Friday, May 28, 2010

Hard at Work

The other day after church Ella was just looking so precious and I was trying to take some pictures of her. She was very busily moving some pictures from the hallway table to the couch. I asked her to stop and smile so I could take a pictures of her and she said to me in a very exasperated way, "Mommy - I WORKING!!" I asked what she was working on and she said "pictures"...so I did my test to catch her hard at work on her "pictures."

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I'm Going to be an Aunt!

I have some exciting news - I am going to be an aunt! I have 2 nieces and 4 nephews on Steve's side, but this will be my first on my side - yay!! Erin is almost 14 weeks pregnant and is due on November 30, right after Thanksgiving.

She told us on Easter weekend which made the weekend that much more special. Here's a pic of the little guy rubbing his eyes - he is adorable already!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thunder

We had really big thunderstorms this weekend, on Saturday night and Sunday morning. Here is Ella talking about the thunder and then you can see her reaction when she hears another rumble!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Strawberry Picking

We went strawberry picking on Saturday at a farm nearby with my friend Susan and her daughter Elise. Ella is crazy about strawberries, so it was the perfect outing for us. She and Elise had so much fun together, and it was such a nice little trip.

All set and ready to go!


She's got the hang of it




Filling up her bucket


Enjoying the fruits of her hard work :)



Strawberry face!!



Not too thrilled with her messy hands



Little cuties hard at work





After a while they became much more interested in the sand than the strawberries!


Success!




Ella ate approximately 3 lbs of strawberries that day and she's been enjoying them ever since. When I dropped her off at school this morning she very proudly told her teacher first thing "I did strawberry picking!"

Washing the Car

As I've mentioned a lot before, Ella LOVES being outside. Throw some water in there, and she is in absolute heaven. Here are some pics of her and Steve washing the car (and surrounding areas!) recently.





BBQ Pics

Here are some cute pics from my friend Laurie's house -

Ella and Dominic looking very cute together




Ella's first squeeze ice pop - she loved it!


Happy girl


Our walking crew!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dolphin Pool

Mom and Glenn got a new pool for Ella for their backyard, and of course she loved it.

Some pics of Ella in action in the new dolphin pool!









Friday, May 14, 2010

School Update

Ella is now taking a nap every day at school - hooraaay! We're bringing Snoopy, blankie and Tee Tee back and forth each day, and I think it's doing the trick. Today she slept from 1:45 - 3:30, a really good solid nap. She tells me at the end of the day, "I fall asleep" and is so proud of herself, it is so sweet.

This morning was the first morning I was able to drop her off without any tears this week, which was a VERY big relief. The teacher had music on and the kids were all dancing with instruments, so Ella couldn't help herself but be really interested.

Right after she started, her teacher said we needed to buy pull-ups because Ella used the potty so frequently, so we switched to pull-ups over the weekend. It's amazing how quickly she's picked it up and is using the potty about 80% of the time now. In a week or two I think it'll be time for a concerted potty training effort.

Tonight she told me she hit a boy in her class with a spoon today(yikes). She said totally seriously and matter of fact, "Ella hit Jihad with spoon. Jihad sad." I asked her if she told him that she was sorry, and she said yes; and I asked what Miss Erin said and she said "Ella, no hit Jihad with spoon." Jihad is her buddy though so I think this was a fleeting disagreement!

It's definitely been a really big difference after having her be home with Steve for so long, but overall a good first full week and I am really happy we ended the week with no tears this morning!

Little Gym with Grammy and Grampy G

Steve and I went to Philadelphia for a wedding two weekends ago, and Ella stayed with Mom and Glenn for the weekend. They took her to her Little Gym class on Saturday morning and got such good pictures!

Walking on the beam




Wheeee


With Grammy


Hanging on the rings - this is her favorite right now


With Miss Shellie on the bar





Climbing


Bubbles

Thursday, May 13, 2010

It's Bone Time

A funny story from this morning.

Last night, after Ella was in bed, I gave Cory a bone to eat but for whatever reason she wasn't impressed and didn't want to eat it, and so she left it on the rug in the dining room, which is where she takes treats to eat them. I didn't see it or think about it again until this morning.

Ella finished breakfast and then was walking around into the dining room, and then she froze in place like she couldn't believe her good luck, and said, "Hey what's this?? A bone! Cory gone, what happened??" (all of this said with great inflection and concern, and right now she loves saying "what happened?").

Then she got really serious and said "Oh no, Cory jump fence, Cory gone, no eat bone." (Because the only explanation she could think of for Cory abandoning her bone was that she had jumped over the fence and was gone.)

I said to her, "Cory's here, she's asleep in bed upstairs." Ella got wildly excited, picked up the bone and started shaking it around, and yelled at the top of her lungs -"Cooo-oory, wake up, wake up - it's bone time!!"

I figured Cory would have no interest in this but she came sprinting down the stairs at top speed and Ella was literally yelling and shrieking "CORY - it's bone time - eat bone - eat bone now! - TREAT - eat bone Cory!" and shoving it on to her nose. Poor Cory did not want to eat that bone, just like she didn't want to eat it last night but Ella couldn't accept this answer and just kept trying to shove it in her mouth, she even said "open up Cory, it's bone time" and used her most persuasive tricks. But nothing worked.

It all went downhill very quickly because Cory wanted to go outside and Ella burst into tears when I let her out because she was unsuccessful in feeding Cory the bone. She was really crying and wanted to be held and she said to me in a very somber way, "Cory sad, no eat bone."

When I was dropping her off at school a little while ago I was telling her what a fun day she'll have and said I'll pick her up after playtime this afternoon and asked her to guess what we'll do tonight. She got a big grin and said very hopefully "Cory eat bone?" Oh my, guess I better dip that thing in peanut butter when we get home tonight!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rest Time

When I wrote about Ella's first day of school, Steve had picked her up before nap time, so I did not yet know how nap time was going to go. Well. On her 2nd day, she did not sleep at all the entire time. The teacher told Steve that she rested very nicely on her mat the whole time, but didn't fall asleep. Steve picked her up early enough that she was still able to get a nap in for the day, so although it wasn't her normal schedule, she was okay for the rest of the day.

That night I asked her how nap time went and here are some of things she told me:

"Ella, no playing toys now - it's night-night"
"Rest time, fall asleep please"
"Mat is ouchie"
"Ame (= Miss Erin), Ella mat rest time"

Hmm, this sort of revealed to me that Ella was a little more active during rest time than we were imagining. They do sleep on mats, but they look very thick and comfy, but certainly not as good as a crib which is what Ella still sleeps in. But, according to Ella the mat is "ouchie."

On Friday, Ella did not sleep a wink again, and this time a very monstrous Ella came out on Friday night - whew, I can barely even explain how unhappy she was - cranky, shrieky, yelling, whiny, screechy, all at the same time - yikes! We knew she was just totally exhausted by that point.

Until last week, we put Ella down around 9:00 pm for bed time each night, but if she was up later it was no big deal, and she'd always still be happy and cheerful because she'd catch up during naptime the next day. But we decided her pre-school bedtime should be 8pm and we're getting closer and closer to that goal.

Over the weekend I talked to Ella about nap time and how she wasn't falling asleep and what would make it easier for her to fall asleep. And she said "blankie". She has her binky, sheet from her crib, and a blanket from her crib, but it is not her one-and-only blankie that is her true blankie. I had purposely not sent this one because I have a horrible vision of leaving it there one day and then she'll be up all night. I decided to give her a few days into this week and if she was still not sleeping, to come up with some alternate ideas.

After a very rough drop-off this morning (that is a whole other post in itself), I was thinking about Ella all morning and called school around lunch time to check in and see how things were going. Miss Erin told me that Ella was resting very nicely on her mat. I asked her if there are other kids in the class that don't sleep, and she said "yes, there are 2, but they don't rest like Ella. She is TRULY resting - she closes her eyes, lays on her belly, she just doesn't fall asleep." While I was happy she is a good rest-er, I still want her to have the renewing effect of an actual NAP. Then Miss Erin said to me "does Ella have a favorite blanket at home? She is asking for a different blanket."

In about point two milliseconds I decided that blankie is going to school tomorrow and I'll just deal with the consequences later. I might just throw Snoopy in for good measure. I feel bad that I purposely witheld something that I knew would make her more comfortable because I'm trying to 'wean' her from being so reliant on these comfort items. I was planning on pulling the plug on binkie in about 2 weeks but now I'm rethinking that whole idea and feel like I just need to focus on making Ella feel as secure and confident as possible in this time of transition.

At any rate, she did end up falling asleep today at nap time - for about 20 minutes -and then woke up with a fever :(. I was on a call but saw the school's name come up on my caller ID and couldn't get off the phone fast enough. I know the system works though because when I didn't pick up the phone, they called someone else in the office to track me down, which was exactly what I had asked them to do, so I was glad to see that. Erin told me that Ella woke up from her nap very flushed and not wanting to wake up, and she took her temperature and it was 100.8. I know this is certainly not an emergency temperature, but Ella never gets fevers and hasn't been sick in over a year, so I was really worried. I left work to go get her and she definitely did not seem her happy and cheery self. When we were driving home I asked her how school was and she said it was good but said "Mommy, blankie at school please." Sheesh, good thing I had already decided on that one!

She perked up a lot once we got home, but still felt a little warm all night, although she has no other symptoms of anything. I put her down for bed right around 8pm so I'm hoping that a really good night of sleep will be good for her. I will see how she's doing in the morning, hopefully she'll feel the same or better ansd not worse.

First sickness on her 4th day in school, yikes. I knew to expect she'd get sick once she was exposed to all the new school germs, but didn't know it would happen quite so fast. And of course it's not fair to point a finger at 'rest time' for her getting a fever, but so far this rest time has not been a good thing!

Off-ball Game

This is Steve's second season playing on our church softball team, and he has games on Tuesday and Thursday nights. On Thursdays they play at a park pretty close to our house, so me and Ella go watch whenever we're free. Ella calls it "off-ball" and loves cheering for Steve. She yells "Gooooo Daddy" even when he's not up and loves clapping and yelling for him.

There is a playground at the park and assuming it does not get too late, we take her for a playground trip after the game is over, which usually warrants some extra-special behavior during the game :). She also frequently says "okay, Daddy's off-ball done, playground time" between every inning when the teams switch places. My favorite moment happened a few weeks ago - Steve had hit the ball and was running to first base, apparently too fast for Ella's taste, because she yelled very loudly "Slow down Daddy!"

When Mom and Glenn were here last week, we all went to watch his game one night and Mom got some good pictures!

Watching intently



Visit to the dugout





Hey, what's this? (one of her most often said phrases!)



Grampy G teaching Ella about 'the wave'



Kiss for my squirmy fan



Eating popcorn (which Ella now clearly calls 'pop-corn', no more 'dap-dap')



Gooooo Daddy!!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Saturday Night Revisited

Last year we got funny videos of Ella dancing to "Saturday Night" and when Mom was here last week, she played the videos for Ella who loved them and said "more saturday night" over and over. Later that night we got home and put it on for her to do some more dancing - here is the result!

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

First Day of School

Today Ella turned 28 months old, and it was also her first day of school. Whew, big day! We have some big changes coming up around here. Steve starts his new job on Monday, so we needed to decide on childcare for her. We chose a 5-star preschool in our town, and we're both really comfortable with it. Her classroom is just 24-30 month olds, and she is the 6th student.

The first time we went to visit after work one day, and it was just the owner, me, Ella and her teacher. I instantly knew how much I liked it - the center is great, the classrooms are adorable, and Ella seemed really comfortable there. Plus there are 2 playgrounds with up to 2 hours of outdoor play each a day, which is pretty much Ella's main requirement (although me and Steve have some others :)). The teacher was so sweet and I really liked her.

The next day Steve took Ella back during the morning to check it out while the kids were there, and he felt as good about it as I did, but said Ella seemed really nervous. At one point, all the kids were sitting in a circle on the mat singing a song, and Ella was off by herself pushing the shopping cart...it made me so sad to think of her all by herself and not getting along with the kids. Regardless, we both really liked it and couldn't think of a situation we'd be happier with, so we signed her up and started getting Ella prepared for her big day!

Even though Steve does not start until Monday, we wanted to give her a bit of transition time to a full day of school since it's going to be such a big adjustment. We were out of town on Monday and so we figured we'd give her Tuesday as her last full day with Steve, then start today. So, for a while now we've been talking about school, how much fun she's going to have, all the things she's going to do, the friends she'll make, all the playing, etc. It really seems to have worked because by last night she was telling me "Ella wake up school time!"

Of course me and Steve were way more nervous about the whole thing - I could barely sleep the last two nights thinking about it!

Since today is a milestone in my eyes, I thought a wake-up picture was in order


She talked about "school time" while we got dressed and then I asked her how she wanted to wear her hair. She surprised me by saying "tails", usually she always wants "betts" (barettes) but I was very happy to oblige



I forgot how much is involved in getting ready to get out the door on a schedule in the morning. Steve made her lunch, I made my lunch and we fed her breakfast all at the same time. There was also so much we had to bring since it was her first day and I've been organizing and labeling for a few nights.

Me and my little preschooler!!



She was really excited and cheerful all morning but I was getting more and more nervous that she'd get upset when it was time to drop her off. We told her that she was going to play, go outside on the playground, eat a snack, play some more, and that after lunch Daddy would come pick her up. She seemed pretty satisfied with this idea but we didn't know if she'd be shocked when it came time to leave her there.

Here she is outside the school



With her buddy Tee-tee


There were 4 kids there when we got there and they were sitting at the table playing nicely with blocks, it looked so orderly and calm. Steve went with the director to put her lunch away and I stayed with Ella. She got a little clingy and nervous but only for a minute or two. I asked her if she wanted to go play blocks and she went right over to the table and climbed up on a chair. This little boy Spencer instantly started talking to her, and she began chatting right back. She was so comfortable and happy! After a few minutes she got up and started walking around and Spencer just followed her around and kept talking - they seemed to be instant buddies!

When it was time to leave she seemed completely comfortable. She gave us both kisses and said goodbye but didn't seem sad at all and instead was busy with her new fun. We couldn't believe it. I was honestly bursting with pride at what a wonderful little kiddo we've been blessed with. She makes me so proud of her and I just couldn't believe how well she handled it this morning. My goodness!

All morning I was dying to hear how she did and I was not disappointed when I talked to Steve once he got her. Her teacher said she did great and was a 'social butterfly' that did everything with the class.

In her Activity Report for the day she got a "participated" in every activity, she used the potty once and ate almost all of her lunch. She helped clear the table after snack, practiced the yoga move "both feet" (not sure what that one is, she'll have to teach me), practiced passing boxes to her friends, sang a song, played puzzles, and did 'textile creative expression' with cooked and uncooked colored pasta. What a busy day, and she was only there for the morning!

When I talked to her on the phone she said "Ella's school time is done" and then I said "what did you think?" and she said "I liked it." So great!

Tomorrow she'll stay through nap time, I think that might be tricky because she's never slept on a mat before, but we'll see, she's amazed us so far so she may continue to. I definitely think it'll get tougher as she realizes it's every day and pretty soon will be full day each day, but she could not have impressed us any more for her first day of school!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sweet Talk

Tonight after I gave Ella her bath, I got her dressed for bed but wanted to change the sheet on her crib, so all of her crib toys, blankies, babies, etc. were on the floor.

Ella picks up one of her dolls, holds her and pats her on the back and says "I know, baby, I know - Mommy making the sheet for night-night." Cory wanted to go out and I had told her about 10 minutes before that I'd let her out as soon as I put Ella down for bed. Well, she was getting antsy and Ella said in her sweet little voice "I know Cory, I know - 2 minutes" - ha!

I was standing between the foot of the crib and the wall so she couldn't see me clearly so the next thing she said to me was "Mommy stuck? Ella will help" and busily came around to see what I was doing over there.

It was just so sweet and adorable - she wants to be so helpful!!