We have a working wood-burning fireplace in our den, and I absolutely love it. I'm not so sure how George's toys feel about it though.
These are the walls of my childhood. Western Supermarket on Rocky Ridge. It takes every ounce of patience to let George have his own cart, but he really loves it.
Plus, at the end, you get all the free rides on the mechanical horse your heart desires!
The day after Thanksgiving, we headed to Rome, Georgia. In college, Clay worked at a Christmas Tree Farm, and we've been talking for years about getting our tree from his old boss there. We finally made the pilgrimage to Rome, and had to stop in to see Berry College.
It was pretty special to be there as a family.
See, you can hardly tell how sick I was!
Feeding the donkeys on the hayride around the Christmas Tree Farm
We had the hayride all to ourselves. All in all, it was such a sweet trip as a family. I'm pretty sure George was ready to apply early decision to 'Daddy's college.'
This kid caught the Christmas spirit like nothing I've ever seen before. Every Christmas song, decoration, activity lit him up from head to toe. It was so special watching Christmas traditions take root in our little family. (Mainly because George couldn't stop talking about every single detail of the season.)
Front of our house decorated for Christmas
The first Saturday in December, we celebrate Christmas with the Lee Family. It was such a fun time with everyone, and stomp rockets are always involved!
...and a Saty craft or two.
We had brunch with Santa and the Howell family, and George just about lost his mind when he saw Santa sitting in front of the tree.
Howell-Cochran boy cousins!
I sort of thought that George would have the biggest issues with sharing his toys as we prepare for Billy to join our family. But it turns out...Daddy is quite the toy hog :)
Christmas at Nana's is always a highlight of the season! Here is the entire Nativity cast (George was the Little Drummer Boy).
I had my heart set on making Christmas cookies as a family.
George and Clay were happy to oblige.
Working clockwise from the top left: Sissy Angel (named by George, decorated by Mom), Snowman (by George), Wreath (by Clay), Christmas Tree and Happy Santa (by Julie), Grumpy Santa (by Clay), Rudolph and Star both by George.
He did not take his eyes off of those cookies for a second.
I haven't found a sweeter sight than this boy's love for the fire at night.
Christmas morning at the Cochran's
George and Pops
Three Cochran cousins can't get that huge present across the den!
By the time we get to the second half of the day, I've usually lost sight of my camera. We had a photographer come to Christmas with the Lee Family, so here are some Christmas pictures with the Howell family.
When I think of how far the Lord has brought us since last Christmas, I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness and mercy. It was such a gift to have this Christmas just the three of us, because to see Christmas through the eyes of a three-year-old is like nothing else. I came across the Christmas hymn 'Away in a Manger', and was so struck by the last verse of that song.
"Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there."
It made me think of Nan. It made me long for Billy. And it made me treasure George. It made me thankful that the Lord would send His own Son as a baby into this world, so that I might have a relationship with Him.
Christmas is always a time to reminisce of days past. There are memories that make me laugh, and warm my heart, and make me cry. This Christmas will be one that I will treasure forever. I will treasure the time I spent with Clay and George, and meaningful time with both of our families. I will treasure the healing that has fallen on our family because of the First Christmas 2,000 years ago.