Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Back to the Blog!

I think this was my longest absence from the Blog!  I can't believe it has been nearly 2 months since the last entry, but it has been a busy 7 weeks filled with change and new adventures. 

Our baby girl in the belly is doing great!  I am 24 weeks along (only 4 months to go)! Specialists have been monitoring her heart every week and everything looks and sounds normal so far.  My uterus is measuring on the small side so tomorrow we have another ultrasound to take all of baby girl's measurements again to see how she is growing in there.  Hopefully she measures up :)!  Our list of names is growing along with my belly.  So far we have Lily, Emilie, Claire, Mary, Kate... or something really southern perhaps like Charlotte or Savannah.  Clint also likes Lindsey because it is his mother's maiden name and the side of the family that he takes after, but I am not so sure about that name yet.  We will see :).  We have a few more months left to decide.  

Here is the belly shot at 24 weeks from Sophie's perspective...

and at 20 weeks...

Ella has celebrated many firsts since her first birthday.  She has definitely entered the "toddler" phase and is always finding new ways to surprise me and keep me on my toes :).  The biggest news is...    

Ella took her first steps!

On the eve of her first birthday, Ella shocked us all by taking her first few steps. About a week went by before she was brave enough to try again, but with every step she gained new confidence and she was walking across the room in no time.  

Just starting out...

Accomplished walker...

And forget riding in the stroller now that she has figured out how to walk.  She would much rather push the stroller.  What a big girl she is!

Ella got her first big boo-boo...

Of course, quickly after walking came climbing.  We had a cooler sitting on the kitchen floor that needed to be emptied out.  Ella spotted it, climbed on top, and dove off of it head first into the wood floor all before I could get from the kitchen sink to where she was across the kitchen.  I felt like it happened so quickly yet I was moving in slow motion just watching in horror.  She got a big lump on her forehead and a nasty bruise.  You can barely see what is left of the boo-boo on her forehead in the picture below, but I had to document what I am afraid will be the first of many boo-boos for miss Ella Rose.  She wants to climb and conquer everything! 

Ella said her first "word"... "uh-oh"!

Her first sound was a dog bark.  She is repeating many sounds, but not forming words yet.  She signs milk, eat, more, and please and points and screams to try to communicate everything else.  She started saying "da da da da" while pointing at her daddy just the other day.  I'm sure that will become a recognizable "da-da" soon. 

Ella ate dirt...

Oh yes...I look guilty and I am guilty.  I ate dirt.

Ella cleaned the floor...with a box of baby wipes :)

Actually, she loves to clean everything which will be helpful around the house someday!  Ella does not like messes.  She doesn't mind making them, but she has to clean them up immediately or screaming will ensue.  She wipes her place at the table clean, her hands and face, picks up her toys, and she even picks the crumbs up off the floor and brings them to me.  

Ella was recently diagnosed with sensory integration disorder which explains her failure to gain weight and some of her special behaviors we are starting to see.  I guess her brain is not able to regulate certain information it receives from the body. Sometimes it sends the wrong messages like "you are full" instead of "you are hungry" so she refuses to eat.  Her brain also overreacts or under reacts to certain things like touch, sound, or movement.  We have done one Occupational Therapy session so far and plan to schedule these on a regular basis next year.  Ella is a little young yet for therapy to have a great impact so we are going to hold off for a little bit.  I am slowly learning more and for the most part just adjusting her surroundings to avoid the major meltdowns.  Ella has started to gain some weight and at 14 months she is now 18 lbs. 3 oz.!  Ella's uniqueness can present some challenges, but she is just as precious as ever and I love watching her gain more understanding about her world.   

Sophie has also started some new adventures of her own.  She is enjoying her first year of school at home and a new dance class.  We are planning to sign her up for an art class soon as well because she LOVES to draw, paint, and create!  She is very smart and talented yet she struggles with perfectionism and she is very hard on herself.  She gets frustrated if she can't write a letter or a number perfectly the first time.  This has been my greatest challenge so far with homeschooling.  I have always been very encouraging towards her, but I am a struggling perfectionist myself so I understand her heart on this.  Sophie is still very playful and full of energy.  I hope she always loves to twirl around the house and tap into her uninhibited imagination!

Here is one of Sophie's new dance moves...

Super Sophie...

Sophie playing the piano...with a little help :)

Clint and I managed to carve out some time for just the two of us to celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary.  My parents took care of the girls for 4 days and 3 nights so we could take a trip to Savannah, GA.  We had the best time and fell in love all over again.  What a romantic and beautiful city!

Our Savannah trip...

This square became famous for it's role in the movie Forrest Gump. Forrest sat on one of these benches when he shared that unforgettable wisdom with the world..."Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get."

Clint pretending to be Forrest :).

That brick building in the background is the Foley House Inn where we stayed.


Here is the church...

...now that is a steeple!
He may look small in this photo, but he is strong (and a little silly too)!

The spanish moss was everywhere and so beautiful during the day. It was a little spooky at night; however, especially when we learned that Savannah is known as one of the most haunted cities in the US.

Yes, we were hanging out in a cemetery, but in the daylight...it was so peaceful.

These vine covered doorways to hidden paths and incredible iron works could be found on every street. There is so much charm and character in Savannah!

I know it looks like the roses are from the horse, but they are actually from 
my loving husband :). Thanks honey!

I guess he didn't want to get too close :).

Our private horse-drawn carriage ride at sunset.

Our romantic anniversary dinner.  He is so cute :)!

We climbed all 178 stairs of the Tybee Island lighthouse on our last day...woohoo :)

The view from the top...

Finally made it to the beach...

... just in time for a sunset.

The parlor of the Inn we stayed at. We love to travel B&B style. We love the stories behind each place and the homey feel.

Me and Clint and the roses again.

This was my first bouquet of roses from a boy so I had to take a few pics :).

The Mercer house from the true story and book/movie about it, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."

Words can not describe...this photo could not capture the beauty of this place!

Can you hear the opera singers in the background?  
This was the grandest fountain I have ever seen.  

Savannah was amazing, but the best part was spending some quality time with the man I love and then coming home refreshed to lots of hugs and kisses with the girls. Good times for the Halsted homestead this summer!