Ella and I spent the last 10 days in Boise. I went because my sister was due with her 5th baby on December 10 and her husband is deployed right now. She needed all the help she could get. After making some tough decisions about whether or not to induce labor, baby Jacob arrived last Friday! I'll post more on that once I get some pictures. We also met Ella's cousin who arrived just a few weeks ago. Her name is Olivia. Here she is with her mom, Tausha.
We got in the Christmas spirit when I was photographing her.
One of the perks of motherhood is that you can put ridiculous but oh so cute looking things on your baby and they can't do a thing about it. My current favorite: The bonnet. Really, how can you resist this? Ella's a great sport about it. But there's no guarantee that she'll forgive me when she's older and finds out how out of style her mom made her. It's a shame you don't see many baby bonnets any more...how could classic baby wear go out of style?
And yes, I actually put this on her when we go out on sunny days.
Before Ella was born I mentioned this chair in a post. Blair teased me because I was in love with the chair. I wasn't in love with the chair because it's pretty (it's not) or super comfortable (though it is) or even because it rocks and swivels (fantastic!). I was in love with the chair because it was symbolic of impending motherhood. Well, motherhood came and now I'm living it. And I still love the chair. In fact, I love it even more than before. Sitting in that chair I feel some of my happiest feelings. There I rock Ella, sing to her, feed her, burp her, or just cuddle her. It doesn't matter what I'm doing; when I'm in that chair my world is Ella. Unless Blair is there and he gives me that look. No, not the look that says he's amused I'm in love with an ugly pea green chair that squeaks. It's the look that says he adores me and loves me even more when he sees me caring for our daughter. It makes me melt every time. This chair is definitely my happy place.
Ella laughed for the first time two weeks ago, but we haven't been able to get her to do it again until today. Fortunately, this time we had the camera ready.
Apparently, making raspberries is the key. It's hilarious how parents will find that one thing that, while making the child laugh, also makes the parent look and sound ridiculous, and then repeat it over and over. Kate and I laughed at that kind of thing before, and we still do. The only difference is now we are laughing at ourselves.
I have never been good at coming up with Halloween costumes. Really. I thought I was really clever one year when I went as a magnet--but no one quite got it. Then there was the year I went as the nerdy business man. Bad idea. So I don't know what made me think I could come up with a decent costume for Ella this year. But I was determined to make something--well, not just something. I wanted her to be a flower and I was going to be a butterfly and Blair was going to be a butterfly catcher. So I set out to make her into a flower. And it worked! I actually made a recognizable Halloween costume that was pretty cute. And it only took six hours. Six hours?! What was I thinking? No wonder people just pay for ready made costumes. I take comfort in the fact that Ella won the baby costume contest at our ward party.
Ella is growing so fast! Here are some snapshots from the past few weeks.
She'll sit up when she's propped with pillows. She also likes playing with the "Taggie" that her Aunt Cherry Ann and cousin Emmy made for her. She's a champion fist eater and gives great smiles.
Though Ella has been to play group with other babies, this weekend was the first time Ella had a friend over. We baby-sat Elizabeth while her parents went out. The two were blissfully unaware of each other.
Here's Ella in her Sunday dress all ready to go to a wedding reception. I am in love with her Mary Jane socks.
I would be so ungrateful (sniffle, sniffle) if I did not publicly thank (hiccup) Alton Brown (sniffle) for his strangely good lentil cookie recipe. Yes, I said LENTIL. Red Lentils to be exact.
I like to pretend sometimes that I'm a good cook (and Blair encourages the behavior) so sometimes I turn to the Food Network for inspiration. Lately I've been recording lots of old episodes of Good Eats, an Alton Brown staple on the Food Network. I like it because it combines food history, food science, and good recipes. His skits are over the top and are often pretty amusing as well as educational.
I wasn't sure I would find any inspiration on the Good Eats show all about lentils. Really, there's only so much you can do with them: soup and cold mush that might pass as a salad. But then when he started going on about a baked good made with lentil puree, he had me. I had to try this. Was he just acting when he took a bite of the lentil cookies and looked like he actually enjoyed it? Well, apparently not. I made them and they're good. Really. Not the decadent treat kind of delicious, but definitely good.
In addition to lentils, they have oatmeal and dried fruit in them so you feel like you're actually eating something a little more healthy than a usual cookie. I wish Food Network provided nutritional information on their recipes so I could confirm this. I bet they would be good with chocolate chips, too. I'll try that when I can eat chocolate again (Ella doesn't do well when I eat chocolate...something in it must irritate her). Anyway, here's a link for the brave who want to try these for themselves. Oh, and FYI, I did use all purpose flour (sorry, Alton!) and I found that baking them for only 12 minutes yielded a more moist cookie. I only baked a few at first then scooped out the rest of the dough into balls to freeze individually before moving to a plastic bag for long term freezer storage. Now I can pull a few out at a time to bake whenever I want a sweet chocolate free treat. Enjoy if you dare!
Ella is three months old today. I can hardly believe how fast she is growing! She is a sweet baby and Blair and I love being her parents.
Everyone said when we had a baby our lives would change forever--and they were right. But the change was gradual and natural. We've never been happier and we look forward to the many more months and years we'll have with our sweet baby girl.
Blair and I went to Las Vegas this past weekend to visit our friends, Amy and Ryan, and their new twin babies. They were born early but are both very healthy and growing well. I witnessed for myself that two babies are four times the work of one! And definitely four times the joy as well. Thanks for the fun weekend!
One of the few pictures together where neither one was crying
I admit it. I've been in denial for the past several weeks. I didn't want to acknowledge that Ella is growing so fast but I can't deny it anymore. She is no longer a newborn. I guess we're supposed to want to see our babies grow and learn and reach their milestones--and I do get excited when she does something new. But with each milestone and each tiny piece of clothing that gets stored away, I feel a little sad that I couldn't have my newborn for just a little longer. Today was the last time she will be able to wear her first Sunday dress because I could barely button it this morning. So before it goes into a box to await another little girl, I decided to pull out my camera and snap some pictures.
So off it went. I'll wash it and fold it and put it into a box then move on to celebrate her progress. And in a few years when the dress comes out again, I'm sure I'll marvel to think that Ella was ever that small.
Ella has taken a ride on all of them. Last weekend we took a family trip out to VA so Blair could attend a conference. I have never been out that way so we went a couple of days early and spent some time in DC and Maryland (where Blair grew up). We stayed first in Maryland with my friend, Melissa, then took a train down to VA where we stayed with Blair's sister, Melissa. Here are some of the highlights from our trip:
The Washington DC Temple
My first crab feast--complete with brown paper on the table, a whole roll of paper towels, and whole steamed crabs covered in Old Bay Seasoning. Pretty tasty! We had a nice view overlooking the river, too.
A whirlwind tour of some of the monuments in DC
I forgot to bring a hat for Ella so Melissa fashioned one out of a blanket. We tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible, anyway.
The WWII Monument--very beautiful
And this one is for Brent. Extra points to whoever can identify where this was taken.
I guess Ella can never complain that we don't take her anywhere...she's pretty well travelled for 2 1/2 months old. We're back now with our noses in the books again. Maybe we'll take a break from traveling for a few months...or maybe not.
Some of you may remember that not long ago I took some maternity pictures of my friend, Sarah. She invited me back to take some pictures of their expanded family. Their cute baby, Elizabeth, is four weeks old in these pictures. They were all taken in their home with natural light and Sarah and Adam were very willing to put up with my suggestions. I felt like a kid in a candy store because I had so much fun working with them! Enjoy!