Christmas Road Trip

We're hitting the road tomorrow night for our Christmas tour of Arkansas and Tennessee! We decided to leave at night in hopes that the little one would sleep the whole way. He's not a huge fan of his carseat (doesn't seem to like being restrained from movement), so we were afraid it would take us forever to get there if we left during daylight hours. I sure hope this doesn't backfire on us! I'll let you know how it all works out!

Our first stop is Hope, AR...Daniel's hometown and where his father still lives. We'll be there until the 23rd when we'll head to Clarksville, TN. Daniel's mom moved there this year after becoming the director of the United Way chapter in Clarksville. This will be our first time to see her new home and the city she's grown to love, so we're excited! We'll be there for about a week and then head back to AR. We're not exactly sure when we're coming back to New Orleans. Classes don't begin for Daniel until the middle of January, and since I'm no longer working, we're not pressed to get back right after the new year. We figure this will be the only time we'll have this freedom, especially once he's back in a church pastoring, so we want to take advantage of it while we can. There is no internet available at Daniel's dad's house (think rural), so I'm not sure when I'll be back on to post. With that said,

Merry Christmas!!!!

We pray you all have an amazing time with family and friends! May we all remember Who's birth, life, death, and resurrection we are celebrating this month and all throughout the year! Thank you, Lord, for sending your only son, Jesus, so that we might be transformed into new creations!

We love you all and pray God's blessings on you!


I love Skype!

I discovered Skype a couple of years ago when my friend from Florida used it to chat with her family living in Michigan. I thought it was so neat that you could video chat with people thousands of miles away and feel as if they were in the next room. I decided I wanted a webcam for my computer last year, so my parents graciously bought me one for my birthday in 2008. When we found out we were pregnant last November, I knew we needed to get my parents a webcam for Christmas so we could skype not only during the pregnancy, but especially once the little one was born. We skyped a good amount throughout the pregnancy, but ever since Riley was born we've skyped just about every week. They love being able to watch him grow...even if it's through a computer screen!

This year is our year to be with Daniel's family for Christmas, so I thought it would be neat for us to skype with my parents when it came time to open our Christmas presents to and from them. Because my husband is like a kid when it comes to Christmas presents AND because we're leaving next Thursday for Arkansas, we decided that tonight was the night! We pulled our presents out from under the tree, and they did the same. One by one we opened the gifts...it was so much fun!

My parents opening their present from Riley - a Shutterfly book of his first 3 months in the world. Riley doesn't know he gave this to them, but he will one day. :)

Daniel loves remote controlled anything. My parents got him a remote controlled car that flips over and bounces back when it hits things. The intention was for him to share it with Riley when Riley gets old enough...we'll see if that happens. :)

I was SO excited about my big gift! I have been wanting an electric griddle for a long time now. I guess I mentioned it in passing to my dad once, and he remembered! Thank you so much, mom and dad!!! Pancakes, here we come!

Riley has gifts to open, too, but he was already in bed when we decided to open ours. Thanks to skype, my parents will be able to watch him open them on Monday night! I don't know who invented skype, but I sure am thankful!!!

Mohawk Man

When Riley was first born, he came out with a little bit of dark hair, but not a whole lot. Over the course of a few weeks, he lost all of it except the very back, so we called him our old man. :) Hair started growing back in all over, but just recently a large patch of dark wavy hair has grown on top of his head just in the middle. Yes, our son has a natural mohawk! Because you know I love snapping shots of the adorable one, here's the proof...

"Yeah, I'm cool!"

"Hello up there!"

Look at the wavy mohawk! I wonder which side of the family that comes from...

We decided to see what it would do after his bath last night...let's just say it still looked like that this morning when I went to wake him up! Oh Riley, I'm afraid you're going to take after your mama in the hair department! :)

Laughing at Daddy

We absolutely love hearing our little guy laugh! Tonight, while Daniel was changing his diaper he sang a little song to Riley. Evidently Riley loved it because he just kept laughing and laughing. It was too cute to not share with others, so we decided to catch it on video. Enjoy!


Dentures, please!

I'm not sure where my sweet baby boy has gone, but I think the teething monster took over his body! The past few days have been quite difficult with the little one. He's waking up at weird times, taking short naps, not wanting to finish his bottles, and very fussy. Daniel's mom told us that when he was a baby he teethed pretty much all at once. I would love it if that happened with Riley...let's bring those bad boys in all on the same day so we're done with it! :) I've read and heard from people that teething begins around 4 months and lasts oh until they're 2 or 3 years old! That's quite a few fussy, short nap days, and this mama is hoping she still has some hair by the time all of his teeth are in! Well, at least he's still cute...


I want cake!

Riley attended his first birthday party this past Saturday. Our friends from church, the Nease's, invited us to celebrate with both of their children. Austyn turned 3 in November and Bennett turns 1 on Dec. 9. We had a great time hanging out with friends, but I wish you could have seen Riley staring down the cake table! If he's anything like either of his parents, he's going to LOVE sweets! Not yet, though!! :)

Blowing out the candles. Amanda made the ice cream cone cupcakes and lion cake. They were both delicious and so fun to look at!

Cole and Riley. If only you could see what he was staring at...that's right, the cake table!

All of the kiddos enjoying their treats

Literally drooling with envy :)

Family shot before heading home and giving him his food...yay for Enfamil!

Battle of the wills

Flying & First Thanksgiving

Riley went on his first major trip for Thanksgiving! We flew to Maryland to spend the holiday with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and close family friends. To be honest, I was a bit nervous about flying with a 4-month-old, but he was wonderful! He cried for maybe a total of 10 minutes round-trip! What a sweet boy!

The flight attendants on Southwest were so sweet and helpful. We asked for 'wings' for Riley and they brought us wings and a certificate which the captain signed. Such a fun way to document his first flight!

Watching the sunset on our way to MD

Needless to say, my parents were dying to see their 2nd-born grandson! The last time they saw him he was just a couple days old. We usually skype about once a week, so they've been able to track his growth somewhat through the computer, but as you can tell by the photo below, they were SO excited to see him in person!

Meeting Uncle Chad, Auntie Jill and cousin CJ for the first time

Liz and I have known each other all of our lives (literally). Our father's were in each others weddings, and once we got into high school we became really good friends. She and her husband, Dan, live in Southern MD, so they drove up for Thanksgiving day. Here's Riley with their newest addition (also have a 3-year-old, Jacob), Will. He's only 17 days older than Riley!

Liz and I with our turkeys :) (Liz's mom bought 3 turkey bibs for the babies - so cute!)

The ladies and the three turkeys!

We had such a GREAT time in MD...if only the trip could have been longer. Really, I'm just thankful we even made it there. The day before we were supposed to leave, Daniel and I both became very sick with some sort of 24-hour stomach bug. I woke up Wednesday morning (the day of our flight) with a fever and barely able to get out of bed. I thought for a while that we were going to be spending our first thanksgiving as a family in New Orleans! Praise the Lord, though, because He healed us both and gave us just enough strength to pack quickly and head to the airport to catch our flight. I'm so glad we pushed ourselves and went! I'm not sure when we'll head back that way, so it was wonderful to see everyone and spend good, quality time with family. There are a TON more pictures from the trip, so if you'd like to see them (and other pics from November), go here.


4 months - really?

I cannot believe that our boy is 4 months old! Yesterday was the big day, and Riley wanted me to show you what 4-month-old's do on their birthday...

They begin the day by relaxing in their pajamas in Daddy's chair

"Yeah, I'm a big boy!"

Then, they go to the doctor to find out just how big they are!
Riley's 4-month stats:
16 lbs. 12 oz. (95%)
27 inches (off the charts for his age!)

Daniel and I made a friendly wager regarding his weight and height. Whoever was closest (without going over, of course) got to pick out the flavor of ice cream we were going to purchase at the store post-doctor's visit. Who do you think won?!

Mommy won!!! I guessed 27 inches and 16.8 lbs. I was only off by 4 oz! I didn't exactly get to collect my winnings, though, because after we finished at the dr.'s it was time for the little one to eat, so he and I came home while daddy ran to the store. Daddy was good, though, because we now have CHOCOLATE ice cream in the freezer (low fat, of course!).

Minus the two shots he had to get soon after this picture, our sweet one had a great 4-month birthday! Can't believe how quickly he is growing! We love him so much and thank God for such a healthy baby!

O Christmas Tree!

Yes, I realize it's not even Thanksgiving and the title of this post refers to Christmas! We are in a season of our lives in which Christmas day (and many of the days around it) are spent in family member's homes. This year we will be traveling to AR and TN to visit Daniel's side. So, we decided to go ahead and put up our Christmas tree before leaving for Thanksgiving (traveling to Maryland to be with my side) so that we could enjoy it and all of our other Christmas decorations for about 4 weeks rather than just 2! We were super excited to put up the tree because we got it on clearance last year (and I mean clearance, as in it was the floor model with no box) at Sears. It's pre-lit with white lights (love it!) and has a wonderful shape. Well, I'll just let you see for yourself!

It's 2:30 pm and the lights are on...in fact, I've had them on all day today :)

We put ornaments on every inch of the tree we could this year because we know that next year...well, let's just say we're going to have an 18-month-old in the house.

Riley started helping us with the tree, but he had to head to bed before we finished. Boy was he surprised when I brought him out into the living room the next morning!

Last year for Christmas one of my bosses gave me this beautiful nativity (to appease Daniel, who was concerned I hadn't shown all of the figures in the picture, there are animals, a shepherd, and an angel included in the set). We didn't get to display it last year because we lived in a shoebox, so we were very excited to pull it out this year!

We've had some people comment on us decorating so early, especially before Thanksgiving. I say, why can't we be thankful WHILE we're enjoying celebrating our Savior's birth?! Really, the two holidays coincide in my mind. I am thankful for all that I have, and the only reason I have it is because Jesus was born, lived on earth, and then died on the cross and rose again. I will say, "Thank you, Jesus!" this week, next month, and all year round!


This month has been a bit hectic, and I apologize for my lack of blogging. My boss hired my replacement, so I've spent the past week training her a couple hours a day and then coming home to full-time mommyhood. :) I'm definitely looking forward to only having one job...soon and very soon! Don't get me wrong, I will miss working in the Professional Doctoral Office (especially chatting with my sweet co-worker, Anna), but it's been a bit challenging to juggle everything. I've always heard people say that being a stay-at-home-mom is a full time job, but I'm realizing just how true that statement is! When you go to an office and work, you can forget about what needs to be done at home and just be there. When your office IS your home, there's ALWAYS something that needs to be done...washing bottles, laundry, cleaning, dishes, dirty diapers, cooking, etc. etc. etc.

That was a bit of a tangent, so on to the subject of this post...

First of all, Riley has found his fingers and absolutely loves sucking them...especially the two middle ones. The other day I laid him on my bed while I was getting dressed and it was almost time for his bottle. He started to get very upset (and when he gets upset, he gets UPSET!). The usual screaming ensued. What has happened in the past is he will scream bloody murder until the bottle is in his mouth. However, we had a breakthrough this day!! He screamed for less than a minute and then the house fell silent. I could not believe my ears! When I went back to get him, he was happy as a lark laying there sucking his two middle fingers. The Lord definitely knew what He was doing when He included fingers in the creation plan. :)

Often when I am feeding my favorite little boy, he will hold my fingers. It is the sweetest thing, and I absolutely love looking at his little hands. To think that those tiny objects will one day be as big (if not bigger!) than mine! Looking back at this picture reminds me of the promises our Lord gives us in Isaiah 49:10 and John 10:27-28.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands...
Is. 49:10

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. Jn. 10:27-28

I am so thankful that I am engraved on the palm of HIS hands and no one will ever be able to snatch me out of them! I pray with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength that one day Riley will too be able to claim these promises. As I wait for that day, I will continue to pray for him and take every opportunity possible to tell him about his Heavenly Father who loves him more than Mommy or Daddy ever possibly could!


On the Road

Riley attended his first missions event this past Sunday! We traveled to Denham Springs, LA where Daniel and I manned a table at a WorldCrafts event and then I spoke about my time as a Journeyman. The trip began, though, with us visiting some of Daniel's 2nd cousins who live in Denham Springs. They came to the wedding, but that was the last time we saw them. We were excited about getting to catch up with them and introduce them to the newest Bramlett! Speaking of the newest Bramlett - here he is at the beginning of the trip...

We were so hopeful that he would sleep the whole way (1 1/2 hours)

He decided 30 minutes was enough! :)

My attempt at documenting a South Louisiana "fall"

Riley and Daniel's cousin, Patsy

Daniel's cousin, Carmen Jean (whose house we visited), has over the years done a ton of research regarding their family tree. Here is a picture she had of Daniel's father (Carl Riley) on her computer. No doubt that Riley is related to him! In fact, the minute Patsy and Carmen Jean saw Riley, they said, "That is Carl Riley Bramlett!"

The whole gang
(L to R) Ted, Patsy, Me, Daniel, Riley, Carmen Jean and Gary

And then it was off to the WorldCrafts event. Riley got hungry while we were manning our table...

Hey cutie!

We were assigned the China table. They didn't have an african table. People kept coming up and asking if we were currently serving in China or if we'd just recently come home. I had to keep saying, "I've never been to China" :) We sold a lot of items, though, so that was exciting!

There were two other journeygirls there and a lady who is currently serving at the Baptist Friendship House here in New Orleans

(L to R) Me, Stefanie (served in Pakistan), Kim (Baptist Friendship House), and Lindsey (served in India)

What a fun time! Even though it's been 5 years since I returned to the U.S. (so hard to believe it's been that long!), I still love telling people about my experiences in South Africa. I'm very thankful we had the opportunity to attend this event as a family. I pray that one day Riley will be passionate about making the Lord's name known among the nations!


Amazing Diana

As I mentioned in this post, Diana Bondurant took a ton of pictures of Riley by himself and then some of our family back in the middle of October. As promised, here are some of my favorites (for the complete album, go here)...

Left hand = best friend

Love that smile!

Fell asleep as soon as we went outside to take family pictures


Mom, who is that woman and why is she pointing that black thing at me???

Okay...I'll just look at you and smile :)

And my ALL TIME favorite....

THANK YOU SO MUCH, DIANA!!! We love the pictures, and we love you!