Tuesday, August 31, 2010

E's "banastics"

I realized I haven't posted anything about Ella's gymnastics, or "banastics" as she calls it, and how in the world could I miss that? It is a huge part of her life these days! We had taken her to The Little Gym for quite a while, which was tons of fun, but we never saw any real progression in her tumbling skills. And if you know me at all, you know when it comes to my daughter and tumbling/ cheerleading- I want only the best! haha! No, seriously, it is so much easier to teach a 4 or 5 year old to tumble than a 10 or 12 year old- more flexible, no fear, all that. And I think if she likes it and decides to stick with it, she'll be grateful she learned at a young age.
We decided to check out Midwest Cheer Elite, an all-star gym very close to our house. The first time we walked in, I was thoroughly impressed with the place. They have a gazillion all-star teams, from 3 years on up, and most of their senior level teams have won national championships the last few years. The place is strictly business and pretty incredible. I absolutely cannot believe the stunts and tumbling they have 8-10 year olds doing! Amazing!
Anyways, Ella's been taking there about ten weeks now. She is learning so much and the most important part is she LOVES it!! It is the thing she looks forward to every week. On her very first day, I was kind of worried she would be intimidated, but she wasn't in the least. She just jumped right in and gave it her all. I am always so proud of how hard she works and how she listens and then really tries to do what her instructors tell her. She takes such pride in keeping her arms and legs straight, keeping her fingers together, and jumping and rebounding perfectly after each skill. I always laugh because the other kids will be cartwheeling and flopping all the way down the floor and Ella is always twenty feet behind them- she won't start her next cartwheel until she's landed the first one on her feet and rebounded just so-so. My little perfectionist. It cracks me up. Anyways, I see so much progression every single week and am so proud of her! Just yesterday, she was pulling herself up into an almost perfect handstand and, ten weeks ago, she didn't have the strength to straighten her arms and get her head off the floor!
She will spend hours practicing and flipping all over this house. She always wants me to spot her, but she's a leftie and it's kind of hard! I can't tell you how many times a day I hear, "Watch this one, Mom! It's gonna' be a good one!" =) She loves to straddle roll...
I have been trying to get some pictures at the gym, mostly to show Daddy, but the lighting is different and I can never seem to get any good ones. She's in the purple shirt here, rolling down the mat.
One of her favorite parts of class is trampoline time. She is begging us to get a "huge, long trampoline in our house, so I can practice!" Sure, it's just that easy! =)
And not to be left out- Cade has gotten pretty good at flipping all over the place, too! haha!

Happy birthday, Grammy!

We celebrated Grammy's birthday with her last night. Ella picked where we went to eat and where do you think she chose? You guessed it- Rancho! Is there any other restaurant out there? haha! No complaints from any of us! Explaining Grammy's birthday card to her. She worked awfully hard on that thing!
Me and my momma. God sure blessed me with a good one. =)
Happy birthday to you!
Such fun!! Cade claps his hands and sings, "Ah-doo" (to you). It's precious!
Everybody make a wish!
No way was Cade going to miss out on cake and ice cream! You think his daddy gave him enough?!! haha!
And in his own words, "Mmmmmmmmm". =)
Happy birthday, Grammy! We love you soooo much!!

Preschool checklist

Backpack... check!
Folder... check!!
Enthusiasm... check!!!
Looks like our big girl is more than ready to head off to preschool next week!

Monday, August 30, 2010

In a moment of solitude

There is always the danger that we may just do the work
for the sake of the work.
This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in-
that we do it to God, to Christ,
and that's why we try to do it
as beautifully as possible.
-Mother Teresa

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When all else fails...

...Check the cabinets. His first words when I opened the door... "Oh, no!"
Mischievous, I tell ya!!

The Next Food Network Star?

Ella is such a great helper in the kitchen. She helped me cook dinner last night, seasoning the pork chops and stirring up a cheese sauce for the potatoes all by herself! She even managed to make a batch of "Krispie Treats" right in the middle of all the cooking! Wow, what a multi-tasker!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Love that family time!

I can't believe it's already the start of a new week! The weekend went by way too quickly!! It was the infamous fantasy football draft weekend, so I didn't see much of my husband, but I know he and all those guys had such a blast together. And nonetheless, we did get to spend it with family, and you know I love that!!
Two things from the weekend for which I'm thankful - 1) Getting to see family we absolutely adore, but don't get to see all that often. There is something so simple and refreshing about being around people who have known you all your life and with whom you are 100% comfortable. 2) Getting to watch my children play and run free in the green grass and wide open spaces in the country. There is just nothing like it and I know all that fresh air does them a world of good.
Yum! Apples straight off the tree!

The sweetest little gal I know!!
It's draft time! Strictly business...

A lazy morning and some quality time with Baby Laila...
A good visit with Great-Grandma and Grandpa Martin...
She definitely has the magic touch...

Backyard hoops...

Check it out- no training wheels! Go, Ella, go!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Scat singing by Cade =)

Fun around the house

Because I'm not one that enjoys running around town all day, we spend as many days as possible creating fun around the house. After we saw how much fun these kids had with a plain, old box, Chris brought a few more home and made a huge box house. It has given these kids hours of play. It even has a picture window!
Hello, Cade!
We make more than our fair share of messes around here, so it's a good thing these sweet, little people LOVE to help Momma clean!! I get a kick out of this photo, too, because Cade's lost his shorts and a sock, and he couldn't care less. Nothing's going to stop him from being in the middle of the action!
And this was a fun evening- a bunch of little ducklings came waddling up into the yard looking for food... Boy, did they have another thing coming!
They had no idea the terror they would find! haha!! Chris and I laughed and laughed- it was definitely some good evening entertainment!!

In a tight spot

Silly, little monkey!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The newest member of the Martin clan

Yay!! We have a new, little cousin! Justin and Lindsey welcomed their beautiful baby boy, Aiden, to the world last night. This pic is one his proud Aunt Kelsey posted to facebook. We LOVE it!! He is absolutely perfect!
I can't wait to get my hands on him (after I manage to finangle him away from Aunt Pam and Aunt Cheryl)! =)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Love, pure and simple

This past weekend at work, I cared for an elderly gentleman who was near the end of his life. His sweet wife, who rarely left his bedside, tearfully told me of her decision to place him in an inpatient hospice unit the next day. She said, "We've taken care of each other for 63 years. It breaks my heart that now, at the end of his life, I'm not able to take care of him. There's not a lot I can do for him anymore."

We all knew her mere presence meant the world to him and we shared that conversation, as well as a hug and a few tears. Then I asked the patient if there was anything I could do to make him more comfortable. His reply: "Is there any way you could get me some vanilla ice cream? That would be so good." Ah, a man after my own heart!

So, of course, I brought him vanilla ice cream. And then again and again. And his precious wife, who felt as though she had nothing left to offer him, sat by his side and fed him ice cream. It was an act of love, pure and simple, between two people who had shared all the joys and sorrows of 63 years of life together. And I can't tell you how many times through the night I teared up while watching them. Nor can I tell you how many times I said thank you to Jesus for the love in my life. For the man at my side who takes such good care of me, of whose love I am sure, and who I know, at the end of my life, will be right next to me feeding me ice cream.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Singin' in the rain

We finally got some rain today. Yay!! It was much needed- see the brown grass? And since it finally rained, Ella was finally able to use her new umbrella, which she has been wanting to do every single day for the last two months. She was thrilled! She grabbed that umbrella, ran outside, and jumped and twirled and laughed... and sang! Mostly because I told her that any time you play in the rain, you have to sing. =) She was adorable to watch. You just gotta' love these carefree days of childhood!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Nope, that would be Ella's new shoes. I gave in and did what I said I would never do. I bought the girl some light-up shoes. She spotted them and it was over. She had eyes for nothing else, and so a million squeals and wows and please mommy!'s later, they were hers. There was only one pair her size and they were on clearance and she was so very excited, so I kind of felt like God was telling me to let my sparkly, little girl just be a sparkly, little girl. Either that or she just played her momma like a fiddle.

Little Papa

Our little man is going to make a great papa one day! He just takes such good care of Ella's baby dolls. I wasn't sure how to feel about it at first, you know, boys-don't-play-with-dolls and all that. I really didn't know how Chris would feel about it. The boy is crazy about those babies though. It's not really that he plays with them, at least not the way he plays with a truck or a ball (which is what he does most of the time, so his grandpas needn't worry! =). He's just always making sure they're taken care of and modeling nurturing behavior that he's witnessed the rest of us doing. It's actually pretty sweet, and the more we watch him, we don't think it's in any way a bad thing, but just the opposite.
He pats the baby's back, brings her over to me, and says "Awww", wanting me to kiss her.
Making sure the baby has something to eat...
Giving the baby love...
I'll tell ya, Ladies, he's going to make a great catch one day!!