Saturday, October 29, 2011

SR Cragwall Annual Halloween Party

Every year, Jesse's parents throw a family Halloween party so they can see the kids dressed up and give them little treats. Plus, it's a great excuse to get us all together. Karen (Jesse's mom) does a great job finding things for the kids that excite them. Ellie was able to enjoy it a little more this year since she's older and can eat more of the stuff. One of the hits that Karen got was a bubble kit that makes HUGE bubbles...they all 3 enjoyed that one. For dinner, we had a pot of chili with the fixin's and for dessert, brownies and ice cream. Karen also had some cider going for everyone which was yummy. Here are some pictures from the fun evening and a message for Jesse from his family at the end.

A Halloween Message for Jesse:

Carving Halloween Pumpkin 2011

This year, we carved our pumpkin with Aunt Jamie! :) She had some cool patterns for us to use and of course we had to do a kitty cat. Ellie and I cleaned out the pumpkin before she arrived (the main part she could help with) and she had a blast spooning out the seeds.

While I got Ellie ready for bed, Jamie finished up carving out the pattern and Ellie loved the final product. Team effort, my friends. Happy Halloween!

Videos for Daddy

Being a Silly Billy

Showing Daddy my Window Stash 1

Showing Daddy my Window Stash 2

Showing off my Purse

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cruze Dairy Farm

One of my student's last semester did her career project on running an organic farm and she worked for a day out at Cruze Farm. I decided to try it this year for our annual trip to a pumpkin patch after seeing someone on Facebook going there and raving about it. The cool thing about this place is that it's a dairy farm so that means fresh ice cream. They also had LOTS for toddlers to do there so it was a hit with Ellie! We went with most of the Cragwall's (Grandmommy, Aunt April, Uncle Jimmy, Cousins Parker & Taylor, and Aunt Jamie) to do something together. The farm is only a few minutes away from Jesse's parent's house so it worked out great. Once we got there, the kids got to see the dairy cows and then Ellie got to ride on a toy tractor and play in the hay bales. Then, we got to go on a hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins. Ellie found "the one" for her and I found one for me! Carving will take place this week. Then, we came back and enjoyed some of the farm's famous ice cream - YUMMY! It was a good day out in the Fall weather I love.

Boo at the Zoo

My friend Julie and I decided that it would be really fun taking Kinsley and Ellie together for their first Boo at the Zoo. This is an annual event at the Knoxville Zoo where they have lots of volunteers dress up in costumes of all kinds and hand out candy for some "trick-or-treat"ing while seeing the animals of the Zoo. They have lots of stuff for kids to much that we didn't even get to some of the activities in the Kids Cove due to starvation and cold weather. It was completely stimulating for a toddler to walk around, seeing characters they like come to life or different expo's going on. I tested out my loose cannon of a daugher and let her walk around with Kinsley. Keeping her moving was the challenge! She wanted to stop and stare at each volunteer or eat her treats. Kinsley was great at holding her bag for candy, but Ellie just wanted to eat all of hers. The weather was pretty cold (notice the extra layering on the girls for the evening) but overall we had fun. This will definitely be an annual event, hopefully with the Schaefer's!

Ellie & I attempting to say "Boo at the Zoo" together!

22 Months Old!

Seriously....2 months away from Ellie's 2nd birthday! I can't believe it. While this really is more of a fun stage with her, there is always a catch - testing boundaries with me. Man, she loves to do that! This is when single-parenting really stinks. And when boundaries are crossed and punishment happens, tantrums are the result. Not every time, but the world sometimes ends for Ellie (at least that's what she sounds like). She has progressed even more in her words (saying more sentences or attempting to put words together), singing short songs (mainly about apple juice or minnie mouse), and naming ownership to everything and making sure I am paying attention to her (mommy's chair, daddy's chair, mommy's hot juice, mommy's car, daddy's car, ellie's seat, etc.). She is "helping mommy" out more, even with putting silverware away from the dishwasher or feeding Callie. She's also helping mommy clean up after her messes more. Even though Jesse is away, I still love spending time with my little girl. As crazy as it sounds, the deployment is a little easier to deal with when you have someone to take care of and take up the time. She's a pistol, but so full of joy and laughter. Now on to birthday party planning...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Break in Cincinnati

I decided to go back up to Cincinnati to see my brother and his little family during my time off on Fall Break to spend more time with them, since the last time was only about 24 hours. We left after work/Mother's Day Out on Thursday and drove on up in time for dinner together. Ellie's first adventure - saying hi to everyone. Second adventure - the piano!

After dinner, Aunt JenJen read Ellie a fun book and we ended the night with Ellie getting her first bath in a bubble tub. Boy, did she enjoy that!

The next morning, we played with Langston a little and then went to see Uncle Yar's airplane. I knew Ellie would totally love this. We checked out all of Jonathan's random toys in his hanger and then he took her up inside the airplane to play. She had so much fun! She got to press all the buttons and play with the steering wheel.

She was NOT happy to have to get out. BUT, she got to meet a cool dog that was at the airport with his owner named Rody and got to see him do tricks and she even fed him treats. She LOVED that part. My daughter has no fear when it comes to dogs unless they are hyper. Then, she got to RUN back to the car with Uncle Yar without holding ANYONE's hand...that's a treat for her.

We met Jennifer back at the house and skyped with Daddy real quick so he could see Baby Langston and then we left for a picnic at the park. The weather wasn't that great (a little sprinkle and some crazy wind), but we went ahead and found a shelter to eat under and by the time we were done, the rain was gone (but not the crazy wind). Ellie got to play in the leaves and run around for a bit. We attempted to get a picture of the 2 cousins and below is the best we got. Right after we took this, the cover flew over Langston and even Ellie got a little scared.

We came back to the house for the kid's naps and Jonathan and I headed out for an hour of baby-freeness (thanks to Aunt JenJen) at Graeter's for ice-cream. It was good to just hang out with him for a bit and catch up. I needed that. Before Ellie woke up, I got to spend a little one-on-one time with Langston. She's a CUTIE!!! It's so awesome seeing how she is growing and doing so well after all she has been through. Ellie woke up and we hung out and played with the kitties before dinner. Jennifer made a yummy dinner of grilled chicken and roasted vegetables and dessert was a smore pie.

Saturday morning, we ate cinnamon rolls and hung around the house a bit before walking down to a neighborhood park that was GREAT for Ellie's age. The weather was beautiful except for the wind again, but we managed. The park had a playset that was great for Ellie to climb and go down the slide (see video).

Then, Ellie found the swings (which we all played on at some point - even Langston!). She had a fun time having Uncle Yar push her. They even had a countdown that was really cute for him to let her go.

We had some more fun at the park and then headed back for lunch. Jennifer made some Chicken Burritos in the Crock Pot overnight and they were delicious (Weight Watchers recipe that I will be using). We skyped one more time with Jesse before we got on the road to head back. There was lots of traffic in Cincinnati, but we finally got back around dinner time. It was a great trip seeing a part of my family and getting some quality time with them. Langston is adorable and it's fun seeing the cousins together. I can't wait until Langston is bigger and more mobile to run around with Ellie. Plus, I loved having some male influence around for Ellie. Thanks for a great trip, Hardwicks! :)


Lilypie Third Birthday tickers