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.

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