Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Walking (or lack there of) Chronicles

So, at this point I think Ella is taunting us by not walking. She's taken a step a few times (I've seen her take one step two times, and Steve saw her take a few in a row), but every time she just squats and revert to her high-speed, purposeful crawling.

She can stand up well and balance, and makes us think she's about to just take off and start walking, but then changes her mind and decides that walking's not all it's cracked up to be and who needs it when you can crawl or get carried anywhere you need to go?!?

Look at me!
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In reality I am not in a hurry for her to start walking because I know things will become a lot more complicated and the amount of things she can get into will quadruple, BUT, since she's going to be 15 months on Sunday and still no walking, I'd say we're just about ready! Who knows - I have to go away for work on Thursday so maybe she'll really show me by starting to walk then? Aaahhh so much to think about when you are a parent!

Just had to throw this pic in there too - snuggling with Sammy
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Glenn's Birthday

Glenn's birthday was on Sunday (March 29) and he and Mom came to visit for the weekend. It was a really fun weekend and Steve and I made out with babysitting both nights! On Friday night we had dinner out and went to see a movie, and then went out for drinks on Saturday night (waaaa-aay more social life then we usually have!). Ella was quite happy to have the time with her Grammy and Gramps and they loved having her.

We went to gymnastics on Saturday morning and then Mom & I went shopping Saturday afternoon (read below for our merry-go-round experience), and then we went out to dinner on Saturday night, where Ella put on quite a performance at dinner (that story deserves a whole post by itself...in her defense though, she missed her afternoon nap :)). On Sunday we went to church and then Steve made us a big breakfast and then me, mom and Glenn went back to Marbles - the kids museum downtown.

My little strategist, playing chess already!
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Driving an ambulance
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Very busy in the vegetable garden
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Splash!
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Ella and Gramps
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"Jumping" on the trampoline
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Mom, Ella and Glenn
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It was such a nice trip, and while the 3 of us were there, Steve was making us all a steak dinner for Glenn's birthday, so we went home and had a good dinner and then cake! So, definitely a great weekend and I'm glad we got to celebrate for Glenn's birthday!

Carousel Ride

Mom and I went to the mall this weekend and after being a reasonably good sport while we clothes shopped for me (notice the "reasonably"...she was quite impatient and wanted sweet freedom instead of the stroller!), we thought Ella would like to have a ride on the merry-go-round. She was really tired after the trip and I wasn't sure how much she would like it, but thought it was worth a shot!

Here we are in line
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Instead of sitting on a bench I decided to be brave and go right for a horse!

Ready to go!
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I guess it's been a very long time since I've ridden on a merry-go-round and I completely forgot that the individual horses move up and down instead of just in the circle. And of course Ella doesn't get that she needs to hold on to the bar, so it was quite an adventure.
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Once that carousel started moving, I cannot even explain to you how funny Ella's reaction was. She screamed and yelled with glee - she made a noise like "WOAAAAHHHH", her whole body was shaking and she was yelling and laughing as loud as she could. It made me laugh so hard and was just such a blast.

Here I am trying to maintain composure and not drop my babydoll while she is wriggling and giggling out of control!
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(notice how she does not feel the need to hold on??)

Whenever we would circle around I could see mom laughing so hard watching Ella's and my reaction, we were both dying laughing - her response was just so over-the-top and I've never seen her so excited about anything before. It was quite an experience and one that I will remember for a long time. And I think that the carousel will become a regular part of our mall routine!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Girls Weekend

My best friend Kelly lives in Boston and it's her 30th birthday tomorrow. I went up to Boston for the weekend for a girls weekend and to celebrate her birthday. It was sooooo much fun. We had really good dinners, got manicures and pedicures, went to see a movie (Duplicity, it was really good and I'd recommend it), went out on Saturday night, and talked for hours and hours (and hours!!).

It was cold but sunny so we got to walk around a good amount too, and just had such a fantastic weekend. It was my first time going away without Ella and so strange not to have to consider her napping and eating schedule at all. I hoped to sleep in but still woke up before 7am both days. I really missed Ella but knew she was in good hands and I just enjoyed the time with Kelly and a really nice weekend.

Here we are on Saturday night
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Happy Birthday Kelly and thanks for such a wonderful weekend!!

Steve and Ella's trip to Maryland

Steve's brother Craig lives in Washington state and unfortunately we hardly ever get to see him, his wife Jackie and their three sweet kids, Cayla, Cammi & Gavin. We saw Craig last summer, and he ended up flying in to Maryland last week for a few days, so Steve took Ella and drove up to visit his dad and see Craig for a few days.

Walking with Grampy
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Uncle Craig and Ella "the tummy" Whiteside, at Len's tennis team practice
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Where is Mommy and a hairbrush when you need her??


She's off!
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Here I come!
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Steve had Ella in the pack and play in the same room as him and said that the most interesting revelation from the trip was that Ella wakes up several times a night to play. He said one time he woke up to her pressing the tummy of her "super sleuth winnie the pooh" (who talks!) and said that several times during the night she would sit up, play for a while, do some talking, and then fall back asleep. So funny!!

Len, Craig, Ella and Ralphie
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I missed my little crew but was very happy they were able to make the trip and had such a great time with each other. I had my book club one night and did some scrapbooking another night and even let the dogs sleep in bed with me, but the house was definitely much quieter than I am used to!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ella is 14 Months Old!

Ella turned 14 months last Thursday, March 5. I'm over a week late but wanted to put up a 14 month update! So, in honor of Ella's 14 months as my wonderful little babydoll, here are 14 facts about Ella this month.

1. All of a sudden Ella's hair is growing very quickly and it's getting curly in the back. It's so funny because the front is still very straight and almost in her eyes if I don't sweep it to the side, but the back is definitely curly. It's like she has Steve's super-straight hair up front and my curly hair in the back – here is a good side profile of her ‘do.

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And here she is reaching for her hairbrush
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Got it!
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2. Ella is VERY helpful when I am doing chores around the house. Her favorite thing is to stand in front of the dryer and I pass all the wet clothes to her and she pushes them into the dryer. I say things like "shirt" and give her a shirt, and she replies to each one with some type of noise back (although I've yet to hear her say 'shirt' or 'pillowcase'...maybe she'll surprise me one of these days!)
She also really enjoys the dishwasher being open, trying to pull things out of the dishwasher, and all activity surrounding the dishwasher. I've found the best thing to do is give her her own little set of dishes to 'wash' while I work on mine.

Here she is washing dishes, and a video of her hard work

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Such a big helper!

3. Ella’s eating has become increasingly picky this month and we’re working hard to try to give her a good variety of veggies, fruits and meats but it is not proving to be too easy. We did discover (by accident) that she’s more receptive to eating veggies if she can pull them out of a bowl herself. We were out to dinner a few weeks ago and got her green beans and they came in a bowl. Steve was giving them to her but she was desperate to get to the bowl and ended up eating more than she’s ever eaten at one time, because she loved pulling them out of the bowl – who would’ve thought? So since then we’ve successfully given her cantaloupe and even lima beans! It’s definitely an uphill battle though - she also enjoys feeding Sammy while she’s eating, so we pretty much can’t even let Sammy be in the house while she is eating because he is attracted to her like a magnet.

Here is a delicious sweet potato covered face after a particularly yummy meal!
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4. It’s amazing how happy just seeing Ella makes me. I can wake up in the morning and feel tired or stressed about what’s waiting for me when I get to work, but as soon as I walk in to Ella’s room and see that sweet little face I feel so happy. She is always sitting up in her crib, never standing, and gets so excited when we walk in – sometimes she claps or she starts tossing her toys in the air or just otherwise acts very excited. It’s amazing that every new day is so special to her and so cool to see just how excited she is for each new day. Her happiness is contagious and she is like a guaranteed happy-mood-maker.

Here is a totally adorable first-photo-of the morning
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5. Even when she is wearing shoes, Ella seems to think that whatever is attached to her feet is just a toy for her to play with. So, even though she starts every day with a pair of socks on her feet, they quickly disappear and almost every car trip ends with us putting her socks (or socks and shoes) back on those little feet! Her feet are just soooo precious and here they are in my favorite pose, when she crosses them at the ankle like a dainty little lady!

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6. Ella’s love of peekaboo in all forms seems to grow by the day – she’ll hide behind anything she can get her hands on, including curtains and drapes, and loves “surprising” us by reappearing from behind whatever she has. Here she is playing peekaboo with her shoebox, and her little eye peeking out.

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7. Another of Ella’s favorite things is her reflection, and likes to see what happens when SHE makes a move, what does the girl in the mirror do?

Almost every single night after dinner she will play in front of the back door while we clean up and here she is one night having fun with her friend in the window.

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8. Ella is now able to stand up on her own from a seated position, and will stand up for up over a minute at a time but isn’t motivated to do much more than that. We try to encourage her to take a step toward us, but she immediately squats and will crawl to us instead. So at this point I’m guessing she’s still a month or so away from walking. She can walk with our help, but as you can see from this video and her hysterical laughter, she seems to think that walking is more of a game than a mode of transportation.

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Also, she is climbing a lot more lately and made it into her toy box today for the first time. Once she made it in there, she rocked back and forth like she was in a little boat.
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9. Still just the 2 teeth…I am beginning to question whether there are actually any other teeth in there! We brush them every day, as well as her gums on top since there are no teeth there yet, so that whenever she finally has a mouth full of teeth she’ll be used to the routine. She doesn’t mind the tooth brushing and especially likes it if she can look at herself in the mirror while we’re brushing.

Here's a good tooth-shot
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10. She’s still facing backwards in the carseat – we put her on the scale last week and it said she was 19.5 lbs so she’s SO CLOSE. We both think she’s going to love facing forward, she talks and yells nonstop in the car and I think it’ll be a lot more fun for when she can see us without having to crane her neck all around to see us.

11. Ella finally has some interest in books! We’ve read to her all along, starting when she was a newborn, but she is just in the last few weeks actually seem to almost follow along (although usually with her foot) and right now her favorite is “Poor Polly Pig” and she actually laughs at the drawings on several of the pages. She’ll even point at things on the page and try to flip some pages.

12. Ella LOVES going for walks in her stroller. She reaches out for her stroller and loves being pushed around the neighborhood. She is so curious and inquisitive and seems study everything that we come across. She has the cutest face when she’s confused about something and she gets really still and her eyes open wide and she just slowly moves them back and forth. I love all her facial expressions and that is one of my favorite ones.

13. My favorite part of the entire day is putting Ella to bed. I sit in the rocker with her and she rests her head on my shoulder and curls up her whole body against me. I rock her for a while and just enjoy the quiet time with her. She’s so active and busy all the time and usually doesn’t want to sit still so it’s nice to have at least a few minutes of each day to snuggle with her. If I get really lucky she’ll rub my arm while she’s laying there…it’s like a little gift!

14. Some of Ella’s new tricks this month are flipping the light switch on and off, opening cabinets, pulling the CD out of her CD player, recording shows for us on the DVR (accidentally!), throwing a ball, being able to squat and stand up, and constantly narrating whatever she is doing. She’ll say whole ‘sentences’ at a time that although they don’t make sense to us, she definitely has real meaning behind them and will talk with inflection and emotion in her voice. She says “hi” and “hey” all the time and I really don’t think there is any sweeter sound than her little voice saying “hi.” When we take her out places she says “hi” to lots of people that she sees.

She has such a range of emotions and will yell and scream with excitement (especially if the dogs are involved), get angry if you don’t give her something that she wants and she will clench her hands into fists, scrunch her face up and yell at us (to no avail), laugh uncontrollably and be so silly, and then has times of just being the snuggliest little bunny on the planet. It’s just amazing to watch her turn into a little person.

So here's to a wonderful 14 months with our little angel!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Playground Pics

We took advantage of the great weather and took Ella to a playground nearby. It was a lot of fun and here are some photos from the trip.

Her first swinging attempt of the year!
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Here's a little video of her swinging - look how wildly she's kicking her legs...
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On the slide with Daddy
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This is fun!
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She instantly made some friends in the sandbox who showed her how to make (and destroy!) sand castles
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Driving
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Ready to go home and very sleepy...
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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fun Weekend

Erin and Josh came to visit for the weekend and it was so great to have them here. They came in on Friday night and then went to gymnastics on Saturday morning, and then we had Dad and Donna up for a barbecue Saturday afternoon. We had incredible weather, it was sunny and 80 degrees so it was so nice to spend time on the deck and enjoy the sun.

Hanging out with Aunt Erin
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Very serious
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With Grandma
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Relaxing with Grandad
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Ella loves Chico and just like she does with our dogs, she tries to rest on him and snuggle...it is so cute!
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Happy girl
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Peekaboo, I see you!
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With Aunt Erin & Uncle Josh
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Erin reading a story to Ella - must have been a funny part!
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Checking out the inside of her toy box
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And here is Ella and Aunt Erin today
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It was such a fun weekend and as usual I was sad to see them go, but I'm sure we'll get together again soon!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ella and Her Bud

Ella LOVES Sammy - she points and says "doh" for "dog" for Sammy, Cory and Nomar (we're working on teaching her that Nomar is a cat and not a dog!) - but of all 3 of them, Sammy is her favorite. Cory is a little wild and not as interested in her, but Sammy will usually hang out around her and let's Ella "play" with him. Here are some pics of the two of them over the past week.

Saying hi while he's taking a nap
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Happily waving her arms at him
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And here's a little video of her getting very up close and personal with him!
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And here she is doing a complete takeover of Steve's lap. Poor unsuspecting Sammy...
Step 1: Very sweetly rest her head on Sammy like a little angel
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Step 2: Innocently crawl on Steve's lap and again, rest angelically
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Step 3: Quickly whip her body around and start "urging" Sammy to scooch over
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Step 4: Gleefully "pet" Sammy on the head (look at that grip of her fingers!)
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Sammy was a good sport but hand enough and hightailed it out of there and Ella enjoyed her victory!