December 25, 2012

December 25

The boys opened their stuffed stockings this morning with much delight at the lifelike animal figurines inside. I'm thinking we may need to buy two of everything from now on. The impressive elephant was a favorite.

December 24, 2012

December 24

I came downstairs this Christmas Eve morning to find Hamilton and Mimi making cinnamon rolls in the kitchen. Hamilton loves to "make cook," but his newly received Slinky was not far out of reach.

December 23

Hamilton bear-hugs Grandma Ava because she brought him a little present before Sunday lunch.

December 22, 2012

December 22

We took the boys to the live nativity or "manger scene" as Hamilton calls it. At first he was worried a train would come by and be too loud, but after he kept his fingers out of his ears, the braying donkey captured his attention. Every year that we've been to see this live nativity, it's so cold. We bundled up and huddled under blankets. Thankfully we ran into the Trammells afterwards, so we didn't even have to invite ourselves over for coffee and dessert. "Mimi Claire" (as Hamilton says) invited us to warm ourselves in her toasty house next to the church and enjoy the delicious desserts she'd made. What a treat for our cold night!

December 21

Mom picked the same kind of tree we did this year. I like looking at hers better though. Perhaps I'm just tired of our ornaments and decor. Of course the boys loved seeing all the presents underneath spilling into the next room.

December 21, 2012

December 20

I'm now a day behind with my December Photo Project, but we did two major things yesterday. Mr. Morgan had his third and final bronchial thermoplasty. He was much more cognitively aware after this procedure than the other two, so the afternoon was restful for him and productive for me. Then we spent the evening packing and getting ready for our Christmas traveling. For the most part, the boys are good travelers: They need snacks, toys, and blankets. Mr. Morgan just needs his earplugs.

December 19, 2012

December 19

After Claire's orchestra concert last night, Mr. Morgan endured CiCi's pizza. Claire loved acting the fool with her girlfriends, and Mr. Morgan sat with the other parents whom we've gotten to know over the past two years. It was a special night for Claire, and she's always so excited to go out to eat afterwards "because it's kinda tradition."

December 18, 2012

December 18

Our sweet neighbors down the street left this six-pack on our doorstep. So cute.

December 17, 2012

December 17

Several days recently I've found the boys both in this rocker in Hamilton's room. They love to sit together and rock--eventually turning the chair over. Tonight in their winter pajamas from Mimi, we struggled through a photo session. Most of today was a struggle: I really should get the boys out of the house in the morning when I know we'll be home by ourselves that night, too. (Mr. Morgan and Claire are at her viola concert.) I like the interaction in this picture because the boys do love each other and like one another's company. My heart smiled tonight in the bathtub when Hamilton hugged Collier and said, "I love you, Collie!"

December 16, 2012

December 16

Our annual Christmas dinner at Redeemer was tonight. Though we rehearsed this afternoon a Christmas song that's familiar to him, Hamilton chickened out when it came time to practice singing into a microphone on stage before the party started. He said he didn't want to sing his song in the entertainment portion of the night, so I didn't push it. He sings so sweetly at home; I was sad not to share his voice. But with all the kids on stage later in the night, he did enjoy singing "This Little Light of Mine" with his church friends. Here's a video of the last verse.

December 15, 2012

Thanksgiving Week at the Farm

Since all the kids were out of school for the full week of Thanksgiving, we loaded up Monday morning headed for the farm. We had a delightful week of family, friends, and fun, and the boys didn't even notice that they never got in the car to leave the farm the whole week. I forgot my camera (eek!), so I've collected pictures from my phone, Mr. Morgan's phone, and our friend Bonnie's super-sweet camera with a great lens. Thanks, Bonnie, for the great family shots!
Every day the boys played in the leaves: They played by themselves, with friends, with Mr. Morgan, with Uncle Travis--all the time. Jumping into the big pile was great fun as was being thrown into the big pile.
Collier would disappear into the pile, but he loved every minute of it.
During Aunt Linda and Uncle Billy's visit, the boys enjoyed lots of leaf-time especially when they got to bury Uncle Billy. He's such a good sport! Linda snapped this sweet picture of Collier.
Claire started all the fun by raking the big pile of leaves in the front yard.
Claire spent several afternoons riding with Susan, Mimi and Pops's neighbor with all the horses. This time Claire got to ride by herself; she was totally excited!
As has become Dad's tradition, he made a big pot of Brunswick stew the day after Thanksgiving.
We were so happy to have the newly engaged couple Travis and Cheri with us at Thanksgiving. We talked a lot about wedding plans!
Mom's table was beautiful and stretched to its limit with all 12 of us around it for the Thanksgiving meal.
We finished our Thanksgiving meal with delicious desserts, and Collier dug right into his piece.
One day after naps, Mimi and Hamilton stole a few moments of quiet together reading Mimi's latest magazine.
Since Billy and Linda wouldn't be coming back at Christmas, the kids enjoyed opening their gifts over the Thanksgiving week. Thomas the train was a big hit.
On Friday we did some skeet shooting on the farm. Though I was not good at shooting skeet, I did feel very Garden & Gun which was cool.
Our dear family friends the Trammells came for some afternoon shooting and a laid-back party. Though there were five kids under four running around everywhere, the noise and mayhem was manageable with adults outnumbering little ones 3:1. Using Bonnie's great camera and lens, I captured a sweet picture of the whole Trammell clan. It's so fun to get everyone together, especially with our growing families. But with all of us spread out from Nashville to Charleston, it doesn't happen often enough.
On one of their many walks, the boys enjoyed some time playing on Pops's trailers.
Our last morning on the farm, we spent some time picking out the church's tree and our family's tree. Both made it back to Charleston safely, and the Leyland Cypress at the church, I think, is the prettiest tree we've ever had there.
Mom's birthday always gets lumped in with Thanksgiving, so we celebrated Saturday morning at breakfast before we headed back to Charleston. We invited Grandma over, too, and I cooked a special breakfast giving Mom the morning off.

December 15

So technically this is Mr. Morgan's picture, but cute and indicative of our day. Mr. Morgan took the boys "hiking" on the Naval Weapons Station near where he used to ride his mountain bikes back in the day before toddlers. The boys loved tromping through the woods, though Mr. Morgan agreed the nature walk was more of a nature meander. I was able to sit at my computer at home for a solid two hours and catch up on computer work that's been nagging me all week. And Claire had time to "be herself" too before the boys and the noise returned. This afternoon I took a glorious nap, since I was a bit tired from being up late with Collier and his croupy coughing and up early with Hamilton and his too-early internal clock.

December 14, 2012

December 14

The boys decorated Christmas cookies at a fun Christmas party this morning--at the same house that had the digger birthday party. I've got loads of pictures to share in a separate post from the party, but I loved this one of Collier strapped in a highchair (not wearing suspenders), spooning out colored sugar to top his sugar cookie's icing. He ingested plenty of icing and cookie despite the remnants on his face.

December 13, 2012

December 13

This morning Hamilton and I made gift bags for his teachers at school and church. He helped fill little snack bags with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. He counted out three peppermints for each bag, and I stirred together some hot-chocolate mix that we divided into sandwich bags. The festive bags made cute gifts, and Hamilton's excited about giving them away to his teachers.

December 12, 2012

December 12

I'll go back to these cute shots for today's DPP picture. My cherub child Collier (for the moment) sat so obediently and calmly while I took pictures on Sunday. Hamilton eventually came to sit down, and he was calm, too--only because he was busy pulling at the elastic in his knee-socks. So sneaky that boy! I didn't even notice until Mr. Morgan pointed it out to me in the pictures.

December 11, 2012

December 11

The boys LOVE trains, and they especially love Mr. Morgan's putting together a super track. This activity entertained them for all of dinner prep.

December 10, 2012

December 10

The boys have totally been into opening the doors each day of this December calendar. The little spots only hold a raisin, an M&M, or a sticker, but they both ask multiple times a day to peek behind another door. This nutcracker's definitely a tradition to continue next year.

December 9, 2012

December 9

The boys wore their Christmas clothes to church today, so I took my camera to capture the cuteness.

December 8

The boys and I checked out the Christmas festivities on Saturday at the Mt. Pleasant farmers' market. After walking through all the vendors looking for ones with candy dishes, I bought a cup of hot apple cider to sit and watch the kids play in the jump-castle. We picnicked for lunch and heard Christmas songs from a middle-school choir. We bought cookies from a local church's youth group plus Kettle Korn from a guy making it onsite in a big copper kettle. Once we exhausted all the sights and eats, we headed back to our car. We stopped just long enough to snap some pictures in front of this old truck decorated for Christmas, too. Notice our umbrella stroller is burdened with bags and jackets (the afternoon was in the 70s), and we carried home a large bag of popcorn to share with Mr. Morgan. Also, I corralled Collier in the stroller, but I had to bring Rover back to make sure Hamilton didn't wander too far in the crowds.

December 7, 2012

December 7

We crashed the "Hardee party" tonight, so we enjoyed lots of good food, fun friends, and wild kids--until we turned on Bob the Builder. Collier my non-TV-watcher escaped from the couch before I could snap the picture of all the children.

December 6, 2012

December 6

Yesterday I got a haircut. It's pretty extreme and short, but I'm enjoying it. Mr. Morgan is still getting used to it.