Monday, October 31, 2011

Ellie's Halloween

It's funny to look back at pictures of Ellie last Halloween where it was Sunday and she was all dressed up, because here is how I took her out shopping today.

Oh, and here is how Daddy went to work today. Just call him "House".

But, we did plan on doing something festive. Our ward didn't do a "Trunk or Treat" this year, so we crashed our old Prosser Ward's activity Saturday night. Ellie loved seeing everyone in their costumes, walking around everywhere with decorated cars while we tried to direct her through the traffic to the candy, and eating said candy. By the end of the night she knew what her trick or treat bag was and kept an eye out in case it was ever unattended. Like the bum that I am, I realized too late we didn't have our camera with us. But, we did take pictures of Ellie in her monster costume today before we headed out again.

We had planned to go to "Safe Treat Street" in our city before I had to go teach swim lessons, but when we got there with about a half hour to explore after Ellie's nap, there was about an hour long line just to enter. So, that option was out. Instead, we turned around and walked to the mall to see if anything was going on there.

Some of the stores were handing out candy to kids trick or treating in the mall. That gave us just enough candy to feel we'd at least introduced Ellie to the concept of Halloween and then I had to go to work. Apparently while I was in the pool, Daddy was helping Ellie feast on her spoils. And that only continued when we got home.
This sucker actually started out as Daddy's and ended up as Ellie's. She came over begging till he shared, then stole it repeatedly till he surrendered. Yup, she LOVES her candy. And I think she finally crashed about 10:45 or so... Yay sugar rush! But, when a monster is this cute, who could really begrudge her 4 or 5 pieces of candy?!I know, right? So cute it's ridiculous.

Most of the way and half-way

So, since about mid-September, I have been on a mission to lose weight. I haven't always pursued this mission daily, or even weekly, but I am making an effort. I lost some weight just going back to work and swimming, so I continue to swim at least a 300 every day I work, and I am trying to stick with Jillian too, although don't ask me how I'm doing on that lately. So, when I weighed myself last week, I expected bad news. Instead, I found out that I was down 8 lbs from the beginning of September! That only leaves me about 2.5 lbs left of pregnancy weight to lose! Ok, so admittedly, I don't look the same as I did when I was this weight last time, having a baby will apparently do that to you. But, I am losing weight, and if I stick with it hopefully some redistribution of weight will follow. The other great news is that I am about half-way to my target weight that I would love to achieve by New Years. I know, that gives me some time, but if I can continue a slow and healthy weight loss averaging about 4 lbs a month then I can still enjoy this process and hopefully not give up. As a celebration (and because I was down to one pair of jeans) I went and spent some of my birthday money to buy some new jeans today and got a top too. The jewelry and flower in my hair (trust me, it's there) are from a company called Paparazzi that I was recently introduced to and LOVE because they're most expensive jewelry sets are $5!

This may be how I look.

But losing weight makes me feel like this!
Totally pretending to be trendy with the side pony, but I kind of like it with the clip. Welcome back 80's. I never knew you then, and I hope not to know you very well now either.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 15th Part 2: Tolovana Beach

After we left the Astoria Column, we tried to go see a lighthouse, but the new Washington State Parks prices are so ridiculous it would have cost us over $50 to walk a few hundred feet to see it and stop at an interpretive center. So instead, we charged down just south of Cannon Beach to have lunch at the world famous Mo's. They're clam chowder is pretty darn good (and I HATE seafood), and Mo's are only on the Oregon Coast, so Steve and I always make a stop when we're there.

It's also fantastic because Mo's is literally right on the beach, and unlike Seaside and Cannon Beach just a few miles away, the beach is not nearly as developed or crowded. So we really enjoyed walking on the beach and letting Ellie play.

Tolovana Beach

There is just something so wonderful about walking along the beach and listening to the ocean. It's just so peaceful and tranquil. We watched people fly kites, play with dogs, looked for seashells, and just soaked in the whole place.

Ellie of course loved playing in the sand again.

And now the story Steve would probably kill me if I didn't tell and will exaggerate for the rest of our lives. According to my husband, this is the story of how I "abandoned my child, leaving her for dead" or some such dramatic title as he sees fit for the retelling.

So, this is how the story begins. We were walking Ellie down to the water to see what she would do with the waves since she was so unpredictable a few months ago with how she'd respond - all of which reactions were highly entertaining to us.
And then, Steve and Ellie and I stopped and looked at the water. And Steve stood there waiting for the waves to come hit them and see what Ellie would do. And I realized I had my shoes on and - uh, needed pictures of them in the water. Well it's true! I did want pictures! (And maybe some dry feet.....) So, I promptly dropped Ellie's hand, made sure she was still steady, and ran. And took the two following pictures.
Alright, lets analyze this situation for a moment. Our little girl is in the ocean at this point, which parent seems more qualified to protect our little girl from the ravages of the sea? A) Mommy, who happens to be a certified swim instructor and life guard or B) Daddy WHO CAN'T FREAKING SWIM?! If you answered A) congratulations you made the logical choice.

Unfortunately what happened is with the ocean bearing down on our little girl Mommy screamed and ran away faster than Obama has run away from his campaign promises; and Daddy (WHO CAN'T FREAKING SWIM) sat their and braved the cold ocean water with his daughter........Yup, Steve wasn't real impressed. Hard to tell, I know. But to be fair, he complained the rest of the day about wet shoes, but here is another picture showing him running back from washing off shells for the 3rd or 4th time, not to mention showing the waves to Ellie earlier. It's not like his feet were dry when we walked Ellie down to the water to begin with.....
Anyway, we had a fantastic day, which ended with a VERY tired Ellie who napped about 30 minutes the whole day up to that point, and was ready to cuddle up with Grandpa's hat (he gave it to her to block the wind on the walk back to the car) and go to sleep. She slept well on the way home.And no matter what your Daddy tells you, Little Girl, I did not abandon you. I promise. I lovingly entrusted your care to your father for a short time. That's what marriage and partnership is all about.

October 14-15 Part 1: Astoria Column

Steve's parents Ray and Reva came to stay with us for a few days from October 13th through the morning of the 17th. We decided that since Steve had a half-day on Friday, we would go on an overnight trip to the coast. So, on the 15th we headed out. We decided to take the scenic route to the coast and head up through Pinchot National Forest, which was beautiful, to where you can see Mount Saint Helens and then stay the night. Well, the windy roads and a toddler meant we didn't stop to take any pictures in the national forest. And unfortunately, the sky was so cloudy and glum that we couldn't see the mountain. Here is a picture from our one quick stop on the road.So, we arrived at our hotel in Kelso, WA just glad to be done driving and ready to enjoy relaxing in our rooms. While we were in the hotel, Ellie kept us plenty entertained. She played with remotes and pushed the TV buttons since everything in a hotel is within reach of a one year old. She fell off our bed and split her lip. She played with Grandpa's hat a bunch.And found out that sinks are just her size for sitting and talking to one's reflection.
The next day we hopped back in the Durango and headed to Oregon. Our first stop was Astoria. We wanted to show Ray and Reva the big bridge that spans across the river there, and Reva even did great driving across it multiple times despite her dislike of heights, water, and confined places. After driving across the bridge we headed to the Astoria Column, which we missed on our trip back in the summer. This place is AMAZING!

Here are a few pictures of the column itself. We just happened to have the most bright, beautiful sunny day for our trip! Isn't the detail on the column amazing? The column was built in 1926 and then restored to this beautiful state in 1994. I was totally in love with all the art on it.
So not only is the tower beautiful, but the view around it is pretty great too. Here we are at the base of the column with the famous bridge in Astoria behind us. According to their visitor site, the Astoria-Megler bridge is 4.1 miles long! It crosses the Columbia River and takes you from Astoria, Oregon into Point Ellice, Washington. It's pretty amazing.
And if that wasn't enough, you can also climb up to the top of the tower for an even more amazing view. The entire inside of the column is one big long spiral staircase with 164 stairs - they have pins at the gift shop saying you climbed all 164 - or if you failed to. And once you get to the top, here's a little look 125 feet down.Given her fear of heights, it was a pretty amazing day for Reva - crossing the bridge AND going to the top of the column. And she smiled the whole time. We grabbed a few family shots while we were up there as well. I know that Ellie isn't looking at the camera in the second one, but it was so bright out that is the only picture where I don't have sunglasses on, and I knew my sister Julie would scold me if I only had sunglasses pictures. So there's proof that I tried.This was my favorite part of the view from the top of the tour. I loved the river and rock formations in the background.
And to end, probably the best picture of the day. If you look in the bottom left corner you can see what Ellie was so thrilled about. Ray found this guy heading into the giftshop and the caterpillar crawled right up his shoe and pant leg, so he showed Ellie the critter before placing it safely on a bush. The joy she finds in things each day makes me so ridiculously happy.


We headed to Spokane the first weekend in October to see family since we weren't sure when our next break to go East would be before Christmas. My sister Jennifer came and stayed while we were there with her son, Wyatt. We figured while we had them both together, we'd grab a few cousin pictures. These are a few of my favorites for various (and mostly comical) reasons.

We took pictures outside in my Dad's yard. So pretty.

They both look thrilled about the whole experience, don't they? We have a lot of pictures of them taking turns being stern, or in Ellie's case - spaced out much of the time.

This one cracks me up because it makes me think of a girl really enjoying a boy not wanting to get cooties or something. Wyatt totally looks like he doesn't want to touch her, and Ellie is cracking up. Makes me smile.

Eventually, with a lot of both mom's doing stupid things, we got a few pictures with them both close to smiling - ish.
Ok, this cracks me up every time I see it too. Ellie must have gotten tired with us propping Wyatt up on her (he kept trying to fall to the outside, so we leaned him on her). So, like any good, loving cousin - she gave him a good hard elbow. Not really, but that's how it looks. She did try to push in front of him though.
To reduce the number of elbows Wyatt took, this was our next pose. And one of the better pictures of this pose.
I love looking through all the pictures we took that day as there were 3 cameras and a phone all taking pictures while Jen kept Wyatt from slumping over. Lots of funny faces, one smiling at a time, and some fun memories of them together at this age. And, you've got to love Ellie's holding her cow the whole time. We are really into cows as of late ever since she learned to moo like one.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!

So, what have I been up to over the last few weeks? Running my tail off! You know, the usual laundry, dishes, and caring for a 1 year old keep me pretty busy most of the time, but in the beginning of September I also started working here.
I am a swim instructor at a racquet ball club about 30 minutes from where we live. I would have liked to have been teaching at a club closer to home, but the two gyms near us wouldn't even talk to me or return calls after numerous tries, dropping off resumes, applying (the front desk - which is all I ever got to talk to - said I had to apply to take my resume...) it was ridiculous! Then there's this gym, where the Aquatics Director was going to meet with me when I came in to drop off a resume, but I got there just as his lessons started, so he called me right away to meet and see if we were on the same page for instruction philosophies and then he offered me a good wage and started me teaching right away. Needless to say, even with the 30 minutes to and from work three nights a week, I love where I work. The staff is great so are the patrons. I teach mostly private lessons and one group lesson each week. The Aquatics Director (and gym owners) is also perfect for us because they are all about family, so he worked with me so that I only work about 6 hours a week and only when Steve is home so Ellie doesn't have to be in child care all the time. This allows me to work a little, keep my teaching certification current, and appreciate Ellie more each night when I get home and missed her for those 3 hours or so I was gone. It's great.

So, if that weren't enough to add to our schedule, I also decided that a year is way too long to not have lost any more baby weight from Ellie. I mean, I lost 30 lbs in 10 days and then nothing for a year! Even if I don't lose weight, some serious redistribution needs to happen - like fat into muscle, please! So, after looking around for a way to work out quickly each day during nap time, I decided on this.
Don't worry, I know I'm not going to lose 20 lbs in 30 days, and then even more weight after that. Ridiculous. First, I don't do the whole diet thing very well. I like my food. Second, I don't even want to lose more than 15-20 lbs total - over a few months hopefully. Maybe doctors say that losing 30+ lbs would put me in my "optimal weight," but that's crap. I've always been a big strong girl who in the best shape of my life and skinnier than I needed to be was slightly "overweight" by general BMI standards. No, just going back to work and swimming I lost 5 lbs right away, so I have 5 lbs left before I'm at "pre-Ellie" weight, and another 10-15 to be where I'd love to be weightwise. We'll see. Like I said, at least some redistribution should be good.

And, it's great! It only takes 30 minutes including my warm-up and cool-down and I can already tell a difference after a week, even with no weight loss and no obvious changes. But, I feel different. Which is nice. And, if I get good at level 1, there are 2 more levels to try, but right now, level 1 kicks my trash! See? (this was day 2 or 3 last week I think)

Oh, and don't you love my cheap, handy-dandy red-neck hand weights?
Oh, and in case I didn't have enough to do adding part-time work and working out to my daily chores, we have also been doing a bit of this.

We canned 50 lbs of peaches - around 25 quarts I think, and yesterday I did 6 quarts of pears and 8 pints of pear sauce. It's a lot of work! But, not bad work, and it's so pleasing to feel like I'm providing healthy food and emergency stores for my family. I'm so not a genealogy, food storage, journaling kind of LDS girl, but this makes me feel great. And we already tried our peaches and they are GOOD! That's admittedly the reason we got started. My mother-in-law Reva got me totally hooked and spoiled on home-canned goods. And once you've had home-canned food, there's no going back! And now, I feel even better about it because I have good things to feed Ellie even when fruit isn't in season. Although I didn't know that pear sauce could possibly be so messy, and my floors may never be syrup-free again....

So, laundry, dishes, work, working out, canning.... Steve says I may become domestic yet!

Oh yeah, and keeping up with this girl! (she's chewing everything right now, so we think she has more teeth cutting, and she's already up to 12 chompers!)