Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Favorites {Drinking Glasses}

Today's "Friday Favorite" is all about drinking glasses.  I didn't know what to call them, but you get the idea...drinking glasses, cups, whatever!  I don't think I ever say drinking glasses, but I guess I thought it sounded fancier.  And my first favorite isn't actually glass anyway.  Oh well. :)

By far, my favorite cups are Turvis Tumblers.  No, they are not the coolest looking thing around, but ya'll there is NO CONDENSATION!  I hate condensation.  When we were dating my dear sweet husband said he was going to invent condensation free cups for me because I hate it so much.  Then along came the turvis tumblers.  Too bad we missed out on that money!  I got some fair ones as a wedding gift and Robert has accumulated some MSU ones over the past few years.  They are my go-to "drinking glass". :)  And because I am slightly OCD I love the fair ones because I only drink out of it right where the tip of the cabin is pointing.  I don't like not knowing where I've been drinking from.  I like drinking from the same spot.  SO WEIRD.  I know. 

If condensation was not an issue I would only drinking out of mason jars, specifically our mason jar mugs that I inherited from my mom.  They are darling and I feel so Southern when I use them.  We always use them when we eat outside on the patio on though.  It just feels right to do so. :)  I was going to take a picture of the mason jar outside, but it is currently pouring down rain so that didn't really work out.

Happy Friday!  What are your favorite drinking glasses?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Keep Her Busy

I have a degree in Child Development, years of experience teaching preschool, and almost two years of "Mom experience" under my belt.  One thing I know for sure is that keeping little ones busy is key.  Don't get me wrong, there is definitely a need for down time.  But usually babies, toddlers, and preschoolers need to be kept busy.  It makes them happy...and smart! :)  About a year ago I did a post about keeping Ellington entertained.  Not surprisingly, straws, hangers, and junk mail don't really get the job done anymore.  So, here's a little list of a few things I do to keep Ellington busy and happy!

Rotating toys is a MUST!!!  When children have toys and toys and more toys they just kind of shut down.  If you rotate your toys you will be shocked by how much more focused and interested they are!  I do this in my preschool classroom as well.  I can't imagine not rotating toys.  Seriously.  Try it!  The toys below are animals from Ellington's ark.  The ark had been stored away for several months and then brought back out.  For a solid week that's ALL she played with.  As you can see, those animals were all over our house!!

Cookie sheets and magnets are so much fun!  I got out my magnetic ABCs and Ellington had a blast.  She has become so interested in the alphabet lately.  This activity was right up her alley!

Using toys in a different way makes it fun.  After we got back from the beach Ellington saw her beach toys sitting out waiting to be stored away.  I handed them to her and she had the most fun pretending to be at the beach for the next week!  I wouldn't have thought to use them, you know since they are "sand toys".  Mamas can be so boring sometimes. :)

Art is always a great idea!  There are COUNTLESS art activities for little ones.  Ellington has been enjoying  a basic activity....coloring.

Scooping is so much fun for little ones!  On this particular day Ellington was moving ice from one bowl to another, but the posibilities are endles.  Beans, rice, cotton balls, etc.  You can use just about anything!

Structured activities are great, but often Ellington keeps herself busy all on her own!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lesson Learned

This week I haven't been the best mom.  I haven't really been patient and more often than not, Ellington has been driving me up the wall.  This is not something I am proud of...but bear with me.  There's a happy ending.

We have been home all week because I took off for the rest of the summer.  I have a TON of stuff to do before school starts in August and the whole week prior to school we will be at the fair.  So, we needed a little time and a little breathing room.  That brings us to this past week.  I was short on patience and Ellington was high on fits.  It was a loooong week and instead of accomplishing stuff I fretted about how much I had to do.  As each day passed I was more and more frustrated with myself for not getting anything accomplished and not being a patient Mama.  On Thursday night Robert called me from work and said that he would have to work on Friday from 2 pm-10 pm.  I know it's hard to follow his schedule so let me help you out....that would mean that we wouldn't see him at all on Friday and that I would have Ellington ALONE  (He would have to sleep in the morning and work all afternoon and night).  Facing Friday literally about sent me over the edge.  (I know I am being very dramatic...but the week wore me down).  I woke up Friday morning and knew that if I kept this attitude we would have a LOOOOOOOONG day.  Ellington actually ended up sleeping until about 8:15 Friday morning.  When I went in her room she was obviously very sleepy still so I asked her if she wanted me to rock her.  She lifted her arms up, I lifted her out of her crib, and with that our great day began.

As I rocked I prayed that I would be a patient Mama.  I prayed that I wouldn't become frustrated at her and that I wouldn't view her as something that was keeping me from doing what I wanted to do.  Because really...this all boiled down to me being selfish.  After she woke up and had breakfast we headed to the park before it got too hot.  Unfortunately, shortly after we arrive not one, not two, but three groups of kids in summer programs showed up.  I bet there were 75 or more kids in all...with very little adult supervision.  So, we left but continued our great morning.  At some point in the morning I found this amazing article.  It is a MUST read.  Here is an exert that follows talk about how our culture views children:

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.
Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

HELLO LANE!  Death to yourself so that you might have LIFE.  A kick in the pants I tell you. 

Ellington woke up from her nap early and crying.  This would ordinarily frustrate me (I know terrible, but I wasn't dying to myself remember?).  I went in her room and rocked her.  She fell back asleep and I soaked in.  It was a deep soul soaking.  I felt like my heart was literally going to explode.  She started kind of opening her eyes but was still pretty asleep.  I whispered, "I love you" and she whispered "Love you" back to me.  That moment meant more to me than anything I own or any missed time to myself.  Everything was worth it.  Pregnancy, childbirth, colic, teething,'s all worth it.  It's so worth it.  I will have to daily (or sometimes even hourly or by the minute) remind myself of these things.  I pray that I don't go back to how I was, but look to Christ for what I need to become. It's a daily battle, but it's worth the fight.

Do you want to know what we did next?!  We went to the movies!!!  We went to see Winnie-the-Pooh.  I had NO idea how Ellington would do, but we made it through the whole thing!  She even sat in her own seat until the last few minutes.

These next few pictures have nothing to do with anything, but I wanted to share them anyway!  Meet "Baby" and "Baby", Ellington's twin girls! :)

Ellington has a new favorite thing to do when she wakes up.  She wants to be covered in all of her blankets and then she laughs and laughs!!!  You have to stand by though because she will just throw herself down and sometimes will land right on the crib rail!

There she is!

Thanks for listening to all of my rambling!  We hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Favorites {Free Fun}

Today's Friday Favorite is all about stuff we like to do....that's free!  When you live in a small town your options of things to do can but very limiting.  Thankfully, we do have a University that we visit quite often.  I don't know what we would do without it!  This post topic came about because Ellington and I have been home all week.  I am not going back to work until August when I will work M-W mornings.  This week has convinced me (although I was already almost certain) that being a stay-at-home mom is the HARDEST job in the world.  I enjoy having a part-time preschool job to keep things interesting, but I know being with Ellington is the most important job I'll ever have.  All of that to say, I've been trying to think of things to keep us  busy this week!

The Park
Free fun is certain to be found at the park.  Although in these temperatures, you must go early!

The Fountains
We love visiting the little fountains on campus!  Free and cool!

Ellington LOVES going to Lowe's and riding in the shopping cart.  
(Warning:  She will cry when you take her out.)

We sometimes go to campus just to walk around.  When the picture below was taken, Ellington had just started walking.  She had a blast!  She still loves going, but she's much faster now!!!  Lately we've been hanging out a lot more in the Union because it's quite toasty outside.
Those are just a few of the things we like to do to keep us busy.  Other things include....going to Dirt Cheap, going to the bookstore, and unfortunately....going to Wal-Mart. :)

What do you like to do to keep your little ones busy?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's for Lunch?

I don't know about you, but I always wonder what other parents feed their children. I hope I'm not the only one that wonders that. Feeding a toddler can sometimes be a challenge and I'm always attempting to lengthen the list of foods Ellington will eat.  I decided I would share with all of you a typical lunch for Ellington:

Bananas, Crackers, Watermelon, and Cheese

Ellington will not touch vegetables so we try to give her lots of fruit throughout the day.  She also refuses milk, so she is offered yogurt and cheese every day.  Other staples in Ellington's diet are...grilled cheese sandwhiches, any kind of pasta, strawberries, oranges, apples, and potatoes.  Crazy.  That doesn't seem like much.  Here I am doing a  post about what she eats and I haven't come up with much.  Oh yes....she has recently discovered hamburgers.  She loves them.  I do struggle nearly daily to feed her a variety of things with good nutrition in mind.  It definitely isn't easy, but I think we are doing ok! :)

In other news, Ellington has started SMILING AT THE CAMERA again.  I am SO delighted!!!  For months I was lucky if she even looked at the camera.  Now she is all about it!  She has started tilting her head to the side and smiling.  After I take the picture she says, "So pretty".  Ha!  Too precious.

If you have little ones, what are some of your go-to meals for them?

Monday, July 11, 2011

21 Months

Ellington, you turned 21 months on July 2nd! You are getting so big and more like a little girl and less like a baby every day. We are loving this stage of your life! You amaze us EVERY day!!!

Ellington, what are you up to at 21 months old?
  • You wear size 24 months and 2T clothes
  • You go to bed around 7:30 pm and wake up around 7:00 am
  • You love to eat and are a little more willing to try new things...still no vegetables though (unless they are in soup and then you LOVE it!)
  • You love to line things up and count them.  You say "one two one two" over and over.
  • You have gotten into cleaning up!  You say "clean up" and then get busy.  What a big girl!
  • You still speak mostly in two word phrases, but you will occasionally string more words together
  • You have an AMAZING sense of direction
  • You are pretty sensitive.  There is an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse that we don't let you watch anymore because when this little baby bear cries you start crying too!!!  You just cry and cry and say, "Bear sad.  Crying." over and over.  Such a tender heart you have!
  • Speaking of LOVE Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, and Goofy!!!  You just started being willing to sit and watch a 20 minute show.  Mama might be a little happy about that. :)
  • You look for ponds when we drive and then get so excited when you see one.  The second you spot one you say, "Look other pond"...meaning you want to look for another one!  
  • You say "Mama helping" when you get to the bottom of something you are eating (yogurt, applesauce, etc.) when you need help getting the last few bites out of the bowl.  I think it's precious that you are willing to admit (at almost 2 year old) that you can only do it yourself so long and then you need Mama's help. :)
  • You are PRECIOUS right before bed.  You sit in my lap while we read Goodnight Moon.  Daddy sits on the ottoman and after we read he prays.  Then you put your arms on Daddy's face and give him a kiss.  Then you push Daddy's face over to mine so he can kiss me! :)  You do this over and over several times.  It's sooooo sweet!
  • You do an amazing job singing the ABCs!!!  It is adorable.  You are still very into letters and can correctly identify several.
  • You also like to sing parts of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus, and Jesus Loves Me
  • You have started throwing fits. :(  I guess it was inevitable, but I was kind of hoping we would have the only toddler to never throw fits. :)
  • You had a BLAST on our recent beach trip and you talk about it frequently.  
Ellington, you are our precious baby girl and we love being your parents!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Favorites {Ellington's Breakfast}

Ellington wanted to give her two cents here at Friday Favorites and she decided to tell you about her favorite breakfast food...yogurt! Ellington LOVES yogurt and eats it almost every morning. See, here she is yesterday morning:

Yum yum!  Baby loves her yogurt.  Although, she likes to call it "yo yo".  Whatever works.  And without further ado I will present you with the favorite brand of Ellington's favorite breakfast food....

Ellington loves the Gerber yogurt most of all.  This is the brand we started with and after trying a couple of others, have returned to.  We tried some kind with Dora on the container, but it was a smaller amount and the pinkness of the yogurt was way too bright to be normal.  Then we tried Wal-Mart's Great Value brand, but the yogurt was really runny and Ellington made a huge mess with it.  So, we're back with Gerber.  The picture is a little misleading however.  Ellington's favorite flavor is not "Mixed Berries" it's actually "Strawberry Banana".  Mixed Berries was all I had left to photograph!  She likes Mixed Berries though so it isn't totally misleading.

So, what is your favorite breakfast food?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The 4th {The Rest of the Story}

When I did the post about our 4th of July I totally forgot about these pictures.  I am going to tell about the rest of our day!  Ellington slept the WHOLE way home which was such a huge blessing.  We all needed it. :)  Monday evening went we to Local Culture, a newish yogurt place in town.  We loooove Local Culture! 

After trying a few other combinations on other visits my go-to combo now is whatever type of vanilla they have in that day and fresh strawberries.  Sooooo delicious!!!

After yogurt Ellington always has to check out the nearby fish pond.

After we were done with yogurt we didn't want to to go home yet.  We were having a great time together and it actually wasn't too hot.  We decided we would roll the windows down and drive through campus (I know, we're wild and crazy).  Ellington wasn't thrilled about getting back in the car so we told her we were going to see where the Bulldogs play football.  She was soooo excited because she LOVES all things MSU.  We had a lovely drive through campus and Ellington was thoroughly enjoying herself.  As we were leaving campus I turned around to see Ellington's eyes fill with tears.  Then she started crying hysterically and pointing behind her.  Apparently, there was some kind of miscommunication and she thought we were going to do some kind of bulldog activity rather than just driving through.  I don't know that I have ever seen her so hysterical about anything before.  She never calmed down the whole ride home.  When we got back to the house Robert got out one of his old bulldog statues.  Ellington seemed pleased and Bully got the royal treatment...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My 2nd Favorite Holiday

I LOVE the 4th of July.  My dream one day is to live in a neighborhood that has a big 4th of July block party.  There will be tons of food, a bike parade (the kids decorate their bikes in red, white, & blue of course!), icecream, fireworks, etc.  It's going to be great.  When that happens I will know that I have made it.  Dream big.

This 4th of July we went to Big Bob and MiMi's house in Tennessee.  We got there on Saturday and stayed until Monday.  We had a great time!  So, here is another post with a million pictures.  I promise at some point I will return to posting only a few pictures!

Ellington had a big milestone on Sunday.  She stayed in the church nursery at Big Bob & MiMi's church!  We usually just keep her with us because of her separation anxiety, but it's gotten much better with age.  She did really well!  When we picked her up she had this ADORABLE 4th of July hat.  Have I mentioned I love the 4th of July??!!!  This hat just made it 10 times better!

Sunday night we went to the annual church picnic.  This was my third time to go, but it was Ellington's first time.  We had a fantastic time, but of course it was HOT!

Enjoying a hotdog bun!

We parked our chairs in front of one of the big fans to listen to the music.

MiMi has a fish pond that Ellington loves.  She got to feed the fish and she was in heaven!

Monday morning (the 4th!)

We went to Memphis for just a bit of shopping.  We had to make a quick stop at Macy's and we let Ellington play in the playground area for a few minutes.  She LOVED it!!!  I wish we had something indoors like this that we could enjoy more often!

After a quick stop at the mall and a visit to Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma outlets we had BBQ for lunch!  It was DELICIOUS!  I mean, delicious.  We were so happy that Jake was able to meet us for lunch!

We had a fantastic weekend, but we are looking forward to settling back down for a little bit.  Destin followed by a weekend away is a lot for a little girl (and her parents!).  While we have been away Ellington has been staying up much later, waking up earlier, and taking shorter naps so we need our routine back!  Thanks Big Bob & MiMi for a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Destin - Days 4 & 5

Tuesday was our beach day on our trip. I wasn't sure how it was going to go because Ellington doesn't like the sun (even if she's in the shade) and the night before she was terrified of the sand. Thankfully, we got to the beach and she LOVED playing in the sand! I got to sit for quite awhile in the beach chair while she played. What a nice surprise!

Ellington didn't like the water AT ALL though.  The waves were pretty intense while we were there.  In fact, they kind of stung when they hit you!  So she spent the majority of her time in the sand.

Bryant, LeAnna, and Emerson joined us for a little bit, but Emerson decided he was more of a pool man than a beach man so they went to the pool instead.

We enjoyed one of my favorite meals after our morning on the beach.  Pop, Robert, Ellington, and I ate poolside at the nearby Hilton.  It was delicious and a PERFECT atmosphere.  If it wasn't so expensive I would want to eat lunch there every day on future trips! :)  Ellington particularly loved the lemons.

After lunch we took Ellington back to the room for a nap and Robert & I went back to the beach.  (Don't mom was with her!)  Beach time with a book is pretty much my favorite thing ever, so I was thankful to be able to sneak a little time in!

Here is our little family Tuesday night before going out for supper!

We walked down to Baytowne Warf and ate at the Acme Oyster House.  My parents had dinner with the convention my Dad was there for, so it was just us kids.

Unfortunately, during supper it started raining!  I was SO looking forward to letting Ellington play on the playground and ride the Merry-Go-Round (it closed during the rain), but we didn't get to do those things!  I guess I shouldn't put things off until the last night because you never know what might happen!  We did visit a few shops close to the restaurant.  One was the candy shop!  (Ellington hasn't ever had candy so she didn't even know to want it!)

Even though it was sprinkling a little we wanted to take Ellington down to the dock to show her the boats. 

We didn't get to do everything we wanted to do, but we still had a fun night!

Here is Ellington as we were packing up.  She's watching Mickey Mouse and playing with two freebies my Dad got at his meeting.  They kept her entertained for quite awhile on the ride home.

I think Ellington's all-time favorite part of our trip was running down the hallway to our room.  I decided to get it on camera before we left!

We stopped in Mobile at Chick-fil-A for lunch.  One of my many favorite things about Chick-fil-A is that you can trade in the kids meal toy for icecream!

We also stopped at the Bass Pro Shop for Ellington to run around.  This Bass Pro Shop is AMAZING!  It had so much neat stuff!!!  It's so funny to me that we went to Bass Pro twice in one trip because we aren't Bass Pro kind of people.  Ellington LOVED it though!

We had a large time on our trip and were sad to return home!  Thanks Pop and Grams for a wonderful time!!!