Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas decorating

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I can't wait to start decorating with my family! It's a time of remembering our Lord, family time, & making many memories. Last year was Stryker's first Christmas & I know this year will be even better!

Stryker's new Santa ("ho ho" as he calls him) decoration this year. He points to it all the time, says "ho ho, on" wanting the him inflated with the snow blowing around inside. This was a good investment.

Coco gave us an early (well, very early) Christmas present. This is the new mirror for our dining room. Logan & Fletch hung it immediately. It looks great! Thank you, Coco for such a wonderful present!

We will have a total of 3 Christmas trees this year! We have a pre-lit (white lights) white Christmas tree upstairs overlooking the living room, a pre-lit (multi-colored lights) green Christmas tree downstairs in the kitchen, & a real Christmas tree (white lights) in the living room. Stryker was able to help decorate the trees this year. The white tree has all of his sports, Sesame Street, & other various ornaments. The real tree is our main Christmas tree with our navy & silver color theme. I know, I'm very OCD! We haven't been able to get the tree yet due to rainy weather. So, maybe we can go tomorrow night & pick it out.

making memories with my little guy

I have a collection of nutcrackers that are throughout the living room. As of now, I have 11. Coco gives me one each year. We still need to get Stryker a stocking holder as you can tell in the picture above.

A couple more nutcrackers beside Stryker's Santa picture from last year.

This year, I added pre-lit garland to the staircase! I love the way it lights up the room. You can see the Christmas calendar on the hallway closet door. It's another tradition from my childhood.

An overview of our living room. What a wonderful way to walk into the house! I'll post another picture when we get the real Christmas tree put by the fireplace.

Front door wreath. The theme for outside is green & red. I told you, I love having different themes in each room of the house. Crazy?! That's the type of person I am.

We sat on the stairs for a long time watching "ho ho".

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"After Thanksgiving" visits

Unfortunately, I had to work the day after Thanksgiving. That's what you get for being in the medical field...the hospital never closes. Logan was off thankfully since someone needed to keep Stryker. They enjoyed a day together which is few & far between with Logan's work hours. I'm glad they had some father son time. Logan played with Stryker that morning, took him to shop for "wish list" toys (aka: 4 wheelers & dirt bikes), & surprised me at work for lunch. Stryker loved seeing where I worked & playing with some of the gym equipment. Can't wait until he gets older because I know he'll be a great workout buddy! After I got off work, we headed to a little town called Steele, AL. Logan's dad grew up there. There are some special people on Logan's side of the family in that town. I hate we don't get up there more often. Stryker will be able to hear lots of stories about his granddaddy (Logan's dad) from those people as he grows.

jumping on the trampoline with his cousin Allie

wanted Allie to bounce him

held hands to jump higher

jumping with Sarah

Stryker, Uncle Cody, Sarah, & Allie

playing the piano while Allie sang

I'm sure you'll have that look more when dealing with girls!

I'm sure she'll have that look too when dealing with boys!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I am truly blessed & thankful for many things in my life. God has given me more than I deserve. Logan, you are a devoted husband & father. You are a true Christian leader in our family. I appreciate you allowing me to be your wife & look forward to the future with you. Stryker, you are definitely a miracle. It's easy to take children for granted because you always hear about your friends getting pregnant & having children. But, we need to take a moment to really understand the miracle of having children. After having 2 miscarriages, I always pray for each pregnancy that I hear about. Stryker, you have changed our lives for the better. We strive to be the strong Christian role models in your life. May you grow to learn & know our Savior. Thank you Lord for allowing us to enjoy Stryker & teach him about You. May we be able to provide Stryker with a sibling one day. Coco, you have been in my life as a mom & a friend. I have learned from you what it takes to be a dedicated mother to my own child. Thank you for all that you did during my childhood & continue to do for my family now. Grandmomma, thank you for raising a wonderful man that is now my husband. I am grateful for many more (i.e. church family, our home, jobs). Thanksgiving was a different this year because we did not host the holiday festivities at our home. We decided it was best to spend the holiday with our families at their houses, but don't worry, we're still having Christmas at our home!! We spent lunch with Logan's side of the family at his granddad's house (grandmomma, Brian, Christian, Uncle Cody, Isabella, Aunt Tolli, Hunter, Austin, Uncle Paul, Aunt Sheila, pawpaw).

Family pic by the barn

Stryker & pawpaw

grandmomma brought an inflatable for Stryker to enjoy (he jumped in it for hours!)

Logan took Stryker on his first 4 wheeler ride! He loved it!!! It kept wanting Logan to drive faster & laughed so hard every time they hit a bump! What a fun experience. Can't wait for us to get 4 wheelers to ride as a day.

My 4 wheeling boys

yummy Thanksgiving lunch

Stryker enjoyed playing in the leaves that we piled up in the yard. He would grab a big armful & throw them in the air. Or, dump them on Aunt Tolli's head as you can see above! What kid doesn't like leaves?!

Stryker wanted to rake the leaves himself.

getting ready to throw them up in the air

Stryker not only wore himself out but also Isabella.

That afternoon, we went to Coco's house. Stryker played with Fletch & Coco before we headed to the movies. Coco bought us all tickets to see the "Muppets" movie. We weren't sure how long Stryker would last due to his over-active self, but he ended up staying for almost an hour. He sat in Logan's lap while chowing down on some popcorn. After each preview, he would say "wooooo" with wide eyes! I think he was amazed at our big the "tv" was! I'm pretty sure our little boy ate 1/3 of a medium popcorn.

Stryker couldn't eat enough of Coco's famous chocolate cake! Definitely got his love of chocolate from daddy & Coco!

Stryker showing Coco how the ice cream maker works.

Stryker first 4 wheeler ride!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 Beach Trip

Beach bound...Fort Morgan, AL was our destination! Logan had a very generous customer at the dealership who offered their beach house to us for the week & all we had to pay was the cleaning fee!!! This trip could not have come at a more perfect time. Logan & I found out 2 days before leaving that we had another miscarriage. This time we were around 6 weeks pregnant. After having 2 miscarriages & the upcoming holidays, this trip allowed us to escape reality for a short time. So enough about sad times, on to the wonderful family vacation that was provided for us...

We left for the beach early Thursday (November 17th) morning to beat the rush hour traffic in both Birmingham & Montgomery. We had originally invited Coco, Fletch, grandmomma, & Big Daddy (grandmomma's husband) but Coco was the only one who was able to go. But we still had a great time! This was Stryker's first beach experience so we were excited to see what his reaction was to all of the new things.

Above is a picture of the beach house. It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house that slept about 6-8 people. Each house had a golf cart (unfortunately, ours was broke down) to drive around the neighborhood. The neighborhood had a private beach, gym, outside & inside pool. The weather was perfect while we were there only requiring jackets at night.

We left Stryker in his pj's for the ride. As Logan got us registered & the keys to the beach house, Stryker wanted to take over the driving duties!

Stryker racked up with this huge bucket of toys that were in a closet! This was a life saver allowing us to not unpack all of the toys we had brought from home. Traveling with a hyper, young child is definitely different.

This was the view from the outside pool. Nothing better than a beautiful pool & workout gym overlooking the beach! Pure paradise! Now, you can see how we were able to forget about reality for 4 days.

My boys running down the pier to the beach!

Yay! He loves the sand! We may have a beach buddy on our hands.

My guys enjoying the sand.

This is one of my favorite pics. He loves running in the sand & chasing after the sea gulls.

I sure do love my guys! Daddy teaching Stryker about the ocean.

My guys relaxing...this is a rare occasion for Stryker to be still.

We went shopping at the Foley Tanger Outlets Saturday. Stryker enjoyed running around the nearly empty mall (we basically had the place to ourselves). He found some mulch to play in while we were buying his Christmas present.

The Tanger Outlets had a big play area that Stryker enjoyed for at least an hour. This was him after going down the slide too many times. Can we say static?!

Adventure Island was on our agenda Saturday. We played putt putt golf, rode on a paddle boat, & a mini roller coaster. Above is all of us on the paddle boat. Logan & I got our workout paddling the family around the lake. Stryker did great! This little boy loves water.

mom, Stryker, & daddy on the paddle boat

my little golfer

I think he's going to be left handed with sports & right handed with everything else.

Stryker loved to hit the ball hard & then throw it in the cup! This was him trying to figure out how the ball came out of the hole from the cup above.

Let's go fishing!

The Gulf Shores Pier!

looking out over the pier at the waves crashing

Friday night, Coco & I introduced Logan & Stryker to our favorite beach place...The Oyster Bar. It's a hidden place before you get to Florida. Not many visitors know about it. It's more of a locals place. They have the best seafood. You're looking out over the bay while you eat & can walk around the piers to see the massive yatchs & the fisherman cleaning fish afterwards. The picture above is Stryker wiping daddy's mouth after he took a bite! Such a mannerly boy!

Saturday morning, we went walking all through the neighborhood. We found some interesting places!

my precious little boy

Saturday we took Stryker to build-a-bear. Logan & I have been wanting him to build one & thought this was a perfect time. He chose a puppy as his bear. Stryker named him "Woof." This lady helped Stryker stuff his puppy. She let him pick out a little heart to put inside but Stryker insisted on putting 2 hearts in Woof. We thought that symbolized the 2 siblings that he has in Heaven (our 2 miscarriages). The lady wanted Stryker to kiss the hearts but Stryker held them to my lips for me to kiss them. It's the little things that can mean so much.

Stryker brushing Woof.

Saturday afternoon we ate at the best Bar-B-Que place...Down South Bar-B-Que. This is a picture of Stryker with the owner (Kenny). He is like family to Logan. Kenny worked with Logan's dad & was a friend of his. Kenny was the one who held Logan's dad immediately after the car wreck that took his life. He holds a special place in Logan's heart. Can't wait for Stryker to get old enough to hear stories from Kenny & Logan about his grand-dad.

Logan, Kenny, & Stryker

playing in the sand

starting to build a sand castle

loved to flick the sand around with both shovels!

As you can see, Stryker had a blast being covered in sand.

Mom & Coco playing with Stryker at sunset.

walking with my favorite buddy

he's getting so tall!

Another one of my favorites! Love the waves crashing behind him!

Isn't God's creation magnificent?!

this is a look of "what can I do next?!"

riding the mini roller coaster at Adventure Island

When we got home, Stryker kept jumping in his suitcase. Guess, he had a fantastic time & wanted to go back! I agree buddy!

Stryker flicking sand with shovels on the beach.

Stryker first mini roller coaster ride!