Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The fun, happy stuff!

This is what happens at the end of a princess-party, day-of-fun with grandma and grandpa.

Linda and Bob watched Ellie for us this past Friday night -- Nov. 26 -- so we could go out for a night and celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Brian and I went to St. Charles, Mo., which is only about 45 minutes from Linda's house... but it felt like we completely "got away," took off our parenting hats for a night and really enjoyed some "us" time. I was telling Linda before we left that even though I was anxious about leaving Ellie overnight, I felt like turning off my "mom" switch for 12-18 hours would do me good. I was right.
And from the looks of it, Ellie wasn't too stressed in our absence! I'm so glad that everyone had a good time.
Here is Ellie donning most of her princess garb... which only lasted a minute or two! But I'm guessing she'll come 'round to the princess party stuff in time. And here she is getting a laundry basket ride from grandpa. Oh, and you can see her awesome new wagon in the background! Linda and Bob got her the cadillac of radio flyers! (Or maybe the SUV?... those are some air-filled tires that Bob assures us with provide her with the smoothest of rides :)
And here she is sharing some laughs over snack or dinner. She ate and slept great all weekend.
What a great thanksgiving-anniversary gift! As promised, this post is more upbeat than my last. I'm still struggling a bit with the emotional rollercoaster of the past few days. But the great news in all this is that Ellie continues to amaze and bring smiles to family and friends, near and far. Whether it's at Thanksgiving dinner, in her grandma's living room or even at a funeral... Ellie is a joy. I've pretty much forgotten what life was like before this beautiful angel came into ours. And I'm so thankful every moment for all of the wonderful memories we're making as a family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

First off...

... the sad stuff.
So much to catch up on from our last five days of family time, Thanksgiving, an anniversary celebration and more. And I promise to get pictures and stories up here soon.
But unfortunately we have some sadness in our lives right now, too.
My good friend Sarah Lizer lost her mom on the day before Thanksgiving. Linda Lizer had battled ovarian cancer for several years and finally lost the fight, slipping away peacefully in the hospital with family around and her favorite music playing.
Brian, Ellie and I drove from St. Louis to Rockford yesterday and will attend the funeral for this amazing woman this morning. Brian and I got to spend some time with Sarah and her family last night, and I continue to be in awe of these guys. Even in the wake of this huge loss, the Lizer house was filled with laughter and warmth. I've always felt like the Lizer family was larger than life and I'm glad to see that tradition continues, even though they are hurting. Mrs. Lizer taught her kids so many important lessons and how to appreciate life, share kindness and value family. I love those guys so much and hate to see them in pain, but I'm glad they have such a close family and network of friends to lean on.
I was grateful to be in Rockford last night to also share a dinner with my mom on what would have been her 40th wedding anniversary with my dad. We still feel the loss of him every day... and I hate that I can't honestly tell the Lizer kids that they will get beyond the pain of losing a parent any time soon. Even after 10-plus years without my dad, my heart aches when I think of things I'd like to share with him. But I know he's watching us ... and now he's got some more good company up there.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Her own stroller

Ellie loves to play outside. And we got another blast of warm weather Monday, so we spent part of the afternoon pushing around her baby stroller.
She loves it and is finally (almost) tall enough to see over the top! My favorite part is when she veers toward the edge of the alley and then stands there saying "uh-oh" if one of her wheels hits the grass. She can definitely steer the thing, though... because whenever I try to turn it around and head back toward home she immediately wheels the stroller around and continues in the opposite direction.
I like to call this one: The least efficient leaf pick-up technique ever. But, hey, we'll take whatever yard cleanup assistance Ellie wants to provide :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Playin' and eatin'

Throw some sleep in there, too, and that pretty much surmises most of Ellie's days. We had a good weekend filled with all three of those... although Ellie certainly didn't sleep enough (or late enough anyway) to suit me and Brian. She was up at 4:30 a.m. today... ugh. Hopefully tonight she'll get some extra zzz's.
Here's some of Ellie's play around the house this weekend. Stacking cups with dad.
Oh, and she "ate" her first whole apple! Basically she took a couple bites off of it from me and then carried it around the house for the next 20 minutes and got lots of stuff sticky.
Oh, and here we were playing dress up with mom's scarf... and then she got sidetracked wanting a bite of dad's english muffin. Ellie has a bad routine going recently where she doesn't want to eat when she's in her chair. But amazingly she's hungry 10 seconds after we set her down, especially if she sees either of us eating anything for ourselves. We're trying to push eating in her chair... but we also give in (probably too often) and let her snack on the go because we want her to get enough food and try new things.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Running partner

Ellie braved the cold with me yesterday. We both bundled up and went out for a run (well, her part was more of a ride...) With as cold as it's been getting, that was probably one of our last ones together this year. I love being able to take her out, get us both some fresh air and all that. But hopefully she won't be too big next spring when the weather returns to baby-friendly jogging stroller conditions.

Budding Italian

It would be an understatement to say Brian is proud of his Italian heritage. And, of course, what's not to love?!
Brian recently tried to recreate his grandma's homemade ravioli. It was a long process, as expected, but it turned out really yummy! Ellie definitely agreed... and she downed a huge bowl of the stuff. She is getting SO good at eating from her fork, too. Here's our sweet, little budding Italian girl:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More yard work fun

Ellie and I worked some more on the leaves recently. While I was raking in our neighbor's yard, a couple came walking by and offered to get some pictures of Ellie and I playing in the leaves. Very sweet. Ellie enjoyed playing with my sunglasses even more than the leaves!
And then once we went back inside it was back to the shoes. She's a big fan of spreading shoes from our rack all over the house... but sometimes she puts them back. She's actually pretty good at both taking our and putting things away, but I don't think she gets the concept that it's actually "cleaning up." I can always get her to help put away Legos... but 10 seconds after we're done she's already flipped the bag back over.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The weather here has been amazing this week, so Ellie and dad spent some time working on leaves one day. Ellie decided to feed Radar a leaf...
And she and the dogs all helped disperse the pile Brian put together...
And my favorite: Ellie sitting and trying to figure out the world, or at least that one crunchy leaf.

Code brown

No pictures to go with this posting... but I had to share that Ellie had her third — and fourth — poop-in-the-bathtub incidents last night! We somehow made it through the whole first year of her life without any such incidents, but now she seems to be making up for lost time.
It's such a hassle, too, since I have to drain and disinfect the entire tub before returning to the task of disinfecting my child. Ugh.
I hope this is not a trend Ellie plans to continue. We just bought her some new bath toys, and I've been trying to let her play in the tub longer to enjoy them. But those, too, had to get a thorough bleaching following last nights antics.
Sometimes parenthood is pretty gross. Good thing we love her!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy camper

Ellie is just plain fun these days. Well, especially now that she seems to be on the mend from her ear infection. She has fewer fussy times and a lot more random laughter, playing on her own time, exploring new things and getting into all sorts of trouble! It's hard not to laugh when I find her putting her toys -- or tupperware from the cabinets! -- in the kitchen trash can... OK, maybe the laughter doesn't come quite as easy on the 50th time we've told her no. But then she turns and gives us the same "what?... I'm sure I haven't been told not to do this before... I thought I was your cute, sweet angel?" look... and again it's hard not to laugh, or at least smile.
What makes Ellie smile most of the time is Muzzy and Radar. Below, Muzzy was doing some sort of back-scratch or random doggie dance on the floor. Ellie was captivated.
And despite our best efforts all summer to keep Muzzy out of the vegetable garden... she penetrated the "Berlin Wall" we constructed and has been eating green tomatoes all week. I caught her in the act the other day and love her look of innocence in this shot.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

First swim lesson

Hard to say who had more fun at Ellie's first swim lesson this weekend. I had a ball whizzing her around the pool and trying to teach her some basics, like kicking her feet and blowing bubbles. She didn't pick up on bubble-blowing, but showed off her kicking skills several times! The teacher didn't say so, but I'm pretty sure she thought Ellie was the best in the class.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Riding around...

... in a wooden beer box (i.e. one of her toy boxes) that Dad has rigged up with his belt. Who knew how fun such a thing could be?!

And walking around...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

15 months

It's big day for Ellie! She decided to celebrate turning 15 months old by developing a raging ear infection. To each his own, I guess, but I would have chosen something else...
Since she has tubes in her ears, it was easy to figure out the problem when ooze starting coming out of her ears (instead of just sitting inside like it used to). I guess it's good that we can tell now what's going on. I'm also happy that this is her first ear infection since getting the tubes in last spring, although I'd prefer if she was still at zero! Hopefully the bubble gum medicine will fix her up fast!
In addition to being sick, she's had a weird day. I brought her home from daycare right at noon, like usual. But after resting in her crib for about 10 minutes she decided that was enough nap time for her. Not exactly the behavior of a sick baby, playing and laughing instead of sleeping... but I still knew there was a problem because of all the ear grossness. Anyhow, once I realized around 1:30 that the normal nap was not going to happen, I called the doc and got her over there early. We're back home now and she's gone down for a nap (finally, around 3 pm)... we'll have to see how long she snoozes and how this all plays out tonight when bed time rolls around.

But enough play-by-play of our day. Here are some fun facts about Ellie at 15 months!
  • Weighs in at 23 pounds, 1 oz.
  • Says some words, like ball, baby, dog, shoe... but still babbles more than anything else.
  • Loves to "read" books to herself and speed read (i.e. flip through the pages really fast) if we sit down and try to read to her.
  • Climbs stairs very well... almost too well. But has not mastered going down yet.
  • Walks, stoops, squats and runs away if we "chase" her. Of course she still manages to get bowled over by one or both of the dogs most days. Hopefully this will help her balance in the long run...
  • Applauds at the end when mom sings songs to her.
  • Enjoys taking off her socks and will try to put them back on, along with her shoes. She still needs some help with that part.
  • Can stack blocks and legos 7 or 8 or more high.
  • Favorite foods include graham crackers, bananas, yogurt, black beans, lima beans, peas, corn and cold pizza.
  • Does not enjoy apple crisp, Junior Mints, cheese... darn, more for us :)

So helpful

Ellie decided to help her dad give baths to Radar and Muzzy earlier this week. I think she mostly lent moral support, but I'm sure Brian appreciated it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First flight

In addition to celebrating Halloween, Ellie made her first air travel this past weekend. We all flew up to Minneapolis for Ben and Candice's wedding, which was so much fun!
Here's Ellie on the shuttle from the economy parking lot in Indianapolis. It was freezing when we got to the airport, but we bundled our girl up and started a long night of travel. Brian and I were pretty worried about how she would do in the plane, but Ellie traveled great. She was a bit fussy on the flight out and spent some time fighting sleep, even though it was way past her bedtime. Finally she gave in to the tiredness and fell asleep on the floor at our feet! Here's Ellie and Alora before the rehearsal dinner. And below is Ellie and dad at the hotel bar where we all (except Ellie) enjoyed a complimentary cocktail for our stay :) I didn't have very much time for picture-taking on the day of the wedding... but Ellie looked gorgeous in her dress. Here's a picture that Sandy snapped in between the ceremony and the reception. I can't believe I didn't get a family shot with me, Ellie and Brian! Oh well.
On Sunday we headed back to Indiana. Here's Ellie having fun eating her yogurt before we boarded the flight out, and she also spent some time "reading." Again she did very well. It was exhausting traveling with an almost-15-month-old, but so worth it to share in Ben and Candice's day!