Sunday, September 30, 2012

Birthday Party

Saturday was George's first birthday party.  I've been to a few kids' birthday parties, and they all seemed so effortless.  I have come to find out that birthday parties, actually, are not so 'effortless', but they are so much fun.  Our house and yard were filled with family members, neighbors, and friends all gathered together to celebrate George's first year.  After Clay and I collapsed finished cleaning up from the party, we were talking about how much it meant to us to have everyone there with us.  Mainly because the people who came to George's birthday party weren't just there for the party, but they have literally walked with us throughout this year.  They celebrated him before he was even born.  They held him on his very first day in this world.  They have been George's babysitters.  They are George's friends from church.  They are his midweek play dates.  They have prayed for George, and for us.  They have helped Clay and me through the transition into parenthood.  I felt like we were surrounded by our support system, and I cannot wait for George to really know the people who came to celebrate him on his first birthday.

 Only official picture of the day of the three of us.

George loves hanging out with Chase and Hank!

 George was getting a little sleepy...

 ...and then it was cupcake time!

George actually loved all of the attention as everyone sang 'Happy Birthday'. 

It took the rest of the kids 0.0000001 seconds to swarm the cupcake table after the song was over.  Here, Camp Giddens is ready to help himself to George's cake.

 George was a little shy about trying his cake at first.

 Then he came out of his shell.

Then he got really excited!

 He decided that using his hands was too slow.
Here, George is literally just putting his mouth to the cake to cut out the middle man.

 The rest of the kids followed suit.

 Even the big kids.

 Pre-party picture.

 Kids' food table with party favors.

I am so thankful for the family and friends that surround us.  Yesterday was such a sweet celebration of George's first year, and the friendships and love that he will grow into over the coming years.  We would not be the parents we are to George without the people around us.   George has been officially 'celebrated' and we are excited to see what year #2 holds!

Happy Birthday, George!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

One Year

Yesterday you turned one year old.  In some ways, it seems like you've been in our lives forever, and in other ways, I can't believe you are one year old.  I warn you, (and anyone reading this post), that this will for sure be sentimental.  You've been warned, and now I feel free-reign to express what this day has meant to me, to your dad, and to us as a little family.

We started the day with the traditional Howell-family-birthday-muffin.

 Followed by a little visit from Saty, and his first birthday present!

He really doesn't like to be separated from his soccer ball from Saty.  Thanks, Saty!

The rest of the day from 8:30am on seems like a blur in retrospect.  While it was a day full of celebrating George's life, we also had heavy hearts as we lost our Grandaddy.  Clay pointed out yesterday that Clay was born on Grandaddy's birthday, and he passed away on George's birthday.  Over the past few years, I have been amazed at the paradox of new life and the passing of life that the Lord creates in this world.  Yesterday was such a beautiful picture of how the Lord creates new life out of ashes.  Oh how we will miss Grandaddy, and we are excited to celebrate his life, and his impact on his family this weekend.

We spent post-nap with a Birthday Balloon from Mama Zo, a fun book from Great Aunt Marianne, lots of playing, and ended with a little cupcake from Ashley Mac's.

George, today has been such an emotional day for your dad and me.  We are so excited for you to be one year old.  We are so sad to experience the loss of your great-grandfather.  For today, we will celebrate who you are to our family.  You are joy.  You are excitement.  You are adventure.  Before we had you, I feared that we might be giving up so much.  We might have to give up freedom to travel on a whim.  We would have to give up going out to fun, fancy dates.  Everything seemed like such a sacrifice before you were born.  As I look through these pictures, and think about how much our house needs to be cleaned, I've realized that nothing about you seems like a sacrifice.  In fact, it's just the opposite.  The Lord has used you to experience what it feels like to die to self, in that your dad and I actually find life- and joy- out of service.  George, I know I will say this a million times, but I find the greatest joys in being your mother.  In the mundane, changing 10+ diapers, feeding meals, and playing with your dinosaurs and soccer ball all day, sort-of-day, I find joy.  I find my heart in my throat when your dad pulls up and you literally squeal with excitement at the sight of him.

George, your first year has changed our lives and rocked our world in the absolute best way possible.  I can't wait to see what the next 365 days hold.

Happy Birthday, Georgie!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I know this may come as a surprise to some of you, but sometimes I tend to be a little dramatic.  I blame most of it on Dawson's Creek.  The last three days have been a little tumultuous around here, and the emotions tend to get heightened when Clay is away and not here to keep me in check.  Here's a re-cap of the past week:

Clay is truly the most selfless person.  Some of my girlfriends from Nashville were getting together last Friday night and invited me along, and he took a half-day to work from home and take care of George Friday night and Saturday until I got home.  It is such a blessing to me to get to have some good girl time- even though I treasure my days with George and Clay.  It was the perfect little overnight getaway, and we had a great dinner and such great conversations.  It was awesome.

 Girls at dinner after Meredith left and before Paige got there.

Coffee with Kelli the next morning!

* Fast-forward to Sunday.  George started cutting TWO new teeth at the same time.  One molar and his fifth lower front tooth.  In case you don't know, George has a rough time cutting teeth.  I think having two teeth coming in at the same time just did him in, because he has been super-pitiful this week.  Aside from the 10+ loads of laundry I've had to do and the unmentionable number of diapers I've had to change, George has been the most snuggly he's ever been.  He's been taking 4-6 hours worth of naps during the day, and sleeping until 8-8:15am.  My heart really does break for how terrible he feels, and oh how I wish I could do anything to take this away from him.

Despite how rough he's had it, we've still managed to have fun.
Boxes have become one of George's absolute favorite toys.

 We got to swing at the Maddox's playground for a while.
Bath time is still a sure-fire way to make him happy.

And now for my personal favorite trick of George's...blowing smooches.

I have watched this video at least fifty times, and it never gets old to me.  When I went to get him up for the day today, he just kept blowing kisses over and over.  There have surely been some rough parts over the last 48 hours, and some that, before I had George, I never thought I would live to tell about.  But here I am, one week away from his first birthday, and all that I'll really remember about this week is that he learned how to blow me a kiss.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

I love three day weekends that we don't go anywhere and don't have much to do.  This weekend was just that.

Last weekend we started an herb garden in our side yard.  By 'we', I mean, Clay built the bed, laid the soil, and helped me plant the herbs.

 Herbs before planting.

 Clay- horticulture extraordinaire.

 Finished product!

I let them 'grow' for a whole week before I used some.  I could hardly wait!

 I used a lot of the basil to make some pesto for a pasta salad.

Creamed corn with fresh rosemary.

On Saturday we went out to the Cochran's house and had so much fun with everyone!  George has become pretty interested in stairs, and it is really hard to keep him from climbing up them.  He can get up a flight of stairs pretty quickly, but also assumes coming down the stairs is just as easy.  He had so much fun on these stairs!

 Climbing up...

 He's so proud of himself when he gets to the top!

 Cochran boys in the bath!

 George was getting a little sleepy at this point- but he had so much fun with Chase and Hank!

Mama Zo and Pops with their grandsons.

We had dinner with the Howell's on Labor Day night.  Saty and Pop just finished their little pier on the 'lake' (I call it a big pond) for the boys to fish on one day.  I didn't get to take very many pictures while we were all together, but here are the three I did manage to take!  

Such a great end to a perfect weekend.

Happy Labor Day!