Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Good Memory

Ella and I have had a rough few evenings this week. The days start out fine and by the time it's time to go bed I'm often at my witt's end and she is in the middle of a breakdown. Once she's in bed I feel bad and wish things would have gone differently. Last night around 8pm I was going to start making cookies that I needed for a party tonight and decided to see if Ella wanted to help - I usually only make them as a project to do with her. I went to her room and opened the door and she was sitting at her little desk in the dark coloring. I said, "Ella" and she starting walking towards me holding her crayons. "Do you want to come downstairs and make cookies with me?" She immediately got excited, dropped her crayons right where she was and ran out. So we made the cookies and sang and danced to loud music - it was a lot of fun. Hopefully this good memory will cancel out some of our rougher moments :-) and I'll try to be more patient in the mean time.
You can check out the cookie recipe here.

7 months

Addie turned 7 months old yesterday! I can't believe that she has grown up so fast! She loves to eat real food now and is crawling all over the place - especially to get things she shouldn't :-)!

Her favorite place to play in her room is with these puzzles. When I set her down she goes right for them, pulls them all down and eats every piece.


My friend Katherine was coming over for lunch on Tuesday and I let Ella use my makeup while I got ready. She totally gave herself a uni-brow and everytime I looked at her I thought of the pictures I saw of Selma Hayek playing the Mexican artist Frieda.
When I told Ella I was going to call her Frieda for the day she said, "No! Call me Ella!" She has taken to calling me Marce and Marci lately so I told her only if she'll call me mom!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Moon Might be Milk

Yesterday Ella and I read a really cute book from the library called The Moon Might Be Milk. You never really know what you are getting from the library - I have been amazed actually how many books we get, start reading, and then quickly decide it is one we shouldn't finish. My reasons range anywhere from saying not nice things (telling someone they're a pest or they hate their brother), may cause nightmares (involve monsters, etc.), deal with topics that thankfully don't apply to us (this week a book that looked to be about sand castles was actually about a little girl whose dad died and her mom has a new boyfriend), or just the plain bizarre (Ella once picked a book that had won a medal of some sort and when we started reading it was a rhyming story about fox eating chickens- it even had pictures of him carrying some off by their necks - we didn't finish it and maybe that's a little too much caution on my part, but I really don't think a 3 year old needs to learn that not all animals are cute and nice all the time). Well, that turned into quite a tangent!
So this book was adorable. A little girl is asking various animals what they think the moon is made of - each of which end up being ingredients for cookies her Gran is making when they stop by her house (flour, milk, etc). There was even a recipe for the cookies at the end of the book so Ella and I made them. They were quite delicious and I recommend checking the book out at your local library too!

On a side note...Ella had her 3 year old check up today. It was like an actual physical - she is so big, yet so small :-)! She weighed 29.5 lbs (50th percentile) and was 37" tall (also 50th). We practiced standing on some books without touching anything before going because over the winter when I took her in to have a rash looked at she got scared of standing on the scale. Today she was victorious and also very good at following the doctor's requests to jump, stand on one foot, etc.
Addie is of course cute as usual and also seems to be growing up way too fast! I held a friend's 3 week old baby at church on Sunday and he was sooo small - I can't believe 6 months ago Addie was that size!
For those of you wondering, my talk went well - I am relieved it is over! Thanks to Chrissy for her book recommendation (The Peacegiver), it helped immensely! I was lucky enough to have a huge congregation to speak to because the power at the other building in Katy was out so people from the 2 wards that meet there came to our meetings :-)! Hopefully I'm in the clear for at least another year now!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Benefits of a Talented Aunt

Today Ella got her birthday present from Kayley (Lee Lee) in the mail. It is the cutest thing I've ever seen. She turned a normal hat type box into an adorable craft box, full of fun stickers, pom poms, etc. for Ella to make masterpieces with.

We went to put the box up in Ella's room and I started looking at all the other cute things Kayley has done for her. Although Kayley managed to get all the artistic genes in our family, I must admit she shares them freely with me and as a result my girls have the cutest rooms - especially Ella! Here is a look at some of her other creations:

Vacation Journal Part 2

Here are the details of the rest of our trip:
Mike has been on a quest to find shredded beef in Texas. We have our favorite place in Houston and after extensive research online he found a restaurant on the River Walk in San Antonio that only serves shredded beef. We went for dinner and then got tasty treats at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.
All the girls outside the candy store.
Addie taking her bath at Meema and Papa's house. I got another picture of her where she is smiling but her face in this one makes me laugh so I decided to post it instead.
We made Ella a little bed next to ours at there house and one morning when I woke up I found her like this - with just her little head poking out from underneath the bed :-).
Ella and Addie ready for church Sunday morning. One thing I think is so funny with Ella is that she is typically very shy when she's not at home (where she is crazy of course) but she will walk right in to nursery or the child care at the gym, etc. I don't think she talks much once she is in but she REALLY LOVES going - it's cute but doesn't match the other part of her personality. Today was no exception, she found a little chair and sat right down to playdough with the other kids - none of whom she'd met before.
Addie looking cute. She hadn't worn this dress before so I had to get a picture of her in it :-). It's an Ella hand me down from Kayley.
Sunday night we had a little party for Ella's birthday (yes, her 3rd one!)She kept going to sit at the table, ready to begin.
But she was more than happy to get up to help Meema make frosting for her cake!
Ella shockingly excited to receive more Dora gear. She got a cute tin lunchbox, books, cup, and puzzle! It is truly amazing to me the things they make Dora-themed! Mike went to the grocery store a couple days ago and told me he saw Dora frozen vegetables!
The whole Freeman clan (Addie was sleeping again - she always misses the fun. I was taking the picture - always capturing the fun.)
Ella sat for a long time reading all her new Dora books. She has always loved books and it's cute now to listen to her talking about what she sees and remembers from having the story read to her.
I bought a little art project for Chloe and Ella to do together. Ella had a blast - especially because she was doing it with Chloe! She was definitely Chloe's little shadow during our trip - following her around everywhere. One day Chloe went to her friend Amanda's house and Ella asked me where she was. I told her and she said she wanted to go. I tried to explain that Amanda is Chloe's friend, etc. and Ella looked at me and said, "but I love Amanda." She has since told me that when she gets bigger she wants to go to Amanda's house....and ride a roller coaster.
Our last day in San Antonio we went to the driving range at a golf course near their house.
You get a golf cart when you buy a bucket of balls so we toured the course when we were done.
Mike and his dad golfed 9 holes the day before so he was looking pretty good.
I was not however :-). I went to a driving range a couple times in high school I think and that day was Chrissy's first time - she was amazing and I was not good, at all! It was still fun, but I think I was just not destined to play sports where you use something as an extension of yourself. I'm definitely better at sports where your actual limbs are what you use - volleyball, soccer etc.

The trip was a lot of fun - it was nice to not have to pack everything in one weekend. We are now back in the real world and I have to speak on Sunday - that is what I am supposed to be working on right now, but posting my blog entry is so much more fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Our Vacation Journal

I know you have all been checking my blog daily wondering what we have been doing in our exciting lives :-)! Here is where we have been....We started our vacation driving up to Dallas to see the Oakland A's play the Rangers, meeting Mike's fam there.
Our portable DVD player is a must have for long car trips! Ella will drive all day long if we let her watch shows - she thinks it is a special treat to watch so many :-)!
We got to Dallas early and hung out in the hotel for awhile before the game. The plan was for the girls to take their naps and be prepared for a late night. Ella had other plans - especially once she knew Aunt Chloe was there to play with. Addie eventually fell asleep but kept peeking out of the little nest we made her to see what everyone else was doing.
I went to high school in Dallas for 1 1/2 years and was able to meet up with my friend Mo at the game. It was a lot of fun to catch up a little bit and remember my crazier days :-)!
The girls with Aunt Chrissy and Meema cheering on the A's. Ella loves baseball games - she gets to eat some of her favorite things, hot dogs and ice cream!
Addie eventually passed out with Papa. I knew she must be really tired to a)sleep with someone holding her and b)sleep with those bright stadium lights glaring down. At church I cover her eyes with a little blanket to get her to sleep - my friend Mckell suggested an eye mask and I really want my mom to make her one - it would be too cute!
We drove to Flower Mound, my old town, the next morning and checked out my old high school. Since I went to 3 different high schools in different states I haven't really ever been back to see any of them.
We went by my old house too. The town looked completely different but it definitely brought back some memories. It was 10 years ago that I lived there - I can't believe I'm getting so old!
We were taking a pit stop at a gas station and I got Addie out to stretch. Ella wanted to hold her - Addie looks a little nervous :-).
Ella took these pictures by herself. We were trying to pass some time as we drove from Dallas to San Antonio and she thought it was pretty fun. Everytime she would take a picture of me she would look at it and say, "Oh, you look beautiful mom."

Ella is still having a hard time pooping in the potty - despite being a pro at staying dry. She always waits until naptime and bedtime when she has her pull up on to do her business and after 2 fun-filled days there hadn't been much downtime to get her business done. That night after the game we got settled in at Mike's parents' house and put Ella to bed. She came out a little while later to tell us she had a poo poo - boy was she right!

I'll post the rest of the trip later tonight

Sooo Cute

Isn't Addie too cute :-)?! I just want to squish her all the time!

Happy Helper

Ella is always our happy helper! We got that term from an episode of Barnery when Ella was little where they sing a song about being a Happy Helper.
Last week she helped Mike wash the Jeep and thought it was pretty cool!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Ella's Birthday Bash

Here is another long birthday report, many times longer than Mike’s actually…so be prepared!
Ever since Ella went to her friend Andrew’s birthday party in March she has been wanting a party of her very own, so we decided to do her first real party this year – a Dora birthday party!
Finally it was the night before the big day…Friday night Hope came and played with Ella while Mike and I finished cleaning up the house and doing the yard work. We made the cupcakes and then it was bath time (with Dora bubbles of course!) and bed time. I don’t think Ella slept much that night – she was sooo excited! Every time I came upstairs to get something she would come out of her room to see what I was doing or tell me it was time to go to bed.
Ella woke up early the next morning and was constantly asking me, “When are my friends coming?” Here she is making herself beautiful for the party.
My grandma came to help us set up for the party and was also responsible for making sure Dora was included in this picture. When the doorbell rang for the first guest Ella was so excited! We took the kids out back to play while we waited for everyone to arrive. Having her birthday in August in Houston makes things a little complicated because it is definitely too hot to be outside for a whole party – we moved the group in and out of the house a couple times.
When we first decided on doing a Dora party I had every intention of doing a little treasure hunt Dora-style and doing Dora-themed games, but as the party got closer I realized I was not going to have the time (not to mention the desire) to pull it off. I did find some game ideas online (like Dora-Boots-Dora-Boots-Swiper instead of Duck-Duck-Goose) but at 3 years old I wasn’t sure if everyone would really understand what they were supposed to do, So we settled on bubbles, sidewalk chalk and water balloons. The water balloons took a long time to fill up so we didn’t have tons, but the kids LOVED throwing them in the grass and watching them pop – I wished we had taken the time to make more!
Here is Ella with one of her favorite friends from church, Abi. We are doing joy school with Abi and some other kids from church this year and Ella is really excited for her “school” to start.
Another cute idea I found online was pin the backpack on Dora, but since Kayley has a monopoly on all the artistic genes in our family and couldn’t draw a Dora for me since she is at BYU right now we did the classic pin the tail on the donkey instead. I don’t think our blindfold was very good though – we had some pretty accurate tails!
Pizza time! We had pizza and fruit and juice boxes for lunch – yum! I think Ella had 3 little slices all on her own.
I put different sprinkles and candies in the middle of the table for the kids to decorate their own cupcakes. Some kids got really into this while others didn’t – it was pretty funny to watch. A couple of them would eat off the layer of cupcake that had sprinkles on it and then sprinkle some more on their next layer before eating it.
Ella had been wanting to decorate and eat her cupcakes since the night before when we made them. When we asked her what the favorite part of her party was after everyone left she quickly said it was the cupcakes – not opening presents!
Here is the end of her “Happy Birthday” song. It was a little tricky to switch from taking pictures to videos with the camera while making sure Ella’s hair didn’t catch on fire – this is the resulting video :-)!
Back outside for the Dora piñata. The latest development in piñatas is that you don’t have to hit them to break them open anymore. On this one there were 8 strings (I taped on 2 of my own so everyone could pull one- we needed 10) and everyone pulls theirs.…one is the magical string that opens up the bottom so all the goodies fall out.
The time to open presents had arrived. Ella was absolutely thrilled with EVERYTHING she received! She even gave everyone hugs and said thanks after opening their gift (she can get really shy so I was very proud of her!). Everyone was so nice and picked out things Ella really loved – including lots of Dora items!
Addie slept through pretty much the whole party, which was so nice of her! She joined the last little bit and Nana helped her get festive with her own little hat. The party was scheduled to last 2 hours and we were pretty much done after 1 ½ hours, but I think overall it was a success. I definitely could not have pulled it off (there were 10 little guests total! plus moms) without the help of my mom and grandma! Ella told me while we were playing later that evening, “That was my best party ever!” so I guess that pretty much sums it up :-)!

Off to church the next day:

My family and grandparents came over for dinner and to do family presents after church. My mom was so excited to come she didn’t realize she had worn two different sandals to our house until she went to put them back on after putting Addie down upstairs. What is really funny is that they are completely different heights – one pretty much flat and the other one with a big heel – we had a good laugh over that mix up :-)!
Ella modeling her pretty new necklace from Grandad and Nana. She has an old necklace of Hope’s that she always wants to wear to church or anytime she gets dressed up and now she’ll have one that actually fits!
Part of her present from my grandparents was this Dora sticker book. Doing sticker books is something my Grandma does with Ella often so it was fitting that she found this Dora one for her birthday!

Initially I was surprised by Ella’s reaction to getting the bike (something she has wanted for a long time now), but we think she was a little embarrassed by all the build up leading up to it.
As you can see in the picture, she is definitely thrilled to have her very own bike – especially a Dora one! Now she just needs to learn how to pedal it.
Ella with Grammy and Greatfrog.
The girls with Nana and Grandad.
Trying to get a family picture was difficult and included Addie spitting up in the middle of the shoot while I was holding her and then trying to give me a big kiss (or eat my face) with spit up all over her little mouth. This was the winning shot.
My parents gave Ella a jump rope and Addie found it hysterical to watch Ella try to do it. It is pretty funny actually. Ella kind of swings the rope around while she jumps up and down – but it was sooo cute how Addie just cracked up!
Ella cooking in her kitchen with some new food and pots from her birthday. My friend from church, Cathy, made this adorable apron for Ella – it is THE cutest thing ever! I want her to make me one too!
I love Ella’s pretend sleeping pictures :-)! Here she is going to sleep with her new Dora pillowcase from Nana and her Dora doll from her friend Johnny. She’ll definitely have sweet dreams of Dora tonight! I probably will too.