Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last Swim Lesson

Last week was Ella's last swim lesson of the summer.

For once they let us sit by the pool instead of behind the glass, and I loved being able to see her up close - but even better, to hear how much fun she was having!

And here's a video of her doing her final trick - she jumps in, dives for two rings, and then swims to the step.

At the end she got a gold medal and really liked getting to stand on the little podium they had set up for the kids.

She really enjoyed her lessons all summer and learned so much, and I loved seeing her so proud of herself and her swim progress!

Monday, August 27, 2012

10th Anniversary Weekend

Steve and I had our 10th anniversary on August 10th. It is hard to believe we've already been married 10 years. This year has brought so many changes and although life has dealt us plenty of ups and downs, I'm so grateful for our life together and for our amazing little Ella.  

We had our babysitter watch Ella so we could go out to dinner downtown, and had a great time.  

On Sunday we headed to the beach for the afternoon. It was so much fun, relaxing and of course we include Ella in everything, so it was our continued anniversary celebration :).

Could she be any cuter???

A great day to celebrate our 10 years together!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spooky Story

Ella likes a book called "The Teacher from the Black Lagoon" about a boy's first day of school and he has a dream that his teacher, Mrs. Green, is a monster and eats the kids.

Tonight after dinner when I was doing dishes, she entertained me by telling this story with all her dramatics. The story was about 15 minutes long but the minute that I captured on my phone definitely sums it up.

She is so silly!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

New Bike

Ella loves her new bike, and we went to the park recently for a few hours of "bike training" (her words). She got all suited up for her bike training with many accessories including her watch, several necklaces and of course her biking backpack.

I'm not sure where she got the idea that all of these accessories are standard for biking, but I just enjoyed her extreme excitement and preparation in getting ready :)

Ready to go!

She is slowly but surely getting the hang of it. She needs a push to get going and then she's good at pedaling but needs me to help her steer. That day she worked so hard at it, I was really proud of her. It was really hot and sticky out, but she just kept going, for about two hours straight.

I know she could do it by herself but she gets very nervous when I'm not helping to steer and loses her confidence. Here's a video clip of her by herself for a few seconds, and a startled scream when she starts to head off the path...

A work in progress :)

Some cute pictures from the playground later that morning

And here is another cute one on her bike on the trail around our apartment 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sleeping in her own bed!

When Ella started sleeping through the night when she was about 6 1/2 months, we had about 2 solid years of good sleep where she would go to bed for the night and sleep straight through until the morning. When we moved her into a bed, it all went downhill, and has never been consistent since then. We've definitely had good spells but more often than not she would wake up during the night and end up in our bed.

When Steve was working out here and it was just Ella and I most of the time at home, it was really easy to let her sleep with me and became an every night thing. And I actually really liked it because I love having her for my little snuggle bug, plus I could sleep all night if she was in bed with me instead of needing to wake up in the middle of the night when she woke up, because she sleeps straight through when she's in bed with me.

When we moved out here she of course still expected to end up in our bed in the middle of the night and we let her the first few months since we had so many changes and adjustments going on that I didn't want to put her through another big transition.

We decided it was finally time to focus on it now that we're really settled and she has plenty of stability and it's a good time for introducing a change because there's nothing else transition-wise going on right now. She has been asking for a big girl bike (with training wheels instead of a tricycle) for a while so we decided she could earn a bike if she filled up her sleep chart by sleeping in her own bed, all night, for 10 nights.

She got to pick out her stickers for the chart and she picked puffy rainbows that she loved, although she didn't like that she couldn't open them until her first successful night. Her prizes on the chart were an ice cream date after the first night, and then she got to pick out a toy after her third night and seventh night, and then her bike after ten nights. I was hoping that lots of motivation along the way would keep her interested and hopefully outweigh wanting to come in bed with us.

We talked about it for several nights and planned to start on a Friday night so that if it was really rough few nights, at least it was the weekend instead of school & work days the next day. She changed her mind at the last minute and said "one more night" which turned into several more, but she finally was really ready to start (or really wanted to start working toward her prizes!)

The first night she woke up at midnight, 2:30 and then 5:00 am - and all three times she called out for me (because I told her she had to stay in bed) I would go to her room, rub her back for a few minutes and give her a kiss, but she stayed in her bed and was still there in the morning.

She was really proud of herself and so were we. It was a few nights of the same, her waking me up a few times to come to her room, and then I realized she was really counting on the middle of the night back rubbing and kisses because on the third or fourth night she said to me "see you in the middle of the night to rub my back!" So - then we needed to change plans again and I told her she could earn TWO stickers for the night - one for staying in her bed all night long, and one for not calling me to come over during the night. So she earned some extra stickers in her last few nights, but she does still enjoy seeing me at some point during the night (still need to work on that part!).

She loved getting to put her stickers on her chart in the morning and especially on the days it was time to go to the store and pick out her toys. She liked to count down the days until the next 'prize' and stayed pretty excited about it the whole time. Mom and Glenn visited us in the middle of the ten nights because we were behind schedule from when Ella didn't really start, so she had several nights in the middle of sleeping with Mom. But then she picked up again after they left and got to her tenth night last weekend!

Steve took her to pick her new bike this past weekend, and she just loves it! Her sleeping is not perfect and we're not 100% there, but she is in her own bed all night, wakes up around 5:30 each morning, calls for me to come over, and then goes back to sleep once I give her a kiss. Sleeping in her own bed all night long is a major victory and I'm so proud of her for doing it!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

According to Ella

It's been a long time since I've kept track of some of the treasures that Ella says, but have written down some good ones the last few weeks -

We were in the car one day and out of nowhere she said to me "do you remember when we went to the North Pole and saw flamingos"?...I asked what she meant and she said "It was really cold out and we were wearing a lot of clothes. And there were lots of animals, and flamingos, remember?" And then it hit me that she was talking about our trip to Central Park Zoo last year, she thought we had visited the North Pole.

I told Ella that I had seen a snake when I was walking Cory and her first responses were "seriously? are you kidding?!" then she said very dramatically - "have you ever seen a snake in life?"

Sometimes I don't know what dreams I'm having.

Ella said to me '"Do you want to live here, or in North Carolina?'" I said, "well this is our new home now and we're staying here in Texas, but of course I really love North Carolina." Her reply - "Oh yes, it's a beautiful state!"

Along the sames lines, another day she asked me if we were ever moving back to North Carolina and I said that while we'll definitely visit, we're staying here because this is where Daddy's job is. Ella was silent for a few minutes and then said "Oh! well if Daddy's job was at the beach, would we live there?" I said "yes" and she got a big grin and said "Oh wow, that would be fun!!"

Ella rushed into the bathroom where I was and said very frustrated "Mommy. I don't want Cory in the living room while I'm playing." I asked her "why not?" and she said "Because - she keeps passing gas on me!"

"Remember when you were gone for work and me and daddy were home by ourselves?" (big eyes, very sweet) - "Were you sad all by yourself?"

"You're my best Mommy!"

We were talking about something and I said that I hoped something would happen. Ella's reply? "Oh yea, I know that feeling!"

I was making dinner and she came into the kitchen to get a glass of water and on the way to the sink said "every day I'm shuffling."

We were washing our hands at the sink and I asked for some soap. She said to me "Mommy, you can wash your own hands, you're a big girl."

"I'm never gonna stop loving you!"

"What are you writing? About me talking sweet?"

One day Steve left the apartment without his computer and I called him to tell him he forgot it. It turned out he had to go to a training all day so he didn't need it. The next morning Ella said to him "Do you need your computer today, or do you have another training?"

"Do you want to know my favorite seasons? They are Christmas, Halloween, and ...snow day!"

Challenge Questions:

"I know that babies get IN a mommy's tummy because God puts them in there, but how do they get OUT?"

"What is a mammal?"

"Does ice float or sink?"

"Why don't I see the Big Dipper every night? Also there are constellations like the bear and the dog - where are those?" ummm....

She certainly keeps me on my toes!!

Visit from Mom & Glenn

Mom and Glenn came to visit us last weekend, and it was so nice to have them. 

They kept Ella home for a party day on Friday. They went back to Schlitterbahn, the water park in Galveston, and then spent the night in a hotel.  

Making a treasure box, which she has slept with every night since

Steve & I went out downtown on Friday night and had a nice dinner and went bowling at Lucky Strike, a bowling alley/bar. We haven't been bowling in years but it was a lot of fun and I even beat him in one game. We stayed at a hotel and spent a few hours at the pool in the morning, it was so nice to get to read and relax and eat a leisurely breakfast. 

We had a nice afternoon and evening on Saturday and then on Sunday after church, Mom, Ella and I went to the Downtown Aquarium. 

Ella checking out the jellyfish

Alligators resting together. The one on top got up and swam around, it was cute watching him swim.

Ella posing as the "Statue of Liberty" (her description)

Petting a horsehoe crab

And my favorite part - petting the stingrays!

They also had White Tigers, they took turns being active and were really neat to watch

In addition to the aquarium inside, there was a ton of stuff outside, almost like a carnival with rides and even a splash pad. It was too hot to do much but we did go for a ride on the ferris wheel.

When we got home, Ella was very excited to finally get to try out her Snoopy Sno-Cone maker and here they are making snow cones together.

It was a great visit and we are already looking forward to the next one!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Palm Beach

A few Sundays ago we went to a water park in Galveston called Palm Beach. There is a man-made beach overlooking the bay, splash pads, water slides, a lazy river, and wave pool. We did everything and  really had a great afternoon. 

Fun in the splash pad

Cute video of her coming down a water slide

On the beach
Pretty view
Ella & Steve heading into the wave pool

It was such a fun day, it felt like a mini-vacation :)