Monday, August 31, 2009

Lucky Sammy

After dinner tonight, Sammy was peacefully sleeping on the couch and Ella decided it was time for the two of them to play, ideally for Sammy to chase her while she runs around and screams. Unfortunately, he didn't have the same idea as he had already been a good sport and played with her for about 15 minutes earlier, and was ready to call it a night.

But, not to be discouraged, Ella decided she had to pull out all the stops to get her best bud to pay attention to her.

To start, she was VERY sweet with him, very nice and gentle, and even giving him kisses.

Then she decided she needed something more with which to entice him, and so she went and got Steve's wrist band to tempt him with (although still being generous with her kisses)

Hmmmm...not enough...what next? Oooooh a balloon, that's just what he'll like!

Sammy still didn't seem that interested (hard to believe, huh?), she figured she needed to step up the antics a little bit.

Heyyy Sammy, check out my moves!!

Now that is ONE LUCKY DOG!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kelly's Visit

Kelly came to visit 2 weekends ago, it was soo great to have her here. She hadn't seen Ella since her first birthday party, so it was fun for her to see Ella after all that time.

We went out to a girls dinner on Friday night, took Ella to gymnastics on Saturday, and had a barbecue at our house on Saturday night. On Sunday we went to the pool and relaxed for a few hours - baby free :).

So, a great weekend and as usual, wonderful to see Kelly!


Grazin' Days

As I’ve written before on this blog, Ella’s eating is always an area that causes me concern. Whether it’s the fact that she refuses food just upon sight, spends more time feeding the dogs than herself, or flings her food the moment she is done, it's always an adventure.

Well, I’ve read in several books that the absolute worst thing you can do is turn eating into a battle, so we’ve always done the method that when she’s done eating, she’s done. We’re not going to make her eat, and she’ll eat when she’s hungry. So this has worked reasonably well, especially when she will raise her hands and say “all done” when she’s done.

However. She is a clever one, and has figured out some tricks. She will now “finish” eating in about 5 minutes, begin throwing her food off the tray to signal she is done (uggg, this one needs to get tackled next), then spend the rest of time while we eat dinner getting little bites here and there and wandering around. She’ll get food from us, go play for a bit, come back, repeat. It’s kind of snuck up on us (and allows us to eat dinner peacefully), but has definitely become a problem because now her goal is to get out of her seat as quickly as possible then continue to eat. Aside from the fact it’s not good for her to be eating and walking around at the same time, I really want her to sit through a meal with us and eat in her seat, not while she’s playing.

So, we decided this week that the problem is ending and dinner has been anything but peaceful!

Monday night – We had pizza for dinner which Ella loves. She ate about four bites and then began flinging it off her tray. So, I said, you’re done, and pulled her out of her seat. Then, she walked right over to Steve and asked for some of his. He said “you need to sit in your seat to eat”…she began to frantically sign ‘more’ and ‘eat’, whine, yell, cry, you get the idea. She came over to my chair, buried her head in my lap and sobbed because she just couldn’t believe the injustice. And she absolutely refused to go back in her seat. She finally calmed down after about 15 minutes of this craziness, and we got her back in her chair, although without the tray, and I pulled it right up next to my seat next to the table. She proceeded to eat at least two full slices of pizza, not exaggerating. In fact, I got up to get her more milk, and she slid my plate over to her, pushed the pizza off my plate onto the table, held up my plate and said “all gone”… Although it was not the relaxing dinner we’d like, score 1 for the parents because she did not get a single bite wandering around, and she DID eventually get back in her chair to eat.

Tuesday night – More of the same, but this time with a twist. She WOULD eat sitting in her chair, but ONLY on the condition that it come from MY bowl, not her own. She wanted me to feed her (with a metal fork, not a toddler-friendly spoon) from my bowl and my bowl only. She did not want to feed herself, and did not want to eat her own meal, even though it was the exact same (although many degrees cooler!). Steve started to pour some of her meal into mine so we could share it, and she flipped out. It’s crazy how particular she can be about things.

The past few nights have been similar - tonight it took FIVE tries in her seat, and she ended up eating about 10 grapes and a handful of cereal. But I am happy to say that we are no longer encouraging her grazing mealtime behavior and hopefully with a few more weeks of unpeaceful meals she may just be sitting and eating all at once!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Who knew 18-month photos were so hard??

I took Ella to get her 18-month professional photos taken several weeks ago and you would've thought I had taken her to a torture session. The entire time! It was crazy. I would put her down, walk the 3 steps away to get out of the picture, and she would start screaming and crying. She was just miserable, suspicious of the photos being taken, and wouldn't leave my side.

After about half an hour and thinking it just wasn't going to happen and maybe we should call it a day, I got the idea (a.k.a. pure desperation and last ditch effort) to hide under a blanket and Tina could crop me out later. Tina found a white blanket and I got underneath and held Ella on my lap. Voila! - that made all the difference in the world! She thought it was hysterical - we played peekabo, she lauged and carried on, and had an almost-complete recovery. Here are a bunch of the photos, and yes, I am the white shape in them :).

I love how the photos turned out - from looking at them you would never imagine what went on behind the scenes!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Ella working on her singing - I especially enjoy where she sings to her reflection in the TV!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ella is 19 Months

Ella turned 19 months old on August 5, so here are my 19 notes on my nugget this month!

1. Some new words this month - up, out, snack, eye, cold, down, and jump. Now, when I say these are her new words, I really mean more that she has a sound that she assigns to each of these and says every time. I don't think that anyone else would hear 'jump' but we do and know what she means. Ellanese is definitely still her primary language, with English in second place.

The universal language...

2. She loves to nod her head 'yes'. It is sooo sweet - you'll ask a question and she'll nod to indicate that she understands and agrees. I love how she's able to engage back with us in this new way, and she is so proud of herself to show that she's able to say 'yes'. It's nice because for a while her favorite word was 'no' but now she's much happier to shake her head yes.

3. Ella's newest and most favorite talent right now is JUMPING. She says "jump, jump" and bends her legs and straightens them. Then, we're supposed to hold on to her while she wildly throws herself around and yells "jump, jump." She loves it. She also loves throwing a ball, and is starting to be able to kick them as well. And, with help, she can walk down the stairs facing front.

4. Ella now has 7 1/2 teeth. She has a molar on top that came all the way in, and is getting one on the bottom, both on the left side of her mouth. Other than that, still the 4 on top and 2 on the bottom right up front. Her teeth are in no hurry at all to come on out.

6. Just in the past month one of the several blankets in Ella's crib has become her favorite blankie - when she wakes up in the morning, she pops her binkie in her mouth and then wants her blankie while she gets her diaper changed. Then she throws both of them in the crib with quite a flourish and gives me a high-five to congratulate herself. She wants to hold that blankie when we read to her at night too.

7. Her hair has gotten so much longer and is so curly. I just love it. No cut yet and now I am thinking she doesn't even need one.

8. Shoes are funny little toys for Ella's amusement and no car ride is complete without her shoes being pulled off and thrown somewhere in the backseat...if we're extra lucky we get to fish one or both of them out from under the front seats once we get to our destination.

9. She tells us when she wants her diaper changed by saying "Deee" - and points to her diaper. We say "do you want a new diaper?" and she nods her head, then heads right to the stairs to go upstairs to get changed.

10. I feel like she just absorbs everything. Steve and I can be talking and will say a word that she knows like hair or hat and she'll point to her hair and say 'hair', even though she just picked that one word out of the conversation. She'll laugh when we do, and nods along like she's following the conversation. She's also pretty good at following directions and can follow a 2-step direction (i.e. please go get your milk and then come here) without any gestures. She knows and understands so much more than she can say, it's really amazing.

11. We're still working on the 'gentle' concept and I think we've got a long road ahead of us when it comes to learning 'gentle'. We try to practice 'nice hands' on our faces and she'll do a few seconds of nice hands followed by waaaaay too not-nice hands.

12. When she is asleep she looks just like a little angel. Her face is so sweet and peaceful, I could just watch her for hours.

13. Ella looooves books now. When it's time for bed she picks the book that she wants to read, hands it to me and says 'up' to get in my lap. Or if I'm not sitting yet, she taps the chair seat so that I'll get in it. When the book is over, she signs 'more' and wants to hear it again...and again. I've started reading longer books so that I am not reading one 8 times in a row. She'll also pick them up and pretend to read and point to things. The other night she piled 3 blankets, snoopy pillow and stuffed bunny Trove all on me before getting in my lap to read. I tried to put a few of them on the ottoman while I read but she wasn't having it. She wanted every one of her crib friends to enjoy the story just like she was.

14. She still loves to dance! She has moves where she puts her hands up in air, twirls around, and it's like a switch is flipped - she could be playing or doing anything, but when the music starts, Ella MUST DANCE. I need to make another video clip of it, it's so funny.

15. She is incredibly silly. She hysterically laughs out loud, pretends that the dogs are chasing her, tickles us, tickles her own toes, just has so much fun and is playing every second of the day unless she is asleep. She bops around, kicks her feet, just generally on the move every minute.

16. Ella's favorite foods right now - rice, bananas, strawberrries, yogurt, cheese, goldfish crackers, and of course bread. Oh I can't forget french fries - as much as I want her to eat healthily, and do think we accomplish it most of the time, she loves french fries (but really, who doesn't??). She eats with a spoon although sometimes she will hold the spoon in one hand but will eat with her other hand. If you forget to give her a spoon, she will remind you.

17. She's going through a really clingy phase where she sometimes wants to be held for what seems like hours, even around the house. She's clever and if I try to put her feet on the ground, she curls them up so that there's no way to put her down. She can sense when I'm about to lower her, and she squeezes my neck so tight. "Up" is definitely one of her most-often-said words.

18. BUT...There are also times when all she wants is to be AWAY FROM MOMMY AND DADDY. She runs in the opposite direction when she knows we want her to do something, or yells "Noooo". She can play somewhat independently and color, play with blocks, or her wagon for a little bit although most of the time she wants us to be sitting with her while she's playing.

19. She is so good at giving hugs and kisses and I think I give her about 100 kisses every day. Sometimes when you ask for a kiss she'll just lean in and give you her cheek, but other times you get a big open-mouthed (sometimes TOO open-mouthed) kiss right on the lips. The best is when she, completely unprovoked, runs up and gives a big hug (which we call a 'giant hug') and a kiss. It is the best.

My 19-month old babydoll

It's really amazing what a little person Ella is becoming. She is a sweet little lady, fiercely independent at times, and completely clingy at other times. She can be a huggy little princess, or a wild screaming banchee. She can be very trying at times, especially when she is frustrated that she can't tell us what she wants to, or when she's pulling the dog's tail for what seems like the 99th time of the day, but such is toddlerhood. Overall it is a really fun age, and I am certainly enjoying her 20th month!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Anniversary

This past Monday, August 10, was Steve and my 7th wedding anniversary! Dad and Donna had given us a Bed & Breakfast gift certificate that we decided to use for an actual night away last Saturday night. We didn't go too far - up to Durham (about 45 minutes away) - but had such a great time.

We lived in Durham the summer of 2005 when I was doing my internship at Duke, so it was kind of nostalgic and we did some driving around our old stomping is the duplex we lived in that summer:

We lived on the left half of the house. There was no cable line, no phone line, no internet, air conditioning only in the bedroom, roaches in the cabinets, and a "fenced in yard" that was actually an 18 inch chicken wire fence. Quite the place, but just a few blocks from Duke so was in a great location and definitely served its purpose.

This is Charley's, a restarant that was just a few blocks from the house and we went there many, many times that summer. We ate lunch there last Saturday and had a long, leisurely, relaxed lunch - I cannot remember the last time that has happened!


The B&B we stayed out was very cool - a very old, 1860s house that the owners (a retired doctor and his wife) fixed up over a 3-year period, and furnished the entire thing with antiques. We had our own porch off the room and read and relaxed out there. Even though it was a hot day, the porch was shady and really quiet.


Durham Bulls game that night


It was such a fun night and so good to spend the time together. Mom came down and babysat Ella and of course Ella had a wonderful time too. I pretty much think Mom played with her for 24 straight hours, except when Ella was eating or sleeping.

So, a great weekend all around and a fantastic way to celebrate our 7th anniversary!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Somebody get this girl a snack!

She's quite subtle in her approach - I get a 4-pronged attack:
1) run to the fridge (in the event I do not remember where food is kept, this will serve as my reminder)
2) hit fridge and shriek (in the hopes the fridge will magically open itself and pop out some food)
3) sign and say 'snack' (to appease my neverending quest for any requests that do NOT involve yelling)
4) vigorous head nod (sheesh lady, are you dense? how many ways do I have to tell you, that YES, I want the snack!!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Wild Woman

This is a typical post-dinner occurence in our house each evening...when the wild, wild Ella-gone-crazy comes out to play!!


Steve's brother Craig and his family went up to MD for the week after the beach, and stayed with us for the night last Thursday before they flew back to Washington. It was great to get to see them again and among all the action, we managed to snap a few pic of the kids together.

Cammi and Ella playing

Cammi, Gavin, Cayla and Ella

When we went upstairs to get ready for bed, I put Ella on the counter in the bathroom and she managed to get herself all cozy in the sink

Brushing her teeth

It had been way too long since we'd last seen everyone, so hopefully the next time will be a lot sooner!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Week at Kure Beach

We spent all last week in Kure Beach on vacation with the Whiteside family. It was Steve's dad and Carole, Steve's brother Craig, his wife Jackie and their children Cayla, Cammi and Gavin; Steve's sister Michelle and her children Andy, Tyler and Jack, and Steve's sister Teresa. The whole family hadn't been together in almost 5 years, so it was a great family reunion.

During the day we'd usually get Ella out on the beach early in the day, then take her in for lunch and nap, then come back out in the late afternoon. Michelle set up her baby pool on one of the decks and that provided many, many, many hours of entertainment so I was very glad we had it!

Ella had a love-hate relationship with the beach and ocean - there were times when she really enjoyed it, climbed up sand walls, charged into the waves (okay, not really!), and had fun digging and playing in the sand, and then there were other times when she had zero tolerance for it. She'd be upset and unhappy and we couldn't get her out of there fast enough. Sometimes she'd want her hands wiped off because she didn't like the sand on them. Here are some occasions when she actually enjoyed the sand!!

Ella absolutely adored her cousin Jack. He is almost 4 and she just thought he was the coolest thing around. She would follow him around, watch his every move, laugh and carry on at everything he did, and just could not get enough of him.


What are we looking at??

Having a chat

Wow, he's good at that!

The 2nd day we were there, she got sunscreen or sand (or both) in her left eye and it was really trouble for several hours. Her eye couldn't stop tearing, it was swollen and almost shut, and she was absolutely miserable. She cried for a while, fell asleep for a nap, and it was just as bad when she woke up. We ended up getting her into the shower with me and flushing it out as best we could under the shower - of course she screamed throughout the entire process. I was really worried that it was scratched or that the sand was really lodged in there, but over the next hour or so she got back to her normal self. I don't think she's ever been in pain like that before, we felt so horrible for her and it was so scary, I was so happy when she was back to her usual self. After that, it was sunglasses all week to keep her hands out of her eyes...fortunately she was willing to leave them on most of the time and we didn't have any other eye issues.

We went on the beach after dinner most nights - we played several games of football (nothing like being stuffed after a big meal then running around for a while!), and enjoyed the deserted beach - it was really like our own beach



Cammi was sooooo sweet with Ella. When we were getting ready to head out for the beach on Saturday morning, Cammi played with Ella the whole time and I just couldn't believe how Ella was so happily occupied without me or Steve - it was awesome!! Cammi would play with Ella, carry her around, help out with anything she could, and was just such a doll. Here are some cute pix of the two of them :)
Photo compliments of Gavin!

Heading down to the beach with daddy

In the ocean with Grampy

Snuggling with daddy after a long day of sun and sand

Seesaw fun!

Adorable hairdo (just had to throw this one in here!)

All of us (except for Jackie who was taking the picture)

It was a really nice week and great to spend so much time with Steve's family!