Sunday, September 30, 2012

Potty Training

So this past summer Ellie was doing better and better at going to the bathroom in the toilet and keep her diapers clean.  Then, unfortunately, our smart girl realized that she didn't have to stop playing to go to the bathroom because her pull ups still functioned as a diaper.  As a result, we suddenly regressed until we were flying through pull ups and not using the bathroom at all.  Expensive!  After consulting with some friends and family, we decided it was time to see if we could move forward again instead of backwards.  So, September 3rd we went and bought her "princess panties".  Ellie was so excited about having princesses on her underwear.  We went home and had a couple accidents right away as she learned that things functioned differently in underwear than in a diaper, but really she did pretty well.  Then everyone got sick and we were all diapers for a few days.  But, when we got back to underwear, she already was much better and only had one or two accidents in the next few days.  And even then she would often come tell us "Panties be yucky!"  which we took as a great sign of progress.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I can say that (other than sleeping) Ellie is basically potty trained at 25 months old.  No, she won't ask to go to the bathroom hardly at all, nor does she go to the bathroom on her own like many of the 3 year olds we know who are potty trained.  We have to remind her and take her to the bathroom, but she is proud of herself, loves wearing big girl underwear, and loves getting a single skittle or pudding etc. when she's done really well with her potty training that day.  She now only wears diapers at nap and bedtime and often wakes up from naps dry.  She has only had a couple minor accidents and usually stops after about two drops, tells us her "Panties be yucky" and we go to the bathroom where she finishes up and is good to go.  She has done so well with potty training really that it's almost ridiculous as we haven't even had major issues with her pooping in her underwear.  We did learn a week or two ago that she won't poop with anyone in the room with her, but who can blame her for that?!  Basically, she was just ready, and we can't take any credit.  But, it is a fabulous development and we are proud that she has grown in such a big way, especially because we hope to only have to buy one set of diapers each month once the baby comes!

Our next adventure will be to try napping her without a diaper and continue towards getting her more independent in her potty training, but for right now we are satisfied and proud of how well she is doing!

Our Final Ultrasound with Baby #2

September 5th saw us back at our OB's office for our final ultrasound with baby girl number two.  We were there just to get an estimated weight and size so they could decide how big they think she will be at full term and make sure she was developing normally where she was getting so big earlier on.  We'd been through all this with Ellie, so we weren't worried, just looking forward to seeing our girl again.  

Here's our best picture of her here.
And a video of her opening and closing her mouth during the ultrasound.
video

You know it's going to be good when about 20 seconds into the ultrasound the technician looks at you and tells you that she has your due date wrong and needs to change it to the right date.

When's your due date?
The 29th.
Of what month?
October.
Oh, I do have that right...  So the doctor asks why she thought it was wrong then.  This baby is just so big!

Yeah, basically they told us that we have a monster baby, just like Ellie.  At just over 32 weeks we were reading online the average baby weighs around 3.75 lbs and is about 16.7 inches long.  They estimated that our girl at this point weighed 5 lbs 15 oz - which puts her in the 99th percentile.  She's obviously already competing with Ellie as the younger sister, since Ellie was smaller than that at her ultrasounds.  Next time we'll aim for the perfect 100% I suppose....  I still have hope that just like Ellie she'll be longer and leaner and not just a chunk of a baby, but either way she'll come and be perfect and we'll be so excited to meet her!

2 year stats

On August 24th Ellie had her 2 year wellness check.  She's pretty much a beast still.  Don't get me wrong, she's cute, and she's a stinking good kid.  For the most part we have few fits and lots of polite please and thank yous.  Ellie is such a sweet and good girl.  She is also stinking smart.  She now knows all of her ABC's, probably most of at least 15 or 20 songs and parts of a ton more, she can consistently count to 13 without skipping anything and make it to 20 skipping 14 and 16 usually.  She is starting to throw letter sounds at us and recognize numbers.  She knows most of her basic shapes and at least 10 colors.  She speaks in sentences that blow me away all the time and uses words I don't think she should.  Admittedly, some of those phrases aren't my favorite, like her current love "oh crap."  Yeah, we're working on getting rid of that one, although if that's the worst phrase she picks up we can't be that bad of parents, right?!  

Anyway, so you see what I mean that Ellie is no "beastly child", but she's still a beast.  At her 2 year check-up she was 28 lbs 9 oz (70th percentile) and 36.75 inches tall (98th percentile).  Yup, she's our tall string bean.  She now wears 4T clothing, and the shirts hardly look big on her where she has such a long torso.  We regularly get asked at parks and stores if she's 3 or 4 and have to tell people she JUST turned 2.  But, at least she's smart too!  We don't get as many looks about our dumb big kid anymore where Ellie keeps learning so much lately.  People are funny.  

Here are a couple random photos of our girl from the last couple months I thought were cute.



Anyway, Ellie's great loves at 2 years old: slides, balloons, Super Why, Elmo, Rapunzel (Tangled really), all princesses really, tunnels, pet stores, her Daddy, the Baby Tummy (sometimes cute and sometimes not), milk, and a bunch of other things. Basically, she's an awesome kid and we have very few complaints and no room to even have those.

The last two years have flown by, and there are times I look at Ellie and cannot believe how big she is, and yet I know it will only get worse and worse each year...  But the last two years have also been the most fun and full of love we have had.  We are so grateful for the blessing of her sweet spirit in our family and home and the way she brings joy and laughter to our lives each and every day.

Birthday Party #2

Since we were out of town for Ellie's birthday, we decided to have a little birthday party for family and a couple of friends with kids Ellie's age when we got home.  Saturday the 18th of August we had my sister, Julie, my Dad and Kerry, and the Hansons and the Thornocks over for a fun day.  

The kids started out playing in the kiddie pool my friend Kelly brought over for the day.  Our girl loves water after all...

The pool being filled of course led to a water fight between Steve and the older kids...  None of the 2 year olds were the least bit impressed with the spraying water going everywhere.  Neither was my camera, which is why there is now a big gap in photos...

After playing in the water we took a break for dinner.  We did our typical barbecue with burgers and hot dogs, chips, and fruit.  We also had my Dad's party punch which is a family tradition on my side.  And, just like making a cake is tradition for Bennett birthday parties, we got an ice cream cake - the tradition for Rose birthday parties.  Ellie chose this design at the store because she was convinced that this was Rapunzel.  
I wouldn't have ever picked out a hot pink Barbie cake with a poodle on it, but she was excited, so that's all that matters.

Be my guest.  Try to figure out who blew out the candles.  Kids are too funny, but given what I know about how Ellie "blows", I feel confident it was one of the other 4 or 5 people surrounding the cake.
Ellie of course loved the ice cream cake, just like last year.
And once again, I forget how curly her hair really is when it just air dries...

After all the other fun Ellie opened her presents and yet again made out like a bandit.  Here she was trying to figure out who I was telling her to thank for her most recent gift.
Thank you again to all our family and friends who came and spent a fun day with us celebrating our Ellie Bell!

Preston Trip and Birthday Party #1

We knew it was going to be a while before we could travel again to Preston as we neared the end of the pregnancy and the beginning of the school year, so August 9th - 14th we headed to Preston to visit family.  That also meant that we were in Preston for Ellie's 2nd birthday.  

Here was what Amanda and Ellie looked like Sunday the 12th after church.

The tradition on Steve's side is to make a birthday cake, and it's been a lot of fun the last two years to make a cake with Steve's mom, Reva.  I would never attempt something like that on my own, but with her help I get to enjoy making Ellie's birthday cakes and learn in the process.  This year we decided to make Whyatt from PBS's Super Why.  Ellie LOVES Super Why.  This is what he Super Why looks like on the show.
Here was the beginning of our process.
 And here is how Super Why turned out.  I think he turned out really cute and so far have loved the two cakes we've made for Ellie.  (Last year was Elmo.)

After we finished the cake, we worked on making lunch for everyone coming to the family party.  Reva continues to help me learn anything remotely domestic, so she instructed me while I made her famous rolls.  And I proved that pregnancy plus math does not work out very well...

Once Ellie was up from her nap and we had all enjoyed a really tasty lunch of dutch oven bacon and cheese potatoes, rolls, salad, and some other goodies, Steve had the idea to take all the kids outside to let them ride horses.  A neighbor houses her horses at Steve's parents' house and lets the kids ride them when they like.  Ellie was SO EXCITED.  We had a couple of meltdowns as our only child learned about taking turns, but she did really well with it in the end and had a blast riding with Amanda and on her own.  Good call, Daddy.
 Ellie also tried her hand at "driving" the tractor when she was waiting to ride horses.  She had watched Papa driving tractor and ridden with him some earlier in the week and learned that it was fun to do.


It was really hot out, so after some horse rides we headed inside to let everyone cool off with otter pops and then had Ellie open presents.
 She did Grandma Reva proud and knew just how to tear those gifts open this year.
She made out like a bandit, of course.  Thanks to all of the family who came or sent gifts!

Then it was time for cake and ice cream.  I was proud Ellie recognized who the cake was supposed to be right off.
Ellie also loved being sang to, but as usual was not exceptionally pleased with the sudden cheering at the end.  One day we'll get her to realize blowing with your lips curled in doesn't work so well...
video

But she definitely enjoyed her cake and ice cream.

As well as a few other highlights from the trip:

Like spending time with Papa and the kittens around the house.
 As well as heading to the beach to throw rocks in the water with Amanda and Grandma and Papa.

 And we can't forget spending time with her cousin Amanda who she absolutely loves.

Once again we loved our time in Preston.  We've been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time there this past summer, even if they were mostly short trips.  And we look forward to our next visit over the holidays - only this time with two little girls in tow!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ultrasound for Baby Girl #2

Because both of our girls seem to share a similar history when it comes to ultrasounds, we did not get all the views and measurements that the doctors wanted of our baby girl at our 20 week ultrasound.  As a result, they scheduled another ultrasound to try and get the views they wanted of her face and heart.  So, on July 26th we headed to the doctors for what would be our 4th ultrasound already of this little girl.

We did finally get to see her face, and even got a good picture of her profile.  However, our pictures didn't turn out very well in 3D because the ultrasound tech explained the umbilical cord was right up in front of her face distorting the pictures.  Here is our best picture of her profile though.


And a quick video clip of our 3D ultrasound.
video

Then, the ultrasound specialist came in and took a look at our girl and asked us to come chat with him.  This is normal.  Then he told us that our girl is already up in the 81st percentile and her head was in the 90th percentile.  This we have learned is not normal, but is normal for our big healthy girls.  We just make healthy baby girls - no weak little babies here!  The doctor figured she was already 2 lbs 6 oz at 26 weeks gestation.  So, he told us that he would be seeing us for another, FIFTH ultrasound in another 6 weeks to see how big she really was getting.

Deja vu!  Exact same thing we had with Ellie around this time - they really are sisters.

Oregon Coast: July 21st

The morning of July 21st we headed straight for the beach.  The main reason why?  At Depot Day the day before we had learned that Agate Beach, near where we had been camping, had a piece of a dock on the beach which had washed up on shore from the tsunami in Japan.  So, naturally we had to go take a look.  It was actually our best day of the trip as far as the weather went, and we enjoyed the sun on the beach.


We saw yet another beautiful view of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

And Ellie loved seeing an "Eledoctor!" as it flew over the beach.

She LOVED digging in, playing with, and throwing the sand.

And eventually we did get her all the way down the beach to where the dock was.  It was pretty stinking impressive.  Even Ellie enjoyed being at the dock - if only to play in all the puddles around it.


And the crazy part was it was all cement and rebar, not at all what we expected for a dock.

This was the only place, on a wheel on the side, where we found any indication of the dock being Japanese.  

And I just loved the way these giant wheels looked.

A little size reference.  Don't mind the fact that there were signs painted on the dock all over saying not to climb on it.

After getting our fill of the dock, we headed back to the water.  Where it was our third day at the beach, and warmer, Ellie finally decided she liked having her feet in the water - despite how cold it was.  So, I took her out to enjoy having the small waves come up on our feet.

And then we suddenly got a wave that wasn't so small...  This picture also disproves Steve's earlier stories from the beach last year that I would ever simply abandon our child to the water.

And here was how we looked after I scooped a wet Ellie up and got the both of us out of the water.  She was still quite happy to walk in the water after, so no damage done.

After Agate Beach we headed to check out The Devil's Punchbowl.  Apparently at high tide this is actually full of water, but we didn't have the time to spend waiting for the water to come in.  It was still really neat though.

If you look closely in this second picture, there is a person down there which shows how big the punchbowl really was.  There are supposed to be some amazing tunnels in the rock to the water too, but this is also a fairly dangerous area - go figure!

We also headed back to Boiler Bay since we spent all our time there the day before sitting in the car letting Ellie nap as opening and closing car doors will wake her.  We never did get great pictures of the waves breaking on the rocks (the reason for the name) but it was pretty.

And we had decided after seeing another Mo's at the Devil's Punchbowl that rather than grabbing lunch at a cheap fast food place on the coast, we would enjoy another meal at Mo's before heading home.  So, we hit the Lincoln City Mo's as we started back up the coast.
And Ellie once again thoroughly enjoyed their chowder - as did I.

After lunch it was sadly time to head back towards home so we could get ready for church the next day.  But, we had a fabulous little family vacation and always love time on the coast.  One of our favorite parts about where we live is going to the coast on these little jaunts.  We love the Oregon Coast!  Beautiful scenery, family time, wonderful beaches, and good eats - who could ask for more?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Oregon Coast: July 20th

On the morning of the 20th we packed up our camp and headed towards Newport where we spent the morning at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area.  There was a lot to see and do for being a fairly compact area.



The first thing we did was drive and then walk down to Quarry Cove to look for life in the tide pools.  There were TONS of hermit crabs and other little crabs in the rocks.



We also saw a few anemones, a sea urchin and some starfish as well as a LOT of barnacles and muscles.




Of course the things Ellie thought were most interesting were the muddy sand and throwing rocks into the water.



 And we of course grabbed a quick family picture.  Admittedly we forgot our tripod, so this picture is amazing in that the camera fell off a rock immediately after snapping this photo.  The camera was fine, thankfully.

After we were done playing down on the water, we headed up to see the other sights at Yaquina Head.  We spent a lot of time looking at these seals which were all over a few different rocks out in the water.

We also really liked these birds which looked and sounded a lot like a colony of penguins - only these guys could fly.

A fish and wildlife volunteer was at the lookout post with spotting scopes so we could see the birds and seals, and he and Steve enjoyed talking raptors.  He even told us that they have a pair of peregrine falcons  over by the visitor center.  Ellie just liked playing on the wooden deck and stairs by the scopes and flirting with the the people there.

Next we walked over by the lighthouse, which was beautiful.


And lastly headed to the visitor center.  Where, I am proud to say, I pointed out a spot way up on the rocks to Steve and we realized we had spotted one of the peregrines the wildlife expert told us about.

The visitor center was neat, but Ellie's favorite part was coloring a picture of whales the front desk gave us.  The girl loves to color.

After spending quite a bit of time at Yaquina Head, we wanted to spend some time looking around Newport and hitting the beach.  The first thing we did in Newport was hit Mo's.  Mo's is a chain of seafood restaurants along the Oregon Coast and they have world famous clam chowder.  I don't like seafood.  I LOVE their chowder.  So, whenever we hit the Oregon Coast we hit Mo's if there is one nearby.  We all enjoyed our food and Ellie LOVED the chowder too.  Then, after lunch, Ellie was soooo exhausted we decided to drive for a while to let her nap in the car some.  She passed out so we hung out in the car watching the water at Boiler Bay and then drove up to Depot Bay to check out the whale watching headquarters there.

This is how poor Ellie felt.  Luckily she napped some more in the car after we checked out the shops in Depot Bay.

After Ellie had napped and we'd looked around Depot Bay we headed back to hit the beach.  Ellie enjoyed climbing on the rocks.
 And standing in all the little tide pools.  They were just empty with sand and water, and fairly cold, but she couldn't get enough of them.  Our only problem was that she kept sitting in the water when she squatted down to play in the pools.  We eventually ditched her soaked pants and just let her have at it rather than fight the losing battle.

Then, of course, she ran on the beach with Daddy.  These two make me smile.

And when we spotted a crayfish, the biology teacher came out and Steve couldn't wait to show it to his girl.  Ellie thought it was pretty interesting too.
 And, Ellie had to engage in her favorite activity to do anywhere.  It was really cute to watch her pick a rock, run all the way to the water's edge, throw the rock in, and then run before the water could get her.  She did this over and over until we started getting worried about dinner and a cold, wet Ellie who was EXHAUSTED by the end of our time at the beach.
video

And here is another view of the Yaquina lighthouse from the beach we were at.  The Oregon Coast really is gorgeous.

When we got back to Beverly Beach State Park we set up camp again and had dinner.  We then introduced Ellie to roasted marshmallows.  She loved them!  I mean, she is my child after all....  But after such an exciting (and cool and wet) day, this is still the happiest picture we have of her right before bed.
I love how curly her hair is here from the ocean air.  And the tired finger in the ear.  On the bright side, after such a long day with virtually no nap, Ellie did much better sleeping in the tent on her own.  We did have to move her from where she fell asleep on our sleeping bag right inside the door, but she slept much better in her bag that night, which meant we were all better rested the next morning and ready for our 3rd and final day on the coast.