Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Wow! As I sit and blog on Christmas Eve I don't know even where to begin. I might have to just highlight our Christmas festivities since there have been so many already. Last weekend we went to Wichita to celebrate Christmas with my dad's parents and his sister's family. We enjoyed spending time with everyone and even got to see snow! This was Ellery's 1st time to experience snow and when she looked out the window she said, "Bubbles?" Wouldn't that be wonderful if bubbles fell from the sky?
Bundled up - thanks Aunt Paige for the adorable hat and mittens!



I am wearing my grandpa's hat and ski pants!



We were home for four days and then hopped in the car to drive to Southlake to have Christmas with my parents and Paige and Taylor. We stayed at the Southlake Town Center which is just awesome. I am pretty sure that if the suburbs in Houston were as cool as the ones in Dallas, we would move in a heartbeat. We went to the Gaylord Ice show Friday night which we had been hearing so much about and couldn't wait to see for ourselves. Wow! It was amazing! We had to bundle up in these huge jackets because it was FREEZING but Ellery did not seem to mind. She even ventured down the ice slide. Unfortunately she got a little ways down and just stopped. Her jacket sleeves were about a foot too long so she couldn't use her hands to push herself down. Instead, a man working at the bottom had to pull out this huge pole and maneuver her down the slide. It was hilarious (although not to her). We had Christmas with the family on Saturday and had some fabulous meals as well. What fun! I have some pictures that I will post later....they are funny.

Sunday morning we woke up and headed out to spend time with Nathan's side of the family. It was fun for Ellery to be able to join in the playtime with all of the young kids this year. We then spent the evening with the Stedhams and had Christmas. Ellery was completely spoiled with lots of attention and new toys, but what do you expect from grandparents? I have a feeling we will have to do some post-Christmas spoiling detox.

And we drove home this afternoon just in time to unpack and get to the Christmas Eve program at our church, which Ellery sat through beautifully with the help of a candy cane. And just when Nathan and I were ready to chill a little, there was some loud noise and yelling coming from one of the houses on Drama Ln (the name I have appropriately given our street). And then the police! I guess everything was settled because he left by himself and we never heard anything after that.
In all seriousness though, it makes me sad, especially given that it is Christmas Eve. Our Savior was born into this world to forgive us all our sins and to bring peace and joy to the hearts of His people. May we truly remember the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!!
More pictures to follow...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

18 Months!

We had Ellery's pictures taken a couple of weeks ago and I thought I would share some of my favorites. Today she is a year and a half....big girl!

























One of Ellery's favorite things lately is "singing". She will randomly belt out "E,I,E,I,O" or "up above" (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star) or even attempt the "ABC" song. Whenever she hears a familiar song she will always ask for more once it is over. Maybe a little singer or musician? She does have quite a few relatives that are musically gifted, her momma not being one of them however. In fact, my whole family can sing except for me. I mean I can carry a tune but they truly can sing. I remember going on family trips in the car and my mom, sister, and I would always attempt to sing in harmony. I was the weak link. And my dad can sing too - in fact, he was offered a college music scholarship! Then there is the Stedham side of the family - Nathan's mom is incredibly gifted and was in her own singing group at one time and Nathan is a closet singer and musician. :)

Ellery had her Chrismas party at school yesterday and has her Chrismas program on Tuesday. I hear that the toddlers are singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star". It will be amusing and precious at the same time. I am sure once they see mom and dad in the audience they will not want to be up on stage anymore. Maybe we will have to hide.

Anyways, happy 1 1/2 birthday Ellery Paige! I think it is safe to say I love you more each day!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas with friends

Our week did slow down, thank goodness, but not after a trip to the eye doctor to remove some glitter from my eyelid that was driving me crazy and a trip to E's doctor for her early 18-month checkup. Tonight we had our 2nd annual Ella, MK, and Ellery Christmas get together. The girls had a great time being together and even exchanged gifts. It is only fitting that Ellery's favorite word right now is "Open".

The baby girls last year (notice the lack of hair!):

And the sweet toddlers this Christmas:




They loved playing with the play-do and banging on the garage. It is a huge step from chewing on teethers and hanging out in the exersaucer. Ellery especially loved giving Ella the baby doll pacifier, which her parents thoroughly appreciated. Ella has never been a pacifier girl and all of a sudden decided she might trade in her thumb for one.



Speaking of pacifiers, the nurse today said it needs to "get lost" no later than 2! I am not sure how that is going to fly around our house sense our girl is the paci and lovey queen. Other than that, she was declared a healthy little girl tipping the scales at 26 pounds, 10 ounces and remaining around the 85th percentile for height. It is hard to believe that we have an 18 month old already but we sure are enjoying it!
Everyone have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

True story

Wow have we had an eventful week and it is ONLY Tuesday. Yesterday morning Ellery was getting ready with me in the bathroom and I usually give her some makeup brushes and such to play with, which she loves. Well, she got ahold of some visine and had managed to take the cap off. Since you cannot ask a toddler if they swallowed something, you just have to assume they at least put it in their mouth. So, I called Poison Control and asked if I should be concerned. The operator told me that a child's blood pressure could drop dangerously low, then proceeded to ask me my name and what hospital I was taking my child to. Then she said, "Let's get her there NOW." I really wasn't too panicked but concluded I should take her to the ER or CPS might be arriving at my doorstep. So without getting dressed or eating breakfast, Ellery and I were off to the ER. Everyone was so great to Ellery at the hospital, giving her a stuffed animal, crackers and juice, her own personal t.v., and entertainment (a doctor who did a great Donald the Duck impression which I must say freaked us both out a little). The doctor told us we would need to stay there for at least 3 hours so that they could monitor her. 3 hours in a little hospital room with my busy child!! My mom, who is wonderful, met us there and provided entertainment that only Lulu can provide. Did I mention Ellery had on her pj's and shoes without socks and no clip (this wouldn't be a big deal but without one her hair is all over the place)? I also was not well equipped since we were in such a hurry to get in the car. When Ellery spilled an entire water bottle on herself, we literally walked out of the ER in a diaper!! Classy, huh?

And just when I thought hospital visits were over for awhile, today I went to my family doctor hoping she could prescribe something for the bad headaches I have been having the past month or so. Turns out, she decides to not only do blood work but sends me to the hospital for a CT scan! So this afternoon was spent getting an x-ray of my brain which was very painless EXCEPT for when they injected Iodine in my body and I had an allergic reaction!! My face and neck started breaking out in hives. The tech had to call the nurse and the doctor to determine what was going on. The nurse proceeded to tell me that my throat might close up and I would have a hard time breathing. Okay, now I was kind of panicked. I could just feel it closing up second by second and kept swallowing to make sure it wasn't. The doctor kept me there an hour for observation and the reaction subsided, thank goodness. All in all though, I really think it was a blessing. The doctor they called for me happened to be a radiologist and asked me why I was getting the CT. He went ahead and read my results on the spot (instead of having to wait 3-5 days) and told me that everything looked normal to him, which was a relief.
Here's hoping our week kind of slows down a little!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Scary Santa

Needless to say, pictures with Santa did not go so well this year...





Monday, November 26, 2007

Elmos and half-decorated trees

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and enjoyed all of the family time. Unfortunately I have no pictures to show for it. How sad. I do have video though and might one day get it together enough to post it on the blog. We will see!

We JUST finished decorating the house for Christmas and I love it. Not that we have that many decorations, but just the simple things like the tree, stockings, nativity scenes, and Santas. I am so lucky because my grandparents bought each of their grandchildren a Christmas ornament each year since I was a baby. While at the time they didn't mean much, they now are hold so much sentimental value and I enjoy putting them on the tree every Christmas season. Thanks Mema and Papa! Not to mention that they have (along with my aunt and uncle) supplied me with most of my Christmas decorations as well!

When Ellery woke up to find the house decorated this morning, she pointed at the decorative Santas we have around the house and said, "Elmo, Elmo!" It was too funny. Along with all of our "Elmos", we have a half-decorated Christmas tree this year....decorations are only higher than a toddler's reach. I just wonder what she thinks of all this Christmas stuff!

It continues to amaze me how much Ellery understands and tries to communicate with us. If she wants anything, she just comes and grabs our fingers and leads us. We love it!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Wow, do we have a lot to be thankful for! Yesterday we spent the day with Nathan's family and celebrated his mom's birthday. Our gift to her was family pictures which we had taken yesterday in the Woodlands. They turned out great minus a few pictures where Ellery was clearly over having her picture taken. Ellery also got to spend some time at the children's museum at the Woodlands mall which she absolutely loved. What a fabulous idea!
Today we are headed to Lulu and Poppy's house for a Thanksgiving lunch. Bebe and Pops will be joining us as well as Paige, Taylor, Meredith, and 4 dogs. How blessed are we to have our entire family in one place? Ellery won't get spoiled one bit I am sure!
And then....it is Christmas decorating time! I told Nathan we will be getting out the tree tonight. He was thrilled. :)
Have a wonderful day filled with family, food, fun, and most importantly thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Night at the aquarium

We were pretty lazy this weekend although we did manage to get to the downtown aquarium. Nathan and I had been wanting to take Ellery for awhile so Friday night seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Nathan decided it was our night on the town and went all out with valet parking and an elaborate appetizer and meal. I write about the valet parking because it is this new thing with Ellery - she is VERY unsure about a stranger driving away in momma's car. It really bothers her and she obsesses about it until we can find something really good to distract her with. Nathan thinks she's just really into cars...we will see about that!

She seemed to enjoy the huge array of fish that were swimming around in the aquarium while we ate although she didn't want to go too near to the glass. I don't blame her...it definitely wasn't the fish tank full of goldfish she is used to seeing at church or the doctor's office. After dinner on our way out there was a man scuba diving in one of the tanks, and I can say with complete certainty that Ellery did not enjoy this part of the evening. He even tried to blow her kisses and wave.

After dinner we went to look at all of the other fish and animals that were on display. It was like a mini-zoo. At the end, there were these two HUGE white tigers. They were beautiful but they kept eyeing Ellery which made me a little panicky. I literally picked her up at one point and ran for the exit. We also enjoyed the shark train ride and of course, the carousel. It is so fun to experience familiar things through the eyes of a child - it is all so brand new and exciting to her. She kept saying "choo-choo" after we got off the train and she did NOT want to get off of the carousel. What a fun, family night!

We are looking forward to this Thanksgiving week and being with our families. I love this time of year!

the scary scuba man

going fishing!

attempting to touch the sting rays

look at the scuba baby!

dad's turn!

white tigers

and enjoying the carousel!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What I Did Today

1. Woke up at 6 am because I am a light sleeper and always wake up when Nathan gets out of bed no matter how quiet he is.
2. Since I was up, decided I would do my bible study.
3. About 5 minutes into it, Ellery woke up unusually early.
4. Went into Ellery's room and to my shock her left eye was partly swollen shut due to a mosquito bite she got from the night before. A few things went through my head including "wow, she looks a little alien-like","poor thing, I wonder if she can see okay?", and "shoot, this better clear up before pictures next Tuesday!". She didn't seem to be bothered by it, so I gave her some motrin and continued with our morning routine.
5. Made Ellery a breakfast of eggs and fruit, as well as pack her a lunch for school.
6. Got both E and I dressed for the day which went unusually smooth despite a minor tantrum over our differing shoe choices.
7. Drove Ellery to school and watched her excitedly place the fruit she brought for the class fruit salad into the teacher's bowl.
8. Walked back to my car a little sad that she didn't say bye or seem at all bothered that I was leaving her for the morning (although I know this is a GOOD thing).
9. Went to pilates...love it!
10. Went to the galleria to purchase a few necessary items and a couple unnecessary items.
11. Scarfed down a huge slice of veggie pizza.
12. Drove to pick up a couple of things I was having monogrammed at the Monogram Store.
13. Couldn't find a single parking spot so decided to come back to that errand later.
14. Realized that the picture outfit I had purchased for E needed off-white tights.
15. Drove to BabyGap because surely they have every color of tights. Thought to myself you just left the galleria dummy!
16. Went to BabyGap and no off-white tights. Sales lady told me to put white tights into a cup of tea to obtain the cream color. Decided against that idea immediately but purchased a few on sale items and one item that I convinced them needed a damage discount. Go me.
17. Went back to my errand at the Monogram Store and this time found a parking spot.
18. Thought to myself that I really needed to get to the post office before I pick up Ellery from school but maybe I could squeeze in a really fast trip to Whole Foods and Beauty First.
19. Bought apple juice at Whole Foods (the only kind E really likes).
20. Bought a round brush at Beauty First and thought really hard about purchasing a wonderfully smelling holiday candle.
21. Rushed to the post office to pick up a package I was not home to sign for the previous day.
22. Waited in line at the post office.
23. Was told my package was back out for delivery.
24. Went by my mail box to see if the mail had been delivered for the day - indeed it had. No package.
25. Decided I would take matters into my own hands and find the post man.
26. Spotted him down the street - "How lucky is that?", I thought.
27. Ran over to the post man (It is nearing time to pick up E from school and can't be late) waving my US Postal note.
28. He says it is his half-day and he doesn't have my package. But Phil the other mail carrier might have it.
29. I ask him if he could radio for Phil but it seems they don't do that kind of thing.
30. He tells me where I might find Phil and also tells him I owe him. (I am thinking I don't owe you a darn thing, you ARE my mailman.)
31. Pray that I am able to find Mr. Phil.
32. Spot the mail truck and Phil! Phil saves the day, gives me my package, and saves me a dreaded trip to the post office with Ellery tomorrow.
33. Pick up Ellery.
34. Spend an hour at the park with Tiffany and Madikate.
35. Try on part of Ellery's picture outfit I bought her and realize I have the wrong size
36. Decide to venture back to the galleria because I am psycho like that and don't like returns hanging over my head.
37. Get to the galleria and buy E a cookie so that we will have a peaceful shopping experience.
38. Return my item.
39. Let Ellery get a good look at Santa and Mrs. Claus all the while shocked that they are at the mall in early November.
40. Remember that I need cream tights.
41. Go into 5 stores with no luck. Revisit the tea idea.
42. Find the tights in the last place...woo hoo!
43. Drive home in 5 o'clock traffic and have to use the restroom.
44. Get home and make Ellery dinner.
45. Bathtime.
46. Bedtime.
47. RELAX....well sort of...I have a couple of tasks that I would like to accomplish before bedtime (one being watch last night's Project Runway).

I don't know why I decided to give everyone a run down of my day. I just found myself laughing throughout it! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thursday! Here is a picture of my sweet, swollen girl:


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Year ago Today...

Today Ellery is 17 MONTHS old! Wow...how fast the time has gone. Some of Ellery's favorite things are stickers, coloring, stamps (especially Gymbo ones), Boz, climbing and sliding, cleaning up, brushing her teeth, being outside especially in her new cottage, books, airplanes, dogs and animals in general, "singing" songs such as "Old MacDonald" and "The Wheels on the Bus", being with familiar friends and family, and of course her paci and lovey. What a difference a year makes!!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

It's laundry day!

Actually every day feels like laundry day at our house. I have a bad habit of starting the laundy and not finishing it. I will blame it on the fact that Ellery's room is right by the laundry room and I never want to make too much noise while she's napping.




This has nothing to do with laundry but here is a cute picture of Poppy and E eating icecream together at the lake last weekend. Drinking the last drops of the icecream came very naturally to Ellery - must be in the genes!




Thursday, November 8, 2007

HELLLOOO

Hellllooo blogging friends! Sorry for no updates this week! This past weekend we went to Austin to see my grandparents. They enjoyed spending time with Ellery and Nathan and I enjoyed a little relaxation time not having to be on our toes 24-7. It is an understatment to say that Ellery likes the lake - she LOVES it, everything about it. She kept saying "boat" and grabbing my dad's finger to pull him outside so they could take a boat ride. One time my dad (Poppy) thought maybe she just wanted to play inside the boat, but not a chance. She wanted to GO!
This week Nathan and I were able to attend a huge gala for Boys and Girls Country on Tuesday. It was outstanding, with about 1500 people in attendance. My parents have been involved with the organization for awhile and it is a truly wonderful one. It gives many children the opportunity to live with a Christian family and experience "home" because for various reasons they are unable to live with their biological parents. And the guest entertainer was none other than Bill Cosby!
And to top of our week, I ventured out to the Nutcracker Market today for about 6 hours! My mom was so gracious to pick up Ellery from school and let me knock out most of my Christmas gift list. Most importantly, however, it was just wonderful to sneak away with a friend and have fun! What a gift!

And because most of you really just want to hear about Ellery, one of her newest words is Hellloo! It is adorable. I have tried to video her saying it so I could post it, but she doesn't do it on command. She also got an early Christmas gift this morning - the Neat and Tidy outdoor cottage. She was so surprised and excited when we took her outside to see it this morning. The girl just loves being outdoors and for the past month or so has been amusing herself with pine needles. Hopefully this new toy will bring her just as much excitement!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cute Little Ladybug

Last night was so much fun! Ellery was just adorable and she actually seemed to enjoy wearing her costume. I wish you could have seen her in person because pictures just aren't quite as cute.

First stop was the Fall Festival at church. Ellery really enjoyed all of the toddler activities including bobbing for ducks, coloring, playing with the parachute, and the Nemo moonwalk. I didn't know she was big enough to even get in one but I ended up having to go in after her because she didn't want to come out. I can't wait until she can really jump around!

The Fall Festival was a cowboy theme. Here is the ladybug saddling up.

Here she is headed to another moonwalk for the older kids.
Yeah Madikate has arrived!

Is that really Madikate in that duck
costume? I had to feel her face to make sure she was real!

My antennas must have scared my friend!

Bobbing for ducks

Yipee found the duck with the star on the bottom!

Look I might be a wrangler like my Lulu!

Next stop was to Lulu and Poppy's house for a surprise trick or treat. Lulu came with us to the Fall Festival and we couldn't let the night end without seeing Poppy. We were glad to find out that he WAS giving out candy this year instead of canned vegetables and raisins(hahaha inside family joke). Finally, we went to another friend's Halloween party to continue the festivities. Ellery was a trooper and I can only imagine what her little toddler mind thought about all of the dressed up children and adults.

Her classroom at school celebrated with cookies and a costume parade. The toddlers don't dress up (could you imagine changing diapers in a costume?) but they were able to see all of the older kids. Here is a picture taken right before we left that morning. Thanks for the shirt Aunt Sherry!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween from the Kellys

My sister just emailed these pictures and I had to share.


Her husband, Taylor, is on the right....WOW




Their dog Bailey as a police man...



And Kenzie Lou as the itsy-bitsy spider...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Call Me Betty Crocker

Whew today was a day spent almost entirely in the kitchen, minus a few hours spent at Gymboree and the grocery store. Did anyone see Jessica Seinfeld on Oprah discussing her new book, Deceptively Delicious? Well, I was completely inspired even though I already own several cookbooks for kids, including Sneaky Chef, which is sparking a little controversy.

I received my cookbook in the mail on Saturday and it blew me away. It is so well organized and starts with the basics, such as what the heck does a butternut squash look like and how do you cook such a vegetable?? I say that because I was perplexed at the grocery store looking at all the varieties of squash available. I really had to ask for help. Poor Ellery probably was thinking my mom is a real loser when it comes to grocery store knowledge. :) At one point she put her head on the shopping cart handle bars she was so tired from shopping.

I compiled a menu for the week and got to work. I spent the afternoon making purees - carrots, yellow squash, butternut squash, and cauliflower just to name a few. The concept is that you have fruit and veggie purees stored away and then you can just whip one out to put into a recipe. Because everyone wants their kids to eat a little more spinach and broccoli. Something about a healthy meal makes me feel like a better mom.

Sweet Ellery decided to sleep for 3 1/2 hours this afternoon leaving me even more time to prepare dinner - spaghetti with homemade meatballs and sauce. This may sound simple but it was full of healthy additions - carrots and butternut squash. As I was making the meatballs (which included ground turkey) I could not tell if they were cooked through or not and I was scared to try them and even more terrified to let Ellery try them. Nathan had called earlier and said he wouldn't be home for dinner so my taste tester was not available. So...Ellery ended up with just spaghetti and sauce tonight and guess how much of it she ate? Zip. Zero. Nothing. We resorted to the regulars - peas, hot dog, and strawberries.

Nathan did try out the meatballs later and really liked them. So maybe I will pack them in Ellery's lunch tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, I have a batch of cookies in the oven right now that I promised I would bring to her school for their Halloween party. While I am committed to cooking more healthy meals at home, I am SO over being in the kitchen!! I am already thinking about which restaurant we can hit for dinner tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Week in review

I am loving our day to day life as a family...we are so blessed. Ellery is getting bigger every day and transforming into a little toddler right before our eyes. Her little mind is working overtime, adding new words to her vocabulary seemingly by the minute. It is amazing!

So let's see this week...we have officially transitioned to one nap a day instead of two. I am actually really enjoying the new schedule although Ellery is still adjusting and often falls asleep in the car before I can get her home for her after-lunch nap. I can get her out of the car, upstairs, change her diaper, take off her shoes and she doesn't wake up! Tired girl!

Wednesday night Nathan and I officially graduated from our parenting class at church. It is based on the Love and Logic method of discipline and we have gained so much insight. I find myself listening to parents around me whether at the grocery store or at Target and thinking about what they could have done or said different. Don't be fooled though - I am completely stumped at times at home with Ellery and all my "learned" skills go out the window!

We had a fun play date with Roanna and Jake Friday morning. Roanna and I went to school together for our masters degree and she just moved back to Houston having been in Ohio while her husband completed medical school. Baby Jake is almost 7 months old and Ellery acted like a sweet big sister (most of the time). It was fun having a little boy around for a change!

Friday night Lulu and Poppy offered to keep Ellery overnight. Nathan and I had a date night and were able to catch a movie. We saw Dan in Real Life with Steve Carell, and while I know it got bad reviews, I actually really liked it. But I may not be the best judge of movies. I am only a fan of movies with happy endings and non-dark story lines! I think Ellery had a great time hanging out with her grandparents too...going to dinner, for ice cream, walks on the boulevard, and endless play time!

We have spent quite a bit of time outdoors this week because of our beautiful weather. Here are some pictures we took on our play date and then just playing in the backyard with Colby:













Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...well not really

Wow...it has been so beautiful outside these past couple of days. We are taking full advantage of it this weekend. Ellery was in her "mommy" mode Friday afternoon, pushing Colby around in her car. She would push him a little ways, then go around to the front of the car and give Colby a little pat on the head. This lasted at least 30 minutes until she decided it was her turn to sit and be pushed. We also went winter shoe shopping for Ellery! I had noticed that it was getting difficult to put her shoes on and thought perhaps we needed to move up a half a size. Well we went to Stride Rite and had her feet measured....they had grown an entire size since the beginning of September. This is a good thing because while Ellery is in the 90th percentile for height, I think the size of her feet may have been in the 10th percentile! We ended up purchasing three new pairs of shoes which is way too many, but my daughter (who may have inherited a shoe shopping gene) was picking out just as many for her to try on as I was. A girl DOES need play shoes, boots, and a dressy pair!

This afternoon we are taking a short road trip to Galveston to take some Christmas pictures at the beach. I know it is way too early to think about Christmas but I am READY! I love putting up the tree, looking at all the beautiful lights, feeling the cool air outside, eating yummy treats, and of course rejoicing in the true meaning and celebration of the season. Hopefully Ellery will enjoy being at the beach (although it will definitely not be Jamaica) and we can get a few good pics in as well!
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