Tuesday, December 6, 2011


As soon as Thanksgiving passed, we shifted gears drastically. Time to get ready for Christmas, and time to get ready for our newest family member! David had to work the day after Thanksgiving, and he surprised us with our first real Christmas tree! It makes me smile every time I come in the house to smell the fresh pine. We moved Ellie into Joshua's room, and the transition has been pretty smooth. They absolutely love it... maybe a little too much! I was nervous about making the move before my class was over. It's true, it was a distraction, but a very pleasant one. I had to work hard not to sit and listen to the radio show that inevitably took place during each nap time. Ellie had brief struggles the first few times she went to bed in her new room, and Joshua was a very sweet big brother to comfort her after I closed the door. Now, they laugh hysterically and throw their socks and stuffed animals around the room for as long as they can stand it! I went in yesterday to find Ellie with no pants on in the freezing room. As David puts it, she "hits the deck" when she hears that door open.


This is the way Ellie says "more" now. It is very well articulated. I am trying to figure out what accent she has. Ellie most often says "more" when we get in the car to see Christmas lights... which for Ellie, is every time we get in the car at night. She notices the few on our street and immediately begins her chorus of "marrr!"

Out of hibernation

I have been taking some classes since June, and it they have consumed every ounce of spare time that I didn't even know I had! Yesterday was the exam that ended this little season of back-to-school, so I thought I would celebrate by doing something on the computer other than an assignment! I am sooooo excited to have these few weeks of less pressure before Baby comes... just 6 weeks left!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Or, "Hiiii!" Our Ellie has turned into quite the socialite. She eagerly and repeatedly greets others, and it never gets old to me! Ellie is very enthusiastic and cheerful as she waves frantically. If she doesn't sense a response, she gets closer and puts her hand right in front of her target's eyes... just to make sure she is seen! Recently, we were wandering around Target, and Ellie was saying good-bye to her good friends Cookie Monster and Elmo. She especially has a think for Elmo; I think it is because she can kind of say his name.

So. What did you do today?

This is a conversation Joshua and I have frequently these days. It is so sweet to see his awareness of others and watch his mind grasp new social skills. Joshua has recently realized that I wake up before him. As we sit down to breakfast, he asks me about everything I have done so far. The conversation usually ends with a few rounds of: "And what ELSE did you do? And what ELSE?" I think Joshua's favorite part is the end of the story when I say, "... and then, I got my Joshua out of bed!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Buckets and Baths

It seems almost laughable to me to post anything these days for a number of reasons, but here goes! We were pretty disciplined bathers-of-our-children for a long time. We bathed both Joshua and Ellie on a daily basis for a long time; the only time we skipped it were those winter nights with no power and no hot water in Lebanon! Now, however, we are such seasoned parents, (read: lazy, busy, slightly more relaxed, or a lot more tired,) that we bathe the kids every other day. (Usually...) Anyway, even though we get a bit weary on bath nights, it is actually pretty fun these days. I guess it has always been fun, but now it is an easier fun. Our kids have so much fun in the tub, and they recently came up with a new game that entertains them both for as long as we allow them to play. I am pretty sure Joshua started it, and Ellie quickly decided she should imitate him. Here's how the game goes: get some buckets and some cups, and then pour water from one into the other. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Yep, that's it. It's that simple. The really cool part is that when they pour, both kids can usually keep the water in the bathtub. We can throw away all of the other bath toys!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bumper cars

Well, folks, I am trying to get back in the habit of posting. However, we are leaving on Friday for about a week, so it isn't going to happen soon!

We find ourselves in a very new season all of a sudden. Each morning, I get the kids up. It is straight to the potty for Joshua (!), and straight to the changing table for Ellie. They both promptly go to their respective vehicles, and then they go nuts until I get breakfast on the table. People who aren't around during these times have said, "Well, that sounds good; they are entertaining themselves!" Yes. Yes. Well, for a moment... that is, until one is going to fast in the game of chase or the other gets stuck between a car and a wall or one runs over the other one's toes... you get the idea! It is fun to hear their delighted shrieks and watch them become friends as they grow.

In case anyone out there hasn't heard, we will welcome Baby Balch #3 in January. We are so excited, and it is fun to be able to talk about the baby with Joshua.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Coffee Parties

Ellie's Great-Grandmommy brought her a tea set when she visited recently. I wasn't sure she would enjoy it immediately, but it was an instant hit! We have coffee parties regularly. Nope, no tea drinkers in this house! David orders a caramel macchiato from Joshua who is dressed in his Starbucks apron, and Joshua returns with David's guacamole and cream. Really, that is how he says it every time. :) Just a whole lot of consonants from some other language, right? Ellie likes to stir hers and take sips, but she especially loves to carry around the coffee pot.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Bubbles and a school bus!

Watching Daddy mow the yard

She's all grown up!

Our kids have been oh-so-sick for 3 weeks now. We have "up days" here and there, and I keep thinking they are getting over it. Then... BAM!! It's like their little bodies are building up for a grand finale or something. Last Friday was hands-down the hardest morning of parenting I have had so far. Here I was having a nice Friday morning, enjoying the fact that Joshua and Ellie were sleeping in some after a difficult night. A couple of hours later, all sheets and pajamas were in the washing machine, I had made many trips out to the trashcan, the bathtub had been Cloroxed, and the kitchen floor mopped. Well, the mopping part is deceptive... that is because I was clumsy and dropped a full cup of sticky juice!

Anyway, in the midst of all of this, we really have had some fun days.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Where have you been all my life?!

Every time we finish a meal, we have two child clean-ups and one kitchen clean-up. Joshua hardly needs help in this department any more, but Ellie, well, she is very creative during meals! We have this great little Space Saver highchair, and my only complaint about it is that the single-handed feature doesn't exist. Therefore, you really need to be a monkey to successfully clean Ellie. It goes something like this:
  • Hand #1: use a wipe to clean Ellie's face... but recognize that those hands are going to go right back to the face once you finish.
  • Hand #2: wipe off the tray while holding clean-ish hands before they go back to spread things around a bit more. Picture it. One hand holding two little hands; the other hand is ready to single-handedly remove the tray. But what to do when you require two hands for the tray? No doubt, you need to wipe the face again at this point.
  • Ok, you have given up on removing the tray with one hand, so you have to let the two little hands loose! In the amount of time it takes you to remove the tray, Ellie has grabbed some stray food, smeared it on her face, and then proceeds to grab her previously clean feet like her life depends on it. I am not kidding! Hence the title of the post... it really seems like Ellie misses her feet when she can't see them at meal time!

Did you touch the curtains?

I guess you could call this one "A Big Move" part 2. Joshua is a smart boy. I mentioned that I hoped he would remember the cheers and be able to resist temptation so we can cheer every time we get him up. Well, he remembered the cheers. So every time I come in his room, he eagerly says, "I obeyed! I not touch a curtains, I not touch a blinds, I not get out of bed, I not open a door, I not touch a clock..." I think he likes spouting off his list... and perhaps it is his way of stressing false innocence. Yep, we are pretty sure that he lies about it every time. Well, not ALL of it, but at least the mini-blinds and the curtain part of it. On Sunday, David went to pick up a lawnmower during Joshua's nap. He put it in the backyard, which happens to be outside Joshua's window. When I went to get Joshua at the end of naptime, Joshua immediately said, "Lawnmower!" He was thrilled until he realized he was busted!

There is the side of this that is funny, and there is the side that is more serious. How do we know what boundaries to set? How do we teach Joshua that telling the truth is the right thing? How do we change the boundaries we thought we should set without appearing inconsistent to him? We have to figure this stuff out while the stakes are low!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter rolls

I found a new roll recipe that I wanted to make for our Easter lunch. It was kind of last-minute, so I had to do things while the kids were awake that I normally wouldn't do. I was able to find them some cheap entertainment, thankfully!

More dress-up

Two thrilled kids on Easter Sunday

Believe it or not, those are my ankle socks!

The bathing suit pose

I think she actually put the hat on correctly by herself!

A Big Move

Taking down the crib

Sweet boy!

About 2 weeks ago, Joshua slept in his crib for the very last time! I think I was the biggest advocate for this transition, partly because my twiggy arms and I had a hard time getting my big boy into his bed! The kids and I left town for a couple of days, and Daddy stayed to work faithfully and to build a Big Boy Bed! We have been talking about this for awhile with Joshua, and he has always been receptive to the idea. I don't know that he would ever have tried to climb out of his crib, which I think is a common reason some kids say good-bye to their cribs. Still, cribs are for babies, and he is certainly not a baby any more!

The transition has been pretty smooth. Joshua did fall out of bed one night, but I think he may have been partially awake to make it happen. It was scary for him, but it hasn't happened again. Being in a bed has been fun for Joshua, but it has inspired him to push boundaries like never before! We have replaced one set of mini-blinds, and we realized that a book that Joshua decided he needed during nap time is broken. Enter the next stage of discipline and growth. This concept of sitting in a room for hours at a time by himself and having to resist this very attainable temptations has proven difficult to grasp. To his credit, this morning we all cheered because Joshua didn't touch curtains, mini-blinds, or get out of his bed last night! I hope he remembers the cheering and the fact that it is so much more fun than the alternative!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beach Weekend!

Ellie's participation in feeding the seagulls...obviously!

An evening stroll on the beach. Aaahhhh. Life is good!

Perhaps Joshua's favorite new thing... feeding seagulls!

First beach experience for Ellie!

Joshua also loved playing in the "dirt"

Last weekend, we had a wonderful family vacation. It was our first vacation since before Joshua was born! The week leading up to our vacation was pretty rough. Both kids were congested due to allergies, and they took turns waking up throughout the night. We were waking up more than we used to with a newborn around the house! Thankfully, everyone slept really well during our getaway, and it was so refreshing and fun!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

And on to the knees...

Most of you know that Ellie has become a very talented "scooter." She has been scooting for months, and it works quite well for her! I have been happy for her to be mobile, but I still wanted her to crawl a little before she took off on her little feet. I wasn't sure it was going to happen. Well, last week, Ellie and I were baking and decorating Easter cookies with our close friends Amie and Landry. (Well, Ellie decorated the floor with the contents of the diaper bag while Landry took her morning nap, but you get the idea...) I went to check on Ellie who had scooted out of sight. She was giving me this funny look. Kind of like she had done something wrong, and kind of like she was trying to tell me something. I kept trying to figure it out, and I realized she was doing this funny thing with her hands. Ellie was picking them up alternately, reaching up pretty high, and than plopping them back on the floor. Can you see where this is going? Yep, my girl was crawling! The funniest part of the story is that it took me several moments of watching her to recgnize that she was doing it! Why on earth is she doing that with her hands? How strange! You are a funny one, Elle-girl! Oh! Oh my goodness... did she just crawl?! She was crawling! And thus commenced the celebration that would probably wake Landry... (sorry again, Amie!) Since then, Ellie still prefers to scoot, but she will crawl on command, and she will crawl to get over things since she can't scoot over a step! This also came in handy on the beach this past weekend. I think Ellie realized that crawling was a little more comfortable than filling her diaper with sand... but she still scooted a lot out there!

Monday, April 4, 2011

A few of their favorite things: Ellie

These days, Ellie especially loves her independence! She loves to:
  • play with clothes. Sometimes she "wears" them, and other times she shakes them intensely.
  • dance. Ellie waves her arms and bounces up and down when she is enjoying a song.
  • play on the bed. She likes to let herself fall back or roll around on the soft blankets. Recently, she realized the carpet in our room has a similar appeal.
  • play "water bottles and the ice chest." What, you don't know that game?
  • "tickle" with Daddy. He tickles her, she laughs, and she asks him to do it again... and again!
  • brush her teeth. Simply seeing the bathroom causes her to ask to do this wonderfully thrilling activity!
  • read books
  • see animals

A few of their favorite things: Joshua

It is so sweet to watch our kids develop and see their personalities more each day. I love seeing what interests them. It is also nice to have more of a glimpse into the way Joshua's mind works as he learns to express himself more. For example, the other evening we were sitting down to a lovely pizza dinner. It was fresh, hot pizza, so David warned Joshua to wait a minute before digging in. Joshua politely asked David to "pour a little bit of milk on it." He was very serious about this request, so I had to hide my amusement. Joshua was thinking of oatmeal, which is one of his favorite breakfast foods. We make it and then pour a little splash of milk on it to help it cool faster. (We did not fulfill his request!)

On to some favorite things. These days, Joshua is happiest doing the following:
  • playing with plastic animals
  • practicing "tessiss" ball (it is actually sort of baseball, but we lost the plastic baseballs for awhile, so we used tennis balls instead)
  • reading books or having books read to him (Joshua has a few books memorized, and he likes to read to Ellie... but she doesn't usually behave for him. She either tries to take the book or wanders off to play with something else.)
  • putting Mommy to sleep
  • drinking milk out of an open cup
  • going somewhere... anywhere... He simply likes to "go somewhere"
  • building trains out of anything from toy train cars to regular cars to animals to people... you get the idea!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's all part of having a scooter.

Well, I guess spring is officially here, even though it is going to be in the 40s tonight. We have been enjoying the park more regularly, leaving the Benadryl out on the counter, and putting the kids to bed in broad daylight!

As the season has changed, so has our Ellie... again! We had this brief window where we could go places for longer amounts of time because she was only napping once a day. She still only naps once a day, but when I am flying solo with the kids, I know my minutes are numbered... at least until Ellie can walk! She is no longer content to sit in the stroller and watch as Joshua stays busy and active. Nope, Ellie wants to participate! I can't blame her for not wanting to be strapped the stroller, but I also can't let her mop the floors of every public building we enter! (or the concrete at the zoo, for that matter!) I have memories of the knees of Joshua's pants getting worn through during his crawling months just in time for him to start walking. Still, it is one thing for some rugged little cords to have holes in the knees. It seems entirely different to wait as Ellie's sweet springy dresses and onesies turn brown on the bottom! So far, Shout has been working, and she has a pair or two of "park pants." Hopefully we will make it to walking without ruining too many cute things!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cozy Coupe Garage

I have mentioned Joshua and Ellie's car several times recently, but I have to do so again. We use it all the time these days! And I do mean "we;" Ellie throws fits when she doesn't get her fill. And I don't think she has gotten her fill yet. And she doesn't realize she isn't completely self-sufficient as a driver just yet. It started out being so sweet because Joshua would push her around in the car and it was fun for everyone. Well, now Ellie feels very entitled to her never-ending turn, and Joshua practices his use of the pronoun "my," and before long, we all take a break from the cozy coupe by putting it in the garage... also known as Mommy and Daddy's bathroom. It fits quite nicely, and I get it out again when I have the patience to deal with it! (And I promise, I am not complaining! I am simply remarking on how these stages of our kids lives are coming and going so quickly! Joshua's new bed is in pieces on our living room floor as I type this... EEK!!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Let the dressing up begin!

Our camera's memory card is full, and I have missed several fantastic photo opportunities today as a sad result! I will still share a couple of stories...

When I was little, I played dress-up. I don't know when it started, and I don't know if you would say I played it a lot. Having a 14 month-old little girl, I had not yet asked myself when she might be interested in such things. Well, I found out today that she already is! My friend told me that her girl has always liked to play with her clothes. She said her daughter would happily sit among the clean laundry piles. We wondered if this was a boy/girl distinction because Joshua certainly never did that! Whether it is a girly thing or not, I don't know, but Ellie has shown that she, too loves to play with clothes.

They are using a generator to work at our neighbor's house, so I can't hear anything from one room to the next. Today, I poked my head out of the kitchen to make sure I wasn't missing any shrieking. Ellie was making a beeline for me with one of David's t-shirts around her shoulders. I thought, "Oh, that's cute. I wonder if she did that or if Joshua did that." As I watched her, I realized she was kind of showing off. It was almost as if she was trying to strike a pose! Later, repeat these actions with my pajama pants. She had trouble getting them on her, so I put them around her shoulders. Ellie then requested a plastic bucket on her head, and she proceeded to play this way until nap time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A growing vocabulary

Ellie has begun the incredible process of English language articulation. I continue to be fascinated as I watch and listen to Joshua's speech develops. Not only am I a proud Mommy, but a lover of linguistics and self-professed nerd! :) Ellie has learned a few signs, but she has also really surprised me with her new words. Her list of verbal achievements includes (no, I am not trying to be obnoxious, and yes, I know that maybe I am being obnoxious! My defense is that I want my kids to read this blog when they are older!):
  • car
  • bye bye
  • hi
  • da da
  • ma ma
  • ya ya (Joshua, not as certain, but I think that is what she is calling him)
  • ball
  • book
  • cracker
  • no
  • more
  • head
Also part of Ellie's verbal achievements... much yelling. She is obviously aware that we have constant conversation with Joshua, so she has taking to shouting and protesting until she gets the audience she desires! :) No, this is not the first time we have mentioned her yelling, but now there is a new intentionality to her noise!


Enough said!

Making Memories

I think Ellie may have loved her hot dog more than anyone else. She kept eating and eating and eating!

Last week, David got the idea to go and eat hotdogs outside. As we did it, I thought it would be one of those things that was a nicer idea in theory than in practice. It was a bit colder than we thought, and it was extremely windy, and, well, Ellie is 14 months old TODAY, so she is not all that proficient at eating a hotdog while sitting on a bench! However, we have the pictures and Joshua's enormous smiles in those pictures that prove that a little... or a lot of wind and awkwardness are worth it from time to time!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Christmas trees and the Christmas season

Why am I posting about Christmas in March? Well, that is kind of the point of this post. Joshua was really impacted by Christmas this year on many levels. I shared about how fun it was to tell him the story and watch his interest. Well, there were a few other things that really struck him during Christmas... I mean, the Christmas season. For example, Joshua asked about seeing Christmas lights for weeks after most people had taken them down. If you are familiar with our area, you might know that can find a green porch light here and there, and Joshua refers to those as Christmas lights. He continues to talk about the museum Christmas tree almost every time we enter the building. It was a large and impressive show, and it actually did remain in tact well into 2011. I wondered if it would ever come down, and I wonder if Joshua will continue to picture it until it reappears next winter.

It's funny how we work out our theology as we try to explain things. The reason I stressed the Christmas season is because we didn't want to imply that Christmas ever ends. We are always celebrating the birth and life of Jesus. So Joshua and I have the same conversation each time we go to the museum, only now he explains to me that the Christmas tree is not there any more because the Christmas season is over for this year.

Still another example of Joshua's intense interest in the more secular/cultural side of Christmas is the fact that he ALWAYS builds Christmas trees with his blocks. I really don't think he has ever told me that he is building a house or even a tower... just a Christmas tree. Today, he built a Christmas tree for Ellie. He gave it to her, and she promptly broke it into pieces.

Monday, February 28, 2011


The obligatory family photo on the balcony of our Lebanon apartment. At least David looks nice!

Photo shoot of our new walker

Pink lil' bundle of joy!

Last night, the last day of February just around the corner, I was swarmed with memories of what was happening in our lives at this time last year. It is incredible how much can change in such a seemingly short amount of time!
  • Joshua had barely started walking... now he runs everywhere, including up and down hills and steps without hesitation.
  • Joshua had barely started talking! I remember the doctor's concern when she asked how many words he knew, and we kind of looked at each other, thinking... ummm... two?! Now our little chatterbox is trying to learn that he has to take breaks between sentences from time to time so Mommy and Daddy can have a conversation!
  • Ellie weighed less than 10 pounds. We are currently waiting for her to hit the 20-pound mark so we can use her new carseat!
  • Ellie hardly ever showed her eyes. She is still an AWESOME sleeper, but she is also quite the socialite. She loves to chatter as well, and she scoots around exploring every nook and cranny she can find.
  • I was two weeks out of surgery, 6 weeks out from having a baby, and we were two weeks away from making our big move back. We were living in an empty apartment. Phew!
  • David was preparing to put us all on a plane while he stayed behind to finish things in Lebanon. He still can't remember much about his last busy days there!
  • David was about to begin the job search
It has been quite a year for us. I am so thankful for all of the support we have had from friends and family. We certainly miss our friends and life in Lebanon, but God has truly blessed our transition back to Waco.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pushing Miss Ellie

Joshua loves pushing Ellie around in the car, and Ellie loves "driving," so it works out nicely. Ellie can drive herself backwards, and she also sits happily and tries to eat the horn from time to time. Yesterday, she got her shoulder stuck under the steering wheel somehow, and it made her very sad!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tummy trauma

Ellie has had an upset stomach for over two weeks now. It finally got to the point where we called the doctor. The nurse said we should continue with the BRAT diet as we have been, but she also said to hold off on the milk for 24-36 hours. Umm, excuse me, but as David told her, that is kind of what she drinks! That's it! Maybe it is something about us and the way we do things, but both of our kids of stuck with milk for a very long time. We started giving them each water early on so they could have it and get used to it, but I guess water isn't all that exciting! So it has been just over 24 hours of straight Pedialyte for Elle Belle, and I must say she is doing well. Well, I mean, her tummy doesn't seem any better, but she is coping with the lack of milk well. She asks for milk constantly; wouldn't you know that we have to do this milk "fast" about 3 days after she learned to ask for milk?! The good thing is that she doesn't seem to bothered by the fact that I keep telling her she can't have milk until tomorrow. Pray that she is better soon!

Super signs!

Baby sign language seems to be all the rage. We didn't think too much of it until I got tired of hearing Joshua whine for things in his high chair. I probably posted something about it. I then learned that proponents of baby sign language say to start way earlier than you think the baby can understand because they comprehend more than we realize. Apparently you might see your baby's first signs as early as 6 months of age! Well, we still aren't major signers in our household, but if you have read any of my posts about Ellie and her preferred decibel level, you might guess that we have started to working on signing again. And, while some say to start early, I will argue that it is much more fun to wait until you feel desperate and then be amazed at how quickly they learn! It has only taken one or two tries to teach Ellie her most important and valuable words: eat, milk, more, cracker. "All done" is important to those of us who clean up after her, but she prefers to toss the food to the side or smear it around on her tray. Hey, I guess her methods yield fast results!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


You might not realize it, but that is the name of a wonderful grocery store. :) (Translation: HEB!) I used to do anything I could to avoid taking the kids to the grocery store. Now I find that not only do they enjoy it, but it probably helps me spend less money because I don't want to stand around looking at new things. (Maybe some of you remember excited I used to get about the cereal aisle...) Some of you more experienced Moms can probably tell me when this season will end, but currently, Joshua gets excited about going to HEB. In fact, he likes to pretend to go there. He gets his sunglasses, his keys, and his milk. He gets in his car and heads to the store.

Ellie likes the store as well. I think "balloon" is her second word. Each child gets a balloon when we check out. Well, unless they are out of balloons. A couple of times that has happened, and a nice worker has handed Joshua some sort of HEB dollar that he can collect and try to get a toy or something like that. Whatever the deal, Joshua was not impressed. He listened politely and then handed the paper to me when the man was gone. Nice try, sir, but we all know everyone prefers the balloon!

A hard-working man

Well, the door seems to be working fine...

Oh, but the cars eyes are a little dry!

Joshua and Ellie got this car from Grandmom and G-pa at Christmas. G-pa likes cars a lot, and he has always checked mine for me to make sure things are as they should be as I come and go from Houston. Joshua noticed G-pa working on Mommy's car, so he decided to go out and work on his car, too!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Table Manners

If you are a first-time Mommy of a child around a year or younger, TAKE NOTE! Enjoy your meal times as they are right now, because it is not likely to remain this way! I mean, I can only speak for my children, and there are only two of them, but it seems like the shift happened right around the same time in both of their lives. Both Joshua and Ellie have loved to eat. Ellie took a little longer to figure it out, but she still consumed pretty much whatever we put on her tray or in her spoon. Joshua was the same way. I spent months with both kids being shocked at the amount they could fit in their little infant tummies.

And then the shift. It is like someone whispers in their ears, "Hey, you actually don't have to eat everything they put in your mouth!" Joshua was relatively forgiving; he just flat out refused things. It seems like texture was his biggest turn-off, so he detested vegetable pieces or things like mashed potatoes. It was frustrating because he wouldn't even try things for a long time, but it has had its perks I'll let you know my theory with Ellie next year; all I can say right now is that she might be a bit more difficult to handle in the highchair. She all of a sudden spits mouthfuls of food out or rakes up a tray full of pieces and casts them away to the floor. And it isn't easy to predict, either. Ellie will be pretty relaxed, eating a bite here and there, and then look out. Here come her hands, and they are wild and crazy! Still, at other times, like when peanut butter and jelly are involved, she is eating double-fisted and literally alternating hands as quickly as she can get them into her mouth! Sigh...


Snuggling with a safari hat. Hey, why not?

Ok, I apologize for posting twice in a row with no pictures! I know no one looks at this thing for the text!

Ellie is into her second year now. You might be saying, "Well, yes, that is what happens after the birthday party!" But it is worth noting because I forgot how fun this second year is... since it has been sooo long since I had a 1 year-old! :) I don't want to slight Ellie by failing to mention her milestones... and making note of some very significant differences between her and my first one year-old.

My girl might be fiercely independent. Quite often lately, she will scoot off to do her own thing no matter who is sitting with her. She puts her hands on her head and recognizes the word "head" as well as the song that goes with it. I think this was also one of Joshua's firsts. After Ellie got "head", we taught her tummy. She says "Hi!" into pretend phones or other random toys, but she just looks surprised if there is a real phone involved. Ellie loves to dance and play with balls. She puts socks on her feet. That sounds pretty advanced, but I mean she simply lays them on her feet because she realizes that is where they go. Again, that seems smart to me, but Ellie also lays hats and gloves on her feet, so I guess she isn't quite there yet!

It is fun to watch her blossom!

Valentine's Day at MDO

We went to "school" on Tuesday morning very eagerly. Joshua loves it these days, and they canceled it last week. I dropped him off with his teachers, and Ellie and I headed out. As we were walking out the door, I heard someone mention bringing things, and it hit me... this is Valentine's party week! I am a pretty diligent planner; I like to think ahead, and I even bought Valentine's cards a couple of weeks ago just to be ready. But we didn't get our usual reminder about this week since we didn't go last week. I felt kind of terrible, which is ironic. David and I had talked about how silly school Valentine cards are since you simply buy them and write names down 20 times. Still, when you are a kid, it is fun, and that is why it happens! And I knew that Joshua would have enjoyed writing on the little cards with a pen. It made me realize how diligent they often are at MDO to remind us about everything 10 times. I wrote out Joshua's cards, closed the little envelopes with stickers that didn't stick, and he got to put them in his friends' bags. At the Valentine's party, all of the little kids were talking about how they were having a birthday party, and they enjoyed the hearts. When Joshua went through his bag later, he was wondering where his monkey card was. I don't think he got the concept, but at least that means we were right in which cards we selected on his behalf. And I have to say, I was a little surprised at how much candy was in my 2 year-old's bag!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mommy and Daddy's bathroom

Our bedroom isn't really a bedroom; there is an outside door on one wall and the only entrance to Joshua's room on another wall. There are 5 doors on the walls of our "bedroom", and none of them are closets! There is a random little half bathroom that has become pretty useful for us. It is more the size of a tiny closet; two people can barely share the space. However, to Joshua, it is known as "Mommy and Daddy's bathroom". Ellie just discovered this bathroom pretty recently. She scoots her little self right on in there and just has the time of her life. She doesn't even care if there are any toys. She will pull at the threads on the rug at times, but her favorite thing is just to pat the walls because they are extremely textured. I have my sanitary issues with my daughter playing on the bathroom floor, but sometimes it is nice for her to be content... and it helps that she doesn't crawl, in this case, because her hands aren't on the floor!

Ice Days

David got Joshua up and told him about the snow, and Joshua wanted to share it with Curious George as well.

Cold weather = pjs all day

Loving the wagon!

Learning how to warm hands by the fire

What a week it has been! We spent last weekend in Houston celebrating Ellie with family and running the marathon. Marathon day was relatively warm, but most of the rest of the week in Waco was well below freezing!

Monday: It is a gorgeous "spring" day, but I can't muster the energy to take the kids out. I think they are happy for a lazy day at home as well. After all, Tuesdays are MDO, which means lots of activity for all 3 of us.

Tuesday: 6:30 a.m. MDO is closed, and I will kick myself for the first of many times that we did not go to the zoo on Monday! Tuesday ends, and it still seems silly to me that they closed.

Wednesday: We start to go to the museum, but I decide that it is too cold to even walk from the parking lot to the front door. (In my defense, it is kind of a long walk!)

So, we pretty much stayed home for 4 days... but we still got to use the wagon! I did not plan to ever use a wagon inside, but it bought me several hours of content playtime for Joshua and Ellie. They are so precious as they interact and enjoy each other more each day!

Friday: A real, live SNOW DAY! I really am not sure I have ever been in the right place at the right time for one of these. Sure, ice days here and there, but SNOW! So fun! And on a Friday, so it made a 3 day weekend for David. We have certainly enjoyed it! Both kids liked the snow pretty well, which surprised me. We rushed out with them before breakfast and oohed and aahed. Later, we went down the block on their first outdoor wagon ride in Waco. :)

Saturday: You know it has been a cold week when you think a low 0f 31 is warm and debate whether to double-layer the kids' pjs.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Curious George and friends

Joshua's new thing is a manly version of playing with dolls, I think. He got a Curious George monkey for Christmas, and it is his new best friend! Joshua sleeps with Curious George, lets Curious George drive his car, and George even has a seat at our table! Joshua also loves Noah, Girl, Driver, and "Missin' Mal". They are little people that came in a school bus that we have had since Lebanon. The last boy's name is Jamal. We couldn't find him for a few days, so we said he was missing. Now his name is "Missin' Mal" because I guess Joshua got confused about the concept of "missing". :) Noah is Joshua's favorite. Noah and Jamal enjoyed a trip to the park last week, and Joshua let them look out the window as we drove. He also set them up on the coffee table to watch his dvd with him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

And just like that... SIBLINGS!

During a single day this week, Joshua and Ellie introduced to me the next phase of "siblinghood." Joshua asked to feed Ellie, and he sat next to her and put food on her tray as I cut it up. He kept saying, "Here you go, Ellie!" It was so precious. Fast forward a few hours later, and we had another first: Joshua's first time to be disciplined for hurting his sister intentionally. I hope it won't take too many tries to learn that lesson!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ellie!

Today we are celebrating our precious girl. I can't believe she is one year old! I have been flipping through pictures from the day Joshua turned one. We had just arrived in the States for the first time in his life!

We had a "Tiny Party" with a few friends. Ellie ate a tiny burger and got to dig in to a tiny cake for a few minutes... the tiny cake looked pretty big on her high chair tray!

Ellie is a joy to be around. She likes to point at everything now, and she loves to cuddle. Ellie loves to have her head rubbed, and she dances to whatever rhythm she hears. I thought she said her first word, "bah", and then I realized she was calling everything "bah." We love our girl!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Little Drummer Boy

Joshua has loved drums for as long as he has been able to express that he loves anything. He has played a plastic toddler drum with sticks attached, a battery-operated hand drum, and now, drum roll please... the real deal! Aunt Angela gave Joshua a wonderful set of drums for Christmas, and we spent the next two days talking with Joshua about being social and not throwing a fit when it was time to stop playing the drums. To his credit, Joshua does much better now, and he is even allowed to play during Ellie's nap sometimes because he plays softly when he needs to!

So it comes as no surprise that Joshua's favorite song (forget "Christmas" song; he still wants to listen to it every day), is "The Little Drummer Boy." He likes to sing the song into his little dollar store-style microphone, as he reads through his drummer boy book, while wearing a bucket, I mean, a hat on his head, while walking and drumming like in the music video, you name it! And when I say "sing", I mean that it is the first song he learned to sing pretty well by himself. (Followed pretty closely by "ABCs" and "Jesus Loves Me.") And the Drummer Boy song got us through 3 legs of travel in the car. On the 4th leg, our "music was broken". (No, it really was. At first, I was relieved to not listen to the song time after time, but after an hour or so I was ready to hear it again! Joshua still requests to listen to his Christmas song. When I start to sing it, he says he wants the "Mommy's Car" version. :)

Mommy's Little Kitchen Helper Part 2

Somehow this picture didn't make it into Part 1, and I think it is pretty cute! As I post this, it is in the 20s here in Waco, so it is funny to look at Joshua in his shorts a few weeks ago! Oh, Texas!