Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ellie lately

I just thought I would share some fun recent experiences with Ellie in the last week and a half.

First, last Thursday Ellie had her hair done for the first time. That's right, she had her first ponytail. Steve told me I made her look like a Samurai, but I told him he just doesn't realize being the youngest and a boy that there probably isn't a girl on the planet who hasn't had her hair done like this a hundred times. And the pictures don't do it justice, it was CUTE!
By the way, this is her cheesy "I see you have the camera" smile. You'll see it in a few pictures in this blog...And this is the aftermath of the ponytail in the bath that night. Too funny.
Another recent development is that Ellie LOVES our fish tank. The glofish tank that used to be in Steve's classroom has come home. I miss having fish at home and Steve wasn't sure where to put the tank right off anyway, so we brought the tank here. And it is such a hit with our little girl. She loves watching them, so when we feed them we put her up on the dishwasher where they are and let her go to town. She watches them, laughs, gets excited, and with point at all the fish and talk. The other day she even spent a few minutes making "shhh and isss sounds when I kept repeating "fish" to her.
She also loves standing up holding on to the chinchilla cage and shouting at them white trying to reach things in their cage and touching them. They're really gentle and understanding about her curiosity which has been a great surprise. And twice she has tried to repeat Leadan's name when I've said their names to her. She doesn't say real words often enough we can really claim she talks yet, but these moments are a lot of fun.

The next set of pictures aren't that important, but it's a fun memory and the pictures are too cute not to share. We went to Home Depot to buy storage tubs for the new place twice in the last week or so. Both times, Ellie has loved being in the tubs in the cart. The pink tubs are from the first day (Steve says they're red - he chose them) and you have to love the accessorizing of the hairbow-necklace. The second time we went we got the green ones, and Ellie decided that she was a tub-riding expert and refused to sit in them. On the way out of the store she stood, laughed, and waved at people as we left like she was in a parade...
The last story for this blog, not lots of fun, but a true testament to how resilient and tough our little girl is. You would think the fact that her shins are always literally covered in bruises that we have no idea where they came from would be enough. But she felt she needed to escalate things to prove herself rather than rest on her laurels. So, this morning while Steve was letting me rest and sleep in, I was laying in bed when I heard a thud, crash, and Steve get upset. Turns out in the time it took Steve to go into the kitchen and grab a drink - not long - Ellie crossed the room, grabbed a cord we had tried to put up out of reach, which was on the bookshelf. I don't know how, but somehow pulling on that cord pulled a rather heavy, dense glass picture frame down right on her head. No glass broke, but some skin did. So I came out to find blood on Ellie and Steve. We got her a bandaid and sat while she cried for just another minute, and then she decided she wanted to go back to playing with the rockband drum set, buttons on our printer, and the chinchillas. Before she even stopped being upset all the way she was smiling and giving me high fives (I taught her how to do this yesterday and she LOVES it!). That is our tough little girl! This is what she looked like after getting the blood washed off and getting dressed and ready for a tasty lunch of cherries and cheese. (Another of her fake camera smiles.)
Seriously, this kid is way too stinking cute.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Why We Moved

Ok, so you might remember there being a post about being riffed a while back. By the way, I had no idea how uncommon a term that was until Steve got riffed. I remember hearing the term growing up because of being around state employment, but apparently - not a common term. Noted. I got to explain what it meant a lot, and Steve had to clarify to a lot of people that it isn't the same as getting fired - he did nothing wrong! Except perhaps be himself. And himself is a darn good teacher folks!

Anyway.... We had our usual ups and downs with job searching this spring. With the economy down and a number of districts and unions playing fast and loose with the rules and in budget trouble, a lot of teachers are holding on to their jobs and districts are looking for teachers who can teach multiple subjects. We don't qualify. We considered for a while a green energy position in Sunnyside which never panned out, a position in Ceour d'Alene, ID which would have been a beautiful area, a job in tiny Pavillion, WY which the state board actually told us wrongly Steve couldn't teach until it was too late to accept the position, and then there was always this job in the back of our minds - Pasco.

We really feel looking back like we were led to the Pasco job. Steve worked with one of the Pasco football coaches last year coaching in Mabton, who said he would love for him to end up in Pasco. I found a Pasco job listed online and for some reason always felt pretty good about it. Then we were suddenly prompted to look into a teacher job fair the day before the fair and jetted to Spokane where Steve talked quite a bit with the human resources representative from - Pasco. He said they were looking to fill positions and to fill out an application, which is where we found out that his online application never came through for some reason, so he filled one out on paper. Pasco gave us a job offer on Friday, June 9th, and luckily needed an answer right away which sent us to the Temple where we felt good about accepting the job the next Monday even though Coeur d'Alene was still up in the air. We are glad to have been so blessed as to find a job, and even more so to feel it is where we should be for now.

(This is the front entrance of the very LARGE Pasco High School)
So, here we are - officially employed by Pasco School District. Being in such a large district, Steve and I should have lots of opportunities to coach throughout the numerous middle schools and high schools in the district as we so desire. So I look forward to hopefully coaching some this year! Also, the vice principal who oversees Steve's department is named Charlotte, and she is awesome! She stole Ellie from me the first time she met me before we'd even so much as said hi or been introduced. She encourages the fact that we prioritize family first, and has said how much she looks forward to watching Ellie grow up. The science department is also the "crowned jewel" of the school and supposed to be fairly cutting edge in a lot of what they do. They have tons of resources for their teachers and seem very passionate about what they do. Everyone we've met has been great and we look forward to working with them.

Ironically, Steve's main color will still be purple, but with white instead of gold as the second school color. He is no longer a viking though, and has become a Pasco Bulldog. The school has over 3,000 students, which should be a nice - small - change from Mabton. He'll teach a 7 period day instead of 5 longer periods and be on semesters instead of trimesters. He'll also be working on aligning his curriculum with other biology teachers instead of being a lone wolf and will only teach biology and advanced biology to start out with. In other words, the whole world will change drastically for Steve, but hopefully all for the best.

We look forward to this new phase in our adventure! And go bulldogs!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ellie at 11 Months

I know, I can't believe it's been 11 months either! Time flies by! And baby weight hangs on.... True story my friends.

Anyway, our baby girl is becoming less baby and more toddler by the second. You'll see in the pictures, but here is a little - or a lot - about Ellie at 11 months.

She is crawling everywhere and running into just as many things with her head as always. She always has at least one bruise on her forehead and currently has one on her butt too from sitting too hard on the coffee table the other night. That's a new development. Not only does she pull up and stand on everything, using less and less support, but she also sits on purpose now. She still flops down sometimes, but for the most part controls her dismounts now. Oh, and when she falls, it's like someone taught her martial arts - go with the momentum. She just lets her body roll and flop around till she stops and it's pretty dang comical to watch.

She has overcome her hatred for grass and will now take off on the grass at our local parks to chase seagulls, as her dad throws bread to see how close he can get a gull to her. I know, I was pleased....

Anyway, Ellie makes about one hundred different noises and finds new ways to make sounds every day. She can now go over and pick out toys and pull books off shelves and loves her new room with more room to play. It's a mess every day and eventually I'll figure out how to make her help clean it up.

She is still her father's daughter - getting into anything she knows she shouldn't and loving electronics, but she obviously understands no. And sometimes, she even listens when we say it. She also still cracks me up every day. She loves sticking her tongue out currently, especially when she's focused, and has an "I'm cute!" look where she tilts her head to the side and gives you a big cheesy grin. Here you get the best of both worlds.

Ellie also loves my electronic toothbrush. She tracked me through our bedroom and into our bathroom, two rooms she'd never been in before, just to come smile at me brushing my teeth. She also eats more and more "people food" and less baby food and loves it. She can feed herself chunks of bread, cheese, banana, etc. And really, we only have to break it into chunks because she'll stick so much in her mouth she can hardly breath around the mass of food.

We are currently having a battle of wills because Ellie decided that since we were lazy parents during the move, that she should have formula all the time and a sippy cup of juice or formula before every nap and twice in the middle of the night. Last night was night 2 of the fight, and we are already making progress, so I feel good about getting her back on track quickly. However, we are losing the battle when it comes to juice versus water. She still won't take plain water really, and to keep her hydrated in this heat, we aren't willing to fight that one too hard right now. So, she gets one part juice to about 3 parts water, and no more than half to half on a weak juice like apple juice. The other news that way is that Ellie has been bottle free for a couple of weeks now. She uses her glorified bottle sippy cups so well, we just dropped the bottles, and she didn't seem to care.

Other than that, which I know is a lot, there's not a ton I can think to say right now. She has 6 teeth, a million expressions, loves to talk and babble, and an independent streak about a mile wide. She wants no help with her drinks, to be in control of her books, and brush her own teeth. Period. Ellie's one true love is still her daddy, with maybe total strangers and books vying for second place. She is very ticklish, loves people, and currently plays with her popper beads and rubber blocks more than anything else. Oh, and baby food lids. Apparently they rock.

I took all of the pictures of her today in her jammies. Like I said, more toddler by the minute.

Quick Catch Up

So, I know we are really behind on the blog, but life has been happening a lot lately....

I'm not going to report tons of details even now, but for those who don't know yet, we've moved! Steve got a job in Pasco School District, so we've moved to Tri-Cities and are now living in South Kennewick. We're in a duplex somewhere between college and our homes in Prosser, but really enjoying being in the Tri-Cities and having a place that feels a little more homey and a lot less stressful than our last home.

Um, yeah. That's all for now I think.