Friday, 12 August 2016

A little snapshot at two and a half!

So, as of Monday Ella was officially 2 and a half! which seems crazy because I've been telling people she's 2 and a half for months!! but now, she really is! and it is just the most fun age! and I wanted to record and write down a few of the things I'm loving about her right now...

her love of role play! She is always making up some cute little scenario - whether it's between her mummy and baby dinosaur playing in the dolls house, or the mummy and the baby duck playing in the bath.  Usually her role plays revolve around ice cream! and the one character will always invite the other one to go to the 'ice cream farm' and then she very politely heads up to the counter with one of the characters and says 'excuse me please...can me have mint coc-cip' and then reels off all the toppings she wants 'sprinkles, oreo bits, cocolate sauce'!! Often her little characters go back for second helpings too!!! so it's safe to say even her make believe scenarios are influenced by her sweet tooth!

As well as being all about the ice cream still, she's now decided she loves milkshakes! She never used to be a fan before...but after trying a few in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago she is hooked! My mom and I ordered a bounty cheesecake one to share at Artisan Cheesecakes but did we get a look in? no! when I did eventually get one sip Ella said 'excuse me please, me need a little bit more milkshake'!!! 

She also LOVES stories! especially made up ones by mommy or daddy.  Every night before bed we ask her who she wants to tell her a story - and that is literally the highlight of her night - being told an imaginary story! When she really enjoys one you've told she will request that one for several nights following but will often change the situation slightly so she'll tell me she wants the one about the little boy and the crocodile and the ice cream (noticing a theme here?!) but one night instead of ants eating his ice cream (which he drops on the floor) she will ask for owls to come along and eat it! or sometimes she'll chime in during the story chipping in with her own storyline adding to mine! 

As well as her made up story, we also read an animated scripture story before bed.  It amazes me how at 2 and a half she takes it all in, some of the stories are pretty complex even when I break it down into language she can understand! When Naaman went to wash in the river Jordan 7 times to be healed of his leprosy, I explained that he had 'owies all over his body'.  A few days later she was doing something risky that I told her not to do otherwise she might get an owie, and quick as a flash she piped up 'like the man who had owies all over his body and he had to wash in the river because God told him to'!!! She can also retell the whole stories of Jonah, Moses and Daniel (a particular favourite for her) because she has these cute little bible sticker books from Granny that we have been reading to her most Sunday's during church for months and she seems to know the stories inside out now!

She LOVES to sing! The other day she was meant to be going down for her nap, but she was taking a while to fall asleep as she was too busy chatting away - I was just about to speak to her through the monitor to tell her firmly it was time to go to sleep when all of a sudden I heard her singing 'Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam' and 'Follow the Prophet' two of the little primary songs we sing at church! Of course, my heart melted and I couldn't tell her off while she was singing a song about Jesus! Along with her love of singing is her love of dance - her new fave is dancing along to Pokemon - it's a half dance/half jump/stomp around the lounge! She watches an episode before bath time and she sometimes tries to get Milo to join in 'come on Milo - dance with me, me love to dance'!! I think the 'jump' is her signature move!!

Despite her speech coming on in leaps and bounds, and her literally chatting non stop from the moment she wakes up until when she goes to bed (wonder who she gets that from?!) there are still some words that she doesn't pronounce correctly, and some of them I just love! like:
cu-pup-er (cucumber) 
haygroup (playgroup)
haimsburys (Sainsburys)
mint coc-cip (mint choc chip - her fave ice cream flavour)
kap-pup (ketchup)
shishers (scriptures)

Daddy asked her the other day what she wanted to do as a job when she is older, and he told her what he did and what I do...and she said she wanted to 'run around lots and lots'! which sums up the little ball of energy she is these days! 

She is also SO helpful! She always wants to be involved.  We often get her to set the table before dinner, a job she takes very seriously, and we also get her to empty the cutlery container from the dishwasher into the cutlery drawer which she loves.  She loves to help daddy with the gardening, and if ever I say I have to go put dinner on or make lunch straight away she's going 'me put dinner on with you, me help make lunch'!! Often, the tasks I am going to do involve chopping things up with knives or things she can't really join in and assist with so she makes a great little 'bin lady' running back and forth taking my rubbish to the bin! saying 'me bin lady' as she goes!!

It's also all about ghosts just now! We went to Floors Castle last week, and they had this cute little room trail...

 where you had to find an animal in each room of the castle for the armed with her clipboard Ella would march into each room and when the members of staff would ask her what she was looking for (expecting her to say an animal) she would answer 'ghosts'!!! much to their surprise every time! They would then tell her there aren't any ghosts at the castle, but she wasn't having any of that and off she'd go peeking behind curtains or knocking on closed doors trying to track them down!

Along with her love of ghosts comes a love of Abbey's...

and we're certainly not short of those around here - she likes looking in all the little nooks and crannies trying to find the ghosts!

These days she always wants to be hanging off of something...

or balancing on anything...a beam, a wall, a kerb! I have a feeling gymnastics is right around the corner for her!

and she's still all about monkey...

or both monkeys! She has now officially named them 'oo-oo' and 'ah-ah' and although she doesn't carry them around everywhere like she used to they are still firm favourites at nap and bedtime along with the rest of her monkey brood (apparently she has 13 - she loves the number 13 right now, she actually has about 9! but is always being gifted more so she may well have 13 soon enough!)

Also, this was her at the garden centre this morning - riding on her favourite ride, and just as I took this picture she leant over to monkey and said 'okay gorgeous'?! 

She is also still all about the water, whether she's throwing stones into a fountain...

or dipping in and out of the ocean...

or cooling off in a water sculpture on a hot day! I have a feeling this water baby won't be giving up her love of water anytime soon! 

Ella Bella - you are still the happiest around! and your big smile brightens my day! You are so eager for the future...for dressing up as a minion for Halloween, for throwing a snowball with mommy and daddy in the winter, for your 'paw patrol' birthday party when you turn 3 (next Feb!!) but I'd just like the present to slow down a little so we can enjoy each and every moment with you as you are growing up way too fast for my liking!


Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Gran and Gramps come to visit the Borders!

Back in 2014, when Ella was just 3 months old Byron's Gran and Gramps came to visit from South Africa.  We had a super fun week with them! They loved meeting Ella for the first time and being there for her special blessing day at church, but obviously Ella didn't remember much about it! and so we were very excited when they came to spend another week with us this year! 

They also timed it impeccably and managed to be here for the only whole sunny week we've had so far this year!! I kept saying they had brought the South African sun with them! So we got out and about each day soaking up the gorgeous weather, showing them the sights and just enjoying spending time with them! 

I had to do a bit of explaining before they came about who they were to Ella, and so I was trying to explain Ella's different Granny and Grandad's and how they were her Great Gran and Gramps and were called Bill and Flo, somehow she really picked up on the 'Flo' and so for half of their visit she called them 'Gramps and Flo' and the rest of the time she called them Granny and my 'Gamps'!! Either way was pretty cute! 

After picking them up in Edinburgh, we made a quick pit stop at Ella's fave - Ikea - and introduced them to the delights of the pull your own ice cream cone machine! 

and then it was home to play in the garden!

On the Monday, we awoke to gorgeous blue skies and so we headed to Peebles - one of our fave Border towns! 

It was a beautiful day to walk down by the river! 

and Ella was especially delighted at another opportunity for ice cream - especially when it's blue!

She also enjoyed having a larger audience than usual at the playpark! 

Her face is so funny in this swing pic!

Peebles - you are so dreamy! 

We headed to Kailzie Gardens, where we stumbled upon this giant apple reserve.  Ella wanted to eat them all! 

Admiring the alliums - my fave!

Smiles and cuddles with Great Granny!

Amazing views in every direction! 

I had to look up as we walked through the woodland and snap this! It is so rare we get uninterrupted blue skies here, and it makes my heart happy!

I was in love with this cute little bridge!

Gran and Gramps being great sports at the park after Ella ordered them on to the see saw! She's getting ever so bossy these days, but they were only too happen to oblige! 

Ella can't get enough of sand so was loving this giant sandpit and got stuck in to make some sandcastles.

I love this shot! Ella and her fun loving great grandparents that were always game to join in with everything!

The next morning Ella went off to playgroup in Coldstream so we picked a picnic lunch and stopped in at The Hirsel after picking her up.  It was another amazingly sunny day and it is always so pretty there by the water! 

That evening we headed to Scott's View...

because who wouldn't love views like this! 

...well apparently Ella!! I guess she has a limit for how many times she can be photographed! duly noted!

The next morning it was all smiles again at Melrose Abbey - back in her happy place, hunting for ghosts!!

She happened to bump into a little girl visiting from Australia, who we nicknamed her dungaree twin! They were so cute with their matching dungarees and pink trainers, and they were both the same age too! The little girl was playing with her mummy's audio tour device pretending it was a camera.  Ella came and asked me for her camera! (I hadn't taken the audio device knowing full well I wouldn't get to pay attention to it with Ella to run after!) so I gave her my phone and she was quite happy to pretend with that! 

They were too adorable together! Ella kept saying 'let's play chase' to her!! 

She was also especially happy to spot the pig on the roof of the abbey, which is one of the things they tell you about on the tour.  I told her we could climb the tower to go up on the roof - I failed to tell her we wouldn't be able to get to the exact spot of the pig, and so she wasn't impressed when we reached the top of the abbey and the pig was out of reach!!! 

but when there are a zillion stones to play with you forget what you were crying about in the first place pretty quick!

All smiles with Gran and Gramps!

We always pop across the road to the Harmony Garden after visiting the Abbey, because it's just too pretty - hello lupins! 

I can't get enough of this holding hands pair! 

Our last stop was at Abbotsford House where the rhodo's were in full awesome bloom! 

and again my heart was filled with Lupin loving in the walled garden area! 

Ella amused herself by doing running races across the lawns! 

with the promise of a toe dip in the river after we were done with all the walking.

Our little naturist had to go full hog and wanted to go all the way in! (these days she's all about 'being naked' as much of the time as possible! which doesn't always bode so well in a Scottish summer - because aside from this awesome week of amazing weather, it has been more like winter around these parts!)

My buttercup baby!

More thrills in store at the playpark with Granny! 

We rounded off our amazingly sunny week with a BBQ - what else! 

and yet more ice cream - Ella couldn't believe her luck! 

We said our sad goodbyes to Gran and Gramps on the Saturday morning, we made a quick pitstop in Jedburgh to show them the beautiful abbey there too - Ella was already asking to look for ghosts! but it was on to Newcastle where we dropped them at the train station.  Ella was most disappointed when we got to the platform and she realised she wasn't going on the train too! Shame!

It was such a fun filled week, and we cherished these times with Gran and Gramps as now they are back in South Africa and it will be at least another couple of years before we see them again.  Grateful for all their help - they even were able to help us out and babysit one evening when we had to attend a meeting at Ella's nursery school, and Ella still talks about the time they babysat her and fed her egg for dinner! it must have been one memorable egg! By's Gran mended all his trousers that needed alterations, his Gramps helped him make a bird table for the garden he'd been wanting to do and they helped pretty up our garden too, and as if they weren't cool enough already as evidenced by all the park playing they did and ring-a-ring-a-roses singing and playing with Ella - they even stayed up til midnight playing Settlers of Catan with us! Not an easy game to follow, especially when you're in your eighties but they were quite the gamers! We were definitely sad to see them go!