Saturday, May 12, 2012

Michigan Overview

 My blog is acting up so these pictures are out of order and it won't let me move the first picture and insert text above it. So we'll improvise. Above is Matt's family at PF Changs while all in Michigan. Josh is the only family member not present as he was not on leave from his responsibilities as a Captain in the Army. I have been blessed with such an amazing set of in-laws. I hear horror stories from many of my friends about their in-laws. I am so thankful I am part of this family. How fun that we could all be together (which is rare since we're spread between California, Tennessee, Michigan, and Virginia), especially with the two newest members of the Iveson family: Waverly Victoria and Jackson Matthew.

It was so much fun being about to go to Michigan for two weeks! We got to introduce Jackson to many of our family members and friends. We normally go to Michigan for one week in the year to see family and friends. Since Matt isn't working now and I'm on maternity leave we were able to spend two weeks this time! If it weren't for the cats we'd probably have gone for much longer. But it was a nice trip and I was honestly ready to be "home" again at the end of it.

Jackson was able to meet his five cousins on the Bonnell side of the family. Below all the cousins are looking at their new little friend. Ethan is holding Jackson and he will be 11 in July. Noah is next to him in the red and grey shirt, he will be 10 in July. Calvin is the blonde boy on top, he will be 8 in July. Livy is at the very top and is 7. Brookie is on the front left and is no longer the baby of the family as she will be 3 in August. All the kids were so excited to meet Jackson. They did great with him!

My mom has done annual Mother's Day pictures of the family since my eldest sister was born. She has a book with each year's picture in it. Ever since Matt and I were married she has put a group picture of the family plus a picture of Matt and I since we were in Virginia. This year we missed Mother's Day by two weeks, but since the entire family was together we took a group shot that will be used for this year in the book. All the other kids did amazing with the cameras! Normally it's super difficult to get a picture where everyone is looking, let alone smiling. This year the kids paid good attention to directions and smiled pretty for the camera.

I was so happy that I was able to introduce Jackson to my grandparents. My grandparents are very special to me. They have always been a huge part of my life. At my elementary and high school we had Grandparents Day every year. My senior year my sisters and I presented an award to them for their 20-some years of Grandparents' Days attended. Even though they lived over four hours away, they made sure never to miss a Grandparents Day for any of us! I was able to get some pictures of both of them holding Jackson and they just loved him. He is their 13th Great-Grandchild.

Jack did so much growing in the two weeks we were in Michigan! If you look at pictures from the beginning of the trip compared to the end of the trip you can tell he filled out more. He gained almost 2 pounds while we were there! What a good growing boy. While I am sad that he is fast growing up, I am relieved that he is bulking up since we had feeding issues when he was first born.

He started smiling more often and at more people while we were home. Everyone loved his little grins. Daddy said Jack has a "Han Solo" grin that goes up more to one side than the other. This is my favorite smiling picture we got, but there were a few choice ones to choose from.

We stayed with my parents while we visited. My parents have a very nice condo that has a little pond. There's a gravel path around the entire pond. Jackson and I went on a couple walks around the pond. Thankfully we have an all-terrain jogging stroller that was able to make it around the path. There were a few spots where the path had been washed out by the rain and a normal stroller would have had difficulties. Ours did great! Look at how beautiful the pond is.

On one side of the pond there were all these trees on either side of the path. Such a calm place to walk. I think Daddy and Mommy watched too many episodes of Criminal Minds while home though. The first time I went for a walk I thought, a serial killer could be hiding out behind the trees ready to prey on me as I innocently walk my newborn son around the pond... Yeah, probably too many late night episodes! We discovered Criminal Minds on this trip and now I wish our TV channels worked so we could continue watching it! Someday (hopefully in the next year) we're planning on getting a basic cable package.

Even though my in-laws have moved away from Grand Rapids, they were all in town for my brother-in-laws graduation from college. This trip was the first time Uncle Mark, GrandPops, and Grammie met Jackson. This picture is shortly after Grammie first met Jack. I love everyone's expressions.

It was so great to be able to spend time with both of our families. It was super nice while we were in college to be able to visit both families on breaks from school. I'm not gonna lie though. Now that my in-laws live in California it makes for some nice vacations out there! It'll be so fun to take Jack to Sea World, the zoo, and Disneyland someday!

We went out to eat to Trini's with Matt's family. I had never been but it is an Iveson favorite. This is Jack and I waiting for the rest of the clan to arrive. I bought three belts while in Michigan and this is my favorite. I had just begun learning about accessorizing when I found out I was pregnant. Now I plan to make good use of belts to accent outfits!

Uncle Mark is such a natural! Here he is with Jackson on one arm and Waverly on the other. He had been wanting nieces and nephews since Josh and Jamie got married. Both of his siblings obliged within five months of each other! I know that in the next year we're all hoping some little siblings will arrive for these first two, so Uncle Mark will run out of arms!

Matt's grandparents pointed out that Jackson is the first of their Great- Grandchildren to carry on the Iveson name! All the other Great-Grandchildren have different last names due to marriage. Well, when we knew that we had to get a picture of the four Iveson men generations! I think you can definitely see resemblances between Matt, his dad, and his grandpa. We'll see what Jackson grows up to look like. So far, the majority of people say he looks like his Daddy more than his Mommy. Maybe the Asian will increase as he grows?

On Saturday while we were home we all met at Matt's Aunt Sue's house to celebrate Mark's graduation. We took the opportunity to get a picture of Grandpa and Grandma with all the Great- Grandchildren. Titus and Ezra loved Jackson!

Our portion of the Ivesons then headed downtown to see Mark's actual graduation. There are all the GVSU grads: Class of 2012.

Mark is just past the podium on the right in this picture. We weren't quite prepared for him to talk across the stage so the pictures are a bit blurry.

I took an obnoxious amount of pictures but will leave just these highlights on the blog. I uploaded many more to facebook and have even more on my computer! I thought I took a lot of pictures of our cats when they were kittens! They got nothing on Jackson!

Jackson proved to be a good little traveler. The trip to Michigan usually takes around 12 hours to drive. When we went up it took 13.5 hours and when we came back home it took 13 hours. Not too bad! I sat int the backseat with Jackson most of the time (I drove for about 2 hours total) and was able to calm him most times when he fussed. He slept a lot and played some. We stopped every once in awhile when he needed a break from the car seat and filled up on gas during those stops, even if the tank wasn't too low.

All in all, it was an excellent trip! I wish we could move back to Michigan, but there aren't any active duty posts in Michigan so I doubt we'll be up there any time soon. Bummer. I do plan to continue visiting at least once a year though. Maybe if we live semi-close (12 hours or less) the kids and I will visit even if Matt can't. I loved seeing our families and friends. It makes me miss home so much more. This visit I met with some friends who are now engaged and expecting children! So much changes when you only return home once a year. It reminds me how much we've all grown up (I've been friends with these girls since elementary school!).

Baby is fussing. I got a whole post in though! :-)