Connor: I took a picture of him through his telescope. This is one of his favorite things in our backyard. He runs around with it and his new party trick is he has learned it comes apart...I am sure it is only a matter of time before pieces are missing.  

Isla: It was our first time using the pool this year. Isla was definitely loving it. This makes me think it is going to be a great summer! 

" A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

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Connor's School Easter Party

Connor had his easter party at school on Wednesday. The kids were told to bring an easter basket and I have to admit, I felt a bit like a mom failure when I saw the other kids easter baskets. Most seemed very fancy and some were even fancy-schmancy ones with the kids name embroidered on them. In all honestly, I realize Connor doesn't care (and I kind of think fancy baskets are a waste of money that play on parents emotions, wanting to get the best for their children), but still. 

Connor got to find nine easter eggs during the egg hunt. He has told me that numerous times, "The teacher said I could get nine eggs. I got nine eggs." And, as soon as Isla laid her eyes on those nine eggs, she wanted them...bad. You can only imagine my shock when Connor agreed to give her one. And when she wanted another one, he once again agreed. WHO'S CHILD IS THIS?! My son, sharing with my daughter?!? Say what?! But seriously, I was blown away, in a good way, that he so willingly shared with her. I'm pretty sure, if candy were on the line, she wouldn't have shared with him.

Connor also got to decorate a cupcake with "colored frosting and other stuff" then eat it and it was "really good". He came home with a couple easter themed crafts as well. But, the highlight of the day was definitely the egg hunt. It sounds like the egg hunt is definitely going to be a win for him on Sunday! 

^^ Look at that little forced smile. That's ok, I still like it.

And to prove that I have such a grown up little boy on my hands, he has spring break next week! I thought spring break was for big kids...when did I get a big kid?!

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Isla {2.5 years}

Weight: 28lbs, 4oz 
Height: 36 inches

Can spell her name
Draws/writes a couple letters and one shape (circle)
Can hold up two fingers, for how old she is

On the one hand, I would like to say, "How has my baby gotten so grown up?!" and on the other, "I am loving Isla at this age." Strong-willed temper tantrums aside, this is such a fun age! Isla is talking in full sentences. She expresses her wishes. She asks for what she wants. She now says all the time, without prompting, "I wuv you" and it melts my heart oh so very much. She is a little girl, not a baby. 

This past season has been a sick one for Isla. She dealt with two back to back things that had her on antibiotics twice. After going over two years without ever having an antibiotic  she then had them twice in one month. Thankfully she is all healthy again. 

Switching Isla to a toddler bed ended up being the best decision of my life. Seriously. I was dreading it, but it has gone amazingly well. In her crib, she was sleeping though the night once or twice a week. In her toddler bed, she is waking up at night once or twice a week. I don't know what the difference is, but I am loving it. When Isla does wake at night, she stays in her bed until I come get her. And in the morning, she generally wakes and plays in her bed, though has gotten off the bed and played a couple times. And girlfriend loves herself some blankets. I found her asleep under FOUR blankets last week. She had gone in her closet and gotten them. Of course, the result was her covered head to toe in sweat. I don't even know how she can sleep like that. 

Though Isla will eat way more vegetables than Connor, she is a junk food addict at heart. If there are fries around, she will eat nothing else until the fries are gone. And you can't even mention ice cream (or go past the ice cream shop) without her freaking out. But, thankfully, the girl also loves her some fruit and veggies. I don't even have to try to get her to eat them. She just does it. She has never come across a fruit she didn't like, though bananas and oranges (specifically cuties) are her favorites. And she will try any veggie, but green beans and corn seem to be her favorites. 

Isla has really turned a corner with imaginary play. She loves playing with her dolls. She will rock them in a rocker and tuck them in bed with a blanket. And she loves feeding them with a bottle. It is all very sweet and cute to me. She hasn't gotten to a point of naming them though. She calls them either "baby" or "baby doll". Some of Isla's favorite toys include books, dolls, bracelets, puzzles and anything she can draw with.

Isla is quite the strong willed little girl, which I like to be reminded (hopefully) means she won't be a push over later in life! In the mean time, this equates to temper tantrums when, say, she doesn't want to leave the house or really is forced to do anything she doesn't want. And when she is uphappy about something, she lets the world know. My favorite (sense the sarcasm) is when she is throwing a fit in public, I pick her up and she screams "you hurt me, you hurt me". Awesome. But, I have been reminding her over and over than I am actually not hurting her and she seems to be doing that less.

If you so desire, you can see all of Isla's past updates here.

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Fashion on the Fifteenth

So, I cut my hair off on Friday. And I made the wise (oh, so very wise) decision to take pictures for today's post on Friday, as my hair lady had done my hair. Let's just said that was the smartest decision EVER. I am very much still learning how to do my super short hair. Yesterday, I looked like a mad scientist. No joke. My hair was sticking up in every direction. Like I said, I am learning. I feel like a jr. higher in that awkward phase. Hopefully it should only last a week or two and not a couple years! 

Can I just say that I am loving Old Navy this year. I haven't shopped there for myself in years. They have great kids clothes, but for me, I always found them ill fitting and cheaply made. I don't know if they have changed or I have changed, but lately I have been finding great things there, like this shirt. It is so simple and basic and will get used a lot this summer. It is also white and I have two little people that can't keep their sticky, dirty hands off of me, so I am guessing it won't stay white-white for long. But, I will enjoy it while it lasts. 

Shirt: Old Navy
Belt: AE (super, super old)
Jeans: Gap
Sandals: Target
Bracelets: various (i.e. I have no clue!)

Remember to hop on over to Two Cent Sparrow and check out the other lovely ladies outfits. Or, even better, join in on the fun yourself! 

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The End of an Era

...or the beginning, depending how you look at it. 

I have been blogging in this space for almost seven years. Except for changing up the look from time to time, the blog has remained virtually the same. It has always been me blogging about my life. Obviously, along the way, a couple key players have been added to my life (Connor and Isla). 

^^ 2007 Jessica...I took this picture and used it in my "goodbye" to my work when I left California for Scotland. I have matured a little since then.

After everything that happened last week, I decided I wanted to be able to watermark my images with something that more easily pointed back to me, than "Life as I know it". There are literally thousands of blogs with that name. So, I sat trying to come up with a few different names. I quickly remembered, it isn't all about me anymore and I wanted my new blog name to reflect that. So, "Jess and the gang" was born. 

For those of you that haven't been around from the beginning, I actually started my blog saying, 

We all have things we want to be when we grow up - a youth pastor, a doctor, a social worker, a nurse, a boutique owner...just to name a few of my aspirations. Even though I don't have nailed down what I want to be, I can tell you what I don't want. I don't want to be sitting around when I am old, talking to my grandchildren and not having any adventures to tell them. So here is me, making some adventures...

^^ I used to live there (Edinburgh, Scotland)?!

And, seven years ago, there were many adventures to document. These days, the travel type adventures don't happen so often anymore, but the adventures in potty training, temper tantrums, lego building and more are still alive and happening. Like I said, life has become less about me and more about my gang. 

Thanks to my loyal readers for sticking around for so long and listening to me rant and rave about anything that pops into my head. I'm looking forward to keeping the stories of me and my gang coming. 

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Connor: He found our old, old ipod and hase been "listening" to music on it. It doesn't even turn on, but he puts headphones on and dances around like he is really listening to music. It's pretty dang cute. 

 Isla: There is just something about little kids on their knees playing. I love seeing them engrossed in play, not even caring if they are in a comfortable position or not. 

" A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014."

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Quiet Time

Connor stopped napping consistently before he was even three. Then the problem became him running through the house while Isla was sleeping. A toddler running around on raised foundation wood floors does not make for a quiet experience! So, I started sitting with him during Isla's naps. This made for loooong days without any break.

When Connor started school, I instituted quiet time. I did this because I thought he may need a nap after being at school. He never did nap. Of course, why would he...he's the boy that hardly sleeps! But the wildly successful quiet times made me wonder why I didn't start it long ago! Basically, Connor gets quiet time in his room while Isla naps (not her whole nap, I set a timer for him) and I can have a bit of me time. Recently, I started noticing that Isla went to bed so much easier on the days that she didn't nap. So, in general, I have stopped naps for her and instituted quiet time and it has also been hugely successful.

The first day that Isla had quiet time with her new big girl bed, she crawled up in it and went to sleep! Now, she hasn't done that at any of the quiet times since. But I love that no longer being in a crib, she has the option to decide if she wants to play or sleep...and that one time she actually chose sleep!

Do any other moms out there do quiet time? And if your kids are older, how long were you able to get away with quiet time? I am thinking I want to do it for a loooong time!

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