Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

This Christmas was so special to Clay and me.  I wish I could post the video of George walking out into our den and seeing what Santa had left him, but it would take ten years to upload.  His face and reaction was priceless, and it just got better throughout the day.  

Christmas Eve we had family over for a spaghetti dinner.  George was really into spaghetti.

Christmas morning, George slept in and came out to find his presents from Santa.  I think the hardest thing for him was opening a gift that he loved, and then putting it down to open another gift.  This really confused/frustrated him, but when they were all opened, he had so much fun.

He even combined his headlamp with Mickey.

He got the hang of opening presents after round 1.

His musical instruments might be his (and Clay's) favorite!

We headed over to Mama Zo & Pops' house to celebrate Christmas with the Cochran's.  George had an absolute blast- he loves playing with Chase and Hank!

These three take a lot of cute pictures.  This one is my favorite from Christmas.  

The boys got sleeping bags, sleeping pads, and camping pillows from Mama Zo & Pops!

We came back to Saty and Pop's house for naps.  After Scott, Katie, Rogers, Frannie and Erie came over, we got up for round 2 of Christmas celebrations.  Here is George in his fisherman's vest and his new tool bench!  He had so much fun- but ended up crashing around 6:30pm.

 George really loves playing with his cousin, Rogers!  I don't think either of them know their own strength (or personal space for that matter), but I love capturing the things they do on camera.  They are absolutely hilarious together!

This was such a full Christmas.  Full of family time, laughter, love, and every great thing that comes with this time of the year.  We have so much to be thankful for this year, but I am most thankful for the people with which we celebrate our Savior's birth.  As we are on the cusp of a new year, I am excited to see what this year will hold.  We have seen God's faithfulness in such incredible and tangible ways this year, that we could hardly wait to celebrate Him this season.  Something about seeing it through a child's eyes makes it even more special.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Very Nana Christmas (Volume II)

Every year, the Zbinden family gathers together to celebrate Christmas.  This year was no different.  Scratch that.  This year we had two new babies, and 46 people in attendance.  Coming from a smaller family, I'm not sure that I ever understood what people meant when they said they come from a 'big family'.  When we had Christmas with the Lee family, it was a modern miracle to have all six 'children' and their spouses, and all the grandkids gathered together with all of the grandparents.  Wrap your mind around the fact that this family is able to gather almost 50 people on the Saturday before Christmas- now that's some familial commitment. 

 Nana with her 12 great grandchildren

 Then all of the cousins and spouses jumped in.

 Nana & George!

 Christmas Pageant 2012:
Joseph, Mary, Jesus, the Star, the Angel of the Lord, a shepherd, and Baby Jesus #2

 Cast Picture with new Baby Jesus

 George was the Drummer Boy.  I think he was upset he didn't get to have Chase's costume from last year.

 The aunts singing Sleigh Bells...the highlight of my year!

 All the cousins of the handbell choir.

George was so excited to pass out presents.  I think he took all of his presents to Nana.

There were a lot of activities, memories, singing, and love to go around to everyone that day.  At one point, I noticed a plaque in the corner of Nana's garage that says, "All Because Two People Fell in Love."  When you see a family this big gathered all together, that quote takes on a whole new meaning.

I'm doing Christmas in a different post, because Nana's Christmas needed a post all its own.  I remember last year thinking I needed a picture of Uncle Frank to put in this post.  So look out, Uncle Frank, next year's post is dedicated to YOU!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


There are few things that break my heart more than a sick child's face.  It reaches a new level of pitiful that cannot be reached in any other state.  On Thursday, Saty took George to ride the carousel at the mall and then back to her house to make gingerbread houses.  Usually I get pictures of George getting into mischief, or smiling ear-to-ear, so I was really excited to see pictures of this super-fun-Saty-day.  Here's what I got:

After a diagnosis of pink eye and a double ear infection, George made a speedy recovery with a little bit of medicine, and watching The Polar Express.  He is truly captivated by this movie, and it's pretty cute to watch him love it the way Clay and I do.

In the midst of this, we did get to take George to see Santa.  Based on his last visit with Santa, we were prepared for the worst.  Call it a Christmas Miracle, but George was really excited when he got to sit in Santa's lap!  

It's hard to wrap my brain around the fact that Christmas is less than a week away.  In light of everything that has happened over the last week in our country, I am reminded how broken our world is, and am sure that we need Jesus' birth in a new way this year.  Our church is studying the hymns of Christmas, and these words made me well up with tears with the promise from our Savior:

O come, Desire of nations, bind all people in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease and be Thyself our King of Peace.

Rejoice!  Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


George got to have lots of quality time with all of his grandparents this weekend.  It started with a trip to the McWane Center with Saty.  I didn't go with them, but I've heard all about it.  I love when my mom sends me pictures while they're out and about.  I know it sounds weird, but I love to see how George acts when I'm not around.  It makes me feel like he's a little person, and less of a baby.

I think I would have passed out in the car too after that much activity!

Saturday morning we celebrated Christmas a few weeks early with the Lees.  For the last 29 years, we have always celebrated Christmas on Christmas night with our cousins.  Now that there are seven kids under the age of 2 and a half, we opted for a brunch not in the thick of the busyness that surrounds Christmas.  I know we'll miss them on Christmas night, but the quality of our time yesterday will trump any quantity of time we would get with seven sleepy babies (and their parents...).

Sara- we missed you!

  Mae Mae & Jack

George and his new love...the dump truck.

This is George's 'funny face'

Ellen was the best cleaner!

Saturday night George got to go out to Mama Zo & Pops' house and spend the night!  I know he had so much fun out there.  There is no shortage of toys, yummy treats, and kisses from them!  Today, we all came out to celebrate Mama Zo's birthday.  Happy birthday, Mama Zo!  We are so thankful for who you are to us, and who you are to George.  You bring so much joy and love into our lives, and we love getting to celebrate you on your birthday!

All the boys helping Mama Zo blow out her candles.
Do not get in between these boys and their cake.

George and Nana!

The whole Cochran Family.  
Looks like I need to do laundry so I don't wear the same thing all weekend :)

Mama Zo & Pops with their grandsons.

Santa came for a visit and Chase was really excited!  George and Hank shared the same sentiment.

This could be one of my favorite pictures of all time.

We are taking George to see Santa this week, and hope it doesn't just scar him for life.  Here's hoping!

Friday, December 7, 2012


 Clay and I have talked about this, and we agree that this past Thanksgiving was our best Thanksgiving yet.  It was filled with great time with our families, lots of time just the three of us, and sweet moments along the way where we could just watch a movie/go on a hike/play in our front yard/and even go on a long-overdue date.

It started with lunch at Granny's house.

 I love this picture of George and Hank.  I feel like they could be brothers!

 George had so much fun playing football with Uncle Drew, Clay and Uncle Wes!

 I spy a George Sandwich.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving night Clay, George and I had my parents and Aunt Erie over for soup, but we were all a little tired for pictures.  I'm pretty sure George ran around in just a diaper after dinner.

Friday morning was one of the most beautiful days I can remember, so we headed out to Oak Mountain to go on a hike.  Clay was excited to try out his child backpacker that he got last year for Christmas, and George was happy to go along for the ride.  It was one of those mornings where I just wanted to press pause and stay in that time for a while.  George fell asleep pretty early on, Harper got to run all over Oak Mountain State Park, and Clay and I got to talk about life.  It was so fun.

If you look closely...George is already asleep.

After our hike, we even had some time to play outside in our yard, and George was so excited to get to play with his cousin's basketball goal!

Harper generally keeps a safe distance from George, but just wanted to let everyone know she's still around!

Friday night, Clay and I got to go on a really fun date!  I know I've mentioned it a few times by now, but I really treasure my time with Clay.  I absolutely love George, and love it when the three of us get to hang out, but since one-on-one time with Clay is more of a rarity, it is always a fun time when we go on a date.

Saturday was such a great day, since it started with sleeping in!  We got to pick out our Christmas tree ( was still November), and I got to see my friend, Carrie, and her little girl!  This was such a treat.  I so wish we weren't living on opposite sides of the country, but loved getting to see the whole Alling/Colvin family!

Scott, Katie, Rogers and Frannie got back in town on Sunday afternoon, and we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Howell family on Sunday night.

I feel like this picture really sums up our relationship perfectly.


There were many people who slipped George all kinds of sweet treats.  These were the two I caught on camera.  One in the act...the other just after.

Rogers was really excited to decorate Saty's Tree.

'tis the Season!

What a sweet season of reflection Thanksgiving and Christmas are for us.  There have been hard moments, difficult decisions, and times of loss throughout this year.  In the same breath, there has been much to celebrate, and the fullness of life all around us.  As Clay and I gathered around Thanksgiving tables with our families, we talked about the family members who are not with us anymore, who we miss greatly.  I am thankful for this season to really consider how the Lord has used those hard moments and losses to show us more of who He is.  During this Advent Season, I am preparing my heart to celebrate that the Lord came and conquered the sin,loss, and sadness of this world.  

Merry Christmas!