Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer of George

Clay and I are big Seinfeld fans, and we've officially dubbed this summer as the 'Summer of George', since this is literally the last summer that George will be a solo child.  I can hardly contain myself thinking about pool days, mornings spent at the Zoo/Splash Pad, and all of the other things we'll have time to do between now and when Nan arrives.  My only fear is that the heat combined with my increasing size might slow me down.  But that's what afternoon naps are for, right?

Last Friday was George's last day of Mother's Day Out for the year.  George has grown so attached to his teacher, Patty, and to the kids in his class.  All of a sudden in the last two weeks of 'school', he would come home talking about the six other kids in his class by name.  Sometimes even now I'll ask him who he wants to play with that day and he'll mention his friends from school.  It has been such a great year at Vestavia Day School- and I know George will be so excited to start back in August!

This is George on his first day of school.                       
Here he is on his last day of school!

He loves wearing his backpack around- we just have to make sure it's not too heavy for him.  There have been a few times when his backpack has made him tip over.  But he's always a trooper about it! 

His teachers put this bag of memories together from their last month of school!  They always sent home the sweetest crafts, and Clay is begging me to clean out some of the ones that aren't keepsakes (i.e. a cut-out snowflake with some crayon scribbles).  I know that having a second baby will help me want to purge more often, but I just can't part with these little treasures.

So now that summer is in full-swing, we have lots of time for morning snuggles.  As soon as I get George out of his crib in the mornings, he runs into our room, pats on the bed, and says, "Snuggles please!"  I will never pass up moments like these.  

 We've been trying to play outside as much as possible before the unbearable summer heat sets in.  I'm not sure when George got big enough to swing by himself, but I get a little misty seeing this.  He is an outside kid for sure, no matter how hot, cold, rainy, or buggy it might be.

 A little girl invited him to see-saw with him.  I think he fell in love.

 My friend, Mivvi, has introduced me to the power of the garden hose.  The other day I had walked Lakeshore Trail with a friend (5 mile walk), and I was pretty exhausted.  I looked at my watch and saw it was only 10am when we finished.  Not even close to lunch/naptime.  I turned on the hose for George, and sat myself on the porch for AN HOUR.  For one hour, I sat on the porch while George had the time of his life playing with the hose.

 It didn't take long for the t-shirt to come off and for the real fun to start.

 George and Charlotte Anne have such a sweet love for each other!  We love playing with these friends, I think you can tell by George's face here.

George and Lucy at the park.  I really couldn't capture the cuteness of this situation, but they were playing peek-a-boo with each other.  George would pop out and say "peed pieeeee!" and Lucy would just laugh and laugh.  It is pretty sweet to see George actually play with other kids.

All-in-all, we are in a sweet stage of life.  George plays so hard in the mornings, and has been crashing for his afternoon naps (sometimes lasting 4+ hours!!).  Our days are filled with so much action, and I love to see George's love for life.  

I am also so thankful for your prayers and encouragement throughout the last two months.  While we wait for Nan's arrival, we continue to covet your prayers.  She continues to grow in a healthy way, and we are more hopeful than ever for her precious little life.  She is, without a doubt, the bravest little fighter I know.  I can't wait to meet her, and, as she grows up, tell her of the miracle that is her life.  And I can't wait to get to tell her about all of our friends and family who have prayed ceaselessly for her.  We are thankful that the deep sadness has left our little house, and we have found the joy in life again.  A dear friend gave me a devotional book that I have found to be such a comfort throughout this season.  This was the poem/hymn for May 15, the day she gave it to me.

I cannot know why suddenly the storm
Should rage so fiercely round me in its wrath;
But this I know- God watches all my path,
And I can trust.

I may not draw aside the mystic veil
That hides the unknown future from my sight,
Nor know if for me waits the dark or light;
But I can trust.

I have no power to look across the tide,
To see while here the land beyond the river;
But this I know- I shall be God's forever;
So I can trust.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day

 Clay has always celebrated Mother's Day in such a sweet way- even before we had George.  This year was no different, except that George is a walking/talking human being now.  Sunday morning while I was still 'asleep', Clay went in to get George out of bed.  I could hear him in George's room coaching him on how to say 'Happy Mother's Day, Mommy'.  It might have been my favorite moment of the day.

So George raced into our room and yelled 'HAPPY!!!!!", and I got the gist of what he meant.  He was holding this little card that Clay and him had made together.  Call me a sap, but I will keep this card forever.

We had lunch with the Cochran's and dinner with my family, and then all three of us crashed really early that night.  Because of this season of life for us, Clay and I have talked more about what parenthood means to us than we ever have before.  I think the reasons we chose to become parents are not at all the reasons we enjoy being parents.  When I used to spend time with friends and families that had kids, they always made it seem so easy and fun.  It always looked like that child and/or baby just fit perfectly into the life they lived before they became parents (I realize now that I was sorely mistaken).  I am thankful for the ways that George has changed mine and Clay's life, because it has certainly changed dramatically from a few years ago.  I'm so grateful for the ways that Nan has already deepened our marriage, and our family life.

 I am more confident than ever that I was created to be a mother.  I love being George's mom, and I love spending my days with him- even when it's hard, and even when it is exhausting.  Just when I don't know if I can handle another meltdown, George comes up with the sweetest moments like "love you mommy" or "more Jesus, peeees" (that's his latest one), and it reminds me of the joy of parenting.

Above everything, though, I am absolutely sure that I am the mother I am to George because of the dad Clay is to him.  Clay has taught me so much about taking joy in these early years- and it has been such a relief to be able to have fun with George on a daily basis.  I am so thankful for our little family.  I am excited to introduce Nan to her big brother, and her doting dad.

Thanks for making this the best Mother's Day yet, Clay and George!
I love you more than words.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Seagrove 2013

This past week, we headed down to Seagrove (right next to Seaside) for a vacation with the Howell family.  We've always stayed in Seaside, so it was a bold move to try a new place when the old familiarity of Seaside would be just next door.  I'm so glad we did.  The house my mom found for us was so perfect for the 7 adults and 3 kiddos that make up our family.  It was sort of like having three condos stacked on top of each other for one whole house.  Everyone had plenty of space to stay together, or have alone time...whatever suited your mood at the moment.  

Sorry for the overload of pictures...but here we go!

Clay and I pulled up to the house around 3:15pm on Tuesday, and we were all on the beach by 4pm.  It was sort of overcast- which was perfect for an afternoon on the beach with the fam.  Saty flew kites, Pop took the boys on a walk, and I got to sit in a beach chair and take it all in.  By the time we went back up to the house, I'm pretty sure George had two pounds of sand in his diaper.  I've rarely seen him as happy as he was that day.

 These boys love playing on the iPad with Pop.  By the end of the week, George was starting it up by himself.

After we put George down for the night, Clay, Katie, Erin and I headed to George's for a kid-free dinner.  This was one of the best meals I have had in a really long time.  If I included a picture of every yummy thing I ate on this trip, it would be a little obnoxious.  But this little gem was one of my favorites.  We all split a lobster quesadilla to start, and then I had a grilled snapper with summer beans and a tomato salad.  I just about cried my dessert was so good.  Pictured above is a white chocolate nutella bread pudding with decaf coffee.

After sleeping off my food coma, George was READY to go to the beach.  I put that in all caps because he woke up for the day saying 'Hey Beach!!  Beach peeeees!"  We always have snuggle time in the mornings, and he was having none of it.  He was ready to run around in the waves and sand.

It was a little chilly, so we took the bikes over to Seaside and played on the playground there.  He seemed to be pretty happy with that, too.

 Here he is running across the suspension bridge.  Last time we were here he wasn't even standing up yet.  I almost cried when I saw him running and sliding like a kid.

Saty carrying Rogers and Frannie in the trailer.

 Then we took the bikes back to Camp Watercolor in the Watercolor neighborhood.  George wasn't quite big enough for this playground, but Clay was pretty pumped about it.  Notice him walking across the suspension bridge, about to head down the slide.

 I felt like George was setting up a little lemonade stand in here.  

 Our house had a small heated pool with it, so we braved the chilly air and tried to treat it like a hot tub. You pretty much had to keep your body completely submerged in the water, with only your head out of the water in order to stay warm.  Rogers and George's teeth would be chattering and their lips turning a pale shade of blue, but those boys could not get enough of the pool.  

George in those swimmies absolutely kill me.

Rogers and George watching some Peter Pan before naps.  

After naps it had really warmed up, so we headed down to the beach.  Pop would take the boys on walks and they loved it!  They'd come back with all sorts of treasures they found on their walks.

Thursday morning we had to hit up Charlie's Donut Truck in Alys Beach.  Our donuts were tasty, but you really go for the experience.  After donuts we all played in the field next to the truck.

Thursday night the girls went to Caliza for dinner.  We had such a great time!  The dinner was incredible- and it was such a fun night just the four of us.  For dessert they had homemade donuts with a coffee ice cream.

You know you've had a good day when it starts and ends with a donut.

Friday morning was really cold and rainy.  Saty was like Mary Poppins with the tricks she had up her sleeve!  She pulled out dot paint, stickers, crayons, painting with water pictures, and play doh.  Those boys could have been entertained with her arts and crafts station all week, but by about 10am, the rain had stopped and we were heading outside.

  Saty Heaven.

 We were able to play outside for a few hours in the morning, and swim in the afternoon.  We put Rogers and George in a bath afterwards to warm up...I just love this picture.

 Friday night Scooter cooked us a yummy dinner, and then we all went to get ice cream.   I feel like this picture really captures the joy George experienced every minute of this trip.  Clay was nice enough to share his ice cream cone with him, I couldn't be parted with mine.

 Saturday morning, as usual, we headed to the park in Seaside.  Four days later, and this kid still can't get enough of playing in the park.

 All of a sudden- the sun came out, and it was warm!  We paused for a quick group picture, but we were ready to head back and take early naps so we could spend the afternoon at the beach!

It was such a perfect afternoon at the beach.  George wore this little Seaside baseball hat, and I couldn't handle his cuteness.  I am pretty sure I have 75 pictures of him in this hat, just because he was so proud to be wearing it.

Family pictures on the last night!

 Please don't ever grow up.

 Saty and Erin put the kids to bed (Pop had to head back to Birmingham on Saturday afternoon), and we came home to find Saty packing up.  Among her list of 'essentials' that she brought down to the beach include, but are not limited to the following:
**TV with built in DVD player for the den 
(so she didn't have to figure out the DVD player in the house)
**Table lamp for doing puzzles
**This puzzle center organizer for the puzzles she put together on this trip

I'm telling you- she is Mary Poppins with her packing skills.  Clay and I struggle to fit our clothes and cooler in our car, and she manages all these things, 6 beach chairs, beach cart, and a bazillion other things just to make the trip fun and easy for everyone else.

 Sunday morning we went on one last bike ride, picked up some breakfast at the market and took it to- none other than- the park for one last play on the playground.

  George was absolutely sacked out for most of the trip.  By 6:15pm tonight, we were putting him to bed.  I am absolutely positive that this was the most fun he has ever had on a trip.  He's never been walking while we've been at the beach, and he could not get enough of everything we did while we were there.  

It was such a great time outside of the normalcy Clay and I had gotten used to at our house as of late.  We laughed really, really hard.  We ate the yummiest meals.  We had great time with family.  

Clay and I were talking about the trip on the way home today, and he was saying how very few things make him happier than making George happy.  I think that's why this trip was so special for us, and probably even more so for my parents, as they watched their children, and grandchildren, have such a great time together.  

Thanks Saty and Pop for such a great week!