Awareness update: clutter!

So, about a month ago, while rocking little e to sleep, I was watching documentaries. First it was on chefs, then it morphed to the nature and science of cooking, after that, I watched one on sustainability, and finally on minimalism.  As a pastor’s kid, my family was minimalist to begin with.  We made to with what was passed our way, and my mom was amazing at keeping a clean home while being an artist, juggling three very different kids, and being that sweet (and spicy) pastor’s wife and all the job titles associated with it.

My superhero mom with little e

My superhero mom with little e

Currently, husband and I have been talking for a while about whether we are outgrowing our home.  A family of four in a three-bedroom house (I know, in most metro-areas, we have struck GOLD!  Let’s mention the nearly two backyards we have…), but visiting family and an upright piano has made things, well, cramped.

Enter, “Clutterfree with Kids” by Joshua Becker.  Part-cultish, part-logic, this book has already shed light on the fact that we may (or may not) be living in a perfectly fine sized home.  It may just happen to be filled with clutter.  And our priorities, also, may be filled with clutter.  So this weekend, I decided to flex my beginning minimalist muscles: the fridge.  I filled an entire 10 gallon bucket with organics waste (all out-of-date), two recycling bins and then cleaned out the glass.  What remains is a very organized, only-needed-items space.  If the fridge can look this good, what could happen to the living room? …..basement?

Next step: move the kids together (we are pumping big E on the excitement train!), hold a garage sale (get ready, Saint Paul.  lots of great baby things coming your way!), and de-clutter our little home. Then we can talk about our space and whether we need more of it.

Sustainability

January 4, 2017: So in light of all of the things happening this year, I’ve decided to make choices to positively change my environmental impact- I did some research and found a list that I feel good about, and will post one of my own challenges each week! 

i.e. What can we do in this increasingly environmentally-aware era?  We now have two children, and I would like to leave a good space for them, have them be aware of the impact they have on this earth, and of course, be healthy.  This began as a little research in the 2017 New Year.  My resolution tumbled into weekly facebook posts, which them spun into this page.  Here are the past posts that I’ve made, as a sort of collection of the things our little family is trying to do to make a better impact on this place that we love so dearly.

What are we leaving for them?

 

June 22, 2017: Welp, we did it, folks!  Took the trash out for the third time this summer, and only one bag lives in the bottom of the bin.  The rest we’ve diversified to organics recycling (LOVE that it’s on my favorite section of Grand avenue!) and the big blue recycling bin.  This was the first week that the recycling truck drivers had a temper-tantrum with me and flung the extra two bags that overflowed into our yard.  I guess I found their limit!

Also, excited to start reading my next summer read: “Clutter-free with kids” by Joshua Becker.  Our tiny house is overwhelmed with trinkets, most of them forgotten in a day by the kids.  Wonder how this may affect our family and living in our little home?

More about “Clutter Free with Kids”

June 16, 2017: Bringing awareness to a different place this week: Ella has a genetic issue with her eye turning inward (esotropia strabismus), and so we’ve limited screen time to keep her eye issues at bay, with other pretty positive outcomes. After talking to her pediatric optometrist, he lead us to this website to discuss a family media plan. Pretty interesting info for families of all types when considering when and how to use screen time positively!

AAP Media Family Plan link

Awareness in terms of environment- bamboo toothbrushes! Did you know how many toothbrushes float around the oceans and fill landfills? This company makes sustainable bamboo ones, biodegradable and sold at target! Yahoo!

Woobamboo toothbrushes

Woobamboo toothbrushes.  Loved their caption on the back.

June 9, 2017: Michael Pollan on supporting local agriculture: (farmers markets, CSA, co-ops) “Yes, shopping this way takes more money and effort, but as soon you begin to treat that expenditure not just as shopping but also as a kind of vote–a vote for health in the largest sense–food no longer seems like the smartest place to economize.” (“In Defense of Food”)

June 1, 2017: This week has been focused on our new summertime endeavor: organics (NOT organs!!) recycling! I hold out hope that Saint Paul will one day have curbside pickup for it, but In the meantime, we have our bin and have reduced our trash drastically!

Saint Paul Organics information

May 23, 2017: This week: attempting sourdough bread from a starter! I’m just learning about the benefits of sourdough for your gut and well-being. And “feeding” the starter has intrigued my daughter immensely! Let’s hope the family enjoys the bread, too!

Best pastry sous-chef around!

Best pastry sous-chef around!

A comedian joked about Americans’ complete waste of clean water. Makes me ponder our waste. Anyone else looked into what we could do to help communities who need clean water? http://www.charitywater.org/whywater/

May 14, 2017: One big bucket list item achieved, thanks to my dad and kind husband! We will now plant two magnolia trees along our back yard, next spring they’ll blossom a sweet purple and add more to our little world!

 

My wise owl helping me put the two trees in, mother's day 2017

My wise owl helping me put the two trees in, mother’s day 2017

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April 30, 2017: This week’s focus is technology and unplugging at night so save in wasted energy, but it’s turned into a family ordeal in that we’ve limited/eliminated screen time until the kids are asleep. So far, the result has been less, “I’m bored!” Statements from the 3-year old, way more mess at the end of the day, calmer time enjoying each other and a spirit of play. Save on energy AND sanity!

No screens? Might as well make music together!

No screens? Might as well make music together!

April 23, 2017: Happy belated Earth day! This week’s focus is a fun one: buying local to save in transportation (of my drive and the commute of goods). I continue to enjoy shopping at my local shops to get to know my neighborhood- the hardware store with their sweet knowledge, a baby boutique with creative gifts, this SUPER tiny bookshop run by school librarians, and our local co-o to name my favorites. Can’t wait to get some plants from the farmers market!!

He seems to enjoy the good produce!

He seems to enjoy the good produce!

April 19, 2017: Two great quotes I stumbled upon today: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” Benjamin Franklin. And “The one condition necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

April 16, 2017: This week’s focus- paper. Recycling newspaper and using or recycling all of the paper we come in contact with. Jeffs birthday is coming up, and so I’ll use Ella’s drawings and newspaper to act as wrapping paper. My to-do lists on old envelopes and recycling all of the packaging (and it’s a lot! Cereal, soap boxes, toothpaste boxes). Phasing out paper towels has been a little tricky, but it’s working out quite well!

some SERIOUSLY fun wrapping paper!

some SERIOUSLY fun wrapping paper!

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April 15, 2017: Hung the laundry outside, spread mulch, baked with my daughter with the windows wide open and laughed as the little guy crawled gleefully all over the yard. What an amazing weekend so far!

Nothing better

Nothing better

April 13, 2017: I’m hooked on Netflix’s “Cooked,” and while watching the first episode, I realized our next eco commitment, which we had started thanks to local co-ops. The importance of choosing meat that was given a good life as an animal, preferably locally raised has risen high on my list of priorities. I’m already introducing the family to at least one vegetarian meal a week, but even a glimpse into how corporations treat animals for mass production is enough to make it clear that I cannot support that. Humane treatment is a must if we are choosing to eat meat.

More on Michael Pollan’s “Cooked.” Truly inspiring

April 10, 2017: This week’s eco-focus: recycling! Saint Paul gave us huge single-sort bins, and it wasn’t until we road-tripped this weekend that I realized how set we are on recycling! Boxes, clear lids, the tin foil tops of yogurts, all go in, and this has drastically cut our trash waste down. Next investment is organics recycling (meat and dairy, a drop-off location nearby), then I wonder how little waste we could generate?

We decorated the top to make it more inspiring. Now it fills up 3-4 times weekly!

We decorated the top to make it more inspiring. Now it fills up 3-4 times weekly!

And because I’ve been home with a sick kid: update on un-paper towels. They’re a hit! Ella quickly reaches for them, Jeff loves them as napkins, and our old wet bag from cloth diapers holds the dirty ones between washing. I like sewing new color combinations with each batch, too!

Old diaper wet-bag to hold them in-between washes. Great idea!

Old diaper wet-bag to hold them in-between washes. Great idea!

Buzzfeed video on plastics (now I’m very curious about this CleanPath brand…)

March 26, 2017: Eco-focus for the week:I made reusable bags that turn into picnic plates. Out of oilcloth that will last a lifetime and bring a smile to my face! Less plastic in the trash can!

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March 19,2017: This week’s eco-friendly focus (besides dreaming of a homestead…): unpaper towels! I just ordered plain flour sack towels, will cut them up (thanks to a tutorial on pinterest) and will replace them with the paper towels we currently use A LOT. Even our cloth-diapering days are being recalled, as we’ll use the wet-bag to store them in-between washes! 🙂

BIG hit in the Camozzi home!

BIG hit in the Camozzi home!

March 17, 2017: This week’s eco-friendly approach: simple usability. Ella and I have been making things we normally buy: bread (when not sick), soap, washcloths, drawstring bags…. And now that spring is coming, we’re beginning to plot the vegetable garden and think about how we could jar things for next winter. What do we love to eat? Can we grow it in our backyard plot? Spring break is the perfect time for dreaming up a great little veggie/fruit patch!

Given as gifts within the week (infused with lemon, lavender and eucalyptus!). We may need to make more!

Given as gifts within the week (infused with lemon, lavender and eucalyptus!). We may need to make more!

An easy soap recipe I used. Bought the materials and we were in business!

March 7, 2017: This week’s focus- (and as all teachers would state- in need of a little ‘recharging’ as we head toward spring break) using rechargeable batteries, in my class and at home. To save on dumping and filling landfills with batteries, recharging saves money and waste! (I even got a dock in my classroom, super nifty).

February 25, 2017: This week’s (life’s) focus: them. Focusing on my children. My family. After last week and no doubt a lifetime of scary unknowns, I am only reminded more fiercely to love them and celebrate their stages. Ella’s curiosity found a home with science today, as Eldon squeals at every new discovery. I choose to embrace life around these lovely beings so that their future is full of love.

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February 21, 2017: This week’s efforts at making a change came as a struggle for me. Then yesterday’s bomb threat and my own childrens’ safety made it clear. I called all congress people that I can effect and told them my story. Thanked them for their effort and urged them to push the NSA and FBI to did those responsible for threatening our children and community. I am not Jewish, but have a profound love and respect for the Jewish community. It warmed my heart to see the Muslim leadership step
Up and offer a reward for finding the caller(s).

Love Wins

Love Wins

February 12, 2017: Focus for the week: DOING something about getting out the vote. Thanks to Katie Bee, I’m learning about phone banking. And thanks to Jeff Camozzi for watching the kids, mostly, we can do it while baking bread and sipping coffee (and feeding babies…)

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February 4, 2017: This week’s conservation focus: food. Americans waste more food than any other country, this is no surprise. So with the help of my favorite Mennonite cook book, and my sous-chef, our family is attempting to eat less meat (we don’t eat much anyways), and make food that creates less waste: more home-made, lots of fresh produce, less packaging. And making it together only makes it more fun!

January 27, 2017: This week I’m leaving my environmental list alone and focusing on environment, civics, education and plain morals in the larger aspect. I am grateful for my senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and for my 20 minute commute- more time calling them, I suppose? I believe the enemy of democracy is complacency. Keep calling!

January 22, 2017: This week’s focus on loving our earth a bit more- using environmentally-friendly diapers. In a perfect world, I’d do cloth, but our daycare does not (three cheers for those who do!!). So I’m spending more and testing out brands. Up side? Adorable bicycles and bow-ties on little man’s bum, thanks to Honest company!

January 15, 2017:This week’s crunchy thing our family is doing (my way of protesting these days..): joining a co-op! Mississippi market couldn’t be a friendlier place and they align so well with our eco-friendly meanderings: bringing our own bags and even egg cartons makes it fun. And buying locally is supporting our neighbors and the Midwest. (And have you TRIED farm-fresh milk in a glass bottle???? Amazing!!)

Mississippi Market! Such a happy place…

January 7, 2017: This week’s efforts to conserve- my dad helped me put my outdoor clotheslines up in the basement and I’m hanging laundry. It saves the energy spent on the dryer (and the cost of using it) and it’s been a surprisingly calming activity.(also makes the basement smell good and the dry air dries our clothing out faster than I thought it would!).

January 4, 2017: So in light of all of the things happening this year, I’ve decided to make choices to positively change my environmental impact- I did some research and found a list that I feel good about, and will post one of my own challenges each week! This week? Conserve water by not pre-rinsing dishes. Instead, I’m collecting the water used throughout our mornings and evenings and soaking the dishes in that (along with soap) before tossing them into the dishwasher! In the process, Jeff is calling me “crunchy.” 😜http://www.50waystohelp.com

Ella Mae 10 months

Ella Mae’s 10th month seemed to FLY by!  From April to May, Ella celebrated her first Easter, went to mom’s choir concert, a wedding shower and many walks around the Mississippi river (watching things thaw and plants beginning to sprout!)  She met and LOVED her friend Joanna (who flew in to dance at midwest lindyfest), and she chose her lovey- a very soft white bear that now MUST be in the crib for sleep to happen.  She continued to play (little imp!) and discover (like putting objects in other objects).  She brings us such joy!

Playing with Joanna and a balloon (which she calls "baBA!"

Playing with Joanna and a balloon (which she calls “baBA!”

Ella loves to play!

Ella loves to play!

Neighbor Amy showing her the tulips

Neighbor Amy showing her the tulips

Ella likes grass!

Ella likes grass!

Dandelions

Dandelions

Ella ate new food: quinoa, pasta, bread, avocado, cauliflower, green beans, and asparagus this month!

Ella ate new food: quinoa, pasta, bread, avocado, cauliflower, green beans, and asparagus this month!

Cuddles with mom

Cuddles with mom

Playing with dad in the front yard!

Playing with dad in the front yard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella Mae 9 months

Ella Mae is 9 months old!

She’s a mover!  Ella Mae continues to grow and giggle throughout her 9th month.  She’s pulling to stand and lowering herself (most days), learning to fall (Ouch!) and wants to eat anything in sight.  Still no teeth, but her little gums are quite strong!

Up north with daddy

Up north with the dads

Up north with the dads

Photo-bomb!

Photo-bomb!

Standing...

Standing…

lowering...

lowering…

...and taking a break!

…and taking a break!

 

Ella Mae’s 9th month was full of mommy’s concerts, going up north to a cabin, and spring break with grandmartha!  We saw more snow than we’d want to as it approaches spring, but she stays in good spirits.  (or we do!)  Day trips to the library, local cafes and errands with her nanny keep Ella on her toes.  Oh and we can’t forget playdates with the neighborhood babies!

Time with grandmartha!

Time with grandmartha!

Grandmartha loves to play

Grandmartha loves to play

Walks at the mall

Walks at the mall

Walks at the mall

Walks at the mall

 

Playing at the Swedish American Institute

Playing at the Swedish American Institute

Ella Mae and daddy at music class!

Ella Mae and daddy at music class!

And of course grandmartha needs to bring her to an art museum!  Ella points out the details with her foot.

And of course grandmartha needs to bring her to an art museum! Ella points out the details with her foot.

Sweet times with grandmartha

Sweet times with grandmartha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella Mae: 8 Months

During her 8th month, Ella’s fiery spirit continued to shine.  She even took a trip to her first dance event, Heartland Swing Festival in Des Moines, Iowa!  She had her first stomach flu, which was quite scary, but all recovered well.

She continues to feed herself, loves pinching vegetables and fruit between her fingers, and shoves anything in front of her in her mouth (including her hands).  She makes us giggle daily, and she takes us on many “walks” throughout the house!

Wearing a heartland swing shirt with her uncle Michael!

Wearing a heartland swing shirt with her uncle Michael!

Ella's first swing dance dress (the headband was flung like a frisbee a few minutes into the dance).

Ella’s first swing dance dress (the headband was flung like a frisbee a few minutes into the dance).

cutie pie!

cutie pie!

Ella swam while in the hotel for the dance event in Des Moines- happy baby!

Ella swam while in the hotel for the dance event in Des Moines- happy baby!

ready to throw down on the dance floor in Iowa!

ready to throw down on the dance floor in Iowa!

Ella pinches EVERYTHING!  even prunes!  (though this was the night that she came down with the stomach flu.  Hasn't liked prunes since...)

Ella pinches EVERYTHING! even prunes! (though this was the night that she came down with the stomach flu. Hasn’t liked prunes since…)

Sleepy baby getting better from the stomach flu

Sleepy baby getting better from the stomach flu

What a beautiful little babe

What a beautiful little babe

We continue our walks

We continue our walks

..and play peekaboo!

..and play peekaboo!

..and as we wait for teeth to come in, we gnaw on everything!

..and as we wait for teeth to come in, we gnaw on everything!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella Mae: her 7th month

The challenge of two working parents and a growing little beauty!  It is hard to find the time to keep up, so I will attempt to keep a monthly tab on our sweet girl!  In her 7th month, Ella grew a little bit, said a few new words (and blew many raspberries!), and ate more food!  Nola dog is not too sure about her mobility, which resulted in Ella’s first big boo-boo (a scratch to the forehead).  She also got her passport, ready for some international travel this summer!  She continues to smile, chat away, crawl and walk us around by both hands.

Ella is standing on her own with wobbles for a few seconds at a time, and feeds herself quite messily.  She can pull to stand, which also meant a lower crib.  She wasn’t too sure about that, but got used to it.  She also began to ride in the grocery cart seats, which was thrilling and a bit scary.  Ella’s normal reaction to new things is fear, but then she warms quickly.

so playful in her exersaucer!

so playful in her exersaucer!

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Ella riding in the seat at the grocery store, what an adventure!

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We think she liked the seat at the store. Such independence!

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These eyes spell trouble!

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Ella so wants to stand on her own!

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During one of the weeks when daddy was out of town, we had many cuddles

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goodness, the faces she makes!

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We finally took a walk when the temperature rose to 30 degrees. Blissful!

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Ella loves helping mommy cook- she’s a loud sous-chef banging her pots and lids!

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Ella and her godfather Michael

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high five!

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face grab

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Ella loves pulling at faces

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Michael loves Ella

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OUCH!

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Yet another snow day- after a blizzard tore into town,this is the face that greeted me the next morning. A fun mommy-daughter day ensued!

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Ella Mae can sit up on her own!

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Our neighborhood after another blizzard- Ella has had quite a first winter!

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We took a walk after the blizzard- Ella was not so sure about the white white snow and the cold cold wind

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After the blizzard, we had to change plans to go up north to a cabin with friends. Instead, we went to each others’ homes and played! Ella with Micah

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Micah, a month older than Ella, is not sure how to play with our little girl

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love these looks!

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Right before this, Micah crawled over Ella to get to a toy- she was unfazed.

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Ella Mae: Weeks 30 and 31

 

I am 7 months old!

I am 7 months old!

January is wrapping up, and so is our little 7-month old.  Over the past two weeks, Ella Mae has begun to crawl…or army crawl (marine-crawl, in favor of her daddy?)  Her vocabulary has grown to include “baba” and “mama,” and though I’d love to say that she’s referring to her mother, she’s referring to anything in front of her.  She continues to eat solids, especially loving carrots, apples, pears and chicken!  We have been letting her grab the food, which turns into messy but fun meals.  Our favorite new part of eating is that she now can eat dinner with us, grabbing at her food and snacking at will as we are able to sit down and eat together (“hallelujah” chorus in the background).

I can sit up strongly now.

I can sit up strongly now.

And after school I play with mama!

And after school I play with mama!

We have fabulous conversations...

We have fabulous conversations…

Sometimes she tells me the most surprising things!

Sometimes she tells me the most surprising things!

I also love to stick my tongue out

I also love to stick my tongue out

...and be adorable.

…and be adorable.

Ella Mae LOVES bath time.  She gathers all of the toys possible in her little arms and talks to them.  She also has discovered the joy of splashing and is confused why she gets so wet after.  It’s hard to take her OUT of the tub, but at least she’s clean!

Love me my baths!

Love me my baths!

Don't really love the drying off part...

Don’t really love the drying off part…

Check out Ella Mae’s first crawl!IMG_2623 and IMG_2607 (one of them…).  Should it surprise us that she was going after an iPhone?  Further attempts include getting Nola dog, the vent, and anything within reach.  Everything has been chewed on at this point.  We should own stock in clorox wipes…

The vent!  She plays it like an instrument, snuggles next to it when it's blowing heat, and talks to it.

The vent! She plays it like an instrument, snuggles next to it when it’s blowing heat, and talks to it.

I'm sure she's found lint...

I’m sure she’s found lint…

..and the chimney sweep.... (now removed)

..and the chimney sweep…. (now removed)

...and Nola dog!

…and Nola dog!

Another snow-day this week.  We spent many hours cuddling and snuggling.  Ella Mae has experienced a great first winter!

Snowy home!

Snowy home!

Snow-day snuggles!

Snow-day snuggles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella Mae: Week 29

 

I am 29 weeks old!

I am 29 weeks old!

Ella Mae has experienced her first -60 degree (with windchill, of course) day!  This past week, the governor shut down schools and advised no one to venture outdoors for two days.  Snow day with mom and dad!  She spent her time on tummy time, reading books, sitting up, and trying out all sorts of new foods!

The windows in our home, -40 degrees during the day with the sun

The windows in our home, -40 degrees during the day with the sun

Snow day!  Time in pi's reading books and sipping tea

Snow day! Time in pj’s reading books and sipping tea

Ella Mae reads her board book with mommy

Ella Mae reads her board book with mommy

More books!

More books!

 

..and loves to look at her own face!

She loves to look at her face!

Another fun snow-day idea: play with daddy's computer!

Another fun snow-day idea: play with daddy’s computer!

so fun!

so fun!

Ella met Dee!

Ella met Dee!

Ella now weighs just under 15 pounds and is quite healthy and happy.  She also went to the library with her nanny, helped with laundry, and had many cuddles.  Because of the cold, she got a little runny nose, but recovered quickly (and passed it on to mom and dad!)  This week, she tried peas, pears and chicken.  She also discovered the fun of sticking out her tongue!

Ella Mae can now reach for food and (sort of) stick it in her mouth

Ella Mae can now reach for food and (sort of) stick it in her mouth

Messy!

Messy!

...but oh so good!  Ella Mae likes sweet potatoes and apples.

…but oh so good! Ella Mae likes sweet potatoes and apples.

sweet naps

sweet naps

Ella Mae can hold her own bottle of milk.

Ella Mae can hold her own bottle of milk.

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Playing with peas (not eating them)

Playing with peas (not eating them)

(what a cute smirk!)

(what a cute smirk!)

...and offering them to us!

She’d rather offer the peas to us!

We think she'd rather have what he's having.

We think she’d rather have what he’s having. 

Oh that tongue- we see it often

Oh that tongue- we see it often

Ella Mae is also standing up against other objects.  We have to keep a close eye on her, due to those wobbly legs.

Ella learning to stand

Ella learning to stand

This week, she enters turns 7 months!  Wow!

 

Ella Mae: Week 28

The week of New Years!  Happy 2014!

We still had the week together, as school’s winter break was until January 2nd, 2014.  Ella Mae spent many hours cuddling and playing with her parents this week.  We had a little jet-lag issues with sleeping schedules, but she recovered quite nicely.

This week, Ella Mae went bowling with our friends Maddy and Maia.  She was excited to talk to the nearby bowlers!

Ella Mae and Maddy at the bowling lanes

Ella Mae and Maddy at the bowling lanes

Ella Mae also had play time with Kalen Lavelle.  It is so exciting to see friends’ children growing alongside Ella.  Sweet times.

Ella Mae and Kalen

Ella Mae and Kalen

Though she got many gifts for Christmas, Ella was more excited to play with pots, pans, and the occasional hanger.  Silly girl!

The most exciting toy ever!

The most exciting toy ever!

Continuing to work on her muscles, our little girl sat up often during the week.  We leave pillows behind her, but she rarely nose-dives into them.  She enjoys talking to her toys from her perch, as well as grabbing anything nearby.  She’ll also squeal loudly to the rest of us no matter where we are, expecting us to squeal back equally as loud.  We’ve become a noisy home.

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Ella sitting and playing

Ella sitting and playing

Jeff discovered that she is a great mimic this week.  Watch the clip of him waving his arms, and Ella copying! IMG_2349

Ella continues to chew on anything in site.  Whether it’s bath toys or her new sippy cup full of water, this chewing should usher in those new teeth any day now!

She loves bath time now that she can chew on all of the toys!

She loves bath time now that she can chew on all of the toys!

Ella loves her sippy cup!  We're not sure if she drinks the water or just lets it pool in her mouth, but it's cute!

Ella loves her sippy cup! We’re not sure if she drinks the water or just lets it pool in her mouth, but it’s cute!

The last exciting moment of the week: she’s pulling to stand!  We’re not sure where she’s at with crawling, but Ella began to grab hold of our shirts and pull herself to a standing position.  Once up, she proudly squeals and wobbles.  As an experiment, I set her arms on the edge of the excersaucer.  Check out the video!IMG_2383

Ella learning to stand

Ella learning to stand

Until next week, we’ll keep snapping pictures and loving up our growing girl!

 

 

 

 

Ella Mae: Weeks 26 and 27 (finishing December!)

6-month Ella Mae!

6-month Ella Mae!

What a great two weeks!  Ella Mae enjoyed her first Christmas, her second plane ride, and first time in Northern California!  Other firsts: experiencing a pool, riding in a shopping cart and sitting in a highchair at a restaurant (chicken legs was still too tiny and slid out!)

Ella is now into what WE eat, which is making for interesting meal times!

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She is also sitting up like a pro- reaching for and playing with toys during her playtime.

6 month Ella

So nearly crawling!

So nearly crawling!

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Right before flying out to Northern California to see family, Ella Mae opened her first presents at home.  As we were warned, we found that Ella was much more interested in the wrapping paper than the presents themselves.  Though she did love her new baby doll and talked to it for a long while in squeals.

First Christmas!

First Christmas!

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yum yum

yum yum

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Nola was also interested in her new toys

baby doll!

baby doll!

Ella Mae took her second plane trip right before Christmas to see her grandma Jan, cousin Justin, great-grandmother Nanny and great aunt Sandy.  She was quite a good flier, and received many compliments!  On the way home, she proudly stood on mommy’s lap and delivered a joyful speech to the plane…the other travelers weren’t so sure about that one…

Before taking off, grabbing one quick cuddle

Before taking off, grabbing one quick cuddle

On the plane- already asleep!

On the plane- already asleep!

We arrived to Sacramento and rented a car- before driving another hour or so, daddy and Ella had play time

We arrived to Sacramento and rented a car- before driving another hour or so, daddy and Ella had play time

Kisses!

Kisses!

..and her recent favorite- nose grabs! (ouch!)

..and her recent favorite- nose grabs! (ouch!)

At the hotel, Ella spent lots of time playing with cousin Justin and bouncing in the Johnny Jump-up that grandma gave to her.

Ella Mae and Justin

Ella Mae and Justin

Rolling in bed

Rolling in bed

Johnny Jump Up!

Johnny Jump Up!

Grandma Jan opening her grandmother's brag book

Grandma Jan opening her grandmother’s brag book

All-around cuteness!

All-around cuteness!

Ella also experienced a swimming pool for her first time.  She wasn’t so sure, and clung to us tightly with big eyes.  In her fear, she grew so quiet and attentive, no screams or tears.  We swam every day and by the end she was able to splash and squeal. I think we’re ready for those swim lessons!

Pool time with daddy and grandma

Pool time with daddy and grandma

A scene of the family

The Camozzi family at the pool

Ella conked out halfway through a swim, so grandma Jan held her tight and sang to her

Ella conked out halfway through a swim, so grandma Jan held her tight and sang to her

Ella also experienced sitting in a shopping cart for the first time.  Verdict: not so sure…

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We went to a Christmas Eve service and opened gifts in the hotel, followed by more swimming!

Christmas baby!

Christmas baby!

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After Christmas, we headed to Roseville, CA to see great-grandma Nanny and great-aunt Sandy.  Ella “Elephant” was charming to Nanny and they had many cute moments.  Sandy stopped by and they also played and cuddled.  We ended the night having dinner with Sandy and playing together a little more.  It was great to have family time, and it completely exhausted little bits.

Great-grandmother Nanny, Ella Mae and Jeff

Great-grandmother Nanny, Ella Mae and Jeff

So sweet

So sweet

Cuddles with great-aunt Sandy

Cuddles with great-aunt Sandy

Ella Mae playing with great-grandmother Nanny's walker

Ella Mae playing with great-grandmother Nanny’s walker

Playing with great-aunt Sandy

Playing with great-aunt Sandy

Before we knew it, it was time to fly home.  It was sad to leave the warm California sun, but we had more presents to open when we returned home!  We have many thank-you’s to send to family and friends who made Ella Mae’s first Christmas so special!  Merry Christmas all, and happy new year!

Playing before flying home

Playing before flying home

Opening Papa Mike and Grandma Diana's gifts when we got home

Opening Papa Mike and Grandma Diana’s gifts when we got home

Ella Mae opening a gift...

Ella Mae opening a gift…

...or chewing it...

…or chewing it…

...or climbing on it...

…or climbing on it…

A good first Christmas, I'd say!

Merry Christmas!