Sunday, October 31, 2010

What does a bear say?

Happy Halloween from our bear, Ellie!

Trick-or-treating only lasted 3 houses and then Ellie said we had to turn in... oh well :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bundled up

I put Ellie's hat on for our trip to the park yesterday mostly because it was super windy. I'll admit, I was also hoping to cover up a huge bruise on her forehead that she got at day care Wednesday. Apparently she fell into the corner of a bookcase in the room. We're hoping the purple goes away before all the wedding pictures this weekend!
The boo-boo didn't slow her down, though. She was thrilled to shake this park toy and then take off down the sidewalk on her own.

Wish us luck and safe travels tonight as we take Ellie on her first plane ride. We're going to Minneapolis for the weekend to celebrate Ben and Candice's wedding. It's going to be so much fun, but maybe not the actual flying part. Here's hoping Ellie sleeps instead of screaming and our neighbors on the plane don't hate us!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Plays well with others

I hope that's what can be said of Ellie when she's at day care and in other social settings. It was interesting watching her with Jacob this past weekend. They did pretty well playing alongside each other and "shared" a few toys — although we had to break up a few skirmishes. Jacob is 7 months older than Ellie, so he understands the sharing concept a little better... which meant he often had to forfeit the toy in his hands when Ellie started pitching a fit.
They are super cute together and we're all excited to watch them grow up as friends.
Much to Kris' chagrin, Jacob has a little too much fun playing with Ellie's princess cart and my high heels. (I'm just kidding, by the way... Kris was fine. But Brian was more than happy to snap some pictures of it all.)Ellie and Jacob made up their own version of the corn hole game.

And we set up the backyard/beach tent that Brian's dad sent to Ellie for her birthday. We tried setting it up at the beach in August, but the winds carried it off. We were able to get the stakes into the ground with it on Saturday so it didn't blow away to a different neighborhood!

*** Speaking of playing well with others... Brian and I have been in competitive-mode the past couple days. Our weight loss challenge is getting down to the wire, with only one of the seven months remaining. In advance of the weigh-in this morning, Brian spent some time Monday dehydrating and eating very little. I've been trying very hard all month, but when I realized I couldn't beat him this month... I decided to "play the game," too. I did the opposite of Brian and had a big glass of water before hitting the scale this morning. So when the dust settled, Brian was down 7.7 lbs this month and I was down 2.4 lbs.
I'm pretty psyched that we've each lost about 17 lbs over the past 6 months! Since we've each won 3 months in the challenge so far, the winner of Month 7 will take all. Should be an interesting to see how this plays out over the next few weeks...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall fun

Despite a cold and low-grade fever for much of the weekend, Ellie very much enjoyed a visit from her friend Jacob -- and his parents, Kris and Melissa. Brian and I loved having them here, too!
The six of us traveled two whole blocks away and hit a small pumpkin patch held in the parking lot of a nearby church.

It was a lot of fun... and an excuse to take too many pictures :) Ellie's not smiling much, but we know she had a good time. And she picked out the perfect, Ellie-sized pumpkin to take home.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

At the park

The beautiful fall day warranted another trip to the park. Here's Ellie having fun on the swing and walking around.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Girls night

Brian was in Indianapolis for work tonight, so Ellie and I were flying solo. We got some errands done this afternoon and then played around the house. I made homemade mac-n-cheese for dinner, a Cooking Light recipe that even has bacon in it! There were peas mixed into the pasta, too... and of course Ellie being the weird baby she is only ate a couple noodles, picked out all of the peas and then started throwing pasta on the floor. (sigh)

She made up for it later, though. I'm not sure if she felt bad because of her dinner antics, or because I had to give up a free ticket to see Snoop Dogg play in town tonight (!!)... but when I sang songs to her while getting her dressed for bed, she applauded after each one. (happy sigh) Sometimes when I start to feel so much like "a mom," I'm reminded of how great it is to be a mom :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heavy thoughts

Attending a funeral and spending hours in the car this past weekend gave me some time for serious thought.
Life has been a little — or, a lot — frantic and stressful in recent weeks. I haven't been getting enough sleep, keeping up with chores around the house, eating as well as I should or treating people around me as nice as I should.
The eulogy at this past weekend's funeral celebrated a man who most will remember for his niceness, his loving and religious nature. It's hard to listen to praises like those, combine it with thoughts about the eventual end of life and not wonder what you're setting yourself up to be remembered for in life. Especially living in a place where I don't have a lot of close friends, I wonder what impression I leave on people. At work I am efficient with my time, almost to a fault... so I'm not likely to be walking around the room joking with co-workers at their desks. Does this make me seem unfriendly? And at home I worry that too much of the time I'm only giving half-attention to Ellie or Brian as I make mental lists of all the other things I need to get done for work and home. I definitely multitask too much... but it seems like the to-do list in my life is always getting longer, and not the other way around.
I'm not an outwardly religious person. I believe in God and heaven, attend church and pray for family and friends. But when I sit back and take stock of the way I'm living, it's easy to see that I need to put more of the concepts of my faith into practice. I need to try to quell more mean thoughts. I need to be less selfish with my time and resources. Above all, I need to have more faith and worry less. That's what it really comes down to if I want to be a good mom, wife, daughter, sister, etc.
I find myself often straddling two extreme outlooks on life. On one hand, I want to hold on to everything I love too tightly because I've never gotten over having my dad ripped out of my life. (Is it even possible?) On the other hand, knowing that life can be too short makes me want to live every moment to the fullest and throw caution to the wind.
I'm sure neither of those is the "right" way to live... but I have trouble finding middle ground. I guess the best I can do it start fresh each day with good intentions and try to stick with them. Hopefully that will mean less senseless bickering between me and Brian and more tender moments with everyone I love.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend warriors

It was another harried weekend for the Wallheimer household. Ellie and I hit the road on Friday to visit Rockford for a funeral. It was important to me to attend this one, which was for my mom's neighbor (who was my neighbor, too, for almost my entire childhood). Hank Elling — always Mr. Elling, to me — was such a sweet, talented and generous man. He raised four wonderful children, and somehow he and his wife survived the death of one son from brain cancer many years ago. Mr. Elling was a very accomplished organist, and his son, Kurt, is a Grammy-winning jazz singer/musician. It's still weird for me to think that I won't ever see Mr. and Mrs. Elling walking down the block by my mom's house when we visit, because those daily walks were part of their ritual for so many years — even while Mr. Elling was battling Parkinsons. He will be greatly missed by so many.
On a lighter note, I had to stop and give Ellie a break from the car ride in each direction. The random exit I took on the trip up ended up going into a mostly residential neighborhood... which meant no good places for Ellie and I to hang for a few minutes. But I did find a Dollar General store where we could walk the aisles for a while. Ellie found this package of tupperware (below) and proceeded to carry it around the store almost the whole time we were there. Too funny.

Meanwhile, on the home front... Brian was a tiling machine! He stayed behind on the Rockford trip to take advantage of the baby-less house and work hard on tiling our kitchen floor. It's a project we've really wanted to get done, but not something that's very feasible with Ellie under-foot. (It's especially hard because the kitchen is the only access between the front of the house and the upstairs... so we'd either end up trapped in the bedroom area or trapped in a section of the house with no bathroom... neither idea with a baby.) Anyhow, Brian worked so hard all weekend and got some major help from our friend, Abby. We are so grateful to have a huge chunk of the project done! We've got some grouting and lots of cleanup scheduled for every night this week... but YAY for the kitchen starting to come together. I'll post pictures soon!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A walk to the park

Ellie and I enjoyed some of the perfect fall weather on Thursday afternoon and took a walk down to the park in our neighborhood. I was surprised when Ellie stopped wanting to hold my finger, her usual stability source, and struck off down the sidewalk completely on her own. I knew she could do it, but usually she wants to have the added security of holding mom's or dad's hand. This is probably just another sign of us losing our baby :( She's growing up so fast.
We had a great time when we did finally arrive at the park about 20 minutes later. The one-block commute goes pretty slow when Ellie is setting the pace! But it was so exciting to watch her walk down the path, stop and pick up leaves and check out all the neighborhood scenery.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crazy mom

I had a couple "crazy mom" moments Tuesday... and I'm sure they won't be my last.
Ellie's room at daycare took a field trip to a pumpkin patch. I was super excited about their plan, until I found out that they were going to one in Crawfordsville! (which is about 30 minutes from here!) They had some special activities set up there for the kids, including hay rides and some other stuff, and there really aren't any big ones in Lafayette. So I understand why they went so far away, but it didn't stop me from worrying the whole morning until I was able to see for myself that she did fine on the drive and trip! She's never been driven anywhere by anyone other than family, and usually it's just me or Brian. I hear so many scary stories working at the newspaper that I drive myself nuts worrying about what could happen to Ellie and Brian! But it looks like the pumpkin patch trip was a total success.
On a more humorous note: My other "crazy" moment yesterday was when I decided to literally run down to Ellie's daycare center to pick her up in the early afternoon. The distance is only about 2 miles each way, so I knew the run would be OK. But I didn't immediately think about what I would look like pushing an empty jogging stroller all the way there! I really wanted to know what people were thinking as they drove by me... or maybe I didn't :) I also got a few funny looks from workers at her day care when I walked in all sweaty. Oh well, it was a beautiful day for a run! Ellie and I got to crunch through the leaves on the way home and then had lots of play time the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ellie's moves

Ellie loves to dance. This is a cute video and a specific "shout out" to Brian's mom, who fell in love with Ellie's jam when she came to visit recently. We're currently searching for the "Colors" song as a single so we can send it out as Christmas gifts :)


At first it appeared some wild animal had gotten into the house....
...but then we realized it was just Ellie giving a sneak preview of her Halloween costume! Such a scary bear!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Cuteness overload

We found some stray baby kittens behind our yard yesterday. As if the tiny, sweet kittens weren't enough -- we decided to let Ellie see them while we waited for the animal control officer to come pick them up. Cute, yes... but Radar and Muzzy would not stand for some cats in our house.
Here she is discovering the kittens.
And mom showed her how to pat them gentle...
Then she decided to pick one up herself...
And we had to take it back from her quickly before all oxygen was cut off! Oops. Can't believe Brian caught this moment on the camera -- I promise I took the kitten away fast. But it's also one of the funniest pictures I've ever seen! And Radar and Muzzy whole-heartedly approve.

Spooky shirt... and none at all

I busted out a Halloween shirt for Ellie the other day. It's super cute, even though it's a little small/short. Got to get some use of it before the holiday is past!
And Ellie's look in this picture is priceless — some combination of "too cool-ness" and just having fun. She's able to climb on and off her princess cart by herself these days. Sometimes she gets tripped up, but usually does pretty good. She also loves packing toys into the storage space underneath the seat and carting it around the house. Have I mentioned enough about this being the best $5 garage sale find ever?

And here she is doing another of her fave activities... emptying all of the shoes off the rack in our back hall. Not sure why she lost her shirt on this particular night, but I'm guessing spaghetti sauce was involved in dinner!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


These are somewhat ironic today since Ellie woke up extra early this morning and then had a very fussy morning because she's tired.... But they're still fun recent shots of how active she is even when she's sleeping!
We never know what position we're going to find her in when we check on her at night or during her naps. She was so tired during this marathon, three-hour nap that she didn't even flinch when the camera clicked.
The butt-in-the-air pose is definitely my favorite :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Weekend pics

I didn't do a good enough job of getting pictures of Ellie with all the family we saw. But hopefully I'll get some more from Brian's mom at some point. Here are a few we did get!
This was at the wedding we went to on Saturday. As you can see, we kept Ellie out past her bedtime.... but she did have some fun and was mostly good :)
In between the wedding and the reception, Ellie got to hang out with her friend Jacob (Kris and Melissa's 21-month-old). They played pretty well together. Jacob won Ellie over when he shared his snack.

Elsewhere in our weekend visit, Ellie got to catch up with Brian's dad and sister, Sarah. She mostly enjoyed playing with the electronic devices in the room... cameras, phones, all of the above!
And Ellie built her tallest block tower ever, thanks to some help from Grandpa Wallheimer!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Busy mom

I fear my lack of recent posting might be construed as either a) there's not a lot going on with Ellie right now, or b) I don't care enough about what she's doing, saying and getting into to share it.
I assure you that neither one is true!
Things have just been a little busier than usual. We had a great trip to visit Brian's family and friends this past weekend. I have pictures to get off the camera, but that will have to be tomorrow.
Between work, house stuff, traveling and... oh yeah, taking care of Ellie!... it's been a little hectic. I've been filling in for my boss last week and again this week. Brian is dealing with added deadlines at his job. Meanwhile, Ellie is on the go, throwing some tantrums and generally filling more than a handful.
But she's also still our wonderful angel. And I realize I've been complaining a bit recently — which is somewhat unfair without pointing out all of the awesomeness that comes with her new found independence and mobility.
She cracks herself up just from walking and seeing the things going on around her. That in turn cracks mom and dad up. The three of us had a blast just walking the block-and-a-half to the park after Ellie ate dinner tonight.
Ellie is a huge fan of getting down and walking on her own, although she prefers the added stability of holding on to one of our fingers. She can really move if she's got both mom's and dad's fingers in her death grip!
In addition to walking, Ellie is surprising us every day with the things she says and does. I promise to get some video of more of these, but here are some of her recent advances:
  • Blowing kisses. She randomly did this to a lady at church during the sign of the peace on Sunday. Too cute!
  • Saying "thank you" to everything. It took us awhile to realize what this "da-du" sound meant... but we've pegged it now and realized Ellie has very good manners.
  • Talking about the dogs at any opportunity. "Da! Da!" (pant, pant) is a constant refrain in our house.
  • Asking for "more." It's the sign that Ellie knows best and she uses it all the time! It's literally one of the first things she says in the morning and it continues on throughout the day, even when she's not necessarily hungry or thirsty. (Sigh.) I'm hoping to teach her a few other signs soon so Ellie will at least switch it up now and then.
More to come soon, I promise. And pictures from this weekend, too!