Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Moving on...

So, life changes, no?
After almost 5 years of living in Windsor and loving our life here with our family, life's circumstances have necessitated that we pick up our family happenings and move...

....to a new blog!! *ha ha...gotcha*
C.Ellingson and Co. will be deleted in the near future (as soon as I get the last years printed in hard copy) and all new posts about our family and our life will be at our new location:

Up with the Ellingsons

I hope you will all change the address on your blog rolls and follow us over there, I don't want to lose contact with any of you! I'd miss you too much. Yes. You.
Peace, Love, and Happiness.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Resolve

Ah, Christmas. This year I pulled out all the stops and just enjoyed every minute of it that I could. I even started listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving (unofficially, mind you. Don't tell Craig). I used to think it was corny, the whole Christmas season. Meant for consumers and people who liked to put really tacky decorations all over their house. I never wore the colors red and green together in public during the season. And I bundled up all that Christmas spirit and saved it for Christmas day, the only day it was meant for. What a bah-humbug way to live Christmas. Now that I have kids, I soak up as much as I can out of the season. Every day. And next year will be even better, starting the countdown now. :-)
We enjoyed almost all of the Ellingson family home for Christmas this season. It was marvelous. My darling sister-in-law wed the love of her life on the 17th and I got to take lots of pictures of them smooching all day long. :-) Now, there are 11 Ellingson children, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, and 10 of them, with their families, were split between our house and Grandma and Grandpa's house. Miraculously everyone had a bed to sleep on (except all the cousins, who played all day together and then crashed asleep on the floor after giggling and talking for hours in the same room), and aside from adults for the most part, everyone who needed a nap got one everyday. :-) We made dinner and cleanup calendars, we ate Ellingson chocolates until we were sick, we played games until we were so tired and delirious that our guts hurt from laughing and we were giving points away just to make someone win and end the game, we opened LOTS of presents, we had a nativity with all of the grandkids and some of the kids still at home staring in the lead roles, we talked and watched movies until all hours of the morning, and most importantly, strengthened our family ties with those who were there and in spirit with those who were not. We also got to sneak away to have Christmas with my family the night before Christmas Eve, where my Mom turned the area below her stairs into an apartment for the kids, complete with a couch (a foam kiddie couch), table (crate with cloth over it for table settings), and colored pictures and pass-along cards with paintings of Jesus on them for wall decorations. Chloe adored it, Linus much preferred my step-dad's marble conveyer belt set and trucks from when he was a kid. It was a marvelous season. My favorite gift for Christmas was a beautifully carved bread box that my husband and kids picked out for me. I have made the decision in our household to make bread for the family instead of buying it. Yes, it's cheaper, but it also builds a home environment, I believe, that I want for my family. My children help me pour flour into the Bosch and watch in awe every time I turn it on as the bread hooks knead the dough much better then my hands can. The smell of baking bread in the house is comforting. Yes, I admit that sometimes it's a chore to remember to stay on top of it, but I love it. Now to some, getting a bread box might be insulting. I grew up in a land *coughBOULDERcough* where keeping a woman in the house is not highly regarded. I can hear their complaints at a gift like this, they're dragging chains...
They are keeping you in the kitchen, they think you belong there, don't let them tie you down to the house, don't let them stifle your true womanly potential...
And my stomach sinks in disgust. My heart warmed over when I saw the writing on the box and saw the excitement in my family's eyes as I opened it. I would be lying if I said I didn't tear up just a little. What I see in a gift like this is the love and respect my husband has for me and my role as a mother and a wife, roles that I cherish above all others. What I see is his careful attention to my needs, when I made a comment ONCE a couple months ago in complaint when I declared that I needed a bread box to clean up our counter space. What I see is my children growing up in a family with traditions, order, and comfort. It means much more to me than a clean counter, and engenders a sense of gratitude that is genuine and heart changing. It's a beautiful bread box and it's all mine. :-)
As I fell asleep last night I finally started thinking about a few things that I resolve to do better this year and they are as follows:
I resolve to lose weight. Cliche, I know, but it has to happen and I resolve to do it before we try for our next child, whenever that may be. Okay, I'm going to say this on my blog, completely embarrassing, but perhaps it will help me to stick to my plan: I could afford to lose at least 35 lbs to get to a healthy weight, and probably another 10 or 15 more to get to my ideal weight. I'm sure there will be more progress on that in the future, because I'm sure you all want to hear about it, but there, I got it off my chest.
I resolve to listen to my children more and play with them more. Every day.
I resolve to be a better wife and a better lover. It's easy to let the activities of the day consume that vital role, but I am at the core a romantic and I resolve to pass that along to the person who needs it most.
I resolve to keep the house a little cleaner, aside from just picking up toys and making it look "neat", I resolve to keep the deep cleaned parts of our house more consistently deep cleaned. As long as it doesn't interfere with the above two resolutions.
I resolve to go outside more before Spring time. I don't care if it's cold, if it's 40 or above, we all could use the fresh air and exercise.
I resolve to do more crafts with Chloe and explore her preschool life to the fullest before I send her off to school in the fall, bleary eyed and proud, not bleary eyed and regretful of time lost.
I resolve to read more books and educate myself on more things valuable to me in life.
I resolve to be a better person. More scripture study, more prayer, more service, closer to Christ. And really that should be number one, because not much else will happen effectively until this one does.

...and with the help of almost everyone who's come to visit, guess who finally figured out how to walk over Christmas break? Guess she got jealous when all her younger cousins were out racing her around the house. :-)

Happy New Year and hope you all had as good of a Christmas season as I did. Leaving the lights up until this weekend, just because. Maybe I'll even wear red and green before we do too...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Recap 2011

Hello Friends and Family!

Wow, 2011 has almost come and gone already. I debated and debated...and debated, on how we should send our letter this year and finally came to the conclusion that although I do enjoy getting cards in the mail and would hate to deprive others from that pleasure, it's plain and simply easier (and cheaper) to put together an electronic version of our Christmas card this year, and I would rather do that than nothing at all! So to reach as many people as possible I am sending this through email and also posting it on our family blog where you can read and look at our fun picture to your heart's content. PS- incase any of you were wondering, putting these silly faces together was MUCH easier than trying to get us all posed for a nice picture to send to you all. I hope you find as much enjoyment in it as I do, as this is far closer to our natural personalities around here than a nice, smiling, perfectly well behaved picture would be.

This year has been busy to say the least, but I would like to know who looks back at the previous year and DOESN'T think that. :-) Odell, our little cherub, has continued to grow and sprout and learn new things every day. She is currently 16 months old and still not walking! Not really interested in it. My parents tell me that I was close to 18 months old before I started walking, and I used to scoff and think that they just don't remember, but I don't think that anymore. She communicates to us in a variety of grunts and clicking noises and hand signs and unfortunately we understand her, so her verbal vocabulary consists of "Heh-whoa" (Hello)"Momma," "Dadda", "Gawah" (Grandma) and "Gaba" (Grandpa), although Linus swears that she can say his name verbatim. She also makes a loud growling sound to imitate anyone who has belched in the near vicinity (very lady like). She loves to give Momma hugs, loves to get tickled, gets mauled by her siblings on a daily basis and puts up with it, is VERY jealous of her parent's laps and gets very upset when Chloe or Linus grab one before she can get there, loves bananas, cheese, oatmeal, and milk, and is as close to walking as you can get without actually doing it. We love her to pieces and are so glad to have her fun-loving, curious, and sweet spirit in our home.

Linus is a busy body. And very loud. Typical three year old boy, yes? He starts his days off much earlier than his parents, plays nicely with his toys and yells through the house until everyone is awake. He bugs his older sister to no end, but is also her best friend. They keep asking me if they are going to marry each other someday and if that wasn't so weird I would think it was cute. He's still working his way through the melting-down-over-anything-that-doesn't-go-my-way phase of life, but he's come miles from where he was a year ago and his mother and father are grateful for that. He is very helpful to his mother around the house, and as most three year old boys are, sometimes a little too helpful. He loves macaroni and cheese, oranges, and fruit snacks. He loves to be the "bad guy". "Oh MOM, this shirt is SO COOL, I look like a bad guy!!!", "Mom! Can you put this belt on me? Then I'll look like a bad guy!" "Mom, look, this underwear has SPIDERMAN on it, I'll be a really really BAD GUY!" He's very particular about clothing, things have to go on the right way, socks have to be in just the right spot, he must have his shoes on him at all times, he tries to sneak his favorite shirts out of the dirty laundry so he can wear them every day. He also loves to sing the alphabet song, even when Chloe stops him to correct him when he sings it wrong. He knows all his shapes and colors and recognizes some letters and numbers too. Other than that, he's a ball of fun and energy, keeps us on our toes, and makes us laugh every day.

Chloe is five and boy does she know it. Everything is about how old and mature she is, what things she knows she can do now that she's five, what things she believes she has privilege over her siblings because she is five...and while she does act leaps and bounds more mature than her younger brother, I'm not sure I'm ready for her to know that yet. :-) She is very helpful around the house. She loves helping Mommy do anything, from cooking to cleaning to folding laundry to making her bed, she'll do whatever I ask her to and some days that's what makes the difference between a good day and a bad day for me. I am doing preschool with her myself this year and that is some of my most cherished time with her. She learns things very quickly when I spend time with her on it and I'm confident that we'll have given her a good head start when she starts Kindergarten next year. She loves pink and purple, loves to color and write her name and any other words she knows how to spell in her coloring books over and over, loves her princess and baby dolls, loves Odell like she was her own, loves to play the damsel in distress when the boys I watch during the week come over, and is generally a happy, smart, five year old girl.

Craig is busy plugging his way through...well everything! Last spring, due to a combination of circumstances, we made the decision to have me stay home this year, which meant that Craig would take on a fully-loaded schedule split between work and full-time school to get him done as soon as possible. We thought his schedule was just about maxed out, and then our church boundaries split and Craig was assigned to be the new Young Men's President in our ward. Despite it all, he is thriving and successfully pulled off straight A's this semester. I have to brag about him because I am proud of him and consider myself lucky to be married to such an attractive, hard working, and brilliant man. But mostly attractive. He's still playing in line hockey once a week and finds a good release in that and is looking forward to graduating in the Spring of 2013, a mere 2 semesters of classes and an internship away, in recreation management.

I am thoroughly enjoying my new position as a stay at home mom! I never thought it would be easy, and it's not, but our schedule is balanced and things feel right. It's great. I've also been working on my photography and selling crocheted items of joy on my etsy shop here and there, which fully fulfills my high-need creative outlet. I recently performed as the alto soloist in our church's performance of Part 1 of the Messiah. I haven't sung like that for a while and it felt good to get back into it, if only for one performance- it was filled with the spirit of Christ and I was grateful that I chose to participate in it.

This Christmas, we hope you have time to ponder the meaning of this holiday; the birth of Christ. In our home we strive each year to add something else to our "traditions" that help reinforce teaching this to our children, and as our children grow, it's a pleasure to see them grow their own testimonies of their Savior. It's a great time to be with family and friends, it's a great time to get and to give, but it is also a great time to reflect on how we can do better and how we can use the tender story of a baby boy that was born to a virgin mother to come closer to Christ.

Merry Christmas from the Ellingsons!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The world and me in it

So, I have been around this world 26 years. Sometimes I look at that time and I think how old I am, how much I've accomplished in my time here on earth, how far I've come. Other times I am humbled and realize how young I am, how little I know, how much I have to grow.
Today feels more like the latter. In a very good way. Did you know that we live here on planet earth...and we orbit the sun, at the exact distance from the sun that allows life to happen on this earth...and the sun, our star, sits in the milky way galaxy, which sits in a cluster of other galaxies, which sits in a super cluster of other galaxies...and did you know that the only thing holding this galaxy...and really everything...together is a mysterious substance called Dark Matter and without it we would just fall apart? Really. We've figured that out, it's not science fiction, look it up. We've also made telescopes that hopefully in the future, will align together to make a virtual super-telescope that will hopefully allow us to see the event-horizon on the super-massive black-hole that the milky way orbits around and prove it's existence? Did you know that we have robots that you can have conversations with? Did you know that we have a bicycle, that when you put on a special helmet with a device attached to it, it will read your mind and change gears when you tell it to? Did you know we have discovered particles that have defied all our known laws of physics by traveling faster than the speed of light?
We live on this little ol' planet and we've been around so long that these things just keep popping out of our brains. It's really just incredible to me that these marvelous, magnificent minds exist in this world. They are beautiful! The capacity for humanity to put into creation anything that we imagine is profound. We have been given tools to make the most imaginative dreams into reality.
Which gets me thinking to what is really real in this life. Here I am, on my computer, I can learn about the laws of physics from a TV show open to the public eye that created this universe. Anyone can watch it. And I look down and see this little scrap of fabric I've woven together with my crochet hook and yarn. Yes, I created that. Well, I organized it into something better. It was yarn and a hook, and I organized it into something else with more use, beauty, and structure than was there previously. I find pleasure in it, actually.
Then I pick up my five year old daughter while she's sleeping and carry her to her bed from where she fell asleep in our room, her gangly legs draping over my sides, her head resting it's weight on my shoulder, and I think, she used to fit in the crook of my arm. She used to hiccup while she was inside of me. I helped bring her body into existence. I helped will her body into this world.
BUT. I did not beget her soul. There is no doubt in my mind when I look into her eyes that she came to me as a friend, as a sister, and not as my creation, but a creation that I am to take charge of and care for. Just as I look at my scrap of crocheted fabric, I did not create the yarn. I did not weld the hook. I did not come up with the idea of crocheting in the first place. Yet I have a part in it's future now, just as I have a part in my children's future, my husband's future, and my own future.
Yet those feelings and yearnings to create are still there. I create a home out of a house everyday by the way I organize it. I create memories when I snap my camera and capture a laugh or a shared moment of love. I create warm hats to put on baby's heads to protect them from the elements. I feel inside of me that these are small pinwheels to a larger vehicle, that I have the capacity to create something unimaginable. I feel that I am very much in a training ground to teach me something more than what is here.
I look at the universe and not only am I humbled, but I am grateful. Anyone can feel that gratitude, when you think about all the things that had to happen in order for this world to exist, you are in a sense of awe, and that awe was given to us to reciprocate back to our Creator. It was meant as a blessing, and I often stand baffled to think that there was any way I could imagine all this being here without a purpose. Mother Nature could not have created this just by accident. There is always a WHY- why would I be here to experience what I experience just by accident? Why would I love if it were useless, or just some biological urge to keep me alive and keep me procreating? Anyone who has loved or felt love cannot deny that it goes beyond the physical- love is not something my body feels or experiences, it is something my soul feels and experiences. Why would I want to help other people if it didn't serve a higher purpose? Why would I feel pain if it weren't there to teach me something? Why would I even want to help someone else if the soul reason I was here was just to survive and exist because I happened to be living on a planet that just happened to be in the right place in the right time so that life could just happen to exist? No, we were created for a higher purpose by a higher being. It is undeniable. Of course we have a creator. Of course we love and feel loved. Of course we want to help other people, it comes from our divine heritage. Of course there is life after death, there is no way this would be all that there is. There is no way that hope could ever survive with all it's frailties in a world so coarse unless there was a real reason to hope. A real reason for life. To be something more. To progress. To grow. To learn. And it is undeniable to me that all the things we learn in this life will be put to good use in the next.
And I for one am grateful for it. I am nowhere near perfect, but I have a path. I know God lives. I know because of the very fact that I am capable of love. It could not come from anywhere but from a divine source, man is not capable of such divinity, and just as it would pain me to see my "creations" wasted, just as it would pain me to see my children throw their lives away, so it must pain our Heavenly Father to see His children not turn to Him for help, not see this beautiful world we've been given as a gift, not understand the true happiness and peace that gratitude, repentance, and forgiveness can bring to our lives.
Let us gather ourselves to Him who knows us best, especially this Christmas season. Let us show him we are grateful. Let us use this divine gift of love to give to those who are in need, to use this year to open a door, to make a phone call, to let go of a grudge, to rid ourselves of unnecessary painful baggage and give it to Him who carries all burdens, who takes upon Him our yokes, and carries us through. And be grateful.