Saturday, January 26, 2013

Snow day!

Much to our surprise, we got snow in Norfolk! The weather never seems to be as predicted here in Hampton Roads so of course we didn't get J a snow suit or anything. But, we made do with several layers of fleecy-material and headed outdoors to enjoy his first true snow. I'm not sure he really understood what it was, but he loved being outside with the whole family. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stomach Flu

The whole family was sick for the month of December and early January with the respiratory cold that has been going around. When I got home from work last Thursday, I got the dreaded stomach flu. It came in fast and furious and left me exhausted on the couch all day Friday. Jackson and I had to cancel our trip to see mom, dad, Aunt Karen, Riley and Aunt Janice in Springfield because I was in no state to travel and thought it best not to share germs. 
J man was the original sick guy in the family this season
I called mom and dad to let them know and several minutes later dad called back and said, "I'm on the way!" Wow. What an act of love. I could not have made it through Friday without him taking care of J. The boys took Lincoln for a walk, played games, giggled and splashed around for bath time.  I alternated between watching them, sipping ginger ale and sleeping under several blankets on the couch. It's incredibly difficult to be sick with a toddler. Again, another moment of motherhood that makes me grateful for my own mother (and father).  

J loved how Pop Pop jumped up, forward, in circles. I could hear his giggling from inside!  I felt good enough for a walk Saturday morning and we went to our Pastor's house, where they were getting rid of a TON of toys. We grabbed a whole box of dinosaurs which Jackson has been obsessed with since!

Other than being sick, we've had a great month, going to the Children's Museum with Ally and Lizzy Kay (too hard to get a picture of the four of us, or even the two kids together...they were too busy!)...
Organizing produce at the Children's Museum
...going to the Trinity Playground with Val and Sofi, Kristi and Eli...
coordinating animal hats
 ...and re-organizing my water bottle/coffee mug drawer.  

J has been really difficult, especially at meal times. He might be teething or just thinking that he can scream to get what he wants. We see a little defiant behavior when he purposely feeds Lincoln from the high chair, looking us in the eye as we tell him 'no'. We're learning how to navigate the new places in parenthood, including discipline and grace. Jonathan and I are not perfect and we never will be. We continue to fail again and again, and yet God loves us and sent his Son for us.  We are praying that we can be patient with Jackson, loving him at all times, regardless of his behavior, but striving to discipline and show him God's grace.  

Monday, January 14, 2013


When I got pregnant last two year ago, I felt exhaustion like never before. I used to get up willingly at 4:30am to swim and bike before work. Now, there was a permanent indention of my booty on the couch.  Then, when we had Jackson in October 2011, we both felt the incredible fatigue of having a newborn and sleeping for 2 hours at a time, for 6 hours max.  We were delirious, seeing things, hallucinating with fatigue.
Then, Jackson started sleeping 8 hours at night and it was like gold. We felt rested again and ready to tackle anything that life could bring. However, we had no idea what it was going to be like to have a toddler. I can't keep my eyes open. I'm sleeping 10 hours a night (yes...that means going to bed at 7pm), napping each afternoon that I don't work and having trouble getting any housework done. I've been thinking of all options...
pregnant: nope
anemic: maybe, but we've been eating really well-balanced
coffee: we cut back but not enough to explain this fatigue
sleep: quality, sufficient amounts at night
winter blehs: started popping some extra Vitamin D

Final with a toddler. We are always in 'on' mode, chasing Jackson around the house, neighborhood, park. Making sure he doesn't fall off the couch, bed, rocking chair, slide. Preventing him from bumping his head too much on corners, brick, concrete.  Having 'conversations' with him. Getting instructed to follow him here, go there, lift this, stack these.  Prepping and cleaning up after food fights meal time. Dodging tidal wave splashes during bath time. Wrestling him out of and into diapers, clothes, PJ's, shoes. 

He is such a joy, but man, we are tired! 

Checking out the giraffes at the Norfolk Zoo
Carrying his favorite animals around after nap time

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Picky Picky

Being a parent just gets greater (and harder) every day. We love to see how much Jackson is learning and to enjoy his new skills.  His is making large strides in his physical development, running, climbing and becoming a master organizer/stacker of objects. With that comes the frustration of not having lots of words to help us understand what he wants to do or needs help with.  This leads to some tantrums, usually during dinner time, where he is frustrated and I can't do anything to figure it out.  He is running around the house and neighborhood which has lead to his fair share of falls, but he continues to get up and keep moving after most of them. A few have required a bear hug from mom (while I check for blood on his head) until long after he has stopped crying.  He loves to climb, figuring out how to move objects to serve as steps to get onto the couch, and how to climb up my legs and torso to sit on my shoulders and reach high shelves. What a crazy boo! 

As with many boys, he is slower to talk, so I was really excited when I came home and Jonathan said, "Hey Jackson, can you say 'ma ma'?". Wow! Jonathan had taught J to say mom!!! This was going to be great. I leaned in and smiled really big at Jackson, waiting for his words to come. He turned to look and me and said, "Da da da da". Man...we see who the favorite parent is :) 

Jackson learned to point this month. He also learned where his nose is. Put the two together and what do you get?
 Picky Picky!
Aside from the boogers, it's actually really exciting to see him point to noses in books and on his stuffed animals. We love seeing his little brain make connections. 
He also really loves stuffed animals now too. I have fond memories of my little brother being surrounded by stuffed animals on his bed, in his room, in the car. He had names for all of them and just loved caring for them. I think it is so sweet for a little boy to care for his animals and can't wait to help Jackson name all of his! 

J loves to help out around the house and is always moving so I thought it would be a good idea to put him to work.  For each meal time, he comes to the kitchen to get his bib and tray and carries them to the highchair in the dining room. For bath time, he climbs upstairs, helps to take his socks and shirt off and I hand him the washcloth and towel and he walks into the bathroom (where he proceeds to try to throw himself over the edge of the tub).  Jonathan and I think it's very important that Jackson be part of this family and that means pitching in where you are able to.  It's great that he is at the age where he loves to put toys back into containers and we can call it "Fun Clean Up Time!"  
playing with my wooden duck from childhood
 We are so lucky to spend so much quality time with the Byrne Grandparents. They babysit him while Jonathan catches up on sleep pre/post night shifts, come out to our house for dinner and watch him while I run errands.  Jackson lights up when he sees them! Beth has taught him all about vacuuming and sweeping the garage. Our little cleaner!

playing with his Matchbox collection
 Now that he is a much better walker, we often stroll around the neighborhood in the afternoons and look at mulch, cats and leaves scattered in front yards  Jackson has protested the BOB jogger recently, much to my dismay, so we have chosen walking over running.  The walks don't quite qualify as cardio exercise of any sort for me, but the quality time with J man is priceless. I love when he reaches up to hold my hand.  We enjoy having a park one block from our house and take advantage of the swings, slide and collecting gumballs.
 Isn't this bomber jacket precious? These are the perks of getting hand-me-downs from really stylish son looks like a fashion model and I didn't have to do any of the shopping! 
slowly learning how to throw to Lincoln
Finally, we have been sharing a cold between the three of us (I'm sure all of you know how that goes!), so we have been feeling pretty icky for several weeks. However, we rallied to celebrate Ellie's first birthday party on Saturday. This was a birthday bash that rivaled that of Sofi's back in November. These girls know how to throw a great sha-bang!  We enjoyed some adult drinks, chocolate cake, bubbles, goldfish and a photo booth! What a cute idea and a great take home.  Ellie also sent everyone home with a balloon that said, "Thanks for being my friend". Balloons, bubbles and boxes are the best toys.
Ally, Kaitlin and me
Kaitlin and Evan (2 months), first time with both boys out of joggers/car seats!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013


As we begin the New Year, we have so much to reflect on and be grateful for and so much to look forward to. We rejoice in good health, 6 1/2 years of marriage, an amazing 14 month-old son, supportive friends, loving families, a new sister-in-law, the amazing life of our Nana, weddings, new babies and new jobs.  We are grateful that Jackson has learned to share his snacks with friends like Lizzy Kay Sabin...
 ...and for early (approx 5 months old) piano lessons with my piano teacher, who just send me an enlarged version of this picture for Christmas.

We hope you have a Happy New Year! Stay tuned for more adventures of J-Man in 2013!!