Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

At Lowes Build and Grow

Isaac immediately appointed himself Lord High Steward of the Nails. Ignoring my protests, he dumped the entire bag into his apron pocket. Every time we needed one, he'd stand up and, with a huge grin on his face, fish one out.

At the end he was hammering them in unaided. The projects have pre-drilled nail holes, so he didn't even need help to start them.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Isaac would rather eat raw oatmeal than roast beef.

Isaac's latest project

Really looking forward to when he stops destroying anything I leave where he can reach it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Only the best

We're having breakfast at a hole in the wall diner on the last day before school starts. The waitress took a look at our kids and brought out a crayons, paper, and a double handful of plastic toys.

Matthew: "Wow, this is a fancy restaurant."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Baby Bubbles

It took us a while to figure out Corinna's nickname.  We tried a few on for size, Baby Bird, Birdie...., but ultimately Corinna picked her own name out.  Bubbles.

She spends a good portion of her day squirming happily and blowing raspberries and bubbles at us. 

Miss Bubbles it is!

[Jonathan adds:  *I* came up with the nickname.]

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Isaac at the pool

We have a pretty decent neighborhood pool. There's the main pool, a kid pool maybe eight inches deep, and the splashpad here. Isaac's favorite part is hanging on to Dad in the big pool, but this picture of him will have to do.

Amusing Isaac during church


We had fun with the book of spiderman stickers. I'd stick one on his nose, or his foot, or my ear, and he'd howl with glee. This entertained both Isaac and the grandfatherly fellow behind us -- who leaned forward and whispered to me, "it's so hard to keep them quiet when there's another kid seated behind them"--for the whole meeting.

Isaac discovered my massage chair

Melissa's favorite part of going back to school

Rachel went school clothes shopping yesterday. Melissa spent all morning opening and trying them on.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I'm still wearing some maternity clothes since most of my pants/skirts don't fit. I'm so very tired of them!!!  I can't wait to pack them up for good.  Or maybe toss them into a bonfire and dance gleefully about it.  The maternity clothes are loose and bunch up around my middle whereas most of my regular clothes are still much too tight.  I feel a bit frumpy since nothing fits quite right at this awkward stage.  The bathroom scale claims I have roughly 13-15 pounds to go yet.  For its insolence, I may have to relegate the scale to some dark recess in the closet.   

Out of curiosity I went back and read the SP archives.  Apparently, it was 4.5 months after Isaac before most of my regular clothes fit.  Even then I think it took about 9 months before I'd lost all the extra pounds.  I know that slow and steady weight loss is the healthiest and I'm eating like a horse (a very healthy horse!) since Corinna is breastfeeding.  Okay, that. . . and I really like to eat too.  But is so hard to be patient! 

9 months on 9 months off.  Repeat. Patience. patience.  patience. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pictures from Isaac's 3rd birthday

Isaac's Pingu cake. 

Opening presents
  He received all kinds of fun things from grandparents and aunts and uncles, such as a Cars activity set, water flutes, a Toy Story apron, a disk shooter, a stuffed Pingu, Penguin T-shirt, and a train table (from mom and dad).  He was so excited about each gift.  It was fun watching his little boy delight.

Perhaps his favorite gift was from his big brother:

Sundays are tough

We have church from 11-2 pm on Sundays.  This is right smack in the middle of lunch and naptime.  Isaac usually doesn't take a nap on Sunday and is very cranky toward the end of the day as a result. 

It is really hot lately (in the 100s) so we don't go outside for family walks in the afternoon to burn off excess energy.  Consequently Matthew and Melissa tend to get squirrelly by mid-day, and tease each other, which leads to bickering, and then tears. 

As a result, this day of rest doesn't feel very restful.  At the end of the day Jonathan and I are very glad it is bedtime. 

All tuckered out

Sleeping like babies.

Corinna likes bath time now.  Here she is at 9 weeks (she's ll weeks currently).  She likes to kick, squirm, and splash in the water.  Her body is getting very long now, and while she does have some baby pudge, I think most of her growth is going into her length. 

Melissa reads

After some reading lessons started in pouts of "NO.  I don't WANT to learn to read," and ended in tears I did have our doubts that this would ever happen...

Reading for the pleasure of reading

After a year and a half of teaching her, she now reads independently and for the fun of it. We find piles of books marking wherever she's been. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Aunt Christine's sketch

While Aunt Christine was with us, she drew on the packing paper with the kids at the table.  Here is some of her doodles. 

July Peanuts

  • Rachel: "Were you aware that our son can now open the freezer door, climb to the top shelf, and he's just helped himself to 2 popsicles?" Me: "I didn't hear anything!"
  • Isaac has graduated from unnecessary bandaids for tiny ows, to unnecessary bandaids to discourage him from picking the scabs off tiny ows.
  • TV bulb burned out (with an impressive POP! that freaked Matthew out). Slightly chagrined that replacements are only $75: I won't be able to use this as an excuse to get a new, full-HDTV.
  • Upstairs thermostat is set to 78 degrees because the AC unit keeps dying when it's set lower. Melissa's face glistens with sweat and she complains, "I'm freezing." Good grief, at least put some effort into plausibility if you're making up things to whine about.
  • Melissa peed her pants, but somehow it's _my_ fault. She is going to be one interesting teen.
  • Me: "Wow, you're already on page 97? Did you just start that book an hour ago?" Matthew: "No. I'm on page 96." I'll be glad when he outgrows pedantry for its own sake.
  • Melissa: "We never did this [writing] at school!" Rachel: "That's the problem."
  • Highly amused to see Rachel's high school French teacher talk to her on facebook. In French, of course.
  • Cartoon prince to cartoon girl: "Will you marry me, and be my princess?" Melissa: "Yes!"
  • At cub scout camp the kids are making hovercrafts out of compact discs. Not something that would have been an option when I was that age...
  • Rachel: "Why is four so much harder than three?" Funny, I remember thinking the same thing when we had a third.
  • Blessed Corinna on the 25th in church. She yelled as soon as I started, and quieted down when I stopped. The bishop took the stand afterwards to reminisce about how his oldest did the same thing 30-odd years ago.
  • Melissa came to walmart barefoot. I guess it's my fault — I told her, "Get in the car" three times but "Put your shoes on only twice.
  • Rachel: "You fed them _mini donuts_ for breakfast?" Me: "Hey, I made them eat muffins first!"

Easy baby

So far Corinna is by and away the most mellow and easy Ellis baby.  She's rarely fussy, and while she prefers to be held most of the time she doesn't mind being placed on the floor to bat at her toys or rock in her swing. 

Best of all this child is a great sleeper, at least during the night.  At one month she would sleep for 4 to 5 hours at a time before waking to eat.  During the past few weeks she goes to sleep for the night around 11 and wakes up about 7!  This is unprecedented among Ellis children!  About half the time she does wake up to eat once in the night, but on nights she didn't I'd wake up with two huge, tight boulders on my chest.  More recently my body has adjusted and my breasts aren't so full and uncomfortable in the morning.  When she does wake up, she eats, and eats, and EATS off and on for the first few hours. 

I don't have any secrets or tricks, this is just her nature.  Matthew was an intense and challenging baby; Corinna is a happy and easy baby.  Melissa and Isaac fell between the two extremes.  (Though Isaac was fairly easy too).  As far as sleeping goes, she rests best when swaddled but that doesn't account for everything.  I think it is just further proof that these small people arrive with their personalities, sleep schedules, and natures already determined.  All we can do is love and parent them the best we can. 

Things that amuse Corinna

 Ceiling fans. 
Jonathan put her in a box of clothes directly underneath the ceiling fan so she could watch the blades go 'round and 'round. She was entertained for probably 10 minutes. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New feature

I decided to add labels to the posts to organize them a bit and show the labels on the bottom left.  I've concluded:

1. After seven years we have a LOT of posts, 1,444 to be precise.  Right now I'm only partway through labeling 2009.

2. A shocking number of posts are about messes and poop.  What can I say? We write about what happens around here.  My apologies to our more genteel readers. 

Monday, August 08, 2011

Welcome Pamela June!

We have a new niece!  She and Isaac share a birthday.

Congratulations Lisa and Grant.  Can't wait to see the pictures.  :)

Isaac is 3!

He was born on lucky 08/08/08.

His birth was lovely, at home, and uncomplicated.  But within the first week things got interesting.  
After 2 weeks in the NICU and a diagnosis of a rare form of diabetes called neonatal diabetes we took him home again with a glucometer, insulin, and a rudimentary understanding of diabetes.  Through it all we truly felt we were watched over by angels.  I really believe that prayers were answered and though it was challenging (very challenging at times) we were so blessed. 

Two months later, to our surprise, he was completely off of insulin.  He apparently had the transient form of the disease. 

What an interesting start to life, Isaac!

He has been free of any symptoms of diabetes ever since, and we hope that he remains strong and healthy.

Isaac was an easy and happy baby.  The twos, one the other hand, have been tumultuous.  He is a determined little guy, bright, and into everything.  He has a short fuse and quick temper, but is just as quick to forgive.  He has a good understanding of English and French, but still doesn't talk much (the plan is to start speech therapy soon).  Isaac is wonderfully affectionate and loves to cuddle, kiss, and give hugs.  He is a gentle big brother to Corinna and likes to help with her.  He also wants to be big, just like Matthew and Melissa, and copies the things that they do.  Matthew and Isaac are especially close and share a brotherly bond which is beautiful to see.  Most of the time they get along very well.  Sometimes Isaac can be completely and totally exasperating and yet he is so easy to love.

(Pictures from the park today.)

Isaac, my little Pumpkin, I love you and enjoy being your mother.  Can't wait to see what interesting and wonderful things you will do in the future. 

Splash Pad

 One very nice benefit to moving to Austin are the parks and splash pads nearby. 
What's cuter than a baby?

 Why two babies of course!


 Gwendolyn loved the splash pad.

My new swimming suit!  I haven't bought a new one since Matthew was a baby.  This one I found while still pregnant and I just hoped it would fit.  It's pretty close- still have about 15 lbs to go and then it will fit better.

Crab-walking through the fountains

Corinna all tuckered out

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Inner Space Caverns

While Christine was with us, we took a break from packing and toured the caverns just a half hour north of us.

Inner Space Caverns was discovered in 1963 by a construction crew drilling I-35.   As they were drilling the bit broke and fell into the caverns.  Curious, a crew member was lowered down the hole into the caverns.  They named it Inner Space because it was during the height of America's obsession with outer space and the caverns were seen as the inverse of outer space.

This one resembles a sumo wrestler eating a large ice cream cone. 

Neighborhood playground

Not bad for just down the street.

Bonus: not one, but two of the sand digger things that Matthew loved when he was Isaac's age. Perfect, because otherwise Melissa and Isaac would fight over it.

Isaac invented a sport

I call it "floor surfing."

I'm impressed that he can hold on one-handed through the turns.

Also impressive: the amount of dust on his shirt and legs after doing this for an entire shopping trip. Rachel gave him a bath as soon as he got home.

June Peanuts

  • Broke out the Mac N Cheese for dinner. Melissa: "You're going to try cooking? This is your first time!"
  • Melissa: "Grandma Linda, let's make beads. 'Cause I don't have a lot of jewelry."
  • Matthew said "LOL" in normal conversation. Sigh.
  • Figured out how the oatmeal gets in Isaac's hair: it's when I pull his [oatmeal-covered] shirt over his head.
  • Matthew, giving Grandma Linda directions: "Now go through the high school parking lot!" Grandma: "Why?" Matthew: "Because the light turned red. That's what Daddy does, so you don't have to wait for the left turn arrow."
  • Bishop: "We're going to miss you when you move. Well... we're going to miss Rachel."
  • June 13: Corinna totally smiles in her sleep. Sleepy, happy grins.
  • Matthew is 8 and already busting out the "You just don't understand!" drama. This kid is going to be a ton of fun when he's hormonal on top of being naturally angst-y.
  • Matthew insisted that he didn't wake Isaac up every morning, but I told Matthew that as soon as Isaac wakes up, (and wakes _me_ up), Matthew is done with Starcraft for the morning. Since then Isaac has slept in until 7, instead of waking up with Matthew at 6.
  • Melissa: "I like your arms. They are hairy and warm."
  • Grandma Linda: "I can't believe I cooked something so good even Isaac would eat it." Rachel: "Just keep in mind that Isaac eats crayons, too."
  • Rachel got me a Super Dad t-shirt for Fathers' Day. Melissa: "Do you think you can tickle elephants now that you're Super Dad?"
  • Luck ran out on my Austin commute: cited by THP's finest for 85 in 70. With my mother-in-law in the car with me. Only silver lining: I made the money order lady's jaw drop when I told her I needed one for $375 for a speeding ticket. "How fast were you going?." Then I explained that half of it was for the expired inspection sticker. But yeah, totally would have been worth it if I'd been going 120.
  • Isaac has been watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. It's terrible. (I was seven when He-Man came out in 1983, and I loved it. I blame Mom for not letting me watch enough TV to recognize how bad it was.)
  • What I say: "Go get ready for bed." What they hear: "Go upstairs and fight."
  • I will be thrilled when Isaac gets over this post-Corinna "I want to sit in Dad's lap ALL THE TIME" business.
  • Melissa: "Do you know why it's called cheesecake, Daddy? Because cheesepie wouldn't make sense."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Move

It's been just over a week and we are mostly out of boxes.  Haven't finished tackling the bedroom/bathroom and toy boxes yet.  As far as the garage?  Ha!  

Jonathan's sister Christine flew in from New Jersey in order to help us move as sanely as possible with four small people and a house full o' stuff.  (Thanks Christine!)

We've found most of the important things.  A small box Jonathan set aside to take in the car got packed up by mistake and is still missing, along with his hanging cords and cables organizer.  Some things we are scratching our heads about.  I couldn't figure out what had happened to my potted peace lily, until I found it in a box two days later.  Seriously, who puts a live plant in a box?!?  With a little water, it perked up.  Peace lilies are my kind of plant: hardy and neglect tolerant.  The Christus statue that Jonathan's parents gave us as a wedding gift survived only through sheer luck.  It was merely wrapped in a sheet of paper and placed in a box with lots loose odds and ends and hard objects.  I'm very happy it arrived in one piece, but what was the mover thinking?  And how did it stay safe? Perhaps there was some divine intervention there...  The butter dish my mother gave me after my last one broke was not so lucky despite being securely wrapped in several layers of paper.  Go figure. The blender comes in 4 pieces all of which were in the same cupboard.   Naturally it arrived in 4 different boxes.  Still scratching my head on that one. 

When we arrived at the house we discovered that the refrigerator was NOT included after all.  Nothing quite like having to make an emergency major appliance purchase.  This is the second time we've had to do that, the first being the electric dryer purchase after we were assured our old house was hooked up for gas.  Not.  Oh well.  What can you do?

After moving, I have come to the conclusion that we have a lot of books.  A LOT of books.  Right now we have 4 large bookcases and 2 small ones filled with books and we really need another one.  Or fewer books.  Hmm. 

Despite some craziness, this move we were truly blessed.  Not only did we have the help of Christine, but my sister Andrea helped watch the kids and cooked dinner for us.  Last time we moved it took over a month to get *mostly* settled.  Sisters are wonderful.

Hello New House

Last week we moved into the new place.  It's about 1000 square feet smaller than the old house, so it is snug.  I have to say that I do miss the huge closets, large kitchen, and the playroom at the top of the stairs the most.  On the other hand it was time that we downsized some of the stuff that we really don't need/use.  The move provided the perfect opportunity to chuck or give away things.  After the move, there are still some more things that ought to go.

Austin: First Impressions

We've met a few of the neighbors, and they seem quite nice.  The neighborhood itself is an eclectic mix.  Just by looking at the yards you can tell there is a variety of personalities and lifestyles.  The neighbor to the left's yard is all astroturf in the front and backyard.  Two houses down on the right and the yard looks like something out of better homes and gardens with perfectly manicured bushes.  I'm guessing that yard was probably the yard that Andrea saw the homeowners out with a ruler and scissors trimming wayward grass.  The house directly across the street has solar panels on the roof.  Their yard is a designated a "wildlife preserve."  They have native grasses and cacti growing.  Other neighbors have reported that they do indeed get critters living in the yard from time to time.  Two houses from that yard is a desert motif complete with 3 large wooden wheels.   There is a homeowner's association, but from what I can tell, their primary function seems to be upkeep of the community pool, playground, and informational newsletter rather than forcing draconian rules to make the neighborhood a cookie-cutter suburban "utopia."  I'm on board with that!

Demographically our street has older empty-nesters, young families, and childless couples.  There are two boys Matthew's age on the street, but they've been out of town, unfortunately.  Regrettably there aren't any girls Melissa's age nearby.

This part of Austin is heavily populated by Asians.  The school the kids will be attending is highly ranked, and also nearly a quarter Asian.  Gastronomically, Jonathan and I are both quite pleased about this.  In the last week we've had Thai, the best Chinese food either of us has ever had, and to top it off, there's a delicious Filipino place a half mile away from the house.  Jonathan likes to practice his Tagolog whenever he gets a chance and the owners were quite happy to oblige.  When we went to the Chinese place, we were probably one of two tables that had European ancestry, the rest were Chinese. 

There are parks, playgrounds, and even splash pads all over the place.  We've only been to a few so far, but have plans to go out as often as possible since our yard is so tiny. 

Traffic is indeed as bad as everyone says, but not too bad if you don't venture far from home.  Jonathan times his commute downtown to avoid the worst of rush hour.

The best part of the move?  We are about 12 minutes from Andrea, Jeremy, and my darling niece Gwendolyn.  Hooray!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Goodbye Old House

Thursday July 28th  
Packed up, locked up and ready to go.

Melissa was having a tough morning.  She didn't rest well the night before and was grumpy.  About everything

We are really, really going to miss San Antonio.  It's a great city, and we've made dear friends.  I wasn't too sentimental about leaving the house initially though.  I was much more nostalgic about our home in Utah because I'd put in so much work into the house and yard and made it mine.  Plus Isaac was born there.

So I wasn't too sad about the house itself....until Corinna was born. 

It seems to me that the places people are born and places people die are sacred.  That house will always have a place in my heart as the birthplace of Corinna.  I liked being able to touch the walls and walk through the bedroom remembering.  I will miss that.