Tuesday, January 29, 2008


That is just one of Ella’s many nicknames. It goes along with Ella Bella and Dancerella (which has a nice little song that goes along with it thanks to Aunt Beck).

Honestly there isn’t much to report. Ella is still growing and getting so big. Joe and I can’t believe how she is learning and developing. Sometimes you can almost see the wheels turning as she’s looking at a new toy or the pictures in a book. She has learned a new sound, ba (as demonstrated in a video under January 2008 photos and videos). I keep trying to reinforce the “M” sound, but so far she hasn’t caught on. I guess that’s ok. She hasn’t caught on to the “D” sound either.

The other day Ella got a very special treat. She had her first cookie. Ok, so technically it was an animal cracker, but it did have icing on it and she loved every lick. Tonight I gave her a graham cracker and she loved gnawing on that too.

This weekend we had 2 dinner parties. It’s always a bit scary taking a baby to someone’s house. The truth is that you never really know how they are going to act. They may be the perfect angel and act very sweet, or they may be in prime form and be the party entertainment. Then of course they may be having a bad day and be a complete terror! Luckily Ella did great at both outings. She was happy and loved all the attention she got.

That’s really about it on this end. We’re currently awaiting the arrival of my new nephews. They are expected any day, but if they don’t come by Saturday Gina is going to be induced. Of course I am making a trip to Charlottesville on Sunday to meet them. I just know they are going to look exactly like my brother, Curby.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

ESPN, spinach and a Christmas tree

ESPN: Joe has been asking for cable for a long time. When we moved into this townhouse we got it very fuzzy on the upstairs TV. It wasn't great, but Joe still watched it. So when we decided to expand our viewing pleasure, I knew that ESPN would be a channel that was frequently watched. What I didn't know was that it would be ALL Joe watches. Well, that and ESPN 2. When he turns the TV on, no matter what else is happening in the world, the channel is immediately changed to 11 (ESPN) shortly followed by 12 (ESPN 2). No CNN, Fox News, or even CSPAN (this used to be Joe's favorite channel). The sad news is that Ella will sometimes turn completely around in order to see what is going on in the sports world. If she is a tomboy Joe and I are going to have some serious words!

Spinach: So you all know that I was a bit disappointed that Ella didn't like beef. Well, at Whole Foods the other night I came across the only baby food that could possibly trump beef...spinach! I LOVE SPINACH!!! I am convinced that its the greated vegetable on the planet. And I was in complete hog heaven when I heard that spinach is full of folic acid, which is very important for pregnant women to eat. I took it upone myself to have spinach at least twice a week - if not more - throughout my entire pregnancy. I really wanted spinach to be Ella's first food, but I couldn't find any baby food with spinach, so I just resigned myself to letting it beome her favorite later in life. When we found the spinach at Whole Foods I was so excited to bring it home and try it out. Thanks heavens she liked it! Granted, its spinach and potatoes, and it was served up with a nice helping of chicken and apples (sounds yummy doesn't it), but the important thing is that she didn't cringe when she ate it, and she even opened her mouth for more! This completely redeems the fact that she doesn't like beef.

A Christmas Tree: For the last 3 weekends we have talked about putting our Christmas tree away. It's a beautiful tree full of ornaments that we have collected or have been given to us. But its a little late in the year to still have the tree up. Maybe tomorrow, since it is a holiday, we'll take the time to actually put it away. For now, we still have it proudly on display.

Friday, January 18, 2008

She really is a genius!

So on the long list of new things Ella has learned, we can add holding her own bottle. She started this a couple of days ago, even though we all know she has had the skill for a long time. It was like she suddenly realized that if she holds her own bottle she is in control of her eating...and she likes that! So as soon as she sees the bottle she reaches out both hands, the same way she does when she sees her blue dog or pink elephant, and grabs on to the bottle. Sometimes she misses her mouth and ends up with milk all over her face, but for the most part she has great aim. There are 2 really great things about this. 1) It keeps her hands occupied so she can't scratch herself while she's eating, and 2) We have a hand free to change the channel and watch more of our wonderful cable! The only problem is that she also grabs her spoon when I'm feeding her.

The other thing Ella has learned is that by rolling over and over and over she can get to new places. So if she sees something she wants half way across the room, she will just start rolling until she gets there. Usually she ends up rolling into the TV stand or couch, then gets frustrated because she's stuck.

Ella has also learned to read. At least that's what it looks like when she's looking at her books. She LOVES her books, and she will stop crying almost every time if you hold one in front of her. She grabs the sides, turns the pages and studies every picture. Her favorite ones are the cloth ones because she can also chew on those. Right now "Squishy Turtle" wins the prize. Her favorite page is the one with the oyster and pearl.

We have also decided that Ella, even at the young age of 7 months (almost), is a drama queen. When she wants something and isn't getting it she throws her head back and lets out these whines and sobs that would win her an Oscar. It's like she's saying "I just can't take it anymore." The only thing missing is the back of her hand on her forehead in a sigh. My question is, what does this say about her teenage years? Will we be able to handle it?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My daughter is a genius!

As you all know, every baby comes with two sets of genes. Well, in Ella we see several aspects of both Murray and Alexander genes. For example, her snoring comes from the Murray side (although there are plenty of Alexander men who could hold their own with the snoring), and when she poops and it seems to explode all over her clothes, that too is the Murray side (the proof in that is when Joe and I were engaged I was holding his sweet niece, Rebecca, and she pooped all over me). Of course, her genius genes she gets from me. The side of her that figured out at a mere 6 months old how to turn on her music playing turtle...she got that from me.

Back to the poop thing...now that Ella is eating more baby food, her poop has taken on a life of its own. Just 5 minutes ago we were having a wonderful mommy/daughter moment rocking and talking when I heard that all too familiar sound. What followed next I didn't expect...the smell! So I went to change her diaper, I thought I was going to gag. Surely my beautiful, precious daughter didn't create this (it must be the Murray in her). I couldn't do anything but laugh. So I put a clean diaper on her...and here came the sound again...and the odor. This time I gave her a few minutes to finish up. Now she is clean and happy.

Back to the food. We are becoming more adventurous in Ella's eating. She loves her veggies and fruit and rice cereal, so we decided to try meat! How can you not love chicken mush? The chicken she enjoyed, so today we tried the beef. Much to my saddness, she isn't a fan. She'll eat one, maybe two bites, and that's it. I don't know where she got this gene. The Murray's and Alexander's are all meat eaters. Maybe it will just take some time.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Drool, drool, and a little more drool!

Ella has a lot of drool! It hasn’t always been this way. It’s actually fairly new. She has also discovered that this drool adds a new sound to her various noises. That nice wet razz sound, accompanied by little splatters of drool flying out. Sounds wonderful doesn’t it? And to top it off, the front of her clothes is always soaked. I guess it doesn’t bother her so it shouldn’t bother me.

Joe is officially back into the swing of classes. The best part about this semester is that he only has classes 2 days a week. He’s only been back one week, but already I love having him home those 2 extra nights. And I think he likes being home.

We tried something new with Ella last night. With the winter weather her skin has been very dry and she has been rubbing it a ton! So last night we tried giving her an oatmeal bath. Apparently it helped because Metti said today that she only rubbed her face when she woke up from sleeping. This is great news! Poor Ella’s face is all nicked up right now from the rubbing and dryness. We have tried lotion, Aquaphor and even Emu oil, but nothing seemed to help. It’s amazing that something as simple as oatmeal is the answer.

On a sad note, Ella lost another fingernail. Her thumb nail on her right hand fell off earlier this week. I guess the good news is that’s one less nail she can scratch herself with.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

We've Finally Arrived in the 21st Century

There is a new addition to the Murray household. After 2 ½ years of marriage, Joe and I finally broke down and got CABLE!!! Poor Joe has had to hear about sports games from his friends, listen to them on the radio, or watch them at bars or a friends house. Now he can finally watch football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, or I think I even saw pool on today, in the comfort of his own home through ESPN. He is very excited. Me, I’m pumped about cable too, however, my weekend has been spent watching the same channels I watched before. I did watch some home decorating shows because I felt guilty for not utilizing the cable.

Another new addition to the Murray family is, we are now members of BJ’s wholesale club! Now we can really stock up on diapers and baby food.

Friday completed my first week at my new job (if 3 days counts as a week). So far so good. Everyone is extremely nice and has been very welcoming to me. The funny thing is that there are 3 other Katie’s/Kate’s in the office. They haven’t come up with a nickname for me yet, so for now I’m still Katie. It’s weird because when someone will be talking about a conversation they had with one of the other Kate’s all they say is “I was talking to Kate about this…” and the other person seems to know which Kate they are talking about, even though the Kate’s sit right next to each other and work on the same thing. Anyway, I think I’m going to fit in well in the new office and I’m really excited to delve deeper into my new job.

Joe goes back to school this week. The good thing about this semester is that he has scheduled all of his classes for 2 days a week, so we may actually be able to have dinner together 3 nights a week and be like a normal family. The two days he is in class will be pretty intense, but he’s a strong guy and I know he can make it.

Please pray for a family in the DC area that just had a little boy with EB. Ella’s pediatric dermatologist called today to ask if he could give them our contact information. They are a young couple who, like us, had their first child born with EB. We haven’t talked to them yet, but we can imagine that they are scared and unsure of the future. Joe and I hope that we can be a resource for this family. God placed other families in our life just at the time Ella was born and those families gave us something that the Dr’s couldn’t…hope. The outlook for Ella was so grim and it was made very clear to us that her chances of survival were slim. God gave us new friends who have kids with EB (or even have EB themselves) and showed us that she could live a bright and happy life. We want to be able to do the same for this family.

Ella continues to grow and amaze us every day! She has got the eating thing down pat and knows what she likes and doesn’t like. She likes carrots, but doesn’t like green beans. She is also becoming quite the drama queen (I don’t know where she gets that from). She has started this new thing where when I put the bottle in her mouth she blows out of her mouth and milk flies everywhere. She giggles and smiles all the time and is a complete joy to us! Right now she is in the hall, looking at herself in the mirror, while Daddy sings her favorite song…the Alphabet song, although sometimes her favorite song is “God Bless America.” We’re trying our best to raise a patriotic child. Afterall, she is the future President of the U.S.