Science Experiment

Since Hampton, Harrison & Mommy were all battling a stomach bug, plus the weather was supposed to be yuck yesterday, Hampton didn't go to MDO. Since we had some time on our hands (and Hampton loves fun projects), we attempted a little science experiment. You take baking soda, then put food coloring in vinegar. Then you take a syringe to drop the liquid into the powder. It makes a cool fizzing sound & bubbles up in the powder. Hampton LOVED it, so much so that we made 3 different batches & wiped out a box of baking soda & a bottle of vinegar. It was so much fun to see him working hard mixing the colors. Of course, he made a mess and couldn't stop putting his hands in it, but our best times together are when we get our hands dirty and make fun memories!


Rear View

While in the car, our eyes are on the road, but our hearts are in the back seat!



Well, yesterday sure did not go as planned! Usually our Mondays are busy busy, since its back to work for Bo & back to school for Hampton. Harrison & Mommy needed to get a ton done, but Harrison woke up out of sorts at 4am, then 6, then 8. Luckily, Bo needed to work at home for a little while, so Tanner was able to take Hamp to school alone plus run a couple of must-do errands. That was great, because it ended up being the only productive things she did all day!

At 11:30, Hamp's school calls both of us to tell us that we needed to come pick him up b/c he was being, in their words, "uncontrollable". Apparently, he was not following directions & pushing kids on the playground. We were not happy, as that's not like Hampton, but Mommy & Harrison went & got him then headed up to Grandi's house to let the boys play outside. Well, Hampton was feeling warm & by the time we got out the thermometer, his fever was 100.5, which is high for Hamp since he runs cold like his Mommy. Then the diarrhea & throwing up set in. Needless to say, we now have a sick baby on our hands, and it's looking like we may have another Doctor's visit in our future. Thank goodness our copay is now 1/2 of what it was! (Hey, we'll look for any silver lining we can find!)


Week In Review

This week we've:
Hidden under blanket piles
Colored Thomas pictures
Played with playdoh
Met a new friend for Harrison
Caught up with a few old friends
Baked brownies
Made "music" on the garage door
Played games on the computer
Had fun!


Bathtubs & BooBoos

Funny: Harrison found a way to sneak into the bathroom & climb in the tub to play with the tub toys. Once we caught him, he continued to play for about 20 more minutes, until we pulled him out.

Not so funny: Just before we had to be at church, Hampton fell and busted his head good. It was very scary, especially since he was bleeding from his head & mouth. Luckily, he just has some war wounds!

These are 2 perfect examples of how our day went yesterday!


Anywhere Chairs

The boys have decided that their anywhere chairs can really go anywhere...especially upside down!


The Gulf

Over the weekend, we had the chance to try the newest restaurant in Orange Beach, The Gulf. It's been majorly hyped, because of the location on state land directly on the Gulf, the fact that it was designed by the youngest architect in the state, and mostly because of what it's made of.....shipping containers. That's right....the whole place is just shipping containers turned into an eatery!

We'd driven by a few times, but hadn't made it there yet. Since the weather was so nice, we decided that we'd have our weekly date there on Saturday. It was amazing! It looks so cool from the street, but it's so much cooler inside. Couches, benches, picnic tables, bar tables, and lots of palm trees & sand are all that's between your view of the water. And the food was great, too! Off-the-boat seafood & yummy burgers just can't be beat. This is DEFINITELY our new recommendation for a great meal!


Rough Patch

The past two weeks have been quite a challenge! First, Harrison dropped a wooden train down the toilet. After trying every trick in the book, we finally had to give up and replace our toilet. Just a bunch of yuckiness that we'd rather not deal with!

Then, our cat Ike passed away. She was 15 and had been going downhill in the past few weeks, but she was a member of our family and has been missed....especially by Hamp, who asks about her almost every day.

Add on top of that the fact that Tanner & both boys have been sick for about 2 weeks, and we're about at our limit!

We have carved out some fun, though, by baking goodies, building forts, reading tons of books, and trying out a few new yummy soup recipes. We've also learned more about Thomas than we ever thought possible, thanks to some new-found websites. Who would have thought there are whole sites devoted to all the characters? Anyway, we've definitely made the most of our sick family time, and that's been our silver lining in these last couple of weeks!


School Photos

We thought it was so cute when we found out that Hampton's Mom's Day Out took school pictures. How they planned to get tons of littles to sit still for photos was beyond us! But we figured that we'd buy them no matter how bad they were, because we're suckers like that. So, we were pleasantly surprised when they turned out cute! Maybe we should go take lessons from them, so we can get our boys to sit still for 2 seconds for a pic!


Annual Portraits

Back in November, we had portrait photos done of the boys for their birthdays & to give for Christmas gifts. We love the casual pose photos that everyone does now, but there is nothing more classic than traditional portraits to commemorate their birthdays. We started when Hampton was one, and it's so neat seeing the changes from year to year. Of course, it's quite difficult to wrangle our littles, so we were happy there were a few that turned out ok! So if you haven't seen them yet, here are our portraits from 2012 (shown a little blurry b/c we scanned them with our phones). Enjoy!


First Birthday Photos

Now that we've finished up the Christmas recap, we want to share several other photo sessions with you! First, we have Harrison's 12-month photos, taken at one of our favorite places. Enjoy!


Christmas with Boba & Grandpa Andy

The day after Christmas, we got to celebrate with Boba & Grandpa Andy, who drove up from south Florida to see us. They came bearing gifts of the greatest kind....trains! Andy is a train buff & has an awesome setup of his own, so they decided to start our boys an O-Gauge set. These are the same trains that they run at our train museum, so Hampton was beside himself! We obviously had to make a trip to the museum to check out the real deal, and we had lots more fun while they were here. We hung out & visited, took them to the out-of-the-way-yet-delicious Tin Top, and just mostly had a good time.

No holiday wrap-up would be complete without showing off our elf Telly's antics. We had lots of fun while he was here, and he didn't want to leave, either, since he forgot to go with Santa! Don't worry...he headed back to the North Pole a few days later.
To see all of our holiday photos, click HERE.


Christmas Day

 We woke up early to read the Christmas story & see what Santa brought, and the boys had so much fun playing with their toys that we didn't even open everything before it was time to head up to Grandi & Granddaddy's house for brunch. After a delicious meal, we got to sit around and relax while the boys played and napped. Later that evening, we all headed up to Grandpa & Granny's house for a very yummy meal that included Tanner's favorite fruit tea. Besides the ugly weather that caused several tornadoes in Mobile, and Harrison giving us a little scare, it was a perfect Christmas! We hope every Christmas from here on out is as great as this one was!


Christmas Eve

We made it home from TN in time for Christmas Eve, which was very important for us this year. We were asked to read the advent and light the candles at the Christmas Eve service at church. We were a little nervous, but it ended up being fine....even though Harrison decided to throw up the minute we walked up to the alter! Thanks to a quick moving mommy & a thoughtful Pastor Jody, most people didn't even notice!
After the service, we headed home for a little birthday party for Jesus, complete with singing and cupcakes. We wanted to really drive home the point to Hampton that Jesus is the true meaning of the season. Afterwards, we got dressed in our jammies, sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn, set out cookies & Diet Coke for Santa (we're sure he needed the caffeine pick-me-up!), and read a Christmas story before heading to bed. Most importantly, we made lots of great memories!



Christmas with Gigi & PopPop

 On Sunday before Christmas, we headed over to Gigi & PopPop's house (Tanner's Grandparents) for a little Christmas get together. Grandi & Granddaddy were there, too, so it was fun to have both the grandparents & great-grandparents together. We ate a yummy lunch, opened fun presents, and the boys really enjoyed playing with the toys that Tanner & her cousins played with when they were little. It was wonderful getting to spend some quiet time with Tanner's grandparents, and we're so lucky to have them!


Christmas at Opryland Hotel

Saturday night, we headed up to Nashville to meet up with our friends from home.  We were staying in Franklin and they were visiting family in east Nashville, so we thought the perfect place to meet would be Opryland Hotel. We'd never seen the Christmas lights there before, and although they weren't nearly as spectacular as the Bellingrath lights, they were still beautiful. The company and the fact that we were indoors on that frigid night definitely added to the experience!


Saturday in TN

On the Saturday before Christmas, we were in TN to visit Tanner's extended family. We stayed at an awesome hotel in Franklin, and since we had the morning to enjoy before we headed to Tanner's Aunt Melissa's house, we found a cute indoor play place. Called The Monkey's Treehouse, it was filled with a huge treehouse, tons of toys, a ball pit, a few train tables, and a train set in the floor that we could not pull Hampton away from! Harrison busied himself pushing a Cozy Coupe around the whole place. He was awesome at steering it from the back and had mastered moving in reverse.

Afterward, we headed to Columbia to see most of Tanner's family. It was great catching up with everyone, and the boys got some cute toys from their Great Aunt & Uncle. It was cold that day, but not too cold for the boys to be able to run around and play outside a bit. What a fun pre-Christmas day!


Project 365

We're only a few days in to our commitment to catalog the year in photos, but it's already addictive! We've snapped way more than 1 pic a day, and here are a few from the week.

We snapped the photo of Harry seconds after he was picking up his goldfish with his face, but we couldn't get him to do it again. Both boys had a blast playing with their Thomas bath paints, and our adorable "Ham" Hampton goofing off on the way to school.

And make sure you join us next week, as we recap all of our Holiday adventures. We know you just can't wait! :)


Focus on the Family

This time of year is when most people try to make changes for the year lose weight, quit smoking, or just generally make their lives better. We usually make resolutions, too, with some being successful and some not-so-much. This year, we've decided to focus on our family.
The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook (although we did our best to avoid all details) really made us pause. Then, on Christmas Eve, another less-publicized tragedy struck. A local family lost their almost 3-year-old daughter in a freak swing set accident. This one hit way too close to home for us, since the mother was in Tanner's Junior Womens Club, and the little girl would have been in the same grade at the same small school as Hampton. Not to mention, that the mom was a stay-at-home mom with a successful online monogramming business. Needless to say, we were devastated for them, as well as stopped in our tracks. We've decided to take stock of what's important, and we've realized that life is too short. We've got to make the most of what we've got.
So our resolution for this year is to live in the moment. Cherish our time with each other. Since that is sort of vague, we've set some little goals that will help us do that. First, we've started a daily gratitude journal. Every day, we're listing 5 things we're thankful for. That will keep us focused on all the blessings we have, big & small. We're also doing Project365, which is where you chronicle your year by taking at least one photo every day. That will keep us in the moment, and help us remember all the little moments as they pass. We'll be sharing some of those photos with you along the way.
Most importantly, The Monogrammed Monkey is changing. Although we have been beyond blessed with the success of our little business, a full-time income comes along with full-time work. We've decided that it's not worth it to us. So, we're making some big changes. We're limiting what we offer, and Tanner's mom is going to take over the majority of the work. She was already doing lots of it, but now she'll be the boss man. We'll just be doing the online work & marketing. We may change and tweak our plan along the way, because we want The Monogrammed Monkey to continue. But what we want more is memorable moments with our family. Because when it comes down to it, making memories with our loved ones trumps monogramming stuff for others EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.
We're looking forward to baking cookies, spending more time on the beach, doing crafts, singing silly songs, watching endless hours of Thomas the train, playing in the floor, and spending many, many more hours in amazement at the train museum (below). Here's to a Happy, Memorable 2013 for all of us....may you make wonderful memories with your family, too!


Back to Reality...

Vacation fun had to end at some point, and today was the day.

Bo headed back to work after being off since the Thursday before Christmas. Hampton started back at MDO, and church classes start back tonight. So, we're in "get our acts back together" mode!

Tanner & Harrison took the chance to make a quiet Walmart run, then Mommy started tackling the chore list while Harrison played with all of Hampton's toys. We're looking forward to getting back into our routine, but it's a little hard to do!


Year in Pics

Now that we've rung in 2013, we wanted to recap a few of our favorite photos & memories from 2012. Some you may have seen, some may be new, but all were fulll of fun! Here's to 2013 being just as fun!

A recap of pics, clockwise from the top: SuperHero Bo goofing off, the wildest decorated car we've ever seen in Orlando, Hampton playing in the bubbles at The Hangout, Mommy & Hampton on Hamp's birthday, Bo enjoying yummy eats from The Varsity in Atlanta, Harrison checking out the Ghost Ship down Ft. Morgan, Harrison alseep in the happens every time, and Harrison playing at the beach.