moments and opportunities...and sheep

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wow, the Christmas season is busy! In the midst of all of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I've found myself taking a few quiet moments to reflect on all of the blessings in my life. I have been thanking God that I am still around to experience the exciting and the mundane known as my life. Each breath I take is a gift. Each moment that I experience is an opportunity. I have found myself not taking advantage of those opportunities in a way I wish I would. But as soon as one opportunity ends in failure, there's sure to be a second chance right around the corner. The death of our friend Jon has really made me think about life and what God offers me daily. I don't keep in touch with friends nearly as much as I should and I find myself putting off important phone calls for another day (and another and another). But I know exactly where Jon would be if he were given another day on this earth. He would be holding his wife and daughter. I want to make sure and give as much of myself to my family that I can, while I can. While I hate to say that other people and things sit on the back burners until they've become somewhat crispy, I am enjoying the moments and opportunities in my life right now. I am cherishing the last few months of it just being the three of us. I know that our second child will bring a whole new dimension and dynamic to our lives that will be amazing and I'll cherish every moment of that as well. I think back to the last few months before Ella was born while Josh and I were anticipating the birth of our first child and cherishing our last moments as husband and wife with no children. It was special.

Laurie had this scripture on her blog the other day and it struck a chord in me. It might have something to do with shepherds, sheep, and a savior being pounded into my brain for several months. While I tend to leave a lot out of my day to day life and overlook a lot of the small yet important things, God always has the time to come get me. Over and over and over again. He really is the good shepherd and I'm a shaggy, smelly sheep.

I am Your servant,
but I have wandered away like a lost sheep.
Please come after me,
because I have not forgotten Your teachings.
Psalm 119:176

I realize that I have randomly rambled long enough. The holidays make me extremely sentimental. So do the pregnancy hormones.

I miss you Jon. Merry Christmas, my friend.

my baby is no longer a baby...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

as in previous posts, ella is growing up so much lately. she's taking big steps to becoming a big girl. she's going to preschool, she sleeps in a big girl bed, she talks non-stop. the list just goes on. well yesterday i picked ella up from school and asked the teacher how she's been sleeping. she told me that she sleeps great and always sleeps the whole nap time and that they don't even give her the pacifier anymore. i've been putting off taking it away because i didn't want to make the teachers' lives miserable. but i've learned that people who work at daycares and preschools are not scared to try anything! i mean, to them, what's the worst that could happen? last night we figured we might as well see what happens and take it away. as josh and i were lying in bed about to go to sleep i told him "i'm going to give in tonight. i'm just too tired to fight." ella went to sleep at 8 and is still asleep now at 7am. so apparently she didn't need it anyway. i told my mom last night that once we take away the paci, we have given up that last thing that made her my little baby.

i guess we've still got to tackle diapers, but that's a whole different battle!

my kids

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

so i found out i was pregnant on september 11th. i was ecstatic! we had been trying for over a year and it finally happened (with a little help from some clomid). i can't believe i'm finally pregnant! we've waited so long and not always patiently. but i've finally made it to my second trimester and my morning sickness is really starting to ease up. my clothes are too tight and i'm battling some serious headaches, but at least the nausea is getting better! i have to say that when i was pregnant with ella, i thought about being pregnant ALL the time. it was constantly on my mind and this time is so much different. i'm too busy to think about it! between work, chasing ella around two days a week, and all the other things to do around the house there's not much time to sit here and relish over my pregnancy. i can already see how the second baby just doesn't get as much attention. it's still in the womb and it's already happening. i hope and pray that i'll find some balance by the time he/she gets here.

well, here's a picture of my two kids. i absolutely cannot wait for may 18th when josh, ella, and i get to meet this new baby. i love mommyhood!

Here's hoping ella gets a little more excited by the time the baby gets here! :)

growing up

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

well october turned into a lot of growing up for miss ella. in my previous post, i mentioned that ella was starting preschool at little hands academy. let me just say that i absolutely love that school and i love the people who work there. she has wonderful teachers and i know that she is being cared for very well.

with that said, monday went very well. we dropped her off and snuck out while she was playing. the teachers told me that she whined a little for mommy when the other kids' parents dropped them off, but other than that she was great. then for naptime, they gave ella her paci and she went right to sleep and slept for two hours! i'm impressed. so i went to pick her up and she was so happy to see me. she has NEVER been that happy to see me! so all in all, it was a great first day of school. which brings me to today....oh my gosh, it was horrible! as soon as we got there, she would not let me put her down because she knew if she took her eyes off of me, i was going to sneak out. so we sat down and played with toys for a few minutes, but she was not going to let me out of there. so, i handed her over to the teacher as she was screaming hysterically for me. I had to walk out of the room with her watching me and screaming "No Mommy, no! I wanna go bye-bye with you. Mommy NOOOOOOO!" Traumatizing...for the both of us. I walked out of there practically sobbing and cried all the way to work, which let to a horrific headache that lasted the rest of the day. I called at 10am and they said she was doing great. Since I work with my mom, I shared my sad story with her and she was sad too. So at 5, we both went to Little Hands to see her. She was so happy to see me. She had tears in her eyes as she ran up to me saying "It's Mommy, It's my mommy, Hi mommy!" I love her so much. It broke my heart today, but I know that she's going to adjust and she'll make friends and learn how to be much more flexible throughout this process. I did, however, tell Josh that he would take her to school from now on. I can't go through that again.

In order to get Ella prepared for sleeping on the mat, we moved her over to her big girl bed on Saturday night. Let me just say that I was expecting the worst and she has done awesome! I think the fact that she doesn't use a night light and it's pitch black in her room helps a lot. If she got up, she wouldn't be able to see her toys or books anyway, so what's the point? The first night at 2:30am, she accidentally got out of her bed and couldn't see how to get back in. So I heard her through the monitor saying "I wanna go night night, I wanna go night night". So i went in there and placed her back in bed under the covers and she went right back to sleep. The second night, she fell out of her bed and I heard her crying. I ran in there and she told me "Mommy, I f-f-f-ell d-d-d-down". It was so sweet. So I put her back in bed again, and right to sleep she went. Since then, she's done perfectly. She took a 3 hour nap on Tuesday and has just been awesome at it. I attribute it to all of the hard work we did when she was a baby, teaching her how to put herself to sleep and making it known that night time is for sleeping not for playing. That and the fact that I think she's amazing at anything she tries. Now i do have a feeling that once she gets used to things, she's going to test us and get out of bed just to see what we do, but for now we are enjoying an easy transition.

Here are some pictures of my grown-up little girl.

Ella's first day of school:

Ella's 2nd day of school:

And here's Ella and Avery doing some super cheeses:


Thursday, October 22, 2009

i'm one of those crazy people who doesn't like vaccinations. i stopped vaccinating ella at six months because i started educating myself and decided that our children get way too many vaccinations before they are two years old. now, i'm not so hard core as to think that vaccinations aren't good at all, i just think that they are pushed too hard and given too many. i decided over a year ago that when she turned two, i would start catching her up slowly....on my schedule, not my doctor's. i feel like it's the parent's responsibility to know and have an opinion on their child's healthcare. and BE EDUCATED!!! doctor's don't always know what's best. i'm not saying that they are harmful to children, but i'm also not saying that they aren't. What I'm saying is PROVE to me that they are safe! Let's see some (unbiased) research!

okay, now that i'm off my soapbox.....i had to take ella to get her MMR and varicella vaccination this morning. now, i said i was going to wait until she was two to start catching her up but ella is starting preschool on Monday. I cried while she got her shots and watched as they pumped those viruses into her precious little leg and I cried all the way home and prayed that God would take care of her body and give her an amazingly strong immune system. It was really traumatic for me.

Ella's original day to start school was January 5th, but due to some recent health issues with our current arrangements we had to bump that up. I happened to call Little Hands yesterday, which is so hard to get into, and they had an opening for their 18-month MWF class. I happened to call on a whim, hoping they'd have an opening and they did. I just wasn't expecting her to say that she could start on Monday. While it's obviously better timing for us, Mommy is not ready for Ella to start preschool. Luckily Little Hands is on Josh's way to work, not mine. I'd cry every day for the rest of the year if I had to drop her off. We'll both take her on Monday, so a few prayers would be appreciated. It's hard to know that for her first (almost) two years of her life, she was loved on continually and cared for by Josh and myself primarily, and for the past two months her Nonnie watched her once or twice a week. So this is hard for me to let a stranger take care of my child. Are they going to kiss her every bump and bruise when she walks up and asks them to? Will she feel like she can ask her teacher to kiss her bo-bos? Are they going to give lots of hugs? Will she feel secure? There are so many things running through my head and I just hope that she adjusts well. I take comfort in knowing that if she absolutely hates it or Mommy feels like it's not time yet, I can always take her out and try again another time. She's also got to learn how to sleep on a mat. So you might say a few prayers for her teachers too :)

Here's to my beautiful little girl, who is growing up so fast right before my very eyes. I love you Ellabell and I hope you have so much fun at school.

avery comes to visit!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I had the pleasure of getting to babysit Avery this morning. Ella and Avery had so much fun playing together. We watched some Baby Einstein and played with blocks, puzzles, and every toy in Ella's toybox. Although I did hear the word "mine" way more than usual, they played so nicely together. We also watched The Last Unicorn (well the first 30 minutes of it). I don't know if anyone else remembers that movie, but it was my favorite when I was a kid. Watching it now is a little disturbing, but I went ahead and passed it along to my daughter anyway! :) The things you could get away with in the 70s and 80s!

Thanks for coming over to play and come back again soon, Avery!

And I've decided that when I have my second child, I wouldn't mind if it came out a two year old :)

This one was funny because they both wanted to sit in the chair. Whoever was sitting in the chair wouldn't get up because as soon as she would the other one would take her seat. It was so funny! Every once in a while one of them would see something worth getting up and losing the seat over. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I was driving down 288 with Ella the other day and I realized that her future is my biggest worry. I was a lot of trouble to my parents in high school and college. I got caught up in lots of things I shouldn't have. I look back and think about how far away my life then is from my life now. I love everything about where I am and Ella and Josh bless me beyond belief. My parents raised me right. I was just a stubborn, bull-headed kid who was determined to get into trouble. I knew everything and was always right. My parents were stupid. So, my take on parenting is that you do the best that you can and you pray for wisdom and guidance from God and from there, it's up to your children. Luckily, my parents raised me in church and God never left my side. I realize that I could still be doing the same things (or worse) that I was doing seven years ago. Something about my personality coupled with the fact that I had faith in Jesus Christ brought me home. I just hope that Ella avoids a lot of my mistakes. And if she doesn't, I pray that God will steer her back, just like He did me. Knowing that one day, I will have to let Ella be the person that she wants to be is terrifying. I just pray that I am instilling values that will stay with her forever, no matter where she goes. She is my heart and I love her more than my own life itself.
Here is ella practicing good hygiene:
and then lovin on her brobee.
this one is a little fuzzy, but her new thing is to try and walk around in my shoes. she makes it about two steps and then falls out of them.
it was the first day of fall, so we had to put on our fall clothes! here she is cheesin it up.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

i'm sitting here listening to josh and ella reading books through the baby monitor as he's putting her down to bed and i can't help but feel so completely and utterly blessed for my life and all God has provided. I have an amazing husband who is an amazing father to our amazing daughter. There is no greater feeling for a mother and a wife. Life is good....real good.

ella days

Thursday, September 17, 2009

when i was a kid, i had really jacked up teeth. i mean really jacked up. so naturally, i had braces. once a month, i had to go to the orthodontist to get my braces tightened and man they hurt afterwards. so my mom would take me to the dairy bar for some ice cream after my appointments. it was bliss.

today i decided to introduce ella to the dairy bar. i think we were there a whopping 10 minutes before she was bored with the place, as well as the ice cream. but it was a fun ten minutes! me being the person that i am, you will notice that ella had a nice, small bowl of vanilla ice cream. it's less likely to stain that cute shirt she's wearing. :) we had an absolute blast. days at home with mommy are for spoiling! i may have heck with it later, but i just can't resist "Mommy, peas!" she also has some sign language that goes along with "peas", but it's not the right gesture. she thinks it means please and that's all that matters.

we also took our first trip to the public library today. let's just say, that was a mistake. ella was such a little hoodlum. she was running around screaming (for joy, but loudly so still inappropriate) and pulling all the books off of the shelf. i was a tad embarrassed, but we were able to make it out with one book. as we were checking out, the nice lady behind the counter informed me that we could always reserve our books online and "on the days that i just need it" i can come in with my card and they will have them ready for me. :) she was nice. and i will definitely do that next time.

i really enjoy my 2.5 days a week at home with ella. i'm so blessed to have a job where i can just decide what days i want to come in and what days i want to stay home. i can just switch to part-time because i want to (and because we've made shortcuts in order to make it happen financially). i love my days at work and i love my days at home. i really feel like i get the best of both worlds. i don't find myself at odds with ella very often and i enjoy every second that i am with her. even the time-outs. i think it's because i've found some balance in my life. i know that will change because balance never stays very long, but i will make sure to enjoy it while it's here.

and so it begins

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

okay well i started this blog over a month ago. i was waiting to post it so that i could get a super cute picture of ella on the potty, but that hasn't happened (and may never happen) yet. maybe soon. i'm so behind.

Started 8/8/2009:
the potty training has commenced! after having a potty in ella's room for a few months now, she has never really been too interested. so, i decided to try something different. instead of having the little miniature potty that sings when you pee on it (something we have not yet witnessed and i am unwilling to give it a test round!), I put the little potty seat on the actually potty in ella's bathroom. she has a little step stool and it is so much fun for her to climb up and sit on the big girl potty. so we spend lots of time during the day up in her bathroom, she on the potty and me on the floor right in front of her. ella's new thing is whispering, so we will whisper conversations back and forth and then we sing songs. i made up a tinkle song and every time i sing it, it's different but she still loves it. so anyways, wednesday night after sitting on the potty for about 10 minutes, she finally peed! as she was going, she whispered "listen". And when she stopped, she looks at me and says "again". It was so funny! So she's gone tee tee a few times now and everytime it's like she's moved mountains!

right now i'm torn with where to go next....i've read that if you use pull-ups it can slow down the whole process and then if you just let them run around your house for a week peeing on themselves and the floor and anything else that they are near, it will go faster. so i'm thinking i'm going to try to find something a little in between. first step, we're going to make a "potty box" that stays in the bathroom. it's going to have magnets and a magnetic board and a few other things that she can play with, but only while she's on the potty. we will see if it actually works (it does by the way).

in other ella news, she is no longer figuring out how to talk. she's full out talking. her new phrase is "i don't like it". it does sound more like "ah-own like it" but you have to get the texas accent going...really drag it out.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

i don't really know how to start my next blog. i realize that it's just a blog, but it seems like every day that passes is one day further away from jon. if i write my next blog, then that means i've moved on. i know that really isn't the case, but that's the way it feels. every day, something happens that makes me think about him. or another story gets told with "jon and i...." or "remember when jon..." or "i can't believe when jon...". if feels like moving on means moving on without him, even though there's nothing i can do to change that fact that he isn't here anymore. i will watch ella reading her books or splashing in the bathtub and it makes me sad that jon won't ever get to experience these things that i treasure so much with my own daughter. my earthly mind cannot comprehend heaven, so i am stuck in this mindset that he's missing out on so much. my faith tries to convince me otherwise.

so to move on, most of my favorite memories are from our time in the army. we were so young (and stupid) and we had so much fun. when josh and i were dating, i spent my spring break during my senior year in college to go visit josh. he lived in the barracks. he knew no one. he had no car. he'd only been at fort campbell for a couple of weeks and jon was home on leave. so i had to come keep him company. i know, i had to right? :) but josh had to work all day. the army doesn't get a spring break. well being on an army base and not having a car or anyone else around, it got rather boring. i laid on josh's cot and listened to a lot of matchbox twenty and three doors down. and being the "girl" that i am, i figured i might pass some time by playing "dress up". this was fun. josh came back in time to take a picture. and boy was that heavy.

that time period holds so many fond memories for me. i got to spend so much time with two of my best friends. it was definitely a special time.

my friend jon

Monday, August 17, 2009

"hey kid, what it is?" was the intro to every letter i ever got from jon when he was in iraq. and all of them ended with "I love you, yo". I dubbed him jon-e-boy sometime back in high school and he called me beep. or spaz. or giraffe neck. or gummy. he also taught alley (a toddler at the time) to call me those names too. he was one of my best friends from the moment that little freshman kid came up to me begging for a ride home from school all the time. he had my back and always had the best intentions when it came to me. i appreciate him for helping me steer my life back on track the summer after i graduated high school. i think if it hadn't been for jon getting me more grounded than i had ever been in my life, i wouldn't be where i am today. when i became friends with jon, i gained three more best friends: josh, dusty, and jeremy. the four of us spent the entire summer together and had so much fun (well josh didn't get to have much fun because he had a!) And they were the only people I was allowed to hang out with, since I was grounded. They would bleach their hair white and play basketball CONSTANTLY! One day that summer, we decided to go ride gocarts. But for some reason I wore a dress that day and I didn't have any clothes to change into. So Josh let me borrow a pair of his basketball shorts and then Jon found one of his 10 year old little brother's t-shirts for me to wear. I was left wearing my clogs and a fantastic get-up. We had a blast! They certainly didn't care that I looked like a complete idiot! Over the years, we went to church camp together, ski trips, they came and visited me at college in kansas a few times. Jon broke my papasan chair and then we went on a "vision quest". Sorry, you had to be there! Then came the army. Had it not been for Jon, I don't think Josh and I would've ever gotten married, or even started dating. I owe Jon so much. One of my favorite memories, which probably isn't the best thing we ever did, but whatever! Jon was home for R&R in December 2003 and I was having a hard time with Josh being in Iraq and not getting to come home for R&R that year. So Jon kept me company the two weeks he was home. Well, one night we decided to go to Kroger and get some beer. Well, instead of buying the beer, we stole it right out of the refrigerated beer section and walked it back to the employees restroom and drank it. We drank beer and smoked cigarettes most of the night back there. I don't know how we didn't get caught. Luckily, no employees had to pee between the hours of 11pm and 1am. Jeremy eventually came and hung out with us too. We also got tattoos when he was home on leave. I'm so glad that forever, I will have a memory of Jon no matter where I go. I can't seem to remember what his tattoo was supposed to mean. I mean, it's not like I can get it translated. We did pick out chinese symbols for tattoos from a skanky tattoo parlor!! I'm sure they were less than accurate :) I have so many funny stories of Jon. He was brutally honest with me and was quick to tell me I was being an idiot and overreacting. I am so mad at myself for letting the last three years of Jon's life go by without being a part of it. It just goes to show that life is so short. It's too short to hold onto to hurt feelings and pride. I'm so grateful that we were able to spend time with you in June and make up for lost time. God put us there for a reason and that reason was you. I love you, yo. You will forever be one of the best friends I ever knew.


five years and counting...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Then: May 29,2004. We were in Gatlinburg, TN for the weekend when Josh proposed. We were married exactly 8 weeks later.

Now: July 24, 2009

This past friday was our five year anniversary! Thinking back, we've been through so many different stages of life in just five short years. It's hard to believe that it's actually been that long. That could possibly be due to the fact that for a year of it he was in iraq. It's also hard to believe that within our first year of our marriage, he headed off to war for the second time. I remember going through it and it was tough, but looking back it's just amazing what God gives you when you are faced with less than "ideal" circumstances. I truly believe that God works in you most throughout the hard times. Maybe in order to have the wonderful marriage that I'm so blessed to have now, we had to really go through the ringer. I am so grateful for that year in so many ways. And I am grateful that God gave me the patience and the willingness to accept what he was doing in our lives so that three and a half years later i can honestly say it was a wonderful year for us! You don't realize just how much your love your husband until you have to miss your husband :) There were a few bad things that I got out of that year (i never was afraid of death until i worried for his life daily) but I know God will release me from those fears one day when I decide I'm ready to be released.
But on to the fun part about our anniversary date: we stayed in a completely overpriced hotel that wasn't worth the money and ate at the most amazing restaurant! Who doesn't love a little fondue?! Even though the hotel was a little disappointing, it was still an amazing evening with my best friend. And we slept late...9 a.m.! We also learned a lesson: just because you can afford the hotel room, it doesn't mean you can afford to stay at the hotel. After valet, room service, breakfast, and all of the other little things were added to our bill, we definitely decided that next time we'll just come home! :)

Our waitress took a picture of us over our delicious dinner. We had milk chocolate swirled with crunchy peanut butter as the "sauce". Then on the tray in front of us there were strawberries, rice crispy treats, cheesecake, pound cake, graham cracker covered marshmallows, oreo covered marshmallows, and brownies that we dipped into the chocolate. It was amazing. They also gave us complimentary anniversary toasts of champagne. Ahhmazing!
There was also a fountain outside of our hotel, so of course I made Josh stop traffic so that we could go sit in front of it for a self-portrait :)

hold it?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yesterday marked Ella's very first trip to the ice cream truck. it was exciting! we were actually taking a walk around the block because she was having a cranky day. i know how that goes, i'm a girl too :) so we hear the music coming down the road. luckily mommy had some change in her pocket. so she takes off running down the sidewalk because she instinctively knew something good must come from a truck with a catchy tune blaring from the speakers. so i picked her up and she picked out the tweety bird popsicle from the pictures. so at first she asked me "hold it?" and i told her that mommy was going to hold it and she was okay with that. then i stopped and thought to myself that sooner or later, i have to let go of hating sticky messes and just let her be a kid. so i put her down and handed over the tweety bird. oh man, that was a long walk with no wipeys! so we get about halfway back to the house and she has eaten almost all of it. she got down to the gumball eyes and ate one. she loved it! then all of a sudden, the other half of tweety's face (including the other gumball) fell to the pavement. at that moment, she knew it was a disaster. she started saying "oh no" over and over again! i forced her to keep walking and leave behind the ice cream. she wasn't happy about it, but she trudged on with what was left attached to the stick. every once in a while she'd look back at the ice cream. it was so funny! we got home and promptly got in the bathtub! :)
here is a picture of the aftermath from ella's first popsicle:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

i was out of town last weekend working a chrysalis flight (which was awesome, by the way). But i was gone thursday through sunday. it was hard being away from ella, but not as hard as i thought it would be. i'm so used to being away from josh. the two of us are good at that. but it was my first long weekend away from the girl. well, let's just say she still hasn't let me off the hook. she is the ultimate daddy's girl. she and josh were sitting on the couch this morning and i was sitting on the other side of the couch. i decided to slide over and put my head on josh's shoulder and ella did not like that. she made me take my head off of his shoulder and then she squeezed herself right in between us so that i couldn't sit next to him. someone is jealous (and that someone is me!!)

i'm hoping she goes easy on me soon.....she'll need someone to buy her new clothes someday and it definitely won't be daddy. she'll come back to me then :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

4th on Main was a raging success! We had the most amazing planning committee and I have to say, I think we pulled it off! Here are a few pictures from the talented Laurie Heath. She really captured the spirit and the atmosphere of the event. An all-american, small town, old fashioned, family oriented picnic. Thank you for sharing your gift with us, Laurie!

Here Matt and I are working the Watermelon Eating Contest

And our round one winner is....

And our round 2 winner is....

Josh entered round three, but he lost...

The Jalapeno Eating Contest:

And finally, the Hot Dog Eating Contest:

Here's my beautiful little watermelon. Her favorite part was dancing to the blue grass music. Or the train....

Cousins Ella and Piper had so much fun playing!

And to finish it off with some volleyball.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Babies grow up so fast. I can remember countless people telling me how fast it will go by and to enjoy every moment. You don't really know it until you look back yourself and think "Wow, when did all that growing up happen?" But I admit, I am one of those moms who kept saying "I can't wait until Ella can ___". When she was rolling, I couldn't wait until she was crawling. When she was crawling, I couldn't wait until she was walking. And I have to say that each stage has been better than the last. I don't look back and miss the baby stage. While it was wonderful while we were there, it passed. But right now, where we are today, I never want it to end. Ella is talking so much. Not only is she talking, she's making sentences. She understands practically anything I say and she always responds appropriately. It's amazing. She is just so much fun and I never want her to get any bigger!! This is definitely my favorite age.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Well, we made it back from our first real vacation with Ella. We had an absolute blast. I seriously could not have asked Ella to be a better child. We took our first plane ride. We ran into a little snag as our luggage made the first flight, but we in fact did not. So we woke up at 3am that morning to make it to the airport in time for an 11am flight. But, we managed to have a little fun while we waited for the next flight! Ella had a great time playing the "hat" game where she found anything and everything to put on as a hat and then tell us "Hat!". I was able to snap a few pictures of her in her hats. She also had a fun time pretending to take a nap. Too bad there was a smudge on the lens of my camera and all of my pictures turned out a little foggy.

As soon as the plane took off, you could tell she got a little dizzy as the plane was turning to head in the right direction. About 30 seconds after takeoff, she was asleep! I have a video to prove it....

After she woke up, she looked out the window and played and really just had a wonderful time. She loved looking out of the window while we were taxi-ing and seeing all of the other airplanes.

Next, we picked up our rental car and headed to our hotel in Memphis. Again, she was amazing. But we didn't get much downtime. We had to head out to the rehearsal dinner. Here are some pre-rehearsal dinner family pictures.

And Daddy was able to snap a great family photo! I can't believe she was smiling! :)

Sleeping in the hotel was a bit tricky because Ella doesn't ever sleep in bed with us. But we found that if we turned on the DVD player and put in Monster's Inc. (her new favorite movie), she would watch it and then pass out due to exhaustion! She stayed up later than we did! :) If you ask her about Monster's Inc, she'll tell you about "Sully/Kitty", "Baby" (Boo), and "Circle" (Mike Wizowsky). She's so funny!

The next day, we were able to take a trip to the Childrens' Museum in Memphis before the wedding. I cannot even explain how much fun Ella had. She could've played an entire day away, but since we were on a time crunch, we had to make sure she saw every single inch of the museum in the hour and a half before we had to leave. Her favorite part was definitely the wall with all of the doors, light switches, doorbells, and locks. She loved it. The tooth puzzle was also very fun, but she kept giving the mouth a "snaggle tooth".

Ella and Daddy also had a little fun playing basketball. Ella and I made some paper trees and paper dogs.

After the wedding was over, we headed up to Clarksville where we had an AMAZING time and caught up with our wonderful friends that we dearly miss! We got to see Joe and his girlfriend Bre (or as Ella would say, Doe and Bee). Ella had a great time playing with Lola's toys while we sat around and caught up (beer and pizza!). The next day, we were able to visit with Jon and Nicole and Addison and ate lunch at one of my favorite restaurants: Blackhorse. I had to forgo the vanilla beer as I was driving us back to Memphis right after lunch. We made our flight home on time...barely. Apparently we can't be early anywhere we go (which drives Josh crazy!). But all in all, it was a wonderful trip and we can't wait to go back to Tennessee, my favorite state.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It is such a privilege to be a parent. We tried for so long to get pregnant and when it finally happened, we felt like it was a dream. But no dream could compare to actually being a parent. I get to experience so many things all over again through Ella. My daughter is so incredibly smart and such a fast learner. It's not something that I feel that I somehow taught her, but more just what she was born with. Since the day she was born she has been outspoken, opinionated, and passionate. During the newborn phase, I felt like this was more of a curse than a blessing. As Ella has grown, I've gotten to watch her use those traits for good and not evil...anymore :)

Yesterday, she was at work with me and she has this really cool table that she got for her birthday from Mimi. It has lots of different colors and my mom discovered yesterday that she can differentiate between yellow and red. Today, she got down green and blue. Orange is still a little confusing, but she's definitely on her way to getting those primary colors down. It was so cool to watch it click in her brain. These may seem like little things to most people, but to watch your child learn is one of the most amazing experiences. She is so smart and I am so proud!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well, I've finally gotten a moment to sit down and write. It has been a hectic few weeks. Work has just absolutely eaten my lunch almost every day and then all of the little projects for the church have really filled in what few gaps of time I have left. Last week as I was driving to the 4th on Main meeting in Danbury, I had a break down. I hadn't seen Ella hardly at all that week and I wasn't going to get to see her at all that day. She was asleep when I left for work and I ended up working until I had to leave to go to my meeting. But then I realized something. Life was pretty easy before I started working for the Lord. Satan was really attacking me on my way to that meeting, although I didn't realize it until later that night. But this week has really rejunvenated me. I got to stay home on Monday with Ella since both my mom and Drew were back at work. We went to Bates Park and Ella was in the swing for 25 minutes straight! It's something about those swings....Then we went swimming with Aunt Heather, Alley, Cane, and Nonnie. It was a great day! It was so much fun that I didn't even think about breaking out my camera, so no pictures.

Josh started back to school this week after a short break. His schedule isn't too bad, though. I'm just excited that I get two to three days at home every week. Tomorrow is another one of those days :) Josh has also been helping my parents around their house doing some home improvements. We all spent the day over their on Saturday. Here are some pictures of what we were up to:

Daddy was definitely not having as much fun as us....

And here's a picture of my little white trash baby girl in her swim diaper and crocs....

Rowan actually learned how to ride her bike a few moments before this picture. What a cool day to have the camera ready. I still remember the day Chase taught me how to ride my bike.
Ella and I hit a milestone the other day. I got to fix her hair for the first time! :) Here are some pictures of Ella's first pigtails:

To finish it all up, I'm going to tell you to go by the Tenth Avenue North CD. I had one of those moments last night where I encountered Christ in my car. I think those moments only come to me through music, so I love it when it happens.