Friday, December 17, 2010

Catching up: The Cupcake Card


This has provided much entertainment for all of us.
Eli giggles every time we push the button.
Kevin... your card is in the birthday hall of fame!

Catching up: Eli's 1st Birthday Party

We decided to take a low key approach to Eli's birthday party... no need to go crazy on a party he won't remember and doesn't understand, right?  And I am beginning to realize the challenge of having a child with a birthday in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so low key sounded really good to me this year.

It was a small gathering of 'big kids' - mostly friends from the athletic department and volleyball staff.  My pictures were really dark and grainy... not sure why... but you'll get the idea!

The birthday duds.
Eli must have known something was going on as he kept hanging out
by the front door and looking out the window!
The birthday cupcakes.
The birthday chair.
This was a gift from Josh's parents... it was the perfect present-opening spot.

The guests.  (Some of them, at least)


The presents. (Even though we said NO presents!  Rule breakers!)

The Birthday Boy.
Looking so much less like a baby and more like a little boy already!
Still to come... the infamous cupcake birthday card.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Catching up: Thanksgiving

One of the realities of being a division one volleyball family is that the season continues all the way up to Thanksgiving.  This makes traveling to be with family extremely difficult.

This year was a really fun break from tradition.  Our good friends, the Snyders, trekked from St. Louis to Tuscaloosa with their two kids for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Cory and Josh played football together at Washington University, so Josh was especially excited to take him to the Iron Bowl.

The Cobbs, who recently moved to Montgomery from St. Louis, were also able to celebrate with us.

We all looked at each other as we gathered at the afternoon feast and said:  "Who would have thought we would all be in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for Thanksgiving?"  Amazing where life takes us.

The fun began with Josh's final match with Alabama... it was a sweet victory over Mississippi State.  Our guests and their kiddos gathered in the spirit line as the team came on to the floor from the locker room.

We will forgive Aaron for wearing a shirt that was a little closer to Mississippi State's maroon than Alabama's crimson.  

The next day was feast day... my first Thanksgiving truly in charge of the kitchen.  I tried to incorporate some fun elements for the kids and yummy foods for all of us.  I was really excited about the turkey place cards I created after getting the idea here.  They took a little time to put together but I loved the final product.
Turkeys under construction
Almost finished
Final product

Our meal was very traditional... turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole, etc.  The gravy, however, is always a source of marital strife in the Lauer house.  You see, I am a 'au jus' kind of girl where Josh is an 'add a little flour' kind of guy.  Fortunately, we had enough drippings to go around so major calamity was avoided.  Josh got back in touch with his chemistry roots as he worked magic with the gravy.

When you cannot be with family, good friends are the next best thing.  Great food and even better company.

And nothing compares to a post-feast nap...

We also attempted the traditional 'kids on the sofa' pic.  When I loaded the shots on to my computer, Nicole and I were almost in tears from laughing so hard at our kids antics captured on film.  Which is probably even better than a pictures with them all smiling and looking at the camera!

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There were lots of other fun moments from the weekend.  I was giving Eli a bath one evening when AJ and Elise decided they had to join him...


There was also some quality bonding time between Cory and Eli.


Friday was the day of the big Alabama-Auburn football game.  We all headed to the quad to take on the game day atmosphere before the guys headed into the stadium and the moms and kids headed home to watch on TV.



It was a fantastic weekend with really good friends.  Thank you Snyders and Cobbs for joining us!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Catching up: Eli's first football game

Volleyball is a fall sport which means it overlaps with football.  This season, there were only a few weekends when both volleyball wasn't on the road AND there was a home football game.  The stars aligned late in November for us to take Eli to his first (and likely last) game at Bryant-Denny Stadium.  

Eli didn't seem to mind the chilly temperatures and loved looking at all the people... the football didn't seem to impress him too much as he crashed hard and slept through most of the game!

Eli and Coach Green



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Catching up: Swinging

The weather was beautiful through most of November... so Eli and I headed to the park one day in search of bucket swings.  I grabbed my camera on the way out the door... and am so glad I did.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Catching up: Halloween in Michigan

My blogging efforts have been seriously hampered lately by the craziness of life.
(That and the dilemma of nearing the limits of my free Flickr account...)

So I am playing catch up, beginning with Halloween in Michigan.

Remember Eli the Giraffe?

This picture was taken on my parents' front porch... Eli and I ventured north while Josh was on the road with the team.  Our travel to Michigan was marked by really windy conditions - so windy, in fact, that our plane tried to land in Lansing, had to pull up, and was sent back to Detroit where they cancelled our flight.  Fun times.

But we made it, and had a blast hanging out with MoMA and Grandpa.

Cheerios make everything better, even being stranded in Detroit.

Grandpa (aka toll booth operator)
 The word 'cute' just doesn't suffice.

On Halloween, we headed to the Lansing Zoo to watch the animals play with pumpkins.  The crowd around the lions was pretty big so we wandered over by the baboons to wait it out.  Eli got right up next to the glass and said hello.... and ended up evoking quite a response from the male baboon in the enclosure.  Wish I'd thought to grab my flip video because it was pretty funny!
Eli and his baboon pal

Friday, December 3, 2010

Watch me grow... ONE YEAR!


Cake smashing pictures to come after our
birthday extravaganza on Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

364 days


Eli has been in our lives for 364 days.

That is exactly the number of days his older brother, Noah, lived before going to hang out with Jesus.

So, tomorrow, as we celebrate Eli's first birthday, I will remember how Noah's first birthday involved a trip to the funeral home and a conversation with our pastor about planning his memorial service and a lot of tears.  

I remember not because I want to dwell on that sadness, but because I don't want to take day 365 or 366 or 367 or 1004 of Eli's life for granted.  I want to soak up every minute of him.

I remember because I am thankful.  God has so richly blessed us with a second little boy who is vibrantly alive.  Who was walking at nine months and running at ten.  Who is slimming down a little but is still so pleasantly plump.  Who has a light in his eyes that reminds me so much of his brother it is amazing.  Who smiles with his whole body.

Noah, we miss you.  Desperately.
Eli, we are overjoyed to celebrate your first birthday tomorrow.
And I am positive your brother wishes he could have a bite of your cake.