Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas cards

I love Christmas cards with pictures in them....

(hint hint)

I do.

If you send me one, and I know you, you will be up on my fridge all year. I will look at your face and smile.

I probably will pray for you at least one more time than I normally would have --that's really the best reason to send me a card.

Be warned, if you sent me one last year and you think you are good, you're not. Last year's photos come down. You're out. Hopefully your knew photo is in.

If you think you can't afford to send me a photo card, think again:


Go to this site. 24 photo cards for $2.49 --that includes shipping.

Go do it, upload a picture even if it's just an ok one.

Cause I want to see your smiling face.

It reminds me of how good God is to me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ages 6 and up

I never gave much thought to the age requirements that are posted on the side panels of board games.

I saw them as giving me a general idea as to the difficulty of the game.

They did, however, come in very useful when needing a reason why your little siblings couldn't participate in play with all the big kids.

"Sorry Lou.... It says you have to be seven to play. It's your bedtime anyway." Laura would then go off crying. And who would blame her. It's hard being the youngest of eight. We'd consider the problem resolved and continue on happily in our self-serving ways.

I do, I do feel a little bad about it. Lou, Chrissy, Grant... sorry. I was young and foolish.

Last night we had an "Ellis Family Game Night." I offered up the choices for games, trying to pick options I thought Jack and Ty would both be old enough for.

Jack chose, "Sorry!"

Good, that will be fun. We don't have to play something too babyish. I suggested that we play on teams so someone could help Ty count.

Ty and Mike verses Jack and Me.

Except that Jack and My union dissolved before we started.

Excitedly we began.

Ty drew a "1" and I drew a "2" the first round. This means we were out of start and off to the races. Five rounds later Jack still hadn't gotten out of start.

I rigged the cards.

Next turn he drew a "1."

Every time Ty drew a card he'd flip it over and exclaim: "Fourteeeeeennnn!!"

"No, Ty, that is a 5.... No, Ty it's a 7.... Ty, that's a 4."

Finally we told him there were no 14s in the deck. From that point on he'd just pick a number at random and yell it out. I've got to work harder with him on his numbers.

Mike had everyone watch while he counted out the numbers while simultaneously moving his pawn one space at a time. It amazes me what all has to be taught to kids. They aren't born knowing this stuff.


Jack drew the infamous "Sorry!" card. (Ya know, the one that has you take a pawn from your start and exchange it with another players pawn --which then goes back to start.)

It just so happened that Ty was the only other guy with a piece on the board.

Mike and I quickly decided how we'd spin this one.

We cheered and high fived Ty. "Yay! Way to go! Good job Jack, good job Ty!" Our kids are going to be so confused one day.

We were having a blast. I mean as much fun as you can have playing a game with kids who don't really know how to play.

The game really got out of control when Jack drew the "11" card. Let me remind you of the specific directions written on the "11" card:

Move forward 11
or change places
with an opponent.

We read the card then explained to Jack what his options were. First, he announced that he wanted to change places with Ty, but quickly decided it would be more fun to count to 11. But it was too late; Ty was already up out of his spot and walking around the table to "change places" with Jack.

Jack reminded Ty that he was going with the "move forward 11" option and didn't want to trade spots with him. Ty, who was all geared up for a new seat at the table, looked pretty bummed, so I told him he could play in my spot.

Jack saw how much fun it was to get a new view so he changed his mind (yet again) and went over to Ty's seat to play. Mike, formerly on Ty's team, but now ousted as Ty traded his franchise, decided he'd play with Jack's old pieces...

What started out as: Mike and Ty, red; Jack on blue; and Me, yellow

Had changed to: Mike on blue; Ty and Me, yellow; and Jack, red.

And that's just about where it all ended.

We played a couple more rounds before I announced:

Time for ice cream!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Austin, my happy baby, I love how God uses you to teach me about His character.

He is being merciful to me by giving me a third child who has a very pleasant disposition --You are almost always happy. This week you are getting your 3rd and 4th teeth in. On top of that your nose is stuffy. It's obvious you are not feeling great.

You know how you've responded to me this week? Every time you see me your eyes get real big and you motion with your body that you want to be picked up and held. You want to snuggle close and bury your head into my shoulder. Any time I need to put you down to do something you strongly object!

When you are sick you just want to be held. You want comfort. You know that your momma is going to hug you, rub you, and help you feel better. You want to rest in my arms.

What if big people reacted the same way to our Heavenly Daddy when we are sick --spiritually sick.

When we mess up, what if we looked to our Daddy, held up our arms and said help me. What would the result be if we called to him, tears running down our cheeks, accepting no substitute?

I think I know what it would be.

I think our daddy would reach down with his strong arms, pick us up and cradle us in his chest. I think He would sit down in a rocking chair, kiss our cheek, wipe our tears and tell us that He's got us. It wouldn't matter what we'd done.

Austin, I think about how I react to you when you call me. Often my response is: "I'm sorry sweet boy. I'll come get you in a minute."

God never tells us, "In a minute."

Austin, sometimes I tell you, "I can't hold you right now. I've got to do something else."

God will never refuse you. He's never too busy.

Sometimes I don't know how to help you.

God always knows.

Sometimes I can't help you.

God always can.

Sometimes I'm not with you.

God always is.

Austin I think about how I want to able to meet every need you have, to have every answer, to fix every problem.

But I can't.

And yet you still reach out to me.

What a wonderful thing it is, that I (limited and sometimes powerless to help) am not your only hope. There is someone who loves you infinitely more than I do who is able and who will help you at every turn.

Austin, my prayer is that you will come to know all about the God who created you, that you would become His child and He, your Daddy. As much as you call to me when you need me, you would call to God so much more, He is there, ready and able, to meet all your needs and hold you tightly in His arms.

Praise be to the God of all comfort, He is so good to us.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Conversation on the way home from school:

Jack: "Mom, Chloe (name changed to protect the innocent) wasn't at school this morning. She was at the doctor.

Me: "Was she sick?"

Jack: "No, she was getting a shot and the doctor was checking her eyes. She came back while we were on the playground. When she came outside to us, we decided to attack her."


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Camping --just the five of us


That's where the Ellis family was on Friday night.

We packed [little of] the essential camping gear right before heading to Abilene State Park. On the way out of town stopping to pick up 8 or so small pieces of firewood.

I drug my feet Friday, in no hurry to load the van, not realizing the thirty-four hundred items needed to "rough it" for one night. Even after loading up the van --to the brim, it was amazing the items we needed yet we did not have. We arrived at the camp site about 15 minutes before the darkness. The moon, however, never showed up.

It's actually pretty cool camping during a new moon (moon not visible). The stars are so bright. What is not very cool or very bright is forgetting your flashlights.

All of them.

We are loser parents and decided to sort of intentionally not bring the bag Jack excitedly packed with his toys and magnifying glass and bug home and... his flashlight. In Mike's defense, he asked me if it needed to be packed. I looked over at the loaded up van and said, "Naw. We could leave it here."

That's what I get for being a jerk. Now we can't even confiscate his flashlight.

Let me tell you: lesson learned.

We planned on using the propane powered cook top to reheat chili for supper. We failed to test out the cook top beforehand and couldn't figure out how it worked.

No big deal.

We'll just heat it up on the... hmm... the fire... Time to get on that I suppose.

It was 7:00 and the children were hungry. Ty hadn't gotten his nap. By the time we finally got dinner to the kids Ty was too tired to make sense. He didn't want to eat his supper and he was cold. He just wanted a marshmallow.

We talked him into eating 5 bites of his chili so he could qualify for dessert. We hated for him to miss the s'mores, we were only staying one night so it was now or never.

Another essential I forgot was cooking utensils.

All of them... EXCEPT for 6 flimsy plastic spoons.

I was a little worried by the thought of cooking chili over the open flame and seeing my spoon melt into our dinner. But that didn't happen. The spoons even held up through the bacon frying and egg scrambling of the next morning.

We slept well although I woke up many times during the night, checking on the kids, making sure they were warm enough. They were, at least through the night. By far the worst part of camping is waking up in the cold and having to leave your warm sleeping bag. Mike was a hero and got up early to start the fire.

I dressed the boys, who refused to wear their coats and then started making breakfast.

It was a constant game of "scoot the chair forward, scoot the chair backwards" as we tried to keep Ty's forehead from getting too hot and his rear from getting too cold. Poor kid. He has no fat on him. He loved the hot chocolate I made for him and I think that is what pulled him out of the whines.

We decided not to bring Austin's extrasaucer... so his spot was either in his car seat or lying on a quilt. He was a trooper and didn't seem to mind either.

The eight pieces of firewood didn't last but a couple hours. Mike was constantly hunting for firewood. He had to keep the family warm.

The boys went out with Mike on several quests for firewood. It was really fun for me to see the two little guys running to keep up with their dad, excited about exploring with him.

Austin's first nap of the day was when it was still very cold outside. I wrapped him up in a sleeping bag and it was about 30 seconds before he was out.

Jack and Ty climbed a mountain. It was then that I discovered Jack had worn his Sunday shoes camping. Awesome. Those were supposed to last through three kids at least. Stride Rite came though again for me and as I examined them upon returning home, found not a single scratch on the leather. wow.

Austin hanging with me in the pop up.

Climbing trees. One of my favorite memories of my childhood. Actually, I have TONS of memories of climbing trees, and they are all good.

I think Jack's will be as well.

So did we have fun?
Despite all the rough conditions, we did have fun. Besides, if it isn't rough, is it really camping?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet Girls

My dear daughter-in-laws,

If you are reading this, then I have succeeded in my life's work: taking little babies and shaping them into someone worth marrying. I hope you were picky when choosing a husband. I hope you have spent hours in prayer before agreeing to live the rest of your life with one of my kids.

They aren't perfect, and they weren't raised perfectly.

Not even close.

I'm currently failing in areas like nap time. The boys won't lie down and go to sleep without 30 minutes to an hour and a half of talking and playing. The most peaceful solution is for me to come up to bed with them, sit on the floor and monitor. It feels a little like standardize testing day --every day. And that's where we are now. Ty has disappeared under his navy blue covers. You won't believe the tossing and turning it takes this boy to get comfortable. While I've been typing this he has rolled around so much that he's fallen off the bed --twice. Oh and the beds they are sleeping in? Yes, they wet 'em last night and I haven't changed 'em.

Like I said, I'm not perfect.

Raising kids is hard work.

I'm not going to tell you about hard 4 days I've had.... cause I want grand babies.

You'll see what I mean when the time comes. Right now all you need to know is that God will give you whatever you need to raise your little ones.

And, I want to apologize for what your little ones will put you through. They say "You pay for your raising." Actually... It's you, as the mama, who will pay for your husband's raising. Cause it's you who will be around most all the time. Sorry.

You'll pay the price for things like:

The genetically passed down need to be completely naked when going poop.


It won't be a big deal except for on a few rare occasions. When you are in public and a child needs to poop, inconvenient but manageable. It's a little more of a situation when you are in public and TWO boys need to poop.

That's where we were today.

Thank goodness it was at Chick-fil-a and they have clean bathrooms, in fact, better there than at my house. Jack and Ty head into the stalls. I help Ty cause he's the youngest. I lift him up and set him on the seat.

"Ty, we are not going to take all your clothes off this time."

"I want two shoes off."

"No, we're going to leave them on."

"Noooooo! I want to take them off!"

"Not this time Ty, they need to stay on, we are in public, we don't get naked in public."

"Nooooooooooo!!!! Mommy, I wanna take them offfffff!!!"

"Ty, stop crying. We are going to leave them on.... Ok.... We'll take one off and...."


"Ty, you've got to stop crying."

I look over to see Jack's clothes in a pile on the floor. Nice. Why do we even bathe?

"Ty, I'm going to have to spank you if you keep crying."

Ty continues to wail. Someone walks into the restroom, patiently waits as they witnesses the stars alignment: my kids having to poop at exactly the same time. I don't know why things like this surprise me any more.

"Ok Ty, we'll take off your shoes."

As he calms down I head out of one stall, look up and explain to the lady who is about to head in there that the toilet is still occupied. I enter Jack's stall, nearly slip on the liquid on the floor.

"Jack, what's on the floor?"


"Jack, did you pee-pee on the floor?"


"Jack, your underwear and pants are all wet because you peed on them."

He looks up into my eyes as if trying to get a read on my temperature.

I start unrolling the toilet paper and placing it on the tile floor below when Ty calls me:

"Mommy, I done! Mommy! Mommmmmyyyyyyyy!!"

"Ty, I'm right here. Just a second."

Exit stall, enter stall.

I examine the toilet contents. Don't be grossed out, it's just something you do when you're a mom. The condition of your young children's stools is information that you need to know. What's in the toilet? I know, you're curious now. A tiny, itty-bitty little poop --hardly anything.

I wipe his hiney.

I redress the boy: underwear, shirt, blue jeans, shoe #1, shoe #2.

Exit stall, enter stall.

"Jack, are you done?"


I peek in. Much more warranted trip to the potty than Ty's. I wipe, explain to Jack that he must go commando since his undies were all wet. But he still had to wear his pants. I wasn't sure how he'd take the news of having to wear wet pants. Just the day before at MDO he spilled water down his front and began to strip down in the middle of his pre-k class. He had a cow when his teacher told him he needed to keep his pants on. It ended with a trip down to the "principal's" office.

Thank goodness he didn't fight me. He put on his pants. We go out to wash hands. I scrubbed those twenty little fingers till they turned bright red. Then we left.

Sweet girl, I'm sorry...

When you have rough days and need someone to blame, call me.

But remember, like you, I just work here...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

It was good to see all the super heros out this year.

With all the ghosts and ninjas that showed up this year, it was nice to see the good guys.

My boys decided to be:

Spider Man


and... piglet.

Ok, so maybe he didn't have much choice in the matter. But why not? I mean, Piglet is OBVIOUSLY a male character, it's breast cancer awareness month, and I happened to find a great deal on this costume last November at a garage sale. --NEVER BEEN WORN and I got it for $3. Boo-yah!

Batman chillin' with Piglet

Mike decided to go as a superdaddy.
"Just another day in the life of... Superdad!"

"Please kids, just one group shot."

"That one wasn't good enough, nobody smiled --except Ty. We're doing another one."

and me? I obviously went as a princess.

Things I never thought I'd hear myself say

As I was holding a wet rag on Jack's bleeding lip tonight. He tells me exactly how he got injured.


"So you're telling me a baby platypus bit you on the lip?"



Four Daddy's

While squatting down on the ground, doing one of many "mommy jobs," I look up at Tyler who is standing right next to me:

Me: "Ty, you are getting so big."

Ty: "Yeahhhh, I is.

Soon I gunna be biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggg. And my head will stick up, up there [pointing to the ceiling].

And I will be a daddy.

We will have two daddies."

Me: "Who will be our other daddy?"

Ty: "Michael."

Me: "Who will be the other one?"

Ty: "Jackson. [thinking] ...And we will have FOUR daddies!