Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Smooth Moves

Glenn got Ella a little keyboard and Ella was so funny with it the other day. She prefers to play the preset songs and was doing this hysterical little dance with pointing her fingers and moving to the beat. Check out this video -

She is one funny girl!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Visit with the Maguires

A few Saturdays ago Ella and I went to my Dad's house and got to see our aunts and uncles. Dad has 3 brothers and 1 sister, and they all live in Baltimore, and the last time I saw everyone was at my baby shower in December 2007 - so it's been way too long, and they had never met Ella!

It was great to see everyone - Ella really liked meeting her great-aunts and great-uncles and it was a really nice visit.

All of us! (from left) - Aunt Patty and Uncle Lou, Uncle Dan and Aunt Lorraine, Dad and Donna, Uncle Jim and Aunt Linda, and Uncle Mickey and Aunt Marlene

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bye-Bye Binky

Ella is now officially binky-free! Up until now, she has still used her binky for naps and night time (and long car trips) and was really, really, really attached to it to fall asleep. I wasn't even sure if she was capable of falling asleep without it. With all the change she's been through lately I really didn't want to give her another transition to deal with, but now that Steve is back home it seemed like the right time.

I just couldn't stand the thought of taking it away from her cold turkey, so did some research online and decided to snip the top off so that it would lose it's sucking power and that even though she could still suck it, it wouldn't be as enjoyable. I wanted the decision to stop using it to be hers, instead of us telling her she couldn't have it anymore.

We told her a few weeks ago that her binky was getting older because she's had it for so long, and then on Monday night I cut the very tip off of it. She thought it was really weird but said "ohhh, it's old, has a hole in it" and accepted it. She asked for another one and we told her we didn't have any more, that was it. Although she wasn't too happy with it, she still put it in her mouth to sleep.

I cut a little bit more off of it each night and she still slept with it and took it to bed with her every night, but wasn't really sucking on it anymore. And she talked a lot about it getting old and how it had a hole in in it. Then we told her that since binky was getting so old, if she decided she didn't want it any more, she could choose a special surprise that she could sleep with instead of binky. She said she still wanted binky.

Finally yesterday I cut it down so low so it was pretty much just a little nub attached to the plastic base. We showed her her surprise, which is a really cute little puppy that came in a fancy purse, and she played with him in the afternoon but when it was time for bed, still said she wanted binky. But then once we were upstairs and she saw how small it was, she wanted to put binky back in her crib while we were reading books. Once it was time for her to get in her crib, she told me she did not want binky in her crib. I couldn't believe it! She said she wanted it in the hallway instead (which is what she says about anything that she doesn't want in her bedroom when she goes to bed). I asked her if she was sure, and she said "yes, no binky - I want the puppy to sleep with."

And that was that! I got her the puppy, she held it so close and tight, and went to sleep without a peep! Same thing at nap time today and bedtime tonight, she wanted to snuggle with her new little puppy and didn't mention binky once all day. I am completely amazed it worked so well - she is binky free, it was her decision, and all without a single tear!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Little Comedian

One of the most amazing things about Ella lately is watching her sense of humor develop and how hysterical she can be. Tonight at dinner, Steve and I spent the majority of the time laughing at how silly she was being. A lot of times she's not meaning to be funny but is actually so serious and heartfelt that is just heartbreakingly sweet and funny.

Here are some of my favorite Ella-isms from the last month or so -

Steve was going to go up in the attic to get the bassinet so we could bring it to Erin. Ella said "what doing?" and I said "Daddy's getting something for your baby cousin to sleep in when he gets here" - Ella said "Oh, I know - jammies?"

"I have a baby in my tummy too." (She wants to be just like Aunt Erin!)

When I went to get Ella up from her nap and I asked her how her nap was - she said: "I was crying in my crib, Daddy came and took me out of my crib. He rocked me on the chair and my eyes stopped crying."

We were reading Goodnight Moon: "That Mommy is not Ella's Mommy, that is the bunny's Mommy."

"Cory does NOT wear underwear."

Dropping her off at school one morning, she wanted me to hold her, but my hands were full with the different containers of her lunch so I told her my hands were full and I couldn't pick her up. She said "I know - put down the food, and carry ME." She was so pleased with herself for coming up with the solution, it was so adorable.

We were being silly and I was asking Ella different nicknames like "are you my pumpkin pie?" "are you my blueberry muffin?" "are you my strawberry shortcake?", etc. - Ella's reply: "I'm your bagel!"

I wanted Ella to get out of the bathtub - she said to me: "Mommy, not time to get out. It's time to play with toys!"

One day in the car -
Me: Alright Ellabella, xxxxxx (I can't remember...)
Ella: Noooo, not Ellabella!
Me: What, you don't like me calling you Ellabella?
Ella: No, no Ellabella and NO BABY
Me: Ohhh I can't call you baby either? What should I call you?
Ella: Big girl!

I put a piece of gum on the console between the front seats and then loaded Ella up in her carseat. She saw the gum and said "It's gum Mommy. Eat gum! Eat gum!" When I got in my seat I put the piece of gum in my mouth and she clapped and cheered and said "Good job Mommy, good job!"

Speaking of gum, one time after I put a piece of gum in my mouth she said "Is your gum good Mommy? Is it a tasty treat?" The 'tasty treat' was just too funny.

One morning she was digging through my make-up drawer in the bathroom and I asked her what she was doing and she said - "It's okay Mommy, just checking it out."

After taking her shirt off, she said "I take off my tummy too." And then tried to pull on her tummy. And then she said "Ouch, it's stuck!"

She is just so funny, I'd need to carry a tape recorder around with me all day to keep track of it all!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ella at 2 1/2

Ella's half birthday was July 5th, so she is now 2 1/2, so I thought a big update was in order! She's at a really fun age right now, where she is so funny, always playing and being silly, and so far from a baby. She likes to pretend and be imaginative, and play, play, play. She talks all the time and is such a little buddy and fun to hang out with.

Ella is very silly - she makes really funny faces and funny noises and always cracks herself up, even more so if there is a mirror around and she's checking out her reflection. She loves music and dancing. Her favorite songs are ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Itsy Bitsy Spider and If You're Happy and You Know It.

She likes pretending a lot and will put something on her head and say "I'm wearing a princess hat!" or in the tub put the washcloth on herself and say "I'm wearing a dress!" She's said to me before - "Look! A dinosaur!" and gets more imaginative each day. Her expressions and storytelling are just the cutest things ever. She gets really excited and animated, gets big round eyes and uses all kinds of gestures. She is quite the chatterbox, and her teacher told me that she is hands-down "the class talker."

She's really descriptive about things and so literal. She'll say "my belly is hungry" or "my eyes were crying" or "I burped in my mouth." It's so hard not to laugh because it's just so precious, and she is so serious about it.

She loves reading and has memorized big chunks of several of her books. She knows most of Goodnight Moon, Very Busy Spider, and My Very Own Name. Sometimes she wants to read by herself and will 'read' to me instead of wanting me to read to her.

She is such a love bug and can be heart-meltingly sweet. She'll say things like "I love you so much", "I need kisses and hugs", will rub our faces and give us the best hugs and kisses. Today she told me "You make me happy. Every day." Sooooo sweet.

She doesn't like to get very dirty and likes things to be neat and in their place. If there is something in her room that she doesn't think should be in there, like a toy that she brought in earlier, she'll ask me to get it out of her room before she goes to sleep. This goes for Cory and Nomar - they are not allowed in her room once she gets in her crib.

She loves washing her hands, washing dishes, anything involving playing in the sinks. She has stool by each one and things she has very important business that requires her in a sink several times a day. Sometimes I think she asks to go potty just so she can wash her hands.

She loves to help with chores and she wants to help fold laundry, sweep, throw things in the garbage, wipe up spills, put her clothes in the hamper. However, this love of chores does not apply to cleaning up her toys after playing with them and that always requires us requesting several times.

She's always been pretty good about saying "please" and now is doing really well with "thank-you" and "excuse me" too. Sometimes she'll catch me off guard with her manners and will say "bless you", or "I'm fine, thank you."

She's still about 80% potty trained and we need to commit to transitioning over to underwear. She wears it at home a lot but not out of the house so that is the next step. She used to say "Mommy, go away" or "get out of here" when she was going potty and wanted to be left alone. I explained that wasn't a nice thing to say and so now she says "privacy please" - but it sounds like "pie-a-cy please" - so if anyone doesn't understand what that means, she gets frustrated and yells "close the door." She even expects that Cory understands "pie-a-cy please"!

She is much less of a picky eater than she used to be. She still knows what she likes and really only wants to eat what she wants to eat, but that includes a lot more options now. The foods she eats the most are strawberries, grapes, peaches, raisins, turkey and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, pasta, yogurt, bagels, eggos, corn, chicken, and she'll eat a teeny bit of vegetables with serious coaxing (beans, asparagus, carrots). Her favorites are macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, fries, grilled cheese, pasta, and really any sweets. She is growing so fast - she's a 2T in clothes and just moved up to a 7 in shoes.

She still uses her binky to sleep but we have got to get rid of it soon - eeekk!! I just think it's going to be so tough for all of us so I'm nervous about it. She is also very attached to her blankie and Snoopy, also sleeps with a bigger blanket that she calls "big blanket", Trove, and Tee-Tee. She usually sleeps from about 8:30 pm - 7:30 am, but I wake her up at 7:30. On weekends she usually sleeps past 8, and she is much happier when she wakes up on her own instead of being woken up.

Her naps at school are very hit or miss, sometimes she'll have no nap at all and sometimes she'll sleep for about 1 1/2 hours. Her teacher moved her to a new spot last week because she and one of the other girls in her class were keeping each other up the whole time. One day I asked Ella why she didn't sleep that day and she said "Me and Tess were playin'! Miss Dina said 'lay down guys!'"

It's also a tricky age because she can be such a wild woman and we are definitely in the "terrible twos" stage at times. She can go from the happiest girl in the world to the most unhappy girl in the world within seconds if she does not get her way, and is always testing her boundaries. She does not like me hurrying her, and she is ALWAYS playing - whether it's time to get dressed, put shoes on, eat, head out the door, whatever - she wants to play and go her pace all the time, not ours!

And while she doesn't have actual tantrums, when she gets too tired or cranky she becomes very whiny and unhappy. She also gets a kick out of not doing whatever I'm asking her to do, and her main reasons for time-outs are usually for purposely not listening.

She's also become very clever and has started to use stall tactics when she doesn't want to go to sleep yet. She likes to get tucked in her blanket and she's called me back in her room before because "my knee is sticking out", "my toes are sticking out", "I feelin' sirsty."

Some recent pics -

She is really just the best, it's amazing that she is already 2 1/2!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Video Post

I took some cute videos of Ella this weekend. She usually completely stops whatever she's doing as soon as I get the camera in an attempt to thwart my video-capturing, but I managed to catch a few good ones

In this one she put my flip-flops on and sang a little song "flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flip..." - then if you listen carefully she starts singing ABCs but disappears when the draw of Cory's food and water is just too much to ignore

We were getting ready to go swimming and she was pretending to use the towels as blankets. Here she is telling me she needs to get tucked in

Once I tucked her in and she was all set, she starts to pretend to sleep - then discovers a Christmas ornament tucked in a couch cushion (eek!) followed by some fake snoring

We were coming back from a walk in the neighborhood and Ella was trying to lure a bird into her hand - she says "Birds, come! Come in my hand!" It's a little hard to hear her in this one but so worth it if you can! (And in case you were curious, no birds have taken her up on her offer yet)

She loves the "monkeys jumping on the bed" book and will usually count and say "no more mon-keys jumpin' on the bed!" - well I didn't catch that but she was really cute here with Cory

Saturday, July 10, 2010

4th of July Weekend

My best friend Kelly came to visit us for 4th of July weekend. The last time we saw each other was late last summer, so we had lots to catch up on.

Ella's big plan for the weekend was for Kelly to "play in my playroom". Ella's MO is to demand that you go up to her playroom, close the door the minute she gets you in there, then she commences playing! She tears through everything in her room, makes many meals, takes care of her babies, throws things around, pours you endless amounts of tea, all kinds of stuff - Kelly was an excellent sport (of course).

Kelly brought Ella her first piece of Lafayette gear

On Saturday afternoon, we had a break in the super hot weather, and it was in the mid-80s. Kelly and I went to a bar and sat outside and talked for hours, so much fun. We all went out to dinner one night and Kelly got to see the joy of dinner with a 2 1/2 year old :)

Ella and Aunt Kelly

Checking out a juke box

We went to a 4th of July party and there was a playground there, so of course it was a win for Ella

No 4th of July party is complete without fireworks - well, this was no exception - at one point I felt like it looked like we were in a war zone (and I was very grateful Ella is the age she is and had no desire to have any part of this aside from watching from a distance!)

We went to the pool on Monday, July 5, which was Ella's half birthday - and coincidentally, was the 2 year anniversary of Ella's first time swimming (which Kelly was also here for, along with Erin and Josh)

It was a really great weekend and so good to have Kelly visit us for several days!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

First Movie at the Theater - Toy Story 3

Ella doesn't have a great attention span for movies but we have seen, and really enjoyed, both Toy Story and Toy Story 2, and really likes them. Buzz Lightyear is her favorite and she also likes Woody. Since Toy Story 3 is in the theater now, we thought it would be a fun 'first movie' to take her to.

First, she amazed us on the car ride there by telling her first complete knock-knock joke. Usually her knock-knock jokes go like this -

Ella: knock-knock
Me: Who's there?
Ella: Mommy
Me: Mommy who?
Ella: Mommy Daddy
(repeat many times!)

But this time, she came up with an actual punchline!
Ella: knock-knock
Me: Who's there?
Ella: Grammy
Me: Grammy who?
Ella: Grammy's knocking on the door!

Hahaha, we thought it was the funniest thing.

Anyway, we get to the movies and Ella was really excited. She did not want to sit in her own seat so alternated between our laps and standing the whole time.

My only complaint was the previews. First, they all seem to be for movies that seemed a lot scarier than Toy Story and although they were all rated G, I thought they could've been a little bit too much for Ella. She seemed fine though except she did not like this one that seemed to be about some scary owls. There were just so many previews, I don't really understand why they do so many previews for a kids movie, but I guess that's just the way it is.

Ella did great during the movie. She ate an absurd amount of popcorn and was probably not the ideal movie-goer as she did plenty of loud talking, question asking, and plot narration for the enjoyment of everyone around us. Perhaps most inappropriate, but so funny to me, was the point when I looked down and she was rubbing the man's hand on his wife's chair in front of us! I quickly pulled her back on my lap with lots of apologies (they had a little girl too so were very understanding) but it was pretty funny.

The movie was really cute and we both liked it as much as Ella did. Definitely a great first movie theater experience for Ella!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Parade and Classroom Party

Ella's school had a 4th of July parade and party last Thursday afternoon. Her teacher made tu-tus, crowns and bracelets for the girls, they were so cute.

We got to hang out with Ella in her classroom for a while before the parade and she looked so adorable in her little tu-tu.

Explaining her bracelet to Steve

They asked the parents to go outside while the kids were lining up to start the parade. Ella did NOT like this idea. I couldn't blame her - we'd been with her in her room for about 20 minutes and then had to leave all of a sudden, she started crying and I felt really bad leaving her. But, we went outside and waited for the festivities to begin.

The mayor of our town was the parade Grand Marshall so he led the procession. The word "parade" may be a little liberal - it really was more of a chaotic jumble of kids and teachers walking around the playgrounds at school.

Ella hadn't fully recovered and was clutching Miss Dina's hand as she made her way out the door

She hung in there for about 5 minutes or so then decided she was DONE.WITH.PARADE!

Oh well, I'd rather have her with me anyway!

She was very pleased with the bells on pipe cleaners they made, she is still playing with them and calls them her "jingle bells"

After the parade we went inside for the party and ice cream

At first Ella said "it's too cold!" but then she got into it and ended up eating all her ice cream

Sharing with Daddy

It was a really nice way to start our 4th of July weekend and I felt so proud of Ella in her first school 'performance.' :)