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?


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.