12.26.2010

Just sitting here on the couch...

Playing on the new iPad that the King got for Christmas... Isn't sharing great? ;)

We had a wonderful weekend and I wish the same blessings to each of you! Full recap coming up...I just needed to see how my, I mean HIS new toy worked! ;)

12.24.2010

In case I lost your address...

Merry Christmas!!

What’s that? You’re shocked that you are receiving this letter so close to Christmas? Oh… you thought that I wrote these things in August? Well, we all know that I would love to have that much control, but given recent happenings, let’s just say that life doesn’t always work that way! ;)

As I was preparing to write this year’s letter, I do what all good writers do and researched. And by research I read my previous 4 letters and reflected on how our lives have changed in that short little flash of time. Ryan and I have quickly gone from a family of 2 to 4 in less than 5 years! Sometimes I can’t contain the joy that I feel to be blessed as much as we have! I also realized that last year’s letter may have been my favorite as it was grounded in the words that each of us should strive to live by each day. So, my friends, we will once again highlight our year according to His word…

Isaiah 9:6; For unto us a child is born… Estelle Emersyn King arrived on June 7 and brought delight and happiness with her! From that first tiny moment at 10:15am to the moment that I type this letter, she has been pure joy! Radley is simply smitten and has been such a wonderful big brother. I am so proud at his patience and understanding. He is quick to “protect” her and comfort her; he teaches her about cars and trains and tells her “It’s ok, baby sister” when she cries. They “play” together and each one of them lights up when the other is around. Anyone can make Emmy smile, but to see her watch Radley is to watch a little girl enamored with her big brother! She is such content baby and we are very thankful for that. She is right on track, growing each day, loving to chew things, eat things, roll over and sit up! She is definitely Daddy’s girl… to hear Ryan call her “sweetheart” just gets me every time. She is his mini-me and I love it! She is calm and patient as if she is just watching us all live our crazy lives and trying to discover how she fits in when she simply fits in each of our hearts as much as our arms.

Radley is 100% my child! He is as sensitive as he is strong. He never stops talking or asking questions. He negotiates like a CIA operative and he is too smart for his own good! He knows all his letters and numbers. He is recognizing words and can write his own name! I know everyone thinks they have a smart kid – but he REALLY is! J Oh my heart just swells with happiness as I think of these two precious gifts. These happy, healthy, amazing children! What did we do to deserve such wonderful blessings!?!? This season of life is a blessed season indeed and I am filled with gratitude!

Speaking of seasons, Kevin Bacon Ecclesiastes 3 so eloquently states that to everything there is a season… a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance and I feel that this year we have experienced seasons that lift us up as well as seasons that challenge us. I can’t count the number of smiles that Radley brings to our lives (or the number of tears a 3 year old can shed)! We have celebrated weddings, babies, jobs, new homes and promotions with friends and stood by as people mourn their loved ones. We have surely laughed through tears at anything you can imagine and in that grown as a family. We have been the rock for friends and family as much as we have counted on them to support our steps. We have lifted Him up but we have also questioned His ways, but I know that in all of these seasons we have continued in our faith that He guide us, comfort us, protect and keep us.

Yes, the seasons of life are ever changing and shape our lives in ways that we could never imagine. I, admittedly, could be much better at letting scripture guide me. I remember my Grandmother could recite a passage for any given moment and I loved that about her! I was lying awake in bed last week and couldn’t sleep for all the thoughts running through my head…Was I going to get it all done? I can’t believe the card isn’t finished! I need to wrap gifts! These next few days are just going to be awful!! And then… this popped in my head… This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)!

You can’t put it much more plainly than that! May you each REJOICE in each day that He brings to you! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and many blessings to each of your seasons!

Ryan, Katy, Radley and Emersyn

12.23.2010

Tiny Tales Thursday...

For some reason, the powers that be have decided that some words are unacceptable for small children to use. Now, while I agree that I don't need Radley dropping those four little letters left and right that we all sometimes like to keep in our arsenal of vocabulary, I don't always see the point of telling him he can't use perfectly acceptable adjectives.

Namely the word, stupid.

Stupid is a perfectly acceptable word. And very appropriate to use when describing things.... especially some people with distinct attributes like bad driving, bad customer service, and just those poor individuals who, bless their heart, just don't get it.

Well, we all know that Radley isn't supposed to use the word "stupid" because he will get in trouble at school.

The other day GiGi caught him in the act on more than one occasion saying "stupid, man!"
{Which CLEARLY is something that is absolutely true, nonetheless} GiGi quickly corrected the situation.

GiGi: Radley, are you supposed to say "stupid"
Radley: No ma'am
GiGi: Then stop saying it
Radley: But, I'm not saying "stupid", GiGi, I'm saying "Stupid, man!"

There is a difference. ;)

12.21.2010

A big day...

Prayers are appreciated today as Ryan's mom is having surgery to remove a tumor near her pancreas. As we wait, this verse will be our support today...

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

12.17.2010

8 more days...

8 more days until Christmas, but we got our gifts early this year...

12.16.2010

Tiny Tales Thursday...

Having a three year old you talk a lot about a few things.

One thing we talk a lot about is "families". Who is in our family. What is a family. Being a family, etc. Radley was very concerned that so many of our Christmas decorations were in "3s".. "Emmy not have a Christmas tree, Mommy?" So when we found a snowman family of 4 we snatched it up.

Another thing we talk A LOT about is poop. Do you need to poop? Did you go poop? When did you go poop? How much did you poop? Poop. Poop. POOP.

The other day Ryan got the opportunity to experience what happens when the two subjects are combined.

Radley: I need to go potty.
Ryan: Okay, let's go.
Radley: Get out, Daddy, it's going to stink.
Ryan: Ok.
a few minutes pass for Rad to do his business
Radley: I'm done, Dad.
Ryan walks back in to see Radley examining his, ehm, deposit. Apparently there were a few...
Radley: LOOK, Daddy!!! It's a family of little poopies!!!

12.15.2010

Santa's Wonderland...


This weekend we got to visit a magical place...


And this guy was super excited!!!


This little girl was, too... she is just REALLY good at containing all the energy! :)


Santa's Wonderland is an endless park of Christmas lights. It's in South College Station off Highway 6 and you can load up your car and drive through to see all the lights. You can also walk through "Santa's Town", meet the Big Guy, go on hayrides, shop, sing, make smores, ride ponies, watch movies on outdoor screens, and really just get overloaded on Christmas spirit!!

Or you can play in hay and have just as much fun...


There is so much to do and I would recommend that if you are in or near town that you take your kids (or go on a date) to this place! It is wonderful! I would also recommend that you go on a week night... it was a bit crowded on Saturday, but luckily Radley is little enough that he didn't care what he was doing, he just liked the freedom to run around, be loud, giggle, squeal and delight in Christmas joy.

And I loved watching him, Kayla and Emmy, too!


When you go to meet Santa, you get to go to his "house". How cute is this picture?!?!?! Radley and Kayla spotted him from outside and darted for his window! Their eyes were literally as big as saucers (if you can imagine Radley's any bigger) and could not stop shouting, "Santa, Santa, SAN-TA!"

Again, Emmy was able to contain all that excitement! :)

It really did feel like were visiting the North Pole... the temperature dropped about 15 degrees while we were there, so Emmy got to be all bundled up!


No kid-friendly park is complete without a petting zoo. Radley loved all the baby goats, but they wouldn't eat fast enough for him, so he just left his cup on the ground and told us he was ready to do something else.


That something else was riding ponies and I couldn't believe that he was so eager to ride one! He did so good and informed us that he, "didn't need Pops to hold me"... such a big kid!


I was glad that my parents could join us... it makes me happy to see Radley and Emmy so happy in their presence. I didn't get to grow up around my "family" since they all lived in Baton Rouge. I created a new family with my friends and have such wonderful memories and connections because of it, but I do wish that I could have seen MaMaw, PaPaw and Grandmother more often.

My PaPaw was a giant man but so loving and kind and I remember feeling so small and safe and secure in his presence. He smelled like Old Spice and cigarettes which is a scent that I love to this day. I wonder how Radley feels riding on Pops' shoulders or snuggled in GiGi's arms or being chased by Lola. I'm so glad that they are a constant part of their lives (even if that means an overload on Dr. Pepper, M&Ms and chocolate goldfish!)



I look forward to making our visit to Santa's Town a family tradition that continues to grow!

12.14.2010

Jillian...

I feel like babies are everywhere around me and I love it! Last week I got to co-host a shower for Amber and baby Jillian (see bump).

Amber and I work together and she has become a great friend over the past several years and I can't wait to see her become a mommy!

I love to throw a party of any kind. I love everything about it from the planning, coordinating, and organizing to the decorating, cooking and hosting. (refer to this post by the Hot Mess Momma since we are pretty much the same person).

And it helps when you are co-hosting with someone who is on the same page as you so thanks, Meredith!
One of the many great things about working on campus is that you create a family with your colleagues and students. We were able to host the shower at the Vice President for Student Affairs' home (he and his wife live on campus) which is convenient and pretty awesome!

Meredith and I were so glad to be able to throw this shower for Amber, Julian and Jillian and Amber was G-I-D-D-Y with excitement!

Welcome Baby Jillian...

Look at what is waiting for you...


Meredith made all the paper decorations including these adorable cupcake toppers!

Special notes to the future parents...

And of course games! Leakyn won!!

Allison did not. :(
Amber, I mean it... you can hand this outfit "up" to Emmy...really.... we don't mind!

Mom and Dad... you're going to need a lot more diapers than this! :)

We love you tons and we are so glad that we could help celebrate Jillian's arrival!!


Some "wisdom" to the parents to be...

1. Take advice when you want to and disregard it when you don't! :)
2. You can never hold her too much or too long!
3. Do what works for YOU!
4. To love her, you must first love each other.
5. Eat. Play. Sleep.
6. Swaddle.
7. Don't compare her to other little ones or you to other parents. (see #3)
8. She will change your life before you know it... in fact she already has.
9. You can't imagine that your heart will be able to contain the joy, peace and love that she will bring to you.
10. She is one tiny miracle, so give thanks each and every day for her.

We love you, guys!! Congratulations... can't wait to meet her!

12.13.2010

Christmas Time is Coming...

ring, ring, ring, the bells...


Enjoy!

12.08.2010

Tiny Tales Thursday...

Kids are observant.

Radley notices everything we do and say. He notices our reactions to things. He notices the inflection in our voice. Our mannerisms.

Sometimes this makes for a funny reaction to certain situations.

Ryan and I are routinely greeted by "gifts" left by our cats in the morning. This usually consists of some type of ritualistic cleaning routine with the Resolve, paper towels, under the breath cursing and threats of removing the cats forever from this home.

Radley notices.

The other morning I noticed something in the carpet and was all prepared to clean up the mess.

Radley noticed my concern and followed me in the living room.

"That dirt, Mommy? Or stupid cat puke?"

Luckily, for the cats... it was just dirt.


12.07.2010

Happy Monthday....

Happy SIX MONTH Birthday, Emersyn!!

YOU ARE HALF A YEAR OLD!!!!!

What have you been up to lately...

Well, it may come as no surprise, but you are a doll! You are becoming quite the cuddler and will just rest your head on our shoulders and let us pat your back. You do this a lot at night now right after you finish nursing and just snuggle. I LOVE it!


You have found your voice and are constantly babbling and talking. Your laugh is infectious and anytime Radley is around you laugh out loud. We can all make you smile, but your eyes just LIGHT UP when you see him. He is so caring and loving towards you and I hope that you keep the connection you have with each other. It is just priceless.

He wants to be where ever you are and if you could, you would follow him around. He also wanted to take a pic with his FAO Bear and your FAO Elephant! :)

You are finished with your size 1-2 diapers and since we have so many size 2s on hand you are now wearing those! You can still wear size 3-6 month clothes. We haven't scheduled your 6 month well check (promise to do that soon) so I'm not sure of your official stats but I would estimate that you weigh about 14 pounds and have grown another half inch or so.

UPDATE:
Height: 25 3/4 inches = 50th percentile
Weight: 15 lbs (exactly) = 25th percentile
Head: 43 cm = 75th percentile

Dr. Henderson says that you are right on track and couldn't be any healthier! :)

You are loving food. I think your favorite is bananas and sweet potatoes. You make some funny faces on the first few bites but then you want us to feed you fast! Sometimes we can't give it to you quick enough and then other times you are content just eating like a dainty little girl.

You still LOVE love LOVE your feet! And you NEVER sit still. If you are on your back then you roll to your belly. If you are on your belly you roll to your back. We always wonder how we will find you in the morning... sometimes it's backwards to how you started the night before!

(love your Daddy's hand in this one)

You can sit up now! We are so proud of our "big girl"! I love this phase of exploration. You can be surrounded by pillows and toys and be happy. Your favorite toys right now are your crunchy lion and crinkly elephant. You can chew on them forever it seems.

Your first month at school has been an easy transition. At first you didn't like taking naps but I think that's because it was such a new environment. We adjusted your bedtime to meet your sleeping needs and you are doing just fine. Radley says he checks in on you each day, so I'm glad you have someone looking out for you.

I think that nighttime is my favorite time with you still. You are always happy in the morning but you are just so sweet and cuddly at night. I could rock you for hours. I miss rocking Radley to sleep so I hope you let me cuddle you as long as he did.



HAPPY HALF YEAR, BABY GIRL!

We LOVE you!




12.06.2010

A few of my favorite Christmas things...


So I was going to do this long detailed post on each decoration in our house. And then I thought about and realized that while you are constantly checking for my updated blog posts, even you, loyal readers (aka Mom) would get bored with that.

Instead, a little highlight of the things that bring me JOY this season...

My skinny Christmas tree. I got him for $15 at a Hobby Lobby after Christmas sell in college and still adore him. (Yes, it's a boy... only boys stay that skinny year after year).

I also love that this is in our family room/kitchen so I can see it all the time. AND I love that the presents that go under this tree are presents that don't stay in this house. Meaning they are the gifts that I give to friends/co-workers/church, etc... Organization!
Our advent wreath. I love this because we made it as a family last year. Radley helped pick out the greenery. Ryan affixed the candles, and then I put it together. We light it each Sunday of advent to remind us of the real reason we celebrate.


The mini trees in the kids' rooms. Radley also picked these out this year and was very excited when they arrived in their respective rooms.

I mean who doesn't need a pink tree?

Our mantle!! I think it is just perfect (and maybe a little off center).

What you see here is a result of some major retail therapy. Remember when I wanted to cancel the whole thing, well the little items below and the fact that when I put them up there it all came together nicely made me realize that we have to have Christmas.

And thank heavens, because I didn't want to have to go down to Whoville and steal the last Who-ham.
This little man. This is Alfie. Elf on a Shelf. And while I realize he symbolizes everything that is commercialized about this holiday, he also makes Radley happy by hopping from place to place after he visits the North Pole each night.

And he makes Mommy and Daddy happy since Radley thinks he is telling Santa every tiny detail of the day. Fits. Tantrums. Everything.

Manger scenes (yes, we have more than one).

This is on the table as you walk into our front door. The one from when I was a little girl is now in Radley's room and we are on the hunt for the perfect one for Emersyn's room.

We follow the church and keep baby Jesus out of the manger scenes until after midnight mass since that is his birthday. (Unless his is part of Mary as seen below)

We also don't put the wise men into the mix until after Epiphany since they didn't arrive until later. I loved moving the wise men a little closer each day and we all loved racing home from church to find all the baby Jesus' mom had hidden to place him in the manger.

Sweet memories.
The TREE!!!

Isn't she precious!?!? This is one is our "red, white and green" tree. We also have a gold and maroon tree, but I forgot to take pictures and I'm too tired to go do it now. :) After some rearranging, we finally got each little ornament in his place.

This is where we will open presents on Christmas morning. This is where we make fun memories and take silly pictures and share a fun day as a family. My heart is warmed just thinking about it!

This year we got letters for each of us...

How I love seeing this little "E"...


And look at these sweet gifts... don't they just look perfect?!!?


12.05.2010

Tis the Season...

I think I am going to dedicate this week to "prepping for the season".

Please, contain your excitement.

I will admit, that it has taken me a bit longer to get in the Spirit than usual. We have been thrown for a loop these past couple of weeks and, well, at one point I wanted to cancel the whole thing. (What's that? You don't know where Radley gets his dramatic streak? Me either.)

So, back to canceling Christmas.

I figured that was silly. And pointless. And, well, drastic. So I decided to go on with it. You're welcome.

I really am pumped about this year. Radley is so excited about "CHRISTMAS TIME" and we are excited to have one more King family member to celebrate with!

I have been decorating the house all week and we made this weekend, the big "decorate the tree" weekend. We had some great helpers...


Emmy couldn't wait to hang her first ornament...


And Radley couldn't wait to tell us where to hang each of the remaining 500 ornaments! :) Since the tree and other decorations have been up he has created a little routine.

Each morning he instructs me to "turn on the lights" Mommy because he wants to look at the "colorfer" lights. And as soon as we get home from school, I have to do the same. He loves that we have three trees and he loves that he and Emmy each have a little tree in their room, too.

"Christmas is everywhere, Mommy!"

And isn't that true? Christmas is all around us. (Is that a line from Love Actually?)

There is no avoiding it and when you look beyond the gear and gadgets and "one day" sales that last 10 days, you see the Christmas that is around YOU is the one that really matters!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!


12.02.2010

Tiny Tales Thursday...

Radley is smart.

Radley is too smart.

Being too smart sometimes makes Radley even cuter.

I am a control freak (see yesterday's post). I like things in order. Sometimes Radley being "too smart" makes my life not in order.

I was looking for one of Emmy's toys the other day and could not find it anywhere. I looked in her room, his room, our room, the living room, etc. Under couch cushions, under chairs, in drawers, etc. Emmy clearly doesn't need "toys" but she loves this one since it makes crinkly noises and is a great thing to chew on.

I wanted to find the toy.

I remember Radley playing with it, so I asked him if he knew where it was.

Radley: It's ok, Mommy, Emmy was sharing it with me.
Me: Great, buddy. I'm glad she was sharing, but do you know where it is.
Radley: Hmmm... let me think. ::fake thinking::
Me: Ok, bud. Just help me find it.

Radley then "helps" me by looking in random places to no success.

After about 20 minutes of this (did I mention I'm a bit OCD) it was time for Ryan to take the kids to school. I was putting Radley in the car and kissing him goodbye, when...

Radley: ::With this sly twinkle in his eye:: It's in my red bag, Mommy. ::Smiling even bigger now:: Bye, Mommy! Love you!
Me: ::shaking head:: Thanks, bud.

I go back in the house and look in said "red bag" and sure enough the crinkly elephant is there.

Not sure what this means for his future career or my sanity. :)

11.30.2010

Control...

Did you know that we can't control everything in our lives?

I know, right.

A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G!

Well, we can't.

And, sometimes, it sucks.

But how great is it that we have someone else in our lives that CAN and DOES control everything? Even if we don't want to relinquish it. Even if we don't understand it. Even if we don't really like it.

Someone else worries for us. Takes care of us. Listens to us even when we don't say a word.

As we were reading our "Jesus story" before bed last night with Radley, a line stuck out. "When you are tired, hungry and weak, God takes care of you."

When aren't we tired? Hungry? Even weak from work, worry, concern?

Everyday God is there. To watch us. To love us. To protect us.

Then as I was laying with Radley I started to think about what I would do without him and began to cry. I started to think about God sacrificing his ONLY son for me. And for you. And for people that don't believe.

So that we may have ETERNAL salvation.

And then control didn't seem to matter as much.

As we enter the rush of the holiday season, take time to sit and think about the REASON for this season. Why we celebrate. What CHRISTmas is about.

Take time to count your blessings both big and small and know that I count you as one of mine!



11.29.2010

Thanksgiving by the shore...


Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday and going to the beach has always been my favorite choice for vacation.... so imagine my giddiness when we decided to combine the two!!!

IT. WAS. AWESOME.

The only thing that would have made it better was having the "California Crew" with us. We left on Wednesday morning to arrive to great weather, an awesome condo and the perfect view:


A very gigantic thanks to Dinah Jane Hutson for opening her condo to our family!! We threw all the bags in the room and quickly headed down to the beach. GiGi was pumped until we came upon this sign:


But she got over it and forged on to the water.

I can't even begin to tell you what a great idea this turned out to be. We were instantly relaxed and had not a care in the world which is completely atypical when you usually host a big meal the next day. This was a great break from our normal frenzied holiday; one that I can see becoming a tradition!

Here is a little highlight recap in a few pictures (and by a few, I mean tons...)

Day one at the beach... nothing like some fun in the sun! I LOVE Texas even more (if possible) for giving us the kind of "fall/extended summer" weather that allowed us to do this! The ocean breeze made the day perfect and the humidity even gave us a glimpse of some curls on Emmy!


Thursday morning instead of hustling around to get the turkey in, start reheating the sides prepared the night before, setting the table, etc... we ate a yummy breakfast, made some coffee and headed down to the shore.

Look at the joy on this kid's face...


We could not keep him out of the water, but it was a little cooler on Thursday, so we cut him off once his lips started to change color.

I love that you can see Emmy's left arm in his picture, like she wanted to grab big brother, too.

Once we got back from the beach we started to cook lunch while this little turkey sat and played...
Again, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The family, fellowship and food without the build up of presents is my idea of a holiday. But since we went non-traditional on location, we also went non-traditional on the food. And, man, am I glad we did!

The line up:

Bonnie's Coconut Shrimp

Two-tone Twice Baked Potatoes

Grilled Sirloin, Chicken, and Pork Chops

Squash Casserole & GiGi's Stuffing (sans turkey)

Bonnie also made pecan, pumpkin and chocolate pies. To. Die. For.

One of my favorite things about beach condos is the eclectic collection of serving dishes. Please note the glass that Radley chose. I promise, that is milk and not a white Russian (but doesn't that sound delish?)
After lunch and naps it was back to the beach one more time for sand and surf. And by sand, I mean Radley would dig up sand and put it in buckets to give to us. And by surf, I mean Ryan spent about an hour trying to boogie board. Operative word = trying. ;)

And then the cold front hit.

But that did not deter us from heading back out there! Instead of Black Friday, we celebrated beach Friday, which takes a lot out of you...


After naps, we headed out one more time all bundled up on the beach.

And I am so glad that it was cold just for this picture:

And this one, too:

We had an absolute blast and those four days made me even more thankful for all the gifts I've been given.

Namely two happy, healthy, beautiful kids.
And a sweet husband that left early Saturday with my Dad to take home the latest 3 victims of the stomach bug (glad you are better Jeremy, Bonnie and MaMaw!)

It was the perfect way to spend this holiday. None of us wanted to leave. Instead, we would have rather thrown a big fit right in the sand than walk to the car and go.

Oh yes, I see a new biannual tradition forming. Anyone wanna come along?