Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's Happening at the Swafford's today?

These guys came first thing this morning. Hopefully they were able to eradicate any tell tell signs of two sick dogs in the past week. They also cleaned the playroom carpet before it gets kicked into high gear very soon.

Now these are being installed in the basement. We will gain a whole second floor to our house finally. The previous owners had gas logs but they were past being used.

And this is what a little boy, who has more new toys than any child probably should, has spent a whole lot of time doing. The kitchen floor is currently covered in plastic containers that he loves to play with.

I'm just loving being at home! I'm finally getting to feed my blogging bug a little, and play a whole lot.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's Fun To Turn One! A Snowman Party

Brennan's big snowman party was a huge success! We even had snow and snowmen here to celebrate, not a usual sight in Alabama.

These were the invitations we sent out, and the colors we used throughout the party.

It can be found on Shutterfly.

I made favor bags for each child. They had a few different goodies inside, including noise makers. I know some parents that are loving those right now :). I also included one original idea: a snowman making snack mix. It had three large marshmallows, two stick pretzels, two mini m&ms for eyes and three more for buttons, and a piece of corn candy for a nose.

A family friend made the cakes. I sent her a few ideas and she went with it. They were amazing, and absolutely perfect! She out did herself.

We rented a community room for the party. It is a great set up for large groups. It wasn't as easy as going somewhere that does parties, but it did provide a good play space and plenty of room. (I will definatley consider a party place in the future.)Because Brennan's birthday falls right between Christmas and New Year's and because those holidays are on weekends this year, we had the party on the Tuesday night of his birthday. We served Chili, along with some kiddie foods. They have tables already set up, and had some Christmas decorations up, so we just added party decorations. I did colored bags on each table with balloons, a couple of snowmen on the food tables, and lots of bright colors. I wanted light blue and white to be the prominent colors, but I also added other bright colors like the invitation had on it.

On a table at the entrance, I put out the photo books I have made of Brennan through his first year, the scrapbook Mike made me for Christmas, and an empty photo album that we will fill with birthday pictures. We asked the guests to sign the front of the photo album and wrote down his gifts in the back.

We just took a couple of Brennan's toys: a pop up tent/tunnel and cozy coupe, for the youngest party goers to play with. I had a small craft project for the older little girls and blew up white balloons for everyone to enjoy. The white balloons were a big hit. We just told the oldest children to pick up any pieces as soon as a balloon popped, and of course there was plenty of adult supervision also.

I know Brennan enjoyed the night, and I think it was fun for all the little guys.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Birthday To You Brennan Abbott!

December 28, 2009
8 lbs. 11 ozs. 21 inches
5:49 p.m.

December 28, 2010
24 lbs. 6 ozs. 30 1/4 inches
5:49 p.m.

Your first birthday was a special day Brennan! We were so busy! It started earlier than you would have liked, as you can tell by your sleepy eyes.

We went to see Dr. Cartwright first thing. You are growing just as you should, and by the measurements above you are in the 75th percentile for your weight and height right now. They let us schedule a visit for the next day to have your immunizations so that your fun would not be interrupted. We found out you can eat most anything now, including honey and even peanut butter since we have no allergies in our family.

We left the doctor and went to get ready for your party. On our way home we saw snowmen all over the streets of Hartselle. They must have heard there was going to be a big snowman birthday party.

You took two good naps, played with Maeleigh, and then got to play with your new Ride and Rescue Cozy Coupe.

Finally it was time for the real fun! Friends and family came to help you celebrate. It was a big night! You tried cake for the first time, and played a lot.

All that fun was exhausting for everyone. But your sugar high kept you going for awhile. You stayed up to enjoy your whole special night. This picture is at 11:45 p.m.

Happy Birthday sweet boy!

365 Days In a Year?

Is that still true? I'm pretty sure this one must have been cut short. Wow! A year ago we met for the first time Brennan. Remembering that moment is still amazing. It has been a fabulous year getting to know you, but I just can't fathom that it has passed so quickly. You are the most wonderful little boy! Your twelfth month has been one of your best I think. We have been so busy with Christmas fun!

This month your big accomplishment has been WALKING! You took your first steps on December 14th. We were having supper at Nonna and Papa's that Tuesday night. It was my night to cook, so I was busy in the kitchen. You had crawled in and were talking to me and trying to hang out by the stove. Nonna came to distract you, and I turned to walk away to get something. You stood up, bounced up and down a few times, then took off across the kitchen after me. You took three or four steps before sitting down. We all cheered and clapped for you. From then on you have practiced every day, and are able to walk across a room now.

You have also begun to like table foods. You really love macaroni and cheese right now, but you've also liked: corn, carrots, peas, and all kinds of fruit. Mashed potatoes are the only thing that have still made you gag. You've also decided you don't care for whole milk. At one point you would drink it when it was offered, but now that it's time to switch from formula you are acting like milk is awful. You make the funniest faces when you realize that's what is in your cup. You do love water though.

We've had a lot of fun firsts this month. We went to Santa's Village with the Glazes. You loved watching everything, and sat in Santa's lap like you saw him everyday. We went to a tree farm and cut a live Christmas tree for the living room. There were actually snow flurries that day, which helped to get us into the spirit of the season. The next weekend we went to the children's Christmas party at Fairview. The older children had a program, and then the Santa's helper that had come to our house was there while we enjoyed cookies and milk. The weekend before Christmas we started our family gatherings at Aunt Lucy's and Uncle Rob's. We had dinner, and opened presents. You got your first Christmas present, a Chuck the Talking Truck. You thought Chuck was pretty great, but the boxes were so much fun also. On Sunday, we went to the Christmas program at McKendree with Nonna. That same Santa's helper was there too. You really put on a show for the camera's there, while most of the other little ones cried when they were put near the helper. On Christmas Eve we went with Daddy for him to finish his Christmas shopping. It was well worth it. He put together a scrapbook of your first year's blog for me. On Christmas Eve night you got to enjoy my longest Christmas tradition, going to Granny and Granddaddy's. We had dinner and opened presents. You also spent a lot of time practicing your walking. After we got home, we all read The Night Before Christmas and you were off to bed, on the air mattress you seem to like better than your crib right now. We awoke to your first Christmas, and a WHITE CHRISTMAS. Alabama hasn't had a white Christmas since 1989, and never as much as this year. We had two to three inches of snow. You loved looking at it, but weren't so keen on it touching you. Gam, Pawpaw, and Uncle Ryan came for lunch. Nonna and Papa stopped by for a few minutes. We had to postpone our night at Nonna and Papa's because of the snow. On the 26th we had lunch with them, and opened presents. You and Maeleigh had a great time playing with the wagon you got, and trading each other's gifts. We've spent a lot of time playing and getting ready for your party since then.

Other things you are doing this month include: playing patty cake, dancing, clapping at everything, saying uh oh before you throw things, talking more clearly, and having little "come aparts" especially when you are tired. You say momma, dada, nonna, papa, tree, thank you, bye bye, and sometimes say woof or what could be dog. You've been saying some of these for awhile but now they are clear and often. You still love to read, play with blocks, throw things, empty and fill containers, and sometimes snuggle. We turned your big boy car seat around a few days ago. Your legs were just too long the other way. I thought you would really pay attention to everything you can see now, but you still often fall asleep as soon as we get going.

Your birthday is going to be a busy day with a visit to Dr. Cartwright first thing in the morning, then setting up and preparing for your party, and finally party time tomorrow night. I can't wait to see your reaction to the birthday festivities. I hope it's as special a day for you as your days have been for us this year. Happy Birthday sweet boy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Only In My Dreams...

could a Christmas be so magical and wonderful. I could scarcely believe my eyes when I drew back the curtain to peak for snow this morning. I felt like I was getting to live in a Christmas movie. We already had the excitement of Jesus birthday, and the excitement of Brennan's first Christmas, and now a white Christmas too. I grabbed the camera and ran out the front door to take pictures (hopefully none of the neighbors saw since I was still in my pjs). I was afraid it was going to be one of those snows that only stayed for a few hours, and I wanted to capture the beauty. The huge flakes were amazing. What a gift!

Soon Mike and Brennan were up. Brennan and I sang "Happy Birthday" to our baby Jesus in the nativity set. It was hard to decide which memory to capture next. We decided to bundle up and explore the snow. I am amazed at how Brennan already thinks snow is special. The two times we have had it recently he has stood and stared out the window. Today he would kick it and smile. He wasn't keen on being down in it though.

We came in and he headed right for his presents from Santa. Suddenly he stopped in the middle of the living room and started to dance. Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree was playing, and not even a room of new toys could keep him from getting his groove on. Then he just roamed from toy to toy checking them all out. Every few minutes he would wander to the window and look out at the postcard picture that surrounded us. It took a couple of hours to play with each toy and open a few packages. All that play led to a great nap. While Brennan napped, Wells and I got to reminisce together with a walk through the snow. That was an every day occurrence when we lived in Minnesota, and I think we both loved getting to enjoy it again.

Soon it was time to fix lunch. Mike's family made the trek from Rainsville in the afternoon. We enjoyed eating and opening gifts. Then playing with the little guy. Unfortunately, the snow did keep us from getting together with my family today. But that just means we get to spread Christmas over to tomorrow. Nonna and Papa did come by for a few minutes this evening. They found a tuckered out little boy sound asleep on the sofa. It's too bad Brennan won't be able to remember his first Christmas. It will be hard to top it's storybook charm in the years to come. I know I will hold these memories carefully for a long time.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

So Big!

Happy 11 months BIG boy! A year ago at this time we were busy getting ready for your arrival. Now you keep us busy chasing after you. This month you have started clapping, making up your own games, saying thank you, trying more table foods, standing on your own more often, and taking a step or two from a piece of furniture to us. The games you make up usually involve putting blocks or toys on something, walking to another spot, then going back and taking them back down. You'll busy yourself for awhile with this fun. You have tried many table foods including: mashed potatoes, corn, mandarin oranges,macaroni and cheese, peas, lima beans, and rolls. The only food you have liked so far is corn. You apparently have developed a texture phobia, and will literally throw up if something touches your tongue that you don't like. That includes all the other foods mentioned. You will eat anything crunchy though, such as graham crackers and Cheerios.

It seems that our days have been spent two ways this month: having fun or being sick. For fun, you went to a birthday party. It was the first party where you were able to really play, and you loved the games and toy trains they had. We celebrated your first Thanksgiving with lunch at Granny and Granddaddy's, then another meal at Cracker Barrel with Gam and Uncle Ryan. Pawpaw had to work. We've spent many days playing together, and you love any chance you get to explore the house. You and I celebrated Auburn's win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and an undefeated season for the Tigers. As for the sick times, you and Daddy started the month with colds. Daddy felt really bad for a couple of days. The next week you woke up about 3a.m. on Monday morning throwing up. You were really sick for about 4 hours. I stayed home with you that day, and we had a lot of cuddle time. Then on Tuesday night you and I were running a few errands and I suddenly began to feel sick. Sure enough I ended up with your stomach bug all night. Then on Thursday morning Daddy woke up with it too. Eventually Papa got it before it finally left us all. Now you have another cold. I think your colds are products of the crazy hot/cold Alabama weather.

We spent Thanksgiving weekend decorating for Christmas and getting ready for your birthday party. The birthday invitations will go out soon, and we have most of the decorations now. Our house is mostly decorated for Christmas also. We are going to get a real tree in a couple of weeks, but we have a little one up. As I decorated it, you would watch and laugh as I told you about the ornaments. You seem to love your snowman stocking, and loved playing with the paper scraps as I wrapped a few presents. We also got to see the Christmas pictures we had made last month. Daddy and I are so excited for Christmas with you, and your birthday. I often think about what our life was like at this time last year, and how wonderful this year has been with you. I don't know that you will always like having a birthday so close to Christmas and it was never our plan that you would, but it is so special to me right now. It seems fitting to celebrate two special miracles together.

Today we had a lot of family fun to celebrate 11 months together. We started the day taking a few pictures in one of your Christmas outfits. Nonna and Aunt Mandy bought it when you were born, and I've been waiting this whole time to see you in it. It was just as adorable as I had imagined. We went to church, then had lunch at Nonna and Papa's house. After your afternoon nap, we had a special visitor stop by our house. You met Santa for the first time. Of course it was one of Santa's helpers since he is so busy at the North Pole, and this helper seemed real familiar to you. You loved taking his glasses off and running your hands through his beard. We took several pictures. We also had a lot of play time, your favorite I think. Now to cherish your last month as a baby, and the excitement of the holiday season.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trick or Treat!

I think Brennan's first Halloween could be classified as a trick! We dressed him in his lion costume Saturday night to pass out candy. He was so tired from a busy day that he wasn't too excited about it, but he was a pretty good sport. I think he did enjoy seeing the other kids dressed up.

Sunday was going to be his fun day. Our plan was to go to our church family festival, then my grandparents, and my parents. I ran in Walmart quickly on our way, and Brennan and Mike stayed in the car. I came out to find our little goblin covered in barf. He had gotten sick a couple of times. So, it was home for the evening for us. Luckily, Brennan seemed fine once we got home. He was full of energy and couldn't wait to eat. I have no idea what made him sick, but I'm glad it was short lived.

We ended up enjoying a more quiet evening at home. A few more trick or treaters showed up at our door, and we played a lot. I wonder if that was B's plan all along :). Mike and I agreed that we didn't mind the time at home, especially since the little goblin seems OK.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I can't believe you can possibly be ten months old already Brennan! When you were born, time kicked into overdrive in our lives I think. You are looking like such a big boy these days, and wanting to act like one too. Yet somethings are still exactly the same as the day you were born. You still love to go to sleep with your hands by your face. Ears are a fascination for you right now, so your hands are usually on them. You also still love to kick. You have this way of kicking both legs at once. You do it when your sitting in the bathtub, in your car seat, in your stroller, on the floor, and I know that's exactly how you kicked in my belly a year ago. Jumping has continued to thrill you. We will hold you on the bed or in a chair, and you bounce yourself up and down. The cutest is when you stand at the superyard and jump up and down. That's how you greet us most days.

You are cruising everywhere, and will stand by yourself for several seconds at a time. You love to crawl as fast as you can to "get away" from us when we are about to pick you up. You have six chompers now, two more on top. Recently, you have started asserting your independence. You will have little fits if you don't get to do what you want. These mostly happen with Mommy so far. If we could understand all you have to say, we would all be a lot smarter by now. You talk constantly, and seem so serious about your proclamations. One of my favorite things you are doing now is giving us love. You will crawl up and snuggle on my shoulder. When I pick you up, you often pat my back and smile.

This has been a fun month. It started with UNA's Homecoming. Nonna received an Alumni award, so she was in the Homecoming parade. You and Maeleigh dressed in matching outfits, and we all went to see her. Afterward, we attended a picnic lunch, visited with some of Nonna's friends, tailgated, and watched the UNA football game. You loved it all! That weekend started my fall break. We took time that week to go to Tate Farms pumpkin patch, paint and prepare a playroom for you, go to the children's museum with Connor, and spend a lot of relaxing time together. Mommy and Daddy celebrated their anniversary on the 11th. Daddy was out of town for part of a week, so you and Mommy had a crazy week on our own (with lots of help from Nonna). We added both Alabama and Auburn jerseys to your wardrobe this month. They are both pretty cute. You have learned to signal TOUCHDOWN. You throw your hands straight up and smile real big. During the games on Saturdays, you get so excited and move as fast as you can all over the place. There has been a lot to be excited about for our teams this year. Alabama started the year #1, after being National Champs last season. Now Auburn has moved to #1 for the first time ever, and is still undefeated this season. We had Christmas pictures made this month. Tonya Melton and Bailey Eaves made them on a farm in Cullman. You were all smiles! I can't wait to see them. Halloween is a few days away, and your costume is all set.

I have started to plan your 1st birthday party. That will be such a busy time of the year, and I want to make sure that day is all about you. The party will be on your birthday the 28th. I've debated whether to do a snowman theme (my original idea since you were born), or a fire truck theme because we are going to have the party at the fire station community room by Nonna and Papa's house. I know this one's more about my preferences really, and by next year you'll have a preference yourself. We made our first trip to Toys R Us recently to get gift ideas for the upcoming holidays. I think you were in awe. You just sat back and stared at everything. You definitely like toys with wheels, that play music and make noise, are balls, or that you can easily hold in your hands. You also love books. We looked for ideas in those categories, and found lots. As you might guess, Daddy is most excited about the toys right now. He can't wait!

Your days have stayed pretty consistent. You take one good nap most days. You are still not a fan of sleeping alone, but we continue to work on it. You're enjoying stage three foods now, and really like the spaghetti and lasagna. You've also tried more table foods such as shredded cheese, baked potato, and black-eyed peas. I think you weigh around 24 lbs., and wear size 12-18 months clothes. Today we made the leap that officially makes you a big boy in my mind. Daddy picked up your final big boy car seat. You already use them in Daddy and Nonna's cars, but now you'll have one in my car also. That means your amazing Chicco infant seat will go away. We have all loved that seat. I think you'll miss your great naps in it, and I will miss the long naps like Sunday when you slept in it for almost three hours. It must be a very comfortable ride. Now we will be on to more toddler transitions I'm sure. You bring so much excitement to our lives little guy! We love you beyond words!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Oh What A Wonderful Week!

Fall Break! It's one of the great things about working in Madison County. A whole week off, at a great time of the year, when it is always needed. We have had a fabulous week!

It kicked off with Homecoming at UNA. We went to an alumni awards banquet on Friday night, then Saturday was filled with a parade, picnic, tailgating, and the football game. Mom received an award at the banquet, was in the parade, and then had a lot of friends around for it all. We all really enjoyed the gorgeous weekend on campus.

On Monday, our family went to Tate Farms pumpkin patch. I had never been there before, and was amazed at how nice it was. We really went for the pictures this year, and to start a family tradition. I had no idea it would be so much fun for us all. The weather was cool and beautiful. I can't wait to take Brennan each year.

Tuesday was a work day for Mike and I. We painted Brennan's new playroom. I think it has become our favorite room in the house. It feels so wonderful to walk down the stairs and see a finished room ahead. It is a grey/blue with a whimsical brown tree and huge chalkboard wall. I found cute sports knobs for the cabinets (on sale at Hobby Lobby, even more fun) and a big play rug with roads and buildings. It's a little sparse right now, but ready for all those Christmas and birthday gifts in a couple of months. Of course, the first time I took Brennan down to play I sat him in the middle of the floor and he headed for the door. I think he thought the cart of paint supplies in the next room looked real interesting.

On Wednesday, Brennan and I left Mike to do yard work while we shopped. I know shopping normally sounds like fun and a treat. It was a treat to have time to shop, but I was in desperate need for basic fall clothes and really had to find some things. It turned out well. I'm probably a little older than Old Navy's target buyer, but I love there basics.

Thursday was a day to rest a little and catch up around the house. Friday morning Brennan and I met my friend Kacie and her son Connor at Earlyworks. It was my first trip there as a mom, and Brennan's first play experience. We had a great time. Biscuit's Backyard was perfect for their ages, and they also loved the building section. I loved having a little time to catch up on grown up time.

Friday night Mike and I celebrated our anniversary. It is actually Monday, but Friday fit our schedule a little better this year. We had our first Melting Pot experience, and it was the first of many I hope. It was wonderful! I especially loved the chocolate fondue. I want to go back just for dessert. He had called ahead and gotten a back corner booth for two, a card, and a rose. So romantic! I was really surprised by that part.

Now we are enjoying a relaxing weekend of football and rest. War Eagle! But I have to say B looks pretty cute in his new Alabama jersey. No worries, he'll get cleaned up tonight in his orange and blue. I hope I can store up some of this stress free, rested feeling to carry me through those crazy weeks to come.