Saturday, May 31, 2008


As Elizabeth has mentioned, Ellie's pretty well mastered identifying letters in their upper case form.

This morning when I pulled out the giant Costco-size 3 quart tub of cottage cheese because Ellie said she needed a second bowl after she'd already had a hot dog, string cheese, cereal, and a bowl of cottage cheese, she started calling out the letters she saw on the side of the tub. As I've been doing in the past, I asked her what the various letters say.

"What's 'C' say?"
"No, it says kuh." (Yes, I know I'm cheating, but I've been working on getting her to read "cat."

"What's 'D' say?"
"'D' says duh."

"What's 'A' say?"
"'A' say ah."

At that point I turned my back to put away the cottage cheese and I hear a knowing voice behind me saying, "Silly. Silly daddy. Silly daddy."

Sunday, May 25, 2008


In documenting Ellie's speaking progress, I completely forgot about shapes! She's got her shapes down pretty well. She can identify (point to or name) star, square, circle, rectangle, triangle, heart, moon (or crescent if you call it that), and oval. She can draw ovals, too.

Little Red Wagon...

A couple weeks ago I got a Little Tykes little red wagon from Freecycle for Ellie. It's the perfect size for a toddler to pull around.

When my parents were here, Mom and I looked out the window one day to see this:

I have no idea how long he'd been pulling her in the wagon, but she seemed to think he was made to do it. He pulled her around and around and around the yard for quite a while!

She barely fit in the wagon, but she was content as can be to ride around in it, even if she didn't really fit.

He seemed perfectly content to let her ride around in it, too.

At some point Ellie decided that she needed to be pulled standing up. It was quite funny and it looked like she was a chariot driver!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


For as much as I hate the dandelions popping up in our yard, they might just be worth it for these pictures...

Friday, May 23, 2008


Last week Ellie started calling "LEEEEEIIIIIF!" through the house. When I asked her what she was saying she told me, "Leif DADDY!" and continued calling for him by name. I guess it's good for me that my first name has 4 syllables so she probably won't be calling "Eliiiizabeeeeth" through the house any time soon! Maybe I can just remain "Mommy" until she grows out of this phase.

Love this grin...

Lately Eliana has been flashing us this grin. It's a look I haven't really seen much before and I've gotten 4 pictures of it so far. It's a cute one, and I like this grin...

Thursday, May 22, 2008


It occurs to me that it is hard to convey Eliana's talkativeness over the blog. She is a chatterbox. Ask anyone who has ridden in a car with her and they will tell you that she talks non-stop these days, pointing out everything she sees. On an average ride into town she will point out about 30 cars, trucks, and motorcycles and identify them as they go by. It sounds a lot like, "Car... car... car... truck! Motorcycle... red car! Yellow car! Truck... car... car... car..." and then she will start pointing out the houses she sees. Once she tires of that she will list off random letters she reads from signs. "B, T, R, M, W..." It's really quite confusing if you don't know what she's doing.

She is able to name all the letters and can identify almost all of them (with the exception of Q, I think). She is very good with the capital letters, but doesn't yet know many of the lower case letters, unless (like o) they are very similar to their capitals.

As for words, Ellie is working on prepositions and pairing adjectives with nouns. It's pretty cute to watch! The other day she climbed under a table then popped out the other side and announced, "I go THROUGH!" It was too cute. She uses correctly the words under, through, over, in, and on, and knows what you mean when you say above, with, beside, and around. Adjectives are fun because as she learns her colors she puts things together. She says things like, "Car! Red. Red car." frequently. It's as though we get to have a glimpse of her thought process as it happens. We've also heard pairings such as "windy day" "stinky feet" "silly kitty" and others.

Speaking of colors, Ellie has been getting much better at identifying colors correctly. This week she has the colors white, orange, green, and yellow down. When she got to choose a candy the other day she said she wanted an orange one and then fished around in the bucket until she got an orange one. She knows that her little potty is green and white but the big potty is just white. She is not good with red at all, other than recognizing red cars, including ours. She also has trouble with blue. (Ha ha! She is looking at a book next to me and I asked her what color something was. It was brown. She told me it was green. I gave her the prompt "It's b..." and she told me blue. So I gave her the prompt "br..." and she told me it was BRue! Silly girl!)

Eliana's sentences are getting longer as well. The other day I asked her to do something (I think I asked her to put something on the counter, but I don't remember exactly) and she told me, "I don't know to do that." I think that's been her longest sentence so far. Just a few minutes ago she was watching a bug on the bookshelf and it went between two books and disappeared. She asked me, "What happened to bug?" She has been playing with tenses for some time now, too, and that has been fun to watch. She is figuring out when to say "Play" versus "Playing" or "Played." And it occurs to me as I watch her struggle with "Go" and "Went" or "Fall" and "Fell" (She usually says "felled") that English really is a difficult language to master.

So that's sort of where Ellie is when it comes to talking. It's fun to see and difficult to document. And she never seems to want to chatter when I pull out the video camera to catch her in the act.

Big girl swing...

Ellie loves to swing and has recently learned how to sit and hold on to the "big girl swing" on our swingset. I think she likes the independence. Maybe she likes the thrill. Either way she had a fun time letting Poppy push her on the big girl swing while they were here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blowing Bubbles...

One sunny afternoon while Mommom and Poppy were here, we pulled out the giant bubble wands from the Target $pot for Ellie to play with. They became a hit almost immediately and have come out a few times since. These are some of my favorite pictures from the afternoon...

Poppy showing Ellie how it's done.

Those are big bubble blobs!

I can do it myself!

Poppy shows Ellie how it's REALLY done.

Ellie sticks to doing it her way and is successful!

Look at all those bubbles!!

It made for a pretty great afternoon.

Leif's new hobby...

This is Leif's new hobby: roasting coffee beans. We have gradually become coffee snobs over the past few years, graduating from a coffee pot to a french press, from buying grounds to grinding coffee beans, and now from buying the beans to roasting our own. I have to admit that freshly roasted coffee, at least the stuff Leif makes, is much better than most of the coffee I've tried. And I like most coffee.

Leif roasts coffee every so often, and tries different beans and different cracking stages to try to get the best flavor. It seems to be something he enjoys immensely, and is most often followed by a freshly steeped pot of coffee and some time with a good book. It's been going on for some time now, but I finally got around to taking pictures of the process while my parents were here. Of course, my dad got in on the coffee roasting action, too.

It's hard to tell what the coffee roasting contraption in the above picture is, but from a different angle you can see quite clearly what turns out such glorious coffee:

Why, it's nothing but an old popcorn popper, you say! Yep, that it is. Leif can give you all the details about first crack, second crack, and all that coffee roasting talk, but the truth of the matter is that it takes little more than some know-how and a popcorn popper to roast your own coffee. It turns out pretty good, too! And I'm just glad he procured another popper so we don't have to eat coffee-flavored popcorn...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Barack Obama

Last night Barack Obama was in town. Right here in Bozeman, MT. We figured this was a once in a blue moon opportunity to see a political candidate here in the valley, so we went. It's a little sliver of history, but we got to be a small part of it, at least.

It was a large crowd for Bozeman at 7,000, but I'm guessing it was one of the smaller rallies for Obama. We got there an hour before the rally started and all of the seats at Brick Breeden were already filled. We got stuck in the standing-room-only section with a toddler.

I really thought the floor with a toddler was going to be a frustrating disaster, but it turns out I'm glad we were down there. We could let Ellie run around in one of the back corners of the room and we could go out into the atrium when it got too warm inside the auditorium. We could also sit on the floor behind the crowd, so it didn't feel too cramped.

I didn't catch too much of the speech between picture taking and toddler chasing. I heard a few things, but nothing that made me want to vote for him. No surprise there, though.

We left a little early to beat the crowd out of the parking lot. It was an interesting experience, and I'm glad we went. We may never have the opportunity to do something like that again in Bozeman, as we're not exactly a political hotspot here in the valley.

During the rally, Ellie got very excited and clapped every time the crowd clapped. She did this all through the introductions and announcements - right up until Obama came out. Then she suddenly lost interest and went on her merry way, eating fruit snacks and playing with the other little children whose parents had dragged them to the event.