Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sweet Summer Memories

Just a few (and many more still to come) of Ella's and my second summer together :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm A Big Girl Now

Being a teacher and having to rely on family to ensure my baby girl is taken care of, there is not a lot of time for things in which mommy needs to oversee (or wants to oversee I should say). Therefore, this summer (as will be the case with most summers) I made myself a To Accomplish list for Ella. There were four major things on my list that I wanted to make sure we had a handle on before the school year resumed in August: the paci addiction, baba addiction, potty training and the transition to the toddler bed! Yes, these are all huge milestones for our girlie, but I am proud to say that since we have been back from vacation Ella is well on her way to the "big girl" world!

Anyone who knows Kermie and I, knows that we are firm believers in "comforting" our child. Other than the feeding schedules, we strayed far away from what most of the books told us to do (and doctors-may I add)! But now that Ella is approaching 2 (omg!) it is time to make those transitions necessary for the toddler world!

Ella absolutely loves her paci and it has in no way affected her vocabulary, but she and I have had many conversations about how big girls do not need pacis and since she is a big girl, it is about time to get rid of it. This whole week she has managed to keep her pacis (usually at least 3) in the bed and only use them at nap or night night time. This is huge for her! There have been a few times she has tried to sneak out of the bed with one in her mouth or hand, but I remind her that paci stays in the bed and she throws it on the bed! YAY FOR ELLA :) I read in a magazine yesterday that in order to get rid of paci all the way parents need to introduce another comfort item (like a blankie) to take the place of the paci. So, in a week or two I will attempt to find something that can possibly take the place of the beloved paci!

On top of paci, Ella has also managed to go without her night night chocolate milk baba all week! This is even more huge than the paci because since she was tiny she has loved her baba (regardless if it was mommy's milk, soy milk, or chocolate milk)! There has not been a night for the past 9 months (at least) that Ella has not asked her daddy for a chocky baba. This is just one of their little routines and let me tell you how devastating it has been this week for Kermie not getting baba! Instead of baba, Ella has kindly asked for chocky sippy instead (not that I know what the difference between the two are, but it will look better if she ever stays the night at a friend's house to have a sippy instead of a bottle-ha). It is amazing how easy these transitions are when the child is ready! Taking baba away a few months ago would have been a nightmare!

I recently bought Ella some Dora panties wanting her to get used to the idea of panties and not diaper. She has worn them and likes them to a certain degree. She sits on her Elmo potty but has never once actually pottied. We have not pushed potty training hard because of all of the other tasks at hand, but in a few weeks I plan to go at it full force. Mom said I was potty trained before two and that it was easy! I do not know about my stubborn little Ella, but I am interested to see how it goes. Having her potty trained before the next child arrives is a must and I would really like for that to be sometime next year or so (God willing:) )! We have lots of work to do!!

Last, but not least, I have offically transitioned Ella's crib (which she did not use but maybe 15% of her life so far) into her toddler bed. I'd really like to buy her a big girl bed that goes with her dresser, but I hate to spend the money if she's still going to be in our room. The only thing missing for this transition is a side bar that will keep our wild sleeper in the bed. Kermie leaves for two weeks next month so I do not want to put her in her room just yet! I would be much too lonely without her :) But, upon his return, I plan to start making that transition. She seems to really like her "new" bed, but sleeping in it will be a difficult task. Kermie and I have both enjoyed her being with us, but the older she gets.... the bigger she gets and.... the less sleep we get! And like I said before, two babies would just not work!

So, I am really pleased at all the progress Ella is making so far this summer! She probably thinks mommy is out of her mind pulling all this new stuff on her, but she's definitely a trooper so far! Keep us in your thoughts as we venture into the next two parts of her To Accomplish list!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ponte Vedra Beach---Family Vacation

My last post talked about an upcoming family vacation to Florida. I mentioned that this vacation was going to be our first family trip to the beach since Ella was born. We were all in need of some rest and relaxation and that is exactly what we got! This post is going to be dedicated to showing you our wonderful vacation in Ponte Vedra Beach. I strongly recommend this area to anyone who loves the beach without all the "mess"! It is a very family friendly area without all the commotion seen in other vacation spots I've been to in the past. The Sawgrass Marriott has so many fun activities for families and is very welcoming! So off we go!

We were not supposed to leave until Saturday night, but of course we got a little anxious and took off Friday! One more day in Florida sounded great!
Ella did so well in the car on the way down. She watched her DVDs and now is addicted to Wonder Pets! We stopped several times to let her run and expend a little energy! Anyone who knows us knows that we usually have some sort of bad luck on vacations! This vacation was not an exception! On our way down Kermie insisted on stopping at a Wal-Mart and as we were getting out I somehow locked both of our keys in the car! About twenty minutes later Pop-A-Lock retreived our keys and got us back on the road! Our total drive time ended up being around 13 hours with all of our stops/disasters included! Not bad :)
As we approached Florida, the weather was not looking hot! This picture was taken as we drove across a bridge that was over one of the intercostal waterways. I must admit I was a little worried by this point!
Once we got to our hotel, we were given a few options as to where we could stay. They offered us a Villa which would have a kitchen and more space, but was farther from the main hotel and a room with a great view in the main building. After much contemplating, we decided on the room with the view! Here is the view from our room! This lake surrounded the entire resort and was home to all sorts of beautiful animals!
A snap shot of our home for the week! There is nothing better than having someone clean your "house" for you while you go play! The bed was amazing and we all hated leaving it behind!
On Saturday, after checking in, we decided to take Ella down to the pool. She loved it, but would have much rather swam on her own of course! There were two pools on the resort that we made use of and two hot tubs that Kermie lived in!
Ponte Vedra Beach is actually a private beach community and there aren't many hotels on the beach at all because of this. Our resort was not on the beach, but did have it's own private Beach Cabana Club that was about a mile from where we were staying. Since we were not sure of how to get to the club we took a shuttle the first day and from there on we drove ourself. Ella loved the shuttle which is pictured below!

At the beach club, there was an olympic size pool, a kiddie pool, and a playground for the kiddos. They had several restaurants and lots of deck space to lay if you did not want to lay on the beach. Ella made several friends while she was there and this picture is of her friend Ashley. They followed each other around this particular day which was nice because otherwise Ella was all over the place! I definitely think Ella has hit the terrible twos a little early! I guess she's not bad, but just into EVERYTHING! She cannot sit still for more than a minute at a time! To Kermie and I she was behaving horribly, so I found it shocking that so many people complimented her behavior! She spent several of the first days in timeout, but by the end of the week I think she got the picture!
It took Ella a while to get used to the sand, but once we showed her how to dig holes and fill them up with water and shells she was good to go! She never did warm up to the ocean. I think it was a little too big, dark, and rough for her! Maybe next year we will try some where on the gulf. Who knows?
One of the things that our hotel offered was bike rides. We decided to venture out one morning before heading to the pool. It was actually a lot of fun, but Ella was not too thrilled with the helmet!

Much of Ella's pool time consisted of lounging on a chair with Wonder Pets and some type of food! She loved the pools and really enjoyed the kiddie pools! The last day we were there they gave us a cute little vest float for her to use and she loved it!
Our resort also had a fun playground that Ella loved!
One of Ella's favorite things of the week was all of the lizards! She was afraid of them, but loved finding them at the same time!

Since Ella did not enjoy the beach a whole lot we actually spent the majority of our days at the pools, but did go to the beach several nights. It was very nice because there were hardly any people there and no sun to worry about!
This was our cute little bunny we found on the beach one night! I have never seen a bunny on the beach before!

One of our days was spent in St. Augustine which was about 20 or so miles from our resort. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European established city and oldest port in the U.S. It was very pretty and reminded me of Gatlinburg in a way.

In St. Augustine, I ran into a cute little boutique and of course made a stop! Ella got a cute new bathing suit and cover up which she is modeling for you here!
This alligator and turtle were just two of the animals we saw living in the lake on our resort. There were times when we would see as many as 12 turtles at a time. One morning we actually saw a huge (maybe 4 foot?) fish feeding right below our balcony. Ella loved the animals!
Another day was spent at the Town Square shopping! It was an extremely hot day (heat index of over 100) so we stopped for a fun train ride around the shopping center! Ella loved it and waved to almost everyone she saw.
Since we discovered how much Ella loved stealing all of the other children's noodles, we bought her one of her own. There is no telling how many people were bumped by this thing!

One of our last days was spent on the beach. Ella still wouldn't touch the water but ended up taking some walks with us close to the water and collected a bucket full of shells :)

One of the hardest things about visiting a new area is knowing where to eat! We ate at the resort for most of our meals, but tried to venture out a few times. Most of them were not successful and quite costly! But, I did enjoy this cute little pizza place called Al's Pizza. As you can tell, Ella enjoyed it too!

Overall, this vacation was a hit! I think we all enjoyed it very much and are excited to plan the next trip to the beach. Here a few videos for you to enjoy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And we're off..... to Florida!

Here are just a few pictures of Ponte Vedra Beach!  We leave Saturday morning and I couldn't be happier! What gets better than school being over, not having graduate class and going on vacation?? :)  Our first offical family vacation to the beach.....  pictures of our stay to come!