Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mmmm...Pumpkin Pie

Enjoying Pumpkin Pie
Originally uploaded by mbowling.
Ella certainly got her taste buds from her dad. If I were eating pumpkin pie, I wouldn't be enjoying it as much as Ella.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Good Luck to Uncle Matt

It's a big day for Ella's Uncle Matt as he is coaching his first varsity boys basketball game as head coach tonight. Go Kingsley-Pierson Panthers! We're so proud of him and will be cheering the team on tonight! We really wish we could be there, but we promise to get to a game in the very near future. I can't wait until I have vacation time again! Just over a month to go.

Ella is set for a fun day at day care. When I was washing her hands at drop off, she kept squirming in my arms, and she was pointing and babbling. I turned to see what caught her attention and noticed a large pumpkin sitting on top of the cubbies. Miss Jenny informed us that pumpkin guts was on the menu for today's sensory play time. How I hope they get good pictures of her. We didn't carve a pumpkin this year so this will be a real treat for Ella.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Thanksgiving Whirlwind

What a whirlwind four days, but it’s so worth it. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. In part because it celebrates the simplicity in life – giving thanks, family, tasty food and football. Thanksgiving also lacks the large production aspect of other holidays, which is why I enjoy it so. It hasn’t been commandeered by retailers. It’s about gathering with your nearest and dearest.

We kicked off Thanksgiving weekend with dinner with the Davis clan in Rock Port and then we drove up to Sioux City where we stayed until Saturday morning when we headed to Omaha for the annual McManigal Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house. (Of course, we spent 6 hours Friday morning shopping with the rest of the crazy people, but that’s another post.)

Ella is a social butterfly. I was worried how Ella would handle our grand tour and all the different faces. Overall, she was a champ and what a social, independent, on-the-go child we have. At the McManigal Thanksgiving, she was checking out everyone and in a house filled with 40 people (20 of which are kids of every age) Ella fit in quite well. She embraced the fact that everyone seemed new and just went with the flow. She didn’t mind who picked her up, although she was partial to my cousin Christy. She also refused to stop. The Energzier bunny could take a lesson from her. There were too many people to meet, too many areas to explore and countless laps to make through the house. I suspect the goal of the numerous laps was to find Gracie, her new favorite friend. Gracie, a 14-year-old Golden Retriever, let Ella nuzzle with her, pull her ears and even ended up in an Ella headlock. I believe that a puppy will be top of Ella’s Christmas list once she is old enough to speak. Her face literally lights up the instant she sees any animal, particularly dogs. It’s so precious and oh so sweet.

We left with one kid and came back with another. It’s amazing in four days how much older she seems. She definitely has become more vocal, and she also is communicating more by pointing to things. Her favorite noise lately is that of jingle bells. We hung a jingle bell wreath on the door of our coat closet. Before we placed in there, we let Ella shake it for a bit. Now, anytime you walk in the living room, she’s pointing up to the wreath indicating she wants to play with it.

I’ll try and get some new pictures posted from this weekend. We took plenty and with all the upcoming Christmas events, we will only be taking more.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

9 months

Oh my Ella is now 9-months old. How did that happen? Didn't we just bring her home from the hospital? Weren't we just learning how to survive on just a few hours of sleep? We flipped through pictures tonight from Ella's early days and even from the days before Ella, and it made me nostalgic.

Our neighbors brought Luke over this past weekend to introduce him to my mom, and seeing him next to Ella made me realize how fast this time has gone and how much she's changed. We're bordering on toddlerhood and getting ready to leave infant land behind. We still have a few months. I'm hanging on to those. I know the time will go fast and just to enjoy it as I'll never get any time back and in just a few months I'll be fondly remembering this time.

Ella had her 9-month appointment today. Overall, she's great. She's 21 lbs. 1 oz and is a whopping 28 3/4 inches long. She has six teeth (three on top and three on bottom) and loves her table food. The doc said she's ahead developmentally as she's walking around furniture, pulling to a stand and standing unassisted. The doctor said to get ready for those first steps. The only shot at this appointment was the first portion of the flu shot -- she goes back in a month for the second dose. She did get a finger stick to test her iron. She's not anemic, but is battling a viral infection -- poor thing has a cough that won't go away.

The holidays are quickly approaching and I'm feeling more of the bah humbug spirit than the magic of Christmas. On the drive home Monday, I ran through the list of holiday to-dos and I only felt overwhelmed and stressed. My daily tasks center around getting through the day and doing just enough to survive the next day. I'm not sure when I'm going to squeeze in all the holiday responsibilities in my current schedule. Work is absolutely insane right now with no real light at the end of the tunnel, so tonight I'm blaming my bah humbug attitude on work.

I am excited to share the holidays with Ella and to create new traditions. And as a guilty pleasure, I'm looking forward to listening to Santa on Star 102 in the evenings. It's not Christmas to me unless I spend a few nights baking as I listen to kids calling in to talk to Santa. They may spout off that they want this toy or that toy, but almost each kid ends their talk with a sweet sentiment -- "like I'm thankful for my baby brother or don't forget mom and dad, they've been good too." It's quite heartwarming.

Monday, November 06, 2006 puffs puffs
Originally uploaded by mbowling.
Ella loves to explore the pantry when mom is cooking and forgets to close the doors. Her bottles of puffs are down low, and Ella knows right where to find them. Fortunate for us, she hasn't yet figured out the lid.

Another beautiful weekend is in the books. Saturday we meet Luke -- he's so cute and so little. Later that night Mike and I enjoyed a much needed date. Payton spent Sunday with us. After running some errands, the girls went to the park and then came home to decorate the driveway.

A few stories with Ella and inanimate objects. Her new nickname is the ghost of Jacob Marley. She is passionate about this ring rattle and a string of links connected to it. It cannot be pried from her hands, and she drags it around, clingy and banging throughout the house. It's not so bad, it always gives us a good idea of exactly where she's at and how much trouble she's about to get in to.

Ella is starting to display a new emotion of fear. Recently, a two-foot long stuffed tiger was donated as the new mascot of the Tiger room at day care. Somehow, one of Ella's classmates dragged it into their room. Ella was sitting near the gate when it got dropped off. Miss Lorraine said Ella took one look at it, screamed in her own little way and crawled as fast and as far as she could to get away from it. She isn't afraid to chase an alive, ornery cat, but a stuffed tiger she wants nothing to do with it.

In the same vein, a few weeks ago I brought up from the basement a large bouncy blue ball we had purchased a few years back for Payton. Every kid has one of these balls -- they're the big balls for $2.50 that sit in a large bin at the edge of the toy department in every mass retailer. When Ella first saw it, she didn't know what to think of it. I sat it next to her and I, and she tried to crawl up me as fast as she could. It took some time, but eventually she warmed up to it enough to pat it with her hands before quickly crawling away and turning around equally as fast to see how the ball responded. It was so cute to watch her eye it and figure it out. I think she was intimidated because it was larger than any of her other balls and it moved faster.

She definitely keeps life interesting.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Boy Bundle of Joy

It's a boy -- man Ella is really outnumbered in our neighborhood! Luke Edward was born at 9:09 last night. It was a long day for Liz. She reported to hospital at 6:30 am. He was 20 inches long and 6 lbs 11 oz. Both mom and baby are doing well. We can't wait to meet him and welcome him to the neighborhood. Mike and I are just so excited and happy for Craig & Liz.