Sunday, September 15, 2013

First Day of School

The most magical time of the year has arrived! Its back to school we go, or TO school since this is our very first year. Rorie is officially a Kindergartner! As long as many of the days have seemed, the years have just flown by. Its hard to believe my little tiny baby has somehow grown into an independent, high spirited five year old. For anyone with kids, reaching the school years is a bitter sweet moment. You always hear that "they grow up so fast", but its times like these that it really hits you.
Rorie starting Kindergarten has been made even more exciting and nerve racking due to the fact that she is attending a Mandarin immersion school. We are so excited for her to experience a brand new culture and language. We are hoping that early exposure will set her up for a lifetime of language education. Luckily she has a couple of uncles that she can flex her Mandarin muscles with!
Rorie's first day was a great one! Despite the commute and early start time (7:45) we arrived on time and in good spirits. The entire school and all the parents met in the Auditorium for opening exercises (not sure if that is what they actually call it, but 25 years of Mormon vernacular makes me think it is). The place was PACKED. The auditorium was definitely not big enough to accommodate all of us and we were forced to get very friendly very quickly. I was deathly afraid that the huge mob of emotional kids and parents was going to freak Rorie out, but she seemed to be oblivious. She found her teacher and promptly told me "See you later mom!" No tears were shed by her at the thought of leaving her mom all day and I was only slightly offended by her excitement.
Knowing that the Kinder parents were not ready to leave (even if the kids were ready to see us go) the principal invited us to stay on the stage while the kids sang "This Land is My Land" and stated the pledge of allegiance. Then they were off, in cute little uniformed lines, half of the kids crying and the rest trying to figure out why all these kids were losing it. Rorie was in the later group and she waved excitedly as she passed me. She is just all grown up!

In honor of this big life milestone we had some special portraits done of Rorie. She rocked it in typical crazy Rorie fashion! I just absolutely love them. Big shout out to Nicole Suddeth of Nikki Nak Photography for the amazing pictures!

 This one was completely spontaneous, and my absolute favorite photo.

This is Rorie doing, in her own worlds, a "hot move". T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

  Rorie and I right outside of her school

She wanted to make sure we got a picture of her backpack!

Cute, BIG girl hair!

There is a super funny story with this picture. I found a pin on Pinterest that showed a High School Senior holding a picture of themselves on the first day of Kindergarten, holding their baby photo. I thought it would be a super cute thing to be able to do. I even REMEMBERED on that very hectic first morning (major props for me). Unfortunately in my sleep deprived state I grabbed Noa's baby picture instead of Rorie's!  

Two weeks in and Rorie is still loving school. I am so excited to see how much she learns and grows this year! Stay tuned for her progress with Mandarin.

Zai jian!

THe Kenisons

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Care Packages: The Upside of Deployment

There are a lot of horrible things about deployment. The time apart, missed holidays & birthdays, crappy communication etc. Luckily for us there are a few perks, the biggest being care packages! For someone who likes to plan, decorate, shop, and create, care packages are a fun monthly project that help the time pass. For guys stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean, nothing lifts their spirits like an awesome package from home. Especially when said package contains shameless amounts of candy and treats.

Thanks to the awesomeness that is Pinterest, there is an endless stream of ideas and innovations to make care packages Legen (wait for it) DARY! Here is this months package:

Since September is Back-to-School time, we thought we would send Jake some school essentials. Notebooks? Check. Pens? Check. Adorable pictures of Rorie starting school? Check. Copious amounts of fun lunchbox snacks? Double check.

Rorie helped me decorate the box. We chose some of her assignments from the week to include in the decor so that her Daddy could see how well she was doing.

We are sending off our box, full of treats and lots of love. We are hoping it will bring a little smile to Jake's face and remind him how much we are missing and loving him. Fingers crossed it reaches him quickly!

The Kenisons

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anchors Away! A Deployment Day Story.

Its official, Jake is deployed. In a weird way, its a relief. Before we went through the process ourselves we were told countless times that the hardest parts are the few weeks prior and the few weeks post deployment. I know now that as crazy as that sounds, it is absolutely true. Watching the days tick down to departure is a special kind of torture. Every time we did something fun together, like going to the zoo, there is a small voice in your head saying "this is it, our last zoo trip before deployment". Its hard to enjoy the time together knowing how limited it is. I guess this is just one more thing to check off the "Military Life" list.

The day he left we headed down to the pier around 6am. We had breakfast on base at McDonalds before dropping him off. Jake surprised the girls with stuffed Battle Buddies, bears in military uniform that are handed out to children with deployed parents. It was a nice surprise and helped to lift the mood a little bit.

Daddy and his girls (and their buddies)

I need to add a little side note that I forgot. Jake shave his head the night before he left (see pic above). He had been teasing me for weeks that when he came home he was going to walk of the ship with a bald head and mustache. I finally decided to call his bluff and I dared him to go through with it. Obviously I lost that battle. I think we can all agree that hair is a better look for him!

Ok, so now to get back to my story. Saying goodbye was awful and sad and horrible and sad. Did I mention how sad it was? Seriously everyone, I REALLY don't recommend doing the whole deployment thing. Rorie and Noa were both much braver than me, which helped force me to put on a brave face. Even Jake was teary eyed. We left after our goodbyes instead of sticking around to watch the ship pull out. Occasionally the sailors are allowed to get off and say goodbye one more time, but we had been warned in advance that this was not going to be the case for us. I decided sitting around for three hours with two kids wasn't worth it. My friend just happened to be in the area and snapped a picture as they pulled out of the harbor.

I know this post is a major bummer, but I want to end it on a happy note. I want to say that despite all the awfulness of deployment, I really do love military life. It is an amazing to be apart of something so big and so important. You cant help but feel a sense of pride when you experience a military farewell or homecoming. The men and woman in the Navy and Marines (and all other military branches) are AMAZING. They sacrifice so much for all of us. Knowing a little about their mission this deployment makes it easier to say goodbye. Our families sacrifice is so worth it!

To all of the fine men and woman aboard the USS BOXER,  Fair winds and Following seas!

The Kenisons

Monday, August 12, 2013

Family Pictures & Deployment

I think that a year of no posting cinches the "Worlds Worst Blogger" title for me. I always have the best of intentions, but for some reason, updating the blog-sphere of our shenanigans just never makes it to the top of the list. This year is going to be different! I know most of you are probably rolling your eyes, citing my many "I'll be better" claims as evidence that NOTHING will change, but this time I have a lot of added incentive. 

As most of you know, Jake is deploying this month. This has been a long time coming, we knew as soon as we moved here that August 2013 was going to be the beginning of our first full deployment as a military family. Somehow in 2011 this date seemed very far away. Now its here and all that is left are the last minute purchases of shampoo and beef jerky before we have to say goodbye for eight long months. sigh. 

I feel a need to chronicle all the time that we will be apart so that he can look back at the posts and pictures and hopefully feel a part of it all. Plus, it will be one more deployment activity that will keep my hands and mind busy during the long months ahead. I hope that you will all follow along with our next big adventure!

Now for family pictures! I have to give our photographer, Lynette of Lynette Nicolas Photography, huge props for putting up with my crazy kids and husband. It took a lot of editing magic, but we got some beautiful images!

Rorie was pretty concerned we were going to get run over by a train...

 Everyone is looking at the camera AND SMILING?! BOOM!

 My girls are B-E-A- UTIFUL!

This is my favorite group shot! It might not be perfect, but that is life with kids. At least we are all looking at the camera!

 I love this one SO MUCH. Its great to have awesome pictures of the two of us. It happens so rarely. I even love Jake's goofy face.

 This one makes me a little emotional. I cant believe how old my baby girl is! I have no idea how she got to be this gorgeous!

 Sometimes he makes me laugh!

A little mommy-daughter time

This one is entitled "Real Life". One of the last of the shoot, after Noa ripped apart her hair bow, jumped in a fountain and Rorie declared that she was "bored of smiling". Family is a beautiful thing!

The Kenisons

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Summer Adventures

Is it really already the middle of July?! Where in the world did this year go? Between Noa, birthdays and our recent nomad existence the weeks have flown by. So here is what you have missed:

Jake turned 28! Just two years to the big 3-0! This birthday was a laid back one since Jake was working on his actual birthday...and every other day for that matter. Unfortunately for him it was his turn to "crank" which  is Navy lingo for kitchen wench. This meant working 12 out of every 14 days with working hours averaging around 12 hours. Needless to say he was overjoyed when he FINALLY finished right before the 4th.

Noa is growing in leaps and bounds, which is seriously distressing her mother. Already it is hard to remember her ever being a tiny newborn. She is exceptionally strong and is hitting all of her physical checkpoints a little on the early side. She is almost able to sit up, she can roll from back to front and is already trying to use her toes to propel her forward. Its only a matter of time before she figures it out!

Rorie also celebrated a birthday, turning four this last May. She had a fabulous party with all of her friends and she told me after that it was the "BEST DAY EVER!" This made all of the hard work and preparation totally worth it. Rorie continues to have a one of a kind personality. She is super silly and exceptionally independent. In fact, as I write this she is 600 miles away at Aunt Brenda's house! She seems to be completely oblivious to the fact that she has been without her parents for over week. She is far too busy having fun to feel home sick.

Rorie and her friend Ily posing in the Bday Photo booth :)

I am exhausted from the almost solid month of travel the girls and I undertook from mid June until mid July. First was a trip to Michigan to see all of my family. My little sis and her husband were home for a wedding and my youngest sis was graduating from High School. It was a fun packed two weeks with cousins and Aunts/Uncles and favorite UP (mostly food related) activities. The one down side was the unseasonably warm weather. Ninety and humid. no thanks. I will take San Diego perfection over that any day! One of the high points of the trip was seeing my Brother's new house. My sister in law Angela did an amazing job making it a home.
After arriving home we had a couple days of respite which included 4th of July celebrations. Jakes cousin Emily and some of our neighborhood friends joined us to help make the day special. We had a ton of yummy food, plus we got to help our friends enjoy their last day as a family of three! 
Next was our trip to Utah for a friends wedding and to see Jake's family. My childhood friend Jessica was sealed in the Draper Temple to her wonderful fiance Eric. It was such a huge blessing for me to attend. It was also a chance to catch up with all of my old friends. It was the first time the Four Musketeers were together in YEARS! We capitalized on our limited time together by staying up until 4am, which we paid for when our kids awoke as bright and early as ever. Our trip luckily overlapped with two of Jake's sisters visits. We got to meet two of our newest cousins and visit with the Smith family who came all the way from Florida. Before our return home Jake's sister Brenda convinced me that Rorie really needed an extended vacation with her cousins, so the return trip was made with only one kid!
The Four Musketeers!

Mrs. Eric Barlow!
Noa and Sarah Jane :)

Aunt Andrea with the babes.
Home made slip and slide at Grandmas :)

2012 Kenison babies, minus little Nathan and Baby Boy Smith.
L to R: Beth and Sarah Jane, Me and Noa, Katie and Luke

Our fun summer will be capped off with Rorie's return and a three week visit from her cousin Dallin. We can't wait to show him all that San Diego has to offer!

The Kenisons

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Noa Olivia Kenison

So this is slightly after the fact, but Noa is finally here! The weeks after her arrival were very eventful and there was just no time for blogging. Now that we have gotten back to normal, or at least reached a state of only semi-chaos, its time to update!

The Birth
Ten days after my due date, and one day before my scheduled induction, I went into labor. For a while before she came I had been toying with the idea of going natural this time around. I was still undecided when we arrived at the hospital and as labor progressed I was almost sure that I would be able to do it. Then I experienced the evil that is Pitocin. Now I had heard a lot of people talking about how much Pitocin can increase the intensity of contractions but having never experienced it without an epidural, I was quick to dismiss it as hype. BIG MISTAKE. So to make a long story short, one minute I was fine and the next I wanted to die. I asked for an epidural, I withstood the insertion of the epidural while having contractions every 45 seconds and only then did the doctor check me and inform me that I was at an eight and the epidural was not going to have time to kick in. On the positive side I had her about 20 minutes after this, on the negative they were truly the worst 20 minutes of my life. Because I was in so much pain and unable to push effectively Noa's heart rate dropped to dangerous levels and had to be born with the assistance of a vacuum. So here is the lesson I learned from this experience: If you want to do natural, you MUST prepare mentally and physically. Going in thinking you will just wing it is not an effective strategy! I also learned that I am not a natural birth type of person. Next time around when the nurse asks if I am getting an epidural it will be a definite YES!

The Stats
8lbs 6oz and 21in long. That is almost two pounds bigger than Rorie! It will be fun to see if she continues to be larger or if it was just the result of almost two weeks more "in the oven".

The Following Weeks
My mom was able to be with us for two weeks after she was born. It was great to have the extra pair of hands, especially the very willing and capable hands of Grandma. Rorie quickly became a little mom and was eager to help with the day to day tasks caring for Noa. We experienced a little miracle during our first week home. Jakes grandmother, who had been ill for several years, passed away. Because I was so late in having her, Jake was still on paternity leave and was able to make the 20hr round trip to Utah to attend her funeral. He never would have been able to go if she had come on time. It was a good reminder that everything happens on the Lords time, and there is usually a good reason for our trials. Ten extra days of being miserable and pregnant were totally worth Jake being able to say a final farewell to a woman that had meant so much to him. My MIL Karen and SIL Mia came down to visit us on the tail end of my mothers stay. We were all together for Easter and were able to bless Noa at our house that evening. It was a sweet experience with just our family and a very charitable Bishop who was willing to give of his time on a holiday Sunday. By the following Wednesday all of our family had returned home. It was a bittersweet feeling to be on our own once again. Now that Noa is a month old we have gotten into the swing of being a family of four. Life is somewhat chaotic, the house is never quite clean enough, and there is never enough time in the day, but there is so much joy! It is hard to imagine life without Noa and the sweet spirit she brings to our home. We are truly blessed!

Here are some pictures:

We will keep you all updated on our many baby adventures!

The Kenisons

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baby Belly Update!

So now that I am officially "full term" we have begun counting down to the big arrival. While the exact time and date is of course a mystery, we are pretty confidant that Noa will be making an early appearance. We have already had one false alarm! Contractions were coming every ten minutes for about three hours. By the time I went to the hospital to be monitored they had pretty much stopped, or so I thought. When the doctor came in she showed us that in fact I was having mild contractions every 3.5 minutes on the dot! So as of last Wednesday I was already at a two and I am anxious to see where I am tomorrow when I visit my midwife.
I am very excited to welcome our little one into our family, but I know that I am really going to miss my baby bump! For posterity sake we had a few photos taken to document it, ENJOY!

 Hopefully the next post will be me announcing the birth of our new baby girl!

The Kenisons