went to dinner at The Keg, a nice steakhouse that we had gift cards to (thanks Roz & Nat & NAU friends!). We had a delicious dinner and tried to ignore life's stresses and enjoy being together. I got a top sirloin steak with a twice-baked potato, and TJ had their Thai chicken, which came with sauteed peppers and onions, and garlic mashed potatoes. Between our meals and their delicious bread and whipped butter, we were both stuffed. I'm grateful to be legit-pregnant at times like these, to disguise the food baby that results.

Last night, we took the opportunity to go to the temple and do sealings. I always love visits to the temple, even though sealings are a little more difficult when I'm pregnant (and I don't think the sealer noticed that I was). Since it was a Tuesday, we had the opportunity to see my dad and brother, who always go on Tuesday nights.

All in all, I think we made the most of our alone time, but we missed our boy!

Conference Weekend.



We really love General Conference. It's a time to relax, listen to prophets, and spend time as a family. This time, we made homemade playdough and went out for Yoko's during Priesthood Session with Mamaw and Ninna.

A Rainy Day at Grandma's.

The other day I took a few videos of Jake playing outside on the nicest day so far this "Fall." It rained on and off, just enough to cool things off and make for a very pleasant day. I thought I'd try my hand at video editing and put together a little film.

Rainy Day at Grandma's from Kylie Pond on Vimeo.

I don't do this very often because all of the videos I take are on my phone, which isn't the greatest quality ever. I wish my "fancy" camera were fancy enough (read: new enough) to take videos, but it's not. I decided to stop making excuses and try to at lease take decent videos and make do with what I have. The result isn't the most beautiful or technical it could be, but it holds sweet memories for us. Plus, Jake watched this like 7 times in a row, and only stopped because we had to go to the store. SO that's a win, right? He loves watching himself, and I love having it a little more polished.

I really want to incorporate video more into our family memory keeping (in a finished way), because it shows a depth that still photos simply can't. It shows interactions, expressions changing and forming, and, of course, helps record those precious giggles and squeals of joy. I think that the same thing applies to filming as it does to picture-making: the best camera is the one you have with you. The nice thing about my phone is that I ALWAYS have it, so it's always available to capture those little moments. With the way technology is advancing, memory-keeping is easier than ever, and makes a fairly decent alternative to the more expensive equipment.

All that being said, I really can hardly wait until I can upgrade my dSLR. I've been so inspired by bloggers like my friend Emma, my sister Kyndra (who did our pregnancy announcement video), Alexa, and Shelby. In the meantime, I'll keep practicing with my iPhone.

First Zoo Trip.

In April, my sister and I bought tickets to the Wildlife World Zoo on Living Social for a good price. Then we realized why they were a "good price"....they expired at the beginning of September, meaning they were valid during the hottest months of the year here in Satan's Lair the Valley of the Sun. We tried to sell them on Craigslist and a coupon resell site with no luck. Then, when my sister had left for Boston, we decided to go with my mom as an activity for Jake's birthday. I might've mentioned it before, but TJ and I have decided to try and make a tradition of doing a fun activity for birthdays instead of giving tons of gifts. A gift of experiences, if you will. So, we picked what turned out to be one of the hottest days in August to make the 45-minute trek to Litchfield Park, AZ, otherwise known as The Middle Of Nowhere.

I would love to say that we are so glad we went, but honestly I was regretting those ticket purchases. It would have been probably 80% more enjoyable had it not been The Hottest Day in August. BUT, the other 20% (or more, don't check my math) was just the fact that this zoo is not the most enjoyable. The exhibits are old and rundown and many seemed too small for the animals. TJ actually said, "I've decided I don't like zoos. The animals deserve better." While we realize that zoos do a lot for conservation and research and public awareness, it really was kind of depressing. It wasn't just the animals either. Some of the staff were kind of off-putting (the petting zoo guy barely talked to us, only when we spoke to him), and it really just wasn't worth the drive for us when the Phoenix Zoo is so much closer. Maybe it just needs some "We Bought a Zoo"-esque treatment (and they are making some improvements, the signs told us).

All that being said, it was fun to watch Jake and see his interest in the animals. He especially enjoyed the aquarium portion of the zoo, which was also a welcome relief from the heat. A lot of the animals in the other exhibits were out and about, and the small enclosures meant they were easily visible even if they weren't active, which was nice. He liked seeing the animals in the petting zoo, but refused to touch them, as is evidenced in the photos.


Oh you know, just me practicing some boring compositions.


His expressions....priceless.


These baby goats were only a few weeks old and so cute.


Looking at, but not touching (never touching) the tortoise.


There were a couple of baby sea lions that Jake loved.


That monkey backpack is a leash. I said I would never, but I've learned that one of the main dishes in the meal of motherhood is one's own words. It was awesome.


I've decided that hyenas are really kinda creepy, in-bred looking creatures. But they kinda look like dogs, too. They were the most active animals we saw, though they seemed to be taunting us.

At the Park.

We had the opportunity to go up with TJ to Flagstaff when he made a trip up for work. It was SO nice to escape the muggy heat of August in the Valley and journey to the cooler pines. We went a couple of times in August, and one of them we spent in sweaters as it was a cool 60 degrees and rainy (amazing in its own right). However, the other time we went up, the weather was perfectly clear and so we invited our friends Rachel and Jane to walk to the park with us. Jake killed some time outside on his "Coneen" (Lightning McQueen) ride-on toy, then when they arrived we strapped the babies in their strollers and walked to the park a couple blocks away.

Jake and Jane had lots of fun on the swings, slide, and teeter totter. I love the picture of Jake with his tongue sticking out, which is something I used to do as a kid when I was concentrating. Jane is such a beauty and so adventurous. She went right down the steep slide a few times before Jake mustered the courage to go once. We miss having these friends close by! Thanks for playing with us Rachel and Jane.

Jake Turns Two!

Last month, Jake had his second birthday! We decided to keep it super simple this year. TJ's family came down from Flagstaff, and we went to and early morning session at the Gilbert temple with his parents and Grandpa Lamar and Denise. TJ's siblings met us at the temple with Jake, and then we all went to breakfast at Village Inn, where Jake got a free piece of chocolate pie. Then, we went to Grandpa Lamar's house to visit for a bit. Jake loved playing with their car collection. He fell asleep on the way home and while he napped, I tried to nap off a headache. When he woke up, we all went swimming in our complex pool.

When everyone was properly raisined from the water, we got dressed and headed to Cici's Pizza Buffet to meet my family for dinner. We chose Cici's because it's a) cheap, and b) pizza, one of Jake's favorite foods. It's kinda ghetto fab. I think Jake really loved it.

He enjoyed the macaroni & cheese pizza just like mom.


Then, Auntie Hannah spoiled him in the little arcade and bought tokens for him to play some of the games. He was surprisingly really good at this basketball game! He loves basketball, and he made several shots in a row. We were proud, for sure.


Of course, he had to ride with "Meekey." I'm pretty sure he had a meltdown when it was time to leave.


After dinner, we headed to my parents' house for Jake to open presents and eat cupcakes. These photos are all kinda (or really) blurry because my camera is old and terrible at shooting indoors at night (and I hate the flash). Oh well, it's the memories that matter.

He was super excited for this "Olath" shirt from Uncle Brady.


Contrary to the packaging, this was a toy helicopter from Auntie Hannah which he also loves. He got a lot of really fun gifts and was certainly spoiled.


Something really cute about Jake is that he gets SUPER shy whenever Happy Birthday is sung, whether it's for him or not. He closes his eyes and bows his head which is kind of hilarious. He actually tried to blow out his candles, though! There are two in the picture. His face when it went out was super funny, and he wanted to do it again. Then he asked for sprinkles and dumped like half a bottle on his cupcake.


That night, we also showed our families this special video we made:

KylieTJFamily 2014 from Kyndra Hassell on Vimeo.

They were all SO surprised and SO excited to find out that we'll be expecting our second baby in February! Hannah was excited, and then really sad because she'll be leaving for her mission to Mexico in December. We promised to send loads of pictures and videos to her, though. It's inevitable that siblings will miss out on big events when they serve missions. Skylar missed our wedding, Sheldon missed Jake's birth and the first year and a half of his life, but poor Hannah will miss the birth of another baby, and two graduations (Skylar and Brady). I know we will all be blessed for her service, though, and she is setting an amazing example for her brothers and nephew.

The next morning, Jake had lots of fun playing with his gift from us, a train set. Jake has been loving trains lately, so this was the perfect gift. He's enjoyed playing with it many times since.


We love you, Jakey Boy! Here's to another amazing year! I can't wait to see you be a big brother.