Category Archives: Mommydom

Ella’s Favorites: 18 months

I have a journal where I try to document some little moments from Ella’s life, and of course the classic baby book that gets updated guiltily once in a blue moon, but there’s something about have pictures of the little things that Ella is currently obsessed with. So here are some of the sights and sounds of her little life at 18 months:

1. As much as it pains me to admit it, Ella is definitely a kid of the 21st century and loves any and all technology. We try to avoid letting her be on our phones/iPads for much time but “phome!” is the first thing she begs for in the morning, much to my chagrin. The LDS Children’s Songbook app is her very favorite. 

2. The books she will be obsessed with can never be predicted. The “Smile Please!” one is particularly weird and has no rhyme or reason and seems to be about a little boy pretending to be a full-grown clown? Needless to say Dave and I try (unsuccessfully) to hide it at bedtime. The other ones are cute, though. 

3. Ella has discovered “tweets!”(treats). She is as good as her mom is at picking the M&Ms out of the trail mix. I am sensing a theme in her current loves: things she really shouldn’t have.

 4. This girl can pound eggs! She can put three away at breakfast without hesitation. We go through two dozen a week easily.

5. Ok, ok this picture is staged but pulling anything and everything out of the drawers is one of Ella’s daily chores.

6. Ella loves “baby” so much she forgives her Casper legs.

7. Again with “things Ella loves but really should have.” For some reason she loves Sharpies and carries them all over the apartment with her and I find them in kitchen drawers or the laundry hamper. Luckily she hasn’t figured out how to get the lids off.

8. We can’t forget the park. Ella’s stomping grounds du jour, rain or shine, baby!

9. Ella’s best girlfriend Emma lives a few doors down and we have become quite the little stalkers around here. If Ella hears anyone outside even an adult man’s voice, she will run to the window squealing “Emma!” and poke her head up as high as her little tippy toes can take her. Imagine her delight and squeals when it actually is Emma.

10. We had an Easter egg hunt with Dave’s cousins, and our cousin-in-law Amber brought eggs with finger puppets inside for the kids. Totally cute (and a nice balance to my not-so-healthy-or-enriching jelly bean eggs) and Ella found her new bff doggy. This thing is seriously minuscule and I can’t believe we haven’t lost it at church or a store yet, but I am thankful because we would have one heartbroken toddler on our hands.

Just a little snapshot of our days around here lately.

A Day at the Zoo

I am realizing more and more that parents of toddlers/babies end up spending a lot of money on outings that their kids won’t fully appreciate yet, but the cute factor is worth it. The idea of Ella seeing a bunch of “a’mals” that she’s only seen in books was enough to make us fork over the cash to take her to Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake, even though we knew full well that she would probably only last an hour or so. 

Well we were actually pleasantly surprised! While she was ultimately more interested in pushing her own stroller around the paths and smacking into crowds of elementary school field-trippers, she did actually seem to enjoy the many varieties of “doggies” that the zoo had to offer. 

She was, however, suitably terrified of the bronze gorilla that we forced her to pose with:

 Probably looking at some kind of woodland creature that was hidden under a mound of hay as they all seem to be.

 She actually did love the Rhinos, and her little face shows her piqued interest. We were lucky enough to walk by during their lunchtime, which, while actually quite disgusting to me (they are….slobbery to say the least), was fascinating for Ella. Grace and I were cracking up because the zoo lady said, “are there any questions?” and a guy asked, “do they have a workout routine?” And she answered very sternly, “No.” Then dead silence. Q&A over.

 We dragged (drug???) Auntie Grace along for the ride and upon entering the zoo’s gates she exclaimed, “Wait, giraffes??? This is a good zoo!” We realized that we have really only been to the Anchorage Zoo which has about the saddest selection of arctic-appropriate boring animals you’ve ever seen. So her expectations were BLOWN AWAY.

We passed this random door that said “Grandma’s House” and naturally we had to go inside. It was this tiny, vacant room with the trappings of a fictional Asian villager’s home and placards with various legends written on them. We are still confused about what it was and why it was part of the zoo.

 We waited in line with about 200 of Utah’s schoolchildren for a shot at this posed family photo op so I had to include it. I am still confused about whether or not the eagle is swooping down to protect its young, or eat us. I guess we’ll never know. And is there anything more awkward than waiting in line at a photo site and having people watch you pose?

All in all Ella got to see lots of “a’mals” and “doggies,” so it was a success! Although Dave and I both agreed that we probably could have hit up a pet store and she would have been equally enthused. But there are no bronze gorillas or fake nests to take pictures with at a pet store!

Story Time with Eleanor

So, I would say that overall, I am decently good at getting out of the house and doing fun things with Ella on a daily basis. The little monarch basically demands such. However, I am absolutely horrible at making it to any event that has a prescribed start and end time. I don’t know what my problem is (well, it’s mostly Ella), but it just takes so stinking long to get ready and loaded into the stroller/car.

Therefore, we do not make it to storytime at the library nearly as often as I would like to. I so desperately want to take advantage of a fun, FREE, close-by entertainment venue (plus, the whole “early childhood literacy” thing is nice too). My goal is twice a week, and we are lucky if we make it once. This is pathetic, considering there are two times of day to choose from, it happens four days a week, and we live three blocks from the library. This past week, seeing as it’s a new year and a clean slate, I was determined that we would make it to the 11:00 session on Wednesday. Let me just narrate our morning for you:

8:30: Ella and I are both up. I tell her we are going to storytime today (she has no idea what I am saying, but verbalizing it somehow makes it seem more set in stone).

9:00: Feed Ella breakfast, decide for some reason that today is a great day for me to find and start a new bread recipe (?), after a few minutes of browsing ideas I tell myself to focus and get back on track.

9:30: Try to shower while Ella pulls the curtain back and bangs on the side of the tub, trying to climb in. She did get kind of messy during breakfast so I decide to just pull her in with me even though she just had a bath last night.

9:45-10:15: Get both of us dressed and presentable. Try to put on makeup that is scattered around the apartment floor a la Ella. She is extremely angry that I am picking up her handiwork so I try to distract her by putting “blush” on her face (just my powder brush, sans powder).

10:20: Decide that we should also feed the ducks while we are out so I try to round up some random stale break items to take (this would later prove to be a terrible idea. That’s a post for another day. Starved, mangy, winter ducks are not for toddlers to feed). Start to realize my extreme tendency to get distracted might be to blame for the fact that we never get anywhere on time…..

10:30: We are getting down to the wire if I want to walk to the library. And since Dave took our car to school today that’s my only option. Try to wrestle Ella into her coat and shoes while she growls for “puh.” (This means “up,” As in “pick me up.” But lately it’s just become synonymous with “get me out of here, I hate this.”)

10:45: Finally leave, walking very briskly (after I get my hips get stuck between the handles in her stroller as I tipped it back against myself to carry it down the stairs. Doesn’t make me feel great.). I hit a crack in the sidewalk that causes poor Ella to fly forward in her stroller at an extremely high velocity and be clothes-lined by her straps. Thankfully she isn’t old enough yet to hold these sorts of things against me.

Old and completely staged picture of my perfect child enjoying carefully-selected and developmentally appropriate literature

10:55: We miraculously make it on time! We snag a pretty good spot in the circle. Within seconds Ella is up and toddling determinedly towards the rows upon rows of books, ripe for the plucking. The nice storytime guy tries to give Ella a die-cut letter “O” to entice her back over which she shoves in his face. I make up some sort of stupid excuse to make him feel better (“she’s shy!”).

10:56-11:04: I keep trying to coax Ella away from the bookshelves and back towards the story circle. Unsuccessful.

11:05: Story time finally starts. We have lost our good spot but find another decent one. Ella toddles gleefully toward the center of the circle where the cheerful storytime guy and girl are performing an energetic routine of kicks and stretches (it’s “O” week, after all. O is for Olympics). I foresee disaster as Ella is standing behind their swinging limbs, all parties oblivious to eminent injury. I awkwardly lurk in the background of their rehearsed little show, trying to get Ella to come back to me, and effectively distracting everyone else. Wonder incredulously why no one else’s toddlers are anything but captivated and quiet…..

11:10: Ella wanders away again. This time she wanders to the computers where some preschoolers are playing educational (?) games. She bangs on their keyboards and I make a big show of saying “Ella, you can’t play on those right now, it’s someone else’s turn!” for the benefit of their hovering parents.

11:20. We try to go back to the circle one more time. We have now lost our backup spot so we just stand about ten feet back and I hoist her into the air so she can catch a few minutes of the puppet show. She’s disinterested and shreiks for “puh.” Ironically, this time that means down.

11:25: I notice that Ella’s diaper is in desperate need of changing. We rush to the diaper station in the bathroom (filthy filthy filthy).

11:30: We emerge just in time for the goodbye song.

Well, that’s a wrap on storytime. So glad Ella got a nice big dose of literary enrichment for her day. Next comes the part where we try to go feed the ducks at the duck pond on campus and are almost eaten alive. But that’s a story for another day.

Through My Eyes

I came across these pictures the other day, as I was going through our photos and trying to organize them. They are from a few months ago, when Ella was in her bird-fuzz head stage. She was also in the stage where learning to hold your head up is a struggle, poor little dearie.

I remembered, suddenly, being so frustrated when I was taking these pictures, because Ella had been so cute and smiley, which was the reason I had whipped out the camera in the first place. But the second I would hide behind the lens, she would get serious and quizzical again.

No, sadly, no matter how much I whooped and hollered and said every variation of her name and nicknames, smile she would not.

And then it hit me. Maybe those sweet smiles and faces can’t always be caught on camera, as much as we try in our society that seems to need to document and share everything.

Maybe they are just for me.

Park Time

We are lucky enough to live quite close to a large park with a ton of shade (a must when you add delicate baby skin+ridiculous elevation+my alabaster skin [Donna Moss quote heyyyy!]). Around noon we hit the inevitable midday whines, and it is ever so convenient to walk over and hang out there for a while. Especially when we are sporting the cutest little romper of all time and it needs to be seen. 

Yikes, sorry my giant purse is in the background of this shot. I never said I was a photographer, folks!

Yes I did paint my baby’s toenails.


Leads to this…

Which doesn’t go so well when your book is made of card stock…

Residue lips

Said park contains many wondrous distractions for E, including but not limited to: picnickers, swimmers at the adjacent pool, seagulls, LARP-ers,  hula performances (I am not making that one up. It’s a funny park), etc.. Notice how she is not looking at boring old mama in most of these shots, no matter how much I squawked and flailed like a crazy lady behind the camera.

Relaxed summer days have been good to us so far….


I knew a lot of things would change when I had a baby, but one thing I had never given much thought was the morning. I would consider myself a morning person, in as un-smug a way as possible. I’m not huge on sleeping the morning away. And, neither is Ella, we found out pretty quick. So we get up together, and it’s all fine and dandy.

 Where my weekday mornings used to start with a jolt at 6:15, in a frantic race to get out the door by 7:05, these days they are much slower-paced. And they start about an hour later, which I am more than ok with (I said I was a morning person, not insane).

 And they start with this little face, which I love even more.

And they involve toys, and bottles, and diapers, instead of I-15, and emails, and photocopies.

And they usually include The Today Show after breakfast, because mama is roughly 80 years old, and you know, we have to keep up on our current events. And Kathy Lee and Hoda’s tipsy shenanigans make us feel connected to the outside world.

And this happy face and an interest in the above-pictured toys only last until about 8:00 am, at which time other forms of entertainment and distraction become necessary. And there’s no variation for the weekend, or if I had a late night the previous night, or if we are traveling, or sick, or whatever.

But you can clearly see why that’s ok.