Happy Birthday, Zio Randy!

This is from Cole to his Uncle Randy in Italy.


Christmas Fun

(Wanted to share a special photo just for Nana. Check out the biscuit. Talk about tradition...)



This time of year always makes me do a lot of thinking about traditions. I'm sure I'm not the only person who can say this. I've found, however, that having a child of my own makes it even more so. What traditions have my parents passed on to me? Which of these am I interested in passing on to my own family?

Foremost on my mind this year, however, is the issue of beginning traditions. Since Gilbert began this new job recently, he wanted to try to avoid taking vacation days so early. Because of this, we finagled things around and had our family visits early this year, so we're here, in Indiana, on Christmas Eve, just the three of us. I'm pretty excited about it, but I realized a couple of days ago that this means there will be no one to cook a Christmas meal for me! That means I am responsible for this aspect of the holiday!

So, as I thought about this daunting task and about family traditions, I decided that maybe our family tradition can be that we go to a restaurant for Christmas dinner. The more thought I put into this, though, the more I realized that this tradition would make me look lazy, and the thought of that makes me crazy, so I decided against starting this tradition. Then I thought that our tradition could be that we have something non-traditional for Christmas dinner. After much contemplation, I've decided to cook breakfast for Christmas dinner. The good news is that at this point, there is no one to be concerned with but Gilbert and myself, and since Gilbert's good with it, the plan stands--at least for this year.

Another tradition I thought about was preparing for Santa. I realize that Cole doesn't understand the whole Santa thing yet, but I decided that now's as good a time as any to begin this tradition. I've been thinking about this one for a few weeks, and had decided that baking cookies together to put out for Santa would be a fun tradition to start, and since Cole loves to help in the kitchen (yes, already), I thought we could bake sugar cookies and decorate them together.

We had dinner on Saturday night at our friend Mindy's house, and upon leaving she presented us with "some goodies." Much to my excitement (and without Mindy having any idea about my plan), the "goodies" were sugar cookie mix, a cookie cutter, a tub of butter cream icing, four tubes of writing icing, and a great hand-painted star plate. Perfect! This convinced me further that I should make an attempt to begin what I hope will be a tradition in our family as long as my children will continue it.

The following pictures show the result of our work:


When I think about the traditions that my family has always had, I realize that most of them were probably not started on purpose. They're just something we always did so they became traditions. I think this makes them even more special. However, I want to make sure that there are things that Cole will be able to look back on and say, "We always did that at Christmas time." I guess I want to be sure that he has warm feelings about his childhood Christmases like I have about mine.

Merry Christmas! I pray that you all will be blessed in the coming days just as I have been--with family, with friends (old and new), and with special traditions of your own.


Dashing Through the Snow...

This afternoon we all bundled up, pulled the sled out of the back of the car, and hit the slopes! I wanted to share a couple of pictures, as promised.

My camera wouldn't cooperate in order to get the picture of Cole just after the sled tipped and he landed on his face in the snow. It would have been a pitiful picture anyway (he was very sad), but I was trying to capture the moment! I guess it's better to show the grins instead. He laughed every time we pulled him in that sled. What a great gift!

(Am I going overboard with the Christmas carol titles? They just seem so appropriate!)



You haven't heard from me in a while, because Cole and I left Wednesday morning for a seven hour trip to Alabama to visit my family. We had our Christmas get-together and the first of Mamie's birthday parties. (Her birthday is the day after Christmas.) We had lots of fun. Jess, Em, and I spent Thursday in Chattanooga while my mom took the day off work and stayed home with the two cousins. I think it's fair to say that all four of us grown girls had a great day and that the babies enjoyed each other too, as these pictures prove:

(I promise they have matching pj's on accident, although we did make an effort to have them wear them at the same time. We don't usually dress them alike. Will they gripe about these pictures later?)

Cole got several great Christmas gifts, but my favorite was a nice, wooden sled from his Nana. He and Mamie were having a great time on it, even inside with no snow, so I couldn't wait to get back to Indiana and use it outside with real, honest-to-goodness snow.

(If you're wondering, Cole decided at the dinner table he needed to shed his shirt and later tried to shed his pants and diaper. Who knows what's going on with this boy...)

Ironically and much to my disappointment, it was this snow that I was longing for that kept us from making it back to Indiana as planned. Gilbert called when we were almost to Bowling Green and said, "If you're coming, you'd better come right now. They're calling for 12 inches in Indianapolis." Since Cole was ready for a break from the car and for lunch, and since driving in perfect weather with a one-year-old is stressful enough, I decided we'd better sit tight in Bowling Green until the road conditions were safer. I was, as many of you know, based upon the tears you know I ridiculously shed over this decision, sad not to be able to be in Indiana with Gilbert and the snow as planned.

However, things turned out fine. As we are blessed with great friends in Kentucky, we invited ourselves to the Gibbs to spend the night and went to church with more dear friends today. (Cole got plenty of kisses--he honestly did have a few lipstick spots on his face by the time we left--and they got their Cole fix for a little while.)

When we finished the lunch that Dana and Megan treated us to, I called Gilbert to check on the weather, and he told me that he thought we could try to make it. I suggested he call someone knowledgeable for a second opinion, and with that I got the green light to head on back. Since Cole had fallen asleep in the car on the way back to the Gibbs, I left him in the car, grabbed our things very quickly, and headed back north**. With much, much prayer, we are safely home. Another piece of good news is that the snow is still around (I'm sure it will take a while for almost 9 inches to melt.) I'll post pictures of Cole in his cool new coat, hat, gloves and sled soon.

**Thanks, Todd, Dana, Megan, and Andrew for the hospitality. Sorry to leave in such a hurry. I hope you understand. If I left anything, let me know, and we'll figure out what to do with it. Also, thanks, Valerie, for letting me invite myself to your house this afternoon. Can I get a rain-(or snow-)check?


On a related note, I wanted to share a cute Cole story. He slept from Bowling Green to just inside Indiana, where we stopped for gas, a diaper change, and a stretch break, but when we got back in the car, it was the LAST place he wanted to be, and he made sure I knew it. I was doing everything I could to make him happy but also to ensure our safety. I got to the point, though, that I had to just ignore him until I came up with a new idea. By the time we got to Indianapolis he had come up with his own plan for occupying his time. This is what I heard from the back seat: "Momma?" "Yes, baby." Then he'd speak to me in his own, special language. (If you've spent any time with Cole you know what I'm talking about.) I came up with some answer to his question like, "Yes, we're getting closer." Then as soon as I'd finish talking, "Momma?" "Yes, Cole." Then more jibberish. He continued with his questions, and I continued with more random answers. "It won't be long... We're getting closer...Yes, Daddy is waiting on us...Yes, we can call Nana when we get there." This went on long enough for him to ask 10 or 12 questions, one right after the other. It was too cute. The more I think about it, the more I think he was probably just saying, "Momma? Are we there yet?"


A New Member Joins the Ranks

My sister, Jessica, has made her first post. Check out her blog via my links and see my adorable niece, Mamie. She's just four months younger than Cole and is too cute!


Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Today was a monumental event: our first big snow in Indiana. Well, maybe real Hoosiers don't call this a big snow, but to most Alabamians, Middle Tennesseans, and Southern Kentuckians, this is a good, big snow, and that's all I've ever been.

I had asked Santa to bring Cole a snow suit and some rubber boots for Christmas, but with a snow like this, he had to make an early delivery. I thought I'd share some of the photos:

It took forever just to get Cole suited up. I dressed him in a pair of p.j.'s, a sweatsuit, two pair of socks, the snow suit, a pair of gloves, a pair of galoshes, and a coat. I started to doubt it was even worth it. This was the end result of all the dressing:

He actually couldn't even walk across the room to the door without falling. Then he couldn't get back up. This remind anyone of anything? (Hint: You'll shoot your eye out, kid!)

Finally, we made it outside. Even though I spent most of the time either dragging him or carrying him because he couldn't walk in snow this deep, we had fun. I considered teaching him to make a snow angel, but I thought laying him flat on his back might freak him out. I think we'll save the real snow activities for next time.

Post Script: I heard this morning on the Today Show that it was in the 50's in Nashville. Funny to come across this information when I had just been wondering, as I looked out at the snow, what the weather was like in our old neighborhoods.


My Boy (or Pride, part II)

Cole is always cute, but today he was especially cute, so I thought I'd share the stories of the day. Let me start my saying that I realize probably all of these cute things have been done by every regular church-going child. (This is not to imply that if your child hasn't done these things, he/she needs to spend more time in church. I simply mean that I realize my child is not a prodigy but a normal child, and I don't expect you parents out there to be amused by Cole's actions. However, I hope you will be.)

First of all, I wanted to go to early service today, which causes a major time crunch, so I yanked Cole out of bed as soon as I had myself ready and got him dressed. (He was awake when I got to him, so don't think I awakened him from a deep sleep by "yanking" him.) As I was dressing him, I was singing a Christmas song that my sisters and I heard Mitch Miller sing frequently as children. "Who's got a beard that's long and white? Santa's got a beard that's long and white. Who comes around on a special night? Santa comes around on a special night. Beard that's white, special night...Must be Santa, must be Santa, must be Santa, Santa Claus." There are many verses to this song. I was singing as many as I could remember. After singing for a while, Cole looked at me, put his finger over his lips, and said, "Shhh." It was hilarious, but I obeyed.

Cole has taken an interest in the singing at church. He has started to sing along. It hasn't gotten especially loud yet, but it's still cute. I love to hear him sing, and he often moves his hands with the song leader as well. It almost brought me to tears today. I think the level of pride I felt today in hearing him sing is second only to the moment he was born. It was a great feeling.

After the singing subsided, one of our elders got up to give communion thoughts. Cole then turned around to the people behind us (we were in probably the third or fourth pew), put his little finger over his mouth again, and shushed the people behind us. The elder then lead a prayer, and when it was over he closed with an "Amen." In case he hadn't closed the prayer well enough, Cole echoed, " 'men."

When a video was incorporated into the sermon, Cole craned his neck to watch. He crawled into the lap of the lady next to us who was helping me barricade him in and watched intently with the sweetest little angel face.

Then tonight, as we waited for church to begin, we went into the auditorium where our children were practicing for a play. They were singing a song that required arm movements. Cole watched for a while, and then imitated, as exactly as a one-year-old could, each movement they made. Again, I was so proud.

That's my boy. I know there will be a time when his embarrassing actions outnumber the actions that make me proud, but for now, let me revel in this moment.