Tuesday, December 30, 2008

THE playhouse.

Technically, this is not a Christmas gift, but it did arrive just days later. This is Ella's playhouse hand-made with love by her Papa. She has affectionately dubbed it "Papa". Here are some pics of the barn...er, playhouse raising that took place yesterday in our back yard:

Phooey!! I didn't get one pic of the beast in all its glory. Stay tuned for a pic of the whole thing. It is AMAZING! Ella is soooo fortunate to have this bad boy in her own yard at the ripe old age of 1.5. She is going to enjoy this for many, many, many years! Aunt Charley and I are looking forward to decorating: curtains, hanging plants, lights, a little garden, a little kitchen and all the fixins. There is even a spot just under the roof for the installation of a box fan during the summer...Papa thought of everything!!

Ella hurdled out the door today to rush inside it and peek out one of the three windows. She literally says "peek-a-boo". I think it is because she has been reading "Peek-a-boo Moon" with her Nana. She also enjoys hanging over the railing on the porch of her "property". She tells the cat "no, no" if it enters her domain (though I have a good idea it will be the cat's domain at night to slumber).

Christmas...is it too late to post this?

We.had.fun. Ella LOVES her family and I mean EVERYONE. Every Aunt, Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa (including the "greats"). She has everyone's name and title down and looks forward to any opportunity to belt them out. I know she is spoiled and you know she is spoiled so I will save you the details on all the bounty she received from her very generous friends and family. We are blessed!

Here are some pics of Christmas at Nana and Grandpa's (on the 24th, before the two parties we attended of which I have NO PICS!):

Riding her new box of blocks:

Playing with Nana:

Feeding baby chicken:

Christmas at Mimi and Papa's (Christmas morning). Ella did not actually open a gift at Mimi's, here is what she did instead:
Passing out gifts:

Sorting gifts:

Riding gifts (a theme?):

Eating gifts:

Playing with gifts:

She took an apple AND a banana break during the chaos:

Later she took a spin in her wagon with her new dogs (technically frogs) on:

Here is a couple of other fun pics from our time in Houston:
Lorelei! She was a boat load of fun and the girls ran around for hours together:

Around the smoldering "yule" log (this is a stump behind my inlaws that burned for 3-4 days throughout our time there...it was fun just hanging around the burning stump):

Zonked out on the car ride home...foot resting on my chair:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Trail O' Lights

Wowsers, this was fun! All the lights and kiddos and activities...it was a winter wonderland! Without the winter...er, it was nearly 80 degrees. We are such weenies we ran to the trail on Friday night when we heard there would be a cold front blowing in on Saturday. It is SO MUCH more fun to hang out without being hampered by a coat AND gloves AND a hat AND the whining (mine, not the kiddo). Anywho, here are some pics of the fun to be had. Love that the Trail is here every year : )

She made most of the trip on her dad's shoulders...there were just so many people that a tiny could easily run into the crowd and never come back to mom and dad:

Sorry, my camera doesn't do scenery pics, but it was really, really beautiful. There were dancing trees and music, etc, etc, but my very fave were the trees covered in lights:

Ella, literally dancing and clapping while sitting on dad's shoulders:

funny dancing pic:

Mom, wearing Ella's new glow necklace:

End of the line, back at the car with new glow necklace and bag of burning hot kettle corn that we split (fought over):

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There is something to be said for ROUTINE

So, I would LOVE to think of myself as a spontaneous, fun, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl...but then I would only be talking about someone else. That just isn't me! I thrive on routine and December has thrown me for a loop. Here are a few things out of the ordinary that could be the cause of my frazzled-ness:

-there is a giant, glowing tree in my living room (which I do heart)
-shopping for stuff other than food...wha? this NEVER happens.
-it is COLD (I liked that for all of 10 minutes and then I was ready for Spring..BLAH!) we are totally stuck inside. honestly, we took a field trip to visit zach's co-workers...tell me that we are not dying to get out of the house. everyone there is great, but we are such a giant distraction that i can't help feeling a little bad about it....until ella gets tons of hugs and brings joy to everyone she runs past (even though i'm chasing her...ugh.)
-daydreaming about ella enjoying christmas with our families : )--this can be very time consuming
-christmas cards....A LOT of them + our christmas CD for those who enjoy new music (so much work, but very rewarding cause I get to send my best wishes to those we love the most. i think cards are like hugs. we send out about 100, but i always think of a ton more people i'd like to "hug")
-sicky-ness from the constantly changing weather..first me, now ella

yadda, yadda, yadda...I'm hope it doesn't seem like I'm complaining because in reality I love all of these things that make December so special, but I just wish I could be a little more flexible and just go with the flow. I stink with change. My REAL problem is remembering to complete my normal daily functions amidst the new found chaos and so my house is a mess (totally out of the norm..tee-hee) and my to-do list is out of control and I ALWAYS choose the fun things over the mundane...oops. Maybe I should have saved this whole rant for a week and a half for my "New Year's Resolution" post (don't hold your breath for that one).

I'll post pics now. Sorry to force you to sit through that when you really just came here for the pics. Before I go I want to send hugs out to all those who check in here for a dose of Ella. She is pretty special to me. Here are some Christmas card rejects and other fun stuff:

Sock Monkey Manger Scene at 39th street Christmas Display:
For a better description of the scene, check out Heidi's blog

Tabith, Joshua, Ella and popcorn at The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Christmas luminary display:

LOVE this mug:

So pretty:

For the record, I am totally JEALOUS of the Harrell's new toy and Katie's less new toy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We're still here!

Well, we weren't here for about a week and a half and if you count the time it takes to prepare for that sort of event and the time it takes to recover....then you've got about 3 weeks that have just flown by and a very aching back. We had a lovely time with our Houston friends and families. Ella had a blast. I think she is going to be on overload at Christmas seeing all of her favorite people...AGAIN! We are looking forward to it.

Speaking of Christmas, I feel like I missed the jump start after Thanksgiving since we were away. Immediately upon our return home my list looked like this:

1. Unpack
2. Christmas Tree
3. Laundry or just buy new clothes
4. Christmas Lights
5. Must do laundry b/c new clothes are not in budget
7. Austin Trail of Lights
8. Make all the gifts I had PLANNED to make (and bought supplies for)..EEK!
10. Christmas cards

I have done well in our few days home and have only the Trail of Lights, final touches on Christmas cards and making gifts left to do. Trail of Lights starts Sunday and I just know that Ella will eat it up. I'll post pics after the event.

I wish I didn't have so many gifts to make, but they are things I WANT to make because they are better than anything I have seen to buy...if they turn out right. They aren't overly wonderful, but they are just right and personalized. Please motivation, find your way to my door!!!