Monday, November 1, 2010

Birthday Girl

Why bother catching up on the last four weeks?  I can sum it all up in two words--breastfeeding and poop. So there you have it.

As for this weekend, we celebrated Sister's 5th Birthday!  The actual day was on Thursday, and I took cupcakes up to her class at school.  Since it was her birthday, she also got to be the line leader and bring show and tell.  Cohen was her show and tell; it was so cute to see her sitting in the middle of the circle with her baby brother.  And of course, I don't have any pictures of such cuteness.  I took the camera and completely forgot to use it!  But with a four week old, let's be honest--I'm pretty impressed that I had showered, put on clothes AND makeup, made homemade treats, and actually made it up to her class before school let out for the day.  Here she is that morning before school though...

On Friday, her daddy took her out on a birthday date.  This was one of the neatest traditions that my dad started with all of us girls.  He took us out on a date for our birthday each year.  He would use the night to have special one-on-one time with us (a real treat with four kids in the fam), and he taught us about how we should expect to be treated by boys.  He was the perfect gentleman all evening, and I remember him telling me on our very first date when I turned five, "Now if you're ever on a date with a boy and he doesn't get your door for you, you come home and tell your daddy."  We got to order whatever we wanted at the restaurant.  On my first birthday date, I ordered popcorn shrimp and king crab legs at Red Lobster.  As we got older, he used our birthday dates to talk to us about important things.  We all looked forward to it every year, and I'm so glad Ben has chosen to continue the tradition.  

He and Cianne had a really special night.  He brought her roses when he came home from work.

They went to eat at Chelino's in Bricktown, where she loves to eat tortillas and queso.  Then they took a carriage ride around Bricktown.  She loved it!  She got to pet the horse, and she thought it was so cool that they had blankets in the carriage for you.

 Then on Saturday we had a spa party at our house.  Jo, Aunt Jala, and Aunt Addi came over to help paint fingernails.

Aunt Addi's gift was a hit--a real pink guitar!  Uncle Chris tuned it up and gave her a few pointers.

Happy birthday, Sister!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I'm in Love

I know it's been a while, but nesting was cutting into my blog time.  But it's all come to a screeching halt with the arrival of my new love.

Cohen Michael was born Sunday morning at 10:58am.  He weighed 8 pounds and measured 21 1/2 inches long.  I am absolutely smitten with this healthy little bundle, despite the unexpectedly difficult labor and current lack of sleep.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Summer Travels - Herndon Family Edition

Family trip #2 was with my family.  My folks took us to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.  I can't tell you how wonderful it was to spend Oklahoma's hottest week of the summer in the mountains of Colorado! This trip was pure luxury.  We played at the pool, ate great food, took the kids hiking at the Garden of the Gods...The girls visited the spa; the guys played golf nearly every day.  And of course, we spent one evening having a devotional time together, singing praise songs from our trip songbooks--a long-standing family tradition.  It was a great way to end the summer of 2010!

The kids and I really spent most of our time at the pool.  Here's Sis on the water slide the first day.

Corben making a splash...

Riding paddle boats with Adam, Misty, and Dad...

Hiking with the kiddos at the Garden of the Gods--They loved it so much, we went twice!

Girls Spa Day...ahhhhhh

Back at the pool chilling in a cabana...

Corben enjoying a vanilla milkshake at the poolside...He doesn't like many sweets, but this is one of his faves!

One of many family dinners...

Singing Together

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer Travels - Knowles Family Edition

I thought I'd reminisce about our last two summer trips that we took with each side of our family.  First, we went to River Bend Lodge near Turner Falls in southern OK.  It was fun, but SO HOT!  The highlight of the trip for my kiddos was the grasshoppers.  Fortunately, we went equipped with our bug hotel, net, and magnifying glass.  They literally spent hours catching bugs.  We hiked around Turner Falls, took several nature walks to the river's edge near the cabin where we stayed, and fished in the pond on the property.  It was a nice meeting place with Ben's family since his folks live in the Ft. Worth area, but I don't think I want to go back in July.  I've lived in Oklahoma my whole life but had never visited Turner Falls.  I'm glad I can cross it off my list of OK To-Do's; the kids really enjoyed playing in the water.

The Knowles fam (minus me and a stubborn Cianne behind the camera)

This is an Oklahoma beach for you--who needs white sand when you've got nice red dirt?

The beginning of the bug collection: No kidding, she filled two bug hotels that day.  They probably caught 50 or more bugs on our nature walks.

Corben throwing sticks in the river.

I don't know where he got that from...

The big catch

Those blue eyes & curls...she's irresistible!

The cousins at Arbuckle Wildnerness before heading home.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Moms Just Know

Like I said in my post last week, I was holding things together fine on the first day of school until my mom showed up with these:
After I'd given her the summary of the morning, I think she could sense all the doubts I was having.  Her sweet and comforting gesture triggered the waterworks.  I don't know what I'd do without her.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School

Wow!  I've been in my quiet house about ten minutes, and it feels pretty weird.  I kind of want to cry, but I've held it in so far.  I don't know that I'm necessarily sad that it's both Corben & Cianne's first day of school, but I've just got all these jumbled emotions and thoughts that I don't know what to do with.

First of all, here's a pic of the cuties; just look at the excitement on Corben's face:

I don't feel like I had a lot of idealistic expectations for our first day.  I just wanted it to be pretty simple, but things never go quite as planned.  Cianne got mad that I wouldn't let her fix her own hair.  Corben started throwing a fit when he had to go back upstairs to brush his teeth and put on his socks and shoes.  I'm not quite sure why that triggered tears, other than that was just his way of dealing with a major change.  (He inherited this lovely aversion to anything new from his dad; to Corben's advantage, his daddy is very understanding in such situations.)  Of course, breakfast didn't suit either child.  All they ended up eating before leaving for school was blueberries and bananas--probably not going to last them long, but at least it was fruit.

I have to say I was pretty disappointed with our school this morning.  I pulled up ready to let the kids hop out of the car to be shown to the appropriate places since I was under the impression that's what the teachers preferred.  However, as they hopped out, no one even spoke to them, until they realize that I'm waiting there and backing up the drop off line.  I finally decide that I'm going to have to park, and Ben and I are going to have to get them to the right place before the safety patrol sent them to the playground where 2nd-5th graders are supposed to go.  Ben helps Cianne finds the Pre-K bench,  and she sits excitedly with her class. We end up having to walk Corben through the building to where Kindergarteners are supposed to go.  I'm not sure if they just assume that most of the Kindergarten kids have done Pre-K and are familiar with the building or what, but this is our first time, folks.  I guess the important thing is they both made it to their classes before the tardy bell.  I'm sure everyone who passed us rolled their eyes at the obvious "newbies."  The one teacher that spoke to us assured us that tomorrow would be much better.  I hope so.

Before they left, Ben and I did get a chance to sit down with them and pray about their first day of school.  My mom always sat down with us the first day to give us a Scripture and a prayer to start the new year.  This year we read Proverbs 9:10 with our kids.  We explained to them that they would learn a lot of great things in school this year, but more important than reading, writing, math, science...anything is that they learn to love and respect God.  That's the wisdom that outlasts and outshines anything else.    I'm so proud of who they are already and hope they have a great year.

Now what to do with myself for a couple hours...preferably something to numb all these weird feelings...laundry, chocolate (a little early in the morning), nail polish change, vacuuming, ice cream (I am eight months preggo in August)...on second thought, I think I'll go hit my knees...again.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Travels - Part II

Sorry for the absence, but life is full and good.  I thought I'd pick up with trip #2 for the summer.  Perhaps there is a more specific reason I've delayed posting on my blog.  Kind of like when I knew I had to address the fact that I was pregnant, I must now address the affect that I am 30.  June 27 was the big day.  Never thought I'd be pregnant and turning 30!  Having a summer birthday, I was always one of the babies in my school class.  I married someone a few years old than I am, and I think I always secretly relished my "younger" status (I know, it's ridiculous).  I started telling Ben over a year ago that I was going to do something fun for my thirtieth.  More specifically, I was going somewhere, and as much as I love him, he probably would not be invited.  Haha!  So all my 30th-birthday dreams came true in New Mexico.

Three fabulous friends, shopping, hours at an outdoor mountain spa, delicious food (this baby loves green chiles!), movies, many of my favorite things.  Take a few minutes to travel there with me in your mind...

On our way...lots of potty and coffee stops...and the Cadillac Ranch.
One observer's take on this attraction (be sure to read this in your best west Texas accent with as little emotion as possible), "Well, this is the stupidest thing I've ever seen."

Tonya's amazing house--Thanks for hosting your Okie friends!

We went to a Salsa Under the Stars concert outdoors at the art museum.  They even made the four of us do a salsa lesson down front before the concert...awkward but funny.

Ten Thousand Waves spa...I know I look pretty gross here, but I'm so relaxed that I don't even care!

Gourmet dinner at our Santa Fe hotel...still very sleepy and relaxed from the spa.  

And the eating continues...fabulous breakfast at Pasqual's.  I could not get enough of the green chiles they put on everything in New Mexico, especially with eggs.  Before pregnancy, I couldn't even eat eggs; now I can get enough of them!

Why start counting calories now?  My introduction to Five Guys burgers...

We did a little shopping.

It was awesome! Happy 30th to me!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer Travels - Part I

I've had two great trips so far this summer.  First, Ben and I celebrated our 10-year anniversary a little early, since we'll have a three-month-old when our anniversary actually rolls around in January.  We spent a week in Bermuda.  The beach and water were gorgeous.  All I wanted to do was sit on the beach and alternate sleeping and reading all day.  It was fabulous!  Ben likes to see sights, so I did cover my swimsuit  a couple of times in order to visit a couple towns and famous sights around the island.  But then it was straight back to the sand for me.  I read six books in seven days.  I didn't even have to leave the beach for food...a dream come true!

With my pregnancy body image issues, this is the most you'll see of me on the beach. :)

My true love and his classic crooked grin...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Air Show

Until this weekend, my kids primarily associated Ben's workplace with flu shots.  Cianne's had no desire to visit Daddy's work since we got our free vaccinations on base earlier this year (another really embarrassing moment as a mom--think lots of screaming in a mostly empty movie theatre).  But Saturday the whole family went to Tinker for the Star Spangled Salute Air Show.  We went for a few hours and got to see a few of the aerial displays, including the awesome Thunderbirds.  The kids loved it!  I cannot describe how hot it was though.  We bumped into our new friend Christy, and she gave us a first-hand tour of her E-6 Navy plane.  We now have a great new set of memories for Daddy's work.  Of course, I got there without my camera (I know...I'm a disgrace to bloggers everywhere), but thanks to the iPhone I did get a few pics of my sweet family.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pride Cometh Before a Fall

So last week, I decided that I should be grateful that with a ponytail and tank top I can still be mistaken for under 20.  Only two days later, I was brought back to reality.  We had a funeral for my great uncle last week in Wagoner, OK.  As I got out of my car at the cemetery, an older man walked up to me and sadly greeted me.  I didn't recognize him, but that's not uncommon at large gatherings of extended family.  He then asked, "How are you doing, Jolynn?"  I told him I was actually Sada, Jolynn's oldest daughter, and he looked like he had just seen a ghost (maybe also heightened by the fact we're at a cemetery).  He stared at me with wide eyes and just said, "No..."  I assured him that yes, I am not my 50-something mother, but I am her not-yet-thirty-year-old daughter.  He slowly processes the information and followed with, "Then I don't know you."  Awkward...

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "You look just like your mother," my husband could retire.  Good thing I like her...A LOT.

Friday, June 4, 2010

I suppose I should be flattered

Edmond has an awesome public library.  As long as I can remember, they've had a summer reading program to encourage kids to read.  I've always been a book nerd (emphasis on the word "nerd").  When I was a kid, I would max out the number of books you could check out at a time--we're talking like 30 books every two weeks!  I would read, swim, and then read some more all summer long.  Then when I was a teenager, I volunteered at the library for the summer program.

So I was feeling a little nostalgic as I approached the table to sign up my own to kids this week.  I'm standing in the children's line with my four- and five-year olds in tow, when the kid running the teenage sign-up line waves me over to his side.  I think, "Oh, good he's going to help us over there so we don't have to keep waiting."  But no!  He thinks I'm there to sign up myself.  When he realized that I wasn't there for me, he hollered at a fellow volunteer to help us sort out which card we needed to fill out for C & C, and then she comes over and hands me a teen card too!  I know that should be flattering, but I find it more on the ridiculous side that I'm days away from my 30th birthday, pregnant, dragging around two preschoolers at the library, and they both think I'm still a nerdy teenage reader.  I just had to laugh.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My First Apple Pie

What a fun weekend!  We had so much fun with family and friends.  I described it all to my sister as "happy chaos."  I attempted to bake my first ever apple pie for our Q Group cookout Sunday night.  Why do I always try new recipes when entertaining?  The funny thing is it makes my husband more nervous than it makes me.  My friends made me feel so good about how yummy it looked.  It wasn't the best-tasting apple pie I've ever eaten, but that didn't stop me.  :)  Here's the proof:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Craft Time

My sister-in-law bought my kids these Build-a-Bear sets some time ago, but when we first opened them up to give it a shot, it was clear that they weren't quite ready for them.  So I hid them away for a while.

The kids found them this weekend and have been begging for days to make their own stuffed animals.  So this morning, we put everything else on hold and worked on a craft together.  The kit has all the materials.  You stitch up the sides of the animal with a plastic needle and embroidery floss (I had to do all of this part).  Then the kiddos stuffed it (I supplemented).  Then you sew up its fuzzy bottom (again, Mom's job).  Then they designed the clothes with iron-ons provided, and I pressed all of the decals in place.  They are so proud!  Here's the finished product--Corben with his monkey & Cianne with her bear.

Cianne's actually making a bear growl for the picture!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Snips, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

While I have a lot to catch up on, I think we should go with order of importance rather than chronological order. We had our ultrasound on Monday and found out we're having a boy! We didn't find out the gender of our other two kids until their delivery, and I have to say after having tried it both ways that waiting until the delivery is definitely my preferred method. I've always heard (generally from people who have never tried waiting), "It's still a surprise. You just get to be surprised a little earlier." But I thought Monday was a rather anticlimactic...probably more practical because now I can do more to prepare for the little guy (a.k.a. spend more money), but definitely not as fun or exciting. I know all you Polly Planners think I'm crazy, but...oh forget it, I probably am!

The kids really wanted to know what we were having. Cianne's already the perfect pleaser middle child. Originally, she said that she wanted a girl so she would have someone to play babies with her because if it was a boy, all it would want to do is play Wii. But when the tech asked her what she wanted, she said, "I'm going to wait to tell you." Then when it was announced we're having a boy, Cianne exclaimed with large hand gestures, "That's what I wanted!" Later she explained, "I don't like playing babies that much anyway." Sweet girl. I'm sure she'll mother this baby to no end; he'll become her own living baby doll.

We couldn't get a look at the baby at first, so I got up to go the bathroom to see if we could get the little sucker to move around. Ben gave the kids a brief anatomy lesson while I was in the potty when they asked how we would be able to tell if it was a boy or girl. When the ultrasound tech came back in the room, Corben filled her in that if it's a boy, it would have a pee-pee just like him and his dad. Haha! Cianne was completely fascinated by the fact that the baby is "maked" (naked) in my tummy. She asked again later just to clarify, "It doesn't have any clothes on in there?!"

Ben is especially relieved it's another boy. We've received lots of congratulations that we only have one wedding to finance now (nevermind the three college tuitions that remain). So now we know his gender, but we still have to wait five months to meet the little dude. I don't know if it will come fast enough. And I have no idea if we'll be able to settle on a name before time's up. The monogrammer in me desperately wants to start personalizing everything in sight for the little guy, but honestly, Ben and I just aren't very good at naming children. It's very stressful! Who knows if we can reach common ground in five months?!

On a serious note before I sign off from this eternal post, thank you, Lord, that this baby appears to be healthy. I don't take that for granted for one moment. While there are still so many risks and unknowns about our baby, this pregnancy, and the delivery, I put it completely in Your hands. I trust in your power, mercy, and sovereignty for whatever lies ahead in the coming days, months, and years. Use me as Your vessel to carry out Your will for this precious baby boy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Women Walking With God

The highlight of my last few weeks was definitely the Women Walking With God Conference. It's the second year I've been able to go, and I already can't wait for next year! To all my girlfriends here, I want you to come too! This conference sells out, so we're going to have to get on top of our registration early.

The Northside Church of Christ is such a loving place with the most precious people. I feel like I have a second church family in Kansas now, and I was actually sad to leave some of those friends I know that I probably won't get to see for another year now. Thanks to all of you guys who made this last weekend an absolutely fantastic experience.

You can check out the website here, where there's a great promotional video of cardboard testimonies. We watched these ladies share their two-line stories while at the conference, and then my little sister also shared her own powerful testimony. I'm so proud of her and what her life and spirit is today thanks to the power of God.

Hope to see you there next year!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Catching Up

It's been a while, I know. We've had Spring Break and then recovery from Spring Break. Do I need to say more?

Our week off was actually a lot of fun. Ben's college roommate and his family came for a few days. We went to the science museum, visited a new baby, shared a fellowship meal with our small group, watched movies...nothing really extraordinary but so much fun when you get to share it with special friends.

On Saint Patrick's Day, Ben had to take a green snack to work. Try not to vomit, but this was my contribution:
Green Deviled Eggs. Believe it or not, they were a hit. They ate them all.

We also went to Texas to visit the in-laws and attend a family wedding. The kids enjoyed lots of cousin time. Fort Worth had a late snow storm at the end of the week, so it took us five hours to get home due to accidents and icy bridges! Thankfully, my Alaskan husband is always cool as a cucumber in those situations, and I always feel really safe with him behind the wheel.

The last random bit for this post is a video my mom took of Cianne this weekend doing "sign language" to Awesome God. First off, let me say that I hope this is in no way offensive. I would never mock the hearing impaired, and neither would Cianne. But the fact that she thinks she's really doing sign language is hilarious! Notice she never moves her fingers; they stay in a fixed position the entire song.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Elephant in the Room

I've been avoiding my blog.

The simple reason is that I felt weird not writing about the most significant event/fact/change in my life, but I wasn't really ready to get it out there either. But it's really happening. And after a few weeks of praying, re-thinking/re-planning the next several months, and window shopping for cute baby stuff (since I don't own any anymore), I'm ready to announce the impending arrival of Baby #3.
I'm at the end of my first trimester, I think. Kerri Tindle took this picture this weekend of the rapidly growing baby bump. Not kidding, at around the 9-week mark, I was unbuttoning my pants to sit comfortably while driving! Hopefully, we can nail down a due date with an ultrasound at my next appointment. I'm looking forward to hearing the baby's heartbeat soon too. Never thought I'd be walking this road again. I find myself laughing with God's sense of humor, dumbfounded by His plan, and relaxing in the Father's faithfulness all at the same time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

City Girl Chores

My kids have lost a library DVD, I'm afraid. I hate having to pay for things we will never get to use, but I guess that's part of raising kids. I figured I should make this a learning opportunity though. It's never too early to teach responsibility, right?

So I told them they were going to have pay for the missing DVD. They told me that they didn't have very much money in their piggy banks because they had put it all in the "Lord's Jar," their affectionate name for the can that goes to the new children's building at church--STICK A KNIFE IN MY HEART!! But I'm sticking with this consequence. I told them that I would be more than happy to pay them to do some extra chores around the house, so they could earn the money.

Later in the afternoon, we're driving in the car when Cianne asks, "Do we know some chickens?" Confused, I said, "What?" She continues, "Well, if we knew some chickens, I could go collect some eggs to pay for my movie." Maybe that's a sign of too much TV or something, but it sure did give me a good giggle.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Colonial Day

I had a fun sewing project a couple weeks ago that I thought I'd share. My friend got to participate in Colonial Day at the Oklahoma State Capitol and needed special attire, so we put this together for him. Pretty handsome colonial dude, huh?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Virginia "Phyllis" Parnell

My sweet Granny passed from this life on Thursday, February 11. We celebrated her life yesterday at her home church in Porter, OK. She taught me so much, and I'm very thankful for the precious times my children were able to spend with her. Thanks to my friends for your love and prayers. I am CONFIDENT in God's salvation.