Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Little Boys: The Organic Insecticide

We think they are bagworms. Except that I haven't seen any bags in the trees and they look like caterpillars.

Whatever they are, they are fun. Ty almost always has one crawling around on his hand. He'll play with it for a while then when it stops moving, he finds another.

He's really rough with critters. You should have seen him the other day with the toad he found. I think... it survived.

Austin has caught on to Ty's love for the worms and has now been picking them up and carrying them around like his older brother does --except tighter.

This is his little hand:

I came home from an errand today and Ty and Austin ran over to show me their little pets. Ty, in his cute little boy voice says of Austin's caterpillar:

"Part of it's face broke off, but it can still crawl."

I love that kid, always the optimist.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


It's one of the 50.

I think Andre Agassi is the only famous person from there.

Oh and Vegas. Vegas is there.

Other than that, there's nothing too special about that place, it's mostly just a bunch of worthless land that the government owns.

All it does is fill up the space between California and Utah.


It's missing. Then there's a big empty spot on your puzzle. We had already lost the New Hampshire / Vermont piece from the east coast. But it was just a little piece and I'm thinking it still might turn up. Somehow, despite Nevada's insignificance, we are really missing that state. You see, Jack plays with this puzzle all the time. He takes them out, rebuilds the puzzle on the table. He lines them up, smallest to largest, largest to smallest, sometimes by date admitted into the union, sometimes by population. --Not kidding. I noticed Nevada was gone a few days before our first scheduled trash pick up. Now it was trash pick up day, Mike and Ty had just left to take a load of stuff to Good Will.. About eleven o'clock Jack came into my room. He said:

"Mom, can you come help me find Nevada? It's in a box in the garage."

The boxes that had been filling up the garage were no longer there. A few of them were on their way to be donated and the rest of them were here:

And they were full.

"Jack! Those boxes are at the road for the trash person (sounds so PC doesn't it?) to pick up!"

"Will you come help me find it," He pleads.

"Are you SURE it's in there?" Because I want to be sure it is before I have to put on day clothes and go digging through my own trash in front of neighbors I don't yet know.

"Yes, it fell down in one of them when we were playing last night." Jack responds.

I'm such a sucker, or an awesome mom. You pick.

"Jaaaack..." I groan... "Yes, I'll come help you look."

I carefully look through box number one. It's like a needle in a haystack. I almost quit right there because of the odds that are against us.

Box two contains a whole lot of white packing paper.

"Jack, was it in a box with paper or a box with other stuff?"

"hmm... I don't know." He replies. He's not going to be much help now is he?

I dig through the box.

Box three. Nothing.

"Jack," (Now's as good as any time for a lecture, I decide.) "You shouldn't play with puzzles in the garage. It's so easy to loose pieces.

From hearing all of our adventures in life, you probably assume we don't have a complete puzzle anywhere in our house. That is where you'd be wrong. I'm a puzzle NAZI! One deployment Hannah and I built a huge shelf for the playroom to store the kids toys on, we refer to it as: "The Puzzle Shelves" Because that was what we had in mind when we built it. My thoughts are you might as well throw a puzzle away if you can't keep up with all the pieces. I get them out a couple at a time and only when the situation is controlled. Some people have gun safes, I might one day own a puzzle safe.

I'm pretty sure I asked God to help us find the puzzle piece. (Why do I care so much? I guess because Jack cares so much.)

"Jack, do you think the piece is on top or way down in the bottom of the box."

"I heard it go 'tink, tink, tink, tink,' all the way to the bottom."

Ok, well that's something.

I keep digging. Box 4, 5, 6, 7,8...14, 15.

I get to the end. Nothing.

"Did the piece just fall in?" I ask, getting slightly annoyed at the situation.

"No, it was playing 'hide 'n seek' and I hid it in a box."

I groan...What a terrible idea...

I go back to some of the boxes I had already looked at but been a little less thorough the first time.

Still nothing.

"Jack. I think it is lost. Let's stop looking."

I thought about calling Mike and asking him to please comb through all of the boxes he had with him. But I didn't.

That was it.

For the next two weeks every time I looked at that puzzle (which lives on top of the puzzle shelf in the big boys room) I was sad about poor Nevada.

Yesterday we did the finishing touches to the garage.

Looking good isn't it?

See that one brown cardboard box in the middle of the floor? Mike has been asking me for days to please go through that one and decide where that stuff goes. I make it happen.

You'll never guess what was in the bottom of that box.

God cares.

This proves it.

Welcome home Brady!

The boys made Brady and Me some awesome welcome home signs.

Chrissy and the boys were excited when we arrived.

Hannah and Chrissy were there to help us all day. I was under strict orders to take it easy.

A proud big brother.

Another one.

I look old don't I? Wow, four kids really does a number on you doesn't it? Here I am reading the boys "Johnny Texas on the San Antonio Road." Good book, you should pick it up.

Look at this. Look at it. Have you ever seen us look more pulled together? Like little cherubs, that's what it reminds me of. And then I'm sitting there, with non-maternity clothes on and make-up. This was Sunday morning, Brady was a week old and we were headed for church. We owed the kids ice cream after this one.

Brady Mays

Brady Mays Ellis

Born Feb. 5, 2012

8 lbs. 11 oz.

For the fourth baby I had a pretty long labor. I started having contractions at 7:45 in the evening Saturday, went to the hospital at 5:00 am Sunday morning and had Brady around 1:30 on Super Bowl Sunday. -No, we didn't name him after Tom Brady, even if he was quarterbacking one of the teams vying for the championship.

This was taken right after he was born.

So sweet.

Eyes are open!

Chilling with Mom in the room.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Number four is a BOY!

Four sons. Could it get any better than that? This was our first baby whose gender was a surprise to us. Neither of us had preference on this last one --despite having three boys already. A girl would bring a new dimention to our family, but having a house full of boys seemed like something special.
My reaction when child number four was first held up for inspection: "A boy! Alright!"
Brady, don't let anyone ever tell you that we were trying for a girl when we got you. It's simply not true. We are thrilled with what you are and are excited to see who you become.

Did we win?

Before Jack was born, before we were married, before we were engaged, back when Mike and I were that high school couple that never sat together at youth group... I had a dream.

Mike and I were both officials for the YMCA through high school and college. It was a dream job if you love the Texas heat and enjoy being criticized by adults who had a way worse view than you. We loved the kids and getting to be a part of sport and liked that we could work only the hours we chose. I mostly officiated baseball and Mike did soccer, baseball and I think some basketball too. I would go to the soccer fields when he was reffing and watch him blow the whistle and throw out parents. Nothing is more attractive. During those moments a dream was born.

I imagined myself sitting in a lawn chair on the sidelines of a soccer field on a cool Saturday morning with a stroller parked next to me where the little one would be contently eating goldfish and sipping apple juice. I'd look across the field to the opposite sideline where I'd see Mike, clipboard in hand, coaching his heart out. Our son would be the kid on the field that had just been credited with an assist and was now helping up an opponent that had fallen to the ground. I'd cheer for our team in celebration of their most recent point then sip on my still hot coffee. The fresh air would be both invigorating and relaxing at the same time. What better way to spend a Saturday morning...

It was a dream.

A dream I have been dreaming for 10 years.

This fall it was to be realized!


It wasn't exactly like that.

It was more like this:

"Jack! Have you found your cleats?"
"Well, where did you put them after practice last week?"
"You can't find your socks either?... Oh! I know where they are, they are still in the washer." "They are just a little damp, you can wear them!"
"You have to wear them! We don't have any others."
"Mike, is it supposed to be over 110 again today?"
"It is? Awesome."
"Did you grab your water?"
"Mike! Is the stroller and the snacks and the chairs and the kids drinks all in the van?"
"How long does it take to drive there?"
"We are late already??"
"Tell me it's not our week to take the team snacks!"
"Quick Jack, run with dad to the field."
"Mike, do you know where field 5 is?"
"OK, call me when you find it and we'll head over there."
"Hurry Jack, the game is about to start!"
"Ty, you can't ride in the stroller, I need your seat to hold the chairs."
"Ty, keep up with me, we are missing the game. They only play for 40 minutes."
"Hello, Mike? Did you find the field? It's not near field 6? On the other side of the complex? Ok, we'll turn around and head your way."
"Ty, we didn't bring you a chair, you sit in the stroller and watch the game."
"Ty, you are in my seat. Ok, I guess you can sit there. I'll sit on the ground."
"It is so hot! Mike did you grab the waters out of the van? We have one bottle? Great!"
"Ty! Don't pour the water on the ground!!! That is all we had to drink!"
"I'm sorry Austin, we don't have any wa-wa. We'll get you some later."
"GOOooooo JACK!!"
"No, Austin, you can't get out of your seat."
"Come on Turbo!!"
"Austin, you can't play with that ball, it's just for the big boys."
"What's that Ty? You need to go potty?"
"I'll take him Mike, you watch Jack since you couldn't make that last two games."
"Ty, I told you not to touch anything in the restroom! Especially the toilet seat!"
"Wash with soap."
"Don't touch the door, I've got it."
"No, we are not buying a Powerade."
"Baby, can you walk any faster? We are missing the game!"
"We're back, did we miss much Mike?"
"Oh, that's it? It's over?"
"Did we win?"

That was how it actually went --and that was on the days when Mike was there to help.

Did we win? Yes. We did. We won every game except for the ones we tied --according to Jack. We would think about what sort of pep talk we would need to give our son who has been known to get really upset when he didn't win at something. We never needed to give the "You tried hard and that's all that matters" speech. He came over to us after every game and announced that they had won. Either we need to work on his counting skills or I don't understand scoring in soccer. Doesn't matter. We never corrected him, we'll working being a good loser next season.

Jack had a phenomenal coach and his experience this fall has left him wanting to play next season. So, until then, I will keep the dream alive. Maybe one day I'll be sipping hot coffee on a cool morning while relaxing in my lawn chair watching my studly husband inspire the athletes of tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Two days.

Two days in Arkansas and already teeth are falling out. (No offense Shellye)

Our new house came with a fun slide/swing set play thing in the backyard that was an instant hit. Looks like fun doesn't it?

Who knew this plastic slide would be the cause of my 21-month-old losing a front tooth? He wasn't even doing anything dangerous on it.

Mike was in the backyard watching the kids while I was inside checking box numbers off the list as the movers brought things into the house. Mike came in with a little boy who had obviously been crying and had blood around his mouth. Mike asked me to clean up his mouth and comfort him a bit. He said that Austin had bit his tongue. I cleaned him up and sent the content little guy back out to play. A few minutes later Jack came in yelling, "Mom! Austin's mouth is bleeding!" I go out to check on it and find him with a little more blood so I investigate his tongue more closely.

"Tongue looking good... teeth look ... wait a minute.

There's a big red hole where a tooth is supposed to be!" I felt my stomach get all icky and my surroundings started to float a little. I paused for a moment then went to Mike.

"Austin's front tooth is gone." I calmly tell him.* He gets up and we walk over to the basketball goal where Austin and Jack had been playing. Nothing there. Back to the slide and sure enough there at the bottom of the slide lying on top of the dirt was this:

"How is this even possible?" You ask.

I don't know.

Mike's friend, Tim, told Austin: "You may be the third boy, but you are the first one to lose a tooth!"

That's one way to look at it. If not teeth, at least he has bragging rights.

*despite my calmness that was a rough thirty minutes, but at least I met (via the phone) a really awesome dentist.