Back in the middle of August, Dan had to go on a work conference in Minneapolis. We decided to drive to it so that Ella and I could tag along. Since Dan was going to be in meetings most of the days Dan's mom flew up to join Ella and me. On the way to Minn, we drove up through Milwaukee. We stopped and had breakfast (which was really at lunch time) with the Rabies at one of our favorite Mke eats-The Pancake House. It was so fun to see our friends and drive around the city. It almost made me cry. We had so many good memories there and it was both happy and sad to see them again. We didn't have very long to stay and reminisce because we had to get to Madison, WI and pick up Gayle at the airport there. (A few days before the trip, she was going to use a free ticket to fly direct to Minn, but when she went to redeem it, it wouldn't work that short of notice. So we ended up trying all kinds of plans and the cheapest one was to have her fly into Madison then drive back with us home and have her fly back out of Grand Rapids). Dan and I didn't leave as early in the morning as we had hoped and ended up being really late to pick Gayle up. We both felt terrible. But she was very nice about it and we eventually made it to our hotel late that night.

I was SOOO glad that Gayle came on the trip with us because Dan literally spent all day in his conferences. He left early in the morning and didn't get done until about 7 at night. Gayle, Ella and I spent lazy mornings sleeping in and getting ready then we headed down to the Mall of America for the rest of the day.
The Mall of America
WOW that is a big mall. It took us 3 days to see and shop it all. It was perfect! Basically that was our trip, Dan at meetings, and the 3 girls shopping. Dan was able to come join us for dinner in the evenings, which was nice.

We took Ella to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner one night. That was fun!
Ella, after we first sat down at our table. I love how she's looking at Gayle like "What are we doing?"
Dan and Holly
Back behind us is one of those rock walls where it rains-so we got a few rain splashes on us. :)
These two were the fun-Ella was being cheesy and making faces at us.
They have thunder storms in the restaurant while you're eating. When the "thunder" storms would come through the restaurant Ella got a little scared. Basically "lightening" (the lights) flash, thunder booms and along the rock walls rain falls down. Ella would get really big eyes and look around, and kind of panic a little. She did enjoy watching the animated monkeys and elephants make noise and move around. Plus, she was amazed by all the fish.
She was amazed as long as she didn't get too close-then she would freak out.
In the store they had more animated figures which we checked out:
She did not like this tree.
It talks to you and that freaked her out, she was determined to crawl out of your arms and get away.
At the entrance there was an alligator that swam forward and opened it's mouth like it was going to bite. Ella was not amused by it either.
More freaking and trying to get away.

We did make it up to her though-we took her to the amusement park in the middle of the mall (yes, full out amusement park-roller coasters, the whole deal -in the mall) and let her ride the carousel. She loved it!
This is her before the ride began, she's checking out all the lights above her.
Here she is on the ride-you can't tell but she has the biggest smile on her face!
Ella after the ride is over. She had so much fun she didn't want to get off.
A little side story about this day-While Gayle and I were shopping that day, Ella had a stinky diaper that leaked out on to her shorts and part of her shirt. So being 20 min from the hotel and with an impending dinner reservation, we decided to just go buy her something. We went into the Carter's store and picked out a bunch of fall outfits for her to wear. We figured we could just put her in one of those. Well the one we picked for her to wear that day was a corduroy skirt with a long sleeve shirt to match. We were just finished checking out and rushing because it was time for us to be at the Rainforest cafe when I realized she couldn't wear the long sleeved shirt! She had her cast on and the shirt wouldn't fit over it. Haha! So I ended up going back and finding something that would fit over her cast, and would match her skirt.

This is Ella in our hotel room. Gayle bought her this monkey at the Rainforest Cafe and Ella liked to wear it as a necklace. Notice the bag-she carried it around the room and put stuff in it. The next day she carried one out into the car as her "purse." Gayle and I converted her into a little shopping diva :)

Ella checking out the fountain out in front of our hotel.

We had such a fun trip, Ella was really good for it being a 10 hour car ride-each way. She struggled a bit with the whole change of environment and long days of shopping, but what do you expect of a 1 1/2 year old? I'm super glad that Gayle came, Ella and I really enjoyed her company. I probably would've stayed home and this was a much more fun way to spend the weekend. I wish Dan would've had more free time, but it was fun to tag along with him!

Ella's broken arm

She wore the splint for a week. Then we went back into the clinic and she got a cast. They let her pick what color she wanted to wear. (I narrowed down the choices to pink and purple:) She grabbed both samples. We kept asking her which one she wanted. Finally, she decided on the purple color. So they went about putting it on. She did not like this at all. She kept trying to undo what they were doing to do. Dan was actually working in the clinic, so in between patients he would pop in and see how Ella was doing. She was MUCH worse when he came in the room. She cried harder and thrashed more. Finally they finished. My poor little girl! She was so tiny and she had this tiny little cast! At first she tried to pick at it and pull at it, but eventually she just resigned to the fact that it was there.

She wore the cast for a week, then we went back into the Dr.'s office to have them check it. They decided to take the cast off so that they could get and x ray and see how it was doing. Plus, the night before we gave Ella a bath. As I was waiting for Dan to grab a plastic bag to put around her cast, I filled up the tub with water. Ella was trying to touch the running water with her right hand, and quick as a wink she fell in the tub head first. Cast and all. She was fine, just a little surprised, but her cast was pretty wet at the hand. We blow dried it as best we could then had to call it good. So I was okay with them cutting it off the next day.

Cutting off the cast was "fun". Ella screamed and cried as I held onto her. When the cast was cut through, they broke it in half and pulled the cast part off. She still had the fabric wrapped around it and she went about helping the cast tech pull that off. It was really cute to see her picking at it. She was excited to have that heavy thing off! Of course the amusement wore off fast when we took her back in to get an x-ray. She hates that thing! She screams and cries and tries to get away. It was a struggle between me and a nurse holding her down, but they got the pics they needed. To my surprise, when the Dr. came in after looking at the x-rays, he said she was healed. Her bone was callused over enough that she was able to be cast and splint free. He said that the bones in kids her age heal so fast. If she had been like 7 he said it would have taken at least a month.
Wow! One week in a splint and one week in a cast! She's a lucky girl! We were all happy to be rid of that cast. It was so hard to keep it clean-you know how one year olds eat, imagine that with a cast. ewe. Anyway, we kept the cast. And a few weeks later we pulled it out and set it back on her arm. She must have forgotten all about the experience, because she thought it was funny. She was giggling and acting like it was so cool. I was glad to see that the whole broken arm experience didn't scar her. As for climbing on chairs, that lesson didn't stick. She still climbs up to stand on them. I keep trying to remind her about her broken arm and how she can fall. Oh, I've got to keep my eyes on her, she's a busy girl :)

Broken Bone

Yesterday was going to be a really busy day; Ella and I had the play group to go to in the morning, then there was a ladies luncheon, then I had an eye appointment in the afternoon. Well, it didn't all happen like I had planned. I got up early and got myself ready; then Ella woke up around 9. After breakfast, I quickly grabbed the computer to get an address for the luncheon. While I was doing that I noticed Ella trying to get up on one of the kitchen chairs but she was struggling and couldn't pull herself up onto it, so I hurried to get the address so we could go. Quick as a wink Ella pulled herself up onto the chair and almost immediately fell off the opposite side of the chair. It was almost like one swift movement-up and the right back down. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this movement and when I looked over I saw Ella come crashing down on to the floor. She kind of landed on her left and it bend back behind as the force of the fall made her roll over. My immediate horror and first thought was "Oh my gosh, she just broke her arm." She was wearing a long sleeved shirt that was kind of wide around her arms, so I wasn't completely sure if the arm was bent funny or if the fabric from the shirt just made it appear this way. Ella cried and cried. I kept asking her where it hurt and she would grab her left wrist. Normally, she is pretty easy to console when she's hurt, but this time she wasn't. I kept holding and comforting her and she still cried, I started tearing up with her but knew that wouldn't help her so I held it back. I called Dan and left a message and he soon called me back. He was post call and would be coming home in like 2 hours so he asked if I could wait and have him look at it. He then hung up and went into surgery. I called my mom to ask her what she thought and as I talked to her, Ella stopped crying, but one tiny movement would make he cry again. She finally started wailing again and I decided I couldn't wait for Dan. I called Ella's doctor and they worked it out so I could come right in.
I felt horrible as I drove to the Dr.'s office. My hubby is an ortho resident-aka bone doc. I felt really bad for not waiting for him. But Ella was hurt and it was definitely not a normal hurt. As I pulled into the parking lot, Dan called. I told him I was sorry for not waiting for him. He was so good he told me he understands and that it was not a big deal at all for me to take her to her dr. If Ella was hurt I needed to do what I thought was best. He was really sweet; really concerned about his little girl. I felt a lot better about going to the dr.
We went in and Dr. Dyk checked her out. He saw in the chart that Dan was a ortho resident, as we talked about that he said he totally understood me taking her to someone else. He said he can't do any work on his own kids, it's just too hard, too personal. That also made me feel even better about taking her in. As he felt along her arm he felt a swelling area around her elbow. He had me even feel the non hurt arm and then the hurt one. Definitely a difference. So he sent us the get an x-ray. That was the saddest process. Ella screamed when I layed her down on the table. I had to hold her down and a nurse had too also. Ella was crying and screaming "down" "down." Aweful, I wanted to cry with her. After the x-rays we went back to the exam room where Ella calmed down, and waiting for the results. We were only in there a minute when the Dr. came right in and said "Do you want to see a broken elbow?" I felt my heart break. My poor little girl! He showed me the fracture. Then told me the plan. He'd either have her go see an ortho elbow dr. or send her to the ER where the resident on call would splint her. He told me I could go home since I lived close, and he'd call when he knew where we needed to go. So I took Ella home. Dan came home shortly after we go there, and we talked about what to do. The Dr. called us back and told us the elbow doc was out of town so he'd called ahead to let the ER know we were coming. We headed to the hospital and Dan made a bunch of calls to the residents at the hospital. Anyway, long story short we ended up not going to the hospital but to the clinic where the on call Trama dr. was and he x-rayed her again (the first ones weren't the best views), poor girl wasn't happy about this again, then they put a splint on her. I was out doing insurance stuff and so I missed the xrays and the beginning of the splinting, but I could hear her screaming. Heart breaking! When I got in there, they were finishing up the splint, Dan was holding her and the cast tech was putting on the tape stuff to hold the ace type bandage stuff (Dan would know what it really is). Ella was screaming and tear soaked, she was so confused. She kept pulling on the bandage and tape and saying "sttuuckk" "sttuuckk" It didn't take long and soon she was done. She still wasn't happy and I took her to comfort her. That seemed to help a little. She was more the glad when we left the clinic.
That night she was better. (As you can see by the pic up top) She was in less pain and therefore was mostly pleasant and happy. She still doesn't like the splint, she's trying her best to pull it off.
Hopefully it lasts till a real cast. She struggled a lot last night with doing things. She kept trying to get up when she was sitting on the floor but couldn't figure out how to push herself up with only one arm. She would cry and say "stuck" (now one of her favorite words). They're pretty sure the fracture missed the joint and growth plates so she should be just fine. She goes back next week and they will put a hard cast on her and she'll have that for about a month. So early end of summer for her :( No swimming or water. Bummer. But she's okay, which is great. We appreciate the love and concern we have received from so many people. Ella has so many wonderful people who care for her.

Ella New Clothes

This post is for my mom. Last week we got a package in the mail from her. She sent Ella some clothes that she got for an awesome deal. Ella looked so cute in her little outfit! I said I would post a pic of her, but I couldn't pick just one so here are 2!

I couldn't find the camera so I took these on my phone. I'm glad I didn't wait around to do it; it was super hot and humid that day and after like 2 minutes outside Ella's cute curls fell flat and wet against her head. Gotta love the summer! :)

My Messy Kiddo

March 16th was a sunny, warm day so we took Ella outside and played for a bit. While we were out there, I grabbed the rake and shovel and went to town on a very messy little flower garden in our yard. While Dan and I were pulling all the dead stuff and weeds, Ella decided to help us out. She was quietly playing in the dirt. Next thing we know, we look up and she has a mouthful of dirt! My first though was, "Ewe!" my next was "Go get the camera!" So that's what we did.
I love how she's trying to pull the dirt out of her mouth!
Of course this is not her last attempt to eat dirt. A few weeks later I was weeding that same little flower garden, with Ella of course. She mostly just crawled around and played in the yard, but she did like my little shovel so she came to "help" me dig out the weeds. I was trying to keep my eyes out so she didn't repeat eating the dirt; but geez louise, that girl is quick as lightening. In a matter of seconds she had a handful of dirt and into the mouth it went. Bummer was, dead camera battery so no pics. Well, last Saturday the 15 (May) we were out weeding the disaster behind our garage. Ella was crawling around, playing with the weeds, just having a grand old time. Dan and I were talking about how you would think she would learn her lesson, that dirt doesn't taste good. She sat right by us helping to pull the weeds (really she was just flipping dirt everywhere, but that was fine). She was playing so good, we both thought, "Well, maybe she did decide it was yucky." Nope. A moment later there she is with a HUGE handful of dirt into the mouth, and I mean huge! She couldn't get it out of her mouth it was so much. And of course it instantly turned into mud so it stuck every where. We ended up opening her sippy cup and pouring water out of the side of her mouth to wash it out. It was hilarious. Maybe she learned her lesson now? I doubt it. :)
I thought I would include some other pictures taken in March of my messy little kiddo. She's a cutie!
Cake with a pudding mousse frosting-She left most of the cake and went for the frosting
That little tongue, haha

More Various Pictures

Feb. 20th:
So while we were in Utah in February, Ella had her haircut by a real professional. Her sweet aunt Jodi cut her hair since it was getting long and straggly. She was a pretty good client, she didn't fight Jodi like she does me when I try to cut her hair. Oh well, I guess that's the struggle of a daughter ;)

Feb. 27th:
I feel bad that it has taken me 3 months to get these pictures on here, but better late than never. This is Ella riding the horse that she got from my family for her birthday. She couldn't play with it when we were in Utah because we had to leave it in the box so we could fit it in our luggage on the flight home. She really likes it, she puts her feet in the basket up front so that they don't drag and we can push her around. She LOVES the cheek of the horse because if you press it, it plays music. She'll sit and push it over and over and over and over, well you get the idea :)
This is one of the other toys she got from my family for her bday. She really likes to dunk those balls, because the crowd cheers when she does it. Dan was really psyched about this gift. I felt bad though, right after I put it together she pulled down on the basket really hard and it tipped over and smacked her in the lips. She cried and I felt so bad. I was worried that she wouldn't like the toy because of this incident. But this picture was taken later that day so apparently there were no hard feelings.

Happy 1st Birthday pt 2

After presents it was cake time!!!
This is her big cake that I got from Sam's. Ella LOVES animals so it was perfect for her. Plus it matched the color theme I had going-lavender and pink. (This pic makes the writing look blue but it really is a light purple)

Okay, this is where the picture in my head turned out WAY different than real life. I wanted to make Ella a little 'smash cake' all her own that matched her big cake. So I bought these mini cake pans to make her own 3 layer cake. The cake itself turned out great! It was just a polka dot cake mix, but it looked all yummy and moist.
The look of the cake, on the other hand, didn't turn out quite how I imagined it. But, my sister Kari was able to turn it into a decent looking cake. (No offense to Kari, because this was not her fault at all! She did great for what she had to work with, if it'd have been me I'd have thrown it at the wall in frustration) She is really good at decorating cakes, I wish I had pics of the masterpieces she has made for her kids. The problem was mine-my frosting was terrible! It kept melting everywhere! We tried cooling it in the fridge to no avail. We stacked the layers of cake on each other and got the coat around the cake smooth, but slowly the frosting between the layers started seeping out and making the cake sag and tip. The hearts that she had put on the sides started sliding down the cake and the borders that she piped around the top and bottom spread and kind of melted together. I was imagining a pure white base-with pastel pink hearts and lavender edging. Well it's not quite what I ended up with. I still put the purple Elephant on top(fitting right?!) which was cute. Looking at it makes me laugh; I wish you could see the idea in my head and compare it to the real thing, if you could you'd laugh too.
Anyway here it is :)

Then I thought I would make the cute swirly cupcakes that you see everywhere. Well because of time and bad frosting that didn't happen at all. My sister Jana was able to quickly spread some frosting over them and give them a quick decorating. Not what I imagined but it works right :0)

Despite these issues the cake part was still great!
Here is Ella checking out her cake. I love her scrunchy nose face in this pic!
Everyone singing "Happy Birthday"
Blowing out the candle, well Mom trying to show her how to anyway :)
Mmm, sticking her finger in the frosting at tasting it! Yummy!
Presenting her her very own cake!
She goes for the toy first!
A little taste of the frosting
She didn't really like it. But I don't blame her. It was REALLY sweet frosting, too sweet.
Basically she just kept grabbing chunks of cake and frosting, then shaking her hand to get it off.
Blurry hands="get it off me"
She did that until she had destroyed the cake. It looks like she ate a lot of the cake but she really didn't. She ate like 3 bites, 3 little bites. The cake is spread all over the floor, in her seat, basically everywhere but in her mouth. (Hey as a Mom though, I don't mind that too much. It would've been A LoT of sugar to eat which would've been tummy ache and a LOnG night, so I'm glad ;)
After destruction, she was cool with chewing on the elephant
After a quick bath, she hung out with her cousin Kaytlyn. That pretty much rounds out her party. It was so much fun. It was great to watch her open presents, flip the cake around, ya know the whole thing! I'm glad that everything didn't turn out as planned because it makes it more fun that way. The most important thing is Ella; my sweet baby girl is one! I love her so much and I am so thankful for her!

After everyone had gone home, we were hanging out a little longer and Ella found these little cups my mom had.
We put them on her hands and she looked so confused like "Hey, where are my hands?!"
"Eh, no biggie, this works, I can still eat it this way!"