Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ella {42 Weeks}

Ella's first "Welcome to My Home" picture

What a week it's been, once again! As you know, Ella & I spent the past couple weeks in the Midwest visiting family, and we finally made it back to Pennsylvania.

Our week started in Iowa, of course. We spent a few days visiting family and friends, and Ella got to meet Max, the son of one of my good friends from high school.

The next couple days were travel days. We were headed to Chicago, where one of Mike's cousins was getting married. Ella's great-grandma and great-grandpa [my grandparents] drove us to Des Moines to get our journey started. 

Ella did amazingly well on all the legs of our trip. She was such a trooper, and an excellent traveler!

Lunch pitstop with Auntie Rach

Once we finally made it to Chicago, we spent a couple days with Mike's family. We danced, we partied, and we saw some Chicago scenery. It was a great way to end our 2014 Midwest Tour!

After a great couple weeks visiting family and friends, it's great to be home. Although home is now a different place! While we were gone, Mike moved everything from the house we were renting into the house we just purchased. He actually closed on the house while we were gone, too. [the trip was planned before the move.. i promise!] So Ella and I came back to a new home! It's definitely a big change, but she's already learning and discovering.  

She loves playing in the kitchen cupboards...

and she has even learned how to climb the stairs!

Whew! I think that was enough excitement for one week. Even though it was a crazy trip, we're so thankful for our friends, our family, and safe travels. Until next time... sending hugs!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ella {41 Weeks}

It has been another fun week in Iowa, but our time is quickly coming to a close. It's amazing how quickly two weeks can go.  We have spent some wonderful quality time with grandmas and grandpas, and even great-grandma and great-grandpa. It has been nice to just sit and hang out, when our trips are usually rushed, lasting only a day.

Chatting with Grandpa Dave

Blowing bubbles on the patio with Grandma Diane

Playing with a cut up 2x4 "blocks"

Early in the week, we took a trip to Omaha to see some great friends. We spent the afternoon at the zoo and had dinner with some fun girlfriends.

At the zoo with the Navins

Sweating it out in the rainforest.
Ella of course wanted to be in the middle of the Navin clan. They are fun!

Watching the penguins play!

Trying to catch jellyfish!

Part of the reason Ella and I are in the midwest so long is so that I could attend a friend's bachelorette party in Nebraska. Because it was a six-hour drive from my parents' house, Ella stayed with Grandma & Grandpa for the night. It was the first night she had stayed away from Mike and me, but I think it was easier for her than for us! 

She had fun hangin with Grandma & Grandpa, but of course she did some damage!

I was definitely happy to see this smiling face again!

Now that Ella is nine months old, she has officially graduated to the next food stage, which includes more textures. Until now, she has had mainly smooth pureed foods. Now she is encouraged to have small chunks in her foods and to have small finger foods, like baby puffs and Cheerios. So far she hasn't really been too interested in the whole idea, but we'll keep trying!

Traveling has been a little rough on her sleep habits. She's napping well, but she's not sleeping well overnight. She's been waking up three or four times each night, which usually ends with 4am snuggles in the bed. I think she's ready to have her own bed back! [i know i'm definitely ready for her to have it back, if it means a full night's sleep!]

And here are a couple selfies for good measure. It's been so much fun hanging out with this little girl every day! 


We have been having a fantastic time in Iowa, and I'm sad to see it come to a close so soon. 
But we've definitely missed Mike, and we're excited to see him in just a few days! 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Minnesota Trip: SJP Reunion

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we took a weekend trip to Minnesota for Mike's ten year class reunion. The weekend went really quickly, but we saw some great friends and had loads of fun. [i'm still waiting to steal some of mike's pictures yet again, but here are a few in the mean time.]

Doing a little running around in the airport before boarding the plane.

 Once we landed in the Twin Cities, we had lunch with some college friends. After lunch, we headed to St. Cloud where we met up with some of Mike's high school buddies that I have gotten to know over the past few years. Things have definitely changed in the last ten years:  three babies, and one more on the way!

Part of the reunion was a tour of the school. 
Ella hopped a ride on the Enke Family Train. Landon [the son of mike's high school buddy, steve] just loved walking beside her!

SJP's 2004 Male Athlete of the Year?  Mr. Michael Wierzbicki.
[must have been some tough competition.]
And notice 2003's was Mr. David Wierzbicki.

That evening was a casino night at the high school. Mike and I played some hardball at the Black Jack table, and we came out with our goal:  a travel coffee mug and some maple syrup. How much did it cost, you ask?  $25,000. Kind of steep, yes. But we got it for the bargain price of $17,700. 
[i tried to barter with the prize table lady, and she promptly turned me down. but then mike walked up, asked for the same, and she immediately said yes. perhaps he also earned sjp's 2004 teacher's pet award?? kidding. at least we were able to pay our babysitter in maple syrup!]

We had a blast of a weekend!
Special thanks to Rachael for watching Ella for the night!!
[we aren't even mad that she didn't eat her veggies.]

Ella {40 Weeks}

Now that we're back to real-time blogging....

After a whopping one weekend at home, we're on the road again.  Mike, Ella and I spent the weekend in Kansas City with his family, and now Ella and I are in Iowa with my family while Mike is back in Pennsylvania. Because of hockey and its busy fall/winter weekends, we apparently do all our travelling during the summer. Ella and I will be in the midwest for another two weeks, and then we'll meet Mike in Chicago for his cousin's wedding. [then moving into the new house. it never stops.]

The past week has been a busy one yet again, but the weekend was a blast!

Before we left PA, we had a baby shower for some of Mike's coworkers. There are three babies due next month, so of course we had to celebrate. I made some DIY decorations to make things a little more festive, and here's a little peek at the table decorations.

The girl is a jet-setter, even early in the morning, still in her pajamas!

Hangin' and Grandma Marie & Grandpa Dennis's house

and making some noise...

and playing with some fun toys!

My college bestie, Sasha, brought her kiddos over to the neighborhood pool for some fun splash time!

Ella with Baby Lauren and Jakob

Love them!

Ella LOVES fountains

and eating everything in sight... including stray pool toys. Surely the chlorine cleaned it off??

Then we played at the park for a bit

before heading back to Dennis & Marie's for ice cream cones!

We had SUCH a fun weekend! Now the Midwest Adventure continues in Iowa!

Ella {39 Weeks}

I realize I'm really late in posting this, but we've been pretty busy!
We spent the week getting back on track after traveling to Minnesota, as I had mentioned. We're also in the final throws of buying a house, so this week we've been packing and working on lots of paperwork. Oh, and the house we're renting is basically falling apart, so we've been dealing with little things like a broken air conditioner and a fridge and freezer that's on its way out. 

Unfortunately, that means we haven't really done anything new. We've gone to the pool and the park, played with bubbles, and just relaxed. One day was so exhausting, Ella even took THREE naps!

With all the boxes around from packing up the house, Ella has found plenty of new hiding places!

Many toys have been put away, but she found Lammie -- Mike's favorite little lamb from when he was little.

The Fourth of July was also this week, and of course we had to celebrate. State College has a big event called 4th Fest, where they have tents, vendors, and entertainment for the whole family. It's on the Penn State campus, and Mike had to be at the Men's Hockey booth for a while, so we went to hang out. 

Ella in her 4th of July outfit

That night was a huge fireworks show, and it was seriously the best fireworks display I've ever seen! Because Ella doesn't like the loud noises that accompany things like hockey goals, we really weren't sure how she would do with the fireworks. Plus, it was past her bedtime. But we decided to try out her new noise-reducing ear muffs. We knew we might have to make a mad-dash to the exit if she hated it, but we gave it a shot. Lo and behold:  within two minutes she was asleep, and she slept through the rest of the fireworks! She didn't mind them at all. 

Snuggled up and rockin' the pink ear muffs. Just before falling asleep.

The fireworks display was set to music, which made it extra fun.

And the finale was crazy!

It was the perfect way to end the week!