Saturday, December 24, 2011

December, where did you go?

Man, I have really not done a very good job of staying up to date. So here is a re-cap of the past month...
 After we got back from celebrating Thanksgiving, we busted out the Christmas decor and got in the holiday spirit. Well, all of us but Owen. He was in a terrible mood that whole day... We all managed to enjoy ourselves in spite of his tears!

 We also went to the skating rink for the first time. We were so excited when they opened it last year, but with me being pregnant and Chris having a bum knee, it didn't happen. This first time there I think we only made it around the rink twice, but we had a good time going at a snail's pace. Ethan tossed the blue "guide" by the end and was doing really well. I, however, needed a back rub after pushing Owen around! Harper and Chris enjoyed cheering us on.

 One of our holiday traditions is making decorating cookies with our friends the Marleys. Harper and her buddy Jett enjoyed chilling on the floor while the older kids ate more icing and candy than what made it on the cookies. As always, we had a blast with them. Next year should be fun with the two little ones running around...

We also had our annual Christmas party, and the theme was "Holiday Cheer". (aka: wear whatever you want) I loved the eclectic mix of attire that we had - everything from sweats to sequins. We also played "the favorites game", and even though it was a tad confusing, I think everyone ended up with some really fun gifts. I also can't help but mention that the women dominated in our own version of Taboo. I was especially thankful this year at our party b/c the Harris' were able to attend. It is SO good having them back from NE, and James' boisterous laugh throughout the night was a wonderful sound to hear!

2011 has been a full year...full of immense joy (Harper's birth!!!), tears as we've walked with good friends struggling, thankfulness as the Lord has been faithful in it all, and so much laughter with these three amazing little humans the Lord has blessed us with. We give the Lord the glory for it all, and we're looking forward to another full and blessed year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

"I'm 9 Months Old!"

This is the first time since Harper has been born that I have had that feeling of "MY BABY IS GROWING UP TOO FAST!". I don't know what exactly has happen to make me feel this way, but I find myself wanting to soak up every little moment that she's at this fun stage. I have even tried to cuddle with her at night before I put her to bed, but just like her older brothers, she will have none of it.

She's doing better at eating table food, and seems to prefer feeding herself than having someone else feed her baby food. (independent little lady - go figure) She can wave good-bye, clap, nod "yes" and "no" ("yes" is my favorite b/c you can tell she really has to think about it), roll all over the place, make kissy faces when you ask for a kiss, and she's started pushing up but hasn't figured out how to get on her knees yet. She loves pulling things out of baskets or buckets, and she can throw a nice left hook when someone (ie: a brother) gets too close. She also seems to really enjoy having an audience...she loves having people watch and laugh at her. Oh, and she got her first tooth! I felt like a horrible mom that found it WAY after the fact. Come to find out she was cranky for a reason.

Yesterday I took a box her her baby clothes and all her baby gear/toys to be stored (thanks to the Harris storage unit!), and I also lowered her crib down a notch. As I was feeling nostalgic about removing all the signs of a baby, I am also really excited to continue to watch this fun little person grow and change. She is only going to enrich our lives more every day and entertain us like crazy, and that is something to look forward to!
(Think Daddy is going to be able to tell this face "no"??? Doubt it.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

We got to celebrate Thanksgiving twice this year, and I'm pretty sure I haven't eaten that much in a lonnnng time! We started out the day celebrating with Chris' mom's side of the family. Man, those Smither women know how to cook!  After we ate, the kids had a blast playing with their cousins, and the adults enjoyed good conversation over full bellies. Debbie and her sister had a "grandma sleep challenge" while we were there...who could rock/sway/bounce their grandbaby to sleep first. :) Grandma Debbie and Harper blew all competition out of the water - Harper was out cold in just a minute or two. We were so thankful that we were able to get together with this side of the family even though we didn't have Nanny and her house to bring us all together.
Later that afternoon, we headed to Greg and Kerri's house for another amazing meal. Kerri flat knows how to cook, and she puts on some wonderful meals for the family. I'm so thankful for her mad cooking skills! The kids, as always, loved playing with their big cousins. Alyssa is by far Harper's favorite babysitter, and Ethan was Adam's shadow the entire time. Owen is pretty much stuck to Paw Paw most of the time too.

The following day we spent at Paw Paw's, and the boys were in heaven. Owen got to feed all the different animals, collect eggs, and ride tractors and 4-wheelers. He even found some old tractor toys that belonged to Chris and Greg, that when he wasn't outside on the real things, he was inside playing "tractors". Ethan loved playing with all the action figures inside, and playing outside with Adam. I even snuck in the latest Twilight movie with Kerri and Alyssa. Good times!

We have so much to be thankful for this year. 2011 has been full of ups (Harper being born!) and some downs (really good friends dealing with crazy illnesses), but through it all we've been reminded that the Lord sustains us in all things and that He's always good. We feel blessed and rich beyond measure. Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

7 Months, 8 Months & a Baptism

 So we're doing a little bit of catch-up with poor Harper. The joys of being the 3rd child. She's had a busy last two months. She's mastered sitting up by herself - something she enjoys so much that it kept her up at night thinking about it. (or at least that's what I am blaming her waking up numerous times on!) She loves to clap, watch her brothers play, "dance" to music, and to be talked to. If someone isn't talking to her, she knows how to yell loudly to get attention. She's also finally figured out how to roll back and forth, thankfully. For about 2 weeks, she would get stuck on her belly, wake up and scream. (yes, I haven't been sleeping well these past two months!) She also loves to babble...we're hearing things like "Dadada", "Bub-bub-bub" and "Mama". I am sure she's talking about her family. Oh, and she's finally overcome her tongue thrust and seems to be enjoying eating baby food. She is still not taking any sort of bottle or sippy cup though...

This past weekend we finally got Harper baptized too. My mom made her a beautiful white dress to wear, and I am planning on putting it in a shadow box so Harper can have it as a keepsake. (I LOVE having a daughter!) Harper did wonderful during the baptism and her brothers did too. Thanks to Mimi and Papi for coming to share in the special day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The LIghting of the Square

My parents try to come every year for the lighting of our downtown square. (Last year we were fighting a stomach bug, so they didn't make it.) BUT this year everyone was healthy and we had a blast hanging out with them. The guys played baseball outside and superheroes inside while my mom and I managed to fit a little bit of shopping in. I think Mimi and Papi read every book we checked out from the library at least 4 times to the boys, and Harper enjoyed being held and wearing Papi's hats. The square lighting was fun - we got to listen to a choir sing and the boys enjoyed dancing. After the lights were turned on, we took my parents to the original 5 & Dime/WalMart museum. I think the highlight for Owen, though, was playing on the construction site on our way back to the car after the night was over! Thanks Mimi and Papi for visiting!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Nina & The Pinta

This past Monday, we decided last minute to head to Ft Smith to see life sized replicas of the ships The Nina and The Pinta. They travel all over the US every year, so we thought it would be fun to see what the ships that Christopher Columbus sailed on. It was quite the adventure... It took us awhile to get on the road, and about half way there Owen threw up. Had we been by ourselves, we would have turned around and gone home, but it killed me to make the Higley girls miss out. So after a lot of cleaning and much debate, we decided he had just been car sick and we headed on South. His clothes were covered, so we had to hit a WalMart before we went to the ships. I ended up carrying Owen into the store with just his diaper on, buying clothes, air freshner and Lysol. Good times. After he changed, we headed to the ships. We managed to catch a tour, and that helped keep the kids interested. (The people giving the tours actually live on the ships and sail them from place to place on the tour.) After about 30 minutes, we were done, so we stopped at a local burger joint for lunch. It was not fast food by any means, but it was good and the kids had fun talking about the ships. We ended up getting home 3 hours than we'd initially planned, and poor Elli's car seat will never be the same, thanks to Owen...but we made some memories!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm a Sucker

I came downstairs one afternoon after putting Harper and Owen down for nap to hear a faint meowing sound. And then I saw a grey streak in the living room with Ethan following behind laughing. (mind you, we do not own an animal of any sort) It never crossed my mind to clarify that we do not let animals into the house, but apparently I should have because Ethan was playing with a stray cat in my living room! I couldn't decide if I was grossed out or thought it was sweet. A little startled I reprimanded Ethan and told him to get the cat outside. He burst into tears, sobbing, "The cat is my best friend! He will be sad and lonely outside without me!" And my heart melted. A little. Next thing I know we're giving the cat a bowl full of milk and some extra lunch meat. I try to justify the treat by telling myself that the cat WON'T poop in our sandbox and he'll catch lots of mice as a "thank you" for the food. Regardless, that cat has become a permanent fixture in our backyard. I guess as long as he stays out there...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Halloween 2011

It was another fun Halloween as we celebrated with our neighborhood and a few friends again. We grilled out hotdogs, ate lots of candy, and had fun watching all the kids run around together in their costumes. Ethan started out the night as Captain America and closed it down with War Machine. Owen was Bob the Builder, and Harper was a cute lady bug. Owen wasn't overly happy most of the evening b/c he didn't like his overalls, but once he realized exactly what Trick or Treating consisted of (getting candy) Halloween became his favorite holiday! 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Phone Pictures

I finally pulled the images off of my phone - it had been awhile. I found some funny ones I couldn't help but share....
Ethan was laughing really hard one evening when he was taking a bath. (laughing or crying are generally not great signs.) Concerned, I went in there to find this. There really aren't any words, but I had a good laugh.

This was another instance of where I got a little concerned. I was getting Harper ready for bath when she got really quiet. (I guess I should add quiet to my list of "warning signs") I found her cuddling with Ironman. I guess we don't need to worry about getting her any dolls.

And Owen has provided us with some "material" as of late. I don't know if it's the age/stage or what, but he's been making us laugh a lot AND ask each other "what do we do???"
He potty trained for about 5 hours a couple weeks ago. He woke up and insisted on wearing big boy underwear. I've always known that if it's going to happen it was going to have to be his idea, so I've been waiting for him to initiate. Of course this particular day we had different people coming to the house to work on our kitchen, a billion errands to run, etc. But we went with it. Oh, he was excited. He did really well all morning with no accidents. We decided to eat lunch at a park since I didn't have my kitchen, and while we were there it all fell apart. It fell apart all over our picnic blanket. After that he decided big boy underwear didn't "work" and he needed his diapers again. I have no idea when we'll try again...but I do know I am not looking forward to it.

And the last Owen story came from last week. I let the boys take turns going first picking out a cartoon they want to watch in the afternoon. It was Ethan's turn to go first and Owen threw a fit of massive proportions. I told him it was Ethan's turn to go first and that he didn't have to watch Ethan's show if he didn't want to. He replied, "FINE! Me not watch it at all!" And he didn't. He laid face down on the couch with his eyes closed for the entire 20 minute show. I'm pretty sure he didn't open his eyes once. When it was his turn, he popped up had a big 'ole smile on his face, asked for Bob the Builder and all was right with the world again. He truly is more stubborn than I am. Oh, my....

Saturday, October 22, 2011


We went to visit Grandma Debbie last weekend. When we got there, the kids were greeted with hugs, smiles and some peach water (much to the boys great delight!). It was a gorgeous weekend, so we spend a lot of time out on Debbie's great back porch. Owen and Ethan stripped every cushion off of the patio furniture and played "cement workers", "astronauts", and "pilots" for what seemed like hours. Harper loved having as much attention she could get when her brothers were playing outside!
I was really not feeling well the whole weekend (I caught whatever virus the kids had and it then turned into a sinus infection), so I didn't do a very good job of capturing all that we did while we were there. The boys and Grandma went to the park on Saturday morning, had a fun lunch at McDonald's, and then we went to the zoo that afternoon. The boy's favorite animals to see were the monkeys! Afterwards we ate dinner at Ted's Escondido and I think that may have been the highlight of my weekend! Oh, Ted's how I have missed your tortillas...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sweet E

Here's a picture I took of Ethan the other day while still trying to figure my camera out. I am working at learning to make eyes "pop". I find myself staring at his eyes trying to figure out what color they are!

My first born is growing up... I rely on his help more and more with his brother and sister. I was trying to get dinner on yesterday when Harper decided that all she wanted was to be held. Ethan said he'd be her babysitter and proceeded to sit on the floor with her, giving her toys and making her laugh. So sweet. I feel like at times he is my little clone (poor kid). I understand his sensitive feelings and what makes him tick. It's helpful, but there is something uniquely difficult dealing with a person that is very similar to yourself! I honestly don't know if we'll be able to home school...he and I butt heads almost immediately when we try to do something! Regardless, I am so proud of my little guy and thankful for his sweet little spirit!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Three Kids at 6 Months

It's been funny hearing comments about how much Harper looks like her brothers. For the most part people think she looks like Owen, but I definitely see some of Ethan in her expressions. Chris was looking at pictures of all three kids, and he said the one thing they all have in common is their large heads. He said it looks like I Photoshopped a big head on a small body...surely one day they'll grow into them, right?

Sunday, October 09, 2011

OU vs TX

OU vs TX is kind of like a family holiday at the Hoyle house. Chris informed me that it might be bigger than Thanksgiving to them... Anyway, we headed to Paw Paw's to watch the game and hang out with the family. My morning started with my boys yelling Boomer! Sooner! It's still odd to me that MY children are OU fans...
Owen could have cared less about the game; all he wanted to do was to ride the tractor and 4-wheeler. As soon as we go there he told Paw Paw it was time to go get the eggs. That boy is in heaven on farm. While everyone watched the game he played outside driving his 4-wheeler around (a little tricycle).
 Chris enjoyed watching the Sooners win big as well as playing some catch with his brother.
 Harper hasn't been real sure what to think of Paw Paw's deep voice, but it didn't take long for her to warm up to him on this trip! They were buddies by the end.
Harper also LOVES her big cousin, Alyssa. Alyssa fed her lunch, held her, and played with her most of the day. I have a feeling Harper is really going to look up to Alyssa... Of course Ethan loved playing with Adam, and he could spend all day in the play room going through all the old action figures Paw Paw has. 

Thanks, Paw Paw, for the wonderful day!

Friday, October 07, 2011

A New Blog

About 4 years ago (?), our friend, Shawn, suggested that we do a meal swap once a month. Everyone would make one meal for multiple families and then we would swap those meals between us so we only had to make one thing but would get several different meals. (does that make any sense?!) I was skeptical, honestly, but boy, was I wrong. It's been a genius idea that we've continued ever since. We've had some really good recipes come through the mix and there has been some discussion on how we could get a place to compile all the "keepers". So, we've started a new blog where we're going to post our favorite recipes. Feel free to check it out, and definitely let us know if you have any recipes to share!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Harper is 6 Months Old

A half a year has gone by since my little lady was born...that does not seem possible. At all. It's been a fun and fast 6 months...

She's becoming more and more vocal - to the point where we're having to talk over her at dinner. Owen has even told her she's loud, and coming from him, that speaks volumes (pun intended). My favorite thing right now is her belly laughs. Her brothers and our neighbor, Emma, can make her laugh hysterically. It's a beautiful sound! She also loves to pat things. When someone holds her she pats their arm. When she's at the table, she pats it. When she lays in her crib to go to sleep, she pats her tummy. Maybe we'll have a drummer?!

She's finally rolled over (from back to front), but mostly she likes trying to sit up on her own and take in everything. She's sitting pretty well on her own, but her head does seem to pull her over. (I took her in for her 6 month well-check, and she's in the 10th percentile in weight, 15th in height, and 70th in head size. A true Hoyle baby.)

She tried eating "solids" for the first time last week, and it hasn't gone over very well. She has a serious case of tongue thrust, so nothing is staying in right now. She still doesn't take a bottle or a sippy cup. Surely one of these days she'll be able to eat without me!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Visit from Mimi

Mimi came to visit last week and it was so fun having her around for two days! She managed to whip together curtains for my room that I have been too scared to start myself, as well as getting some good time with the kiddos. Thanks for the visit, Mimi!


I'm having fun playing with my new camera and trying to figure it out. I'm also realizing that the whole editing process is a completely different world that I'm going to have to try and learn too. I have no clue what I am doing right now, but I'm having fun trying... This picture was pretty cute to look at while playing in Photoshop. (I am sure I have bathrooms or something I should be cleaning right now...)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guy's Morning

As much as it pains me to have the men in my life wearing OU paraphernalia, I have to admit I think they're pretty cute all dressed up together. They all decided to don their red for a Saturday morning donut run, while Harper and I had a quiet morning at home. I guess she and I will have to wear our OSU orange together and go for quiche or something.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rosemary Beach 2011

We took our first family vacation as a family of 5 this past month as we went to Florida with my brother and his family. Flying with 3 kids seemed a little daunting, but we decided it was worth trying with a beautiful beach as our "prize". (sorry this post will be annoyingly long and full of lots of pictures!)

We flew from Tulsa and met my brother's family in Houston. We were so excited that it worked out for us to fly together at least one leg of the trip, and we felt a little sorry for the other passengers as we had 6 kids 5 years old and under with us! The kids, however, did amazing and I think they could have been happy with just a family trip of flying on airplanes. I think one of the more comical times of our trip was getting all our luggage at the airport when we arrived. Between the two families we had 12 bags (thank you Southwest for letting us check so much stuff!), 2 double strollers, and 6 really excited kids. I felt like we were the 3 ring circus entertaining all the people in airport. At one point I had a woman ask me if they were all my kids. Right.

We got to the house around 5:30, unpacked our bags and headed straight to the beach with the kids. The sunset was gorgeous and the kids couldn't believe how much cooler this was than just riding an airplane! Ethan had no qualms about jumping right into the water, and it was so fun watching his complete joy swimming in the water. Owen was a little more hesitant, but he was thrilled to play in the sand.
Our first morning there we ate and headed straight out to the beach. This was Harper's first time to see it all, and she wasn't overly impressed. I think it mostly had to do with the fact that she was NOT feeling well. She did grab a handful of sand and try to she was checking it out!

True to form the boys approached the beach very differently! Ethan was in the water the minute we got there and didn't get out till it was time to leave. Owen, however, was not a fan of the waves and chose to let them touch him a little bit - if he wasn't busy "cooking" with Claire in the sand.

All the cousins got along wonderfully. Jack and Ethan picked right up where they left off last time, and they loved swimming together. Claire and Owen were the most surprising buddies of the trip...they both have the tendency to play in their own world and not with other people. Fortunately, their worlds meshed well together, and they both seemed to love playing together. By the end of the trip, Claire was calling Owen "punkin' " and Owen called Claire "Clairey". It was pretty cute.

We went to Seaside one afternoon for lunch at the Modeco Market. We also hit a fun ice cream shop that was on the Today for having chocolate dipped key lime pie (it was wonderful!). We also were sure to hit "The Sugar Shak" that was around the corner from our house. It was every kid's dream full of candy for any taste. One morning we walked to The Donut Truck only to find it closed, so we settled for powdered donuts from a convenience store to appease the distraught kids. They seemed just as happy with the donuts, but we adults were saddened because they did not taste as good as we remembered from our childhood!
The last night Chris and I went on a date to Cafe 33 (Jon and Katie went to The Red Barn the night before), and we enjoyed some AMAZING seafood and a beautiful walk on the beach afterwards.

It was such a wonderful vacation, and we are so thankful that we were able to share it with our family. I am pretty sure we're all ready to go back in 2012!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

A Harper Taco

Sometimes I wonder if Harper should be a little less laid back. I was making dinner and Chris was playing with the boys, and Harper was content on her mat. Little did we know she was IN her mat... It scared me a first - until I saw her face.

The Rest of LABOR Day Weekend

The rest of our Labor Day weekend was pretty relaxed. Saturday morning we went to the farmer's market and ate crepes for breakfast. Owen loves watching "The Crepe Lady" make our food, and he spend the rest of the day pretending to be the Crepe Lady making us food. (we need to introduce him to a crepe making MAN) We enjoyed spending as much time outside as possible and soaking up every minute of the beautiful weather! On Monday, we went to the lake with our friends. I wasn't sure how to handle a boat and a 5 month old baby, but we borrowed a friend's infant life jacket and decided to try it out. Harper is mostly very chill about things, but as soon as that boat got going she was NOT happy. I think she and I lasted 5 minutes on the boat till I took her home. When the wind hit her face she couldn't breath, and when she'd catch her breath she'd scream. I was sad to leave the boys and Chris on the boat and miss out on the fun, but it wasn't worth it. I guess there's always next year... All in all though, it was a perfect Labor Day weekend. Now on to our Florida trip to finish telling summer good-bye!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Starting LABOR Day Weekend Off Right

Chris had Friday off, so we decided it was time to head down South and visit Paw Paw on the farm. I forgot my camera, so I didn't capture a lot of the fun we had, but I did get some of it with my phone camera. The boys had a good time collecting eggs, and I am enjoying the fruits of their labor with almost 200 eggs in my frig now! (thanks, Paw Paw!) They visited and fed a lot of the animals on the farm, rode the four wheeler, and they even got to see some of their cousins for a little bit.
We also made it down to the creek. It was Harper's first time to be down there, and after she realized all she needed to do was lay back and enjoy the ride in her boat, she was happy as can be. I think Owen preferred being around the animals and on the 4 wheeler, but he did enjoy floating down the creek with Chris and his big brother. Ethan, however, loved every minute of the water and enjoyed the rope swing. It's fun that they both have different aspects of the farm that they REALLY enjoy.