Sunday, September 29, 2013

Run, Eat, Sleep, Repeat

A few years ago, my running buddy Brian said, "Wouldn't it be fun to do a 200 mile relay race one day?" Well, that day(s) was September 19-20th. A team of 12, mostly from Trinity Pres, gathered many running outfits, ziploc bags, headlights, tents, towels, food and piled into two vans for the trek to Charlottesville. 
 I started us out at Beaver Creek at 7am on Friday with a beautiful, hilly 4 mile run with 6 other marine-looking guys and one other female. Our van surged on, with Andie (a great, last-minute sub when we lost Kelly to a foot stress fracture), Jonathan, Brian, Scott and Ben running like they were created to be runners! With the exception of Scott who just moved to Lynchburg, the rest of us are used to running the nice, flat lands of Norfolk so the hills were an interesting change!
 Van 1 passed the proverbial baton (in our case, a 1980's slap bracelet) to Van 2 around noon. Steve, Hal, Jenny, Will, Diane and Amy made good progress for us, with most of their legs actually taking us east towards our destination! They got the short-end of the stick with some really hot runs but they did awesome.  We tried to camp out and take a nap while they were running but many local dogs (a theme for this race) managed to keep us awake. But, who can sleep at noon anyways? Amy had a little scare with loose dogs but thankfully she was ok and finished strong.  5:00pm brought about our second time to run and I took the bracelet from Amy and set off down the road for a fast 8.8 miler. Our van of runners kept up a nice clip and stayed motivated as we cheered each other on, took stretch breaks and felt the thrill of running a crazy relay race.  Van 2 enjoyed some rest and a hearty Italian dinner before we passed it back to them at 10:30pm.  
 As if it wasn't hard enough to run 13-22 miles in <24 hours, some people actually decided to wear costumes, like this banana man above. He also wore a speedo and a big heavy wig for his other legs. Another team started with 6 runners and one dropped out, leaving them with 5. 5 people to run 200 miles?!!?? Wow. They beat us by an hour :( 
 The most interesting part for many of us was running in the dark, through new, winding roads, with absolutely no one around.  We wore vests, blinking lights in front/rear and a headlight of questionable brightness.  After we got over the initial fear, it was actually quite peaceful to run in the pitch black with just the sound of your feet and your thoughts.  

The dramatic handoff of Van 1 to van 2!
We enjoyed a little time to chat with the other van when we traded the bracelet but our team was never all together until the finish line.  
Inspired by the other vans, we decided to mark off all of our legs with a dot. JB and I are finished and ready to cheer on Ben (photo-bomber in the background).  
It truly was a great feeling to be finished. We each logged 13-23 miles in under 24 hours! This was Ben's first race and Jonathan's second and they looked like old pros. Ben stuck-to or beat his projected pace and ran the entire thing! Jonathan was just FAST the whole time and both of them ran their longest runs ever during the race.  Brian conqured the longest leg of the race, over 9 miles. Scott pushed up those hills after sustaining a grade III ankle sprain a few weeks ago. And Andie took on some extra miles and crushed it! We took a refreshing shower at a local campground, ate a huge breakfast and then toasted being finished! 
Amy brought us home and the whole team, together at last, crossed the finish line together in 31 hours and 22 minutes, giving us a pace of 9:03 which was under our projected 9:15! What a great experience. Despite fears and reservations going into the race, it's unanimous that everyone is hooked and can't wait to do another one. Napa 2015? 

Saturday, September 28, 2013


 In early September we spent a few days in Williamsburg with mom and dad. Jackson loved being with Nah-mah (Grandmom) and Bop-Pop (Pop Pop) and gave them the names that they love so much :) Grandmom is still holding out until he can say 'grandmom'.  We played in the perfect kiddy pool, ate pancakes every morning, read books, went shopping, lounged around snuggling and playing lots of hide-and-seek.  

 We spent a warm morning enjoying Colonial Williamsburg, where Jackson and Bop Pop investigated crushed shells. We found the most beautiful garden and lavender soap as a small souvenir. 

 Playing in the shackles and on the slide 

 In other news, J is starting to like the potty more every day and official potty training may be right around the corner. Since he is only a two year old boy, we are not planning anything right now but I am going to buy some pull-ups when I am out just in case we decide to do potty-training bootcamp! He loves his mini-marshmallow that he gets each time he makes a valiant attempt at going potty.  
We said a sad goodbye to our dear friends Val, Jimmy, Sofi and their new addition, Lilli. They are off to new things in Raleigh (hooray for a new job, Jimmy!) but we are going to miss them terribly. Val and I met when she was in the pew in front of me at church and we were both very pregnant. She walked a sweaty 7 miles with me on October 21st, the day before Jackson came! She has captured our little family with sweet photos and has been such a support to me in these years of being a new mom. We are so excited for your new life in NC, Val and team, but know that you always have a place to stay when you come back to Norfolk! 
Sofi taught J how to give hugs
J (not a climber), Eli, Sofi and Jordan
 I have had the pleasure and joy of so many amazing mom friends with due dates in the several months surrounding Jackson. Now, many of them are onto having their second (congrats!!!) and their first (yippee, Anna!). I realized that these amazing women are all military wives and in addition to Val, the rest of them will be moving away soon. I am so sad to lose the proximity of these women and their children but am grateful for the time we have spent together and how well they have loved Jackson. 

watching a cement mixer pour a driveway
the beach in the fall
 J picked out a beautiful Mum and Taylors the other day. We planted it and I asked him to, "Please water the mum". He proceeded to water my feet :) silly boy!
 Beth and Matt had him for a few days while JB and I were off running from Charlottesville to Williamsburg (more on that later) and they enjoyed lots of fun days at the Botanical Gardens, taking walks, playing with friends and just loving life with the grandparents! 
 I am still trying to come up with little creative Montessori activities for him to do when we can get enough "focus" time during the day. A few days ago we learned about big and small bottles and how to use a funnel.  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

23 months

Well, again it's been a while. I love having a toddler. He just keeps stealing my heart every day.
Jackson is almost 23 months and for those of you who don't have kids under two and count everything in months, that means ALMOST TWO YEARS OLD!!! Where did that time go?

J man is getting so tall and losing his big belly. When he stands next to me I can rest my hand on his head and have extra bend in my elbow. He runs everywhere. He can jump and get some good air (but he's still my child so he stays pretty close to the ground). He loves to wear boots and a diaper...nothing else. J gives the best hugs ever. My favorite time is at night when we finish reading books, we sing a song and pray together and he snuggles up in my neck and drapes his arms over my shoulders and we snuggle.  Sometimes we even get to spend that time together as a family of three when JB and I are not working late. 
He still sleeps in his crib and as much as I would love to sit in his big kid bed to read books with him, we are not going to mess with a good thing. Our little man used the potty on my birthday in August and started using it consistently (eg 1x/day) since September 13th. Again, we're not going to rush a currently-good-thing of diapers and an accident-free house but if he keeps this up, we will certainly encourage it!
 He hates having his teeth brushed but Jonathan can convince him to get brushed while we all sing the ABCs. He love hammocks, the beach, ocean waves, petting Lincoln, singing. His favorite song is "Happy Birthday to Max". We were going to Max's first bday party and practiced the song all afternoon before the party was cancelled due to flooding from the bathroom. Bummer on all accounts, but now Jackson thinks that the song was written for Max. We are trying to teach him how to sing Happy Birthday dear Pop Pop for September 23rd. 
He is so helpful and feeds Lincoln every morning. He waters the garden and picks tomatoes. J loves Thomas the Train, Super Why and Cars. He continues to boycot the stroller and all veggies, especially ones of a green hue. I have managed to get him to drink a spinach smoothie every morning and am getting good ideas from other friends with non-veggie eaters. 
 Jonathan and I continue to pray for guidance in raising him to know God and to love others. He is a gentle, kind child who is learning how to share his beloved things with others and find joy in that. He loves Katie McNabb and Lizzy Kay Sabin and again, we are so blessed to have good friends who share our values in raising children. 
 We had the pleasure of visiting Hatteras again in August and had a blast. We love relaxing, doing nothing - or everything, but at a slower speed. We branched out and tried the biscuits at Orange Blossom (DELICIOUS), played in the sound and went running. J was obsessed with their beanbag chair and might be getting one for his birthday ;)
J loves his daddy
J loves to play hide and seek now, and it usually involves him picking one hiding spot (that is not so great to begin with!) and hiding there over and over again. I'm using it as an opportunity to teach him prepositions: "Is J under the couch? Is J behind the table?" and then to give him a big tickle! He also loves to cover his face and say, "Where's Jackson?"

The Byrnes had a garage sale and were able to go through a ton of JB's toys from his childhood. J and Grandad have loved playing together.  
And finally, our little guy graduated from speech therapy. We had him in for 3 sessions of Early intervention and he passed with flying colors! The second week he greeted Kate at the door, said Hi and promptly pulled her over to play with his toys. He started talking like mad and now speaks in multi-word phrases. It's so fun to see his little personality through his words.
That's all for now, folks! 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Byrne Boy trip to Massachusetts

This Summer all of us Byrne Boys (JB, Jackson, and Grandad) hopped on a plane and ventured up to Massachusetts to see family.  We were nervous that Jackson wouldn't do well on the plane, but boy did he prove us wrong!  He loved walking through the airport, looking at all the airplanes, and sitting in grandad's lap.   We got to see Aunt Dwyn, Uncle Kenny, Grammy, cousins Tom and Joe!
Aunt Dwyn showed Jackson how to collect eggs from the henhouse, he thought it was so cool and he only broke 50% of eggs he collected, which is still a pretty good rate of return for a first time egg picker.
Jackson also got to drive a speedboat around the lake!  As you can see this took the utmost concentration and focus.
Jackson also finally got to meet his Great-grandmother (aka GG or Great-Grammy) and they had a blast playing cars.  It took a while for J to warm up to GG, but eventually they became good buds because she spoke Jackson's language- cars and blueberries.  
Whew, what a fun trip, we did so much and were so glad to see the Dubinskis and Grammy, it was worth a nap on Grandad's lap on the flight home.