First of all, I'm writing this post while listening to Henry's Spotify playlist, so if I randomly start talking about a Teddy Bears' Picnic or a Dinosaur Train, you'll know why.

By way of an update:

We're having another baby boy at the end of September.

We celebrated six years of marriage.

My husband is changing jobs.

We bought our first house.

Henry turned two.

So, not too much is new.

I do say that with some amount of sarcasm, but really it still feels like we are the same Tyler and Jess, just plugging along doing gradually more grown-up things all the time.  We have felt closer than ever through all of these changes and the changes that are looming ahead.

Every single night I go to bed so incredibly thankful for the person that I married.  I'm thankful that we are so well matched when making decisions (hemming and hawing over tiny insignificant decisions, but just jumping off the deep end on the big stuff).

We are so excited to welcome Baby #2.  He is a long hoped-for addition to our family.  Just based on the 20 week anatomy scan, it seems like he is going to be rambunctious and look nothing like his big brother.  Two boys seems like plenty kids for the next long while, so we're also excited to feel that (for now) our family is complete.

As for the new house, the short story is: WE LOVE IT.  It's smaller and much newer (only 45 years old!) than our last house.  The historic church parsonage that we have called home for the past 4.5 years holds so many sweet memories.  What bittersweet feelings as we gather our last few belongings from it.  But, the thrill of choosing our own paint colors and having a deck are outweighing the sadness.

That's what the Tanks are up to right now.  A whole lot of sleeping on air mattresses, sorting through cardboard boxes, feeling a baby boy rolling around in my belly at all hours, and lots and lots of playing Batman with our two year old little guy.

Christmas this year was so much fun.  Here are a few lingering thoughts:

-I thought last year was fun enough with Henry at Christmas, but this year was even more so.  I will say, Henry got more than his fair share of presents (ahem, grandparents), and by the end of Christmas day he was completely overwhelmed.  Now most of his new toys are safely tucked away in a closet to be brought out slowly over the course of the next few months.  

-Up until last year, I was SO OBSESSED with Christmas that I never wanted it to end. I would go to bed on the 25th as sad as can be because it would all have to wait until next year.  As cheesy and cliche as it may sound, now that we have Henry everyday is so fun and exciting that it kind of dulls the excitement that I used to feel over the holiday season.  

-I have GOT to work on my camera skills.  Practice makes perfect and I literally left my DSLR in a bag from Thanksgiving until this morning, just in time to take blurry photos of my toddler so we can take down the tree tomorrow.

-There is no place like home.  It may be because we traveled so much for Thanksgiving and Christmas and the fact that we had a whole week less between the holidays this year, but I found myself longing to be home and back to my routine.  A certain one year old felt the same way, as evidenced by the frequent mini-meltdowns.  

-I'm spending New Year's Eve alone, going to bed early, and feeling just fine about that.  The midnight countdown always feels a little anti-climatic to me anyway.  I'm always the one complaining until midnight and then scurrying off to bed at 12:02. 

-I'm on the fence about making New Year's Goals this year.  Clean slates are so refreshing, and that's what 2014 feels like, but I never seem to keep track of my goals well.  What are your thoughts on New Year's Resolutions/Goals?

I love to read.  Well, I love the idea of reading, but somehow it seems like I never do it.  I'm pretty sure it has to do with the fact that toddlers take a lot of work, but moreso that social media has a pretty good grip on me and that takes time, y'all.

In 2014 I want to make more time for reading by shoving to the side some of those fluff time-fillers in exchange for true relaxation.  To me that means curling up with a good read.  I'm going to have to read other places than in my bed because I'm snoozing after only two pages, no matter how great the book.

I saw this map on Pinterest and thought I would try to read through this list.  I'm a pretty big fan of young adult novels (for the most part) plus they are usually engaging enough that I read through them pretty quickly.  

What do you think?  How many of these have you read?  Do you even like young adult literature?  Anyone want to join me?

It seems like the holidays are the time of year when we all have a little more kindness in our hearts.  We want to do good and be good because we feel a little more connected to others.

Often we want to do good things, but we don't know exactly where to focus our efforts.

Here's a place to focus some resources for a good cause:

All these women need is $1,500 to make this dream a reality.  It's a completely manageable number...if every helps chip in.  It sounds cliche, but it is true that every little bit helps.

For more information or to donate, head on over to Mark's blog and check out the Tres Generaciones project.

*disclaimer: Do what works for your family.  Whatever that may be.  We are all just doing our best, right?  And these are just my thoughts.  Since Tyler and I are a team, we come to decisions together.

If I've said it once, I've said it 1,000 times.  At 17 months, Henry is a frequent night-waker.

I've been exclaiming, "I'm at the end of my rope!" for a year.  Clearly that rope is a lot longer than I thought because here I am, somehow making it, caffeine-less and with a mostly-positive attitude.

Seriously, about that rope.  I feel like I really had reached it with the nursing at night.  For 16.5 months I had been waking up and nursing my boy anywhere from 1-6 times at night.  Even as the most "he probably is hungry and needs to eat at night" person around, I had to admit that Henry could go more than two hours without nursing, so one night I just said, "You can have milk when there is sunshine outside."

Cue the tears and cuddling.  His cries of "Hoooooooold joooooooo!" while I fact...holding him were pretty intense, but only for a while.   After the first night when he would ask, I would say we could do it in the morning, and he was satisfied with cuddles, a tucking in, and pats on the back while he fell asleep.  He would of course keep waking up and would eventually end up in bed with Mama.

Yay!  Night weaned with ease, now we get some sleep.

Except that first night back home we didn't.  About six times I had to go in and pat his back for a few minutes while Henry fell back asleep.

In the shower Sunday morning I decided that I could handle a couple of days of letting him
cry-it-out and learning to fall asleep on his own.  Frustratingly enough, he had been falling asleep on his own until recently when he decided that Mama must stay and rock/pat/nurse/sing.

So, I was unsure but psyched up to leave the room and give him space to fall aslepp.  He was so overtired at naptime that day.  He cried and cried for 30 minutes until he fell asleep.

The relief that I normally feel knowing he is sound asleep at naptime was replaced by feelings of guilt and sadness.  I couldn't do anything but lay in bed and stare at a computer screen, trying to take my mind off the stress of his tearfull falling asleep.

If naptime was bad then bedtime was worse.

He cried for an hour.  An hour. With no signs of even trying to fall asleep.  My heart was breaking and soon I decided that I would rather get up with him for the next 365 nights than listen to him crying out for me for another minute.

I went in to his dark room, picked up that boy, snuggled him, and he was asleep within minutes.

And then guess what...he slept through the night.

Even though I had "failed" CIO, even though I gave in to my "spoiled" baby, even though he had cried, hard, for an hour.  He slept through the night.  Something that has only ever happened one other time.

So this is my farewell to letting my son cry that hard without going in and meeting his needs or even his wants.  It's just too hard, I'm just too weak.  It's just not right for our kid.

Our stubborn, wonderful, exhausting, exhilirating, wouldn't-trade-him-for-all-the-sleep-in-the-world kid.

I have a serious love/hate relationship with social media.

On the one hand, it's such a great way to share our lives with family and friends. It's become a communication tool for fun, work and church.

On the other hand, holy time-waster!  I'm not so much a "spend an hour on Facebook" kind of gal, but I am a "just check in 500 times a day" person.  It has become a compulsion and the fact that I'm halfway through my newsfeed before I realize what I'm doing is borderline disturbing.  I even had to stop myself from checking just now.  Sad.

A few months ago, though, I made a deal with myself.  If I wanted to continue to spend time on the internet, I needed to make better use of my time.

I was scrolling through Facebook, reading all these status updates and looking at all of these pictures but never commenting or interacting with others.  I was consuming all these minute details of my friends' lives, and for what?

The same was true for blogs.  I read tons of blogs yet my own sits quietly twiddling her thumbs, waiting for me to notice her.

So I'm making the concious effort to move from just consuming things online to producing them. Typing out my thoughts in to a blog post or comment box on Facebook promotes interaction and conversation.  When I just consume, consume, consume online, what do I have to show for it?  A knowledge of what a random aquaintance from college had for dessert at a fancy restaurant?

But don't worry, no matter what, Social Media, I wil always love/hate you.

an old puppy picture, for no reason

As I am typing this, Henry sits beside me, still in his fleece footie pajamas with a fine crust of steel cut oats covering his chin.  I feel as if I have exhausted many of our playing options and we can't go any where because this kid needs a good nap not taken in his carseat.  You would think that having four hands would make typing a blog post easier, but it simply does not.

I made over this space, got excited and then abandoned it to live life for a little while.  We are currently visiting our families which despite being very fun and relaxing, leaves little time for blogging.

In the sake of's what I've been up to lately:

-I went through a memory box of things and found my middle school and high school journals.  Talk about emotional turmoil and fragility!  It was still fun to reminisce and read back through some of the funny things I had written.  

-I had dragged my feet on watching The Hunger Games because I knew the basics of the storyline and it was super disturbing plus I was living under the delusion that I might actually read the books first.  I finally watched it about a good and sobering movie.  Two nights ago we saw Catching Fire, and it was just as good.  I'm pretty sure that I need to stop watching stupid comedies (side eye: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) and watch movies that are actually well-told stories.

-Buuuuuuut, it's the time of year when all I can watch is Christmas movies.  Cheesy dramas and 90's comedies with all the Christmas flair they can muster. 

-I am currently reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.  For now it seems mild compared to The Hunger Games, but it's still really making me want to keep reading.  Lots of young adult distopian stuff going on around here, I suppose.

-We are working on night weaning.  Henry is doing very well with it, surprisingly.  He randomly slept through the night for the first time every a few nights ago and proceded to wake up way too many times the next few nights.  So now, when he wake up I just tell him that he "can have milk when it's sunshine" and offer him some water.  His "No!" and pushing away of the cup makes me chuckle a little.  It doesn't take too long until snuggles work and he falls back asleep, with me staying in a bed with him.  I figure we will work on staying asleep all night in his bed once we get home after Thanksgiving.  One step at a time, you know?

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