Thursday, October 29, 2009

Train a Child in the Way He Should Go?

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

A common scripture that Christian parents of small children cling to. I write this post as I'm listening to the cries of my two year old in her bedroom. She made it until just over two years before we converted the crib to a toddler bed. But with her new realization that she can now escape her imprisonment, my security (IE climb out of the crib), we opted for a conversion that would allow us to keep her in her room where she can put herself back in bed when she finally surrenders to the nap that she so desperately needs. Is this the right thing to do? I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA. But for now, it's the best I've got. And so I cling to the thought that if I teach her to be the person that God wants her to be, then when she is old, she will have what she needs to be that person.

A wonderful assurance! If I don't think of the people I know that this scripture doesn't seem true for.. Because I know of several wonderful parents that are great people that have been devastated by watching their children walk away. So, I make up excuses so that I don't feel helpless with my own children.. Things like, "well it says OLD.. They aren't OLD yet".. And I turn it over and over in my mind with a constant fear that my children will some how grow up to walk away from their faith because of some choice that I've made. And the truth is, I have absolutely no idea how this job that I'm doing, being a mom, the most important job of my life, will come out for at least twenty years, maybe longer. So I'm left to observe the people that I know and rely on my own experiences and the one thing I can truly control, my ability to throw myself at the feet of a God that can give me the wisdom to do something I can not do on my own.

And I feel like in bits and pieces I get that direction. The other night, Adam and I were having a not so uncommon conversation about how to make life turn out the way it should for our girls. And here was my clueless response, "I don't know, but I know one thing, as big of helicopter parents that we are, we have to let them go on mission trips. Because out of all the kids that we know that have a faith that is real and is strong there is one thing that they all have in common, they were involved in mission work". I know that this realization is anemic. Obviously, this is not an A+B=C equation. Sending a child on a mission trip alone is not going to automatically equate to a life long faithfulness that can't be rocked. And obviously, there are faithful Christians that have never been out of our country. But still, at least in my experience the correlation is there. And so I being the person that I am analyze and analyze and analyze some more..

And last night, I feel like I got another small piece of this enlightening little puzzle when Adam showed this clip at church:

I'm still trying to sort my thoughts on this out.. Could it be that we have diluted the story of Jesus to much less of a story than God intended it to be? Could it be that maybe I'm telling my children but not training them? God please show me the way to not just say what they need to hear but be what they need to be.

I am now hearing only the blissful sound of my fingers clicking on the keyboard. And the picture inside the bedroom of that precious little ball of fire God has entrusted to me?

Lord if I warped her for life by giving her no other option but to turn to Mickey for comfort, please give me grace.


Miracle Walk

I've had a lot of questions about whether or not I raised my money and what shirt I wore for the breast cancer walk.. Well, I sort of raised the money. On Thursday before the walk, I had about half of the money raised so I hadn't ordered the shirt. I decided that I didn't want to suffer the shame of not meeting my goal, so on Thursday, I searched down for a Ta Ta's shirt.. I found them at a local graphics store for 5 dollars a piece.. Except, the writing was on the back. But, with a little of Pam's creativity, we made a view adjustments, I wrote a check for the remainder of the amount and Pam and I followed through with our commitment. I've still had a few donations trickle end and I just decided that what ever I ended up giving was what God wanted my contribution to be.

We had a ball at the walk. And I'm sad to announce that I have no juicy comments to present about the shirts. We got absolutely nothing but compliments and interest in where we got them. It's so amazing how small trivial things seem when everyone has a common goal for the better good.

Thank you all for your donations. I know that times are hard for a lot right now. For those of you that supported me in this, it means so much.

We're already making plans to do it next year. With a pink glittery sign and pink feathered boas for our group. Why don't you go ahead and make plans to join us..


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where have I been?

Taking pictures of course!

You can see some more of these adorable little boys and their beautiful momma HERE

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Deals and Matchups

Two Inserts 1 Smart Source, 1 Red Plum

Couponing: Last week, I bought all of my families grocery needs for $45. I feel certain that if I put in the time and effort, I could have probably done it for $20. The question becomes: How much is saving that extra $25 worth to me? I have been couponing for about a year and a half now. This has freed us up to do other things with our money. We will soon pay off our van, making us debt free again (having equity, I consider our home an asset, not a debt. I'm also scared to say this because every time we get both vehicles paid for, another breaks) Anyway, my efforts have definitely been worth while.

But, even saving money vs. spending is your goal, it is still a delicate balance to find a place where you are ruling your spending instead of your spending ruling you. Today I'm up at 5:00 a.m. to get this done. But on some Sundays, I've started allowing myself to sleep in when I need it. I really like what the Southern Saver says HERE on Couponing Burnout. It was worth the read for me.

May you find the money saving balance that is right for you!


Great Week at the Drugstores for Stocking up on over the counter medicines
Rite Aid
I haven't done Rite Aid in a long time because I'm not a huge fan of their rebate system where I have to put the money out up front. However, my friend Amy and Lauren got such great deals there last week that they have convinced me to try it again. Thanks Amy and Lauren!


Bi Lo


Penny Item: Publix Bagged Candy

I don't think anyone was using the out of area posts. If I'm missing something that you were previously using, let me know. I certainly don't mind putting them up.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Emma's Blog

As a way to help Emma strengthen her writing skills, she and I together have built her own blog page. I invite you to stop in and encourage her to keep writing.

Hope for the People
The much more interesting than her mom's life of a first grader

PS: Don't forget to check out the family update below.

Family Friday

I'm getting requests from grandparents and aunts for pictures and updates of the kids. Imagine that, they want what they really come here for.

So, I thought I'd share a couple of funny things that they've said here lately along with some non pouting pictures that I've taken of them recently. It's likely that you've seen these things here and there on facebook, but for record keeping sake, I must compile them all in one place.


A couple of weeks ago, our friends George and Jay came with there daughter Sarah Jane so George could run in a marathon that is held in our town. I failed to get a picture of Emma and Sarah Jane but here is one that Jay took the last time they visited.

All in all, they did a great job since we were all together for the whole weekend but without the normal sleep.. However, since they were sleep deprived six year olds, there were a couple of moments where we had to all turn our heads to snicker until we could compose ourselves and be responsible parents.

Setting: Our living room

Enters Sarah Jane in a pretty pink sequin dress.
Next enters Emma in a white angel costume
Emma: We're having a contest. Who can wear the prettiest WHITE dress.

Setting: Our living Room
Enters Emma and Sarah Jane

Emma: Mom she hit me.
Jay: Sarah Jane, did you hit Emma
Sarah Jane: No, she hit me back.
Me: Emma did you hit Sarah Jane?
Emma: No, I missed.

We did sit them in time out for this one but I'm pretty sure they both are smart enough to know we found it amusing.

To hear it from Jay, this trip resulted in some funny moments for George and Jay after they left. Jay, feel free to comment :)

In the news: Emma finally lost her first tooth. This issue has been an issue of stress for Emma since she was the only kid in her kindergarten class that had not lost a tooth when Kindergarten graduation came around. She was very distraught when she had to start first grade, with all of her baby teeth still in place. So she worked and wiggled and at last, her daddy pulled the first of many..

I had my parent teacher conference with her teacher today. She's doing very well. She's doing better than very well. Now comes the challenge of keeping her challenged. Thank God that he blessed us with the perfect teacher to do that. If I became a billionaire, I would give all the teachers in the world a huge bonus because they are severely under appreciated and underpaid! Anyway, her teacher always tells me little bits and pieces of things that Emma says. She said that earlier today Emma raised her hand and said, "Mrs Bradley, don't you think it's time we tell them about adjectives"?

And here are some recent portrait shots

Before I move on to our Chloe girl, I will leave you with a funny from Emma. Sunday night after church, we went out to dinner with some friends. Sleep is crucial for my children and since they got to bed a little later than normal, by Monday afternoon, they were spent. Adam went to a meeting with a friend so I was all by myself. After more whines than I can handle, I opted for an early bedtime. Emma let out the whine that was the straw that broke the camels back. I told her to go put on her pajamas, brush her teeth, pick out a book and get in bed and wait for me to read her story. I went through all the bed time rituals with Chloe and went to read Emma's story and She had picked out the book "My Dad is Great". And yes, we do also have the book, "My Mom is Great". Smart alecks run in the family.


*The other day, Chloe brought a hanger to me and said, "this is my dress handle".

*We've been bike riding during the day. Chloe sits behind me in the baby seat. Every time I go to stand to get up a hill, Chloe starts kicking me in the rear and yelling, "SIT YOUR BOTTOM DOWN"!

*On the way to church last night. Emma looked at Chloe and said, "She's so cute" Chloe said, "I know I'm cute"

*The other night, I was getting her ready for bed and she was singing, "oh, oh, oh, oh put a wing on it". I was trying to hard to figure out what she wanted to put a wing on when Adam came in and heard her and started singing Beyonce's "Put a Ring on It". Chloe turned and pointed at Adam and said, "YEAH, that's a good song".

And now, our weekend begins. I will see you all with coupon links on Sunday.

Have a fabulous weekend!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hello, My name is Dana Ellis and I have an addiction..

I live inside my blog.. I just can't stop. My fellow bloggers might understand. My children's grandparents are thankful. But for the rest of the world, I feel that quite often, someone turns and rolls their eyes after I say, "you know, that's funny, I just wrote about that on my blog". I imagine that they have conversations with their husband's that go something like, "If I have to hear one more thing about Dana's stupid blog"..

Maybe all bloggers aren't like this but I know I'm not the only one. I've heard others.. Comments like, "I met her through my blog", "she's a blog friend", "she's an amazing blogger", or, "this is so going on the blog". We have various blogger relationships. There are those that come for informational purposes only: the coupon blogs, the photography blogs, whatever your hobby. Even this is a compliment because these readers believe that you have something to offer. There are your most loyal blogging friends. They visit your blog regularly and leave a comment even when they don't have anything to say but they just want you to know you're not alone. You may have never even met these people in life but somewhere in your heart, you know that you are kindred spirits connected by cyberspace. There are your blogger friends that you do know but are also weighted down by their own lives and only get a chance to connect during nap time. You've tried to get together. But you ended up spending your time breaking up fights between your children and trying to yell over the children so you can hear each other. There is the relative or friend from sixth grade that sets up a profile just for you so that they can leave you comments. They have no interest in having a blog of their own but if it's important to you, it's important to them. These are friends worth holding on to, friends worth fighting for. There are friends and relatives that tune in regularly but don't leave comments. Maybe they don't know how, maybe they're afraid they'll say something stupid. But regardless, they genuinely care about your life and have nothing to gain from being there.

My strangest blogging experiences have been when someone approaches me that I know but didn't know follows my blog.. I instantly try to replay everything I've ever posted in my head and see it through their eyes. IE: Wow, how she take what I said on that day? I wonder if it offended her when I said that.. I never used her as an example did I? Oh gosh I hope she didn't think I was talking about her when I said this because I so was not..

Granted, not all the experiences are positive. There is the person that comes along just looking for a disagreement. And there is the wonder of what caused someone that used to read your blog regularly to stop. The funny thing is, I know that when this happens to me, it's simply because I got busy. There is also the person that you know has been lurking about for years but they never chose to say something until they disagreed with you. Disagreeing is okay. As a blogger, I like to hear opinions different than my own. They help me to grow. But disagreeing only is generally frowned upon. But, at least for me, for the most part, it's simply a circle of friends that I love and enjoy. And if I'm being truly honest, these people that live inside this world have become an important part of me.

So, how is it that this real yet not tangible experience can become so much a part of our lives. Maybe it's my need to finish a complete thought when my kids aren't there to disrupt me. Or maybe it's because I can have my kids disrupt me and go back and find my place and finish the thought. Maybe it's my need to express myself to someone other than a two year old. Maybe it's my need to feel that I can still use my brain for something other than remembering where I put the wipes. Maybe it's because I usually get low on minutes on my cell phone about half way through the month. Maybe it's my need to be able to think something through and re-read it before I put it out there. Maybe it's simply a need to be heard.. I'm sure it's a mixture of a lot of those things and more but I'm having a hard time putting my finger on it..

So what about you? Do you blog? Do you read blogs? Why? What is it that so entices you as it also does me. Please help me shed some light on the mystery of the blogging phenomenon.


Monday, October 12, 2009

I Saw That Look... I was taking my screaming, kicking two year old out of church on Sunday. Actually there was a variety of looks. There was the one of sympathy from the mother who has finally gotten her child raised. There was the one from the grandmother that said, "oh, just let her throw Cheerios all over the church, it's so cute". There was the one of relief from the mom who was wondering last week if she was the only one. There was the look of deep thought from the newlywed as she tried to remember if she took her birth control yesterday. There was the look of fear for the mommy-to-be as she was questioning if she had made the biggest mistake of her life. And though I couldn't have possibly have seen this look, just in case there was someone there that took just a slight bit of joy over my misfortune, to you my friend I say, YOUR DAY IS COMING! ..

So the plan was to make Chloe sit on the bench out in the foyer because I certainly couldn't remove her for her behavior and let her play. But, as the screams began to escalate, I took her to the bathroom in an attempt to mask her screams from the congregation. I accessed the situation and soon decided that despite my efforts, we were being well heard. So, I opted for a trip to the car in which I wrestled her into her car seat while I was saying, "you have the right to express your feelings but if you don't do it in the right way, no one is going to listen to you" and then shut the door and stood outside until I heard the surrendering little sobs of "momma, I'm sorry" about ten minutes later.. She then returned to her angel little self (with big puffy eyes) and went on to Children's Church ..

The comments I got after were quite entertaining as well. Things like, "I'm impressed you didn't kill her". "Is shes cutting a molar"?. "You're kidding me, Emma acted like that too? She seems so sweet". "Is she not feeling well"? To which I replied, "no, she's just feeling two". Okay, so maybe this doesn't happen with every kid. But, just in case you are one of those moms that is lucky enough to experience the terrible twos with all of your children, I like what Dr. Greene says, " Ideal parenting does not prevent the "Terrible Twos" -- it helps children navigate them." And, I will also say that the struggle for independence pays off. For the most part, Emma is pretty well behaved though she still has her moments and she's fairly responsible for a six year old. She evens sets her own alarm clock and gets herself up for school. Some adults haven't even mastered that skill. So to you I say, persevere, this too shall pass and the rewards are splendid.

But, to make sure, I did go back and check to make sure that Emma did in fact experience these crazy fights for independence. And seriously, deja vu'.

I now give you, my very first blog post ever (almost exactly 4 years and 3 months ago when Emma was the exact same age).. The inspiration for this blog, because it's cheaper than therapy.

Terrible Twos

Ok, Emma has officially hit the terrible twos. In the past week my little angel’s body has been invaded. I think I will refer to it as her first adolescence. She is definitely wanting to state her independence. She’s not quite big enough to slam a door or roll her eyes but she can sure put out a mean scream. After two big battles today, both about going to bed, one for nap, and one for the night, she is quietly laying in her bed looking like my little angel again. All of the sudden, she wants to do everything by herself, get into everything she’s not supposed to, and really let me know about it if something doesn’t go her way. Today, she wrote on her dresser with a Sharpie marker (yeah, those Mr. Clean magic erasers aren’t quite as good as they say) To go anywhere, I have to allow an extra hour to get there because she wants to pick out her own clothes, put them on herself, put on her own shoes, turn out the lights, open the door, get in her car seat, shut the door, and buckle herself in the car seat, all by herself. None of these things she can actually do by herself so I have to wait until she actually tries it and sees that she can’t do it alone, and she surrenders to needing my help. And, we have done this repeatedly. Even after all of this, I still have this over whelming love for her and I know my life is so much more wonderful than it was before she was in it.

There are quite a few lessons I could take from this. One being humbleness, yes, I had heard other mothers talk about temper tantrums but since my little Emma had always pretty much pleasantly obeyed, I thought we were above that (man I knew better than that). But, what I’m really wondering is, how often do I seem like a two year old to God. Running around messing things up, trying to handle things myself and then whining to God when it doesn’t go my way. And what’s worse, I do these things over and over again. All the while, God is standing there patiently waiting for me to figure out that I need to surrender to him and give him the control. Then, he picks me up, pats me on the head and lets me rest in his love.

God thank you for showing me in such a wonderful way my need for you. Please help me to rely on you!

One thing is for sure, I’ll be resting in his love tonight. After wrestling with a two year old all day, I’m too tired to do anything else.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Coupons and Matchups

Coupon Inserts: 10/11 1 Red Plum, 1 Smart Source, 1 Proctor and Gamble


Rite Aid



Will add penny item when I get it.
Penny Item: Publix Coffee


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Is it Christmas?

You may remember the post I did of the pictures I hung in my hallway and told how I used the Latitude level I received in the Mom Select, Swag Suite. that . You can see that post HERE. Well, not long after I made the post, I got an e-mail from either the designer or owner of the company (someone that had the say so) saying that she was tickled by my post and that she was sending me the rest of the tools.

Great I thought, my very own tools and they're great quality and well made. So, I was very excited when I got my box of tools and opened it to see this:

Score! Yay for me! But, as I started examining the tools, I was struck by how brilliant the designs really are.

A screwdriver with a metal end that doubles as a hammer.. Seriously, tell me how many times you have turned your screw driver over and tried to use it as a hammer. I do it all the time. Or rather did it all the time :)

A hammer, with a rubber piece that stores in the handle that converts the hammer into a rubber mallet! Clever!

A small screw driver for small screws. You know those kind that every children's toy has? I can't tell you how many times I've fished through my kitchen drawer for the right sized screw driver from a little kit. This screw driver has 8 different heads that are stored right in the handle of the screw driver. Brilliant!

And there are many more tools that you can check out on their site by clicking HERE. They can also be found on FACEBOOK They are currently having a sale. And do you know what my husband said as I was bragging to him about my new tools? "Are you sure a man didn't design these"?.. Just like a man... No Adam Ellis, I'm pretty sure that the only kind of person that could come up with these types of designs would be one that can brush her teeth while she's breastfeeding the baby, carry an infant in one arm while she carries a child with a broken leg in the other or, one that can fix lunch at the time same time she reviews spelling words and soothes the colicky baby all while she's on the telephone helping her sister-in-law figure out what to do about her baby's rash. Yes, this brilliance no doubt has the touch of a woman..

If only these tools had existed when we were given our tool and gadget party so many years ago. That party would have so been for me. They would be the perfect addition to any bridal registry. Which by the way is possible since they are available at

Thank you Latitude tools! I will use my tools with pride!

And since the power of suggestion worked so well in this case... Now, if I can only find a way to get someone to pay my mortgage ;).


Sunday, October 04, 2009

Deals and Matchups

Look for three sources of coupons in today's paper.

2 Smart Source
1 Red Plum


Rite Aid




Penny Item Publix Sandwich Bread


Friday, October 02, 2009

Wow... What a Week..

I have typed the first sentence to this post at least ten times and deleted it.. I haven't been able to sit down and write this week because I can't organize the thoughts in my head.. So many conversations this week about God and spirituality.. There are so many "untouchables" that I feel need to be "touched" but I can't figure out how to begin.. It would be really easy to sit in my own little world with my loving husband and my healthy children when my life isn't being challenged and feel like I've got God figured out, if I could only keep my family and my friends from being touched by pain, I could keep up that charade.. It's easy to do when everything is bright and sunny and we appear as God's "chosen ones".. But then, there is the friend who's child is sick and the medical bills are piling up, and the friend that lost his job, the friend that wants a baby, the friend that is in constant pain with no identifiable reason, the friend that is staying in an adulterous relationship for the sake of her children, the friend that just could not, and oh God forbid I say it, the friend that is gay and didn't ask to be (btw, I don't think anyone does). All of these people are real in my life and all of these people are some of the best people I know and all of these people, I have had real conversations with recently and as my world view changes and I begin to realize that God lies in other places than just a conservative little church in the Bible belt, it's difficult to hold onto some of the beliefs that I've had in the past when these real people exist and I love them.. TREMENDOUSLY...

The point of this post is not to convince you whether someone is born homosexual, or they ate something that made them homosexual or if their mother dressed them in the wrong clothes when they were a child; whatever your conception of homosexuality might be.. We can have those conversations all day long.. It's a great distraction from what we should really be discussing.. It's a huge mis-judgement on my part.. but, I have almost started thinking of the word "homosexual" and "atheist" as interchangeable. Don't get me wrong.. I know there are athiests that aren't homosexual and that there are homosexual's that believe in God.. But I do believe that we are often displaying a version of God that is simply unbelievable to those that don't fit into our little idea of what the package of Christianity should look like and leaving those people that don't fit into our packaged ideal no other path to take. By the way... Do you know how easily you and I could fall outside those ideals? Oh yeah, you're right... Your child could never be gay, you're too holy...

I like to write little sweet posts that make you want to go hug your children.. But, I'm afraid that this one can't be wrapped up and tied with a pretty little bow.. I would love to have lots of healthy conversation on this subject. But here is the thing... This is my blog... I have access to this little feature called comment moderation... I think we've done enough damage to Christianity with trying to do God's job of judging the world.. And I can assure you that a comment that would hurt these people in my life that I love so much will not be posted here.. With that said:

Open for discussion...

Still left to be discussed and even harder to tie with a pretty little bow. From a dear friend, a question I'm still mulling over, "we been told that God is not vengeful. What have you seen to support this?".. Wow!