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.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Three Days to Go: Violet Walking

Shepherd and Lydia were both 13 months when they started walking. Violet, in her never-ending mission to get into as much danger as possible, managed to beat her older siblings by two months. She started walking at 11 months, and now she has pretty much given up crawling all together. Uncle Bro is wanting a video of her walking, so here she is!

Friday, August 07, 2015

Four Days to Go: Violet's Personality

Since three kids keep a mommy pretty busy, I haven't been able to post as much about the development of Violet's personality as I did about Shepherd and Lydia. So to make up for that, here are the three attributes that have most stood out about Violet this past year.

1. In stark contrast to another little Gensic girl I happen to know, Violet is very friendly. She lets people other than BJ and myself hold her. Where that other aforementioned girl offered sighs and cold glares in response to people's smiles, Violet simply smiles in return.

2. Violet is also a pretty content person. She doesn't seem to stress out too much. Unless she's in a car seat. She hates car seats with a ferocity that is truly mind-numbing for the other passengers.
 She has made us scared to leave our home.

3. When I think of Violet, the first words that come to mind are "crazy little dare devil." Perhaps, these are the words I think of because I spend 90 percent of my waking hours saving her from certain injury. She is full of ideas about things she can do. Practically all of them are bad ideas. And most of them involve climbing. Climbing toilets. Climbing rocking chairs. Climbing couches. Climbing beds. Just climbing. She has even figured out how to move toys near objects she wants to climb so that she can use the toys as stairs. She's a genius, a crazy little genius.

So to close, here is a picture of Violet eating her toes, because you can never get too many pictures of Violet.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Five Days to Go: Best Pictures

As the first birthday approaches, I always like to look back at the best pictures from my kids' first year. After much deliberation, I managed to whittle Violets down to the top 15 favorites. Here they are chronologically with a brief description of why they made the cut:

1. Because Violet made our grumpy, little Lydia so very happy.

2. Because she slept in this little sleeper tied to a piano bench next to our bed for the first 3 months. It was sweet.

3. Because she is with one of the very special women we named her after, Grandma Beverly.

4. Because the very hungry caterpillar became very sleepy after all that Halloween business.

5. Because she is blessed.

6. Because this is the beginning of sisters becoming friends.

7. Because she is just cool

8. Because we all like to eat.

9. Because daddies with little girls are so dang cute.

10. Because sleeping babies are also so dang cute.

11. Because teddy bears are HILARIOUS!

12. Because she is really, really pretty.

13. Because she is the girl version of this sweet boy.

14. Because it makes me laugh.

15. Because she started walking 2 months earlier than Shepherd or Lydia, and it is adorable to watch.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Ardmoreite

I've been meaning to put this post on my blog for a while, but I keep getting side tracked. What I wanted to write is a brief explanation of why I haven't been getting many posts up. Basically, I've been writing some for our local newspaper. It is really exciting having a broader readership, and I even got fan mail (that is what I'm calling a lovely letter I received, anyways)! Here is a picture of my first article from a couple of months back:

Since most of my writing time and energy is going in that direction, the poor old blog is getting neglected, but I'm hoping to do a series of birthday post for Violet next week just like I did for Shepherd and Lydia when they turned one. See you then!