Monday, April 22, 2013

March: The Second Act

March continued with loads of fun.  The second half of the month saw me become completely delusional and think that I could be domestic.

I started baking for one.  Something I've always been scared to try as silly as that may sound.  I learned that I can make spiced/applesauce cookies, chocolate chip banana bread muffins, apple crisp, and oatmeal cookies.  I learned not only can I bake and not burn things or make people sick, but I actually enjoy it!  Here's a picture of one of my previously mentioned batches of banana bread muffins as well as an awesome apple crisp that is so simple it's stupid.  By the way, they're amazing!

I also got crazy enough to think I was crafty.  I made these felt sea creatures for our little homemade flannel board Grandma Reva made for Ellie a while back.  They were for my Sunbeams at church (3 and 4 year olds) and my lesson on being grateful for fish and other animals that live in water.  I LOVE how they turned out, the lesson went well, and Ellie enjoys playing with them regularly.  I also remembered from when I did an after school program in Moscow, ID that I really like doing crafts!

I also finally got around to making a couple flannel board puzzles for Ellie to have and be quiet at church.  One puzzle is of the First Presidency of the Church and the other is of our local Columbia River Temple.  Ellie seems to enjoy them, and they make a great quiet activity.  Don't worry, I won't let all the crafting go to my head and think that I'm actually domestic long-term.

Other fun events in March: along the same time as the fish lesson I realized that I am really enjoying my calling - most of the time.  Mckayla started sitting sitting up for a few seconds on her own.  On the 20th, Mckayla also rolled over onto her front.  And proof that I am too used to being with a 2 year old, as soon as she rolled over I totally reached out to give her a high-five.  I know, I am awesome.  We also started introducing solid foods - most of which made her gag and make sad faces at me and eventually cry.  Here she is the day I gave up on anything but cereal.

And, the other great event of the month is in this picture too.  I know you're all going to think we're crazy, but........  we started doing cloth diapers!  And get this...  The germaphobe in me LOVES it!  They're fun, and cute, and reusable.  They're going to save us money over time, but for whatever reason, I can't explain it - I just really like them. So mock if you like, but there's something about them that just fits for me.

The end of March also brought Easter officially - obviously.  Grandma and Grandpa Bennett were here visiting before we left for Spring Break, so they got to enjoy the fun.  Saturday evening while it was nice we did Ellie's egg hunt after they'd arrived.  I didn't get great pictures because she never sat still for very long.
 She would run, find an egg, celebrate, and then say she couldn't see anymore - even though there were loads of eggs everywhere.
 Daddy and Mckayla hanging out during the egg hunt.

Watching Ellie get into her eggs and cheer about what it was each time was a LOT of fun.  Beyond the candy, she loved her "colors" for the bath, necklaces, and her ballerina socks.  She insisted on wearing a pair right away and then told us all she was going to "dance and twirl".
She once again enjoyed unlimited access to what was in her eggs - at least for a few minutes till I stepped in worried she'd get sick where she's not used to very much candy in one sitting.

Sunday we enjoyed going to church and thinking about the Savior.  And then we had the girls open their Easter Baskets.  At least, Ellie opened her basket.
Ellie's favorite parts of her basket were a little kit to grow sunflowers and this dollar store Finding Nemo book.  She LOVES all things aquatic right now, ESPECIALLY Finding Nemo.

We also got a fun gift from Grandma and Papa Bennett.  Wood plaques made from wood on the farm which had pictures of the Savior on one and pictures of the First Presidency and The Salt Lake Temple on the other.  The highlight of the whole weekend came when Ellie opened her plaques.  She looked right at the picture of the First Presidency and yelled out "President Monson!"  We didn't even know she could identify and name the prophet, but we were all so overjoyed and proud that she could!  (Oh, and technically this took place in April, but we joked at the time that we'd really be impressed when she could name President Uchtdorf - and today she did!)

Pretty much made for the perfect end to a fun and amazing month!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The 1st Part of March and the 1st Easter

A lot of fun things happened to the Bennett Zoo in Month.

The first thing that happened in March was that we gained a niece.  My sister had her daughter Aubrey Raelyn on March 1st.

We went up to Spokane a week later and met her for the first time.  She is so tiny!  It's so strange compared to our experience with BIG babies...  Here is a picture of Mckayla and Aubrey.  Our big girl and my sister's tiny one - 4 months apart in age.  I know, right?

Here are the four cousins, each toddler with his or her little sister.

While we were in Spokane Grandma and Grandpa Rose decided it was time to have an early Easter celebration.  The kids each got a super soft blanket and cute stuffed animal, and the older kids got Easter baskets with goodies.

Then we headed out to the backyard for an egg hunt.  Ellie and her cousin Wyatt dug right in and found the eggs in no time.

Then they were excited for uninhibited access to the contents of their eggs inside.

Sunday after church we also grabbed some pictures of the girls in "Easter dresses."  Gotta love these two cute girls.

And lastly, a few general pictures from that Sunday.  Like, Ellie snuggling with Papa.

Mckayla happily playing with Daddy.

And Ellie showing off some of the cute clothes she got while we were there.  Big surprise, "Grandma Sun" got her a shirt with a bunny on it...

Yup, the first part of March was fairly eventful for us.  And fun.  Thanks Grandma and Papa for the fun time, and welcome to the family Aubrey!

Monday, April 8, 2013

A lot of little things: January and February

So, January was a roller coaster month for us.  Both of the girls got SOOOO sick that I could hardly stand looking at either of them because it made me sad.  Luckily, Ellie and Daddy were getting over the worst of things as Mckayla came down with it, so I only had one extremely needy child at a time.  Unfortunately, our bug was viral, so we just had to wait it out, but at least it wasn't something much more sinister.  I will say though that this episode of illness made me appreciate our pediatrician all over again.  I lover our pediatrician, but she's so popular that I worry sometimes about her availability.  However, we got Mckayla in to see her no problem - she was doing so poorly that she made the nurse sad just to look at her.  After our appointment we just played the waiting to get better game for a number of days, and then right after Mckayla started turning around we got a call one night from our pediatrician.  She wanted to make sure Mckayla was doing better.  She told me she'd left her file on her desk all week so she would think of her and remember to check in.  Like I said, I love our pediatrician.

After everyone started to finally get healthy again, January saw Ellie beginning to love going to the pool with me to swim every once in a while.  She can already do kicks and arms simultaneously, although not very well, and as of a month or so ago was starting to put her face in the water all by herself (just like Lilo - from Lilo and Stitch).  Makes this swimming mama proud.  Honestly, Ellie is probably ready for swim lessons and we may try to put her in a class this summer and see how she does.  She's liking the water more and more and even tonight (April) she said she was thankful for pools in her personal bedtime prayers.

Another super fun development in January was that when we were at story time at the library (Ellie is also regularly thankful for story time and for Miss Carol  who is the librarian who reads and directs the crafts)  She suddenly wrote her name on her craft - by herself!  Steve and I were both so proud we were fit to burst.  Her name now is sometimes much worse than this, but still....  This was the first time she ever did it, and it's totally legible people!

Then into February.  At the very beginning of the month Mckayla figured out how to work her hands, which was a lot of fun.  Suddenly toys were worthwhile!  So nice for mom...

February also saw the end of my nursing Mckayla as I started to have some issues with my supply and Mckayla's reflux got worse on top of it, so she was throwing up the few times when I was nursing her and it all seemed like more trouble than benefit to keep up the fight.  The poor girl was obviously a lot more hungry than we knew because she was no longer napping during the day as she never got full.  As soon as we switched her to bottles she started napping and was much more pleasant.  Soon after we had to start adding rice cereal to her bottles so she'd slow down as she was eating 45+ ounces of formula a day.  Can you say expensive?  Glad we buy a generic form of formula out of Costco!  We still go through a LOT of formula and rice cereal.  Ellie really enjoyed the fact that she could feed her for the first time though.

As a result of eating a lot, our girl has chunked up, just like her sister did as a baby.  Only Mckayla makes our hugely tall 2 year old seem like a runt at the same age!  Mckayla had her 4 month check up at the end of February and was 16 lbs 2 oz and 26.75 inches tall.  She was 90% in weight, 96% in head size, and literally off the charts in height, putting her around 98-99%.  Yes, we make giant babies....  Oh, and she smiles and laughs now, but this girl is a tough crowd!

Mckayla was also VERY close to rolling over onto her front in February.  She could roll over onto her back, but obviously didn't like to or hadn't quite figured out how she managed to do it at times.

We also started getting spring weather in February, which brought us outside to start going on walks.  Ellie decided the stroller made a great TV perch one night when we got home.

Mostly we walk to or around parks, and it's started to be rock throwing and bird feeding weather around here, so Ellie has enjoyed parks a lot lately.
She especially likes feeding the birds.  Oh, and notice the poor man's french braid?  Her hair is getting sooo long!  I just forget because it's so much shorter curly.
I think she mostly likes feeding the birds because it allows her to snitch some for herself and snack right along with them.

Just a fun picture of Ellie "making jello" at her kitchen.  We did a lot of baking and making simple things with her the beginning of the year, and it was fun to see that transfer into her play.

February also brought Steve's 33rd birthday, which Ellie thoroughly enjoyed because it brought cake.

Our other main celebration in February was of course our traditional celebration of Valentines Day in.  We all got dressed up and had a delicious dinner of steak, crab legs (Steve and Ellie only thank you!), asparagus, and potatoes.  Soooo good!  And a fun way to celebrate our family and the holiday.

These are pictures of Ellie making Daddy a Valentine's Day card for the celebration.

So, that about wraps up those two months.  Like I said, we had some downs - you didn't want to talk to me about nursing or guilt in February, and that bug in January just about sank us all - but we also had a lot of fun times watching our girls and spending time as a family.
 You think these two are sisters?  Mckayla looks more and more like Ellie did as a baby - just bigger!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Christmas Break Part 2: Spokane

Ok, don't even start with how behind I am.  I know.  And as a result, I'll forget to add a number of posts that I meant to write at some point.  For instance, I don't remember Mckayla's 2 month or 4 month stats anymore.  I'll see if I can go back and find them though...  But, one thing is for sure.  The last big post that needs to begin my catching up just now is the rest of our Christmas, which officially all took place in January of this year.

On New Years Eve Steve, Ellie, Mckayla, and I all loaded up in the car and left Preston for Valleyford.  It's always a long drive to or from Preston, but we always have a great time.  We didn't do anything much for the New Year as we were all tired, but the next day happened to be New Years Day when everyone could get the day off to spend together, so that's when we did Christmas with my parents.

My sister Jennifer and her son Wyatt, my sister Julie, my Dad, Kerry, and our family all opened presents together and had a lot of fun.  As usual, the kids made out like bandits.  Our girls are sooooo spoiled!  But so loved, and we appreciate it all.  To see how spoiled, this was the tree at "Grandma Sun" and "Papa's" house.

Mckayla liked her owl she got, and has had lots of fun on the squishy mat Grandma and Papa got her.
Ellie got all sorts of Repunzel things since she looooves princesses right now, as well as some stuffed animals and other toys that she loves.

This was my attempts to get Ellie to try on her Repunzel dress Grandma got her.  It worked.  She was jealous that Elmo was sporting her princess dress.  And it made for nice family entertainment while it lasted.

Of course, she loved all Wyatt's toys better than her own, especially his car set and his blocks.  And they wanted to switch their "laptops" that Jen got them.  He wanted her purple one and she wanted his green one.  Good thing once each other's toys aren't there to envy, they just like what they got.

Admittedly, with some of our Christmas money we did go get Ellie a different car set of her own after seeing how much she loved Wyatt's toy.  It made sense since we realized after we were done with gifts that we'd gotten her clothes, books, puzzles, things to grow into, but no real toys...  She's definitely well rounded in what she plays with - anything and everything.

Another fun part of the trip was that Grandma Sun got a cotton candy machine from Papa, somewhat as a joke, so we had to have cotton candy one night.  The first flavoring they tried tasted a little funny to most of us, but Ellie sure loved it.  What kid who doesn't eat much candy doesn't love it when Grandma suddenly hands them  ball of cotton candy?

We also went out to eat and play with my Mom on the 4th of January.  We let the kids play at the mall playground for a while and then ate at a buffet out in the Valley.  It was a nice time for Mckayla to get to meet Grandma and for my Mom to get to see Ellie where it had been a while.

And the last thing to show for our Christmas 2012 (and into 2013) is that this was our Christmas tree at home.
  I love our tree and all our decorations that remind us to think of the Savior during the Christmas season.  And I have to admit, Christmas gets more and more fun as Ellie gets older.  I can't wait to watch both girls open presents and understand and enjoy more of the holiday season each year!