Sunday, February 20, 2011

Jenna and Lydia turn 4

We had lots of fun celebrating the girls' birthday! Like usual, our celebration was spread over a couple weeks. Our traditional family outing to honor the girls was a trip to Fayetteville for a University of Arkansas gymnastics meet. The two competing teams were ranked in the top 20, and it was close all the way til the end. The atmosphere was super fun--mascots, cheerleaders, fun music, popcorn. The girls seemed to enjoy it, and it was a special treat to get some time with Uncle Ben, Aunt Maggie and Tusk.

The day of their birthday a sweet co-worker of AJ's brought the girls a Tres Leches Cake. Yum! She brought it early that morning, so we had to eat some for breakfast!

It's becoming a common request to visit The Wonder Place for a birthday. It wasn't very crowded on this Tuesday morning, which was a great treat!

The blowing scarfs, veterinarian's office, and the water table were a few favorite activities of the day.

That night we went to Macaroni Grill for Jenna's macaroni and cheese and Lydia's spaghetti. Some opera singers sang the girls "Happy birthday" in Italian, and we enjoyed our time together as a family.

Sweet girl with her elephant cake. Jenna's great at making people laugh, is pretty steady emotionally, and is an encourager.

The Lydi-Lady cake. Lydia loves to dance, dress up in fancy clothes, and is a real tender-heart.

They don't seem to mind sharing their birthday at all! It's so fun to watch them grow up together.

The weekend after their birthday, our neighbors and Grandma and Poppie came over to help us celebrate. Our neighbors, with kids at similar ages to ours, have been a big bonus of this move. The kids play together often and are truly sweet friends.

Lydia was the first to have Happy Birthday sung to her and then blow out her candles. I love the way Jenna's hand is on her sister's back while she works to blow out all four candles.

Jenna's turn. It took both of them several blows to get all the candles out.

We love you, Jenna and Lydia! What a joy it is to be your parents! We're grateful for these four years we've been privileged to enjoy with you.

A Baby Shower

I need very little for this baby boy or girl. By the way, I'm loving not finding out the gender and feel some extra excitement to meet this baby because of all the unknowns! I have bins with bedding, blankets, clothes, baby equipment, and more. Even still...I was really thankful when a friend told me she wanted to have a shower for me. It was just good to realize that in this past year God's provided some neat friends who want to help celebrate this new member of our family! It was mostly my MOPS friends plus AJ's mom and a couple other friends from here in town. It was just fun to spend time with those girls, and I felt so loved by all the work that went into that Sunday afternoon.

Just before the shower. It sorta looks like I'm propping up my baby belly on the counter.

Cute cake that matched the cute invitations. They had lots of yummy food!

Some favorite gifts were diapers and wipes (of course!), this new drying rack that looks like grass, steam cleaning bags for cleaning bottles, pump parts, etc., and some cute neutral blankets.

The sweet hostesses: Susan and Tammy. They thought of so many little things that made the day really special. Thanks girls!

Saturday, February 19, 2011


AJ left town for two and a half weeks to help with a Chick-fil-A Grand Opening, so the kids and I went to spend some time in Colorado with my parents. My dad generously flew both ways so that he could drive our mini-van back and forth so that I could attend to the kids for the 15 hour drive. The kids did great, and we had a wonderful time! It was full of a little bit of drama, though.

We stopped in Tulsa for the night to break up the trip at Uncle Brock's house. This was where our stomach bug began. The good news was that Jenna was grown up enough to puke in the toilet for the first time! Yay to avoid a mess!

The first day we were in Colorado, we went to eat a restaurant in a former train depot, and Drew loved it.

The train drove by then parked right outside the window beside our table. Drew's dream come true! After lunch, we took the kids to their first theater movie: Tangled. Drew did fine, but our sensitive girls couldn't handle the intensity of it. We kept trying to talk them into making it through, but eventually we had to walk out.

During the weekdays, my parents worked most days, so we spent time with friends, went to my dad's basketball games, and just enjoyed relaxing. One night I went out with some college friends, and my parents kept the kids. Jenna was fighting another round of the stomach bug, and at one moment she rolled off the couch. My parents went to check on her, and her eyes rolled back in her head then she puked. They were worried she was having another seizure (like she had at 15 months), so they quickly called 911. She was with it again in a few seconds, and the paramedics and my parents determined she was probably just dehydrated. They didn't have to take her to the hospital, but it was definitely scary!

On the weekend we were there, my parents did a few special things for an early celebration of the girls' birthday. They had a ladybug and elephant pancake for breakfast then we went on to the childrens' museum in Denver.

This place was impressive and quite crowded too!

Lydia loved the stage area complete with neat costumes and ribbons for dancing. Grammy even made some similar ribbons that the girls got for their birthday a couple weeks later!

Drew loved the train table and kept his engineer hat on as long as possible. He knew it was perfect for him; he loves to tell us that when he grows up he wants to be a train engineer.

On the way home from the museum, my dad was driving and all of a sudden felt dizzy then couldn't see for a few seconds. He was able to pull over safely, but it was scary to wonder what could have happened on another road or in a different situation. It encouraged him to see a cardiologist who told him not to drive for the next 1 1/2 months. That complicated our plans for him to drive us home in a few days. We decided to switch roles and have me drive and him entertain the kids, which was a good plan until the stomach bug struck again the day before we needed to leave in order for him to catch his flight back home. Ugh!

Tea party with Grammy. Drew did not want to be left out of the dressing up.

Thankfully I felt quite a bit better the next day, but my dad came down with the bug the next night in a Kansas hotel (and my mom got it too, back home alone). Ugh again! We made it to Tulsa the next day, and Brock and Harmony took good care of us. Dad missed his scheduled flight but was able to reschedule free of charge. The flight day was full of delays due to snow, but eventually he made it home about 36 hours after we had originally planned before the sickness and delays. Lots of drama, but it made home even sweeter to return to!

Belly Update

Here's my baby belly at 35 weeks. The pregnancy continues to go well, and Baby is head down and ready for another VBAC. We're all getting excited to meet this baby, especially to know if we're adding a boy or girl to our family. A fun treat I won at the end of this pregnancy: a makeover! At MOPS they had a drawing to have a hair cut and color by a girl who used to cut hair at a fancy salon and now stays at home as a mom. Also, we have a Mary Kay consultant in the group who did my make-up. What great timing to have some help feeling pretty here at the end!

New Year and Snow Days

The days surrounding New Year's were so nice! They were full of play time with new toys, getting organized, and seeing old and new friends.

What a treat to meet Miracle Baby Silas Smith while they were in town visiting family.

This boy set himself up in a little chair in front of a bowl game and was all smiles about watching football.

We had an unusual amount of snow that fell several different times in January and February. This was the first year the kids were old enough to enjoy it much, so it was perfect timing! The first snow was while "Uncle" Caleb and two other MCA students were here visiting on their way to Siloam Springs.

This was the kids' first snowman. The other favorite activity (especially for Drew) was sledding (on a baking sheet) down our neighbors' driveway. We've found a good use for their steep driveway several times this winter.

We were in Ozark for some snowy days also, and Grandma got some fun pictures of the kids!

We've loved the snow, and now we're loving the warmer Spring-like weather!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Our Christmas celebrations started on the 23rd, the day after we finished Drew's birthday celebrations. It was a bit tricky fitting in all of the celebrating! We had a traditional Christmas dinner with my grandma, parents, brother and his girlfriend who all graciously came to our house since AJ worked quite a bit surrounding Christmas. My mom and grandma brought a ton of food and did the majority of the kitchen work which made hosting Christmas quite simple!

After dinner, we opened gifts.

Stockings from Grammy and Grandpa

A gift for Baby!

Sugar cookies are definitely a tradition with the Blackburn side, so we made sure to fit that in the next morning.

The whole family gets involved in the decorating, and the most impressive cookie is usually made by Uncle Brock.

The girls got to sing in our church's Christmas Eve service. The kids choir stood on stage facing everyone while the congregation sang along to some familiar songs. The girls were pretty excited to "sing in a choir!"

Christmas morning we read from the Jesus Storybook Bible then opened the stockings and gifts that AJ and I got for the kids.

Love each of their expressions as they check out their stockings. The fruit snacks in their stockings may have been the biggest excitement of the morning!

After opening gifts and breakfast with my family, we drove to Ozark for Christmas with AJ's family. Here's four of the six grandkids reading the Christmas story with Poppie.

Alexandria is always so sweet to teach Lydia some dances and dance with her. Sweet cousins! What a treat to have quality time with both sides of the family near Christmas!

Drew's train birthday

We like to extend our birthday celebrations. Drew's celebrating began with a trip to Northwest Arkansas for a Christmas train ride. We saw some Christmas lights and rode with Santa, a reindeer, and a teddy bear. Our car's heat was broken, and we didn't find out until we had already left the house, so we borrowed from Grandma Perea and Ben and Maggie and bundled up in some unconventional clothes. Drew enjoyed it as much as we had hoped and talked about it for days afterward.

The day of Drew's birthday we went to play at The Wonder Place and he discovered the table with tracks for trucks, cars, and trains. He loved it! We had Macaroni and Cheese for lunch and went to Chick-fil-A for dinner with Grammy, Grandpa, and Great Grandma Cornett who drove in just in time for dinner.

The next day we had a little party for him with both sets of grandparents and Uncle Brock and Harmony. I made him a train cake (with coaching from my mom and grandma), and his reaction was a great reward for the effort. He got lots of fun gifts like two train sets, lots of train and truck books, a fireman costume, and more! He was thrilled and didn't even want to leave his train to go blow out candles and eat cake.

We had a great time celebrating Drew!