Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Elli

It's hard to believe that Elli is 2 years old. We are thrilled with the progress she continues to make. She has hit all the normal developmental mile stones so far except for walking, and that isn't too far off at this point. She learned to crawl over the 4th of July while we were in Oregon, and she has gotten really fast. She is also pulling herself up to anything and everything and walking along furniture. She can go up and down the stairs, which is nerve racking to me, but I'm glad she can do it. She is saying 50+ words, and her verbal comprehension is even better. We are just so grateful that she hasn't had any side affects from being born so early. She is such a testament that miracles do happen.
Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!!

I hope you will indulge me a stroll down memory lane. It's good for me to look back and see how far we've come, and how blessed we are to have such a healthy and vibrant little girl. (warning: this blog entry is long)

Here is Elli about 9 days old. She was 10 inches long and weighed 1 lb. 2 oz. Her eyes were still fused shut at this point, and we couldn't wait for them to open. It was just a few days after this photo that she was taken by ambulance to another hospital for her PDA surgery, after which she contracted pneumonia for the first time. She was so beautiful, it broke our hearts that we couldn't pick her up and cuddle her.

This is Elli when she turned 1 month old. We celebrated her birthday each month while in the hospital. She was a little bigger at the point, but still so tiny as you can see by the 5 dollar bill next to her. She had finally gotten over her pneumonia, but we had a bit of a scare when her doctor wanted to test her for meningitis which would have likely been fatal in her case. The test was negative, and I can't tell you how relieved we were. She was having a little trouble with her tummy. It is hard for these little ones to digest their food because their bodies just aren't ready for that yet. It wasn't long after this that we were finally able to hold her for the first time.

Here is our sleepy little 2 month old. She was starting to digest much better at the point, which helped her to grow. You can see it in the clothes she's wearing. (This green onesie is the same size as the one it the previous photo.) They aren't quite as big on her. They still didn't fit, but they were getting closer to fitting. It was just a week after this that she was put on the C-PAP to transition her to a nasal cannula. It took her 3 tries to be able to stay on the C-PAP but before her 3 month birthday came around she was on the nasal cannula. She was the cutest little cheerleader for Halloween, I bought an outfit for the American Girl dolls for her costume. It was darling!

Here is our big 3 month old girl! She was doing well enough to start learning how to nurse. It was wonderful to snuggle her close. There was a lot more freedom in loving her once she was put on the nasal cannula, plus we were finally able to really see what she looked like. She is nice and plump in this photo from all the calories they were pumping in her, I loved all her rolls! We were transferred into nursery B which is where the babies go that are getting closer to going home. The end of the hospital was in sight now.

Elli is 4 months old and dressed in her pretty little Christmas dress. We had learned that she had a paralyzed vocal chord, a side affect from her PDA surgery, which made nursing nearly impossible for her. So I continued to pump and fed her by bottle. She was the delight of so many nurses. I loved that there were so many that wanted to care for her. We were finally able to bring her home right after the New Year.

Here is our sweet little One Year Old. She had really weak muscle tone still, but had made tremendous progress in so mant areas.

She wasn't doing well with solid foods yet, so we didn't even do a birthday cake for her. Her brother and cousins were all given a cup cake with one candle and they all blew them out after we sang to her. She did enjoy her birthday ice cream though.

She would have days where she didn't feel well about every 1 and 1/2 weeks, and sadly she was in that cycle over her birthday. We called it "crooked" because when she didn't feel well she couldn't support her torso and would lean over to the left.

Elli loves flowers (she inherited that from my dad), and flower was actually one of her first words. (She says "wowah".) So we decided to go with a flower theme for her birthday. We had napkins and cups with flowers and butterflies, and we had multi-colored balloons on the table. We had a flower garland hanging from the canopy, and the cake was covered in flowers of course.
I was really excited about how well her cake turned out. It was a yellow 9 X 13 cake with 5 regular size cup cakes and 4 mini cup cakes on top. I found the idea on, but I tweaked it a little. I used blue frosting instead of white, because I thought it would be fun to have sky color for the background. I also added the dirt, crushed Oreos. Instead of making flowers out of m&m's and other round candies, I warmed Starbursts in the microwave and rolled them out. Then I used scissors to cut out my flowers. The leaves are gum drop fruit slices that I sliced even thinner. It was a little more work than I anticipated, but I had a lot of fun making it.
For dinner we had hamburgers and hot dogs, and veggies from the garden. Yummy! Patrick is holding Clara, and Marianne is in the purple with Bradley and Wayne next to her. Crystal and Alan are next to Patrick. It was really nice to have the family over to help us celebrate.

Elli loved the hot dogs. It is so nice that she will actually eat some foods now. She is still rather picky, and her gag reflex is still obnoxiously sensitive, but it's getting better all the time.

One of Elli's favorite things right now is blowing bubbles, so we got bubbles for all the kids to blow for a while as adults finished eating their dinner.

Aunt Marianne blowing more bubbles.

We were also very glad to has Wayne's brother Steve (on the right) come down. My sister-in-law Kerly (2nd on the right) is from Ecuador, and these are her parents. Her dad has been working in New York for the last 8 years, and her mom finally got residency this year. They are both living here with Steve and Kerly while they look for work and a place to live. I am really happy for Kerly, she has wanted to have her family close to her for a long time. Congratulations!
When is came time to blow out the candles, Elli was feeling a little overwhelmed. She didn't know what to make of everyone gathering around her and singing. She really does know how to blow, but we couldn't get her to do it. So we counted to 3 and let Bradley and the cousins blow out the candles together. Maybe next year she will understand the procedure a little better.

Here is our feminine little eater. She wouldn't try to pick up the whole thing, she would just pick off tiny little pieces (crumbs really) and carefully put them in her mouth. I kind of knew before hand that we wouldn't get one of those cake all over your face pictures, it's just not Elli to eat like that.
Cute little Clara enjoying her ice cream cone. Mom made Butterfinger ice cream, and I made black berry. There is nothing quite like home-made ice cream in the summer!
Mom and dad enjoying their dessert.
Silly Noah eating his cake and ice cream.
Elli discovered that she could used a petal from the flower on her cake as a scooper for frosting. After that she pretty much only ate the frosting.

When it came time for gifts, Elli was a little confused at what she was suppose to do with all the pretty packages. Bradley was more than happy to help her open the gift he gave her. It was 3 coloring books: Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and Winnie the Pooh, and a box of water colors. I think she'll have a lot of fun with it. Alan and Crystal's family gave her a Backyardigans book, my mom and dad gave her a cute little purple striped dress, and she got some bubble bath and fall clothes from Wayne and I.

This gift was from Steve and Kerly. It was hard to open, so Sadie and Sawyer stepped in to help. It was a beautiful off white dress with a pink sash and little pink embroidered flowers. Thanks Kerly! I'll post photos of Elli in the dress next week. She didn't wear it yesterday because of the temple dedication. So she'll wear it the church this coming Sunday.
This was the gift we had to save until the end because we knew if she opened it first she'd ignore all the rest. It's a doll that has a bottle and when you put the bottle to the mouth she will begin to suck. After a few minutes she will burp and fall asleep. She will also giggle if you tickle her tummy. She is a really cute baby doll, and Elli LOVES her!
She couldn't wait for Wayne to get her out of the box. She stood there on her tippy toes saying "BeeBee" over and over again. I don't know why I didn't take any pictures after it was opened, but I will get some pictures of her holding her baby real soon. Did I mention that Elli really really LOVES her baby!?! It was a fun day, and we are so happy to have our little 2 year old! She is a sweet and sassy bundle of joy. Happy Birthday Elliana!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mirror Lake

We took a trip the other day up to Mirror Lake. We had such a lovely day in the 70 degree weather. There were tons of wild flowers everywhere, we went up at the perfect time!

This was Elli's first time in the backpack, and she did quite well. She did eventually tire from riding on Wayne's back, but we've decided that we just need to go hiking once a week to help her get used to it. We didn't fish right on Mirror Lake, it's usually too crowded. We walked along the stream that comes off of the lake which is the north fork of the Duchesne. The fishing wasn't the best, (they did catch a few little brook trout and rainbows) but the hike along the trail is so pretty and very peaceful! We didn't see anybody else the whole time.

Bradley carried our water and snacks in for as long as he could. He was a trooper!

Elli and I just played along the way. We were going to wade in the little stream, but it was too cold for her, she didn't like it very much. But she was thrilled with all the flowers!

Wayne has seen moose in this little pond before. We didn't see any that day, although there was plenty of evidence that they had been there, but we did see a cow moose further down the canyon on our way up.

Flower heaven!

Bradley and I walked over to the Balm Mountain Overlook. It was gorgeous! I really love the Uintahs, I think it has to be one of the loveliest places in Utah!!

We haven't decided where we are going to hike to next. Sadly we only have a couple of weeks of summer left. The nice thing about Utah is that you have so many choices and they are all within pretty easy distances. We are lucky to live here!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pioneer Day Weekend

We spent Pioneer day with Wayne's family this year. Everyone was there, which makes 22 adults and 28 1/2 grandkids. Thanks goodness that they built the cabin so that everyone has a place to stay.

This is the Sevier River. Some of the uncles and cousins discovered that jumping from the bridge into the river is a whole lot of fun, so here are a few shots of the brave ones jumping. I can't even jump from a low dive into a swimming pool without my heart thumping out of my chest a little, so I couldn't do this!!

Here is Bradley's cousin Braden going in feet first.

Trevor was the bravest of them all. He kept doing flips off the bridge. CRAZY!!!

Next it was Bradley's turn. He has just stepped up onto the edge of the bridge. He didn't like jumping off either, it was easier for him to have his uncles just push him in. Wayne was already in the water waiting to help him get to shore.

Unfortunately, I shot this picture a split second too soon. I chopped off Bradley's head. What I missed was a lovely belly flop at the bottom. He was a little sore for a few minutes afterward.

Swimming back to shore. Wayne only jumped once. He said that was enough for him. He was surprised how warm the water was though. It was a nice break from the heat.

Just before the boys went swimming, I had gone on a little shopping trip down to the local antique shop called the Wooden Nickle. They had a lot of really cute things, but I found the cutest wooden doll house that I'm going to fix up for Elli for Christmas. I got it for $19, what a steal! I think I'm going to have to go back there next time we go down to visit Wayne's parents.
Some of us decided that a weenie roast up in the mountains would be fun, so we headed up on the afternoon of Pioneer Day. Elli really enjoyed the mountains, I love the sweet grin on her face.
Some road up in vehicles, while others road 4 wheelers. I am glad we were in the trooper because we got a pretty good rain while up there, and those who road the 4 wheelers were soaked through by the time they reached us at the lake. The rain did let up long enough to let us build our fire and have some dinner, but it sadly ended out fun early. We all went back down to grandma's house to get warm again. Wayne and I had actually reached that lake before the rain and got a few pictures of the kids throwing rocks into the water.
Kristen and Lindsey


Sadie (she road up with us while her mom and dad got soaked on their 4 wheeler)

Here they are seeing who can throw the farthest. I think they were letting Sadie win every time, and she loved it!

Here are some of the cousins lined up to watch the parade. They had 2 sides of the street covered to make sure they brought home as much candy as possible. This photo had Jade holding Brennan, Taysen, Landon, Katelyn, Sarah, Kaycia, and part of Bradley.

Here is grandma on the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers float. She gets roped into doing this float every year, but I do think she enjoys it. In this photo she is just about to throw a handful of candy which ended up hitting Elli right in the face. I didn't see it happening because I was taking the picture. Needless to say, Elli wasn't very happy about the whole thing. Not too long after this a float with some boys and squirt guns came by, and for some reason they aimed directly at Elli's face again. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to get her to go to another parade this year. Maybe by next year she will have forgotten and like parades again.

more cousins, here we have Breanna, Amberli, Sarah, and Dawson.

Here we have Sawyer in the red and white shirt, Sadie in blue, Rachel has the pretty brown hair with the red bow, Aaron is the little guy with curls in the red shirt and closet to the camera is Alton.
The night before we had been down to the park for the annual scout dinner. They serve dutch oven potatoes, and pot roast (which is absolutely amazing!!). They also auction off pies there. I told Wayne that I want to enter a pie next year and see how much it will go for. Some of the pies were being sold for $30. Later, after the dinner we all gathered to watch the fireworks. I was really impressed with their fireworks, they had a great show for such a small town.

It was a really nice weekend. Hopefully we can get back down there really soon!!