Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ella's Birthday

Ella's birthday party was a wild animal theme. We had it in the play area of a local church. You can rent the facility which was perfect because it was just our group there. Our biggest complaint was the sun blaring in on us (made for difficulty taking pictures along with just being able to see what we were doing). We survived, just pointing it out so you aren't wondering why the pictures are the way they are.

The food...

We had animal shaped cheese and salami...elephant and moose

Animal shaped sandwiches...elephant, giraffe and crocodile

and of course, animal shaped cupcakes...monkeys, lions, zebras and tigers

a close up...

The kids were all invited to make their own plate. We did this when I was a kid and still use the plates at my mom's house.

Opening gifts...
Ella got several wonderful gifts...thanks again everybody!!

I love how the girls (who were all sitting so very nicely while Ella opened gifts) were excited and very carefully pointing out something on the box just seems so sweet.

I need to take a picture of the invite, so will post that when I do it. I was quite proud of how the invites and cupcakes turned out. :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

This is our first Christmas in our new house! woohoo!

One of the criteria for our new house was a place to put the 9 foot Christmas tree that I bought in 2001. It had never even been out of the box. I know, I'm silly to buy the tree in the first place but it was so big and beautiful in the store. And it was on clearance.

So this past weekend we had the task of putting up the trees.

We assembled the 9 foot tree, which is our fancy tree. I had no idea how it would go together but it was a breeze...just snap these 3 pieces together and fluff the branches! Next step...lights. We apparently got rid of most of our lights 2 years ago (we just put up a tiny tree with no decor last year in the apartment). The fancy tree is on hold while we wait for lights.

We decided to put the smaller tree in the family room. We put it together and decorated it. Ella was a great help with ornaments. I would hand them too her and keep sorting through the box and when I finally looked up I found she had put about 8 ornaments on one branch.

We finish the tree and stand back to admire and Ella declares that it "needs something". We ask her what it needs and she proudly grabbed a barbie and put her in the tree. The tree still wasn't done. She found another barbie and put her in the tree. And declared "there, that's better".

The next day we spent the day searching for lights for the fancy tree. We went to 5 different stores and finally found a couple of boxes. As I was confirming with Darren that these would do (he stayed in the car while I checked for lights) people were snatching them up right and left. I grabbed the last 5 boxes, display box and all and ran (well, not literally but I walked quickly and hoped I didn't get pounced on). What's with the light shortage this year?

This is the only spot in our house that can accomodate the tree and the star is touching the ceiling! Love it!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Ella

Today is Ella's 3rd birthday!!!

Where has the time gone??

It seems like just yesterday we were nervously driving to the hospital, but it was 3 years ago!

A lot has happened it these 3 years...we have sold our condo and moved into the apartment and then bought our new house. We've travelled to Wisconsin and Gatlinburg. Ella has learned to sit up, crawl, walk and talk! She amazes me with how smart she is!

Happy Birthday my sweet baby girl!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

technical difficulties

We are experiencing technical difficulties. We are resolving to work out these issues (and about have them solved). Thank you for your continued patience.

Coming up next...Ella's Birthday Party! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gatlinburg, TN

Last week we went to Gatlinburg, TN with some good friends of ours. We had a super duper terrific vacation and did lots of fun stuff.

We arrived on Sunday and after checking in, went for a delicious dinner at the Park Grille. Darren and I split a Filet and Trout entree with a side of sweet potato pie and salad from the salad bar. YUM! We then headed to the grocery store to pick up some groceries for the week. Our travel companions had their first encounter with a bear while driving from the restaurant to the grocery store...let the excitement begin!

On Monday we tried to go horse back riding but found that it had been raining for several days and it was not recommended to take the kids on the muddy trails. We petted the goats instead.

On our way home we stopped at the Great Smokey Mountain National Park visitors center. We got information on good hiking trails that a 2 year old could handle.

We decided on a 3 mile (round trip) hike to Laurel Falls. We were told the trail is "paved" and "easy". We decided that since the trail was "paved" that we would put the kids in the stroller. Definitely a good call because I think pushing the stroller on the "paved" trail would've been much easier than carrying them on the "easy" trail. (have you figured out that the trail is not what I would consider paved or easy?) was a pretty hike and the falls were beautiful. I would show you, but the batteries on the camera were dead. The biggest excitement on this hike was...

A real live wild bear crossed our path!!!

He was about 30-50 feet away just munching on some food and wandering up the hill!

Here are some other highlights from the week...

The Aquarium - nice size aquarium for the little ones. We went on the 1 rainy day (yeah for great vacation weather!).

Parrot Mountain - This place was a blast. It is up a VERY steep hill and the grounds are very hilly. They have some pretty gardens and birds sitting on posts throughout. In the middle there is an area where you can feed the birds. Some of them can talk. It was LOUD! They also had Lorikeets that we fed nectar too. We were all a little skeptical before going, but it was one of our favorite places.

Horseback riding - Darren rode with Ella on Wheezee and I rode Brazil. I didn't have my camera. It was a nice ride.

Shopping at the outlets and quaint (and cheesy) Gatlinburg shops - I got some sweaters and new sunglasses (I broke my pair the day before and stumbled across a sunglass store at the outlets...thank heavens...I can't see in the bright sun!).

Ober Gatlinburg - Neat place with lots of activities.

Clingman's Dome - in the National Park, specatular views. Only Greg did the hike up to the actual was mid-afternoon and we were all missing our nap. On the drive down, we stumbled across a bear eating on the side of the road. Camera was in the trunk (of course) so we didn't get pictures. Sigh!

Roaring Fork Motor Tour - this is a scenic driving tour in the park. There are about 12 stops along the way that you can get out and see things (waterfalls, historic builidings, overlooks, etc). At the beginning of the tour was a playground so we let the kids play for a bit. Ella was running in the mulch and tripped and landed oddly on her knee. We were quite worried because it seemed to be giving out under her and she was limping horribly. She kept telling us she was fine and wanted to go play and then would limp and say "ouch" with every step. She is one tough cookie!!!! We limited her walking for a bit and when she got up from her nap she was walking fine - Thank God!!!

We did a little swimming, played some games, had date nights. We had the other little girl in our car for most of the week and it was so sweet to listen to the conversations with her and Ella! I wish I could've recorded some of them! We were sad when her carseat was moved back to her car!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ella's First Haircut

At the ripe ol' age of 2 years, 9 months and 17 days, Ella had her first haircut.

She chose a carousel horse to sit on while getting her haircut. Check out the "before" hair.

She was nervously excited, not sure she really knew what was going on just yet. She said having her hair played with felt good.

Cutting the bangs.

Her hair is surprisingly long.

Checking out the new do.

We celebrated this milestone day with ice cream.

Just one more for today

after this one.

I slacked off on the blogging even though I had several posts that I wanted to make, I just didn't have the time to sit down and do it (darn facebook farm town). I'm getting caught up now...

I'll try to do better in the future. :)

a girl and her cat

Monkey Pictures

Ella wanted to take a picture of her stuffed monkey.

She got him all posed on the chair.

Then Mommy got inspired and wanted to take a picture of her monkey.

She got her all posed on the chair.

Then Ella wanted to make mad and silly faces.

Cops and Kids Day

Cops and Kids Day is an annual event in Westerville. They have police officers come from agencies all over central Ohio and they bring cool equipment like armored trucks and bomb robot things. The kids can go around and check out the equipment.

Usually the officer is handing out some sort of freebie...coloring book, sticker and Ella's favorite...candy. She would stand at the table by the candy and just stare at the officer. They would offer her the coloring book and she would take it, thank them and then continue to stare. Finally they would realize what she wanted and offer her some candy (I think they expected the kids would just take it) and she would happily grab a piece. Her patience was amazing.

There were also bounce houses and balloons and face painting and free food.

We had a lot of fun!

Peeking out of an armoured truck.

We were waiting in line for the bounce house. Loved the way she was standing there holding onto the stroller, the feet stance. She's such a little grown up.

This little guy was a remote controlled bear that talked to you via the operator. Since it is a "live" dog it actually talks and interacts with you. Ella LOVED this guy!

Monday, August 31, 2009


Columbus has a great zoo! Our family has a membership so we go frequently, sometimes only for an hour or 2. The other day Ella and I had nothing else to do so we headed to the zoo for a little impromptu visit. On the way I asked Ella what animal she wanted to see and she replied "the tigers".

On the way to see the tigers we walked by the elephants and the line to see the new baby elephant was at the "15 minute wait" sign so we decided to hop in line for that.

First the elephant. Isn't he cute?!

And check out the tiger! He was pacing back and forth along the glass. Ella was nose to nose with him...way cool! :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reversible Tote Bag

Look what I made!!

A reversible tote bag!!

Ella saw it and claimed it as her own.

weekend project

Recently we received a friendly letter from the home owners association regarding the condition of our mailbox, specifically the post. Our mailbox post was painted white and apparently that is a big no-no (it is to be a neutral wood color) so we were instructed to correct the situation.

Off to Home Depot...

I'll spare you the details and just say that we fixed it today and here is the proof.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Birthday Party

We had a birthday party for Mom on Monday. We grilled out and enjoyed yummy cake and pie. Ella even put on a party dress (she's not a big fan of the dress ya know).

I think he wants some cake!

Showing off the loot.

On a side note...there were "complaints" about the thickness of the pie crust. I personally like it a little thick but also can't seem to roll it thin enough for some people (Darren and Marla). I realize this pie had issues since I pieced the top together with hand smashed dough...but any good ideas for rolling the dough thinner and still being able to move it?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pie and Cake

Check out these beauties. I bet they make delicious pie.

Better taste test just to be sure.

Add some spices.

There were some technical difficulties with the crust. Generally a good sign that things will taste good, even if they aren't all that pretty. Maybe I should say that it was a hand-crafted pie.

Yep, it was de-licious!

4 layer yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I rarely make layer cakes so this was something new. It's a touch lopsided. *note the pretty backdrop.

layers are a bit uneven but not to shabby for a first attempt.

Here is the "backdrop" I mentioned earlier. I asked Darren to take a picture of the cake and rather than move it to a clear area of counter he just snaps some random picture (it has been deleted). I may have mentioned something about making it look pretty and taking into consideration the area around it and the picture having a good backdrop. He disappears and comes back with this piece of cardboard packaging from a recent toy purchase. I had saved it because it was cute and I thought we could find some cool use for it...little did I know.