My sweet baby girl will be two weeks old tomorrow, so I thought I should share a bit about her birth and how things are going for us as a family of four. I will keep the birth story pretty clean, but feel free to skip ahead if you’re bored!
I have about a zillion pics of Ellie’s birthday here in Hershey. The reality of a two year old is that Ellie is pouting or crying in about half of them. We didn’t do too much for her actual birthday this year, since we had recently returned home from Michigan. I baked a cake (from scratch! Recipe here) and bought a couple helium balloons, which Ellie looooves.
Today is Ellie’s official birthday. We didn’t do anything too crazy for her this year, but we did have a little party at our cottage while we were in Michigan. I baked and decorated her a puppy cake (from scratch!). The cake tasted great, but cake decorating is not really a skill for me. Thankfully frosting hides a lot of issues.
I love that first pic. Ellie was saying “I bite it.” Haha, not yet baby.
To back up a bit, my mom had saved the top tier of Ellie’s cake from last year in her freezer, so we pulled it out the morning of her party to see if it was still any good. Ummm, not so much. It didn’t stop Ellie from sneaking a lick and a bite at the fondant though.
She also got to play in the lake with the cousins, which she loves.
I saw an idea for these confetti filled balloons on pinterest, but they were in a pretty sorry state only a few hours after being filled with helium. It didn’t stop Ellie from having fun with them, but I was so disappointed not to get better pics with them.
Photo overload, I know. I can’t help it.
Attacking that cake. It was a chocolate chip, raspberry cake with either chocolate or vanilla frosting, depending on which part of the puppy you got. Deeeeelicious! We got a decent family shot too, which is no small feat these days! Happy Birthday to my amazing, silly, smart, crazy little monkey girl. I love you more than is imaginable.
Ellie loves nothing more than to run around outside, so the gardens are a great place to let her burn off some energy. I had thoughts of getting some great shots of her with the flowers as the perfect backdrop, but I forgot she is a toddler. A BUSY toddler. The odds of getting her to sit still for 30 seconds are like the odds of winning the lottery.
The children’s garden has tons of really great water features, but we didn’t really have Ellie dressed appropriately for them. She loved playing with the boats in the lake exhibit, so the next time we go, I’ll make sure she’s in a swimsuit!
We mostly stuck to the children’s area, and took a short walk around the sculpture park.
Toddlers don’t have a super strong attention span for anything, in case you didn’t know. She did like the big DaVinci horse though.
None of us had seen the new Japanese gardens yet, so that was fun to walk through.
I was excited that the park has become so nice in the past few years. We will definitely have to take Ellie back there again.
Ellie is a huge animal lover, so we decided to visit the zoo in Grand Rapids. I hadn’t been there in probably 20 years, so I was pleasantly surprised with how nice it is now. They have really added a lot of new stuff, and the existing exhibits seem nicer. The only thing I really recognized was the penguin area, which hasn’t changed at all.
Ellie loved spending the day with “baby Ainzey” and the animals.
Ted will probably be upset with me about the above pics. He thinks petting zoos are disease breeding grounds, and is basically an all around killjoy about them haha. I, however, made Ellie thoroughly wash her hands afterwards and am not paranoid. I mean how seriously cute is she? She would have been happy to hang out here for hours. The sheep and goats getting loved on were probably happy to see her go…
Ainsley wasn’t so sure about the bears and tiger who got up close and personal. I was happy we had Ellie wear her leash backpack. That kid is a wanderer.
Ellie enjoyed watching the scuba divers in the fish tank and the monkeys. We have been to several zoos in the past 2 years with her, and I’m happy this one has become so nice. I would definitely consider a membership there when we move back to GR.
These are unrelated, but I just had to throw them in somewhere. The pigtails and static hair kill me. This age can be challenging at times, but Ellie is so much fun. Every day is an adventure!
Some of my happiest memories of summer growing up were made at our family’s cottage. Last year, we had just moved to Hershey at the beginning of the summer, so Ellie really never got to spend much time there until now. We were able to make it up there three times during our 3 weeks in Michigan and she loved every minute of it.
E had a blast playing in the water and with my cousin’s dog. She would have probably stayed there all day.
Tradition says that we have to take a slow ride around the lake on the pontoon boat and see if there are any new cottages being built, or ones for sale.
Unrelated, but cute from the same weekend. Ellie loved for us to make her pretend food out of play dough.
I guess we should buy some for our house. I can only imagine the mess she will make of our rug…
I grew up spoiled with a pool in our backyard. Now, Ellie gets to use Grammy’s pool, and I don’t have to do the maintenance!
Ellie took a little while to warm up to the idea of swimming, but once she did, she started asking to go in the pool all the time. I would like to get her signed up for swimming lessons soon. She will grow up around lots of water, so the sooner she learns, the better.
Ellie loved learning how to kick her feet and splash us. She also had a blast playing with my cousins Robin and Kristin. She asks for “Kwissin” every day now.
The pics of her lying on the air mattress crack me up. I just love her personality. She is mostly sweet, with a good dose of sassy mixed in.
Kristin entertained us with some cool diving board tricks.
I wanted to recreate this photo from my childhood – we weren’t able to exactly replicate it, because strong willed toddler… anyway, we got one with all three of us. Nevermind the squinty eyes haha
After all that swimming, Ellie loved her ice cream snack. Good times.
We are finally back home in Hershey after three weeks in Michigan, plus a week of running around with our friends Jon and Ashley prior to that! We have had lots of adventures, so it’s fun to finally do a camera dump and relive everything. First up, I had taken some pictures of Ellie and Ainsley out in our backyard a few days before we left, and I just love how some of them turned out.
Ellie started calling Ainsley “Ainzey Doo” (Ainsley Drew), and it cracks me up every time. Now that we are back home, she has been asking about baby Ainsley all day. She loved having an honorary little sister around.
For the most part, Ellie was pretty gentle with her, except for one tipping over incident. No harm done though, and it makes me hopeful that she will get along with a future someday sibling.
I love Ainsley’s goofy little personality. She was really hamming it up.
I love that last one – you can really see her spit flying! I remember when Ellie learned new tricks like that and it was a constant source of amusement for a while until she moved on to the next thing. Too cute.
Anyway, I’m still working on laundry mountain, and putting our house back together after being away for so long. I have so many more Michigan pics to share – hopefully soon!
Ellie loves this park near our house, so I brought my camera there one day just for fun.
They have an excellent walking trail that’s mostly in the shade – great for this time of the year!
Ellie loves to play with the rocks and practice throwing them into the pond.
And there are always lots of ducks and geese to watch. The only trick is to keep Ellie from jumping right into the pond with them.
Ellie makes me laugh on a daily basis. Her vocabulary is growing by so much lately and she has been putting fairly complicated sentences together too. I’m making a big effort to write things down as she says them so others can benefit from the total cuteness too.
Me: Who are you calling?
Me: Oh yeah? What’s she doing?
Ellie: Gettin Ellie snacks
We’ve been doing a lot of practicing with colors lately. Mostly everything is still “yellow” if you ask her, but if you say something like “which one is green like the grass?” or “which one is red like a fire truck?” then she will usually get it right.
A few days ago she was playing with her little purse and the pretend credit cards and old hotel room keys that we save for her. She kept fanning them out in her hands and trying to get the dog interested in them…
“Murray try one. Try it. It’s fun. A pink one? A gween one? Yellow?”
I’m not sure if we should be worried she thinks credit cards are fun or not? Haha.
“Murray yookit! Yook in dere. It’s a bearbear!” (showing the dog a Berenstain Bears book)
Ellie noticing me carrying an empty toilet paper tube.
Ellie: What’s that?
Me: Oh just some trash.
Ellie: I will kick it.
Playing with her toy animals, she grabbed a giraffe and pretended to feed it some of the leaves on my flowers. She made a lip smacking noise and said, “Mmmmm. Tasty!”
One day after coming home from the store. I set her down in front of our door and as she was walking in she says, “Dis is Ellie’s house. Oh, it’s messy.”
Lately she has been obsessed with rummaging through my dresser drawers. She loves to pretend to wear my “ear-nings” and “neck-naces” and lines up all my nail polish bottles on the top of the dresser. She’s always asking me to paint her toenails. Girly little thing.
She loves babies and asks if we’re going to see several of our friends who have babies every day. She carries her baby doll around and pats it on the back saying, “so nice” and “aww cute!” all the time. Hopefully she will be a good big sister some day!
Her animal obsession is still at an all time high. She loves to play with her plastic ones, begs to watch animal movies on youtube, and gets super excited if we see any type of wild life outdoors. I think we will either do a dog or animal theme for her birthday.
We visited the Hershey Gardens a couple weeks ago and they were having a butterfly exhibit. I was curious how Ellie would do with them, since she’s not a big fan of bugs. She loved watching them fly around and surprisingly wanted to touch them. She still gets sort of a nervous giggle if we see one in the yard or whatever, but I’m glad she’s not too scared by them. Bees on the other hand… watch out for your eardrums.