Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pursuing Chico

This past Saturday Steve and I went out for the night and Dad and Donna came up and babysat for us. They brought their dog Chico, who of course Ella is enamored with. Chico is not sure how he feels about Ella - she always chases him and spends most of her time around him trying to get him to let her pet him or otherwise play with him, and this time was no different.

Here are some pics that Dad and Donna took -

Want to play???
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Must.get.to.Chico.now! Notice how Sammy gets to sleep blissfully through this one?
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The next day Dad watched Ella again while Steve was at an interview and took Ella for a walk in her stroller and she got to hold Chico's leash while they walked. I'm guessing that was the absolute highlight of her day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Little Chums

Lately I've noticed that Ella seems to have a lot of fun with other kids that she's around, and instead of just playing near each other, she's really interacting and having fun with them.

On Friday night we went our neighbors' house for dinner and their little boy Caleb is 6 weeks older than Ella. They have met a few times before but this is the first time they had serious play time - and it was WILD! They had so much fun together, we really couldn't believe how wild and crazy they were, laughing, yelling and carrying on together. Everything one did, so did the other.

Both in baskets
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And enjoying a hearty tug-of-war
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(And yes, as you could probably guess, that tape measure had to be taken away after a WWF wrestling match ensued over it...)

Saturday was my friend Christine's son Dominic's 1st birthday. Although Dominic and Ella are 10 months apart, which now seems like a lot, I like to think that soon these 2 will be great pals. Dominic's birthday party was a lot of fun, they had a singer for the kids and the weather was sunny so everyone got to enjoy the music oustide.

Ella and Dominic having a chat (I think Ella was giving some sage advice on how different life will be now that he is ONE YEAR OLD!)

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Dancing to the music
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More chumminess - the last time we saw Mia was in June and she and Ella really didn't have much interest each other. But this time, they just couldn't get enough of each other - they spent a lot of time just holding hands and walking around the yard, dancing - it was precious! Mia is 14 months old and I think Ella thought she was the big girl helping to take care of her.

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And some cute videos from the party -

Wheels on the Bus go round and round (and so do Ella and Mia)
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Ella leading Mia
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Enjoying the music
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where do I go every day?

Now that it's cooler out and I wear a jacket to work, Ella knows that as soon as I pick up my jacket and start to put it on that I'm leaving for the day, and she starts waving and says bye. Today I picked up my lunch bag off the counter and she started saying bye, bye. Steve and I were saying we wonder what she thinks of the fact that I'm gone all day and where does she think I go, am doing, etc.

So, Steve says to Ella: "Ella, do you know where Mommy goes every day?"

Ella's proud and happy reply, clear as a bell: "Outside"!

Made my morning :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have decided the time has come...

...for this little girl to get a haircut!

View from the front - all looks good, and no need for a haircut





But...

Check out the side view





Yikes! There is that long tail-piece in the back. When it curls up it's all the same length but when it's brushed out (like here) it's clearly much longer than the rest.

So, I have taken the first step in deciding that it is finally time to get it cut, now I just need to actually do it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ella Knows...

Month 24:
12/20/09:
- New objects she can point out in her book:
tambourine, backpack, clock, lunchbox, coat, flowers, mouse, puppets, school bus, trucks, slide, swing

Month 23

11/22/09:
- She always calls herself "me" or says "I'm me". Today on the way home from church when we asked her name she said "Elllla" (with the L very drawn out)
- Pictures on the fridge she will point out and say "Mommy, Daddy, me"

11/14/09:
- Shopping at the store - at the row of babydolls she said "baby"; at the phone toys she said "phone"
- What sound does a dog make? And she says "woof woof woof"

11/10/09
- We are working on teaching Ella to say her name. She knows that she is Ella because when you say "who is Ella?" or "where is Ella?" she will always point to herself, but doesn't say it. Tonight I asked her "what is your name?" and she pointed to herself proudly and insistently, and said "me" :)

11/07/09
- Climbing up the stairs by herself holding on to the railing
- Playing with her Little People dollhouse - can put her baby to bed, on the potty, in the bath, and on the computer

Month 22

11/1/09
- We were sitting on the couch together and I asked Ella if she could make me a cup of tea. She went over to her kitchen set, opened the cabinet, realized her tea set wasn't there, so she went to look for it. She found it in her toy box, got it out and brought me a cup of 'tea'.

10/31/09
- Trick-or-treating! She quickly got the hang of walking up to the door and getting a piece of candy for her bucket.

Welcome to Ella Knows
Similar to "Ella Says", Ella Knows... will be a compiled ongoing list of things that Ella knows, understands, does, etc. It's a consolidated list for my record-keeping to keep track of and record it all in one place. Use the link on the side of the blog to view the most recently updated list at any time.

As of October 19, 2009

Instructions she can follow
- Put her cup in the fridge (I open the door)
- Put her shoes in the shelf under changing table/ get her shoes; get a matching pair
- Put her toys away in her toy boxes; she will keep going until she puts all of them away
- Throw something away in the garbage
- Wipe up a spill
- Pick out a book to read
- Go upstairs
- Bring something to us

Body parts she can point out (in roughly the order she learned them):
nose
hair
eye
ear
cheek
chin
back
tummy
belly button
knees
toes
elbow
shoulder


Bathtime:
She can identify the following toys in the tub:
- Duck
- Cup
- Bottle
- Cap
- Whale
- Train (and she says 'chugga chugga chugga')
- Bubbles
She can 'pull the plug' to drain the water

Signs:
Gentle
More
Bubbles
Thank-you


Clothing:
- She can take off her shoes and socks
- She can pull a skirt off (not pants though)
- She 'helps' pull her shirt off


Cute Stuff:
- When I ask 'how old are you?' she will hold up 1 finger
- When I ask 'how much does mommy love you?' she stretches both her arms and reaches them to the sky
- She says tickle-tickle and tickles her own toes
- When I say "let's go", she walks right to the front door
- When I say "time to eat", she goes over her high chair and waits to be picked up

She also knows how to:
- How to color
- How to take the cap off a pen and write with it
- How to brush her hair
- In books, can point out pictures of dog, cat, bird, flower, moon, star
- Knows what it means when it's time for "night-nights" or "nappies"
- Gives hugs, kisses, waves hi and good-bye
- Give high-fives, fist bumps, and shake hands

I'm sure I'm leaving out so much, but this is a start! Hopefully I'll get this list cleaned up over time but for now am glad to have it started and all in one place.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Picking

Yesterday we took Ella to Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville for pumpkin picking and a bunch of other fall farm activities. We went with our friends Amber and John and their daughter Ryanne, and the weather certainly played the part - it was really cool out and absolutely felt like fall!

Me and Captain Spooky before our adventure(check out the pigtails!)
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Attempt at getting Ella to stand by the 'how tall are you' sign (no easy task)
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Navigating the hay bale maze - aaah which way to go?!
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This was a gazebo filled entirely with corn - kind of like a giant sand box but all corn. Steve took her in there and she loved it.
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Checking out the goats with Ryanne and Amber
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Looking at farm animals with Daddy
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We rode on a train ride around the farm and Ella couldn't believe her good fortune in how much fun she had on that train ride! She was very excited and here she is waving to people at the station as we pulled out

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So much fun!
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Windblown
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We took a hayride to get out to the pumpkin patch
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As you can probably imagine, a hayride is really just almost too much fun for a little girl - she had to stand up, face the outside, and yell in delight almost the whole time...
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Interestingly, it was not really a pumpkin farm in that the pumpkins do not grow there, they are shipped in from somewhere. So they had laid them out in long rows so that it looked like a real patch. Ella was clearly impressed and here she is trying to pick the perfect pumpkin!

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Running around the pumpkins with Ryanne
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So many pumpkins, so little time
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Got mine!!
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Won't let go of that pumpkin!
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Getting sleepy, relaxing on a swing with Daddy
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It was such a fun trip, a perfect 'fall-is-here' kind of day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jammies & Bedhead

What could be sweeter than jammies and bedhead first thing in the morning??

So cheerful
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Morning kiss for Daddy
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Lost in Translation...video clip of me trying to ask Ella if she wants a drink or breakfast, when what she really wants is to get up so she can check out what's on the counter. Note the sleepy eyes and crazy hair :)
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What a way to start the day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ella is 21 Months

Ella turned 21 months last Monday, on October 5! Here is a 21 month update on my sweet little girl - I know, it's less than 21 items, but if I included all 21 it'd be another week before I get this post up :)

- Some new words this month: more, soup, car, sneeze, go. Her voice is absurdly sweet. It is high pitched, soft at times, very loud at others, and just the sweetest sound there is. She understands much, much, much more than she says. It's pretty amazing how much she understands.

- Body parts she knows now and can point out: shoulders, back, neck, tongue, chest, elbow, knees, chin, nose, eyes, lips, hair, toes, and ears.

- She still has the 10 teeth that she's had for a few months now. It looks like another one is about to come in on the bottom but they do not seem to be in any hurry! She still enjoys teeth brushing and is pretty good now about saying "aaahhh" and opening her mouth when we brush her teeth.

- She laughs out loud so much and it's just so funny. She has a loud, hysterical sounding laughter that seems to come from nowhere and then another one when she really gets going. Us laughing seems to always make her laugh too.

- She is size 4 in diapers, just moved into size 5 in shoes, and is in 18M for clothes.

- She dances in the carseat to music, loves bopping around back and forth, every time she hears a beat she perks up and starts to move.

- She gets kissier and huggier by the day, it is just awesome. All of a sudden she'll just lean in, give a giant hug and kiss. We have movie star kisses where she grabs our face with her hands and gives an excellent kiss, those are the best. I love how she just becomes more and more affectionate. She also puckers up her lips and leans in for kisses. There is truly nothing better!

- She LOVES being outside. She'll point outside and just say "out" over and over and over again. When we play in the backyard, she really just wanders around and could hang out there for hours. At the playground, she seems more interested in checking everything out than actually climbing on/playing on the equipment.

- During bathtime she is getting a lot better about getting her hair washed, although we don't dunk her backwards anymore but instead pour the water out from her bucket. She loves bathtime and and it's one of her favorite parts of the day. She can pick out her whale, trains, cup, bucket, block, bottle and cap, and bucket in the bathtub.

- She understands so much and is really capable of following directions (this does not mean she always does!). She nods in understanding and really knows what we're saying. When she 'gets' something, she perks up and vigorously nods her head to let you know she understands.

- She is really stubborn and willful and enjoys shouting NO to us when we ask her to do something she doesn't want to do. This frequently earns her time outs, as does hitting us. Sometimes she thinks hitting is just really funny and happens when she's in an overly wild mood, and sometimes I can tell she's frustrated. She understands timeouts and I hope they're paying off. Her other show of strength is when she swats from afar. This is when she does not actually hit because she's several feet or more away, but swats to show her annoyance and/or frustration. In my mind this is just about the same as hitting b/c it would be a hit if she were right there.

- Some current favorites this month:

- Favorite accessories: Stamps and stickers

- Favorite toys: play kitchen, shopping cart, tea set, ride on toys

- Favorite activities: playing outside, tea parties, coloring, supervising the dogs, reading books.

- Favorite book: Peppy, Patch & Bath (she wants to read this EVERY night...no other book will do the past few weeks)

- Favorite foods: rice, pasta, cheese, yogurt, crackers, cookies.

- She also loves being tickled, playing "piggies" with her toes, and getting lots of kisses on her neck. With very little exception,she has fun and enjoys herself from about 5 minutes after waking up until the minute she goes to bed.

- Bedtime is one of my favorite parts of the day. After her bath I put on her jammies, we brush teeth, she says good night to Steve and then comes back into her room to read and snuggle. She asks for her binky, picks the book she wants to read, and pats the chair for me to sit down. Then she backs into my lap and we snuggle and read. She loves reading and laughs sometimes, nods and is really into the book. Of course she says more for a few extra readings when it's over. Then we snuggle in the chair together until she wants to go in her crib and then I reluctantly put her down for the night. Such a little sweetheart.

Some 21 month photos:
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Ella is just an absolutely amazing and sweet little girl - happy 21 months to my babydoll!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

(Don't) let sleeping dogs lie

Q: How effective has Sammy become in sleeping through Ella's antics?

A: See below for Ella's Guide to Waking Up A Very Sleepy Dog in 4 Easy Steps

Step 1: Share a book with him. If he is not interested, push the book on his face so he has no choice but to try to escape it.
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Step 2: Practice your acrobatic, Cirque de Soliel moves on top of the poor fella
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Step 3: Maybe a drink will rouse him? Offer him some tasty milk. If he refuses, have some big chugs yourself to keep up your strength.
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Step 4: Open a musical Halloween card in his face. Repeat, over and over, laughing while you do it. This is just about foolproof, and guaranteed to work.
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See Sammy? You really didn't need that nap anyway...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ella's Big Day

Mom & Glenn came to visit this weekend and we had such a good weekend. Glenn took his friend and Steve to the Hurricanes game on Friday night and me, mom and Ella had a girls night with delicious takeout, wine and lots of chatting.

Then, on Saturday, me and Steve went to the NC State football game with friends and had so much fun! We went tailgating for several hours before the game, we totally lucked out with the weather, and then had a great time at the game. Then we went out to sushi for dinner.

So, it was an excellent day for us...and even better day for Ella.

Bringing her backpack to Grammy's, ready for a big day of fun!
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Ready to play!
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They did all kinds of stuff and Ella was busy, busy, busy all day.

Mom and Ella baked cupcakes together and Ella was the assistant chef
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Yummmmmy
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And of course some art projects as well...fingerpainting!!
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And drawing on her new easel from Grampy G
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Ella was tired after her big day and went right to bed around 8pm. We were so excited to go pick her up on Sunday morning and we were so happy to see her. She was so sweet and kissy and kept going back and forth hugging both of us. Then she immediately raced over to her new easel and got back to her artwork.


Here are the 4 of us on Sunday after church
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It was such a great weekend and best of all was the fact that we knew Ella was having so much fun with Mom & Glenn, which made enjoying ourselves even more fun for us!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Auntie Love

Here are some sweet pics of Erin and Ella from this past weekend. Ella loves her Aunt Erin!!

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What a sweet little pair :).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Holy Timeouts, Batman

This post could also be called "The Night of 4 Timeouts within 1 Hour". EEEK. Our evening started out very pleasantly - I caught up with my girlfriends on our walk and Ella got to chat with her buddy Dominic as we got some exercise and fresh air. We came home and had about 10 minutes before Steve was finished cooking dinner, so of course Ella had to get back to playing with her new kitchen (which she is pretty much obsessed with). When it was time for dinner, I said "alright Ella, dinner time" to which she loudly yelled "NO" with a big smile...I said "Ella, it's dinner, I need you to come get in your chair." Repeat the NO from said little girl. Then I resorted to my "Ella, I am going to count to 3. If you are not here by the time I get to 3, you will have a timeout." Now, previously, this has been quite effective. Her eyes get big when I start counting and she hustles on over. Not tonight. She turned her back on me and went back to playing in her kitchen. So...bring on Timeout #1.

Timeout #1 turned into Timeout #2 as she talked and walked around midway through the first timeout. We successfully got through a 90-second timeout and had a very peaceful and nice dinner.

Bath time...as usual, Ella loves her some bathtime, and did not want to get out. I gave her a 2 minute warning, and we sang a song 3 times in a row. After the last time, I said it was time to get out - which was greeted with a loud laughing "NO"...ehhh, not again. Repeat same process as paragraph 1, except this time I am in a dilemma because she is naked and I do not want to take the time to get her dressed first because by then she'll forget what the timeout is all about. So, I pull her out dripping wet and she gets a timeout in her room, in her birthday suit. After it's over she gives me a hug and says the requisite 'sorry' (pronounced dough-y, or something similar), and then I tell her it's time to get jammies on so she needs to come get dressed. At this point the little nakey runs laughing out into the computer room where Steve is...apparently that timeout had a major effect.

Same procedure in the computer room to get her back into her room to get dressed, leading to timeout #4...another naked timeout in her room. Except, this time, I closed the door and stood in the hallway. I've only done that once before but she seemed truly sorry after (sidenote: that time, she had pretty much mauled my face with her hands which thankfully was the first and only time for that). She started crying after about 10seconds and I feel so bad with her crying, but really, she is completely safe, I am on the other side of the door, and she's crying because she does not want to be separated from me, which truly is the point of a time out. It still felt like torture though and I don't think it was more than 40 seconds. BUT, when I went in, she stood up and gave me a hug right away, said dough-y, and I said "okay it's time to get dressed" and she ran right over to her changing table and held her hands up to get put up there. Remainder of evening (all 20 minutes of it, ha!) went smooth as pie :).

I know that it's all about consistency but PHHHHEW...I see why it's easier to ignore this stuff than deal with it!

Lest you think this little girl is all snakes and snails and puppy dog tails, I will leave you with some parting pre-Halloween cheer :)

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Consignment Victory

Tonight we went to a huge semi-annual consignment sale at a church nearby. I really want to get Ella an outdoor playset and have been looking for a good bargain online for a few weeks and was hoping we'd find one there. We did not, but oh what a good trip it was!!

We got:
- a winter coat from Baby Gap
- a winter vest (brand new with tags on!!) from Gymboree
- shopping cart (Ella picked out)
- kitchen play set (Ella picked out)
- Tigger chair (we picked out)
- AND best of all - we got her big Christmas gift - a big ride-on pink Jeep that she LOVED and spent 99% of her time inside...she actually threw a semi-tantrum when we finally pulled her out of it. Repeat once we got home and Steve put it in the driveway...Luckily she has a short memory and will be as thrilled as if she's never seen it before on Christmas morning!! (we'll have to be a bit more clever as she gets older)

Packing the car was no easy feat and took about 15 minutes, ending up with having to drive home with the back hatch open - BUT it was all worth it when we got home and Ella had so much fun with her new toys!

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All that great stuff at such fantastic prices, what a bargain!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Night to Remember

My dad's birthday is October 17, and this weekend we celebrated a few weeks early. His all-time favorite band is U2, and they were playing at NC State this weekend. In July, right when the tickets went on sale, Erin got the tickets, coordinated with Donna to make sure to keep the weekend open, and then all we had to do was surprise dad this weekend!

So, we planned a dinner at our house on Saturday and Erin and Josh and Dad and Donna came. We did cake and presents after dinner and gave dad the tickets. He was confused at first but so excited when he figured it out that yes, we were going to see U2, and leaving in half an hour!

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Opening the tickets - surprise!
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Ella loves birthdays :)
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Happy Birthday Grandad
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Before the concert
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The field filling up
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The concert was absolutely AMAZING and the show was just incredible. The music was outstanding, and set, stage, lighting, etc were just awesome. There were 65,000 people there and the energy and atmosphere were unbelievable.

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I enjoyed every second of the show, it was just incredible. And even better was the fact that we were able to surprise Dad and do something so special for his birthday. What a night!!