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Monday, December 29, 2008

A Christmas Update

I figured I would try to write an update before New Years comes along. As it turns out, it's more difficult to have the time to post anything when I'm home all day with Ellie.

Some Christmas stories...

Once again I am reporting that this little girl is growing up too fast. She has started calling us Mommy and Daddy, instead of the previous cherished Mama and Dada. Surprisingly this upsets me more than I thought it would (didn't think about it, honestly). "Mommy" just sounds so grown up to me. She is no longer a baby when she calls me Mommy. What's next? Mom then Mother then Jennifer? Ugh.

Strangely enough, she has stopped calling Bun-bun by her name. Instead of "Ba-ba" (with an occasional "bun-bun") she now calls her "Bob-by" (with an occasional "Bun-ny"). Weird.

Ellie knows who Santa is, though I think she thinks he is the nice guy from the airplane. She would go up to his image and say "Zanda". She also knows what Santa says. He says "HO!" of course!

So far having Christmas with all the different grandparents has gone well (we see the 4th set in a couple weeks from now). Pappy taught her to growl while opening presents, which was cute. It turned out to be a convenient warning when I was in the kitchen and heard "Rarrr!" coming from the other room. I soon found Ellie in the process of opening presents to save everyone time on Christmas.

She is not terrified of the Elmo Pappy got her, but she's not comfortable with him either. She insists we are the ones to touch him to make him talk, and keeps an eye on him for unexpected movements.

Cha-ca-muck is now Ellie's favorite drink.

She is a big fan of seeing a No-ma (snowman).

She knows many letters and what sounds they make. O is her favorite, but she also knows A, B, C, D, I and S. Incredible.

And the most noticeable change might be that she now has a name for the Grandma's. It used to be "Gapa" was the only one she called for, but it turns out she was just waiting for a name that she could pronounce. We started calling one grandma "Nana" and she picked that up instantly. The other grandma is now "Ama" since it was the first of many names we tried that she repeated (with enthusiasm). And again, it took no time for it to stick.

So as it stands now, we have:
"Appy" (Pappy) and Grammie (she still hasn't said her name)
"Gapa" and "Nana"
"Gapa" and "Ama"
We'll have to wait and see what names pop out for the fourth set.

I guess that's it for now, though this post should keep you happy for a whole week because of everything in it.

Happy holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I lub-wui

I love you too, Ellie

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Save for College! BAH!

You always hear that you should start saving for college as early as possible when you have a kid. This makes sense. With how expensive even in-state tuition can be, who knows how much it's going to cost in the future.

What they don't tell you, though, is to save for daycare. I know that prices range from location to location, or even between types of daycare, but the price for a single child where Ellie goes is practically a mortgage payment. In fact, it's just about in-state college tuition, if not a little more.

Does this not strike others as insane?

The topic recently came up because we were doing our budget for 2009 and were trying to come up with a way to afford two children at Ellie's current daycare. I don't think that's possible. Seriously, how do people do it? It's not like Daddy and I don't make good money. We do. So what gives?

Now talking about specific numbers... even with the sibling discount, we would end up paying close to $30k per year on childcare. You heard right. Now you're with me.

We need to find another solution. It looks like we're going to have to look into switching over to in-home daycare. I'm sure that family care providers are fine and that you can find one that treats your child as if she were their own, but it still sucks to have to move Ellie. I am beginning to really love her daycare. I think that they do a great job of teaching the kids and preparing them for kindergarten. I don't want someone to just "watch" my children. I want someone who engages them and shows them new things and teaches them how smart they can be.

I guess since it will be a while before child #2 comes along, we don't have to make the decision now. I will say this, though: No wonder people often only have a single child or Mommy stays home. Ugh.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Daddy is back

Daddy is home and all is good.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Look! It's Gapa!

We had our first Christmas program where the kids at the daycare center sing songs for the parents. It made me cry long before my child was up on the stage.

But when it was Ellie's turn, she led her class up on the stage. She was wearing a pretty little dress that made the crowd say "ohh!" and made Mommy smile. Then she turned to look at all the people in the room and was like "WHOA!" When her eyes fell on me, she first smiled then she started to get upset. My thoughts: Oh please don't be *that* kid! However, I was saved when her eyes found Grandpa.

This little girl is obsessed about the Grandpas (she has 4). Don't get me wrong - she loves the Grandmas very much and gets excited when she sees them. But it's Grandpa that she talks about. If she's playing with my phone and I ask her who she wants to call, it's often "Gapa?" When I ask her what she wants to do after picking her up from daycare, she often says "Gapa?" When we go to visit them, she recognizes the neighborhood and exclaims "Gapa!" When we're at their house and he's not around, she runs through the house calling out "Gapa? Gapa?" and is upset if she can't find him. When he is there, she likes to be in his sight or at least know where he is. When we leave, she always cries "Mo Gapa."

You may be thinking that I'm talking about one particular Grandpa, but that's not the case. She loves them all. She responds in a similar fashion to them all.

But in this case, it was Grandpa Bob in the crowd. She kept tapping her teacher on the shoulder and then pointing "Gapa!" Look, Teacher, my Grandpa is in the crowd? Did you see him? Look! That's my Grandpa!

Forget the fact that Grandma and Grandma were standing right next to him, or even the fact that Mommy is next to him and *not* right by her side. She was just so proud to have her Grandpa there to watch them perform. Well, ok, so she didn't know why he was there, but she was certainly proud to show him off.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sensing my weakness?

I threw my back out last Friday. Luckily Daddy was back in town over the weekend. However, since Daddy has left Ellie has decided that she hates the car seat. She struggles to get out of it as soon as I try putting her in.

There are two options on how to explain what's going on.

1. Things are never perfect. First she's crying at daycare. Then we take care of that and she starts to cry at bedtime. Now we're almost over that and she freaks out with the car seat. There always has to be something, right?

OR

2. She senses my weakness with my back and knows that I can not put up as much of a fight as I could normally. She's only 20 months old. Can she do that? My friend John responded with "Are you kidding me?" when I asked him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Miss Popularity - La La

I have an announcement to make! Ellie is popular! It seems as though she has two best friends now. Miss B is the one with the gorgeous hair and the great clothes. Miss E is another girl who looks a lot like Ellie.

Miss B always gets a huge grin (and sometimes even starts laughing) when we show up in the morning. And the other day, Miss E was upset that Ellie was leaving. She kept crying "La La! La La!" for her to come back. The whole time Ellie was yelling "Bye!" after her. It looks like my little one has friends. She's so grown up.

On a side note, I've been a little concerned about Ellie having a somewhat difficult name for kids to pronounce and remember, but I was underestimating the ability for kids to adapt.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Look Ma! Two words!

In the last week (and especially at Aunt Erin's house) Ellie has exploded with two worded sentences. A few examples:

- Mo Malk (more milk)
- Wak Dok (walk dog)
- Car Neigh (car on the carousel - thus the "neigh" for horses... a huge success)
- Mine cooka (my cookie)

Additionally (and somewhat related) she has expanded on her song knowledge:
- No Monka (no more monkeys)
- Jing jing (jingle bells, accompanied with ringing a bell)
- bumbum go! (bumpity bump bump look at Frosty go!)
- Ro Ro (row row row your boat)
- two two (one little, two little, three little fingers, while holding her fingers up)

Friday, December 12, 2008

So very fortunate

I'd like to believe that I do not take my life for granted. I have a few wonderful and very close friends. I have great family members and am very close to both my mother and sister. My sister is one of my best friends. I have a wonderful husband who I truly believe is my soul mate. I have wonderful in-laws and I get along with them better than I ever wished for. I have a beautiful little daughter who has become the highlight of my day and makes me both smile and cry with joy more than I ever thought was possible. I live in a beautiful location where I am constantly filled with a feeling of "I'm home". I have a great job in a field that will help many people and really makes a difference in the world. Both my husband and I are able to save for not only our futures, but those of our children. Heck, I even have a wonderful dog, and yet I don't even like dogs!

Life is good. I'd like to think I know this. But I don't. I have no real idea of how good my life is. Every now and then I get a glimpse of how fortunate I am when I read something like this, but even then I still have no idea. The closest I get is reading an article that puts me in a bad mood.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Christmas time!


I LOVE this time of the year! And Ellie is taking after her Mommy. She can't get enough Christmas lights and she had a blast helping us put up the tree. She's even having a blast with constantly taking the ornaments off the tree. And finally, she already knows Jingle Bells! She gets us to sing it by taking a bell off the tree and ringing it.

And I have a confession to make. Ellie and I have sat in front of a single house for more than 20 minutes looking at their lights. On more than one occasion. We've decided Christmas lights are great!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ellie traveling stories

Much to our surprise, traveling with Ellie was a huge success. In both directions, we had a layover in Chicago, and the poor little girl was just exhausted both days. However, she was not fussy. She was just adorable. Little Miss Ellie had her own little bag filled with books and toys. Most of the time, she insisted on pushing the bag, which is easier said than done. When you push the bag, it's hard to steer so she was all over the place. However, it brought lots of smiles to those who passed her or almost tripped over her.
On the trip back, we were on the same plane as Santa Clause. He had the great beard and was wearing a hat that said "I believe in Santa." Santa sat two rows behind us and Ellie loved him. She kept peaking over the seat at him and then hiding from his sight with a little squeal. We made a big deal out of it as well:

Mommy: Oh, did he see you?
Ellie: Yeah.
Mommy: Did Santa see you?
Ellie: YEAH!
Mommy: Who was that?
Ellie: Zanta!
Mommy: Are you hiding from Santa?
Ellie: Yeah!

But the highlight of our trip was when we were people watching (sitting at our chairs, watching all the different people walk by). A guy stopped within hearing distance to talk on his phone:

Guy: Hi. I landed.
Ellie: Yeah.
Guy: I probably need to use the restroom before I come down.
Ellie: Yeah. Yeah.
Guy: So I'll meet you by the baggage claim?
Ellie: Yeah.
Guy: Do you have plans in mind for the weekend?
Ellie: Yeah! Yeah!
Guy: Ok sounds good. I'll see you soon.
Ellie: Bye!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Watching our conversations

I'm sure we're nearing the point where we need to watch what we are talking about. She already picks up so many words and contributes to the conversation when she knows you're talking about her.

But the topic of balls came up. And my sister and I do not have the cleanest of minds. The three of us (Daddy, Mommy and Aunt Erin) were laughing away at our conversation and Ellie spoke up "BALL!"

I can see it now... Future conversations where we have to behave ourselves.

Aunt Erin: "blah blah blah blah... balls... he he hehe... Balls"
Mommy: "I don't know what you mean."
Aunt Erin: "You know, balls!"
Mommy: "Uh, do you mean beach balls? Or soccer balls? You'll have to elaborate."
Aunt Erin: "Oh come on! You're such an adult now."
Mommy: "Umm... yeah. I'm boring. Now what was it that I was saying? Oh yeah, so the soccer team is meeting this weekend..."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Too much planning? I think not.

I'm sure every set of parents has this talk around this time...

Mommy: Umm, do you want another baby?
Daddy: Yes.
Mommy: Now?
Daddy: Uh, sure.
Mommy: That would put Ellie at a little less than 2.5 years.
Daddy: Eh. I don't think it matters much.
Mommy: Maybe we should wait a couple months?
Daddy: Why?
Mommy: 9 months from now is our anniversary.
Daddy: Yeah, let's wait.

So there you have it. We've had the talk, actually a couple times now, but we've finally made a decision. We're going to start trying for Baby #2 at the end of January. I know what you're thinking. We've already been told. We plan too much. But, give me some credit here! If we had a baby around our anniversary, that means we will never be able to leave on anniversary trips to Europe like we keep dreaming about, and I've always said that I need to spend more time in Tuscany.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mommy's latest worst fear

Ellie recently learned the word "Ow ow" (and the sign) for when something hurts. She learned this from when her leg was sore from her vaccines. However, she has also learned to apply it to other parts of her body that hurts. For the most part, I'm thankful for this because it gives me hope of ending the cycle of never knowing what's wrong.

There have been a few times, however, when I ask her what hurts and she points down to her diaper area. I am sure that it is because of a recent diaper rash that she had, but it still strikes a cord of terror in me when she says it hurts down there.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fake Smile

Ok, so there is room for improvement, but at least she responds to the request "smile for the camera."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I give up counting

Ellie now has enough words that I have lost track of how many she can say. She's always saying new words that amaze me.

This morning she pointed to her white shirt and said "wet" and pointed to the blue shirt and said "bue". I know she knows her colors, which is fantastic, though whenever you ask her "what color is this?" her answer is always the default "ellow".

Similarly, the default number is "twoo".

But like I said, she's always saying new words that just surprise me. She's so big now. She's is like a little person now. You may make the argument that she's always been a little person, but it's even more so now because she seems to have no problem communicating her thoughts and wants. I swear the changes she has had in the last month have aged her more than any previous month.

Next month, we're off to kindergarten!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amazing Anna

I find it amazing that after all this time (it's been 6 months now), Ellie still remembers Miss Anna's name. Ellie has been sick the last couple of days and she didn't want to go to daycare today. It was a very pleasant surprise for both Ellie and Mommy to see Miss Anna sitting in the room at daycare, and suddenly Ellie was all about staying at school. She kissed me good bye, waved to me and ran to Anna.

I have said this often, but I wonder what memories Ellie will take with her when she gets older. I thought for sure that by now she would have forgotten Anna. If not, then at least replace her with another favorite teacher. Do you think Miss Anna might become one of those memories? Is she really that amazing?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Concert at the Vincent's II

Mommy: Mr. Moon, Mr. Moon, you're out too soon. The sun is still in the sky. So go back to bed and cover up your head, and wait 'til the day goes by.

Ellie: Mo! Mo!

Mommy: Mr. Moon, Mr. Moon, you're out too soon. The sun is still in the sky. So go back to bed and cover up your head, and wait 'til the day goes by.

Ellie: Mo! Mo!

(Repeat about 10 times)

Mommy: You want more of the Mr. Moon song?

Ellie: Yeah.

Mommy: Ok, do you want to sing with Mommy this time?

Ellie: Yeah.

Mommy: Mr. Moon, Mr. Moon...

Ellie: La la ah eh oh la aaaa mooo...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lasting effects of Elmo

I do not think I will have a problem with Ellie being obsessed about buying Elmo stuff. Oh, she knows who he is and even knows his name (a surprise to me), but she didn't know he would come alive when she touched him at the toy store. I've never seen the girl jump so high (luckily she landed).

Elmo scared her almost 3 days ago and she still talks about him. After the initial scare, the only word she said for the rest of the evening was a very sad "Elmo" as though he disappointed her severely by reaching out and saying "Hi."

The following day she wanted to wear her Elmo shirt to school and she went up to all the teachers to explain to them how he attacked her at the store. Unfortunately, they misunderstood her and assumed she was just excited about her shirt.

Because of the incident, she has learned the meaning of "scared" and even learned the sign for it. When the topic comes up (still pretty often, even days later) she says "Elmo" and signs for "scared". Mommy responds with "Elmo scared you?" and she says "Yeah" and then goes into the details that I witnessed, though I'd love to understand the words from her perspective.

Another interesting detail on her piecing together information... When the cat hisses at her (usually because Merlin is around), Mommy says "The kitty is afraid of Merlin," to which Ellie responds "Elmo" while singing "scared".

It is so fascinating to watch her link related topics together like that.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nose Blowing

I really do try. I try so hard. But no matter how many times I try to convince myself otherwise, I have to admit the fact that Ellie gets scared when I blow my nose.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I must be doing it wrong

I gave Ellie a time-out the other day. She hit Mommy and I said "don't hit Mommy, or we go into time-out." I stuck her in the corner and kept her hands to her side for a couple minutes. Afterwards she gave me a hug and we continued as if nothing happened.

Later, though, she hit Mommy again. I said "Don't hit Mommy. Do you want a time-out?" and she responded with a "Yeah!" and walked over to the corner. She stood facing the wall for a moment and then called for Mommy to come join her.

Hmm... what step did I miss?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cartoon Physics

Before I got to know Ellie, I never realized that cartoon physics is based off of the study of toddler movement.

Spinning Wheels:
This is where the cartoon character starts to run so fast that he just spins in place for while. Ellie does this mostly on our hardwood floors.

Rounding Corners:
You can picture it, I'm sure. The cartoon character is running straight but then has to take a sharp turn. First his head turns, then his arms turn, then his feet finally catch up. But there for a brief moment, all body parts are going in different directions. This just cracks me up whenever we watch Ellie run around a corner. I honestly don't know how she manages to go in so many directions at once.

Forward Momentum:
Picture a surprised cartoon character, who needs to run away but is not sure where to go. Every now and then Ellie runs in such a way that I swear her feet are going left, her arms are going right, but since she's looking forward, somehow that's the direction she ends up moving. Again, I think she's defying the standard laws of physics.

Full-Arm Swing:
This is when the cartoon character walks deliberately up to another character to get revenge. I have to admit, I have never seen Ellie do this, however there was a little boy her age at the park who ran in just that manner. It was the funniest thing.

Maybe you have to spend time around a young toddler to fully comprehend what I'm saying, but next time you find yourself watching Saturday morning cartoons, keep this in mind: Their ideas come from somewhere, and I'm nearly certain it's from the little ones ruling our world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Concert at the Vincent's

We are the first of our friends to have kids and it has definitely put us in a different social circle than them. Many of them still go out to concerts late at night while we are at home rocking out to Itsy-bitsy-spider, getting ready for a 7:45 bed time. But let me tell you, no one can match Daddy's rock version of the song!

Friday, November 14, 2008

An introduction to snow

This morning I had the privilege to introduce Ellie to snow. Granted, there wasn't a lot of it, but it was still enough to cover the ground in a magical white powder that she had never seen before. When she pointed outside, indicating something was different, I told her "Look Ellie! It's snow!" She learned the word quickly, and wanted to know more about this white stuff Mommy calls SNOW.

It wasn't difficult to convince her to put on her jacket and hat (something that usually sparks a game of "will Mommy chase me"). All I had to do was ask her if she wanted to go see the snow. At first she was very upset that I didn't want to go out to the backyard (where she first noticed the snow), but once she realized that there was snow out front too, then the excitement returned.

The problem was that I couldn't get her away from the snow to go to daycare, but I solved that by making a small snowball (again, there wasn't much snow, so it was more like a snow-grape) and I put it on her lap with her in the car seat. We were off! Once that snow-grape melted, though, she was demanding more and pointing snow out to me everywhere along the drive.

Once at daycare, we found a bench covered in snow and played there for a minute or two. Then inside, unlike her usual routine of being obsessed with books, she demanded more snow. Oh my god. She is so cute!

Ellie: Nooo? Nooo?
Mommy: You want more snow?
Ellie: Aye!
Mommy: Ok, give Mommy a hug good bye and let Miss Jana show you more snow.

I haven't received a hug good bye in such a long, long time! Mommy likes snow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Printing my blog?

MJH, Little Bits o'Cracker, Squares Cubed and Spleeness, maybe even Dan G -

You guys have blogs. Duh. Do you know of a good and easy way to print out a blog? I've been trying to print my earlier posts into a book but with no luck. I was hoping to use Blurb, but their "slurp" function doesn't work with blogger. The only thing I've found so far is the good old fashioned cut and paste. What a pain!

Today's Lesson: Nose Oh Oh

If your 18 month old child says "Oh oh, no" while pointing to her nose, it would be safe to assume you do not want to ask for more details on what is wrong with her nose (unless, of course, you like being handed large droopy boogers).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Finish what you have first

Ellie: Mo Mo! (signing "more")
Mommy: You want more caramel apple?
Ellie: Aye.
Mommy: Finish what you have first.
Ellie: (Looks at her apple-sans-caramel, then shoves it into Daddy's mouth) A-done! (signing "all done"). Mo mo!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Book of choice

Mommy: Ellie, which book do you want to read?
Ellie: Airpa! Airpa! Airpa! (pointing in the air above her head and moving her finger in circles)
Mommy: You want to read the airplane book?
Ellie: Aye!
Mommy: I don't know what book that is.
Ellie: Airpa Bay-bay.
Mommy: Airplane baby book? I don't know what book that is.
Ellie: Airpa Bay-bay! Airpa Bay-bay! (followed by all sorts of different signs)
Mommy: You want to read the baby sign language book?
Ellie: Aye! Dada (pointing to Daddy).
Daddy: Ok... let's read the sign book. What is this?
Ellie: Bay-bay (signing baby).
Daddy: What is this?
Ellie: Beh (signing bed).
Daddy: And this?
Ellie: Airpa! (signing airplane)
Daddy: Ellie, you are SO smart!
Ellie: Aye.

And the family rode off into the sunset signing words to each other... cow, bird, grandma, cat, water, eat, banana... the list went on and on.*

The end.

Everyone: Ahhh. Sigh.


* HOLY COW! When did that happen? Dang! I swear I watched her age right before my very eyes!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Belated Halloween

You all know that I was nervous about being able to get cute pictures of Ellie for Halloween. My problem was that she hated her costume. Well I showed her!

Actually, it went pretty well all in all. I showed up at daycare with her costume and she was quite upset that everyone else had a costume and she didn't. She had been spending the last 20 minutes walking up to random costumes, pointing and crying "Mine!" Poor little girl.

Once she saw the costume that Mommy brought for her, she got more upset. She wanted a super soft fluffy costume. It only took one or two pieces of candy to convince her to give the fairy a try, but she did not want to leave Bun Bun alone!

There was no way I was going to have Bun Bun in my cute fairy pictures! So Mommy came up with a brilliant idea! She put Bun Bun into Ellie's trick-or-treat bag. Brilliant! Ellie proceeded to participate in the trick-or-treating, and everyone was surprised that she knew how the whole thing worked. Little did they know that she wasn't holding her bag up for candy. She was holding it up to show them the bunny hiding inside!

In the end, I think I got some damn-cute pictures! Check them out in my album to the right.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Feeling old

We were at a concert for Grandma's choir last week, where they provided hoola hoops to play with during intermission. Ellie got a hold of one that was easily twice her height and had a blast with it. Of course, there came the time when she asked Mommy to show her how to really use the hoop.

Let me tell you, I'm older than I thought I was because I apparently do not know how to hoola hoop. Daddy tried and hurt his back. Uncle David tried and did fairly well, though any outside observer could testify that no one should have to move like that in order to keep the hoop up.

So there was only one conclusion that we could come to. Hoola hoops are for children. Us grown-ups just can't do it right.

Then grandma picked up the hoop and proved us wrong. Ellie loved it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Passing along the credit

MJH wrote an incredibly sweet comment that I just had to share with you:

"Niffer is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers. I read whatever she posts almost as soon as she posts it. Because her blog captures the story of how she sees her daughter. It's really quite beautiful. It's WAAAY better than my blog. I wonder if my children ever read my blog if they'd recognize me."

Seriously, I'm touched. However, I do not think I can take all the credit for being as great as I am. LOL. I totally stole the idea of this blog from Little Bits O' Cracker. She has had her blog for quite some time now (her son is 5) and I absolutely love it. Long before I was expecting, I knew that I wanted to start a blog as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I loved how she would tell stories about her son. She has a way of describing the world from his perspective that makes your heart melt. I love it when she has a cute story about something he says, and she is able to type it out phonetically and thus it completely portrays how Cracker sounded. I still look forward to the day when Ellie starts speaking so that I can capture similar stories to those of the super-cute Cracker.

As a small side-note, I also absolutely love her husband's blog, Squares Cubed. He has an amazing ability to tell a great hilarious story with only using a minimal amount of words. Neither of them write as often as I'd like, but I do enjoy it when they do.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A political vent

It's not like me to vent about a political issue. In fact, I hate political conversations, but I just found out that California (along with a couple other states) has changed their constitution to ban gay marriage.

I think this is unfortunate, but probably not in the way you might assume. I think that politicians are approaching the topic from the wrong angle. Instead of trying to include gays into the existing definition, try changing the definition to include gays. Let me explain...

I think that marriage is an example of where separation of church and state should be applied, however this issue wasn't apparent until recent times. I think that they should change all "marriages" to "civil unions". Then if you're religious and would like to be "married", go ahead and do so in a church. But keep everything government, tax or IRS related as "civil unions". That would maintain the separation of church and state that our country is supposed to have. It would also remove discrimination for gays, while maintaining the sacred meaning of marriage for those who are religious.

Listening to Obama's speech last night made me think about how much has changed in the last 100 years (duh, that was his main theme so I wasn't doing much thinking of my own). It wasn't long ago that it was illegal for a white person to marry a black person.

It makes me wonder what changes Ellie will see in her life time. When she's a grown woman, and looks back on the issues of today, what will she think? Will she agree with how the majority has voted? Or will she wonder what planet we're from? Will she agree with my thoughts and see me as an open-minded person I'd like to consider myself being? Will she consider myself and my generation to be closed minded? Or will she think we were a little too liberal, similar to how we think of hippies?

Ok, sorry about the political talk. I'll try not to let it happen again.

I voted

I sent Ellie to daycare with my "I voted" sticker and she went directly to her teacher and showed her the very cool American flag sticker that was on her shirt. Obviously Ellie is proud of the fact that her parents voted. Or she likes stickers. No, I think it's pride for her parents. Yep. That must be it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Where's the pitcher?

Daddy: Have you seen the pitcher? I've looked everywhere in the kitchen for it.

Mommy: I was looking for it the other day too so that I could water the plants, but never found it. I looked in all the kitchen cabinets as well.

CRASH! BANG! BAM!

Daddy: Oh, that didn't sound good.

Ellie comes from the kitchen carrying the pitcher.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Crabby people are over-rated

Ellie did not sleep well Saturday night and woke up at 5:00 am (4:00, really, given the time change). The thought of making it until a decent nap time was a bit terrifying to Mommy, so she asked "What are we going to do?"

Daddy responded, "Well, it is Sunday. I suppose we should pray."

Nicknames

I need your thoughts. I've recently noticed that many of the teachers at daycare are using a nickname for Ellie. They are calling her Lori. Now, I accept the fact that this is a logical nickname to come up with, but it bothers me. I guess I assumed my little one would use that nickname when she was grown and mature. So, what do I do? Do I let them have their own nickname? Or do I tell them that people use Ellie as her nickname? Is it confusing for little Ellie to be called by her full name most of the time, Ellie by grandparents and extended family, and then Lori by teachers at school? Which one will she learn to write first?

Give me your thoughts please.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I am such an awesome mother!

I got Ellie's wings to stand up straight! Woo Hoo! Go me! How did I do it? I put bus wire around the edges and soldered the wire together. Um, yeah, Ellie has an awesome Mommy who knows how to solder!

I also managed to get her cute little green booties to fit around some existing shoes. Hopefully that means she will be willing to wear them now!

I'm awesome!

There is hope yet

Ellie went trick-or-treating with Grandma yesterday and put on her costume (the main portion) without a fuss. And apparently she wore the hat to her costume for 15 minutes yesterday! She still refuses the shoes, but at least this gives me hope on getting a picture or two.

I also need to figure out how to make her wings stiffer because she came home looking like a dieing fairy. You know, one that was sprayed by a can of Raid or something. That's not the look I'm hoping for. I have approximately 8 hours to stiffen the wings up! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ellie visits the doctor

At our 18-month check-up, the Doctor walks into the room...

Mommy: Look Ellie, it's the doctor!
Ellie: Na na na na na na na na na! (Shaking her finger at the doctor).

Daycare Pictures

It's picture time for the kids at daycare and this morning I was all proud of how I am a good mommy. I got Ellie dressed up in her cutest dress. Ok, it's her only dress, but it's still cute. It is a Halloween dress with cats and pumpkins and a bow... oh, just trust me on the cuteness!

Anyway, I am all proud of myself for making her look so cute. I even managed to get a black bow in her hair. She was ready for pictures!

Then we saw her best friend. This little girl is just so pretty. She wears the best clothes! For pictures, she's dressed up in this adorable pink number that almost looks old-fashioned. And she has a pink bow in her hair. And she has more hair.

Now I can't do anything about the last item, but seeing this little girl dressed up for pictures took away some of my pride in how I remembered to dress Ellie up so she would be cute.

Hmm... Is it better to dress up a child in super-cute outfits, or is it just the thought that counts? I vividly remember a time when my mom forgot to dress me up and I ended up taking pictures in an ugly plain white turtleneck. I always wanted the super girlie dresses that the other girls had. And since I know a certain Grandma who would be more than willing to buy such things, shouldn't I have put more effort into making her "pretty" for her pictures instead of just "cute"?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MUST... GET... PICTURES!!!

Ellie hates her costume. Let me rephrase that. Hate is a strong word. Ellie HATES her costume. She's a cute little fairy. I forced it on her the other day so that we could go to a Halloween Party and she spent the next 5 minutes or so trying to convince everyone (Grandparents and Daddy) to take it off because she knew Mommy wouldn't. When we got to the Halloween party and put her on the floor to walk, she freaked out. Apparently she did not like her cute little elf-shoes. She absolutely refused to go anywhere with them on her feet. She also refused to wear her headband, so we were quite a site while trick-o-treating... she had her main costume on, but Daddy was wearing her pink headpiece and Mommy had her elf shoes on her hands.

Where's a camera when you need one?

Hopefully trick-o-treating at the daycare on Friday will go better. I MUST get pictures of her being a cute fairy, even if she's a cute pissed off one!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween talk - FEARS

Since Halloween is approaching, let's talk about some fears.

Some of Ellie's fears:
Loud noises (her response: Oh Oh)
Small dogs (they're all talk)
Laying down in the bathtub (maybe she doesn't like water in her ears)
Mommy leaving (what can I say?)
Forgetting Bun Bun (Mommy has my back!)

But the most recent fear we've discovered:
Moving furniture. We visited Grandma this weekend and Grandpa was helping us push the bed up against the wall so that we wouldn't have to worry about Ellie falling off. She was NOT happy that we were moving the bed. Not happy at all. Afterwards, she practically refused to be on the bed. It was like she thought "Oh no, I saw how this thing can move! It's not safe up here!"

Sometimes it's strange to see the world through a toddler's eyes.

Friday, October 24, 2008

If baby ain't happy...

You know the saying "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" I think they got it wrong. When Ellie is unhappy and cranky it makes for a completely different evening experience, one that is way over-rated.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Running sideways

It's been about 6 months now since Ellie learned to walk, but I have to say that I don't think I will ever stop getting a kick out of watching this little girl run. I'm not sure how she does it, but somehow she manages to run straight even though her legs are going to the left and her arms are flailing to the right. I love it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I call myself "the cock"

Ellie LOVES her new French music (given as part of the French class we joined). The theme is "Life on the farm." Between every song, she says "Mo! Mo!" while signing "More! More!" She's even requested more music as soon as she gets into the car.

That's the good part. The bad part is that it gets stuck in your head very easily, yet it's French. Luckily for me, I understand most of the French, but poor Michael does not. As such, it figures that the lyrics he ended up getting stuck in his head are:

Je m'appelle le coq. Le coq.

So he's been going around singing "I call myself "the cock"! The cock!"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Count with me!

Mommy: Can you count with me?
Ellie: Eh!
Mommy: Can you say "One..."?
Ellie: One!
Mommy: Two...
Ellie: Two!
Mommy: Three...
Ellie: Two!
Mommy: Four...
Ellie: Two!
Mommy: Five...
Ellie: Two!
Mommy: Hmmm... Let's try again... One...
Ellie: Two!
Mommy: Two...
Ellie: Two!
Mommy: Good job! You're so smart!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby is crying

A while ago Grandma and I were playing with Ellie and some dolls. She still hasn't really taken to dolls, but I am still hopeful.

Grandma: Look Ellie, the baby is crying.
Mommy: What do you do when a baby cries?
Ellie: (laying the doll down on a blanket) Nigh nigh!
Grandma: Oh, that's nice of you Ellie! Night night Baby!
Mommy: (proud of Ellie's thoughtfulness)
Ellie: (grabbing a pillow, she smashes it onto the baby's head)
Grandma: Oh dear. Well, I guess that's probably what most of us would *want* to do.
Mommy: Sigh. Maybe next time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spanish Classes

I tried to take Ellie to Spanish classes but was disappointed. It turned out that it was a little more lecture-like than I was expecting. I guess I expected Spanish songs for Ellie to dance to. Don't get me wrong, I think the class was great. Just not for Ellie's age yet. I've decided to go to the French class instead, since it is supposed to be musically-based.

However, I did get a kick out of a little girl at Spanish. She was probably 4 years old, and her mother left her at the class. She was kind of a little snot and was obviously a single child because she did not have any patience with the other "babies" in the room. Every time one of the younger children would pipe up, she would say something like "Oh no. Not again. I can not concentrate with this kind of racket!"

At the beginning of the class, when the teacher came up to her and asked (in Spanish) how she was, she said "Umm... I think I speak English, but I also speak a little bit of Mommy and a little bit of Daddy." Then at the end of class, she came up to the Spanish teacher and said "I've given it some thought and I've decided one thing for sure. I do not think I understand you."

As entertaining as she was, let's hope the French class ends up better suited for Ellie's age.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Undressing 101

Ellie's first attempt at taking her shirt off:

I want to take off my shirt. What's the first thing that needs to happen? Mommy always takes my arm out of the shirt. That's easy enough. I'll just pull on the sleeve until my arm comes out. Hmm, it seems like I can't pull it far enough. I know! If I push the other sleeve UP then surely the first sleeve will have more space to be pulled down. Hmm, that didn't work. Why didn't it work!? It should have worked! Let's try again! UGH! ACK! This sucks! Forget it! I didn't really want my shirt off in the first place!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jumping 101

A post I've been meaning to write for quite some time now, but it still applies...

How to Jump:
1. Begin to prepare yourself. This includes clinching your hands and wiggling your butt.
2. Bend down.
3. Stand up.
4. Bend down. Wiggle your butt.
5. Stand up. Giggle. That was close!
6. Bend down.
7. Stand up! Woah!
8. Bend down.
9. Stand up really quickly! You almost left the ground that time!
10. Bend down.
11. Stand up quickly again. I think your left foot actually jumped!
12. Wobble. Wobble. Giggle.
13. Take a break. That was a little scary.
14. Think about what might happen if you ACTUALLY do jump... you might not be able to land! You might fly off into space!
15. Repeat because it's fun anyway.

Secret step number 15b: Repeat while on a bed. This inhibits the body's natural fear of landing, making it significantly easier for your feet to actually break contact with the surface below you.

Monday, October 13, 2008

An Explosion

Wow! In the last couple of days Ellie has exploded into words! It's incredible.

One such example, she started saying "Gapa" when Grandpa and Grandma were visiting this last weekend. This surprised me, though, because of all the grandparents (and there are a lot), I kind of expected the first one to get a name would be one of those that she sees often. However, she hasn't seen this Grandpa in 9 months! And when he was here, she was shy around him. So it came as a surprise that she kept asking about him whenever he wasn't in sight, or if he went downstairs she would say "Gapa Oh Oh" over and over again until he returned.

So many words! Even daycare mentioned it when I picked her up. This girl has definitely decided it's time to talk!

Friday, October 10, 2008

More music please

Ever heard of Connie Talbot? She's the six year old little girl who won Brittan's Got Talent show. She really does sing impressively for someone so young! See for yourself.

My mom bought her CD. It's filled with great cute songs for a little girl to sing, though they are all still adult songs. For example, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I Believe, and Wonderful World. What I like about it is that even though she is a really good singer (she can hit Whitney Houston notes and durations), you can still tell that she is a little girl singing.

Ellie can tell too. She loves the CD. The first time I played it, Connie starts singing and Ellie starts dancing. Then Connie paused for a necessary instrumental portion of the song, and Ellie said "Mo! Mo!" while signing "More! More!" She did not want to listen to the instrumental nonsense! Bring back the little girl!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mystery Solved

Grandma recently bought Ellie a dog toy. Sometimes baby toys make great toys for dogs and visa-versa, though I'm not sure which one is cheaper. This is a stuffed cat that sings (meows) when you close its mouth. I think it's a horrible evil dog toy because I've always hated it when people encourage dogs to attack cats, call it a left-over pet peeve of mine from my ex-step-father.

Anyway, the tag on the cat said that it sang "How much is that dog in the window?" though I could never get the notes to line up. In fact, it drove me crazy that I couldn't figure out how to get the cat to sing that song. I'm anal sometimes and because I couldn't figure out where the song began, I was somewhat obsessed with getting the toy to sing properly.

Apparently I wasn't the only one. While I was getting Ellie ready for the day, I heard the cat start to sing. Daddy was taking his turn playing now. However, after a few minutes and much to my surprise, I could understand what the cat was singing.

It was NOT "How much is that dog in the window".
It was NOT even a single song, but rather three!

"Twinkle twinkle little star"
"Playmate, come out and play with me"
"I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee"

UGH! No wonder I couldn't get the stupid (yet brilliant) cat to sing correctly! I can finally sleep peacefully tonight.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The uses of "Bye bye"

Some of the reasons to use "Bye Bye":

- Bye (usually spoken once the person is completely out of hearing range).
- I'm leaving now.
- Let's go outside.
- I get to go home now!
- Can you still hear me?
- I'll be in the other room if you need me.
- Water goes down the drain.
- The kitty just ran away from me.
- My ice cream is gone; someone must have eaten it!
- My milk is all gone.
- The end.
- The book goes here. Stay Book! Stay!
- Trash goes in the trashcan.

But by far, the best use of "Bye bye"...

The other day the doorbell rang and we were all excited to see who it was. Much to our disappointment, it was a door political salesman who was asking us questions about what we thought of Obama. Needless to say Daddy and Mommy were trying to get rid of him quickly. That's not to say we're anti-Obama. We're just anti-door-salesmen. Anyway, he was good at continuing the conversation until Ellie decided she was bored with this man and had heard enough. Walking up to the door, she loudly said "Bye bye!" and closed it on him! Smart girl! Everyone needs a young toddler during election time!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sometimes it's good being 2nd place

The other night Ellie was not feeling well. I changed her diaper at the beginning of our bed time routine and she was not happy about it. Rightly so, since she had a bad rash that hurt to the touch.

A couple minutes into reading our book, she needed another diaper change. She made it very apparent that she did NOT want me to change her diaper. Suddenly I had a great idea! "Do you want Daddy to change it?" and her face lit up. So I started calling out for Daddy. She joined. "Da Da! Da Da!" until he finally came up the stairs to help.

She barely complained when he changed her diaper, though it was apparent that it still bothered her. Afterwards, he went back downstairs and we continued to read our books. Then came a sound from her diaper area and she looked up at me and then pointed to the changing pad and said "Da Da!" She crawled off my lap, laid on the diaper pad and started yelling "Da Da!" until Daddy came again. And sure enough, she needed another diaper.

I'm not complaining. If she wants to reserve that special relationship between her and her father, I'm totally ok with that.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Eat, Ellie, Eat!

Should I be concerned that Ellie won't eat for us. No one else has any problems getting her to eat. She loves to eat. Just not for us. It's weird, I tell you! Weird!

Strange job change for Daddy

Daddy is in Maryland right now for his job. To be more specific, he is at JHU/APL, where we used to work. You heard me right. When we were at APL, he was working on the New Horizons mission that went to Pluto (launched a few years ago). As a side note, for those who don't know, I worked for Homeland Protection Programs and a really cool Prosthetic Program, but I digress. Anyway, he worked on New Horizons because APL was subcontracted to build the spacecraft and conduct flight missions from their flight mission room (duh). However, it was SwRI who owned the program and it is SwRI who he works for now. So he's out in MD, working at the place he used to work at, with the people he used to work with, but doesn't anymore.

It's a strange feeling for him, I'm sure. It must feel weird to be back at the place you loved working, with the people you loved working with, knowing that it's not your home anymore. And for me, it's weird too, to know that he's out there without me. It makes me feel like we should all be out there. I guess that goes to show that wherever you end up making your first home, it will always have a soft spot in your heart.

Ellicott City was where Michael and I started (even if we met at CU in Boulder). We loved cute town hunting. We loved the coffee shop. We loved everything about Ellicott City (except that it wasn't in CO). We bought our first house out there, gutted it and made it ours. Even more so than our current home, the one in Ellicott City felt like *OURS*. We started our family there. Even though we replaced the carpet when we moved in, two years later the only spot that was worn down was right in front of the crib. It was where our family began.

So it's weird for him to be out there without me. It almost seems wrong. I think usually when you leave a place behind, it's just that... behind you. Oh, sure, you may visit every now and then, but it's not a part of your life anymore. It's a part of your past. So, for APL to still be a part of Michael's life is strange for both of us. It almost makes us feel like we should still be there.

That and he told me that they now have a Chik-Fil-A right across the street from APL! ARGH! Now that's just plain hurtful and make me really want to move back! Why did he have to tell me that????

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Blog frustrations

I thought the slide show thing would be really cool, and it kind of is. However, I can't get it to start with the latest and greatest pictures. How are my fans (that's you) going to know when I add pictures to the slide show? Ugh.

Picture Update

July Pictures

August Pictures

September Pictures

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In case you're wondering...

Mommy: Honey, in case you're wondering why the Tupperware is in random cabinets, Ellie was helping me with dishes.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And the doctor said...

Mommy: 3 little monkeys jumping on a bed (holding three jumping fingers in the air). One fell off (hand falls to the side) and bumped his head (hits her head). Mama called the doctor (holding a finger phone up to her ear) and the doctor said...

Ellie: Na na na na na na na na na (shaking her finger at Mommy)!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I know adults who have more problems with this...

And I'm one of them.

We got some eye drops for Ellie this weekend because she has a cold and crusty eyes. I totally expected a long, drawn out battle to get her to lay down and keep still long enough for me to put drops into her eyes. After all, that's the way it is with me.

I asked her to lay down and she did. Then I put a drop into her right eye and she blinked. Then I quickly put drops into her left eye before she had time to react. She sat straight up and I was convinced that she would start crying.

Instead, she said "Mo Mo" and signed for "More". She even laid back down to show just how ready she was for more. Seriously? She's a freak! Who LIKES eye drops?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The uses of "Oh Oh"

Some of the reasons to use "Oh Oh":

- I accidentally dropped something
- I accidentally on purpose dropped something
- My shoe fell off
- My shoe is about to fall off
- (followed by "Mer Mer") Merlin is eating my toy
- (followed by "Mer Mer") Merlin is eating the food I handed him
- (followed by "Mer Mer") Merlin is running away
- (followed by "Mer Mer") Merlin is sitting on Bun Bun
- (followed by "Mer Mer") Merlin went into the other room
- (followed by "Mer Mer") Where is Merlin?
- My barrette fell out of my hair
- I pulled my barrette out of my hair
- I ripped a piece of paper
- I took something apart
- It won't go back together
- I squished a bug and now he won't move
- I seemed to have shut myself into a dark bathroom
- (first "Oh" spoken high and second spoken low) Up! Down!
- The water disappeared down the drain
- I pulled a leaf off the tree and now it won't stay on the tree
- I am going to stand up now and poop in the bathtub
- I made a mess
- Half the bath water is now on the bathroom floor, my bad
- The car door is locked, now what?
- I heard a bang downstairs - something is wrong

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A glimpse of things to come

This weekend was a very long one for us. Ellie practiced her new word. Everything was hers. She practiced over and over again. We tried to maintain a rule that she had to say please for everything, even if she demanded "Mine!".

The draining part, though, is that she actually had a few minor melt-downs. Usually if she's upset over something, she'll still say please and then calm down when we give it to her. There were a few times when she laid on the floor and kicked and screamed, and nothing could stop her. Luckily these moments only lasted a few seconds, but it definitely showed me that I'm not ready for what's to come.

I have no idea how I'm going to handle temper tantrums. These first minor ones found me just staring in disbelief. They say that the terrible twos start at 18 months and Ellie is now over 17 months old. Ugh. She's too cute to start this now!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Scared for Life

Apparently losing Merlin has had a lasting effect on Ellie. Over and over again she has taken it upon herself to go after Merlin, taking his leash with her, when he runs away (to play with other dogs at the park). She also seems to need to know where Merlin is whenever we're at home and calls out to him every now and then. She has certainly learned that, for what ever reason, it is very critical to keep track of this dog. I think it's wonderful that she has decided to help take responsibility to make that happen. And it makes me laugh.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Today's word:

MINE!!

Proof that she is learning stuff at daycare.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Na Na it is

One of Aunt Erin's goals before moving to New York is to have Ellie call her by name. I'm nearly certain she got her wish because it seems as though Ellie is calling her "Na Na". Works for me. I wonder if Erin will accept it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Merlin Oh Oh

So how did Ellie do without us? Apparently she did just fine and barely noticed we were gone. Grandma had all sorts of cute stories about Ellie, including finding her stuffed sheep in the dishwasher. I love seeing how much Ellie loves her grandmas and it was nice to hear that they had a good time while we were gone.

Grandma told me about how Ellie won over Grandpa's heart. One morning, Grandma and Ellie crawled into bed with Grandpa and he started singing cowboy songs to her. Though she looked like she had gone back to sleep, if he stopped singing she would sign "More, more!" I'm sure this is enough to melt any cowboy's heart. Well, that and the fact that Ellie LOVED grandpa's tractor and wasn't scared by it at all.

But in the end, there was one big adventure that Ellie remembered the most. Grandma lost Merlin (our dog) for a while (one afternoon and over night). Apparently when Grandma was outside calling "Merlin! Merlin!" in hopes of getting the dog to return, Ellie decided to help as well. She walked from one side of the house to the other yelling "Mer Mer! Mer Mer!" Luckily the next morning someone called saying they had found him.

When Daddy and I returned, I asked Ellie how her weekend was and she said "Mer Mer Oh Oh!" to which I laughed. When I asked her what else she did, she said "Mer Mer Oh Oh!" and when I asked if she had fun with Grandma, she said "Mer Mer Oh Oh!" And when we went on a walk to the dog park with Merlin that evening, she would yell "Mer Mer!" whenever Daddy called out to him, and more than once I saw her shake her finger at the dog and say "Mer Mer Oh Oh!" when he finally did come back.

Apparently it was the high-light of her weekend and she learned a lot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Away from Ellie

Our trip to Las Vegas went very well. We really enjoyed seeing O and Stomp. We also saw Zoomanity, but was highly disappointed in it.

I was constantly surprised by how many kids (and construction) there were in Vegas. I don't think it ever occurred to me that Vegas might be a fun vacation destination for families. Weird. Anyway, the one the surprised me the most was a set of parents who brought their young daughter (I'd guess 6 years old) into the Bodies exhibit. For those of you who have not heard of it, it's an exhibit of real human bodies that have been preserved in a way that you can still see all the muscles and nerves. It was really quite fascinating, but this poor little girl was obviously terrified of the bodies. I don't really blame her. I'm sure they are quite scary for someone her age. Now maybe she was interested in seeing the bodies before coming in, who knows, but I really felt like it was the parents' responsibility to remove her when they realized she was scared. Then they could take turns seeing the exhibit themselves. What they ended up doing, though, was carrying her though, and as they got closer to each body she would cry and try to hide her head in their shoulders. Am I the only one who sees this as sad? Sure, take your kids to such an educating experience, but when they're older. And if you do see your child break down then stop and try some other time.

Ok... enough of that. Let's move on to the more important things. How did we fare without the little one?

It came as a surprise to us, really. It was quite a relaxing weekend. However, we did think we would worry about Ellie the whole time. The surprise was that we ended up not worrying at all. Instead, we just missed her. Lots. I don't know how to explain the difference. We expected to miss her in terms of "I wonder if she's ok" but instead we missed her in terms of "I miss her hugs!"

I don't know why this came as such a surprise to us, but it did.

Stay tuned for how Ellie did without her parents around!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Eyelashes

Mommy: Ellie, where's your nose?
Ellie: (points to her nose)
Mommy: Good job! Where's your ears?
Ellie: (points to her ears)
Mommy: Wow! Where's your hair?
Ellie: (points to her hair)
Mommy: You're so smart! Where's your mouth?
Ellie: (points to her mouth)
Mommy: Where are your eyes?
Ellie: (points to her eyes)
Mommy: Hmmm... What else?
Ellie: (reaches over and touches Mommy's eyelashes) Eh?
Mommy: Eyelashes?
Ellie: (with a super happy look of accomplishment on her face, continues to touch Mommy's eyelashes and every time Mommy says "eyelashes" she smiles and/or laughs)

Amazing. She totally got her point across and accomplished her desire to learn.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Happy Anniversary

Michael and I are off to Vegas to celebrate our anniversary. Can you believe another year has gone by? This will be the first time we sleep in a different place than Ellie. I'm not sure what I think about it, which is why I haven't mentioned it until now. It's also why I won't linger on it too much. It will be weird. Weird, I tell you! Weird!

Happy Anniversary, Niffer!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Puppeteering 101

Daddy holds a lion puppet over his hand and in a deep voice (as every lion's voice is) he says "Hello, Ellie!"

Ellie looks at the lion talking to her and thinks for a moment. Finally, she reaches out, takes the lion, sticks her hand up the hole and says "Hello!"

Though she needs to work on the deep voice.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dat dat?

Ellie: Dat-dat?
Mommy: What's that? Do you have something?
Ellie: Dat-dat. (holding out her hand)
Mommy: Oh? Let me see.
Ellie: Dat-dat.
Mommy: Can you bring it to Mommy?
Ellie: Dat-dat!
Mommy: Oh! What is it!? Can Mommy see?
Ellie: Dat-dat! (puts it into Mommy's hand)
Mommy: Ewww! (realizing it is a dead fly) Thank you, Ellie! That was nice of you.
Ellie: DAT-DAT! (walking away very proud, indeed)

Monday, September 08, 2008

I love you

Ellie now says "I love you!" Well, she'll repeat it if you tell her.

And how does she sign it? Is it the typical crossing of the hands across the chest? Or holding up your thumb, pointer and pinky? Nope.

I know we've all done this, so it shouldn't be too difficult to imagine... she takes her hands to the side of her tummy and clasps her fingers closed. Picture you grabbing at your love handles to see how much weight you need to lose. Yep. That's it! You got it!

That's the latest way of saying "I love you"!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hellello Nana

Ellie is adding to her vocabulary at an alarming rate.

The other day I was carrying her to the car from daycare and she looked at the infant center and said "Nana". I was shocked and responded with "Do you want to see Miss Anna?" to which she got all excited. Seriously? Not only does she love Miss Anna enough to remember her (it's been 5 weeks!) but she KNOWS her name? Impressive. Miss Anna was honored to say the least.

The other thing she has started doing is picking up phones and saying "Hellello". She does it to remotes and dog bones too, but it still counts as a new word.

Every day she amazes me with how much she understands. It really is true that it's hard to remember that they understand so much when they can't speak much. It blows my mind when she demonstrates she knows stuff.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Ellie is a silly girl

A little 4 year old girl at daycare sat down next to Ellie and I:

Girl: Is that a girl or boy? (I guess it goes to show that kids are not judgemental and think it's perfectly ok for a boy to wear pink)
Me: She's a girl and her name is Ellie.
Girl: Oh, well did you know that Ellie is a very very silly girl?
Me: No, I did not. Why is she silly?
Girl: Well she ALWAYS wants to color on other people's drawings.
Me: Oh.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Ellie loves paint!

Yesterday I when I picked up Ellie from daycare, she showed me her latest painting. I asked her "Oh, did you do this?" and she took the piece of paper with the purple blobbed design on it and went on to explain the details to me. I would share her words with you, but honestly I have no idea how to spell many of the sounds that come out of her mouth. Let's just say that it was very apparent that she was very excited and proud of this painting.

At first I was thrilled by her excitement. It was fun to watch her explain it to me and share her thoughts about it with me. But then she decided to demonstrate her words so that there was no misunderstanding. She licked the paper. And licked it again. "Num num" she says.

"Ellie are you eating the paint?" I asked and a teacher over heard me. She said that Ellie LOVES to paint because she LOVES to eat the paint, but not to worry because it's not toxic.

Ha ha ha! Here I was thinking that her excited words were words of "Look what I did, Mommy! I took paint and put it over here to represent a flower, and this over here is a dog. Can you see?" but instead it was "See this color? It tastes really good! And see this over here, that is yummy too. And I put this here because it tastes better like that."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

It's just money, right?

Wrong.

I wonder sometimes how Ellie is going to get a grasp on the concept of money. When I was growing up, my mom would pay for everything with cash. If not cash, then she would use a check book. Either way, I would witness the exchange of a piece of paper for all sorts of goodies. I saw that in order to buy these toys or groceries, my mom had to give up a piece of paper or two.

What is Ellie going to think? We rarely use cash. It's annoying to deal with cash and check books are not much better. That leaves credit cards, which means when Ellie sees us buying something, she sees that we get the cool stuff AND we get the plastic card back. Therefore we didn't give up anything for the stuff.

It should be interesting to see how that pans out in the future.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A southern girl at heart

Ellie has recently been very social. When she sees someone, she'll say HIIII. When she sees a child she wants to play with, she'll walk up to them and say HIIII. It is the most adorable thing, but I couldn't put my finger on quite why. Grandma finally pointed out that she says HI with a southern accent. It's long and drawn out. HIIII. I wonder where she got that from.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Miss Anna banned

We stopped by to say hi to Miss Anna last night after picking Ellie up from daycare. Ellie loves Miss Anna and it was obvious that she remembered the old room and was comfortable there because she instantly dropped BunBun as though to say "I know I don't need her here".

Miss Anna told me about how she is transitioning a few other toddlers into Ellie's guppy room. Apparently the other day when Ellie saw Miss Anna come in, she got really excited and started running in circles and then ended up sitting in Miss Anna's lap for quite some time afterwards. Cute.

Then she went on to tell me that she has been banned from taking the little ones over there. The task has been given to someone else because Ellie gets so upset when Miss Anna leaves. I find that somewhat funny and sad at the same time.

On the bright side of things, Ellie's best friend Brynn is transitioning. We saw her the other day and Ellie's face lit up bright. She walked right up to her, said HI and then took some of Brynn's banana. Just like old times. I predict these girls are going to be great friends.

But in the end, I still want Miss Anna back.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!!!

Today marks the first day that Ellie did not cry when I left her in her new room at daycare. OH MY GOSH! How exciting!

These past few weeks have been so hard on me because she has cried every time I've left. I knew it was getting better every day because she would cry a little less each time, but it was still hard to deal with. In the infant center, Ellie would walk in with me, help me put her food away, then ***SHE*** would put Bunbun into the crib and walk into the other room to say hi to the teachers. There were no tears. There was no need for Bunbun. So to go from that to daily crying and a need for Bunbun's constant support... let's just say it was draining for me.

But today she didn't cry! Woohoo!

On a somewhat related note, I talked to the mommy of Ellie's favorite friend. She says that her daughter has never cried when she leaves and sometimes it hurts her feelings. She tends to think "come on, don't you care that Mommy is leaving you?" I thought it was an interesting perspective. Every parent wants their child to be happy, so it's easy for forget the reason behind the crying. All the crying is saying is "I like spending time with you, please stay." As hard as it is to see, I guess it's a compliment to have Ellie want me to stay with her.

So we'll see where it goes from here. It's definitely easier to leave her when she's not screaming. However, I do get the feeling that it will still happen because she sees all the other kids crying when their parents leave. My theory is that they are teaching her that crying is what should be done.

But again, she didn't cry today! Woohoo!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Signing

One of the most rewarding ways in which we know Ellie is learning is to see her use signs to get her point across. Her first sign was "All done" and that took her a long way. Then she learned "Please" and that helped cut down on her whining. Then Miss Anna told us that she knew "Thank you" and blowing kisses, though she signs both by hitting the side of her head. Finally she's started with "More" and "Help".

But the best part is when she signs without us asking her to. When she blows me kisses without me initiating them. Wonderful. And recently, when you give her something that she really wanted, she'll sign "Thank you" without us asking her to.

I feel like it's proof that 1. She is learning to associate things with their meaning without us needing to remind her, 2. She is turning out to be a polite little girl and 3. She is just so darn cute.

Next I want her to learn "I'm sorry" because she's starting to test our limits and reactions.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cowgirl Ellie

Today Ellie decided she wanted to wear her boots. Her boots were a birthday present from Goma and Gopa to go along with the beautiful rocking horse that they made her.

Upon getting to daycare, the teacher saw her and quickly turned on some cowboy music. Ellie loves music and apparently traditional cowboy campfire type songs are no exception. As soon as she heard the banjo begin, she started dancing.

Where is a good cowboy hat and camera when you need one?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Overalls Veto

I bought Ellie a wonderful pair of cute overalls. And she has refused to wear them 4 days in a row. She has also refused to wear anything orange. She loves her pink clothes, but Mommy is tired of pink.

I guess we've started the age where she has opinions of her own. But pink? I know I loved pink when I was younger, but there are so many other wonderful colors out there!

And besides, the overalls are just plain adorable. They are a must in any toddler's wardrobe because I say so. Having her own opinions on colors - I'll deal with that, but not liking overalls is simpy not an option. Maybe I need to find pink overalls.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Niffer's Bubble

I had my little bubble that I lived in popped today. Or at least temporarily so.

I lost my cell phone at work yesterday, which drove me crazy because it wasn't like I to go a lot of different areas at work. I'm at my desk, in the lab, or in the bathroom. Anyway, today Michael discovered that it was used to call a couple numbers yesterday afternoon. When he tried to call those numbers, someone answered in Spanish. Now I don't want to point fingers, but since the bathroom is where I originally thought I left it, I can't help but assume the cleaning lady took it.

At this point, I have deactivated the phone and so it is useless to whoever has it. I hope that means it will be turned into lost and found, but who am I kidding? If you stole something and then it became useless, what would you do? I think I'd toss it in the trash. Get rid of any evidence.

Beyond the obvious annoyance on dealing with the numbers and pictures I've lost, I'm finding myself quite disappointed. I am one of those people who typically assumes the best in people. I tend to give someone my respect as soon as I meet them. They don't have to prove to me that they are a good person. In fact, it usually takes a lot to convince me they're not.

So when I'm experiencing something like this, it makes my heart hurt. I try to see the best in people and treat them like I would like to be treated. And stealing from someone is definitely not something I would ever consider doing. Period.

Yet I still find myself hoping that they have a good heart. Maybe they can't afford a phone themselves. Who can blame them for wanting one? Maybe now that it's useless to them, they will do the right thing and turn it in to lost and found. They are good people too, right? I certainly hope so because if they don't then I will find myself giving the cleaning lady the evil eye for quite some time!

Sometimes I find it hard to not get discouraged about the world that I'm raising my daughter in. My friend just posted about how her son can't give hugs at school because PDAs aren't allowed. People steal. People hurt others. People lie. People cheat. I hope that I can still manage to show Ellie that the world is good and that people are good, but I do wonder at what point will she learn that not everyone is nice? When will her perfect little, innocent bubble pop? And will I be present to offer a bandaid to help it heal?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Your son is adorable!

Just when I think that Ellie is starting to get cute curly, girly hair... I get a great compliment from a coworker: "I saw the picture of your son on your computer and he's adorable!"

She was referring to the one of Ellie standing next to Merlin (the puppy) in her jeans and her shirt that says "Cuter than most." It's one of my favorite pictures but I *NEVER* thought she looked like a boy in it! Mothers can be so blind sometimes, can't we?

Monday, August 18, 2008

In my daughter's eyes


In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes


I wish I could take credit for these lyrics, but nope. It's a song by Martina McBride, written by James Slater. I heard it on the radio the other day and it brought tears to my eyes. Just wanted to share.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Videos

I have no idea why I never noticed the option of adding videos to my blog, but now I feel obligated to post all the cute videos from the past! However, I will force myself to limit it to only the more "recent" ones.

Ellie's Balloon (11 months)
video

Ellie Eating Paper (12 months)
video

Ellie Steps (12 months)
video

Ellie Walking (13 months)
video

Ellie Dancing (14 months)
video

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

Ellie has moved into the big kids center and has been in her new classroom for a week now. I wish we could say things were going well. They're not going terribly. She's sleeping better there becaues the entire center shuts down for nap time and she's not interrupted by crying babies. She eats all her food, but she's always been a good eater (peer-pressure, remember?). In the end I think that Ellie just needs more time to adjust to her new surroundings and she just doesn't understand why the change happened.

Regardless, we miss Miss Anna. Ellie LOVES Miss Anna. In fact, I tried hard to convince her to move into the older room with Ellie. If you don't believe me, you can ask Miss Anna herself. I didn't think it was too much to ask of her to follow Ellie until she was off to college. But alas, Miss Anna was strong. She stayed in the Bear room and Ellie is now a Guppy.

I'll be honest that leaving Miss Anna is hard on us (I wish I had a digital picture of the two of them together. These were taken by her, though). It got me thinking about how it is going to be difficult to leave any great teacher in the future, and that's not a part of parenting that I ever really thought about before.

Then today I "met" another Boulder Mommy* that has a blog, and read about her experience with an absolutely horrible teacher and it brought tears to my eyes. I can not imagine how heartbreaking that would be to watch your child go through something like that.

Finally, there are the ugly teachers. Don't get me started on how I feel about them! =)

There certainly are so many challenges about parenting that I never imagined! It's a good thing there are so many great surprises along the way to make up for it!

* You really should read the post.
Life and Times of a Mom on Wheelz

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Escape Artistry 101

Recently I've been coming into Ellie's room in the morning to find her in a bit of a pickle. I can only come up with one explanation for it, which I will share with you right now.

In trying to determine what Ellie could have been thinking, I tried to put myself into her mind:

Night 1:
(upon waking in the middle of the night) You know what? I don't want to stay here anymore. I want to go see Mommy and Daddy. I think I will do just that. Maybe even surprise them! Hmmm... obviously I could walk to them if only it weren't for the closed door. And obviously I could get to the door to deal with that if only it weren't for this crib. How do I get out of this crib? Hmmm, maybe if I go through the bars! First, I'll stick one leg through. Good! We're on our way to freedom! Now, we'll stick the other leg through! Excellent! I think I can feel the floor! Now, we just push, right? Wait. Houston, we have a problem. What do I do about this bar between my legs? Hey! GET OUT OF MY WAY! Oh dear. I'm stuck. Ugh. Ack. Push. Pull. Scream bloody murder for 30 seconds and pass out. (Mommy finds me with my legs sticking out of the crib, and my toes barely touching the floor. Luckily I was able to slump over and still fall asleep on my tummy).

Night 2:
(upon waking in the middle of the night) You know what? I don't want to stay here anymore. I want to see Mommy and Daddy. Obviously last night's effort didn't work. I was definitely doing it all wrong. I have another idea, though! This time, I'll put my leg in here. And my other leg in there. Now I'm not stuck on my tummy like last night! Ah ha! Take that crib! Oh, wait. Hey! How is it that I'm stuck again? I did it completely different! Help! Help! I'm stuck! Ugh. Ack. Push. Pull. Scream bloody murder for many minutes. (Mommy finds me sitting with my legs sticking out of the crib, looking awfully defeated).

Night 3:
(upon waking in the middle of the night) You know what? I don't want to stay here anymore. I want to see Mommy and Daddy. And this time, I have a solution! Obviously sticking your legs into individual slots doesn't work, regardless of which way you're facing. So, the only other option is to stick my legs into the SAME slot. Yes! That's it! There will be no bar between my legs preventing my escape! First leg. Second leg. Good. Good. Bad. Bad. My butts too big to fit through! No, wait. Ahem. It's my DIAPER that is too big! Ugh. Ack. Push. Pull. Scream bloody murder for 30 seconds. Pass out. (Mommy finds me laying on my side with both legs sticking through the bars).

What's her plan for tonight? I guess we'll just wait and see, but the poor little girl must be getting tired of waking up with sore legs! Those crib bars are not very nice to squishy baby legs.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Best compliment yet

Saturday Miss Anna babysat Ellie so that I could surprise Michael with a date night. My intent was for him to answer the door and see her standing there, but the silly boy started making me dinner. Ack! Does he have to be so good to me? J/K

Anyway, Miss Anna watched Ellie for the night and I thought it would be a great match because they already know each other. Ellie loves Miss Anna. Her eyes lit up when she saw her, and then she seemed to go show off all her toys. Cute.

At the end of the night we were talking to Miss Anna about how it will still be a while before we try for the next child because the parenting amnesia from months 1-3 still hasn't set in yet. She's great now, but Michael still remembers those early days. Miss Anna said "It's funny that you say that because Ellie is the first baby I've ever watched that made me want one of my own."

Ah, seriously? That is so sweet!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Bell Butts

Rumor has it that when Miss Anna asked Ellie where her belly button was, she lifted her shirt, pointed and said "Bell Butt". I've tried, God knows I've tried, to repeat this but I have not gotten the same results. She lifts the shirt. She points. But sadly, she does not say what I can only assume would be incredibly adorable to hear.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Traveling

I saw this on an old friend's blog and thought it would be cool to try it out.

I'd like to think that Michael and I have done a lot of traveling together, but I also hope that the traveling hasn't come to an end just because we now have a family.

Places I've visited in the US (I tried not to count the places that I only drove through to get from point A to point B):

visited 30 states (60%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Apparently I forgot that Oregon existed. Doesn't it look lonely? But heck, 60% isn't too shabby, is it?

Now let's look at the world:

visited 15 states (6.66%)
Create your own visited map of The World

Now don't be too impressed... I didn't exactly walk across that entire land mass that people fondly refer to as Siberia, but it does make me want to fill in the white space between it and Europe. A measely 6.66% of the world, huh? I wonder how high that number will be in, say 30 years from now? I think about how many places my mom had been to by the time she was my age and it gives me hope. She hadn't been across the border until a few years ago and now her map is probably more colorful than mine (though most likely because the countries she has visited are larger than those in Europe).

And last, but not least, India:

visited 0 states (0%)
Create your own visited map of India

Ok, I admit it. I've never been there, but I really wanted to participate!

I'd like to look at this sort of thing years from now and see lots more red. Do you think Ellie would like to travel to exotic lands with her dorky parents when she gets a little older? If not, then maybe we can expand our local exposure. What kind of camping do they have in Mississipi anyway?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

27 Jennifers

I heard a song the other day that made me laugh:

"I went to school with 27 Jennifers
16 Jenns, 10 Jennies, and then there was her."

We definitely picked Ellie's name partly because it was not on the list of popular names given by the Social Security website. As a fellow Jennifer, who is married to a Michael, we went out of our way to not do that to our little one.

I guess the down-side of the decision is that it cuts down on the chances of her having a song written for her.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mommy cliques

I have recently been asking myself why I continue to stay on this Mommy Email list. It seems like whenever I post an email with a question, no one responds. The only time I ever got a response was due to the Pox Party debate, and it was somewhat insulting. Maybe the mothers all know each other and so they don't respond as well to new comers. Who knows, but I have been asking myself if I've even received any useful information from them yet. In the end, I'm not sure I have. Maybe product suggestions, like which cloth diapers to use (I'm thinking of transitioning). But I am getting tired of putting my questions out there and not getting anything in return. It makes me feel like I'm in high school again, just watching the popular Mommies from the corner.

Note to self:

Do not ask Elmo to potty train my daughter. Given as a response to an email asking for potty training advice:

"Whatever you do...don't watch the Elmo potty training video. My MIL got it for our son and there is a song in there called accidents happen. My 80% potty trained kiddo decided after watching the video that it was cool to pee on the floor and burst into song! Yes for 2 months he would just go then sing that blasted song."

Poor mother. I feel a little guilty at the fact that I couldn't stop laughing when I tried to picture the scene in my mind. I'm sure Murphy will get me for admitting that.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Pox party

You learn something everyday, and what I learned late last week was that I apparently have strong feelings on vaccinating your children. Who would have thought?

It started with a post from a mother in the email list I joined:

"Anyone interested in a pox party or posting and having a party when you know your kids have it. I have 2 under the age of 4 and would love to get them exposed before too late. And at that, anyone have pox right now?"

And for all intents and purposes, it ended with a post from another mother to invite local mothers to a yahoo group for local pox parties:
"This group is designed to help bring together people in Colorado who have chicken pox or other childhood diseases and people who would like to expose their children to those diseases in order to gain immunity. This group is not a place to discuss or debate purposeful exposure or vaccination. Any discussion along those lines will be deleted."

I will try not to go into details on how I feel about the topic, but please believe me that I sent out some strong worded emails late last week. It took me by surprise that in this day and age people are still having pox parties, especially when there is a vaccine for it. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why one would want to spread out vaccinations, but I fail to fully understand the argument against vaccines. It just baffles me that people still go out of their way to intentionally infect their children with diseases when it's not necessary. And the group? Bringing together children with chicken pox or other childhood diseases? Well let's just say I'm probably not really invited.

Ugh. I need to stop. Honestly it makes me stomach churn and that takes me by surprise. I'm usually so good at standing back and accepting that people have different opinions on topics. Apparently it's not all topics. I wonder why that is. Do I really care how these people decide to care for their children? Or is it that I'm upset about how it could potentially cause my own child harm?

Ack. Stop it, Niffer. Stop rambling on and on like a mad woman.