Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ella turns 2!

(or, as my mom said, "How the hell did that happen?")

Ella's actual second birthday was on Monday, and it was a pretty low-key affair. Aaron & I gave her some gifts, there was a candle and a cupcake, and that was about it.

So today, we had an actual party to mark Ella's second birthday. And it was super fun!

We celebrated at Sibley Park, a lovely little park with a wading pool, jungle gym, and sandlot that's not too far from our house. We were joined by a number of awesome individuals: Gramma Liisa; Auntie Laura, Dylan, and Dan; Wally & Mary Jo & their two sons, Jack & Charlie; Rebecca & her daughter Sophia; Nick, Caroline, and their dogs; and Brian Clark and his dogs. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend the afternoon with!

So what I love about having a birthday party at a park, indoor playground, or the like, is that I don't have to actually plan anything. As a result, my photos are kind of haphazard - as was the party. I hope this just gives a sense of what an awesome time was had by all!

Dylan, the girls, and the teeter-totter

Ella's lack of a swimsuit isn't going to keep her from enjoying the pool, with Gramma Liisa:

The children kibbutz on proper present-opening technique.

Ella enjoys the slide with Auntie Laura

WOW this is high up!

It's not a complete showing, but it's a good representation, I think. We all had so much fun!

As for Ella, at 2, she's really a wonderful person. Her language is really taking off, and she's regularly coming up with 3- and 4-word sentences. It's so exciting that she can tell us about her observations! I can't wait for her vocabulary to develop further so we can really hear about what's going through her head.

Ella is a sweet, affectionate girl who loves to play, be read to, and to help us out around the house. Whenever anyone's in the kitchen, whether we're cooking or doing dishes, she will be there saying "Ella help you?"

So far our Ella has shown herselve to be a smart, capable, confident, headstrong, loving person. I canot wait to see what the future holds for her!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Sleep is one of those things that new parents, or parents of young kids, can't stop talking about it. I think it's similar to how hungry people talk obsessively about food... the sleep-deprived are constantly talking about sleep, and their kids. Are they sleeping well? How long? What hours? What's your bedtime routine?

Maisie's always been a very independent sleeper. Even as a tiny baby, she slept best when she had her own space, whether that was in a bassinet, crib, or now her bed. She went through a brief phase when she moved to her big kid bed where she'd crawl into bed with us at night, but it passed quickly.

Ella, on the other hand, has always been a nighttime snuggler.

For the first few weeks of her life, she would only sleep if she was physically on me. I slept sitting up until we managed to get her to at least sleep next to us, not on us. She eventually moved from the bassinet to a crib in her room, and that was fine - until a few months ago.

At about 18 months, we found her trying to climb out of her crib. It wasn't unexpected - Maisie did the same thing - so we went off to Ikea and got them a bunk bed. Now that she's realized she can get out of bed, when she wakes in the night, she comes into bed with us.

There isn't anything inherently wrong with this - we aren't strictly opposed to cosleeping. It'd be just fine, if there were more actual sleeping involved. Instead, Ella's reverting to previous behavior where it's not enough to be next to someone - she wants to fall asleep on someone. And that someone is typically me.

Last night she woke up and instead of coming into our bed, sat in the hallway and screamed "Mama! Mama! Cuddle me! Cuddle me!" until I got out of bed, took her back into her room, and sat with her on my lap until she fell asleep. At that point I tried to go back to my bed, but noooooo... Ella instantly woke up and started yelling "Sleep here mama! Sleep here!" So I did. Not well, but I did sleep.

I know I shouldn't give in, but I'm so tired when it happens, and it just seems like the past of least resistance. Plus, Ella's screams wake Maisie up, who then joins in the scream-fest with "Ella! You're TOO LOUD! I can't sleep!!!" It'd be funny if it weren't 2:30 in the morning.

So anyone with advice on how to get a tired two year old to stay in her bed all night long, without interfering with Maisie's sleep too much - please tell me what to do! Of course, general sympathies and commiseration are welcome too.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I've never been what you'd call a fashionista. In our family, my sister Laura was always the one who was on top of current trends and styles. Me, I'll just wear a t-shirt and jeans, most days.

Unlike me, my girls are turning out to be very opinionated about their clothes! I've posted many pictures of Maisie's unique and creative outfits. It looks like Ella's got that same sense of style. This morning, she chose a blue and white flowered dress to wear. She then said "Silly!," and proceeded to pull on green pajama pants with little pink pigs all over them.

I tried to get a picture of the outfit, but Maisie immediately started clowning around. I was laughing too hard to get a good picture of their outfits, but you get the idea. :)

Saturday, June 04, 2011

An Ella Day

Since the last time we posted there have been some really big changes with our family! The biggest, I think, is that Aaron's gone back to work. So instead of being a single-income family, we now have two incomes (and YAY for that!), but our lives have somehow become 150% more hectic! I'll choose to blame the long posting hiatus on that, instead of my own laziness and the fact that I somehow lost the charger for the camera battery.

ANYWAY, Aaron had to work this morning and Maisie was off to the Flint Hills Children's Festival with Grandma Liisa and Dylan, so that left me and Ella to our own devices!

First we checked how our strawberry patch is doing this year...

They look good, for a few plants we planted on the salty, sandy boulevard! They were planted last year in an attempt to get a ground cover we won't have to mow, and they're really taking off.

We might even get a berry or two, if the bunnies and squirrels don't eat them all!

Ella really needed sandals, so then we were off to the Mall of America. To increase the adventure quotient (and because I didn't feel like driving), we took the BUS!

The bus stop is next to a really fun hill, that kept waiting for the bus from being boring.

Ella fell asleep on the bus, so I guess it wasn't that exciting after all.

Once we got to the mall, she was all business: we were there for shoes! We hit a department store with a great kids' shoe selection, and she made her choice.

I thought maybe she'd want to check out a few other options, but no. It turns out that Ella is a decisive shopper. The lovely and helpful employee who was helping us brought out some other choices, but Ella said "NO!" to all of them. So we bought the sandals she chose, and we were off.

We got lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.

We then decided to check out the aquarium formerly known as Underwater World, f/k/a Underwater Adventures, n/k/a Sea Life Aquarium. For those who've been there before, it's been completely redone and is WAY better than it used to be. Ella was most impressed by the jellyfish, the turtles, and the "scawwy shawks!" She was not super impressed by the photographer who took our picture, however.

(sorry about the lousy camera-phone-picture of a picture!)

After all that, it was time for another bus ride home...

Funny story: one of our neighbors was on the bus, too. When we got off he said to me, "I didn't know if that was you for sure, until I heard her say 'NO!'" Yeah, that's our (almost) two year old! She busted out a four word sentence tonight: "I do it 'self!" Just like her big sister, Ella is turning out to be very independent!

So anyway, when we got home, Ella briefly had a fit about the fact that there were no graham crackers in the house. Shortly thereafter, this happened:

And then I took a nap, too.

The end! (until tomorrow!)