Friday, January 31, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 197

What Ellie said this week:

(After bedtime, when we hear her knocking on her door and I go check on her.)
Ellie: "Mommy! Ellie's supposed to be asleep."
Me: "You're supposed to be asleep?"
Ellie: "Yeah, I supposed to be asleep. I read a book. I need my blankie. And Kai-Lan light."
Me: "Do you want more milk in your bottle?"
Ellie: "Yeah, mooore milk."

(Playing with playdough.)
Ellie: "I make nanomonkeys."
Me: "You made nanomonkeys?"
Ellie: "Yeah, I make nanomonkeys. Hot dog."

(Shoving her finger up her nose and then taking it out again.)
Ellie: "Don't pick your nose! Here's a tissue." (Hands me a booger.)

(To me, while playing with playdough.)
Ellie: "Honey-bean! I need help."

(To Jason, as we climb up the stairs to our apartment. She said this in a giggly voice.)
Ellie: "Those are my stairs, stinkergirl."

This one happened tonight, when we were brushing her teeth. I was blowing bubbles with my gum for her, which she thought was really funny. She was also playing with the water in the sink. I told her she could play for one more minute, and then when my watch said 7-1-8 (and I showed her my watch) it was time to put on her pajamas. After playing for a few moments, she looked at me and said: "One more bubble." And then, pointing at my watch: "Ten units of time."

And this last one is something she's said for a while, and says all the time. She says it to announce that she's woken up in the morning, woken up from her nap, or as a declaration that she doesn't want to take her nap or doesn't want to go to bed: "Ellie's awake!" She'll also count who else is awake (when it's morning or she's woken up from her nap), by saying "Mommy's awake!" or  "Daddy's awake!" or "Zelda's awake!" She likes everyone to be awake. :)

What we did this week:

We're still adjusting to Jason having the ten-hour shifts instead of the eight-hour ones, and this week was a bit more difficult. It feels like we haven't really seen each other very much. His long weekend is this weekend though, so hopefully we'll soon have a bit of time to just relax.

Other than that, this week:

Everett & Sarah came over for a visit:

(Zelda's pose in this picture reminds me of those Russian dancers that squat down and kick out their legs)
Ellie read this potty book (I love the sound effects):

On Saturday the girls and I went and hung out all day at my dad's house, and Ellie had a blast. She played with their dog Kingston for hours. King is a very friendly (if somewhat dim) dog, and he is great with Ellie.

This video is awesome. King is trying to get her shoe off (so he can take it away and chew it up), and he starts dragging her down the hall in an attempt to pull it off. She loves it.

Also, those socks Ellie is wearing? King definitely ingested half of one of those before the day was done.

Continuing on with what we did this week, we swung Zelda around like a pendulum and she loved it:

Ellie sang "The Wheels on the Bus," which we think she learned from nursery (I especially love the verse about lamps - "The lamps on the bus go lamp lamp lamp..."):

Ellie and Zelda cuddled in Zelda's chair together (one of them liked it more than the other):

Ellie played with Zelda in her room (this clip's a little longer, so I might classify it as a "grandparent clip," but it's really darn cute):

And Zelda slept. A lot:

And last but not least, here's a couple short clips of us playing "Walk walk walk walk run run run run run run run" with Zelda:

The other thing from our week I can think of to mention (is that sentence grammatically proper?) is that we took Zelda to the doctor's last Friday for a red, raised rash that was on her face, arms, legs, and the back of her head. She's also had very few *ahem* bowel movements this month. Her doctor said it's definitely an allergic reaction to something, and put in a referral with the allergist, who we'll be meeting with soon. In the meantime, he prescribed a topical corticosteroid oil that's really helped the inflammation go down. Her rash is barely present now, but it'll come back in the next couple weeks unless we see the allergist, figure out what she's allergic to, and eliminate it from her diet/environment. So we'll figure out what's bothering her.

And that was our week! :)

Books read: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson and The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

Friday, January 24, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 196

Things Ellie said this week

Ellie holding up a big lump of red playdough: "It's Santa-mommy." (There was also an "Elephant-Santa.")

Ellie while sitting on the couch: "One second, one second! I got ice cream and cake and games. It would be so fun! My birthday party."

Ellie, to me: "Sweetheart! I need some food. I'm hungry."

This one's just a general one: Ellie gets pronouns mixed up. She calls most people "he," but uses "her" correctly a lot of the time, and also says "she" correctly some of the time. Most of the time when she's referring to Zelda (and not using just her name), Ellie calls Zelda "he."

Things we did this week

Obviously the big news for us this week is that Jason has been accepted to PA school. We are so happy about this, we can't even tell you. Campbell is a great school and now, in just a couple years, Jason will be able to be doing his dream job. (Well, other than being a pastry chef. That's his other dream job.) Ever since we found out this week that we'll be moving to North Carolina this summer, it's pretty much all we've been talking about and thinking about over here.

Other things we did this week: My stepsister MaCall had her baby shower last Saturday. She's due the first week of March with a baby boy. :) It was a fun shower; my grandma and all my aunts and lots of my cousins were there, and also MaCall's husband's mom and sisters (who are super nice), and my stepmom Debbie's mom and sister Tamela. So, a really great group of people!

Here's MaCall herself:

And my Grandma, who was cracking me up as we played the baby shower games:

And my lovely cousin Shelley, who is also pregnant and due in May:

Also last weekend we had a big regional stake conference. (In our church, a "stake" is a group of "wards," which are individual congregations. Twice a year we have "stake conference," which is a big meeting with all the wards in your stake. Every two years we have a regional stake conference, which is a conference of all the stakes in a certain area, like southern California. These regional stake conferences are filmed in one place and broadcast live to all the buildings in the region, so we can just go to our own building for the conference and watch it there instead of all meeting in some huge place.) Each stake had their own regular Saturday night meeting, and then the broadcast was on Sunday. And I actually gave a talk at the Saturday night meeting of our home stake (that we just moved out of a couple months ago). It was actually pretty fun. It was a fun topic (using social media and blogs to talk about the gospel) and it was my home stake and a bunch of people I knew, so it wasn't really stressful.

On Sunday the next day we had the regional broadcast (which was great - Mervyn somebody of the Seventy, Sister Linda K. Burton {who's the general Relief Society President), Elder Anderson, and President Eyring all spoke). Afterwards, we drove to my grandparent's house in Seal Beach and had lunch with all my aunts and uncles and cousins. From there we drove to Jason's parent's house and had dinner with his family. It was a fun day. :)

On Monday Jason's mom watched our girls at dinner time so Jason and I could go out to eat for our date night; we ate at El Torito and then brought the girls home and watched a movie.

Tuesday morning is when we got the call that Jason had been accepted into Campbell University's PA program. It's funny; they called at 6:30 in the morning. I think they must not have realized that we live in California and so are three hours behind them, or they had forgotten. We didn't mind being woken up though; it was such good news!

Since Tuesday when we found out that we need to be in North Carolina by August at the latest, we've been looking into how we're going to move and where we're going to live. There's a lot of stuff to do, and a lot of things to take into consideration. We'll figure it all out, but it'll take some work.

And finally, this video's from yesterday. I think pretty much everything in it is funny:

Books read this week: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan and The House of Hades by Rick Riordan (Both were really good - I can't wait for the fifth book to come out in October! I wish book series were always published in their entirety so that we never had to wait. :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Jason got accepted to PA school!

At 6:30 AM on Tuesday morning, Jason got a phone call from Campbell University in North Carolina telling him that he has been accepted into their Physician Assistant school for the program starting this fall. We are so happy and excited! Jason is going to be a PA!!!

(Image from Campbell's website)

Campbell is located in Buies Creek, North Carolina, about thirty miles south of Raleigh. The PA program is 28 months long, and Jason will start this August. We'll probably move out to North Carolina in July.

This is the building Jason will be in! This picture's from here.

We are so excited!!!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 195

What Ellie said this week

At night, while we were all in the car driving home from the grocery store: "Should weee...go to Disneyland?"

Ellie to me, one day when we were at home: "C'mon! Let's go see the goats, and giraffes, and elephants, and monkeys, and all of them! The goats...and howls (owls)...and elephants...come on!"

Ellie pushing my hand away as I was trying to help her turn the pages of a photo album: "Stop. I give you a fruit snack."

Ellie carrying a pile of clothes to me in her room, and then handing me an individual shirt: "Here's some more clothes. And here's another clo."  A couple minutes later, tugging a blanket out from under Zelda: "No, not that clo. Not that clo."

Ellie while holding out her arms to me and wanting me to pick her up: "Honey. Honey. Honey. Honey beans." (I call her "honey" and "honey beans" a lot.)

Hugging Zelda: "I love my sister." And some other times, "I love you Zelda."

Ellie, when there was a helicopter outside: "Mommy, I hear a hawkter over there by the window."

Ellie, lying on her bed and closing her eyes: "Goodnight. Sleep dreams."

Ellie, lying on her bed and covering her eyes with her hands: "Where'd Ellie go?"
Me, a foot away and staring straight at her: "I don't know, where did Ellie go?"
Ellie, still covering her eyes: "I'm here. I'm here. I'm hiding."

What we did this week

Our week this week was even more laid-back than normal. I can honestly think of almost nothing we did other than hanging out at home. But here's a couple things we did do:

My stepdad Stefan came to see us last Saturday! We haven't seen him in ages and ages (I can't even think of the last time we got to see him). It was so great to hang out with him! Ellie read him a lot of her books, and he got to hold Zelda for the first time. 

This first picture's kind of blurry, but it's my favorite:

Ellie decorated the fridge all by herself one day this week. She used every single magnet we have:

And here Zelda is sleeping peacefully:

In the pictures below, Ellie is wearing "strawberry pants." A couple weeks ago she asked for "strawberry pants," which she doesn't have. But Zelda does have a onesie covered in strawberries. Well, Ellie has watched the home video of her asking for strawberry pants several times, and that's only made her want strawberry pants more. So a couple nights ago she found Zelda's strawberry onesie and got really excited, and I helped her put them on her legs, with the arms sticking off the back. She wore them around until bedtime.

And a night or so ago Ellie was playing with my phone, and I showed her that it has a front-facing camera. She kept pressing the button to take pictures of herself, so now I have like thirty pictures in a row of Ellie on my phone.

And to wind it all up, here's a video of Zelda laughing. She has hiccups, too. :)

And that was our week!

Books (re)read this week: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Homemade Playdough

Ellie got a play-doh set for Christmas, and she loves it. It's a little jungle set with a tree that makes "caterpillars" (ropes of play-doh) come out the top, an elephant you press down to make play-doh ears, hair, trunk, and tail, and a little turtle you press down on to make play-doh turtle legs. It also comes with some play-doh tools (like really blunt plastic knives, and a roller) to work with the play-doh.

Ellie's favorite things to do are make play-doh caterpillars with the three, squish the turtle, and press the knives into the play-doh to make random animals (which don't look anything like animals, but Ellie tells me what they are {like, "I made a dog!"}, so they're animals).

The kit came with four play-doh colors: a big thing of dark green, a small light green, a small blue, and a small orange. We lose a bit each time we play, though, as little chunks break off and get overlooked and then dry out on the kitchen floor. Even though we started out with enough dough to work with, our supply is quickly shrinking. Plus, I kind of want some more colors than the few we have.

So, vaguely remembering things I saw on pinterest a long time ago, I turned to the internet for a homemade playdough recipe. I used the first one at the top of the google page: How to Make Playdough (Play-doh), and it turned out great!

Here's the recipe (mostly for my own reference in the future):

2 cups flour
2 cups warm water
1 cup salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)
food coloring
scented oils (optional)

"Mix all the ingredients together" (I saved food coloring for after, though, so I could make multiple colors) "and stir over low heat. The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes. When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. Important note: If your playdough is still sticky, you simply need to cook it longer!"

At first it was all liquid-y...

But in just a couple minutes it got a lot thicker...

And pretty soon it was done and ready for food coloring!

I split the batch into three parts and made yellow, pink, and (a kind of ugly) purple, but it makes so much that you could easily split it into four or five or six colors.

Then I just packaged the colors in random tupperware containers...

And it was ready to go!

I thought I was going to like the brand-name "Play-doh" dough better when compared to this homemade playdough, but boy was I wrong! I love the homemade playdough! My favorite thing about it is that it's softer and easier to work with. Ellie can make shapes and animals a lot easier (as can I), and the playdough goes through the little play-doh machines so much easier. Pushing down on the elephant and the tree, which was quite difficult before, is now very easy. And you might be worried that if it's softer, this homemade playdough doesn't hold its shape as well - but it does! The animals and shapes we've made with it are just as sturdy and totally hold their shape as well as the store-bought kind. I'm so impressed.

I really do love this homemade playdough. It was so easy to make and now we have such a large supply. I'm totally going to make this in the future instead of buying the brand name play-doh (even though I'm sure I'll get more little plastic play-doh sets and tools).

I totally recommend this as a quick and easy recipe to make great playdough for little kids!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 194

So this week Zelda had her 2-month appointment! She is 10 pounds, 6 ounces (a full pound heavier than Ellie was at two months), 22 1/2 inches long, and has a head circumference of 40 cm. She's in very similiar percentiles as Ellie was - small in weight (like 20th percentile), perfectly average in height (50th percentile), and biiig head (89th percentile). I love my big-headed babies. :)

What Ellie said this week

Ellie, while playing with play-doh: "I love you, caterpillars. I love you, caterpillars. I love you, caterpillars. I love you, caterpillars."

Ellie, while reading her Winnie-the-Pooh books on Sunday at bedtime: "Mama, it's time for Disneyland."

Ellie: "Mine!" (To family, friends, and random strangers who aren't even physically close to whatever she's claiming.)

Ellie, walking into the family room pushing her doll stroller: "Oh hi, Mommy! There you are. See you later! I'm going hiding." (She then pushed her stroller into her room at top speed and flopped face down on the cheetah chair, giggling and waiting for us to come find her.)

What we did this week

We had a pretty relaxed week and stayed mostly at home. One thing that's really exciting for us is that Jason (and everyone else at the night shift at his work) switched from eight-hour shifts to ten-hour shifts this week. So that means from now on he gets one more day off every week! He already always had Monday night off, and every other week he had Saturday and Sunday nights off too, but now he also gets every Tuesday off as well. Yaaay! Since it went into effect this week, he had Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights off, and it was awesome.

Friday, Jan 3:

Ellie read a lot of books. Here she is reading "No No Yes Yes":

And here's a very dramatic reading of "Pooh's Grand Adventure":

(I think the "My friends are gone, my friends are gone" is actually coming from "Pooh's Grand and Wonderful Day." In that one, Pooh can't find his friends because it actually turns out they're all at his birthday party, which he forgot about. When we read that one, we knock on each of the animal's doors, and say something like "And then he went to Piglet's house. Knock knock knock. But Piglet wasn't there! Where did Piglet go? Where did my friends go?" and then when he finds them at the end, we're like "Yaaaay! Here's all my friends! They're at my birthday party!" And Ellie really likes the whole book. But when she read Winnie-the-Pooh this time she wanted it a bit more dramatic. :) )

And here's a video from that same day. It's got some cute footage of Zelda, but nothing much happens in this video (except Ellie howling to her home-video self) and honestly I put it in mostly for the grandparents:

Sunday, Jan 5:

On Sunday we had dinner at Jason's parents house. Ellie was thrilled because she got to play with her cousin Emily (who she asks for pretty much every day). It was fun to hang out with everybody. :)

Everett and Zelda!

Monday, Jan 6:

Here's Ellie eating a banana and being cute (this video's mostly for the grandparents):

Not too long after this video was taken, Ellie's cousin Emily came over and they got to play with each other for a couple hours.

Tuesday, Jan 7:

Here's Ellie coloring on Tuesday morning:

Later that day in the afternoon we went to the Orange County Zoo in Irvine Park. It was fun. :) 

If Ellie was an animal, this is what she'd be like:

Peacocks wander around everywhere at Irvine Park and in the zoo. This is actually the same peacock from different angles.

Ellie loved the goats. We got to pet them in the petting zoo for a couple minutes, and then it was time for their dinner. While we were in the petting zoo, some of the goats pooped, and from then on for the rest of the zoo trip she kept telling us that all the animals were pooping. It went something like this: "Ellie, do you see the bear?" "He's pooping!" "Well, no, but okay." "Ellie, look at the rabbits!" "He's pooping!" "They look like they're just sitting to me." "He's pooping!" "Okay." And so on and so forth.

(Also, as I'm typing up this post Ellie just randomly started asking for the goats. "Mama, go see the goats? Baaa! Go see more goats! Go see more goats!")

Wednesday, Jan 8:

Ellie decorated the butterfly in this quiet book:

And played ball with Daddy on top of her bookshelf:

Thursday, Jan 9:

Boy, this was a hard day. Ellie was in a bad mood, and having meltdowns every couple minutes. I think it was partly because she slept poorly then night before, but then she refused her nap too, and it was just very stressful for both of us. We made it through somehow.

Zelda was all right, though. :)

Despite the hard day, I did make homemade playdough! It turned out better than I was expecting. I'm going to do an extra little post about it tomorrow.

And that was pretty much our whole week! Like I said, it was pretty laid-back. I'm glad yesterday is over and I'm excited for Ellie to try out our homemade playdough. :)

Books read this week: The Arcade Catastrophe by Brandon Mull

Friday, January 3, 2014

Captain's Log, Week 193

Every December for the past three years I've taken a picture of Ellie next to the same stuffed Christmas rabbit. Above is Zelda's first picture next to the bunny, and below are Ellie's three pictures next to each other. It is amazing what a difference each year makes.

What Ellie said this week

Ellie tosses something into the back of the car with a thud.
Me: "What was that?"
Ellie: "Loud!"

"Should we open this?" - Ellie asks me this when she hands me things she wants to open, like play-doh. She asks this because it's what I ask her when talking about closed containers, but I find it funny she uses the same phrase back to me when she wants to open something because in her mind, the answer is always "Yes."

Ellie, several times this week (when she couldn't hear the computer or TV): "I can't see the sound."

Ellie: "Eat my toe."

Ellie: "Daddy, I want the candy up there, on the counter, by the bowl."

Ellie: "I need chocolate milk." (She's been drinking gallons of this lately.)

Ellie: (giggling) "It sploded. It sploded, Mommy." (about a tire that exploded in an app game about fixing cars)

Ellie: "Daddy's going in the white truck." - Jason borrowed one of his dad's trucks for one day almost a month ago, and since then Ellie's been convinced that he's driving around in this white truck all the time. If she wakes up in the morning and he's not there, he's driving around in the white truck. If she and Zelda and I get in our car and he's not there, he's in the white truck. If we're all in the car and he leaves for a moment to run into the grocery store, he's getting into the white truck.

Ellie: "Bumpy road, bumpy road, bumpy road." She's been saying this for months but this is the first time I've remembered to record it. We don't know where she got this; she'll just go around singing it over and over and over.

Ellie: "I love you, blanket."

What we did this week:

We saw Tiffany's family for one last time on Friday night. The girls made bracelets and took some pictures with Nana and Papa in their matching pajamas.

On the way home, we stopped at the grocery store across the street from our apartments and Jason ran in while I stayed outside with the girls. I was just sitting there, listening to the radio, when the car turned off. And wouldn't turn back on. Our battery had died. When Jason got back to the car, we called his brother Tyler (who lives at our same apartment complex) and he just happened to be a couple blocks away in his car, coming home. Neither he nor we had jumper cables, but guess what? We also happened to be in a parking lot with an AutoZone 100 feet away. So, our car died in pretty much the most convenient location at the most convenient time. Jason walked over to AutoZone and got jumper cables, and when Tyler got there we hooked up to the two cars and we were on our way. It worked out really well and we were back home in like 20 minutes.

Our friend Tyler got married last Saturday! We couldn't go to the ceremony itself because it was in the middle of the day and Jason had worked the night before, but went to his reception that night. We seriously love this guy and are so happy for him.

Also, we bought a bunch of frozen salmon (and some frozen tilapia too) at the grocery store. It was on sale, and we looove fish, and I am so happy that we have so much right now. We already had it for dinner twice this week and once for lunch.

On Sunday I got some cute/funny videos of Ellie. Here's one of her demonstrating her monkey toes, and also one of her reading a little bit:

The next day I got some really fun videos too. The first one's a cute one of Zelda, being pushed around in the doll stroller by Ellie,

this one's Ellie playing with her blocks and being silly,

and this one's Ellie looking like she's an eighty-year-old woman at a nursing home:

The next day on New Year's Eve we went to Disneyland, and it was a great trip. We were very relaxed about it and didn't try to rush around the park, and so the huge crowds of people weren't a problem. It was just fun and kind of like a giant party. We left in the late afternoon, and then Jason had work that night and the girls and I had a quiet night at home.

The next day on New Years, one of our ward member friends who's also our neighbor locked herself out of her apartment (she lives in a second-story apartment like us). She asked us for help, and Jason climbed up onto her balcony, went through her open balcony door, and let her in the front.

Later that day we went to the park, and Ellie played with the ducks and went on the playground.

And that was pretty much our whole week! I started my new year's resolutions and so far, so good, haha. Staying off the internet gave me time to re-read The Hobbit. I haven't read it for probably over ten years, and it's interesting reading and seeing a few lines where The Hobbit (originally published in 1937) doesn't quite line up with Lord of the Rings (published in 1954). Tolkien actually did go back and significantly revise the chapter "Riddles in the Dark" as he was writing Lord of the Rings to bring it more in line with the larger story, and all editions of the Hobbit since 1951 have had that new, revised chapter. Out of curiosity, I looked up the original chapter and found it here, and yes, it is very, very different, and I can definitely see why Tolkien changed it.

Annnnyway, I'm getting off onto a Lord of the Rings tangent because, hey, I love Lord of the Rings.

Books (re)read this week: The Hobbit