Tuesday, April 19, 2011

16 Months Old

Another month has passed and I feel like I just did the update for 15 months! We have been having a blast with her and doing lots of new things so that Jesse is here to experience them. You've already seen our fun trip to the zoo, but we've been to the park a few times, visited with other families and enjoyed every minute together. Ellie is growing up so fast, looking more and more like a toddler girl than a baby, and sometimes it makes me sad because of the fun we have had with her, but it also excites me to see glimpses of what she is becoming. We are so proud of our little girl and we are treasuring every minute, especially Jesse. She won't be the little toddler when he sees her next.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Our Overnight Date

Thanks to Bill & Cindy Mason and all of Jesse's family for watching Ellie in shifts, Jesse and I arranged to have an overnight baby-free (1st time since before we had Ellie). Since Jesse will be deploying soon, an evening and day away was much needed for quality time and fun together. We decided to go to Gatlinburg and live it up - just far way enough to have some separation, but close enough to not have a long drive. We headed down Friday afternoon and went by our favorite store (Eddie Bauer Outlet) because we had $20 of free clothes. Of course, it was a great shopping trip. Then, we drove on it to Gatlinburg and checked in to our hotel (Bearskin Lodge). We got an awesome King bed suite that was right on the river and had lots of perks. We were in walking distance to the "strip" so we walked to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for dinner. While waiting for our table, we went across the street and did a taste testing of moonshine - man, I did not like it! Once our table was ready, we enjoyed a yummy dinner. Afterwards, we randomly decided to go up the sky lift (something we've never done) to see all of Gatlinburg before it got too dark. It was a little nerve-wracking going up, but coming down was a lot easier. Once we got our feet back on the ground, we did another traditional thing that we always make fun of tourists for doing - old time photos! We laughed so hard while doing them - it was super tough to do a serious picture. We topped off our night with ice cream and relaxation back at our hotel. The next morning, we had a big breakfast out on our balcony over the river. Once we finished, we headed out to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to hike up to Rainbow Falls. Thankfully, the government didn't shut down so we could get in to the park. It was a tough hike up, but well worth it. It was such beautiful scenery - we were so glad to do that hike together! This little trip was extremely refreshing and much needed and we are so thankful that we had so much help to be able to do it. This next year is going to be rough, but this quality time together only strengthened our marriage and love for each other.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day at the Zoo

Before Jesse left for his recent time of training, he got a day off so we decided to make it a family day and take Ellie to the Knoxville Zoo for the first time. I was so thankful to have family time like that and for him to be able to see her reactions to the animals she has seen in books all this time. It was amazing weather and Ellie had a blast! What I also loved about the Zoo is that it was FULL of other moms with their kids in strollers and it was a great place to just walk around and stimulate the kids without much work. Because of this, we are seriously thinking about getting a year's membership so that I can use it to get out of the house with her. PLUS, the membership is good in other cities at participating zoo's, aquariums and parks. Once Jesse is gone and the semester is over, I will be looking for lots of ways to make the days go by faster. I love that I can do that by showing and educating Ellie on all the many animals that God has created. PLUS, her Daddy was there for a great family day. Here are the pictures from our adventure:


Lilypie Third Birthday tickers