Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Luck, Deb!

Deb and I with Carrie Underwood at CMA Awards

I wanted to take a minute to post some Good Luck wishes to my sister, Deb.

This weekend, she is competing in a charity event called "Dancing Like the Stars."

Just like the TV show, she has been rehearsing with her professional dance partner for weeks. She has been dedicated to getting every move right...and even today was worried about how she should wear her hair (OK, maybe that last part isn't so surprising).

I admire her dedication and her willingness to learn something new... and her guts to try it in front of total strangers!

Way to go, Deb!

However, it won't be total strangers...we have a large group going to cheer her on. Hey Deb...can I bring my air horn?...or is that too embarrassing?

Can't wait!

P.S. Stay tuned for photos from the main event!
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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

No more rug burns!

Click on collage above to see larger.

Jackson loves to crawl. And boy, is he quick.

I was telling Justin about how Jackson was starting to get rug burns from crawling around so much.

Immediately, Justin had a remedy.

Wrist bands!

Justin let Jackson "borrow" his wrist bands from basketball.

It worked...Jackson wore them for hours.

Thanks Daddy! You are so smart!
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Monday, January 26, 2009

...And they said it would never happen...

That's right folks...we finally took our Christmas tree down! It's official...The holidays are over. :)

Jackson was even patient while we finished the tree...

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jackson's Latest Trick!

It must be the cheerleader in me...But, I love watching Jackson clap.

It seems as though pure joy has over taken him when he claps...which, of course, make me happy in return.

When I came home from work on Friday, Justin asked Jackson to show me his latest trick. There he sat grinning from ear to ear...and he put his hands together to clap.

I watched him do this all night on Friday. However, Jackson thought I might want to also see it Saturday at 6 a.m....and Sunday at 7 a.m. Of course, my heart melted-even in these early hours.

I posted a short clip (the best we could get on camera) to share with all of you.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Check out that Belly!!

We had a busy week.

Not many posts.

But, that doesn't mean our household was any less fun.

Jackson was busy getting into everything.

Justin and I were busy keeping up with him. :)

Sorry... not many post this week...more to come over the weekend.

Happy Friday to all....enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A letter to Jackson

Dear Jackson,

I write this on a very historic day. Today, the first African American president took the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States of America.

Tonight, your Dad and I have been glued to the television. We wanted to see every bit of coverage we could to see of this monumental event.

I cannot help but think how you will one day read about today in history books.

I grew up having different political views than my parents (for the most part). While I write this, I look at you playing with your toys and I wonder what your political views will be.

No matter what your views will be…I hope you value your right to have a view. I hope your father and I teach you what a privilege it is to be able to express your opinion freely. I hope we teach you to speak out when you are passionate about something, and yet respect others when their views differ from yours.

No matter what your political views will be…I hope you grow up to realize what exactly took place today.

Most importantly, I hope we help you grow to be the kind of man who is proud to be an American.

Tonight, your Dad sat you on his lap tonight and told you what a great country we live in. He explained to you that when we think things are going bad for us, we need to remember there are other countries who don't have our freedoms. He wants you to know how lucky we are to be Americans.

Today, your father and I know exactly how lucky we are.

I love you more than you know.


Sleep in the crib...Eat in the highchair!

I think Jackson is a bit confused!

We have been having trouble getting Jackson to sleep through the night (ever since Aunt Shel kept him overnight and fed him at 3 a.m.). :)

However, perhaps it is because he is napping through lunch!

Justin snapped these photos over the weekend when feeding Jackson off to a quick snooze.

He keeps us laughing!
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Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Friday Laugh!

I snapped this a couple of days ago. I've been laughing ever since.

I can't decide what is funnier...his belly and thighs...or the fact that he looks like the talking baby from the E-Trade commercials. "Oh, bad Girl...Can I hit you back?"

Happy Friday...We hope all of you
are staying warm!

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It Must Have Been the Dinosaur Pajamas!

We have been watching Jackson "take-off" with the walker the past couple of weeks. Tonight was no exception. In fact, after putting on his PJs....he was starting to show off.

Justin grabbed the camera...and Jackson turned on the smile.

Here is a short clip of our talented baby boy!

P.S. Thanks to all who called to check on Jackson last week after I posted the clip of him trying out the walker for the first time. He was just fine. I promise...Not even a bruise!

P.S.S. Yes...We still have our Christmas tree up (we're thinking of adding hearts for Valentine's Day)...and yes, I have on polar bear PJs. They are my favorite...I wasn't planning on being on camera tonight! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Car Seat Trouble...and A Baby in a Bar?....

I consider myself to be intelligent. Sure, I'm not a brain surgeon, but I consider myself to be smart.

However, last night...I questioned this theory. It was just one of those nights that I wasn't on my "mom game" that is.

Here is how it went down.

After a long day at work, I returned home to a smiling Jackson. He had spent the day with my Mom and was in a great mood.

Justin was gone for the night with work. So my Mom and I planned a night out for dinner and shopping.

We walked out to the car excited for our "girls night" (plus Jackson) to begin. I put Jackson in his car seat...only to realize the car seat wasn't buckled in. I realized then that earlier that day a co-worker had unfastened the car seat to make more room for himself. The only problem was I had NO IDEA how to buckle it back in. Why are these car seats so hard to fasten in? You would think that a MOM should be able to do it? After several swear words, taking my coat off because I was starting to sweat, and even shaking the car seat (Jackson wasn't in it)...I gave up.

Right then, my Mom politely pointed out to me that I left the diaper bag inside. Of course I did. I went inside to retrieve the diaper bag and my Mom attempted to fasten the car seat. I came out to it secured to the car...I was certain it wasn't the "right" way so my Mom sat in the back to make sure Jackson was OK.

Finally, we were on our way.

I drove around Greenwood showing my Mom some of the restaurants we could choose from. She was on the phone to my Grandma. I would slow down at each restaurant and asked if that place would be OK. She just kept chatting. After 30 minutes of gabbing with my Grandma, Mom got off the phone and asked why we hadn't settled on a place. I explained I had been waiting on some feedback from her and she told me she thought I was talking to Justin on the phone when I was really asking her opinion. We both just laughed and finally settled on Olive Garden.

When we arrived, the lady at the front mentioned there was a 20 minute wait. I did what I have done for years to avoid having to wait. As I was holding my 8 month baby in my arms, I asked if we could sit in the bar instead of waiting for the dining room. That's right folks...I asked if I could take a a bar! The hostess just looked at me and didn't know what to say. Finally, it registered. I couldn't take Jackson in there. I politely noted that I had forgotten you weren't allowed to take children in the bar and sat down to wait our turn.

Dinner was great. Jackson behaved. My mom and I talked and laughed.

However, by the time all this happened it was 8:30 p.m. No time for shopping. Plus, I was exhausted after all of this!

We returned to the car with the rigged car seat and made it home safely.

Justin returns home today...and will fix the car seat.

P.S. Why do they make the car seats so hard to install...I'm thinking of writing a letter!...and kicking the coworker who unfastened the car seat to begin with!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Happy 30th Anniversary, Penny and John!

For those of you who don't live in Anderson or don't receive the Herald might have missed our Happy Anniversary wishes for Penny and John in the paper last Sunday.

So just for you...I wanted to post it below.

Keepsakes: Bixler 30th anniversary

The Herald Bulletin

John and Penny Bixler are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.

They married Dec. 2, 1978, at Bethany Christian Church, Anderson.

The couple are the parents of Todd, Justin (wife, Kristen), and Ashley Bixler. In May, they welcomed their first grandchild, Jackson Bixler.

John is retired from General Motors and is currently working for Roche Diagnostics. Penny enjoys working at a local bridal studio, Something Old Something New.
Together, they have enjoyed raising their children, becoming grandparents, and staying in touch with many close friends and family throughout the years.

The couple will continue their anniversary celebration with a long weekend trip to Chicago, Ill.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Santa delivered!

Olivia on Santa's lap this year at Christmas.

This year, while sitting on Santa's lap, my niece Olivia asked that she received straight A's for Christmas.

Most kids were asking for a Wii, a toy car, or the latest and greatest baby doll that pees and poops...but not Liv, she wanted straight A's.

Justin and I just got word that Santa delivered on his promise.

Liv brought home a report card with all A's...even in Math (She dislikes Math - all the women in our family do).

We couldn't be prouder of Olivia. Way to go, Liv!

Her parents offered to take her out to dinner to celebrate...she chose Bennihanna's! Her Aunt "Kicken" has taught her well. Not only is she smart...she has expensive taste! :)
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Look at Jackson go!

Jackson has been practicing with the walker that Santa Claus brought him.

Here is a short video I took on his very first night using the walker.

He has gotten a lot more confident with it, but still falls a lot! I will post another video as soon as he master's the walker!


P.S. Jackson was not injured in the making of this need to call Child Services. :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hand Crafted by Papaw Mike...and Uncle Tom

Today marks five months since I lost my Dad.
In honor of my Dad, I am not going to focus on what I have lost. Instead, I would like to tell you about something I have received.

A few years ago, my Dad decided he was "making" Christmas gifts for my nieces and nephews that year. I remember him telling Justin and I he was making the girls jewelry boxes and making the boys banks. I have to admit, I was a little concerned. You see, my Dad didn't come off as the best with wood working (he was afraid of the saw). But he was determined. He wanted them to have something just from him.

He got so excited in the weeks leading up to Christmas. He even ordered a wood burning stamp to label each gift. The stamp read "Hand Crafted by Papaw Mike." My Dad was so proud of his stamp...he was so proud to be a Grandpa.

When my Dad died I was overcome with grief for myself. On top of that, I was devastated for Jackson that he would never get to know what an amazing Grandpa his Papaw Mike truly was. I want more than anything for Jackson to be able to know how much my Dad loved him.

This Christmas I received several items in honor of my Dad. My mom gifted us with Christmas ornaments with my Dad's photo that we will cherish each Christmas. My sister, Deb, gifted Jackson with a picture frame showcasing a photo of me napping with my Dad (my favorite photo) as a child along with a photo of Jackson napping with my Dad.

The day after Christmas, Jackson received another gift. My Uncle Tom came to visit with my family. He handed me a gift and said, "Your Dad started this and I finished it...I wanted Jackson to have it." I opened it. It was Jackson's bank...just like the other grandson's, Jackson now had his bank. The best part? It even included the stamp, "Hand crafted by Papaw Mike." Uncle Tom explained to me that my Dad had ordered all the parts to make Jackson's bank. He just didn't have a chance to assemble it.
So Uncle Tom came to the rescue. I can only imagine how hard it was for him. Truth be told, Uncle Tom helped my Dad with all the other banks and jewlry boxes. It was something they enjoyed together. Dad always insisted Tom help him with these projects. Tom never said no. I think they both liked having a reason to spend time together.

I know my Dad wouldn't have wanted anyone, but Uncle Tom, to build Jackson's bank.

I will be sure to tell Jackson how his bank was "Hand Crafted by Papaw Mike...and Uncle Tom."
Thank you, Uncle Tom, for this special gift. It is yet another reason to keep my Dad's spirit alive in our household. I look at the bank each time I'm in Jackson's room. I can't wait to explain to Jackson that it was made from love.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jackson's First Hair Cut

Note: Use your speakers for the slide show. You can view the slideshow in large screen through the Picasa Web Albums link on the right of blog.

Today, Justin and I took Jackson to get his first hair cut. We were recommended to go to Cookie Cutters for the "First Hair Cut." So we did. It went great...and Jackson did great! Jackson got a certificate for doing so well. The certificate included a lock of hair for the baby book!

Of course, Justin couldn't leave the salon without buying some "product" for Jackson's hair. Like father-like son!

Enjoy the slide show above of just "some" of the photos I took. The stylist asked Justin and I if Jackson was our first child. As if my photo taking and Justin's video taping didn't give it away. :)

Below is just part of the video we took. Check out how great he did. By the way, that isn't the Paparazzi at Cookie Cutters...that is me just taking photos of my baby boy!

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jackson!

Jackson ready to cheer on the Colts!

Today marks Jackson's 8
th month birthday!

We were hoping to celebrate Jackson's birthday with a Colts' playoff win...but no such luck!

Jackson stayed up for most of the game (with a couple naps here and there)...he's a true fan!

Happy Birthday, Jackson! We love you!

P.S. What happened to the Colts?
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year !

Just a quick post to wish you all a very happy 2009!

Justin and I wish nothing but the best for all of you!

Love you all!

K and J (and little J)

Griswold...I mean Bixler/Symmes Family Christmas...

Justin and I had a few things on the “after Christmas to-do” list…so I have taken some time from blogging to help finish off that list.

So…now I finally have time to tell you all about our “Griswold” family…I mean Bixler/Symmes family Christmas…

Most of you know, my family has been through a lot these past few months. We dreaded the holidays. This was my Dad’s favorite time of the year. It was for two reasons: 1.) He knew his family would be together. 2.) He loved to watch the magic of Christmas through his Grandchildren.

This year, we knew we couldn’t do “Christmas as usual”…because it just wouldn’t be the same without my Dad there to greet everyone with his usual “Christmas spirit.”

We discussed going away for the holidays. We couldn’t agree on when, where, or for how long. So we stayed in town. We did agree we couldn’t do Christmas and my parent’s house. It would be too hard. I knew I would feel like Dad should walk in any minute to wish us all a Merry Christmas.

Michelle and Tom came to our rescue. They offered to host our family at their house for Christmas. We bunkered down at their house for a couple of days. We exchanged gifts, made dinner, ate, ate, and ate some more. We drank red wine (even Grandma Evy kept asking for a refill)…and we spilt red wine (Sorry, Michelle).

It wasn't the same without my Dad. However, I am so proud of my family for finding joy in what was a very difficult holiday. It is what Dad would have wanted.

Friday, my Uncle Tom and Aunt Lee Ann came over to celebrate the holiday. It was great to see them and my cousins at a time we were all missing my Dad so much. They even joined us as we continued our new tradition of toasting to my Dad with glass bottled cokes! It seemed so fitting that they be there for that too!

Thanks to everyone in my family who kept me laughing or let me cry this past holiday.

We got through it together.

Dad would be so proud!

P.S. A special thanks to the Boyd Family for hosting everyone. Even Olivia and Madeline gave up their bedrooms for two days and camped out in sleeping bags. It was great for all of us to be together! Michelle and Tom, your home looked beautiful and your hospitality was wonderful!
The Boyd Family Tree was beautiful!

We even had gift baskets on each of our beds!

P.S.S Michelle- Justin says he is still gathering the family consensus on whether or not you can host next year...we'll let you know! :)

Bixler Family Christmas…

Justin and I joined the Bixler family at Penny and John’s late on Christmas Eve.

Justin’s brother, Todd, was home for the holiday with his dog, Sydney. We came with two dogs…and in case you are loosing count…that is 3 dogs and 3 cats (the cats belong to Penny and John). Justin and I joke at the holidays that we give the Zoo a run for its money!

Christmas morning, we did as we always do (and what the Bixler kids have done for years)…a picture on the stairs. This tradition caught me off guard when I started spending Christmas with the Bixler’s. You see, the women in my family never allow their photo taken before they have had a chance to put on “a little lipstick.” Right, ladies? None the less, I join in for the photo each year and make sure we get one with our camera too.

Jackson loved opening his presents…again the wrapping paper and the boxes were the best! Grandma Penny and Grandpa John showered Jackson with such neat toys. However, we have come to realize that all the toys have the same voice and since Jackson loves them so much…we hear that voice over and over and over! Thanks so much Penny and John!

After we opened presents, we got dressed and headed to Grandma Marge’s for Christmas lunch with the Creason’s (Penny’s family). Of course, Justin and I ate way too much, but we enjoyed our visit with family.

All of Justin’s family bought Jackson such adorable things. He got pj’s, toys, a bowl set, and books. He has enjoyed them all. We couldn’t be more grateful.

The Creason’s have always put a twist in their Christmas exchange. The rule is, if it is from “Santa” you must try it on and model the item for everyone to see. This year, Santa was really good to Penny and the newest member of the family, John (recently married Justin’s cousin, Erin). Check out the photos below!

We had such a great time with Justin’s family. This group is always good for a great laugh and such fun at the holidays! Thanks to all who helped make Jackson’s first Christmas wonderful!

To see all of our Christmas pictures – visit our online web album (link on right of blog).