Monday, December 6, 2010

Hands that Grab

As of this last Saturday, Ellie is beginning to understand not only that she has hands, but that she controls them! Before we've had lots of hand-watching, and she has been a grabber when something is within reach since she was only a couple of weeks old, but Saturday those little hands found purpose.

It was so fun to see her study the elephant rattle on her playmat and then reach out with purpose! She played with that same toy for a good 15 minutes or more. It may have been like watching someone with Parkinsons, and I would have been frustrated in her situation, but she stuck with it. Today after church we got a few pictures of her playing with another toy on her playmat. This one works even better with the multiple flat surfaces for her to grab.
If you look closely in the close-up picture, you can also see another new development. (Or maybe you'll just have to take my word for it...) Today she rolled over onto her side a few times from her back. Rolling all the way over can't be too terribly far behind. Hooray for someday having a rolling machine to chase after around the floor.

We're so proud and excited each time we can see Ellie figure out something new.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lots of Ellie Videos

So this blog is basically just playing catch up on some of the cute videos we've taken of Ellie in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, between my being too slow to grab the camera at times, and the fact that Ellie is always distracted by the camera and tends not to react as much and go spacey while it's on her, none of these are the greatest videos of what we're talking about, but at least they give you a sense of the joys of Ellie.

This first one is supposed to show how focused Ellie gets on her night-time stories. This girl LOVES her books. She stares at the pages, tracks the books when we move them to turn the pages, and sometimes joins in the telling of the story by adding her own side comments. This night she was a little floppy and distracted, but you still get the basic idea.

Next we have the kicking game. If Ellie is upset, you can almost always make her smile and stop crying by doing this with her legs. Even on her stomach! Too bad she appears to either be taking a break from this game or outgrowing it. Either way, I'm glad we got it on video, even if she's not smiling nearly as big as usual.

Next, laughing! This video makes me both very happy and very sad. Happy, because I love to hear Ellie laugh and she's not doing it all that often still and I'm glad we got her early laughing on video. Sad because Steve had her laughing hard for like 5-10 seconds at a time right before this and I didn't even think about videoing it until he told me to get the camera and she's already had her best laughs. But still cute! Enjoy the winding down part of this game with the ever entertaining Daddy.

Lastly, our video of her falling asleep in the jumperoo. I love the random movements as she fights to stay awake, as well as the hand sucking. Oh yeah, and that's our Christmas tree!

Do you see how we can't help but be in love with this adorable funny girl?!


As Steve only had a couple of days off work for Thanksgiving this year, we decided to go and spend some time with Grandpa and Grandma in Spokane. We always love visiting family and it was great to spend time relaxing.

We have let Ellie try little tastes of things in the past, just a tiny bit on our finger tip of things like soft-serve ice cream, chocolate pudding, etc. However, Ellie isn't supposed to eat solids till she's 4-6 months old, but we figured that in the spirit of Thanksgiving we would try giving Ellie some mashed potatoes as every kid seems to like them - so we've been told as we obviously lack that experience.Ellie staring down the mashed potatoes in her "my first Thanksgiving" outfit Grandma Kerry got for her.Now for the video, which most of the experienced parents out there probably expected - mashed potatoes did not go over well. We know, silly parents, all she has had so far has been sweet. When we put her on actual solids in a few weeks, we'll keep this in mind.

And what comes after a Thanksgiving feast? A nap where Mommy and Ellie both crash.
And as soon as you've eaten leftovers once, everyone starts thinking about Christmas. Grandma Kerry got Ellie a Christmas dress and needed pictures before we left, so we had a little photo shoot.
And guess who showed up??? Santa!
Or maybe not... Steve says that Ellie gave him such a confused look when his voice was coming from a totally different looking face.
And, once we got home, our tree was already up and waiting for us. Ok, so I may have been excited when we got our first full-sized tree the weekend before and put this up the Sunday BEFORE Thanksgiving. Before you all cry blasphemy, I have an excuse that even made Steve ok with this. We're going to be visiting family for all of the holiday season and I wanted to be able to enjoy our tree for more than two weeks between trips. So up it went!
Thanks to my Dad and Kerry for a great Thanksgiving trip! They also got Ellie a fantastic new convertible car seat which will make our holiday travels much nicer for everyone. We loved spending Ellie's first Thanksgiving with them and are always grateful for the hospitality and generosity of both our families!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Playing Catch-up

Ok, So I realized today that I am so far behind on pictures and Ellie updates! I am going to try to fix that without going totally picture overboard - but I make no promises.

First, Ellie got some new toys a few weeks back. We got her a playmat and a jumperoo to encourage her to play independently more. She is learning to love the jumperoo even though she was not at all thrilled with it at first, and she enjoys the playmat.

Lately the jumperoo also seems to be the best place to sleep. This has become almost a daily occurrence, sometimes twice a day. Ellie is such a good sleeper for the most part. She puts herself to sleep usually within 10 minutes of the time we put her down at night. Often times for naps she knows she's tired so when I put her in the crib she just goes to sleep, and every once in a while she just hangs out playing in the crib when she wakes up which I LOVE. The other day I went to check on her and she'd just been playing for a while. Then she giggled the whole time I took her jammies off. Such a great nap time!

Speaking of playtime, we are also starting to occasionally get happy tummy time! And, as of Sunday November 21 Ellie started to roll over again. You may be thinking, "so what? she's been rolling over since Labor Day." True. Till she stopped. It had been several weeks, so we're glad she is rolling over again. Here is a video of tummy time and rolling over from the 21st of November. She is only rolling over using the weight of her head when she pushes up still, so sometimes she thumps her head, but when she does she isn't usually upset. (Rose/Bennett hard heads are good for something.)
But don't worry, we still get plenty of this kind of tummy time too. Most of the time, in fact.
Man, she's not even red here... She obviously wasn't very upset.

I don't have a good video of it, but Ellie is also developing in her speech. She has been talking to us more and more all the time, and just today she started making more complex sounds some of the time. In other words, her sounds aren't always all vowels. So exciting to watch her little mouth make all these cute shapes as she starts to get a feel for "words". Since I don't have a video, instead enjoy this CUTE picture of Ellie and Steve getting ready to go out last Monday night.
This girl LOVES her Daddy.

We are also watching her figure out her hands. She obviously knows they are there now, and at times knows she controls them to some shaky extent. We never did get the whole staring at the hand wide open in the face thing, just watching them at times and having them whap her in the face. But, based on how often she watches them into her mouth and the fact that she is now grabbing blankets, toys, etc. (sometimes with help) she obviously is figuring those hand things out. As a result, she is also currently fascinated by other people's hands. From watching us type on the ipad to tracking a "magic jelly bean" Steve held over her at my parents' house, she is fixated on hands.Staring at her hands above and happy after playing with this blanket below.
She also loves trying to help hold her bottles these days. And she's held it for a few seconds a couple of times now! She usually gets in her (and our) way, knocking the bottle out of her mouth and getting mad, but we love watching her try to help out.

She also still loves watching her feet. And, a new thing as of this week - feet in the air! She loves doing this during diaper changes.

Another phase we're entering - insert in mouth. Blankets, a jacket that gets bunched up, hands, bibs, our hands on occasion. When she gets mobile it will be time to baby proof in a hurry!

A couple of other quick developments... On Saturday, 20 of November we saw Ellie roll her tongue for the first time. Apparently that comes from me as Steve can't do it. And because he's Steve, his first response was to go into the fact that tongue-rolling is the dominant gene and that if we have a non-tongue-roller in the future, that makes me a hybrid. Gotta love that scientist...

Probably our FAVORITE recent development is: laughter! Thursday November 18 I heard her first undeniable laugh! Then nothing till Monday and then about a laugh a day for a few days. Then while we were at my parents Ellie started showing how much more entertaining Daddy is than Mommy and Steve had her going and going and going! We'll put up the only video of her laughing we have so far in the video blog.

Lastly, here are a few pictures of our growing girl from this past week. Our home scale has her around 16 lbs already!!!

Still to come: videos of Ellie and pictures from our Thanksgiving trip to Spokane!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ellie's New Diet

So, Ellie is a spitter-upper. No big deal right? Every kid spits up a lot and acts like they have a bad taste in their mouth because... um, have you smelled spit-up? Or so I thought.
About the time of the baby blessing we noticed that every once in a while Ellie REALLY spat-up. Like, not a drop left of food in her stomach and she's hungry afterward. I know, so awesome to get covered in vomit and then have a screaming baby because now that her stomach is empty, she's HUNGRY! And when Ellie is hungry, it's a big. deal. She may be a little food-centric...

Well, we thought she was draining from being sick and that was causing the big spit ups. Then when she obviously wasn't sick, we thought it was from allergies. And then the last couple of weeks the big spit-ups became more and more frequent till we knew one would come every 2 or 3 days. So we called the doctor to see if we could reduce the drainage and help her not to get such an upset tummy.

Well, turns out that not every baby spits up all the time and acts like they're chewing their cud, or coughs with a bad taste in their mouth. Those are all signs of reflux. Silly first-time parents.... The doctor asked us a bunch of questions, realized what it was, and then as she was explaining what to do kept saying "See, she's refluxing right now." That only happened like 3 times in about 5 or 10 minutes. Crap! I didn't realize it was such a problem or that she was dealing with it that often.

Luckily, Ellie has the reflux but not the heartburn that sometimes comes with it. How do we know? Because the baby the doctor saw earlier that day with it was a GRUMP - all the time - because the heartburn hurt. Where as Ellie is only really a grump when she is tired, or mostly hungry.

So, Ellie is on a new diet - to eh, keep her girlish figure. (So funny that the doctor looked at Ellie and told us that "She may be throwing up, but she's obviously keeping something down..." Not like she was 14 LBS 10 OZ when they weighed her in!)

So now Ellie gets to have oatmeal cereal in her bottles whenever she is going to stay awake to give her stomach something more solid to work on. It basically looks like sludge.

See what I mean? Before and after adding oatmeal:
And then we have the pleasure of sitting with her for half an hour afterward while we try to keep her mostly still so her stomach can settle some. In more severe cases we'd have to elevate her mattress to a 45 degree angle and/or put her on the equivalent of baby zantac.

Lucky for us, Ellie is so into her food. As a result, she doesn't care what it is. Milk, different formulas, oatmeal milk, just give her food! And... so far so good! She's hardly spit up and seems to be her happy self. We even heard her give a real, actual, undeniable laugh Thursday! Nothing since, just her little chuckles that sound a little bit like yelling or winding up to cry...
So, our little monkey - or cow? - is doing well and now she has something more solid to eat most of the time. You know, so she can start putting weight on....
PS, the pictures are from this past Thursday and Friday. Ellie in some of the outfits Julie sent her from Japan - with added layers for warmth. Thanks Aunt Julie!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mom and Dad's new "puppies"?

Just a quick post to show some pics of the new dogs. For those who don't know the whole story, found a couple of great dane/mastiff cross dogs in Pasco that a family was giving away. They had just had a new baby, and their house and yard was way too small for these huge dogs. So they agreed to give the dogs away to the right home. After learning that Mom and Dad live on a farm they were very eager that their dogs would be rehomed to the farm life.

One of the noisiest videos I've ever uploaded to the blog. The combination of dogs barking, Ellie crying, and three people all trying to catch the attention of the dogs makes for quiet the cacophony. At first the dogs were a bit stand offish, and the former owner was very apologetic; however little did he know that Dad's dog handling skills makes that hack "dog whisperer" guy look like Micheal Vick.

They really are good dogs, they are about a year old and about 3/4 grown, yup these monsters will get even bigger. Mom was a little apprehensive about their size, but it didn't take long for her to warm up to them and vice versa. Mom can claim to not be a dog person, but how many words is a picture worth again?

So the tan dog's name is Kingston, and the black dog's name is Hades.

Mom and Dad have some neighbors with a small pack of dogs. They used to pick on Shadow till Mom and Dad got Sampson which kind of tipped the balance a bit. With Kingston and Hades, I think it is safe to say that the arms race is over. Here's to big dogs and giving good homes to dogs that need it.

Now all we need is a saddle, it won't be long till Ellie is old enough for mutton bustin......I'm thinking if she can ride Kingston or Hades, mutton bustin will be a breeze.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Talking Monkey!

I figured I would try yet again to upload the video of Ellie talking. She makes new sounds every day and never talks when I have the camera going, but I did catch some of her babble one night (after about 12 other video attempts failed.) So enjoy our talking monkey! I know we sure do!

PS - Disregard my stupid noises, she was responding to them....

The above video was brought to you by Microsoft. Nicolle tried to load the video (which was in an Apple format) 12 times and failed. I converted the file from the useless, steaming pile of dung Apple format to the IT FREAKING WORKS Microsoft format and presto it uploaded! Remind me again why people pay on average 33% more for a Mac than they do for a PC?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ellie's 1st Halloween

For Ellie's first Halloween we played it pretty low key. However, since we'd been given really cute Halloween clothes, we did prepare throughout the week by wearing our Halloween jammies from Grandma as well as outfits like this.

I think she already understands this is a holiday a kid can appreciate. PS, one of my favorite pictures I've taken of her recently.
We also went to our ward party and Trunk-or-Treat Saturday night. Ellie was a ladybug. I know, store bought, but still very cute! And sorry, I'm not domestic... Don't mind the passifier, she was grumpy when we were trying to get pictures as she was tired and doesn't like getting dressed or having things on her head at first... Great combination, I know.Like I said, tired.... And here is when she woke up at the church while we were having dinner.
She was looking everywhere, and I think a little unsure about all the craziness going on around her.But eventually, she decided she was just fine so long as she was with Daddy. (Note: one of the rare pictures where you can clearly see a dimple! She has two, I promise.)
And before anyone asks, no we didn't go Trunk-or-Treating. We couldn't justify taking a toothless 2 month old around who we couldn't even claim would remember her first Halloween candy... We did however give plenty of candy out and our favorite quote of the night:
Two little girls came over to us and one was in a black dress so Steve asked her what she was. She shrugged and said she didn't know. Steve asked, "You don't know what you are?!" and she shrugged again and said no. So her friend decided to help her out and after looking her up and down for a moment happily exclaims, "You can be um... a black person!" and they walked off leaving Steve and I to guffaw and laugh. You've gotta love kids.

Today we went to church, and that about finishes out our Halloween plans. We don't really expect trick-or-treaters where we live and are planning on a fairly quiet evening. This was Ellie's outfit for her first Halloween.
At least until she spit up all over and smelled so much like vomit that I stripped her down... Happy Halloween!

The Little Things

I've been thinking the last couple of days about all the cute little things Ellie currently does, and all the little things I love about her that make my day. And as we yet again go through her clothes she's outgrown, I realize many of these quirky habbits will probably soon be gone and I want to remember them. So here is my record.

I love that when Ellie nurses she almost always crosses her ankles as it seems so prim and ladylike.... I also love that she almost always grabs my collar with her top hand and holds it while she eats.

It always makes my day no matter what time of the day or night when I go into Ellie's room to get her and when she realizes I'm there she just gives me this big smile like she knows I'm there to fix whatever is wrong. This is made doubly fun when she is then happy and chatters at me while I change her.

By the way, another thing I love that Ellie does right now: chatter, coo, and gurgle! She sometimes gets really wound up and loud too now, but only every once in a while and never while I am recording! I have a video of this I've tried to post twice, each time literally letting it load for hours without success. I'll try again when the internet is better...

Other things I love that Ellie does: Look freaking adorable in anything she wears!
Don't mind the bow in the center of her head, she'd been crying and rubbing her head while she was upset, so it got moved around a bit...
Also, pull on her headbands and hats. I know, there's proof of this in other blogs, but the latest development is that she frequently keeps pulling until this:becomes this:
I love that when she is happy she goes through about 6 different smiles instead of staying with one, and that frequently the first smile is a crooked, head-moving one like this: (notice slightly blurry thanks to the head moving part...)
She also cracks me up when she sleeps anywhere, in any position. For instance, the swing is supposed to put her to sleep, and gets used mostly when she's grumpy and wants to be in motion and we're finally tired of bouncing her. However, I don't usually expect to find her head at this angle when I come check on her... I know Dad, she is truly her mother's daughter in this regard.
Speaking of sleep, I hate that she's been sick a few different times lately, but love what a trooper she's been. And as much as it may be wrong to admit, I love the hugs I get and how cuddly she is when she doesn't feel good or is extra tired and I'm rocking her. Here Daddy got some quality time the other day when she was both feeling yucky and tired from not napping due to not feeling very good. I also love watching how amazing Steve is with her and how much he obviously loves our little girl. (PS Steve obviously doesn't know I took this picture, so it's a secret.)
Another thing Ellie does right now is happily play. I love that you can tell how happy she is (she's such a good baby) all the time, even when she's not smiling. But I especially enjoy when she gets really excited and wound up. This is usually evident because she is doing some combination of: sticking her tongue out in a million different ways, panting, shaking her arms in the air, kicking frantically, etc.
Man, she's getting so big so fast! But, I'm glad that we have this blog to share with family and friends all the best parts of Ellie during each new phase!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

2 Months of Parenthood

Well, last week Ellie turned 2 months old. I didn't post anything because her 2 month check-up was this last Monday. Our pediatrician said that Ellie was really healthy and her only warning was that Ellie is getting a little flatter on the right side of her head. She can look wherever, yet for some reason she prefers to look over her right shoulder... Oh well. The doctor also told me that Ellie can't be left unattended on a couch or anything anymore because she's too good a kicker, and that girl really does love to kick! And stand and jump when she's on my lap... Boy how she has grown! At her appointment Ellie weighed exactly 12 lbs and was measured at about 22.5 inches long. I say about because I maintain she's longer than that... She was really grumpy about being measured and the nurse gave up and read the measurement while Ellie's leg was still slightly bent. I know, I'm just being a mom, but she really is longer than that! As proof, here is Ellie next to our friend's 5 month old. They're almost the same size! Ok, well at least nearly the same length... Tess is way heavier and more able obviously. It was cute how she kept trying to hold (and occasionally eat) Ellie's hand. I can't believe they're so close in length!In fact, Ellie is wearing very few 0-3 month clothes these days and is in all 3-6 month jammies. Here is a picture of the really CUTE jammies Grandma Kerry got her for her first Halloween.
Oh, and she still took her shots like a total stud - crying for only a few seconds and done! So much easier on Mommy and Daddy who feel bad about her hurting, even if we know it's the best thing for her.

Other developments: Ellie was sick and is still slightly fighting the last drainage and cough occasionally. So she's been a pain about tummy time, only throwing fits and hardly moving, but she can hold her whole head and chest up easily when she wants to. We hardly help her with her head, and mostly just to keep her from throwing it back to look at lights, ceilings, and pictures on the walls - easily her favorite things. She also plays more! Here is a picture of her playing with Aunt Julie while Julie was still here. She LOVED Aunt Julie! Back to her playing... Yesterday we were in Target starting to buy a few small things for Chirstmas and Steve blew Ellie's mind with a Jack-in-the-box. It was so funny! But we didn't buy it. And Ellie enjoyed Peek-a-Boo today for the first time! Also, a friend gave us this play mat and Ellie is starting to really like it. As a result, I think we're going to get another, bigger one with more toys for her.
Did I mention this girl still loves her sleep? And can still fall asleep anywhere at any time? During this little nap - I was vacuuming the room. Other places Ellie can fall asleep? Like I said, anywhere. She started sitting on the couch before I turned and saw her fall down - and go to sleep.Another example of her loving to sleep and loving Aunt Julie. One of her favorite places to sleep for a while was in Julie's lap.
She also loves - naked time! I laid her down all bundled up in blankets one day when she fell asleep after I'd stripped her down for a minute and fed her. I heard little noises and went in to check on her to find this. She is such an expert at kicking out of covers...
And perhaps her favorite naked time: bath time. This girl loves the warm water! And has even come to like lotion time after her baths each night. In fact, she cries for a minute each night when I take her out of the bath, and then when I lay her down to lotion her up she smiles and talks at me now. This is her loving the bath Aunt Kathy brought us during the baby blessing. Steve said no pornographic pictures, and I have to agree about posting them online, so I've started using the washcloth trick... Because she just makes the best faces when she's loving bath time!

And, just for kicks, a picture of how Ellie was dressed coming home from a football game last week. It got cold, so we left at half-time, especially where she still rasps at times, but she had on an outfit, her coat, then this thick sleeper, and her hat. This picture really shows how her cheeks have filled out! (Granted it's exaggerated by tight clothes and seat belt, but still...)Yup, Ellie is getting so big! And we're so proud of her as she learns to do things! For instance, we've started a bedtime routine and she's gone down at 9:00 after her routine 3 nights in a row! Maybe she doesn't stay down, but she does go down for at least a while! This is much preferred to last week when one night she didn't go to bed till 4:45 AM! And I was ready to post a free baby ad on craigslist - first come first serve. She's cute, so I figured I wouldn't have to wait long....

She's also putting herself to sleep after playing for a while. She's still afraid of the dark, so we bought a lamp for her room so that I can turn that on and go back to bed, and she'll do the rest herself! Once again, this is a huge improvement for me so that I don't have to stay up or sleep in the recliner in her room till she puts herself down, especially since she usually wakes up for a 2 hour stretch at some point in the night.

And, she's starting to stretch some of her sleeping periods to 4.5 to 5.5 hours. So awesome for Mommy and Daddy! And her last greatest achievement happened only an hour or so ago. She cried herself to sleep! This may sound silly, but anyone who has seen her so tired she can't or won't go to sleep knows that this kid is stubborn and has a temper! As a result, she would cry for a half hour or longer and even if she fell asleep, she'd wake up 1 minute later even more angry that nobody had come and gotten her before she passed out. But, part of her night time routine is that we're trying to teach her that after 9:00 PM it's crib/bed time. So, after she woke up tonight and had been fed and changed, I laid her there and let her cry. When I went in, she just stopped and smiled at me. No Ellie, this is not the time to manipulate Mama. So, after that she didn't get answered, and eventually she cried herself to sleep!

We're so proud of our little Munchkin! Ok, this is all probably way more info than any of you want, but.... This is my life, and I love it!