Saturday, November 28, 2015


I've got loads of things to be grateful for this time of year (and always!)... but I'm especially thankful for a supportive husband who "gets" me and is always willing to put in the emotional and physical work to back me up. He's the one who really pushed for me to start getting my designs onto tees and I wouldn't be able to run this basement operation without him! Help support The Sunshine Space on this #smallbusinesssaturday. Use code SHOPSMALL for 20% off all orders today!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

It's a Jolly Holiday!

A few weeks ago, we rented Mary Poppins from the library and watched it together as a family (holy long movie!) During the "jolly holiday" scene, JD got up and started dancing like Bert and Tenley and I giggled at his silly moves. It was such a fun moment!! That night I decided we HAD to be Mary Poppins and Bert for Halloween. Our kids would be such cute little penguins! Thus began the search for costumes... 

Monday, September 14, 2015

"The stuff dreams are made of."

I've been feeling all kinds of mom guilt that I haven't given our new baby a proper introduction on the blog. How has he already been around for a whole month?!

Rhett Austin Knowlden was born on August 13, 2015 (7 lbs, 11 oz; 18 inches long). His entrance into the world didn't go anything like we had planned or hoped, but he made it here safely in the wee morning hours via C-section. We are grateful. 

I love this shot of us from our stay at the hospital. I look tired, but happy. Isn't that motherhood? It's draining work- changing, nursing, cuddling, crying, bathing, pacing, lifting, packing, folding, cleaning, loving. There have definitely been hard postpartum days where the tasks of parenthood seem overwhelming and annoying, but I'm trying so hard to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness and peace in my heart. Babies don't keep, you know? He's already so much more plump and squishy than he was when he got here!

The other night JD was able to get both sleeping kids out of their car seats and carried them inside (one on each shoulder) without waking them. I complimented him on his impressive Dad skills and he responded, "this is the stuff dreams are made of." He didn't want to lay them down and just soaked in their quiet goodness.

I've been thinking a lot about that phrase lately: "the stuff dreams are made of." I dreamed and planned and hoped for this stage in my life. . . my goal is to be present, grounded and grateful rather than frazzled, hurried, and resentful. 

Thank you, my little Tenley Mae and sweet baby Rhett, for refining me. You two, in so many ways, are making my dreams come true. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Life right now

We took a spontaneous trip to California last weekend to visit friends. Two days of driving + three days of vacation. Grateful for a husband who encourages me to move a little outside my comfort zone. I'm not sure I would've chosen to road-trip at 34 weeks pregnant, but the sunshine and ocean were good for me. One day, JD dug a deep hole in the sand for my belly and I was able to nap on my stomach (oh, what a luxury!).

Life right now:

JD // Just finished his Organic Chemistry class. Pulled off a C+ (he needed at least a C).  So thankful it's over! Teaching tennis lessons two days/week. Loving the change of pace of working on a new floor at the hospital. Preparing to submit PA school applications (third time's the charm, right?!) Reminding Summer to take pre-natal vitamins and rub Bio-Oil on her belly. Cleaning all the screens for The Sunshine Space. Doing most of the kitchen chores (dishes, sweeping, mopping).

Summer// Trying to figure out how to manage t-shirt orders and inventory for the shop. Complaining about back pain on a regular basis. Making to-do lists for the next month before baby #2 arrives. Stressing about not being at brother's wedding in August. Preparing Sunday lesson to teach to women's group at church. Folding laundry. Trying to manage normal work schedule with an oversized, tired body. Feeling bittersweet about Tenley growing up.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Five reasons I'm a better person because I've worked in Residential Treatment

I've had some thoughts floating around in my head for the past few weeks and I just want to get them written down before my pregnant brain allows them to vanish forever. I am SO, SO grateful for my experiences working at a Residential Treatment Center (RTC).  Just as a little background for those of you who don't totally know what an RTC is: RTCs are basically live-in health care facilities where teenagers come to live, go to school, and receive intensive therapeutic services. The place I work is a lock-down setting (I've also worked in a less intense therapeutic boarding school). The center I'm at now provides treatment for adolescents with lots of different issues. . . oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, depression and suicidal ideation, reactive attachment disorder, bipolar disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, educational issues and histories of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. There's always a lot going on with these kids! I'm a recreational therapist and currently work primarily with 15 to 17-year old boys with behavioral misconduct issues. I think I'm a better person because of the time I've spent with them. Here's why.

Friday, May 22, 2015

She's Watching.

A few weeks ago, we brought our camera outside because JD wanted to snap a few pictures of me with my pregnant belly. As he was doing this, Tenley became fascinated with the camera and wanted to try taking a few photos of her own. JD taught her how to hold the big device in her little hands and showed her what button to push. She was thoroughly entertained by the activity, directing us where to sit and when to say "Cheese!" These pictures are the result. They are blurry, off-centered, and unedited. But they're so endearing to me because they're what Tenley sees when she's watching us. I love that. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Talks with Ten

Tenley is so expressive with her words lately and we are constantly surprised and entertained by the thoughts she shares. Here's a few snippets of our talks with Ten.

(Snuggling in my bed shortly after I returned from work one day last week).
T: Mmm... it smells like you.
Me: Oh, really? What do I smell like?
T: Um, I think kind of like a girl.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Zoo date

Tenley loves her Aunt and Uncle, "Tyler and Kella." JD and Tenley went on a double date with them to the zoo a few weeks ago (I was working). I'm so glad they got this special time together because I got these darling pictures. Seriously? So adorable. 

We are so lucky to live close to all of JD's siblings. I love that we can plan last-minute spontaneous get-togethers and pull them off with relative ease!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Party of Four

It's been a long, exhausting journey to get to this exciting announcement: our family is growing! After a year and a half of trying to get pregnant and eventually some infertility treatment, it finally happened. The fact that our little one is due on our anniversary (August 14) doesn't seem like a coincidence to me. It feels like a tender mercy from our Father in Heaven, a reminder that He knows us, loves us, and wants us to trust His timing over our own. 

So, let's celebrate! JD, Tenley, and I will soon be a party of four!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas Sunday

I was so excited for Christmas Sunday because I planned for Tenley to wear the same red velvet dress I wore as a little girl. My mom gave it to me shortly after she was born and it has waited in her closet for the perfect occasion. Tenley was so darling in the dress! As I was getting her ready, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic and emotional. I felt connected to my mom, and to her mom, and to all the moms that came before her, and to motherhood in general. What a fantastic journey, adventure, endeavor to engage in- motherhood. I am grateful.