Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ella, this is summer!

Today I introduced Ella to some of the best summer vacation has to offer. This morning we went down to see a free movie at the North Hills cinema with our cousins. Do all movie theaters offer free weekday 10am shows in the summer? Mine did growing up and I was happy to learn that they do that up here too. What a great thing! The only problem was the choice of movie . . . Mall Cop? Come on folks! Not a kids movie. But since we had no cash invested, we just bailed and went back to Jenny' house to watch the Princess and the Frog. Fun. And made me want, for the first time, to visit New Orleans. We have been having a lot of fun with our cousins this summer. Here's a shot of some painting we did last week.

Then this afternoon, we hung out at my other friend Jenny's pool with some fun girls from work. We had  really good time and Ella loved swishing around in the water. I was actually kind of glad it was cloudy today too because it was good for a morning movie and it allowed Ella to wear her ADORABLE swimsuit without getting a sunburn.

Lazy morning with a movie and family? Lazy afternoon at the pool with friends? Summer is so lovely.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Baby style

Amazingly enough, I have carved out a little bit of sewing time over the past week. I just love my new machine and ever since my patternmaking class, I have been dying to try to make some of the new designs that have been rattling around in my head. These new designs have one important characteristic. They accommodate breastfeeding. For any pregnant ladies out there who believe that once the belly is gone you are home free in terms of wardrobe, let me gently warn you that this is not true. Breastfeeding is an issue. But just think of it as another excuse for a few pretty new things. (Like maybe a dress from Live*Lovely? ; ) ) Anyway, I'm happy with this design because it has elastic down the two front bodice panels, so they don't get stretched out when you have to pull them aside several times a day. However my pattern does need a bit of tweaking before I put it up on the shop. ("tweaking"--doesn't that remind you of You've Got Mail? Love that movie!) I'll show you the final version in a day or so hopefully.

AND . . . here's cutie miss Ella sitting up tall on the table. She likes to wear her bib jauntily off to the side when she's being a daredevil.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Today was Ella's first Sunday in the nursery at church. Yes I was a crazy camera mama taking pictures of her there. But now we can all benefit. : )

 Notice how Paul labeled her right shoe "McCall" with masking tape. She also got a more official label from the nursery workers you can see to the left. : ) She seemed to have a great time. She was laying on a boppy pillow under a little activity gym when we came back, no tears in sight, and smiled huge when she saw me. Also, I got to wear a little lamb bracelet to identify me as Ella's mom, which felt as significant as the first time I had on scrubs or my safety patrol badge back in 5th grade. I've always seen it as the true badge of motherhood at church. : )

 Handy that it matched my dress eh?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grannies Panties and the couch

Another HOT but fun saturday going on! Today we took Ella to our favorite secondhand shop in Durham, (Everything But) Grannies Panties. We have had so many great finds there--looking around the living room I can see 6 things we have picked up from there over the years. Today was no exception, I got the cutest little throw pillow for $1.50. (Neglected to take a picture of it, sorry.) : ) Here we are in the store.

If you go there, be advised, don't let the cats out.

You can't claim ignorance on that.

Once we got home, we practiced sitting on the couch while watching the USA and Ghana play.

Pretty fancy huh?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More about bibs

We are learning all about wearing bibs and have found a couple of things. #1. Not only are bibs good for protecting clothing, they also make excellent teethers. (Ella found that one out--I never would have suspected!)

However, there is a little problem with bibs. They also make really good blindfolds. Ella is able to flip her bib up over her face, but can't get it back down. I keep hearing these little concerned squeals and run over to find her with her little face hidden behind the bib. However, I think even though she still can't get the thing off her face, she finally resigned herself to it, because this is how she fell asleep.

I've also heard that when babies first learn to stand holding onto things, they can't get back down by themselves until they fall. What a lot of work they have to do to get those motor skills down! Poor babies.

Did I mention that Mama loves Ella?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

So, so? How do you like the new look?

Paul helped me put all this together. I am sooo thankful for a husband who knows his way around computerland. Isn't it pretty? More functional too--now you can leave comments even if you don't have a google account. Nice.

It appears I have developed a bit of a blogging habit since the new star of this blog was born. I just love being able to share what we are up to with friends and family who aren't here with us, and I love that my archives are turning into the easiest baby book ever. So I thought I would make my blog look cooler . . . and enter a little bloggy contest.

There's a registry called where I went to find the mommy blogs I read. It is so great to hear about other people's experiences and see all their cute little baby pictures. And I thought I would put my blog up there too to share what we've got with anyone who wants to hear another story. They gave me a nice little button to put on the side of my blog. See it? Below my picture to the right? If you click on it, I get a vote, and the more votes I get, the closer to the front page I get, and the more people will get to meet me and Ellie-belly. By the way, there are some really great blogs on the site. If you like that kind of thing, click through a little.

Thank you and good night!

Little sack of sugar

Ok, I just found the most PERFECT song. I thought it was by Elizabeth Mitchell, and I do love her version which is here (Eloise gets to share the spotlight with Ella today):

But when I looked for it on youtube, I found out it was by Woody Guthrie! Who knew!? Not me anyway. He has a whole album of "Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child" and they are so cute and perfect. Other examples are "Washy Wash Wash Warshy Little Tootsy" and "Hey pretty baby."  The way he sets the sweetest little baby talk to music is genius! I love it! Go check it out! 

Little sack of sugar I could eat you up!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Do I dare try to move her?

Ella is upset.

Problem with infant tylenol--it is hard to give to a baby who is yelling WAAAAAaaaahh! It drips right out. And I'm willing to bet my baby isn't the only one who yells WAAAAaaaah right about the time she is needing infant tylenol. Poor kiddo. All signs are pointing to teething right now, but it is early and I don't see any evidence in her mouth. I wish she would feel better . . .

At least the little bumblebee on her bottom is happy.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cutie patootie

Look what I caught Ella doing today! She figured it out all by herself! 

Also, some gratuitous cuteness for you:

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Sometimes I worry about being too happy. Does that sound cheesy? I don't mean it that way. I just always think back to a teeny bopper book I read as a 13 year old that started describing this perfect girl's life so deliciously in the first chapter. I was there--I was her vicariously. Then in chapter 2 the plot started to fall apart, of course. A perfect life is not a good story. But I was so disappointed, and somehow that feeling sticks in my head as the best example of my constant suspicion that makes me think of happiness in life as the set up for the problem in the story. I need to pray about trusting God more minute by minute so I can enjoy whatever happiness comes my way and not ruin it with imagining the upcoming conflict that is probably not the Author's intent, while knowing that if he does have a 'good story' in mind, he'll bring me through to the redemptive ending.

Anyway, right now, we are so happy.

Ella is learning to hold things! I had to help her grab on to her bunny, but she really enjoyed waving it around:

And Ella took an awesome long nap yesterday that allowed her Mama to play with the SUPER new sewing machine. I LOVE the new sewing machine! Some of the tunics have been getting overcast seams and very fancy neckhole stitching. Hopefully the kids who get the practice fancy ones won't be tempted to vanity. ; )

Also yesterday, Ella sat and looked at blogs with me for a while yesterday. How fun!!!

 Today is a sun-shiny saturday. We've been to the farmer's market, Ella's wearing a super dress and fancy bow, and we have sewing and gardening planned for the afternoon. Sigh and smile.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Janome, yeah you know me!

Well, today I got an unexpected happy surprise. A brand new sewing machine that is soooo cool! It came about like this. I am making tunics for VBS. They are really easy and I am really happy to be able to do something I really like and help out at church as well. But, alas, my sewing machine has gotten pretty tuckered out with all of the dressmaking and pattern-making class and everything else I've put it through over the past couple of years. The stitches it was making today were suddenly getting longer and longer and longer--like an inch long! Not effective. I called the help line and they told me it probably needed some maintainance done. So I took it to the Singer store and the man told me it would be almost more than the machine was worth to fix it, and there happened to be a fancy pre-owned machine in perfect condition that I could get for a great deal, and after a little chat with Paul, I was the new owner of a cool Janome machine that is so fancy and has a computer and does all these crazy stitches and that the man promised was really reliable even though it has a computer. I can't wait to try it out. These tunics aren't going to know what hit them! : )

Here is a picture of me telling my old machine thank you for her service. (Taken from Paul's phone in the store.)

 And drumroll please . . .

 Here is my fancy new sewing machine! I am so excited!

My little handy-girl

So this morning one of the things on my to-do list was to call and get the immobilizer part for our beautiful crib that unfortunately has drop sides and is under recall. (Paul made the good point that we should probably keep Ella in her Moses basket in the crib until we fix it.) That was done and I decided to watch the video of how to do the repair. Meanwhile Ella was fussing to be picked up. When I put her on my lap, she was absolutely mesmerized by the lady putting the crib together. Intently looking and quietly waving her fist.

Wow, I thought! She likes TV. Let's try something more appropriate for her like Raffi (my absolute favorite children's musician). As soon as I put that on, she watched about 5-10 seconds and started squealing and crying. Doh! Let's hope she was just tired of sitting there and not really preferring an instructional furniture assembly video over happy folk music! I refuse to put on assembly instructions for long road trips!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ella's new digs

So yesterday Ella turned 3 months old and I finally finished her nursery. Just in time for the last finishing touch--her! She slept in her crib in her room last night for the first time. She didn't seem to mind the change. It was a very average night.  I was glad to check in with her when she woke up at 3. The she slept again til 7 and then of course I had to keep her in bed with us after that. : )

Here is a picture of where Ella had been sleeping until last night:

And here is a picture of the last non-Ella finishing touch that I finally got hanging up in her room yesterday:

A little shelf with E L L A mugs hanging from it. Cute huh? Here's the final product:

I like it and Ella seems to like it too. She was looking all around at her birdies and her wreaths and even the blankets hanging from the crib. She's very interested in looking at things in general. Maybe an artist in the making? Does everyone think their child is an artist in the making? Guess we'll have to see!

While we're on the subject of Ella's space in our house, anyone want to see where she hangs out mostly when she's downstairs? If not, close your eyes, because I am about to post a picture.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alley oop!

How about that? I was giving Ella some tummy time this morning and was so impressed with the way she was holding her head up today when all of the sudden . . . over she went! I've been waiting for her to roll back to front any minute now for a couple weeks. She is so close! But I think this front to back one definitely counts as her first roll! And I love that I just happened to be there with my camera to capture that surprised expression. Of course when you are snapping ten thousand pictures a day and the camera has become an extension of your hand, it's not so hard to do. : )

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Baptism and turbine engines

 Today, Ella was baptized. It was a beautiful ceremony. Truly wonderful. It was so good to have the family in town. My cousin Jenny and her husband Rich and their daughters (our god-daughters) Ericka and Kimberly came to church with us too. And some of the non-present family were represented in Ella's beautiful dress. It was made by my mother and the little slip underneath was made by my grandmother. I was baptized in it when I was a baby. The dress really deserves its own post, which it may get later this week.

Our pastor spoke so well about the significance of baptism and specifically infant baptism, which Paul and I had talked a lot about. I didn't realize how special it would be when it actually occurred. It was wonderful to welcome Ella into the family of faith and to have all of our church-family pray with us for her, and to see them raise their hands saying they would help us to raise her as a Christian. It was so secure-feeling. Even though of course her baptism doesn't bring her salvation, it was encouraging to hear the promises from scripture about how God blesses the children of his people. Hallelujah.

Here are some pictures of our family together, and of Ella with her great-grandfather, who was a life-long missionary, a great-grandfather in faith as well. (Sarah, I love those burp-cloths!)

After church we sent the McCalls off on their trip back home and then went to lunch with Jenny and her family. Here is Ericka doing a great job entertaining Ella. She and Kimberly kept saying, "I like Ella." I think the feeling is mutual. : )

Lastly, and unrelated, I would just like to highlight the excellent bro in law relationship between Paul and Joe and the respect for and faith in each other that exists between them. Here is a message from Joe to Paul.

Love it. When I last checked in, Paul was googling "make your own turbine engine." Look out world, the two of them can be unstoppable.

Friday, June 11, 2010

birthday and bibs

Yesterday was my birthday! The big 2-9. Yikes. But so far so good for the 29th year. I sort of like the number better than 28. Can't explain why. But it feels good. : )

I had a nice quiet day with my in-laws and then Paul and I got to go out for dinner while his parents babysat for us. A definite highlight of the day was this delicious cake Paul brought me:

I've been admiring these incredible cakes from the Mad Hatter bakery, where Paul and I have our ritual saturday morning danish and coffee before the farmers market, for a long time and have dropped plenty of hints about how much I'd like to try one on my birthday and . . . I forgot but Paul didn't! I was so excited. It was as yummy, no more yummy, than expected. There's still some left too . . . . mmmmm.

In Ella's world there is some news. She is getting very close to 3 months. Wow! And she has definitely graduated to needing a bib. My little sweetheart is now pouring out drool constantly. Paul's mom suggested she could be starting to teethe early. That was a shocking idea. But maybe so. It is really amazing how quickly this new little behavior started and how steady the faucet is! But like so many aspects of taking care of Ella, I am really enjoying the fashion piece. A bib is almost like a little necklace! We haven't really used any until now. But I think I will get into coordinating this! Yes, yes, I realize this is shallow. But isn't it part of the perks of having a little girl?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

We have been having a great time with Paul's parents! Today we went to the Duke homestead. It was a nice walk and very interesting to learn about the massive role the tobacco industry had in Durham's history. We seriously wouldn't be here without it.

Also, Ella wore a faaaabulous bow! (Thanks cousin Misty!)