*The Ellie Show [season 2]*

MOVE OVER ELLEN DEGENERES!

The Ellie Show [season 2] premiered this weekend and MADclutter ranked it number 1 (bumping The Ellen Show to number 2) calling it a "must see" and "an adorable and hilarious little show"..

Months before Ellie's 2nd birthday I was brainstorming with my mom and sister about her party theme. I was trying to think of something Ellie loves that makes her unique. She loves peas but I didn't think anyone (except her) would enjoy a pea party. I jokingly blurted out that we should do an "Ellen Show" theme because Ellie loves dancing with Ellen. She has watched the show with me since she was tiny and is her biggest (little) fan! This immediately sparked a few hilarious ideas so I just decided to go for it! Instead of a huge party we would just invite some "special guests" (a few of Ellie's friends) and of course an "audience" (my mom friends) and basically just have a themed playdate to celebrate her birthday.

The week before the party I started working on all the little details, my favorite thing to do! I ended up going to Hobby Lobby 4 days in a row. I knocked out the invitation, the t-shirts, and the signs pretty quickly but my sister came up for a few days to help me with the rest. If it wasn't for her I'm not sure everything would have come together as well as it did. The hardest part was finding Ellie the perfect "Ellen jacket" without having to buy a whole suit haha! After 7 stores I finally found one at a consignment store and it made her outfit!! I just paired it with a one of a kind "MOVE OVER ELLEN" tee, her Hudson jeans, a red mama made bow, her doodle zoo Lalabye Baby diaper, and her Michael Kors sneakers because they don't make baby Saint Laurent's.

The kids ate "tv dinners" [insert knee slap].

We collected donations for the Ronald McDonald House & food for the Wake Forest Little Free Pantry

I am so excited to say that with the help of our incredible friends we were able to donate $92 to the Ronald McDonald House!! We are so blessed to have a happy and healthy two year old, I can't imagine not knowing if she would make it to her next birthday, so we hope this donation helps keep families closer to their loved ones! We also added some noodles, chicken, and fruit to the Wake Forest Little Free Pantry.

And as you can see, Ellie was thrilled.

No seriously!!

She just didn't want to stay on the couch.

See!

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We played the famous NEVER HAVE I EVER GAME!

And something tells me some of them might not have been telling the whole truth  ;)

The kids had a blast playing together, like always, and do I see some tWitch in trainings?

And the "Ellie Show" would not have been complete without a "Please Take ONE" swag table with hidden camera!

They had the choice of hat, cup, or t-shirt..

They quickly cleared off the table but I'm not sure if they were all just dishonest or if it's because they can't read.

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After the party Ellie was wide open!! 

I took some photos of her slinging the giant balloons all around and making silly faces. My sister and I even got in on the action as Ellie's "Cameraman" and her "Producer".

Hmmm I wonder if Ellen drives her producer Andy as crazy as Ellie drives me sometimes?

So after Ellie's premier I'm not actually sure she has what it takes to host her own talk show..

 1. She doesn't like to talk to people

2. I'm not convinced she's taking her career very serious

3. She doesn't like to stay on set

"BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, SEE YOU NEXT TIME"


Everyday with you is an adventure!! Ellieana, I can't wait to see what this next year has in store!

Happy 2nd Birthday sweet girl, we love you peanut! -Mama & Dada

Proof Ellie is Ellen's biggest (little) fan below!

*Our Little Christmas Tornado*

Ellie was ALL OVER THE PLACE this Christmas!

Our little Christmas tornado immediately ran over to her new "kitch" and started digging into her gifts! She pulled out every piece of tissue paper and wanted to show mommy and daddy everything. She made some very important phone calls, got little goodies out of her stocking, knocked over her tobble blocks a few times, cooked us some "soup", and cuddled with her "oc pus" before we had to hit the road.

We did Christmas with my mom's whole side of the family on the 23rd. Ellie got a huge pile of gifts and was beyond excited! I gave her a little box to open first but she just held on to it. I encouraged her to open it but she just stared at me, so eventually I tore a little bit and told her to help. She sloooowwwwlllllyyyy pulled a tiny strip of paper off. I had to "help" her pull off the rest of the paper or we would have been there all night!! Once the paper was off she immediately picked up her adorable new wooden waffle maker and yelled out "A BOX" with the biggest grin on her face. I seriously laughed so hard I almost cried. She then opened the next one (just as slowly until I helped speed her along again) and yelled out "MORE MORE BOX" before pointing out the cute little dog. She took her sweet time opening the rest of her gifts which made me realize I'd be putting almost all of her stuff from us in bags haha!

I did wrap one box but after slowly peeling back what I had started she got super angry when she couldn't rip anymore. I got a photo of her about to throw a fit, but to her defense I had a hard time getting it to rip myself. I'm just glad we went to my aunt's house before Christmas Eve so that I didn't wrap everything like I originally planned. Dorian and I were up till about 2am putting her kitchen together so I probably wouldn't have made it to bed at all if I had to wrap her gifts too.

We left our tissue paper filled house around lunch time and headed to Dorian's dad's to open more gifts. He always spoils Ellie, and Christmas was no different. She made out like a bandit! Shortly after we went to Dorian's grandma's house to eat and visit with some of his extended family. We eventually made our way to my moms house where again, Ellie racked up! I also got to give my sister Alex the best gift ever (if I do say so myself) even though she doesn't really like avocados.

My dad flew in Christmas night so the next morning my sister, Ellie, and I went up to VA with him. Ellie and I could only stay for the day because I had to work but they stayed a few more nights. We don't get to see everyone up there often so we enjoyed every minute we had. When they came back we took Ellie to play at Marbles and when Dorian got off we opened MORE gifts.

Our little house is now overflowing with toys!! It feels like we just got promoted to all of the toys that come with 32 little parts to keep track of, yaaaayyyy! Not. But in all seriousness, I think Ellie had a wonderful 2nd Christmas!! She really enjoyed spending time with all of our family, loved opening all of her gifts (even if she was slow as molasses), stuffing her face with the treats everyone seamed to be giving her left and right, and playing with her new toys!

Thank you to all of our family and friends who helped make this Christmas special, we love you all.

P.S. That last photo of Ellie might just be my new favorite! "TOOOAST"

*Happy Holidays*

My how this year has flown by. Even as I sit here typing this I can't believe it's almost Christmas! It hasn't even really hit me yet and it's only TWO days away. Yikes!!

We've decorated our tree, put up our stockings, I've done most of my shopping, filled up on hot chocolate, been to see Santa & The Grinch, cuddled up with Ellie to watch Christmas movies, and even started a few new Christmas traditions this year.. but for some reason it just doesn't feel like Christmas. I'm excited, don't get me wrong, it just feels like it should still be September, the procrastinator in me needs more time.

This year I really wanted to do 25 days of giving with Ellie. We unfortunately wont hit 25 things, because we don't leave the house everyday, but I'm happy to say that we have made a pretty good dent in our list! I truly believe that giving is what the holiday's are all about, although we plan to add more things and continue to bless others throughout 2018, because that's what life is really all about.

We've driven around to see Christmas lights, baked cookies, and get a surprise out of our advent tree everyday. I'm guessing this is Ellie's favorite new tradition as she yells "a prise" and points to it multiple times a day. She also LOVES the tree!! She "helped" decorate by shoving some ornaments in the tree, gets so excited every time I turn it on, points out the hearts & different color ornaments we have every single day, and laughs hysterically every time she looks at herself in the shiny silver one.

I can't wait to see her face light up again this year!! We have 6 different family Christmas functions between the 23rd-26th so I'm sure she will have a blast.

We hope everyone has a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Much Love,

Ellie, Morgan, & Dorian

*Huge Thanks to our friends, the Hwang Family, for doing a photo swap with us agian!*

*Grieving the Loss of the World I Grew Up In*

I grew up on grilled cheeses, pink lemonade, and dirt. That's right, dirt.

I was outside more than I was inside, my friends lived down the street, we were always covered in dirt, used our imaginations, played in the middle of the road, wore ourselves out on the trampoline, played hot lava on the swing set, and every night when it got dark we all went home.

I grew up in a trailer park and had the BEST CHILDHOOD EVER! Life was simple, happy, and full of laughter. I was loved abundantly and my head was always full of dreams. I had everything I could have ever wanted even though I didn't "have it all". And I lived everyday to the fullest.

When I wasn't home with my mom I was with my Mema & Papa. Oh how I wish I could go back to one of those days. I'd get lost in the woods, dig for hours in the sand, snap peas, go fishing, watch the Price is Right, play in the tobacco barns.. Everyday was different. Everyday was the best day.

I was beyond happy.

I wanted to give that same feeling to my little ones. I always dreamed of giving them this simple, happy, and joyful life. I wanted them to feel free, as I once did. And up until the minute I had Ellie I thought that dream would become a reality, unfortunately I was wrong.

I always knew in the back of my head that the world had become a scary place. I guess I had been pushing that feeling down inside for so long.. but the moment I had Ellie I couldn't escape it. I couldn't escape the feeling that I would fail. That I would never be able to give her the childhood I had.

Where I grew up everyone knew everyone. They were always happy, friendly, and willing to drop everything to help someone in need. Everyone was hard working, extremely giving (expecting nothing in return), and family was everything. Now living in this "me" generation every where I turn I see hate, everyone trying to get ahead (not caring who they step on in the process), and a bunch of unfriendly faces.

I had to come to grips that the world I grew up in was no longer the same. It changed. And it changed for the worst. I'm afraid this incredibly sad and broken world will scar her. I'm afraid to let her be free and it breaks my heart. I'm deeply saddened by the fact that she can't spread her wings as far I as did.

I'm afraid for her safety. It feels like you aren't safe anywhere anymore, not even in your own front yard, and out in public it's worse. I'm afraid someone will try to take her or harm her. I shouldn't be afraid to let her play outside but I am. I shouldn't have to follow her around on the playground, and I try to distance myself as much as possible, but it's just not the same. It's not like my childhood at all, half the time nobody even knew where I was, it's not fair to her.

I'm afraid for her soul, for her spirit. I'm afraid with all the hate in this world that she will one day lose herself. I'm afraid she will be bullied (it's starting younger and younger) and that she will change herself to fit in better. I'm afraid the world will try to push her to be a certain way and her quirks will slowly disappear. I'm afraid her happy, loving, and fun personality.. her incredible character.. her positive attitude.. will get lost. I don't ever want her to be afraid to be herself.

I'm afraid for her dreams. I'm afraid they will grow smaller and smaller, that the light will fade. I'm afraid she will take the easy path because that's what everyone else is doing. I'm afraid that others will try to shut her down and she will eventually listen. I'm afraid her priorities will change. I'm afraid she won't be able to do all that she was created to do.

I'm afraid for her everyday life. I'm afraid she will miss out on actually experiencing the world because you can just "see it" on google. I'm afraid she will miss out on making a new friend because she's too busy stuck in a routine and going through the motions of life. I'm afraid she will miss out on love, quality time with her family, because her nose is stuck in a phone. I'm afraid she will be stuck hiding behind a screen. I'm afraid she will miss out on what's in front of her because she's trying to capture it for everyone else, I'm definitely guilty of this one.

I guess what I'm afraid of most is that she won't have a childhood as incredible as mine. That the things that will help shape her into the person she's meant to be won't be as positive and happy as she deserves. That everything Dorian and I do now won't matter. That it won't be enough. That the joy in her life will one day be overshadowed by all the hate in the world. Not now, not in the moment, but eventually.

I want Ellie (and any other little ones we have) to NEVER be afraid to be themselves. To never stop dreaming. Exploring. To never take anything for granted. To never miss out on the wonders life has to offer. To be full of love. And happiness. To never stop fighting for what they believe in. To make mistakes and learn from them. To grow and learn everything they can. To dance in the rain like nobody is watching. To always be the bigger person. Show compassion. To love with all of their heart. To be free.

I know that the world will make it harder. I know that in the world we live in today, it will not be easy. But I also know that Dorian and I will do everything we can to give Ellie all she needs to navigate this world. That we will prepare her as best we can. That we will protect her physically and mentally for as long as possible. But I can only hope that everything we instill in her will weather this ever changing world we live in. 

I will always have hope that it will change, that the world will change for the better. That it won't be this sad, cruel world forever. I hope to help be that change. And I hope Ellie will be one day too.

5 minutes.

I watched in wonder, almost like I was a kid again, while Silhouette Artist, Edward Casey, cut free handed this incredible profile of Ellie. For 5 quick minutes everything around me had faded away and it was just Ellie and I and this extremely talented man. I watched his hands as he simply wiggled around this little black paper, they reminded me of my Papa's, like they helped create a lot of smiles over the years. He'd pause to glance up at her, but would go right back to cutting. He was so sweet, talking to Ellie, and sharing with me how he started doing these.. If he ever does an event near you I highly recommend going!

This 5 minutes gave me more then just an incredible memory with Ellie. It also gave me hope! In this moment I realized that good things from the past still exist. I just might not see them all the time. I hope this art never dies. I hope old fashioned values like common courtesy, respect, friendliness, and kindness never die. I know as long as I live they wont. And I hope that they will continue through Ellie, and her children, and her grandchildren. One small act of kindness can spread another. Have you done something kind today?

*BOO!*

I really don't know what happened this year!

Last year Ellie had 3 costumes because well, it was her 1st Halloween, and she just looked so stinking cute in everything that we couldn't pick just one. I had every intention of just having one costume this year but somehow she ended up with 3 again! I might have a slight problem so next year someone needs to check on me.

This halloween we continued our tradition of going to the pumpkin patch, although this year Ellie wanted nothing to do with me or the camera. She only wanted to play, pick pumpkins, and eat french fries. She had a blast collecting "eggs" from the adorable chicken coop, seeing all the animals, and playing on the little attractions at West Produce.

 

We took more "little strawberry" photos since I didn't get any of her smiling, but my luck wasn't much better this go around either. I took M&M's so I could bribe her to look at me and smile but that backfired big time. She just kept standing right in front of me to ask for more so I ended up putting M&M's on her pumpkins. This helped her stay near them but then she just wanted to stuff one after another after another.. So I got a lot of photos of her chewing or saying "mmm mmmm mmmmm". At one point she even tried to bring me the big pumpkin so I'd give her more.

"It can only get better" they say..

Well, it didn't. 

Ellie decided to cry the entire time we were taking our neighborhood photo. And I mean the entire time! She just wanted me to hold her. She didn't even want to eat her cookie.  She didn't want to do anything but cry. I'm not sure if it was because of the new faces, the fact that there were so many people around, or just because she wanted to run around and do her own thing and play. But she was a mess. So I give you..

The angry ladybug and her friends.

 

Plus some of my awesome mom friends.

And a few good ones I actually got of Ellie (not even 10 minutes after her epic meltdown) when we got home and went out back to play. 


So despite Ellie not paying any attention to me and just doing her own thing, I did get some cute photos!

BUT YOU KNOW I SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST RIGHT?! 

DRUM ROLL PLEASE..

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THIS YEAR ELLIE AND I WERE..

FLAMINGOS!!!!!!!


A HUGE THANKS to our friends Steve & Maddie for doing a photo swap with me. Maddie got Ellie to smile while Steve got these adorable photos of us. 

Happy Halloween!