Monday, June 27, 2011

As Summer Rolls Along

I have noticed that during summer, things slow down. Aren't as structured or routine. Including my blogging, obviously... Well, we have had a good first part of the summer and don't want to forget it later, so here are the highlights.
Just thought I'd start out with something pretty to look at. More on this, so keep reading!

Well, to kick off the summer, Lolly made a visit. We really just hung out, sewed, cooked, and ate. Our specialties. It was too hot to get out and do much more. We loved all the time with her so much!
Early morning bubbles.

We also celebrated Kelly's birthday together!

And then, Eric's parents brought his grandparents, Ellie's great-grandpa and grandma Ness down from Indiana for a visit! Ellie loved getting to spend time with them. We are so thankful that y'all made the long trip for a few days with us! We loved every second of it.

Now, some of "Everyday Ellie". She loves rocking her new backpack around. (And Nini loves doing her hair :)

She is so funny... And she knows it.

She is super fond of babies (hallelujah!) My sweet friend Mellisa was brave enough to let Ellie hold her little Walker. Ellie loved it, as you can tell and brought him Sophie and books during their visit. Hope this sticks!

Still loves to eat! My friends all know this, and as we were eating dinner together the other night, as I complimented a friend on how delicious the steak was, I launched into a spiel about the "depth of flavor" one marinade had versus a different one. They said, "And where do you think your daughter gets her obsession from???" Touche'

And does not love the camera. She was happily playing in my ribbon stash until the camera came out.

Ellie also made her way to the science center for the first time. She loved the water table, and it was all fun and games until she started drinking out of the test tubes. Lovely.

She was so cute in that little apron.

And let me tell you, she loved the giant Light Bright. Who wouldn't?

And then came Father's Day. We had a relaxed day of church, lunch- Eric's choice (Moe's... Easy to please- love that about him!) A nap and then a trip to the splash pad. And then dinner with Kelly and Drew. Thanks Babe for being a better dad than I had ever imagined you would be (and let me tell you, I had high hopes!) You know how much we love you!

And meet Marley. Kelly and Drew adopted this sweet dog. Harvey and she have become quite the buddies.

Later, our sweet friends, Lauren and Chris, invited us to Smith Lake for the weekend! We were pumped! (That's where that gorgeous view in the first picture is from.)

Lauren, aka "Whitty" is an Ellie magnet. We have been friends with Lauren for a while and Ellie is kind of obsessed with her. And Lauren is so sweet and seems kind of fond of Ellie herself! Whenever she wanted to be held, her arms went up to Lauren. These two had lots of fun together.

Chris took us on a "sunset cruise". Beautiful.

The boys (minus Chris our captain.) Eric has met his match with these guys...

The ladies and Walker

Ellie got to take her first kayaking adventure while we were there. It was so nice to get away, enjoy great friends ( and food- there I go again), and the beautiful lake.

We load up later this week to head up to Indiana to enjoy some days with Eric's family as well as a trip to Lake Michigan! Yay for summer!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer around our house

Summer... I've always loved this time of year because it meant water, trips, and a change of pace. Summers in Alabama are quite different from the ones I spent in FL, with a lake in my backyard and a beach a short drive away, but they are still special. We might spend our time at in the plastic pool out back, or in the hose, but there are still fireflies to watch, grilling to be done, and lots more time with Eric. We also are blessed with families who spoil us with trips, so beaches and vacations are still in the picture too!

So, to welcome the summer, record breaking heat and all, I love to decorate our house for the season. I grew up with a mom who, even though we had barely any seasonal activity where we lived, she was always changing our decor to go along with the "season". Here are some of the projects I have been working on lately around here.

Our first harvest of flowers!! Zinnias and sunflowers. Eric is an awesome gardener :)

Growing up, we spent lots of summers collecting shells on vacation. Eric has gotten to spend time with my family at Sanibel Island and the beach where all these came from. It just brought back really good memories as I pulled them all out and set them out.
I kind of go crazy and end up with tons. Eric made me donate half of my collection to goodwill...
I know I have one friend out there who shares my somewhat obsession... :)

A while ago, I made these curtains out of burlap because it is so inexpensive. I sewed strips of different lace on the bottom to add a little "cotagey" feel. I also love having banners up for birthdays and celebrations, so I decided to make a plain one just because.

I made fabric flowers for the tie backs.

That big black and white shell... Eric found it. One of his vacay claim to fames... :)

I'm sure most of y'all have joined the Pinterest obsession.... I love it! It is a place where there are so many clever, creative, and super cute ideas in one place. I saw someone make shelves out of pallets, so one day, driving home after taking some friends dinner, I spotted some leaning against a hotel dumpster. Eric swung in, some how loaded them into our car, and made these for me. He has become quite the handyman. On Pinterest they had them on a counter, but I had Eric drill mine into the wall.

So, there's a little look into our little home this summer!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ellie Now

It's Wednesday evening. Eric is at class and Ellie is sleeping soundly. There are rooms to pick up, laundry to switch, dishes to wash, but they will wait for now. Tonight I feel the urge to stop, and to try and capture our little Elle Bell right now. She is so full of life. Each day adds more and more to her personality. So Ellie, right now...

You are almost 16 months old. At your last doctor's visit (15 months) we learned that you had had a huge growth spurt! You weighed almost 25 pounds (75%) (gained 4 pounds since your year visit) and grew to 32 inches (90%) (from 28!) The doctor also told us you had lots of teeth coming in. I can't imagine what it is like for you with your little body changing so much so quickly.

You are walking pretty well now. You attempt a run every now and then, but haven't mastered it yet.

You are learning things so quickly. We can show you something, and often, you remember it. This makes it lots of fun for people to teach you tricks like raising the roof, pointing to lots of body parts, and showing us how old you are. You are also beginning to like playing with your baby dolls some. Nini made you a quilt for your babies, so you like to wrap them up and give them bottles.

You are a firecracker, always on the go, always into something, and very independent. You will give us quick kisses on the go every now and then, and get a little cuddly at night, but that is about it. That's why, the other night, when I peeked in on you playing in the living room it brought tears to my eyes as I watched you, very gently, place all of your babies and animals into your little pink chair so that they could watch Praise Baby. It's times like these when I realize that you are getting older and understanding life more. I pray that you have a tender heart as you grow that leads you to becoming a compassionate person.

You talk all day long. Not really using words, but you make sounds. Mama means anything you want usually a paci or food. You walk around the house making all kinds of sounds and Eric and I always talk about how we would love to get inside your little head in order to hear your little conversations. We know we will very soon!

You love music. In the car, if I turn the music down, you do the "more" sign. If someone is singing to you and stops, you again say "more".

One of your new favorite times has become watering the plants with Daddy at night. You want your watering cans filled so you can water the plants. You also loved to be splashed with the hose and are usually a huge, happy mess by the time y'all are done.

You are my little shadow. If I am cleaning the counters, you want a spray bottle and a paper towel to do the same. You want to put my makeup on, wear my headbands, carry around my purse, try to unlock the door with my keys, and talk on my phone.

You love to laugh and we love to listen to it. It is loud and hard. Lots of things make it come out. A tickle on your neck, looking at someone through the window, or anything crazy your daddy does to hear it. Most of all, Harvey makes you laugh. There will be times you are so upset about something that nothing will make you stop crying. Then, I'll pick up Harvey and make him do a little dance move or something, and you totally forget your tears and are laughing right through them.

Speaking of tears, I think one of the traits that comes along with some of the things we love about you, like your desire to explore and independence comes a very very strong will. When you want something. You want it. Have to have it. End of story. Whether it be my food instead of yours, to knock all the bottles of Tylenol of the shelf of Publix, to play with my lipstick or pens, to stand on the couch (this is an issue because you want to climb up on all the pillows like Harvey, but happen to be a little more clumsy than him at this point...) or whatever it may be, when you do not get your way. You get mad. Really mad. Tears, yells, maybe even throwing something or hitting. It's a mess. It reminds me that we are born into a sinful world. No one has to teach us to sin. Yet, it teaches me patience and consistency. Two things I need to learn. Two things that are very hard to get down (especially when everyone at the store is staring at you, waiting on your next move.)

The good moments outweigh the tough ones, although sometimes the tough ones take so much energy and come to mind easier on a stressful day. That is why tonight, I wanted to stop and think. To think about who you are right now. The little things that seem so everyday now, were at one time, momentous. 

Ellie, you are really such a joy to your daddy and I, and in many ways have spoiled us. As of now, you are a great eater, go to sleep so easily and will sleep all night long, can entertain yourself every now and then, and are always making us laugh.

Each day as you are learning more and more about the world around you, I am learning more and more about myself, the places in my heart that need to be cultivated from selfishness into humility and gentleness. I guess it makes sense, the best way to learn something is through experience and practice, and Ellie, you provide me with plenty of experiences and opportunities for practice! We love you sweet girl!