Thursday, June 28, 2012

Baby goats

The baby goats were born this past weekend at the neighborhood zoo. Ellie was more than a little excited to see them on a visit this week. I had to explain to her that it's not nice to chase or try to ride the goats. So perhaps she was more thrilled to see them than they were to get the visit... but Katie and I were nice to them.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Olivia's party

Ellie helped celebrate Olivia's 3rd birthday a couple weekend's ago. The pair spent hours together in Olivia's backyard pool... and both slept very well that night :)
These girls are way too cute together. Knowing that Ellie will be going back to school with Olivia makes my transition back to work much easier.

Both Ellie and Katie gave the Dora sunglasses that came in the party favor bag a trial run.
Very Hollywood.

Back to work

That's where I'm going. Starting July 16 I'll be heading back to the Journal & Courier full-time as the local editor. I'll manage a staff of about eight reporters and oversee most of the local content going into the daily newspaper. It's a big job and not one I had imagined doing at the age of 30. It's a big step up in my career. And I'm looking forward to it! But that doesn't mean I had an easy time deciding to take the job.
The two most obvious reasons that I almost said no to the offer are: Ellie and Katie. I love, love, love spending my days with the girls. We've had a lot of fun the past four, almost five, months, and I hope the "adventures" we've gone on almost every day have meant as much to Ellie and Katie as they have to me. It's going to be hard to go a whole workday without hearing any of Ellie's random sayings or seeing a Katie smile. But when Brian and I mulled over the pros and cons of this job opportunity we found a lot of reasons that I should say yes. Probably the most important ones are: we feel good about the experiences the girls can gain from being at a great day care center (which we've found) and I think I can do a great job and advance my career in this position. If I'd said "no" to the offer now there was no way of telling when and if the opportunity would present itself again.
It was a hard decision. It's going to mean a lot of big changes for all of us. But I'm hoping that the majority of them are positive. And over the next few weeks I'll be stockpiling quality time with Ellie and Katie!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rockford trip

 Another belated post with just a couple pics from the trip Ellie, Katie and I took to Rockford a few weeks back when Brian was on a business trip. We had a great visit and hit the Discovery Center in town, twice :) So much for Ellie to do there, we barely scratched the surface.
And the part I was most worried about -- the drive, seeing as I had no other adult back-up on the highway -- went pretty well. We had to make several unscheduled stops in each direction, but Katie and Ellie were troopers. Great to see grandma and Aunt Jen and Uncle Dan!

Happy daddy

 A belated happy father's day post to celebrate Brian, an amazing dad and husband. We had a pretty low-key holiday weekend in which Brian did most of the cooking, only because he wanted two of his specialties -- smoked ribs and breakfast crepes. Below is Ellie "helping" in the process :) We love this guy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hanging with Olivia

Here's a few overdue pics from a day recently when we watched Ellie's friend Olivia while her parents had to work a Saturday. The girls had so much fun together... too much fun, in fact, and both skipped nap time. But it was super cute to watch them read stories together and use bubble cups and generally act like toddler BFFs. I didn't get any pictures of it, but we checked out a kite flying event with the girls and did a picnic lunch. At the park there were people giving out free Dilly bars from DQ. We said the girls could each have one and then realized the ice cream bars were about the size of their heads! Luckily(?) about half of each ice cream bar melted into the grass during the eating process. It was hilarious to watch and very, very sticky to clean up.

Doggy tale

Our week started off on a gross note when Brian discovered Muzzy having a diarrhea* problem (in the dining room... on the rug) first thing Monday morning. About an hour later I found myself walking into the vet's office with Muzzy's leash and Ellie's hand gripped tightly in the right hand, and Katie's car seat and a baggy of dog poo in my left hand. Quite a precarious juggling act. Luckily nothing was dropped in the process. Muzzy was diagnosed with allergies (which has been causing her excessive itching) and normal GI stuff, which we think might be caused by her getting into the veggie garden and swiping green tomatoes off the plants. She's on meds for both issues now. Glad nothing too serious is wrong with her, but it sure made for a disgusting and hectic Monday.
Ellie was thrilled by the outing and Muzzy's illness. She hasn't stopped talking about diarrhea since, and she gave Muzzy a stern talking to about the fact that dogs are supposed to do that in the grass and not in the house. She also enjoyed watching mom troll through the back yard to find a Muzzy sample to bag up for the vet. That task required a bit more detective work than I cared for since I didn't want to accidently take Radar's in for examination and I hadn't seen Muzzy in the act. Not fun.
A very nice tech at the vet's office also let Ellie "help" during our visit. She escorted another client and their dog into one of the rooms, helped swipe mom's credit card in the machine and brought my receipt out from behind the counter. Basically Ellie can't wait to go back to the vet. But Muzzy and I are both fine with waiting a bit before we make that journey again.

*Sorry if this is too gross a story but our lives these days are filled with so much poo and puke that I had to share the wealth... luckily not literally ... with all you readers :)

Monday, June 18, 2012


I remembered to dig out the pail and shovel on a recent trip to the park, so Ellie had a blast playing in the massive sandbox.

Much to my surprise, our anti-sharing toddler allowed this older girl to play with her stuff! They played together pretty cute for a while and then the toys wound up being passed along to several other children during the park visit. I was glad to see Ellie take a break from her tyrant ways :)

Random fun

Here's Ellie modeling some new shorts (though I'm pretty sure they're boy ones -- oops!), and blowing bubbles using her fancy bubble cup craft we made on a recent trip to the library storytime.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Trike ridin'

Maybe she's a late-bloomer, but Ellie just now finally getting the hang of riding her trike without mom or dad pushing from behind. Well, sort of getting the hang of it... :)

Park with Lucy

A couple of recent shots of Ellie at the park and zoo with her neighborhood friend Lucy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Big and little

I put both girls in their big and little sister shirts the other day, so an impromptu photo session ensued. Katie hasn't been subjected to quite the same paparazzi treatment from me that Ellie did at her age... but she's still getting good at smiling for the camera :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weekend fun

Ellie had quite a fun-filled weekend this past one back in Lafayette. We had two dinner dates -- one with Colin and his parents, and another with Olivia and her parents. The kiddie picnic table was the star attraction for Ellie and Colin at our barbecue on Sunday.
And E and O went over to the zoo's bedtime story program after pizza on Friday night. They wore their jammies and got to hear stories about bugs before holding some huge critters. Ellie was fearless while I was halfway across the room in terror.

Oh, and Ellie's babies and monkey also got some outdoor time this weekend when they learned how to climb our pear tree. Doesn't look entirely safe... 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Memorial Day weekend

I'll have to put this post into the category of "Better late than never"... We had a great Memorial Day weekend down in St. Louis. Ellie probably had the most fun since she got to ride a pony, and a train and a ferris wheel. Oh my. What a lucky girl. Most of these pics are from our visit to Eckert's orchard on Saturday, where we bought fresh peaches and let Ellie go a little nuts. She loved the Ellie-sized cart in the shop.
And she stalked great-grandma through the store... and kept sticking items in carts that we had to fish out before the checkout line.

The pony ride was a HUGE hit!

And here we are framing Katie for our ice cream indulgence at Bobby's — a custard establishment in Maryville.
And here's grandma giving Ellie some love at the ice cream shop.
Great-grandma giving Ellie some love at our breakfast out at Steak N Shake...
Grandma giving Katie some love at the house...
AND, Ellie giving daddy a "haircut" for about 30 minutes one of the afternoon :)

Katie 4 months

Took Katie in for her 4 month check-up today and she got great marks! She's up to the 50th percentile for weight (13 lbs, 14 oz) and height (24.5 inches)... and she's in the 80th percentile for head size. I was so happy to go in for the doc's appointment just to affirm that Katie's doing as great as we think she is. Nice to get that medical opinion. But when the doctor asked for additional questions, we didn't have anything bugging us. I feel like we're so much more confident and relaxed with Katie, as compared to when Ellie was a baby. Obviously there are still difficult times and we aren't experts... but so much of the baby stuff feels easier this second time around. Hope I didn't just jinx us.
Here's what Katie is up to at 4 months:
  • Smiling and laughing. She's such a happy, happy girl. Love to make her grin.
  • Grabbing anything she can get ahold of, especially mom's hair. I will be wearing lots of ponytails this summer. It's fun to see her hold onto toys now, and it helps keep her occupied a little better when we can't hold her.
  • Sleeping through the night. Our little girl is a great sleeper (knock on wood). For the past few weeks she's been going about 8 hours each night between feedings, however we don't get that long a stretch of sleep because she wakes up several times wanting her pacifier back in. While this is frustrating we know that Katie is doing great at night overall, so we try not to complain. Last night she only woke up once needing the pacifier replaced, so I'm hoping that's a positive sign.
  • Growing, growing. Katie had grown out of almost all of her 0-3 month clothes now. The skinny little bird legs she had the first couple months have turned into chunky, thunder thighs. We love it! She's getting about half breastmilk and half formula in the weird nursing and supplementing balance we've struck. It seems to be working :)
  • Rolling over... a few times. She's not doing is consistently, but Katie has rolled from front to back several times. Nothing so far in the other direction but I'm sure it will come. I recall Ellie being a bit lazy with hitting this milestone, too.
  • "Talking." Katie loves to hear her own voice these days and often chimes in with "ooohs" and "ahhhhs."
  • Drooling and blowing bubbles. Our girl is very drool-y these days and I think I can see some white in her top gum where a first tooth may be getting ready to make an appearance. She also loves to blow bubbles and generally make whatever outfit she's wearing very soggy.
  • Puking. Katie has a lot of spit-up these days. Ellie loves when she spots it first and eagerly runs to get a towel to wipe off Katie's face and shirt. Mom and dad are slightly less excited about it, especially when it lands in our hair or ruins a shirt when we're trying to get out of the house. But as Ellie would say, "It's OK."
  • Kicking. Katie loves to move her legs and feet, so there must be some muscles hiding under all of her leg rolls. She's great at kicking out of any blankets we wrap her up in overnight, which doesn't help when we're trying to keep a pacifier propped in her mouth. Should pay off for her future sports endeavors, though.
  • Being cute and chill. While she's a very relaxed baby overall, Katie has no shortage of facial expressions. She cracks us up every day. And if it's possible Brian and I love her even more today when we did the day she was born.