Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some randoms

Here's a mismatch of shots from recent weeks to brighten up your Wednesday.
Ellie watched Brian shave the other day and kept asking for some of his shaving cream... so he apparently put some on her cheek and then she wasn't quite sure what to do.
I guess shaving isn't for her?
Generally running around getting into mischief is more Ellie's game. What can I mess with now, mom?
Oh, and we popped up Ellie's beach tent in the living room the other day and she was in heaven. She invited mom, dad and grandma in there many times -- even though it's close quarters!

Monday, June 27, 2011


I finally remembered to bring some money with us on our trip to the park Sunday. That meant I could buy a ticket for the train! (Ellie's been asking to ride it for a couple weeks now...)
She loved it! But I guess she wanted to make sure I wasn't nervous because she held my hand during the entire ride.

On a separate zoo trip the other day I almost caught Ellie sticking her face through one of these animal cutouts.

And then she wanted to sit on one of these painted pigs like she saw other kids doing. Big smile!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bubbles and fresh air

Brian felt good enough this afternoon to get outside and blow bubbles with Ellie. And she gave some kisses to remind him to keep getting better!

Got away

The week got away from me, that is.
We had a great, low-key Father's Day last Sunday. And since I promised at least a summary I can say that we spoiled Brian with some gifts, bacon and eggs for breakfast, and then we let him cook us an elaborate dinner. I asked in advance what he wanted to eat or where we should go for the big day... but Brian wanted to use the nice weather to grill a pork butt. It's was an 11-hour process that resulted in the most delicious pulled pork dinners I'd ever had. At least I made some of the sides.

The rest of the week was a bit less pleasant. Brian had to go in on Tuesday to get his tonsils out. Ever since then he's been laid up and in a fair amount of pain, even with regular doses of pain meds. Still, for most of the week he did better than we (or the doctors) expected. He was eating some soft foods/soups by the second day and generally keeping some of his strength up. But on Friday he either came down with a bug or developed a bad reaction to the pain medicine and couldn't keep any fluids down for much of the day. By that night we went to the ER and had to get him some anti-nausea medicine and IV fluids. It was a long, late night at the hospital... but I'm happy to report that by Saturday afternoon he was feeling a ton better. Today seems to be starting off good so far, so we'll hope for more gradual progress.

Perhaps the only silver lining through all of this has been the sweetness and love Ellie's been showing her daddy. I think she can definitely tell he's sick and she's been running over to give hugs, kisses and to say "hi" whenever he's around. She's had moments of becoming more of a "daddy's girl" in the past few weeks... which I know Brian relishes after some of the long spells of only-mommy-will-do we've had so far. I don't think Brian wants to resort to surgery to earn her affection, but it's been heart-warming to see how she can sense him hurting and how she wants to help.

Oh, and I also must thank my mom for coming down a few days this week. It was super helpful to have a second set of healthy hands around to pitch in on caregiving for two! And Ellie had a ton of fun spending a couple mornings with grandma while I had to return to work Thursday and Friday. They went for long walks, visits to the zoo and lots of time at the park swings. And even though we didn't get any pictures, Ellie lured grandma into her pop-up tent (a rather small structure) in our living room. Very fun.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sun lotion

Even though it's a rainy morning here, this is a recent picture of a pool-ready Ellie. She loves to help get her sun tan lotion on... meaning she likes to have some squirted in her hand so she can wipe a huge streak of it on her leg or cheek. Mom has to help spread it evenly.
We didn't get much pool weather this weekend, but hopefully this week we'll get back over there.
And I'll post more later on our Father's Day adventures!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dump the pump

This week the local bus system offered free rides one day, so Ellie and I set off on an adventure. We caught the bus that comes by the park -- that Ellie admires every time she sees go past -- and took it down to the transfer station. From there, we got to walk around and look at a bunch of other buses and then catch one that went across the river to Purdue. We got off by Brian's office building and went in for a visit.
After the bus trip, we decided to treat ourselves to an early Father's Day dinner out (since Brian is opting to bbq at home on Sunday). We went to Olive Garden where we all had way too much good food to eat... and Ellie did some damage to her white shirt. Good thing for washing machines.
Here's Ellie being silly before the food came. She likes to put a lot of emphasis into saying the names of the dogs, i.e. m-m-m-m-m-muzz! and ra-ra-ra-raaa!

Face plant

Last Sunday Ellie was running down the sidewalk and tripped. This is nothing unusual for our active little girl, who often runs like the wind (usually away from us when we're trying to get her to cooperate...). But this time Ellie forgot to catch herself. In fact, she specifically put her arms behind her as she fell and absorbed the impact with her nose and mouth. There was a lot of blood and tears, and at first we thought she'd knocked a tooth loose. Luckily (?) she had only erased a bunch of skin from her nose and bitten the inside of her upper lip. The fat lip was better by the next day, but we're still working on healing up that nose. As you can see from the picture, though, she's no worse for the wear in spirit!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

More potty progress

Ellie still uses her diapers more often than not... but last night she went poop in the potty for the first time! Two thoughts I had on this: Awesome! And, it's kind of gross to clean up.
But let's hope for more where that came from :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Park and zoo

The weather around here has been absolutely gorgeous. Highs in the upper 70s, which is perfect for playing at the park and zoo. Yesterday I had to "yell" at a six-year-old girl who was playing on the baby slide after she bowled Ellie over because she was too impatient to wait until Ellie was out of the way... I told the girl there were other slides around for the bigger kids, and that Ellie was going as fast as she could. Then I felt a bit bad because the girl said her mom won't let her play in the other areas while her sibling was over there, at which point I realized that the girl's mom was completely ignoring her and instead talking with a friend on a nearby bench. But she did leave Ellie alone after that. (sigh)
And we sought some refuge in the swings :)
On a lighter note, we got a surprise look at some new additions at the neighborhood zoo. Two of the wallabies were carrying around joeys! Well, this one was actually being lazy, but that's better for pictures anyway. Apparently the joeys are about six months old already and they're at the point where they get in and out of the pouch now. They'll continue to ride with mom off-and-on until they're a year old.

And a trip to the zoo wouldn't be complete without an Ellie splash-fest. I got video!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pee pee in the potty!

To start, this is Brian. I write so infrequently that I have to mention it up front.
This is an exciting post, as the headline clearly gives away. But it almost didn't happen.
This morning I was running a bit behind when I got Ellie out of her crib. She was cranky and I hurried through changing her diaper and getting her dressed.
As I started getting dressed myself, she livened up and started jabbering to her reflection in the mirror. When I turned around, she was half bent over, grabbing her pants with a scrunched face, saying in the most pathetic voice you've ever heard "peee?"
This happens often. Already late, I tried something that often makes her change her mind.
"Do you have to go potty?" I asked.
This usually gets a prompt "no" and we move on. But she wasn't to be deterred today.
"Yessss!" she said, and ran into the bathroom.
I tried again.
Often, Ellie will sit on the baby potty fully clothed for a minute or so as a ploy to get to play with the toilet paper. Had that been her MO, she'd have gotten away with it this morning. Anything to keep her busy while I finished up and whisked her downstairs.
So, I sat her on the potty, diaper and pants both on. She immediately stood and started pulling at her pants.
I didn't have time for this.
"Fine," I said. "Make it quick."
I got her ready and sat her down. She immediately patted the real toiled and said "Daddy, sit."
"No, honey. Daddy has to get ready. Finish up," I said.
And then it happened. Ellie got this strange look on her face and said "All done!"
Expecting nothing more, I stood her up and, to my surprise, saw a potty full of pee.
I probably scared the hell out of her after that. I needed to make a big deal out of this so that she knew I was happy. I jumped up, sang, danced, made big smiley faces. I sold the damn thing.
At daycare, Ellie would get an M&M if she went potty. I had no M&Ms.
I grabbed Ellie and headed down the stairs. I saw animal crackers, grapes and all sorts of things she loves. But I'd give her those as regular snacks. I needed something special.
In the freezer, I saw a solid chocolate bunny left from Easter. I whacked it hard on the counter and pulled out an ear and handed it to Ellie.
That bunny is good for about a dozen trips to the potty. It's time to get some M&Ms.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yard sale

We had a yard sale this morning. It was the first one I've ever organized, and now I understand why people always talk about how much work they are. We sold a few things by nearly as much stuff as we had out. But that's OK. I'm happy to have the rest of it out of the house and earmarked for Goodwill. Needed to clear some stuff out of here!
Ellie was a big fan of the yard sale because it meant eating breakfast and lunch outside while helping mom oversee the stuff. Dad was, of course, working on the bathroom... it finally has walls again!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

To the bread store

Ellie and I hit a park and the nearby Great Harvest bread store on Friday afternoon, bringing home a loaf of asiago sourdough to go with our "noodles," as Ellie calls all pasta.

The walk to the store, about eight blocks, took a bit longer because Ellie insisted on pushing the stroller much of the way instead of riding.

But once we got there she found out I'd been telling the truth about how yummy of a sample of bread she would get! Cinnamon swirl!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

22 months

Belatedly I'm feeling the need to note that Ellie turned 22 months a few days ago. Now when people ask me how old she is, I find myself saying "almost 2"... which is beyond crazy. She's growing so fast!
Some Ellie highlights at the moment include:

  • Identifying things she sees around the house as "mommy's" or "daddy's." This includes chairs, plates, shoes, cups and much more. She scolded me the other day at breakfast for drinking out of a coffee mug that Brian usually uses.

  • Starting to put phrases together, we think. Brian insists that this morning she strung together "Mommy, bus, go see daddy." She also asks for her shoes when she wants to go outside, asks for her milk, asks for cheese (her latest food love) and asks for pieces of ice. Yup, she's a bit of a weirdo sometimes.

  • Swimming like a fish, still. The season started this past weekend at the pool/water park just down the block from our house. Ellie and I went this afternoon and the whole family was over there on Sunday. It's awesome to see how much more fun she can have this summer as opposed to a year ago this time when she wasn't even walking yet. Ellie is totally fearless in and around water. I mostly like that about her, but we've got to teach her to respect it to. She's constantly wanting to head into too-deep parts of the pool or she'll jump in the air and go under without thinking about what comes next. Swimming lessons will be in this girl's very near future!

  • Wanting to sit on the potty... all the time... even if her pants and diaper are still on. She's picked up the "interest" for potty training in her new classroom, but so far has never produced anything when sitting on the potty at home. (I'm assuming it's the same at school.) Unlike at school, however, she doesn't get an M&M reward just for giving it the old college-try. So she'll sit there forever, ask for more toilet paper and usually I have to drag her out of the bathroom after a certain point. I don't think she'll be mastering this trick soon.

There's tons more that she's up to and into these days, but I can't collect it all into anything coherent right now. Chasing after this increasingly active, demanding and energetic toddler tends to wear me out... and the 100 degree heat today didn't help. But tomorrow's a new day and a new adventure :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sunburst, emphasis on the "sun"

To cap off our week of vacation, Brian decided to run a half marathon. Haha, but I'm serious. He's trained hard all spring for the Sunburst race that finishes on the Notre Dame football field up in South Bend. Only it turns out all of the warnings about the heat curses surrounding this race are true. It was way too hot and humid on race morning to set a PR, but Brian still ran his race. Ellie and I chased him around the course (running close to 5 miles ourselves) and were so proud of him!
The night before the race we carbo-loaded at an Irish place, since those are much more common in South Bend than Italian eateries.

And during the race Ellie worked to stay hydrated...

And to stay cool...

And finally she slept.

That last one about sums up how Brian felt at the end of the race, so I didn't torture him with a camera in the face. But my hat is off to my awesome husband who ran 2 half marathons in a 3 week span!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Grandma's fight

The return trip from Nebraska was important though a bit less upbeat. We stayed a couple days in St. Louis to visit with and cook some meals for Great-Grandma Eleanor who had to have surgery following a recent breast cancer diagnosis. Showing what an amazing woman she is, great-grandma was moving around in no time after the procedure and seemed almost back to her old self by the next day when she got sent home from the hospital. She's still got some tough times ahead, but we know she'll beat this. We love you!


More than a week ago now... a minivan full of Wallheimers arrived in Lincoln to visit my brother Jim's family. We had such a great time out there! Ellie had a blast playing with her cousins, 7-year-old Alora and 5-year-old Jay. They were really patient with her, most of the time, even when she stole their toys or threw a random fit. The three of them wore each other out every day, which meant Brian and I got some true-vacation sleeping in mornings. What a treat. There was lots of time in the kiddie pool at their house, and we even took a trip over to the Y one rainy morning so the kids could play in the indoor pool over there. Here Jay is giving Ellie one of the small water balloons he and Alora had filled. It was a win-win because the older kids didn't want it and since it was small, Ellie had hard time popping it :)

We walked down to the park near their house and mom and Ellie both got pretty dizzy on this merry-go-round.

Alora collected some "rare" leaves and showed them off to her dad.

Ellie got a LOT of swinging time in during the trip because Jim and Sandy have a swingset in their backyard. This one is at the park, but the one at their house has the big-kid swings low enough to the ground that Ellie got very good at swinging on them. Now I fear she'll never go back to the safer baby swings!

Here all the kids are reading together one morning. But Alora is a reading machine and had many story times with Ellie.

The highlight of the trip for Ellie was the two cats, Lucy and Casey, at Jim's house. She can't say cat yet, but instead tells us what a cat says whenever she sees a picture. In this case she would literally run after the cats yelling "meow" (which came out sounding like M-naa) and pointing whenever she saw one. It was pretty funny. Luckily the cats were tolerant of Ellie's advances. Guess they got some practice when Jay and Alora were younger. Alora was the official "Ellie assistant" on this visit. She wanted to help pick out her outfit and get her dressed every time. And once she discovered that she could pick Ellie up, she kept offering her rides everywhere.

If only cousin Mason where there, the picture would be truly complete -- but these cousins sure know how to have fun together!

And Ellie was a champ during the 9 hour drive each way between St. Louis (where we visited Brian's family on the way to and from) and Lincoln. She slept a bit of the time, but even when awake she did a decent job entertaining herself with songs and other random thoughts. Having our new/used minivan helped a ton, too, since Brian or I could simply walk to the back without having to get off the road to hang out with her for a bit. Other highlights of our visit included a visit to the state capital and Jim's nearby office, since he works as deputy directing of Nebraska's Dept. of Natural Resources. We also hit the Lincoln Zoo, and somehow I forgot my camera that day... but we saw some great stuff. What a fantastic trip!