Thursday, December 18, 2014

2 Cowgirls and a Cow: A Very Texan Halloween

It seems that 3 is the beginning of the magic age for holidays. The girls didn't remember last Halloween but the more we talked about it (costumes, candy, trick-or-treating, CANDY), the more excited they got.
I used the power of suggestion to influence their choice of costumes (b/c how CUTE are they??).  I'm sure my days of having thematic halloweens are numbered, so I'll make the most of it while I can.

As a Halloween warm-up, we went to Rob's firm party.  And man, do those YetterColeman folks know how to throw a party!
The theme this year was Frozen, complete with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf.  All of the kids were totally star-struck.
Kristoff making balloon characters

These people were AWESOME.  They stayed in character the entire time--even when we ran into them in the parking lot on the way out.
Anna painting arms
Elsa, too. 

SO happy
The pièce de résistance was when Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff acted out an abbreviated version of the movie.  The only thing they didn't abbreviate was a full-throttle rendition of Let It Go.  And it was really, legitimately good!  The kids thought they had died and gone to heaven.  
The entire room was so into it!
The party was such a big success that I was a little worried actual, normal trick-or-treating would be a let-down.  But with a consistent intake of sugar, we made it through our church trunk-or-treat as well as a decent portion of the neighborhood in very good spirits.   
Their trusty steeds (Max & Kuka) made it the whole way too
I think that Halloween kind of lags behind other holidays between ages 10 and whatever-age-you-are-when-your-kids-turn-3.  And then, it's awesome again.  :)  Can't wait for next year!
The view from Dad's office--it's never been cuter!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jacqueline brings the party to H-town!

Whenever anybody in the family hears that Jacqueline is coming to town, somehow it turns into a party!
Cutest baby ever? Probably.
This time Jacqueline was flying in for a few days before helping a friend drive back up to UT.  And Mom & Dad were here house-hunting.  And Grandma Ada/Grandpa Bob were wonderful to make the trip from CA to visit their great-grandbabies.  And Grandma Emma from NV paused her busy cruising schedule to complete the party.
She always has something exciting to say!
I felt so blessed to have so much uninterrupted time with my grandparents.  I don't get to see them very often, and when I do it's usually in the midst of a wedding or a family reunion.  This trip we had about a week of relaxed excursions with plenty of downtime to talk, play in the driveway, and make some great memories.
Jacques had endless bubble-blowing energy.  What a good sport!
I loved hearing stories about my Grandpa Bob's career as a firefighter, my Grandma Ada whipping the PTA into shape, and Grandma Emma's plans for the next phase of her life.  And I really loved watching my kids learn to love their great-grandparents.  Even shy Caroline was won over in the end.
Total concentration
While they were here we went down to Galveston & the beach, to the NASA museum, to the Children's Museum, the park, and a few other places I'm probably not remembering.  It was just the perfect amount of busy.
My beautiful mother
Usually when guests leave I kind of breathe a sigh of relief, but this time I was just sad the party had to end.  Maybe next time Jacqueline will plan a trip to visit another family member and we'll be the ones tagging along!
How YOU doin'? 
 Families are the best.  And THANK YOU, everyone, for coming to see us!
Where was Grandpa Bob and Dad??

A few videos:

Monday, October 27, 2014

My baby is ONE

It's hard  to imagine life without our little Caroline.
 I never imagined we'd have 3 kids in 2 years (miracles happen!), but I got serious messages that there was somebody ready to come to our family.  And after waiting 5 years for Savannah and Lily, Caroline arrived with hardly a hiccup.

Caroline is the teeniest, tiniest person but has a BIG personality and an even BIGGER will.
She's is the perfect addition to our family.  Caroline is convinced that she's a 3 year-old stuck in a 1-year old's body and spends her days trying desperately to keep up with her sisters.  She started crawling at about 7 months, realized she couldn't move fast enough so quickly worked on walking, running, stairs, and by her first birthday is VERY independent. 

Caroline knows how to work a crowd.  She has a million-watt smile that never fails to win fans wherever we are.  And her laugh.  It kills me. 
Currently, Caroline loves baby dolls, avocados, hot dogs, books, her daddy (and mommy), her grandpa (and grandma), playing outside eating pebbles, closing doors, ice cream, and doing whatever Savannah & Lily are doing. 
We love this little girl and I can't wait to see what life has in store for her.  She has a powerful, happy spirit that is a total blessing in our home. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

3. How did this happen?

On one hand, I can't believe Savannah and Lily are ONLY three; I can hardly remember life without them! And on the other hand, it feels like last Halloween with my ladybugs & baby flower was just a few months ago; this year has FLOWN.

A few of my favorite funnies from life lately:
  •  Lily mistaking a jar full of cilantro-lime dressing for a green smoothie, taking a small sip, licking her lips, and asking for more "spicy juice." 
  •  Savannah, in the middle of a crowded restaurant bathroom, saying "Hi big poopers! Nice to meetcha!"
  • Savannah: Flashlight=flash-night.  Swimsuit=swim-out. Upstairs=up-y-stairs. Polka-dots=polka-ots.  Lunchbox=munch-box.
  • Lily loves telling secrets.  She puts her mouth right next to your ear and whispers total gibberish.  And is totally convinced what she's said is very important.  
  • Lily giving me a big hug, a smile, and saying, "Mom, you're so beautiful."  
  • Savannah LOVES to play pretend.  But she's never a princess, or fairy, or mermaid.  Instead she's Jake (of Never-land Pirates fame), or a Cowboy ("Yee-haw Ma'am!"), or a Dinosaur ("RAWRRRRRR!!!"), or a Quiet Ninja (karate chopping while whispering, "HiiiiiiYA!"). 
  • Lily is the queen of the dance party.  Whenever there is music, Lily is working her interpretive dance moves. "Y-y-y-you love it, Mom??"  "Yes, Lily. I love it."  :)
I am so grateful to be the mother of these sweet girls.  And I LOVE this stage of life!  At 3 I still get lots and lots of snuggles, I can still make almost any problem better with a kiss and a band-aid, and I get to see their amazing little minds learn and grow and make new connections every day.  It is so fun to see life through the eyes of a three-year old! 

Thanks to my amazing husband, the documentor of our little family, for yet another wonderful birthday video. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Vacationing" Ellis-style

Every other summer the Ellis clan gets together without any of the grand-kids. That way all of the adults get to spend time with each other without having to worry about being Mom or Dad most of the time. It is a GREAT tradition. 
My only beef with it is when we mistakenly say we're going on "Vacation."  Because "vacation" implies sleeping in, lazy days, and serious R&R.  None of which are on the docket when the Ellis crew gets together.  Instead we have fun like it's our JOB....and we're working serious overtime!  :)

Quick run-down of our 5-days in SLC:
  • Monday: Arrive, go out to dinner, play games, stay up late having FHE and going over the plan for the week
Hiking Ensign Peak
  • Tuesday: Wake up for an early morning hike, breakfast on the roof, go to the temple, visit the Monte L. Bean museum in Provo, have dinner at the MTC & attend devotional where all 9 of the Ellis kids spoke, change clothes & night-hike the Y, drive back to SLC trying not to fall asleep.
The Frenchies
The Portuguese (& Conlon)
Stan & KK pointing to their new, HUGE, area
Aup & Mark modeling how we all felt on the drive home
  • Wednesday: Wake up, play games, do an Amazing Race around SLC--organized by Kit & Kevin (SO fun), end the day with dinner and more more more GAMES.  
  • Touring a chocolate factory
Massages before dinner
  • Thursday: Wake up early for a special Kevin-led workout, watch the Pioneer Day parade, grab lunch, head out to do some Olympic Curling, stop at a park to play 3+ hours of ultimate frisbee, eat dinner, go downtown to dance the night away with Conlon's band.  
We're basically professionals now...
  • Friday: Drag ourselves out of bed, do a beautiful 6 mile hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon, stop at Cafe Rio for a late lunch, have dessert at a different restaurant, get together with the extended Ellis-clan for the rest of the evening, games games games.
  • Saturday: Up at the crack of dawn to catch an early flight back to Houston.  
I'm exhausted just remembering all of this! we really have to wait 2 years to do it again???

MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR thanks to our great friend, Lori & family, for watching our 3-under-3 for most of the week!  And MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR props to my mom and dad for moving to Houston which meant they covered the last few days.  I think they were all probably as exhausted as we were when we got home!  ;)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Caroline Hazel; 6-9 months

So I totally missed updating with Caroline's 6-month stats....and I just skipped her 9-month appointment (no need to drag 3 kids to the doctor's office for 1.5 hours for them to tell me my baby is little, with a large noggin, and to make sure I baby-proof my house)...BUT, I do have some stinkin' cute pictures of her from the last few months, so that's something.
 At 6 months, Caroline was in the 10th-ish percentile for height and weight, and the 95th-ish for hat size.  Typical Ellis child, I guess.
 At this point in life, she was still taking 3-4 naps per day, nursing despite my miserly milk supply, and almost sitting up. 
And when I started her on solid foods, she was all in.  She was NOT interested in normal baby food like rice cereal or purees, however.  Caroline wanted whatever her sisters were eating, and she wanted to do it herself. 

She definitely does NOT get that independent streak from her mother...........

 At 9 months (and now almost 10 months), Caroline is crawling, standing, and even taking a few steps from Dad to Mom. 
She is totally a Daddy's girl.  Caroline lights up and lunges for him whenever he's in the room.  When she hears his voice as he's coming home from work she starts bouncing and giggling.  It is pretty much the cutest thing ever.  Caroline does NOT like to be left with strangers these days.  Especially at the gym.  She adores her sisters, and they can make her laugh even in the middle of a major melt-down.  This really comes in handy in the car. 
This is an example of a sister-induced laugh, mid melt-down.  Grimace or Smile....she's still cute!
Caroline was totally weaned by about 9 months.  A combination of no milk, and a potential vacation opportunity sans kids was enough for me to call it quits on nursing.  She wasn't a huge fan of bottles, but sippy cups were pretty fun, so that's how we did it.  I do miss the intimacy that comes with nursing but I must say, it's nice to have a little more freedom.  Mostly though, I'm glad to not be constantly worrying about if she is getting enough, I'm glad that she's finally sleeping through the night (I guess a full belly is really helpful for that...), and I'm glad I don't have to be trying to convince a baby to nurse while she's mostly interested in watching her sisters.  And those teeth are REALLY sharp.  Really. 
She's a sweet, sweet baby.  And it's amazing how much faster it goes by the second time around! I have to say, too, that having just ONE baby is a totally different experience.  Having twins is really special, and really fun, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  But.  One's just so much SIMPLER.   When she cries, I can hold her.  When she's hungry, I feed her.  When she's tired, I put her down for a nap.  We have a 'schedule,' but it's nothing like 'The Schedule' I used to need to handle two babies at a time. 
I'm not saying life's a piece of cake, and that one baby is no big deal.   I am saying that life is good, I'm so grateful little Caroline is a part of our family, and can you BELIEVE that I have THREE CHILDREN????  Crazy. 

ps.  Photo credits for the 6-month pics go to my amazing sister-in-law, Megan. And the 9-month pictures were done by my amazing friend, Natalie Rumsey

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Erik & Megan, COME BACK!

My little brother, Erik, and his wife, Megan, came to live with us from January to April while Erik worked at an accounting internship in Houston.

We LOVED having them here.

We started off their visit with a bang by making Megan help me potty-train Lily and Savannah while simultaneously helping with 3-month old Caroline.  I don't know how I would have done it without her.  And I think Megan's going to plan on NOT being here 2 years from now when it's Caroline's turn!

Then we had a very romantic and delicious Valentines Day dinner prepared by the hard-working men.  Only glitch there was that Rob & Erik didn't even get home until about 8pm, so we were all pretty sleepy by the time our meal of roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, fettucini alfredo & cheesecake was ready.  Tiredness did not stop us from thoroughly enjoying it though.

In March, Jacqueline & Jacob decided to spend their Spring Break here in Houston.  Of course, once the rest of the family heard J&J were coming, everyone else wanted to be part of the party also!

We had a mini-family reunion (sans Katie & Russ), celebrated Grandma Emma's 85th birthday, went to the Rodeo, played some tennis, convinced Jacqueline to cut her hair, and enjoyed the beautiful weather.  
Costco's Amazing Chocolate Cake for an Amazing Grandma!
Other highlights of Erik & Megan's stay with us were:

Playing tennis multiple times a week
Erik MC-ing at our ward Pinewood Derby, and Megan's award-winning Wiener-mobile car. 

Attending our friend's murder-mystery birthday party dressed to the nines.  (I ended up being the psycho-murderer, which kind of left a weird taste in my mouth...)
I obviously played my part well...
Cutest Couple
Not pictured: Many nights spent playing Mario Party or XBox Kinect, many gallons of Bluebell Ice cream consumed, using Megan as my own personal fashion consultant, reupholstering an armchair (which I will never do again...), and trips to visit Megan's parents at their awesome house on the lake.

I can't wait until they move back here in a few years to officially start work.  I don't know that I'll be able to convince them to physically LIVE with us again....but I sure as heck am going to try! 

Rodeo 2014

This year we did things a little differently with the Rodeo and split the experience in half. 

One (freezing) evening we made an adult trip with Erik & Megan and her parents to see the Rodeo and Brad Paisley in concert.  Caroline was a trooper and came along bundled up in her daisy Halloween costume.
Cutest. Daisy. Ever.
A few weeks later when our Schneiber family was in town visiting, we took my parents, Grandma Emma, Erik & Megan, Jacqueline & Jacob and Savannah & Lily down to experience the "Livestock Show" part of the Rodeo.  They loved the snapshot of real Texan life--prize bulls, huge belt buckles, big hair, high-waisted Levis, and enough Howdy Y'all-ing to last them quite awhile.  Of course, the petting zoo was the highlight of the day for the under-3 crowd (and the grandparents). 

Grandma Emma decided our two little Texans needed some real cowgirl hats and S&L have hardly taken them off since. 
One of the bonuses with going to the Rodeo twice is that you have twice as many chances to sample all of the deep-fried delicacies! 

This year's hands-down winner: Deep-fried oatmeal cream pies.  Surprising bust: deep-fried cheesecake. 

Come visit us next March and you, too, can experience all the Houston Rodeo & Livestock Show has to offer!