Sunday, September 13, 2015

A trip to the zoo

Last summer, we went to the Frank Buck Zoo 10 days before I had Violet. This is me and Violet then...

and this is Violet at the zoo about 13 months later:

I am left to conclude that babies really do grow up way too fast. So in honor of capturing the little moments while my children are at these precious little ages, here are way too many pictures of our trip to the zoo.

Preparing three kids under the age of 5 to go to the zoo is a task in and of itself. I've been anxiously awaiting the day when Violet's hair gets long enough for me to play with it, and during zoo prep, I decided that this was the day. After giggling over the cuteness of these pigtails for about ten minutes, one fell out and I was forced to admit that her hair isn't there, yet.

When we arrived, I asked my family for pictures to capture the excitement of the beginning of our adventure. Violet ignored me, but Shepherd (I love this kid) is always enthusiastic when the camera comes out.

Lydia pursed her lips together in defiance when I asked for a smile. That's Lydi.
BJ merely gave me the you're-embarrassing-me look while he walked the kids in.

And when I decided to join the picture, he pretended he didn't know me.

After the flamingos, alligators, and several small animals, we finally got to the part of the zoo are kids were eagerly anticipating: THE GOATS! Feeding goats is one of those things in life that is indisputably fun. Seriously, don't try to dispute me on that. Here is Shepherd having some indisputable fun.

Lydia was overwhelmed by the cuteness of these goats. In a voice made unnaturally high-pitched by the exuberance the goats incited in her, she said "Oh, baby goats! You are so very cute!!!"

Up to this point, Violet was pretty happy to hang out with the folks.

But then she decided she needed to see these goats for herself.

They brought her much joy and happiness, as they do to all human beings with hearts.

This is just a group shot because I love this group.

Eventually, Violet decided she needed to get in on the feeding. Unfortunately, she can not be trusted to not eat goat food, so we had to say no.

After the zoo, we went to the playground by the zoo. There was much sliding down slides...

...and of course, running up slides.

Finally, it was time for the train ride! BJ set with the older two behind me and Violet, so I immediately got out the camera and started snapping. This is the "smile" Lydia gave me when I requested a smile. She's very natural about it all.

I then asked BJ to snap a few of me a Violet.

Shepherd photo bombed. Big surprise there.

And then a woman several rows behind (a woman who would probably be a dear friend if we ever lived in the same town) told her husband to "get up a go take a picture of that family." I was grateful. And thus ended our trip to the zoo.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Hanging out with my cuties

Shepherd photo-bombed our matching-sisters picture. I think he made it even better!

Friday, August 28, 2015

I just got the Fall edition of Southern Oklahoma Living, and look what I found in the center!

I actually didn't know they were publishing one of my pieces, so it came as a pleasant surprise. What is most exciting is that they put a large picture of Mister Rogers. Who doesn't love Mister Rogers? I'm always happy to share a little wisdom from the man in the cardigan.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Lunches Week 1

One of the many things I've looked forward to about Shepherd going to school is getting to pack his lunch. I know it is crazy, but it is so much fun thinking of different combinations of kid-friendly food and ways to present it that are fun. So just for the heck of it, here is week one of lunches for Shepherd

Day 1 was a cashew butter and honey sandwich, snap pea crisps, pluots, and cashews with chocolate chips for dessert. He hates peanut butter, so cashew butter was my attempt to have an easy protein. Unfortunately, he didn't love the sandwich, but he did clean the rest of the meal.

Ever since Shepherd heard he'd get to take a lunch to school everyday, he has begged for spaghetti and meatballs. I added corn, green beans, and dried cherries to the mix. He loved it!

This was definitely his favorite lunch: Tofu and corn scramble, romaine lettuce, whole wheat crackers, and a strawberry fruit leather. He devoured every bite!

Sandwich again! But this time it was Nutella and he ate every bite! To go the with sweeter sandwich, I chose healthier sides: carrot sticks, pretzels, and cashews.

And to end the week, Shepherd's favorite noodle salad, yolk-less boiled egg (he HATES yolks), sliced apples, and dark chocolate granola for dessert. He ate all the eggs and salad, but left the apples and granola for me. Weird kid.

 Here is that weird and awesome child on his first day in his classroom! Yay for Pre-K!

Monday, August 17, 2015

From the Mouth of Lydia

Today was a big day. Shepherd had his first day of Pre-K, and of course, he LOVED it! Lydia had her first day of dance class, as well. She seemed to have a lot of fun, and more importantly, I had a lot of fun dressing her for the class. Here are some pictures of all of the excitement.

As Lydia is getting acclimated to the 3's, she is talking more, and oh boy, she has things to say. Here are just a couple of my favorites from this past week.

After bath time with BJ:
Lydia: "We don't show everyone our private parts."
BJ: "That's right. We don't."
Lydia: "I keep mine hidden in my underwear."

And on the morning of our shopping trip for dance shoes:
BJ: "Lydia, we are going to go today to buy you dance shoes!"
Lydia (in complete and total seriousness): "And a dress. And a crown."
BJ: "We'll start with the shoes."

Monday, August 10, 2015

One Day to Go: We just couldn't wait to party!

Due to several scheduling conflicts, we ended up celebrating Violet's birthday a day early. Since I spent the whole day before she was born in labor and she was only born on the 11th because the doctor was running late, it seems some how appropriate.  Here are pictures of the big party!

I came across these owl decorations at Hobby Lobby, so we went with that for the party.

Here is the cake I made for Violet. Of course, for the adults I just made devil's food cake with my Grandma's fudge frosting. You can't beat fudge frosting.

Shepherd could barely contain his excitement over the presence of unwrapped gifts in our home. He may have gotten in trouble once or twice (or twenty times) for messing with them.

Right before it was time to party, we had a wardrobe change. It was time for the outfit Aunt Marcy bought for the big occasion!

Violet was pretty impressed with us singing "Happy Birthday"!


She decided she like it, so she picked up the whole plate and stuck her face in it.

That made her happy.

Lydia decided the birthday girl needed a crown. 

Finally, it was gift time!

Violet spent most of the gift up-wrapping time crawling around trying to climb stuff. Big surprise there.

 She did take time to model a head band. She was adorable.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Two Days to Go: The last Sunday before Violet's birth

This Sunday morning before Violet's first birthday, I find myself reminiscing about her labor and the church service I spent breathing my way through contractions.

My first two labors were about as easy as labors come. With Shepherd and Lydia, I labored at home in relative relaxation for a long while, but then I went to the hospital and had them each in an hour and forty minutes. I expected a similar experience with my third. Violet had other plans.

At four in the afternoon on Saturday, I went into labor. I had seen this show before, so I knew exactly when it had really started. I happily labored through the evening, excited to meet my baby girl sometime the next day. At 3:30 in the morning, I was certain it was time to go to the hospital. Upon my arrival, the nurses got me settled into a labor and delivery room.

The hour and forty minute mark came, and then it went. I had no baby to show for all my laboring. By 8:30, contractions had slowed to about two an hour, and I was at my wit’s end. After a completely sleepless night, I demanded that someone take the I.V. out of my arm and let me go home because I was starving and I was irritated. No one argued, and I was eating a fast-food breakfast while BJ drove me home within the hour.

Being Sunday morning, BJ rushed around and prepared for church as soon as we got home. Sleepless night or not, he was determined to deliver his sermon. I sadly resigned myself to sitting at home and timing the contractions that were once again coming close together because women aren’t supposed to go to church while they are in labor, right?

But while looking at the crumpled sheets of my unmade bed, the discarded stop watch that I was so tired of monitoring, and my adorable children who my mother was preparing for church, I knew I couldn’t face the morning alone. So five minutes before the organ would start playing the opening song, I threw on maternity jeans I was now stretching to their limit, a top I had worn through three pregnancies, and a little make-up because I am a Texan and we don’t leave the house without makeup on even if we’re in labor, and I headed to the church.

I don’t remember what songs were sung that morning, and I don’t remember what my husband’s sermon was about. I do remember the surprised faces and the good-natured joking of my church family as the laboring preacher’s wife arrived, and I remember pausing mid-song every ten minutes or so as a contraction passed. I also remember that each song, each prayer, each scripture read seemed a little more significant as I anticipated the new life I would soon bring to our church.

Many people think of church as a break from life, a place the weak escape to because they can’t handle real life. But if you look around, you will likely find that life is actually happening at church. I couldn’t postpone my labor, but I could bring my labor to church with me. Ideally, church isn’t merely an escape from everything, but rather a place where you bring all of the hopes and struggles of your mundane, everyday life and find them suddenly endowed with greater meaning by the worship of a Creator God and by the rich connections within a church family.

At 12:25 Monday morning, I finally gave birth to my beautiful daughter. It was a long, long, long time coming. But despite being my longest labor, it was also exceedingly special because when I was at my most frustrated and fatigued, I was able to go to church. A year later, that fact serves as a reminder that church isn’t merely where I take a time out from life, but rather it is where I take all that is significantly joyful and/or painful in my life and lay it before my church family and my God.