North Pole Breakfast

For anyone who hasn't heard of it, the Elf on the Shelf has become a big holiday tradition in the last several years. A family adopts an elf, and the elf stays during the Christmas season, watching the children and reporting each night back to Santa on how they acted that day. Since the elf goes back to the North Pole each night, every morning he's in a different place....sometimes even being a little silly on the way. We've only heard good things from our friends about the elf, so we decided to start the tradition this year, even though Hampton is a little young to grasp the whole concept.

We welcomed our elf, who we've named Telly, Sunday morning with a North Pole breakfast. We never miss an opportunity to go a little overboard, and we thought it would be a cute way to kick off the Christmas season. It was simple, but we really had fun showing Hampton his new elf, reading him the story, and letting him try powdered (we mean snow-dusted) doughnuts for the first time.

We're looking forward to our new tradition & seeing what all Telly will be up to this year and for many years to come!

The breakfast table, where Telly was front & center.

Hampton enjoying some snow-dusted doughnuts and his new Dora coloring book that Telly left for him.


Black Friday Fiasco

On Black Friday, we didn't go out shopping, but we did head down to The Hangout to try and score Bo some cheap festival tickets. They were having a raffle starting at 11am, so we decided we'd go down there & have lunch while waiting to see if we'd won. Well, it turned in to the biggest ordeal EVER! There were baby & mommy meltdowns, unhappy would-be concert goers, and more. Luckily, when the dust settled hours later, Bo did end up with his tickets, so all's well that ends well!

Hampton playing in the sand while waiting on our numbers to be called



Since we couldn't travel to TN for Thanksgiving this year, we celebrated at our house. Paul, Jan, Bob, and Randi all celebrated with us, and even better....they brought several yummy dishes each! Lunch was absolutely delicious, especially since we made sure to request all our favorite foods. Tanner even attempted her Grandmother's famous macaroni & cheese, which got the ultimate compliment of being "Fayetteville worthy". We had a great time visiting, browsing the Black Friday ads, and just enjoying each others' company. Hampton loved all the attention from his grandparents, and Tanner loved the fact that we got to keep all the leftovers from her favorite meal of the year!

our crafty Thanksgiving banner

posing for a Thanksgiving photo

our holiday table

Hampton making good use of the Thanksgiving craft table, aka the way to keep him out of the kitchen!


Friday Photo

We just came across this photo from the summer and thought it was hysterical, so we wanted to share. Hampton was at Grannie & Grandpa's house, and decided that a bucket would make a great one-man pool. Looks like he was right, huh?


Happy Turkey Day!

We hope everyone has a safe & wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, and yummy food!


Giving Thanks

We all have so much to be thankful for. Some things are serious, some are trivial, but they all make our lives better, easier, and happier. In honor of the holiday tomorrow, here are some things that we are grateful for:
  • Our Families. We wouldn't be who we are without them, and we can always count on them to be there when it matters.
  • Our DVR. How else could we watch 8 episodes of Super Why! back-to-back and also keep up with the shows we can no longer stay awake long enough to watch?
  • Having everything we need. We may not have everything we want, but our needs are always met. And can you really ask for anything else?
  • Washable, non-toxic crayons. They are a miracle. Just this week they've been washed off the walls, the floor, clothes, and Hampton's face & teeth.
  • Our health. You never think about it until you hear stories of others. We are blessed to have a healthy child, our health, and another healthy one on the way.
  • Pizza. It's the world's most perfect food, and has just been classified as a vegetable. Now we can eat it and feel even better about ourselves!
  • New friends that are like old ones and old friends that are like family.
  • The internet. It allows us to stay up on current events, find new recipes, shop at our leisure, keep in touch with loved ones, and helps us waste endless hours.
Our faith. It has gotten us through some tough times, and it has given us something to be thankful for every day. This is what we want to pass on to our children the most.

A sense of humor. Because with a toddler, we need it!


Baby Boy

Ok, since we're having the new baby in 2 weeks and 1 day (not that we're counting down!), we didn't want anyone to think we aren't excited. Truth is, we're thrilled and can't wait for him to get here! Here are a few things about this little boy....

His name will be Harrison Rolly Howard. We're going to call him Harrison, which is Bo's middle name. This will be the 5th generation of Harrisons in Bo's family, which we think is pretty awesome. Also, Hampton & Harrison will have the same initials, which means we get to re-use all of Hampton's cute monogrammed stuff! (Guess who thought of that idea?)

He is a big boy! Our Doctor said last week that he's already 6.5 pounds, and will be bigger than Hampton, who was 7lbs 11oz. Of course, babies usually gain about a pound a week the last month, so that means he's going to be a lot bigger! Right now, Tanner is choosing not to focus on that last fact! He's also really funny at the Doctor's office. They can rarely find his heartbeat, but he always kicks them while they try! We must have a prankster on our hands.

He's also just as wild as Hampton was. He gets hiccups all the time, and you can watch him move from across the room. Loud noises don't seem to bother him, though, which is wonderful since he's going to around a lot of them! He seems to really like fruit tea, which Tanner loves. It's way easier to justify having it around the house when more than one person drinks it! Tanner has had non-stop heartburn this time, so we can't wait to see if the old wives' tale is true. If so, this little boy is going to have one head FULL of hair!

Even though he'll get to re-use most of Hampton's baby stuff, we've been busy making sure he's got plenty of his own cute stuff. Bibs, burps, outfits, and toys.....we don't want him to feel neglected, now do we? (Not that we're just using that as an excuse to shop!)

Our Doctor also said that there's a good chance that Harrison will arrive before the 7th, but we're determined to make him wait. We've still got too much to do before then! We guess we'll just see who is stronger-willed, Tanner or Harrison........

a baby must-have.....multiple holiday burp cloths

an outfit to match his big brother's


Weekend Update

Well, we had a "to-do" packed weekend these last few days! On Friday, Hampton spent the day and night with Grandpa & Grannie. That gave Tanner & Grandi the chance to finish up some monogramming projects of our own (now that we're done with customers, it's time to kick it into gear for these boys!). It took all day, and we're still not finished, but we made TONS of progress. Then, Bo and Tanner were able to try a local restaurant that we'd been wanting to go to for awhile. It was delicious, and the best part is that it's right at the end of our road! We'll definitely be going back.....we're dying to try their breakfast now!

Saturday was filled with grocery & gift shopping errands before picking up Hampton. We also succeeded in getting all the Christmas decorations out of the attic. We aren't really going to decorate until after Thanksgiving, but we did haul the tree inside so Hampton could get used to it. We're hoping that will keep him from messing with it too much once it's decorated (yeah, right!). He has found it to be a great place to hide his crayons, though, so we'll see. We did manage to sort through all the Christmas stuff, and have found lots of stuff to give away. We also tackled wrapping the gifts, which Tanner has almost finished. Add in some craft projects that got started, and we were quite productive this weekend!

Oh, and we almost forgot......we made time to turn the living room into a temporary dance floor for Hampton. Here's a shot of one of his signature moves. This boy loves to dance!


Friday Photo and Week In Review

Some other random events from the week....

Our normal 20-minute Doctor's appointment took 1.5 hours yesterday, making both of us thankful that Hampton was NOT with us! We did laugh about the fact that a few minutes of his antics in the office would be great birth-control for others!

Tanner had her November Junior Women's Club meeting Tuesday night. It was fun catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones. However, she realized that eating a meal while a Doctor is talking about health issues is a bad combo!

FINALLY.....the last order from The Monogrammed Monkey has been finished and delivered! Yes, we know that it's like 6 weeks after we quit taking orders, but we had quite the backlog of last-minute needs. What a relief it is to be done with all, on to doing some stuff for the boys!

Bo has been having major computer issues at work, but this week one of his tech buddies finally came to the shop to fix all the bugs. Bo is much happier now that he can get on Facebook check his work emails.

Wednesday night church this week was great fun, seeing as how we didn't have to teach! The kids all made Advent Wreaths, and they turned out great. Add in a little game of "cookie, cookie, brownie" (which is just duck, duck, goose renamed), some homemade snacks, and it was a great night! We only have 1 more week working with them on Wednesday nights before we both go on Maternity Leave through the winter.....that is, if Tanner's co-teacher lets us leave her alone with all those kiddos!


Christmas Village at Bass Pro Shops

Upon the advice of our friend who is the event planner at Bass Pro, we decided to visit the Christmas Village early this year. For one, who knows what we'll be able to get done after the baby arrives, and second, we were hoping to miss the crowds and the breakdown that was Santa last year!

Well, this year couldn't have been more different than last! We pretty much had the place to ourselves, and Hampton loved getting to play with the motorized train set and the remote-controlled cars. He also loved Santa. He talked to him, smiled at him, and even tried to visit him again while he was visiting with other children!


Petting Zoo

Hampton LOVES animals of all kinds, so when we saw the one at Heritage Harbor Days, we knew we had to let him visit the animals. He loved chasing the ducks around, feeding the goats, and trying to coax a bunny out from under his hiding place. As much as Hampton loves the animals, we may have to move to a farm!


Thomas the Train

The annual Heritage Harbor Days festival in Foley had a special guest this year, Thomas the Train. Since Hampton LOVES trains, we definitely thought he'd love seeing him. We were right, however, we didn't really consider how much Hampton does not like waiting in line! He had no patience for waiting his turn in the VERY long line, but he was quite happy to see Thomas once it was his turn. So much so that he didn't want to leave! Luckily, there were lots of other interesting things at the festival to distract him, or we might still be standing there with Thomas!


Friday Photo

This week we've also....

been back to the Doctor and found out just how early we're going to have to be at the hospital on December 7th!
battled a cold with Hampton
met some new friends at Bunco night
enjoyed the drop in temperature
almost finished our Christmas list..with plans to complete it this weekend
met P&J for dinner a visit to the Christmas Village at Bass Pro (more on that later)

Tonight is Supper Club at our house, so Hampton is spending the day with Grandpa & Grannie while Tanner cleans, then spending the night with Grandi & Granddaddy while the company is here. He's going to have a blast with all that non-stop attention!


Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo is one of our favorite fall activities. The zoo puts on a big to-do, with games, contests, and more, but Hampton just loves going to see all the animals. Our zoo is just big enough that a lap around it wears him (and us!) out, so we mainly do that instead of all the other activities. Hampton was in full character that night, crawling and rolling around on the ground just like any good dog would do! Grandi & Granddaddy joined in the fun, too, so that was an added bonus to an already fun night!

Do you remember us posting about the crafts we did in VBS this year? Well, here is one of the toys for the tigers that the kids painted. See, we didn't forget to come back and post a pic!


Family Fun Day

Our church held it's annual Family Fun day this year at a local park. The weather was amazing (unlike last year in the rain) and so was the turnout! There was a band, a huge bounce house, someone making balloon animals, and all the existing playground equipment for the little ones to climb all over. Tanner is on the committee that plans this event, so she was busy making snow cones (which happen to be delicious!) for all to enjoy, but Hampton and Bo stayed busy roaming the park. We met some new friends and got to catch up with old ones. We only wish it would have lasted longer so we could have chatted with everyone!


Trunk or Treat

One of the local churches hosted Trunk or Treat down at The Wharf, so we met up with our friends Kelly & Conner to check it out. There were TONS of people there, decked out in every kind of costume you could imagine (some appropriate for a church function, some notsomuch). They had bounce houses, booths of games and other activities, and of course, candy! Hampton was way more interested in running around than waiting in line, so we ended up cutting the festivities short. We were glad we went, though, especially to get to hang out with some of our favorite friends (one of whom makes an adorable zebra, don't you think?).


Halloween Night

On Halloween night, we joined up with 2 other couples and their kids to go trick-or-treating. We had a yummy dinner of pizza (yes, again!), hotdogs, brownies, and nachos made with Doritos that were awesome! Then after all that health food, we headed out to frighten the town as several superheros and their trusty dog. Hampton LOVED being with the bigger kids....of course, we definitely had to use his harness to keep him from completely running away! After collecting too many treats, we headed back to the Bodifords to play card games while the little ones ate way too much candy! It was a great night with friends filled with lots of laughter, including a good bit at our children's expense!

Trick or treat!
All the super heroes and Hampton

getting energized to go collect candy
Hampton running while Bo chased him...which was the theme of the night!


Friday Photo and Week In Review

Here are some other random tidbits from our lives right now.....

We've been back to the Doctor's office this week. We're now going every week for's almost impossible to believe we'll have a new baby in just over 1 month!

And speaking of doctors, Hampton had his 2-year checkup this week. It went great, and he even got a cute new book from the staff. He's now had his flu shot, so now that just leaves us......

We are trying to get the house clean & ready for our upcoming Supper Club. Around here, that's a major undertaking, especially since Hampton has managed to color on almost every surface in this house. Thank goodness for washable crayons!

Hampton spent the night away from home for the first time last weekend. We know, it's kind of pitiful that we waited this long, but it went great! Did we do anything fun and exciting on our first night alone in 2 years? Only if you count ice cream for dinner and Tanner going to bed at 6:30 exciting!


Birthday Fun

Since we had plans Halloween night with some friends, we decided to get the Grandparents together early in the day to celebrate with Hampton. Bo took the morning off from work, and we headed over to Fairhope to feed the ducks. Hampton loves to be outside & run like a wild man, plus he adores animals, so we knew he'd love to go see them.

We fed the ducks until they got a little too greedy (these ducks have NO problem invading your personal space!), then headed to another part of the park to walk down the pier. Afterward, we headed to lunch to eat Hampton's #1 favorite! When we told him we were going to have pizza, he said "Pizza, pizza, I LOVE pizza! Umm...yummy pizza!". This child is definitely Tanner's all the way! We ate pizza and cupcakes with Grandi, Granddaddy, Grannie, & Grandpa, then headed home for a nap. It was the perfect way to celebrate being 2!


Worn Slap Out!

Well, after all the Halloween & birthday celebrations, the Howard family is worn out! We've had a great time, though. Hampton had 3 occasions to wear his very cute (if we do say so ourselves!) puppy costume, and we got to spend time with lots of friends & family over the weekend. We've eaten way too many sweets & celebrated way too much, but isn't that part of the fun?

We're going to overload you with photos from all the fun over the next few days, but here's a peek at Hampton's new love, the "train tracks" as he calls them. This was his birthday gift from us, and we've been holding on to it patiently since last year when we found it on a mega-sale. It's been very hard not giving it to him before now, but we knew he'd love it once we did!