Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Stacy Dingfield, Jon, Ginny (Jones) and Josiah Hildebrant, Katie Morman, JD and Kara (Guisinger) Claridge, and me

Yesterday we had a LeTourneau reunion of sorts. Jon and Ginny Hildebrant (currently living in Africa), Katie Mormon (Bonners Ferry, ID), Stacy Dingfield (Spokane, WA), and I all converged on Sandpoint, ID, where JD and Kara Claridge live. With our kids in tow, we went out to eat at Panhandler Pies and had a good time catching up and reminiscing. This is the first time I've seen Ginny or Stacy since we graduated from LeTourneau 6 years ago. I saw JD and Kara and Katie back in April, but it's pretty rare that I get to see them, too.

We ate lunch, JD headed back to work, then the rest of us headed downtown to walk around. As you can see from the picture above, it decided to snow while we were out. We walked around for a while, then the not-so-accustomed-to-the-cold-because-they-live-in-Africa Jon and Ginny decided to head out. They're flying out of Spokane today and thought it best to get there before the weather got any worse for the drive. So Kara, Stacy, and I along with our three kids kept walking and stopped in at Starbucks for some coffee. Despite the snow outside, I still drank a Frappuccino. You just can't beat that yummy goodness, no matter the temperature. After a good long time chatting, Stacy needed to get back on the road to Spokane before the roads got bad. So we walked back to the car, said goodbye and parted company. Then Kara and I (with THREE carseats across the back of the Prius - it CAN be done!) headed back to her house for the evening.

My mom once told me that the friends I made in college would be my friends for life. Apparently, she was right.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ellie, it's so early....

Here it is, just a little past 6am and I am awake. Ugh. What's worse than that is that Ellie has been up for an hour already. I'm at JD and Kara's and it figures that Ellie didn't sleep well. I accidentally woke her up when I came to bed (we're in the same room), so that meant she spent a good time screaming while I tried to quiet her as not to wake the Claridge kids. I think she screamed the loudest I've ever heard her. She finally got to sleep, but she was restless all night an sobbed and wimpered in her sleep for hours. Poor thing. Then she woke up this morning about 5 and I moved her to the bed with me in hopes that nursing and snuggling with her would calm her back to sleep. Wrong. She was good for a little while, then decided she was WIDE awake. Happy, but wide awake. I, on the other hand, wanted to sleep. But she has been playing and wiggling and kicking for an hour. She's drinking a bottle right now, but even so she's kicking the computer as I type.

The trip out to Idaho went very well. Ellie slept and played and didn't give a peep until Coeur d'Alene, about 45 minutes from our destination. Not too bad! She cried a bit from Coeur d'Alene to Sandpoint, but she'd been in that car seat for 6 hours already and was hungry again, so I can't really blame her.

Ellie thinks Kylen (JD and Kara's little 2 1/2 year old boy) is the funniest thing ever. She just watches him and giggles. It's the first time I've seen her amused with a boy. Mostly she just ignores them. But she thinks Kylen is a hoot. She hasn't taken too much interest in 1 year old Evie so far, though.

Well, it is now 6:30, so maybe in the next half hour or so the rest of the house can wake up and Ellie can squeal and giggle all she wants. Chances are, though, that THEN she will decide it's time to sleep.

Friday, January 26, 2007


About the only time Leif gets to play with Eliana during the week is before bedtime. They spend quality time together and then he puts her to bed for the night. I usually love this time because I get some time alone, but tonight I spent time with the silly duo as they played before bedtime. It's wonderful to watch Leif with Ellie. I am so blessed to have them both.

Ellie and I will be heading to Idaho and Washington this weekend to see JD and Kara, Katie, Ginny and Jon, and Stacy. It will be fun to see everyone and show off our little munchkin. It will also be the first time I've seen Ginny's little boy, Josiah. I am hoping for good weather and a smooth trip. It's the longest car trip Ellie's ever taken, so we'll see how it goes. Hopefully I'll have some fun pictures to post when we get back on Tuesday. In the meantime, HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Ellie has been able to support her own weight for a long time. Her problem isn't strength, it's balance. But since she figured out how to sit up, her balance has improved considerably. So much so that she is perfectly happy to stand up holding onto something by herself. She did this yesterday holding onto the couch. Today I stood her up in the crib and she held onto the edge, then moved her hands over and moved one foot, but couldn't figure out how to move the other one toward the toy she was eyeing. After she got all toe-tied and fell over, I stood her back up and she peered over the side of the crib, then looked at me with the biggest, most delightful grin, as though she had never seen her room from that vantage point before.

She is getting closer to being mobile every day. She reaches for things that she wants, and she sort of inches towards them on her belly on the floor. Yesterday she was playing on the floor and I went into another room for a bit. When I came back out she had rolled halfway across the room, almost under the couch! She's starting to go places. Her world is getting bigger.

Monday, January 22, 2007

6 month checkup

Well, Ellie had her 6 month checkup today. She got shots and did very well with that. She cried when they gave her the shots, but once she was off the table and into my arms, she quieted right down and was fine. The doctor said everything looks perfect. She's right where she should be, and even a little ahead, developmentally. She is small, but he said we didn't need to be worried about her weight at all, given her developmental progress and the amount that she's eating daily. Here are the stats:

Weight: 12 lbs 6 oz (5th percentile)
Length: 25 inches (35th percentile)
Head Circumference: 16.5 inches (30th percentile)

So, she's little. But she's healthy, happy, and learning every day and for that we are very, very thankful.

Li'l Friends

We got this outfit at a baby shower and Ellie is finally big enough to wear it. She has her six month checkup today, so hopefully we will find out how much she weighs and all that again. We try to weigh her at home from time to time, but she is so wiggly it's hard to get an accurate reading! Here are a few pictures to start off your week. =)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Drooling Machine

We are back in teething land, as evidenced by the ring 'o drool on Ellie's shirt.

We have Wii

That's right. Wii. Leif's brother Eric got us a Wii for Christmas and gave it to us this evening. Oddly enough, he gave us a gift on HIS birthday. Leif was confused by that. =) But it is great fun, and for that reason alone we are still awake at 2:30 am, playing the Wii. Great fun. Addicting, too. I am all over the bowling. We played a family game of bowling (Leif, Me, Eric, Terry, and Wenda) and it was a lot of fun, even if it was 1 am. So much for early to bed! Then we played some tennis and my arm is going to be sore tomorrow.

So to celebrate Eric's and Terry's birthday today, we all met at a steakhouse in Livingston. Leif, Eric, and I split a steak and had a side each. Terry and Wenda got a rack of ribs. We got to try the ribs - WOW. Those were the best ribs ever. And I don't like ribs. Better than Sir Scott's Oasis overall. Shhhh... I know that place is world famous or something, but if you're looking for really good steak and ribs, I suggest Montana's Rib and Chop House in Livingston. Seriously good food.

Alright - back to uploading and editing pictures on Costco's website. I need to print them soon and time's a-wastin! It doesn't look like I'll be sleeping any time soon, with all the wiiing going on in the room next door.

Friday, January 19, 2007

6 months old!

Eliana is 6 months old today!! At 6 months she can roll over both ways, sit up, giggle, and say the sounds "kh", "gh", "t", and "ma", though she is best at "kh" and "gh". She sleeps from about 8 pm to 8 am, give or take a half hour on each end. She's eating three meals of solid foods daily and has had avacado, pears, bananas, sweet potatoes, and rice cereal. She usually nurses before each meal and has 4-6 oz of formula after. She also has a bottle before bedtime. She can feed herself a bottle and is not picky as to which formula she drinks. Ellie puts everything in her mouth, including her feet. She thinks chewing on her toes is one of the funnest things on earth. As of the last few weeks, she doesn't like baths, but does like seeing herself in the mirror all wrapped in her towel after the bath. She is a very smiley girl and is a delight to us. Happy half birthday, baby!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sitting up tall

It's official - Eliana can sit by herself now! Yesterday she finally figured it out. I sat her down in front of a toy and went to go run some bath water for her, and when the bath was ready, she was still sitting there, playing with her toy. She rarely falls over now, even if she leans to get something.

Today she did something new, too - she made a mess of herself while eating! It's the first time she's gotten food on her hands and rubbed it all over her face. She did it twice. Silly girl! She was so tired because she didn't have a good nap and she always rubs her nose and eyes when she's tired. So much for staying clean during lunchtime!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This place I love

I was looking for a couple pictures I wanted to print today and I came across some pictures Leif took on a hike last summer. I'm sure I've seen these before, but they just remind me how beautiful it can be here and how much I'm looking forward to hiking this summer.

And yes, that last on is of a fish jumping out of the water. Seriously, though, look at how many fish are in that stream. If I could fish, I would love Montana. Oh, wait - I do love Montana.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Say Cheese!!

This is our little ham. The camera comes out and she is all smiles. Thought I'd share a few pictures from today.

Okay, so she wasn't all smiles here. But that's only because she was temporarily ZONED OUT in front of the television! It's amazing how she can get sucked in and it's so hard to get her attention back. It wasn't even a cartoon or kid TV - it was Martha Stewart! Even Leif doesn't get sucked in by Martha.

Oh yeah - she gets sucked into the computer, too. She's sitting on my lap right now, very happy just to watch me type. And she giggles when I open a big picture of her. What a silly girl!

Ah yes, another picture of the new toy. This one because while all the buttons and slides make cool noises and play music, her favorite part of the toy is the book in the middle. And it doesn't do anything (other than switch from music to learning mode). She just likes to lick it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Out for a walk

Today Leif, Ellie, and I went for a walk around the subdivision. Sure it was about 10 degrees outside, but on a beautiful, sunny day... who could resist? So we bundled Ellie up and headed out around the pond where we saw two groups of people ice fishing. It made me feel like a citizen of Lake Wobegone.

And one of these days I will remember that jeans were not made for warmth.

Ellie's World

Ellie has figured out that if you push the keys on the piano hard enough, they make noise. That is very fun and her Daddy is patient enough to encourage her in such ways.

She's also getting better at sitting up every day. I still can't sit her down and leave her, but she is getting better. And she thinks it's funny when she falls over onto the soft bed. Not so funny when she falls over on the less-soft floor.

New Toy!

For Christmas, Uncle Jerry sent Eliana some money. So last night we went to the store and got a new toy. It was one some friends of ours have that Ellie got to play with a little bit a few weeks ago. It seemed easy enough for her to push the buttons and stuff, and it played music, which she tends to like. It's the Leap Frog Learn and Groove Musical Table.

It's got lots of things to push and slide and they all make noise. So this morning we pulled it out and Ellie got to play with it for the first time. Talk about a happy baby! She giggled and played and smiled and LOVED it. She loved it so much that she wouldn't even look at the camera when it came out - and normally she's a camera hog! I think we have a winner! We haven't gotten Ellie too many toys; she mostly just plays with the same thing every day: a play gym with things hanging over her to bat at and play with. She's got a doll that she plays with and a pop up toy that she's not quite able to work right just yet. So... this will add a little variety and is something that can grow with her, too.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I just have to share...

About an hour after my last post, I came upstairs to get something and I heard a noise. From inside the carseat carrier I hear, "kh kh kh". I lifted the carrier cover and this is what I saw:

Also, this morning when Eliana awoke from her nap, I went into her room and started to take her out of her crib, unswaddling her first. Once she was free of the swaddling, she quit fussing and started playing with the mirror/toy we have in the crib. She didn't seem interested in me at all, so I just left her in there and she played happily for another 20 minutes. She was fussing not because she wanted ME, but because she wanted the use of her arms! I'd stop swaddling her altogether, but when I try to get her to sleep without swaddling her, she just sleeps very fitfully and wakes up cranky. So... we keep swaddling. Maybe someday she'll decide she's "too old" for that, but not yet.

Long time...

It's been over a week since I last posted. We haven't been that busy, there just hasn't been much going on. I know, I know, but I could at least post some pictures during the down times. I can hear you thinking it. I haven't been taking many pictures lately either. Well, here are a couple pictures. I might even have a video or two a little later. Most of the things Ellie is doing these days are cuter on video than in photos. She just wiggles so much! Let's see...

Eliana can now easily roll pretty much anywhere she chooses. Thankfully so far she's only been interested in rolling to things that are nearby, like her doll or bottle. She hasn't been so interested in rolling into another room or anything like that, though I'm sure that day will come. But for now she just rolls around happily from one thing to the next, keeping herself amused pretty well.

"Kh" - that's Ellie's new sound. She is always making "kh, kh, kh" sounds. It's pretty cute. She gets a kick when we repeat it back to her, which just encourages her to make the sound even more, but it's sort of irresistible, so we just keep doing it. =)

For Christmas Ellie got a soft doll from "Grandma" Bennie. And she loves it. She hugs it, snuggles with it, chews on it, and giggles at it. She is a girl through and through. If she's fussy in the swing and I need to get things done, I just give her the doll and all is well. She doesn't do that with any of her other plush toys - just this one. Silly girl. Here's Ellie with her doll.

Ellie is still eating very well. Today she tried bananas for the first time and she loved them! I wasn't sure how she'd react since she wasn't overjoyed with the pears, but the bananas were a hit! So now our food list has expanded to: rice cereal, avacado, sweet potato, pears, and bananas. Maybe we'll try carrots next. She's a good eater, though she still won't have anything to do with water. She knows when her bottle has water and not formula or milk in it!

Oh yeah - sitting up! She can't sit up terribly well yet, but she is getting better each day. She can sit and play with things for a half minute or so before she tries to reach too far to get something and topples over. But she doesn't cry when she falls, which is good. It's good to see her interested in sitting up now, though she's always more interested in standing or "walking". She's gotten pretty good at walking while holding onto our hands, but lately she's started going backwards instead of forwards. Well, whatever works!

She's also a lot more interactive these days. She got a pop up toy for Christmas that plays music when you push/pull, etc, the buttons. She's not very good at working it herself, but she loves to sit in your lap and giggle when you make it pop and play music. There are some that are her favorite, too. She always giggles more or smiles bigger at those.

Today Ellie and I went for a walk. It has been a long time since we've ventured outside, but it just didn't feel like winter today. It might as well be springtime here. It was 50 degrees, sunny, and windy. If that doesn't say "March in Montana", then I don't know what does. So... we went for a walk to the pond and back. I was going to walk around the pond, but the wind picked up and Ellie was falling asleep, so I headed back. I thought I could make it back before she zonked out, but I was wrong. She's been sleeping in her carrier for over an hour now and there's no sign she'll stir any time soon! I should probably take advantage of her nap and go finish putting all the Christmas decorations back under the stairs.

And I promise I'll try to do better at taking and posting pictures. =)

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!!

Here's Eliana's reaction to take-off during our flight from Texas to Kansas. It was her first time in a small plane and she was pretty calm about it. I especially like the little grins from behind her doll and how she hugs the doll.