Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ella at 10 Years Old

I CANNOT believe my Ella Bella is 10 years old! That means I have been a mom for an entire decade...and that means I'm old :-)!
Ella LOVES that she is getting older. She wishes she could just be roommates with Hope at BYU tomorrow, but luckily we have her with us for a bit longer. She is starting her last year in elementary school, loves her kitty Beauty, looks forward to Activity Days and swim practices and continues to be my big helper at home. I sure love this girl with all my heart!
(this year's photos were taken by the talented Heather Lorraine and I hope to be posting more favorites soon!)
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Here are some things I want to remember about Ella at 10...
She is a swimming machine! Ella LOVES swimming so much and has really dedicated herself to it the last two years. She has just been moved up to the elite group for her age and I am so proud of her! I struggle with wanting her try some other sports (she shows pretty natural ability at others), but she just wants to swim and swim some more. Through the two years she has swum year round I have seen her confidence in all aspects of life grow by leaps and bounds. She is no longer so shy and unsure about trying new things and that has been so fun to watch.
Ella's 2nd love in life is definitely reading. She reads and reads and reads. Mostly she loves the fantasy genre although we have read plenty of Nancy Drew mysteries together as well. I'm so glad that she loves it so much!
She is obsessed with Full House right now and I would much rather her watch it than the weird shows on Disney and Nickelodeon!
Her favorite foods include some of the typical things like pizza, spaghetti and tacos and some other randoms like sushi, potato soup, ribs and hot wings. Her favorite veggie is celery and her favorite fruit is pineapple.
Ella loves music and is a master money saver. She bought a used iPod with her own money and loves listening to music on it.
Her favorite color is blue with pink as a runner-up.
She is super social now and always wants to invite friends over. I am glad she is such a good friend and that she now has such a strong, nice group of friends at school, church, and swim. There have been some tough times over the last couple years as she figured it out :-(.
Of course there are times when Ella can be a little bossy with her siblings, but overall she is an amazing big sister who I can count on to help me out when needed. She loves having responsibilities...especially when they are ones that can earn her money :-). She can also be a goofball and be the craziest one of the bunch.
Ella LOVES her kitty Beauty SO much, and Beauty is obsessed with her !!!
I love that I can trust Ella to make good choices and to do the right thing no matter where she is. She is my breath of fresh air and my sigh of relief on most days.
She is awesome at taking care of  and playing with her little cousins (Ollie LOVES her) and has been so sweet with Preston as he starts Kindergarten.
I have loved the conversations we have had this summer as we talked about more serious and grown-up topics. And when she wasn't allowed to do some of the things her friends were allowed to, which resulted in tears, we had some great bonding moments as well. I love hanging out with her...she loves to watch House Hunters and cooking competition shows with me, running errands, going out to yummy restaurants, and going on dates to the Alamo.
This is going to be a great year!
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Easing Back In

We spent a lot of time our first week back at home just hanging out at home. Mike and I went out a few times on dates...family trips are super awesome, but time away from the kids can be awesome too :-). We had friends over, Mike and Ella went to see the A's play the Astros, we headed to the pool, cuddled with the kitties, celebrated my grandparents' anniversary, and I was back to work right away as well.
Some pictures of the week...mostly from the phone.
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After watching a video on YouTube about how to make something with his legos, Preston wanted to make his own. I set it up and left but would spy on him and it was just about the cutest thing I ever saw. The first video is 18 minutes long, but just want for a couple to get the idea :-).
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2CosSWc36k&list=UUY5wapUEBlVbW4JLnFqsxKg
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my friend Lauren was at the game too and spotted Ella and Mike from above :-)
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saw this in a magazine and loved it!
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Addie can be the sweetest, most patient teacher sometimes
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Preston loves helping Mike with his tools
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Home at Last!!!

So, Thursday the 24th we finished up at the Carlsbad Caverns and then begin our long drive home. Since Chrissy and her kids ended up coming to San Antonio we added a short stop there on our way back to see them. We arrived right around dinner time and it was so fun to see her and her kiddos again. They had both grown up so much since we last saw them and are so cute. We spent the night there that night, hung out a bit in the morning and then all went out to lunch before we finished those last few hours home.
It was SOOO nice to be home again after nearly a month on the road! Beauty and Eddie were so excited to see us (my mom checked on them often and got our mail so we owe her a HUGE thanks, and my grandma and friend Emily also checked on the kitties as well). There was lots of fun mail to go through, lots of toys the kids had missed, Preston FINALLY got to open his souvenir from the trip (a lego set from Legoland) and we all slept SOOO well in our beds again. There was plenty of unpacking and laundry to be done, but even so, it still felt amazing to be in our own home.
Trips are so fun and I'm so thankful we were able to see and do all the fun things we did. And then you have a renewed appreciation for your life at home when you get back.
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Ella got a makeover from Chloe :-)
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Someday we will get a good picture of all the Freeman grandkids...maybe when the youngest is 5 :-)
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some of the fun mail...thank you cookies from Courtney for sending referrals her way and my first shipment of Chatbooks. I LOVE them!!!
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns

Well, still less than a month behind, so I'm counting it as a win :-)! This was our last big stop before driving back home to Texas and it was another place that none of us had been before. We got there right after it opened and got in line for tickets. We decided to walk the entire way down into the Big Room from the natural entrance and then take the elevator back out. I was glad we did it that way because it was a great way to see it all. It is really amazing how well they have done all the pathways in the cave! Although it was a steep decline (you walk down the equivalent of 79 stories in 1.25 miles), it doesn't seem bad at all and the temperature is amazing.
The caverns surpassed all our expectations and as Addie said multiple times while we walked through the formations, "This is a GREAT way to end our trip!"
(the pictures in NO way do justice to how cool it really was, or how huge)
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looking back towards the entrance
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you can see the kids standing at the base of this one
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