Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ella is 24 Months!

Now that Ella has turned two, I think this may be my last monthly update since I don't really think of her age in months anymore, which is a milestone in itself. When she was brand new, we measured her age in days, and then I thought of her age in weeks until she was about 20 weeks old, and then of course months after that. Now that she is two though, I think she's just straight TWO, until about two and a half...we'll see though, I can always change my mind!

At any rate, here is my TWENTY-FOUR month update on Ella -

This month was a big one for teeth - at one point she had four coming in at once. Although they're not all fully in yet, she's got all of her front and side teeth now (16 I think?) and I think all that's left is for molars to come in the back.

Ella had a bad week or so of sleep, about the week before Christmas. The first night, she woke up around 5am so we brought her in bed with us. Then, the next night she got up even earlier, around 3:30am...so we brought her in bed with us again. The next night, she woke up at 1:30! Steve went in to her room and she was all packed up, standing with her binkie and blankie in hand, ready to come get in bed with us - tricky little girl! So, we realized what was going on and had a tough few nights getting her back to sleeping through the night, but we'd go in her room when she woke up but not bring her into our room. I guess that wasn't nearly as fun for her because after 2 or 3 nights of that she started sleeping through the night again. As she has for a while now, she goes to bed by 9pm and wakes up around 7:30am. I wake her up in the morning but what's interesting is that when I was home over Christmas and had no alarm clock, she slept until 8 or even later, so I think if it weren't for me waking her up every day she'd sleep a bit later. But it is too important to me to see her before work in the morning so I think waking her up is worth it. And since she's home with Steve she gets in a good nap every day.

We moved her out of her high chair and into her booster seat at the table, which she seems to be enjoying and now says "baby" when she sees a high chair. The maturity of a 2-year old compared to a 23 month old, heh!

Now she can do some simple "chores" as I call them, and she earns stamps for doing them. These chores generally involve carrying something light, such as a shoe, or a dishtowel, and putting them at the bottom of the stairs or in her bedroom, but she will do them with gusto and then runs back for her next assignment. This works well for 5 or 6 things in a row, then she hits a wall and is done with helping!

In addition to the bath troubles we had this month, brushing her hair has also gotten a little tricky because it's really curly and there's a spot in the back that always has a knot in it when she wakes up in the morning - speaking of, Ella has bedhead like nothing I have ever seen before! I got the No More Tangles and switched from a brush to a good wide-tooth comb, and seem to have it down now. She sits in my lap and we read a book while I brush it. I am the main hair brusher so I make sure she's all set before I leave in the morning and then of course after bath at night I brush it out again. It's long enough again to put up in little pigtails so I've been doing that a lot.

Her crib is becoming quite full. There are 4 stuffed animals that MUST sleep, in a specific order, at the bottom of her crib - Pooh, Trove, Bunny and Soft Book. Then, Violet sleeps up near her head, and Baby shares her pillow (Snoopy). And then recently she's taken to wanting a toy in there with her - one night it was a stuffed soccer ball, another night it was a kaleidoscope. You never know if you might wake up at 2am and need to check out your kaleidoscope, right? And of course binky and blankie are her faithful sidekicks as well.

Favorite books this month - Little People School Bus, Goodnight Moon, Peekaboo Baby, Little Kittens, and Little People Around Town. We read MANY books every night before bed.

Her favorite show is still Little Einsteins - it's really the beginning song that she's so into and then the "pat, pat, pat" part. I recorded some Dora episodes but she wasn't interested - I thought it was pretty cute so I think I'll try again.

She's a size 4 in diapers, 18M in clothes, and 5 in shoes.

She is such a chatterbox and talks so much I just love her voice, expressions, amazingly animated expressions, and how much she has to say. All of her new words are in Ella Says (there are way too many new ones to paste here), but some of her cutest phrases this month - "Mommy, come, tay?" (Mommy come, okay?), "what's that woof-woof?" (I hear a dog!), "she jumped!" (this was in answer to my question "how did Violet get out of your crib?"), "oh my!", "no way!", "this away" (to tell me she's going to put something away), "Cory up" or "Cory night-night" or "Cory walk" - self explanatory, she's definitely Cory's supervisor!

Ella's favorite word? It is definitely PLAY. She says it all the time and whenever you ask her what she wants to do, it's always PLAY.

Her eating is still a challenge - she decides on sight, within an instant, if she is or is not going to try something. And, unfortunately most of the time it is a NO. She's quite adventurous when it comes to sweets or juice, but that's where it ends! She will pretty consistently eat bread, apples, bananas, yogurt, pasta, cheese, crackers, oatmeal, eggs, and cottage cheese. She has a love-hate relationship with berries, pears, applesauce, potatoes, grapes, and macaroni and cheese. I started giving her peanut butter and she really likes it, I'm glad about that since it's a good source of protein, and she's had a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She almost never eats any meat and has a strict no-green policy when it comes to vegetables. I could obsess over it but it's not worth it, she's healthy and growing and we keep offering her a variety of foods and she'll eat what she wants. Thank goodness for Flintsones vitamins, which she loves and looks forward to every night!

I've been walking with 2 friends one or two nights a week since last March, and I've always pushed Ella in her stroller while we walk, which she has always seemed to enjoy or at least pleasantly tolerate. Around the beginning of December, she started revolting and would start crying about halfway through and be generally miserable throughout the rest of the walk, sometimes I've even needed to get her out of her stroller. It is a lot colder and now it's dark so much earlier, so I guess those things combined have made it not fun for her anymore. Plus wanting her freedom. About the same time I started taking short walks with her walking on her own, instead of in her stroller. SHE LOVES IT. We don't walk very far and there are many, many stops along the way, but it's really a lot of fun, good to get the fresh air and a good healthy habit for Ella to enjoy. She says "WALK" and now Cory knows her pronunciation of walk (not a good thing - we typically need to spell W-A-L-K around our house b/c of Cory's craziness once she hears the word).

Ella is now jumping for real, with both feet coming off the ground at the same time. She's said 'jump, jump' for a long time now and bent her knees and one foot would come off at a time and she does a gallop, but now she's doing real jumps and is quite pleased with it. She runs the majority of the time and climbs on everything. She does forward rolls, loves twirling in circles and of course dancing and clapping.

She loves, loves, loves being sung to. Her favorite song right now is "If you're happy and you know it" and she tries to sing it too and just says "ha-ppy" over and over...totally adorable. She can sing "abcd" (that's the total of what she sings), and the rest of her songs consist of little notes that she seems to make up in her head.

She says "Ella" all the time, and will say things like "Ella eat" or "Ella happy". My little cave-woman :). Oh and she does know that her full name is Isela because she'll answer to that as well - although that is not very often.

Her playing starts the minute her feet hit the floor in the morning and does not end until she gets in her crib at night. She loves her baby, feeding her, putting her down for naps and pushing her in the stroller; spends hours in her kitchen every day bestowing cup after cup of tea on lucky Steve and making him the finest meals around, she loves her little people doll house and farm house, her potato heads, coloring, stamps, stickers, singing into her microphone, pushing her shopping cart, more tea parties, playing vet, driving in her car, the list goes on and on...

And then there are the NON-toys that Ella gets way too much fun out of - chapstick, anything in my makeup drawer or nightstand that she can get her hands on, lotion, powder, dishes in the dishwasher, dog food and water bowl, anything in the kitchen pantry, again the list goes and on :). It truly is amazing to see how much fun and joy she gets out of everything.

This is really a fantastic age, Ella is such a fun little companion. She makes me laugh, keeps me entertained, we have silly conversations, she loves playing and having a good time, wants to interact and engage with us all the time, and is so sweet and affectionate.

Ella at 24 months
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baby Love

Ella got her first babydoll last year for Christmas and although she occasionally played with it, more often than not, her version of playing was tossing the babydoll around, and otherwise being anything but sweet and caring with her little friend!

Well, things are very different now and Ella LOVES babydolls. She got a new one for Christmas from Dad and Donna, her name appears to be Baby (quite original!) and she is tops on Ella's list right now.

Ella is so adorable and sweet with Baby - she gives her hugs and kisses, carries her around in a blanket, tucks her in, feeds her, pushes her in her stroller, and makes sure she is involved in Ella's activities.

In the morning when I get Ella up, she lets me know that we have to bring Baby downstairs too. She has another favorite buddy, Violet, that is a stuffed dog that she sleeps with every night, but Ella requires that Violet has to stay in her crib during the day (it's always night-night for poor Violet). Baby is lucky though and gets to have quite a nice little life outside her crib.

Starting the day with some milk
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Ready for breakfast!
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Baby on the breakfast counter
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Nap time
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Wake-up Baby (or, as Ella says "Baby Kup-Kup"
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Road trip
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Dinner time!
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Tea and Birthday Cake for dessert
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I love seeing how sweet Ella is with her Baby and how she takes such good care of her!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Two Dollars Well Spent

Ella has always loved bath time, although washing her hair has always been a bit shaky. She doesn't like getting tipped backward in the water but also doesn't like water being poured on her head, so we've just been pretty fast with the hair washing and she loves the rest of bath time. She would happily head up the stairs for bath time, get all excited, play and play while she was in there, and then not want to get out.

But recently she started crying when I'd wash her hair and it got worse quickly over a span of several days so that by the beginning of last week, she was crying from the minute she got into the tub until she got out. We started washing her hair every other day to make it less horrible for her, but she still was really upset the entire time. Then, it got even worse and one night last week when it was time to go up for bath time she said "no, night-night" because she wanted to just go to bed instead of having to take a bath :(. Her sweet little face got so upset and she started crying before I even got her in the bath...it was really upsetting and we just felt so horrible for her because she was clearly really scared. I'm the usual bath-giver but it was so stressful last week that Steve and I traded off nights so that she wouldn't be traumatized by me :(. She has tons of toys in the bath, I've brought in her favorite dolls and animals to sit on the sink so she can see them, I've tried singing, but nothing worked. She was miserable in the tub and wanted nothing to do with it.

I was at a loss for what to do but knew we had to come up with something to make bath time back to the happy fun time it was before. This past Saturday I was at Babies R Us with my friend to get some baby supplies for her, and when we were at the cash register on the impulse buy display there was a package of "bath tub crayons" for $1.99...I figured Ella likes crayons, it might be a fun distraction for her, and for two dollars, definitely worth a try even if she doesn't go for it.

So that afternoon when she woke up from her nap, I told her I got her a really fun surprise for the bath tub and she kept shaking her head and saying no, although she did seem to be getting a little interested since I kept hyping up her bath surprise. Once it was bath time I showed her the new bath crayons and that she could take them in the tub with her and draw on the tub and wall. She seemed suspicious but got in the bath tub, sans tears, which was the first time in several days. Once she figured out that the crayons were legit and she really could color with them, she started to really get into it and reasonably enjoyed the bath, with the exception of hair washing.

I also started filling less water in the tub thinking that she probably feels more secure when her head can rest on the tub bottom instead of kind of floating when I lean her back to wash her hair. I think that's made a good difference too. With the crayons, she draws on the wall of the tub, then says "what's that?" and laughs while I come up with guesses as to what is the amazing artwork that she has created. She also enjoys dumping a bucket of water on the drawings to help rinse them.

Today is Day 4 into the crayon experiment, and I am happy to report that tonight's bath time was 100% tear free - and - not only tear free, but, she actually told me she was READY to wash her hair and smiled while I was doing it - whoo-hoo!!! I called Steve in to watch and he couldn't believe it either. She was so proud of herself after and I was so proud of her, she did so great.

Moral of the story? Thank goodness for the bath tub crayons, quite possibly the best two-dollar purchase I've made!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ella's Birthday Party

We had Ella's Birthday Party on Saturday, January 9, at Hoppers House. It was so much fun! We had family and our friends there, and I think everyone had a really good time.

The birthday girl ready for her party!
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Check out her party shirt
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Steve and I went and decorated during Ella's nap
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Birthday girl wearing her tiara before the party (this was the only time she'd wear it and she almost seemed frightened of it later!)
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Lots of playing and bouncing!

Let's go! Climbing in the bounce house with Brady
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Jumping with Kati
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In the kitchen with Cooper
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Elise and Brant
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Hard at work doing dishes
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Kisses for Uncle Josh
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Being silly with Aunt Erin
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Bouncing with Avni - they were so cute together and followed each other around and really had a good time playing
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Ready to eat!!
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Getting impatient...
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Time for her cupcake!!
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Here's a video clip of singing Happy Birthday, her blowing out her candle, and starting to eat her cupcake
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Oh how our girl loves a good cupcake!
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Mission accomplished
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The sugar gave all the kids and second wind and they went back to playing some more!
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Me, Laurie and Susan
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Saying goodbye to Cooper and Shannon
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Mom and Glenn
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Erin and Josh
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Dad and Donna
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Me and my angel
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Basketball with Daddy and Grampy Glenn
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Ella loves her birthday party!!
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It was such a fun party. Thanks so much to everyone who came to celebrate, it was really special and we loved having you!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom!

My Mom's birthday is tomorrow, January 13. We had a little celebration on Saturday night after Ella's birthday party.

Erin made beautiful cupcakes and the guests of honor were Mom and Steve (January 30). We have lots of January birthdays around here :).

Cupcakes!
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Birthday Girl
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(Almost) Birthday Boy
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Mom opening gifts
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Ella enjoys watching Grammy open presents
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Ella decides 'enough about Grammy, let's get back to MY birthday'...
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Telling a story
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Tummy sticker
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Happy Birthday Mom, I love you so much!!