Saturday, December 17, 2011

Super Star Ella

Ella had her Christmas program on Thursday.  She looked precious and did a great job!  She did all of the motions and during the last song I thought she might dance herself right off the stairs.  You can even get a glimpse of her waving her dress back and forth.

Unfortunately the video is kind of long and I'm having a hard time getting it to upload to the blog, so if you go to this link it should take you to the video on youtube.  Please commend if you're unable to see it and I'll figure out another way to show it to everyone.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

For the love of Elvis

Ella had a special request this Christmas.  She asked us to put a small tree in the basement.  We have a pre-lit 4 ft. tree, so that was an easy request to fill.  Her second request...that we put all of the Elvis ornaments on the little tree, "Because we love Elvis, don't we mommy!"

I shouldn't be surprised.  Afterall, this is Ella's bathroom.

And yes, we have the matching trash can, soap dish, tooth brush holder, cup and cotton ball holder.  We also have little guitar shaped shower curtain hangers that say Elvis on them.  This is also where we have my Elvis bobble head, Elvis guitar candle, Elvis clock (although this is my second clock because the first one rusted out) and my Elvis car set.  We also have the door hanger that says, you guessed it, "Elvis has left the building."

Side note: My poor mom and mother-in-law always get a bit freaked out when they walk into the bathroom because it looks like a man is climbing out of our bathtub.  I can't blame them.  It's a little freaky if you're not prepared.

I also shouldn't be surprised because this is what greets everyone who enters our basement.

Yep, it's a life-size cardboard cutout of Elvis.

And just to ensure you don't think I'm only interested in the image of Elvis, we do listen to a lot of Elvis music around our house.  In fact, Ella was very excited when she heard Elvis sing Silent Night, a song she knows very well.

So here it is, the Elvis Christmas tree.  No, not ALL of the ornaments are Elvis.  I only have about 10 Elvis ornaments, so that's not enough to cover a whole tree.

 There you have it, just a few samples from the Elvis Christmas tree.  It really is a wonderful tree!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Christmas Time!

It's official.  Christmas has arrived at the Murray house.  Here's proof:

The Christmas Cons are out of the closet

The Santa hat has been put on

The manger scene is up

 The tree is up and decorated

And there's a fire in the fireplace

We love Christmas around here.  Ella's only big disappointment is that we don't have any presents under the tree yet.  I guess that means I need to start wrapping.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful for these two turkey's

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I love Cheerios.  I’ve mentioned before that Cheerios are my comfort food.  In fact, I usually have a box next to my bed so that I can have a little snack before I go to sleep.  Nothing makes me feel better than a handful of dry Cheerios, or a nice bowl of Cheerios with fresh, cold milk.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  And I’m adamant that the plain ones are the best.  As a kid I remember my mom trying to trick me by buying the generic Cheerios and putting them in the Cheerios box.  I knew the difference and asked her what the deal was.  We never had fake Cheerios in our house again.  Even when I was at my most broke (if that makes sense) I would splurge on REAL Cheerios.

Ella has inherited my love of plain Cheerios.  She eats them almost every morning for breakfast, she often has a bowl as a snack, and sometimes she’ll even eat them for dinner.  The girl loves her Cheerios.  And, like her mom, she prefers the plain ones.  I even bought the fruit kind onetime (like mini-Froot Loops) and she wouldn't touch them.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store where they had Cheerios on sale 2 boxes for $4.  This is a great price, so I went fully prepared to stock up.  Unfortunately, other moms got there before me and by the time I arrived the store was completely sold out of Cheerios.  Right next to the Cheerios were the generic brand, Toasty O’s, and they were on sale for $1.97.  I stared at the box for a solid 5 minutes trying to decide if Ella would eat them.  I even thought to myself, 'She had better eat all of these because I'm not touching those things.'  I'm an awesome mom like that.  In the end, I decided to take a shot and I bought the box of generic Cheerios.

This morning I offered Ella her standard breakfast.  She took one bite and knew that something was wrong.  From that point on she wouldn’t touch her cereal.  Finally I asked her to take a bite and she looked at me and said, “Mommy, these Cheerios are yucky.”

I buy a lot of generic food that tastes exactly the same as the name brand, but when it comes to Cheerios, Ella is proof that there is no substitution for the real thing.  I just hope I haven't tainted her love of Cheerios.

If anyone would like an almost full box of Toasty O's, let me know.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sound Sleeper

In case you forgot, Ella didn’t sleep through the night until she was 3 years old.  I didn’t tell anyone when she started sleeping through the night because I didn’t want to jinx it.  The funny thing was that once she started sleeping through the night, it was like something triggered in her and she can now sleep anywhere.

Let me first explain the difference between Joe and myself and our sleeping habits.

Joe: One of 8 kids.  Always shared a room.  Slept on a bunk bed for much of his life.  Can sleep anywhere on anything with any amount of noise in the background (all of the Murray’s have this gift, and yes, it’s a gift).  Can drink an entire pot of coffee at 9pm and still be sound asleep by 10.  Joe moves all over the place when he sleeps and the covers are a complete disaster by morning.

Me: One of 2 kids, and my only sibling is a brother so we never shared a room.  Not only did I have my own room, I always had a double bed entirely to myself.  I need complete and utter silence and complete darkness.  It always takes me at least 1 night (usually 2) to adjust to sleeping in a new place, which means I spend my first night barely sleeping.  At night I lay down in one spot to go to sleep, and I wake up in the same position.  In fact, when I sleep in a bed alone it hardly looks like someone has slept in it.

Just for a few more added details, let me say that I didn’t sleep through the night until Joe and I had been married for over 4 months.  I went from having my own double bed to sharing a bed and it was a tough adjustment.  I also slept with earplugs in until Ella was born because I couldn’t sleep with Joe’s breathing/snoring/whatever noise he happened to make in the middle of the night.  I make our bed every morning, not because I necessarily want to, but because the covers are so messed up that I end up re-making the bed before we go to sleep anyway, so I figure we might as well have a nice looking bed all day.

Now to Ella.  The child didn’t sleep until she was 3, so I was convinced she was going to have my sleeping issues.  Well, it seems as though once she learned how enjoyable sleep is, something triggered in her head and now she can sleep anywhere.  She has totally adopted Joe’s sleeping habits.  Hotels don’t throw her off.  New beds don’t bother her.  Noise doesn’t make her budge.  She just sleeps.  And she sleeps A LOT!  Usually she’s in bed by 8:30 and I always have to go in and wake her up in the morning so that she gets to school on time.  If I let her she’d probably sleep until at least 9:30 without a problem.

Now that she has decided sleep is a good thing, she falls asleep in the oddest places.  So here are some pictures of Ella in her funny sleeping places, and these are just the times I’ve had a camera handy.

There you have it.  This child can sleep anywhere.  I love her!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Needless to say, I’ve been a blog slacker lately.  I hope I can make up for it with these fabulous pictures of the cutest Stinkerella on the planet!  Here are just a few things we've been up to in the past couple of weeks.

Here is Ella showing off her new pumpkin dress that GiGi made.  She was especially excited about the orange hair.

We went to our church Fall Festival where Ella ate this entire cotton candy, an entire snow cone, 3 Twizzlers, several Sweet Tarts, and a hot dog bun (no dog).  I was just glad she at least ate one thing that wasn't completely made of sugar.

Ella helped daddy carve the pumpkin.  She did NOT want a scary pumpkin!  She made sure he was making a happy pumpkin.

And of course Ella went Trick-or-Treating.  She was so excited about the Cinderella wig.  Her only concern when she wears her Cinderella dress is that she doesn't have "yellow hair" just like Cinderella.  The wig solves that problem.  Of course she only wore it for 30 minutes, then came home and asked me to take it off and put a bow in her hair instead.

Ella was also VERY excited that I let her wear make-up.  She got to choose the color of eye shadow and lip gloss.

And here's a picture of Cinderella with Farmer Daddy.  Ella wants all of us to dress up for Halloween.  Daddy was a good sport.  Mommy wasn't such a good sport.  When she asked me what my costume was I told her I was just a mommy.  She didn't like that answer, so I told her, "I'm a tired mommy."  Whenever anyone would ask her what I dressed up as she told them, "A Tired Mommy."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dragon Mom

I’ve never heard the term “Dragon Mom.”  Until today, I didn’t know that I was a “Dragon Mom.”  A friend of mine posted this article on facebook: Notes from a Dragon Mom.

While our situation is not quite as dire as this one, there are many aspects of this article that I relate to.

We parent different than most people we know.  Not better (in fact, in some cases, worse), just different.  This is in part because of who we are…Joe and I fall in to the “chill” category of parenting.  Certain things just don’t get us worked up.  Bedtime was a loose issue in our house until Ella started preschool and had to be awake at a certain time.  If we wanted to go to a dinner that didn’t get over until 11 pm, we went with Ella in tow.  We took her to her first Major League baseball game at 2 months old.  I took her on her first roller coaster last Christmas at 3 years old.  These are things we would have done with any kid, EB or not, because that’s just who we are.

But we also parent differently because our child has a future unlike most others.   We parent a child who, if statistics are correct, won’t live to see her 30th birthday.  We parent a child who, statistically speaking, WILL get cancer…it’s almost inevitable.  We parent a child who will most likely never have children.  We parent a child who we’ve watched get progressively worse, and will continue to get worse until her body gives up.  We are the unfortunate parents who will most likely be faced with the daunting task of planning our childs funeral.

All of that completely changes our parenting attitude.  If Ella wants to eat chicken nuggets every meal for a week, then I give them to her.  And yes, I often fix her a dinner different from what Joe and I are having, in spite of the fact that pre-Ella we swore we would never do that.  I’m not overly concerned about the amount of TV she watches.  We read a lot, color a lot, and play a lot of games together.  Last year I saved every single item she brought home from preschool, and I am doing the same again this year.  I have saved every piece of clothing Ella has ever worn, including items that we only used because she has EB.  I NEVER leave the house without kissing her goodbye, and I go into her room and check on her each and every time I get out of bed at night…even at 3 am.  I wake up each morning knowing that this could be the day things take a turn for the worse, but at the same time I pray that we have just a little bit more time.

Our perspective on life is different.  We all know that we are not promised a tomorrow, but few people get the opportunity to actually LIVE like there’s no tomorrow.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  I wish we didn’t have to live this way, but I know that there are countless things we would have missed out on if we didn’t.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Not much happening

Once again, I apologize for not posting sooner.  This time I can blame our computer monitor.  It’s never a good sign when you go to turn on your computer, then smell something funky, then see smoke coming from your monitor that keeps blinking on and off.  Needless to say, our monitor went kaput.  Thankfully our friends let us borrow an extra one they had, so we’re back on track and I can finally update this blog.

Things are going well.  Ella is doing well in school and still loves going each day.  Each morning as she’s getting ready she tells me how Mrs. Bull is going to love something she’s wearing.  Tuesday is was, “Mommy, I think Mrs. Bull is really going to love my Mickey shirt.”  Thursday she said, “Mommy, I think Mrs. Bull is really going to love my braid [in my hair].”  And Friday she said, “Mommy, I think Mrs. Bull is really going to like my One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish shirt.”

Music class is also going well.  I know about 1/3 of the kids names, so I’m making progress.  And I think I’ve found some songs that the kids enjoy.  Of course now that I’m finally getting used to all of this I have to start planning the Christmas program and choosing Christmas songs.  Why can’t every class just sing “Away in a Manger?”

Grammy Janet came to visit last weekend and we all had a lot of fun with her.  I won't mention anything about how she and I went to Moe's for lunch and completely stuffed our faces.
We did learn about one of Ella's new tricks.  Each night when Ella goes to bed I pull her door closed so that Joe and I can be in our room or the computer room and not bother her.  Then before we go to bed I open her door so that I can hear her if she needs us.  For about a week I was getting really confused because I would go check on her in the middle of the night and her door would be closed.  I'd open it, assuming I had just forgotten, and in the morning it would be closed again.  I wrote all of this off as a) a random gust of wind from her fan or b) I was losing my mind.  One night I opened her door and said to myself, "Katie, you just opened her door...remember that."  The next morning her door was closed again.  Finally I asked Ella if she was getting up and closing her door.

So here's where Stinkerella earned her sweet girl claims she can't climb up on her bed during the day (we didn't have a step stool for her).  She won't even climb down in the morning and waits until someone comes to get her (she claims it hurts).  However, in the middle of the night when she would wake up and see that her door was open she would climb down her bed, close her door, then step on her stuffed animals to climb back in bed and go to sleep.  Grammy and I went out and got her a little step stool so now she doesn't have to use her animals to climb back into bed.

She's such a sneaky girl!  The good news is that I can be sneaky too and every night I purposefully leave her door open so that she'll get the exercise of getting in and out of bed to close it.

Not much else is happening around the Murray house, so this post is pretty boring.  I just didn’t want you to think we had forgotten about you.

Friday, September 23, 2011


I’ve learned several things from my first 2 weeks as a preschool music teacher.

1)      Be conscious of the clothes you wear.  Some things may be obvious to avoid, but others may not be so obvious.  Since I spend a majority of my day sitting on the floor it’s best to wear jeans (no skirts for me).

2)      There is a MAJOR difference between 12 months and 18 months, or 2 and 2 ½.  When you’re little 6 months makes a world of difference.

3)      Even the best behaved kids can get pretty out of control when you ask them to stomp around the room like a dinosaur.

4)      Passing the beanbag around a circle isn’t as easy as it sounds.

5)      Over plan, over plan, over plan – there’s nothing worse than going through all of the songs in 15 minutes when you have the class for 25 minutes.

6)      Always give a 1 year old something to hold…it’s best if they can have 2, one for each hand.
7)      Shakers are fun for all ages! 

8)      BE FLEXIBLE!  There may be a song that you’re really excited about and convinced that the kids will love, then when you play it for them they just sit there.

9)       When doing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” be aware of how many times the song asks you to touch your head, shoulders, knees and toes.  You may get more of a workout than you’re prepared for.

10)   Name tags are VERY important!  Sometimes you may not understand a child whose name is “Beckham” and may spend much of the class calling him “Bacon.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Work it, girl!

So Ella totally has this whole preschool thing down pat! It’s only been 6 days and she is already a pro. Last year every single morning on the drive to school I had to give Ella a pep-talk. It wasn’t that she didn’t like school, she loved it and every day when I picked her up she had a huge smile on her face. She even talked the whole way home about all that she had done that day. I think it was more that school was something new, she was only 3, and the kids in her class were very active…VERY. Last year she cried every single day when I dropped her off. Half the time I was pushing her into the class room. My “inside sources” told me that she was fine after 15 seconds, but that didn’t make drop off any easier.

This year I am the mother of a completely different child. Monday of last week she was a bit hesitant….first day of school jitters. Tuesday was better. By Thursday she was good to go. Friday she had a mini-meltdown because, as Ella put it, her class didn’t get to go to the “fancy” playground (AKA, the playground with a little house for her to play in). All in all, the week was great. Each morning she’d give me a hug and kiss, then turn and walk into the class with Mrs. Bull. No pep-talk. No tears.

Today something happened that I never thought I’d see. I was signing Ella into class and she just walked right into the room without saying goodbye. She didn’t even care that I was going to be leaving her for 4 whole hours! She trotted right into that room like she owned the place. I said to her, “Ella…you’d better get back here and give me a hug!” She came back and had a huge smile on her face, but once I got my hug she was off.

No one can believe how much she’s coming out of her shell. She’s actually talking to her teachers and responding when they ask her a question. She got to be the circle time leader last week, another day she was the line leader, and yesterday she was the caboose. Apparently today they were singing and dancing to a song and Ella took it upon herself to get in the middle of the circle and dance. I guess she needed space to truly express herself.

So, my baby is growing up. I love that she’s more confident and likes her class, but I don’t like that she’s so confident that she doesn’t need to give me a hug anymore.