Friday, July 31, 2009

Best Buddies

Ellie has been telling me ever since Max was born that they are going to be best buddies, and so far I think it's true. She's a great helper with him, loves to kiss and tickle him, and he lights up when he sees her. I'm not sure that the best buddies thing will still be true in a few more months though, once he becomes mobile and starts to get into her things.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

My Baby Dinosaur

We headed to Cracker Barrel for dinner a few nights ago. It's always a little challenging to corral Ellie through the little store in the front of the restaurant to get to our table, and then keep her focused on eating. So our way of bribing her is that if she is a good girl and eats her dinner, then she can pick out one special thing in the store before we go home.

Of course she was a good girl, so her choice from the store was a dinosaur egg. When we got home I was reading the directions a little more closely and realized that it said it had to sit submerged in water for 36-48 hours before it would hatch....WHAT?!!!! 36-48 hours is an eternity for a 2 year old who is ready to play with her new treasure right away. Luckily she was in a patient mood that day, so we put it in the bowl of water and waited....and waited....and waited.

About 10 minutes into the waiting, I asked her, "Don't you want to get down from the stool? It's going to be a long time before the dinosaur hatches from the egg." Our sweet, little nurturer responded with, "No. I have to stay here. I gotta watch my egg or if it hatches it won't have a mommy."

She did eventually get down from the counter since the dinosaur was making such slow progress. By the next day, when the dino had just begun to break through the shell, Ellie's patience had just about come to an end, so Daddy helped it along the rest of the way. While it was a cool toy and a neat process to watch, I think we'll choose a different toy the next time we visit Cracker Barrel....probably a toy with immediate play potential.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How was your day?

So I picked Ellie up from school today, and as soon as she was buckled into her seat and we were driving off I started asking questions about her day....Did you have fun? What did you learn? Did you have circle time? Did you get to play on the playground? Do you know any of the kids names yet? Now mind you, this is only Ellie's second day of school, but I still couldn't help myself. Most of her answers were yes or no, and I began to realize how my parents must have felt when I'd come home from school to the proverbial "How was your day?" and my answer would always be "fine." Come on, Ellie, I just want a little information.

Eventually I came to a question that brought out a little more info..."Did you get along with everyone in your class?" Ellie's response was "the girl with the Elmo backpack hit me!" GASP! I immediately started with more questions to find out what happened or if it had been provoked (not by my little angel, HA!), but she insisted that she didn't do anything to her. The girl with the Elmo backpack just wanted to play with Ellie's toy. Now I know that this is completely normal, no one was really hurt, and we are still talking about young 2 1/2 -almost-3-year-olds, but I think I may have to hang around outside Ellie's class when I drop her off on Friday morning to catch a glimpse of the girl with the Elmo backpack.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Baby Smiles

Baby Ella told her mom and dad that she missed her Aunt Kate and her cousins, so they relented and brought her to visit us. She's getting into that cute, cuddly stage where she's starting to smile on demand. She gave the best smiles to her mommy, and I was lucky enough to catch a couple with the camera. And Ellie was happy to have another baby around to hug and squeeze.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fishing Derby

Ellie's cousins, Sophie and Anna Caroline, hosted a fishing derby at their new house on a beautiful, sunny July morning. Now Ellie has become quite the fishing expert after having caught lots of fish during our family vacation at the Lake of the Ozarks, so she was ready to once again try out her skills. Her little pink princess fishing pole didn't let her down and turned out to be the lucky fishing pole.

Ellie won the Derby with the biggest catch of the day...a catfish measuring 21 inches long and weighing approximately 4 pounds! Oh wait, I mean a giant catfish measuring 2 feet long and weighing 25 pounds....can you believe it?!!

We were a little concerned that her pole wouldn't be able to handle such a big fish, but it pulled through. Ellie wasn't too thrilled about touching the fish, so she let Papi do all the dirty work. He had to bait her hook with the stinky catfish bait, and even sacrificed his thumb to the mean catfish when taking him off the hook. But I still think Papi had a good time.

Ellie proudly posed with one of her other, smaller catches once the fish was lying still in the grass. And check out her cute t-shirt we happened upon the night before the Derby. In case you can't read it, it says "This is my fish" (with a picture of a BIG fish) and "This is grandpa's" (with a picture of a little fish). HA! It was too perfect!

After Ellie caught her second fish, we caught some video of her doing her "I caught another fish dance." Check it out below.

We had such a good time at the Senkel's new home. It is such a fun and beautiful place. While not fishing, Ellie was running around with her cousins, chasing ducks, playing with puppies, and playing with her new Barbie fishing/butterfly catching net (her first place prize for winning the Derby).

And where was Max during all this fun, you might ask? Snoozing or smiling, of course. He hung out in the chair or in someone's arms, and enjoyed being outside in the perfect 70 degree temperatures.

By the end of the morning, Ellie was a tired kid and done with fishing. What would we do without a strong Daddy shoulder to lean on?

Friday, July 17, 2009

First Day of School

Ellie has officially started preschool. She has been so excited to go to school and talks about it all the time. We had to go school shopping for a new backpack, folder, and notebook. She had a hard time choosing between Diego, Ni Hao Kai-Lan, or the Disney Princesses, but finally chose the pink Princesses backpack. The backpack is almost as big as she is. I love her little pose in the picture on the left and how proud of herself she baby girl is growing up (*tears*).

We had a "homework" assignment for the first day of school. Ellie had to decorate a paper doll any way she chose. She was super excited to sit at her "school" table and work on the homework. Do you see the tiny little hands she glued onto the doll?....Too cute!

It was such a beautiful day that Jason and I picked her up from school with McDonalds in the car. We went to a park, had lunch, and played. All in all, I'd say Ellie's first venture into the world of schooling was very successful. I hope she keeps her enthusiasm.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Exersaucer Fun

Recently, I found myself looking back at pictures of Ellie when she was the same age that Max is now....trying to remember what she was doing, how she was sleeping, what toys did she like, etc. I found some pictures of her in the exersaucer when she wasn't much older than 4 months (Max's age). When I mentioned this to Jason, he immediately went downstairs to pull the exersaucer out of the storage room. Jason cleaned it up, and we propped Max up in it with the help of a blanket for support. Max really seemed to enjoy it...he was able to push himself around with his legs and started exploring all the toys.

Thinking back, this is how Ellie started out too. We propped her up with the blanket, until her back and tummy muscles got a little stronger, but she was able to jump and move around in no time. Ellie spent lots of time in the exersaucer, and it looks like Max will be following in her footsteps.

By the way, I've been getting inspired by others' blogs and the editing they do on pictures, so I've decided to take a stab at it here -- starting with some simple editing and photo collages. Hopefully I'll be able to learn a thing or two about web design and update my boring blog.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Lake Week 2009

Oh, what fun we had at the Lake of the Ozarks this year. Ellie was only with us for the first 3 1/2 days then we made a quick trip back to St. Louis so she could hop on a plane to head out to Phoenix with Gran and Papi. So we had to make the most of the few days she was with us.
We headed back to Miner Mike's with her cousins since we had such a good time there last year. Emma, one of the older cousins, came with us and was such a big help in playing the games with the kids and riding the rides with them. Here Ellie, Kameron, and Emma are riding on the motorized horses (the same that would be in any grocery store, but are some how much more fun when you're on vacation).

Max just hung out in his stroller while the older kids played. He either snoozed or smiled the whole time...such a low maintenance kid.

Ellie and Jason enjoyed playing in the balls. Our little peanut, Ellie, was a wee bit too small to move very easily, and on more than one occasion we heard, "Help. I'm stuck in the balls," when she would climb into a ball pit in order to get to the next climbing area or slide area but wouldn't be able to make it through by herself.

Ellie proudly emerges from one of the complicated maze areas.

Ellie and Emma on the ferris wheel in the covered wagon cars.

Of course we once again had the family golf tournament. This year the tournament morphed from a strict couples scramble into a mixed 4-person scramble. We implemented the matching outfits rules a few years back, but this year was really something to see. We chose a Hawaiian theme for the whole tournament, then each 4-person team had a different take on the theme. The challenge was finding coordinating/matching outfits for all team members, since no actual couples were on the same team (which meant shopping for the outfits became more challenging). Although I think the final product was The golf course was so impressed with our outfits that they sent an employee out to take all of our pictures for their website.

As usual, there was lots of swimming in the pool and lake. Although there was a bit of an E coli outbreak at the Lake, which closed down all of the public beaches for a while before we got there, so I did my best to stay out of the lake and in the nice chlorinated pool.

We had a friendly, family competition of Rock Band one evening. Needless to say, some of the younger members of the family, namely Collin and Abby, showed up us "older" rockers. Our video game playing skills are not what they used to be, but boy, can those guys rock!

Ellie enjoyed the fishing with Papa and Daddy. She caught about ten fish during this outing. She was literally reeling in a fish on each cast.

And here is a lovely picture of the doofus brothers, i.e., Jason and Bryan. They were forced to make a trip to Wal-Mart on the first night we were in town, so they decided they needed to dress the part to fit in....When in Rome.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

4th of July

We spent the 4th with our good friends, the Steeles. We barbecued (between rain showers), lit some mild fireworks, and hung out.

The Steeles are high school friends of ours from Farmington, and it is great that we've all ended up living within a couple miles of each other in O'Fallon (although we still don't get to see each other often enough). Ellie and Alivia go to the same baby sitter one day a week, so it's fun to watch our girls growing up together.

Ellie enjoyed her sparkler.

The kids playing with fire...under adult supervision of course (if you can call Jason and Josh adults).

Jacob and Ellie..another older kid for Ellie to idolize.

Andrea and Alivia.

The whole crew watching from the driveway as Josh and Jason entertain us with an amazing fireworks spectacular...and by amazing I mean a couple things that spun around and jumped about 3 feet in the air. This was a very kid friendly show.

After the show, we all went to watch the O'Fallon fireworks, only to sit in our cars for 30 minutes till we found out the fireworks were postponed until the following evening because of rain. We were all disappointed, especially Ellie.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Captain Adorable

Max's little shirt says it all. We couldn't ask for a more pleasant or more adorable baby!