Sunday, June 5, 2011


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!

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