Thursday, December 29, 2011

23 months

*We've taken potty training to the next level, and Ellie is doing great!! For the last 5 months we've given her "potty practice" and she was to the point of peeing in the potty every single time we put her on it. However, I hadn't had a chance to put her in undies to help her learn how to stay dry in between potty times. So, school ended Wed. and Thurs. we put her in the undies. Day 2 she was in about 8 different outfits, and then days 3-8 (today) she hasn't had any wet accidents at all! We're still putting her in diapers for nap and nighttime, and she doesn't like going #2 in the potty, but otherwise, she's doing great. We've even taken her out this week and she's gone on the big potties in a couple different stores! I'm still reminding her every 1-2 hrs (though she has told me a couple of times that she needs to go), but this is SO much better than changing diapers. :)

*Her vocabulary just blows me away. She is saying 5-word sentences and really communicating, even on the phone w/ grandparents.

*We've begun time-outs, about a minute and a half. It seems to help-- she got one for touching the tree/ornaments and then didn't touch it again.

*She calls us "Ellie's mommy" and "Ellie's daddy" often now, because she recognizes that other kids have a mommy and daddy too. I'll hear her call from the crib "Where did Ellie's mommy go?"

*Twinkle-twinkle is still a favorite song, especially before bed. When she sings along with us she knows many of the words. But, when she sings it on her own, to put her babies to bed, she sings "kinkle, kinkle, kinkle sar, how-I, how-I, how-I kinkle."

*We talk about the baby a lot now. She likes to put both hands on my bare belly and feel it, and will kiss it too. If we ask "Where's the baby?" she will either point to my stomach or her own. :)

*Her sleep schedule is still pretty much the same: 7 pm-7 am with a nap from 2-3:30 or 4 pm. She's still a great eater too and has gotten really good at feeding herself, even wiping up her chin/cheek with her spoon when she gets yogurt on it. I still call her my bottomless pit, and she weighs almost 30 lbs!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Keeper - Potato & Pork Soup

1 diced onion
2 tsp. butter
2 tsp. minced garlic
5 potatoes, peeled & diced
1 tsp. Better than Bouillon
1 lb. ground pork, browned
1/4 package frozen peas
1 c. heavy cream (maybe more... I just eyeballed all the ingredients until it looked good)
1/2 c. cheese
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. parsley

Saute onion in butter, add enough water to cover the potatoes and boil until tender. Add rest of the ingredients and let simmer.

Verdict: Oh my yumminess! It's hard to go wrong with such rich ingredients, but this was amazing, and very filling.

Monday, December 12, 2011


My grandmother, Mary Hudson, passed away at 83 years old this past Friday morning. I will be missing her viewing this evening and her funeral tomorrow morning because I'm 36 weeks pregnant and unable to fly. While I'm sad for this loss in our family, I'm happy for her. She suffered from Alzheimer's and has not been the same woman that we knew and loved for several years now.

I'm not exactly sure how tall Grandma was because she was actually shrinking in the last few years, but at 5'2" I pretty much towered over her! She shopped in the kid's section for clothes and sometimes could wear my hand-me-downs or my sister's. She probably only weighed about 80 pounds because she walked EVERYWHERE. Even on the muggiest, hottest days, Grandma could be seen walking around Boca and occasionally friends of mine would mention that they'd picked her up and given her a ride to work, home, or church.

My Grandma was a feisty, spunky Italian woman. Anyone who knew her well, knew that she loved to argue. She HATED to have her picture taken and most of our family get-togethers involved at least one heated argument about why my Dad shouldn't be taking her picture. (He would still sneak in candid shots whenever given the chance, which we're all grateful for now.)

My grandmother loved her grandchildren well. She had a special relationship with my brother, Will, and I still remember her playing what she called "sock ball" with him when she came to babysit us. For years she worked at 7-11, and every Tuesday on the way home from school we would pop in and immediately head to the freezer section, looking through the sodas to see if we could find Grandma back there. She'd come out and hug us and give us free Slurpies.

My older brother, Dan, loved to play practical jokes on Grandma- which was easy to do since she was extremely gullible, and it was so funny to get a reaction from her. So, there was the hot sauce incidence when he pretended to be putting seasoning on her spaghetti (which backfired big-time for Dan since my parents made him eat it), the fake slamming of the fingers in the trunk; and the never-ending hide-n-seek game where she thought she'd lost him since he was in an alcove above the shower.

One of my favorite recent memories of Grandma is from Christmas just a few years ago. My husband and I had given her a huge box of Belgium chocolates (about as long as she was as tall). In the hour or so that it took us to open presents as a family, Grandma had polished off the entire box. Every time we looked over she was sneaking another bite. She's been known to do the same with the remnants of a pie from Denny's as well. Needless to say, it's obvious that I come by my sweet tooth quite honestly.

While these short stories don't do my grandmother's life justice, they help me in a small way to process my love for her, and help me remember the great love she had for her family.

Love you and miss you, Grandma.
(Thanksgiving 2010)

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Third Trimester, round 2

The second half of this pregnancy has absolutely flown by! (I definitely could NOT say the same about the first half-- I basically spent the summer laying on the couch while watching Ellie entertain herself, pushing Ellie away from the toilet when I needed to puke, and just generally feeling lazy, tired, and nauseous. Plus, the nausea lasted about a month longer than it did with Ellie-- all the way to week 20!) Anyhow, it's hard to believe that I'm now in third trimester, and still feeling pretty darn good, especially compared with last time.

*I'm not nearly as uncomfortable as with Ellie- I carried her so high I felt like I couldn't breathe.
*I've had some heart episodes like last time, but no panic attacks since I now know that I have a harmless arrhythmia that is exacerbated by the extra blood flow in pregnancy.
*My back has not hurt at all. PRAISE THE LORD!! I have been so lax in exercising and haven't done my water aerobics or been to the chiropractor at all during this pregnancy, so it's all just GRACE.
*I've been sleeping well. With Ellie I would end up sleeping an hour on the couch, an hour downstairs in the recliner, an hour in bed, and then just rotate. I'd sit cross-legged on the couch with my head resting on the back of the couch and actually sleep like that because it was the only way to get comfortable with my back pain. This week was the first time I slept on the couch for a couple of hours, but it was more due to pregnancy insomnia and having a lot on my mind than actually being uncomfortable.
*We actually got some maternity pics this time (taken at week 28)!
*I'll be full term in like SIX weeks. Yikes. SO much that needs to happen between now and then (wrapping up both part-time jobs for maternity leave), but I am SOOOO excited to hold our baby boy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

21 Months

Here are some of my favorite Ellie-isms lately:

*She's so polite and often says "dak-oo" (thank you) to me even if I'm just walking by and stroking her hair or handing her a drink. She also says "shoo-me" (excuse me) if she wants to get by, or if she burps. :) And, she totally melts my heart when she says "Wuh-loo...Mommy" (love you). I love the little pause in her new "sentences."

*She's obsessed with her new owl jammies. I hear her saying "Hi, Owl!" from her crib in the morning. (Love how she talks to inanimate objects!)
*She is quite the extrovert. Every morning I hear her going through her list of friends (people she sees at church, school, family members, etc.). She's been known to ask "Amy...soon?" at least 50 times in a given day.
*She's been sleeping a solid 12 hours at night (7 pm to 7 am) and most days takes a 2 hour nap (2 -4 pm). Of course, this bliss is probably about to come to a end as we get ready to transition to a toddler or twin bed this weekend (so baby brother can use the crib in a few months).

*She's really into reading lately and often says "Mommy... sit" while patting the floor next to her. Then she'll say "lap" and back herself up into my almost non-existent lap. Favorite books right now are "Nernie" for The Sesame Street ABC Book and "shool-ee" for Grover Takes Care of Baby (which has a picture of a stroller on the front).

*She says "Uuuhhhh, no." Most of the time this is pretty funny, like "Um, let me think about" Unless, of course, she's disobeying and not doing something I asked, then, not-so-cute.

*She sings "Uppa, uppa, uppa, GUY" (translation: "up above the world so high") while rocking her baby to sleep. This video was taken about a month ago, but she can sing the entire tune perfectly now.

*Potty training is going well and I honestly think that if she wasn't in the school nursery 20 hours/week and I could actually try putting her in underwear that she'd be trained by now. Most of the time she LOVES going and sitting in there (chocolate chips = great incentive!) and is now to the point where she's sometimes telling me "po-lly". She pees in the potty multiple times a day, but doesn't yet keep her diaper dry.

*She has conversations with her stuffed animals or babies and I'll frequently hear her say, "Yeah, Oh-kaay," like she's agreeing with whatever they've just "told" her. I also love it when she says "Wooow....pree-lly."

*She started counting "one, two, free!" last week. Most of the time she's gets a bit confused and says "one, two, one" or "free, two, free". We think she really gets the concept of two though because when we give her one yogurt or one chocolate chip, she immediately says "Two?"
Man, I love this kid. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

20 Months

*Ellie has over 70 words now...I'd been keeping track on a spreadsheet out of curiosity, but now in one day she can say as many as four new words! Yesterday as I was giving her a snack she said pointed into the kitchen and said "working" clear as day--referring to her Daddy who was indeed working in the kitchen. :)

*In the last week she started putting 2 words together. It started w/ "Bye, Daddy", but she's beginning to generalize to other 2 word phrases now as well like "more...cracker".

*Current favorite snack is crackers & peanut butter, or apples & peanut butter.

*She took a 3-wk hiatus from being interested in the potty, so yesterday we decided to give one chocolate chip just for sitting on the potty to renew interest. Lo and behold! In less than a minute she had pee'd in the potty! Then, an hour later, she did it again, and today, again.

*Her current favorite song is the wheels on the bus. She makes her fingers go around and says "whee, whee, whee". My favorite verse for her to sing is the "babies on the bus go wa-wa-wa" 'cause she makes the funniest little fake-sad face. (Still need to catch this on video!)

*She's obsessed with bikes. She also loves cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, and buses, but she is absolutely infatuated with bikes (she is her father's daughter, for sure!).

*She runs everywhere, with great purpose and is starting to learn how to jump. She doesn't actually get airborne, but she's close! She also loves walking backwards and gets a very proud look on her face while doing so.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Win a MacBook Air...

Win a MacBook Air from Accordance
[and clicking on the link increases my odds...:)]

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Soup

1 onion
1 Tbsp. butter/olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 can pureed pumpkin
1 c. water
1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. shredded cheese (colby jack was good)
salt & pepper to taste
nutmeg (optional)

Saute onion in butter or olive oil 'til tender, then add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10 min.

This is surprisingly filling, but would be great w/ grilled cheese or garlic bread.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Girl or Boy?

Mommy: Do you think the baby is a girl or a boy?
Ellie: Buh.
Mommy: Do you think the baby is a boy or a girl?
Ellie: Guh.
(Notice in each case it was the last thing she heard that she repeated.)
Mommy: Do you think the baby is a girl?
Ellie: Yeah.
Mommy: Do you think the baby is a boy?
Ellie: Yeah.

Hmmm, gender confusion, much? :)

We find out this Tuesday!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Random cuteness

* Ellie loves to pretend that she is eating (still her favorite activity). She opens one hand, palm up, and "picks" something from it with her other hand to put either in her mouth or my mouth, saying "ummm" after each "bite". She came up with this all on her own!

* The girl loves to hug, and gives GREAT hugs. She'll wrap her little arm around my neck and press her cheek right next to mine (*melt my heart*).

* She's started "reading" to herself. I'll catch her with a book going "Ah-bit-tib-it-ibah. Yeah!"

* She's had 5 potty-time successes! She's loves just sitting on the potty, and reading/singing/talking for up to about 10 min at a time (great improvement from when we started about 3 wks ago). Mostly the successes are due to Mommy noticing a dry diaper after a nap, or a particular face she is starting to make... but two times she has actually told me she wants to go!!!

* The answer to EVERYTHING right now is "Yeah". "Ellie, do you speak German?" "Yeah." "Ellie, am I the best Mommy in the whole world?" "Yeah." :)
(I realize that soon she will probably go through a "no" phase too, so I'm quite content to hear "yeah" for now.) Currie & I are having fun asking her all sorts of ridiculous questions just to hear her little answer. :)

*She is singing more and more. Last night we had our community group over and I was whispering her bedtime story to her while people shared their requests. Then she started singing "Ba-ba-ba.... Da-da-da...." (her version of Up above the world so high...). Without me saying a word, someone said, "Is she singing Twinkle-Twinkle?" It was the most recognizable she's sung it yet!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tomatoey-Basil Yumminess

Lately my favorite way to cook is just to make things up as I go and eyeball how much/little of something to put in. The problem with this is that when I try to replicate it, often I can't get it quite the same and it never ends up living up to my memory of the original yumminess.

Tonight I made a tomato-basil pasta that was delish (may have something to do with the fact that this is only the 3rd day I haven't been nauseous in NINE weeks and pasta was a definite no during that time!). Here's an approximate recipe so I can make it again:

-2 Tbsp butter
-1 onion (diced)
-2 tsp minced garlic
-1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
-1/3 cup white wine
-1 tsp Better Than Bouillon (chicken)
-2 sprigs fresh basil (sliced)

Saute onions and garlic in butter. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 min. Serve over whole wheat penne pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

BabyB2.0: 16 weeks!

Well, the official announcement (everyone knows it's only official once it's on Facebook) took place about a month ago, but here are the pictures anyways.

We announced to our family while we were in FL for Ana's graduation. Currie took a family picture and said "Say cheese", then he took another one and said "Say Abby's pregnant". Everyone was quiet and probably confused, plus I don't think everyone heard him, but eventually it started clicking and we got this reaction. :)

And, here's what the baby bump currently looks like at 16 weeks:

Four weeks from today we find out what we're having!!! :) A

Saturday, July 23, 2011

18 Months

The ticker at the top of this page says my baby is 18 months old today! To celebrate this milestone, this morning we went for donuts. We gave Ellie her own cake donut with one, pink candle and then sang "Happy Half-Birthday to You". I think we may have to keep up this little tradition for all future half-birthdays.

This afternoon we had her portraits done. They turned out great (which makes it SO hard to choose only the poses our budget will allow)! As per the photographer's suggestion, we took some of her favorite toys: her white bear and her basket of veggies. This helped SO much. It kept her busy and the lady was able to capture some real "Ellie" poses. (The picture below is not one of them, but she is cuddling her white bear.)

I feel like Ellie is doing so much now and gaining so much independence so quickly that I hardly know where to begin! Of course, if I had blogged even once in the last 5 months I wouldn't be in such a pickle. So, settle in for a loooong post, people, in the format of random items that I love about my Little Honey, or just things I don't want to forget. Don't worry though, if you stick with me 'til the end of the post, I'll reward you with an adorable video. :)

*She loves to hold my hand when we pray for our food, and always says mee-maw for amen. Lately she uses the other hand to cover her eye when I say Close your eyes.

*She loves to put on her winter hat! Who cares that there's a heat advisory going on and that it makes her little head sweat while she's playing inside, but she loves the darn thing. Typical Ellie is her with this little hat on, her purse slung over her shoulder, and her white bear stuffed under her armpit. :)

*She LOVES for us to sing The Itsy-Bitsy Spider and tries wholeheartedly to do the hand motions. She's also started singing herself recently and is experimenting with getting louder.

*She points to anything and everything and says Eh! at least six thousand times a day. I have to constantly remind her to say it, or sign it, or I play the guessing game as to what she wants. I think she will be SOOO happy to be able to talk, because she obviously has a lot to say.

*I've been using the family calendar that I made to teach her everyone's names. So far she can say Dee Dee, Papa, Will (W-uhl), Nene, Dan, Addie (Ah-duh), and, by far her favorite one to say of all, Eli (E-ya!!). I have caught her several times leaning on the coffee table, studying it herself. Other new words include water (wah-wer) and apple (ah-pul).

*She's becoming more and more independent in the eating department. We've been reluctant to let her "have at it" because neither of us likes to be messy. But now she can successfully use her little fork to eat sausage & scrambled eggs, she likes to have crackers and cheese in her little compartmentalized tray, and tonight she was delighted to discover that she could dip her fries in ketchup!

*We're in the beginning phases of potty training. We bought Ellie a potty chair and a doll that wets and has her own potty chair, we've been reading books from the library about going potty, we let her run around w/o a diaper so that I can monitor her patterns and so she can figure out what's happening, etc. The first time she peed on the floor she looked down like What just happened?! Why would she know? It always happens in her diaper... She does point to her diaper now immediately when she wants it changed. All good signs!!

*As of today, my baby is completely weaned. I think I would be much sadder if I didn't know that she was completely ready (we were down to just the morning feeding and she's been more and more distracted and ready to play). Also, I know that in 6 months I'll have another little mouth to feed, which makes the weaning a bit easier. Still, I had to really force myself to make the break today and her 18-month milestone was a tangible goal in my mind. (Though writing this is now bringing the tears as I process the finality of the whole thing). Truth be told, I am really going to miss those precious times of holding and cuddling.

*She still takes two naps: 1-2 hours in the morning and about 1 hour in the afternoon (on a good day...sometimes she just likes to skip a nap altogether to keep us guessing). She's still a solid 11 hour sleeper at night, going to bed at 8 and getting up at 7. (This may be changing...this past week she's let us sleep in 'til about 8:15 one morning!!)

And, now, because you've earned it: An Adorable Video:

Friday, May 20, 2011

15 months (& 3 weeks)

Busy, busy, busy! This little girl practically runs from one end of the room to the other, stopping for less than a minute to sling a purse over shoulder, page through a book, explore what's in her diaper bag, or tuck a stuffed animal under her armpit.

She continues to be a little chatterbox, jabbering away in Ellie-ese!
words: hi, bye, baby, dada, mama, papa, uh-oh, ‘nana, boo, and ball.
signs: hi, bye, eat, more, milk, up, all done, bath, thank you, drink/water, help, I love you, yucky, yes, and no.
She points to things constantly and either says "eh" or makes the "more" sign to help us figure out what she wants. For instance, she'll point to her coat, make the "more" sign, and say "bye". Beyond this, she is understanding so much more than she's saying. Last week when we left her w/ a babysitter, we explained what was going to happen and she waved and said "bye" to us on our way out the door (much better than the tears I was expecting)!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Something to think about:

(okay, so I've found a new direction to express my nerdy-ness, but it's funny!)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I love teaching in a Charlotte Mason school

Today I listened to this in preparing to teach my 3-year olds about American Robins. I even discovered that American Robins and European Robins are completely different birds, w/ different scientific names. (Don't laugh, I'm new at this, folks!)

I came across this beautifully illustrated book: The King of the Birds. The back page is a key that lists the 48 different birds that are illustrated on page 12 of the book. Absolutely gorgeous. (I keep an Amazon wish list for Ellie because I come across so many great living books in our school library.)

I read up on Mary Cassatt in this book, looking specifically at this painting. Last week the kids had fun lounging like this Little Girl in a blue chair that I brought in from the office. Their imitations of her expression were priceless (next year I'll bring my camera)!

In short, I love the fact that as I plan my lessons for this week I am learning right along with the kids; what better way to spend a morning while Baby Girl takes her nap?!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Little Miss Chatterbox

I think we're in for it. The last couple of hours went something like this:

Thursday, March 03, 2011

It's all happening so fast!

This month I feel like someone pulled a lever that has propelled us into Full Speed Ahead; Ellie is doing so many new things these days I can hardly keep up!

*signs more, eat, up, and all done (the last is always accompanied by taking off her bib)
*has taken a few very timid "baby" steps without holding on (I've seen it twice about a week apart); she can walk just fine holding onto my pinky, but is just very reluctant to let go

*covers her own eyes to play peek-a-boo
*rocks her baby back and forth when I sing rock-a-bye-baby
can crawl up stairs and go down them backwards (her daddy taught her this)
*is stuck on the word bobby- not sure if she just likes the sound it makes or if she's trying to say bunny or something, but she has said it a hundred times this week!
*LOVES to say uh-oh; I think she purposely drops things so she can have a reason to say it!
*greets everyone we pass in the grocery store with an enthusiastic Hi!!
*has gotten super cuddly w/ me b/c she's hit full-on Stranger Anxiety phase and I just eat it up!
*immediately looks around for Bunny when I get her up from her nap, and then shows her to me, then kisses her multiple times on the nose (*adorable*)
*identified where mommy's nose is for the first time yesterday
*screamed Dada! when Currie walked into the room tonight!

She is such a little munchkin, and I just love her to pieces!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

My One-Year-Old!

It's high time for an Ellie update! Some of these things she's been doing for at least a month, but I'll record them anyway since my posting has been rather infrequent and since I haven't been keeping a traditional baby book:

*waves bye-bye and started saying "bye-bye" this week (especially when I hang up the phone)

*favorite activity has been taking things in and out (and in, and out, repeat ad naseum - I discovered coffee tins are great for this!)
*can put the stacking rings on/off by herself
*can put the shapes into her toy, with Mommy's help to find the right shape first
*says "baby" when she sees her baby doll or another baby; hugs, squeezes, and pats baby

*her menu options increased drastically the week before her bday; now she can eat almost anything we eat (still haven't tried nuts or honey) - this girl still LOVES to eat and doesn't refuse anything!!
*holds her spoon to feed herself, then returns it to the bowl for Mom to fill the spoon again
*uses her whole hand to "help" get food into her mouth (This is the messiest she's every been...normally she is very neat! Doesn't she look pleased. as. punch. in this picture?!)

*reaches out for mommy or daddy (she's been super snuggly lately)
*puts her hand up to her mouth to blow kisses
*gives kisses and leans in to touch your cheek (just not simultaneously yet!)

*starts clapping her hands when she hears me sing "If you're happy and you know it..."
*cruises around the room and crawls to get across the room
*helps to dress herself; pulls her shirt down over her head and offers each arm for her sleeves
*her top left tooth came in (and, she's discovered she can bite, AHEM. Ouch.)

*said "goodbye" to the paci this week; this was super hard for me to let go of, mostly because I feel like she's growing up too fast, and that somehow she won't be my baby anymore, but I do feel we made the right decision for her. Currie has so much trouble with insomnia and remembers hating sleep as a child; we wanted to do whatever we could to prevent her from having difficulty sleeping and we'd heard taking it away sooner will prevent her becoming dependent on it. (Today is day 4 sans paci. Naps have been difficult, but she went to bed no problem last night and tonight.)

*And, finally, a gratuitous picture Just Because.
I cannot resist her adorable dimples in this one!