Friday, December 21, 2007


Goofy thought...

I thought Max was out of the age of saying funny naive things, but the other day he had a tri-colored striped candy cane (yellow, green and white) and I asked him what flavors it was. He said it was apple, banana and milk. Sounds delicious!

New word....

Ellie was learning about roosters the other day and when I told her they say cockadoodledoo, she said "It's a cocka-doodoo"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Fun in the toilet room?

So lately Ellie has been saying, "I poo" before she goes or right when she's done. So being overly excited and hopeful, I've been cheering for the poo when she tells me and talking to her about putting it in the toilet, showing her the toilet and the water,etc. The other day she said it and she hadn't gone yet, so I took her to the toilet room and sat her on it. She smiled and thought it funny and then wanted off and back know the routine. Since we happened to have nowhere to be for the next hour and thinking for sure she would have to poo soon and I'd put her on there real quick, we hung out in the bathroom for a while....what ended up being an hour! We sang songs, counted tampons, I let her stand on the toilet, sit, put the lid up and down and she even managed to get a foot in the water at one point. She's so tiny for her age, she probably could go down the drain and it was so unrealistic trying to make her comfortable on the big seat, but who knew I could come up with an hour's worth of material from a toilet room? Can I put that on my resume? I'll do that after I go buy a toddler toilet seat.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Back to Ballet!

So, I always knew this deep down, but didn't accept it until recently. I am not a very happy person when I'm not dancing. It's easy to get lost in being a mom, a wife, cleaning house, taking care of diapers and feeding and naps and grocery shopping and meal planning and volunteering at school and church callings and having neighbors over and playgroup and visiting teaching and teaching piano and plucking eyebrows and shaving legs and e-mailing and...well, everything else we women do. We give and give and often think we don't need or have time to replenish ourselves. I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here.

I made a commitment to myself to replace some of that energy and passion I give in all I do. So, last week I went back to ballet and made a promise that I wouldn't let anything talk me out of it.... and I am so happy! I feel like a real person again and not just a machine doing and doing for everyone else and not myself. I'm so grateful for women who have set the example of making time for one's self! Because that's just it - we have to make that time and commit to it. I've started and stopped so many times because I had to work or it was too expensive or my family needed me 100% of the time. I've been giving 100% of me to everyone else and there was nothing left of me for me.

I've made a new friend... a fellow 20 something year old in my ward who has had very similar ballet training. We have a blast laughing about our childhood experiences in dance and life and how we're telling our brains to tell our bodies to go faster or lift our legs higher, but there's a new delay in our bodies for following that instruction. But, that'll come. I've just got to reactivate some stagnant brain cells. I feel like a real person again! I didn't know I was buried until I was just reintroduced to the real me again. Hi me! I kinda like you again. My family kinda likes me better now too and they're learning how to survive without me for a night. Happy Day!

Funny thing too....the other day Ellei was wanting me to turn on my Nutcracker Music Box and of course it's hard for me to listen to it without doing the steps, so I was dancing around in the foyer. Her mouth was gaped open for the first 30 seconds...I guess she'd never seen me dance. Then, she all of a sudden started copying me. So funny! She mimicked an arabesque position! She's only 21 months! It was crazy fun. We totally had a mommy daughter bonding moment that seemed way too mature for her age, but it was so touching to me. Maybe that will be something she will love to and we can enjoy together. Or maybe she'll be a pro wrestler. Ya never know til they tell you I guess.


For Thanksgiving Break, we headed up to Nana and Grandpa's house in NC. Both my brothers flew out so it was the first time we were all together since we moved out of AZ. Thank you sooooo much for making the cross-country trek guys. It was so wonderful to be together again!

The events of the trip included feeling Heather's baby "Lily" (due next year) kick and chasing down my nephews for kisses. Shane got to watch hours and hours of football. Ellie was doted on by her grandpa that she adores and Max went hiking through the woods, climbed trees, played baseball and raked leaves into a huge pile. Doesn't get much better than that.....

The boys had a blast creating a store at Nana and Grandpa's house. They ended up paying us to take things off their hands. It was nice to see them work cooperatively. Hallelujah - they do have it in them! As you can tell, it actually wiped them can be done!

The kids got to bond with their uncle Bob...

Uncle Craig's wife, Cynthia couldn't make it because she had to work, so when he got lonely, he got chin kisses from Tia the dog. Hey, you take what you can get, right?!

We have tons more pictures from this trip, but I still don't have them uploaded yet....more to come.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas Decorating

I know, I , it's early. We'll be gone for Thanksgiving and so used a rare free Saturday to decorate for Christmas. It's so nice to have a kid old enough to be such a help! I didn't have to untangle any Christmas lights this year. Ellie managed to only break one ornament and we had fun getting into the Christmas spirit. The bottom picture is of Ellie saying "Ho,Ho,Ho" like Santa.

I'm so glad when Daddy comes home...

She loves when Daddy comes home...for about 5 minutes, then she's attached to mom again for hours. I'm sure that will change someday, so I try to treasure it.

Planting Pumpkins

Planting Pumpkins....Max wanted some pumpkins to grow next year in our front yard. It's a fake pumpkin, but hey, you never know.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Grandparents' Visits

It's amazing the positive affects grandparents have in our children's lives. We are sooooo grateful for what wonderful examples they are and for the endless love they give our children. They will surely be better contributors to society and their own families because of it. Max had a tough time deciding if he wanted to grow up and have grandpa or dad's occupation....he finally decided on dad's. It is a heavenly moment to see the kids interacting with our parents and sharing their precious thoughts and desires with them. It is so comforting to know as a mother that your children feel loved unconditionally and see the confidence that gives them. Thank you grandpas and grandmas!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Recent Stroud Fam Pics


Pics of The Shannons

The House

Here's a pic of our new house. We feel very blessed to have been led here. Shane likes his job and we love the weather, the southern hospitality (which doesn't include crazy drivers) and being close to his sister Brittany and her family. We're also ecstatic to be a day's drive from his brother Jaymeson and my parents.

Here's the backyard - we've got our work cut out for us, but Shane's got a big treehouse, birdhouse, bridge and garden planned.

Our house has an unfinished basement which we're not ready to finish yet, but Shane managed to build himself a custom media room with his bare hands and a How-To book. He rocks.

Here we go!

Here we go... we're officially bloggers now too. It's about time. Let's start with a few recent pics. Keep in mind.. not one picture will my kids' teeth be brushed or will their hair be done or will they have on that cute Gymboree outfit I just bought them because although once in a while we try to pay attention to appearance we rarely actually do....there's my disclaimer.


This is our Maxwell. He's six years old and as unique as they come. He knows how to melt our hearts or push our buttons and not much in between. Here's him with his last front tooth hanging by a thread. It drove his dentist uncle crazy, but we didn't make him yank it out. We've since learned how to coincidentally sever the nerve while flossing his teeth (yeah, we do that every once in a while).

Max loves to ride his bike, play soccer and baseball, roller blade, smash bugs and kick red ant piles to see them chase after Mommy. He has a flair for being blunt and chewing with his mouth open. He also has a flair for making hilarious faces and being irreverent in Primary Programs. We love it - he reminds me every day to relax and have fun! Usually on the day I've completely lost it, officially beyond repair have had it, I order him to bed and come downstairs to find a hidden I Love You card he made me earlier that day (before I had won Bad Mother of the Day Award).

Here's a pic from his birthday party. The crazy blonde kid in the back was his partner in crime during the Primary Program this year.

He's in first grade and thank heaven for an answered prayer - he has the best teacher in the world! I promised myself I'd use less superlatives, but so far to us, he's the best. He's made learning so fun for Max. He comes home with funny stories and cool things Mr. Straughan said or did all the time - thank heaven for teachers who care and realize the importance of what they do. I hate how hard they push kids in school now - he's doing things I did in third grade, but as long as it stays pretty fun, hopefully he'll survive with sanity in tact.

He is a great big brother. He waited a long time for a sibling and he seems to appreciate her very much. He loves to greet her in the morning with schmoozy baby talk. Boy, I'm glad we cut his hair after seeing this last picture. I got busy for a couple of ....months.


Here's our Isabelle Marie (Ellie). Well, we really call her Ellie Belly which ended up being a prophetic foreshadowing thing because her belly button is her security blanket. Instead of sucking her thumb for comfort, she plays with her belly button.

She is a pretty sensitive maternal little girly girl who can still hold her own in a wrestling or biting match. We hope that will continue and help in her efforts to stave off the boys.

She's a sassy little thing too.

She loved her first Halloween and totally got the concept of obtaining as much candy as possible. She cracks us up - we happen to think she's really smart. We're incredibly biased, but you can go ahead and think that she's brilliant too.

Right now we call her Destructo. Need I explain? She is into everything! She has learned how to throw a great tantrum, but she does know how to say "sorry" which helps. She said her first sentence the other week... "I wanna watch that." Her two favorite things are playing outside and watching movies. We try to do more of the first, but it's sure nice when I have to get stuff done to put in Einstein or Happy Feet.

Her claim to fame....dancing and singing. I swear, I'm not forcing it on her, but she loves to dance, tumble and sing. We have fun "get your groove on" afternoons.

But most of all, she is a sweet sweet girl. She gives kisses and "love you"s freely and she is a great gift from Heavenly Father that we feel unworthy of. She's taught us more than we've taught her in her 18 months on earth.