Monday, December 1, 2014

Tidbits from Tenley

Tenley's vocabulary seems to be expanding daily. We are so entertained, inspired, and surprised by the things she says. Wanted to record a few things to remember.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Right now.

I am so anxious for the next big thing. For another baby. For JD to get into PA school. For our first house. It's hard for me to stay grounded. To be here. To love the stage we're in RIGHT NOW. 

It's a work in progress, but I am grateful for today. Today, we have a dishwasher (a luxury I was dreaming of just a few months ago). Today, we both have jobs we really enjoy. Today, we don't have the stress of going to school. Today, we made a really yummy dinner (homemade bread+pasta+broccoli). Today, we played with our spunky two-year-old at a trampoline warehouse. Today, we live close to family and get to see them weekly. Today, we filled our fridge with groceries. Today, we prayed together and Tenley repeated the words. Today is good. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Birthday buddies.

Tenley and JD are birthday buddies. Ten turned two on Saturday (how?!) and today is JD's big day (he's 29). I remember being a little bummed when she was born that JD would always have to share his birthday week with her. . . but I got over that quickly because, I mean, how long can you stay bummed when you've got a sweet new baby? I digress. I tend to do that. Oh gosh. . . 

Now, I kind of like the idea of having their birthdays so close together because it allows me to really celebrate two of my biggest blessings. This birthday week provides a very obvious opportunity for me to reflect on and express gratitude for my family.

These two. They're a playful duo- always finding ways to add spontaneity, giggles, and light to my life. I'm grateful they let me in on the fun.

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's sweet again.

It's been two months since I lasted posted on this blog. The days pass so quickly! I can't believe how the seasons fade into each other and then, without me even noticing, the years change. Time slips through my grasp and I have a hard time orienting myself. I feel like I'm a brand-new mom. . . and I'd say, in some respects, I still am. However, I've had a little human in my care for two years now. What a remarkable, hard, patience-testing, joyful, tiring, happy struggle-blessing! (Haha- clearly parenthood is hard to describe).

Sunday, August 17, 2014


It's official: I am married to a triathlete! I can't believe JD can check "participating in a triathlon" off his bucket list. It just seems like such a hard, unattainable accomplishment. . . but, he rocked that thing like a champ and had a fun time with his cousins, brother, and uncles. Go, JD, go!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sparkle and Shine

During the initial stages of planning my golden birthday party, I decided I wanted to base the decor on  the words "SPARKLE AND SHINE." Those two words guided all my decorating decisions! I looked up different quotes with the words "sparkle" or "shine" or some variation of those two words to use in frames as centerpieces. Here are a few other ideas I utilized as focal points and accents on the tables:
  • Empty jars with gold ribbons and/or buttons housed inside
  • Paper & ribbon banners on shiskabob sticks, planted in mini mason jars of dirt
  • Gold doilies
  • Gold candle roses (found in the wedding section at Hobby Lobby; just for decoration, as no open flames were allowed at the park)
  • Spray-painted plastic lion
  • Fake flowers taped to jars and "planted" in dirt
  • Scrapbook sticker numbers "25" on old mirrors and in frames
  • Reese's and Rolo candies sprinkled down the middle of the tables
I was so excited about these tables! Instead of using the typical plastic party tablecloths, I lined the tables with rolls of brown kraft wrapping paper. There were crayons out on the tables for guests to doodle and draw with as they chatted. I thought the fancy gold contrasted well with the rustic brown. . . perfect combo!

"May you always have work for your hands to do. May your pockets hold always a coin or two. May the sun shine bright on your windowpane. May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you, and may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you." 
-Irish Blessing

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Golden Birthday

I turned 25 on July 25th. For some inexplicable reason, 25 seems like a landmark age to me. It's kind of a big deal, I suppose. As a teenager, I remember thinking, hypothetically, "By the time I'm 25, x, y or z." You know, like I should be accomplished and have stuff to show for myself by now? Haha. . . I definitely DO think I've done some pretty neat things so far in my life and so I decided to throw myself a golden birthday party to celebrate the big day. JD was my right-hand man through it all. I sent out invitations, reserved a pavilion at a park, made gold frosted cupcakes, assembled gold centerpieces, and even bought & altered a gold-toed boot piƱata. Talk about a party ;)

It was stressful to have the party outside when the weather forecast was expected to be gloomy. I was so anxious! However, everything went off without a hitch (thanks, in big part, to my family who was in town from Texas). Thank you to everyone who came to help me celebrate! To me, it was a magical evening of good conversation, good friends, and good food. All the makings of a good birthday.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prints for sale!

BIG NEWS. Over the past several months, I have been learning, experimenting, trying, crying, failing, growing and creating in the process of converting my handwriting to digital format and vectorizing the letters for poster/printmaking purposes. I'm still a rookie, but I finally posted three prints for sale in the shop today... and I AM STOKED ABOUT IT!

Go to the shop to check out the excitement!

Monday, July 14, 2014

First funnel cake

I love summer in Utah. When the sun sets, the air cools down and it's magic. Last month, we went to a local city festival with JD's parents and little brother. We mostly just wandered around the booths and people watched in anticipation of the fireworks. Then, out of nowhere, I smelled the intense aroma of funnel cake and my mind whisked me back to a good ol' Texas rodeo. I love me a good funnel cake! I mentioned how sweet and delicious the air smelled and how much I enjoy those tasty treats. . . and was surprised to find out no one in JD's family (including him) had ever tried one. Well, that was that: FIRST FUNNEL CAKE ALL AROUND. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tenley, lately.

Tenley is at the cutest stage right now. She's learning how to say words and picks up on so many everyday happenings going on around her. She love, love, loves giving hugs, squeezes, kisses, high-fives, and fist-bumps.  She keeps us entertained all the time and we're so glad to have her in our family!

Here's a few examples of the adorable things she's been doing and saying lately. . .

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My sister is a Sister.

Today I dropped my sister off at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, UT. She will be serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Las Vegas, NV area for the next 18 months (To learn more about what missionaries do, go here). During her service as a female missionary, she will be referred to as "Sister Robinson," rather than "Lindsey."  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Whirlwind trip

Remember that one time we took a whirlwind trip to California to be on Ellen?! JD got there several hours before I did and rented a 2014 Mustang convertible to drive around town. Haha. . . we sure felt like celebrities zipping around in that baby! 

Man, those two weeks of intense "baby booty bump" fame were crazy, fun, and definitely unforgettable. I can't believe I ended up going to Universal City, California because of that video. What a memory!

Waterpark Wednesday

We took our first trip to Seven Peaks yesterday! It was only open for a few hours in the afternoon because it's not quite summer yet for the school-aged children. It was also a little overcast so that probably contributed to the smaller crowd as well. We hung out in the lazy river, jumped a few waves in the wave pool and even took Tenley in our laps down some of the bigger slides. It was wonderful to walk right up and get on! We thought Ten would be excited and playful, but she had a flat affect pretty much the whole time. She wasn't scared or unhappy; she was just calm and quiet. I wanted to get a few pictures before we went into the park, but Tenley wasn't in the mood. 
Haha, the picture on the left is such a "Tenley face." Whenever she doesn't want to do something or is reluctant to listen, she turns her head away in an almost bashful manner. It is too funny. I don't know where she learned this, but it is a predictable mannerism during teeth brushing, diaper changing, and car-seat buckling. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Camping season

The weather is warming up and it's camping season again! I never knew I'd fall in love with camping quite the way I have. Perhaps, I should've seen it coming. . . an affection for the crisp mountain air runs in my blood. My dad is definitely a camping man. However, the Texas heat doesn't really lend itself to an enjoyable camping experience, so we didn't go much at all while I was growing up. Things have changed. JD's a pro at this camping business and makes it a point to go regularly with our little fam. We've camped in the snow, camped with friends, camped with familycamped with just the stuff off our backs, camped in our living room, and camped with a baby. Basically, I feel like I've done it all ;)  

We'll be camping again this weekend with JD's family. It's a fun tradition and I love spending time with them around the camp site. In anticipation of the upcoming trip, I uploaded a few scrapbook layouts from some of last year's camping adventures.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Baby chicks.

My in-laws are the biggest animal lovers I know. They've had nearly every animal you can think of as a house pet (. . .okay, maybe not every animal). But currently, they have a few chickens residing in their backyard and we sure do love those fresh eggs!! A few days before Easter, the Knowldens got a few new baby chicks. Oh my adorable! Tenley had no idea what to think of those little chicks. She wanted to touch and hold them, but was terrified when they moved or pecked at her fingers. Haha, serious cuteness overload.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

5 "Baby booty bump" Lessons

The last few weeks have been a little surreal. On Sunday April 27, I entered an Instagram dance-off for moms hosted by The Alison Show in hopes of winning a $250 gift card to The Land of Nod. I had two entries: (1) the original clip of me dancing and (2) an "outtake" clip of me dancing and knocking my daughter to the ground with my bum. The latter clip was hilariously accidental and just too funny not to share. On Monday April 28, I sheepishly posted it to Facebook knowing it would surely brighten a few peoples' days. The response was overwhelmingly positive and many people shared, liked, and laughed at the video. I posted it on YouTube that night and sent it to The Ellen Degeneres Show via her website. On Tuesday April 29, I woke up with 700 views on YouTube and thought: "That's crazy! So cool." By the time I went to bed, I had 14,890 hits and I thought: "How did that happen?!" In the first 24 hours, I was contacted by several agencies asking for the rights to the video, but I ended up partnering with Storyful. And, boy, am I glad I did! Over the next few days, SO MANY people e-mailed, called, and messaged me about use of the video and I just directed everyone to Storyful. It has been such a blessing to delegate all that stress and headache to them. By Thursday May 1, my "baby booty bump" video hit one million views and had been shared by countless news and radio stations across the country. It was all over the Internet and television: CNN, The Today Show, E! News, ESPN2, the iFunny app, AOL, Time. You name it: I was probably there. It was totally overwhelming and time-consuming to keep up with all the hype! On Wednesday May 7, I was in the audience of The Ellen Degeneres Show and had to pinch myself as I heard Ellen discuss the powerful "thrust to my daughter's face." On May 8, my little snippet aired on Ellen. As of today, May 13, the video has 2,350,583 views on YouTube. I still can't believe it.

I've learned a lot from having my video "go viral." Some things are personal and/or confidential, but here's what I want the world to know.

Monday, February 10, 2014

No more gummy grins (and giraffes!)

It freaks me out a little that Tenley is an active toddler, and not the teeny, snuggley baby I once knew. I practically feel like I'm meeting a whole new person every day! She has such a spirited personality and I'm impressed by the things I observe her doing all the time. She's learning a lot of skills that make her seem old to me: feeding herself with utensils, drinking out of cups, climbing up and down furniture and stairs, following my directions, babbling back and forth with me, figuring out the DVD player, hiding, and helping put her clothes on and take them off. However, one of the most obvious reminders to me that she's a big girl now is her toothy smile. Teeth! This girl has teeth! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Big families

In the first few months after Tenley was born, I remember thinking to myself on multiple occasions, "I won't be able to do this when I have a toddler at my feet". . .and then, one day, panicking, I thought, "or when I have multiple children at my feet!" Gosh. Taking care of lots of little ones will definitely be a challenge!! Overwhelmed, I asked my mom: "How do you take care of a baby when you have to take care of your other kid(s)? Like, I feel like this is so hard and there's only one of her. I don't know if I'll ever be able to manage more children." And, wisely, she said,"You don't know what you're doing with one and you're figuring it out. You won't know what you're doing with two, but you'll figure it out." And I guess that's how mothering goes. . . you just kind of figure it out. 

I'm grateful for the journey. I'm grateful for the ups and downs of figuring stuff out. I'm grateful for the exhausting, not-so-glamorous, patience-trying, faith-testing, down and dirty moments of motherhood (and life, for that matter). I'm grateful for the things I learn from being a mom, a daughter, a sister. When all of my siblings were home together with my parents for Christmas, I remembered so clearly why I want a big family, why I'll stick it out through those trying moments of "figuring it out." More children means more laughter. More perspectives. More insight. More helping hands. More smiles. More support. More connections. More memories. 

It was so good to be all together again after Jake's two-year mission trip. Oh, I just love them so!
^^Supporting Morgie at a basketball game.^^

^^Christmas Eve at the Alamo.^^

^^Christmas Sabbath in our red Sunday best.^^

^^Being silly in the jerseys Jake brought home from Argentina.^^

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The hot-shot I was not.

When I was an eighth-grader, I received the devastating news that my family would be moving from the city I grew up in. Although heart-broken, I processed my feelings and decided I still wanted to try out for the freshman cheer squad at my new high school (as I'd been planning to at the high school I thought I'd attend). My mom and I traveled to the suburbs of Austin, TX for me to attend the clinic and try-outs. It was nerve-racking and exhilarating and scary to go through that process with a bunch of girls I had never met. I got up the gumption to introduce myself to a few people and practically invited myself to practice with them at one of their houses. I was confident going into try-outs and performed really well. I was so thrilled to see my name on the list when the new squad was posted. Everything was going to be okay! I had a few friends! My high school plans were not totally shot! 

Imagine my dismay when the plans changed and I found out we weren't going to end up near Austin after all. . . but in SAN ANTONIO. I was angry. I was disappointed. I was frustrated. I was overwhelmed. Would I have to gather all the courage I had left in me and do cheer try-outs again? It was too daunting of a thought. To my great disappointment and utter relief, cheerleading try-outs at Reagan (my high school) had already passed by the time my family figured out where we were actually going to live. I spent my freshman year starring in the pep squad (a group of girls devoted mostly to preparing for drill and dance teams). I was so bitter and sad, but luckily I made friends and it didn't turn out as horribly as I imagined it would.

At the end of my freshman year, I finally had the opportunity to try out for cheerleading again. That year had felt so long. I was pleased and excited when I made the JV squad. I loved cheerleading. I loved learning new chants and cheers. I loved the excitement of football games. I loved motivating a crowd to get on their feet. I loved increasing school spirit. I loved jumping. I loved expressing enthusiasm with facial expressions. I loved the quick, sharp movements of the dances. I loved stunting. But I did not love tumbling (this loathing could have very well been, in part, because I wasn't good at it). I spent so much time trying to get my body to flip over backwards. So. much. time. But that back tuck never really came to me. Not to mention, after years of tumbling, I was still scared out of my mind to do a single back handspring. It was infuriating. . . and because of my sub-par tumbling skills, I always felt a little bit "less than" the rest of the girls on the squad. It was damaging to my self-esteem and, if I'm honest, to my self-worth at the time too. 

When I didn't make the cut at the end of my sophomore year, I was devastated, but not surprised. I knew I couldn't be competitive in the cheerleading world. It was a silver lining in that situation to have my best friend, Ashley, go through the same heartbreak. Together with our friends from pep squad, we tried out for the drill team. We both made it, which was a big reprieve, seeing as I don't know if we could've handled double rejection. Bah! We had a really fun junior year and, with the hindsight only time can give me, I know it all worked out for a reason. 

Needless to say, I was not a hot-shot. Ha! (JD says I'm a long-winded story-teller. Like, I just gave all that background info, but I really just wanted to get across that I wasn't a hot-shot. Sorry! I like detailed stories). 

When JD and I visited Texas this last Christmas, we got to watch my 15 year-old sister, Morgan, play basketball. So fun! She is so good with the ball! She is very obviously gifted as an athlete and has such passion for the game. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Beach dreamin'

Sometimes, when it's cold outside and I'm stuck indoors, I can't help but dream of beach days. Oh, how I love the sun and sand!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Miss Independent wanted me

Tenley has been such a stinker lately about doing things HER way. If I try to give her a bite of food from a fork, she'll push it away. . . but if I let her eat it with her hands, she'll gobble it up. If I try to read her a book, she'll throw it. . . but if she can hold it herself and turn the pages, she'll look at it for several minutes. If I try to give her kisses, she'll turn and thrash her head. . . but if she decides she's in the mood, she'll give tons of slobbery smooches. Basically, she likes to do things on her own or as she pleases. And sometimes she acts like she doesn't want me- rude!

On a family outing recently, Tenley changed her mind. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The love of God

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I live my life and the way my choices affect me and those around me. I attended an incredible women's conference over the weekend- the theme was "You are not the only traveler." The speakers focused a lot on finding and knowing our personal ministries. They talked about how God uses us to influence members of our families and those in our social circles for good, how we need to be ready and prepared to serve as instruments in His hands, how He needs us to radiate His love to the lost ones in our midsts. I was moved by the Spirit and found peace about and guidance for many of the troubles and concerns that have been weighing on my heart lately.  A key point that stuck out in my mind, that I scribbled in my planner, that I've been mulling over for the past few days was this. . . No one can progress spiritually until they know this fundamental truth: God exists and knows them personally