The Dawleys

Sunday, January 20, 2013

2 3/4

In less than 3 months, Ella will be 3!! At 2 3/4, Ella is still a sweet and sensitive girl.  Her favorite things to do are play with her Squinkies, dance around the play room to her Brave music, do crafts like coloring and painting, play outside, and run around the dining room table over and over with her shopping cart or baby doll stroller. She loves to count things. She loves to help me bake, set the table, or help out with other chores.  She also loves going to Target, Whole Foods, the library, and music class.  If I let her, which I don't, she would probably watch TV all day long.  Her favorite shows are Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Super Why, Doc McStuffins, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I let her watch one or two shows a day.  She usually picks Daniel Tiger. Ella is an extremely picky eater, but her favorite foods are Larabars (she eats 1-2 a day), blueberries, dried cranberries and nuts like cashews and pistachios, Annie's Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese, Amy's Lentil Soup, Dr. Praeger's Gluten Free fish sticks, and mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn, lima beans, and green beans).
Some things I would like to remember:
She refers to snowballs as cotton balls.
She says, "Santa says, "Ho Ho Ho." Charlie Brown says, "Good Grief." Grandpa says, "Oh boy!"
She says "Kiss hugs."
When she runs out of the bath to give me hugs, she says, "Snacks my buns, Mommy! Snacks my buns!"
When I am driving, she notices the stoplights and will say when we should stop or go.
When I am carrying things down the stairs or chopping veggies for dinner, she will tell me to be careful.
She always asks if she can "escersize" with us.
When she is feeling mischievous, she will call her Daddy "Dave" because she knows it bothers him.:)
She says her name is Ella and Big Girl.
Our weeks right now typically look like this:
Monday: Grandpa comes over in the morning to play.
Tuesday: Music class and lately we have been having lunch at Whole Foods afterwards.
Wednesday: stay home or go to the library for Story Time or just to check out books
Thursday: stay home or run any errands
Friday: grocery shopping
Weekends: I usually work so Ella and Dave spend QT time together.  We usually try to get out of the house as a family before or after I work though.
We do Montessori activities, sensory activities, and art throughout the week when we aren't playing or doing chores. We no longer watch the neighbor kids as the little girl was very rough with Ella and extremely rude to both me and Ella.  She even hit Ella over the head with a toy golf club and left a bruise.  Now that we don't watch them, Ella tells me she is glad we don't go over there any more.  This morning actually, Ella saw boxing on ESPN that her Daddy was watching.  She said they weren't being nice to each other like Evie isn't nice to her.  It was funny to hear her compare the neighbor to a boxer, but in her eyes (and mine too) they are pretty similar!
It's hard to believe that 2 is almost over! I love seeing Ella grow and her personality emerge even more, but of course I am sad to see her become more girl and less toddler every day.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What We've Been Up To

We have been very busy since my last post!  The last weekend of September, Grammy came to visit us.  We had a great time with her!  We went to the zoo, shopping, and out to eat.  Ella really enjoyed seeing her Grammy and still talks about her visit with her.
The very next weekend, Aunt Laurie, Libby, and Claire came to visit!  They stayed the entire week.  It was so good to spend time with them.  We spent time at "Bob's" house, went shopping, out to eat, and played a lot.  Ella was very overwhelmed at times and was very out of sorts, but I know she loved having them visit just as much as I did.  She talks about their visit still.  Since they have gone home, she occasionally likes to have us call her Libby.:)
On October 15, we started Lora Jensen's 3-Day Potty Training Method.  It's a very gentle and positive method that works!  We had 8!! accidents the first day, 3 the second day, and none on the third day.  Since then, Ella has done amazing although we are still having problems getting her to poo on the potty most depends on her mood.:)  I am so proud of what a big girl she is.  She tells us a lot that she is a big girl and not a baby any more. She is very proud of herself too.
On the 20th, we went to Vala's Pumpkin Patch.  Ella got to pick pumpkins and go on a hayride for the first time.  It was not as we expected it would be (we are used to Eckert's).  It was extremely busy.  Busier than I ever remember a place even like Six Flags being.  It was insane.  Dave and I were pretty stressed out by the place, and Ella of course was overwhelmed.  It was almost $30 to get in, and then once in you had to pay for everything (such as $3 for an ear of corn that I waited in line for half an hour for, the only item that was most-likely gluten free). We did manage to enjoy picking pumpkins though.  Next time we go back, we will do things much differently to have a more enjoyable time.
I have started watching the neighbor kids on Friday mornings.  Ella loves being able to play with her friend Evie.  She also likes to bring little toys over for Evie's baby brother.  It's been really good for her to have that time every week to play with them.
At 2.5, Ella is growing up so much.  She loves to talk and is such an intelligent and observant child.  She always says the sweetest things and usually has so much joy for everything.  She has quit taking naps on most days as of last week.  Her favorite things to do are play with her Squinkies, color, dance, sing, play outside, and watch her shows.  During the week, she gets to watch Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Super Why!.  On the weekends, she gets to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins. Those 4 shows are her very favorites.  Ella is becoming a pickier eater (although she will usually eat what we ask her to).  If she could live off of the foods of her choice though, they would be macaroni and cheese, Larabars, and her Indie Candy allergy-free gummies.
Ella is really excited about Halloween this year.  She can't wait to see the neighbors and get candy.  She is excited to wear her cupcake costume too.
We are looking forward to a busy November as well.  Dave and I will be celebrating our 7-Year Wedding Anniversary, Grandpa Chris and Grandma will be coming to visit, I will be turning 30 (!!), and we will of course have Thanksgiving to celebrate as well.  I love this time of year, and it's even better creating memories with our sweet Ella.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's Been a While

It's been a long time since I've posted! The past several months have been pretty crazy as I've discovered that I'm gluten intolerant along with 36 other (hopefully temporary) food sensitivities. Some of these foods include soy, tomato, carrots, green beans, cauliflower, black pepper, garlic, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and coffee. Gluten intolerance is thought to be the cause of these sensitivities, so once my stomach heals, I should be able to slowly incorporate these foods back into my diet.
In addition to this, we found out Ella is salicylate sensitive (which is why she had the recurring rash on her face). Salicylates are naturally found in most fruits, vegetables, herbs and seasonings and are also found in artificial flavors and colorings as well as medications. When we watch her salicylate intake, the rash disappears. Certain foods, such as pineapple, zucchini, strawberries, and avocado, will make the rash appear instantly. But I try not to offer too many hugh salicylate foods even if we don't see a reaction. It was described to me that we can think of it as a bucket. The bucket fills with every food that contains salicylates. Once it reaches a certain point (and this point is different for everyone), symptoms will start to appear. It was thoght that the rash is her only symptom, but it's possible that she also experiences things like stomach aches and fatigue. We have had Ella go gluten free as well along with me and have noticed her dark circles disappear and the enamel on her teeth become shinier and less mottled.
 Between the two of us, it has been very difficult to find safe foods to eat. We have stopped eating a vegan diet since our selection of foods has been greatly limited. We have been including organic eggs, yogurt, cheese, and meat and have even been making our own bone broths (and by we I mean Dave), which are supposed to be very healing. Between these foods, doctor visits, allergy tests, buying expensive supplements (safe vitamins, digestive enzymes, probiotics), safe skincare, and safe soap, it has been a very expensive time for us. Thankfully we are feeling better, and hopefully these issues will be a thing of the past soon! And I must add that Ella and I are lucky to have a husband and daddy who is so supportive and helpful.
Other than all of this, we are anxiously awaiting fall and the cool weather. As the lazy summer days come to an end and fall nears, I am trying to get our days into more of a rhythm.  Each day has a different theme. Mondays will be Montessori (I will have a Montessori-inspired activity for her to do), Tuesdays are music class day, Wednesdays are for story time and the library, Thursdays will be art, and Fridays will be for errands. We will have lots of time for free play and outdoor play when the weather is nice. I have also been spending time each morning doing finger plays and different verses with movement. We repeat the same ones for several days in a row. Ella really seems to love it, requesting her favorites and wanting to repeat them over and over.
Ella has really started to come out of her shell recently and become more sure of herself. Before the summer break, Ella would always refuse to sit with the other children at Story Time. She always wanted to stay with me. This past week, I encouraged her to sit on the rug with the other children - and she did! The entire time. She really enjoyed herself, and I was so proud of her. She has been asking to go to Story Time every day since.:)
Another instance of Ella coming out of her shell was when I watched a little girl and her baby brother that live next door. The little girl is a year older than Ella and of course that means she likes to boss Ella around and take her toys. She also hit Ella a few times. Normally Ella would cry or come to me for help. But this time around, she spoke up for herself saying things like "No. No like that." or "No hit me. No take my toys." She had a very sweet tone as she said those things. I was so happy to see my sweet, sensitive girl have the courage to stick up for herself and even happier that she didn't yell or hit back.
This year is really flying by. It's hard to believe Ella will be 2.5 next month! Dave and I are really enjoying what a fun, thoughtful, sweet, and intelligent little girl she is.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another Year

In two weeks, Ella will be two years old! I feel like it was just a few months ago that I was posting about her first birthday. I always say it, but time really flies. It is so amazing to see her grow and learn new things every day.
I love seeing her develop into her own little person. She is such a sweet and compassionate little girl. She is funny and silly. She is so intelligent and amazes me every day.
Lately we have been spending lots of time outdoors thanks to the gorgeous weather. We go outside after her nap until it's time to start dinner. Then after dinner, we go for a walk as a family and then spend more time outside until it's time for bath, snack, and bed. At the park, she loves to search for rocks in the sand, go down the slide by herself, and swing. In our yard, she loves to play with sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, collect rocks from around the tree, and play with her little neighbor friend, Evie. She also loves to say hi to walkers passing by our house.
Ella's favorite indoor activities are helping with chores around the house, dancing, reading books, and doing art projects.
While Ella is learning so much every day, I am learning and growing as well. Ella has taught me how to truly be present in the moment and enjoy all of the simple things. The way the sunshine illuminates the bubbles floating gracefully in the air. The smell of the warm spring breeze. The sweet smell of Ella's head as she snuggles close before bedtime. The constant sparkle in her eyes as she goes about her day. The wonder on her face and joy in her voice when she yells, "Wow!" at everything that amazes her. The sweet sound of "Mom." So many moments every day that fill my heart with so much joy and love. She has also taught me to separate my emotions from myself. To show patience, warmth, and love in the moments when all I really want to do is yell. She has taught me to be grateful for every moment of our day. She has taught me to love myself. For if I don't love myself, flaws and all, how will she ever be able to love all of herself too?
I love watching Ella grow and show so much independence. I am so proud of her. At the same time though, it is so hard to watch her need me less and less and to venture out on her own more and more. I read a quote once about how being a mother is like having your heart walking around outside your body. It is so true.
How is it possible that my heart is overflowing with joy and breaking at the same time?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

21 Months

Today Ella is 21 months! How is it that we will be celebrating her 2nd birthday in 3 months?!
At 21 months, Ella is such a sweet and funny little girl. She loves to make her mommy and daddy laugh.:) She loves to give hugs and kisses. She is really overcoming her shyness and is very sociable when we go out in public. She especially loves to interact with other moms and babies.
Her favorite activities these days are coloring, puzzles, play dough, painting, dancing, helping clean (she got her own broom and dust pan for Christmas that she loves to follow me around with), and play with her baby dolls and kitchen set.
Her speech has taken off and she says well over 20 words now, and every day she seems to add more. She loves to point at things, have you say what it is, and then repeat it.
About a week ago we got rid of Ella's high chair. She now sits in a big girl booster seat. She loves sitting at the table with us.
For the past few weeks, Ella has had a mild, but itchy rash that comes and goes around her mouth and chin, and one that sticks around (but varies in intensity) under and around her eye. I have tried Argan oil and coconut oil, which really seem to relieve the irritation, but they don't solve the problem. We decided to try an elimination diet to see if that helped. On Friday, we removed soy and wheat. The rash cleared up by the end of the day except for a little redness and puffiness under the eye. Dave accidentally used a cooking spray that had soy yesterday and the rash started to come back, but later went away after no soy again. So we are thinking she might have a soy allergy, but are going to take her to an allergist just to confirm. Until then we are going to have to make some dietary changes. This could be a good thing though as this will force us to rely less on processed foods and base our diet around a variety whole foods. I have been wanting to center our diets around more whole, unprocessed foods, but this has really given me the push I need to do it. We have taken her off of soy milk and are giving her a variety of nondairy milks such as rice, almond, hemp, and coconut. She has also been eating coconut milk yogurt and rice cheese for calcium. Fortunately her favorite foods don't seem to contain soy so she still has plenty of things to eat. She loves Larabars, chopped nuts, dried and fresh fruit, bean and rice dishes, and veggies. I made some seed cakes that she loved that are made with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, sesame and hemp seed, cinnamon, hemp milk, baking soda, and flour. I fried them in coconut oil and she thought they were so good. I love that they are full of healthy fats and protein. I hope her love of fresh, whole foods continues and hopefully, we will find out something this week about whether this is an allergy or just a strange coincidence.
Tomorrow we start our new semester of Kindermusik. I am so excited for Ella to see her teacher and friends after a month-long break and to get our new materials. We are also signing up for a Wiggles class at the local community center. It is a toddler mommy and me indoor gym class. We are doing this with the little boy I used to baby sit and his mom. So Monday and Friday mornings will be filled with our classes and the middle of the week is time to do whatever we want.:)
I always seem to say it, but time is flying by way too fast. I just can't believe what a big girl Ella is. Every day I am in awe of what a sweet and intelligent little person she is.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

18 Months

This past month I returned to work! After babysitting for 8 months, I decided that it was definitely time to move on to other things. It was creating a lot of stress for the whole family, things in our house were getting ruined, I didn't agree with a lot of the things the parents did, and it was a ton of work for hardly any money. Things had to change and it was the best decision I could have made for Ella and I. It is so nice to have our days to ourselves to do whatever we want. While I really don't like working outside of the home right now, it is so much better than the babysitting situation. I only work two evenings a week opposite of Dave so Ella stays out of daycare. I have really noticed the bond between them strengthen and it's good for me to get out of the house and do something of my own. I have a very hard time doing things for myself and separating myself from Ella so it's really good for me (and for her). Plus, in two days, I am making more money than I made in an entire week!
The job is extremely easy. I just answer phones for a local hospital. There is a lot of down time in between calls so I get lots of reading done and can surf the internet. I am actually typing this blog post at work!:) The ladies I work with are all really nice too so that helps things. So while I don't like being away from the family, it definitely is the best job to have right now. I am very lucky to have found it!
Ella and I enrolled in a Kindermusik class last month. It's at the Omaha Conservatory of Music and there are 8 other children ages 18 months to 3 years in the class. Ella is the youngest, but does so well. It is amazing to see how much she has changed in the few weeks we have been in the class. She went from being shy and wandering the room and not the greatest at following directions, to following directions better than the older kids, getting really excited about participating in the activities, and clapping for all of the other children. Her confidence seems to have really taken off. At home, we read the stories and listen to the music from class and she loves it. She loves to do the motions to songs and will randomly do them throughout the day so I can sing the songs for her. It's so neat to see how the class is sticking with her even when we're not there.
Ella had her 18 month checkup last week. She is right on track and despite not talking, she is not behind in her speech due to the fact that she uses baby signs with us (eat, drink, help, all done). Apparently baby signs count as words. In the past week or so she has added "bye bye" to the words she can say and has started repeating words for us. Me, puppy, Elmo, duck, and bird are a few of the words she has attempted.
Ella just started walking down the stairs the other day. She holds on to the slats of the railing as she goes down (and we of course anxiously hold our arms out to catch her if she slips).
We have had a lot of changes in our house this past month, but all seem to be allowing us to grow which I am very thankful for!

Friday, September 9, 2011

17 Months

Ella turned 17 months old yesterday! At 17 months, she is sweet, loving, funny, and smart!
She is still not really talking, but she knows so many words. A few weeks ago, I started writing down words that she knows and it was over 100. The only words she says are Mom, Dada, whoa, yay, and just yesterday she started repeating Ella (Eh-wah) and woof woof (woo woo). None of the words are consistently used at this point, but she is able to communicate with us through baby signs and various sounds.
A few weeks ago, we removed Ella's crib from her room. She has never been a crib baby. Between a pack-n-play by our bed for the first 6+ months of her life, co-sleeping, and partial nights in her crib where she ALWAYS woke up crying and extremely upset, she has always seemed to dislike her crib. I can't say I blame her. After thinking about the floor beds used at her old Montessori daycare, I decided to give it a try and move her mattress to the floor. It worked out great! She LOVES her bed now that she has the control of getting in and out of bed on her own. She no longer cries when she wakes up, but instead gets out of bed and starts playing with toys or goes to the door and kind of knocks to let us know she's up. I am amazed at how well she is doing with that freedom at such a young age.
Ella's favorite activities are running and exploring outside, going for walks, pushing her baby dolls in the stroller, buckling and unbuckling the stroller, and looking at books. She loves to dance, help pick things up, and do things that make her feel like she's helping me. For example, she likes to help clean up food from her tray and hand it to me when she's done eating, she likes to throw things away, she likes to carry the key to the mailbox (she also like to get my shoes out and get the key out and put it away when she knows it's mail time), and she even puts her daddy's clothes that he leaves on the bathroom floor in the mornings in the clothes hamper!
Her favorite foods are still fruits and veggies, but she also loves polenta casserole, hard-boiled eggs, Earth's Best crackers with soy cheese slices, raisins, peanut butter, beans, black olives, and avocadoes (she has no problem eating a whole one!).
Ella is such an incredibly sweet little girl. I know most of it is her personality, but I like to think it also has to do with our parenting. If we let Ella cry-it-out, yelled and spanked her and used other mainstream discipline, and didn't attachment parent (babywearing, cosleeping, feeding on demand, responding sensitively to all of her needs, and giving her lots of love and cuddles), I think we would have quite a different child by this point. I think both nature and nurture play a part in what a sweet and sensitive personality she has. Either way, I am so grateful to be Ella's mommy!