Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ella {12 Weeks}

It hasn't been long since you heard from me, but we have finished our 2013 Christmas Adventure and we're home safely. We had a fantastic trip, though a quick one. It was wonderful to see so many friends and family. Ella was a fantastic traveler, but it does take more equipment to travel with an infant than I would have thought. 

The last few days have just consisted of finishing our trip. Penn State was playing in a hockey tournament in Pittsburgh, and since we were flying back through there, we stayed for a couple days. 

When we got to the hotel to check in, they upgraded us to a suite. Nice! It was great because then we had a fridge for Ella's milk and extra space for her Pack-n-Play. We did a lot of relaxing and a little walking around downtown Pittsburgh. Ella took plenty of naps and was a trooper the entire time. We went to a couple hockey games, and Ella took it all in. She was a champ, once again! 

What a fun trip we had! Let's see where the next year takes us....

Ella & I outside the Consol Energy Center, where the hockey tournament was being played

Ella being ridiculously adorable in her bear suit

Walking around downtown Pittsburgh

Ella enjoying breakfast at the hotel

at the hockey game

Friday, December 27, 2013

Ella {11 Weeks}

It has been quite a week for this clan! We've been traveling for Christmas, and it has been a wonderful trip. I'll add some pictures when we get back home.

As I said a couple weeks ago, Mike and I decided we would go home [midwest-home] for a week over Christmas. We weren't sure we'd be able to because of flights being so expensive over the holidays, but we were able to find reasonable flights. We were excited to see everyone again, and everyone was excited to meet Ella. 

We packed our bags and loaded everything in the car, and began our trip. We flew out of Pittsburgh because flights were cheaper, so we had a 2 1/2 hour drive to get there. On the way, we hit downtown rush-hour traffic and missed our flight. Ella had slept the entire drive, so of course she was hungry by the time we made it to the airport... and crying as we were rushing through the airport. We quickly got re-booked onto another flight - thanks to a super-helpful Delta ticketing agent. The new flight even got in an hour earlier and we were able to sit together. Best flight that was ever missed! Once we re-booked, we had enough time to get Ella changed and fed, then we headed to security - where we were selected for TSA Pre-check. Let me tell you.. that was a blessing. We didn't have to take off jackets or shoes, or take out liquids. It made our rushed security check with Ella SO much easier. [thank you, pittsburgh tsa]

After getting through security, finding our gate, and getting a couple glares from a guy in a pinstriped suit, we were on our way. Ella was a little fussy while we were waiting to take off, but she did great on the flights. She ate, slept, and played. She only made a few peeps, and we didn't even make any enemies! The flights attendants were amazing. They gave Ella wings since it was her first flight, and they were extra accommodating. [kudos, delta]

We safely made it to Kansas City, where we stayed with Mike's parents for a few days. Ella met Mike's two brothers, we spent some time with my good friend Sasha and her family [including my godson jakob who is getting so big!], we tailgated and went to the Chiefs football game [ella's second tailgate - she was amazing!], and we spent some quality time with Mike's family. 

Next we headed to Omaha to meet some friends for lunch. It was a quick stop, but Ella was able to meet some of our good friends. Then we were off to Corning for a few days. My dad, Deb, and my grandparents hadn't met Ella yet, so they were very excited to see her. We spent some time with everyone, ate entirely too much food, saw a few friends.. and Santa even found us there! 

After what seemed like a very quick week, it was time to catch a flight back to Pennsylvania. Ella was a little fussy on our first flight then slept the entire second flight [that seems to be her trend], but did a great job flying. We are currently in Pittsburgh where we'll finish our trip with a couple Penn State hockey games before we head home.

We have had such a wonderful week, and of course Ella is getting bigger and stronger. It will be time to retire some 3-month clothes when we get home in a couple days. They're getting a little snug! Ella is holding her head up better than she was a week ago, and she's using her hands even more. She seemed to be purposely reaching for some toys we were playing with.. and of course her hands are in her mouth all the time [but she still hates a pacifier]. Her legs are getting stronger too - she gets so excited to "stand" with help. And it seems that she's just a couple weeks away from rolling over! As always, it's fun to watch her grow and change. 

If we were lucky enough to see you in the past week, thank you for spending time with us! We miss you already, and we can't wait to see you again. We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas [or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or whatever you might have celebrated]. Love & hugs from us all! 

A little photo montage of our trip [in no particular order...]

On the plane, ready to start our trip!

Ella & I in the airport -- she's sporting her wings!

Mike & Ella at the North Pole when we went to see Santa

Mike, Ella & me at the Chiefs game

Joe Papa used his baby magic to get cranky Ella to sleep

Randy & Shirley (Rachael's parents) meeting Ella after Christmas Eve church

Ella meeting Grandpa Dave for the first time

and Grandma Debbie

and Uncle Mike

and Great-Grandpa Don

and Great-Grandma Colleen (Marie)

Four generations of Awesome

Also meeting Uncle Dave for the first time

and Uncle Joe

Mike & me tailgating at the Chiefs game

Ella was a tailgating champ! And probably the warmest person there

The three of us at the Chiefs game

with Grandma Marie & Grandpa Dennis at the Chiefs game

Ella and me with Sasha and Jakob. 
When Ella was crying, Jakob gave her a blanket to make her feel better. He's going to be such a good big brother!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Ella {10 Weeks}

It's crazy, but Ella is now 10 weeks old and it's almost Christmas. 
Seriously, where does the time go?

Here are a few pictures and fun things Ella has been up to this week. 
I almost don't want to say this one because I don't want to jinx it, but... First and foremost, Ella has been sleeping for 8 hours every night for the past week. It was almost like a switch flipped. We put her in her crib and found a schedule that she likes, and kazam -- instantly 8+ hours of sleep. It's like a Christmas miracle!

This week we got our Christmas tree. It was a cold, snowy day that we went to the tree farm, but now it's situated warmly in our living room. 
Last Christmas, Mike and I had just moved so we didn't get a tree. But this year it was a must.

And of course we're enjoying nightly snuggles by the tree :)

Ella is starting to learn how to use her hands. They are finding their way into her mouth much more easily these days... Dad isn't a fan. She is starting to use them purposely - like to hit dangly toys. She's just getting the hang of it, but it's fun to watch her learn.

She's still doesn't love it, but we're continuing to work on tummy time. Gotta keep strengthening that neck!

Saturday was a big game for the Penn State men's basketball team. They were playing at their old arena, Rec Hall. They hadn't played there for years, so it was quite an event. The place was packed; there was standing room only. We didn't have much space and Ella wasn't a fan of such loud music and cheering. But we had a great time... even though they lost in overtime.

We're very excited -- next week we'll be posting from The Midwest! It might be a short post, but I'll try to get something up. Until then... safe travels and stay warm!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ella {9 Weeks}

What a week we've had! Some fun changes around here...

Ella is finding her hands more each week. Now she's hitting the dangly toys on her play mat, and she grabs onto more things. She puts her hands in her mouth more often, but still not really sucking a thumb at this point. She puts her hands up when she eats, and she even "held" her bottle the other night!

She has also found her tongue. How funny is this?!

She is moving her legs so much more, and they're getting so strong! It won't be long til she's ready to try out a jump-jump. She just realized yesterday that if she kicks in the bath, water splashes around. It's only the beginning....

She's holding her head up and sitting in her Bumbo chair for short periods.

Since she was born, Ella has slept in a bassinet in our bedroom. This week we moved her to her crib in her own room. She has slept great -- much better than I have! Of course I have to go check on her every time I wake up. She doesn't seem to notice. She even slept for almost SEVEN hours one night this week. That's a new record!

As you can see, she's getting her daddy's height. Those pants are on a 3 month outfit. They're a little short.

And we're still getting more smiles!

You can definitely see both of us in her.

Her two-month checkup was this week, too. She got her first set of shots, which wasn't much fun. She was a tough cookie at first, but a few hours later the pain came back and we saw her first real tears.

Two-month stats
Weight:  12 lbs 14 oz (83%)
Length:  24 inches (97%)
Head Circumference:  38.9 cm (68%)

The doctor said everything looks great!

She's pretty fun! Growing and changing every day! Next week we should have some Christmas photos to share. Stay warm, wherever you are!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ella {8 Weeks}

I can't believe it's December already. Seriously, where does time go??

The past week has been another fun one with Ella. She's smiling even more, and she kicks around and interacts more than she has been. She's really loving her play mat that a good friend gave us -- it has a mirror that hangs over her and a keyboard that plays music when she kicks it. She just lights up every time she sees herself in the mirror, even if she's getting fussy before we put her on the mat. It's so fun. Definitely her favorite toy right now!

Something else she really loves right now is when she gets to flail around without clothes. When we're putting on pajamas, changing clothes, or getting ready for bath time, she gets so excited and kicks around big time. 

Sleeping has been better the last week or so. She's sleeping four to six hours at a time, and she's finally going to bed about 10pm. She wakes up during the night once or twice to eat, then she's back to sleep until around 8am. We still have some rough nights, but it's getting much better. 

Thanksgiving was this past Thursday. Mike had hockey games that weekend so we didn't get to go home, but we went over to our friends' house. They were gracious enough to invite us to their family's Thanksgiving feast, and it was great fun. Plus, I didn't have to cook a big feast and we didn't have two weeks' worth of leftovers! And Thanksgiving morning, we booked our flights home for Christmas!!! I didn't think we were going to be able to go home [seriously, tickets are crazy expensive this time of year], but Mike found reasonable tickets so we're headed home this month! We're very excited for Ella to meet the rest of the family, and I'm pretty sure they're excited to meet her.

Sending hugs from all of us!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ella {7 Weeks}

Once again, I'm a little late in getting this post out. Shocker.

We don't have a whole lot of news around here. Ella is still loving to play on her mat, look in her mirror, and kick her feet. Her smiles just melt us, and she's starting to do it more often. We love it!

This weekend we had a houseful of visitors. Some college friends and their other-halves were in town for the Penn State vs Nebraska football game. Because hotels here are $1800 on football weekends [and because we love our friends], everyone stayed at our house. Mind you, we live in a small two-bedroom house. Everyone was very accepting of our less-than-luxurious accommodations [aka air mattresses and couches] and Ella's middle-of-the-night hungry cries. That's why we love college friends. We had a fabulous weekend, and Ella survived her first tailgating experience. She was a champ!! [no, we aren't terrible parents. she was bundled up and in the warm car the whole time. don't judge.]

That's about it for this week. We hope you're staying warm, wherever you are!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ella {6 Weeks}

Since I was late in getting the 5 Weeks post out, I don't have a whole lot that's new [so i'll give you some extra pictures to make up for it]. Ella is still a night owl... in fact last night she wouldn't really fall asleep until almost 3am. She would fall asleep, but every time we put her down she would start crying. I'm afraid we might have a spoiled little girl on our hands. Hopefully that doesn't continue... Mike and I aren't so good at staying up til 3am these days.

Ella is getting pretty good at holding her head up; her neck is getting stronger!

We had a couple real smiles each of the last couple days - it's so fun!

She has enjoyed laying on her play mat a little more than she had been; she even found herself in the mirror and smiled today - something she hadn't done before!