Sunday, July 14, 2013

10 Months

Dear Ellie Belle -

You are 10 months old!  Double digits!  I can't believe it.  How did we get here so fast?!  Everyone says it...babies grow up so fast...but really, they do!  I'm about two weeks late on this post....you're keeping us very busy!  Here's what you've been up to lately -

-I think you're clocking in at about 20 pounds and may have grown another 1/2 inch to put you around 28 inches.  You are wearing mostly 9 month clothes, but a lot of your 6 month clothes still fit too.  You have also worn a couple of 12 month outfits but definitely have room to grow in them.  You are still comfortably wearing size 3 diapers.  Your shoes are all finally starting to fit you, so I think we can officially say you wear a size 3. 

-You graduated to the big bathtub this month.  We said bye bye to the ducky tub, bought a no slip mat, and never looked back!  You love to play in the bath tub.  You have gotten much more busy toward the end of this month, and keeping your bottom down in the tub is quite the battle!  You'd much rather stand and cruise around....but that's not very safe!

-You have 8 teeth now...4 on top and 4 on the bottom!

-I'd venture to say that your new favorite activity is eating!  You are loving finger foods.  We've all but given up trying to give you purees because you're just really not interested at all.  You have eaten so many new things this month:  pancakes, waffles, chicken, turkey, cheese, potatoes, corn, oatmeal, grits, peaches, plums, Cheerios, watermelon, Pasta Pick Ups....whatever you can get your little hands on!  The only things you really haven't tried are fish, beef, pork, nuts/nut butters, milk, and other high allergen foods.  You've been experimenting with the spoon some.  I think you get it...spoon in food, spoon in mouth...but mostly you like to chew on it, bang it on your tray, and carry it around!

-You're eating 4-5 bottles a day still.  You've been getting 7 oz when you wake up and before bed, and we send 5 oz bottles to school.  They say you don't finish your bottles at school...I guess there's just too much to take in because you're really pretty good about finishing every bottle at home!  You are also getting three meals a day.  Breakfast is about an hour after you wake up, lunch sometime between 11:30 and 1:30, and dinner around 6:00.  You are an excellent sippy cup user now.  We may start sending one of your school bottles in a sippy cup to try to slowly begin the weaning process.

-You had your first Chick-Fil-A breakfast experience, which is monumental and we had to document it!

-You also got a little taste of a pickle one day and absolutely loved it!  You got mad when we wouldn't let you have anymore and came crawling back across the room to try to find it!  You didn't even make a sour face!

-We retired some of your "baby" toys and replaced them with some fresh new ones.  You're loving your shape sorter, stacker, and balls.  You love to bang things together.  We keep all of your toys in the storage ottoman in the living room.  We'll open it up and you'll just stand at it forever pulling toy after toy out of the box!  You get way up on your tippy toes, sometimes standing on one leg, to reach way in to grab your favorites!  You love your little push car thingy.  You are basically running behind it now!  You love to take Bunny along for rides with you and have recently started carrying Bunny in one hand and your sippy cup in the other!

-You are also into toys that aren't toys!  Spoons have provided lots of entertainment.  You love to pull on cabinet doors, drawers, and the doors on the entertainment center.  You think "No No" is the funniest thing you've ever heard.  You have also recently found the little spring door stopper thingies on the base boards and love the "boing" noise they make!

-You have started dancing.  You hear a good tune and those little legs starting bouncing and your hands start flapping! 

-You are getting more ticklish.  You have the most precious giggle I have ever heard.

-You are such a great sleeper...at home anyway!  You are not having such great naps at school.  They aren't allowed to let you stand up in the crib, and that's kind of your thing.  At home, you are still typically taking a long nap in the morning/early afternoon (usually 2-3 hours!) and a cat nap in the late afternoon.  You are usually down for the night around 7:30 and we can still count on a good 12 hours.

-You have started sleeping with your bunny lovie.  You are the sweetest little snuggler!  When we put you down for bed at night and hand you your lovie, you reach out with both arms and nuzzle your sweet little face into it.  It's really the sweetest thing.

-Speaking of the sweetest thing...you have started giving kisses.  It's a giant, open mouth, sloppy kiss and it's one of the best ones we've ever had!  You also hold onto our hands when we hold you.  You just wrap your little fingers around our thumbs and hang on tight!

-You are really starting to get the whole "bye bye" thing.  You pretty much wave everytime we say it now. 

-You are an expert crawler!  You are so fast!  You're also really good at finding the tiniest speck of lint on the floor and immediately trying to eat it! You are SO close to walking!  You get behind your push toy and take off!  You are a cruising machine too.  You know how to get exactly where you want to be.  Sometimes, you'll let go with both hands while you're cruising and will just stand in the middle of the room all by yourself!  I think we'll definitely have a walker on our hands by your first birthday!  You've recently become a climber too!  You have no fear!  We had to finally install the baby gate this month, and Buddy was not so happy to have his favorite spot blocked off!


-You are such a social butterfly.  You love being out in public...restaurants, the grocery store...anywhere there are people to watch is a happy place for you!  You are super curious and like to reach out and grab people when they walk by!  We're going to have to teach you about personal space pretty early!

-As much as you like other people, you aren't such a fan of being left with them!  We still have rough mornings when I drop you off at school sometimes. It just breaks my heart to see you so sad!  You put your little hands in your lap, drop your chin, poke out your bottom lip, and the tears start to flow. You are easily distracted though and are calm before I leave the room. 

-We had a fun day out at the US National White Water Center for Father's Day weekend.  You loved it...outside, people, dogs.  It was all of your favorite things in one place!!


-You've started having water play at school.  Every other week, all the babies head outside and splash around on a big tarp with lots of toys.  Apparently, you hate it.  No idea what that's all about.  I think the water just must be cold or something, because you LOVE the water!  The bath and the pool are so fun for you!  We also got caught in a monsoon after school one day and you thought it was great!

-The biggest step we all took this month was spending a weekend apart!  Your Daddy and I took a little weekend getaway to Savannah and you went to stay at Grammy and Pop Pop's house. You were there Friday-Monday and did so awesome!  You ate great and slept great and played and gave lots of love.  Grammy and Pop Pop had the best time.  We missed you like crazy, but we feel really great knowing that so many other people love you so much and take such wonderful care of you.

-Happy 10 months, sweet Ellison. You make everyday so special.  We love you to the moon and stars and back again.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Weekend Getaway: Savannah

Two weeks ago, Barrett and I had a wonderful weekend getaway to Savannah & Tybee Island.  Ellie Belle spent the weekend at Grammy and Pop Pop's.  It was the fist time we'd spent the weekend away from her!  We missed her so much, but we knew she was in good hands and were able to really enjoy each other and our time away.  We left Friday around lunch time and got back home early Monday afternoon.  I had never been to Savannah before and Barrett had only been once about 10 years ago.  It was fun to explore a new city.  I'd say Savannah is the perfect mash up of New Orleans and Charleston.  Beautiful buildings, great food, interesting history, southern charm, and to top it all off...you can take your cocktail to go!  Tybee Island was....interesting!  It was nice to get to the beach for the day, but it definitely reminded me a lot of Myrtle Beach!  It's like nothing there has changed in 25 years.  It did have a certain charm about it though and I'm glad we ventured out to see what it was all about!  It was just a quick 3.5 hour drive from Charlotte and we'll definitely visit again!  Here's a photo summary of our trip!

In Savannah, we stayed at the Inn at Ellis Square.  It was in the perfect location - right on Bay Street at the City Market.  The room was huge with tall ceilings and hardwood floors.  There was a quaint little bar downstairs with a fun bartender named Jen.  They served complimentary hot breakfast every morning.  Downside:  the hotel was under construction while we were there, so no outdoor area to enjoy.  Something else that drove me nuts:  the doors!  I guess it's just such an old building, that the doors stick a bit and are hard to open.  The opening is loud enough, but the closing...oh!  The closing of the doors was SO LOUD!  I knew when every person on our floor was coming and going.  If I was a complaining person, I would most definitely have fussed at someone about the noisy doors.

Savannah is super laid back...and super dog friendly!  It seemed like every business had a water bowl outside and dogs were welcome in lots of restaurants/bars/shops.

After grabbing a quick drink at the bar in our hotel and taking a quick walk through the City Market, we strolled around until it was time for dinner.  We popped in to World of Beer and sampled some goodies.  We walked through a couple of the squares, too.  The layout of Savannah is really great.  Everything is centered around one of the many squares.  Inside each of the squares are trees, benches, water fountains, and monuments. 

Then...it was time for dinner.  We had the best, best meal at Alligator Soul.  Pretty much everyone we know told us to have dinner at the Olde Pink House.  Well, the Olde Pink House was booked, so we went to Alligator Soul which was recommended by my friend Nicole.  I am so glad the Pink House was booked!!  Dinner was phenomenal.  I had Buffalo Short Ribs with Truffle Seared Scallops.  They were more delicious than I can even describe.  We would 100% go back again.  If you are in Savannah...don't miss it!!

The next day, we took a trolley tour.  We purchased an On/Off tour with Olde Savannah Tours.  It was a great way to really get the lay of the land.  We were able to hop on and off the trolley whenever we saw something that interested us or that we wanted to explore a little more.  We even had a special visit from Forrest Gump.  Totally cheesy, but still fun!  We hopped off at the Pirate House for a drink and enjoyed the company of the crude, potty mouthed, loud bartender they call Country.  She was a hoot! 

The next place we hopped off the trolley was down on River Street.  We stopped in at Kevin Barry's Pub because there was a sign in the street that said "Bloody Mary Bar...Yes, We Have Bacon!"  Need I say more?  It's also ranked as one of the best Irish Pubs in the country.

 Then, we walked along the river front for a while until we were ready for lunch.

We stopped for lunch at Moon River Brewing.  All of the reviews were great, but we didn't think it was so awesome.  The food was OK, but not anything I couldn't get pretty much anywhere else.  They brew their own beer, and Barrett got a flight to sample them all, and none of them were that great.  So, if you're planning a trip to Savannah, you can go ahead and skip Moon River!

We had late dinner reservations on Saturday night, so we went over to the Bohemian Hotel and had a drink and an appetizer at Rocks on the Roof.  It was a fun atmosphere, with oyster shell chandeliers, and a great view of the riverfront.  Dinner was at Vic's on the River.  You feel like you're sitting in a dining room in an old, historic home and the food was really fresh and tasty. 

We said goodbye to Savannah early Monday morning and made the quick trip over to Tybee.  Just before we got into town, we started seeing signs for "Turtle Crossing."  You've seen them before..."Deer Crossing" "Bear Crossing"...but have you ever actually seen one of those animals crossing at their designated spot?  I haven't....until the turtles!  They really meant it! 

We had brunch at the Tybee Island Social Club.  We were planning to go to the Breakfast Club, but there was a line around the corner, so we opted for choice number 2.  I'm glad we did!  The food was really yummy!  Barrett and I split a yummy avocado stuffed with blue crab meat.  Barrett had a pork taco and I had manchego cheese grits and a cat head biscuit (called that because it's the size of a cat's head!)  It was all really yummy.  And...they had a bluegrass band playing live music during brunch!

Tybee Island is busy.  Granted, we were there during peak season, so I'll try not to judge too much.  The beach was wide and flat, so we were able to find a spot to spread out and relax.  Later in the day, we walked down to the south side of the island near the sand bar headed toward Little Tybee Island and it was WAY less crowded than the spot we'd chosen earlier!  We walked the beach a bit, saw a Horseshoe Crab, and got daiquiris from Wet Willies...because, hey, when in Rome...

We had dinner at Bernie's.  We were looking for something easy, laid back, and that served a wide selection of seafood.  It was really just OK.  Nothing to write home about.  Good thing we got there when we did, too, because not 15 minutes later the kitchen closed and they ran out of oysters.  It was Sunday night, though, so maybe that was part of the problem.  The food was just OK...the fried oysters were good and the shrimp had good flavor.  The crawfish were TERRIBLE.  Terrible.  We watched that crazy man walk across the Grand Canyon on dental floss, and then headed back toward our hotel.  We popped into the bar at the hotel restaurant for a night cap and called it a day.

On our drive out of town, we swung by the Tybee Island lighthouse.  Here it is.  Ten seconds out of the car and we'd seen the crown jewel of Tybee.  :-)

We really had a great time.  It was nice to get away for the weekend and just enjoy each other's company.  We'll be back, Savannah.  Tybee...we won't.  :-)