Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heading west

We are soon departing for the longest road trip of Ellie's short life. Earlier this year we'd planned to head East to visit dear friends in Connecticut... but our plans changed and instead we're thrilled to be trekking west to see brother Jim's family in Lincoln, Nebraska.
I probably won't be updating the blog much as the next week will include stops in St. Louis, Lincoln (obviously) and then back to Lafayette before we're off again to hit Brian's next half marathon up in South Bend.
It's going to be a whirlwind and very fun week (hopefully). We're hoping Ellie has some super-toddler tolerance for the car ride portions :)

Hope everyone else has a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend! Here's hoping the storms will stay at bay, at least during the driving days of our trip...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bangs redux

Ellie got an overdue trip to the salon on Saturday so she has bangs again. It's great having her hair out of her eyes since ponytails (like this one) are usually short-lived.
What a cutie!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Clean sweep

Ellie and I decided to be civic-minded this past weekend. On Saturday morning the city of Lafayette held its annual Clean Sweep event, in which they outfit volunteers with garbage and recycling bags to go out to neighborhoods and clean up litter. Ellie and I walked over to the park in the morning to pick up supplies and then set off to clean up the streets around our neighborhood. Here are a couple shots from when Ellie and I stopped off at home for a diaper change. Here she is trying on the cleaning gloves they gave us... a bit big for Ellie, but the perfect size for mom (who did most of the picking up of trash).
Whew, Ellie already needs a rest, despite the fact that mom has been pulling her in the wagon.

And some rehydration...

Alright, Mom, I think I'm ready to head back out. Where's the trash?!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Toddler transition

Ellie is going through a major transition in recent weeks (months even?) to becoming a full-fledged toddler. Maybe she's been there for a while now and I just haven't admitted it...
The biggest recent change is that she's moved up to the 2-3 year old room at day care. She's still a few months out from turning 2, but the center needed her spot in the younger room and talked us into moving her early. It's been a bit of a roller-coaster. While we were very nervous initially, the teachers in both rooms offered support and tried to transition Ellie into the new room slowly. The Yellow Room, her new class, is already teaching her to eat at a toddler table, drink without a sippy cup lid and expand in her art and activities. Ellie's also showing interest in using the potty since she sees classmates potty training... and they give M&M rewards for potty use. We're excited about all of these steps forward, even as I try to hold on to any vestiges of "baby" left in Ellie.
A couple things have us worried about the move this week, however. Ellie has been bitten twice now by her new classmates. Yesterday she came home with a prominent welt on her upper thigh from one such incident. We've had some serious conversations with the teachers about this and will be monitoring. The concern over her getting bullied in the new room was a major one for us heading into the change. I hate the idea of Ellie being scared or intimidated by bigger kids. But I am trying to temper my own nerves by thinking about the growing and learning she'll be exposed to in this new setting.
Ellie's toddler attitude is also coming out in a major way these days. She's not had too many outright tantrums, but she's frequently whiny and obstinate. We've started to work in time-outs as needed and she usually responds pretty well. I am starting to understand that the discipline part of child-rearing is going to be a non-stop and thankless effort.
But back on the positive side... Ellie's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds in recent weeks. And she continues to amaze us with her smiles, laughs and intelligence!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rockford race

Lots to catch up on, but I'll start with the highlights from our awesome weekend in Rockford. Brian and I trained hard this spring for the half marathon up there and it paid off big time! We clocked a 1:52:35, which is about 6 minutes faster than our previous personal best. My legs are still recovering... but Brian is already gearing up for a second half marathon in a few weeks. He's running one in South Bend that finished on the 50-yard line of the Notre Dame stadium. Ellie and I will be on hand to cheer him on.
Much thanks to my mom for watching Ellie while we ran this past weekend and also for bringing her down to the finish line area to cheer us on. Definitely helped give us a final boost in the homestretch. And congrats again to little bro and sis-in-law, Ben and Candice, for getting second overall (Ben) and winning the women's division (Candice) in the half. They finished far enough ahead of us to jog back and offer some encouragement during our last half mile!
I didn't get nearly enough pictures, but here are some cute ones of Ellie playing with her cousin Mason and Uncle Dan.

This is the "hood ornament" game that Dan said Mason loved when he was littler. Looks like Ellie is a fan, too :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New feature

I've added an "On the menu" feature to the blog. You can see some of the new and/or favorite recipes from our house listed on the right side of the blog.
We tried corncakes this past weekend as a quick lunch, since I had a can of creamed corn on hand. We used course polenta, which was good, but I think the recipe calls for a finer cornmeal. We served them with just a little plain Greek yogurt. Ellie enjoys any excuse for pancakes or the like :)
The white bean and chicken soup we had for dinner last night. It was awesome and comes from Cooking Light, so relatively guilt-free. Enjoy!

Keeping cool

Ellie went from zero to soaking wet in no time yesterday at the park zoo. We only made it past the fountains near the entrance here for about two minutes, to visit the monkey exhibit. The freezing water felt great though, considering it was around 90 here. I hope spring weather returns before we settle into this summer heat!
Ellie spent much of her time laughing and screaming as she ran in and out of the water stream.
Or she just made her own splash-mess. That girl loves to play in water!
Here's a *blast from the past*... all the way from last August when Ellie was not yet walking steady but still was thrilled to play in these water spouts. Even while she's growing like a weed, it's nice to see some things aren't changing :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Feeling pampered

Brian and Ellie gave me such a great Mother's Day this past weekend. I told Brian he's going to be hard-pressed to top it at next year's holiday... but he's welcome to try :)
Some of the highlights included:

  • French toast breakfast

  • A family run (which was fun because we all did it together)

  • Brian getting some stuff done on our bathroom project and also mowing the lawn!

  • And then an outing of my choosing

We went to Shades State Park. It's about an hour south of Lafayette and my favorite Indiana pizza place is conveniently located on the way there. We stopped and got one to-go and had a picnic dinner in the park.

And then we hiked one of the short trails before heading back home. We'll have to go back and explore more when we have more time and haven't run six miles the same day!

(p.s. Yes, I'm wearing a shirt that says "Coach Mom" I found it on sale for $2 and couldn't resist!)

Ellie seemed to enjoy the new backpack we inherited from Jim and Sandy. I made Brian carry it since I pushed the jogging stroller earlier.

It was just about the perfect Mother's Day, topped off with a gift card for a massage and facial from Brian and Ellie. Good thing I have a month to plan an equally great Father's Day celebration...

Mom's day column(s)

So much great stuff to post about my Mother's Day weekend. I'll get the pics and stories up later from the home computer, but here's a link to Hitched from this week where I tried to sum up (in 500 words or less...) why I was celebrating this year.

I also want to share this column from another local writer in our paper. He's been doing this a lot longer than I have, and I think he's great at sharing succinct life moments.

Hope everyone had a beautiful mother's day and made some memories!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Taking credit

Ellie's latest catch phrase is "I did that." She'll say it in response to almost any question we preface with "Did you...?"

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some winning food

It was a red-letter food day in the Wallheimer household yesterday. Even though this is not a foodie blog, I wanted to share these recipes and a goal that Brian and I have been trying to accomplish this year.
We've been aiming to cook at least one new recipe every week this year. And while I haven't kept a running tally, I think we've done it most weeks so far. It's not hard to find new recipes in our house since we subscribe to four different cooking magazines these days! (Darn sale prices being too good to pass up...) But it's so easy to fall into a cooking rut and just make what we know, etc.
SO, here's a link to what we had for dinner last night. Quick White Bean, Asparugus and Mushroom Cassoulet. It sounds way fancier/harder to make than it really is. I suspect that's because of the word cassoulet thrown in. Also, we substituted button mushrooms to save some money and I thought it was awesome! Always looking for yummy and new vegetarian recipes, especially ones that help us get more beans into our menu. And with asparugus on sale recently it's been a staple in the diet.
I thought for sure Ellie would love this one since she's a bean-machine... but she scorned it. We had to get some standby chickpeas out for her instead. Maybe next time she'll come 'round.
Ellie did approve of the muffins I made earlier in the day, however. I discovered this Chocolate Chip Banana Muffin recipe a couple years ago and have made these things a dozen different ways since then... They are impossible to mess up! The latest rendition subbed in half whole-wheat flour, used vanilla yogurt and cut up pieces of leftover Reeses Peanut Butter eggs from Easter. The muffins are amazing, if I do say so myself.
(Past varieties of the muffins have included mini chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, almonds, Greek yogurt and applesauce — not all at once. The only semi-fail I had was when I tried to throw some leftover cooked barley into a batch. They were actually good that way fresh from the oven, but when the barley cooled it got chewy and kinda weird in the muffins. All of them got eaten, though!)
Maybe I'll put up some more of the recipes Brian and I have tried, if there's interest. Yes, no?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Where does she get this stuff?

Ellie seemingly came up with this "hide-her-hand" trick all on her own the other day, but I guess she probably saw someone do it at school or something. Either way, it's hilarious.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Buses and races and BBQ, oh my

We packed a TON of fun into this weekend.
When Ellie woke up from her nap Friday afternoon I asked if she wanted to go on an adventure. She immediately laughed and started saying, "please, please?" (I guess she understood what I asked?...) Either way, we set off with Cheerios, milk and the stroller. She and I walked about a mile to downtown Lafayette where we could catch the free "trolley" — which is actually an old-fashioned looking bus.
What a thrill to be on the bus! The seats were a bit slick, though, so mom had to hold on tight to Ellie (and her Cheerios) each time the bus stopped and started up again.
(In this one you can see the cute ponytail Ellie actually kept in for a few hours!)
And a mommy-Ellie self-portrait. Oh, and we also sang "Wheels on the Bus" while riding on the bus... It pretty much blew Ellie's mind.
We rode the bus over to Purdue and stopped at daddy's work. Ellie decided she should push the stroller at this point.
It was such a fun afternoon. The three of us walked over from Brian's office to pick up our race packets for a 5K we were signed up for on Saturday morning. And then we spontaneously decided to stay on campus for dinner. We went to a Mediterranean restaurant called Blue Nile, where Ellie showed down on some hummus and veggies. One of the owners had her 3-year-old daughter there at the time and they were very sweet to Ellie, offering her toys to play with and a lollipop at the end of dinner.

All three of us took part in a local 5K race to raise money and awareness for mental health organizations. It was a very fun event. Brian took off and clocked a very impressive PR at 23:05. I pushed Ellie in the stroller and still eked out a PR of 26:36. Most impressive, however, was that Ellie was able to hold on to her Cheerios along the course, which included a muddy and rutty trail through the woods. That was fun to slog through with a stroller...

We rounded out the weekend with an afternoon BBQ at our friends' Christine and Cory's house. They have four kids, including Max who is just a few weeks younger than Ellie, and that meant they were well-stocked on fun outside toys for Ellie to enjoy. She had an absolute blast!
Brian and I even took turns on the trampoline with her.
The older kids were very sweet with Ellie, taking her for a wagon ride and sharing toys. They didn't even mind when she raided their croquet game.
The afternoon ended in bacon-fest. Ellie suddenly decided that she liked bacon and proceeded to eat all that was left on the plate from the earlier bacon-burgers at lunch. Here she is deciding if she has enough left to share with Max.

A full, fantastic weekend for the entire family!