Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Birthday to ... her?

I guess if my blog had a sex, it would be a girl. Anyway, Ellis Island is 1 year old today! I met my goal, keeping up with this blog for an entire year. I'm not done, and hopefully, I will celebrate several more blog birthdays!

2009 has been full of it's ups and downs, and let's face it, what year isn't? I have big plans for 2010, though. I plan to make my first pot of black eyed peas (for good luck, of course!) and I have very nearly completed my Mighty Life List as well, so there will be lots of things to write about from that too. (and I will be posting it soon!) I have a photo project in mind, and several New Year's Resolutions that I intend to stick to- with help from the gracious internet. You see, if I post it here, the thought of you judging me is simply terrifying, so, that should cure any feelings of angst when I really don't want to go to the gym!

To my baby, Ellis Island, you have helped me to grow in so many ways. I'm greatful we hooked up. : )

Here are a few of my favorite posts from the past year:

Mark, The Oscars, Ryan turns 1, Estrogen, 9, jewel

To those of you who have read and/or kept up with my blog, thank you for caring!

Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

a man and his jewel

This Christmas Eve will mark 67 years that my grandfather proposed to my grandmother. He told me the story today, and it's something I wanted to both share and remember:

As told by my grandfather; his fierce, blue eyes alight with joy:

" I was 21, and stationed in Edmonton, South Carolina. Our chief basically told us to get lost for the weekend. He didn't care what we did, or where we went, we were just told to be back on Sunday night, and to check in. I wanted to see your Grandmother. I took a bus from South Carolina. It was so crowded on the bus, I had to stand the whole way home. My brother picked me up at the bus station, and drove me home. I took the car down to Harriman, and parked it slanted across there from the municipal building. I was going to suprise your grandmother, so I parked a little way down the road. I had no intention of proposing to her, I just missed her, and thought about her often. As I headed down the road, I passed a little shop with jewelry in it. I had some time to kill, waiting on Grandmother to get off work, so I popped in, mostly just to get out of the cold. I started looking around and I saw a ring, I automatically thought of her, my sweet jewel, Irene. I asked the shopkeeper how much that ring was. He told me 50 dollars, which was a lot of money back then, you know. I looked in my wallet and found that I had exactly that amount. I bought the ring, and headed down to the five and dime, where grandmother worked. I watched her through the window, cleaning and straightening up. So sweet and happy, my jewel. When she got off work, I suprised her- she was both happy and shocked to see me! When we got in the car, I took her hand and slipped that ring on. The next day, my dad and my brother drove me back to South Carolina. They had to pool their gas stamps to get me there and get back home, but we all made it. I was late getting back, but I slipped in and went straight to bed. No one ever said anything to me!"

My heart is melting. This may be the sweetest story I've ever heard, and the fact that it happend to two people I love so dearly, is simply magical. I love you both...


Thursday, December 10, 2009

the illusive snow day

In our neck of the woods, snow doesn't fall very often. In fact, when it does, we usually get a pretty dusting and we're all happy estatic. Last Friday, Courtney came down to stay the night. The next morning we were headed to Crossville to stay the night at her parents house. That night, as we watched the weather, Todd Howell told us there was a good chance we might see snow the next morning. There were a few choruses of "yeah, right" and "please! they'll salt the roads and we won't get anything!" Courtney and I stayed up late chatting and even looked outside before we headed to bed. No nothing.

The next morning I woke up before anyone else in the house. I mention this, because it's RARE. I'm always the last in bed and the last to rise, but for some reason, I woke up. I laid there in the quiet that is so rare in our house these days, just soaking it in. After a few minutes, I decided I was going to roll over and drift back to sleep. When I rolled over, the light coming in through the window looked funny. Wrong. Muffled. Thinking I was going to out of my mind for even checking, I slid quietly out of bed and peeked out the window.  Here is what I saw:

Smiling to myself, and taking it in quietly, I stood there a few minutes. Truly feeling like a kid who didn't have to go to school because it had snowed!

I crawled back in bed and woke Mark up. "Honey, it SNOWED!" I whispered excitedly. "What?" Mark asked me sleepily, rolling over and looking at me like I was insane. (Told you, it's rare for me to be up that early- especially before he is!) "It Snowed! Look!" I peeled back the curtains for him to see. He checked it out and with one of those sleepy smiles, He said, "MMmmm. I'm so glad I don't have to get out of bed yet."

I laughed a little, and we talked for a few minutes. Then we snuggled back in and went back to sleep. A little while later, Courtney runs in like a kid on Christmas morning, "Get up! Get Up!! It snowed!!!"

Laughing, we all ended up getting out and seeing the snow. The dogs got a chance to play, Ryan held some for the first time ever and by the time the excitement wore off, it was starting to melt.

The view from our back porch was spectacular, even if it was just a dusting.
I'm thankful for the snow, because it made me feel like a kid again.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

the plague

Technically, we all had something different, but SERIOUSLY. How can we all be sick at the same time? Happenstance?  Maybe. Convienient? Prehaps. Fun? Not really. It started with Jackson feeling (and sounding) extremely snotty and very croupy. Then, I had some sort of sinus infection. Mark laid out of work because of a nasty cough and a snotty nose. Then, Holly had some sort of stomach bug. We decided to send Ryan to Grammy's house as a precaution, because who wants a baby with ALL OF THAT NONSENSE?

We're all feeling better now, so it's time to break out the lysol and bleach.

Hopefully, this will be the end of the plague at Casa de Ellis.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cousins.... the 2009 Edition

Thanksgiving 2009

It's probably been 10 years or more that we've all sat down together and had a picture made. Mark's never even met Aaron, I don't think. My cousins on my mom's side. (L to R):  Mallory, Me, Bill, Holly, Ryan, Mark and Aaron. I feel so blessed this year, and was so happy to see all of you. Can't wait until our Big Ed's meet and greet.



It's not everyday we're all together like this. My family. My Heart.

Thanksgiving: November 26, 2009.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

and then there were 9

OK, that's really only true if you count the dogs. And I do. I'm officially a freaky dog person.

And no, I'm not having multiples, so chill out.

Once upon a time, there was a guy. We'll call him Sam. Sam lived with his parents and went to college and had a normal life. His best friend was a girl, we'll call her Pam. Pam got tired of living with her moocher friends in a van down by the river, so she promptly decided to move into Sam's parents basement and share the room with him. In the time theylived there, they bought a dog. A beautiful dog they loved very much. They accidentally fell in love and after 5 years od living in Sam's parents basement, they moved out and got their own place.

At their new place, their beautiful dog was involved in a scandal and had a cute litter of mutt puppies. The first was born when they were moving to their new diggs. The couple kept one sweet puppy from this litter. A short while after moving to their new diggs, Pam's father passed away. After this, Sam and Pam got married and they and their two beautiful, sweet dogs bought a home.

After living in this home for a year, the neighbors' dog got the sweet new puppy pregnant. Sam and Pam once again, kept a puppy from this litter. He was adorable and Pam couldn't help herself. After a while, Sam's friend Carl told Pam and Sam he needed a place to live. With all the spare room in their big new house, they gladly made room for Carl. Carl was an excellent room mate. They loved him very much. After a while, Carl got on his feet and moved out. Another friend of Sam's, Miller,  approached them about homestead, and again, they happily complied. After about 6 months, Miller asked if he could rescue a dog to bring into the family. As long as he got along with the beautiful dog, the sweet dog, and the adorable dog, they had no problems with it. The new loyal dog fit in well.

Pam's sister Polly was having a rough time though. It made Pam very sad. After sometime of hard thinking and soul searching, Polly told Pam that she and her husband Wally were getting divorced. For a while, Polly worked on her own to support herself and her son, Cole, but things were just hard. Pam knew Polly needed a support system, but didn't know how to approach her about it. Finally, Polly approached Pam about moving in as well. Sam and Pam discussed it, and decided that it was the right thing to do. They loved Polly and Cole very much.

Polly and Cole moved in at the end of October.

And then there were 9. 

it's not always easy, but we are one happy blended family.  : )

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

down time

* thanks to Jackson for capturing this photo opp...

*Moments like these must be saved and cherished....

the ramblings of Ryan

Ryan is getting so BIG! Not only is he growing and running and playing, he is really starting to learn. He talks a lot  all the time. He says cookie, cracker, shoes, mama, hedda, unca mak (uncle Mark), grammy, numm-numm (food), brusie (for all dogs, not just bruiser) and the newest thing is SIT! (to the dogs). He's learning so quickly! He knows where the dog treats are and how to feed the dogs way too many, he knows Uncle Mark can usually be found in the office, he knows where the bathroom is and where the garbage cans are, he can blow his nose, and show you where his ears, nose and head are. He knows what's hot and whats cold. He is so smart!

He is all smiles....

He falls asleep eating... (he learned that from uncle Mark!)

He's a future DJ...

He loves to say SHOES! (and then put on any pair he can find)

(told ya)

He's the cutest thing I've ever seen.

He's my nephew. And I love him so much.

Bonfire's Ablaze

These pictures are from a span of several weeks. I think we managed to get 3 bonfires in this month.

We had my old Fox Den ladies over, a few friends Mark works with, a few of Mark's old work cronies from Walgreens, and many others. November makes perfect weather for bonfires. Good thing my man knows how to chop wood! Several of these nights we listened to the game on the radio and made a pitcher of Tom Collins. Somehow, Mark and I managed to wear the same clothing for each fire. Just noticing that...I also managed somehow to not get a picture of the actual fire.

Such is life.
Halloween 2009
"Dress Up, or Don't Show up"

Maybe you can't tell, but we also had a Halloween Party..

            We had lots of guests ranging from Bella Swan and Edward Cullen to Dr. House and the Iron Chef. We had a few other guests: a piece of toast, a vampire and vampiress, Jon and Kate Plus 8, Lady Gaga and Peter Skarsgard.

Even Brett Michaels showed up at the end of the night with a one-eyed hooker in tow. All in all, a fantastic party. Here are a few pictures to tell the rest of the story. Between all the jello shots, pudding shots and moonshine cherries, my memory is slightly fuzzy.   : )

I do know we managed to go eat cracker barrell the next morning.

the horse says Moo!

Er, so, I'm way behind in posting. The end of October and the whole month of November has been filled with things that were both fun and exhausting. We only had one trick-or-treater this year. He was awfully cute, though.

I found this costume at Walmart. Holly had been looking for something warm enough that Ryan would also look cute in. The packaging said it was a horse, but we all agreed Ryan looked more like a cow.   : )

Mark always does FANTASTIC pumpkins. Here is this years favorite, from 'The Dark Knight'.

I too, enjoy carving pumpkins, just not on the elaborate scale Mark does. I made the "olivia" and "ryan" ones myself. Too cute, and so much fun.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Taco Soup

In an effort to stay warm this weekend, Mark made some hearty Taco Soup. It's thick and warm and perfect for a cold or rainy football Saturday.

Here's what you need:

1 lb of hamburger
1 yellow onion
1 can of corn (drained)
2 cans of diced, stewed tomatoes (with some kind of flavor- Meixcan, Italian, basil oregano)
3 cans of beans- we used black, pinto and northern.
1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
1 packet of Taco seasoning- we like Taco Bell.


Sautee onions, add and brown meat. Drain. Add half taco seasoning packet to meat/onion mixture.
In a stockpot, add your beans, corn, tomatoes, ranch packet and remaining taco seasoning on low heat.
When meat and onions are ready, add to stockpot and add 1 cup of water and cover.  Allow to cook for at least 45 minutes, 2 hrs is best. It's even better the next day.

Serve hot with Fritos and Mexican style cheese. Add a little Texas Pete for a bolder taste.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

up to Lexington.....

Mark and I made the journey to Lexington, Ky. to see the 'Kings of Leon' on Saturday night. In all honesty, I have never seen a better performance. Have you ever been to a concert and the band performing sounded exactly the same as they did on their record? It doesn't happen alot, but it did for us on Saturday! The Kings were amazing. If you haven't heard of them, I strongly suggest you crawl out from underneath that rock you've been living under and check them out. Their old stuff is even better than their new stuff, believe it or not.

The band 'White Lies' opened, and Mark and I were pretty impressed by them as well.

The tickets were a last minute happening, given to us by some friends who couldn't use them. Thanks, Mitchell and Brittany for thinking of us. We love you!

Here are a few pictures I captured while there. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Living and Learning

Life is what you make of it. I get that. Sometimes, it is difficult to make sense of what you've got, or what other people get.

I have a friend whose 40something uncle is dying. He is dying of cancer. Today they brought in hospice. That's end of life care, people. Like, his life is ending. He has a daughter who is 8 years old, I think, and a wife of 14 years. A year ago they were a regular family. People, just like you and me. And now, they are losing one another.

I could say it's so unfair. I could say they just don't deserve it, but who does? The best thing I can come up with is that I just don't understand it, and chances are, I never will. Are we any closer to finding a cure for cancer? October is Cancer Awareness Month, I believe. The thing I am not aware of is, how close are we?

I have been praying hard for this man and his family for some time, now. I realize that God has a plan, but it would be easier, in light of all the sadness surrounding this horrible disease, to understand what that plan is. I also realize that God doesn't always let us in on his plan... and that is one of the hardest parts about living- the not knowing what part comes next. As I have gotten older I have gradually realized that living for now and not worrying about tomorrow really is the best way to live a fullfilled life. What I am taking from this is to live, while I can. That doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye.

My heart goes out to my friend and his family. Every minute.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the abc's of October

This October, Mark and I are watching horror movies. One for each letter, and then a few extras that are favorites.

Here's what we've seen so far:

Black Dahlia
Dracula (Bram Stokers)
Evil Dead
Friday the 13th
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Jeepers Creepers
Land of the Dead
The Orphanage
Queen of the Damned
Rosemary's Baby
The Stand
The Undead

I will update this post later on in the month... Enjoy!

It's Fall!!!

Fall happens to be my favorite time of year. The air is cool, the trees look gorgeous, and you can wear jeans and a hoodie, and be exactly the right temperature!

Mark and I celebrated last weekend by heading to Southwest Point for a little soccer and then we went walking by the lake.

The picture above looks a little like a postcard. So pretty.... Ahhh, Fall. How I've missed you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Mark FINALLY got to go to his first concert. His friend James (or JT, as we refer to him) bought tickets to Metallica and I ended up being able to come along. My first heavy metal concert.

Here we are at Rosepeppers in Nashville before the concert. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed in Sommet Center, so this is the only picture I got. It works though. Mark looks like he's about to shit himself, he's so excited. Of course, that could just be what fish tacos do to you.

Anyway, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Thanks to JT and Jeremy for having us along. : )

Beatles Birthday Bash

Or better known as BBB, was thrown for Mark and Corey, as their birthdays
fall 3 days apart every year. The Beatles part was for the remastered tracks
that came out on 9/9/09. It was phenomenal. Everyone who came had a great
time. We missed those of you who couldn't make it, and would like
to assure you that we will definitely be doing this again.
Soon. Even the babies enjoyed themselves!
People were on boats!
It was beautiful. Not too hot; cool in the mornings and nights.
Seriously good fun!

Happy Birthday to Mark and Corey!

Mark is 28!

Happy 28Th Birthday, honey!
We celebrated Mark's birthday with crawfish, calamari, fried green beans and entrees from Red Bones with his parents. He is finally getting his own iPod- which he gets to pick out, and will stop carrying my hot pink one around.
Love you babe.

First Haircut

I got to take little man for his first *haircut! He did so well!
*Mommy tried to "trim" up the back and then we had to take Ryan down to Beth to have her "shape it up." (aka: Fix it. )
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