Saturday, December 29, 2012

McKay Christmas

From VA Beach on Monday morning we moved onto Springfield for the McKay Family Christmas celebration. We enjoyed several days with my parents, grandpa, Matt and Chase and some of my aunts, uncles and cousins. It was so good to see everyone and get such a long visit with grandpa, Matt and Chase since they are so far away.  

Here is J, creeping up the stairs to check out his gifts! Actually, he was more concerned with breakfast and a nap first.

our second Christmas as a family of 3
Talking about life with Pop Pop
Studying the candy bowl...must be my child
Looking outside at his first real snow! 
He was spoiled beyond belief by both families but by far, Jackson's favorite gifts were the books from Matt and Chase. Based on his attention span and apparent dislike of reading early in life, I am so grateful that we have managed to raise a boy who loves reading. We have already torn through each book several times each day that we have been home!

We are so lucky to have such amazing families for Jackson to know and love like we do.
cuddle time with dad 
cousin Hana
Cousin Libby
enjoying precious moments with Great Grandpa
Some of the McKay cousins: Hana, Libby, Sandra
McKay kids and spouses
Chase and J playing with magnets

aren't smocked clothes the cutest?

these guys are too silly!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Time Is Here

We started our Christmas festivities with a Speasmaker/Byrne brunch on the 23rd at Beth and Matt's house. The whole gang was here again this year (Joel and Caroline, Dan and Jill, Leya and Brock with Max and the whole Byrne crew). We devoured a delicious brunch prepared by Beth and enjoyed catching up and playing with the little boys.  Both Max and Jackson did well with all the attention! It didn't hurt that Jackson napped from 9-11:15 and missed most of the commotion! Jill got the boys coordinating hats which we managed to get on them but snapping a successful picture was  quite the task! 

Then we had the Byrne Family Christmas on Christmas Eve morning since we were leaving town that afternoon. Jackson had no idea what to do with the wrapping paper, boxes or toys, but he happily bounced from lap to lap, toy to toy and enjoyed all of the activity.  JB and I were proudly sporting our Surf Hatteras sweatshirts (the most comfortable sweatshirts ever) and we got one for Matt to enjoy. Ross should think about hiring us to do some marketing :)

 Jackson got a lot of mileage out of many of JB's old toys, including this old pretzel tin filled with legos.  I can't believe that he is old enough to manipulate legos and start to build with them. our little boy is growing up and I can't wait to build things with him! He took some of the legos that are shaped like brushes and started to comb his hair :)

 Another favorite toy was a 6 pack of root beer...the simple things in life

playing with Granddad
 What a special day with special people!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. 

We Byrnes like to stick with our holiday traditions, hosting our 4th annual Elf and Sugar cookies night!  As the title of the post states, we love to smile and have surrounded ourselves with friends who love to do the same. This year, we were joined by the McNabbs, Sabins, Koertens and Langas, all who have children.  At one point there were three kids asleep in pack n plays upstairs. Magical. We rolled, cut and decorated two batches of sugar cookies (recipe courtesy of Brady Bullock's mom for our wedding), and then ate the large majority of them.  I took the rest to a cookie swap at church later that week (it was like having little elves to do my work!)  We then meandered into the living room to laugh at Will Ferrel's Elf, a movie that really helps to put us in the holiday spirit!  

Katie does some freestyle cutting
Laura and Brooke, Amber and Cara
Ally and Lizzie Kay
Here is Jackson earlier in the night, enjoying his rocking chair. With a 6:00 bedtime, he misses out on most of the fun but there are many more years for him to participate!  

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope you can spend some time reflecting on the meaning of Christmas.  

Luke 2:9-14
9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 
14“Glory to God in the highest, 
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The Dubinskis are in town!

Several weeks ago we had an impromptu visit from Aunt Dwyn and Uncle Kenny, who live in Massachusetts.  We love how much they care for Jackson and it's always fun to see them! 
They brought the sweetest hand-carved whale bank for little J to save his pennies and some local honey which has been delicious on homemade bread from Val. They also transported a Christmas gift from Great Grammy Byrne, whom Jackson is eager to meet. She gave him a pint sized Cracker Barrel rocking chair with personal message carved underneath. He immediately started playing in it and now can get in and out of it like an old pro. He occasionally wants to stand and rock, or to sit up there with 25 toys but most of the time he's relatively safe in it. We're excited for the warm weather when we can enjoy our chairs on the front porch!
Aunt Dwyn, Granddad Byrne and Jackson
he loves his new rocker
quality time with the Dubinskis
In other news, Jackson is quite the dare-devil, sustaining two busted lips this week. He has decided he wants to run but doesn't quite have the coordination or realize when the edge of the rug is going to present a problem. He has had a runny nose and cough for about 4 weeks now and we are just about over it. He sleeps pretty well and he's happy most of the time but there is just so much snot. I guess a part of motherhood is having those tissue-less moments at Costco, Walmart or the park where you use whatever you can find to somewhat wipe your kid's nose.  Fun.

He loves the Christmas decorations and stands near the tree each morning waiting for us to light it. Yes, we are fake-tree people, but we do have a tree skirt so you can't see the metal 'tree trunk' anymore! We were up early one morning this week so we went for a run and looked at Christmas lights at 6am. Non-traditional, but a very fun way to start the day!
 One of the perks of having friends who are moms is that we all share memberships to various locations in Hampton Roads. We bring friends to the zoo and last week Blair and Summer took us to the aquarium. Jonathan and I had a great time looking at sharks, neon coral and the octopus.  Jackson had trouble understanding the concept of fish in tanks but he really loved reaching for the sting rays and hermit crabs. He tried to take one home with him but the sweet grandmotherly volunteers asked us to reign in our child  :) 

 Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy some chubby thighs
 And finally, Jackson had his first haircut on December 9th and looks so handsome! He sat on my lap and we both had drapes on us (that lasted about 2 minutes) to protect us from the surprisingly-large amount of hair that she cut off. He spent the whole time trying to look at the stylist and grab her scissors and comb so the cut is a little rough around the ears but overall it's a great first hair cut and no one has called him a girl since then :)  

Monday, December 10, 2012

We're back!!

It's been a while! Because Jackson is such a photogenic baby, I've reached my capacity for picture storage and have been sorting out other options. I'll continue blogging here for the time being. 

We spent Thanksgiving at the Byrne's house, enjoying a fun day of family and friends. The highlight was meeting Max, the newest addition to the Byrne/Speasmaker holiday gatherings. He is the cutest little guy (well, second to Jackson, as we are quite partial to our little man) and was so well behaved the whole night! It's fun to see all of our friends become parents and get to be in the lives of their children from such an early age. 
Grandmother takes a break from all the cooking
enjoying snuggle time with Granddad

Catching up with Lou
 Then it was our fourth (?) annual Friends Thanksgiving in Hatteras! We managed to make it down there (courtesy of the Dozier's amazing Ford truck...I am not into cars/trucks, but this was an awesome machine) during low tide in a 4WD vehicle. It was pretty sad to see the destruction that Sandy brought, especially since it was picture perfect for our trip this October. The first year of our trip there was one baby and now we have 6 and twins on the way! My, how things have changed, for the better. We are so grateful for Ross and Hannah's generosity to share their beach house, for Caroline's bacon stuffing, football, walks on the beach, fishbowl, and for a weekend of doing nothing with amazing friends.

Jackson and Susu learn to share

Reading Brown Bear for the 35, 000 time that day :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sofi's 1 year old bday party!

We had so much fun at Sofi's first birthday party. Val sets the bar high (luckily we already had our party because I can't compete with this one!). She made home made play-dough which smelled delicious (ask Eli how it tasted), and yogurt finger paint in various neon colors. Notice how nicely the other moms are dressed. I know my child and I was right to dress in icky clothes because both of us were covered in cornstarch yogurt about 1.5 minutes into finger painting! We had a blast playing with bubbles, balloons, banana bread cupcakes and if you look, there were two other BOYS at this party!!! Jackson has some boy buds despite all the evidence that proves otherwise. And I am incredibly blessed to have so many new friends through Val.

J holds on with both hands to Val's homemade cupcake
In other happenings, Jackson has been to the polls 3 times in his short life, which is almost equals the times I have voted :( I am better now, I promise! We took a 5:15 am run which ended at the polls at 6 where we froze our booties off for 30 minutes (only 30 minutes!) to get inside. I was slightly disappointed that no one offered us a spot inside while we waited but that is what blankets are for. He then went back to the polls 4 hours later with dad. 

Who thought giving Pad Thai to a finger-feeding 1 year-old in a nice sweater was a good idea?
Finally, Jackson's newest game is peek-a-boo but he is the one who hides. It makes me realize how ridiculous I look when I play with him.