Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope that everyone has a wonderful day celebrating with family & friends.
We are all so blessed & have lots to be thankful for!

"I will praise the name of God in song, and magnify Him with thanksgiving"
--Psalm 69:30


Thankful List

We are so blessed as a society & as a family, so since it's the 27th, we're sharing 27 things we're thankful for. 

1. Our faith. It's gotten us through some tough times & made good times even better.

2. Each other. We are so lucky to have found each other so young, and our marriage has only gotten stronger over the last 13 years.

3.  Living in Gulf Shores, a place we'd always dreamed of moving but never thought would happen.

4.  Having a home to raise our family in. It may not be huge & is always messy, but it's filled with love & laughter. 

5.  Warm weather. It's nice here most of the year, and our thin blood couldn't take it any other way!

6. Our parents. Both local sets are such a big help to us, and the boys adore them. Our boys love talking to the far-away set & talk about them just like they were here, too.

7.  Our family values. We are thankful that we have such strong family bonds, and we want to instill that in our children. No earthly relationships are more important.

8.  Our church family. We have been blessed with a wonderful church & love being involved with such an active group.

9.  Our friends. We have a fabulous group of friends who would so anything for us. It's so awesome to add friends to our family!

10. Family dinner time. The silliest stuff happens while we eat as a family, and we wouldn't trade that time for anything.

11.  Bo's job. It has provided for us in ways we're still finding out about. 

12.  The Monogrammed Monkey. It drives Tanner a bit crazy at times, but it also has allowed us to do things we may not have been able to do before. 

13. That the boys play with the same toys. It makes gift-giving easy, even if we buy duplicates.

14. Our health. 'Nuff said.

15.  Good health insurance. We've found out that our plan we've griped about all year is actually really good.

16.  Moms Day Out. Hampton loves it & we couldn't ask for a better teacher for him.

17.  Thankful for our friends that have stepped up to fill in for Tanner on Wed nights until the baby is a little bigger.

18.  That we are completing our family next week with a new bundle of joy. 

19. The true meaning of Thanksgiving. We enjoy spending it with family instead of worrying about shopping.

20. Having a wonderful OB/GYN and pediatrician. 

21. That our Santa pics were a fundraiser for a youth mission team.

22. Thanksgiving food, which is hands-down the best meal of the year.

23. That our children are grateful & appreciative of pretty much everything.

24. That we no longer work in retail, especially now that stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day.

25.  Laughter. It makes everything better.

26. 2 cars that seem to be working at the minute...which is a big deal, considering the expensive vehicle year we've had!

27. These 2 turkeys. They make every day crazier & more wonderful, and we couldn't love them more!


Goings On

Well, we're 9 days from D-Day and busy as little bees. Here are some of the latest goings-on at the Howard House:

We decorated the house for Christmas, and even though it's less over-the-top than usual, it looks nice. Plus, now we have a tree that has become a fun new toy. 

The Monogrammed Monkey has closed for the year, so all that's left is filling the tons of orders still in production. Luckily, Grandi is on that task, so we know it's in good hands. (We can say that, since we aren't the ones slaving in the sweat shop all day long!) 

As of today, we're packed for the hospital in case she surprises us with an early arrival. 

Hampton went to his first big-boy birthday party, where parents dropped off & came back later. Mommy was a bit stressed, but he seemed to have a wonderful time. 

The nursery is ALMOST ready, including the booting out of Harrison. So far, that has gone much more smoothly than we thought! We have a couple of things left to hang on the wall, but that's about it. Yay!

The best news, though? School is closed this week, giving us extra play time with our turkeys before the baby arrives!


Pep Rally

On Friday, Hampton's MDO held a pep rally for the Iron Bowl. There was Auburn & Alabama stuff everywhere, including a big inflatable Aubie Tiger right at the front door. 

Since Hampton has been cheering for Alabama lately, we had a cute houndstooth outfit all picked out to wear. Until Friday morning, that is, when he started saying "War Eagle". We were as confused as he apparently was, so we opted for a safe Thanksgiving outfit instead. It must have been a momentary lapse in judgment, though, because he came home cheering "Roll Tide" and had made crimson artwork to back it up. 

We just care that he had a good time, and by the looks of these photos with his best girl friend, he definitely did that!


Food For Thought

Hampton has been learning about cornucopias at MDO. He came home telling us all about the fruit that went in the cornucopia, and this morning he woke us up (literally in our face) by telling us that he had to get ready for school b/c he had to "go do my fruit business" and that blueberries weren't good for cats. Apparently, he's some sort of fruit vendor now? Not sure, but we like the entrepreneurial spirit! Here's a pic from school of him & his fruit business.

Also at school, he made this candy corn that he got to bring home on Monday. When asked about candy corn, he said "it's kinda funny, like an ant or a Scorpion. Just kidding. It's a special candy, like butter". Oh, how he takes after his Grandi!


Poor Baby

Well, we're still sick in the Howard house. Daddy didn't feel good yesterday, Mommy is under the weather, and Hampton has a yucky cough & chest rattle. But the worst is poor Harrison, who is just pitiful with a fever & cough. 

Sunday night we were up every two hours until Bo headed to Walmart at 5am to buy more meds. With a mixture of PediaCare, all-natural cough medicine & vapor rub, Harrison managed to get some rest yesterday & we all got a full night's sleep last night. He's still feeling pitiful today, but nothing like yesterday. We're hoping tomorrow's even better & that we're all on the mend. 

Here's a pic of the poor baby with his juice, blanket & bunny, along with the empty medicine box that he wanted to keep with him. You know...all the must-have sick accessories! 



A few weeks ago, we had the boys' annual birthday portraits made. Last year was a major the end of the short session, the boys were more than wound up & we were just as exhausted! This year more than made up for it, though. We were smart enough to book a session when no one else would be there, and the boys were mostly cooperative. We got tons of great many so that we ordered way more than we had planned! Our family is getting copies of our favorites for Christmas, but we wanted to share some of the others that were taken.  This one in particular cracked us up, since this is a common sight at our house. Harrison LOVES to sit & bounce on his brother's back!



This is a glimpse into our week. Hampton got it first, waking up at midnight early in the week with a fever & vomiting. Now, Harrison is running a fever and feeling awful, as you can see by the pic below. Hampton's fever has left, thank goodness, but he still has lots of coughing, sneezing, and crankiness from not feeling well. We're sad that they're under the weather, but very thankful that so far we've avoided it. The last thing we need is a 9-month pregnant sick Mommy! 


Thankful Thursday


Our Little Turkeys


Birthday Party Pics

Due to the fact that the baby is going to be here 2 days before Harrison's birthday, we decided to do a combined party for both boys. We wanted to make sure they each had a special time with their friends, but it had to be well before the baby might arrive. And it needed to be easy. So we decided that we'd celebrate at our local bounce house party place. Mommy was a little worried beforehand, seeing as how we'd only seen photos of the place, but it ended up being AWESOME. For one price they provided the space, setup & cleanup, all the paper products, balloons, gift bags, and tokens for each child to use in the downstairs arcade after the party. They also included invitations, but we wanted to customize them ourselves...and we couldn't help but to spiff up the gift bags, too.
The littles had SO much fun sliding, bouncing, crawling, running, climbing, and chasing each other with the balloons. The parents & grandparents got into the act as well, which was also a hoot to watch! It was so nice to just be able to sit around & talk to our adult friends while the children were safe & having a great time. And at the end, we didn't have to do a thing but walk out! Both boys seemed to have an amazing time, and that's really what it was all about!



Thankful Thoughts


Hampton's School Halloween Party

At Hampton's school, each mom signs up to be in charge of a different holiday party. Tanner chose Halloween this year, since it was the only one before the baby arrived. Usually, there are 2 moms for each party, but since the class is small this year, Tanner had this one all to herself. Which works for her, except it fell on "bed rest week". Thankfully, Grandi came & helped out with all the decorating. We hung pumpkins on the ceiling, had the children decorate photo frames, made a fun lunch including pumpkin-shaped sandwiches & jack-o-lantern applesauce, and loaded the boys & girls down with goodies in their treat buckets. Since the littles can't wear costumes to school, the school lets them dress up in their pajamas instead. That just added to the "day of fun", as their teacher Ms. Lisa would say!


Halloween Night

We were supposed to host a Halloween party at our house this year, but due to the bed rest, we had to cancel. Luckily, our friends understood & the Grandparents were willing to host us! The boys had a big time playing outside before the festivities (including creative use of the cat as a racetrack). Dinner was Hampton's favorite pizza & cake...which was all he asked for on his birthday. Bo & Granddaddy took them trick-or-treating while Tanner & Grandi doled out candy to the neighborhood kids. Once the boys got back, Hampton was very interested in all of the visitors...he kept wanting to know who it was each time the doorbell rang!


Pumpkin Patch

One of the things we love most about fall is heading to the Pumpkin Patch. This year, we tried a different pumpkin farm that also had a corn maze. We made our way through it with Hampton as our guide, stopping occasionally to check out the scarecrows along the way . He loved it, but Harrison wasn't 100% sure what to think! We also fed the chickens, played with the farm dogs, picked out a pumpkin & investigated the big straw spiders. As we left, we mentioned how cool it is that Baldwin county not only has the beach & big-town offerings, but large working farms to explore as well!


Hampton's 4th Birthday

We had a great time for Hampton's birthday this year. We woke up & had doughnuts at Hampton's request, then we opened some gifts. Hampton got his dream gift...several cars from the Cars 2 movie that he'd been talking about forever. Harrison even got a token gift of his own...a tradition Tanner's parents started when she was little that we want to continue.
After lunch & playtime at ChickFilA (again, Hampton's choice), Bo took Hampton to The Track for the first time. We'd originally wanted to have his birthday party there, but he just barely meets the height requirement, and most of his friends are a good bit shorter than he is. So, instead we decided we'd just take Hampton on his own. Bo & Hamp were the only customers there, so they got to enjoy the tracks all by themselves. Which was good, since he needed a little help driving to start with! Hampton got to ride the kiddie track by himself a couple of times, and then Bo took him on the big racetrack, too. Hampton loved every minute of it...he's still telling us that it was his favorite part of his birthday!


Hampton's School Party

Hampton treated his classmates to cupcakes today to celebrate his birthday. Sadly, we weren't able to attend, but his awesome teacher took care of everything & snapped photos for us. He just loves his school friends, so we know he loved celebrating with them!