Thursday, November 29, 2007

First Bandaid

Elizabeth always comes home from Ellie's doctor appointments talking about the development milestones that Ellie has met. I got curious and went looking for such information online. The first one I found was pretty satisfying. I saw mention that kids around Ellie's age enjoyed searching for hidden objects. I figured she'd enjoy playing a shell game.

The next evening when I came home from work, I gave it a shot. I grabbed a few mugs and a little blue block and started sliding cups around. Ellie was pretty good at following my slow sliding and more often than chance picked the right cup on the first try. She was pretty excited to shout out something like "There it is!" whenever she or I turned over the cup hiding the block.

Unfortunately, she got a little too excited and picked up one of the mugs. I'd been dumb enough to use regular ceramic mugs as props when playing a game with my toddler. When she predictably dropped the mug, it landed on another, cracking into two. Of course, that produced two even more interesting objects, which she tried to pick up.

I quickly got her away from the pieces and checked her hands to make sure she wasn't cut. I didn't see an injury, so I counted my blessings, cleaned up the pieces, and got a set of plastic cups to continuing playing with. After a bit I noticed that one of the cups had a red smear. I looked a little more closely at Ellie's hands to discover that she'd slightly cut her middle finger. It was minor, but we put a bandaid on it mostly to keep from blood staining anything else.

When we placed the bandaid on her finger, we told her it was a "bandaid" and she repeated the word "bandaid" back to us. We sat down to dinner shortly after. Ellie didn't use the injured hand to eat. Mostly she left the injured hand open and stiff fingered. A few times she tried to pick at the bandaid and we asked her not to. Then she just pointed at the bandaid and said something that sounded like "elmo" over and over. We had no idea what she was talking about, but she insisted on pointing and saying "elmo." This is the first time we've really noticed her using a word that we couldn't figure out. When dinner was over, she grew more interested in the bandaid. I pulled it off to find the cut was effectively sealed. She experimentally bent her freed finger a few times and then, as if nothing had happened, ran off to play.

One of the advantages of glasses over contacts

Here's a very common sight at our house: Ellie jabbing and identifying a parental eye.

It goes a little something like this:
Ellie: Jabbing at ocular cavity. Eye.
Parent: Grimacing. Yes, Ellie, that's my eye.
Ellie: Renewed jabbing at ocular cavity. Eye.
Parent: Dodging or parrying the strike. Yes, Ellie, that's my eye. Where's your eye?
Ellie: Carefully pointing to her cheek, scrunching up her face, and closing her eyes. Eye.
Parent: Exit stage left.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...

I went to the eye doctor this morning. Here are the results:

My eyesight has apparently improved since I gave birth to Ellie. My current glasses prescription is -1.00 and -1.25 with astigmatism in one eye. My new prescription? -.25 and -.75 without astigmatism! Woohoo! Leif says my prescription is just a rounding error compared to his.

The BAD:
This doctor, too, noticed that I have irregular cupping in one eye compared to the other and as given me the dreaded label my mother and brother bear: Glaucoma Suspect. He also noted that I have a significant raised spot on my macula. It might be nothing, or it might be something to be concerned about. In any event, he took pictures of my eyes and I'll go back in a month to see if it has changed at all.

I'm getting new glasses. Okay, so they're not ugly, but they are different. And I don't like different. My frame choices were somewhat limited since I have to wear little kid glasses. Oh, the joys of being small.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eliana's First Hair Cut

It was time. Her bangs had grown past her eyes. She was getting food in her hair when she ate because she'd try to brush her hair out of her eyes. Yes, it was time. That doesn't mean she was happy about it.

She watched with trepidation as I snipped her golden locks. And then she cried. She normally doesn't mind me messing with her hair, but apparently cutting it is quite different than putting it up in pigtails every day. And so she cried. And then, in her relief to be done with the whole business of hair cutting, she mustered a pathetic pseudo smile for the camera.

We only trimmed her bangs, as we want the rest of her hair to grow. The rest is, however, still unruly, so I put her hair up in pigtails as I do most days. And she was not happy about this either. She didn't fight me much, but she sang out a chorus of "No!" in true toddler fashion.

With one pigtail done, I moved to the other side and she threatened to pull out the finished pigtail. She was done. Finished with the hair cut, and through sitting in her chair.

Soon, though, she saw that I meant business and the best way to get out of the chair quickly was simply to sit tight and let me have my way. So she did. But she was not happy about it and the look on her face said it all.

Once she was allowed out of the chair, she forgot all about the nasty ordeal she had just been through and returned to her normal, silly self in no time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

... How lovely are your branches!

Yes, the Christmas decorations are up! I haven't yet taken pictures of the inside decorations, but I did have Leif go out tonight (in the chilly -2 degree weather) and take pictures from the outside.

Welcome to our house!

I've got lights and garland on pretty much every flat surface in our living room, dining area, and kitchen, except for the dining room table and kitchen counters. I love this time of year! I'll try to get some good pictures of the inside decorations, but here are these of the outside in the meantime.

Our house under the Big Sky

Just the light from the Christmas lights

I can't believe I'm posting this, but I am.

We have only lived in Montana for about 4.5 years, but reading through this it was pretty sad how much of it was true. So I share it for those of you who live here to chuckle at, and for those of you who don't to roll your eyes at. These are Jeff Foxworthy's Comments on Montana (with my added comments in parentheses).

If "vacation" to you means going shopping for the weekend in Great Falls , Billings or Bozeman, You might live in Montana. (You can all rest easy that a "vacation" to us isn't shopping in Billings, but rather a weekend camping in Glacier.)

If parking your car for the night involves an extension cord, You might live in Montana. (Ours does not, but the winter does mean that Leif sometimes has to run out to the car once or twice during the work day to run it for a bit so it will work come time to go home.)

If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 8 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, You might live in Montana. (I saw people ice fishing in the pond in our subdivision last year!)

If you're proud that your state makes the national news primarily because it houses the coldest spot in the nation, You might live in Montana. (This is typically West Yellowstone, MT.)

If you have ever refused to buy something because it's "too Spendy", You might live in Montana. (Awww, now I have to stop saying that! Leif taught me that phrase...)

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from November through March, You might live in Montana. (So true.)

If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, You might live in Montana. (Especially if they're teenage girls at the local hardware store - they know WAY more than the employees at Home Depot...)

If your dad's suntan stops at a line curving around the middle of his forehead, You might live in Montana.

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, You might live in Montana. (Does anyone remember Leif from the college days?)

If your town has an equal number of bars and churches, You might live in Montana. (Helloooo, Roundup!)

If you know how to correctly pronounce Butte, You might live in Montana.

If you measure distance in hours, You might live in Montana.

If your family vehicle is a crew cab pickup, You might live in Montana. (If your family vehicle is a Prius, you're either from Bozeman or Missoula.)

If you know several people who have hit deer more than once, You might live in Montana.

If you often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again, You might live in Montana.

If you can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching,
You might live in Montana. (I can't. Leif probably can.)

If you see people wearing hunting clothes at social events, You might live in Montana. (Or church. That we have seen.)

If you've installed security lights on your ho us e and garage and leave both unlocked, You might live in Montana.

If the largest traffic jam in your town centers around a High School basketball game, You might live in Montana. (Okay, not HS basketball, but the biggest traffic jam I've ever seen in Bozeman was caused by the Cat-Griz game last weekend.)

If you carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them, You might live in Montana. (Because this is Montana - where the men are men, and so are the women.)

If there are 7 empty cars running in the parking lot at Wal-Mart at any given time, You might live in Montana.

If there are more people at work on Christmas Eve Day than on Opening Deer Rifle Season,
You might live in Montana. (Or when there were over 300 kids absent from school - complete with parental permission slips - on a good ski day...)

If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, You might live in Montana. (This is the best! And so true...)

If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, You might live in Montana.

If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, You might live in Montana. (And road construction season and fire season coincide with one another.)

If you can identify a southern or eastern accent, You might live in Montana.

If you consider Red Lodge exotic, You might live in Montana. (Ha ha! We honeymooned there...)

If your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your cottonwood, You might live in Montana. (I think every major bank in Bozeman follows that description!)

If the sunbelt to you means Miles City, You might live in Montana.

If a brat is something you eat, You might live in Montana. (Ewww. This is true. People here love bratwurst.)

If finding your misplaced car keys involves looking in the ignition, You might live in Montana. (Ha ha! This happened to Leif not too long ago...!)

If you find 0 degrees a little chilly, You might live in Montana. (Did I mention that Leif was outside taking pictures tonight in subzero temperatures and didn't even have socks on? He had boots on, but no socks and no gloves.)

If you actually understand these observations, and you forward them to all your Montana friends, You Must Live In Montana !

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We tried to get Ellie to smile for the pictures, but this seems to be all she could muster up in the way of a smile for Uncle Eric, who was standing behind the camera trying to get her attention.

Once he joined us for a picture, though, Ellie seemed to think it was funny to watch the camera go off by itself (via remote) and she smiled and giggled. And so here we are, with a smiling Ellie:

If you're interested in the details of the menu, the decorations, and how I didn't stab anyone with a paring knife this year, you can find all those tidbits at My Inner Martha, specifically here and here.

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends! Today the Christmas decorations are going up (and indeed are halfway there already) and we dive into full on holiday festivity. And it occurs to me how wonderful it is that we begin the Christmas season with a time of Thanksgiving for all that God has done.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bitterly Cold

I looked up the weather forecast for tonight and it says "bitterly cold." Now that's just not something you want to hear. It's currently -4 degrees (and somehow they've determined it "feels" like it's -17) and it's only 9:30. We've got 9 inches of beautiful snow on the ground, and have yet to enjoy it because, well, it's "bitterly cold." Ah, the Montana winter has FINALLY arrived.


I'd say Ellie's first taste of Thanksgiving food was a hit! Liked the turkey, loved the olives, and LOVED the homemade cranberry sauce. She didn't even need the sauce on anything - she just dipped her hands in it and licked them. She was a BIG fan. I'm not surprised, though... earlier this week we learned that she LOVES craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries). Oh - and she ate a piece of pumpkin pie by herself, too. And so was her first Thanksgiving meal. Way to go little girl. Way to go.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Take II

Well, after the car accident, it seemed to take a LONG time to hear back from the insurance company as to the state of our beloved Prius. We were given a quote from the collision center and told that the car was "borderline" totaled. An adjuster would have to come out and determine whether it was totaled since it was a close call. Still borderline. They did a little more tearing apart to see what else might have been damaged and eventually reached a conclusion:


Poor Prius. That was a little over a week ago. We had been hoping the car wouldn't be totaled, as we thought we would get considerably less for it than we paid new a year and a half ago. And after paying off the loan we didn't think we could afford another car. With the Taurus on the fritz and just recently fixed to the tune of several hundred dollars, we really wanted them just to tell us that they could fix our Prius and we'd be done with it. But God knew better and decided to surprise us. Amazingly, we actually came out a little ahead on the deal (before paying off the loan, that is) and were given several thousand more than we expected from the insurance. But... it meant we were on a car search.

After owning a Prius, we were sort of spoiled. We had specific criteria we weren't really willing to let go of as we looked at other cars. It had to be a hatch back with ample cargo space. It had to have keyless entry, and keyless ignition was preferable. It had to be safe driving on MT roads. We looked. We test drove. And we found the perfect car:

Yes, it's another Prius! Prius II is a 2008, brand new. They just happened to have a red one on the lot, with the same package that Prius I had been equipped with. AND they could give it to us for a couple thousand less than we paid for the original Prius. The interior upholstery color is different (gray instead of tan) but other than that it is just like our old car! Now, on Friday at Bible Study I asked the ladies to pray that our car shopping experience would go smoothly and that we would know what to do about a new car. Then, right after Bible study we went car shopping and found Prius II. God is so good.

So here's the part that really got me about this whole thing. A couple months ago our bank got shut down by the FDIC. Everything is fine, and our accounts have been switched over to a new bank, so it wasn't a really big deal. BUT we had some money in CDs that we couldn't access until they matured. Since the bank shut down and all that, though, we have the option to access it now if we want to through the new bank. That means that not only did the dealership have basically our exact car brand new for a great price, but we have access to money now that we wouldn't have earlier and we could actually walk in and pay for it so we won't even have car payments!

Yes, God is good. Very, very good.


On Friday night Ellie and I were driving home from Bozeman and she was fussy. It was bedtime and she was tired. To placate her, I gave her a bag of dried strawberries to munch on. By the time we arrived home, she had massacred the strawberries and had made an absolute mess of herself and the car seat! I guess I'm not as fond of the Gerber dried fruit snacks for toddlers any more.

Let it Snow!!

Finally, we are getting a real snow dump!! It's been falling and accumulating for over an hour now and it's starting to look like a winter wonderland out there!

In other news, Ellie just called me "Mommy". I think it's the first time she's called me that, not "Mama" and she pointed at me, smiled, and said "Mommy!" Yay!

Oh, and we're all sickos. The Wickland three are all congested and sore-throated, victims of the common cold. Ick.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, so I've got the turkey roasting away and I was planning on making pie crusts today. I'm contemplating just buying the crusts, though, and enjoying the snowy afternoon with my daughter instead. I'm not sure I can forego the homebaked crust, though, so I guess we'll just have to see how it all goes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Children's Museum

Every Wednesday we go to the Children's Museum for playgroup. We've been going for almost a year and I finally remembered to bring the camera so I could get pictures of the kids at play. For a while Ellie was really clingy every time we went to the museum and it would take her a good 15-20 minutes before she would get down and run around. She's over that now and just runs off to do her own thing without Mommy now. It's exciting to see her playing with her friends and it gives me a little time to spend with mine as well. =D So here's Ellie's day at the museum yesterday:

The first thing she did was draw on the chalkboard easel. I don't think I've ever seen her play with this before, but she did yesterday. Several times, in fact. She loves to draw and color, so I should have known she'd like this. Well, she liked everything but the feeling of chalk on her hands after she colored. I think the look on her face as she tried to brush the chalk dust off her hands says it all:

And yes, after she got done drawing on the chalk board, she decided it was time to color with crayons. Doesn't she look like such a big girl the way she holds the crayon correctly to color?? It's hard to believe this is my little baby. And yes, that is her left hand she's coloring with. She is so predominantly left handed it's not even funny. Occasionally she will use her right hand for something, but most of the time she eats and colors with her left. I wonder if all our children will be lefties...

She didn't really play with it yesterday, but this train set is one of the things Ellie often gravitates towards. She doesn't play with it as it's intended, per se, but she does drive the little train cars around on the ground. Zoe, however, had a blast at the train set yesterday and played with it for quite a while.

Eventually, as pretty much always happens, all of the kids congregate in the basketball court to play with balls. Zoe was hanging out back there and Ellie followed her.

Then Zach came back and started shooting hoops. Yes, he is a really good basketball star for a 2 year old! It's no wonder, though... his mother played college ball and has trained him well!

And Ellie? Well, Ellie likes to do what everyone else is doing, so she joined in the fun. Someday she will learn that you can throw the ball through the hoop, but in the meantime she just likes to touch the net and be like everyone else.

When the excitement of the basketball court had worn off, Ellie and Zoe went back into the doctor's office to play.

It was a busy morning for Ellie at the museum, but no trip is complete for Ellie without some time in the toddler room. Here Ellie is telling me that this is a "but-fly". She loves to look at the mural and point out various things.

She also likes to play on the slide in the toddler room. This is one of the first times I have seen her go down it all by herself! She slid down over and over and even waited and took turns with Zoe and Zach nicely.

After the museum we always go to Cosmic Pizza and eat lunch with Daddy. It's a good time and a great tradition and I hope we keep it up for a long, long time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A two animal kind of morning...

This morning Ellie woke up later than usual and she was pretty distraught. When I went into her room she was pointing over the crib rail saying, "Duck! Duck!" Sure enough, her duck was on the floor, along with everything else she'd thrown out of the crib that morning. I picked her up and leaned her over so she could get the duck and she grabbed star bear, too. They both went with her to the breakfast table, where she clutched them while she drank her milk. It must have been a two animal kind of morning...*

* for the record, I found out later that Daddy doesn't let Ellie have her stuffed animals at the breakfast table. I don't usually either, but then I guess some mornings I'm a softie. Today was one of those mornings.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Snow Day!

We woke up this morning to a fresh blanket of snow! I got Ellie all suited up and Corinne came over for a snowy play date! It was cute to see the girls together in the snow.

At some point they decided they wanted to swing. They really enjoyed themselves in the swings, but I had to make a note to self: Babies in snowsuits and snowboots go into swings better than they come out of them. I'll have to think twice about letting Ellie swing on a snowy day again if she's in full snow gear. But oh, how she enjoyed swinging!

The fun in the snow more or less ended when the girls realized it was easier to walk on the bare gravel than it was to tromp through the snow laden grass. So they sat on the stoop and played with rocks until we decided it was time to go in.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Ellie officially has too many words for me to count. She can repeat just about anything you throw at her, and she uses a lot of words and phrases throughout the day. My favorite ones lately are:

stinky (she makes the greatest face when she says this.)
breakfast (which she learned this morning and can enunciate surprisingly well.)

She understands plenty, too. This morning we were getting ready to go to town and she came into our room. Leif noticed that she didn't have her shoes on and said, "Where are your shoes? Go get your shoes so we can leave!" Of course, he was joking with her, but she ran out of the room. We laughed at how it seemed like she really was running out to get her shoes. A couple minutes later, though, she came back into our room saying, "Shoe!" and holding out a shoe for us to put on her foot. It was precious and neat to see how much she really understands.

Love you, too.

Tonight Ellie wouldn't go with Leif to sit in her chair at the table for dinner. So she got in trouble. It made her very sad, and it made her daddy sad, too. "I love you." he said. And through her tears she replied, "Love you, too."

It was the sweetest thing.

Monday, November 05, 2007


3 little words

"I do it!"

That was Ellie's first 3 word sentence. On Friday I was getting ready to carry something down stairs and had just started to open the door to the basement when Ellie ran over saying, "I do it!" while emphatically swinging the door open the rest of the way. Then she grabbed my hand and started to lead me down the stairs. It would have been perfect had I not been carrying a 6 foot display screen! Thankfully she listens and obeys relatively well and sat on a step to wait for me to carry the screen down a couple steps. Then she'd take my hand and step down a couple steps and sit down again to wait for me to move the screen. That's sort of how we progressed and we were both happy - I because she obeyed and waited nicely while I worked the screen down the stairs without gouging the walls, and she because she got to do it.

Trick or Treat!

Just some quick pictures of Ellie trick or treating for the first time!