Friday, December 12, 2014

Ella {14 Months}

It has been another month full of growing, learning and having fun. Ella continues to entertain us every day. She's learning new words and new activities and visiting new places.

This month, we finished up the fall story time at the library. Ella loved doing that each week, and we hope to be able to do it again in the spring. Except next time she will probably be in the Two's group... yikes!

We've still been going to some playgroups in the last month. Each week there are a few scheduled playgroups for small children around town. We've met some nice people, and Ella really enjoys playing with children her age. And of course she likes the new toys!

Ella and I made a trip to the Midwest without Mike. Unfortunately my aunt passed away after a fairly brief fight against Lymphoma, so we went back for her funeral. It obviously wasn't an ideal reason to go back, but I'm glad we were able to go. We were able to see many family members [many of whom Ella had never met] and spend some time at "home". And although it's never fun, I'm glad I was able to appropriately say goodbye. If I hadn't gone, I'm sure down the road I would have wished I had.
It was the first time I had flown with Ella but without Mike, so I wasn't sure how the trek would be. But it actually went really well. Ella is at an age where she doesn't really want to be contained to one person's lap for four hours [shocker], but I was prepared with a bag of tricks and she did great.

my twenty-first flight and i finally get my own seat?!

playing with cousin alice for the first time!

it snowed, but she didn't have her boots or snowpants. so gary brought the snow to her. she loved it [and ate the whole cup]!

We were able to take another trip this month. In early December, the three of us went to New York City for a Penn State hockey game at Madison Square Garden. We had a fantastic trip! If you missed it, here's the recap.

exploring times square

It seems like Ella learns something new nearly every day. Every week, for sure. She has a new way of going down the stairs. She doesn't like to go down on her belly anymore, because that's not how the big kids do it. She likes to sit on her bum and plop down from step to step. She is pretty unsteady doing it [and makes us nervous every time!], but she has only tumbled down the stairs doing it once. And thankfully, no injuries.

she started doing a little baby yoga

with our first snowfall, we built an ella-sized snowman

and played in the snow

For Thanksgiving this year, we weren't able to go home. Instead we had a Friendsgiving! We had a couple friends over for the day.. we ate way too much food, watched too much football, and went on a fun walk.

going on a walk around the neighborhood

Ella is still doing a few animal sounds:  a cow, a lion, a monkey, and she's working on a cat. However, the cat sometimes says "HI!". Oh yes, that's her favorite [and her first!!] word. "Hi!" She says it all the time. It's too cute. She also points to something [anything] and says "This?"

She's eating mainly soft table foods. Nothing really new here. Fruits, some veggies, and pasta and bread. She still has a hard time chewing meat, so we haven't pushed that. She loves her whole milk, yogurt and cottage cheese, so she's getting plenty of protein. She even has an occasional grilled cheese sandwich, which she likes.

Other than the mullet cut she got a few months ago, she hasn't had a haircut. Her hair is getting longer and more in her face, so we try to keep it contained with a ponytail or barrette. She doesn't usually leave them in though, so we may have to cut bangs sometime. Nooooo!

Some things she likes doing around the house are helping unload the dishwasher and dryer. She thinks she's really helpful in folding the landry too, but I beg to differ. She also really likes helping in the kitchen. She obviously isn't able to do much, but she likes to watch everything you do and to carry things like spices and containers.

Since it's Christmas season, we have our Christmas tree and stockings up. It's a daily struggle to keep her out of them, and it has turned into only the top half of our tree being decorated. Whatever works... 'tis the season!

We're looking forward to a very fun month ahead. Ella's Great Grandma Dee will be visiting from Florida, we'll be going to Iowa and Kansas for Christmas, and we'll be going to a hockey tournament in Pittsburgh.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are. Sending love and blessings your way!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekend Adventure: New York City

It's Sunday night, and we just returned from a hugely fun weekend in New York City! The PSU hockey team was playing in The Frozen Apple - a hockey game that's played at Madison Square Garden each year. The game was Saturday night, but we made it a long weekend and went Friday to Sunday.

We knew we didn't want to drive into Manhattan [we made that mistake once before], so we took the advice of some local friends on how to get there. We drove to New Jersey, parked there, and took the train into NYC. It was much easier and cheaper than driving and parking in the city, and it was kinda fun, too! 

waiting at the train station in new jersey

a little chilly, but the train was right on time!

ella was soaking it all in

After navigating two trains and one subway, we checked into our hotel. It was really close to a lot of exciting NYC things, so we walked to Times Square for a couple hours. We found somewhere for dinner, then we walked around and checked it all out. There were so many lights and so many people, and the video screens were much larger than I remember them being. They were just huge! Ella especially liked all the commotion; as we walked around she kept saying "Hi!" as we walked past people.

Saturday morning we headed out to find Rockefeller Plaza. We saw where the Today show is filmed [too bad it was the weekend!], the Rockefeller Christmas tree, and the skating rink. We also walked by Radio City Music Hall and The Tonight Show, and we walked down Fifth Avenue and checked out some shops.

mike and ella by the rockefeller christmas tree, which is from pennsylvania!

ice skating at rockefeller plaza

some lady with limited english offered to take our picture.. what a sweet stranger!

outside of radio city music hall

inside of st patrick's cathedral on 5th avenue. such a beautful place!

we even ran into santa at the hotel! ella wasn't so sure at first...

but a candy cane and sticker helped, and he even got down on the floor for her!

Saturday afternoon we relaxed for a bit and let Ella take a nap, then we headed to the hockey game. We met up with some PSU friends for dinner and drinks before the game, then we headed to Madison Square Garden. We got to sit in the PSU President's Suite [no president there, just his suite] during the game, which was great fun. It was great for Ella too, because she was able to run around and enjoy herself. She stayed awake sdthe entire game, and finally fell asleep on the subway ride back to the hotel. Even though Penn State didn't win, we had a great time!

Sunday we headed to Macy's to see their holiday displays. They set up window displays that tell stories, complete with moving parts and the entire story written on the windows. The top floors of the store were dedicated to Christmas as well, with SantaLand and an entire floor of Christmas trees and decorations. It was just so fun! 

they had a station where kids could write a letter to santa

ella mailed her letter... we'll see if santa finds her on christmas!

the front of macy's [recognize it from the parade??] and the empire state building 

After checking out Macy's and a couple rides on the subway, we made our way back to Penn Station to catch the train to New Jersey. We had an incredibly fun couple of days. It was great to see so many iconic places - ones that we visited together a few years ago. It was definitely different navigating NYC with a toddler in tow, but it was just as enjoyable. Ella was the best traveling toddler there is! She didn't mind all the hustle and bustle, and she loved looking at everyone and everything. 

ready for a nap, but patiently waiting in the train station. what a champ!