Ella is a Fish

Ella finished up swimming lessons with her dad just in time for our pool to open.  She loves being in the water.  They began swimming lessons in March.  They would go to the church where Ryan and I got married ;) and spend about 30 minutes a week singing songs while Ella practiced swimming on her back and stomach, getting in and out of the pool, and going under water.  

When our pool opened in May we couldn't wait to take her.  There is a baby pool that goes to about 1 foot.  She moves around freely and chases after her toys.  Also, when it is adult swim some of the bigger kids come over and play with her.  She loves it and they love her.  So much so, that in the evenings they will come by our house and push her in the swing!  

Baby Food Bonanza

Ella likes to eat!  She is a good eater and really enjoys all the food put before her.  You can start out with bananas then switch to broccoli or cauliflower, and she just keeps on eating.  What kid is okay with going from something as wonderful as a banana to a superfood like cauliflower or broccoli?!  

Why does this make me happy?  There are lots of reasons.  The typical, I want my child to grow and eat good food in order to be healthy.  I don't want mealtime to be a struggle (this could change!).  The fact that during my pregnancy I ate so much McDonalds we should have bought stock!  But I think the most important reason is because I take so much time and care to make sure she is not only getting the best food, but I am making it all as well!

I decided early on that I would make all of Ella's baby food.  In the beginning, I thought it would be cheaper and I could control what is going into her little body.  But now I am finding that she is eating so much more then what typical baby food would provide.  And this makes me the happiest.  

Is it cheaper?  I don't know!  I am at WholeFoods at least once a week getting whatever organic age appropriate food that her body can handle (I have a whole book on the foods babies can have at different months).  Because I am buying organic I am obviously paying a higher price.  But that isn't the only reason.  I am also buying foods that just cost more.  Asparagus cost more that squash or sweet potatoes.  Papaya costs more than an apple.  

When I look at baby food I see the typical sweet potatoes, peas, apples, and pears.  But I don't see a lot of the additional foods that Ella is eating.  Vegetables: brussel sprouts, green beans, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, different kids of squash, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots.  Fruits: apples, pears, mangos, avacados, kiwi, papaya, blueberries, plums, prunes.  In addition to this she is eating barley and spelt cereal not just oatmeal or brown rice.  Ella has pinto or black beans almost everyday.  

As great as all this is, in the end if she has a option for a bread product (i.e. puffs toast) that is what she prefers!  At least she is taken after me in something!  

 

****writing this to remind myself that for any future children, it is definitely beneficial to make my own baby food!

 

Small Group Change Up

As some of you might know, Ryan and I were have led small groups through Buckhead Church when we were single and once we were married.  Due to being pregnant we took a small break to get this whole parenting thing down.  This winter we were ready to jump back into leading so went to GroupLink (how people form small groups at BC).  With HIGH expectations we talked through everything about our small group so that we could answer any questions should they arise from the couples that could potentially be in our group.  (We even had a signal if we thought that maybe a couple wasn't a good fit!  Planners or control freaks...)

Through various reasons we ended up leaving GroupLink with no one in our group!  GroupLink is awkward enough as it is, but then to not even form a group!  To say I was a little upset would be an understatement!  But just like we believed heading into GroupLink, we knew that God was ultimately in control of what would happen.

Through conversations with different BC staffers, we found ourselves with the potential to lead a different kind of group.  Our church does an 11 week intensive marriage small group, called Thrive, where you focus on different elements of marriage.  The idea of this group is to do individual work from the provided curriculum then come together with your spouse to have open and honest discussion.  It is designed to help each person be introspective in order to come to the table with what the individual can work on instead of finger pointing at their spouse.  

So currently Ryan and I are appreciating in a Thrive group with hopes to lead a group in the fall.  It has been such a good first 5 weeks with this study!  We have been able to dive in and examine our marriage and find potential roadblocks.  While this doesn't give us all the answers, it helps create space for us to simply communicate.  Ryan and I were just saying that as the seasons of marriage change, this is a study that we can revisit again and again.    

 

All Things Winter!

Winter has come and gone here in the Peach State!  One of the many reasons we love living here: Pool side in March! But let's first catch up on all that we have been up to!

Ryan had the honor once again in joining the Briefcase Brigade in the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Christmas Parade.  He was able to show the city his amazing Bruno Mars dances moves once again!  Ella got to see just how cool her dad is!

Ella got to celebrate her first christmas.  (But I don't think she even realized it!)  Ryan and I enjoyed starting our own family traditions in celebrating our first Christmas in our own home with our family.  We kept burgers on Christmas Eve and the Cinnamon Roll Christmas tree for breakfast on Christmas morning, but added in the Sparkle Box and a BIG family Christmas present.  

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We did our first family trip on an airplane together to celebrate my grandmothers 80th birthday.  We had traveled in the car for trips but nothing this big!  Not to mention Ella was riding in style on a private jet and even got to sit in the cockpit.  She got to see her first snow and be in -5 degree weather!  Not bad for a six month old!

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Ella started music class.  We go once a week and sing, play instruments, and dance.  She loves it!  She gets very vocal and excited.  She is the youngest in her class but loves watching the older kids.

Since Christmas Ella is contently learning or doing something new!  It is so hard to keep up with all of it.  We went to see the Georgia Swarm (indoor lacrosse), our first professional sports game, Ella is sitting up like a pro, and she eats everything from asparagus to mango to avocado and loves it all.

FALL! Before it's too late!

It has been two months since we have written!  It is crazy where the time goes, well not really...it has been going to playing, reading stories, feeding, playing dress-up, changing diapers, walks, kissing chubby cheeks, and playing ball with Bauer (can't forget that guy)!

We have had such a busy yet wonderful Fall!  It truly is my (Ashley) favorite season.  There is so much between the weather changing to yummy food to dressing up in costumes to football.  Didn't think it could get much better but some how it did!  Having Ella and getting to do all the fun things that we love with her has been amazing!

We started off the Fall by celebrating our anniversary with burgers from Atlanta's one and only burger stop, Holeman and Finch!  Next time you are in Atlanta you need to get one of their amazing burgers and hear the fun story behind them (everything in Atlanta has a story).

We gave Bauer a very special day where he could be king with the Original Three!  The day started with him going to his favorite breakfast spot so he could get a plate of bacon.  Then we went to Piedmont Park so could play and go swimming!  Bauer LOVES to swim and he was in heaven; so much so that when we were leaving, he didn't want to go so he refused to walk.

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Ella had her first tour to Athens to see the University of Georgia; a potential for college!  And her first trip to the pumpkin patch where she got to pick out a couple of pumpkins! Not to mention she has had a chance to check out a few breweries in Georgia, especially one of her daddy's favorites, Creature Comforts!

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Ella began attending Waumba Land every Sunday morning.  This is our church's version of nursery/Sunday School.  She seems to really like it and we are appreciative that Buckhead Church provides such a great place for us to take her!

Ella celebrated her first Thanksgiving!  She helped me in the kitchen all morning to prepare a yummy meal.