It's extraordinary how many days with Ella go by that are filled with those catch-your-breath moments of complete 'I hope I never in a million years forget this' happenings and 'who knew such a short person could cause so much laughter and warm gooey happiness' antics.
Ella's vocabulary continues to grow and improve:
She knows random words like meerkat, jumper and garlic press. Sometimes she'll pop out a doozy like mechanic, parking lot attendant and ATM. Weird and hilarious.
Full sentences are no longer a surprise or a treat - in fact, they seem to be getting longer and longer by the second. At some point, we're hoping she'll remember to pause (and breathe, child, breathe!) in between soliloquies, but knowing her father I'm not expecting any miracles. Heh.
We enjoy the occasional verbal oceans that flow from Ella's mouth as she goes through nearly every word or phrase that she's picked up in a completely conversational tone (hand gestures included): "Moji kitty school coloring crayons shoes and Mommy and Daddy and Papi and Ricky and school and Buela and Markie and I fall down and bumped my head no more monkey jumping on the bed in Jesus' name Amen'.
Hello non sequitur:
One of the funniest parts of being an Ella parental is how quickly her mind flits from subject to subject - one minute we're laughing and singing along to a song on the radio, the next second Ella's crying because I called her 'my beautiful fairy princess' when at that precise moment in time she prefers to be referred to as 'Ella Bunny' and then she's back to laughing about how funny bunnies look when they hop and then a second or two after that she's getting frustrated that I'm not able to do a convincing enough butterfly flap while driving... and it pretty much just goes on from there.
Back to the Ella name/reference thing - in any given hour we transition from:
Tiny little Ella baby (insert tiny little baby crying sounds here)
Princess fairy (the order matters here, people)
Tiger/lion/kitty Ella (with corresponding animal noises)
Sweet little girl
Ella big girl (she's NOT a LITTLE girl, geez)
Ella Dora the Explorer
None of the above because at that second she prefers not to be noticed or referred to as anything at all
Repeat all of the above
A whole lotta' love:
It's fascinating what a fearless little passionate child Ella has grown into. Hugs, kisses, high fives, sweet smiles - her love and warmth radiate across her face. This transitions to the people we randomly meet too, a warm hello to an elderly lady at the grocery store a high five with the (rather thuggish looking at times) dudes that live in our apartment complex who can't help but crack their street demeanor and with a giant smile. She's just plain great with people and I love that. Not too trusting, but just right and quite intuitive to boot.
Cozy - at home we spend a lot of time being cozy. We'll snuggle on the couch watching a movie, we'll read books in 'Mommy's bed' because apparently the stories sound better there, she'll jump in our laps at any possible moment (usually with a 'can I sit here??' as she's already making herself at home). But thankfully she's great on her own too - she can entertain herself just as easily, making frequent stops in whatever room we are working to show off how pretty she looks in her bunny ears and fairy tutu and be on her merry way.
One of Ella's favorite books is Owl Babies - basically a story of 3 owl siblings waiting for their mom to return to their tree. The smallest owl baby's only line in the book (every page or so) is 'I want my mommy'. The last few weeks have brought lots of 'I want my mommy' incantations in various voices, tones, pitches and situations. Best. thing. ever.
How blessed we are. Our hearts grow at least a size a day.
We've been getting excited about raw foods and 'un-cooking' for a while now, but have yet to master it period... let alone for Ella's diet. Un-cooking is one of those kitchen mindsets that has taken me a while to conquer, so I soak up every single bit of inspiration and recipe that I can get.
To that end, this new kiddo-focused un-cookbook from Raw Mom looks very promising. I've been a longtime reader of the Raw Mom Blog, which is inspiring in its stories of actual families with actual kids growing and loving the raw food way of life.
I'm not sure that our family will ever be 100% raw, but I'd like to shoot for at least 40 - 50% -- especially during the weekdays when we need all the (healthy) energy we can get. The day that Ella starts obsessing over cookbooks and savors her time in the kitchen like we do will be a pretty rocking one - sooo happy to have already started her on that journey.
If his work looks familiar to you, that's because you've probably already seen it in the Summer 2009 edition of Hi-Fructose magazine this month. I love seeing even the tiniest glimpses of Ella in unexpected places.
Ella's new school (2 months in now!!) had a 'Graduation Ceremony' a couple of weeks back that was wildly precious. Never mind the fact that Ella wasn't actually graduating, each little kiddo class had worked on a few songs to sing (including choreography) to their fawning, video and digital camera-laden parentals.
So yeah, pretty much the cutest thing ever. They sang songs about animals (which cleared up the mystery on why Ella had been roaring at us every few minutes lately -- 'Hi baby, do you want a snack??' 'Yes please Mommy RAWR RAWR RAWR RAWR RAWR RAWR.' '?????' 'RAWR').
Also, I'd like to thank Ella for having miraculously not spilled anything on her (very very cute) polka dot dress - not just before her performance, but for the ENTIRE DAY. Seriously a minor miracle, obviously her fashion sense guided her hands, juice boxes and other offending materials.
Long story short, Ella's very first Graduation Day (sans the Pomp and Circumstance) was wonderful, even though it was a massive reminder of just how darn fast she's growing. College here we come.
We're getting a kitten in a few weeks from the always-rocking JJ, Karl and familia. His name is Moji and he is precious.
I will probably be trying to stuff him in my purse to bring him to work with me (after scuffling with Ella who will be trying to stuff him in her backpack to bring to school), so I'm warning everyone in advance.