Speer Family Blog

With so many of our family and friends living far from us (or is it that we live far from you?), this is our way of keeping you in the loop of the memorable moments of our family! This blog will keep you up-to-date on all of our zany thoughts and experiences, as well as provide you with a plethora of pictures of our handsome sons Luke William and Zealand Gabriel Beck!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Autumn in Carolina

Okay, so it's been a really long time...the boys are practically in college. Alright, it hasn't been that long, but they have grown a bunch! I left off just 2 weeks before vacation, so I'll start there. My parents invited us to stay with them at the Wyndham Cottages in North Myrtle. We shared the cute little cottage with my parents BFFs Jim and Diana and my mom's sister, Aunt Kathy. It was a fun week filled with beach and pool outings, dinners out, a date night for me and Zac and me holding my breath each night hoping someone's laughter or jokes didn't wake up one of the kids. I think that's just a mother's worry, because the kids never woke up to noises and everyone had a great time! We also spent that week spending quality time with Zac's parents, grandpa and his sister and her hubby and two kids, Tadan and AJ. It's fun watching the kids play together now that Luke is a bit older and AJ was just so sweet to little Z. I remember when AJ was just a little tyke and now she's so tall and beautiful. Watch out South Carolina!

Cowboy Luke with cousin Tadan and Uncle Eric in the back

Luke with Kenzie

Zealand with cousin AJ

with the cuzes

the boys with Ama and Poppy


with grandma and papa

with aunt Kathy
Luke helping Papa make coffee
So what's happened since vacation?  Zealand has started crawling and just figuring out how to cruise the furniture.  I think this is tripping Luke out.  One moment he had all his toys to himself, next moment Zealand can zoom across the room and get right to any toy he wants.  Luke is daytime potty trained.  We officially take him outside of the house now in his undies.  We'll give this a while before we start trying at night.  I still need as much sleep as I can get with Zealand waking up once or twice a night.  But we're so proud of Luke and we now have a sticker chart to reward his good behavior and a time out chair for his not so good behavior.

at our fave park
Zealand is eating mostly finger foods now (along with his milk) and we're getting away from the smooshed baby food.  We're now putting them down for bed at the same time at night which is refreshing.  Zealand took to it pretty well.  Our nighttime routine now consists of a horsey/daddy ride into the bedroom, followed by books and songs. 

my prescious
this is south carolina!
My mom just spent a few nights with us. Luke had so much fun with his grandma and Zealand got in some hugs every chance he could. She was a great help to me and even let Zac and I enjoy another date night (Carrabba's...you know it!). We really had a great time with her here and can't wait until her and dad move here for good! ;)

Luke with grandma
me and my boys

eating the halloween pancake grandma got him

Last night we carved a pumpkin with daddy in lead. It was a lot of fun for both boys...Luke got to hold the knife KNIFE once or twice and ZZ (did I mention we sometimes call our Zealand Z.Z., thanks to Luke) got to play with some of the pumpkin insides. Then right before bed we went outside and lit up our jack-o-lantern and both of them were so excited!

Now we have Halloween to look forward to (I'll reveal their costumes on a post-Halloween posting) and Luke's 2nd birthday the following Sunday!

Speer Family 2010 Jack O'

Monday, August 30, 2010

Brothers, Teething and the Beach

So we're really getting used to going to the beach with the boys every week.  A couple of weeks ago we decided to try it even with sprinkling rain coming down on the short drive.  Once we got there, a few clouds lingered, but we had an enjoyable morning...actually probably even better than having to worry about the blazing sun beating down on us.  We've also realized that mornings work out perfect for our little family.  We arrive at the beach, we've only been to Isle of Palms so far, around 10am.  Easy parking and we're on the beach in two minutes.  This last time we even remembered to bring our little beach tent in case Z wanted to nap.  Both boys love the water...and the sand!  Just 2 weeks until our week long beach vacation with my parents in Myrtle.  We can't wait!

In other news, we are teething here.  Zealand's bottom two front teeth just broke through.  He handled it like a champ, but now the top two are working their way in.  Which seems to me that it's a little rougher on him.  Poor guy!  And there is rumor of the two-year molars hitting our other toddler friends and from what I can tell in the few instances I'm able to glance in Luke's mouth, he could be getting them any day...or week. 

An update in the potty training world.  Well, not really any news news.  He's doing great, he can go almost a whole day (while we are at home) without an accident, though he does seek help when it's time to pull down his undies.  Speaking of undies...how cute are little toddler underwear?! 

We are officially members of the South Carolina Aquarium and Children's Museum.  Got a great discount to become members of both and because I have two under two, it was a steal!  Now we have a place to go when it's too hot or rainy to be at one of the many fabulous Charleston parks.  We found one park last week, Wannamaker in North Charleston, that is about 5 minutes from our house and has a sprinkler area that both boys were quite fond of.  This park also has a dog park area and we're going to bring daddy-o and our dear doggies next time!

Yesterday we discovered the park at Charles Towne Landing.  It has a little zoo and a fun ship to explore.  Zac had the day off and the weather was gorgeous...and so was the park!  We took some good shots here.

The most fun of all even while we're getting to know our new town, is watching these boys grow as brothers.  Each day that Zealand is becoming more alert and interactive, the more Luke spends "playing" with him...and for him!  They have an after meal routine where Luke plays peek-a-boo by running around his chair, hiding behind him, then jumping out at him. 
 He cracks up, then Zealand cracks up...and on it goes!  When I get busy with cleaning or something, I'll ask Luke to go dance for Z and he'll go and do what it takes to make his lil bro laugh.  He's even starting to show concern when he can't find his brother (like when he is in our room taking a nap).  So precious!  We're so excited to watch as their bonding continues!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Palm Trees, Choo-Choos and I Love You!

Daddy and the boys in the hotel pool
Luke at Riverfront Park
We are officially proud and happy residents of South Carolina! After a joyous phone call from his new boss, Zac was given 2 weeks notice to move to Charleston so he could begin his new Tommy Bahama adventure as manager of the downtown store, elegantly located in the Charleston Place Hotel.

Luke hugging his froggy after
we found him while unpacking
Like I said, we had two weeks notice. That means, two weeks to pack up an entire house, find renters for our house in Maryland (anyone interested in buying???), and make the drive down south. On Thursday, July 22nd we began the journey by making the 2 hour drive from Easton to Magna and Papa's house in Manassas, VA. Along the way, me driving with the boys and Bailey in the back...Zac driving with Yukon, we were on DC's beltway and saw a dude get flipped off his motorcycle just 3 cars in front of me. We both had to slam on our brakes and thankfully he was wearing a helmet and seemed to be alright, considering. We were happy to get to my parents house an hour later and enjoyed our first relaxing afternoon in 14 days (unless you count the 14 afternoons before he heard the news that we were waiting and wondering about the position). My mom made a delicious dinner that night and my brother Stephen came over to say his "see you laters". Though we won't be 2 hours from them anymore, we're hoping my parents move here soon and maybe then my bro will too ;) Then we'd be close to most of our family since most of Zac's family lives in North Myrtle and Myrtle. The boys miss their Papa and Magna very much, but thanks to Skype, until they live here and aside from our week vacation in September, we'll all be able to see one another.

Playground at our apt complex
That Friday, we arrived in North Myrtle and introduced our little Zealand to Zac's parents, Ama and Poppy. It was nice to see them after about 10 months. That night we spent our first night, all of us, in a hotel. We didn'tknow at that point we'd have 12 more nights of all 7 of us in a 1 BR hotel. :) 7 being me, Zac, Luke, Zealand, our dogs Bailey and Yukon and our fish Al. OH yeah! So after a short visit with Zac's sis and her family and our good friends, we drove the hour and a half to Mt. Pleasant...our final leg of the drive. We checked in at the Marriott Residence Inn at the Isle of Palms Connector very happy to see a pool lined with palms!

Zac's company paid for our meals during our stay, which turned out to be 12 days! But have you tried to go out to dinner with a toddler lately? Not too excited to sit longer than 10 minutes, we tried everything to entertain him and keep him occupied and happy though we did decide to get take out a few nights. We were excited though to see Jersey Mike's just a block from our hotel and Mellow Mushroom up the street. We also celebrated our 3rd anniversary while staying there and made it out to Longhorn Steakhouse where we did enjoy nice steaks and I had a glass of wine. With Luke's fascination with knives, this was a good destination to keep him somewhat entertained.
the boys on a stroller ride in downtown
Charleston a block from daddy's work
Charleston Place Hotel
Zac started his first day on the job that Monday and through the following week we spent some time looking at apartments, eating out and swimming in the pool. We found the perfect apartment at Audubon Park in Hanahan, SC which is just on the edge of N. Charleston. While crossing our fingers that ourhome in MD sells sooner than later, that will determine the actual length of our residence here, though we did sign a year's lease.

Tommy Bahama Charleston
Luke and Daddy at apt pool
Massive grill and picnic area at apt pool
Since we've been here, I think it's been 2 1/2 weeks in our very sunny, clean, 3rd floor apartment, we've been really happy about our new lives! The pool is literally just down our stairs and there is a playground across from us. To my delight, or so I thought, there is a railroad track just down the street. I thought this would be great fun for the boys to see. Hmmm, didn't take into account the trains that ran in the middle of the night and why do those horns seem louder then? If you remember me talking about that crazy siren we always had to listen to in Easton, but at least the horns don't last 2 minutes. And the boys have yet to wake from it. Also, for those of you who knew about the lack of stores and shopping we had in Easton, you'll be happy to know I live minutes from Ross, Marshalls, Barnes and Noble, Babies R Us, a mall (I have yet to go in, but am excited) and a Carrabbas!
Zealand after beach trip

Luke after beach trip
We've taken the boys to their first Charleston beach day last Tuesday. Luke has been becoming an expert fish thanks to his floaty outfit in the pool, and we know he loves water, so we knew he'd be excited to see the ocean since he was just 10 months during our last beach trip. He did love it and even little Z sat in the sand and enjoyed the waves that would come up around him. We're excited to know this was our first family beach day of many...especially since I'm not working and we can actually enjoy Zac's days off now!

View of pool from our stairs
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With our new diggs, our new schedule and our sweet boys just growing each day, we are so happy with what we have and we feel so blessed! It's exciting to wonder what life will be like in a year...in five...in 16...and it's cool to know we'll be here in Charleston! Welcome Home!
Entrance to Audubon

Thursday, July 1, 2010

We're moving to Charleston, Baby!

As most of you know, since most of you are Facebook Friends of one of us, we are moving to Charleston, SC in 8 days! Mr. Zachary Speer got a promotion to run the Downtown Charleston store and with two weeks notice, we'll be road-tripping it with two little boys and two dogs in tow. Next Friday is our departure date from the lovely Eastern Shore. Ah, it twas a place with many memories. A place I am happy to have memories of. Zac and I married just 3 months after we moved there and of course, two babies followed in the next two years.

On Friday, we will make a stop in Manassas, Virginia to visit Grandma and Papa. Though we won't be living 2 hours from them, and I know they are sad, it will be a wonderful moment when they are able to relocate and retire in South Carolina in, what Papa, 2 years ;) They have spent so much time with the boys, building a strong bond with them. Luke can point them out in pictures and gets so excited just to hear me say Papa or grandma. With this relationship secure, the bi-monthly visits that they are sure to make will only keep it growing! So don't be sad, mom and dad, we're not that far away and through Skyping and plentiful visits, you'll be retired and living close before you know it!

On Saturday, we will make the 7 hour drive...with Zealand and Luke, make that 8 hour drive...to Zac's parent's house in North Myrtle Beach, SC. It sounds like we'll have a fun day with them and his sis, Mere and her family and niece, Jesse (who is visiting from CO). This will be Zealand's official introduction to his SC fam. He'll turn on his charm...he's going to be a southern gentleman now, after all! He's so excited to meet his Ama and Poppy...Luke has been telling him all about them! And it'll be wonderful watching Luke play with his cousins AJ, Tadan and Jess since last time we visited Luke was barely walking. Now, full of Toddler energy, I know he'll have a blast with them!

We're still practicing Zealand's sitting, which he mostly balances himself on his hands. Of course with our big move looming, most of our "us" time is him watching us pack boxes. Luke is on hand to entertain though. Each day they interact more and more. Zealand is IN LOVE with his big bro and just lights up each time Luke comes around, even if it is to harass him. We keep reminding Luke that Z will be just as big (or bigger) than him one day, so he needs to take it easy!

They are both growing so fast! Luke is now stringing two words together. The first was BIG TRUCK. So cute! And I've heard him ask for DOGGIE-TREAT and HI DADDY. Zealand has been eating up peas and bananas now. He loves it all, he especially loves to put his hand in his mouth after each bite so it gets extra messy! He's also talking up a storm...I really think he'll be a talker. Last night I think he spent an entire half hour after Luke went to bed just babbling to me. And where Luke started with DaDaDaDa, my Z has started with MaMaMaMa. :) And he's definitely teething, poor little guy!

A sad note about us leaving is Luke having to say good-bye to his Abby Abo. That's our babysitter Meagan's daughter, Abby...which she nicknames Abby Boo Boo and that's where we assume Luke came up with his name for her "Abby Abo". Sooo cute! He's watched her grow since she was just 8 weeks old and she just turned 1 yesterday! Here's a picture of Abby on her birthday and of Meagan with Luke at 10 months. Oh, and congratulations to Meagan...she's due to have her second little girl at the end of summer! I just have to say that having to find someone to watch your kids while you go to work every day is hard enough and I feel so very lucky we found Meagan. She made it easier to know that the boys were with someone who really cared about them and that Luke also had a playmate. Thanks Meagan for everything!

Hope everyone had a very happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thank You, Lady Gaga

This morning I was cleaning the house and Luke was following me from room to room helping me vaccuum.  I starting singing Lady Gaga's Bad Romance..."Ra Ra-ah-ah-ah, Roma Roma-ma" and he shouts out "GA GA"!  So cute!  Last week, after a fun weekend at Grandma and PaPa's house, we had a long drive home and we listened to the Gaga CD and he said "gaga" and I cheered him on, but I had no idea it'd stick and he'd recognize it a week later!  So much fun!

Little Zealand is just about sitting up on his own.  He's doing it for 8 seconds but Zac and I have decided it doesn't officially count until he does it on his own for 10 seconds. 
But the precious little guy is in the 98th percentile in height and has a really long torso he's trying to balance, so we're helping him practice as often as we can.  He's so awesome! 

As of today, it is summer and I already have had a ton of fun with them in the sun and a ton of sunny pictures that captured most of it.  Here is one series of pictures I took of Luke this weekend.  You can see in the first picture that I just called his name.  I told him to spray himself.  Like a good little boy, he listened to his mommy, sprayed himself right in the face and followed to throw the hose down.  He ran staight over to me and the final picture is of his sweet little face drenched. 

Luke is fascinated with money right now :)  Grandma and Papa gave him a piggy bank for his first birthday which he started taking notice to a few weeks ago.  "Piggy" he'll shout out.  Then we showed him how to fill the piggy with change that he calls "money" or muh-nee.  I have given him all the change out of my wallet and he's always trying to fill his piggy, but I'm running out of change!  I guess this is a good thing if he continues to want to save money, rather than spend it like his mama!

Finally, we had a fabulous Father's Day with all four of us being home together.  It was super hot and we all squeezed into Luke's dragon pool.  Even Zealand kept cool and we shaded him from the sun!  We kept Luke laughing by pouring water over him and one another...even letting him pour water over mommy and daddy.  We concluded the fun day with a delicious homemade dinner of enchiladas and chili rellenos.  Needless to say, I think everyone in our home slept very well last night!