Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A soak

We borrowed our neighbor's kiddie pool on Saturday and know for sure now that we must get Ellie her own! She had a great time splashing and playing in the pool, but always seemed surprised when the water came back into her face. She'll figure it out! Oh, and the dogs were excited to have the world's largest water dish.

Brian and I had to take turns sitting in the pool with Ellie, since it's not quite big enough for the whole family!

And here's the aftermath of all that water fun. Ellie's redefining the term "bad hair day".... but what a cutie.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Grocery list

I got everything I needed at the grocery store the other day, including this sweet baby. Just kidding... but she was my little helper in the store that day. Ellie played with the packaging of most items I added to the cart, plus she mangled the English muffins a little. How cute?
As you can see, there's not much room for groceries in the cart when the car seat and baby are taking up most of the basket. Luckily, Ellie is big enough now to sit in the seat of the cart. I didn't put her in it this day because I had to bring her seat into the store anyway (to keep it from boiling in the car while we shopped). But she's such a big girl riding in the cart. I'll try to get a picture of that soon.

On a grocery/food-related note... Brian and I wrapped up Month 2 of our weight loss challenge this past weekend. I was down an impressive 4.5 pounds, while Brian lost one pound. I was the winner (again) and got to rule the roost all day Sunday... but Brian is already giving me some good competition in month 3. I think he was already down 2 pounds for the month as of this morning! (Oh, and in case you're wondering... our "months" in the challenge run from the 26th to the 26th since we started on that day and plan to finish the whole seven-month competition on our anniversary in November.)

Friday, June 25, 2010


Ellie is rosy cheeked... but just on one side. Yesterday she developed a rash on her right cheek, and we're not sure what it's from. It's a tricky one. The skin gets redder and more splotchy when she's eating and also when she's warm. The day care workers called me about it mid-day Thursday and said we needed to get it checked out. For some reason they don't want a baby in the room who is spreading a skin condition to everyone else. Weird.
So Brian picked Ellie up and took her to the doctor. But the answer there was, "beats me." Maybe there was more medical jargon thrown in, but I wasn't there. Basically the doctor said the rash could be caused by any number of things, including something as simple as Ellie lying in drool on her bed sheet. This is our primary suspicion because Ellie's clothing, detergent and diet hasn't really changed this week... but she HAS started sleeping on her stomach. And she's been drooling up a storm, probably from those top front teeth finally coming through.
The doctor said even if we narrow down the culprit, there's not much to do about it. Plus, it's not bothering Ellie. One of those weird things, I guess. Hopefully it goes away soon, but until then I'll just suspect it's the Irish blood in her (but without the alcohol) showing proudly.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Food everywhere

Ellie is all about making a mess at meal time. Her latest "trick" is to grab at the spoon when we're trying to feed her cereal or other items that require some assistance. She is making progress on eating foods on her own, though that process isn't any less messy! I'm not sure what sort of bathing is required after lunch at daycare, but after most dinners we go quickly from her booster seat to the bath tub :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day weekend

Here are some belated pictures from Brian's first Father's Day weekend. We spent the weekend down in St. Louis and went to an early dinner Sunday with Linda, Bob and grandma and grandpa. On Saturday we braved the heat a couple times but largely stayed indoors because temps were in the mid-90s with high humidity. We hit a garage sale on Linda's street and found a very inexpensive princess cart (as seen in the video), which Ellie loves! It's definitely a "used model"... we noticed after the purchase that one piece is coming off and one of the princesses on the front wheel was beheaded at some point! Ellie doesn't care though, and we got a great deal :)
We also visited the park behind Bob and Linda's house. Brian pushed Ellie on the swings and took her down every slide, and he only got stuck on one!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Princess cart


... that Ellie is growing up too fast.
Here she is "driving," and apparently messing with the radio while behind the wheel :)
We spent the weekend in the St. Louis-area with Brian's family. Ellie and I were both thrilled to be reunited with Brian after a long week apart.
And we all had a great Father's Day!
More pictures to come, but this is one that I snapped on my phone while we were stopped on the drive home yesterday to give Ellie some time out of her car seat. She played with us in the front seat for a few minutes and ate some graham crackers. Then we resumed driving. Ellie is a trooper, but I did have to climb into the back seat and do some entertaining for the last hour of the trip home. She has spent a lot of time in the car the past couple weeks — so we've promised her very little travel next weekend! Just a boring old weekend at home getting caught up. She's got plenty of toys to attend to on the home front.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nashville trip

Ellie finally got to meet her other great-grandma last weekend! Brian, Ellie, my mom and I made a quick trip down to Nashville on Saturday (coming back Sunday) to visit my Uncle Carl and Grandma Schneider, my dad's brother and mom. Grandma recently moved from an assisted living facility in Maryland to one in Nashville, which is great because it's a drive-able distance for a weekend trip. It was still a lot of time on the road... but we're lucky to have a road warrior in Brian, who handled all 12 hours of driving.
Brian also lent his hand as a photographer, capturing the great candid photo (above) of Ellie and her great-grandma looking at one of her books. Below is the requisite four generation photo.

I love this picture of my uncle and Ellie. It was really great to get in a visit with Carl, since we just don't see each other often enough. And he shared some precious photos of my dad and the Schneider family with my mom.
Here's another family photo at Carl's house, which is an awesome historic Nashville structure. We all braved some time out on the porch Saturday night drinking beers, but the 90+ degree temps finally forced us back into the AC!

And even though I (again) didn't get enough pictures of Ellie with her grandma, I did get this cute one of them playing on the floor at Carl's house. It was a frustrating visit for my mom, in that she can't pick Ellie up yet following her shoulder surgery. But hopefully by later in the summer she'll be back in action and able to pick up her growing grandbaby. Even without carrying Ellie around, my mom had fun playing with her and also spoiled her with some new clothes! Thanks, mom!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Best laid plans...

It has been a rough week. That may have been apparent from the black hole on the blog...
Brian is out of town at a work conference in St. Louis. That should have been fine. Ellie and I can survive on our own for a week, right? Especially since my mom was here Monday and Tuesday to help out around the house.
Well... a few curve balls came our way. On Monday afternoon I started feeling sick to my stomach. By that evening I was down for the count with some sort of bug or food poisoning. I actually missed work Tuesday because I was still in rough shape, but luckily I started to feel human again by that evening.
On Wednesday, my mom left for home and I thought all was back on track with our solo week. Then Ellie came home with a fever... She still seems to be battling a low-grade fever without showing any other symptoms of illness, so I think it's teething-related. But, I didn't know that for sure Wednesday evening.
I was scheduled to be a speaker in the Hoosier State Press Association "Road Show for Reporters" this morning. I didn't want to miss the opportunity but knew Ellie wouldn't be allowed at daycare with a fever. I spent a good amount of time checking in with various friends/coworkers in Lafayette (who didn't have kids that Ellie might infect if she was ill...)
I never found anyone on such short notice, but luckily Ellie woke up this morning with almost no fever. So she went to school and I want down to Indianapolis (did I mention that's where my conference was??) this morning.
All seemed to finally fall into place, as my presentation went well and the teachers at school said Ellie was doing fine when I checked in at lunch. I was breathing a sigh of relief just when my co-worker and I were driving home from the conference -- and one of the tires on his car blew out!
So, just about an hour before Ellie absolutely needed to be picked up from daycare I was stranded on the side of Interstate 65... 25 miles south of Lafayette.
I am so grateful to have friends that immediately jumped into action to help me and Ellie out. One of my co-workers jumped in her car and headed down to pick me up, while our neighbors took on the task of picking Ellie up from day care. About 90 minutes later I was able to finally pick up Ellie from the neighbors and head home with an exhausted, hungry little girl (who probably wondered if her mom was ever coming back!) We are so lucky to have people in our lives that are willing to drop what they're doing to help us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I just home Friday is a boring, normal day!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My assistant

This week Ellie and I started a grand adventure together. Mission: Work from home eight hours each week.
OK, maybe we need to work on the title.
But the gist is there. My boss gave me the green light to work eight hours from home, which I will likely break into two half-days from home most weeks. I've always felt lucky to be in a flexible job; one where I largely set my own hours. But I'm still getting WAY less time each day with Ellie than I want/need, and it's led to a lot of stress and sadness for me. In many ways, much to my own surprise sometimes, I am a wannabe-stay-at-home-mom.
But I do enjoy working as a reporter. And financially it makes sense right now for me to work and help support the family. I'm hoping this new arrangement helps me get my Ellie-fix. Yesterday I worked from home during the morning and got to feed Ellie and play a little with her, when I wasn't fielding calls from sources or writing. I was happy to get an entire story written, along with some advance reporting for another article, during her morning nap.
I'm finishing out my at-home hours this afternoon. And even though I have a TON to get done for work, and part of me feels like it would be easier to just stay in the office... I'm plowing ahead with my plan. Because realistically there's never going to be a "good" day to change things up. This new arrangement is going to make some things harder for me, and hopefully some things easier. I may end up working some evening hours or early morning hours to get things done, but I'm OK with that.
It's all worth it when I get moments like the one above. I took Ellie for a walk in the park Monday afternoon to talk to some residents about a story I was doing. We made the rounds and got the people I needed, then we stopped at the swings for a few minutes and I got some major giggles out of Ellie.
Dare I say, maybe I can do it all?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Daddy is mean

OK, this is probably wildly inappropriate... but Brian got these pictures of Ellie following dinner the other night and noticed something. With her wild hair and pissed off expression, so sort of resembles the famous mug shot of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. (Thankfully no chest, back or facial hair on Ellie.)
That's right. Brian thinks Ellie looks like a terrorist. Mean... but a little funny?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On the move

Ellie is a little rascal these days. She loves to go after everything except the 500 toys we always have spread out in front of her. I was able to occupy her with some pots and a wooden spoon the other night. She was drumming away happily for a good 15 minutes :)
But usually these days she's trying to get into any and all things dog-related. The water bowl is a splashing good time... apparently. We've had to pick up the water dish when Ellie is around, but the dogs aren't thrilled with that arrangement!

And here she is taking a closer look at Muzzy's crate. I think this picture was taken shortly before she pulled on the door and bonked herself in the head. Oops. For the most part, though, she's getting around the house injury-free. And she's loving her new mobility! And even though I joke about the headaches, we love it, too! It's so fun watching her on-the-go.

A bear... oh my.

My new favorite picture of Ellie!
This is the head of a bear costume we brought home a couple weeks ago.
Correction: I thought my mom made this costume, but it was actually the handiwork of Aunt Pat (for her oldest son, Jason). So cute! It was most recently been used by Ellie's cousin Jay. I'm looking forward to her wearing it one of these Halloweens, but the body of the costume is much too big for Ellie right now. Soon enough, though, she'll fit into it and be a very scary bear. She also inherited a ballerina outfit from her cousin Alora, which I'm sure she'll use for plenty of dress-up time. Thanks so much to everyone who keeps sending hand-me-downs our way!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fancy night

Brian, Ellie and I got all dressed up Saturday night to attend a wedding in West Lafayette. It was a fun evening, but got a little stressful (for us) near the end when Ellie was getting tired and we still hadn't started dinner! Ah, such is life with a baby. Ellie did mostly great during the day/night, though. And luckily her bib matched her party dress :)


Ellie really loves her bath time, always has. Especially when she gets to play with the rubber ducks :) It's hard to get her to set her ducks down. I usually have to pry them out so I can wash her hands.
But she is willing share, sometimes. As long as I give her duck back.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Ellie's hair is getting long-ish :) It's plenty long for her to rock the Bam-bam ponytail/top knot. What a cutie... And with all the humidity we've had recently, she's got lots of curls showing up. So fun.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Ellie's first big girl pajamas — i.e. two-piece and without feet — have a very long name. They are her pretty pink pony pajamas!
Here's a few pictures of her playing in them on a recent night... when she decided to be a night owl for a change. Last night, though, she was back to her pattern of sleeping 12-13 hours overnight. What an angel.
As you can see below, though, she enjoys finding any dog toys around the house and playing with them or chewing them! After spending months trying to keep the dogs from eating Ellie's toys, the situation is now reversed. (sigh)

Oh, and here's shot of Ellie doing what she does best these days. Hittin' the road... in search of more dog toys, no doubt.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

10 months

Wow, I cannot believe it's already been 10 months. Ellie has officially been outside of me now longer than she was inside!
She's going through a developmental explosion right now, but I'll try to summarize in this month's top 10.

  1. Crawling! There is no stopping Ellie these days... well, except with a gate or other large obstruction. As one of her teacher's pointed out the other day, we spent so long trying to get her moving and now we're trying to slow her down — or at least keep her from getting into the trash, the dog toys, the power cords, etc...
  2. Working on pulling up to standing. She's actually done this a couple times, but it's not consistent. Ellie is getting really close to being able to do it all the time. And then we'll really be in trouble :)
  3. Needing to learn "nice touch." It turns out Ellie is a bit of a meanie to the other babies at day care right now. She likes to poke them in the eyes, ears, nose and even pull hair. She doesn't mean to hurt them, I know, but she needs to learn that those touches can hurt. Ellie is even scratching and pulling hair on me and Brian these days... so we need to keep working on this lesson with her. Hopefully we'll have a breakthrough soon.
  4. Emptying toys out of bins, buckets and trays. It seems that her favorite activity right now is taking all of her toys out of whatever container is closest. And item on her daily log from school the other day read: "Emptied two whole toy bins. Big mess! :)" Maybe her next phase will be an obsession with putting things away?
  5. Saying lots of new sounds/words. In addition to her staples, ma-ma and da-da, Ellie has picked up the "na" and "uh" syllables. And I'm not sure if it qualifies as her first word or not, but she's been saying "UH-ohh" often when she drops things from her highchair or changing table. Funny.
  6. Throwing things. Ellie loves to throw food from her highchair to the dogs on the floor. She also is quick to throw whatever toy she's holding to the ground in favor of a new toy she gets in her sight. It's funny now, but I'm sure it's a habit we'll have to break her of in time.
  7. Eating "big girl" food. Nearly all of her food restrictions are gone now, except for no eggs, fish, nuts and limited dairy. That means she's exploring a lot of new finger foods. And she's also starting on the toddler menu at school... we'll see how she likes it!
  8. Weaning. Ellie decided she's almost done with nursing. She was nursing 3x each day at nine months, but then dropped to two and is now only willing to sit still long enough for one feeding each day. I'm a little sad about it. But I'm happy with how well we did for so long. And I still get to start my morning by feeding my little angel... we'll see how much longer that lasts.
  9. Loving games. Ellie is a huge fan of the "SO big" game. And she loves playing peek-a-boo and when I sing Pat-a-cake with her. I'm looking forward to doing more of this and having her sing along, too.
  10. I know I've used this one before, but seriously she's amazing us every day. When she is happy and smiling, I feel like nothing in the world can really be that bad. And watching her learn so much, even if it's in tiny pieces at a time, makes both of us proud beyond words.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's in here?

Ellie is getting into everything these days... including this box of beer that makes a very cool clanking sound when played with.
I think she wanted to replace her regular nighttime bottle with one of these. Those are the new vortex Miller Lite bottles, so I guess I can't blame her. Definitely our kid.

On a related note... I can't help but share one of my favorite stories about Jim and Sandy's kids, Alora and Jay. Sandy took Alora with her to a La Leche League meeting several years ago while Jay was still nursing. Sandy was in the process of feeding Jay during the meeting (since the attendees are very easy-going about such things) and Alora was playing with toys nearby. Well, Alora found a plastic toy Coke bottle and brought it over to Sandy where she proudly exclaimed, "Mom, here's your beer!"
The best part was that one of the ladies nearest Sandy then said, "Oh my."
Classic. I'm actually laughing out-loud as I type it.

Messy girl

Here is a collection of recent pictures showing how messy of an eater Ellie is these days. It's fun to experiment with more finger foods, but they definitely end up in her hair, behind her ears, in her lap and just about everywhere else by the end of the meal.
The dogs don't mind helping clean of Ellie, the chair and the floor, though! They're in heaven with all these "treats" that keep falling out of the sky.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day weekend

Here are some pics from our trip up to Rockford this past weekend. Ellie was absolutely amazed by her cousins — and they thought she was pretty cool, too! Alora and Jay definitely gave her a workout doing the whole "How big is Ellie?... SO big" game. Too cute.

Ellie will be joining the "kids table" before too long... God help us ;)

And Ellie took her first dip in the pool over the weekend. I forgot her swimsuit and her swim diapers. She was fine in a regular diaper in the pool, but it absorbed so much water that I thought the pool was going to go dry :)
It was plenty hot outside, but the cold water from the hose took her off-guard at first. She came around, though, and played in the water for a long time. Alora and Jay kept her company, when they weren't busy in the sprinkler!