Our little family has been doing wonderfully! We were able to visit Tanner's family in Houston over the break, and our trip was an absolute blast! I love Tanner's family, immediate and extended. They are the most loving, most positive, happiest, kindest, most generous people you will ever meet. And they are so fun to be around!
Here's a quick summation of the people we spent time with over the holidays: Tanner's mom, Kaylene, and dad, Rob, who works several weeks at a time in Iraq for BP and then gets a break for several weeks with his family in Houston. He was off for almost the whole break. It was the first time for both Kaylene and Rob to meet our little guy, and they proved their love as grandparents by watching him several times while we went on a few much-needed dates. He was even a stinker for some of the time, but they seemed to love him anyway. They did a lot of work to keep everything running smoothly while so many people were visiting and overrunning their house over the holidays, but they kept their cool, and we are grateful for their love, hard work, and happiness.
Tanner's oldest sister Brittany and her family also live close by, and I cannot say enough about how much fun we have with them. Not only are Brittany and Truston awesome and so good to talk to, but they have four adorable children six and under: Talmage (6), Logan (4), Reid (2), and Lily (almost 1). Ezra had a lot of fun playing with his cousins (especially Logan, who figured out early on that Ezra smiles when you poke his cheeks), and Tanner and I had a lot of fun answering questions like, "Ezra and Lily could get married, right?" Talmage is growing up and he loves to ask serious questions like that, Logan is super silly (he switched teams in the middle of Jelly-Belly Apples to Apples because he figured out where all the Jelly-Bellys were going, Reid is a super giggly smiley little buddy who will always come sit in your lap and lavish in whatever attention you give him, and Lily is the best dressed, jewelry and pink loving baby you've ever met. They are all adorable.
|I love this picture! Here are all the cousins measured up against penguins (there were a bunch of live ones swimming around in a tank behind us). Ezra almost as tall as a macaroni penguin. :)|
Then there's Tanner's older brother Andrew, who has been living in Houston since he started working at Deloit. It was so good to see him too--we haven't spent much time with him since he moved when we got married, and he was the best at figuring out new moves for the bean game. There was also Tanner's sister, Grace, who just got back from the California Ventura Mission in December, and it was the best being able to see her for a full two-and-a-half weeks! She has somehow both changed and stayed exactly the same. Maybe it's because she has always been so kind and selfless that her mission changed her in other ways. We are so happy to have her back. Tanner's brother Robert wasn't there, because he is serving in the Orlando Florida Mission while he waits for his visa for Brazil, but we were able to talk to him over Skype on Christmas, which was so good. He is really showing all his strengths as he serves and we are so proud of him. Of course, there was Thomas, Tanner's youngest brother, and so far, Ezra's favorite uncle, as he played with Ezra every day, and several times "claimed him" after naps and other such events. He loved pushing Ezra's stroller whenever we went out.
Tanner's grandparents (on the Coleman side) also visited with us while we were there, and it was wonderful to see them. We love them so much and miss living close to them and seeing them every week. Tanner's aunt and uncle, Nathan and Kristin, were also able to come out with Spencer, Joseph, Matthew, Caitlen, Ethan, and Eva, and they brought so much new life to the house while we were there. Tanner and I were even able to get milkshakes with Nathan and Kristin on a special treat night, something we won't forget. And last but not least, Tanner's cousin Bennett and his wife Jazz were able to come out on New Year's Eve and spend two fun days with us. The neighbors did a fireworks show on the street (which even Ezra enjoyed, despite the noise--both Tanner and I wondered if he was deaf until we realized he got a perfect score on the hearing test in the hospital, hates the vacuum with all his heart, and turns his head in our direction when we talk or call to him), we went on a date to downtown Houston, and got some good barbecue and kolaches with them. We were so glad to see them as well--we were able to spend a lot of time with them in Provo, and we have missed them since moving to Florida.
Basically, it was a FULL house, and because of that, we had an amazing time over the break.
Here are some of the things we did:
1. Enjoyed Christmas together! This Christmas, we had two big firsts: It was my first Christmas in Houston and with Tanner's family and Ezra's first Christmas ever! I think we all enjoyed it.
2. Went to Moody Gardens at Galveston. Moody Gardens is a collection of attractions, basically, from a water park to a light show. We were able to see their aquarium, jungle, and Christmas light show. Everyone had a good time.
3. Ate out several times! We went to Fuddrucker's (Grandpa Coleman's treat) and Joe's Crabshack (Grandpa Coleman the Younger's treat). Why do we love eating out so much? Tanner and I are on a pretty strict budget so going out to eat is alway really fun for us. Thank you, Grandpas! We also got authentic Texas barbecue two times--delicious! And we ate a TON of kolaches. After making the discovery that the Kolache Factory sells kolaches at half price after 1:30 pm, we went back again and again, one time even squealing into the parking lot right before they locked their doors at two. Mmm, we love kolaches! I just can't believe we have to wait to have them again until our next visit!
3. Saw the Hobbit! This was our big date. We have budgeted in one movie at the movie theaters per year (unless, of course, we are treated, which has definitely happened more than once, especially with a movie connoisseur for my father), so we saved up all year knowing that it would come out and we'd want to see it. It was awesome! We both loved it. Yes, I am a nerd. (Brittany officially approved of me as Tanner's fiance when she found out I'd watched all 3 extended versions of Lord of the Rings and probably knew more about the background of the making of the films than he did).
4. Read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Talking about being nerds reminded me of one more thing: Tanner and I read the last Harry Potter book to each other over the break, mostly while feeding Ezra or putting him down for naps. It was really fun. We want to read fun books to our kids each night when they are old enough to understand them.
5. Went to the Natural History Museum and saw the world's largest shark jawbone and the world's largest sea turtle skeleton. Super cool.
6. Last thing: Tanner burned his finger the day before we left for Houston. Here is a picture of him soaking it in a glass of water. It looked super weird with the one finger so small and the other two so big!