Elisabeth, Christopher, Carlee and Kayden patiently waiting to begin.
Kayden cutting the dough.
The "clean" Elisabeth before the decorating really begins!
Kayden, Christopher and Elisabeth ready in their pj's to go see the lights
This year Tammy and I decided we wanted to do something fun with the kids to celebrate the holidays. Tammy was so awesome and took some time the day before and make sugar cookies from scratch. The next night, on December 7th, Elisabeth and I went to Ben and Tammy's to cut the cookies into shapes and then cook and bake them. The activity was such a hit with the kids! Christopher seemed to have a better grasp at how to decorate the cookies with the sprinkles. Kayden and Elisabeth just loved to dump all of the sprinkles onto one cookie so that it was more of a creation of the saying, "Would you like a cookie with your sprinkles?". They made such a mess and had such a great time doing it. I remember baking and decorating cookies and candies as a child with mom and those are some of my favorite memories that I have of her. It was fun to be able to start doing some of those things with Elisabeth this year.
After we baked somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-7 dozen cookies, we had the kids get into their pj's and we all piled into the suburban to go see the Christmas lights at the Canyon View park in Spanish Fork. Elisabeth, Kayden, and Carlee were especially enthralled with the lights and they loved seeing the Lockness Monster and the frogs jumping. We then drove to Salem to see the lights at "Pond Town", which the kids also enjoyed.
I love this time of the year! It is nice to have good friends to be able to do things with and to share in the spirit of the Christmas season.
Ok - I know as a mom that I am my child's biggest fan. I also love having professional pictures taken of her because I feel like that since I have to work full time that I sometimes miss the subtle changes in her and professional photographers seem to (for the most part) catch her in a better setting than I do with my own camera. I wish that I had a digital SLR (I think that's the right initials) camera where I could change the f-stop setting to better catch the movements of a busy toddler. Hopefully my dear husband will read this post someday and will figure out what I would like for Christmas next year! I also want to take a photography class to really learn the proper way to take a picture. So until then, I will rely on my no-sitting fee coupons from JCPenny where the package is $7.99.
Although as a side note here - I have a love/hate relationship with JCPenny. I like that I usually get pretty good pictures from them at a good price, but I really hate that the people who work there have no idea how to work with kids. I'm lucky that Elisabeth is fairly photogenic and at an age where I can start to bribe her with a treat of some sort to get her to smile. I really disliked that at this last photo shoot where this picture was taken, that although I had the first appointment of the day (at 8:00 a.m.) on December 1st (the Saturday where it DUMPED snow in the morning), that the photographer was getting angry with Elisabeth and telling her that she was in a big hurry to get done. She was incredibly impatient with my child. What really bothered me was that she was talking to Elisabeth like she was a 4 or 5 year old who might actually understand her, instead of being 2, and also that there was no other people in the studio when we went in for the shoot. Calli - have you ever had this problem at JCPenny? It was really frustrating for me. I wish that I could afford to go to Kiddie Kandids more and have people take Elisabeth's picture that actually try to take the time to make my child at ease with them and so the pictures turn out better. I'm glad that Kiddie Kandids has their birthday portrait club where I can get the freebie picture on her birthday!
Anyway, with all of that being said, and in my own very biased opinion, I think that Elisabeth is absolutely beautiful in this picture with her long, natural curls and deep brown eyes. Jake & I will have our hands full with her when she turns 16.
So, today I turned 27. Yikes! I can't believe how quickly the time has flown in the past year. There have been so many things that have happened and our life (hopefully) will slow down much more in this coming year. So, since I wanted to use this blog as sort of a journal, I thought I'd just quickly jot down the major events of the year.
1. On my 26th birthday I had a miscarriage. I was so upset by it, but I can see how my body probably couldn't have handled carrying a baby and dealing with mom and her passing. Heavenly Father has a much better understanding of timing than we do and in a little over seven weeks we'll be welcoming that long awaited baby into our family.
2. I dropped out of graduate school. I never thought that I could refer to myself as a dropout. UVSC will hopefully have their graduate program up and going in a few years. Maybe by that point I will have a much better handle on my life and will finish up what I almost halfway completed!
3. I was promoted to a senior auditor. It has given me more responsibility and more pay which enabled Jake & I to qualify for our home loan.
4. Mom's passing. It has been extremely difficult to get over having her gone, but at the same time it has provided so many blessings in our family.
5. Fixing up and selling our house (just as the market turned from a seller's market to a buyer's market). Boy - we couldn't have picked a better time to sell the house!
6. Buying Mom's home - we are so grateful to be in a bigger home and are especially grateful to those that have and will help us keep the house.
7. Being released from nursery!!! I absolutely loved being in the nursery and spending time singing with the kids and Elisabeth. However, after two years I really needed a break. I really missed Relief Society!
8. Jake's long awaited graduation - in a couple of weeks Jake will officially have his bachelor's degree. (I'm thinking that I should call it my second bachelor's degree for dealing with having to have him be in school for the last 5 1/2 yrs of marriage:). Really though, Jake has earned it by himself and I'm very proud of his accomplishment.
Those things don't even begin to encompass the other blessings that have come such as Jake being given his internship, passing his classes this summer (as a gift by his teachers) when mom was dying and Sharon's kids were living with us, and Jake being given a pell grant in retrospect that he was unaware that he qualified for.
Perhaps, though, the main change that has come has not been one that can be seen as 1 event. It has come as a result of the personal spiritual stretching of the year. I can say with a stronger assurity that my testimony has become deeper so much that it has become the cornerstone of my life for which to make it thru the day by day trials. Although I am far from where I would like to be spiritually, I can see the Lord's hand is in all things and that if we put him first in our lives, things will work out and we will have peace as a constant companion.
Wow - I didn't mean for it to turn into a sermon, but those are the feelings that I have felt today. Anyway, tonight Jake, Tammy, Ben & I are going to Macaroni Grill for dinner and Erin is babysitting our kids. I'm excited for an evening of being able to eat my dinner without someone else climbing on my lap and digging their fingers in it first! (I usually lose my appetite at about that point in most of our dinners!) I'm sure that it is going to be a fun evening!
I love Christmas! I could say that a hundred times or more. I'm getting antsy to put up the Christmas tree and to decorate the house with holly and nativity sets. I know how Jake feels about not getting into Christmas too early and so I'm going to do my best to respect his wishes of not putting up the Christmas tree until after Thanksgiving! (I'm unsure though if I'll really make it this year!)
Anyway, in honor of my favorite holiday, I'm posting some scrapbook pages of pictures from last Christmas. This holiday season is going to include a lot of "firsts"; some sad and some to look forward to. I would like to start a new family tradition this year and am looking for some good ideas of what Jake & I could do. Please post any thoughts you have.
Also, I wanted to include a couple of more scrapbook pages to share with Janice. These are just random ones of Elisabeth. Enjoy!
I'm up for tag - per Sheena's blog. Here are the answers that I would give:
4 places I've lived - I too would not want to share quite that much personal information on this blog.
4 jobs I've had - Its sad to say that I think I've had only 4 jobs in my life. That's ok though; they are: Keeping Memories Alive, Ricks College, Nebo School District and of course Utah State Tax Commission.
4 favorite desserts - apple crisp, my mom's homemade brownies (with marshmellows, nuts and chocolate frosting), ice cream and Stephen's Gourmet hot chocolate (specifically made in the cocomotion by Jake with whipped topping and marshmellows on the top). The latter two consitute the only two true seasons that exist on this planet. Forget fall, spring, summer and winter, its truly just hot chocolate and ice cream seasons. They also blend so nicely together!
4 interesting facts about me - my pinkie fingers only comes up way up in comparison to my ring fingers, my husband is the first guy I ever kissed as well as the last guy I'm going to kiss(I'm not going to name how many other guys I kissed before I actually got around to marrying Jake!), I've been to more bars than anyone in the Ellinger Family (I'm not sure if I could say that about my own family and I was only going for work!), and I can play the Can-Can on two different pianos at the same time in every musical key.
4 favorite movies - The Sound of Music, Pillow Talk (with Doris Day), Harry Potter, and Return to Me.
4 people I'm tagging: Janice, Calli, Tammy (this is your invitation to start a blog, and Kristin.
I love the way that these pictures turned out. I had them taken at JCPenny's. I'm usually pretty good about not spending money that I shouldn't, but I have a hard time resisting having pictures taken and then buying more than I should have. My only saving grace was a coupon.
Jake has been gone to Denver these past couple of days attending a science teacher's conference. Now I can semi-understand how he feels about having to take care of Elisabeth by himself when I'm gone to work out of state. Its not that she's a hard child (she has been especially goood this week), she just has more energy than I have. We have been painting the baby's room and she has been so good about not getting into the paint and helping herself to the fun. She has quietly sat in her portable crib reading to every baby she has "My Grandpa is Great" and "Have You Seen My Potty?" Janice and Sheena, when you come home at Christmas and in January, you both have to read the latter book. It is so funny! Just ask Mom & Dad about how Jake and I couldn't stop laughing the first time that Grandma Ellinger read the story to Elisabeth. We were both gasping for air by the end of the story! You'd think that Jake and I need more adult time with each other because now the potty story has overtaken our lives.
I'm so excited about the baby's room. I painted it palm green on two walls. If I'd only been able to take a picture of myself taping the walls that would have been a sight to see for everyone. My belly is getting so big that I was having a hard time reaching the ceiling without ramming the wall with my stomach. I certainly got my exercise though getting on and off the chair to tape and paint. I'm hoping that I will have the baby's room completely decorated before Jake comes home on Saturday night. I don't think that I've hit "the nesting phase", but I'm in the mode of "I just want my house put together in some resemblance of order!" I hate moving. I could say that a hundred times and so it had better be a long time before we have to move again. I will post pictures of the baby's room when I get finished.
I'm just so excited that as of Sunday I will only be pregnant 10 more weeks!!! Yeah - I'm seriously ready to be finished with being pregnant. I was talking with Mom a couple of weeks ago and I realized that I don't show as much appreciation about being able to easily have a baby when I want as I should. I'm grateful to have this baby on the way and to add another little one into our family. I'm just experiencing "growing pains". I feel like there is no more room to grow and he's going to start packing on a little less than a pound a week starting in the next couple of weeks. I had one audit ask me if I was due in the next couple of weeks. (How embarassing to look 9 months along when I've only barely hit 7). Oh well, at least there is Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to before the baby comes. That should help time pass a little more quickly.
So, one of the reasons that I wanted to start a blog is so that Janice & I can share scrapbook ideas and other projects more than once a year when we see each other! These are some of the scrapbook pages that I did on my trip to Montana a little over a week ago.
Elisabeth & I had so much fun yesterday. I finished work about an hour earlier than usual and so I called Tammy just to say hi. She suggested that we go to Salem Pond and feed popcorn to the ducks. So Tammy made the popcorn while I drove from Payson to Spanish Fork to pick Elisabeth up from daycare. We piled all of the kids into one car and then drove to the pond. Elisabeth & Kayden had such a great time tossing the popcorn into the water. Carlee just sat in the stroller. She was more interested in stuffing the popcorn in her face than giving it up to the ducks! After we were done with the popcorn, we walked up to the park and played on the swings and slides for a while. Its so nice to have such a great friend like Tammy (Kayden is a bonus too because he and Elisabeth are usually great playmates for each other).
Elisabeth didn't really get much of a nap yesterday at daycare and she was so tired by 8:30 last night. She is just like her mother; if she doesn't get enough sleep she turns from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. Instead of fighting her over the ever increasing alligator population in her bedroom, I let her onto our bed with the intent to read a few stories, let her fall asleep, and then take her back to her room. She is a pretty strong willed child and I was out long before she gave up the fight. However, she did lay in bed beside me and Jake while he worked on school stuff on his laptop. After Elisabeth was asleep, Jake went downstairs to play World of Warcraft with Dan and didn't pop back upstairs until about 2:00 a.m. (This is the first time in a month that he has actually played his game). Anyway, he went to move Elisabeth back into her bed when she semi-woke up. She got so mad at Jake and said in an extremely demanding tone, "I want to cuddle next to Mommy!" I was awake at this point and I tried to soothe her by saying that I was right there. Jake said something about being there too. That made her mad and she matter of factly stated, "No- I LOVE MY MOMMY!" Jake commented to me that her comment kind of hurt his feelings. I reminded him that she was mostly asleep and that he shouldn't take it too seriously. Jake told me that the subliminal mind shows inner feelings. I had to quickly remind him that she also believes there is a clan of alligators in her room that are going to eat her! I am at such a loss as to how to deal with these alligators! They are just so real to her at this point.
So I have decided that next to celebrating Christmas, fall & Halloween rank second on my list. I love to see the leaves change from the greens to the vibrant yellows, oranges and especially reds. I also love to watch football games, but we won't go into how desperate Jake & I are to actually see BYU play now. (That has to be the biggest downside of moving here.) I also love to feel the temperature drop a little bit so that its bearable to be outside. What I have found though is that Halloween is especially fun with Jake & Elisabeth.
This year Elisabeth semi-started to figure out what tricking or treating is. I went to the ward Trunk or Treat with Grandma and Grandpa Ellinger. It was great because as we went around Mom introduced me to a lot of people in the ward. I'm not great with names and I've already forgotten half of them, however, it was nice to get to know a few people. Elisabeth and I practiced saying trick or treat before going to daycare in the morning and then after I picked her up as well when work was over. She was a pro at saying it, but this year everything seemed more real to her and I think that she was afraid of some of the people in costumes. However, after figuring out that candy was involved she would race from car to car timidly saying the infamous phrase. People adored her as Elmo and several requested having their pictures taken with her! She was such a cutie pie! After the ward trunk or treat was over, Jake came home from class at UVSC and then we went to see Kayden & Carlee (Elisabeth's best friends). Tammy & Ben invited us in and we ate soup with Tammy's family and then went trick or treating around the block afterwards with Kayden & Elisabeth. Elisabeth loved the idea of going from door to door and seemed to be more interested in that than the candy. Last night is one of the reasons I like being a parent. It was so much fun to see Elisabeth enjoying Halloween!
Jake has also become quite a character dressing up this year. He is trying his best to have people like him at school and so he is going out of his way to go overboard in everything that he is involved in. In September he was asked to come dressed like his favorite character from a book. He mulled over it for a while and decided that he wanted to dress up like Aslan the Lion from C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Everyone in the school was asked to dress up, but no one came as prepared as Jake! We rented a lion costume from Taylor Maid and he was such a great lion. The kids absolutely adored his costume! Since he had such a good response from dressing up as a lion, he decided for Halloween that he would dress up as an Ipod. We found the box that Mom's wheelchair came in from the garage and then wrapped white, black, and pink paper around it to fashion what an Ipod should look like. Even before Jake told his class what he was, the kids already had figured it out. One kid even asked if he could buy the costume from Jake! Jake is having a good time teaching; even if it is wearing him out to the brink of exhaustion!
I was remembering what my Halloween's were like as a kid and its not what I wore that I could remember. I remembered how cool it was when Janice and I were in the "pre" teen stage to hide our Halloween candy around our bedroom like Claudia from The Babysitters Club. We would hide it and then forget where we had put some of it until months later. If we would have been a little smarter, we would have realized that all of our forgotten candy is what attracted more "friends" into our bedroom. If mom had known how much candy we had hidden in our room, she would have been pretty upset with us over the increasing rodent problem!
I've included some pictures of our adventures this fall from going to the pumpkin patch to Halloween. I hope you enjoy!
Alright - this is my first real attempt at putting the blog site together. I thought that it would be fun to publish my thoughts as well as share pictures of my little family. I'd also love to be able to share scrapbook pages I've done with others.
It has been great being in a bigger house, however the memories of mom being there are still constant at this point. I've even caught myself thinking of conversations we had in different areas of the house. I think that its going to take a while to adjust. I didn't think it would be such a big deal either to attend the same ward that mom had been in. However, when I walked into the Relief Society I was immediately reminded of mom's viewing and I had a difficult time thinking about the lesson being taught because my mind kept wandering back to events of that day. I'm sure having all of these extra hormones raging inside of me isn't helping either, but I'm finding it difficult to just move on.
On a more positive note the baby is officially coming on or before January 22, 2008 in the very wee hours of the morning. I talked to the doctor yesterday at my monthly appointment and after he measured me and felt my stomach to determine the baby's size and position, he told me I should consider having another C-section instead of a VBAC. He gave me several medical reasons: the baby has measured on the big side during the last 4 ultrasounds and the baby is likely going to be around Elisabeth's birth weight when she was born. Having a large baby who will likely not fit through the birth canal combined with a significantly increased risk of rupturing my uterus by going through a difficult vaginal delivery made is so that I scheduled the c-section for January 22nd. I have my one family genes to thank for this predicament. Although a part of me never really actually has a desire to go through labor and having to feel anything more than Braxton Hicks contractions. I am not particularly fond of being pregnant; I am grateful Heavenly Father was smart enough to cloud most women's minds about what sacrifices it takes to produce another human being or else I probably would have only had Elisabeth. I'm glad that I know in 12 weeks this whole ordeal will be over!!! (Then the real trials begin all over!)
Elisabeth is going to be a great big sister. This morning as we got ready to go to daycare, she had to pack her baby in its own car seat and then place a pillow under the baby's head before placing a bright pink blanket over the entire carrier. She got upset at Jake for rushing her to take care of her baby's needs. She then had to lift up the blanket and wanted Jake to tell the baby sorry! I don't think Jake really caught on to what she wanted him to do because he was in a big hurry.
I guess my lunch break is over so I'd better get back to work!
1 in every 120 babies are born with a heart defect. What if that ONE was YOURS?
Our Little Man
We unknowingly became elite members of a world no one wants to be a part of on January 22, 2008 with the birth of our little boy, Nathan, but looking back we can't imagine life any differently. Nathan has had to endure 21 surgeries in the first 25 months of his life including open heart surgery for Tetralogy of Fallot, jaw surgery at 3 days old, 5 cleft surgeries and many surgeries involving his airway, ears, and eyes. He has a g-tube which he uses as his sole source of nutrition. In February 2010 he underwent a second jaw distraction as he was showing signs of right heart failure.
Nathan is our little hero; our witness that prayers are answered individually and that we couldn't be blessed with better family and friends to support us.
One day my world came crashing down, I'll never be the same. They told me that my baby was sick. I thought, "Am I to blame"? I don't think I can handle this. I am really not that strong. It seemed my heart was breaking. I have loved him for so long. I will not give up on this child. I will listen to your advice. I will give my son any chance. No matter what the price. I will learn all that I need To help my baby thrive. I'll even use that feeding tube. My child must survive! Will he need a lot of therapy? Will he gain the needed weight? Please God, help me do this. As I accept our fate. When the monitors beep at night, it serves as my reminder. How many parents would love that sound. Tomorrow I will be kinder. As another Angel earns his wings, I run to my baby's bed. I watch him sleep for quite a while. I bend down and kiss his head. I cry for the parents whose hearts have been broken. I look to You wondering why? Oh Lord, I just can't know your ways.... no matter how I try. And yet, I trust you hold his life, and guide us through each day. My mind says savor each moment he's here, but my heart begs, "PLEASE let him stay"! From pacing the surgical waiting room, to sitting by his bed. From wishing for a good nights sleep, to learning every med. From wondering, "Will he be alright?", to watching him reach out his hands. With every smile my heart just melts, despite life's harsh demands. For all who see that faded line. I look to them and smile. You see my child is loved so much. I would face ANY trial. That scar I trace with my finger (It's the door to his beautiful heart). God must have known how much I'd love him (Just as He loved him from the start). A heart mom is always a heart mom. Now wise beyond her years. For those who have angels in heaven, Our hearts share in all of your tears. Every day I will try and remember, I was chosen for him (and no other). I will always embrace that beautiful day....... When I became a "Heart Mother".
~Stephanie HustedMommy to Braeden HLHS post FontanCarepage name: babyhusted
I "borrowed" this poem off of another blog. I'm not sure who the author is, but it truly touched my heart.(Original version found at http://garyandcamille.blogspot.com Thank you!) Heart Poem:
It's a beautiful day up in heaven. Jesus is rounding up his tiniest angels, to go live on earth, and be born. One of the sweetest angels says to Jesus "I don't want to leave, I like it here, and I will miss you". He reassures the scared little angel that everything will be okay, and that she is just going for a visit. She is still not swayed on this idea. So Jesus kneels down, and says, "How about if you leave half of your heart here with me and take the other half with you, will that be okay?" The angel smiles and says, "I guess that will work". But the little angel is still a little scared. She asks,"Will I be okay with only half of my heart?" Jesus replies,"Of course you will, I have other angels there that will help out, and you will be fine." Then Jesus gives the angel more details about his plan. He says "When you are born, your mommy will be scared, so you have to be strong, and when you feel weak just remember that I have the other half of your heart. Enjoy your time with your family, play and laugh everyday. And when its time to come back to heaven, I will make your heart whole again. Always remember that you are not broken, just torn between two loves."