Thursday, December 22, 2011

It's a Conspiracy!

Wow, it's been so long since I've been over here.  For record keeping sake, I wanted to get over here and make a short note of our three day Christmas tradition.  Watch the video below to see how it all got started.

To read more about our rethinking of how we approach Christmas, see our first Christmas of Presence in 2008.

I will be back soon with pictures of our activities.

If you're a friend on facebook, you can view our digital Christmas Card there.  There are pictures of other children on there that I don't have permission to share publicly.



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Little Pink Lady

Emma in her get up for 50's Day for Red Ribbon Week at school.  I think I have more fun putting these costumes together than she does wearing them.  Cutos to the costume store downtown for the "Pink Ladies" jacket and scarves.   Kids costumes on sale for $2.00 Score!  The rest came from around the house and the pants, they're Chloe's.. 

Monday, October 03, 2011

Happy Birthday/First Day of School

Surprise a blog post!  One that is over a month late but do you know what that means?  It means that shortly after these events took place, I started back to school myself.. My only goal with the blog these days is to record the major events that will go in "The Ellis Family Yearbook".  And, if I come across a fun idea and find the time to get over here to share it, then yay!  Truly though there are many blogging momma's out there that I'm counting on to keep me up on the kiddy things while I'm a student too and I assure you, they can handle it much better than I can until I figure out a way to install more hours in a day.   But, more on that later..  This post is for my baby so I'll make this about her.. 

My Chloe Anne turned 4 on August the 30th.  And since we decided to go ahead and keep her back in school because of her late birthday,  that meant that she started 3 year old preschool on her 4th Birthday which for our little social butterfly meant that she got her cake and ate it too!  

So we filled her room with balloons for her to wake to and stuck a candle in some heart shaped cinnamon rolls and then got ready for the first day of preschool...  

The backpack that Chloe used last year was just the perfect size and Aunt Jan had personalized it so we weren't ready to retire it.  I jazzed it up a bit by adding a pair of wings and my dollar store addition made the records in Chloe's book.  It also turns out that taking cupcakes the first day of preschool isn't a bad way to introduce yourself and just as suspected Chloe loves preschool, her teachers and loves "keeping the boys in line" (as her teachers say) even more.  

Chloe's birthday falling right at the beginning of the school year makes having a birthday party with school friends difficult.  So while I had the help of Nonna and Aunt Denise for a weekend visit, we had a birthday party with just church friends and gave the water slide a run for it's money to finish the summer off.  We have hopes for a tea party play date with the girls from her class once we get the chance to get to know everyone.  

Thank you to everyone that helped make Chloe's birthday special.  I don't think a smile has left her face since!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and a Cupcake Holder Lampshade

Emma and I did several projects over the summer that ended up being a little bit too difficult for Chloe to fully participate  like:
 turning this

Into this

This is so simple to do.  All you need is a good deal on a lamp, some cupcake holders, and some earring posts and backs (pack of 30 pieces at hobby lobby for $1.99), and spray paint.  We spray painted our thrift store lamp ($1.49) and then turned the cupcake holders inside out and pinned them on the shade..  Easy Peesy... But, since it involved spray paint and sharp things, it was a little bit too old for Chloe.

So, I scouted out a few things that I could gear specifically for Chloe to do in the couple weeks we've had between Emma starting school and Chloe starting.  

And, I came across this oh so cute "Very Hungry Caterpillar" on Pinterest and, after reading the story, I got to work on painting hands... When we finished the handprint caterpillar, Chloe commented that she wanted to make the butterfly too.  And what do you know but the next time I went on Pinterest, a friend had posted a picture of a footprint butterfly... So low and behold

A complete metamorphosis!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Emma Donate's Locks Again

Taken June 16, 2011

Posted August 24, 2011

We cut off Emma's hair once before to donate to "Locks of Love"in 2009.  At that time, she immediately started letting it grow so that she could donate it again.  It seems as if it takes just a little over two years to get another 10 inches to donate..  Since I didn't think that her hair would be in real great shape after a summer of swimming, we decided to go with the 8 inches that Pantene Beautiful Lengths requires.  I guess this will an every two years or so ritual.  I'm so proud of her.


Friday, August 19, 2011

The Second Day--Emma's First

 Well, we got off to a rocky start in more ways than one.  Emma missed her first day because she was running a fever and in the chaos of taking care of her, I forgot to charge my camera battery.  But, we got back on track and staged these pictures after school and that's why they're so bright..  I mainly wanted to capture the smart fashion sense that she's developed.  The outfit that she settled on wearing her first day of school was actually a dress of Chloe's that she wore as a shirt with a pair of capri pants.  I'm not sure if she realizes what this will obligate her to later down the road in the little sister department but it works to her advantage for now.

Anyway, Emma bounced back just fine and absolutely loves the 3rd grade. She will switch classes for Math and Science this year and loves both of her teachers.  She will also be in the gifted and talented program and is so excited to see what that is all about.  She ended up with several of her friends in her class and it appears to be a formula for a great year.  

As far as extra curricular activities go, she talked about doing cheerleading but eventually landed on taking guitar lessons.  I was excited about that decision because Chloe is playing soccer and I wasn't looking forward to spending every day at the Rec. Center.  And, we all know that Taylor Swift was cooler than the cheer captain because of the fact that when she was on the bleachers, she was also holding a guitar.. Emma will also continue to do Jazzercise at school like she did last year.

Here is my age progression storyboard that I like to do every year... It can also serve as an advertisement for True Green Chem lawn and a sprinkler system.  We ditched the lawn service to make room in the budget for Chloe's preschool and our sprinkler system broke.  I'm pretty sure it's a simple fix that Adam's done before.  But he's ended up having to mow the grass less and our water bill has been lower.. So, I think we inadvertently kept pushing it to the bottom of our To Do list...  Even though our yard looks like a brown mess in the middle of all of our neighbors beautiful sea of green and we are "that neighbor", it does have it's positives...

I came across some fun treat ideas to put in her lunch box for the first week of school.. I think it got me major "fun mom" points.  She even said that some kids were saying she was lucky.  Go me :-).  I still remember random little things that my mom did for me to let me know that she thought I was special like baking miniature cakes for tea parties with my dolls so I always look for ways to imprint those kind of memories in my girls.  

Cupcake shaped sucker, "3rd Grade is a piece of cake".

Swedish Fish "You are O-fish-ally a 3rd Grader"

Starbursts "You're a 3rd Grade Super Star"

And my favorite: Rainbow Sour Tracks and Rolos
You're the gold at the end of my rainbow... 

Looking forward to having her home for the weekend and sleeping in!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Initial Rag Wreath

The girls and I had an absolutely marvelous summer.  We crafted and created and swam and played and I just enjoyed them so much.  It was a refreshingly recovery from last summer since much of the past year has been a blur of going through the motions as I tried to get a grasp on the grief that I was experiencing from all the tragedies that our family and friends experienced in the year or so before.  I'm finally beginning to feel like myself again.   

Anyway, I have a lot of catch up posts to do including Emma's "real first day of school".  But, this is what I did on her first day back to school with a little "help" from my little hot mess that I call "My Chloe Girl".  

I had been searching around Pinterest for a cute wreath idea for our front door.  I'm just not your typical flowered wreath kind of girl and I was looking for something that just struck my fancy.  Well, eventually, I decided to compile a couple of ideas together and this is what I came up with.  

I posted a picture of this on my friend Jay's facebook wall and my friend Heather requested a tutorial.  So, I'm going to do my best to give you one..   I always have intentions of taking pictures step by step when I do something like this and then I get in the zone and get in a groove and I forget... But, this was so unbelievably easy that I think it could be done with no picture instructions at all.  But none the less, I do have a couple..

Chloe and I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday and we started out with a ball of scrap fabrics in fall, green, browns, yellows and reds and an initial which was on sale for 50% off of 2.99!  Score!  

Side Note:  though I've become a bit of an organizing junky (not by nature but as a coping mechanism to my husband's ADD), you could never tell it by walking in our front door because my dining room is always functioning as either an art or a photography studio and more often than not, looks like this.  

I spray painted the "E" with Krylon spray paint that I used to create the Shrek head pieces for our Christmas play last year.  The color is "Ivy Leaf" but we affectionately call it "Shrek green" and that's a more appropriate description.  I tied a piece of yarn to the "E" before I spray painted it so that it would also get painted and would serve as a way to attach it to the wreath

I was delighted to find a wire hanger after digging through all of the closets.  I'm not sure why I had it but you can usually get them free from the cleaners.  

I sort of shaped the hanger into a circle using wire pliers.  Then I just went to town tying on scraps of fabric.  (This is where I got excited and forgot to take pictures).

Once I got it all together, I decided that the "E" looked too plain so I pulled out the white circle stickers that I used to make everything polka dotted  for Chloe's "Pink Polka Dotted" Birthday Party last year.  

And waa laa, a polka dotted E..  

And there you have it, a wreath that is me and cost about $7.00 to make and is very much my style.  Could be cheaper for you if you actually sew and already have scrap fabric!  

Monday, August 15, 2011

It Was the First Day of the Third Grade-- And Emma was not there...

Because my friend, Sam is finishing up her Early Childhood Education Degree and goes to school in GA and GA starts back to school a week earlier than we do and Sam was working with the teacher that she'll be interning with to set up her classroom, I had Ron and Sam's kids the last two weeks of summer.   By the end of the second week, the kids were acting like brothers and sisters and were tired of being cooped up inside together because of my fear of taking all four kids out by myself.  But, since we had two of the kids that were in our youth group years ago in Panama City, Andrew and Holly, who are now fabulous adults, arrive on Tuesday and I had Holly as an extra set of hands, I developed a brilliant plan.

Since GA was already back in school, I knew it would be an opportune time to catch Chuck E Cheese's on a low crowd day... PLAN NOT SO BRILLIANT.... Emma contracted some kind of stomach virus.  And though she only threw up once, her fever keeps returning... So, she missed her first day of school..

I tried to pull a Billy Madison and go for her.  I walked into the classroom and her teacher said, "Hi, I'm crazy" and I instantly knew it was going to be a wonderful year.  I replied that I was Emma Ellis' mom and that I was crazy too and was prepared to stay and be a substitute 3rd grader but her teacher (whom I think we're going to love), graciously took her materials saying that she would use Emma's as the example set up..

  I put these treats together to give to the class just to remind them that Emma was on her way.

Emma was devastated at first, putting this event into the same category of worst things that have ever happened to her as Rotavirus and broken leg.  But, being the optimist that she is,  quickly decided to make lemonade out of lemons and is using this last day off to finish up the second Harry Potter book.... She knows almost all of the kids that are in her class this year.  And really, she has the confidence to walk into a room full of kids that she doesn't know anyway so I think we'll survive.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The No Title Post

Will words ever come again?  I don't know...

We're in the midst of living a life that we are constantly trying to figure out as we go.. A life where things happen that I'd like to ignore so that we can soak up every second we have with the love that we've made.  The two beautiful little girls that are spunky, and a amazing, and completely exhausting.. The ones that turn another year older every time we turn around..  I can't ignore life, but I want to steal every second that I can.   I can't sleep but I can't write either... So I'm going to go crawl back in bed next to that little person that crawled into my bed and woke me up to begin with and try to memorize how her little body feels lying next to mine.  To imprint it in my memory.  Because it won't be long before it's much bigger and I'll be longing for the memory that, no matter how hard I try, to put into words here, can only be captured through experience...  Too much life to write down...  Maybe, one day, when they're unavailable to me,  when they're off doing bigger and better things, I'll write about the memories... But for now, they're mine to cherish..  So I will go and write these memories upon my heart :-)...

Friday, July 29, 2011

More Pinterest Summer Fun-- Reading Fort

Not like a fort had never crossed my mind but sometimes it takes a visual for motivation... 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Things That Make Life Worth Living

It appears that from here on out, my life will be a never ending coming up short catching up on this blog...

But for now, here's an experience that should not go unrecorded.  I recently had the honor of being there to photograph my friend Lu's fourth child and first girl's first moments.  This was Lu's fourth C-section and because of the difficulty of the procedure and possible complications (which she had none of praise God), I wasn't able to be in there for the birth.  But I was waiting right outside to follow her through those first moments.  What an experience it was to be able to share this experience with my sweet friend.  Thank you for letting me share such a sweet moment with you Lu

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday Emma!

Commentary coming once I find the time to think straight enough to put my tears into words ;-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

C.S. Lewis

Monday, June 20, 2011

Room Redos and what my blogging lost to...

This is part of what has me so far behind on blog posts.  I was trying hard to get organized before the kids got out of school for the summer.  Though I didn't get all that I wanted done, I did make a significant dent in things..  We gave both of the girl's rooms a makeover and I'm in the process of putting labels on EVERYTHING...  I am not naturally, a label kind of obsessive girl... But I have found that I live in a house full of nerds and though they won't listen to a word that I say, they love to read and for the little one that doesn't read yet, the pictures work wonders!  In fact, the labels have worked so well, I am in the process for making some for every room in the house. 

Chloe's Room

  Chloe had previously been in a full sized bed that was just placed on a frame so that it was low to the floor.  My mom had saved my bed from when I was little.  Since it had been kept in an out door storage building, it needed a bit of work..



labels for Chloe's room


Emma's Room
Emma was in a loft bed which is now working as a great space for rubbermaid storage boxes in our garage. (Pictures coming soon)..  For Emma, we brought down the bedroom suite from the spare bedroom that Adam's mom had given us.  Don't worry, you can still come visit us, there's still a bed up there...  Not being in the mood to paint the very pink walls, I decided to combine a hot pink and orange to grow it up a little bit for her... I ran into a little snag when I went to remove the tacky border (I really should have gotten a picture of this one) that was put up by the previous owner... They had painted almost to the ceiling, leaving about a inch of bare wall.. Since I've been unsuccessful in getting a good match to the paint, I acquiesced.   Though I detest wallpaper borders, I put up a thinner, polka dotted border.  

Recently, we added the picture that I made Emma for her birthday.  It contains a quote from one of my history favorites, Eleanor Roosevelt.   Did you know that during the Civil Rights movement, in a public meeting in Birmingham AL, Eleanor Roosevelt once straddled the aisle between the segregated black and white sides, refusing to place value on a person based on their color? Wasn't she the coolest?

And I LOVE this quote... 

labels for Emma's room

labels on everything...


more labels

labels for playroom

Master Bedroom

And, I added some shelves to the office space in our bedroom to try to keep things from stacking up on the desk... Adam came in later and put some brackets up because the floating shelves didn't hold the weight I wanted them to hold.   I eventually want to paint my $10 yard sale desk a de-stressed vintage aqua.. But for now, we're going for function.. Maybe one day, I'll bring it all together in beauty like those slick decorating blogger mommas... But that will surely be after I finish the degree I'm about to start working on.  

 I also have worked out a great laundry room system and a fun homework/project space for the girls that I need to take pictures of... 

And since I'm, once again, officially a college student.. I hope to finish things up in between the time that the girls go back to school and I start classes in September... 

Hopefully, I will be back with a follow up post... But considering the fact that there's still a Christmas post I haven't done, no promises that will surely be broken made here..



Monday, June 13, 2011

Wrapping Up Second Grade

Please excuse the black boxes.  I try hard to protect their location and not post pictures of kids without parents permission.

  Summer has officially began.. I'm going to try to go back through the mounds and mounds of pictures that I haven't posted over the past few months and get them in place.

Emma, racked up on awards at second grade awards day.   I think we all take it for granted that she's going to get the academic and behavior awards.  I do realize that one day, this could change and I'm going to really realize how much for granted I took this.  But, we knew up front that she had achieved those awards.  The big surprise was the Art Award.  I am so proud of the way she pours herself into everything she does.  But I think because of the circumstances, we were all most excited about this award.  She was so disappointed that she didn't get it in first grade and she left the awards day that day vowing to "get it next year".  I love that she sat her mind to it and achieved it.    She's smart, there is no doubt.  But, it's her determination that testifies to her character.  I love that about her.  She so often amazes me. 


Sunday, June 12, 2011

"An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons - marriage, or meat, or beer, or cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning."
--C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hey Batter Batter

If you want to improve your prayer life, put your kid on a little league team.  

Even though starting out at this age put Emma playing with much more experienced players, she played her first season of softball.  The schedule kicked our tails but it was a great experience.  Our city has a great rec department.  The coaches were great and we made some life long friends. 

Emma caught on quickly and made a great little rookie.  I think we have a future ahead of many nights at the softball fields.