Sunday, January 30, 2011

Meeting Mary

This is from last weekend, but I had to share... On a lazy Sunday morning at our house (while we all battled various stages of the same cold), I introduced the Wallheimer household to Mary Poppins. I couldn't believe Brian had never seen it. Ellie at least had an excuse :) We all had a blast with the movie and Ellie even paid attention (and danced!) at times...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

3 of 4

Forgot to post this pic that we also got while visiting St. Louis. It's a great one! Got three of four generations in the shot... #2 was taking the picture. Thanks, Linda!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Use your words?

Ellie has developed an unattractive habit of stretching her arms out and grunting/whining when she wants something. She does this often when she wants us to pick her up. She also points to blocks, her baby or other toys that often are pretty close-by to indicate she wants us to hand them to her. I try to avoid this "servant" role, choosing instead to ask her what she wants or to get it herself. But increasingly I'm getting nervous about the lack of new words in her vocabulary.
Ellie usually goes through development bursts... where nothing new will happen for weeks at a time and then she'll explode with new talents. I try not to get too hung up on this stuff, but it seems like we've been waiting for some time now for her to move beyond her current word set. Maybe I'm just having one of my regular mommy freak-out moments. She's probably got 10-20 words that she uses on a regular basis... and of course she's a master of the animal sounds... but I wonder if we should be pushing her to move faster on the language front? Any advice is welcome!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Nature center

The winter weather has forced Ellie and I to explore indoor activity options around the area, for our afternoon adventures. We recently checked out the Lilly Nature Center in West Lafayette, and I was beyond impressed! This place is a treasure trove of activities for kids, even for ones as young as Ellie. She was won over solely by the bin of crayons that's almost as big as she is...
But we also explored the animals scattered around the center and a puppet show area, complete with hand puppets!
My favorite part was this corner where you can watch for birds through these massive windows. There are tons of feeders set up to attract the birds, and they've even got a sound system wired so you can hear the birds! We were spying on a beautiful cardinal for some time... and when it flew away Ellie promptly asked: "where?" (did it go...)
We took her wonderful drawing with when we left. In addition to the indoor center, there are trails surrounding the facility. I see us becoming regular visitors to this facility even once the weather is nice again.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lazy weekend mornings

I sure miss my weekend mornings at home with Ellie and Brian when Monday morning hits each week :(
Yes, it's true our weekend mornings often start earlier than Brian and I would like (read: before 7 a.m...) but Ellie's cuteness makes it all worthwhile. Here are a couple recent weekend pics. In the first, Ellie is sporting a new hat my friend Abby knitted for me. It looks super cute on Ellie, but to steal one of her new favorite phrases: "mine!"
And here Ellie is enjoying some pancakes. We taught her how to dip pieces of her pancake or waffle into syrup. She in turn taught herself how to dip her own fingers into the syrup and then lick them off or simply make the world a stickier place.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Back seat buddies

First off, Go Pack!!! So excited to see our team on their way to the Super Bowl!!

Second, here's a fun video of Ellie and Radar sharing the back seat with minimal issues on our most recent car trip. Several times when I looked back I'd find Ellie tugging mercilessly on Radar's ear... but then he'd take his turn having a taste of her hand or face, etc. See for yourself.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Christmas in January

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "Christmas in July," but we were thrilled to get down to St. Louis this past weekend for a late holiday celebration with Brian's family. Here Ellie crowded in with some of the many stuffed animals she got as gifts this year. She's having a great time with them, carrying them around the house by their ears or arms or neck. So loving :)
Ellie also got new books from her great-grandparents.
And a new musical instrument!
It was nice having a long weekend to spend down there, hanging out around the house and visiting some friends. Ellie is still working on saying "grandma," but Linda earned plenty of points by sharing her hot cocoa!
And Ellie impressed grandpa Bob by learning to say "paw-paw" and showing off her new elephant noise (complete with using her hand/arm as a trunk!)... video to come.
Ellie dutifully checked everyone's noses throughout the weekend to make sure they made a proper "beep"-ing noise. What a relief.
She also got a new tricycle from Brian's dad, grandpa Wallheimer.
Ellie got some very cool wooden blocks from the Wallheimers, too. Her fave game is dumping them out :)
And she let me have a hair-styling party on her one day. This was the result... lots of pigtails and braids!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Darth baby

This is actually from last week, so it's the precursor to my "sick bay" post. We all still sound like we're coughing up a lung, but I'm sure we'll get through. Ellie's mood is much better. Maybe we shouldn't make her sit on the floor and clean all the time. Hmmm...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sick bay

Coming off our long weekend, Ellie is still fighting her lingering cold and Brian has picked up some sort of bug. After feeling bad yesterday, he woke up this morning feeling worse and running a fever. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can avoid the worst of this and just stick with the minor head cold I've got!
I always forget from one time to the next how awfully hard it is to have a sick household. When it was just me and Brian, we didn't enjoy getting sick but it seemed more manageable. On days like today, with Brian seriously down-for-the-count, I had to jump into action taking care of Ellie while still making it into work as close to 6 a.m. as possible. And, of course, I was worried about Brian and trying to make sure he got some medicine and food... but with Ellie on the scene these days there's less time for doting on the spouse.
We left Brian under a warm blanket at 5:55 a.m. and trekked out to the car — in the rain — with me balancing Ellie in one arm and my lunch, coffee, work papers, purse and car keys in the other. Her teacher was surprised to see us roll into the classroom so early, but I was happy to have the option since our day care opens at 6 a.m. I know it's hard for Brian to send Ellie off to daycare when he's at home, but he needs to get better and not risk giving Ellie whatever germs he's got (even though he probably got them from her in the first place!)
I'm feeling stressed and somewhat like things are being held together with Scotch tape today. But I'm trying to remind myself that we'll all feel better soon. This too shall pass.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bath bonanza

On our trip to St. Louis this past weekend for a late Christmas celebration with Brian's family, Linda documented some of the craziness that is Ellie's bath time these days. She is a total nut in the tub!
Here she looks relatively harmless... but don't be fooled. OK, so mom might contribute to the silliness by dousing Ellie once in awhile... but she asks for it!
Look at those eyelashes!

And the real cause of "trouble" in the bath is Ellie's signature splash technique. You can see below that it requires a major wind-up. She has to get her whole upper body into it to ensure maximum splash. Lets just say that those of us wearing clothes during the bath had to towel off and change at the end. Totally worth it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ready to shovel

Brian did the heavy lifting on the shoveling front this week, but Ellie and I went out yesterday to clean up the additional dusting that fell on the driveway and walk.
Ellie is a huge fan of being outside, going bye-bye, etc. As soon as I asked if she wanted to put her pink boots on, Ellie rushed to find them. And after I put on each piece of outside clothes (which were numerous, as you can see!) she excitedly said "bye-bye!" I had to explain to her the merits of having two boots on, instead of one, and a coat and hat and scarf...
While I did a quick sweep with the shovel, Ellie explored the snowy terrain. I'm not sure what happened but at one point I heard her crying. I turned around and her head was covered in snow! She must have tipped over into the lawn where the snow was deeper, but it looked for all the world like she had had a major skiing wipe-out. I tried not to laugh as I wiped the cold stuff off her face and hat and scarf. She recovered quickly and immediately struck out for more exploring.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wedding memories...

Ben and Candice got their professional wedding photos back recently, and here are a few that included Ellie. These are from last October when they were married over Halloween weekend.
Ellie was Brian's date during the ceremony since I was up front with the bridesmaids. And then she wasn't entirely pleased during the family photo shoot.... I promise this is not her endorsement (or lack thereof) of the marriage!
Finally I let her play with the flower top she had already ripped out of my bouquet. Anything to keep her happy and looking somewhat in the direction of the camera while the photographer tried to focus the attention of the 14 different Schneider family members! Happy we got at least one great shot of the crew :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Getting ready

Ellie decided to accessorize this morning with a purse and shawl (?) as dad was getting her ready for school. What a pretty girl!
- Dorothy

The shawl is actually Dorothy's running tights.
- Brian

Friday, January 7, 2011

For a walk

When it was slightly warmer this week, we tried to let Ellie take her new doll for a walk in the baby stroller she has. We thought it would be nice for the stroller to no longer be depressingly empty... but she screamed every time we put the doll in there. Instead, Ellie just wanted to clutch her doll by the neck and stroll the alley and neighborhood. My favorite part is the dad got stuck on stroller duty! Love it :)
p.s. Thanks for the cute pink hat/mittens combo, Maggie, and thanks mom for the cute pink boots!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Stuff she does

While we're certainly keeping up on photos of Ellie, I slack a little in writing about what Ellie is doing, saying, screaming about, etc. as she grows up.
At 17-months she sometimes seems like a total stranger compared to the younger, baby-version of Ellie we all grew to love. But I can say unequivocally that Ellie 1.42 (years old...) is even more fun than the earlier operating systems.
Here's a snapshot of stuff Ellie does these days:
  • At bath time, Ellie has started pouring water over her head herself. She used to take whatever cup I was using and drink from it (whether the water was clean or soapy!). But now she's figured out how to fill it up and douse herself. It's hilarious and quite helpful when I'm trying to wash her hair. I also am crediting the round of parent-baby swim lessons we took last fall for making her comfortable enough in the water to stick her face in. She does this often during bath time, sometimes coming up looking very proud of herself and other times acting shocked and like, "How could you let me do that, mom? Don't you know babies can drown in less than an inch of water?" Good thing I always keep a close eye on this brave fish baby we have.
  • Play time includes plenty of "pretend" games, including putting her baby doll to bed and making different "stews" out of whatever blocks and bowls are nearest. She'll also pick up a kitchen towel and put it on like a cape. We may have to go buy some more dress up stuff...
  • Meals are going really well (knock on wood). She's throwing food less and eating better with a spoon or fork. Ellie has started to try more grains, meats and veggies — although she clearly has her favorites. I'm hoping to start working on getting her to drink out of a real cup in the next few months, but every time I'm tried thus far she pours the entire contents down her front.
  • Frustrations still abound in our house, however. I can see Ellie get upset when she's trying to convey something and we don't understand. I hate that part, but we're working on more words and signals all the time. Mom and dad get plenty frustrated by Ellie's tantrums when she's told "no." She's quite good at throwing a fit already and it's a little scary. I foresee some time-out training in the not-too-distant future.
  • On a more positive note, some of the most precious Ellie-isms these days include the kisses she gives on the mouth or blows to us, and the hugs she'll give while saying "ohhhh" and patting mom or dad on the back. Those are the moments when I'm willing to let her do just about anything she wants.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ellie's baby doll

After the few days Ellie and Emma spent together it was determined that our little girl needed her own baby doll to play with. She basically stole Emma's doll during the visit to Whitecap and lugged it around everywhere she went. (Brian is quick to point out that he tried to buy her a doll months ago for her birthday and I steered us toward a different present because I didn't think she was old enough to appreciate a doll yet... boy was I wrong.)
SO, my mom got Ellie one of her own when we got back to Rockford. Brian insisted on a doll that didn't make noises, and I must say it's not that one of her toys doesn't "do" anything... although this doll has magnetic hands to clap and blow kisses, along with a magnetic pacifier. Needless to say, Ellie loves it! She's hardly put it down since we got home from the trip, and she spent about an hour last night "putting it to bed" by covering it (face and all!) with one of her fleece sweatshirts and saying "nigh-nigh."

Of course she doesn't do it all for the video camera... but here's some of what we caught on film.

Emma and other Whitecap fun

Here are some more pictures from our Christmas vacation up at Whitecap ski resort in northern Wisconsin. Grandma and mom spent plenty of time loving on Ellie. As I returned to work this week I fully realized how awesome it was to be around Ellie all day each day! Turns out she's pretty fun.
Ellie also got some good visits in with her aunts and uncles, even though she's still a little clingy to mom and dad sometimes. Here she is with Uncle Ben and Aunt Candice.
Laundry basket rides gone wild!
And, introducing Ellie's friend Emma! (Which is now one of Ellie's favorite words to say... and we hear all about Emma even a week after our cousins headed back to Chicago.) It was fun to watch the girls play together (or at least in the same vicinity!) They did really well together, but every so often we'd hear an outraged "NO!" out of Ellie as she snatched a toy away from Emma or vice versa. Emma is 8 days younger than Ellie and is a total bundle of energy! Ellie learned a lot about running and climbing from this gal.

And this video just cracks me up!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Where is it?

Happy 17-month birthday to Ellie! She is a total spitfire these days... can't imagine where she gets it from. This picture sums up some of that amazing personality, sense of humor and total joy we get to appreciate every day. It's Ellie asking her favorite question: Where is it?

Our snow angel

We enjoyed a very white Christmas in Wisconsin this year. It was fun to watch Ellie enjoy the snow and the sledding.
She even liked to eat it, but we kept her away from the yellow stuff ;)

And... an action shot!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy new year! (Christmas flashback...)

Ellie would like to thank everyone who spoiled her this Christmas! Here she is opening her very first Mr. Potato Head on Christmas morning. And Brian and I made out pretty well, too, this holiday! Brian is sporting his own Interpol hat below, which he got from our soon-to-be brother-in-law Chris. That's right, Chris and Maggie got engaged!
Ellie got a doggie from Build A Bear from Aunt Jen and Uncle Dan. She also got great zebra shoes, a musical giraffe, tons of toys and wonderful clothes and so much more. Thank you so much for everything!
Here's one of the family shots we took before heading to Christmas Eve mass. Ellie did pretty well during church and made great friends with a woman and her daughter in the pew behind us. Ellie didn't stay awake long enough for much present-opening on Christmas Eve (when we do the bulk of the gift exchange in the Schneider household), but she made up for lost time the next morning. It was fun to see her actually open some of her own gifts this year and recognize things to get excited about. What a change from last Christmas... although I'm sure they'll keep getting better as she gets older and more excited about the holiday.
Oh, and here's one group shot of Ellie playing with cousins when we visited the Lewis family on the morning of Chrismas Eve.

Lots more pictures and stories to come!