December 31, 2009

Aftermath

Santa and his elves were TOO good to my sweet baby boy this Christmas and now he has more toys than he knows what to do with! Half of them are going to get put up for awhile and we'll do the switch-a-roo every few months to keep things interesting. As for now though, our living room looks like a brightly colored toy shop....and sounds like one too!!

December 29, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas at our house started dark and early as Ryan and I tried to get up before Austin to spend a little alone time and open our presents to each other. It wasn't long though before the little guy was awake and ready to see what Santa brought!

Austin's presents from Santa before mommy and daddy unpackaged and set everything up...
Ryan and I went to get our little guy out of his crib together and he was so excited to go downstairs to see what Santa had left...We both had a bet to see which toy he went for first and we were both right! Austin loved his stacking blocks and couldn't resist going straight for them to knock them all down!
Austin also really loved his Jack-in-the-Box and walking gorilla...
...but this kid loves to stack and was thrilled to see his Melissa & Doug wooden stacking center!
We had to wrap up playtime a little early and start getting ready for our drive to Columbia to see my family. We arrived at Mimi and Papas before noon and got to see what else Santa had brought!Santa stopped in Columbia as well and brought Austin a rocking horse...
...which he loved! He also loved the candy cane that he was sucking on right before this picture and got all over his chin.
The rest of the family arrived around noon and Aunt Dianne couldn't resist kissing those sweet baby cheeks!
Aunt Geri wore a singing elf hat and Austin couldn't quite figure out if he liked it or was terrified of it...
...but we put it on him anyway and Aunt Dianne thought it was HILARIOUS! :)
Aunt Catherine was there and got in some playtime with the little munchkin.
He opened up even more toys and loved them all!
Time for a water break!
At the end of the day we played Chinese Christmas and Ryan had to model his Snuggie to see if he could temp anyone to come and steal it!
We left Columbia that evening and drove back to Greenville where Grandma Jo Ann was waiting for us to arrive so she could watch Austin open up even more gifts!
He wasn't sure what to do with his popcorn popper...
...but he knew how to bang on the xylophone!
We opened gift after gift until that little boy could open no longer.
He grabbed his $100 bill for his bank account and went to bed.

Mommy and Daddy finished upwrapping the rest of their gifts and headed to bed themselves.

What a wonderful Christmas day!!

Christmas with the Harris Family (Part 2)

On Christmas Eve we always go over to Ryan's dad's house in Simpsonville for a family get-together. Austin's cousin Madilyn and her family always come up from Florida to visit and this was the first year the two little ones have been old enough to notice one another. Austin was once again more interested in her toys rather than his cousin herself, and Madilyn was more interested in keeping Austin away from her toys at any cost!! They had a few moments of playing nice together...especially once it got later and they just no longer had the energy to fight...but it was all cute nonetheless. Next Christmas should be very interesting when Austin will be a little older and able to fight back, but since Austin and Madilyn will both have new siblings next year, maybe things will go smoother. I imagine sharing is a pretty difficult concept for most only children to accomplish!!

Getting ready to open his first gift, but checking around the corner for that sneaky cousin of his...
Madilyn decided she wanted to open Austin's gift...he wasn't too thrilled!
Austin trying to get his cousin away from his new toy!
Roles reversed....Austin wants her tea set and Madilyn isn't in the sharing mood!
Playing nice with Austin's new truck...for a few moments at least!
Ryan with both the munchkins!
Sharing a bedtime snack!
Playing together nicely!

December 28, 2009

Roper Mtn. Lights

On the eve of Christmas Eve, we ventured down the street to the Roper Mtn. Science Center to see their annual holiday lights (it's just like Saluda Shoals for you Columbia people). We didn't plan on getting out of the car, thus the mismatched outfit and no shoes on Austin, but couldn't resist a few photo ops and a chance to see Santa's elves making balloon animals! We asked for a penguin but the elf made Austin his very own balloon Elmo much to our surprise. Austin LOVED his balloon Elmo and ran around the house with it for 30 minutes after we got home. Elmo has since been beheaded and deflated...but he sure was fun while he lasted!!

My little soldier!
Daddy & Austin strolling through the lights
Austin's balloon Elmo!
Boy does he love that Elmo!
Mommy, Austin & Elmo taking a ride in Santa's sleigh
Looking at the lights from the front seat of the car sans car seat...he was one happy baby boy! (Don't worry, we were going less than 5 mph the whole way)
Running around the house with Elmo in tow!
Still going strong!

December 24, 2009

O, Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree may not be the most decorative, the most trendy or the most elegant tree around...in fact, we can't keep the tree skirt straight due to two curious little kitties, the train and train track are a jumbled mess due to one curious little toddler and there are only ornaments displayed on the top 2/3 of the tree to insure they stay out of previously mentioned curious toddler's hands.

However, our tree is special and I find it to be the most beautiful and meaningful tree and one of my favorite parts of Christmas. I look forward to decorating our Christmas tree each year more that any other part of seasonal decorating because every single ornament on our tree represents a special memory, an important event, a fun trip or a thoughtful gift. I can honestly say that of the many, many ornaments on our tree, only 2 were bought for decorative purposes only and that was because our tree looked rather bare our first Christmas and I needed some quick filler. By our 3rd Christmas, all the filler ornaments have been removed except for these two because, well, our cats find the little red birds with fluffy tails to be quite fascinating!

I always thought a Christmas tree should be a tree of memories and representative of the special moments in in the lives of a family, not just a decoration, and that's exactly what ours is and will always be! I just hate when Christmas is over and it has to come down...

Here are some of my favorite ornaments from this years tree:

A Christmas present from Ryan last year, a handmade ornament representing our little family!
From one of our honeymoon spots!
An ornament from our first Christmas together...one of many!
One of my favorite Baby's 1st Christmas ornaments...
...and another!
One of the yearly Clemson ornaments that Ryan's mom gets him for his birthday every year. One of these days we're going to need a tree for our Clemson ornaments alone!
A hand print ornament we made last Christmas when Austin was 2.5 months old!

...And my favorite ornament of all....this cute little guy who has been "decorating" our tree for the past 3 weeks!! He will be sad to see it go as well!

December 22, 2009

Christmas with the Harris Family (Part 1)

Sunday was our first family Christmas get together of the season. We spent the afternoon with Ryan's dad, step-mom, his 2 half-brothers and their families. This was the first time Austin has seen his cousin Link since he's been old enough to really move around. Link is 2 1/2 and such a sweet little boy. Link LOVED Austin and was so gentle with him. Austin loved Link's toys...especially the climbable Lego table! Link and Austin are about the same age difference that Austin and his new little brother will be so I got a little taste of life with 2 toddler boys. It made me excited and really really scared at the same time. Life is certainly going to be crazy around here in another year!!

Anyway, we enjoyed visiting with some of the Harris family we don't see very often and Austin really enjoyed opening up some of his first Christmas presents!

The two cousins in the same picture...getting them side by side proved to be impossible!

Link loves to pose for pictures! By the way, he dressed himself and decided to keep his pj top on. I don't blame him!!

Joy keeping tabs on both the boys. Joy is Link's mom and technically mine and Ryan's niece making her Austin's cousin. I have a feeling he'll grow up calling her Aunt Joy though.

Some little boy might be getting a lego table in the near future!

Marty snoozing on the couch...

Austin opening his gift from Aunt Martha and Uncle Dean. Link wanted to help.

Getting a taste of Joy's giant birthday cupcake!

Austin and his grandpa Harris!

Austin with his uncle Marty (Ryan's half-brother).

Austin with his Uncle Dean (Ryan's other half-brother)

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