Monday, January 30, 2012

Like a Weed

I'm sure you all know what this title is about, but can this kid slow down already? We've definitely hit a growth spurt lately. For a while Ellie was sleeping 13 hours at night, taking two naps, and still so tired she was a total grump. Now we're back to one really good nap in the day and sleeping through the night most nights, which is GLORIOUS. But, instead of sleeping all the time, she is never full these days. She can eat half a can of ravioli and 15 minutes later down a bowl of peaches these days. Speaking of eating, we've been working on Ellie using her own utensils lately. And suddenly, after buying some toddler sized silverware, voila! Oh the joy of tool use!

In other news, this kid gets cuter by the day. It's kind of ridiculous. Here are a few pictures of our cute girl from last couple of weeks in chronological order.

Real pigtails! I'm winning the war of doing her hair! And I can't believe it's long enough for pigtails already! Don't mind the part.... I may have won the war that day, but we did take some casualties....
We got absolutely dumped on with snow a couple of weeks ago. When it warmed up some we tried to take Ellie out to play in it, but we'd gotten some freezing rain too, so it was no good for playing in thanks to the inch thick layer of ice across it all. We carved out this whole to try and get some interest, but failed.
As a result, Ellie just liked walking around in it.
But she got cold pretty quick and went to Daddy to bring her back "side" (her inside or outside). On a side note, seeing what our neighborhood looked like 3 days after the snow here, we were so grateful to have the Durango!!!
When we went back inside Ellie had to play with these headphones. She likes to wear Steve's shooting muffs for a few minutes at a time too.
This kid cracks me up. She will make cute faces for half a second if I have the camera and tell her to "smile big" while I smile at her now. I just need to get faster so I can capture more of her cute cheesy grins.
Her feet have grown, but not this much. But this girl loves wearing shoes and will try to put any on that she can find.
Have I mentioned this kid has spunk? Maybe once or twice? Here she is rocking out with the hair and attitude to complete the look. Believe me, flowered thermals are all the rage in rock and roll right now. She's a kid ahead of her time.
We live in a very pro-Husky area, which drives Steve nuts where he was a Cougar for 3 years. So, Ellie always has some WSU gear. She was all decked out this day and looked so cute! This was right before she pulled every last book down on herself and read books from her buried position.
This isn't a very good picture (crappy phone) but, she looked awfully cute this day too.

Some other random Ellie facts. In a few pictures you see her carrying around her foam letters. She's totally into B and O right now and will find them on her alphabet chart in the hall, find the letters and carry them around, or say the name of those letters with her alphabet blocks. I guess it's time we start working on the alphabet! She'll also call just about every letter O or B right now, even E which she has known for months, but we're still pretty impressed. You know you are too.

She's started saying Please and Thank you beyond just signing them, and the Nursery leader (from church) told us she said Thank you to her without prompting yesterday, so we must be doing something right! Our favorite recent development is that she's saying words to get what she wants without needing prompting all the time now. If she does wake up at night and can't put herself back to sleep I'll go in to have her say "mouf" while she points to her mouth and then usually follow it up with either "hurt" or "molk" (milk). It's FABULOUS! Even if she's upset, if I ask her what's wrong, she usually tells me!

She also knows what the potty is and we have her sit on it and sing songs any time she has a messy diaper so she gets used to the idea that she sits on the toilet. She actually asked Steve to sit on the potty yesterday. Nothing happened of course, but we're just happy she's starting to show interest for down the road.

She's also learned how to climb up on furniture, although she sometimes forgets to get a leg up and just strong-arms it. It's fun to see her get up and then "Yay!" and clap for herself. Other times it makes me nervous because even though she's my cautious little girl, she still likes to run and plop on the couch and stand in the middle of the coffee table!

I've decided parenting is one heck of a hard time on your emotions. We haven't even gotten to very tough stages yet, but it doesn't matter. Over and over I'm so proud of her learning new things and becoming more self-reliant (she needs no help being independent), but at the same time it makes me a little sad to see my baby growing up. To everything there is a season I suppose.... On the bright side, every stage is more fun and full of even more personality than the last, so we're just hoping that our girl remains so happy and cheerful all the time so we can enjoy laughing at how quirky she is every day!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ellie as of Late

Here are some fun pictures of Ellie from December and January and some fun things about her right now.

First of all, Ellie loves pretending she's on the phone. This started back in October or November, and it has me worried maybe I'm on the phone too much around her.... Pretty much anything can be a phone for this girl.

However, she loves actual phones and pretend phones, so we bought her a phone after Christmas when we were sure nobody else had already bought her one. She was in heaven in Toys R Us while we collected different phones to see what she liked best. The ultimate winner was an Elmo phone because she loved that it sings the Elmo's World song each time you open it.

That brings us to her next newest love: Elmo. This is actually going out of order some, but oh well. When Ellie was sick over break we got her a new toothbrush thinking maybe her old one was too rough on her gums. It has Elmo and Abby on it from Sesame Street. I thought she'd like that, but no big deal. Wrong! As soon as she saw it she yelled out in perfect clarity "Elmo!" This is made more impressive by the fact she'd never said Elmo before. Later in break, while at Hobby Lobby in Preston, we saw some Sesame Street fabric with baby characters, and Ellie was so excited she was saying "Elmo! Elmo!" We decided she liked him more than we thought, so we bought her some cheap Best of Elmo videos for her new dvd player in the car on our way home. She was excited yelling Elmo and hugging the videos in the store. Then on the way home when I asked "Ellie, do you want a movie?" when she was grumpy, she immediately yelled "Elmo!". Same after her first video, so she watched the second one. Totally entranced. Although, to be honest, she gets the same way with Tangled. She LOVES that movie and doesn't watch other movies but laughs and gets totally engrossed in Tangled. Anyway, we finally decided we'd get her a little Elmo stuffed animal, so we went to our little Toys R Us here and found one. Ellie was so excited when Steve showed it to her and was yelling Elmo and screetching in delight. She was really unsure and not at all happy when Steve took Elmo away to purchase him, and when he gave the stuffed animal back to Ellie, she was holding him up twirling him, bouncing in her seat, and singing jibberish to him. Yeah, she likes Elmo. You'll see him in many of the following photos.

Before break, when Ellie was getting sick, she suddenly turned into a blanket girl. She's always liked cuddling with blankets while she sleeps, but now they go all over the place with her. We have blankets in cars, in her room, in the living room, etc. And we can't get her out of the crib without upsetting her unless she has a blanket that comes with her. Luckily she isn't like this all the time, just in her moments, and we don't have a special blanket that has to come everywhere with her. We hope to keep it that way.

We also learned during break that we have reentered an everything-goes-in-my-mouth phase. Mr. Potato Head parts are a favorite. But everything ends up in there.
She also loves her hats. Here is a picture of her sporting one of her favorites to wear and a "Rudolph nose" that the librarian gave her at story time. She loved that silly sticker on her nose, and it was so funny to watch her try to take it off and put it back on in spots slightly off the mark. She had a lot of hits to the nostril....
More hat pictures from after break when we got home. Oh yea, and she really likes to wear her mittens too. She thinks it's hilarious.
Look at how much older she looks in the second picture. Same day! Freaks me out!
We also enjoyed learning about markers recently. It was funny to see her not quite sure about the colors on her hands when I pointed it out to her and she finally noticed it.
Another fun development is that Ellie's independent streak continues to grow and is only about a mile wide now. We go through phases where she won't let us feed her at all. I try to let her feed herself when it's something she can try and eat on her own, but here's an example of the messes we end up with. Believe me, this picture doesn't even begin to show the real mess....

The independent eating fit has also led us to some awesome toddler-sized tantrums lately. Which brings me to this video of Ellie. It doesn't quite capture the magic of the song, because Ellie was just tired and cranky about eating, but "If you're happy and you know it" is pure gold in our home. Ellie fell down 2/3 of a flight of stairs at our friend's house over break, and was totally freaked out (but fine). She was crying pretty hard, and then Steve started singing Happy. She said "happy" as she cried and by the end of the song was fine. It's like she can't help but sing it! And every night during bedtime if we ask her what she wants to sing, we are always met with "happy". On a side note, she's also working on Old McDonald since she can say "moo" and sings "e-i-e-oooo". So cute!

Here's another cute video of our girl. She's been saying "two" for a while during this, but the other day out of nowhere started saying "two, one!" over and over. Daddy is usually greeted now by squeals, "Hi Daddy!" and then "Two, One!" Enjoy her real voice at the very end. Not sure why she uses the higher pitched voice to talk a lot of the time....
Another recent acquisition was her new car seat. This is the Graco Nautilus. It should be her last car/booster seat. But, who the heck said she could get so big she needs a booster seat???
Another when did she get so big moment. This was Ellie before church on the 8th. And she's so good that even though she has a month to go, the Nursery leaders at church told us just to leave her and enjoy classes. It's nice to go to class together for the first time since Ellie was a newborn, but it is crazy to see Ellie independent in nursery. When Steve and I checked on her half-way through her first time alone, we saw her sitting in her little chair independently eating snack and drinking out of a little cup. Just about made me cry between the feelings of pride in her doing so well and feeling like she is growing up way too fast!
I know this is really long, but it's our journal, so what do you expect? A few other fun things right now: Ellie says her own name now, and will say "Hi Ellie" at random times. She will walk through the house saying Mommy till I answer even though she doesn't need a thing. She stands up in the middle of the room since shortly after Christmas. She climbs on anything she can, including our coffee table, but still can't get up on the furniture itself. She also now has all of her baby teeth except her 2 year molars, and she has two of those moving around these days. And a funny one is that if we ask Ellie if she is poopy when her diaper stinks, when she is she'll squat down and pat her butt. She still cracks us up daily and we are so grateful to be her parents!!!

Go Broncos!

This is a little late, but last week the Broncos played the Steelers in the Wild Card game. Steve is a huge Broncos fan, and we hate Roethlisberger, so we were all major Broncos fans for the day. Even Ellie!
She got this pillow pet for Christmas from Lori and Curtis, and wasn't too sure of it at first, but now she loves it, sleeps with it each night, and even knows it is her "Bronco!" when she sees it.

Here are my two Broncos fans enjoying watching Tebow work his magic.
And enjoying a fantastic win!
The Broncos are out now, but they gave us some good roller coaster rides this season; it was fun watching a team you could never quite count out of things. We'll have to find Ellie some bigger Broncos clothes next season so she can cheer with her Daddy some more. This girl loves her sports, and still loves coming into a room, seeing a game on, and yelling "bahtball!" It will be sad when the season is over, but don't worry. Steve taught her how to say Hockey yesterday. So here we go again.

Christmas Break Part II: Preston

On December 27th he packed up and drove to Preston to visit the Bennett side of the family. We always keep busy and enjoy our time there.

Lately, Ellie has spent a lot of time wanting to wear hats, or putting toys or other random things on her head or ours and saying "hat!". She enjoyed wearing Grandpa's hat off and on while we were there, and it always served as just the right accessory to complete any outfit.
She enjoyed time with the "doggies" while Grandma tried to keep her from getting knocked down.
And she absolutely LOVED spending time with these two. Her and Amanda were so cute playing together and chasing each other all over. Amanda would crawl around under a blanket and Ellie would just laugh and laugh at her!
Other highlights: All of the women doing puzzles together, getting to see even more family, a dinner with the Fields and Darringtons who were Steve's buddies from Moscow, and many more good times!

Then on New Years Eve, we got together to have the Bennett side's gift exchange and traditional meat night. Steve always cooks steaks for us all one night while we're down around Christmas or New Years and then we break a pinata, watch a movie, and exchange gifts - all tradition. Steve also got to add setting off fireworks this year thanks to my Uncle Brian who gave us some fireworks he'd forgotten he had. Thanks!

Ellie slept through the first gift exchange, but we got some really wonderful gifts. Then, after dinner, it was Ellie's personal holiday as she got spoiled all over again.
After dinner and Ellie's gifts, we set off fireworks. Ellie was no fan of the noise, so Grandpa brought her back to the house so we could enjoy the show. She played for a while, and when we got back, we all headed into the garage for the pinata. Funny thing is, Ellie saw the panda pinata and was fine - till it started moving. And then, as you can see, she was no longer fine.
We kept taking her inside, calming her down, and trying again, but this kept happening, so after a couple of tries we called it.
No worries though, because when it was all over, Ellie got to enjoy the spoils of a well packed pinata with a few gifts just for her! Here she is happily squirreling away fruit snacks.
And, after all the festivities, Ellie enjoyed another round of playing with Cousin Bridget. Bridget was amazing with Ellie and played games with her all throughout the night. Thanks for being great Bridget!
That night Ellie decided she'd had too much fun and was up till 3:15 in the morning. Not fun. But, as a whole, our Christmas break was amazing! We got totally spoiled, had a lot of fun, and could not ask for better family. Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas Break Part I: Spokane

This year was our year to spend Christmas in Spokane. We headed up on the night of the 21st after I got off work and stayed until the morning of the 27th when we headed to Preston. It was a great trip and we got totally spoiled. Our only down side was that Ellie got sick a few days before we left, and we thought she had Roseola. Then we found sores all over her mouth the night we hit Spokane and eventually found out she had Gingivostomatitis which was basically her body over reacting the first time she was around someone with a cold sore. The joys of the mall play center.... Anyway, here she was one morning in her squirrel jammies Grandma Kerry got her to make fun of Steve and his history with Kerry and squirrels. Got to love crazy hair, but the bright red inflamed gums are sad. Fortunately she started to feel better around Christmas Eve and was completely healed up around New Years.

We tried to get lots of pictures of the cousins together - mostly for family who would want to see them, so here are Ellie and Wyatt later that day with her hair tamed some.
And here is Wyatt working on watching the world go by. He's a pretty calm little guy.

Here Ellie is in her Christmas dress Grandma Kerry had for her to wear. You like the empty milk jug? She carried that thing everywhere all Christmas morning until we opened presents.
Not a happy Elf to have us make her pose for a picture.... When she's a teenager we're in trouble when she already has looks that can kill...
Ellie and Wyatt playing together. She was so sweet with him a lot of the time. She was so frustrated that she couldn't play with him for the first couple days he was there because we wanted to keep her from getting him sick.
She really liked to go and softly rest her head against his.... Favorite sweet Ellie and Wyatt moment: Wyatt was crying as Jen put him in his car seat and Ellie looked concerned for a minute and then went and got her toy phone (a favorite prized possession) and gave it to him in his car seat and patted him softly to comfort him. So sweet.

Later in the morning after we'd had Christmas breakfast we got started with stockings. This is Ellie wearing her new jewelry from her stocking. She loves jewelry right now.
I think this is our only picture of the three of us on Christmas - opening our stockings.
Steve's favorite present - a gag gift from my parents. Of course he had to model them. You cannot embarrass this man.
My sister Jennifer and her son Wyatt after opening stockings.
Then we got down to the serious business of opening presents. Ellie was so spoiled that we kept her rolling and going from gift to gift to try and keep her going. She had a lot to open... It was so cute though because she would toss any clothes she opened over her shoulder - notice the pile behind us - but any toys she would immediately stop and say "help! help!" and want us to open it so she could play instead of open presents.
We aren't THAT mean - and eventually opened all her presents up so she could play. This cracked me up because she got a my first purse set and knew to hold the mirror up in front of her while she put lipstick on which is awesome since I don't even own lipstick. Wonder if she's been watching Daddy get ready in the morning?
She decided that Mr. and Mrs. Potato head glasses are perfect for little girls to wear.
This isn't an especially impressive picture, but there's a funny story that goes with it. Steve and I had agreed no Christmas presents till we saw our budget after Christmas, but I thought that was lame, so when his old room mate Dan told me about a gift idea for him, I got it. Steve figured out that I'd gotten him something, so he found me these beautiful pearl earrings for Christmas, and guaranteed me of their price - and that I wouldn't believe him when I opened my gift. So he took this picture hoping to get me making angry faces at him, and instead got this. Then 5 seconds later he pointed out the Mikimoto tag on them and got angry faces after all, just not on camera.
This was our first indicator that Ellie was feeling much better. She went and chowed down on chex mix with Grandpa till he cut the both of them off.
Christmas night on my Mom's side everyone goes to my Grandfather's house. We went for a while and visited with family and saw my Mom. Here she is with Wyatt.
On the 26th we also went out to breakfast with my Mom and went to the mall and let Ellie play there for a while. We did take pictures, but unfortunately all on my Mom's camera. I need to steal those at some point....

And lastly, another cousin picture after the Christmas party back at Dad and Kerry's. PS - getting a toddler and a baby to look at the camera, look decent, and stay in focus: almost impossible.
Anyway, we had a fabulous first half to our break! Thank you to my parents for putting up with us and spoiling us throughout the week! We love you!