Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ellie's Fun New Abilities

Ellie continues to learn new skills, most of which crack me up. So, here are a few videos of her newest talents.

She taught herself to do this around the middle of the month.
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And she just started really getting into these things.
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She mastered Raspberries last Friday the 22nd and her favorite time to shake her head is while her diaper is being changed - usually while grabbing the bars of the changer on either side of her. Too funny.

Another new thing Ellie has taught herself to do is play lookout. Yesterday she figured out that she can pull down the bumpers and look out the slats of the crib at the door and see if anyone is coming to get her or if she should yell louder. I thought maybe it was a fluke, but she's done it every time she's woken up since that first nap yesterday morning. That's right, we are certainly on our way to being constantly outsmarted by a toddler. Other exciting new skills: turning the pages of her books for one. She turns those pages with authority! And I love that she usually leans across the book to use her left hand instead of using her closer, right hand. You can tell when she's done with a page alright. The best example is Goodnight Moon. Every other page is black and white or colored. She waits on the colored pages, but you have to finish the black and white pages after she's already turned to the next picture!
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She also likes picking toys out of a tub you put next to her. While we watch cartoons each morning I give her a bin of toys to play with and after a little while every toy is out and scattered around her. It's fun to watch her choose and evaluate which toys she wants to play with.

On a random note, we are now big fans of public television in this house. We only get CBS, Fox, and public television consistently with our antenna, which means only crap on TV during the day - we also love netflix. But, every morning now, since Ellie has me up by 7:00 AM, we watch educational and hardly annoying cartoons and kid shows on our local public station. Ellie LOVES Sesame Street by the way. This was all the acknowledgment me and the camera got while it was on, which is saying something given that Ellie is totally distracted by cameras.
By the way, gotta love the bunny slippers from Grandma Kerry. And yes, that is her very own cell phone.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ellie's 1st Easter

We have had a great East Sunday! First, here are a couple of pictures Grandma Kerry and I took of Ellie gearing up for Easter the weekend before.

Ellie was great for church today - 11:00 church is awesome when we visit Grandparents! Here was Ellie's very 1st Easter basket. We already had the basket and the ribbon from Grandma Reva, so I decided to try and decorate her basket and I think it turned out pretty cute. The Easter Bunny sure brought her some good stuff, even if she can't enjoy your typical East candy yet.

Ellie did great pulling things out of her Easter basket all on her own. We didn't end up handing her anything. It was really funny to watch because she pulled all the food out first and didn't even notice the toys for a while.

Yeah, she may have been hungry - she tried to tried to eat each and every food item she pulled out.
She did end up enjoying her toys too. She got some great balls that all make noise and a little truck that has tiny beads that pop in the back when its wheels turn. It was hilarious to watch her with the balls. She couldn't decide which one she wanted most and kept rapidly picking them up, putting them in her mouth, and then dropping them to pick up a new ball.
And then we ended up trying to take a few family pictures since we didn't have any recent ones.
These are also a few pictures of her later in the day. She's so cute!
We are grateful for such an amazing day with such great weather. We got to spend some time outside with Ellie and Grandma and Grandpa. We also enjoyed a day where our thoughts are turned especially to Christ, the Atonement, and His Resurrection. We are so grateful for the Gospel in our lives. Happy Easter all!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

8 Month Cheerleader

These pictures are totally random from the other day, but they are so cute I wanted to share them, so here we go.

Ellie turned 8 months old on the 12th and I figured I would try to keep track of some of her quirks and favorite things so we could remember what she was like at this time.

Some of Ellie's favorite toys now are: BALLS! her cell phone (battery removed), her beads she got for Christmas, her jumperoo, her rattle, her clipping rings, and blankets which she loves to chew on.
We're in a chewing phase again as we are fairly certain we have one top tooth coming in, so everything ends up pretty far into her mouth - especially the phone.
She loves her solid foods, and will try to wait us out and refuse a bottle at times if she thinks she'll get solid food instead. She takes about 4 bottles a day and eats solids 3 times a day and enjoys every second of it. She loves playing wither her treats and obviously enjoys picking up treats with the pincer grasp, taking pleasure that she can pick up things so delicately. She looks at what she picks up, watches it, and usually drops it. She has no interest in feeding herself food or bottles yet, although we are starting to see her occasionally get treats up to her mouth before she drops them.
She LOVES her hands again, and will do this thing where she stares at her right hand while doing a twisting motion like she's unscrewing the lid of a jar. Cracks me up. She also runs her index fingers across her teeth all the time so the nail snaps off with a click. She can do that forever. One of my favorite hand things is that whenever I hold her she puts her right thumb into my shoulder using the nail and pivots her hand around on the nail. It starts to hurt after a while, but there's something so endearing about the motion.

Ellie also suddenly started shaking her head. Monday she shivered and shoot her head and then just kept going, nodding and shaking her head, smiling the whole time at me, until her head was going in circles. She makes me laugh. Ever since, she periodically - and for no reason whatsoever - shakes her head. Eventually it'll mean something I'm sure.

She rolls around all over the place when she wants something, but hasn't done much pivoting or crawling motions. She does reach for things and sit and play for long periods now though, which is great to see her becoming more independent.
She also started giving "kisses" about a week ago. They're open mouthed, wet, and rare, but they're there all the same and I love those slobbery signs of affection.

We can't believe how big she is. We had to lower her crib a notch yesterday because when she props herself up like this to see out the crib her head was above the edge and she's trying to sit up at times, even if she's nowhere near doing it yet. She's also wearing 9-24 month clothing (kids sizing is a JOKE)! She is funny and we love each day with her, even if we still have a hard time with her current yelling phase.

Spring for Ellie!

We were so excited last weekend that Friday and Saturday were nice enough that Ellie got to play outside for the first time! When she was old enough to hang out outside it was either too hot where we lived or then was far too cold over the winter. We got some good walks in during the fall, but she couldn't really do much back then - boy has that changed...

Friday she spent some time playing on the lawn and we enjoyed the sunshine.
Ellie enjoyed watching the lambs across the fence as much as they enjoyed watching her.
And she got a new burst of energy - as usual - when Daddy came home.
She even got to explore grass and seemed to enjoy it.
Then Saturday we had great weather again so when we went to Tri-Cities to run errands we made a stop at Sacajawea State Park. We love that park as it's never as busy as all the riverside parks in Tri-Cities where we sometimes go to walk with the stroller.

I hope you enjoy Ellie's ADORABLE outfit! Thanks to Aunt Julie for sending it to us, it's one of my current favorites!
Daddy introduced her to bark and we watched her spend quite a bit of time exploring it - while Steve kept her from eating it. She also enjoyed playing with one particular stick she twirled hand from hand for a solid 5 minutes and seemed to really enjoy pulling fists full of grass out of the ground in front of her. That's our little destroyer!
These two certainly love each other.
Oh yeah, and she has a mom too.
We did try to get a few family shots but they didn't come out very well. Unfortunately the best one is the really dark one.
Yup, she enjoyed the sun, and was all tuckered out after exploring the great outdoors. I also included this picture (beyond the awwww factor) to point out her new LOVE for all straps. Apparently this love goes beyond consciousness... Gotta love that girl!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Zoo Post = Too Many Pictures

Ok, so for those of you who have not followed our blog for very long, or don't know Steve and I (ok, mostly me) you can prepare for far too many pictures where this is about our visit to a zoo. For everyone else, you already came prepared. I promise I really did only choose pictures that we really liked or went with a story - or, of course, have Ellie in them. But I promise you won't even see all of those. It should simply be enough to say we went to a zoo, and between the two of us took over 250 pictures and videos in just a few hours, so be grateful I tried to eliminate a few! Moving on.

On April 1st Steve, Ellie, and I went to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, UT with Aunt Kathy, her daughter Amanda, and Grandpa and Grandma Bennett. It ended up being unbelievably nice and sunny weather. I even got sunburned! Shocker, I know. Anyway, it was a really fun day and we got to see lots of fun animals - a few of which you will get to see now too!

Um, I have no idea how to organize these photos, so we'll see how this goes. Let's start with... birds? (first animal picture in my line of photos currently)

Isn't he amazing? He was so neat looking I had to share!
Another bird I just thought was really neat.
Who ever thought that vulture and beautiful would be used in the same sentence? Ok, he's not beautiful, but the colors on him sure are.
The peacock was not at all happy with the turkey, and chose to tell him so with us and a lot of other people there to witness the spat.
Steve thinks wood ducks are gorgeous, and they are. So here you go.
Here is a picture of Ellie and Kathy watching two geese intently at the beginning of the zoo. What can I say? Our girl loves her exotic animals....
We also got a number of great pictures of primates while we were there. Enjoy!

This guy's hair reminded me of a who from Dr. Seuss or some modern emo guy...
Look! A baby! That part of me will probably never go away....
This smiling capuchin made us all jump and then laugh as he jumped off the glass full speed right at Steve when Steve tried to take his picture. This was him smiling and posing after that little display of mischief. After all, he is a monkey, and a capuchin at that....
Gorillas strike me as such amazing, imposing animals.
That is, until you see one sucking his fingers. Softens him a bit, don't you think? Admittedly, there is something funny about this picture, but also something sad about a grown animal sucking it's fingers in such a human action of comforting oneself.
Speaking of gorillas, Ellie is apparently somewhere between an infant and adolescent gorilla in size. Good information to have on hand.

Kitties! Enough said...

Steve took this AWESOME picture! It was neat because the tigers had a big enclosure, and then they had a walkway that went over your head where they all lounged.

I don't know why, but I really liked this sand cat. So cute!

And now some pictures of random animals:

This picture really was that close, no zoom needed as the giraffe decided to come check out a small group of people, myself included, and get withing about 10 feet of us all.

So I know this isn't a great picture, but it has a story. First, these tortoises are HUGE! nothing to compare them to in size in the picture, but believe me. Second, if you look under the closest tortoise, you see another, much smaller tortoise. We initially believed it was another BABY! moment, but then watched a worker come and start slapping the larger tortoise repeatedly on the shell till he moved - it's not like she could move him... Turned out it wasn't a baby, just a (still rather large) tortoise that unfortunately got sat on by a much larger neighbor. The worker brushed off the little guy and told us all he was fine and that this sometimes happens... Talk about a jerk neighbor to live with...
Kangaroo. That's all.
Rhino. Again, no story here.
Another baby! It was fun watching him play and hang out with mama.
And now, the pictures that you're all actually interested in. Here's proof that we did in fact go with other people. Everyone but us I think took turns with the stroller. Here's Grandma and Grandpa Bennett with Daddy and Ellie. This is the only picture they're in I think... Don't just blame me, Steve took pictures too and he didn't get any of people, so I don't feel as guilty.
Ellie really liked the map. I think she's beginning to like paper.
So, Kathy rented a wagon because Amanda was getting tired fairly early on into the zoo. I don't know what she spent (I'm sure it was crazy - we were at the zoo) but it ended up being totally worth it. Partially because these are some of the best pictures of Ellie and Amanda...
And partially because it allowed Ellie to lay out. She even got to take naps this way once we covered her face with her hat (she does NOT like bright sunlight in her eyes but won't keep her sunglasses on). Amanda was really great about helping Ellie rest and not waking her up.
She only cat napped, but her mood was much improved!
This is definitely a Grandma Jan picture for me. I can say that since I've had a couple of people tell me I wasn't crazy in the twirling pictures that she looks a bit like Jan.
Yeah, Kathy and Amanda enjoyed their Ellie time (I hope!) and Ellie LOVED her time family! She loves people so much, and I think she gets bored with me and decides she's being neglected. She didn't have the chance to feel left out while we visited family! Everyone was so great with her.Ellie also LOVED Amanda's hat. She swiped it a number of times...
Too bad this girl isn't loved... What a lucky girl!