Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Trick-or-treat? Here's a collection of our Halloween photos.
(Wish we were visiting our old neighbors at this house... but the new one's are very nice, too.)

We decided markers were safer than knives for the pumpkin decorating this year.
I think she was crashing from her first sugar high of the day in this one. Ellie and I picked up Brian a little early from work and went over to this bridge opening event in West Lafayette, where there was a costume parade. Ellie was the cutest ladybug there!
But this shot really captures her initial impression of Halloween...
Until she found out about the candy!It was a beautiful day and a great Halloween, even though it ended with a major meltdown from the little one. She didn't think it was fair when we took away her Tootsie Pop at bed time — and hunkered down for some serious tooth-brushing. But I know our froggie-ladybug had a great day overall.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 25: Rutabaga

Not too much to report this week on the baby front... I'm just getting bigger all the time, feeling some really strong kicks and starting to slow down. I've still got a couple weeks before I hit the third trimester, but the second trimester "honeymoon" energy is already wearing off. I'm glad to have a couple prenatal yoga workout dvds to help keep my hips and leg muscles loose. But the tiredness — and crankiness — I had early in the pregnancy is starting to creep in again. Getting up for work at 5 a.m. probably isn't helping...
Here's some happier news from the experts this week:

Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Leaf jumping

Brian built up a pile of leaves for Ellie in the back yard on Sunday afternoon and she was in heaven.

I had to work that day but I was happy to stop home for a few minutes and join in the leaf fun!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boo at the Zoo

This year we finally got Ellie down to the annual Boo at the Zoo event, in the park a block away from our house. I was amazed at the scope of the shindig. The admission price included access to about 15 different activity areas, haunted train rides and kiddie rides... and you even got a free pumpkin to take home! Given the "late" start — close to Ellie's bedtime — we didn't make it to nearly half of the stuff involved, but Ellie had a great time. We let her choose between the frog and ladybug costumes we have in her size, and she chose "ribbit." The costume is a bit short on her so the head piece doesn't fit great. When she pulled it off mom insisted she wear a hat because it was pretty chilly that night.
Ellie did some bowling and was thrilled to get a candy treat afterward.
She rode the helicopters and the horse and buggy ride. You'll notice a very cute Elmo in the cart behind her. He was very upset to get off the ride when it was over and started crying, which prompted Ellie to worry all night that "Elmo's sad!" We had to keep reassuring her that he was happy now.
A cute shot of the walk to the park with daddy!
And a shot with mom as we tried to make it look like we were wearing the floating witches hats... not sure we succeeded...
And here's an action shot of our very adamant froggie girl:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sugar Babies

That headline on today's Indy Star really caught my eye, and the story did not disappoint. The author looked into some of the causes behind a recent study showing that one in five children between the ages of 2 and 5 nationwide are overweight or obese (according to the Institute of Medicine). Here's a link to the story and I'd highly recommend the read. Some of the info in there about how much sugar is in drinks given to kids — fairly normal stuff like juice, too — is alarming and enlightening.

I've been thinking about Ellie's diet (meaning her food intake, not any special diet she's on...) a lot lately. She's clearly got a sweet tooth like her mommy, and as I've indulged my pregnancy food cravings in recent months there's been a lot more of the sugary stuff around the house that Ellie makes special requests for. One favorite of hers is "I want cereal with treats and milk. But no milk" ... and then she proceeds to eat all of the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms we give her and leave the rest. This is only a sometimes treat, mind you, but she also gets candy for going on the potty and desserts on the nights when we have them at home. At school, too, I've arrived to pick her up during afternoon snack and often find the toddlers all surrounding a table eating cookies. None of these things are the end of the world, but I know from my own weight struggles over the years that there has to be balance. That's why I'm happy we only give Ellie milk or water to drink at home. We also encourage a lot of healthy snacks and meals. Some of her favorites are hummus, peas, corn, apples, bananas, oranges, pretzels, Cheerios, raisins and even tofu! (Note to other parents: To get Ellie to like tofu our winning recipe is cutting it into sticks, breading it with panko or other breadcrumbs and lightly pan-frying it. We let her dip it in marinara sauce and Ellie is in heaven.)

I don't want to make it sound like all Ellie eats is super healthy stuff. Breakfasts on weekends are our house basically revolve around syrup... waffles, pancakes, or my creation this morning: french toast made from leftover homemade cinnamon raisin bread. And Ellie manages to dip each bite of her food about five times in the syrup before starting the process over again. But I think we strike a decent balance with offering a side of fruit at breakfast and then keeping lunch and dinner on the healthier side. That also helps me keep my own diet from going off the deep end! I'm proud of Ellie for trying new foods all the time and often choosing the healthiest option on the plate — and then requesting seconds. I hope we're helping her build a good foundation of smart eating choices... to balance out the times when we give in to her hard-to-resist requests for "treats."


This is Ellie's version of "helping" fold laundry... usually the pieces that end up on her head or strewn around the room come directly from the already-folded pile. I have to admit, her way is a lot more fun...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pumpkin patch

A church right near our house sets up a pretty cool pumpkin patch every year and we wandered over to it last weekend. Ellie had run moving the baby pumpkins from one bin to another... while a very cute older kid who helps out at the patch monitored Ellie's activities to make sure she didn't mix up the sizes of pumpkins in each basket. This sweet girl also kept offering Ellie nice-shaped pumpkins, as we encouraged our toddler to pick one out to take home. But Ellie just kept picking them up and dumping them back down again. I finally got her to settle on one by whisking her over to the checkout as soon as she had one firmly in her grasp. We also bought a small green and gold gourd that Brian found... Go Packers!
And here's one of Ellie and mom exercising our cheesy smiles for the camera. Ellie's forced grin is too funny :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Cooler temps and fall weather always makes me want to bake. After bringing home a haul of apples from our Michigan trip, I had no choice. In the past week I've made applesauce, apple muffins and apple pie... I thought all of them turned out great but Ellie did not. Our weirdo little girl doesn't like cooked apple chunks so she made gagging noises when trying each of my baked products. Gee, thanks. I guess I can't complain because Ellie will eat veggies and fruit in most forms... but I hope she comes around to mom's baked treats at some point!

Brian and I also got on a bread-making kick recently. We've turned out yummy loaves of honey wheat, rosemary and cinnamon raisin bread so far. I still can't believe how easy it is to do with my mom's old breadmaker machine. We literally just dump the ingredients in and then pull out a loaf a few hours later. Ellie likes the rosemary bread dipped in olive oil! That's her Italian blood, I suppose.
I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with new bread recipes, and we're looking forward to using the machine for pizza and other dough recipes. Such fun :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week 24: Corn

Baby is as long as an ear of corn now. Also, my uterus has grown to the size of a soccer ball and moved higher in my belly. I can believe that!
The race on Saturday really wiped me out and I was really hurting that night and much of Sunday. But after a long night of sleep I felt much better. I've been battling some severe headaches and had a rash suddenly appear on my legs late last week. From what I've read the rash is likely caused by pregnancy hormones and will go away after delivery (but maybe not before then)... I'm glad the summer shorts weather is behind us. I'm keeping an eye on the headaches since they could be a symptom of something worse, but so far I think they're under control.
Again this week I'm grateful for all of the kicks and dance moves I can feel from baby #2! Those jabs reassure me that things are OK inside, even if I'm starting to feel a bit yuckier out here. Enough complaining though... on to what the experts have to say this week:

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Racing and grandma visit

Brian and I went down to Indianapolis on Friday night so we could run in a half marathon there early Saturday. His mom was nice enough to come up to Lafayette to watch Ellie while we were gone -- though I don't think she was too put out by the dedicated time with her granddaughter :)
We all had adventures, mostly good.
Brian and I got a great deal through Priceline and stayed at the Crown Plaza hotel in the historic train station in downtown Indy. When checking in we asked about getting a late check-out on Saturday, to ensure we'd have enough time for much-needed showers at the race. The lady said it would cost us $35 unless we signed up to become Priority members. When we found out that was free (well, except for signing over the right for endless emails from them) we went the "priority" route and then got out room upgraded for free, two drink tickets to the bar and access to a guest lounge with free snacks and drinks! Brian and I are pretty easily impressed, so we were ecstatic. Now that we're priority members we also like to think that we're kind of a big deal...

After a huge dinner out Friday night we ran a great race on Saturday morning. The weather was perfect (except for the wind heading in certain directions) and the course wound through Fort Harrison State Park where the fall colors were amazing. I went into the race with a goal of running under 2 hours and 15 minutes... but around mile 6 we realized we were on pace to break 2:10 if we stepped it up just a little. So we did and crossed the line just under 2:09. I was thrilled! (Though I apparently was also exhausted and emotional because I immediately burst into tears like I did after finishing my last pregnant race. I blame the hormones!)

(This photo was post-race, though I'm still smiling! Had to get a shot by the conductor statue because he was checking his watch... just like we did about a thousand times during the race.)

After the race I was hurting a bit more than I'd anticipated, so we canceled plans to stay in Indy the rest of the day and go to a dinner theater show that night. We'll reschedule! Instead we stopped at Trader Joes and then got home just after Ellie woke up from her nap. I was amazed at how much I missed our little girl even with being gone for just 24 hours.

On the Ellie/grandma end, the highlights of the weekend were time spent cuddling on the couch while watching Elmo, a trip out to the toy store and to get waffles at IHOP, bath time with extra splashing and TWO trips to the park. Brian's mom said Ellie did great in our absence, even though our gal got a little sad on Friday night when she realized mommy and daddy wouldn't be back before her bedtime. But I was so proud to hear that Ellie went down for nite-nite and Saturday's nap with very little struggle.
Everyone had a great weekend. Thanks again grandma Linda for the visit!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Messes and more

Poor Ellie spent a good portion of Thursday puking... which meant mom, dad and her teachers at daycare spent a good amount of time cleaning up the mess. She didn't have any other symptoms (like fever, etc), so even though it happened four times Thursday we didn't go to the doctor. When Brian and I started to feel sick, too, but thankfully without any actual vomiting, we got suspicious about food poisoning. I think that's our ultimate self-diagnosis... since the wave of sickness seems to be past us now in less than a 24-hour period. Ellie was doing a whole lot better by Thursday night. She kept all of her food down in the late afternoon and evening, and she only had one truly disgusting diaper. (Sorry for the details... but, hey, at least you're just reading about it and not changing it!)
Hopefully Ellie is completely better today and can enjoy a visit from grandma. Brian's mom is coming to stay with her tonight while we go down to Indianapolis for a half marathon we're running early Saturday. Pictures and stories from the weekend to come!

On a side note, now that the weather is turning cool again we can bring Ellie's new rain boots out again. We got them about a month ago but she's only worn them a couple times because of the temps. How adorable are they?!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fairy princess

Ellie and I were playing dress-up one afternoon this week when she suddenly decided it was time to visit the park. I figured, what the heck? She looks cute, and Halloween is just around the corner... so I set off with a fairy princess to the park. She was initially wearing some very large, plastic heels that came with this fairy costume... but they weren't great for walking, so we switched to her sandals. Luckily they still matched her wings, headband and wand. A girl is nothing without her accessories, right?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week 23: Mango

As you can see, the bump is quite obvious these days. I was actually surprised when I saw this picture at how subtle it looks... because from my vantage point the belly looks and feels huge already. But I know there's plenty more to come!
The baby is a moving and dancing machine. In fact, it took a while to pin him/her down at the doctor's office yesterday when we were trying to listen to the heartbeat. But once we caught up with baby we heard that glorious thump-thump and got perfect marks for the checkup. (For those keeping tabs, the heartbeat measured in the 140s this month.) Here's what the experts have to say...

Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see her squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze her when she hears them outside the womb.

Park pandemonium

The Wallheimers spent this past weekend park-hopping around Lafayette and West Lafayette. It was fun to explore some of the different spots. Plenty more parks to go, but I think we're finally seeing an end this week to the 80-degree weather we've had down here in Lafayette. As the fall weather finally settles in I'm sure we'll still be out and about but will have to bundle up a bit more. Enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Ellie got a full haircut this past weekend, instead of just a bang trim like we've been doing. Her hair was getting pretty shaggy in the back so we got just a little cut off to keep it looking nice. The salon pulled out this special duck chair for her! She was a champ.
And as a reward mommy took her across the street to Meijer for a ride on the 1-cent mechanical horse. Now she wants her hair cut every day, I think :)

Monday, October 10, 2011


In my haste to get pictures from last week's vacation up on here, I didn't take the time to properly recap our vacation adventures. With a whole week off work and plenty to do, Brian and Ellie and I covered a lot of ground. But beyond the activities and travel, I was so thankful for the gift of time we had together as a family. We know our lives are going to get a bit more hectic in about four months. So we made the most of this opportunity to enjoy some time together as our family of three. And we also made some discoveries about Ellie, since our time with her wasn't interrupted by trips to daycare. Here are a few highlights.
  • She can count to 10 in Spanish! We know they practice colors in both English and Spanish at daycare, so I guess it makes sense that they do numbers, too... but, still, impressive for a 2-year-old.
  • She can read a lot of the book Where the Wild Things Are with or without the book in front of her. Ellie is big on reading books herself these days, which usually just means flipping through the pages really fast and then declaring "the end" when she closes the book. But with her favorite book — referred to just as "Max" — Ellie will read lines like "night Max wolf suit mischief one kind... and 'nother... Mother called wild thing... Max eat you up." It's so fun to watch, but she won't do it upon request because she gets shy.
  • She also won't do this one on request, but Ellie can sing a couple verses of her favorite bedtime song "Hush little baby." Generally she just recycles the "mommy buy you diamond ring" verse, however, so we can see she's a toddler with expensive tastes already :)
  • Ellie can — and loves to — eat whole apples. She got into the cabinet where we stored our recent 30-pound haul of apples from the orchard trip and pulled one out for herself the other day. Luckily she got one that is slightly sweet and not a super-tart baking apple.
  • Speaking of eating, Ellie is testing our limits big time in trying to get treats and sweets... and the vacation week certainly didn't help, considering all of the ice cream, donuts and other unhealthy fare we indulged in. Beyond the occasional tantrums and arguments we have with Ellie on this front, she's developed this very cute way of asking for a treat. But recently she asks for a treat and if we seem to be considering the request she'll immediately amend her demands and ask for five! Not sure how she arrived at this new favorite number, but we haven't given in to any of the "five treats" requests yet... so maybe she'll lower her expectations soon.
  • She refers to all bugs as bees. Ellie alerted me to a spider crawling across the kitchen floor the other day by shouting "no, bee!" Luckily the spider was small enough that I was brave enough to kill it without calling in reinforcements (i.e. Brian).
  • Her imagination is running wild. Ellie comes up with pretend roles all on her own and we'll hear her acting things out with her baby dolls or the dogs or whatever object is closest. The other day she slung on her toy purse and yelled out "See you later, mommy. Bye-bye. I got swing." Good thing she hasn't mastered getting out the door on her own yet...
And on the marriage front, this past week of vacation helped Brian and I rediscover some simple joys in spending time together. In recent months we've been edgy and short with each other on numerous occasions, largely because of the stress that goes along with full-time jobs, parenting and trying to figure out family finances. And I have no illusions that our bickering is behind us forever... But this last week helped up reconnect. We laughed and cuddled on the couch for movie time and held hands and basically remembered how lucky we are to have each other and our kids and our families. Removing work stress from our lives for even a few days helped us both recharge and refocus. Hopefully we can hold on to some of this calm happiness as we return to our hectic schedules.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

One more

On our last stretch of driving through Indiana we stopped at Fair Oaks Farm, a huge dairy farm just off I-65, and got a break from the car ... and some ice cream. We didn't go through all of the exhibits and activities there because of the high ticket prices, but we will some day when we have more time to spend. It was a fun stop.
The rest of our vacation week has been a blend of work and play. We've had a ton of projects and chores "in the works" at our house for months now, and we finally put some of them to bed. We have new front steps railings installed, our garage is cleaned and organized, our oak room has been transformed from dumping ground into playroom for Ellie, and the downstairs bathroom remodeling project is... well, closer to being done.
Just to show that I'm not purely working Brian (and myself) to the bone, we've gotten out for some fun time, too. (Although Ellie thoroughly enjoyed helping us empty out the garage. Her part involved moving very small items and then playing with everything we dumped in the yard.) We've been to two parks in the past two days and shopped yesterday afternoon for Ellie's Halloween costume. She's going to be the cutest ladybug ever!
And, last but not least, all is going well with baby #2. As I wrap up Week 22, the baby is the size of a spaghetti squash and I'm feeling good -- and round :) He/she is kicking and moving so much these days, and those nudges and flutters are amazing to feel. Here's the latest:

At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Michigan travels (part 2)

From our time in Grand Haven!
I caught this shot of Ellie being sweet and holding Baby Charlie's hand. Charlie, Amanda and Ben's almost-5-month-old, was a doll and Ellie was a bit infatuated. She also was a bit jealous when Brian or I would hold him... but she's going to have to get used to sharing us a bit, so this was a great experience for her.
She loved sharing his play mat and even invited her babies and frog in, too.
Amanda (Hallermann, as she'll always be known to me...) went down the slide with both Ellie and her dog, Eddie!
And Ben got roped into pushing Ellie during one of her marathon swinging sessions. We had so much fun visiting these guys and hope to make it back to Michigan soon!

Michigan travels (part 1)

Here's a collection of pics from our visit to Michigan this past weekend. We did a combo trip to visit our former Lafayette neighbors (and friends!) in Traverse City, and we stopped on the way up and back in Grand Haven to see some rugby friends of mine from college.
These pics are from Sleeping Bear Dunes where we visited one evening at sunset.
Here's the old crew from next door on Park Avenue: Ben and Janet with sons Micah (left) and Isaac (right).
And the whole gang!

Ellie did really great during the travel time. We tried to time most driving during her naptimes, and she took advantage of it :)
We also hit a fabulous apple orchard while in Traverse City. It had a petting zoo, hayrides, a yummy restaurant and, of course, tons of apples for picking. Ellie ate 4 apples while we were there!

Family shot at the orchard

And here are a few pictures of Ellie and the boys playing back at the Whipple homestead. Even though she's been having trouble with sharing recently, Ellie did pretty good while surrounded by Isaac and Micah's toys. She especially loved their tool set and trains... we may have to get her some.