Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day

  George's Christmas present to us was sleeping until about 8:30am Christmas morning.  

He slept so long that I think he woke up and was afraid he had missed Santa.
 We tried to tell him that Santa had come..and then he changed his tune when he saw his present.

 Dad took him for a spin in his new Radio Flyer Wagon!

 A few family pictures before heading out to the Cochran's house. 

The theme of Christmas 2011 on both sides can be summed up in one word: BABIES.  There were a lot of babies to be held, and not a lot of hands left over to take pictures.  I'd say that's a good sign of a blessed family.

 All the Cochran kids and grandkids lined up before presents!

 Hank had a big secret for George.

 There were six kids under the age of 18 months at the Howell Christmas.  They were moving so fast that I only was able to take a picture of the ones who were sitting (or helping others sit).

Here is George's wagon from us, filled with all of his gifts from grandparents, aunts, uncles, Great Aunt Marianne, and everyone in between.  The economy was definitely stimulated by the Cochrans and Howells.  George will grow to love all of these toys in the coming months, and we are so thankful!  

We are most thankful for the love and friendships among our family.  We are thankful to celebrate our Savior's birth with such dear people to us.  

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, too!  
Ours was my most special Christmas yet.

Christmas Eve

Now that Clay and I live in Birmingham, any holiday of the year is spent right here in town.  I love that we get to see our families for every holiday year-round, but especially for Christmas and Christmas Eve.  We started Christmas Eve with a lunch in Springville with the Cochrans.  

 Granny and George after lunch.

 George with his first stuffed Santa- thanks Granny!

After lunch, we came home to re-group and get ready for church for Christmas Eve service.  When we lived out of town, we were never able to go to our church on Christmas Eve.  Cahaba Park is such a blessing to us, and we have loved being able to worship with our community for Christmas.

After church, Clay and I had a spaghetti dinner with my family, Wes, and our neighbor, Grady.  Here's my Happy Birthday, Jesus!  cake.

 When it was almost time for bed, Dad and George went outside to look for Santa.  George says he saw him, but Clay wasn't so sure.  Not sure you could doubt that sweet face, though.

 Time for the first gift of Christmas!

 We read The Night Before Christmas...
and Clay ended it with the Christmas story in Luke 2.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy Three Months, Georgie!

I truly can't believe we have a three-month-old on our hands.  In the last few weeks, George has started laughing.  During bathtime, Clay can get him to do a belly laugh that I can hear across the house.  It makes my heart just well up with joy.

Here are a few of George's favorite things:

George has literally started playing himself to sleep.  Harper really benefits from this, as you can see.  He reaches for the toys hanging down, and giggles when he hits them and they make a sound.  Evidently, this can be exhausting.  I think Harper is longing for the day that George starts to play with her.

George likes tolerates tummy time.  This is the face he makes before he melts down, because he knows we'll rescue him from the most dreaded time of his day.  He has gotten so good at holding his head up, pushing up on his hands, and has rolled over a few times.

As you can tell, his most favorite time of the day, everyday, is bath time!  The only time he stops smiling and laughing is when bath time is over- and trust me, it is really hard to end such a sweet time of the day.

Happy Three Months, George!  You are so, so loved.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Very Nana Christmas

Christmas celebrations for Clay and I always start at Nana's House.  It is hard to put into words the amount of fun and craziness that goes on in that little garage in Pinson, Alabama.  For the few hours we are all together, there are countless stories, laughter, and tears shared among family.  Things usually get started with the Christmas Pageant.  This year, Hank and George split the roles of the Angel of the Lord, and Baby Jesus. Chase was the Little Drummer Boy, who wore a coonskin cap, of course.

 Nana as Mrs. Claus.

 George as the Angel of the Lord, Hank as Jesus, just before Chase's big entrance.

Goodness gracious.  I just don't think it gets much cuter.

After the pageant is over, we form a circle and there is usually lots of sharing.  This year we all shared the blessings in our life.  How seldom do we share the things for which we are truly thankful, and feel the Lord's blessings in our life?  It was neat to hear everyone's testament of how the Lord is working in their life and in the lives of their families.  

After a time of sharing (and after much coercion), the aunts sang Sleigh Bells.  I'm not sure how long this has been going on, but I absolutely love it.  I mean, whose family has choreographed songs and dances? If this video doesn't put you in the Christmas Spirit...I'm not sure what will.

**Disclaimer: I cannot figure out how to embed videos onto my blog.  While I have been complaining about my frustrations about not being able to link a video, Clay has been working diligently on our nephew's Christmas present.  This has involved the assembling of 12,560 pieces to make one Christmas wish come true.  Maybe I need to keep things in perspective, right?

There is lots of time for visiting, passing around babies, and eating.  And that is just what everyone did.

Sleigh Bells

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa Claus: Take 2

Clay and I took George to see Santa at Brookwood Mall.  George was not too happy about being woken up for a picture with a stranger, but the memory was captured in this little picture:

I feel like the craziness of George's hair is really portrayed in this picture.  And I love it.

The visit was pretty short and sweet, so we took a few more pictures before heading home.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Too. Much. Fun.

It is 4:16pm on Sunday afternoon and Clay and I are already in our pajamas.  We have just had too much fun this weekend, and it has worn us out.

The weekend started for George and me with a visit to Bass Pro Shop to see Santa with our neighbors, Claire and John Grady.  

Clay and I will still take George to see Santa sometime soon, but we thought we'd do a trial-run at Bass Pro Shop since it's FREE.  It sure is hard to find anything that's free these days, especially a picture of your precious child with Santa.  
(You may need a magnifying glass to find George. Does it remind you of Where's Waldo?)

Friday night, we got to keep our nephew, Rogers.  He was so much fun!  He's always so fascinated in whatever George is doing, which is sort of ironic, since George doesn't do too much, and Rogers is all over the place.  It was time for George's bath, and Rogers needed to go in to supervise.

Then Harper decided that her help was probably needed too.

Then Rogers decided that he was going to need a bath.

We had SO much fun with him, and hope we can keep him again soon!

Bright and early Saturday morning, we packed up the car and headed to Nashville.  Clay had not been back to visit Nashville since we moved to Birmingham in 2009.  It was so great to see our friends there, and George needed to meet everyone!  
We drove straight to Jen's house, where I lived until Clay and I got married.  

We met some friends for lunch, and then walked around Green Hills and Hillsboro Village.  Saturday night we went to dinner and then called it a night soon after.

George slept all night (thanks buddy!), and we packed up our gear (I still cannot believe how much one tiny person needs), and drove around to our favorite places and took some pictures.  I never did that when I lived there, and I wish I had more pictures of the places I've lived.

We took the scenic route to Franklin, and had lunch at our most favorite place in Nashville.  Puckett's Grocery was where we went on our first real date when Clay came to Nashville from San Antonio. They have live music and incredible food at dinner, and a fun atmosphere and great brunch and lunch during the day.  It brought back so many great memories.

By the end of lunch, George was ready to head home.  He slept the whole way back to Birmingham, but I think he had a good time.  Now, we're about to settle in to watch Polar Express.  
I love this time of year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What a weekend.

You may be wondering how this happened:

It all started at this three-year-old's birthday party.  Happy birthday, Owens!

I have two words for you people: Jump-Jump.  Rogers did a little bit of this:

But he did a whole lot of this:

And when it was time to go...he did this: 

 In short, Rogers LOVED the jump-jump.  He was the absolute last person to leave the party, and he didn't go down without a fight.  Almost as much as Rogers loved playing in the jump-jump, Uncle Clay loved playing in the jump-jump with the kiddos even more.

Fast-foward to Saturday night.  George got to have his picture taken with Santa for the first time at a fun Christmas party.  George was pretty disinterested in the events of the night.  

Chase and Hank with Santa too.

On Sunday we celebrated Mama Zo's birthday in Springville.

It was a fun day celebrating such a wonderful mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother.  We love you Mama Zo!

 These two pictures make me so excited for Christmas!  How much cuter does it get??

After a long weekend of fun parties and family time...all George could do was this: