Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happy Birthday Dear Jackson

This weekend was a whirlwind of birthday parties for Jackson.  On Saturday we had a toddler party for approximately 40 guests. Whoops, I guess my guest list got a little large! We had a great time celebrating with family, friends from church and friends from all the way out in Virginia Beach. The theme was "Construction Trucks" per Jackson's fascination with all things related to building and demolition.  

Jackson got to play around with all 4 grandparents at one time, which is such a treat. This little kid does not lack love, hugs and tummy tickling!
Who are all these crazy people behind me?!?!
Thankfully the weather held up enough for us to play in the sandbox and do lots of chalk drawings outside! 
Mike and Kate 

Eli and Charlotte in the sandbox
Eli, Jackson and Luke play corn hole
And then it was cake time! Jackson had 6 cupcakes that day....three large and three small. Thankfully he crashed from all the excitement and took a long nap and went right to bed on time.  We sat on the steps and everyone faced him, like all the paparazi at prom. He loved it, in his own quite, shy way.  

Jackson's buddies
After naptime, J's buddy Ellie joined us for a cupcake (that was #4 for Jackson) and brought him some 'construction' playdough, which we have not stopped playing with. Today is a very special day for Ellie (!!!!) and we are glad that she spent some time with us this weekend even though she was super busy and excited getting ready for today. I will let her momma tell you more about that over here.  


In the evening, the Byrnes and 11 members of my McKay/Renz family joined us for burgers, brats and a huge costco cake ( thing ever!) to celebrate Aunt Jeanette's birthday as well as J man's! It's always so good to catch up with family and we love having a home that allows us to host.  Jackson got two car carriers for his birthday and he has not let go of them since. One goes with him the bath, to bed, on errands, to the breakfast table...
opening some gifts from family 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Crabtree Falls Camping Trip!

Luke and J throwing rocks
This year we got to participate in the yearly McNabb camping trip. Bonnie and Andy have been going to Crabtree Falls in Tyro, VA for the past 10 years, complete with pregnancy, newborns and two toddlers. We (the Byrnes and Mazzios) figured, what the heck? Let's see what camping is all about. Thank goodness for Andy's attic full of camping gear, otherwise the Byrne family would have shared 1 sleeping bag and hung a tarp from a tree to stay dry.  The three of us stayed in one tent and Jackson slept in the pack n play right next to me. He slept like a rock all night (until 8am!) and napped pretty well. All the adventure (throwing rocks, climbing rocks, running) wore him out! 
Katie gathering her stash of rocks

This is Jackson's best friend; he LOVES Katie
Look at that wind-up
The kid table
We had several sites at the campground for each family to set up camp and have a group 'Party/dinner' tent and a site for the kitchen. These people don't mess around. They know how to camp! We enjoyed gourmet meals like fajitas, lasagna, pancakes and chocolate cake. We managed to fit in s'mores (with Reece's Peanut Butter Cups....oh my goodness!) one night in the rain.
enjoying an afternoon without rain!
Saturday morning we went apple picking and got some delicious Rome and not-so-sour Granny Smith. The kids had a great time romping through the long grass.

Dan, Charlotte and Caroline
The girls check out their pickings
Caroline (and the rest of the kids) romping through the grass!
 Jackson loved running through the apple orchard. I can't get enough of this kid!!!

Back at the campsite, we played Kubb (a stick throwing game), tossed the football, played dice and enjoyed a campfire when it wasn't raining. It was pretty wet all weekend, which made for some muddy clothes and wet kids, but we really did have a great time in the rain!

Diaper change on a picnic table in the woods
Future QB?

Sleeping bag wrestling before bed
The Mazzio Family
On Sunday we went to Crabtree Falls for a hike. We attempted to wrangle J into a camping backpack and he lasted for about 10 minutes. We made it 0.3 miles up the trail for a pretty great view! The rest of the group headed towards the top despite the wet conditions. Walking sticks helped :)
The McNabb Family

Mazzios on the trail
Happy (for a moment) in the backpack
Bonnie and Andy, our camp directors

We had a great trip! Thanks to the two McNabb families for all the planning. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pumpkins and Rainstorms

This year we went back to Eggleston, a local garden center, to get our family pumpkin. It wasn't nearly as adventurous as last year, but we got to bring dad so it was pretty darn special.  

 Looking at fish in the koi pond
 These pumpkins are heavy!

We have FINALLY gotten rain here in Norfolk, and lots of it! So, when we grew tired of being inside, we donned our cool rainboots and coats and braved the elements.  

 Ever since we watched the Larchmont Elementary School RAT race in late September, Jackson now loves to proclaim, "Go runners! I runner!" as he races across the neighborhood.

A graceful fall into a puddle