About El Momma

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happiest of Birthdays to our six year old, Bakri!

Six years ago today, I could never have known how you would change my life.
Before you, I thought knew what it meant to be busy, what it meant to be tired, what it meant to be out of my mind with worry. Before you, I thought I knew what it meant to have a mother's love, to love more than words could express, to be completely unselfish. Before you, I thought I knew how to cry, how to laugh, how to smile from my heart. But, it turns out that I didn't know much of anything and I'm still learning every single day. I'm learning how to mother you in the way that you need to be mothered. I'm learning how to love you in the way that you need to be loved the most. I'm learning what an amazing boy you truly are. Your love of music, your love of bugs, your love of the astros, your love of fireworks! I love all of these things too, because I love you! You are more than I could have ever hoped for in a son. I wish the world for you, my sweet sweet Bakri. Happy sixth birthday, love!


With Leeland and Momma and Daddy at Leeland's Baptism

Bakri, loving his baby brother, Leeland

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's still hard to believe how it flies

Time. Isn't it the craziest thing? Sometimes it seems to move so slowly, when we're waiting for a big event. But, most of the time, it flies by so quickly that it's gone before we know it. It's hard for me to believe that my little baby Bakri, will be six years old tomorrow. Six years!? That's amazing. In six more years he'll be 12! That's seems so far away! But, I know, if history repeats itself, the next six years will fly by even faster than the last six. And, before I know it, my baby boy will be in high school. Happy birthday to our big six year old boy, Bakri. May we celebrate in ways that stay with you always and remind you constantly of how much you are enjoyed and loved.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to throw a Successful and Happy Brunch that the Hostess can enjoy!

So, I can't say I'm an expert in party planning. However, I have hosted four brunches at my house which started right when I arrived (right after church.) And, I've definitely learned from mistakes along the way.
When I think about what makes throwing a party easy and fun, it's always about the preparations. How much can I prepare ahead of time? The more I can do before the party begins, (the day before, preferably) the more I enjoy the party.

Here are the tips from my home to yours:
1. think about your guests, the kind of mood you want to have and set your menu
2. choose a menu that can be prepared almost completely ahead of time
3. choose a menu that will use a variety of colors and look beautiful and appetizing on the table
4. choose beverages and make preparations (ie. preparing the coffee pot so it only needs to be turned on when you arrive or setting the timer
5. set the table with your decorations; tablecloths, flowers, serving items the night or day before
6. have time (ask your husband or a friend to occupy the kids for a while so you can have the necessary time) set aside to cook
7. make as many dishes ahead of time as you can. The menu I chose for this event was:
                                                       Ina Garten's tri-berry muffins
                                                       Ina Garten's easy cheese danishes
                                                       Maryana Vollstedt's brunch bake (a quiche-like egg dish) needed to
                                                                                     heat this dish at the beginning of the party
                                                       sides of fresh salsa for egg dish
                                                       fresh watermelon (cut ahead of time)
                                                       cake (ordered from H-E-B)
                                                       orange juice, champagne for mimosas, decaf and regular coffee,
                                                                                      assorted juices, sodas
8. Once the food is on the table, enjoy every second! At this party, I actually ate! Which is a miracle. I've definitely come a long way in party prepping!

whipping the cheese filling for the danishes

first pan of danishes complete!

berries for the muffins

tri-berry muffin mix- mixed

tri-berry muffins

barefoot, in the kitchen!

The cake

The brunch table!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Baptism Day! Baby Leeland!

Sunday was a very special and memorable day for the Els. We celebrated the baptism of our fourth child and youngest son, Leeland. He was so thoughtful during the baptism, seeming to take in every word. He also was up really late that night after all of the excitement and extra stimuli from the day being surrounded by so many loved ones.

Infant baptism in Presbyterian Christian faith is a way for the parents to commit before God and our friends and family to raise our son intentionally to know and love Jesus. And, our congregation also committed in assisting in the raising of Leeland in "the way he should go, (so that) when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

One of the scriptures from this Sunday was
Genesis 12

The Call of Abram
1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.

This blessing that the Lord promised Abram, was and is fulfilled through Jesus Christ. We are a part of that blessing. Read again the words "Go and I will go with you. I will bless those who bless you. And, all of the people of the earth will be blessed through you." We are a part of this amazing blessing. Let the people of the earth be blessed through you today and always.

Leeland Thaddeus, 8 months, Baptism Day

(most of) Leeland's family (wishing our California family were with us!)

Momma's big brown eyed baby boy

enjoying the baptism


really listening to Pastor Jeff, St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Houston

Sleepy Sister


lots of cousins


Momma, Daddy, Bakri and Leeland

All six of the Els


Feeling great after a quick nap!



El Momma with the Els and the Madduxs

happy boy

our family

love of brothers

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Writing A Special New Song inspired by Leeland's Baptism and a Powerful Song by Chris Medina

Sunday was a pretty special day for our family. We baptised our youngest child at our home church amongst friends and family. I led worship on this very special morning as well. And, when preparing for the message, felt inspired to write a new song entitled "Your Promises." I would describe it as a very simple, soulful song that expresses the way I feel about my walk with God in the simplest of terms. There are times I felt like I was alone and I was making all of the wrong choices and yet, now, looking back I know that I was never alone and God was with me and carrying me through even the hardest of times. God has promised His Blessings and He fulfilled and fulfills that promise through His son Jesus. I am walking proof of God's promises and in this song I describe how I feel each day as I "hold tight to Your promises."  Our pastor shared the story of American Idol contestant, Chris Medina and then played his video which tells of His continued love and commitment to his fiance after she suffered brain injury in an accident. Lyrics to Chris Medina- What are Words To view the video we saw this week click here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQY4dIxY1H4

If you haven't seen it and/or heard it, get ready with the kleenex. It is a tear-jerker.
So, it was pretty impossible to sing the song "Your Promises" after watching this unbelievably emotional video and listening to this beautiful song. But, I believe it was meant to be and part of God's plan for our service. I hope that the congregation knew could feel that I was singing from my heart. It is impossible to commit to be with someone and support them in the way Chris sings about without God's love coming through you and without clinging to His promises. I am thankful to have so much life to look forward to in front of me and to know that God will never leave me. I will forever hold tight to His promises.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another busy day!

Hello, friends!
I spent the entire day preparing for Leeland's Baptism and brunch tomorrow. Whew! I am exhausted! I did take pictures, but I am afraid to remove the card from the camera, just in case I forget to load it before tomorrow. So, I'll wait and update this post with pictures soon. Let's just say, I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen! All of the special clothes are laid out for each child, the table is set, the flower arrangements look beautiful, the food is prepared and now it is time for me to email tomorrow's music to the media team and go to bed! Good night!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Special Wedding Celebration

Tonight, Moustapha and I and Leeland celebrated the wedding of some very special friends here in Houston. The bride and Leeland have a darling love  affair. I'm pretty sure the groom isn't jealous! As soon as we arrived, she swept Leeland out of my arms and carried him around the reception introducing him to everyone. It was so cute and sweet. We are thankful to call you friends and we wish you a very wonderful life together. Congratulations, Andy and Lisa!

Friday, Girl day for Trinity and Haircut and movie for the Boys with Grandmother

We started this day with a playdate at home with one of Maddux's bffs. He's actually the son of one of my good friends. They've known each other through our weekly bible study childcare nearly all of their lives and they connect and get along really well. It was a fun morning.

Thank you to both sets of grandparents for helping us today. I know Trinity enjoyed having girl time with her cousin and the boys loved getting Maddux's haircut and going to a movie with Grandmother. Thanks to the kids being out of the house.

Thanks to some free time at home, Momma  (that's me!) did some very important things at home- cleaned toilets, vacuumed, moved furniture, put away clothes, did several loads of laundry, dusted, ate, fed Leeland several times, went through mail, cleaned the stairs, etc.

It was great! Now, I've caught up on blogging and tomorrow I will do final preparations for Leeland's baptism and brunch.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday, Galleria shopping with Grandmother & songwriting

To prepare for Leeland's upcoming baptism, we went to the galleria today to shop for his baptism outfit. We knew exactly what we were looking for. Grandmother came over before lunch and we went together with all of the kids. The boys love the fountain at the Galleria. Although, I don't remember the last time it was actually working. Of course, it was not operating on this day. Luckily, the clothing shop had a kid video playing at the back of the store. The older boys went right to it and gave us time to shop. After finding exactly what we were looking for, we didn't waste any time heading out of there and going to lunch. Unfortunately, the els were set on chick-fil-a. So, no mexican food fix for Grandmother from Guadalajara Restaurant on this day.
By the time we got home, it was time for a playdate at the park with one of Bakri's friends. I took all three boys and laid Trinity down for a nap. Her dad was working from home. We spent over an hour at the park and I enjoyed getting to know another mom a little better. It is always nice to get some adult conversation!
We were home in time for me to get dinner started and soon our sitter arrived. I spent the next hour upstairs alone finishing a new song called "Your Promises" which we will play this Sunday during the offering. It's about a few of the promises that God has made us and how nothing can keep us from His Promises and I will hold tight to His Promises.
Soon after that, I headed to rehearsal. Things went really well. It's always a little overwhelming and emotional for me when presenting a new song to the band (my friends) for the first time. This night was no different. This song, with simple lyrics, particularly speaks to my life story. I really feel connected to it and am very excited to share it on Sunday.

One more day of Spring Break week!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday, Rodeo Houston!, oh those Crazy Els!

As if going to the zoo during spring break wasn't crazy enough, let's go to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Value Day! Total insanity! It was one thing after another. But, again, we were so lucky that Moustapha was with us. Thank you, honey! You made a very difficult day of "fun" much more bearable. It's true what I said a while back. Sometimes it is really hard work to have fun! Hope you enjoyed your day little cowboys and Miss Cowgirl! love, Momma and Daddy

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday, a day with the Animals...at the Houston Zoo

And, we're off! Here we go on the Hermann Park Conservatory Train! We were first in line for tickets and the first riders on the train. I was insistent that we arrive early to the zoo if we were going to go at all over spring break. From what I hear, the number of people that go to the zoo on a spring break day is 20 times the number on a regular day. So, we were kind of crazy to tackle the zoo on this day. But, I've been called worse. So, we arrived in the parking lot around 9:30am and we were good to go.

 First stop, the elephants. There are two new els!
 And, there they are. My beautiful family and a giant elephant. Awesome! This moment was just before the first fit of the day.

 Here's Trinity enjoying a very expensive lunch. Hopefully most of the cost goes to protect endangered species and care for the zoo animals. It's for a good cause. :-)

 Leeland's very first carousel ride. Could he be any happier.....or any cuter!?!?

 Momma and Trinity! What a beautiful, fun day we had at the Houston Zoo, Spring Break 2011.