Friday, November 30, 2012

30 Days of Thanksgiving

Throughout the month of November, many people did daily thankful posts throughout the different social media outlets. I decided to post mine in one big collage, since I didn't get a chance to do this daily. These are in no particular order, and these are just a few of the blessings I enjoy {or have enjoyed} in my life. Life is good, and I am SO truly blessed.

Going from left to right, here are one {or two or three}lines to go with each picture.

1. Our home: We bought our first home almost 2 years ago, and it is everything I could ask for. It's safe, it has room for my children to run around, and it's a happy place to come home to each and every day.

2. Knox: Our newest addition to our family. I tell people if every baby were a Knox baby, the birth rate in this world would be out of control, because people would want their Knox. He is perfect. Smiley, talkative, joyous.

3. Family Time: This Halloween picture illustrates we have fun as a family. Each week we try to hold Family Home Evening, which is something our church has asked us to do. We read scriptures, sing, play, learn, etc. Though that is formally once a week, we have family fun every day. I think we have a fun family.

4. Great doctors: After 3 wonderful {no joke} pregnancies, a recent scary trip to the hospital for Knox, and many well visits for my babies, I am so grateful for awesome, competent doctors that love what they do.

5. My dad: He rocks. He's tough. He's loving. He's athletic. He loves his roll as a father and grandfather. My kids love him. I love him.

6. Cliff: My EVERYTHING. I've loved him since I was 16. He's my best friend. He's hot. He's romantic. He's brilliant. He's an incredible father. He's a hard worker; a great provider. He's a worthy priesthood holder.

7. The Young Women's Program: This is a program for young women in our church ages 12 to 18. I loved it as a young girl, and now I'm a leader in the program. I love my girls in there; I love my calling.

8. Kendal Jessup Photography: My business! I'm so grateful for what started out as a hobby, has snowballed into a dream business. It's taken me to the Caribbean, Park City, Utah, all over the state of Texas, and into many families. It is incredibly rewarding to preserve memories for people, and it is my greatest creative outlet.

9. My in-laws, Kevin & Marcy: Two words. Best ever. I've known them TWO decades. They are the most generous, loving, easy-going, hard working couple ever. They treat me like their own daughter, and I love them to pieces. They are awesome grandparents, and my kids love them dearly, as well.

10. Me+Cliff: We love love love our kids, but on top of that, we love love love each other. We love our alone, quiet time together. We love cuddling up to watch shows late at night on Netflix. We love date nights. We love reminiscing. We love making future plans. We think a like. We make each other laugh. We are sealed together for eternity, and are beyond grateful for that.

11. Facebook: Pathetic? Maybe, but Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with old friends, stay in touch with those whom I may not have, and has enabled me to know what the person whom had a locker next to me in high school ate for lunch. What once was a newsfeed full of college party-ing pictures and whatnot, seems to now be a feed full of weddings, children, etc. I love it. I love to keep in touch with people that have been special to me at one point or another in my life.

12. Emerson: My girl. I love her. She sings. She cuddles (though not as much as she once did). She is sassy, and she sticks up for herself. She's beautiful inside and out, and she makes my heart so happy. She loves her new role as a big sister, and she melts our hearts every day. Like her brother, she tells me multiple times a day she loves me. Sometimes when she knows she's about to get in trouble, she'll throw it in there real quick.

13. Our backyard: My kids love playing in our backyard. They run laps around our house. It's great to have space to let them roam. Not so great to keep up with, but great to have!

14. Prayer: I've always had a testimony of prayer, but in the last few months, the power of prayer has been SO REAL to me and my little family. We felt the incredible power as our sweet baby stared death in the eye. I know our Heavenly Father listens to each and every prayer, and having that open line of communication at all times is so comforting. He is always there.

15. El Paso: El Paso is home to both Cliff and me. Upon graduating high school I was excited to move on. Now we can't get enough of it when we return. We love it. We love the city, the people, the culture, and well....the Mexican food. It will always be home.

16. Extended family: This particular picture is of my three cousins that are more like sisters. I love them. I love all my cousins, my aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. ...all my extended family. Many of my cousins are more like siblings.

17. BYU-Hawaii: The place of our engagement. Cliff and I attended BYU-Hawaii the couple months before our wedding. This was the first placed we were together on a daily basis once he returned from his mission. We explored the island of Oahu daily. We found our favorite beaches and favorite places. This place was magical. Not just because it's Hawaii, but because it's where we fell in love all over again after being a part from one another for two years.

18. Temples: Our church's temples are sacred, beautiful places. We were married in the Cuidad Juarez Mexico temple for time and eternity. So grateful for these special places.

19. My phone: How did we get by before cell phones? I go crazy if I forget mine at home. It's usually by my side. Communication is SO easy these days with all the convenience our smart phones provide. No excuse with talking, texting, and social media apps.

20. Easy Pregnancies: I have been blessed with three easy pregnancies. I have never thrown up in any. I've exercised pretty much until the last day, and this time around, I was teaching Zumba, Spin, "Just Weights", and Aqua classes up until I was 38+ weeks. I've enjoyed my pregnancies.

21. Preschool: Grateful for Stone's preschool. He loves learning, and comes home every day telling me something new he has learned. He looks forward to going, and truly loves it.

22. My mom: A best friend. We talk all the time, swap recipes, funny stories, etc. We've always been best friends, and have a special, awesome relationship. We just get each other. She also is an incredible grandmother, and my kids love her.

23.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: AKA "The Mormon Church". I love my religion. Yes, we are Christians! I believe it is the true church on this earth. Nothing will EVER change this for me. I have had too many experiences and confirmations to ever deny this.

24. TSG {The Summit Group}: An incredible advertising agency that I had the privilege to work for for many years. Upon moving from Salt Lake back to Texas for Cliff's law school, they allowed me to continue working, this time from home. I was able to support our little family while Cliff went to law school, all without leaving my home, and doing much of my work during nap times! The partners and my superiors were incredible.

25. My brothers, Tanner & Jordan: Love them. Tanner and I have a big enough age gap where we never really bickered (5 years). He's not contentious. He's an Army hero. He's a spiritual giant, and I've always looked up to him. As for Jordan, the smaller age gap {2 years} offered a little {or a lot} more bickering, but protective brother instincts, as well. He got mad at ex-boyfriends for me, made sure I was doing good things, and has always been there for me. Love them both!

26. Stone: My active, witty, negotiating 5-year-old. He says entertaining things that make people think twice. He's smart, and craves learning. He's athletic, and he tells me he loves me multiple times during the day ( almost on the hour. I love it).

27: Our vehicles: So grateful we have vehicles to transport us. They are reliable, and they get us where we need to go.

28. Texas Tech: Cliff graduated from law school (while also earning a Master's degree in Personal Finance). Thankful for his great education that led us to an incredible career.

29. Zumba: I love fitness. My day is not complete without a good sweat. One of my favorite exercising outlets is teaching Zumba. I love the Latin music, I love moving my hips. Zumba is sexy.

30. BYU: So grateful for my college degree from an incredible university. Not only did it help me get a great job that put my husband through law school, but it gave me the skills and mindset to run my own business. Go Cougars!

I have so much to be grateful for!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Knox's First Laugh

My baby turns 3 months old in 4 more days. Time is flying! He is wearing 6 month clothes, and is definitely my chubbiest baby, which I love! Stone and Emerson's clothing sizes and ages have always been  pretty much matched (3 months old=3 month clothing). This baby jumped up 3 months!

He's been smiling and coo-ing since he was 4 weeks old. Just recently, he's REALLY discovered his voice, and has been coo-ing around the clock, nice and loud. It is music to my ears! He smiles non stop. The only time he cries is when he is hungry. If I can't feed him fast enough, he is not a happy camper. He really is never fussy.

Apparently he has rolled over!! Last night, I was downstairs cleaning up, and Cliff was with him on the bed. Cliff called for me, but by the time I came up, show time was over. He said Knox had rolled over by himself two times on the bed. He wouldn't do it for me, so I still need to see it myself and get it on video. I feel like he's too young to be doing that! Time is FLYING!

And Saturday night, he REALLY laughed for the first time! I feel like he has been so close to it recently, and Saturday we got some legitimate laughs, and I was able to catch it on video. I can watch this video over and over again!

We are all in love with this little guy. Stone and Emerson still can't seem to get enough of him.

Here's the video! --

Monday, November 19, 2012

Knox's Blessing

Last Sunday, November 11, we blessed Knox into our church. When we bless babies into our church, they are given a priesthood blessing, and it puts their name on the records of our church. It's not a baptism like other churches do with babies. We baptize our children at age 8. Details about priesthood ordinances and blessings are here.

For Stone and Emerson's blessings, we actually went to El Paso and blessed them in our home ward (Cliff and I grew up in the same ward for our church). But now that we actually have a home and have settled down for a bit (as opposed to being transient students), we decided to bless Knox here in Longview. My mom and Ray, and my Dad, made it out here for the special occasion, and we had a weekend FULL OF FUN. It was SUCH an enjoyable weekend. My kids were absolutely in heaven. We really did have so much fun. We sure missed the Jessups, but they had just come out to see Knox and spend time with our family when he was in the hospital

It was a rainy, but special, blessing day.

During the weekend, we went to the park:

Even though my dad could totally rock a green scarf, that is actually my wrap.

CC (my mom) has a silly string war tradition with my kiddos. So we went out to our street, and the war began.

Emerson usually LOVES the wars. She LOVED spraying people, but cried as soon as anyone got her--which is not her norm with these wars. This was the first time that she was really able to push down and spray it all by herself.

Sunday night I pulled my chimes out for my Dad and Emerson. Charisse, my aunt (my dad's sister), gave these chimes to me when I was younger. She always used chimes when she directed the music in the primary at church, and got me a whole set of them. I have used them in primary over the years, and for the first time, I pulled them out for Emerson last weekend. My dad and Emerson had a fun time with them:

It's been so wonderful to have both Cliff's parents and mine come out back to back. We don't get too many visitors out here in East Texas, but we've been spoiled with several visits over the last few months. 
The blessing weekend was perfect! 
And now onto the holidays!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Longview was invaded..

An astronaut fairly new to Longview...

discovered some galaxy people on the evening of Wednesday, October 31...

He first found Galaxy Girl...

Followed by Galaxy Boy...

Then he stumbled upon the Galaxy Dad...

And Galaxy Mom...


If you can't tell, we had a FUN Halloween night. We may have gone all out with costumes. I will admit...Cliff and I were up until 2am working on them the night before. These aren't exactly costumes we could work on while the kids are awake. We went to our church Trunk-Or-Treat, then Cliff took the kids around to houses in our neighborhood while I babysat the little astronaut.

Our kids love dressing up. They are literally dressed up DAILY in a different costume. Of course Stone  really wanted to be a superhero, but I talked him out of it, when I reminded him he dresses up as a different superhero every day. Halloween is for being a little unique. I told him next year we'll see. :)

Hope everyone had a fabulous Halloween night!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The most handsome mariachi!

Stone was the Mexican mariachi for his school Halloween parade the day the before Halloween. THE cutest mariachi I've ever seen. And trust me, being from El Paso, I've seen plenty of mariachis in my life.  

We got to go to his parade and watch the kids march around in their costumes. Emerson doesn't miss a chance to dress up, and put on her princess dress and high heels. She actually has an awesome mariachi costume, too! But I couldn't find all her pieces in time. So we went with the default for her...

She looks sad in this picture, but she was thrilled to be there, and got plenty of candy.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Best In-Laws Ever

I don't say this to be a nice daughter-in-law. I say this in complete honesty, and with total sincerity. I have the best in-laws. Love them SO much. I've known them for almost 20 years (and I'm 27, FYI). I really got to know them soon after I was 16, and have loved them dearly ever since.

They were set to come visit the Wednesday after we had our scare with Knox. It was a COMPLETE surprise for Cliff. He had NO idea they were coming in town. For Cliff's 30th birthday (a tribute on him to come...I am so far behind on this blog!), I had booked a surprise trip to go to his mission where he served for our church for two years (central California). Plane tickets were booked to San Francisco, and a trip was planned completely behind his back, including his parents coming to town to watch Stone and Emerson. However, after the Knox scare, we cancelled our flights and stayed put. Though he was doing great within a few days, the doctor recommended keeping him off a plane for several weeks because of the air pressure and his recovering lungs and body. 

SO....his parents changed their flights, and came in to see their new grandson in the hospital, and take care of our other two kids.

We LOVED having them here. I had several people offer to jump on a plane or jump in their cars and get here, including my parents, an aunt, and my best friend, Shannon. I said we were fine (we have FABULOUS friends and fellow church members that immediately were jumping at every opportunity to serve and help us). But his parents came early for their trip, and I was SO grateful they did. I thought we were fine, but I was emotionally and physically exhausted. They were the PERFECT remedy. I felt like I was adjusting to 3 kids all over again, and they were the PERFECT help for this. 

above: My father-in-law, Kevin, taking Knox out of the hospital.

 Kevin kept my kids so entertained. He glued some figures to a gum box to make a little float in the sink. My kids loved it! He also carved pumpkins with them (I didn't get a picture when they still looked awesome!). They turned out AMAZING! In addition to a cowboy and contractor, he is a fabulous chef and artist. Awesome, right?
He bought Stone some more arrows for his bow, as well as a target.

They definitely spoiled us while they were here. I've mentioned on here several times that Kevin is an incredible chef. We came home from the hospital to AWESOME, warm shrimp soup. We had his famous roast, his famous beans, and machaca burritos while he was here. They filled up our fridge and spoiled our kids. 

I am so lucky to have my in-laws. I'm so grateful they were here during the pandemonium. 

We were sad to see them go, but SO glad they came to visit us.