Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am so proud!

Ella has been working on learning her letters and numbers for a while now. She has a very strong memory so learning to count and memorize all of the letters was very easy for her, but it's really required a lot more effort on her part for her to learn to associate the image of the letter to the name and sound of the letter.

Several weeks ago, her preschool teacher told me that she was much more interested in playing than learning her lessons and that she was rushing through spending time learning her letters, writing her name, etc., so that she could get back to playing with her friends. After I got over my initial defensiveness that she possibly insinuate that Ella is not a perfect student (which I will admit took a bit), I decided to make a concerted effort at home to really work on teaching her letters and numbers to reinforce what she's learning at school in an organized way. So for about 3 weeks now we've been doing letter flashcards and working on her letters and numbers in her Thomas the Train book every night.

She has definitely struggled with it - when we started, she could only consistently pick out the E, L, and A, since these are the letters she writes for her name. She could randomly pick out a few more, including B and D, but she'd give crazy answers when I'd ask her some - like I'd point to a letter and she'd say "thirty-four". So, we had our work cut out for us.

About a week ago she could consistently name 12 letters, there were another 4 or 5 that she could figure out from the picture on the flashcard and working out the sound (she is definitely an auditory learner), and the rest she didn't know yet. A few nights ago I realized she was able to name 18 by sight alone, and a few more by sounding out the word, as she had memorized the word that goes along with each letter (for example, she would look at a "V", say out loud "violin, va, va... V").

This week her teacher told me Ella had really come so far with her letters in a short time, and that she can tell she has really been trying to pay attention during the lessons and during circle time. And a funny story I can't leave out - one night I could tell I was starting to lose her attention and I told her we were all done for the night and she said "no, I want to do them again" - then, she pulled up her shirt and looked at her belly. I said, "what are you doing?" her answer: "just checking to make sure my focus is still there!"

Last night she was able to name all of the numbers 1-10 for the first time without missing any, and I was amazed that she was just down to a few tricky letter stragglers - X, Y, Q, and K.

Well, it all came together tonight, and she was able to name every letter in her Thomas book, several times through. I couldn't believe it!! I took a phone video of her pointing to and naming each letter. I feel extra proud of her due to the fact that these letters did not come easy to her and she really had to work to learn them all. What a milestone!!

YouTube Video


p.s. at the end of the video clip, she's giving a pep talk to Clifford, he's her study buddy that she likes to impress with her knowledge!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Birthday Grinch

Lately Ella has proven to be quite the stingy lady when it comes to gifts for her friends that are turning 4. If it's a gift for someone younger or older than her, she's just fine, but if it's for a friend her age, and something she'd like to have herself - well, forget it!

Several weeks ago, we were shopping for a birthday gift for her friend's party, and every suggestion I made, she said no. All Ella wanted to get her was a pizza party set, which she has and really likes, so I figured ok, no big deal, she just wanted to stick with something tried and true that she knew would be a hit.

For the next party, same thing - all she would agree to was pizza party! I suggested some really neat things and finally realized what was going on when she said SHE'd like them, but her friend would not. Hmmm.

Last weekend, I had to get gifts for 2 birthday parties. Steve took Ella to one store, and I went by myself to Target and figured that on my own I'd finally be free to buy something other than pizza party! I got a Cars (the movie) atlas game and a Princess beauty parlor set. Steve and Ella picked me up at the curb and as I got in Ella said immediately "what's that Cars toy in your bag?" (how she spotted this is beyond me) - I told her it was Spencer's gift. She told me 'oh, Spencer doesn't like Cars. Let me see it." I gave it to her to look at and told her that I do think Spencer really likes Cars, because I've heard him talk about it before. She repeatedly said he wouldn't like that toy, but SHE would like it. Then, I really couldn't believe it when she said "You need to go buy Pizza Party for Spencer's birthday and I'll keep this!" (BTW: the theme of Spencer's party? Yup, Cars!)

I purposely didn't show or mention the Princess beauty parlor set, because I didn't want to have a whole week of Ella asking if she could have it. Well, she found it anyway and of course said she had to have it and told me that if I just gave that one to her, we could go get Maddie another one for her birthday. She's always got the answers! Glenn came this week and took Ella shopping to pick out a toy for a special treat ...and, what did she pick? The princess beauty parlor set! According to both Glenn and Ella, she absolutely zeroed in on it and had her mind made up that was what she needed.

I see we have a long way to go in conveying the spirit of giving gifts. Yikes!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Many of Ella's cute sayings from July and August:

"Mommy, I love you so much. You always take care of me. If I get sick and throw up, I want you to come in the bathroom and watch me throw up." (This was sort of an odd foreshadowing because although she had not thrown up in about 7 months, she did a few weeks later!)

"I am growing and growing. Soon I'm going to be a big mommy!"

Said very seriously to me - "Mommy, when I turn 30, I'm going to move out to Charlotte to live with Aunt Erin."

"Mommy - I had to put Nomar in time-out because he took a cup of coffee and poured it on me. And wouldn't say he's sorry."

Ella was giving Nomar a drink out of the sink and she swatted Nomar's tail. I said "Ella, don't hit his tail." She said to me "I was just putting it down so he won't choke on it" - seriously, where does she come up with this stuff??

Many, many, many statements start with "well Mom" or "but Mom"

She has started to use a lot more of my conversational mannerisms - she'll say "nice to meet you", "how did you sleep?", "how was your day", "how is Erin doing with baby Cameron", "Mommy, what do you think about..."

In the middle of her dance class, the girls come out of the classroom and we help them get changed from ballet shoes to tap shoes. During this time I always tell Ella what a great job she's doing, how proud I am of her, etc. One week I was telling her that and she said to me, pretty exasperated, "Mommy, I already know you love it!"

We were leaving gymnastics class and one of the moms had her 9-day old baby there. Ella said "ohhh that baby is so tiny. Mommy. I want to buy a baby. I need to have one at home that is MY OWN."

We were heading upstairs and I had my hands full with several things already, so I asked Ella if she could bring up her snoopy pillow and blankie, which also needed to come upstairs with us. She said "oh, sure!" (which doesn't seem that cute when written but the way she says it is just the sweetest!) and started to head up the stairs with both of them. Then she said to me "oh wait, I forgot my purse." She goes back down the first few stairs to get her purse. Then she says "I need you to carry Snoopy", and hands him to me. We head back up the stairs: "oh wait, first I need to get my sword"...she heads back down to get her sword. Then: "My hands are full, I need you to carry blankie." Ahhh, of course!!

We were standing waiting for the elevator at our hotel at the beach, and a very tall teenage boy came and stood next to us waiting as well. Ella said (not at all quietly) "woah, he's really big and tall. He must drink a LOT of milk and water!"

Some of her most common phrases:
- I have a great idea!
- Sure!
- Don't worry about it
- I will do it all by mySELF
- Can you do me a favor?

She wasn't listening to what I was asking her to do and I told her she needed to listen. She said "I will listen when I'm bigger. I just need a few more inches and I'll be big enough!"

I was giving her a hug before bed and she patted my back and said "This is my favorite hug." little sweetness!!

We were eating dinner and I guess I was being too quiet for Ella. She said to me "let's have a chat. Let's talk about Halloween and Christmas. Halloween first, then Christmas. Start chattin'."

She has a way of strangely hoarding things in her bed - for example, one time a lawn mowing service left a business card in our front door and she slept with it for about a week. Well, she is currently sleeping with (among many other things), a scholastic book order flyer from her school. After she'd been in bed for about 30 mins, she called downstairs, 'Mommy, I need you, it's important.' I went to see what the issue was - she was holding a ripped piece out of the flyer and said so seriously "Mommy this is ripped. I need you to hold this piece until the morning and then tomorrow you need to fix this - you need to crazy glue it back together."

I was holding Ella on my lap in bed after we read books and she started stretching, or "stratching" as she calls it. She was really stretching a lot - her arms, legs, even her neck. I asked her what she was doing and she said "I'm stratching so I can get bigger. Now I'm big enough to go downstairs with you." (instead of having to stay in her bed!)

We were talking about birthdays and Ella was complaining that it wasn't her birthday yet. She said "well, will it be soon?" I said, not really, about 4 more months, it'll be your birthday after Christmas." she said "0K, in 1 week!!" I said, "no, not in one week." she said "don't say no! You'll go right in time-out!" hmm, she told me!

We were playing kitchen and I asked Ella what she was cooking. Her reply: "I'm making soup for all the kids in the country!"

We were talking about having a good drop-off at school in the morning and Ella loves school so much and looks forward to seeing her friends. She said "I DO love school and seeing all my friends - I just want you to stay there all day too!"

"Don't I look like a masterpiece?"

"When I grow up I'm going to be a mommy. I'm going to wear high heels and eat a LOT of food. And I'm going to chew gum at work."

Monday, August 22, 2011


A few weeks ago Ella brought the umbrella stroller in from the garage and had been playing with it in the house. We were getting ready to go on a walk one afternoon and she wanted to push her stroller.

All business, pushing her way down the sidewalk

Close-up of her passenger

Kitty is a faithful companion!

Unfortunately, I learned my lesson on these walks as more often than not, they ended like this...and lucky me with Cory, Ella and Kitty to get home!

Myrtle Beach

Mom left the beach on Saturday morning, and the 3 of us headed down to Myrtle Beach for the rest of the weekend.

Some cute pics of Steve and Ella on the beach

We walked down the boardwalk and went to an arcade, Ella's first. Here she is trying Skee Ball for the first time. We played air hockey, she went in a little rocket ship ride, and Steve and I won some tickets playing some games. At the end she got to pick out some prizes with the tickets and she got a handful of dress-up rings that she wore very faithfully for a few days until they all broke!

We ended up having dinner at a restaurant that was a lot nicer than we were expecting and it was Ella's first dinner in such a nice restaurant - we got her first Shirley Temple to celebrate, and she loved it! Luckily we were in a high-backed booth in a quiet part of the restaurant (I'm sure that was no coincidence when they decided where to seat us!) and Ella did great.

In the lazy river at our hotel pool on Sunday

I cannot believe it took me a month to get all these pictures up but glad I finally did - phew!!

Broadway at the Beach

Steve arrived at the beach on Friday and that night Mom, Steve, Ella and I went to Broadway at the Beach. Ella had such a great time on the rides at the Pavilion and was very excited for more rides!!

Balloon ride - they were in the green car, I could see Ella's face sticking out most of the time :)

I was surprised how fast these cars went around the curves but Ella loved it and went on this ride twice

And a big treat at the end of the night - cotton candy!

I have purposely avoided the state fair every year, but after seeing how excited Ella was about rides at the beach, we will definitely be going this year for the first time!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


After our dinner out we went to the Pavilion which is basically a boardwalk area with lots of rides and games, and was a great time.

Ella pushing Cameron in the stroller - she will take any opportunity to help with him!

Ella, Josh, Cameron and I on the Merry Go Round

Learning the ropes of the crane machine game - she managed to 'win' 2 balls with some professional positioning from Grampy G

A very flattering self-portrait of the 3 of us on the Ferris Wheel but I just had to throw it in there!

View from the Ferris Wheel

Ella on the teacup - she loved this ride, I spun our cup so fast and she just laughed and laughed

My favorite ride was the Tilt-a-Whirl. When we were younger, Mom took us to the beach every year and she, Erin and I would always go on the Tilt-a-Whirl, we just loved it. Well there was one here and we managed to squeeze Ella in there with us so it was the 4 of us. It went so fast and was so much fun, and Ella absolutely loved it!

Fishing game - she caught a fish and was the proud winner of a very cool light-up sword as a result

With Aunt Erin on the train ride

Look at that sweet face!

Restaurant Pics

I love these pictures from Ella and Cameron at dinner at Fuddrucker's -

Such a smiley handsome boy!!

Being silly with Grampy G

Ella <3 Aunt Erin!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Photoshoot Attempt

Before dinner one night we wanted to get some pictures of Ella and Cameron together. Of course the hope was that they'd sit nicely together, look at the camera, smile like the little cherubs they are, etc - but, since we're talking about a 7 month old and a 3 year old, we'll take whatever we can get!

Looking good!

Hey, this is more fun than sitting still!

Ella's had enough!

Could they be any cuter??


We took a trip to the beach a few weeks ago for vacation, Mom and Glenn rented a condo in North Myrtle Beach and we all met there. Ella was beyond excited for the trip and had been asking every day for many weeks when it was going to be time for vacation.

Although I definitely love all the vacation and beach stuff, it's also just such a treat to have so many days in a row with Ella just being able to hang out and have fun without having to stick to a routine, off to school/work, etc, but instead just enjoy her company and have fun together.

Ella just couldn't wait to get her hands on Cameron, and he was of course a good sport with all her affection!

Such a big helper, helping Grammy to feed the adorable little guy

Ella took this picture of Grampy G

On the deck

Ella loved it when Erin would read to her and Cameron at night

My sweet angel fast asleep

Playing in the sand

Building with Grampy G

With Grammy

I get such a kick out of her poses for pictures!

And a bunch of pictures from the pool, where we spent tons of time -

So much fun!!

Little cuties

Cameron loved playing with the water from this watering can, and did not like it one bit when the water stopped!

More to come!