Thursday, July 14, 2005

Just Playing Around

It's so interesting and fun to watch Ellie grow each day in her abilities. I've heard parents talk about this, but you really need to see it one day at a time with the little girl you love so much to appreciate it. Ellie has just started playing with her toys over the past few days. She lays on her purple elephant (thanks Ruth!) and has her animals hovering over her. She still only has limited control over her limbs, but she seems amazed at her ability to bat and kick her stuffed animals and watch them move. Of course, sometimes she still bats herself in the head -- we think that's unintentional. :-) Click on the picture above to see the exciting video!

You can even see her little outbursts of frustration (or is it joy?). One of our development books tells us that the (small) increase in crying that we see with Ellie is partially due to the growing mismatch between her mental growth and her inability to interact with the world the way she wants. It certainly seems like there are times she is "talking" rather than crying in some of her sounds.

But even when she's busy playing, she's never too occupied to smile for her daddy. Watch the (short) video.

The picture to the right is for Aunt Doyla so she can see Ellie in the adorable jellies she got for her. (She likes 'em, Doyla! Thanks!) She's all gussied up in her Sunday dress for church last week. As you can imagine, it's hard for services to get going as the whole congregation gathers around to admire Ellie. She usually does really well in church, paying attention to the sermon and everything!

Of course, like all of us, sometimes she nods off...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Garden Pests

One of the things we enjoy is seeing lots of bunnies as we walk the winding paths of Durham. I believe Crystal once saw 17 on a mile long walk to the doctor. It's difficult to catch a picture of more than a cotton tail hopping off into the distance. But cute as they are, when a couple of my butternut squash seedlings disappeared one week — I had to dig in the dirt to even find a root remaining — my British friends unanimously pointed the finger: rabbit. The next day I caught a shot of this particularly guilty-looking rabbit trying to lay low in the grass. Hmmmm...

But my friend Mike said he strongly suspected snails and slugs. With a note of urgency he said to get some slug bait and put a perimeter around my garden. Being hesitant to sprinkle poison around casually, I've been trying some more organic approaches — egg shells, covering the plants at night, and going on evening snail hunts. Well, I think I've had enough. First off, you have to wait until about 11pm before it's dark enough for them to start coming out. And when I do get out there, I find not a few snails here and there, but entire herds, wandering the range of my garden, stuck to any ol' (formerly) green thing they can find. I collected them up by hand and was throwing them in a can of water (thankfully snails have built in "handles" to pick them up by....blech). But one can was full so I covered it up with another can and started to collect yet another can full. By the time I filled that one up, the rascals had colluded to knock the covering can off and escape en masse.

Gimme that poison.

On a more serious note, thanks for all the words of concern about our safety in light of the recent terrorist attacks in London. We're over 250 miles from London. But having said that, these bombings touch home for Britons and those of us who live and visit here. Nearly everyone here has been to London at one time or another and has traveled on the tube. Many people have been through the attacked stations many times and know them quite well. In a way it was a "close call" for large portions of the population. I'm sure those who are most directly affected will greatly appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Get Me Out Of This Thing!

Now this is interesting

Hey! What happened to my arms?

Get me outta here!

Ellie has a bit of a love-hate relationship with being swaddled. She is very active with her arms and legs, which means she's good at kicking and throwing off any covering we put on her. She has not really liked being constrained, though Nana was always encouraging it as comforting. But she could escape from most any normal blanket with Houdini-esque skill. Enter the Miracle Blanket (thanks Ron and Sue!). It has pockets that hold little Ellie's arms and legs, and it's long enough to wrap around her enough times to get a good hold on her. She absolutely loved it last night and slept peacefully and contentedly. (We chuckled when looking at her though — does she look more like a burrito or a caterpillar?)

Well tonight she wanted none of this swaddling nonsense, as captured in the sequence of pictures above. I think it will be back to her sleeping bag tonight, but who knows what may happen tomorrow?