Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Favorite Time of Year

I just LOVE this time of year...from the beginning of November through the middle of January.  I love fall and winter weather.  I love fall and winter clothes.  I love the atmosphere.  I love the extra time with family.  I love the excitement of my kids.  And I really love doing extra special things with and for my kids during this time.

While at church on Sunday, someone told me about this website called "Portable North Pole".  You can customize messages for your kids from Santa.  You can include pictures, special info about your child, etc.  And then Santa will put together a video and send an email to your child so they can watch his video to them.  It is absolutely the coolest thing. 

So I put together one for each of my oldest three kids and they got to watch them on Sunday evening...and yesterday evening...and they've already asked if they can watch them again tonight.  They were absolutely amazed that Santa would take time out of his busy schedule to make and send them a video.  It was too cute.  The look on Jacob's face when Santa told him that he knew that Jacob was trying to stop sucking his thumb (one of the personalizations I got to make), but he knew that Jacob could try even harder...well, it was priceless. 

How fun it is to be able to do things like this and see the look on your kids' faces!  While we teach our kids that Christmas is NOT about Santa, it's NOT about getting, and it's NOT about toys, we still savor these moments as much as possible....for I know that these moments are fleeting. 

The two older ones do understand that Christmas is about celebrating Jesus.  In fact, Madilyn's teacher told me that there was a little boy in their class the other day that was telling the class that Christmas is about Santa and Madilyn's "older sister" personality came out and told him "Uh-uh.  Christmas is about Jesus!".  By George....They're getting it!!!!!!!  And it makes this Momma's heart swell with pride. 

Like I said...I LOVE this time of year.  I pray that we can all slow down and enjoy each and every moment we have....to enjoy our kids, to enjoy family and friends, but, even more importantly, to prepare for the celebration of our Savior's birth. 

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Noah turned two last week.  And I am currently working on some sort of contraption I can put my kids in so time slows down.  I'll let you know how that goes...

We celebrated after dinner with a little party.  Just Mommy, Daddy, "B" (Noah's name for Benjamin), "Waliwyn" (Madilyn in 'Noah-speak'), Jacob (the only sibling's name he can pronounce clearly), and, of course, the Birthday Boy. 

It was fun to watch the older kids get so excited about Noah getting excited.  They just think he is hysterical...and enjoy his two year old antics.

When we go to Lubbock for Christmas, we will have a bigger celebration with grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles.  But it was so nice to have just a relaxing and fun celebration....just the 6 of us.

After taking Noah to the doctor yesterday for his two year check-up, I have discovered why none of the other boys' hand-me-downs fit Noah as well as they did Benjamin and Jacob when they were two.  Noah only weighs a pound less than his 4 1/2 year old brother does.  YIKES!  You can tell by looking at Noah that he is a big two year old.  Jacob was a big two year old.  But Noah is in the 80th percentile for his height and his weight.  None of our other three have ever been even in the 50th percentile.  I think Jacob might have hit right around the 50th percentile for his weight when he was around two, but it was after he turned two that he really started to get taller and slim up a bit.  We'll see if Noah does the same. 

We are so thankful for our not-so-little two year old.  He is such a fun-loving, pretty easy-going (if you can call a two year old easy-going), sibling-admiring, cuddly, always-on-the go kid.  I am so blessed to be his mommy.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

In the Thick of It

And so, we are in the middle of it....

Middle of school.  Middle of soccer season.  Middle of dance classes.  Middle of softball season.  Middle of Bible studies.  Middle of Kid's Club (our weekly kid's after-school program).  Middle of Life. 

And while Life is not slowing down for us anytime soon...I am enjoying watching my kids do the things they enjoy.

All three older kids are doing great in school...at least I think they are.  We have parent/teacher conferences next week, so I guess we'll find out for sure...

Benjamin gets better and better at soccer every season and seem to enjoy it more and more.  I love that him and Lou get that time together as Lou helps coach his team. 

Madilyn absolutely loves dance classes.  And this year we have allowed her to add another class to her repertoire.  Not only is she taking ballet, she is taking tap, as well.  Now when we get to her 3 1/2 hour dance recital in May, we'll actually care about 2 of the 45 dances instead of just one.

And Jacob has started his first season of soccer.  I had forgotten in the three short years since Benjamin's first season, how uncoordinated and uninterested four year olds are in soccer.  Sometimes you just hope a butterfly doesn't fly in front of your child during a game, because chasing that butterfly becomes way more important than dribbling the ball down the field.  But, overall, he's doing pretty good.  Suprisingly, his first game has been his best game yet.  The rest of his team spent the entire game refusing to go out on the field or crying while on the field...but not our Jacob.  He got out there and played hard in 100 degree heat.  He even scored a goal that very first game!  He's way more agressive than Benjamin ever was...so if we can get him to the point where he actually cares to kick the ball, we might have a soccer player on our hands.

And then there's Noah.  Who is obviously not involved in any activities, unless you count Moppets while Mommy goes to MOPS.  But he sure does make a cute cheerleader for his older siblings.  And this kid is a pro at sitting in his stroller.  There's not many 2 year olds who are content to sit for hours at a time while watching older brothers and an older sister participate in all the fun stuff.  But Noah is excellent at it.  Makes life much easier, too!

Lou is teaching two Bible studies this fall and playing on our church's softball team.  He helps coach Benjamin's soccer team, as well.  On top of his "everyday normals", these keep him pretty busy. 

As for me, I'm doing MOPS again this year (but not on leadership), enjoying a Bible study that Benjamin's former first grade teacher is leading, involved in EVERYTHING my kids are doing, enjoying having only Noah at home but missing my other kids while they're at school, can't seem to catch up on laundry to save my life, looking forward to having Noah potty-trained sometime before this school year is over (that's my goal anyway...we'll see if it actually happens), and am excited it's finally Fall...my favorite time of year!

School started and we hit the ground running.  We are definitely in the thick of it. 
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Monday, September 6, 2010

"Labor" Day

Noah and Daddy actually "labored" on Labor Day.  While Benjamin and Madilyn enjoyed a weekend with Aunt Rachel and Jacob enjoyed a weekend with Nana and Papa, we decided to get some yardwork done.  Well, I say "we".  I pretty much told Lou it needed to be done, and he, being the kind husband that he is, agreed and took it upon himself to get it done while I was trying to get some stuff done around the house.

While mowing the yard, Lou decided he needed help from a 21 month old.  So he picked the cutest one EVER...
and they finished up the yard together.
And, of course, they had to stop and pose for pictures for Mommy.
And cheer on Daddy on as he works hard.
And help Daddy pick up sticks in the yard so they won't run over them with the lawn mower.
And my very favorite picture of the day was this one with Noah getting his Guns Up.  The picture turned out blurry, but I couldn't resist the cuteness of Noah showing us what he learned the previous day during the Tech/SMU game.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Dreaded Day

Well, it finally happened.  You know....the day you always dread as a mom.  The day you hope will never come.  The day you know will make you cry.  But you know that it's inevitable.  It's bound to happen....sooner or later.  And for me, this day came on Tuesday after eating lunch with the kids.

I was saying my goodbyes...hugs and kisses all around.  I bent down to hug my 2nd grader...in which, he did return the hug.  But, when I turned to kiss him....he all the sudden became too cool to kiss his mom in front of his friends.  Just like that.  His desire to appear "cool" in front of all the other 7 year olds sitting at his table overtook his desire to kiss the person who gave him life....who walked around for TWO WEEKS having constant contractions and dilated to 4 cm.  The person who would give up her life for him.  His coolness was much more important.  His independence was much higher on his list of priorities.

So I guess this is now how it will be.  Hugs, but no kisses (well, at least not in front of his friends). 

Please, God, please....let me hold on to their innocence just a little bit longer. 
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

5 Days and Counting....

I distinctly remember posting something on my Facebook page at the end of May or beginning of June something about how I was so ready for my kids to be home for the summer.  Let's just say....I'm officially past that point.  Like, a month past that point.  I'm ready for them to go back....and they're ready to be back.  So come on Monday!!!!  You can NOT get here soon enough.

Now, the past three years, I've cried on the first day of school.  When Benjamin started Pre-K....when he started Kindergarten...and when Madilyn started Pre-K.  Well, Madilyn starts Kindergarten this year and Jacob starts Pre-K.  And, of course, Benjamin starts 2nd grade (his last year at the Elementary school....unless they decide to move 3rd grade to the Elementary School...which is a possibility).  And, I have to say....I'm not sad.  Well, I guess there is a LITTLE sadness that comes over me every now and then....but then they all start fighting over the piece of string they found on the floor, and my sadness suddenly disappears and is no more. 

I hate to say this....but I'm actually quite happy.  Noah will be the only one at home.  I haven't ever just had one at home with me....EVER.  When Benjamin was a baby and the only child, I worked full-time while Lou and I both were going to Seminary.  So he stayed with Daddy part-time and went to daycare part-time.  This only having one kid at home with me is going to be a new experience.  And one I am VERY much looking forward to. 

Does anyone realize how quickly I will be able to run errands?  How I will be able to fix lunch in about 2.5 seconds instead of 25 minutes?  How quiet my afternoon will be since the one I have at home still takes 3-4 hour naps....EVERYDAY?

Whatever will I do with my time?  Maybe the boxes of pictures I have, or the flash drive full of digital pictures I have, will actually get put in a scrapbook.  Or maybe, just maybe, Lou and I can have lunch dates. 

The possibilities are endless.....

Sorry, I got distracted for about 5 minutes dreaming up all the possibilities.  Anyways, only 5 more days until a new "normal" settles upon my days.  And after a busy, but fun, summer, I can hardly wait to spend my days with my favorite 20 month old on this planet. 

Only 5 more days.....

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ten Years

Alot can happen in 10 years!  Here's what the past ten years has looked like for us Ellerbrooks:

We started on this adventure called, "marriage"; moved ourselves and all of our belongings to a place where we had never even visited before that was 1200+ miles away from home and family; we both started graduate school at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY; we got pregnant with our first baby; we had to move to a different apartment so we would have room for said baby; we studied, wrote papers, and read more pages week to week than I had read my entire life; Benjamin was born; we continued with school; we moved AGAIN b/c free housing became available; our Benjamin grew by leaps and bounds before our very eyes; we became pregnant with our second baby; we crammed a ton of hours into two semesters so we could move back "home"; Madilyn was born...with some health issues; we stressed, dealt with, and conquered health issues...or so we thought; we almost lost Madilyn during a hospital stay for one of these health issues; she bounced back quickly; we finished our last semester; Lou received a call for his first appointment; he graduated from seminary; we moved to Amherst, TX; Lou started his job as a pastor; we found out we were pregnant with our third baby; I cried for weeks; after the shock wears off and we get use to the idea, we get excited about this third baby; I continue with my last class online; I finish this class; Lou's ministry continues; I graduate; Benjamin and Madilyn adjust to the move and new location very well; Jacob is born; we continue to be busy with church and kids; Benjamin starts Preschool and then Pre-K; we get another call....to move to Clyde; Benjamin, Madilyn, and Jacob continue to fill our hearts with much joy and laughter; we find out we're pregnant with our fourth baby; I cry...again...for weeks; we get excited about new baby; we move to Clyde; Lou starts his ministry there; Benjamin starts Kindergarten; I continue to enjoy getting to stay home with the kids; Noah is born; we have a couple of brief health complications with him that puts him back in the hospital when he's only a few days old; he recovers quickly; we continue ministry in Clyde; Soccer, Gymnastics, School, MOPS, and Church fill our time; Benjamin starts 1st grade; Madilyn starts Pre-K; Soccer, Ballet, School, MOPS, and Church fill our time; I get to enjoy Jacob and Noah by themselves; Benjamin asks Jesus into his heart (one of the most precious moments I have had as a mom so far); school lets out for the summer; we enjoy our first vacation as a family of 6; and we are now preparing for Benjamin, Madilyn, AND Jacob to be in school this coming year...meaning I will only have ONE kid at home; I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that 3 out of 4 of our kids will be in school.  This past year, Benjamin turned 7, Madilyn turned 5, Jacob turned 4, and Noah turned 1.

And, now, today, we celebrate 10 years as a family.  It's been a tough ride at times...but it's been a fun one.  I look forward to what the next 10 years will hold with my five favorite people in this world.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Celebrating Daddy

Today, I am celebrating!  Lou made it home safe and sound from his 9 day jaunt to Wyoming.  Single-momming it for those 9 days was extremely exhausting.  One adult...four kids.  I was outnumbered, to say the least.  And while Benjamin did spend six of those days in Lubbock with Nana and Papa, I did have an extra kid during the day since I keep another girl, who is Benjamin's age, while her parents work. 

I had been dreading these 9 days for months!  And I mean MONTHS!!!!  Lou has travelled many times before, but this was the longest he has been away.  So when he left at 6 a.m. last Saturday morning, I started counting down the hours.  Some days went by very quickly, while others seemed to drag.  But, we made it!  Daddy made it home...Mommy survived the "masses" alone. 

I do have to say that I'm pretty proud of myself.  The house was cleaned, yard was mowed, dinner cooked EVERY single night (and not just chicken nuggets or fish sticks...but we're talking healthy cooking here), kitchen sink managed to stay dish-free, kids were fed, bathed, and clothed everyday, laundry was.....well, at least, some of it got done.  And I did it all by myself.   I did my best to keep the kids entertained...we went out to breakfast one morning, went to a friend's house to have dinner with some friends, went to Movie Night at the church, went to the movies one morning, went to Story Hour at the Library, went to McDonald's to play with some friends one evening, and, of course, visited Sonic for a Raspberry Tea a couple of times in there, too.  We, also, had a trip to the swimming pool planned and a picnic lunch at the park planned, but the weather caused us to cancel those plans.  But that's ok...we still managed to have fun.  And, best of all....we all SURVIVED!  I didn't kill any kids (although I did put Jacob out on the back porch...in the rain...a few times for arguing with me) and my kids didn't suffer too bad from my lack of patience and my sheer exhaustion.

And after all is said and done, and Lou made it home safely, I just have one thing to say.....Thank you, Jesus, for a husband who does all he does to help out around here!!!  Not only does he work hard at work, he works hard at home.  And, this Mommy, is so grateful for all he does.  Because he is so very missed when he is gone.

I can remember my dad travelling some when I was growing up.  And I know it was often stressful for my mom when he was gone.  I remember one time in particular, he got back in town one evening as we were eating our weekly dinner at church before youth and Bible study started.  So he just met us at the church.  I remember him walking in and giving us all hugs and kisses and my mom crying.  When asked why she was crying, she replied with something like, "I am NOT cut out to do this all by myself."  I know exactly what she meant.  Four kids are hard to handle day in and day out with NO break (might have been a little easier if it had been during school time).  And trying to manage the household on top of handling kids.  So needless to say, we felt it was important to celebrate Daddy coming home.

So Benjamin and Madilyn took it upon themselves to make Daddy "Welcome Home, Daddy" banners and hang them in a couple of doorways in the house.  They, also, wanted to bake him a cake.  So they helped me make Daddy a strawberry cake.  All day they kept talking about our "celebration". 

And celebrate, we did!!!!!  I am so very glad to have Benjamin home (he was greatly missed, too!) and so very glad to have Lou home.  Our family seems "whole" again.  We are soaking up as much of Daddy as we can and are so glad he had a good time on his trip, but are even more glad he's back with us!
Blog Signature Brown

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Animals, Animals, and More Animals


Let me tell you, it's a good thing my kids like animals, well at least from a distance.  Because we spent a lot of time while on our vacation talking about them, looking at them, reading about them, pointing at them, feeding them, smelling them, eating amonst them, trying to keep them from eating our hands off, and even having them attempt to join us in our air-conditioned vehicle.  It was quite an adventure....our first "real" vacation as a family of six.  And we had a blast!

We left on Monday (well, I should say "a" Monday, because it has been almost two weeks now).  Got to my sister, Rachel's house in Fort Worth, and started our week out by going to downtown Fort Worth.  We ate lunch down there and then proceeded to take our kids to what has become a very special place to Lou and I, The Fort Worth Water Gardens.  Now to most, it may just seem like a bunch of water fountains, shallow pools, and waterfalls.  But to us, it's where many special memories have been made as a couple.  So we thought it would be fun to take the kids and share with them.  They absolutely loved it!  It was so hot, we almost melted...but it was worth it to see their excitement as our memories there have now expanded to ones we can share as a family.  Lou, also, had the opportunity to share a bit of his unwavering and never-ending compassion to a homeless man we encountered.  You can read his story here

After spending much of the afternoon in the hot sun, we ended the day at Rachel's pool and with some awesome fajitas.

Tuesday, which had to be mine and Madilyn's favorite day, was spent at a waterpark.  We were really nervous about how the two of "US" were going to handle the four of "THEM".  Of course, Rachel, Jeremy, and Pacey (my 2-yr old niece) came with us.  But I was SHOCKED at how easy the kids were to keep track of.  I was just positive that Noah was going to be running all over the place and we were going to be taking turns chasing him.  But, as it turns out, Noah is terrified of the water.  And while he wasn't screaming when we got him in it, you couldn't have pried his hands from around my neck with the jaws of life.  He hung on for dear life.  So as long as he was holding on and could put his head on mine or Lou's shoulder, he was ok.  He didn't want to walk around the kiddie pools....didn't want to slide.  Just wanted Mommy or Daddy. 

As for the other three, Benjamin was the only one tall enough to ride a couple of the slides (besides the ones in the kid area), so him and I were able to sneak away a couple of times to do that.  The rest of the day we spent at the kiddie pools with all the water slides they could do, the wave pool, or the lazy river.  Benjamin and Madilyn were even able to be life-jacket-free for everything but the wave pool (even though they can't swim yet).  Finally, about 45 minutes before we left, Noah started walking around in the water and even splashing!!!  He spent over 6 hours attached to one of us and 45 minutes actually playing.  Before we knew it, it was 5 pm and we decided to head back to Rachel's for pizza, baths, and bedtime.

Wednesday was spent at the zoo...which is always fun.  Jacob and Noah hadn't been to the Fort Worth Zoo yet, so it was a fun "first" for the two of them.  It was extremely hot and humid (no surprise)...and I couldn't help but wish I was back at the waterpark almost the entire time we were at the zoo.  Of course, Benjamin was in heaven.  He loves anything animal, especially Wild Cats.  And a "first" for him was getting to see cheetahs "in real life". 

After a few hours of looking at all the animals (and trust me, Benjamin would not let us skip a single one) and our picnic lunch, we headed to Josh and Dianna's (my cousin and his wife, who happens to be one of my closest friends) house for the remaining two days.  It was so fun to let our kids play...they're always so excited to see their cousins.  In fact, when we asked Jacob before leaving on our vacation what part he was looking forward to the most, he would answer "Going to Brady's house."  Maybe we should have just dropped him off there on Monday.

Thursday ended up being full of shopping and we even managed to get some relaxing in there, as well.  Lou got his first IKEA experience (which he LOVED)....as well as his first Grapevine Mills experience.  It's a good thing I didn't take him to the American Girl store, too, like I had originally planned.  I think he might have been so overwhelmed, we might have had to call for some sort of intervention.  But he's a great sport, and really is not one of those husbands who can't stand to shop and you have to drag along.  He's pretty patient and even got to enjoy shopping for his own Father's Day gifts (new shorts, slacks, and a couple of shorts).  We ended Thursday at Rainforest Cafe...a "first" for all of us Ellerbrooks.  While the food was definitely lacking, the atmosphere was NOT.  The kids, of course, LOVED it!!!  I had forgotten my camera and tried to take some on my IPhone but it was so dark in there they didn't turn out.

On Friday, we got up, said our goodbyes to the Palmers, and headed to our last destination before heading home.  We took the kids to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose.  This ended up being the boys' favorite thing we did.  It's a "drive-thru" safari where you get to experience, feed, pet, and come in very close contact with all sorts of wildlife (mainly wildlife you'd find in Africa).  The trail is about 9.5 miles long and it took us about 4 hours to go through with a lunch break half-way through at the Cafe that is up on a hill overlooking the Wildlife Reserve.  It was so incredible.  We definitely can't wait to go back!

Are your retinas bleeding, yet?  Sorry....you can't say I didn't warn ya, though.  I know there is a lot in this post, but I use this blog to help document things the kids say or do or things we do as a family...for my sake.  So I wanted to make sure I got it all down before I forgot something.  I have many pictures from the zoo and Fossil Rim that I promise to post soon.  But seeing as it is 2 a.m. and I am suppose to teach Sunday School for our Elementary kids in the morning, I better get some sleep.  I promise to get pictures posted ASAP, though.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Conversation with my 4 year old after watching a documentary on Big Cats in Africa:

Me:  Jacob, are you my lion cub?

J:  No.

Me:  Are you my tiger cub?

J:  No.

Me:  Are you my cheetah cub?

J:  No, Mommy.  I'm human.

Me:  Oh, I see.  So you're my leopard cub, right?

J:  Nooooooo........I'm your Ja-CUB.

Where does he come up with this stuff?!!!? 

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Friday, May 21, 2010

I Took His Hand and Followed

So I have only 6 1/2 more days left with just Jacob and Noah before school is out for the summer.  Then, in the Fall, my sweet Jacob will join the older two in going to school everyday.  Am I excited?  Absolutely.  Am I anticipating only having one at home?  You bet.  Am I sad that my time with Jacob at home with me is almost over?  Incredibly!!!  Time goes by way too fast...doesn't it? 

I found this poem the other day and I LOVE it.  Wanted to share it with you. 

I Took His Hand and Followed
(Author Unknown)

My dishes went unwashed today,
I didn't make the bed,
I took his hand and followed
Where his eager footsteps led.

Oh yes, we went adventuring,
My little son and I,
Exploring all the great outdoors
Beneath the summer sky.

We waded in a crystal stream,
We wandered through a wood;
My kitchen wasn't swept today
But life was gay and good.

We found a cool, sun-dappled glade
And now my small son knows
How Mother Bunny hides her nest,
Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.

We watched a robin feed her young,
We climbed a sunlit hill,
Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,
We plucked a daffodil.

That my house was neglected,
That I didn't brush the stairs,
In twenty years, no one on earth
Will know, or even care.

But that I've helped my little boy
To noble manhood grow,
In twenty years, the whole wide world
May look and see and know.

What a good reminder to me to soak up every minute with my kids. And if my house is deshevelled and something goes without being cleaned....who cares? (Well, besides me.) Because when all is said and done, when my kids are grown adults, is it more important for people to say, "my what a clean house she kept!"....or "what wonderful, caring, God-loving, Jesus-following children she raised!"? 

Can I have both?  Most of the time, yes!  But instead of getting so uptight that laundry has piled up (AGAIN!) or the dishes didn't get done or putting my kids off because I just can't stand the sticky floor, I hope I can be the kind of mother that takes time to go on adventures with her kids and enjoys every minute I have with them.

Blog Signature Brown

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ballet Debut

Well, we survived our first dance recital.  It was sooooo long!!!  But really alot of fun.  Madilyn's class was the third to dance...out of 45 dances.  Yes, you read that right....45 dances.  She was a beautiful ballerina.  Even though she had a little bit of stage fright and at times just stood there...she still did great!  At her age, you just hope they get on stage and make some sort of attempt.  Which she did.  So we were pleased!

For those of you who have never taken dance or have never had the pleasure of getting yourself or your daughter ready for a dance recital, let me just tell you it is quite an ordeal!  Their hair had to be back in a bun....and not just any, ole bun.  It had to be pulled back very tightly.  With lots of gel to keep "flyaways" smoothed down.  And you want to make sure the bun is flat to their head and not sticking out too much.  Fortunately, my good friend, Laura, is a pro at this and gave me some good tips.  So Madilyn had about 30 hair pins to hold her bun in and about 15 bobby pins to secure the hair net around the bun.  Yes!  I said hair net.  Like a lunch lady hair net.  It was also asked that the girls have hair nets around their bun (not their head, like lunch-ladies do) to help keep stray hairs down.  So after we got the bun secure with hair pins, I had to wrap the hair net around the bun several times and then secure it with bobby pins.  Needless to say....this all took some time!  Probably more time than it should have since I'm such a perfectionist.

Then there was the make-up.  She had to have blue eye shadow, pink blush, dark pink lipstick, and black eye liner.  Much more make-up than any 5 year old should wear.  But it was fun getting her all dolled up for her special event.  And she absolutely LOVED it.  All of the girls looked so cute!  And so grown up!

We had to go through this process twice!  For the dress rehearsal Friday evening and again for the recital Saturday afternoon.  And let me just say....I sure am glad I only have 1 girl to get ready for stuff like this.  When we found out I was pregnant with Noah, I cannot tell you how bad I wanted another girl.  You know...to even things out.  But, even though I still get a little nostalgic about all of the adorable little girl clothes that will never get used again by one of my kids, I am quite content only having one girl. 

So, here's pics of our adorable ballerina:

(She is third from the left in this last photo.)

What a fun experience this was for both of us!  She loved it so much, she wants to take ballet AND tap next year.  We'll see how much she likes it...but I'm looking forward to these next years and seeing how her interests and loves form and take shape. 

Blog Signature Brown

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Little Man

He's so lovable...and we're cherishing every fleeting baby moment.  Because they ARE fleeting.  A couple of weeks ago, we said "bye, bye" to the pacifier.  His smile is constantly changing more and more into a little boy smile, as opposed to the toothless baby grin, with every new tooth that comes in.  He's running around the house, chasing his older brothers and sister.  We're getting ready to make the transition from high chair to booster chair.  See, fleeting baby moments.  And I have a feeling that before too long, we will be kissing the morning nap goodbye. 

I love that he's started running up to us and hugging our legs.  He still loves to cuddle and rock before bed. 

While still not talking much, besides the occasional "dada", "mama", "bye, bye", and "hi", he can roar when you ask him what a dinosaur says (the in-house resident dinosaur expert, a.k.a. his oldest brother, is so proud!).  He loves to play pat-a-cake.  Always enjoys a never-ending game of peek-a-boo.  Can "shake it" on cue (and I must say that this is the cutest thing EVER).  Likes to nod his head yes and shake his head no.  His favorite toy is a Little Tykes laptop that Jacob got for Christmas a couple of years ago.  But his favorite thing to do is eat.  And while there's not much he doesn't like, fruit is definitely his favorite.

Out of the older three kids, he definitely favors Madilyn the most.  He has his sister's fine hair (hence the wild-man hair that he constantly sports).   So far he seems to be a little more laid back than the other two boys (which isn't saying a whole lot...he's still quite active)...like his sister was.  They have the same eyes.  The same face-shape.  Same nose and mouth.  He's just a boy-version of Madilyn all around.

We have very few "baby" months left.  And I am so glad that once school starts back in August, and all three of the older ones will be in school, that it will just be him and I at home.  How exciting...to only have one at home!  To get to have one-on-one time with my baby.  And I plan on cherishing every moment.  Because before I know it....HE will be going off to school, too. 

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

My (Almost) Irish Twins

Only 14 months apart.  Both are middle children.  Sandwiched between the Firstborn and the Baby.  They fight like cats and dogs...but they are inseparable.  Especially lately.  Jacob loves to play in Madilyn's room.  Madilyn loves to have Jacob playing in her room.  And for the past week, he has asked to sleep in Madilyn's room every night.  

He takes his role as little brother very seriously.  He annoys her...on purpose.  He knows how to push her buttons...and loves to push them.  He does not discriminate against her...for to him, she is just another "brother" to wrestle with. 

And, she takes her role as big sister very seriously.  She loves on him, as any caring big sister would do.  And she bosses him around, as any caring big sister would do.  But he takes it, as any good little brother would do.  And when he gets tired of it, he lets her know by telling her that "she is not his boss, God is the boss".  And with that, they start fighting.  Then, before you know it, they're laughing and playing together again.  It's a cycle that repeats itself several times a day. 

There's an interesting dynamic between these two.  An interesting relationship that we can see forming.  She's your typical big sister...and he's your typical little brother.  And together, they're quite a team.  It's fun to watch their "brother/sister" relationship form into a deep, life-long friendship.  And I can't wait to see how it develops as they get older.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Snips, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails

Here's a poem a found the other day (author is unknown):

Little Boys

Little boys come in all shapes and sizes,
Shy and adventurous, full of surprises,
With misshapen halos and mischievous grins,
Small dirty faces, and sweet, sticky chins.

They'll keep you so busy, and yet all the while
Nothing can brighten the world like their smile.
And no greater treasure has brought homes more joy
Than a curious, active, and lovable boy!

Now I know that this poem is pretty stereotypical of boys....but for my boys, it's not just a stereotype.  It's true!  Especially for my Jacob.

This kid cracks me up.  He keeps me on my toes...day in and day out.  He tests my patience...every single day.  He knows what buttons to push....and doesn't hesitate to push them.  He's not afraid of anything, really (except maybe the occasional dog).  This kid is 100%, certifiable, undeniably ALL boy.  ALL BOY!!!! 

He throws caution to the wind.  Leaps before he looks.  Speaks before he thinks. 

Playing any kind of ball is his passion.  As long as he has someone to play with (preferably his older brother), he could stay outside all day...with no need to come in whatsoever.  He loves cars.  Has energy that knows no bounds.  Spends hours playing with animals.  Has discovered his newfound passion of building with blocks.  Thinks it's funny to hide in places where it takes Mommy 30 minutes of panic and sheer terror to find him.  Doesn't hesitate to leave the house and walk to the church (which is just down the alley from the house...but NOT ok for a four year old to do by himself in this day and age) by himself without letting Mommy know where he's going.  Engages in all sorts of sword fights with anyone and everyone who battles back (and sometimes even if they don't).  Enjoys wrestling with Daddy or Papa or any other man who can tolerate his punches and kicks in totally inappropriate places. 

And with all of those "manly, boyish" traits and passions, he also has a softer side.  He loves to have his back and his tummy rubbed.  Is inseparable from his "duckie"...a blanket he has loved since he was a few months old.  Still sucks his thumb....we're working on this, but not having very much luck....however, he usually only does it when he is tired or upset.  He is fascinated with rubbing Mommy's feet (and you'll hear no complaints from Mommy).  Insists that Daddy always says "bye" and gives hugs and kisses before going to work (and should Daddy forget, Jacob is not easily consolable).

The things he says are absolutely hysterical.  Things you wouldn't expect a four year old to say....but he never ceases to surprise us.  He's stubborn, hard-headed, defiant, frustrating, king of time-outs, boundary-testing...loving, lovable, caring, sensitive all at the same time. 

He is our Jacob and adds such spice and humor to each and every day.  This fun-loving, carefree 4 year old is so different from the other three...but we wouldn't have it any other way.  We're so grateful this "surprise" that God blessed us with four years ago is ours and that we get to experience his four year old personality everyday. 
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Sugar and Spice

What in the world would we do without all her girliness?  Amazingly, among this brood of masculinity, she adds quite a touch of feminity.  Ok...so it's more like a big ole dollup of feminity.  Because this chick is GIRLY!!!  And, in turn, has made her momma a bit more girly.  She's a lover of bows, all things sparkly, princesses, ballerinas, pink and purple EVERYTHING, foo-foo dresses, dresses in general, make-up, manicures and pedicures, and everything else "girlish".  She loves her brothers and loves to love ON her brothers (much to their chagrin).  She takes her big sister role very seriously and makes sure her brothers know she's the one in charge.  It's amazing that she can convince two of her brothers to conform to her will with just a few sweet words and with a swift batting of her eyelashes (her poor, poor husband....). 

And with all her girliness, comes a very sweet heart.  She loves to love on others.  Loves to help anyone who is willing to let her.  Loves to talk (oh. my. gosh. does this girl love to talk?!!?).  Is definitely the most social of all our children, at least at this point.  Has a certain flair for drama (which I'm certain she did not inherit from me, because I am in no way, shape, or form dramatic....AT ALL).  Ahem!  Moving on.....She loves to sing (and can actually sing on key pretty well).  Loves to create stuff.  And has her Daddy wrapped around her little finger.

Our five year old adds such joy to our family...and we are so incredibly proud that she could beat her brothers in a burping contest...hands down!  Aaaaahhhh...I guess she has to let her brothers rub off on her somehow.

What an awesome gift God has given us in her.  So proud to be her Mommy and thankful I have at least one person on my side in this house of abundant masculinity.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sleeping in the Nude

Went in to get Noah from his nap and this is what I found...

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Firstborn

This boy is so much like me.  He's a first-born and definitely lives up to first-born stereotypes.  He's got a "Type-A" personality.  He's a people pleaser (more specifically, he's an authority pleaser).  He doesn't like to disappoint his daddy or me.  Loves to read.  Is Bossy.  Isn't phased by "fitting in" with his peers.  Is comfortable with who he is.  Likes school.  Loves his teacher.  Willing to lead, but more comfortable in the background.  And I can just go on and on.

I love that he's 7 years old and still comes and crawls in my lap.  It tickles me pink that he still holds my hand when we are walking around a store.  When he cries, he comes to Mommy for comfort and understanding.  It thrills me that he runs up to me everyday after school and gives me a great big hug.  He still gives me kisses in front of his friends.

But I can't help but think....how much longer of this do I have?  By no means, do I expect (or even want) him to be crawling into my lap when he's 30 years old.  I mean, afterall, I'm not Marie Barone (for those "Everybody Loves Raymond" fans).  But it is so great that he feels comfortable enough to do those things still.  I love those moments and am cherishing each and every one of them....for they may not last for very much longer.  *sniff, sniff*

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jacob's 4th Birthday

Jacob is four....I just can't believe it. I know I say that everytime one of the kids turns another year older, but with every birthday it seems time just goes by faster and faster. This year, we had his birthday on Easter weekend since my entire family was here. Three sisters, three brother-in-laws, two parents, two grandparents, three nephews, three nieces, and, of course, the six Ellerbrooks. In case you were wondering, that's 22 people we had at my house...and all but two of them spent the night...at my house.

We started the day at the zoo. Ate lunch at Rosa's (mmmmmm!). Had an Easter egg hunt in the backyard after "naptime"--ever tried to get 10 kids to nap/rest at the same time when they are super excited to see each other?...didn't really work. Ate hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner. Then had some yummy cake and ice cream to celebrate our four year old. All in all...it was a great birthday. And although Jacob does NOT like to be photographed (and he sure doesn't like to be sung to), I did manage to snap a couple of shots of him with his cake.

And here's some from the zoo and Easter egg hunt.....

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