Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy 1 Month Troy!

Happy 1 Month Troy! (only a few days late . . .)

Where did the month go? It is so hard to believe that you are already one month old - you are still so tiny and precious! You captured our hearts the moment you were born (well, truly, before then), and, now, even though we're just slightly sleep-deprived our love has only grown for you!

You are definitely a mama's boy. You love for me to hold you - so much so that oftentimes you won't let me put you down! You enjoy people singing to you - no matter who is singing to you or what song they are singing.

You are an incredibly strong little boy for your age. We visited the pediatrician three times in the past month, and each time he commented on how strong you were. At your second appointment, while the nurse was examining you, you almost rolled over - the nurse was shocked! You already do a mini push-up during tummy time, and you also bear weight on your legs. I'm absolutely amazed!





Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tot School: Week 3

-Ella is 20 months old-

Check out what we did in Tot School last week!

A is for Apple, Avocado, Ant, and Ali (our dog). This week we officially started looking at the alphabet, specifically the letter A. Right now, we are working on recognizing the letter A, and learning a few words that start with A. Ella loves to say "A for apple!" There are tons of resources with printables for doing work with the alphabet. I chose to use several of the printables from the blog Confessions of a Homeschooler. There are so many on her website, I only used a few last week, and we'll be using more this week.


This is the first week that we used crayons at home (she's used them at other places, I just haven't had any for our house until now). She's enjoyed coloring in her own "workspace." Coloring has given a good opportunity to work on colors, although right now the only color she consistently identifies is purple.

Ella also continues to enjoy playing with her puzzles that I created from the printables on Confessions of a Homeschooler blog. The pieces have held up really well to Ella's rough play! When we first started using the puzzle pieces, she really wasn't sure what to do with them. Now she can match them up and identify what the "whole" is a picture of even if she only sees a "half." The apple and pumpkin were two of her favorites to find this past week.



We also played with playdoh for the first time this week. Ella was pretty unsure what she was supposed to do with it, but she thought it was pretty great when I made a "mouse" out of the playdoh. I'm glad she has a good imagination because my mouse was pretty goofy looking!

If you've got a toddler, be sure to check out the link below for more great ideas for your toddler!

Tot School

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saving Money Again with Coupons

Towards the end of my pregnancy with Troy, I'll admit that I got pretty lazy when it came to things like properly grocery shopping (taking time to plan things out so that I could save money) and couponing. I'm a big believer in couponing and stockpiling because if I'm diligent at taking the time to do it, I can save a significant amount of money.

The past couple of shopping trips I've taken have been a good reminder and encouragement to myself to get back in the good habit of couponing so that we can stay on budget and save money.

First, at Target, I got a great deal on diapers for Ella. Target runs a special every few weeks where if you buy (usually) two of certain boxes of diapers you receive a $5.00 Target gift card. On top of this deal, I had 4 coupons I could use with the diapers: 1 Target coupon for a box of Huggies, 1 Target coupon for a box of Pampers plus a tub of wipes, and 1 manufacturer's coupon for each box of diapers. Each box of diapers was originally priced at $19.79, and the tub of wipes was $2.39, for a total of $41.97. My coupons for these items totaled $6.50.

  • Original price of two boxes of diaper and one tub of wipes: $41.97
  • Coupons for three items: $6.50
  • Total paid for three items:  $35.47
  • Additionally, I got a $5.00 Target gift card for purchasing the two boxes of diapers, so the deal was even better!

Secondly, when I was grocery shopping, I got a great deal on cereal. We love Cinnamon Chex at our house (if you haven't tried them, you should - they are GREAT), but I don't always buy it because it can be kind of expensive for the amount of cereal you get. However, our grocery store had them on sale this week, for $2.00 a box (the cheapest I have ever seen it before this was $2.52). In addition to the cheap price, I had several coupons for a $1.00 off of two boxes of cereal. I ended up getting 4 boxes of Cinnamon Chex for $6.00, whereas they would have normally cost me $10.08 for a savings of $4.08. I also got a good deal on a couple of other cereal varieties.

Now, I just need to keep up with my couponing so that I can continue to save money!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tot School: Week 2

-Ella is 20 months old-
Check out what we did in Tot School last week!

This week was a pretty crazy week because we had family in most of the week. With our family being around this past week I didn't really plan anything specific for her to do, because I knew that the majority of her time would be spent playing with our family. However, even with our family in, there were many things that Ella was exposed to throughout the week, so I thought I'd share a few. Once again, I slacked a bit on pictures, and I hate that . . . next week will be better! :)

  • Counting
    • Like last week, we continued to work on counting. Now that Ella is starting to "get it" (at least a little bit), I really want to continue to expose her to counting. We counted many different things, but I think her favorite thing to count might be toes! One of my favorite learning toys for Ella right now is this peg play board - it works great for counting, building, and colors (plus lots of other stuff too!).

  • The Great Outdoors
    • The weather has been absolutely gorgeous, and we've started going outside more and more (it wasn't that long ago it was too miserably hot to be outside for very long). Ella had a lot of fun playing in our sage bush. I pointed out the leaves to her, and explained that the leaves were green. I don't know if she really paid too much attention to me though - she was too busy playing peek-a-boo within the bush!

  • Helping
    • Ella loves for us to assign her tasks to do - especially if she thinks she is helping out with her baby brother. We'll ask her to take things to the trash, or to take dirty clothes to the laundry pile (this is new this week). I'll also ask her to bring me Troy's blanket or pacifier. I love that she enjoys doing these things, and is also learning to listen and follow directions. I'm hoping that by asking her to do these little things, even at such a young age, we'll have an easier time teaching her to help out as she gets older.

Week 3 of Tot School for us will be our first "normal" week we've had in over a month (between Troy being born, and having tons of family in because of Troy). I'm looking forward to introducing Ella to some new things this week - including really starting to work on the alphabet.

Tot School

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tot School: Week 1

-Ella is 20 months old-

A few weeks ago I came across the idea of Tot School. I've been really excited to participate, but this past week was really the first week I could even begin to really do anything because Troy was born the week before. I'll admit that this first week was fairly "weak" and I plan to do much more in future weeks, but this first week of tot school at our house was also the first week that I was home alone with a 20-month old and a newborn! I'm sad that I don't have more photos to share as well. I love taking photos (as you already know if you are a frequent reader of my blog), but I wasn't really able to take many photos of the things we were working on this week.
  1. Following Directions
    • I'll admit that working on following directions was a very convenient thing for us to work on this week. Since it was my first week home alone with a 20-month old and a newborn, I had a lot of adjusting to do. I wasn't able to always get up to help Ella with whatever she wanted immediately. So, we worked on following directions. Throughout the week, I'd direct her to do different things, such as build a tower with her blocks, bring me a book to read together, bring me Troy's pacifier or blanket, take something to the trash (which she loves to do, oddly enough), or roll a ball to me. Some tasks she completed involved learning directional words, such as "under", "next to", "on", or "by". I think her favorite things to do during the week were following my directions with tasks involving Troy - she was SO proud to get to help out with her baby brother.
  2. Counting
    • We also worked on counting a lot this week. We counted any and everything. We counted animals and houses in books we read. We counted Ella's toes, my toes, and daddy's toes. We counted toys like her rings and blocks. We counted her monkeys (her monkey collection continues to grow - she loves monkeys!). Ella can now easily count to four now, usually skips "five", and sometimes makes it to "six". I think the word "five" might be difficult for her to say because I can't really get her to repeat it (and she'll generally repeat most words I ask her to say). 
  1. Family/Life skills
    • Working on family/life skills came very naturally this week. We worked on holding Troy, as well as treating him gently, and learning not act "crazy" when she was near Troy. We also worked on patience - especially since I couldn't always get what Ella wanted immediately.

I look forward to continuing our Tot School journey each week, and plan to make this week's Tot School at least a bit more organized than our first week. :)
Tot School

Shutter Love Tuesdays: Babies

I had a very, very difficult time deciding what photo I would choose for this week's Shutter Love Tuesday challenge - mostly because I have a newborn and a ton of photos! In the end, I decided to choose one of Troy and Ella because I just love Ella's reaction to getting the opportunity to hold her newborn baby brother.


Be sure to check out all the cute baby photos!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Really Playing with Ella Again

Troy is two weeks old today . . . two weeks old! It all almost still feels like a dream (perhaps because I'm not getting very much sleep at a time, but that is to be expected; after all, he is only two weeks old!). It is really hard to believe that we have two kids, but that is another post for another time!

Back in August, I vented about how much I was missing being able to really play with Ella because I lacked the energy I needed to keep up with her. I was also struggling physically beyond just lacking energy. I was physically in pain, and struggling a lot with simple things like walking, getting in and out of bed, getting up and down, getting in and out of a car, and even putting on my clothes - not to mention chasing Ella around. It made my heart ache that I could not physically interact and play with her the way I wanted. At the same time, I was also dealing with the emotions of the blessing of being pregnant, and that even though I didn't physically feel well, it really was worth it.

Although I'm still medically restricted from being able to do many of my normal activities (since I'm still in the recovery phase from having a baby), I'm physically feeling so much better than I did the last few months of my pregnancy. I can get down on the floor and play with Ella. I can take her outside, and not worry about her running away from me and not being able to catch her. I can easily bend down to get a hug from her. It feels wonderful to be able to do these things again!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy 20 months Ella!

Happy 20 months Ella!

Every month I've written this post I cannot believe how much you have grown and changed since the previous month, and this month is not any different. You seem so grown-up to me - especially compared to your new baby brother! You've started using two-word phrases - showing off your constantly expanding communication skills. I love being able to talk to you, and being able to understand what you mean (at least a good portion of the time). You not only use your words to communicate, you also use facial expressions, hand expressions (such as pointing to emphasize your point), and sign language.

The biggest change to your life this month has been the addition of "Twoy" (aka "Troy") to our family. I'll admit that I was nervous, although also optimistic, about how you would react. You have such an easygoing personality, you love people, and you are really sweet. These qualities haven't changed just because Troy entered into your world. I know that Troy will definitely "rock your world" but I hope the transition continues to be an easy one for you.

You love to give Troy kisses. In fact, you'll continually request "kiss, kiss!" You also love to hold Troy, and the expression on your face when we place him in your arms is absolutely priceless! You've also named your baby doll Troy, which is super sweet.

You've always been a bit of a chatterbox when we lay you down for a nap or at night, but lately it is has been pretty funny to listen to you over the monitor. Sometimes you yell "Monkey!" and other times you name a bunch of different people you know. I would like to know what is going on in  your mind when you are in your room trying to go to sleep. :)

One of your favorite requests lately has been "Down, Down!" - asking someone to get down on the floor to play with you. Thankfully you've have lots of folks around to get down on the floor with you, because, sadly, I haven't been able to get down on the floor with you very easily (between being very pregnant, and then recovering from having Troy). I'm looking forward to being a lot more mobile to play with you now that I've had Troy.

You've really started making what you want known. For example, we'll be getting dinner ready, and you'll start requesting "noodles, noodles!" Or, when we go to get you up from your nap or in the morning, you'll request to bring your monkey with you. You'll also ask for a book when we bring you to bed, and sometimes even ask us to read it to you. At the end of last month you started requesting kisses, but now your requests for kisses are way more numerous and you won't let us leave without giving you one. You also like to request to say a prayer.

Words you say: I can't even begin to name the words you say! In fact, now you are saying two-word phrases!

Animal noises you can make: owl, cow, sheep, puppy/dog, horse, bee, cat, frog, turkey

Body parts you identify: head, hair, nose, ears, eyes, tongue, feet, toes, cheeks, belly, belly button, hands, teeth, knees, fingers, legs, arms

Favorite foods: peaches, banana, guacamole, tortilla, eggs, broccoli, noodles (especially with meat and red sauce, chicken nuggets, bread (rolls), crackers, and cookies (animal cookies), rice

Ella @ 19 months
Ella @ 18 months
Ella @ 17 months