Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day - Part One

I am so overwhelmed with all the amazing photos we took on Christmas that I am breaking it into two posts. I just can't catch up from all of it!

Nathan woke up around 7:30 on Christmas morning and after a bottle and some quiet time upstairs we decided to head down to see what Santa brought. The Hamiltons were still asleep but my mom and dad were making coffee and Alex ventured down from the media room to join us so we took advantage of the calm to start Nathan's first Christmas.

He didn't know what to do with all the presents! Santa was too good and brought toys galore for the monkey. It was so fun to watch him go from one to the next and rip into the wrapping paper. Some highlights were an activity table (he's been practicing his standing), an airplane rocker (such a fun surprise from Hattie and Poppy), loads of books (thanks Aunt Kel and Uncle Linc!), and a swing from Aunt Alex (which we've used every day since!).

Once Kelly, Lincoln and Carter emerged from their room, the real celebration began and the boys played a bit while we opened a few presents. Carter got a play kitchen and grill complete with dining table and spent most of the rest of the day whipping up dishes.

We ended up breaking for breakfast before even making a dent in the pile of gifts. Nathan went down for a nap from all the morning excitement and Alex and I prepped the first meal of the day with some help from Dad. This year we tried a new egg casserole recipe along with the traditional blueberry muffins with crumbles on top and mimosas. Yum!

It took us until 2 in the afternoon to lazily finish exchanging gifts. We did picks again this year to try and simplify things. Ryan picked Alex and got her a Kitchenaid Mixer, which I've heard has already been put to good use. I picked Dad and got him new topsiders, a Corkcicle, and framed family photos. Kelly picked me and got me a fleece jacket that I wear all the time along with some stationery and an address stamp. Lincoln picked Ryan and got him some Xbox games and a controller to go with his new toy.

By the time we were done we needed to scramble to shower and get ready for the Trottas and Grammy to come over for the afternoon. Nothing beats a lazy Christmas morning where we can take our time and just enjoy being together! We were so slow that stockings were left to the following day so we could stretch the holiday out even more.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Eve

To be honest, I can't remember what we did on Christmas Eve day. That's what I get for taking so long to blog about past events! But Christmas Eve night was fabulous and filled with all of my favorite family traditions.

We got all dressed up and headed to the 5 o'clock service at John's Creek United Methodist Church. We practically took up an entire row with just our family, which was such a great feeling. Nathan took a bottle for the first half of the service and hammed it up for the ladies behind us once he was done. He was super well-behaved and I was thankful that he lasted the entire hour without fussing. Carter was great, too, sleeping the entire time on Kelly's lap.

An onslaught of photography ensued as soon as we got home and our baby models were such good sports. Nathan ate his dinner ahead of the rest of us and after receiving his Christmas pj's from "Santa", he went down for the night before we even ate dinner.

We feasted on yummy shrimp and pesto pasta, a dish that has helped us commemorate Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. Each year in recent past we've taken turns preparing the meal and this time Mom, Dad and Alex pitched in. They did a great job and it was delicious as always!

More photos after dinner led to much silliness. It was such a relaxed evening and we all enjoyed each other's company and lots of laughter.

Lincoln and Ryan assembled toys for the little ones while we cleaned up and lazed around. Aside from everyone opening their jammies, we left all gifts untouched until morning which was a bit unusual for us. Everything was set up and ready for Christmas day by the time we all went to sleep. What fun to play Santa now that we have a baby of our own!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dinners in Atlanta

We left Mobile and headed north to Atlanta for the second leg of our Christmas vacation. Leading up to the Christmas festivities, we got to spend lots of quality time with my family and friends at various dinners. Nothing beats a home cooked meal with loved ones!

Kelly and Lincoln hosted the first night with a delicious Cajun pasta dish. N had a blast exploring all of his cousin's toys in the playroom - so much so that he refused to be put down to bed and stayed up visiting with all of us until it was time to go home!

Aunt Cindy and Uncle Greg hosted the next night, inviting us all over to their new house for Tortellini Soup. Carter loved playing with "Bobis" (Thomas the Train) while Nathan practiced his new standing skill. It only lasted for a few seconds but I was impressed!

Finally, we had the pleasure of gathering with some of my besties from college for a potluck dinner at Stef and Kent's. I brought hash brown casserole and broccoli/cauliflower casserole to go along with the Honey Baked Ham. It was delish and so nice to catch up with the girls while the kiddos played and the men all chatted. I love these girls!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and your family the merriest Christmas
and every joy as we celebrate the reason for the season!

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." ~ Luke 2:11

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas in Mobile

We started our Christmas celebration with a trip to Mobile, Alabama, to visit Ryan's side of the family. His aunt, uncle and Grammy all live there and his mom, sister, brother, aunt, cousins and their kids all made the trip, too. It was a crowded house!

The trip there took about 8 hours, with a time change, and aside from some fussing toward the very end, Nathan and Jax (yes, we even brought the dog!) were both really great in the car. We stopped twice and finally arrived around 5 in the afternoon.

Since we weren't going to be home for Christmas, we brought it with us and exchanged gifts with the Morgans while we were there. Nathan got some fun toys and lots of cute clothes from his aunt, uncle and Lolly. He was slightly overwhelmed and took incredible naps to make up for it!

It was fun to watch how he reacted to the wrapping paper and definitely seemed more fixated in the bows and paper over the actual gifts! 

Everyone loved on the monkey and he was never short of attention or playmates. It was nice to have the extra sets of hands to help! He seemed to have lots of fun watching the cousins run around and playing in the center of the room with all eyes on him.

Our four days in Mobile went by fast and we had lots of fun visiting with so many family members. After countless rounds of Mexican Train and too many yummy meals to count, we were ready to hit the road again and head to Atlanta for part two of our Christmas vacation.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baby Secret Santas

Anna and Henley invited us to our first ever Brownie Swap and we all decided to swap gifts with the babies there since Brinkley and Coleson had been sick at Breakfast Club earlier in the week. I baked Santa Hat Brownies (another Pinterest find) that looked something like this (just not as pretty)...

We tried to stage a photo opp in front of the tree, which was more comical than successful. It's tough getting just one baby to look at the camera, let alone half a dozen!

We picked Coleson for the swap but poor guy was still under the weather so we left his gift with Aunt Fallon to take to him. He picked Nathan, funny enough, and got him what looks to be a really fun whale toy for the bath. We can't wait to try it out!

I was so busy helping N unwrap his gift and snapping pictures that I didn't see who gave each other their gifts, but it looked like everyone had a great time and walked away with something special.

Merry Christmas, Breakfast Club! We're so happy to get to spend the holidays with such a fun group of moms and little ones!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December Breakfast Club

We got the chance to host Breakfast Club again for the babies to celebrate Christmas. Unfortunately, the funk that was going around hit some of the kiddos and we were short a few folks so we ended up postponing our Secret Santa gift exchange, but the babies still had fun playing.

I tried out a new recipe from Martha Stewart, found via Pinterest, with a few modifications. Individual scrambled egg and sausage cups in their own little bread bowls. And, for a Christmas treat, cinnamon buns! Yum, yum!

Now that Nathan is sitting so much better, he has a much better time watching the other babies and playing.

Hadley took a snack break from all the playing and had some goldfish in our foyer.

Nathan and Tyler, outnumbered by all the girls as usual, loved putting everything in their mouths!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dory's First Birthday

We had the pleasure of celebrating Dorothy's first birthday with some of the other Breakfast Club folks. Her mama, Nell, did an amazing job decorating for the theme "A Very Hungry Caterpillar". Everything was adorable!

Dory knew just what to do with her smash cake and dug right in! It was the shape of an apple and all of the guests got to enjoy cake pops that formed caterpillars when they were all lined up.

The kiddos all got to play outside. A new play kitchen, made by Dory's dad, was a big hit!

As favors, Nell crocheted caterpillar hats for each of the babies. I am so impressed and loved the idea! N rocked his hat, not even noticing it while he played in the ball pit. What a cutie!

We had a great time and were so happy to help celebrate Dory's first year. Happy Birthday Dorothy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Parade

Baldwin Park hosted a Festival of Lights and Christmas Parade last night so we decided to walk over and take Nathan to see the sights. I love that we can just walk there! His Lolly, Ryan's mom, joined us so that she could take the baby back home and we could stay for a dinner date.

We got there right as the Winter Park High School marching band was parading by. Nathan was in awe with everything that was going on! I just love how his eyes get wide as he soaks it all in. Such a serious little observer!

We had such a great time watching various groups and floats march past us. It was a nice night - not too hot, not too cold - and a fun family activity that I hope we can enjoy for years to come!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seven Months

Nathan, you are seven months old today!

You are getting so big! We just met a new baby friend and it's hard to believe you were ever that tiny (even smaller in fact!). You just keep growing and changing so much!

Our past month has been very full. We hosted Jess for a long weekend and spent a week in Hilton Head celebrating your first Thanksgiving. We also continued seeing our friends for Breakfast Club and we joined Gymboree, where we met new friends. It's been keeping us very busy but it's nice to get out of the house and I know you just love being around other babies. You are so intrigued by them!

You caught your first cold this month, from which you're still suffering. It broke my heart the first night you got sick (I was home alone with you while Daddy was at his football game) and I have never heard more pathetic cries than when you were up all night in my arms. I hate that I can't help you more! You absolutely HATE when I have to wipe your face and I really wish I could blow your nose for you.


 Your first teeth came through early in the month! I knew they were on their way and it was pretty rough for a while with sleepless nights and lots of fussing, but they finally cut through a few days apart from one another and they're still coming in. I thought at first that I would never love your smile more than when it was all gummy but now that you grin with two little front teeth, I can't think of anything more adorable.

You started sitting really well on your own. While you still topple over every now and then, you're getting much stronger and prefer to sit over laying down now. You are excellent at playing with your toys and still bring everything to your mouth, which shows off your fine motor skills. Still no consistent rolling over but I know it's because you just don't want to. You are completely capable, as you've shown me.

We've stepped up the solids to three times a day and we still haven't found a fruit or veggie you don't like. You struggled a bit when you first got sick but your appetite is back and you devour each meal. You do, however, hate puffs and the faces you make when you try them are priceless! We'll keep practicing. You're 100% on formula now, too, which is helping you to bulk up a bit. I just want to squeeze your sweet little cheeks! You are taking two consistent naps a day, an hour and a half to two hours each, and you are more consistently sleeping through the night, which Mommy really appreciates! Our trick is to scatter suckies around your crib so when you wake in the middle of the night you can find one yourself. You are getting much better at finding them!

You've shown your parents' impatience and can get quite frustrated (and vocal about it) at times, which can be exhausting for Mommy. But you're sweet and will still share a smile with anyone that smiles at you. You're becoming more serious, just soaking up your surroundings wherever we go, and always so observant.

You continue to be such fun and such a challenge each day and I'm loving it! If only I could get you to stop growing up so fast!

I love you, monkey man!

Seven Month Stats:

Weight: 17 pounds, 3.5 ounces (almost two pounds gained since last month!)

Diapers: size 2 during the day, size 3 at night

Clothes: some 6 months (and even some 3-6 months depending on the brand) but mostly 9 months, especially pajamas

Sunday, December 4, 2011

He Sees You When You're Sleeping

Since we first met Santa completely unprepared (read: not dressed in Christmas garb), we decided to brave the mall and try again in something a little more festive. We woke up early, left the house by 9:30, and made it there right when the line was forming.

Half an hour later and our little guy had had enough of the twinkling lights, loud music and bratty kids behind us. (Okay, I had had enough of the kids - N was oblivious to them.) With some effort, Ryan was finally able to rock him to sleep while we still had about an hour left in line.

The sweet boy was still completely passed out when we finally got to the front of the line! I'm glad he got some sort of a nap in but I felt terrible having to wake him up to meet the big guy.

He was pretty unsure of the whole situation when he first got placed in Santa's lap. After all, he had just woken up and it wasn't the best nap ever so he was still pretty sleepy!

But the photographers worked their magic and twirled distracting toys in front of N and we finally got a smile. He was such a cutie! (And, really, I think completely unaware of the bearded stranger holding him.)