Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our first Christmas with Jackson

Justin and I have always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve morning.

We spend the rest of the holiday with family and it is always nice to have some time just the two of us before we join the rest of our family.

This year was no different. We couldn't wait to share our tradition with Jackson.

The night before, I put Jackson in his "Christmas Pj's." I had hunted for the perfect pair of PJ's weeks before. I sang every Christmas carol I knew while I rocked him to sleep that night (turns out I don't know that many).

Jackson woke up around 5 a.m and we put him in bed with us. Around 8:30 a.m. Justin and I were too excited to wait much, we woke Jackson up.

Enjoy this video of Jackson waking up to his first Christmas. (Side note: He is always this happy when he wakes up!)

Jackson loved the wrapping paper and the boxes most! He was even excited about the clothes Justin and I bought him...after all, those came in boxes too.

What did Santa bring Jackson? Santa brought him a walker, a sports center, musical drums and some bath toys. All have been tested out at this point...and Jackson loves them all.

Jackson gave Justin a key chain with his initials engraved on it (Jackson and Justin share the same initials). Jackson went shopping at Tiffany's for my present. He gave me the Toggle bracelet with a J charm. I love it.

Even though Justin and I both loved our presents from Jackson...the best present wasn't something we could unwrap. Jackson said his first word while we were unwrapping presents! He said "Da Da." And..we caught it on camera...Enjoy the video below.

Justin's eyes got so wide and we looked a each other and tears fell down our faces. It was the best Christmas present! I could watch this video all day!

Sharing Christmas with Jackson was wonderful! I look forward to the day he rushes into our room on Christmas morning to tell us Santa has come...I can't wait to make so many more memories with Jackson.

We will treasure each of them!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1 House a Floodin'

Last week, I worked Monday and Tuesday only. I was working away Tuesday afternoon. I had been watching the clock as my holiday was almost ready to begin when I left the office in an hour or so….then my phone rang. It was Justin’s mom, Penny, and she had some bad news.

Penny had just gotten word that my mom’s house had literally flooded. The pipes had frozen in the upstairs bathroom and water was everywhere. My mom was at our place and was keeping Jackson for the day. I called my mom and told her I would come get Jackson so she could get to her house.

Justin and Tom were both near my mom’s house when we got this news and they rushed over to see the damage. I had told Justin what his mom had said. I told him apparently water was everywhere, the dinning room ceiling had fallen in, water was running down the downstairs walls from upstairs. Justin just assumed I was exaggerating.

He called when he arrived and said, “well, it is probably worse than you had described.”

By this time, the roads had gotten pretty icy. My mom and I were watching the news and I encouraged her to let Justin and Tom meet with her insurance agent. The last thing she needed was to be on dangerous roads when she was upset. She agreed to stay.

Mom and I finished wrapping Christmas presents, made some Chilli, talked about my Dad (who we were both missing so much) and waited for Justin to call with updates.

Justin sent us photos taken with his cell phone to keep us updated. Here are some of the photos…

After a few hours, my mom and I agreed that all of this could be fixed. The most important thing was that our family focus on getting through this first holiday without my Dad.

A special thanks to Justin and Tom for sticking around to take care of the damage while Mom and I tried to focus on more important things. You guys are great!

Christmas pictures and posts are coming….I PROMISE!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

12 Days of Christmas packed into 5!

Jackson snoozing after opening gifts with the Bixler's Christmas morning!

It is Sunday. I was hoping to have found the time and the energy to sit down and post about our holiday. But no such luck...yet.

Justin and I officially feel like we have packed all 12 Days of Christmas between Wednesday - Sunday.

Our holiday started with "1 house a
floodin" (my Mom's house - stay tuned for pictures and details) and ended with "12 hours of trying to find room for Jackson's new toys!"

We have so much to share and I promise to do so tomorrow night!

Please stay tuned!

A big thanks to all who e-mailed, called, or text, to check on my family this Christmas. It was certainly hard to celebrate Christmas without my Dad. However, he loved this holiday and would have wanted us to find some joy...and we did. We couldn't have done it without our wonderful family and friends. Thank You!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Mom...

We just wanted to take quick minute to wish my Mom a very Happy Birthday! We didn't get to post this yesterday because we were lucky enough to spend most of the day with her!

Also...we wanted to wish all of you a Merry Christmas.

We are enjoying our first Christmas with Jackson.

We can't wait to post in a couple of days and tell you all about our holiday.

Enjoy your day with wonderful family and friends!

All the best,
Kristen and Justin

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ugly...but Festive!

Justin and Jamie

Cory the Elf

Kellie, JT, Joe

Me, Rachel, and Sara

Sara and AdamThe Winner - Dallas as "Cousin Eddie"

Justin and I attended our first "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party this weekend. Our good friends, Joe and Lora Morgan, hosted the party at their beautiful new home. It was so fun to see what everyone had come up with for their attire. Justin was sporting a woman's petite snowman sweatshirt he had found at Goodwill...while I was wearing a man's sweatshirt that I turned into a dress!

Joe and Lora even gave a prize for the best "Ugly Sweater." Our friend Dallas won with the "Cousin Eddie" sweater with the matching
squirrel on the back. The prize? Of course, it was a year membership to the "Jelly of the Month Club."

Side note: Before the party, Justin and I went to dinner. The waitress commented that she liked my sweater. I explained we were attending an "Ugly Sweater" party and that was why we were dressed that way. As she walked away, Justin gave me "that look" and explained to me that the waitress was serious. She really did like my sweater...and I had just insulted her by explaining why I was wearing it.
Hmmm....I still can't imagine she was serious...ok, I think she might have been...oh dear....
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Skip the toys Santa...just bring the box!

Tonight, while wrapping Christmas presents, Jackson entertained himself with an empty box. At first, it was a "peek-a-boo" toy, then it was a teether, next a drum, and finally a simple box. Jackson entertained himself for quite a while! Turns out Santa doesn't need to bring any toys...just the boxes they come in. :)
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I am one of three girls.

I was, and always will be, the baby.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love having siblings. Especially sisters.

Becoming a parent and loosing a parent, all in months of each other, have made me realize how important my childhood memories are.

I love knowing that there are at least two other people in this world who have the same memories that I do. No matter how close you are with a spouse, girlfriend, or co-worker…only your siblings can recall your childhood memories the way you can too.

I bet only Michelle and Deb can remember where I hid my report card in high school (behind my dresser, Michelle found it and told Deb, Deb told Dad).

I’m sure Michelle and Deb remember reaching into our Christmas stockings to find a piece of fruit in the bottom…ALWAYS. Not sure why….but Dad insisted. Each year, we handed the fruit back to Mom.

I bet Michelle and Deb remember the black phone with grey buttons that hung in the garage. The buttons would stick when you dialed, but it never got replaced. I would go out to the garage and “listen” to my sister’s phone calls and then give a report to my Mom and Dad.

I’m sure my sisters remember the few years that Mom fell in love with the color Teal and most rooms in our house were covered in it. We even had Teal sofas.

I know they remember my “noodle balls.” Each time my mom would make homemade noodles, she would let me ball up some of the dough and she would cook my “noodle balls.” Deb hated it. I loved it!

My sisters remember all the summers at the softball diamond. My Dad coached their team and I was always the “bat girl.” I played myself years later…but I’ve tried to block those memories…Let’s just say I was a better “bat girl” than I was softball player.

I bet Michelle and Deb remember how Mom and Dad always closed the doors to the family room on Christmas morning so we couldn’t see what Santa had left. It was the only time of the year those doors were closed.

I’m sure they remember the stack of firewood my parents had behind the shed. I would sit and watch my Dad walk out in the cold to get firewood. I was worried about him being out in the cold (it wasn’t a far walk at all…I was just a Daddy’s girl).

I’m certain my sisters remember the sliding door that went between their rooms. I thought it was so cool and often wished I had a sliding door connecting my room to theirs.

I know that we all remember asking for that "one thing" and never getting it. I know we remember - because we have always teased my folks about it. Michelle wanted to go to France, Deb wanted a horse, and I wanted a telephone booth....all of these were small requests...yet my parents said no to all three. We are still bitter...but love to laugh at the thought of these requests. :)

I bet my sisters remember all of us getting ready in a tiny bathroom each morning. My mom would do my hair as they were teasing theirs higher and higher (it was the 80's).

I'm sure they remember the ivory phone that sat on the ledge above my mom's bath tub. I can still picture my entire family huddled in my parents closet taking cover from a near by tornado. My Dad stepped out to use the ivory phone to call his brothers to make sure they were taking cover as well. I waited anxiously until my Dad returned to take cover with the rest of us.

My point? I am so grateful that I can call my sisters up and say "remember this" and instantly we can share a laugh.

P.S. I'm also certain my sisters can remember what a great baby sister I was! :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Solid foods...already?

On Halloween, my Uncle Tom and Aunt Lee Ann gave Jackson Gerber cookies for a treat.

I was worried that he wasn't old enough for them.

There was no way my "baby" could handle that solid cookie!

I had asked everyone I knew if they thought Jackson was ready for the cookie. Almost everyone said yes. I just kept asking as if I was waiting for someone to say no.

I could just imagine having to rush in and do the "finger sweep" that I learned in my first aid class.

I just didn't think he (I mean 'I') was ready for solid foods (I know, I know, first-time Mom).

Jackson had started to insist that he sit on my lap while Justin and I had dinner. This just wasn't working out...So last week, Justin finally got out Jackson's Gerber cookies from Halloween and we hoped this would do the trick.

Jackson loved them! ...and we are now eating dinner in peace!

Now if he could just learn to not be so messy! We have to rush to the bath after the cookie!

Thanks so much Uncle Tom and Aunt Lee Ann! Your the best!
Uncle Tom and Aunt Lee Ann with Jackson
Enjoy the photos!

P.S. The doctor says Jackson is ready to start eating off my plate! This might send me over the edge...I am reading the "table food" chapter of my parenting book tonight!!
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our Weekend

Our weekend was very here is a short recap.

Friday night was low key. We knew we had a day full of great activities on Saturday so we wanted to relax.

Saturday, we drove to Westfield to watch my Nephew, Griffin, play basketball. Griffin made 3 baskets that day. Way to go Griffin! We snuck to Carmel to do some shopping at Clay Terrace. I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping...but I haven't wrapped a thing!

Next, we drove to Frankfort to see our good friends, Kristin and Aaron Charles. Kristin and Aaron went to Franklin College with me and have been close to Justin and I for years. The Charles' hosted a Christmas party for our "GNO" group (Girls Night Out - we do dinner and drinks once a month) and are spouses. It was great to get all of us together and talk and laugh...It seems like this group can find humor in anything!

Kristin and Aaron - Thanks for hosting such a great party!

On our way home from the Christmas party Justin mentioned he wasn't feeling so good. I didn't think much of it and figured a good nights sleep would fix the problem. Justin never felt better and we realized he had come down with the flu.

When Justin is sick...he could win and least a Golden Globe!

At one point, he looked at me and said "I don't think you have ever felt this bad"....I politely reminded him that I had given birth and I was certain that was pretty bad. He just mumbled. I have fetched him some Tylenol Flu, ran him a hot bath, made hot chocolate, got him a cold cloth, and sweated while the thermostat is on 80 (he says he is freezing - he is in bed with gloves on...).

I do believe "Wife of the Year" is in my future.

While I was concerned about Justin not feeling well...I enjoyed my day with Jackson. Jackson was my shopping buddy, my baking buddy (I had to make cookies for work), my napping buddy,...well, he was just my best buddy today. Check out this adorable photo I was able to snap with my cell phone while shopping today.

I had so much fun with Jackson today!

...I am a little sad the day is over.
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Finally....His "Big Boy" Car Seat!

This past weekend, Jackson "helped" Justin and John install his big boy car seat.

I can't believe we are done with the "baby" seat.

While I am relieved to not have to carry the big pumpkin seat anymore...I'm a little sad that we don't need the "baby" seat any longer.

They grow too fast!

P.S. Jackson got his second tooth today...I think he'll be ready for braces next week. :)
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A Break-Dancing Reindeer???

Tonight, Justin and I attended a Christmas program for my nephew, Griffin. Griffin was a break-dancing reindeer....and boy did he have fun!

We had just as much fun watching him.

It was so great to watch this quiet little boy come out and wow the crowd with his dance moves.

Watch out Santa...this reindeer will put a little "funk" in your trip this year!
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Happy 30th Birthday, Jessica!

Jessica, Jeremy, and Campbell Quire

I wanted to take some time to wish my good friend, Jessica Quire, a very Happy 30th Birthday!!
Jess- Thank you for being a great friend and an amazing support. I had a great time at your "birthday dinner" the other night. It was great to talk and laugh like always.
Enjoy some time with your family and friends this week!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


24 hours after labor began...about 8 hours until Jackson arrived

Some friends of ours had a baby early this morning after 38 hours of labor.

My labor with Jackson was roughly the same.

Justin called me today and said, "38 hours! Could you imagine?"

I politely just said, "Yes, I can."

His response? "Oh,....Right,....Sorry."

How soon they forget....

Best wishes to Jason and Jenny Power and Baby Drew. We can't wait to see pictures and hear about all 38 hours! Enjoy every minute of your early Christmas gift! We love you!

A Symmes Family Christmas

Each year, the Symmes' family celebrates Christmas the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is a tradition that we enjoy very much. It has always consisted of a pitch in, a gift exchange (we always play the white elephant game), and a nice visit with family. And of course, it is not a Symmes' Family Christmas without a visit from Santa Claus.

The week leading up to the party was filled with mixed emotions for Justin and I both. We had many conversations about how hard the night would be without my Dad there. This was a night he loved so much. My Dad and my Uncle Dick “took charge” of the event each year.

Justin and I talked on the way to the party that it felt like Dad should walk in that night wearing his red sweater with his blue corduroys that Mom always laid out for him (he was colored blind). We talked that Dad should be there to tease Michelle when she walked in late, to laugh at Deb’s update with her Dancing With the Stars experience (she is dancing to Bringing Sexy Back), or to tell me he could not wait to see “Action Jackson” crawl (he did show off at the party). I was dreading what the evening would bring without my Dad being a part of one of his favorite nights.

This year the party was hosted by my Uncle Dick and my Aunt Marie. However, the morning of the party Uncle Dick fell and broke his ankle. Before the party even began, Uncle Dick had been rushed to the hospital, had surgery, and was in recovery. Aunt Marie was very gracious and hosted the party at her home anyways. Thanks so much, Marie. Uncle Dick – you were missed!

To my surprise, Justin and I very much enjoyed our night with the Symmes' gang. If there is one thing the Symmes’ are good at…it is laughter. We have a way of using sarcasm to lighten the mood and we are all pros at making fun of each other. It was so nice to be with my Dad’s siblings, his nieces and nephews that he loved so dearly, and all of the spouses who willingly married into this family. :) I told Justin that night that I felt closer to Dad by spending time with people he cared so deeply about.

Since I can remember, Santa Claus has always made a visit to the Symmes' Family Christmas party. I can still remember Santa showing up when I was young. My folks would host the party and I could not believe Santa actually made time to visit my house at a time when he had to be so busy. I remember sitting on his lap in my Dad’s brown Lazy Boy chair telling him everything I wanted for Christmas.

This year, it was Jackson’s turn to sit on Santa’s lap. We asked Santa for another new shiny tooth. In the middle of snapping Jackson’s photo, I stood back and enjoyed the moment. My son was taking part in a family tradition that I cherish dearly.
Jackson loved Santa Claus. Lets hope Santa brings some exciting toys this year!

Michelle, Deb, and I on Santa's lap at the Symmes' Family Christmas Party in 1979 . Apparently, Jackson gets his chubbiness from me!

Thanks so much to my entire family for helping my mom, sisters, and myself through such a tough holiday. Justin, Jackson, and I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

Check out our web albums (listed on the right of the page) for more pictures of the party!

Can’t wait for next year…

Monday, December 8, 2008

...And he's mobile.

Justin and I have been helping Jackson learn to crawl.

We've tried everything.

Justin even used a laser light pin to see if Jackson would crawl after it.

My niece, Madeline, even got on the floor and showed Jackson how to do it (after all, it wasn't too long ago she was crawling herself). Thanks Madeline.

This past week, Jackson tried every trick in the book to get from point A to point B without crawling. We knew it was only a matter of time until he figured it out.

Friday night I was at Target shopping. Justin called me and said I needed to rush home because he was about to crawl any minute. I left my cart where I was standing (items in it) and rushed to my car. We live right next to Target and I knew I could be home in a matter of minutes. I rushed in to a very tired Jackson who was NOT about to do any new tricks.

The next morning, he was rested and excited to show off. I had the camera ready to catch the latest and greatest of Jackson's new talent. Enjoy the video...

P.S. If anyone sees a cart at Target with a chicken, a
Christmas ornament, and some dog bones in it...please don't tell anyone it was mine. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jackson's Christmas Photos

Justin and I recently took Jackson to have his Christmas photos taken.
Santa was super nice and Jackson wasn't afraid at all.

Funny story: While trying everything I could think of to get Jackson to smile, I pulled out what usually works, "Jackson, Mommy is going to get you..." Next, I got all flustered and said, "Santa, Mommy is going to get you..." Santa's reply? "Well, this is a good night for Santa."

I was mortified...

However, Jackson didn't mind...he just kept grinning for the camera. Check out some of our favorites!