Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gulf Shores!

Can you tell Ellie is excited to finally be at her "summer home"? She's been asking about it for months! (Probably because we told her that she could open this cool gift - pictured above - from Uncle Joe and Aunt Bel when we got here!) Well, we finally arrived and are getting settled in for our 9 week adventure down in Gulf Shores, AL. So far, so good! This post will mostly be about the girls, though I am planning to post more about the program as things get started! We arrived on Tuesday, May 17th. Yep! Alexa's FIRST BIRTHDAY! Poor little thing spent most of it in the car, but thankfully, she didn't seem to mind. We had celebrated a little the week before and we hope to have another party with students sometime soon!
We are living in a hotel room for the summer. Well, it's actually bigger than that! We have two bedrooms and a small living/eating area. It's worked out perfectly. But here is the funny part. Ellie is getting the room with the King sized bed all to herself! Her bed is pictured above. Joel and Alexa and I are sharing a room with two full sized beds. As you can see, Alexa isn't in the full sized bed but instead in a pack and play in the corner. We rigged a curtain type thing to give her her own space. She won't sleep if she can see us. So, every night and at nap time we pull the curtain and she goes to sleep! It's actually worked quite a bit smoother than I was anticipating! The only catch is that I sometimes have to get ready in the dark in the mornings. Ha! Kinda scary... :)
Alexa is loving her new little home away from home! Here she is playing with some blocks she got from Nana and Papa McCulley for her birthday! Both of the girls LOVE them! We build lots of towers and Ellie is really getting into her letters and trying to spell things...
There is a cute little outlet mall down the road that has a great play area. Most days while Joel is in meetings with the students, I take the girls to go play for about an hour before naptime. Ellie just loves it!
Today was a fun day! We got to go to the BEACH with all of our student leaders! They have been training really hard for the last couple of days since they arrived and have a couple days of training left before the rest of the participants of the program arrive. So, some fun time was built into the schedule today and we all had a great time! Ellie has really changed her tune about the ocean this year. She hated the sand and water last year, but now she is loving it and you can't take your eye off of her for a second.
She got to build sandcastles with the students and they also built her her very own sand chair! She is eating up all of the attention for sure!
Sweet Alexa did great as well! She is going to have the complexion of her mother, so needless to say, I have to keep her lathered up in sunscreen like crazy! We found out that she loves to eat the sand. :/ And actually loves to have her little feet dipped in the water. She just laughed and laughed! She even missed her afternoon nap today but was just as content as could be. Such a little sweetie...
Daddy does SUCH a good job with the girls. Here is Alexa hanging out with Dad. He helped her get her little feet in the water, but it was Ellie who got to go out in the deep part. She couldn't have been more excited! She tried to get Mommy to take her back out there, but I wouldn't go far enough for her liking. Wasn't willing to chance us both going under! Ha!
Here she is posing for a beach pick. Isn't her little suit cute? Gotta love those pink ruffles.
It's going to be a great summer!!! We're so excited for all that God has in store!

Monday, May 16, 2011

So far behind!

Hello Blog World! That's right...I've let myself get over a month behind in blogging. Ugh! When this happens, it is hard for me to get restarted again because I feel SO far behind!!! So...instead of just sitting here feeling overwhelmed about it, I'm going to do an abbreviated version of all that's happened over the last month and just post some cute pics of the girls and then try to stay more on top of things the rest of the summer. How does that sound? :)

So, to kick things off on a happy note. Above is a cute little picture of Ellie. It's become increasingly difficult to get Ellie dressed up cute and get her hair done, as she's become more and more opinionated about her wardrobe and the way her hair is done...or should I say...NOT done. Most days she just wants to wear leggings that she has outgrown and too small of a shirt and she says "leave my hair DOWN, Mom... and don't comb it!" So, the above picture HAD to happen since I got her dressed in an outfit that fit, that matched AND got her hair done! Kodak moment for sure. :) Doesn't she clean up nicely?Now for the not so happy note... our poor Alexa has had THREE ear infections during the 11th month of her short little life. Poor thing! She has been on several rounds of antibiotics and just couldn't seem to kick it. Well, when we went in a couple of weeks early for her 1 year appointment (we had to go early since we were going to be leaving for the summer a week before her big day!) our Pediatrician said that it was looking much better and we're hoping that it stays that way!!! Since her appointment was early, Alexa couldn't get her one-year shots cause I guess they won't count towards kindergarten required shots if they are taken even a day before she officially turns one. I was initially excited about this and thought since it wasn't a shots day, I could pull off taking both girls to this appt. with my by myself. Well, one thing that I forgot was that they send you to the lab to draw blood for that first birthday. I forget what they are testing for. I think they said led levels? Does that sound right? Anyway, it was a pretty traumatic experience for all of us as Ellie was VERY concerned about them "hurting Alexa!" and this Momma was so sad cause I had to hold her in my lap and wrap my leg around her legs and then with my arms I had to hold her one little arm down while a nurse tried to hold her other one still. Well, wouldn't you just know that they blew a vein in the first arm, so had to go to the second. All the while Alexa is screaming bloody murder, Ellie is distraught over what is happening and I'm just trying to keep them both calm. Thankfully, after the ordeal was over, Alexa took a nice long nap and I went to Sonic and got Ellie a slushy and she soon forgot about it all. :) I love that kids are so resilient!

Okay, whew! Got that out of the way! Back to the HAPPY things again. :) Above is a picture of the girls in their cute Easter dresses from Nana and Papa J. We had a wonderful Easter Sunday and while we were sad to not get to spend it with family, we were able to have some of the football players from K-State over for dinner on Friday night and then again for Easter Sunday lunch. Ellie had an Easter egg hunt, which was hilariously fun. Got that one on video! :) We had gotten to spend the weekend before Easter in Iowa with my family and so El got to do a lot of fun Easter things there as well! It's so neat to see her finally beginning to put some of the puzzle pieces together of what Easter is really all about - Jesus...

Alexa finally grew into a cute little outfit that Joel's cousin's wife Mandy made for her! She made matching outfits for the girls and they are SO CUTE! Thank you Mandy! It's actually one of the bows that she will actually keep in! :)

While we were in Iowa, Alexa turned 11 months old!!! She is growing and changing like crazy!!! Since I am posting this SO late, I think I'm just going to post all of the things that she's doing these days with her one year old birthday post! So stay tuned!

I seriously thought these were the cutest monthly pictures with our little "Alexa in a Box"... It's my Grandma Surber's storage footstool, but it made a great toy for kids!!! Kept my girls entertained for at least an hour... :) Above you will see one of Alexa's favorite skills. Waving! If you could hear her, she's probably also saying "Hi-i!" We joke that Alexa makes the HI two syllables. :) It's adorable!

And then these two pics are of Ellie at 33 months!!! She continues to grow up to be our BIG GIRL for sure. The craziest things come out of her mouth all the time! Everyday, I am just amazed at what she says and understands. She is definitely our almost 3 year old going on 16. That little mind (and tongue!) just go a million miles a minute! :)

Anyway, it was a fabulous month.... VERY busy, but a good busy. We're excited to now be safely settled in our room in Alabama! It's been great so far. I promise to post updates about the happenings in Gulf Shores. Love you all! Thanks for bearing with my long absence! I will "try" to do better the rest of the summer!!!