Goodbye, January!

January has to be the worst month of the year in my book. It has the unfortunate position within the year of following the holidays when things are slower and we usually have time off, then once we get back to our routines the month seems to drag on forever.

In the Midwest, January is more of a challenge because it’s usually one of the worst weather months. Cold temps and snowy streets have kept us indoors more often, so we’ve had to come up with interesting ways to keep ourselves entertained. For example…

We practiced riding our new tricycle.

Ellie got a new Minnie Mouse tricycle for Christmas that she sits on almost every evening when we get home, so we try to let her to practice in our entry way. She’s still getting the hang of it.

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We had ice cream in 12 degree weather.

Mitchell’s Ice Cream is famous in the Cleveland area for a reason. It is delicious any time of year. Ellie’s favorite flavor is Blue Cosmo. It tastes like cotton candy and has ribbons of marshmallow cream in it–yum!

We went to our first Disney on Ice.

I was lucky enough to snag tickets to my employer’s suite for Disney on Ice when it was in town. I wasn’t sure whether Ellie would be that into it because she’s so young, but I was wrong! She had the time of her life dancing her booty off, making new friends and eating as many cupcakes as she could fit in her little tummy. It was a great experience for all of us and we can’t wait to take her back next year.

We made hot chocolate with whipped cream.

Nothing is better than salted caramel hot chocolate on a freezing cold night.

We took Ellie to her first movie.

During the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, a big storm hit the area, keeping us inside for two whole days. By the third day, we were willing to do just about anything to get out of the house and decided to take Ellie to see Coco at the movie theater. The movie had been out for over a month so I didn’t think it would be that busy, but we ended up snagging the last seats available toward the front of the theater. It worked out in our favor because there was open space in front of our seats and a tall wall behind our seats, giving Ellie the ability to stand up and walk between Andrew and I without getting in the way of other people. Ellie enjoyed the experience and the movie was cute, but we’ll probably wait a little longer before we try it again, lol.

We practiced hand-eye coordination.

Ellie got a couple of bouncy balls for Christmas that she hasn’t let out of her sight, so we’ve been practicing throwing them to her and having her catch them. It’s basically her new favorite thing to do.

So, while we’ve managed to keep busy, I could not be happier that this month is over. We’re already daydreaming of warmer times and trying on new swimsuits in preparation for fun activities involving water and sunshine!

Fall Picture Time!

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This little sweetheart got her fall pictures taken at daycare and they are so cute! When Andrew or I ask Ellie to smile for pictures, she usually does the opposite, but for some reason she has no problem cheesing for complete strangers. I figure it’s because she’s not comfortable enough with them yet to be her normal rambunctious toddler self. Whatever the reason, kudos to the photographer for not only getting her to smile, but also getting her to stay still long enough to snap THREE super cute fall photos.

Seeing her pictures this time of year is fun because we’re coming up on her birthday, so the pictures almost mark each year of her life. Of course, there have only been two fall photo sessions as we’re coming up on her second birthday, but I am always surprised by how much she has grown right in front of my eyes. I don’t always see it day-to-day but I definitely see it when looking back at earlier photos. On the left is last year’s fall picture, with this year’s picture again on the right. My little baby is not a baby anymore!

Winter is Coming

img_6883Today is the first day of fall, my favorite time of year! This time of year always flies by because we have one holiday after the next to look forward to. In Montgomery, the change of seasons didn’t mean all that much because the weather doesn’t get cold enough to keep you inside too long, but in Cleveland, fall weather means it’s almost winter. Winter in Cleveland means several feet of snow and a gray dome that sets over the city for several months until spring. It’s always this time of year that we get outside as much as possible to make the most of what little time we have left!

I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Even my indoor husband has wanted to get outside some the last couple of weeks. 🙂 I take advantage of the Cleveland Metroparks as much as I can, at least a couple of times a week, and recently I’ve been taking Ellie and Andrew along to show them my favorite spots and most scenic hikes. Ellie is an outside baby! She loves it as much as I do. I’m looking forward to taking her on longer and longer hikes as she gets older.

Last weekend, I took them to the Rocky River Reservation for a walk along the river. The water was lower than usual, but it was so peaceful. Ellie loved running through the leaves along the path. Watching her run is one of my most favorite things.

The weekend before last, we checked out the Lock 39 Trailhead in Independence, OH and discovered this bridge overlooking the Cuyahoga River.

And I’ve been taking Ellie to our city park as much as possible. I love that they have separate play areas for toddlers and older kids, and Ellie feels like such a big girl sliding down the slide by herself!

Goodbye Summer!

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Last weekend, we said goodbye to summer with a visit to the beautiful “Maria’s Field of Hope” in Avon, OH. The sunflower field was planted in memory of a young victim of brain cancer named Maria. Her family plants the field every summer and hosts events with proceeds going toward children’s cancer research. It seems like the field becomes more popular every year. Last weekend was the first weekend the flowers were in full bloom and there were a lot of visitors. I didn’t think I would be able to get pictures of Ellie by herself, but the field is so huge there was plenty of space for all of the mommy and daddy photographers I saw there.

Ellie had the time of her life running on the dirt paths through the field and picking up rocks. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the visit.

https://prayersfrommaria.org

Cleveland Summer

Andrew’s parents and two aunts have been visiting us over the last couple of weeks from three different states–Nevada, Louisiana and California. We’ve had a great time while they’ve been here and they’ve been able to spend a lot of quality time with Ellie, but having them here has made me realize how different our behavior is when we have visitors compared to when we don’t. Here’s what I mean…

We go to restaurants owned by famous Cleveland chefs.

We go to Indians games against the Dodgers (who haven’t played in Cleveland in 14 years).

We celebrate Father’s Day with two dads.

We become artists who fuse glass to make beautiful mosaic pieces.

We have fun with Snapchat and Instagram filters.

We layout by the pool all day.

We play outside into the night.

We have daily baby fashion shows.

We let Ellie eat like Beast and drink from the bathtub faucet purely for entertainment value.

We plan and take kick-ass tours of Cleveland to show how awesome our city is.

And most importantly, we give Ellie the chance to spend quality time with her grandparents and gr’aunts that she doesn’t usually get.