A Trip Around the Sun

"Living on Earth is expensive....but it does include a free trip around the sun."
2011's trip around the sun was really good. In fact, it was pretty darn amazing.

January brought us a big, fun heap of unexpected snow, pretty mountain hikes, and treasured weekends at the river. 

In February, we celebrated the most lovely Valentine's Day as a family of three, danced the night away on a few occasions, we visited the farm, and we took a culinary road trip to Tennessee. 

March brought the first glorious taste of spring sunshine, a ball of a date night, Hudson's first trip to the circus, and a late-night quest for the Super Moon.

April showers brought an early arrival of pretty flowers, Will and I "burned the floor", Hudson and I journeyed to Oz, and our state (Alabama) tragically suffered from the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded. 

May was a time of renewal with green grass and summer temperatures and lots of fun. We went on a Mississippi Mother's Day getaway, took a relaxing stay-cation, enjoyed Hudson's first trip to the zoo, celebrated Memorial Day by the pool, and I ran into John Paul White from the Civil Wars. 

In June we went to a Hot Air Balloon Festival, enjoyed a Polo Match that Will coordinated to help the victims of the April tornado tragedy, danced downtown at a party on the plaza, went to the fair, watched parades, and did lots of other summertime things. 

July found us at the beach, where we celebrated our 6th Wedding Anniversary, visited another zoo, rode a camel, had fun on the Fourth, and made lots of new memories. We also enjoyed our town's annual blues festival, took a Tennessee day trip, saw the Civil Wars in concert, and did lots of swimming.

We kicked off August with a very special celebration for Hudson who turned two! We explored neighboring cities, started Hudson's first swim lessons, and saw a small-town parade.

In September, we had weekend fun in Nashville with good eats and a ride on Thomas the Train. Hudson and I went to a Native American Festival, welcomed the first crisp night of Fall with warm lattes downtown.

In October, Hudson saw his first concert, The Beach Boys. We watched the leaves turn, went to another fair, enjoyed Oktoberfest, saw football games, went to the Renaissance Faire, visited the pumpkin patch, took Hudson trick or treating, and listened to banjo music in Billy Reid's flagship store.

November was probably the worst month on record, since my camera was stolen a few days before Thanksgiving. But there was lots of good stuff, too. We played in the leaves, took a very cold trip to the beach, visited a lighthouse, and ate lots of turkey and ham.  

In December, I got a new camera! We saw our first little snow and lots and lots of sparkly lights. We wore tacky sweaters, visited Santa's Village, and enjoyed everything about Christmas.

Can't wait to see what 2012 brings. 
Now I shall leave you with the most adorable video I've ever seen.....
Have a safe and happy New Year, friends!!


Sleeping Beauty

Hudson's bedtime is always full of special moments. 
Most nights, he listens as Will says a prayer, then says "Amen", and goes right to sleep.
Some nights, he likes to be held, in between his Mama and Dada, and squeezes the three of us together into the sweetest group hug, over and over and over again.
Other nights, he prolongs the process by asking for....
a toy
another toy
a drink of milk
a kiss
another kiss
.....basically, anything he can think of.

And then on my most favorite nights, he asks for Mama to sing with him. 
His favorite is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and as we sing the tune, he
sways along in my arms. 
The other night, he was calling for me from his bed, so I walked in to see what he needed.

(in a sweet, quiet voice) Hudson: "Mama?"
me: "Yes, Hudson?"
Hudson: "Mama? Let's sing."
After picking him up, we sing a couple rounds of Twinkle Twinkle. While singing, he squeezes so tightly around my neck, snuggling right into my face. After we finish,
Hudson: "I missed you, Mama." "I love you."
(heart melted) me: "How sweet, Hudson. "I love and missed you, too!"
Hudson: "Mama? It's sunny tommorrow. Let's go somewhere."

I love that sweet boy. 
And these little bedtime moments are my favorite kinds.


Santa came! Santa came!

It was another glorious holiday for the record books. 
When Hudson rolled out of bed about 8:15 on Christmas morning, he asked: "Is Santa here?" He wasn't still hanging around our house, but he had left lots of goodies for one very special little boy. 
Our Elf on the Shelf, Buddy, must have told Mr. Claus just how good Hudson was this year!

As soon as he saw all of his presents, his eyes lit up and he exclaimed "Oh my goodness!". The first thing he grabbed was his bouncy horse, and then he proceeded to notice all of the other fun stuff...including the infamous "rocketship" that Santa remembered! As he grabbed one thing after another, he would stop and give tight hugs to me and Will. And at one point he said: "I soo excited."

He enjoyed playing with all of his new things before we headed out to Will's parents' house for their traditional Christmas breakfast. We had a wonderful time...eating and opening more gifts and watching as Hudson and his little cousin played with their new toys! Hudson even tried to take his new tricycle for a spin around the living room. 

Enjoying Christmas through a child's eyes is such a treat. I am so thankful for Hudson and all of the happiness he brings me....at Christmas-time and every other time, too.

p.s. Santa was good to me, too! I was surprised with a Nook! YAY! Now who's got a reading suggestion for me??


Memories and Magic

Christmas Eve at my parents' house never disappoints...
from the heaping plates full of delicious home-cooked food,
to the love & laughs & family fun.

We had such a wonderful time together, just enjoying each other and watching as Hudson played with each of his wonderful presents. We had tea parties at his precious new table, played dinosaurs, threw play-doh "footballs", had a mini- round of golf, and watched as Hudson did some major dancing in the foyer. 

Throughout the night, Will kept us updated on Santa's whereabouts, thanks to the NORAD Santa Tracker. We packed up all of the presents and left as the big guy was filling stockings in Brazil, and made it home just as he landed in Knoxville, Tennessee, only a few hours to our northwest. Whew! As quickly as the sleigh moves, looks like we got Hudson tucked into bed just in time for Mr. Claus to arrive.

Our sweet boy had a blast, and we did too.....
There's just something soo magical about Christmas Eve.
Hope yours was full of magic, too!