Monday, September 28, 2009

All Aboard!!!

Thanks heavens this weekend we didn’t have any health issues to deal with. No eye scratches, no tongue blisters, nothing. Ella woke up on Saturday morning happy and ready to face the day…after some cold pizza of course. Ella is funny about her pizza. She doesn’t like us to cut it up into little pieces…she wants the whole slice. And we buy NY style pizza, so the slices are huge! She eats them anyway.

I went to the neighborhood yard sale on Saturday and unfortunately every time I saw a little play kitchen or table for Ella, they had a sold sign on them. I walked for 2 miles (it was a mile long and I went up one side and down the other) and at the end of it I came home empty-handed. My next step is to scour craigslist and see what I can find. If I still can’t find anything…guess what Ella is getting for Christmas!

Saturday night Joe decided to take Ella on a special daddy daughter outing. I stayed home and made dinner and was actually able to check my email and facebook without being interrupted. It was weird. Anyway, Joe took Ella to the King Street Metro station to see the trains. He said that she was so excited! They went up to the platform and watched the trains come and go, then Joe decided to take Ella for a ride. They rode the choo choo 2 stops to the airport, then back. He said that the whole time she just kept saying “All Aboard!!!” and had a huge smile on her face. On Sunday morning the first thing she asked to do was go see the “big choo choo.” We went to church and had intended to stop by afterward, but she was cranky and in need of a nap, so we went home. Sunday afternoon Joe took Ella out once again, but this time they went to a cookout at his friends house. I stayed home…I could really get used to having some “me” time. They were gone for about an hour and Joe called to tell me that Ella had eaten a hot dog and drank and entire cup of coke. The hotdog didn’t bother me…I give her hot dogs all the time. It was the coke…only a dad would do that. All I could think about was all that sugar and caffeine and how she’d be bouncing off the walls for the rest of the night. Anyway, they came home and Ella still kept asking to see the choo choos. What she does is she grabs Joe’s hand and walks him to the front door. She asks for her jacket, then says “Daddy put jacket on.” So Joe puts his jacket on. Then she says, “Daddy put shoes on.” And once she feels like he is ready to go, she grabs his hand and heads out the door. She had been such a good girl all day, and had been asking so nicely to see the choo choos, so we all three took a trip to the King Street Metro.

This time we decided to take the King Street Trolley down into Old Town. Ella was not being very patient. She threw a complete fit and kept saying “ELLA RIDE TRAIN!!!” We were not successful in our attempts to reason with her and explain that the train would be coming soon…no, she wanted to get on the train NOW. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the trolley arrived and Ella declared, “All Aboard!” She loved it and had no idea that it wasn’t a train. We rode all the way down to the water then got off to walk around downtown a bit. When we got off the trolley Ella spotted something on the ground. Of course she picked it up and it was a necklace with a flashing star on it. She put it on and wore it for the rest of the night. As we’d walk she would watch the star blink on her belly. I got some Starbucks hot chocolate, and Ella got some ice cream (more sugar), then we got back onto the trolley and headed to the car. It was a fun night out for the family.

By the time we got home we were all ready for bed. Ella actually went to sleep really easily and Joe and I were both asleep before midnight. It was a nice weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Friday!!!

I am ready for the weekend…and I’m hoping tomorrow starts out better than the last 2 weekends have. Our neighborhood is having a yard sale, so I’m excited to get out and see what I can find. Specifically, I’m looking for a little table and chairs for Ella.

Tonight is the annual Murray Friday night pizza…Valentinos! We don’t get pizza EVERY Friday night, but we do a lot. And both Joe and I are eagerly awaiting the day when we can actually sit down as a family and watch a movie together. I keep thinking that if we choose a cartoon that has a lot of music then Ella will be more compliant, but no. She had no interest in “A Shark’s Tale” or any of the “Shrek” movies. Maybe I should try "The Little Mermaid," but then Joe would be bored.

On Monday, Joe will only have 9 weeks of classes left…EVER!!! (I told him that he’s not allowed to go back to school after this.) Do you know what this means? This means that for the first time in our entire dating and married life, Joe won’t have to go to school. What are we going to do with ourselves? I’m going to have to start actually making dinner more than 2 nights a week, and Joe will actually be home before 10pm. This is going to be weird. Wait…what if I don’t like him enough to actually spend 5 nights a week and full weekend days with him? This could be a problem. Just kidding, it’s going to be wonderful!

Not much to report from Murrayville. Ella continues to be an amazing little girl, and Joe and I are trucking along one day at a time. Have a great weekend. (How's that for a short and sweet post? I mainly wanted you to know that I hadn't forgotten about you.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

What’s up with the weekends?

Joe and I both needed a weekend…bad. We were so glad to have some downtime and had several family things planned. So imagine our frustration when this Saturday started off in the same way as last Saturday. Ella woke up screaming and completely inconsolable. After a few minutes we determined what the problem was…a major tongue blister. I hate these things! When she was a baby and on the bottle all the time she’d get them about once a month, and every time they were a disaster. Once she started eating solid foods the tongue blisters have pretty much stopped. But every so often she’ll get one. Usually they don’t bother her and she pops them on her own, but I think since it was so early in the morning and was a pretty rude awakening, this one threw her for a loop. Luckily we got it taken care of and once she had some Advil in her she was back asleep. When she woke up from her nap she was fine and back to her typical Ella self. I love her typical Ella self. She’s a fun girl!

Saturday night we headed to Francesca’s house for dinner. Side note: Why is it that once you have kids you never refer to someone’s house by the parents names? It’s always, “We’re going to Francesca’s house.” Not, “We’re going to James’ and Melissa’s house.” I don’t get it. We even do it with people that we’ve been friends with since way before Ella was born, like the Grubbs. Joe and I have been friends with them since before any of us were married. Yet, when we go to their house we still say, “We’re going to Ginny’s house.” Ok, enough about that…so we went to dinner at Francesca’s house with some of our other neighbors. One of the things we love most about our neighborhood is that there are a lot of kids and every so often we all get together for dinner. And what’s even better is that if Ella has a meltdown or it’s too late, we can just walk home.

Sunday Joe had promised me that we could go out to Tyson’s Corner mall and go shopping. There’s a great store called Hanna Andersson and their clothes are very EB friendly. The cotton is so soft and the way they do the elastic waist on their pants is perfect for EB kids. And I had 2 coupons! So we made the trek all the way out to Tyson’s Corner so I could go shopping at Hanna Andersson. I got Ella a great little outfit and a new jacket for the winter, then we decided to grab lunch.

As soon as we got up to the food court Ella spotted the best thing she had seen all day…a choo choo…a big choo choo…a choo choo that she could actually RIDE in! It was one of those little car choo choos and the conductor drives it around in circles around the mall. Ella was so excited! She was kicking her feet and shaking her behind…all things she does when she can’t contain her excitement. Of course we took her for a ride. First Ella and I rode together, and the entire time she kept saying, “All aboard!” then I would do the chug-a chug-a’s while she did the woo woo’s. She had a smile plastered on her face the entire time. Next was Joe’s turn. He and Ella rode the train all around and once again, she had a smile plastered on her face. When we went to get lunch we had to park her stroller in a place where she could watch the choo choo go around and around. The trip out to Tyson’s was worth it just so she could ride the choo choo.

That’s it for our fun-filled weekend. I hope you all got out and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All better

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thanks once again for all the prayers. You people mean business! Ella’s eye is looking great! The redness is completely gone and it looks like there’s just a tiny little spot that still needs some healing, but other than that she’s doing great. And her feet look wonderful! For the first time in several days she didn’t completely cringe when I changed her bandages last night. The only problem with her feet is that now she’s really gun-shy with shoes, and anything we attempt to put on her she begs to have taken off. I bought her these shoes that I know she can wear…basically they’re socks with a plastic bottom, and she won’t even let us put those on her. In time I know it will get better because she likes to go outside and play, and she knows she can’t go outside without shoes on.

Ella has been really into trains for a couple of months now…ever since I got her the “Choo Choo Soul” DVD, then she found an episode of Elmo with a choo choo, and most recently she found an episode of Dora with a choo choo. So I decided that Ella would love a little train set. Nothing major…no table or anything, just a little wooden track that goes in a figure 8 and has a little bridge and a little tunnel. I went to Toys R Us Monday night and brought it home for her. She was so excited! She stands in the middle of the track and Joe, Metti or I push the train around. We say, “chug-a chug-a” and she says, “choo choo!” And our job is to push the train around the circle part, while Ella’s job is to push it through the tunnel or over the bridge. Other times we rearrange the track so that it’s a big oval and she sits right in the middle while the train goes around her. It’s really cute.

The weather has been wonderful lately! Not too hot…not too cold…perfect for Ella. She loves getting outside and walking around the block. I’ve been pulling out some fall clothes that Ella will still fit in, so the other day we washed her jacket. What’s funny is that whenever she goes outside, no matter what the temp is, she wants to wear it. Joe said that this morning as soon as she saw her jacket she asked him to put it on her. She even took a nap in it the other day. Too bad the jacket is almost too small.

Not too much else to report on our end. I’m VERY excited about the season premiers of all the fall shows. The Biggest Loser started Tuesday, The Office starts tonight, the Duggar’s announced that they’re having their 19th child…this is going to be an exciting TV season! We might need to invest in a DVR so that I can actually watch an entire show and not just see bits and pieces between boo boos, dinner, play time, etc. Right now the only show I get to see all the way through is re-runs of the Golden Girls.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rough weekend

Well, I wish I had better things to report from this weekend. The good news is that Ella is doing better. The bad news is that she had a really rough go of it all weekend.

Friday night was great. We had our newlywed friends, the Chang’s, over for dinner. Ella hadn’t napped so she was on the fussy side, but it was great to hang out with them and eat their leftover wedding cake!

Saturday morning Ella woke up extremely fussy. Joe had an early morning meeting, I was home by myself and Ella just kept laying in her crib crying and asking for daddy. She wouldn’t calm down and no matter what I did, she wouldn’t open her eyes. Her left eye was extremely swollen. I eventually called Joe and he immediately came home to help out. We tried everything we could think of, yet Ella continued to cry and keep her eyes closed. She didn’t want to sit up or anything. She just wanted to lie down and keep her eyes closed.

Eventually we went into our bedroom and I laid a blanket on the floor. Ella laid on the blanket and we had her shows on the TV. She just laid there with her eyes shut and I rubbed her back. Eventually she drifted back to sleep, thank heavens! She slept on our floor for an additional 2 hours. When she woke up she still wouldn’t open her eyes or sit up. Corneal abrasions are really common in EB kids, and Ella has had minor ones before, but never anything like this. She has never been so severe that she wouldn’t open her eyes. I did know that with corneal abrasions comes sensitivity to light, so we took her into the dark basement to see if that would help.

The three of us stayed down there all afternoon. Joe and I didn’t want to leave Ella’s side, and Ella, while she wasn’t crying anymore, still wouldn’t sit or open her eyes. I really wanted her to sit up so that some of the swelling from her eye would go down, so I ended up just holding her on the couch with her head elevated. She fell back asleep and slept for 4 hours.

While she was asleep Joe and I started making tentative plans to go to the hospital. We have seen and dealt with a lot, and it really takes a lot for us to get to the point of taking her to the hospital, but we were both really scared with how things were going. We knew that her natural instinct was kicking in and providing the best treatment for her little body. The more she kept her eyes closed and the more she slept, the faster that sweet eye would heal. And fortunately I have some eye ointment on hand and we kept applying it to her eye.

Praise the Lord, when Ella woke up after her 4 hour nap, she was doing much better. She sat up and asked for a cookie. She still wouldn’t open her eyes, but this was the first time she had eaten all day, so this was a great improvement. The swelling in her left eye had almost gone and she was able to sit up. She ate an entire cookie (a big cookie) with her eyes closed, and then drank 2 cups of water…with her eyes closed. We came upstairs and she had chicken nuggets and chocolate chips…all with her eyes closed. She wanted to get out of her chair to play, so Joe took her out and for the first time all day she opened her eyes. Her left eye had a very large scratch on it. We’re not sure how she got it but it was big enough for us to see, and her entire eye was very red. Once her eyes were opened she was ready to read and play just like her typical self. She even ate not 1, but 2 bowls of ice cream.

We were able to give her a bath and change her bandages, and she went back to bed pretty early (for Ella). She slept great at night and when she woke up Sunday her eye was much better. It was still extremely red, but at least she was able to open it and get around like normal. We decided to just stay in the house all day to give her a chance to fully recover. By Sunday night Ella wanted to get out, so we took a nice walk to the park and she had a great time going down the slide.

This morning she slept until nearly 10 am (needless to say, we haven’t implemented her schedule yet) and according to Joe her eye is looking much better. Metti even called to say that Ella wanted to go outside and play, which is always a good sign. We’re going to continue to monitor her eye and make sure it keeps improving, but for now we are pleased with how it’s looking. Please pray for Ella’s sweet eye and that it will heal quickly with no scarring.

Please also pray for Ella’s feet. As I mentioned before, she has outgrown her shoes, so we have been searching for something new that she can wear. Unfortunately we’ve had no luck. And with all the shoes I’ve been trying on her, her feet are in really rough shape. She has a ton of blisters and doesn’t want to wear any shoes. I have ordered yet another pair of shoes in hopes that these will work, but in the meantime we really need Ella’s feet to heal.

That’s it for our weekend. Sorry this was kind of a downer post, but this is our reality right now. We are so fortunate that Ella is able to live a “normal” life most of the time, but times like this weekend remind us that she is a fragile butterfly.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Unfortunately I haven't been able to get the video uploaded. The good news is that if you go to our September 2009 folder to the right, you can not only see the video, but you can also view all of our pictures from our day trip to Mt. Vernon.

Enjoy...and please feel free to share how impressed you are with Ella's language skills. We have Dora the Explorer to thank for this.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Big and Little

I tried to upload a video last night, but I couldn’t seem to get it to work. I’ll try again this weekend. I’ll just say that our genius daughter is bilingual! That’s all I’m gonna say…you’ll just have to wait for the video.

I have to start out with a huge THANK YOU for all your prayers for Ella’s sleep. She napped Wednesday and the proceeded to sleep all night! It was wonderful! She skipped her nap again Thursday, but only woke up once that night, which I can totally deal with. Thanks so much for the prayers! We appreciate them more than you will ever know!

In other Ella news, she is learning about opposites. She knows high and low, and she just recently learned big and little. This is one of those things that I was so proud she learned, yet I never knew how much it would backfire. When we were at Mt. Vernon this weekend Ella asked for a cookie. I always bring one of those little snack bags of cookies with me, so I pulled it out and gave her a couple. She promptly handed them back to me and said, “No mommy. Big cookie.” Apparently these were little cookies (which they are, but they taste the same) and they just wouldn’t suffice. Luckily it was close to lunch, so we headed to the food court to see what they had. Thank heavens for Mrs. Fields! We got Ella a big cookie and she loved every bite of it.

She has also recently started requesting specific colors for her plate, bowl, spoon, etc. She’s known her colors for a long time, but it just hit her that she can get a specific color. The other night she wanted water, so I grabbed her yellow cup and handed it to her. No, Ella wanted the pink cup. I never really know how to respond. I want her to be independent and have the ability to make good decisions and know what she wants…I think this will be beneficial to her throughout her life. But I don’t want her too be picky either. I want her to know that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches.

Probably the biggest piece of Murray news is that we are going to attempt…let me repeat…ATTEMPT to put Ella on a schedule. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a schedule kind of girl. It’s just not me. My attitude with Ella has always been that she’ll sleep when she’s tired and she’ll eat when she’s hungry. She has no set nap time, no set bed time, no set breakfast, lunch or dinner…nothing is set. On one hand it has given us a great amount of flexibility because we just go where we want to go when we want to go and hope for the best. Sometimes she’ll nap while we’re out…other times she won’t. But lately, as you all are aware, she hasn’t been napping much at all. So I did some research and discovered that 2 year olds tend to do better under some sort of schedule. They know what to expect and typically respond better. So after consulting with several other parents I came up with a schedule. We’re going to start it next week. Hopefully it will go over well. Keep your fingers crossed!

And lastly I’ll let you know that we had to “let go” of our new nurse that was helping with Ella’s bandages. She didn’t show up one time, then was at least 20 minutes late every other time she came over, then on Tuesday she was over an hour late. When she finally arrived on Tuesday I was obviously mad and wanted to just tell her right then that it was over, but I still needed help...I was between a rock and a hard place. So she came in and helped, but Ella could sense the tension and cried the entire bath and bandage change. She never does that! Ella responded well to her all in all, but I have to have someone that I can depend on and if I'm stressed the entire bandage change then that isn't helping Ella. I need to know that if I ask her to be there at 7 pm that she will be there. And it’s ok if she’s running late, but she never called to say that she was going to be late. There were several other little things that just didn’t set right with Joe and I, and ultimately neither of us had a peace about her helping out, so we have decided to try another avenue. At this point we’re going to just keep Metti late for a couple of days a week. She’s willing to help and we’ll pay her for her time. It’s easier on the whole family if we do it this way. Ella knows and loves Metti, and I know and trust her, so we all win.

That it for this Friday afternoon. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy Labor Day

We had a fun and busy weekend! I love 3 day weekends. First, we get an entire day off! Second, my office closes early on Friday so I get several bonus hours off.

Saturday Ella and I took a trip to Target…the perfect start to a holiday weekend. It felt like we were out of everything! We were down to our last roll of paper towels, our last napkins, our last box of Kleenex and worst of all, our last roll of toilet paper (actually we had 2 rolls, but we have 4 bathrooms so 2 were off limits). Ella and I stocked the shopping cart full! The good news is that I’m on a new coupon kick, so we saved $22 just in coupons! GO ME!

Ella did pretty well in Target, but close to the end she started having a mini meltdown. This called for drastic measures…I promised her French fries. Yep, I totally bribed my kid. So for the last 5 minutes of shopping I kept saying, “Yummy French fries! Yummy to my tummy!” We took the gear to the car then walked to the McDonald’s next door to Target (how convenient) and got Ella a Happy Meal with chicken nuggets. Those fries and orange drink kept her happy the whole way home. When we got home she finished her lunch and went down for a nap.

Speaking of naps…Ella skipped her nap 4 days last week and so far she has skipped them both Monday and today. I wouldn’t mind this except for when she skips her nap, her nightly sleeping is even worse. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s true. If she gets a nap she’ll only wake up once at night. If she skips her nap then she tends to wake up every 2 hours all night! So all week she has been waking up every 2 hours. On Sat night we got up with her 5 times…that’s ridiculous! Last night I almost reached my limit. Both Joe and I were exhausted and when she woke up for the third time at 3 am I thought I was going to lose it. I went in to comfort her and was on the brink of tears because I was so tired. Finally I got her calmed down and as I was walking back into our room I said to Joe, “God and I are about to have a SERIOUS talk!” Sometimes I think we should look into hiring an overnight nurse to come a couple of times a week just so Joe and I can get some sleep. I really don’t want to complain because the truth is that all in all Ella is a pretty easy kid. I know that sounds weird with all that we have to deal with, but it’s true. I don’t mind the bandage changes. Sure it would be nice to just throw her in the bath then toss her in bed, but we have never been able to do that, so we can’t really comprehend what that would be like. And she’s really very compliant during her bandage changes. We sing songs and Joe will read books to her and we talk a lot. Even Joe and I are able to spend that time talking about our day and things that happened or family business that needs to be taken care of. And all in all she’s really pretty easy to deal with. She’s not the kid that is running all around at restaurants, and she doesn’t climb up on stuff or grab things that she shouldn’t (our house isn’t even baby proofed) and she is a pretty good listener and if we tell her not to touch something she typically listens. But this sleeping thing can really wear on a parent. Joe and I share the load, which is helpful, but even though only one of us is up, the other one is always awake. Sometimes I wonder how this impacts our mental production during the day. It can’t be good. All this to say, if our prayer warriors out there could pray for Ella’s sleep, both Joe and I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

Ok, back to the weekend. Saturday night we went to the 1 year birthday party for Millie Benson. When we got there they had balloons! Ella was beyond excited for that. Then add Roux, the dog, to the mix and the night just got better. Next came a Dora the Explorer bag which Ella kept looking at, and the night was topped off with the discovery of a Barney doll. When we left Ella had almost as much stuff as Millie had gotten. We had 3 balloons, a rubber duck, a box of birthday knick-knacks and a brand new (used) Barney doll. We were concerned that Barney would replace doggie, but no, he has just joined the party. Now Ella sleeps with both Barney and doggie, and in the morning she wants both to come downstairs with her. Barney is about 3 times bigger than doggie, so it takes a lot of effort to hold on to both of them, but her little arms just wrap around them and squeeze. It’s really cute.

Sunday morning we went to church and afterward we went to lunch with 2 other families, the Grubbs and the Crockett’s. Both have children close to Ella’s age, so it was nice talking to them and hanging out for a little while. After lunch I begged Joe to take me to Walmart. I’m typically a Target girl. I maybe go to Walmart once a month…if that. But, there are some things that are available at Walmart that aren’t at Target, namely bows. So I wanted to go and check out their selection. Unfortunately I didn’t find anything. We left with 2 pair of tights, a Minnie Mouse bowl and a couple of other little things.

Monday was family day! I love family day! The weather was beautiful last week, so Joe and I planned a family outing to Mt. Vernon. It was rainy on Sunday so I was a bit nervous for the weather on Monday, but luckily the rain held off for us. The weather was perfect! Not too sunny and cool but not too cool. We got to Mt. Vernon around 10:30 and were able to walk the grounds and check out GW’s home (although we didn’t tour the mansion since the line was ridiculously long). Ella got to see some of the animals and we found some acorns for her to play with. She’s very into acorns right now because she has a book about an acorn and an oak tree. Very exciting stuff for a 2 year old. We ate lunch then headed out to go to the mall.

The mall was not on our original list of things to accomplish on Labor Day. Unfortunately Ella has outgrown her shoes, so we are on a quest to find something she can wear. We went to Stride Rite to see about getting her foot measured and fitted with some shoes that will work. We did get her foot measured, but I didn’t feel like the sales lady really listened to me when I was telling her about Ella’s feet. The store was packed and I felt like she had other things on her mind. She brought us several different pair of shoes, but none of them worked. We went to Baby Gap and got some socks and luckily found a pair of Converse that fit (pink…of course) so we at least came home with 1 pair of shoes that Ella can wear. Now we need to find some dress shoes. Her other ones have caused blisters around her ankles, so she can’t wear them anymore. If anyone out there is in the shoe making business I would love for you to make some EB friendly shoes…extra wide to accommodate the bandages please. Thanks. :)

After the mall Ella was done for the day. She was tired and cranky, yet wouldn’t take a nap. And within minutes of us getting home the rain started pouring down. We huddled inside for the rest of the night. That’s it for our weekend. Wow, this post is long, but our weekend really was packed full. We had a lot of fun though.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm THAT mom

What kind of mother would buy bows this big for her daughter?

And make her wear them right on top of her head?

And what kind of mother would buy a bow like this simply because it’s cute and not because she has anything that matches it…but in the hopes that she can find an outfit to match it?

And what kind of mother is so in love with all of these bows that she has already picked out 2 more that she is going to buy next month?

AND…what kind of mother would buy these pants for her daughter? And especially what kind of mother would buy 2 PAIR…and a matching shirt?

I’ll tell you what kind of mother.

This kind.

(Please note the excitement on Ella's face. She's obviously not nearly as excited about these bows as her mom is. The only problem is that it looks a bit odd for a woman in her 30's to be wearing bows like this, so I must live vicariously through her.)