Monday, February 3, 2014

20 Questions: Isaac, Age 5

20 Questions: Isaac, age 5

1. What is your favorite color? Red
2. What is your favorite toy? My stuffed animals, especially my puppies
3. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries
4. What is your favorite tv show? Dora
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Oranges
6. What is your favorite outfit? My basketball shirt
7. What is your favorite game? Pet Pals on the Leap Pad
8. What is your favorite snack? Chocolate Bars
9. What is your favorite animal? Bears
10. What is your favorite song? Christmas Songs
11. What is your favorite book? Pete the Cat
12. Who is your best friend? Max
13. What is your favorite cereal? Cheerios
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play hide and seek.
15. What is your favorite drink? Water
16. What is your favorite holiday? Valentines Day
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? My pups- Wolfy, Charlie, Brezent, Dot, and Big,
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Donuts
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Zookeeper

Friday, January 10, 2014

Three Babies in a Basket

The Russell babies definitely have a "look" don't they?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013, Ya Know What I Mean?

I usually start working on my year in review around Thanksgiving, but I was a little busy getting to know a new little person. So it is late. I think with a third child in tow I am doomed to be late for everything else forever. I'm dealing with it.

Without further adieu, I present the most memorable moments of 2013:

January: I was sick with a nasty headcold most of the month. I was grumpy. Ryland and I wrote out our new year's goals and expectations. Included were moving and having a new baby. And we sang for some friends at a couple's night out a church. Remember the Culp's from SNL. Yeah, that was us. I covered Bieber, Ry did Bon Jovi. It was art.

Playing to sold-out crowds at potlucks everywhere!

February: My cute hubby turned 29- I took him to OKC to watch the Thunder play and celebrate with some friends. I also sent him on a writing retreat with some great friends. My baby boy turned 4, and I died inside a little. After much prayer and puzzle pieces connecting, we started house hunting. Isaac was the ring bearer with his best girl, Lily-Kate, in a wedding for our friend's the Sprengers. To this day he swears that HE married Lily-Kate that day. It is adorable and very innocent, so we don't correct it.

She tells her Mom that her name is Lily-Kate Russell.

March- We purchased and moved into a new home! And the day before we moved we found out that we would definitely need the fourth bedroom by the end of the year, I was expecting my third child. This was very handy for me. It cut down on any heavy lifting I might have been expected to do. Fortunately, we have amazing friends who showed up and helped us tremendously.

New front porch!

The BIG announcement. I started showing ten minutes later.

April- Totally awesome month. I basically became a hermit who puked all day and slept when I wasn't puking. An ultrasound confirmed that my pregnancy was viable and growing beautifully.
We also took a family trip to Arkansas to Mimi and Poppy's house with the Gardner's. We were all under one roof for a few nights and it was so much fun!
Gummy Bear Eden.
Poppy dog pile with the cousins.
May- Made it to the second trimester where one is supposed to dump the morning sickness of the first trimester. Didn't quite happen. I puked my way through my music's students Pre-K graduation and end of the year program. On Mother's Day we had a sweet visit from Ryland's parents and Grandma Rosie. The kids finished their pre-school "school year" and we hit the pool to celebrate the beginning of summer.
Mudder's Day
A snack that I illegally smuggled into Big Splash.
June- I worked GCK's summer school age session during the official "best summer ever in the history of the world to be pregnant". I got to take grade-school kiddos on field trips for 5 weeks. Cool temperatures and beautiful weather. It would have been great to be morning sickness free, but it just wasn't happening yet. I was a church camp widow as Ryland went to several camps, but we were able to join him for a few days at KMAK which is always a treat for the kids and I. We were actually there on the day of our eighth wedding anniversary. Romantic. We celebrated for real by seeing the Lion King musical a few weeks later. We also took a trip to Great Aunt Jojo's house in Guthrie to spend a few days with Grannie Myrna, Jojo, Jeje, Tootie, and a pack of dogs. We also started working on the Library's summer reading program where the kids earned prairie dogs named Taydin and Tim.
Anniversary Picture at KMAK
Sleeping at camp.

Future Cheerleader.

July- We celebrated Independence Day at Jeje and Pawpa's in Dewey where we joined them for a neighborhood barbecue. We watched a fun fireworks display where I almost had to murder some jackhole who let his FIVE YEAR OLD hold a roman candle that surprise surprise burned his kid and consequently was dropped and burned my kid. I blamed my hormones at the time for the anger but I still think I'd fight that guy today, Momma bear much? The best part of the month was ultrasound day. We found out that our baby was to be another sweet girl. We joined the Bush family in Branson for a week of extended family fun. Our favorite part was seeing the "Joseph" musical at the Sight and Sound theatre. We had VBS at church, and "our" Kara came and babysat overnight for 2 nights so I could teach at the CWE conference in Shawnee while Ryland lead worship in Texas. Divide and conquer!

American Babies.
It's a girl!!!
Colossal Co-woah-ster World VBS.
 August- We started the month with a goodbye. After 6 sweet years we had our beloved cavalier, Lexus, put to sleep. She was such a good girl. We still speak of her often and I miss her so much. It was a hard choice to make, but she was so tired and broken, it was the right thing to do. In happier news: Finally finally FINALLY my morning sickness went away. I didn't know it could last that long. I spent most of August decorating Eden's nursery and lamenting the fact that I'll be sending Isaac to kindergarten in a year.
The Baby Suite
Farewell Sweet Lexus.

September- Huge month. Third trimester. I was huge. We went back to school at GCK- 2's classes for Hope, Pre-K for Isaac and I resumed my position as music teacher. I learned in early September that I had gestational diabetes, which was super fun. I went on a diet and started monitoring my blood sugar four times a day with a glucometer. I also started showing signs of pre-eclampsia. I didn't have it but I was having too many issues to maintain my break-neck speed life, so I was placed on modified bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. We were very excited when our sweet babysitter, Kara, was chosen as Owasso's band queen. She sweetly asked my children to participate in coronation as flower girl and ring bearer. They were adorable and I was so proud. I also joined the league of soccer moms when we purchased our very first minivan, which I LOVE.
First Day of GCK 2013
We bought a V.
Queen Kara's Homecoming Minions
Third Trimester Fun.
October- October seemed like the longest month ever. Being on bed rest meant saying no to lots of invitations, laying around, and watching too much crappy daytime tv. We had a princess tea party in honor of Hope's 3rd birthday. And speaking of birthdays, I turned 31, old ladyville. I had a date with my hubby. We went to 3 doctor's appointments, a movie, and ate a gestational diabetic friendly dinner. We celebrated Halloween in style. Isaac was Batman, Hope was Ariel, and Ryland, Eden, and I were stick figures. Oh the irony.
Birthday Princess
November- To combat October's slowness, November was so fast. We put up our Christmas decorations November 1. Yes we are those people. My GCK kids had their Christmas program early so that I could go on maternity leave. And a week later my snuggly little Eden entered our family. We spent a few hours at my Grannie Myrna's house Thanksgiving Day, but it's kind of fuzzy. I was still very much on pain meds at that point. We spent time getting to know Eden and adjusting to our new life as five.

Minutes Old.
Me and My Girls.
Final Preggo Pic.
Family of 5.
Meeting Eden
Fall in Love.
Leaves Russell.
1 Day Old.
Blankie Basket
Isaac Christmas Program at GCK


December- As I emerged from the post-partum haze, life marched on. The holidays came and I did my best to be present and to make the Christmas season meaningful for the big kids, while trying to prepare gifts, and care for a newborn. It was frustrating and exhausting at moments but mostly sweet. God gives special grace to new moms. On one of my first nights alone with my tribe of three children, our washing machine hose became disconnected from the wall and flooded our house. So we get to have new flooring in 2014. Um, yay? We had baby Eden's first outing and had a family day. We went to see Santa and saw the movie "Frozen", which has been the background music to our lives the last month. Hope sings it non-stop, and it's adorable. Hope asked Santa for princess Barbies and Isaac asked for a Nerf Gun. We spent Christmas with my parents,brother and Grandparents, the Uptons, the Bush/Gardners, the Russell/Burruss/Allen/Roses. Our kids were thoroughly spoiled, we ate delicious things, and we loved the time we spent together. We came home exhausted to a messy house and a full love tank. Ryland and I spent New Year's Eve on a date (with Eden in tow), and rang in the new year with a kiss in bed as we took turns rocking Eden to sleep.
Due Date Bath
Snow Day Babies
Nice List?
Christmas Eve
Christmas Day
Hope wins the GCK Honesty Award
 Santa Tom

As 2013 becomes the past, I'd like to think I'm another year wiser. But wisdom comes with a price. Wisdom comes from experience, some sweet, and some painful.
As I experienced my third, and most likely final pregnancy, I spent lots of time in a state of mild irritation. I don't "do" pregnancy well. I learned through that LONG experience how blessed I am to be surrounded by people who will step in and help, even when you are too prideful to ask for it. I am so thankful for meals cooked, babysitting offered, prayers offered, and encouragement given. I also learned how incredible my husband is. I've always known this, but he showed it over and over again in tangible ways. Not only did he maintain his role as a provider, he took on home responsibilities such as dishes, laundry, baths- the whole thing when I was placed on bed rest. He never complained, he took it all in stride, and was a champion. I wish every woman could have a Ryland. Even when I am a vomiting, worthless, lump of humanity, he loves me. More than that, he honors me, he makes me proud, and he is a daddy to shame all daddies. Not only did he shoulder a heavy burden this year, he took daily photographs of our three tots every single day of the year. He's amazing, and I could never deserve him. I love him now more than I ever thought possible. Here's a sample of his work:
Eden- Last Day of 2013
 The photgrapher in action.

January 1, 2013
December 31, 2013
January 1, 2013

 December 31,2013
As with every year, I am humbled by God's grace, forgiveness, provision, and faithfulness. I am so undeserving of the blessings in my life, and I truly am grateful. It all belongs to God, and I hope to do a good job with all I've been given- the good and the bad.

In 2014 we plan to grow in our faith and teach our children well. Isaac will start kindergarten, Ryland will turn 30, and we'll celebrate our 4th year in Owasso, God willing. We pray that in the good and bad moments, the big and small, the beautiful and ugly- that we'll praise and honor the giver of all our moments. And honor our great God.
The Russell family wishes you all a blessed 2014. May you know this year that God loves you, and will never leave or forsake you.