Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Frogs and a Rainbow

It rained for almost two straight weeks of rain at the beginning of July, including three weekends, and almost every weekday in between. It was a nice break from the heat but we were happy to see the sun again when the rain stopped.

One afternoon I was walking Cory and noticed what appeared to be hundreds and hundreds of crickets. They were tiny and black and jumping all over the place. And then I realized that they were actually baby frogs! We have a pond (= retention basin) in the middle of our apartment complex, and I think that with all the water, thousands of baby frogs hatched and then when the pond started to dry up, they all started heading out to live their little lives. As a result, we had baby frogs everywhere!  

I knew Ella would think it was very cool so I made a video on my phone and showed it to her as soon as I picked her up. She was really excited about my discovery and said she wanted to go on a 'frog hunt' the minute we got home.

She wasn't crazy about catching the frogs, she mostly likes to supervise and give me instructions (hurry up! over here, quick quick!) but she did like to hold them once I put them in her hand.

We made a makeshift habitat for them with grass, dirt and a water dish, and Ella loved watching them and checking them out in the box.  

And for the best part of the day - All of a sudden, Ella yelled out "Ohhhhh, a RAINBOW!!!" and we saw her very first rainbow. It was really beautiful and it was so neat to watch her reaction and see how much she enjoyed looking at it.

We walked a bit to see it from different angles and I thought it was really neat how it was an upside down rainbow. I haven't seen one in years either, so it was special for me too.

Ella wanted to bring the box of frogs into the house, but settled on the patio, and was so proud to show them off to Steve when he got home that night.

We let them all go in the morning and then had another frog hunt that day and the next...those lucky little frogs!

The Biggest Feather

Steve finished working early today so he was able to pick Ella up after school. I was in the kitchen cooking dinner when they got home and Ella beelined into the kitchen and as soon as I gave her a kiss she held up her pinkie finger to show me a (very) little cut on it.

I asked how she got it and she said she needed to tell me in the office. We went into the office and she closed the door, very serious.

Here is the story:

"We were working on a project and I took the biggest feather because that's the one I wanted. T (boy in her class) said he wanted the biggest feather but I told him he couldn't have it. Then he cut me with his scissors!"

Me: "What??" He cut you with scissors?! Then what happened?"

Ella: "He said OH NO, OH NO, we need to go tell the teacher!"

So they went to tell their teacher who wrote up an incident report about it and Ella decided to give him the big feather because he wanted it. I told her she didn't have to give him the feather just because he wanted it but it was really nice of her to share.

And then, the part that really made me crack up: "I had to. He really wanted the big feather. He tried to cut that finger right off my hand!"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Swimming Videos

Ella is becoming quite the little swimmer this summer - between her lessons each week and getting so much practice in our apartment pool on the weekends, she is really learning so much and continues to amaze me with how far she has come. 

Here are some videos from the last few weeks -

This one is at swim lessons last week. It's horrible quality but really shows her using her arms and making big arm circles in the water.

Also at her lesson, jumping in, swimming a little bit, and then diving down for a toy, which is one of the last things they do each week and is usually her favorite part.

And from our apartment pool last weekend, swimming back and forth to the steps by herself

Going under water to get one of her toy frogs

I am so proud of my little fish!!

July 4th

For Independence Day, Ella's school had a 4th of July celebration and a class party.  The kids made a craft and then had a little parade around the room. 

Ella was less than thrilled with the parade but liked making the fans and especially enjoyed the angel food cake with strawberries and blueberries. 

Telling a story

So proud of her patriotic shirt!

We went over to our friends' house for a barbecue on the actual 4th of July, and it was the first time we've been to their neighborhood pool. 

Ella and Jake spent a bunch of time in the kiddie pool and each went down the slide many, many times.

The most memorable part of the day was that Ella jumped off the diving board in the deep end of the big pool. The deep end is 10 feet and she saw other (bigger) kids jump off the diving board, and really had it set in her mind that she wanted to do it. Steve went up on the board with her and I was going to be in the water in case she got nervous when she landed in the water. She looked so little waiting in line with all the other kids and adults. She was wearing her vest but when it got to be her turn, the lifeguard told her she couldn't wear a vest. 

I thought for sure she wouldn't want to jump if she couldn't have her vest on, but she still wanted to. So I went out in the middle of the deep end under the board and treaded water, because I knew I needed to catch her, it was 10 feet and I didn't want her to sink on her first attempt off the diving board. Well, she jumped and did great (and I managed to successfully catch her)! She ended up doing it several more times. I was so proud of her, it took a lot of courage and she was proud of herself too. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happy Thanks Mothers Day

It's almost 10pm, Ella should be asleep. We went out to dinner and got ice cream after so I'm sure that explains why she's still awake.

A few minutes ago, she came out of her bedroom with her notebook, sat down next to me on the couch and told me she has something very beautiful to show me. I asked her what it is and she proudly opens up to this picture that she made -

Her description of the picture - "It's a special picture of you, me and daddy, and the rainbow we saw yesterday. And an American flag for United States of America! I don't know if it was fireworks day. And it says 'to mommy - Happy Thanks Mothers Day'....sheesh, hard to shoo her back to bed after such a sweet little Thanks Mothers Day wish!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Back to the Beach

We went back to the beach with friends at the end of  June for another fun weekend. We rented a house overlooking the beach and although it was not the best weather for a trip to the beach, had a really awesome time. 

Ella LOVES the beach :)

Some cute pictures of the kids playing together - 

Galveston is not going to win any awards in a beautiful beach contest - there is tons of seaweed, the sand is nowhere near white, and the water is gray instead of blue. There was SO much seaweed this weekend, that I even googled it when I got home to see if there is some explanation for all this seaweed (there actually is and it is a floating type that starts all the way off the coast of Europe and travels up the gulf stream each year, ending up in the Gulf of Mexico each summer). 

But one neat thing about it is that there's a lot of tiny sea life, or 'sea creatures' as Ella likes to call them that live in the seaweed. Our neighbor for the weekend let us use this glass bowl and showed us how to shake out the seaweed to catch the creatures, and it was pretty amazing. We caught lots of shrimp and baby redfish. The kids loved it and spent lots of time catching "hoppers" as Ella called them. 

There were also many clams, I'm guessing they collected several hundred of them in this bucket and never got tired of watching each one dig a hole and bury itself in the sand!

Not sure what they had collected in this one but it was obviously very interesting to them!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Picture Post

Here are some cute pictures of the little lady from the last month or so -

Sweet water baby

She even fell asleep after a big swim one day

A little ray of sunshine

Fun at a splash pad nearby

Really menacing sky after a storm

At a gymnastics birthday party, swinging on a rope and she got to drop into the foam bit below -- she loved going there so much so now she keeps asking me to take gymnastics there

This was just one of those days when she was being so incredibly sweet and endearing, such a little sweetheart, that I had to capture the moment and stop right there to take a picture.

Solar System

A beautiful solar system drawn by Ella!

What is going on in that head?

Ever since Ella was born, I've always wished I could have a running transcript of all the thoughts running through her head, and how her thought process works, and I get a big kick out of how quickly she jumps from one topic to the next.

Last night she wanted me to make some videos of her so that she could watch them. She had me cracking up between her list of likes, her made-up songs, and general silliness -- and there is no just keeping up with what's going on in that head!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Swim Lessons

Ella started her swim lessons about a month ago, and she loves them and looks forward to it all week. She wants to get there early to watch kids finish in the class before, she wants to stay late to watch the class after, and wants to know when it's her turn again.

It's hard to take pictures because parents have to stay in the observation area behind the glass, but here are a few I've caught the past few weeks.

Waiting for her turn on the side of the pool

Doing so good practicing her technique :)

Proud of herself after grabbing a toy underwater

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Party Time with Grammy and Grampy G

While Steve and I were enjoying our time in St. Martin, Ella was living it up for the week with Mom and Glenn. They went on their own vacation to the beach in Galveston and it was party time!

Mom came for the weekend before we left and then Glenn met them at the beach a few days later. They stayed at a hotel right on the beach and had lots of fun on the beach and swimming in the pool, a trip to Rainforest Cafe, and a whole day at Schlitterbahn, a big water park in Galveston.

It was hard getting updates from Ella because she never really felt like talking on the phone whenever I would call, but Mom kept me well updated. And did Ella reveal to me once we got home that talking on the phone was worth 10 skittles from Grammy, so you would think she would've been a little more chatty, but oh well!

A few pictures from their time together -

Fun at the water park

Looking adorable after her new haircut

Enjoying Grammy's iPad at their hotel

Sleeping angel

I am so glad that Ella got to have so much fun while we were on vacation, it made it so nice to be able to enjoy our time away and know that Ella is so well taken care of and having so much fun!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Ella's Father's Day Interview

Ella made an adorable Father's Day picture for Steve and I gave her a Father's Day "interview" that I found online. I wrote the answers down for her and attached it to the other side of the picture.

Her answers were absolutely precious - the underlines are her replies:

My Dad is 35 years old.

His hair is black and his eyes are brown

My Dad likes to wear red work shirts.

He loves to eat pasta.

He is smart because he knows numbers.

My Dad works hard at working.

My Dad always tells me he loves me.

It makes my Dad happy when he loves me.

If he could go on a trip, he would go to the beach and he would take me and Mommy.

I really love it when my Dad brings me to places.

If I could give my daddy anything it would be gummy bears.

My favorite thing about my Dad is I love him.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

St. Martin - 10th Anniversary Vacation

Steve and I went to St. Martin to celebrate our 10th anniversary a few months early! Our 10th anniversary is on August 10th, but with our work schedules and upcoming move, August was not good timing, so we decided to go in June, and we left on my birthday and Father's Day. 

We went to St. Martin for our honeymoon and again 5 years later for Steve's 30th birthday. It's been another 5 years and so when we were planning a 10th anniversary trip, decided we had to go back one more time, and we stayed at the same property we stayed at for our honeymoon. 

Usually I am terrible about taking pictures when Ella is not with me, but I made an effort to take some, even though I was missing my favorite photo subject!

On our first day, outside the reception building

We stayed in a villa and each building had 4 villas that shared a pool. We were the only ones in our building so had the pool to ourselves the whole week!

Our view from the breakfast restaurant at the hotel

These little kitties were our buddies for the week. I named the orange one Jessie and the black one we just called "the kitten" - we fed them a few times a day and did our best to keep them out of our room, which was not easy because they were very determined to spend as much time with us as possible. They were so sweet, and fun little vacation pets.

The beach was absolutely beautiful - it was just a few steps down the trail from the hotel and there we were!

We rented a car so we were able to get around the island a good deal (I didn't drive!). We visited a few different towns and had some great meals, went to see a band and a casino one night, and spent a day in Phillipsburg on the Dutch side.

Beautiful view from lunch

It was a really wonderful trip, such a break from the 'real world' and well needed time with just Steve and I. We were so fortunate to be able to take the trip, I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate 10 years!