Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Picture Post

Ella riding her bike up the sidewalk toward our house

On the seesaw with James at the playground

Swinging across the monkey bars all by herself!

Trying out her roller skates from Grandma and Grandad for the first time! 
Cutting roses to bring inside
Adorable buddies 

Asleep and snuggling with Cory

We had an overnight adventure a few weeks ago for Founders Day, a West Point alumni function in uptown that we went to with the Burtons. We got adjoining rooms and Ella and Jake had such a blast together, it was party time!

Crimped hair - I braided it wet and Ella slept in the braids, and loved her 'do in the morning :)
Having fun at a gymnastics birthday party

We went to our first crawfish boil!
And after!

Over the week of spring break for the public school calendar, Ella's school had free dress for the week (no uniforms) and she was so excited to pick out her clothes for school each day. The first day I tried to steer her to at least pick out a few things that matched, and she said very logically, "Mommy, it's my free dress day, not yours."
The result?
Our first red strawberry!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Swingset Fun

Mom and Glenn got a swing set for Ella for her Christmas and birthday present this year, and we had it installed a few weeks ago while they were here visiting.
We brought her into the backyard after we got home from picking her up from school, and she discovered a big surprise. She was so excited!
Thank you Grammy and Grampy!!

Ella loves her 'very own playground' and plays on it just about every day, it is so much fun and the perfect addition to our back yard :)

Flips on the trapeze!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pete the Cat books

A few cute videos of Ella reading from her Pete the Cat books --

She is just so adorable!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Toy Closet Stand-Off

Although our house is truly wonderful in almost every way, one downside is that we are really short on storage space for Ella's toys downstairs. Her playroom is very open and so I don't like it to be too cluttered with toys when she's not playing with them. We have a big hall closet that is a built-out space under the stairs (with a very low ceiling), and so we've turned this closet into her toy closet as we don't need very much space for coats, and it's been a great solution to not have toys scattered all over the downstairs.

We are pretty good about getting her to clean up the playroom because she can see the mess, knows it needs to be done, and is reasonably good at cleaning it up. But the closet is a different story because it's an enclosed area, not as easy to clean up, plus she can just shut the door and call it a day. She also piles her toys in there when she's cleaning up her playroom. So, the past several weeks, the closet has been getting messier and messier. I had repeatedly told her we needed to clean it out but she had no desire and really I didn't either, so didn't push the issue.

Well, last week I finally hit my limit when I saw her coming out of the closet while standing on / walking over her toys! We had a big talk about taking care of her toys and I said we were going to clean it out by the end of the weekend. We had a really busy weekend and finally had some free time after dinner on Sunday night. I asked her if she was ready to clean it and she said no; I told her that was fine, but all of the toys in the closet were going to be off-limits until she was ready to clean it out. She said sure and didn't really seem to care.

The next night we were playing in the playroom and she said she needed to get something else and headed over to the closet - I said "are you ready to clean it out so you can play with the toys in there?" You would've thought the door knob was covered in fire because she quickly dropped her hand, did an about-face, and headed right back into the playroom.

Since she has her new swing set, she's been playing outside every day anyway, so after whatever cost-benefit analysis she ran in her head, she decided that for the time being, she could live without all of the toys in her closet. Neither one of us brought it up again all week, she just stopped going to it and seemed perfectly content to play with what was in her playroom and outside.

I was sort of in a predicament because I really wanted to get it cleaned up, but had given her the 'choice' and so I decided I had to stick it out. She has been asking to have a friend come over and play on her new swing set with her, and so we set up a play date on Sunday afternoon for our friends to come over. I reminded Ella on Saturday morning that her toy closet was off-limits and would be for her play date the next day too, unless we cleaned it up first. She said no problem because they were just going to play outside anyway. She played outside for hours on Saturday as happy as can be, with no need for her closet full of toys. Sigh...

Well, I finally got my break. We woke up Sunday morning to a lot of rain and completely gray sky, plus the time change made it darker than usual. She opened up her blinds, looked outside for a few minutes, and asked if Caleb could still come over if it rained. I said of course he could, we'd just have to stay inside instead. She was quiet and I could see the little wheels turning in her head.

During breakfast she said the words that were music to my ears -- "After breakfast we better clean out my toy closet!" And so we did. We got the whole thing cleaned out and cleaned out all the bins in the playroom while we were at it. She lost interest about half-way though and ended up mostly watching me finish it up, but I'll take it. She was really happy with the result and glad to have earned back all of her toys. And I am so glad to have it cleaned out and looking so nice again. All's well that ends well. And thank God for a rainy morning yesterday!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Father-Daughter Dance

We've been going to a new church and they had a Father-Daughter dance recently, and Steve got tickets to take Ella. She looked forward to it for weeks, it was the sweetest thing. It was a 50s theme but Ella just wanted to dress up fancy, so she got all dolled up and looked absolutely precious.
With their tickets, ready to go
Ella gave a great report of the night - lots of hula hooping, dancing, dinner and ice cream, and best of all - she won the guessing game for the jar of jelly beans! Steve told the best story for this, there's no way to do it justice since I wasn't there, but she REALLY wanted those jelly beans and through Steve's guesstimating skills, she ended up winning them!
She also asked if she could take some balloons home, here she is with her treasures. I absolutely love this picture.
And the church sent this picture of Steve and Ella in front of a cute backdrop - so adorable!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Beautiful Sunset

Steve and I went out to dinner a few Saturdays ago. It was a beautiful sunny day and we went out on the early side so we could eat outside before it got too cool.

We went to a restaurant that overlooks the bay, ate crawfish (when in Texas!), and enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen --


I took this last one from the parking lot as we were going back to our car. What an incredible view!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Garden Surprise

We have a garden bed in the backyard that we haven't done anything with since we moved in September, so it had gotten really overgrown. We decided we wanted to try to grow some strawberries, and I had read that the best time to plant them is February or March, and they should bloom in June.

A few weeks ago we got several strawberry plants and then seeds for cucumbers, carrots and sunflowers. We spent several hours cleaning up the bed and we were in for a big surprise -- we discovered giant carrots growing in the garden!

We were so excited, you would've thought we had discovered gold in the soil

In all we had about a dozen carrots in there. I read that they are typically ready to harvest in September or October, so I think they were about 4 months past ready to be pulled.

Ella with our carrot crop

I didn't trust some of the giant mutant ones, I figured they were just too far gone. But we did eat some of the normal ones, and they were surprisingly sweet and very good!

We did end up finishing the bed, and planted the strawberry plants, cucumber and carrot seeds, and then sunflower seeds in the soil behind the bed.

We planted them about two weeks ago, and a few days ago we discovered our first tiny green berries. So far, so good!

The cucumbers have started to sprout, so we'll see how they do. I am hopeful the carrots will grow since we know that soil was great for carrots this past year and that was with us completely neglecting them. Unfortunately most of our sunflower seeds were dug up and look half-eaten, so I think we may have some birds that are very partial to sunflower seeds.

Regardless of what we end up with, it's been a lot of fun, and Ella loves being a little gardener, so it's been a great project so far.