Monday, April 29, 2013

Big Belly, Big Belly, Big Belly

Writing on the blog used to be a stress-reliever for me and now I've realized that I'm not a talented writer, I Just enjoy sharing pictures of what we do all day. So I'm taking the pressure off myself to be witty (which I'm not), clever (that either), insightful (nope) or fill-in-the-blank and will just post short little blurbs about life in the Byrne household.  

Our days are characterized by lots of learning. J has been learning more body parts including legs, knees and belly button! He learned how to bake cookies (pictures coming soon), water his tomato plant from Mrs. Speasmaker, bring his dishes to and from the table and use a napkin.  I just read a book on Montessori education from 0-3 years old and really resonated with it. It can seem overwhelming to think about doing everything with your child (which we are not going to do!) but I realized I have already been following some strategies of M education by asking J to be involved in all parts of his day. 

We've got lofty goals for the next few weeks (and we hope to make this 'work' fun!):
drink out of a little glass
set the table with placemat and his dishes
assist with part of getting dressed, probably putting his shorts on
folding easy parts of the laundry

Will keep you all posted on how things go!

Sometimes Jonathan will grab a quick breakfast on the couch before going out for a run. Jackson (and Lincoln) has been known to sidle up and try to steal some second breakfast

(large) belly
I managed to convince mom and dad to come down for a day trip a few weeks ago and we had a great time. They surprised us by arriving early and with many goodies in tow! The brought J a real drum (but it's quiet!), fireman rain boots to match his raincoat from BB and Granddad, a train whistle and Roadmap rugs for his room. He loved hanging out with them at the zoo, staring at the birds and touching a 'hair' from an elephant tail. We can't get enough of grandparent time and are so lucky to have all four so close by! 
The learning continues...
We read the Jesus Storybook Bible each morning but it's not long enough to take us through all of breakfast. So I made bags of colored shapes and each morning we'll pull out one or two and learn colors, shapes and pictures. He's doing pretty well with pictures like fish, trees and firetruck and he is picking up on triangle and circle. Hexagon, octagon, rectangle? Well, those might take a while :)
Gotta' guard Daddy's new never know what sneaky neighbor might come take a box! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

We enjoyed a few days off with Jonathan (those are hard to get recently!) last week and went to the zoo, Children's Museum and just hung out around the neighborhood. J loves being with JB and I love watching the two of them together. 
looking at trains, one of his favorite things
What a goober
learning how to blow bubbles with dad
On Friday night, we decide to be bold and take Jackson to Smartmouth, a local brewery that opened a few months ago. It's tucked away in a warehouse in West Ghent and has the best atmosphere for a drink after work or a Saturday afternoon with friends. We enjoyed a flight of their four brews and fed Jackson dinner. We wrapped everything up without much drama (oh, and we actually enjoyed ourselves too!) and had him in bed by 6 :)  Then Jonathan and Amber came over for a movie and little Cara decided she wanted to be part of the action too, so we got to snuggle with a cute little girl all evening (we are going to miss them terribly!). All-in-all, a very good night!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring is here!

We love spring! It's so nice to shed our layers and spend all day outside, despite the thick layer of pollen that coats everything, including our eyes and throats this week! Here is a glimpse into what we have been up to lately...

I just love front porch sittin' with J. We eat snacks, organize chalk into the bag and most of all we point at airplanes flying by.  We see them right as they are turning in towards Norfolk Airport.  J loves all thing that move...trucks, cars, busses, fire trucks, helicopters, bicycles. We spend much of the day pointing at things and naming them (and what noise they make).  He is a pro at getting the garbage collectors to toot the horn!! 
 Just another cute shot from our Easter Egg Hunt at the Byrne Grandparents.  I just love a kid in smocked jon jons 
It's good to see that J can execute a deep squat with perfect form and he does hundreds of times throughout the day...and then passes out afterwards from exhaustion! Where/when do we start to lose our amazing flexibility that we have in toddler-hood? Just a PT speculation
 We love (and get really nervous) watching J as he picks up our expressions and gestures. One of mine is to raise my hands and say "Where did it go?" It's been one of his consistent actions for the past few months, especially since he loves hide-and-seek games.  Here we are at the zoo wondering where the armadillo went
 Wondering just how close he can get to the peacocks. I was actually really curious to see what he (and they) would do but I had to stop him from getting too close for fear that they would actually peck out his cute blue eyes or something, which would lead to a very big 'bad mom of the year award'.  
 Our boy still doesn't talk (a source of a ton of frustration for all of us much of the time) but he sure does love to mock talk on the phone. He doesn't actually utter any sounds most of the time but he just makes faces like he is listening to really intriguing conversation. Thankfully, we have been very conservative in his use of our phones so he isn't much of an iPhone guy...yet.  
 We bought some playdough the other day and right now he just likes to stack everything...cup on play dough on lid on cup on lid on playdough. I realize that I need to surrender control over my life yet again as I get super stressed out about mixed colors of dough. It's time to get a grip on reality and realize that this is going to be one of the less stressful events of raising a child :) 
 I love my neighborhood. We had an impromptu porch date with Lael and Jordan, Val and Sofi the other day. The kids ran around the yard and then had some quiet time sitting together. 
 J loves his new tricycle and we love Craigslist purchases! 
 Val's photography work from the Easter Egg Hunt.  
 We babysat Ellie the other day and when they weren't giving each other hugs they were being pals in the rocking chair. It won't be much longer until only one of them can cram into that little chair! 
 With summer coming up, it was fitting that J have his own yard tool so JB and I can hopefully get more done outside by keeping him entertained. He is now the proud owner of his own rake! Now if I can teach him how to really use it we'll be all set this fall
 Finally, with help from JB and all 4 of our parents, I finished my garden this year, complete with green, yellow and red peppers, tomatoes, parsley, sage, basil, mint and thyme. There are orange and yellow marigolds in the front row and between the veggies and herbs, and cute alternating pink and purple flowers in front. I can't wait for everything to start growing! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go

J loves to cruise the neighborhood with his lunch bag, walking from door to door, sometimes knocking on them if I am not quick enough. Maybe he'll get lucky and knock on Lane's door and she'll have chocolate chip cookies one day! :) It makes me envision the day that he is going to walk down the sidewalk and go to school. Not yet, baby, not yet.  
Reminds me of Linus
We can't get enough of his little personality which shows more and more each day. He has a 60% happy-morning rate. 10% are quiet, slow mornings and 30% are really upset, want-to-be-held-all-morning mornings.  We are weaning him out of morning nap which is going surprisingly well considering this boy was a HUGE fan of morning nap (who wouldn't enjoy a nap after getting up at 5:30am?!)
We did another one of those Pilot Online deals (where we got those CUTE halloween pictures in October) and went to see the Easter Bunny at Eggleston Garden Center. There was a gorgeous chocolate lab in the room and it was J's main goal to get back to the lab. He wasn't really afraid of the bunny but he just wasn't that into him either. We consider that a win for his first Easter Bunny Pics.  
J enjoyed some good time with JB at the Byrne's house for Easter lunch. He looks so much like Jonathan and has his easy-going (most of the time) personality as well. I love my boys

Where's the car?
whispering I love you's

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shamrock and Cville

A few weeks ago, I ran in my 5th Shamrock Marathon Weekend.  

1st year: I ran 26.2 and qualified for Boston (by 39 seconds)
2nd year: I ran the marathon as a bandit with my friend Mike Fine
3rd year: 9 weeks pregnant and ran the 1/2 with Team Hoyt, where Kelly F, Rebecca and I had an incredible flat-tire experience and finished in a respectable 2:03
4th year: Jackson is 5 months old so I pushed and finished 3 minutes below my personal best
5th year: 1/2 marathon with Blair Fine (Mike's better half) who set her personal best!!!

As boring as the course is, I do love this race. 
At the beach on Saturday, pre-race
Mr Byrne made me this sign last year when J was 5 months old and when I saw it, and them, I cried. This year I was much less hormonal (and it was SO cold that I didn't stop to hug them...just keep moving...just keep moving). 

The following week, J was pretty sick for what seemed like an eternity. We treated him for croupe and he had his first fever, which we think is pretty great considering he's 17 months old. It's so sad to have  a sick child, one who wants to be held every moment, doesn't eat anything, coughs and has a sad look on his face all day. One afternoon I got him up from nap and he proceeded to lay down on the changing table and try to fall back to sleep. This is a rare moment of not fighting a battle while on this table!
What do you do with a sick child? Drop him off at BB and Grandad's and go to Charlottesville! We left for our favorite place on Friday morning and stopped at several vineyards in the area, most new to us. We didn't take advantage of "wine country of the east coast" when we were in school (too much studying or something like that), and a ton of vineyards have popped up since. We toured Pollak, Flying Fox, Veritas and King Family. We also stopped for lunch at Devil's Backbone, a brewery and restaurant at the base of Wintergreen. We had a sample of their beer the week before at Tapped, a new VA Beach Gastropub and it was pretty good, so we were excited to stumble upon the actual location! 

After a day of wine tours, we picked up dinner at Citizen Burger on the Downtown Mall and ate (and stayed the night..yes we are still those people who stay with friends, at least for the next year...but really, even if we weren't cheap it's still way more fun to have the entire night and morning to visit with friends) with Kelly and Mark and their 1 year old daughter, Colbie. We are so grateful for roommates who became dear friends. 
Veritas, in front of their LOVE sign, part of the VA is for Lovers ad campaign
And one of the best parts of the trip was visiting with Christian and her precious girls Lilly Kate and Anne Elise.  They are both getting so grown up and it's so much fun to visit with college friends and see them maturing into the role of mother.  Are we really old enough to be mothers? Weren't we just dancing around dorm rooms in fleece pants? 
 After our fun weekend at the Boars Head in Charlottesville (tough life, I know) we came home to this....Granddad and the three pups, all passed out in the living room. It's exhausting to have a sick child?? Why, we don't have any idea what you're talking about :)