Wednesday, May 7, 2014

6 Months Old!

Half a year, already! It's unreal how fast it goes!! 

At 6 months, Ellen....
  • sleeps like a champ. 11-12 hours in her own crib nearly every night. It's wonderful!!
  • sitting up fairly well. She gets tired and falls over after a few minutes. 
  • starting to like toys. She loves her bouncy seat and exersaucer. 
  • loves her siblings. When Jack gets in the van in the afternoons, she hoots and hollers until he pays attention to her.
  • has learned to squeal. She reminds me of Jack at this age when she starts squealing.
Ellen is typically a pretty easy baby as long as she is on a schedule and allowed to sleep in her crib for naps. She has been coming to work with me, and until now she could sleep in the swing or in her carrier. Those days are now gone! 

She starts preschool the last week of May. She and Sydney will both go three days a week this summer. I'm sad to miss that time with them, but I'm very excited about being on a normal working schedule. We will make up for the lost time on Tuesdays and Thursdays! I have lots of adventures and lots of swimming planned!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Easter Weekend 2014

You ever have one of those weekends that is just perfect? Easter Weekend was like that for us. Just a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

Good Friday we got a call that there was an alligator in the lake right down the road and at the Wildlife and Fisheries was headed there to kill it. So, of course, I loaded up all three kids (Clint was working) to see the alligator! The wildlife guy made an impressive shot, and then drug the gator onto shore. What a memorable experience!!


Friday afternoon and most of the day Saturday we spent some time on the lake fishing for brim. Clint took each big kid out, and then Jack and I spent some time out. We caught 16 fish all together. It was so relaxing and perfect weather!!

Easter morning my mom drove up for church. Because I'm the preschool/children's coordinator, I got to church early to set up for the many kiddos that would come on Easter. Clint and I taught 2s and 3s the first service, and then were able to attend worship the second service. I was so excited to see so many new faces!

A rare picture of all five of us!

My three wonderful blessings

The kids Easter baskets waiting for them Sunday morning!

Sunday afternoon we went to the Strains house and had lunch and an Easter Egg Hunt. Then we went to Dry Creek for the Iles Family Crawfish Boil. It was a wonderful day and we were completely exhausted at the end of it!

Spring 2014

After SUCH a cold winter and weeks upon weeks being indoors with a newborn and then 8 snow/ice days, we are LOVING the spring time. Sometimes we sit outside just to sit there. We have taken many picnics, gone through lots of sidewalk chalk, and we have caught 16 fish as a family so far (I know that may not seem like much...but it is when you fish with a 7 and 4 four year old in a kayak!!)

Sydney and Jack have both been enjoying sidewalk chalk.

A group of friends over for Sydney's birthday

Playing in our wonderful yard!!

Lazy spring morning working on the alphabet...Ellen just thinks Sydney is hilarious!!

Picnic lunch at the neighborhood boat launch. 

 Ellen doesn't start preschool until the summer, so she is my working companion at home this spring. It has been wonderful to be home with her for so long, but I will be happy to have some working days without a baby on my hip!

Clint started a new job with Roy O. Martin, which means he had to turn in the truck to his former employer and get a new truck. I can drive this truck!! Sydney and I took it to the flea market one day. I could be dangerous if I drove a truck full-time!

Jack's 7th Birthday (Three Weeks Ago)

Can you believe Jack Iles is SEVEN  YEARS OLD!! He is definitely a big boy trace of preschool-days or toddlerhood left. He is changing before our eyes and it is so strange to have such an OLD kid!! It's also weird that I have moved up into the group of "the older moms"....  you know, the ones who have school-aged kids? I used to think those moms were old. Now I AM that mom.

We had a simple party at the house. Jack invited the boys in his class, along with some other friends, over to play basketball and eat pizza. They all had a great time. The Long family also came in that weekend, and it was so good to catch up with them and hang out with their kids! John and Leanne were our Mississippi family Jack's first year of life, so it was fun to share his 7th birthday with them, also!

At age seven, Jack loves: 
  • All things science...he got a volcano kit and a robot kit from us for his birthday!
  • Legos. The more challenging the better!
  • Running. We have signed him up for a big race next January and he already can't wait!
  • His sisters. He and Sydney argue and fuss, but they play so well most of the time! And he adores Ellen!!
  • Reading. He participates in AR at school and is the reigning champ for 1st grade. We have been majorly slacking this nine weeks though :-/
We are so thankful for this big boy, and cannot wait for the next decade of parenting him!!

3, 4, and 5 Months

Ellen Elisabeth has almost reached the 6 month mark! I thought I would catch the blog up on the last three months of Ellen growing up!

Three Months:

Ellen began sleeping through the night very consistently, and cried much, much less. Those first three month were pretty rough!! However, when she turned three months old life seemed to get a lot easier! At three months, Ellen loved to sit in her Bumbo seat and her bouncy seat and watch her older siblings play and talk. We loved playing a game at supper where she sat in her Bumbo seat and faced each member of the family for a minute or two before facing the next family member. We would all see who could get her to smile the most, and Mommy always won!

At four months, Ellen hit a growth spurt and went a couple of weeks of waking up once each night. She would take a full bottle then go right back to sleep. After about two weeks, she started sleeping through the night again. At four months, Ellen was still a happy baby, but especially happy on the move. She wasn't content to be still for too long before wanting to be picked up to do something else. She especially liked playing on the floor. At 4 1/2 months she started rolling over and holding her head up well while on her belly. She didn't really like being on her belly once she got there, though!

At five months, Ellen is sleeping 11-12 hours each night and taking 3-4 naps during the day. She is such a happy baby and really doesn't cry much unless she is hungry or sleepy. However, she is very attached to her mommy and doesn't do very well in the nursery or Mother's Day Out. This summer she will start at Calvary Preschool three days a week while I work, and I'm hoping she will outgrow some of the separation anxiety. She and I spend 24/7 together except for those few hours of MDO, so she has grown very accustomed to me being in the room with her :)  We started baby food this week, and I really didn't expect her to like it much, but she loved it!! I'm glad I waited until she was almost six months!

We are so blessed with this little joy in our home. Tonight as we all took turns giving her bites of carrots, I said, "Aren't you glad God gave us another baby?" and Jack and Sydney whole-heartily agreed. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

30th Birthday

On Monday I turned thirty. THIRTY!! 30!!!! As my sister-in-law, Robin, said, "Well, I have four kids, drive a minivan, and I'm finding gray hair. I may as well be thirty." Except that I have three kids, not four, I ditto what she said!

Still, just 10 years ago, I was in college and planning a wedding. Since then we have gotten married, finished college, Clint finished his masters, I have worked four different jobs, made two big moves, we had three kids, and fostered three more. It's been a full decade, to say the least :) I'm hoping the next decade will be a little calmer....but then again Jack and Sydney will be teenagers by the time I'm forty, so maybe "calm" isn't the word.

My family really spoiled me for my birthday! They took me out to eat on Sunday and gave me the afternoon to work in the yard (my favorite). On Monday Jack was home from school, so while Clint was at work the three kids and I hiked on Kisatchie. We didn't intend on being gone so long, but they were having a blast, so we ended up hiking for 2.5 hours! Monday evening Clint brought home a king cake and cooked supper.

Clint gave me a beautiful necklace. He did good, y'all. I couldn't have picked out anything I love more.

With birthday money from family, I bought some new running shoes and workout clothes. It's time to get serious about losing baby weight. The third kid + turning 30 = no joke.  I love Asics, but they are so darn expensive. I found this LOUD pair for $60...I need some LOUD clothes to go with them!

This Friday my mom is keeping the kids, and Clint and I are going on a real, live date. Like, dinner AND a movie. WHAT!!

I'm looking forward to my thirties. I'm am enjoying these kids more and more as they get older. Everyone talks about how much fun babies are, but no one prepares you for what a BLAST big kids are. I can't wait for the years to come!!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Home Life Lately

Over Christmas break, I got tired of the incessant snacking around our house! The weather was bitterly cold for several days, so we were stuck inside especially with a new baby, so what do we do when we are bored? EAT! Haha! One night, after the kitchen was all cleaned up, Jack asked for a snack and I told him the kitchen was closed. He took that idea and ran with it! He posted this sign on the refrigerator. Now, if I could just get Clint to go along with it....

The cold weather has eased up a bit this week. It's still getting to freezing at night, but during the day it is warming up to 50-60 degrees. Ellen enjoys going on walks, so we have been soaking in the sunshine!

I've been getting ready for an appreciation banquet at church next month for our Sunday School teachers. I have enjoyed spending some legitimate time on Pinterest and Etsy! I found a budget-friendly, but super cute Valentines theme place setting. I love having a project!

The kids are currently obsessed with picnics. Thankfully, the weather has been great for impromptu lunch dates on the driveway. Doesn't Jack look so old in this picture?

Story of Ellen Elisabeth

I'm still catching up from the Great Blog Neglect of 2013. I have to document the story of our little Ellen!  She was due November 12, but we went in on November 5 for an induction. We got there at 5am all ready to go! We were so excited! However, when we got there, the hospital didn't have any rooms in L&D. They had so many walk-ins during the night that they couldn't induce. I was given the choice to come back the next day, or have a c-section at noon that day. I decided to go ahead with the c-section that day. It was likely that I would end up with a section anyway, and I was ready to meet my Ellen!

Last pregnancy picture!!

                                                            Right after she was born!

                                                             Daddy and his new little baby girl

                                   Jack holding her for the first time, and Sydney waiting on her turn!

                                                One of my favorite pictures of my girls.

                                                       One of our first days home...she looks so skinny!

              At one month, Ellen was sleeping for four-five hours at night, becoming more alert during the day

At two months, Ellen is sleeping 6-7 hours at a time at night, smiling all the time, and loving to play on the floor. She smiles very big at her siblings, and stares adoringly at her daddy. She is taking Zantac for some really bad reflux, and still having to sleep in her Rock and Play to help keep the formula down. I'm hoping in the next month we can get the reflux under control and she can learn to sleep in her crib. I started back to work at the beginning of January, so Ellen has been going to the church nursery. It has been strange letting someone else take care of her, but we have wonderful nursery workers!

I'm not going to lie and say that everything has been rainbows and butterflies. It has been nearly 4 years since a newborn was in this house, and those first few weeks were pretty rough! We are adjusting to life with a new baby, and I'm already amazed at how quickly our little baby is growing up!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 ReCap

I got hopelessly behind on the blog in 2013, so I finally just gave up. It was a busy busy year, but I would like to recap so I don't forget it!

1. Clint's parents left for Uganda. I have missed them so much lately. We are thankful for Skype, emails, Viber, and all the other wonderful technological/social media connections we have!

2. We bought another house! Yay for more square footage and a better yard for kids!

3. We worked on the house. For months. Until we thought we would die. Not really, but it was kind of awful. We have made lots of changes and we are content to just leave it be for a while. Although it wouldn't hurt my feelings if an appliance or two went out and I could usher 1986 out of my home  :)

4. Foster care placement and heartache. We got a baby girl foster placement in October 2012 - July 2013. She came to us as a preadoptive placement, but we knew fairly quickly that we would not be able to adopt her. We loved her very much and I miss her so!! The kids miss her, too. We were able to see her on Saturday for the first time in almost six months. It was so good to see her. The kids miss her so much! She is now in a home with her sister, and being well taken care of. This is the main reason I didn't blog last year. Everything about her case was in turmoil, and I just couldn't bring myself to write about anything in our lives, because she was such a big part of it.

3. We found out we were pregnant in March! We were thrilled. We had hoped for another baby for a year or so, but we didn't know if Baby #3 would ever be a reality.

6. We had a baby girl - Ellen Elisabeth Iles. She has been such a blessing to us. The kids adore her, and Clint and I think she is just the sweetest thing.