Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Big adventure

Our big afternoon outing yesterday included a trek to the Walgreens on the other side of the park to pick something up. As usual with Ellie, it's about the journey and not the destination! She had a good ride in her wagon and enjoyed some Cheerios along the way.
On the way home we stopped by the pond and threw some cereal to the ducks. Despite hearing them quacking excitedly, Ellie still maintains that a duck says: "ba-ba"... Guess she doesn't have her q's down yet.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rugby gathering

We got to catch up with some of my former teammates from the Illinois rugby team a couple weekends ago, which was so great! The impetus for the gathering was catching up with a former coach and teammate who were back in the states visiting even though they live down in New Zealand. Brian, Ellie and I got to hang with everyone for a little while in the afternoon. We've got lots of cuties among the group and another one on the way, with my friend Hallermann due this summer. Yay! My friend Nutter caught this hilarious shot of Ellie during a chaotic group shot we tried to orchestrate of the children in attendance. I couldn't believe Ellie sat still for so long, and somehow ended up in this dainty crossed-legs pose... though the expression on her face doesn't exactly match :) I love how nobody is looking at the cameras for this... and Nutter's daughter (Rosalie) is either petting or just inspecting Tre's head on the far left. Too funny!
Here are moms and babies all in one shot. Bet we looked a bit more intimidating back when we were tearing up the rugby pitch. For those who don't know, I played with these girls for the national championship my senior year. We lost to Air Force in the final minutes of that game... but it was an amazing experience and I cherish those team memories. It's so cool to see the next generation growing up!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Look out...

Pretty sure I'm becoming "that" mom ... who's willing to push this beast around the grocery store because it keeps Ellie happy and occupied while I shop. Part of me is shaking my head, but the other part just wants to maintain enough focus on the list to avoid forgetting half the items :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weekend in Rockford

We spent a long weekend in Rockford for a springtime reunion with all of the siblings. Ellie did really well with the traveling and the visit with cousins, aunts and uncles. And, of course she loved seeing grandma!

We also took a trip to the Discovery Center in Rockford, which has an amazing array of exhibits and play areas for kids of all ages. Ellie loved these air tubes, where she could shoot foam balls and scarves through. We could barely tear her away.
The only part that trumped it all was the water station! We had to physically remove her from the area finally after she was soaked :)

And even though Ellie missed story hour, I couldn't resist throwing in this great shot of my cousin Genny reading to the brood of children.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Brian's column

For those keeping tabs, here's the latest Hitched column. Enjoy!

Being green

Here's a random playing picture of Ellie from last week. She was putting her babies in each of the dog food bowls. Our little weirdo. But the photo also shows off her green tie-dye shirt that everyone in her class made for St. Patrick's Day. Ellie's turned out very cute :)

Friday, March 18, 2011


Ellie did her best impression of the Peanuts character on our trip back from the park yesterday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lost keys

I was the cliché mom/woman this morning as I headed out the door for work and realized my keys were nowhere to be found in my purse. I dug through it several times with a growing sense of dread as I started to remember Ellie wandering off with my keys the previous afternoon when we got home.
I'm trying to work with Ellie on compromise and patience. So instead of telling her "no" all the time I've been trying to reward her for asking nicely for things (i.e. asking 'please' instead of just grunting or pointing at what she wants...) or for waiting while I get something done. My keys are highly coveted in her world. Each day when I bring her home from daycare she gets so excited about them and asks over and over to have them. Our current routine has been that she has to wait while I unlock the door, and then she gets to hold them for a minute while I set down the 10 things I'm carrying and let the dogs out.
Well... yesterday she wandered off with the keys and I completely spaced about it. That made for a frantic search this morning as Brian and I tried to discern the most likely place a 19-month-old would store a set of keys. Quite a riddle.
The low point was when I started digging through the kitchen trash after realizing there was a good possibility she put them in there trying to be helpful. (I might need to accelerate the lesson on how a dirty tissue is different from other things that aren't supposed to go in the trash, such as mom's contact case, her blocks and the occasional sippy cup.)
The high point was when Brian found the keys a minute later. They were flung into a small space between the sideboard and the wall in our dining room. Can't think I didn't look there first...?
Oh well, at least the keys were located. But I'll have to find a new prop for my lessons with Ellie.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Work in progress

Operation "get Ellie back on schedule" is still underway. She stayed up pretty late last night and then was a bit of a zombie this morning. This is the photo Brian sent to me after she spontaneously laid down to rest on a rug in the kitchen during their morning playtime. Looks comfortable.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Exotic Tuscola

Brian, Ellie and I had a mini-getaway this weekend to Tuscola, Ill., where there's an outlet mall ... and not much else :) It was a good halfway meeting point, however, for us and our friends the Klaustermeiers (who live down by St. Louis). We got to catch up and enjoy some good times. The kids, Ellie and 26-month-old Jacob, did some serious shopping as you can see below. When she wasn't refusing to ride in her stroller and instead pushing it around, Ellie also enjoyed pulling whole stacks of clothing off of the store shelves. I'm sure the store clerks loved us.
We also did some swimming in the motel pool and hot tub. Ellie decided to dress herself for this, which consisted of draping mom's swim suit around her neck and wearing hers as a hat. She's beach-ready, for sure.
Cutest moment of the weekend was when Jacob took Ellie's other hand as she walked with me down the hallway. Another favorite was when they gave each other a big hug at bed time and somehow lost their balance and toppled over, with Jacob landing on top of Ellie. I couldn't get a picture since Ellie didn't think it was quite as funny as the rest of us...

Toddler time

The column I wrote for this weekend is even more appropriate after the struggle we've had the past two nights trying to get Ellie to sleep despite travel and day light savings time. It hasn't been pretty. Hopefully she'll be back in her routine in the next day or two. We'd all like fewer tears when time for "nite-nite" comes around.

You can check out this week's column here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feeling giddy

Here are some random thoughts I'm having on this sunny Friday. I'm in a pretty good mood for no particular reason. I'm not questioning it... I'm just going with it and hoping it lasts!

I've felt some pangs of sadness recently when I realize in different ways how much of a "big girl" Ellie is becoming. We celebrate all of her developments and growth, for sure, but it's bittersweet when she doesn't need us in different ways. She fiercely insists on things like feeding herself and walking without holding our hands. Such an independent girl. I even notice little things like these grubby, little-kid hands she has now... instead of those chubby baby digits. Silly maybe, but it's another one of those signs that baby Ellie is no longer a baby.
(Here she is showing off her garbanzo bean-eating prowress...)

I am loving Ellie's exuberance for life these days! She gets so excited about things that we see on our walks or when we're out running errands. Some of the stuff is downright hilarious... the random twigs or muddy rocks that elicit an excited "oooohhhhh" from her as she leans over to retrieve them. Some of her zeal is contagious. I find myself getting excited every time I see a bus (even when she's not with me) because Ellie goes nuts when a big yellow school bus or one of the city buses drives by. That makes me especially happy because of memories I have of bus trips with my late godmother. I'm planning a special bus field trip with Ellie sometime in the near future.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back to our roots

Before there was "Hitchin' On"... Brian and I contributed to a weekly column called "Hitched." Now the Lafayette newspaper is bringing it back! We're thrilled to be writing it again and sharing some stories!

You can check out the first one here and look for it each Sunday at jconline.com

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ellie's chariot

Ellie is a huge fan of the wagon her grandma and grandpa down in St. Louis got her for Christmas. (Thanks again!) It's finally been assembled and warm enough in recent weeks to get it into action. I predict many, many more trips to the park and around the neighborhood with it this spring and summer.

Thin mints

Ellie: I am so glad that dad got suckered into buying these Girl Scout cookies. Yum, thin mints!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A mystery explained

I was puzzled yesterday when changing the wash because I found a plastic spoon near the bottom of the laundry basket as I loaded clothes into the washer. I couldn't figure out how it got there... until Ellie shed a little light on the mystery. I guess that's what happens when the basket sits in the kitchen waiting on a load to finish.
Now if I could just figure out what happens to all those missing socks... although there's a good chance Muzzy is involved on that front.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Future hoarder?

OK, so it's not good to joke about... but our recent playtime outdoors this week has me wondering if Ellie has some hoarding tendencies. It takes us about 30 minutes anymore just to travel the block-and-a-half from the park to home. That's because Ellie has to stop every few feet to pick up rocks and sticks she finds on the ground. With an excited "ooohhhh," she'll point out her find and quickly bend over to retrieve the dirt-covered stone or stick. But oftentimes she already has 5-6 others in her hands, which presents a problem since her hands aren't very big! I offer to help carry some of her treasure, but my request to help is brushed off with a brisk "uh-uh." Suit yourself.We sure to have fun in the silliest ways sometimes... that is until we arrive home. The real "hoarding" question comes up each time because Ellie wants to bring all of the rocks and sticks in the house. So far my explanations of outdoor toys vs. indoor toys isn't getting through. So the enjoyable outing usually ends with me or Brian having to rip the muddy objects from her hands and then carry a screaming Ellie into the house. Good times?

p.s. Happy 19-month birthday to Ellie today. Can't believe what a big girl we have now.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekend with grandma

We got a fun visit from Brian's mom over the weekend. Ellie loved spending time with her grandma and even got to show her the nature center in town and her school on Monday morning! We loved having her visit, too!
Here's Ellie loading up the babies for a spin around the house.
And dad giving Ellie a spin of her own in the living room :) Below is grandma and Ellie coloring at the nature center.
Ellie showing off her belly... after apparently dumping lots of crayons on her seat.
And grandma letting Ellie ride the huge frog. Ribbit!