Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Day At Elk Island N.P.

Today has been an incredible day. I don't want it to ever end. Not ever. And, yet, it is 6:00pm. That means this day is painfully close to coming to a close. Bummer. At least I'll have the memories and pictures that will last a life time.

Today we slept in. Until 5:50am to be exact. Thank you Cora! Note the hint of sarcasm. :) This ended up working out quite well because we got to hang out and relax before getting ready to head out to Elk Island National Park. Elk Island is about 35km east of Edmonton. It is a fairly small national park, but lots of great things can be found there. Moose, bison, elk, deer, small mammals, all sorts of birds, you get the picture. We decided to hike a 3.5km loop. We initially planned to snowshoe, but there was no need. It hasn't snowed in weeks, so the snow was really packed down. They also machine groom the trail we were on for cross country skiing. The trail guide said the 3.5km trail should take 1-2 hours. Well, it only took us 30 min and that included Cora walking for the first 20 yards or so. It took her at least 5 minutes to do that. Hmmm...maybe we should have taken the longer trail. We also only saw a chickadee and blue jay for wildlife. Boo. No moose. BUT, the weather was perfect. It was around 35F and sunny. If everyday were like today...

The very first few steps on the trail. She looks so cute in her snowsuit.

Chugging right along.

Being on top of Daddy's shoulders is like riding on top of the world. You can see so much from way up there.

I love this one. Cora chattered and giggled the whole time she was up there. Notice her arms flailing around. She still has no concept of holding on when riding up there.

After riding on Daddy's shoulders, on to Mommy's back. She promptly fell asleep and slept the whole rest of the hike.

With our extra time we drove around Elk Island checking out the other trail heads for future trips. We then stopped at the visitor centre to have a mini lunch before heading home. We ended up seeing the most interesting wildlife here. Go figure. We were watching a squirrel digging around. It ran up a tree and Lee spotted a porcupine sitting on one of the lower branches of the pine tree. Perfect! The porcupine was definitely close enough for Cora to see. Sure enough, she saw it. About that time the porcupine woke up and scurried up the tree. So cool.

There's the squirrel!

And, there's the porcupine!

Cora and Mommy hanging out on the bench.

She loved standing in the really deep snow.

The cutest little body in the whole entire world.

Eating a banana while walking around. Multitasking for a toddler is quite an accomplishment. P.S. I know everyone wants a pair of my totally hot pants.

Face planting in the snow resulted in many tears and cold hands. That was our cue to head home. :)

When we got home, we made chicken burritos for dinner. The weather was still gorgeous after eating so we packed Cora into the stroller and headed to the park. Like I said before, today was such a great day.

To top it off, Cora did her first sign today. While eating, we asked if she wanted "more" or was "all done". She signed and said "more"!! I would have had no idea what she said had she not signed it. It is incredible being able to communicate with a little person that can't really talk. At least not with her mouth. I had started signing with her when she was practically brand new and then stopped (out of laziness) when she was around 6 or 7 months. This is exactly when I shouldn't have stopped, but I just got out of the habit. I started again in the last 2 months or so because I noticed she was making up her own signs for things (hand/object to ear for "hello").

Not only is she signing now, she is walking!! She decided yesterday that she is going to walk rather than crawl. Today she kept up with it. I wasn't sure if yesterday was just a weird day she was having, but I guess not. The Belle is a walking machine. Her little body is just delicious when she walks. I'll get a video up in the next week or so for all to see.

Bath time and movie time has officially started. I best be going. Good night to you all.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

14 Month Old Monkey

Cora is 14 months old today. She is really developing into such an amazing little girl. It baffles me to no end to believe that she is already 14 months old. On top of everything she is learning, she is growing like a weed. It doesn't look like she is packing on the weight anymore. In fact, she appears to be thinning out just a wee bit. She is sprouting upwards. I don't notice her getting taller on a day to day basis. It is when I see her with other kids or the way her clothes are fitting that I really start to notice. If I want to put her into a onesie of some sort, the size has to be at least 18 months merely due to her length. If I had to guess, she is going to be a long and lean kiddo. It's a good thing I have a sewing machine. I see a lot of pants needing adjustments in her future. :)

Let's start with a few pictures, and then we'll get to the nitty gritty about what she has been up to.

Happy Cora isn't always happy. She really did not want her pictures taken. She finally gave up fighting me and put on a smile for a while. Of course, there was some bribery.

First, I had to let her walk towards the camera. She's getting pretty good at walking. She prefers to do it when you aren't paying close attention. I think she gets embarrassed when she falls down.

Then we had to stop to watch some 2010 Olympics. We have a future alpine skier. I can just feel it. ;)

Oh yeah. Then she demanded to climb the couch. Her favorite hobby is to climb up the back of the couch to turn off all the light switches. She doesn't turn them on, only off. Check out the Phaneuf gams. I told you she is getting long.

She thinks this is hysterical. She only will quit when you leave the lights off.

She's going for the long reach. Both feet are off the couch. She is such a daredevil.

Since the lights are off (making the color in the pictures much better...go figure), we have to pretend to call people.

Here she is caught mid-word. "Hello?" At this point, she finally gave in to my orders to sit pretty and smile.

Well, there you have it. So, what is Cora doing at 14 months old? Let's see.
  • She officially can walk, although she still chooses to crawl. She has realized that she can hold her stuffed animals and walk around which has really helped to prompt her to move in an upright locomotion. I catch her walking around her room quite often. Yes, I let her play by herself in her room.
  • She can climb up onto a few chairs and the toilet. She stands on the toilet while we get ready in the morning. She brushes her teeth and combs her hair. I love having a little mini-me around.
  • Lee swears the other day she was saying "careful". I wasn't home, but it doesn't surprise me. Lee is so much more cautious with her than I am. She hears him say careful all the time. I only remind her to "pay attention" when she is on the stairs. Lee is also waaaaay more strict than I am. He keeps her extra safe. I have to put the extra in there because I don't want any readers to think I allow unsafe situations. ;) Needless to say, all of her bumps and bruises have been a result of when I am watching her. Go figure. Oh well. She'll have to do some pretty crazy (read: stupid) things in her childhood to match the kinds of things my sister and I did. For example: playing tag on a 3 story, slanted roof. In the rain. When my parents weren't home. Smart, wouldn't you say? Or, jumping off a roof (1 story), onto a trampoline, into a pool. That one was all Michelle. Or, tying a 90 lb dog to your waist while rollerblading. On a gravel road. With your little sister on a bike out front to make the dog go reeeeeal fast. That resulted in some blood. Hahaha. I am sure Lee and Anne have a few stories to match. So, quite frankly, her daredevil ways are no surprise to me. I love watching her try new things. It's exciting for both of us.
I was just on my way home thinking about what I wrote above. Then it dawned on me. Lee takes the cake for being a daredevil. Lee and Anthony decided it would be fun to go shark fishing. In the open ocean. Aboard a dinghy. If you don't know what a dinghy is, google it. :)
  • Alright, back to Cora. She has figured out her crib mattress is bouncy. Her bed is now an official trampoline. I thought I'd really show her fun and we spent an evening before bedtime jumping on my bed. Now that was fun!
  • Her hugs have always been great. Now, they're even better. She wraps her legs as tight as she can around your waist. With her arms tight around your neck, it is the best hug you'll ever receive.
  • She dances. She especially likes rock and roll. We listen to the rock station every morning. She'll be bouncing around in her car seat jamming to the radio. Yesterday was classic though. She and I were over visiting Claire, Sophie, and Jen. Cora found Claire's piano/xylophone toy and was banging away. Claire, who is about 9 months older, was dancing to Cora's musical creations. Those two crack me up.
  • She plays ball. She is getting quite good at throwing it back. We have started bouncing the ball, rather than rolling it, so she can catch it.
  • She is sleeping through the nights!! At least most nights.
  • She has 8 teeth. It is practically impossible to get a picture, though. She won't hold still for nothing. I'll have to get Lee to help hold her down. That should make her happy.
With that, I'll finish up this post. Here are a couple pictures after I finally got her to cooperate. Of course, even though I wanted her to sit still, I love the pictures I got of her "being Cora".

She is thinking about looking at me and smiling.

There it is. Cora's sweet smile.

We're off to enjoy the gorgeous weather. It has been in the upper 30's the last couple of days. We're planning to go snowshoeing with the Belle on Sunday. Expect pictures early next week. :)

Posted with springtime hugs by your favorite Canadian Bug.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Baby Giggles

Cora has the most amazing belly laugh. She laughs a lot, but the really deep belly laugh is pretty rare. I love hearing it and managed to capture it a bit on camera. The video is great, but she is holding back just a little. She was laughing so hard after I turned the camera off that she completely fell over in the tub. It was so great.

Here is an assortment of pictures over the last week or so.

The little Starfish doing what she does best. Sleeping on Daddy.

Cora has always been quite the ham for the camera. Seriously. She has smiled since about 5 months old. How else would I get these great pictures? Now, she has started to make funny faces to the camera. These faces she makes crack me up to no end. She has the best little personality. She is quite the spitfire and can be a such a drama queen, but I love her wild, uninhibited self. It makes life quite interesting.

Her sweet look. I think I look at her more now than I did when she was a newborn. Is that even possible?

We had such a fun bath time last night. She found her belly button while playing in the tub. It was so funny watching her see how deep she could stick her finger in her belly button. Her little Buddha belly makes everything that much cuter.

Cora was invited to Avery's 2nd Birthday Party. Avery had a Valentine's theme (very appropriate for a Feb 12 baby). She got to paint a foam Valentine with glittery glue, eat lots of sausage rolls and cupcakes, and play with her very special little friend. The birthday party was so much fun. It is so weird to me that Avery is only 10 months older than Cora. She seems light years older. I keep thinking how much Cora has changed in the last year and then realize this year will be the same.

Avery is showing Cora how to feed her new baby. So cute!

The curly blondies are chowing down on some lunch!

Lee and I have been putting off getting some pictures framed. In January, we got a coupon in the mail for 60% off custom framing from Michael's. We took advantage of this opportunity and had three photos framed and matted. Here is how they turned out.

Our very first family photo. I love this photo. With all of my heart. Look how very wee Cora is. She was only about 1 week old in this picture. I am so glad I had newborn photos done.

I absolutely love how this one turned out. This picture is going in our bedroom.

Yep, our wedding. We finally have this photo framed. I love looking at our wedding photos, and now we can display this one!


The Vancouver 2010 Olympics have officially begun. We have really been enjoying them this year. It is fun to be able to cheer for two countries. I forgot to mention in a previous post that we were able to watch the Olympic Torch come through Edmonton. It came right down the middle of campus. Lee came over and we picked up Cora and headed over to watch the historical event. You can't really tell from the pictures, but it was really, really cold. Lee and I never dress for the weather. I forgot to bring the camera to school, so Lee took these photos with his cell phone. To be totally honest, the whole event was pretty anti-climatic. Canadians don't have the same level as patriotism as Americans do. This isn't a bad thing, just different. But, most people there would agree that there was more emphasis on the corporate sponsors for the Olympics than the Olympics themselves. I think that really brought down the levels of enthusiasm. Nonetheless, it was so cool to see the torch and be a part of the 2010 Olympics.
Cora taking a rest on Daddy's shoulder trying to stay warm.

A shot with the Canadian flag in the background.

The glowing blob above my head is the burning torch. We all thought it was pretty funny that the torch looked like a giant blunt. Go Canada Go. LOL!

With that, I'd like to leave you all with a video of the Belle. I finally caught her bear crawling on camera. She is such a character.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Walk Like a Chimpanzee

Re-read (or sing) the title to the tune of "Walk Like an Egyptian". It will make this entry even more fun.

Cora hit TWO huge milestones this last weekend. On Saturday, Feb 6, 2010, Cora stood up on her own and took her first steps. We were in Cold Lake, Alberta visiting Stephanie for her birthday weekend. Out of nowhere, Cora decided she wanted to walk. She stood up and took three steps. We were all hootin' and hollerin' for her. It was pretty cool. She showed off her new found skills the rest of the night to anybody who would take the time to cheer for her (which turned out to be everyone).

Of course, I didn't bring the camera. The batteries were almost dead so I decided to leave it at home since we would only be gone for two days. Oops. As soon as we got home on Sunday, we gave Cora her dinner, a bath, and then video taped her walking. She still much prefers to crawl. Actually, she will only walk if you are clapping, cheering, and making nothing short of a huge scene. People always say that parents are their child's biggest cheerleader. I am beginning to see why. ;) Enjoy the video below of our little primate. I think she looks a bit like a chimp or an orangutan when she walks because she holds her hands up by her head. Her gait looks so primitive to me. I love it!

On another note, Cora is saying another word.


Yeah, that's right. Gentle. Cracks me up. What kid starts off talking with words like "gentle" and "thank you". I thought they are supposed to start with "no" and other two to three lettered words. It is still really hard to understand most things she is trying to say. She says what is supposed to be nose, but the only way I can tell is if she points to her nose or mine. OH! Speaking of that. She learned where her nose was last week! This week we are learning about ears. :)

This list is for my record keeping. Cora's current vocabulary, in order of appearance:
  • Dog (daw)
  • Thank You (dank kew)
  • Dadda (dadda)
  • Hello (eh woah...says while holding her hand or object to her ear)
  • Momma (momma)
  • Gentle (entil)
  • Nose (oh...says while pointing to a nose)
I think that is all of them. As you can see, she is using some of her own signs. We are trying to get back into the swing of things by signing with her. I have now seen two little kids who use signs (Cousin Amelia and Friend Claire), and it is so much easier to communicate with them. On top of that, they both speak beautifully now. Hmmm, coincidence? I think not.

Signing off from the Great White North! I'll leave you all a picture of our resident snowshoe hare. Cora loves this guy. We have Rabbit HWY101 out or back window. Reggie and Cora are going to be fighting over who gets to stand on the chair to watch the rabbits. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Butterflies on Babies

I made a dress for Cora. I love the material. The dress is far from perfect, but I am proud of it. And she looks adorable in it.

This is the best picture for true color of the material.