Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Henry's 2nd Birthday Party {all the details!}

Henry's favorite toy right now is the train.
We can't leave Barnes and Noble for him playing with the train table
and every movie he loves is train themed: Polar Express, Dinosaur Train, and Thomas.

It was an easy choice to have a train party.
I wanted his eyes to widen and his little mouth to drop open.
I wanted him to feel really special.

I can't believe he is two years old.
I'm resisting the temptation to link to his birth post and reminisce over all his newborn photos.
But I digress.

We started looking at train tables and I didn't fall in love with anything.
They just weren't sized right for our space and I honestly didn't love my color options.

When David offered to build a knock off Restoration Hardware train table, my heart skipped!

He started by buying some black iron and painting it a glossy black in a little paint booth he set up in the basement.

He took over my craft room and built a top that was perfectly sized for our living room.

He painted it a nice peaceful cream.

I began work on a train banner for the mantle.

I also made a quick train shirt during nap one afternoon.

And stayed up really really late {like 3 a.m.} baking train cookies and whipping royal icing.

This is only the 2nd time I've ever used royal icing- and let me tell you- there is a definite learning curve!  They are far from perfect, but little Henry's eyes bugged when he saw them and he yelled, "Trains," which made my late night worth it.
They also tasted like heaven on earth, which means everyone wins!
: )

We kept the party very small with just our little family of five.
Living far from home means no family, but they mailed gifts and cards and money for our baby boy, and for that we are SO thankful!

I served my cookies on a pretty platter and we sang Happy Birthday.

And then Henry came into the living room and saw his table for the very first time.
Oh, he was so surprised!
He stood so still and finally looked up at us and grinned.
It was a moment, y'all!
Precious is what it was!

Aren't those black iron legs to die?
I am always so impressed with David's work.
He is really great with the details.

Since I opted for a soothing color scheme, David worked in the fun and color with all the accessories.
He ended up buying three of four train sets in order to get all the pieces he wanted.
It was a labor of love and David and I have already joked that this will be in our house for our grand kids to enjoy. It is sturdy and gorgeous and not going anywhere.
: )

The banner was a fun photo back drop!

I reused a party hat from Harbor's 4th birthday in Chicago and added a wooden train piece.

We set up the tripod and took a slew of pictures.

Henry was so sweet and happy to have a cookie in one hand and a train in the other.
It doesn't take much to impress little ones.

Me and my birthday boy!

And Harbor thought my cookies were awesome, which made me feel good.
He has requested a monsters party for his 7th, so time will tell, but he later drew up a few monster cookie ideas for me.  
He is a mess!

It was a small, but perfect "two-toot" birthday for my Henry!
Happy birthday, sweet cakes!
Mommy loves you!
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Friday, January 9, 2015

An Arkansas Christmas {2014}

Before the memories get too fuzzy in my mind, I want to talk about spending Christmas in Arkansas.
We had a very eventful drive down to start.
What usually takes us 12 hours took 17 hours due to the interstate being closed from snow.
We had to find alternate means and roads to get South and was very thankful for my Dad who helped us along the way with weather reports and alternative routes.
I nursed at many gas stations and we sat stalled in a hole-in-the-wall pump station where the interstate had derailed everyone.
It was freezing and snowing and the roads were a mess.
Thankfully, we made it,
 and the kids were totally unaware of how dangerous the situation could have been.
On a positive note:
Hollin's first Christmas was magical in that she met all of her extended family
- and my Dad- for the first time!
Let's get started with all these pictures, shall we? 
 : )
Hollin meeting her great grandmother, Joyce, for the first time.

The boys enjoying the yard of my childhood home with Papa, my Dad

My Mom, Gigi, playing with Harbor and Henry

My Mom and I

My parents with my children
Harbor 6 years, Henry 23 months, and Hollin 4 months old

David and I with the kids

We had several days of presents.
My kids are the only little kids in the Williams side of the family {my Mom's side} so they have been generously blessed with gifts!
We felt so overwhelmed by the kindness of family!

My mom sewed and monogrammed a camera strap for my Canon

and had a ring with all three of my kids' names made.
So special!

Four generations of ladies!
My Granny, her daughter {my Mom}, her daughter {me} and my daughter, Hollin!
This picture was a first!

Our kids made a simple footprint picture and I framed it in a burlap frame.
We kept one for ourselves and gave one as a gift to the grandparents.

My boys spent hours playing with new toys.

And lounging on the couch.

Harbor's great grandmother played a board game with him.

And we received really unique gifts from extended family and friends!

My mom's sister, Cathy, and her family dropped by.

They all met Hollin for the first time.

My mom with her sister, Cathy, and mother, Joyce.

Henry was quite the entertainer during the trip!

David and his three babies.
I adore this picture.

My mom and I took Henry and Hollin with us on a shopping trip.
We hit up Old Navy among other places and had a great time.

We even tried out our kicks.
We both used to cheer in high school.

Henry was busted for unrolling TWO entire rolls of toilet paper.
{Henry, if you're reading this as a grown man, please know that we all laughed and chided you, but not too harshly.  Papa suggested we try to salvage it all, but Gigi just trashed it. Ha!}

I baked rolls from scratch- 
and even lugged my huge Kitchen Aid mixer all the way from Colorado to Arkansas to make it happen.

Rachel and her fiance, David, came over for Christmas lunch and met Hollin.

They took Harbor on a one-on-one date to ride go carts.
It was a much needed trip for my big boy!

We celebrated our annual candle lighting memorial for those who have passed away.
We light a candle in their memory while music plays in the background.
We even listen to the same song every year.
It tends to be a very emotional time.
And then we pray.

My Harbor is finally old enough to start having firm memories of the tradition.
I love it.

My mom captured this unplanned moment during our prayer time of my two boys copying me- and watching, also!
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see!
So powerful to this mama.

Everyone else praying.

We opened gifts

and played Dirty Santa with brown bags full of goodies!

Rachel is getting married in March and it is a total family affair:
Harbor is the ring bearer, I'm the Matron of Honor, and David an usher.

Both Rachel and I chose guys named "David."
We like to joke that only the best guys are named David, of course.
: )

We watch lots of football during the holidays.

But we take even more pictures.

Love these people!
I am definitely the black sheep of the family who uprooted and moved away.
And that is hard sometimes, but it makes coming home all the sweeter.

My mom colored and cut my hair.
: )
Such a perk!

Lots of naps were taken
{Henry didn't take any naps the entire week, however.}

He was too busy exploring our family farm.

And climbing on Papa's hay bales.

He watches Harbor's every move these days.

I made cinnamon rolls from scratch and brought them to my Aunt Cathy's house one morning.

And since my parents live just up the road from the famous Duggar family of TLC's 
"19 Kids and Counting" show, we stopped in their driveway for a picture.

It is fun to grow up so close to such a famous family.
Before I moved away, we would see them all around town.
Such nice people, really and truly!
Jim Bob and Michelle have always been so kind when we meet them out and about.

The TLC trucks weren't out filming,
 but they did appear to be having a small get together of some kind.

These brothers are starting to play more and more together.
I was worried that their four year age gap might prevent that,
but they are really bonding a lot lately.

I loved seeing my family interact with my three children.
Isn't that what coming home for the holidays is about?
Special times!

It was a wonderful Christmas.
It ended all too quickly, however, and we packed up and headed home to Colorado.
We also spent Christmas Eve with David's family, but I took all the pictures on my phone and not my big camera.  They put on a live nativity and Hollin was baby Jesus this year, while Harbor acted as shepherd.  It was so, SO sweet.

Next year, she'll be too big and busy to be Jesus.
These are the days to remember.
Hope you had a festive Christmas with your loved ones, too!
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