Saturday, January 5, 2013

Yay, Uncle John!!

On December 15th, John (Ryan's brother), graduated from South Texas College of Law in Houston. The whole Hoover clan went to Houston to celebrate and see John walk the stage. This was Eli's longest car ride yet! 5 hours!! He slept though it like a champ! We had a great weekend full of some really fantastic food and a lot of fun, and on Saturday we went to John's graduation. 

We are all very proud of John and this HUGE accomplishment. We can't wait to see where it takes him throughout his career. 

Way to go, John! You're a lawyer now!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Visit with Santa!

Eli and I had a visit with Santa at the mall in early December to commemorate his very first Christmas. 

Eli did ok until Santa tried to shift him in his arms, and then he sortof had a meltdown. Poor kid.

Santa stood up and tried to do a little dance to get Eli to calm down, but there was no way that was happening. Poor kid. 

You only get a couple of minutes with Santa these days, and frankly, I think that was all that my son could stand. But Eli got his revenge. When I went to retrieve my son from Santa's arms, Santa said to me, "He has a pretty good hold on my beard," and he certainly did. I had to untangle my boy's fingers from Santa's wiry, white, mess of a beard before I could get him back into my arms. Santa was a very good sport, and even offered to try for more pictures after I got Eli to sleep in the sling as we waited in the buy-your-pictures line, but I wasn't altogether too sure that Eli would stay asleep, and I certainly didn't want to wake him, so we just kept the screaming pictures. Reality, yo. 

Thank you, Santa! Eli got what he wanted this year! I don't know how on earth you figured out his wishlist from the screams he gave you, but good job!

Making Christmas!

Ryan and I absolutely LOVE Christmas time! I have to force Ryan to wait until we are driving home from Thanksgiving festivities to play our gigantic collection of Mannheim Steamroller (you can't have Christmas until Thankgiving is officially over), and we both love to decorate our house for our favorite holiday. 

This year is no different. In fact, it is even more exciting to get into the holiday spirit because we now have a little one to share our enthusiasm with. Eli may not know what's going on as we decorate the tree and BLAST Mannheim, but he sure does love his new tummy time spot - right under the Christmas tree!


 Ryan likes to get out all of the ornaments first because that is what his family always did. He did a lot of the un-tissue-paper-ing with Eli while I did a lot of the ornament-placing. 

 Ryan and I both have several ornaments that are very meaningful to us. All of mine are blown glass, because that is what we always had on my family tree, but some of Ryan's are crafts from when he was a kid, or gifts from family friends that he got as he grew up. We can't wait to tell Eli the stories behind these favorite ornaments, and to add Eli's ornaments to the tree as he gathers his own Christmas ornament stories!

 After all of the ornaments are on the tree, we love to turn off every single light that is in our house and sit on the couch as a family to look at our beautiful creation! So cool that this is what both of our families did, and that we can bring a tradition to our family from both sides!

Keep Austin Weird - and Christmas-y!!

There is a tradition in Austin that has been going on for several years, and my family has been taking part in it for 2 years now. Loop 360, one of Austin's highways, is lined by many, many cedar trees. Several years ago, these trees started to wake up in the morning decorated with tinsel, and garland, and ornaments, and all sorts of shiny things! Nobody, not even the trees, knew who was coming in the dead of night to festoon them with Christmas cheer, but one thing was clear: This was something very Austin-y, and it should be encouraged!

So, last year my family picked out a tree to decorate, and my parents, Ryan, and I made ourselves a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree on 360. This year, our troupe of decorators grew! Ryan was sick, so he had to stay home this year (so sad!), but Aunt Susan, Brad, and Will came out with us to Keep Austin Weird in this fantastically Christmas-y way! AND, we can't forget that oh-so-adorable addition to our 360 tradition! Eli was there, too! Although, you might want to tell him that. He slept through the Highway tree decorating in my homemade ring sling! There IS such a thing as being TOO comfortable!!

My mom shops the after-Christmas sales for cheap decorations specifically with our 360 tree in mind! Each year, our box of decorations grows exponentially!

Thankfully this year, we found a tree up on a hill to decorate! Sometimes you have to risk life and limb while decorating a tree very close to the speeding cars! 

Some very brave souls even go up on the cliffs that intermittently line the highway and decorate cedar trees up there! There is no way that this momma and these old fogies were going to be hiking up any cliffs, though!

 We were very lucky to have brought along Brad this year! He helped us reach the very tip top of our tree! Without him, our tree would have looked a little silly. It would have only been covered with decorations until about 4 feet from the top!

Personally, I think our tree was a masterpiece! 

Here is the view of our tree and our crew from the shoulder of the highway! 

 A week or so later, another tree joined our little tree on its hill, and a week after that, there were three decorated trees all in a row! 

We will go back and un-decorate our roadside masterpiece after New Year's and pack away our stuff for next year's Keep Austin Christmas-y tree!

After our decorating, we all met up again at the capitol building for a Christmas Carol sing-a-long and the lighting of the capitol Christmas tree! 

We had a great time singing all of these beloved carols, but, unfortunately, most of the people around us didn't seem to understand the point of the evening. It was hard to hear the music and the choir because the people surrounding us were chatting away! I thought that this was rude, since the point of the evening was a sing-a-long, so I just stood directly behind them and sang very loudly into their conversation. They didn't move, or stop talking, but it made me feel better.

We had a lot of fun making a new tradition. (You may see a trend here, folks! My family is ALLL about tradition!) Hopefully next year, we will have singers near us instead of chatty hipsters. 

A Post-Thanksgiving Visit with Friends!

After Thanksgiving, Ryan went home to the 'burg to see a friend who was in town from far away, but Eli and I went back to Austin with my mom and dad, and while we were there, we got to see some wonderful old friends! Chelsea went to preschool with me about 20 years ago, and we were best friends for our whole childhood. This summer, my mom, my dad, baby Kristopher, and I went to Chelsea's BEAUTIFUL wedding! My mom and Chelsea's mom, Lori, became best friends while drinking iced tea as Chelsea and I ran by during playdates, hoping that they wouldn't notice us and would keep drinking tea so that we could play a little while longer. It has been a long time, but as with all good friendships, no matter how long we go between seeing each other, the love is still strong!

Eli was looking extra cute before Chelsea and Lori got to my mom's house, so we had a little photo shoot!

Chelsea doesn't hold babies, as a rule, but I promised her that she wouldn't break him, and she decided that it might be ok just this once. I think she's a natural!

Eli had a good time snuggling with Lori, too! 

Chelsea and Lori were sweet enough to take a picture of Eli with my mom and me, since we are usually behind the camera and don't always get a good representation in pictures! Three generations, here! Wow! 

We had a great time in Austin visiting with my parents and friends, but Eli and Ryan were both very happy for some father-son time as soon as we got back home!