Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blue Angels in the Big Sky Air Show

This is the last of the airplane pictures, I promise!! The Blue Angels in the Big Sky air show is this weekend and yesterday we went to see it. We met up with friends for lunch at a park adjacent to the airport (as close as you can get without paying $20 a ticket!) and settled in to see the show. The first couple hours were sort of slow going, but we did get to see a C-130 Hercules (I think that's what this first plane is) and "Fat Albert" who flies with the Blue Angels. Then from about 3-4 pm the Blue Angels did their show. And even after seeing them practice for two days I have to say I was still glad we went over to the air show to see them perform. We could see more detail and it was definitely better close up. It was a good show. I'm glad we went. And I'm especially glad that we didn't have to pay $20 a ticket to do so.

C-130 Hercules

Fat Albert

The Blue Angels

The picture of the day and my favorite! I cut off the nose of the first plane, but was particularly excited to get this shot. I had a 55-200 lens on the camera and this was taken at 55! Can't get much better than that for a good close view of the Blue Angels.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Some morning start too early....

... and those mornings usually begin with a wiggly baby. She used to lay there and snuggle with me and I could get at least another half hour of sleep while she drank her bottle. Not so any more! She lays still for just a few moments before she is up and crawling all over, while I, in my not-yet-awake state, try to keep her from flinging herself head first off the bed and try to wake up at the same time. This was one of those mornings. Please, can't I just sleep a little longer?

A Thing of Beauty

The air show is tomorrow and the Blue Angels are practicing again this afternoon. The more I watch the more I am amazed at the beauty and elegance with which they fly. It really is a thing of beauty.

How's a piggy go?

The last few weeks Eliana has been toting around the book "Moo, Baa, La La La" by Sandra Boynton. It's her recent favorite. She will bring it to you and say "La La La" and sit happily while you read it to her. She can point to and name the duck, the dog, and the cat. She can also make little piggy snorting noises. In just the last couple days she has started putting the "La la la" and piggy noises together, and saying them at appropriate times during the book or just during the day as she's playing, which is hilarious. Today I was reciting the book to her (that's what happens when you read something too many times!) and I got a little video of her making her piggy noises. It was just too cute not to share with you all. As an added note, the book in the video is NOT "Moo, Baa, La La La" in case you were wondering. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just for Mommom

A picture of the grandbaby. Yesterday in her pink cherry blossom capris and shirt, with pigtails (and pink bows) and her pink mary jane robees. Cute, cute, cute.

There's just something neat...

... about living in the flight path of the airport when you wake up to the sound of the Blue Angels flying overhead. I am happy to say that I took these photos from my back yard. Yeah, it was a good morning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Abrahams

Today we got to have lunch with Mohit and Brianna, friends of ours from LeTourneau. We haven't seen them since graduation, so it was good to spend a little time catching up. They were driving through on their move from New Hampshire to Washington. That's a big move! But now that they're on "our" side of the country, maybe we'll get to see them more often.

We ate lunch at RightNow since Leif had to hurry off to a meeting and he wanted to at least spend a little time with them, even if it was only 15 minutes. Then we walked around the RNT grounds and headed back to the house for a bit and then they were back on the road again, hoping to make it to Spokane tonight. It was short and sweet, but it's always good to see friends, even if just for lunch.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Ellie's Kitty

A while back this cat wandered into our yard while we were outside one evening. It was the friendliest cat I've ever seen! It just came right up and let us pet it and it purred and was sweet as can be. It even let Ellie come near and pet it and chase it around the yard. She had a blast and it didn't seem to mind the attention, either.

It's been a couple weeks now since the kitty first showed up and he's still around. He's finished off almost a bag of cat food (left over from last year's transient kitties) and he shows up most evenings to say hi. Yesterday I had Ellie in the stroller in the garage before we went on a walk and she started saying "meow, meow". Sure enough, the cat was in the garage. I guess he thinks he's ours now... at least until we run out of cat food.


A couple years ago, our friends Tim and Nicole moved away from Bozeman. We've seen them only a couple times since they moved, so we were very excited when we heard that they were taking a roadtrip and heading out this way. We didn't have any exact plans with them, but knew that they were going to be in Bozeman sometime around the 19th of July. You need to know that information in order to understand why this next part of the story is so cool....

So Monday (the 16th) we were at Cliff Lake with my family. We left the lake around 8 so that we could make it back to Bozeman before dark. About a half hour down the road we are finally within cell phone range again and Leif's phone chirps to say he has a voicemail. He checks it, and the message is from Tim saying that they have indeed made it to Montana and that they are camping at Hebgen Lake with Nicole's family for the next few days. I looked out the window and realized that the giant lake we were driving past was Hebgen Lake. "Wait a minute... THAT'S Hebgen Lake!" At that EXACT moment, we were passing an RV campground and Leif said he wouldn't be surprised if they were there. So we turned around and drove into the campground and, sure enough, there was a Prius with Connecticut tags. The Yenters!!!

So... we had a nice visit with Tim and Nicole, Mike and Jenn, Andy, and Pat and John. Leif even got to go out water skiing (The Iversons are the ones who taught him how to water ski and I'm pretty sure the last time he got to go was with them... before we were dating 7 years ago!) and Ellie got her first ride in a motor boat. We ended up staying until about 10 (so much for getting home before dark!) so we didn't get home until almost midnight, but it was good.

We made plans with Tim and Nicole to go to Music on Main Thursday night. Clumsy Lovers was playing, so we planned to go anyway and it just made the evening all the more fun to have the company of the Yenters. We listened to music and caught up on everything. And they got to meet Ellie for the first time on this trip! About the only thing I can think of that would have made the evening more perfect is coffee and Euchre (or Settlers/Carcassonne/Entdecker). *Sigh* Good, good times. And just for the record, Tim and Nicole, we do miss you guys and you can feel free to move back to Bozeman any time now. =D It was great to see you.

I love Montana...

(Taken with the Fuji FinePix s7000 on the way back from Cliff Lake)

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Our current camera is a Fujifilm FinePix s7000. The white balance is starting to have issues and we think it's on its last leg after 3 years and 17,000 pictures. So we've been shopping for a camera for the past few weeks. Today we had the opportunity to play with a Nikon D40x, which is a digital SLR. We took it to a friend's wedding and took gobs (upwards of 350) pictures with it this evening. I am SHOCKED at the difference in quality. Shocked and enamored and I may never be happy with a point and shoot camera again. We had two lenses to play with: an 18-55 and a 55-200. Even without a macro lens I was pleased and impressed with the versatility of the camera. I know I've bombarded you all with blog posts these last few days (16 posts in 3 days... it's got to be some kind of record - and don't expect it to stop anytime soon... I'm still behind on posting all the fun stuff from while my parents were here!) but I couldn't resist showing you some of my favorite photos from this evening. Enjoy!!

So what do you think? Can you tell any difference in quality from the pictures we normally post on the blog? Let us know. We're still trying to decide which camera to buy.


Most of the time we call our daughter Ellie. And recently, she has taken to repeating "Ellie" when we call her that. Tonight, though, we were trying to get her attention and we kept saying "Eliana..." and she started saying back "Naaanaaa". It was really cute and she was really proud of herself. So apparently, she has a self-given nickname. Our little Nana.

Eliana's Kayak Ride

As you can see, Ellie had a grand time in the kayak once the water quit dripping off the paddle onto her head!

Cliff Lake

On Monday we took my parents to Cliff Lake in the Madison Valley. It was beautiful. The lake was clear and it wasn't too hot out. We took the kayaks and a hammock and spent the afternoon relaxing. Ellie became a full-time walker that day (and why not? I certainly wouldn't want to crawl around on the dirty, scratchy ground if I were capable of walking... neither did she.) and was busy, busy, busy exploring everything and being silly.

I got to paddle my kayak for the first time in I don't know how long. The water was clear blue-green and beautiful and it reminded me how much I enjoy doing stuff like that with Leif. I am looking forward to the day when we can do stuff like that together regularly again.

Leif and Dad went exploring in the kayaks and paddled around the lake for a long time. The lake is deceptively large. It looks pretty small, until you go off paddling. Then you find that it has hidden arms that stretch for miles. Paddling a kayak in a clear, cool lake, though... not a bad way to spend a summer afternoon!

While Leif and Dad were off paddling, Ellie and Mommom were swinging happily in the hammock. Ellie was eating lunch and fell asleep mid-hot dog. It was the cutest thing (my sleeping baby clutching a half-eaten hot dog in lieu of the bear she normally sleeps with) and she slept so peacefully there snuggled up next to Mommom. This is also not a bad way to spend a summer afternoon.

After Ellie woke up, she, too, got to go for a kayak ride. She won't go for another one until we get a baby life jacket for her (now that we know what kind and where to buy one), but she had a blast. She bobbed happily and waved sitting in front of Daddy in the kayak. I got a cute video I'll post in a bit of her kayak ride. In the meantime, here she is enjoying her ride...

The day was great and as evening came to a close it started to sprinkle, so we packed up our things and headed toward home. Mommom and Poppy have left now, but we sure had a great time while they were here!

Friday, July 20, 2007

12 Month Stats

Ellie had her 1 year checkup today and, much as we suspected, she has grown. She is now...

20 lbs 9 oz (50th percentile)
18 inch head circumference (75th percentile)
30.75 inches tall (92nd percentile)

Okay... who slipped my baby some tall genes? It certainly wasn't me. Yet there she is, up in the 92nd percentile for height. Go figure. She's going to be taller than me AND ski faster than me all by the time she's 3. *sigh*

Dr. Benda said Ellie looks perfect in every way. She is meeting and exceeding her 12 month checkpoints. He said she is walking very well and is very advanced linguistically (to which he added "But what else would you expect from the daughter of a Latin teacher?" - ha ha!) for her age. While I was waiting for him to come in and check on her, I jotted down all the words I could think of that she uses with meaning. I came up with 14. They are (in no particular order)...

thank you
all done
uh oh

She also has called these people by name...

Poppy (whom she calls Dada, which is clearly distinct from Leif, who is Daddy)

She is officially a full-time walker (as of Monday) and doesn't crawl anymore. And today at Dr. Benda's office she stepped up on the examination table step with both feet, steadying herself with her hands. She's figuring things out quickly, and I don't know that I'm ready for that just yet! But it is wonderful to see her growing and learning and I'm so happy to know that she's healthy and developing well. Thank you, Father, for our little girl.

the Look.

It'll come in handy when she has kids of her own, but I it shouldn't be used on moms. It's not a look I can reciprocate.

Are cucumbers a vegetable?

I hope so, because she likes them.

Poppy and Eliana Swinging

This is what summer is about. Enjoying being outside with those we love. This is Eliana's new swingset. Don't they look happy?

Shrek Baby

Last night I put Ellie's hair up in pigtails for the first time. It was cute as could be. Yes, I realize that she just barely has enough hair to pull up, but she has just enough and that's what matters to me. I've been waiting for the day I could put her hair in pigtails for a whole year now and I revel in the fact that I finally can.

See-N-Say Fun

While the Bitikofers were here, Mommom bought Ellie a See-N-Say at Sacks for $0.75. This is Mommom and Ellie playing with it, and Ellie displaying her recent ability to identify and mimic animal sounds. Note how well she can say "meow" and "duck".

Relatedly, Ellie can identify ducks pretty much anywhere. She can find them in books and point to them when asked "Where's the duck?" and she will pick up her stuffed duck and say "duck" and give it a kiss, and today in the doctor's office she looked at a painting on the wall and said, "duck, duck" and sure enough it was a duck. Or a goose, but close enough I guess. She can also identify a dog or "daa" as she calls it, and she says "nay" when the horse whinnies on the See-N-Say, though I didn't get that on the video. We're pretty proud of our little girl's ability to mimic and identify animals and it gives us a good laugh when she does it on her own. It's cute. But the cutest is definitely when she tries to mimic a pig snorting. FUN-NY. I'll try to video that one when I can so I can share it, too. In the meantime, enjoy Ellie playing with her See-N-Say!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Record Highs...

Four of the last five days have had record high temperatures, the lowest of which was 103 degrees. It just shouldn't be that hot in Montana. That settles it... we're moving to the basement.

Ah, the smell of newborns.

I got to hold a newborn tonight. A brand spanking new baby boy. Born this morning, in fact. This time last year, Julie was excited that we had our baby on her birthday. Well, today she had her own baby on her birthday. So tonight we went to see them at the hospital and Julie, Carl, and Ellie all shared a room on their birthday. And I got to hold baby Carl. *sigh* It was wonderful and strange to think that Eliana was once that small, and not too long ago.

Congratulations, Craig and Julie! Carl is just darling.

Little Princess?

So yesterday morning Eliana was playing in her room and I was sitting at the kitchen table, when she toddled out, walked over to me, and put something on my lap. It was the little tiara headband she got for her birthday from Grammee. So I put it on her head and she happily toddled away and went back to her room to play. I guess she just wanted to wear it! Silly girl.

Finger Lickin' Good!

Every morning should start with birthday cake.

All dressed up in her birthday suit...

This morning when Leif checked in on Ellie, he found her sound asleep, bottom in the air, in her birthday suit. I guess she knew it was her birthday today! It's been so hot lately that we've just been putting her to bed in her diaper, and I guess she's learned how to get that off now. She didn't wet the bed or anything, though... until I ran to get my camera, that is! Ooops! We put her on the potty, then gave her a bath and got her ready for the day. I guess it's as good a way to start your birthday as any other!

Happy First Birthday, Eliana!

We love you!