Monday, July 30, 2012

Excitement is building...

For Ellie's third birthday. As part of my column this week, I did a short video interview with Ellie on turning 3. Here's the link:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fun run?

After building the anticipation all week for Ellie's participation in her first kids "fun run" this past Saturday, the whole thing fell spectacularly apart. We're not quite sure what happened. Ellie was very excited as she lined up at the start line with Brian (while I parked down the road with Katie to get pics)... but by the time the starting horn sounded Ellie burst into tears and decided not to run. We couldn't get an explanation, but I'm guessing she was either overtired at that point or the horn scared her. I couldn't help taking a couple pictures anyway because who among us hasn't felt like crying during exercise time, right?

At least we got a decent family shot before the race :) Brian was plenty sweaty because he ran 6 miles before start time (to squeeze in his weekend distance despite our busy schedule)... and then he pushed the stroller while I ran near the front of the pack and got a new PR! Beat my last 5K time by about 90 seconds. Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sprinkler baseball

At an impromptu BBQ recently we put out the sprinkler for Ellie and Olivia, and busted out a new baseball set. The girls had a great time! (And so did the dads...)

Freeze pops capped off a pretty great afternoon :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

After weeks and weeks of laziness, Katie seems to finally be interested in rolling over on a consistent basis. I was playing with her on the floor Sunday afternoon and she did it a half dozen times! What a big girl :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Ellie constructing her own Mt. Everest, with the help of her stool :)
Our big girl has had a pretty good re-start at day care this week. Her teacher tells me that she has an answer for everything (no surprise there) and she's making friends quickly. She is a bit clingy with me at drop-off, but I don't think it lasts long after I leave since there are so many cool activities and toys to distract her. I'm missing her (and Katie) during my long days at work, but I've made it home before Ellie's bedtime each of the past 2 nights and will have some time with the girls the next 2 mornings before heading in to work more of an afternoon-evening shift at the newspaper. All in all, we're making this new arrangement work.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I just happened to get this pretty hilarious progression of shots when capturing moments from one of the girls' baths last week. Ellie doesn't mind sharing toys with Katie at bath time...
... but I almost lost Katie in the mess. She doesn't seem to mind :)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wrapping up leave

Today is my last day home with the girls before I start work full-time again Monday. As I expected, I'm an emotional mess as I worry about how Ellie and Katie will react to the new day care and how I will acclimate to the new job. But we've packed a lot of fun in this past week — and the past 5 months. Here are some of my favorite pictures of my time with the gals.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Cereal and jumping

We introduced Katie to her first food this week: Rice cereal!
As you can see, Ellie was front-and-center for the affair. She really wanted to try Katie's cereal and I finally said 'yes' thinking that it would taste gross to her.... but unfortunately she liked it! Now I've just had to tell her it's only for babies.
Katie's not too sure what she thinks of it all :)
But she loves her jump-a-roo! More to come on her jumping activities, including video at some point I'm sure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trip to the ocean

What an adventure we had last week! We headed out on June 30 for a 15-hour drive to the Outer Banks in North Carolina... little did we know (because we hadn't caught any news from that morning) that a storm traveling ahead of us had knocked out power in most of West Virginia and Virginia. We arrived at our hotel for the night and discovered no power and no gas in town. We had just enough gas to make it to the next major town, where the hotel we had booked at the last-minute also had no power. Luckily Brian was able to race across town and gas from one of the few stations there with fuel remaining. But we still had no where to stay for the night. After dozens of calls to hotels by us and other family members, my mom booked us a room at a possibly sketchy place near Richmond, Va. We made it there after 10 p.m. with an infant in the back seat who was beyond the end of her rope. Ellie was tired, but the endless stream of Dora shows we'd allowed her during the drive seemed to quell her nerves. Honestly I don't think Ellie had any idea that things had been heading south for the start of our trip, and mom and dad were close to a panic for most of the afternoon and evening. I suppose it's better that way... and this will all make for a great story for her some day. We all happily crashed for the night (in a Roadway Inn that turned out to be not-too-scary), and started fresh the next day. All week I had a hard time complaining too much about our trials on the drive easy because hundreds of thousands of people across that area were left without power for much of the week, while we joined most of my family at a beach house for the holiday week. The sweltering heat we endured was certainly countered by the proximity we had to the ocean. I feel for the people who had to last days without air conditioning during that crazy heat wave. Our whole trip was amazing despite the rocky start and intense heat during the week. Lots of love and thanks to the family we got to share it with!
(Above) This about sums up the hotel stay that first night. (Below) Here's Katie trying to keep cool after taking a dip in the ocean :)

 Cousins! Ellie, Katie and Mason.
 Freeze pop time.

 Happy 4th of July!

 Ellie being fearless in the pool. After a lesson the first day from daddy, she would jump into the arms of anyone willing to catch her!

 I tried just about everything during the week to take Katie with us to the beach while keeping her cool and out of the sun. Given temps around 100 all week, though, Brian and I spent most of the days taking turns bringing her back to the house to cool off and nap. "Vacation" with two small children certainly is different, with our activities needing to be scheduled around naps and hours spent applying sunscreen and packing for or bathing after the beach trips. But it was all worth it when we got to see our little fish Ellie splashing in those waves!

 The group! Ben, Candice, Chris, Maggie, Dan, Jen and Mason, Brian, Ellie and me. (Katie was up at the house with grandma.) An unforgettable week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Katie: 5 months

Who's 5 months, me? Katie is curious about everything these days, at least with her eyes and whatever she can reach with her hands. Not on the move yet, but she's taking in everything around her all the time. Here's her list of 10 for the month:
1. Talking, loudly and a lot! It's so fun to hear her, and she's doing a good job competing with Ellie to be the center of attention. If we don't respond to her in a timely fashion the volume and urgency only increases. Smart girl.
2. SO close to rolling over. She's done it a few times but not with any regularity... just like Ellie at this age. Apparently neither of our girls feels any rush to hit those mobility milestones. I'm much less nervous about Katie's slowness because Ellie certainly made up time (and then some). Katie's still working on it and I'm sure she'll be there shortly.
3. Getting ready to start cereal. We decided not to rush into food even though the doctor gave us the go-ahead at her 4-month appointment. But when we're back from our beach vacation at the end of this week we'll probably get her going on cereal. Pics to come :)
4. Making mealtimes difficult. This girl is interested in anything BUT her bottle when feeding time comes around. I call it "extreme feeding" because Katie whips her head around and is constantly trying to grab the bottle and winds up pulling it out of her mouth... then she gets mad... we're still working on the concept of cause-and-effect with her. (But judging by her chunky thighs Katie is still getting plenty of nourishment despite the challenges.)
5. Speaking of challenges, I'm still carrying on with some nursing and pumping for Katie's feedings. She's getting a majority now of formula... but I'm able to give her some each day and that makes me happy. Hoping to continue in some capacity when I'm back at work full-time, but we'll see how it goes.
6. Grabbing. Katie is great at getting ahold of almost anything in reach these days... towels, clothes, toys, mom's hair. She loves it all.
7. Teething. As you see from the "eating her fist" shot below, Katie is trying to gnaw on a lot of stuff these days. She's got at least one tooth on it's way in. She's had a bit of a rough time with it but hopefully the fussy time is lessening. Poor girl.
8. Smiling! Our girl is happy and smiling most of every day, when she's not asleep anyway. It's impossible not to smile when you see her face light up.
9. "Standing" on her own two legs, with a bit of balancing assistance from mom or dad. Her favorite position is upright since she's trying to see everything around her. I love to see her legs getting stronger.
10. Finding amusement in her big sister. Ellie is a great big sister and often goes to get Katie toys or a pacifier. She also talks, sings and makes weird noises at Katie... which brings big grins to Katie's face. I love watching this sister bond grow.

Only hardcore Katie fans will probably make it through this video since it's very long ... but I promise she does eventually roll over! (She does it on her own but I have to tickle her side to get her to flail her leg back and get the final roll. Cheating? I think not.)