Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's in a name?

It's here! Delivered to my doorstep today was baby girl's Christmas stocking (I had to order it now so it would match the ones I bought for Brett, Ian, and me last year...I couldn't have mismatched stockings, after all).
Many of you have already heard the name we've chosen for our baby girl, but I thought I would go into a little detail as to the meaning and reason behind it. First, I have to say I am big on the meanings of names - whether they are named after family, or the meaning itself. Ian actually has three names, Hayden Ian Kemper. We chose Hayden because we wanted to honor Brett's maternal grandfather who has had a large influence not only on Brett, but also me. Ian is the name we loved because of it's meaning - God's gracious gift. Kemper is my paternal grandmother's maiden name - chosen because my dad and his mother were very close and I was never able to meet her. My dad's family has always been extremely close and they have had a huge impact on my life.

Baby girl's names aren't quite so family oriented, but we love the meanings of them. Her full name will be Blythe Christine. Blythe means happy and Christine means Christ follower - so we will have a little happy Christ follower!

I have always loved the name Blythe - the first time I heard it was reading Anne of Green Gables. Gilbert's last name was Blythe and I always thought it would be a great girls name. It doesn't hurt that Anne of Green Gables ranks as my second favorite book ever (Pride & Prejudice beat it - but not by much). I think I've probably read the entire series no less than 20 times. And who knows how many times I've watched the movies! I love the fact that Blythe is not popular. There are a few out there (the best known is Blythe Danner), but it's lack of popularity is an added plus for me. I'm not into names that are overused and common. Christine was Brett's pick and his choice comes from the Phantom of the Opera - one of his all time favorite movies and plays. It is classic, and like Blythe, not overly popular.

So there you have it! Our sweet little Blythe will be here before you know it - and we can't wait to meet her!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Santa has become a rather interesting subject around here lately. See, we have decided not to celebrate/believe in "Santa". There are a multitude of reasons, but apparently most people believe that we are depriving our children. For this reason, I feel the need to explain why we feel it is in the best interest of our children not to celebrate Santa.

1. The true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with Santa. While we will always teach our kids about the real St. Nick, we will not teach them that Santa currently resides at the North Pole and comes down chimney's to bring presents for the children who have been good. See, the true meaning of Christmas has to do with the birth of Jesus. For you historians, yes, I know that Jesus was not born in December (it was probably sometime during the summer), but CHRISTmas is celebrated on December 25th and that's when we choose to celebrate it, too. I want my children to understand the true purpose of Christmas - not the Santa, commercialized, materialistic Christmas. Yes, they will get presents. But we will not go into debt to give them things they do not need, or will only play with a handful of times before they move on to wanting the next greatest and coolest thing. I want them to understand that this is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The one who gave the Ultimate gift for you, for me, for them, for everyone. That is a far more important life lesson.

2. Santa is a lie. I don't want to lie to my kids and I certainly don't want them to think lying is okay. We never celebrated Santa when I was little for that very reason. My dad was devastated when he discovered that Santa wasn't real. Not because Santa was a fake, but because his parents had lied to him.

Think about it this way. We tell our kids that Santa is real. We tell our kids that Jesus is real. What happens when they discover Santa is a lie? Will they jump to the conclusion that Jesus is a lie, too? If I was willing to lie about one, then why wouldn't I have lied about the other? That is not something I want to have to explain to my kids.

Additionally, lying becomes tiresome. Your one little white lie that Santa is real, becomes a complicated web of lies once children are old enough to think logically. More lies are created to cover the initial lie. As parents we try to make our kids understand that lying is bad, yet we set a terrible example by telling them Santa is real.

3. I am appalled at what Christmas has become for most people. It is all about consumerism. I was sickened when I drove down 169 on my way to my parents house on Thanksgiving. It was 4pm and the line at Best Buy was around the building and had been all day. It's Thanksgiving people. Spend the time with your family. No materialist thing could be worth giving up the one commodity you can never get back - time with your family. I don't want to encourage this materialism in my children. I would love it if one day my kids came up to me and told me they would rather give their presents to someone who had nothing than keep them for themselves. Mind you, I would never ask them to do that, but my hope and prayer is that my kids will think of others who have little, more than they think of themselves with much. In a way we can be living Santa's. This is why Brett and I choose not to give gifts to each other - instead, we adopt Angel Tree kids. We have plenty and they have little. Seems only right.

4. Some people have stated that we are depriving our children of the joy and excitement of waking up Christmas morning and finding out what Santa brought them. My response - if they wake up on Christmas morning and see that mom and dad got them what they asked for, how are they going to be any less excited? And, if your child is that excited, wouldn't you rather them be excited because YOU bought them something instead of some fictional character? My kids will know that we love them and we want them to be blessed. As they grow older, we plan on instituting a three present rule modeled after the three wise men: something they want, something they need, and something to read (borrowed from an awesome family with 7 well behaved, respectful, and well-mannered  kids). As I said previously, I want to make CHRISTmas about Christ and His gift, not Santa and his gifts.

Well, there you have it. My two cents on Santa and my rant on materialism. I'm sure I will get a lot of feedback - please keep in mind that I completely understand why parents have Santa presents for their kids and respect their decision to do so.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It's a...

You didn't think I'd tell you that easy, did you?

With Ian we didn't find out the gender until they day he was born, but this time around we decided (ahem, Brett decided) that we would find out the gender. As much as I enjoyed waiting until delivery to find out with Ian, I must admit, I was more than a little excited to find out the gender with this baby. So excited, that I didn't want to wait until my 20 week appointment (which was actually going to be at 22 weeks) that was scheduled for after Christmas. Thankfully, I have a wonderful friend who does ultrasounds for a living (thanks Mindy!!).

I went in the weekend before Thanksgiving and she was 90% sure of the sex, but since it wasn't 100%, I kept the educated guess to myself. I went back this week and she was 100% sure. Yay!! We know the gender! Oh wait, you want to know, too?

Before we announced it to the world, we wanted to tell our parents. We had them over dinner tonight and then gave them dessert.

The idea was to cut into the cake and see either pink or blue icing to reveal the gender. The only problem is, this is what we saw when we sliced it...

Umm....yeah. The Sam's bakery MESSED up. They used white icing. There goes the big reveal. I was  simultaneously asked by four grandparents, "what is it?!"

It's a GIRL!!!!

Ian is going to have a baby sister! We couldn't be more excited and can't wait to meet her in May!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Stick 'em up!

Halloween has never been anywhere close to my favorite holiday. I engaged in a few "harvest parties" growing up, but I can honestly say that I have never in my life been trick or treating. Sad isn't? Not to worry, I'm sure there will be many years ahead of me of great trick or treating fun. While Ian has yet to discover the joy of candy, he did like his costume this year (well, all but the hat). Here's my little sheriff!

That beautiful butterfly you see beside him is his sweet cousin Avery. I think she was trying to sweet talk him into leaving his hat on, but alas, he wouldn't do it, not even for her.

His cousin Wyatt was flying around somewhere, too. As a ninja, he was sometimes hard for the camera to catch.
Ian absolutely adores his cousins and tries so hard to do what they do. They are both so great with him - they play with him, let him follow them, and they never mind that he wants to go to everywhere they go and do everything they do. We couldn't ask for better cousins!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A first for Ian

Today was a first for Ian...he got a haircut! I've been debating for weeks as to whether I really wanted him to have it cut. I love his little curls and I knew that if we cut his hair, the curls would go...permanently. But, I'd finally had enough. The curls were coming out less often and most of the time his hair was just long and stringy looking. So, I bit the bullet and took him to see Mr. Will at Kuts 4 Kids today.

I'd like to say it went well and he enjoyed it, but alas, I cannot. He cried. Through the entire haircut. I'm gonna blame it on the three kids before him that screamed bloody murder when it was their turn. At least he had fun playing with all the toys in the waiting room while he waited for his turn on the tractor seat.

Here's a before shot (about ready to release the floodgates):

Here's a shot somewhere in the middle...crying, of course:

Almost done...the big scary man at least isn't touching me!

And here's the final product! I think he's saying "mom, he's still next me! What is he going to do next?!?! Leave me alone!"

All better now...goldfish help everything!

No more stringy hair!!! Although, I will say that I am going to miss those cute little curls :(
Such a big boy now. Sigh.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Drum roll please...

Many of you (okay the two of you that follow my blog) may have wondered why I was absent from my blog for so long. Well, it was all for good reason. I was EXHAUSTED. Why???? Because we are EXPECTING a new little bundle of joy!!!

That's right! Ian is going to be a big brother - a great one, I'm sure! He still isn't too excited about it, but we are!

I am due  around the 13th of May (which makes me almost 14 weeks along), but little Baby E will be born sometime the week before. With our crazy April/May schedule I'm actually looking forward to the c-section so I can get everything scheduled in. Yes, I know, type A personality coming through, but you'd feel the same way! My brother and sister-in-law are due April 26th with their first child. My baby sister graduates from high school on May 18th, and my brother Sterling is getting married on May 24th. Whew. I'm tired just thinking about it!!

I'll leave you with this last shot of Ian slightly more excited (at least he's not crying) about his impending status as big brother.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Shake, rattle, and shake some more


That is what I woke up to at 2:15am this past Saturday. Really? In Oklahoma? Yes, we have earthquakes, and pretty frequently at that, but not this kind of earthquake. This kind of earthquake had Brett and I bolting upright in our bed. At first I thought Brett was just being ornery and shaking the bed, then I quickly realized there's no way he would take a chance at waking me up in the middle of the night just to play a prank. I am CRANKY when I get woken up and I'm not ready to be awake. He had to  learn that the hard way :). While my mind frantically tried to wake up and make sense of what was going on, the other part of my brain was desperately trying to figure out if I needed to rush upstairs and get Ian. Before I could clear my head, it was over. Phew. Potential disaster averted. At least for the next 22 hours.

That's right. We had our second earthquake a little before 11pm that Saturday night. We had just settled into bed after watching OSU beat KState when the bed started to shake. Again. This time it was much harder and much longer. While the first was a decent sized earthquake (4.7), this one rang it at 5.6. I was sure this one was going to knock stuff off the wall, but thankfully, we seem to have escaped unscathed.

Then last night came. We did not have any earthquakes, but we did have severe thunderstorms. Thunderstorms that caused me to wake up yelling "earthquake!" every time I heard thunder. I think Brett really appreciated it.

Now we come to tonight. Earthquake!!! Another one hit just before 9pm - this one a measly 4.7. It's my third one in as many days, so, no biggie.

I will admit, the first one was a little unnerving because it was so unexpected and I had never experienced one before. But it was also soooooo COOL. I've always wanted to feel what an earthquake was like, but without all the destruction (like the ones in California). So I have to admit I was a little excited. Then the second one came. That one was definitely a little bit scarier because it was so much stronger, but it was also awesome because I wasn't half asleep so I knew what was going on immediately and I got to experience it completely. Tonight's was...well, blah. Been there, done that, ready to move on.

I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Manic Mondays

I've never been one of those people who hates Mondays...that is until two weeks ago. I was following our typical Monday morning routine; I had Ian dressed, fed, and ready to head out the door by 8:45 for our typical Monday activity. I loaded him up in his carseat, threw the car in reverse, and backed out into the driveway. Huh. That was weird. The car was driving funny. I got out and circled around. Sure enough, my tire was on the RIM. Yikes.

I quickly called my hubby who immediately left work to come take care of my completely deflated tire. As soon as I got off the phone with Brett, I dialed up my father-in-law to see if we could borrow his car that morning. He brought the car over in under 10 minutes and  stayed at the house while Ian and I jetted off to Ian's favorite activity - music class!

To make a very long story short, Brett, his dad, and uncle were unable to get the tire off and the spare on because of some special lock Lexus puts on tires so they can't be stolen. They aired the tire up, drove to Hibdon's, where they were unable to get the lock off as well. Next stop, Lexus dealership. They WERE able to get the tire off, only to find that the tire could not be fixed. Why? There was a pocket knife blade completely imbedded in the tire. Of all the luck. Four new tires for me...all I want for Christmas are four new tires, four new tires. Yeah, right.

The funny thing is, the more I thought about it, the more I realized I have nothing to complain about. I was not driving and Ian was not in the car when the tire went completely flat. We could've been in a wreck and injured. Our Monday activities were resumed with little interference. We missed the first 10 minutes of class, but Ian didn't notice or care. I have a wonderful father-in-law who rushed over just so his grandson could go play music. He even had his brother meet him at our house so we didn't have to spend extra time taking him back home. Then they both stayed to help Brett change the tire  (or try to change the tire). Sure the tires cost more than a house payment, but I'm always reminded that God provides. And He did.

I am so incredibly blessed that God was watching over us and protected us from potential harm - that our tire went flat in the garage instead of on a highway. I am blessed because I have the most fantastic in-laws that live less than 10 minutes away and are willing to help with anything. I am blessed because I have a wonderful husband who spent all day dealing with the tire debacle. I am blessed because my car was fixed in a day (unlike my poor neighbor who had tire trouble just after me and was on a donut for several days). I am blessed because God provides. I am blessed because my God is Great.

So, I guess Monday's and I are still on good terms.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our very own little caterpillar's happened. Ian turned ONE. Wow. It's a huge milestone that we celebrated in style with a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party! Ian and I both enjoy reading the book and I thought it would be the perfect party theme. I love parties, and so I put a lot of time and effort into making it the perfect party...not that Ian will remember a bit of it. But, as his pediatrician said, the first birthday party is really more for the parents. For us, it was extra special because we waited so long for our little guy. We couldn't be happier with our little man - he was worth every bit of the wait!

Speaking of the little he is all decked in in birthday gear!
I think he likes it!

He had so much fun playing with all of his friends and new toys!

Here he is with his "smash" cake. I made a small apple (never could get the icing to turn very red) so that he could have his own special cake. He wasn't too sure about it. He ate the fondant leaf and then just barely picked at the icing.

He didn't care for the fact that I took his hand and smashed the cake for him...I think he takes after his daddy. Doesn't like to have his hands dirty from food...

Speaking of food...we had tons of it! Because the book is all about food, the party was all about food, too!

 The masterpiece of the table was the cake, though. My sister-in-law, Catrina, and I made it. Well, to be more accurate, she made it and I helped/watched. It turned out better than I imagined!

We used the book as a guest book. It'll be a nice keepsake for Ian when he's older.

For decorations we made different colored tissue balls (to mimic the dots in the book) and hung them in the dining room. I used a friend's Silhouette machine to make the banner (thanks, Jen!).

We also had other caterpillar themed decorations throughout the house...

The favors were lollipop bushes and cupcakes full of gummy bears.
All in all, I think the party was a huge success! Ian had a blast and I hope everyone that came out and helped us celebrate did, too! All the planning and work was worth it - and despite saying I'd never do it again. I would. Ian deserves the best I have to offer...just maybe on a smaller scale next time!

I can't believe my little caterpillar turned one today. I knew the day would come. I furiously planned his party for months. But still, for some reason this week it hit me. My little baby isn't a baby anymore. He's a little guy full of personality (the main trait being INDEPENDENT). The older he gets the more adventurous he becomes and the less he needs me. Part of me enjoys watching him figure things out on his own and the other part of me is sad that my baby is growing up.

I'm the oldest of five kids so I've had a LOT of experience with kids. I know babies are a lot of work and a lot of fun, but I never realized how, as a parent, you could instantly love someone so completely, so quickly. I love Ian so unconditionally and so deeply - it makes me think of our Heavenly Father and His love for us. It is so much greater than my love for Ian.

I'm so proud to be Ian's mommy. As much as I want him to stay my baby forever, I also can't wait to see him grow up into the man he is meant to be. He is special. Yeah, I know, every parent says that, but he is SPECIAL. He is the happiest, most loving, sweetest kid around. Motherhood is, quite simply, the best.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There's a new sheriff in town!

There's a new sheriff in town...and his name is Ian.
I bought Ian a halloween costume last week...a cute little sheriff's outfit. We didn't try on the whole outfit, but we did manage to catch a few shots of the hat before he ripped it off and threw it on the floor.
Such a cute little booger. Wish he'd leave his hats on like he used to when he was a baby <sigh>. He should still be my baby, but alas, he has told me he is all grown up now. He even thinks he can take stairs in a single bound like the super heroes...what's a mama to do?

He for some reason left his hat on longer when it was on backwards...silly boy.
Oh, and yes...he normally does wear clothes...we had spaghetti for dinner and I really didn't feel like trying to get out marinara stains. I've learned that lesson the hard way. Oh, and not from him, from my own messiness. Hard to believe. I know.

Family is a wondeful thing...

I have to say that I consider myself one of the luckiest people I know. Actually scratch that, blessed. I am very blessed. Why? Because I have the most wonderful family. I'm not just talking about my husband, son, mom, dad, brothers, sister, in-laws, etc. Nope. I'm talking about my aunts, uncles, and sixth cousins twice removed.

You see, I've been blessed with a very large extended family. A family where sixth cousins twice removed are just as close as siblings.

I was so excited to introduce Ian to all of them a couple of weeks ago. We did it in phases...first at the wedding where my dad's immediate family flew in. The second phase took place the following weekend in Kentucky at our annual family reunion. We had almost 80 people who attended. A good portion of them all stayed at Aunt Wanda and Uncle Bill's house (us included). Here's a picture with Ian and his Great Great Aunt Wanda and Uncle Bill...

Ian had so much fun meeting all of his family. He was especially taken with Great Uncle Jeff...I think we have decided that Uncle Jeff is the favorite "Great" Uncle because Uncle Stewie wanted to retain his favorite Uncle title.
I can't remember the last time he fell asleep in someone's arms...he must really love his Uncle Jeff.

I can't begin to describe how wonderful it is to have such a loving and supportive extended family. I feel so blessed and loved and I miss each of them every day.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Water play

Ian LOVES the water. All forms of it.


Notice the mohawk...haha

and this...

and he even likes the shower now. The boy loves him some water. We'll have to try and get to the pool a few more times before it closes for the summer.