Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Can We Make it Without the Internet?

We're giving up our cable package tomorrow (phone, tv, internet), as the special package expires. I'm feeling especially sad about letting go of the DVR. We did this for quite some time when we were first married - cell phones, internet, and Netflix only. I know it'll be fine, but a change for us. I'll have to keep track of my cell phone more and we'll have to start getting Netflix for Ella, instead of depending on PBS. But I can do this, right? We did make one big mistake, though. We didn't sign up for the new Verizon internet service early enough and might not have internet until the 15th. And we made this error right before General Conference, so we'll actually have to go to the church building. Maybe some of our friends will take mercy on us. I can, of course, use internet at some friends, but I'll miss regularly reading blogs and facebook. Can we make it?!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Life With Ella

We captured some fun moments with Ella this past week and I just wanted to share them with our friends and family.

On an episode of Barney last week, they talked all about birthdays and cakes. Ella was so excited about the cakes. I am trying to distract her from tv and come up with more fun activities to do together. So, I asked Ella if she wanted to make cookies. We didn't have too much success with this when she was smaller, but she was perfectly content to let me measure the ingredients and then help pour them in.

The chocolate chip cookie recipe my friend Holly shared with me (best cookies ever!) has you roll the dough into balls. Here's Ella rolling out her dough

She didn't really want me to get a picture of her eating the cookie, but I managed a to catch her with one.

I caught Ella and Tim relaxing with a book the other night and thought this looked so cozy and cute.

Ella has started requesting pony tails, a major switch from just a few weeks ago. When they come out at night, though, her hair is hilarious!

She's totally oblivious to her crazy hair.

During bath time the other evening, I thought Ella was acting suspicious. I asked her if she needed to poo, but she was evasive. So, I pulled her out and sat her on her toilet. I handed her the magazine because she doesn't like sitting on the toilet bare-bummed very much. She didn't end up using her seat, but I love this photo!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rescue for the Maternity Clothes Blues

My friend Kelly responded to my maternity clothes blues recently with a very generous offer. She sent me a package with some of her adorable maternity clothes. The arrival of the package totally made my afternoon! It's just too difficult to afford a new wardrobe of clothes each time your pregnant and I was quickly sick of my maternity clothes, plus many of them are too large (great news!). Anyway, here are some photos Tim took of me in one of the great dresses Kelly loaned to me. Thanks so much, Kelly!

Just thought I'd add this as well. Anyone else experience this? Ella and I go for a walk pretty much every day. We head outside, she immediately finds a stroller, then says "walk?". It's been great for both of us - we get fresh air, I get exercise, and we get out of the house. We did this before I was pregnant and people would always smile and wave at Ella. I've noticed a different expression on people's faces since I've been pregnant, though. It seems like there's something about a pregnant woman and a toddler that just seems so sweet to everyone - the circle of life come to life before them or something. As I lumber past them with my gigantic belly, though, I swear I see something else as well. A moment of relief, a not-so-secret "I'm glad it's her and not me" flash across their faces. Pretty funny...most of the time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From Flooding to Sunshine

September in Jacksonville has mostly meant rain, rain, and more rain. Oh, and thunder and lightening. I haven't posted anything lately because we had our first experience with seepage in the basement on the 14th. We looked out Sunday morning and our yard (as well as everyone else's) looked like a lake. We went to church and then the sun actually came out for the afternoon. Late in the afternoon, Tim stepped on a spot on the carpet that was soaking wet. It turned out that all of the padding and carpeting near the walls in our basement was wet. Luckily, we have great neighbors and friends who lent us a shopvac, fans, and dehumidifiers. Tim went to Miami the next day, but Ella and I spent the week living upstairs and trying to ignore the noisy fans. We were so blessed not to have any real damage, though. I am incredibly grateful!
After the terrible weather, the return of the sun has been a welcome suprise. Yesterday afternoon I decided to bring out the kiddie pool for one last harrah and Ella had a fantastic time. Kind of ironic for the first day of fall, but tons of fun. Here's some pics of Ella enjoying the sun and water. She loves playing with the hose.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bicycles and Baby Bumps

Our family played a bit in the beautiful weather on Sunday. Ella tried out her new tricycle she received for her birthday. Tim is loving showing her this new skill. The pedals are a bit far for her right now, but she's picking up the concept well. We also took a photo of my baby bump, which seems to have really "popped" in the past couple of weeks.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


As my mom left for home this morning, I reflected on the past week. We truly enjoyed a week of celebrations - Ella's birthday, our 4-year wedding anniversary, plus mom's visit. In addition, this baby I'm carrying seems to be more determined each day to make his presence known. When I consider these tremendous blessings in my life, I feel immense gratitude.

My mother is truly an incredible person whom I admire greatly. I love her determination, sense of humor, patience, understanding, and deep affection for her grandchildren. We talk each day on the phone, but having her here in person to hug and to sit with felt so wonderful. I loved how quickly Ella became attached to her "grammy," looking for her whenever she left the room, climbing into her lap, and eagerly asking to play. We can hardly wait for mom to come again at Christmas!

Looking at Ella, I feel so grateful for the opportunity to be her mother. I love having the chance to get to know her each day, to teach her new things, to comfort her, and to be her companion. She constantly amazes me with her delight in the world around her, the interest she shows in the small details, and the intensity in which she strives to take in everything, to learn its name, to understand how it works. I find myself enjoying today and looking forward to her next discovery. Motherhood isn't easy or always fun and often frustrating, but it's incredibly rewarding, revealing, and life-changing.

While driving behind Tim the other day, I caught a glimpse of the back of his head and felt this unexpected rush of affection for him. My husband is the greatest guy I've ever known. I love being married to him. He is the best of companions. Most of all, I love who I am when we're together. We spent Saturday in Springfield running errands, eating out, and seeing 2 $1.50 movies. It felt so wonderful to just be out together, talking, and enjoying each other's company without any time pressures or cranky toddlers. Marriages are never perfect, but I love the opportunity to face life together, to talk it through, and to experience life as companions.

I know my appreciation for these people in my life has been greatly enhanced by the gospel of Jesus Christ. I've spent a lot of years pondering my definition of progress and success in this world. I've come to understand that Heavenly Father offers us a joy that is truly unique as we strive to follow him, strengthen our families, and follow the commandments. In my early twenties, I worried about the roles of wife and mother and fretted over what I might lose of myself in choosing these things.

Despite my fears, I've been able to enjoy an education, a career, marriage, and motherhood - and in the process I haven't lost myself. Amazingly, as I've followed the Lord, I've discovered depths to myself, found a new confidence, and uncovered and developed new strengths. I feel as though the last few years have greatly enhanced my understanding of God's definition of joy. I am grateful for weeks like this that provide so many opportunities to reflect on life and recognize the blessings surrounding me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ella's Birthday!

We had a wonderful 3-day weekend, welcoming Grandma Cathy for a vist and celebrating Ella's 2nd birthday! Ella turned 2 on August 31st and we celebrated with Grandma and the Karlinsey family (my cousin's family). They came over for a pasta lunch - Ella was thrilled because "Brynny" (Brynne) came over. We had a wonderful time at lunch and then enjoyed a leisurely afternoon opening gifts a little at a time. It was so fun to watch Ella open a present and get a chance to really enjoy it before moving on to the next one.

Ella checks out her sit and spin with Braden.

I found this toy train at a garage sale - it has so many fun toys and Ella's had tons of fun with it the past few days.
Dad helps Ella with her new tricycle. She was so excited to ride it!

The wheels are a bit far, but she's getting the hang of it!

Here's her friend "Brynny". Ella gets so excited whenever she sees her cousins.

I love this picture of Mom and Dayna together.

The Karlinsey's gave Ella the new Laurie Berkner cd and some instruments - here she is dancing to the new tunes.

We had ice cream sandwiches for dessert because I had a cake planned for her party. Grandma was sharing her's with Ella because she'd already had one, but Ella didn't really understand the concept.

We had a party with our friends and neighbors on Monday. The day turned out a bit hotter than I'd hoped, but we had a great time relaxing in the backyard while the kids ran around. Some of the dads even got into the action and ran around the yard with the kids. We loved spending the afternoon with Grandma and our friends!
The party had an animal theme, with a Curious George "Happy Birthday" banner, animal confetti and party hats, and zoo pals plates and cups.

Here's Ella enjoying the afternoon with Grandma and her friends.

My first foray into birthday cake making. Ella loves puppies, so I made a dalmation cake.

Paw print cupcakes for the kids. This worked really well to cute down (a bit) on the mess.

Ella blowing out her candle - sort of. She mostly looked confused and just wanted to have some cake.

Yum! Cake and ice cream!

Our friend Mark ran around the yard with his son and our friend, Hayden. Ella watched and clapped.