Friday, September 25, 2009

Ellie + Playmat = Heaven

The pure, unadulterated joy that Ellie derives from time on her playmat is just incredible. It is so much fun to watch. Here are few photos that speak for themselves:

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Autumn Comes to New Jersey

Among the many unexpected pleasures of living in Princeton is the simple fact that we live very close to NYC, and that our little college town serves as an idyllic getaway for city slickers of all types. What that means is that our New York friends feel free to come out and stay for a day (or, if we're lucky, a weekend) in order to enjoy the delights of "country" (i.e. suburban) living. In Princeton, those delights include a) Bent Spoon ice cream, b) Jersey fresh corn and tomatoes, and c) Terhune Orchards. A couple of weeks ago, we enjoyed two of these three wonders with our friends Dave, Sarah, Will, and Elizabeth, who journeyed from exotic Brooklyn to see us. This was the first time Will and Elizabeth got to meet Ellie, but another reason for the visit was a trip to Terhune for the kick-off weekend for apple picking!

Sarah, Danielle, Ellie, and Elizabeth Pose:

We have a long history of apple picking, reaching back to our days in Boston and extending through our time in C'ville, where Carter Mountain Orchards make the world's greatest apple cider donuts. So, on a wonderful fall afternoon we all headed out to pick apples, eat apples and donuts, and generally enjoy a beautiful day. Terhune was PACKED - we were not the only ones searching for fall deliciousness and the sweet polka stylings of the resident band. We still managed to find some apples, though, as well as other treats:

Will revels in nature's bounty -

Dave literally sings the praises of caramel apples -

We're very, very happy that Ellie got to meet some more members of her extended family of friends, and are also super excited that she is learning to appreciate fine foods. We also promise that she had a blast (no matter what this picture shows!!!) -

Maybe these are more like it! Ellie really loved picking apples, and had almost as much fun as Mom:

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Catch Tiger Fever

On a sunny September day, what could be better than family, fun, and football! My brother Jonathan and his girlfriend Katherine spent the day with us in Princeton and we took Ellie to her first football game. It was a perfect day for lots of time outside, walking around campus, and a visit to Palmer Stadium.

Ellie woke up excited for the day! She couldn't wait to see Uncle Jonathan and Katherine.

On the way to the game, Ellie thought it was a good idea to chew on Uncle Jonathan's thumb. Good thing he loves her so much...
Jonathan and Katherine on campus on the way to the stadium
At the game, it wasn't exactly the same atmosphere of an ACC game, but we cheered for the Tigers nonetheless. Ellie was in the Bjorn and seemed to be having fun...

...but we know who Ellie is really cheering for;)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Toys, Trips, and Teaching

At 13 weeks, Ellie had a few fun things happening this week. She continues her interest in toys and is extremely amused by her playmat. She can lay on the mat and stare up at the colorful toys. She has a monkey, giraffe, turtle, and parrot. But her favorite, by far, is a butterfly that Great-grandma Dot gave her. Mariposa draws Ellie's attention no matter where she is on the mat. It is really great and she is starting to grab for her, too. It is hilarious when she is super excited and she kicks her legs like she is running. As first time parents, Phil and I think this is the height of humor these days!

Ellie and I also took a day trip to Hoboken to visit my friend Jodi, and her gorgeous baby, Brady. Brady is 4 weeks old and absolutely adorable. Brady was a tiny guy at birth, but is now growing well. Jodi and I laughed at the size difference between them right now:) We went out to lunch with the babies and spent a great day together. Ellie loves meeting new friends!

Princeton started its semester this week and Phil had his first classes. On his first day of teaching, I sent him a few pictures of Ellie to brighten his day. I'm not quite sure what she was trying to tell her Dad in this one, but it happens to be Phil's favorite.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Cause I love that dirty water, Boston you (used to be) our home"

Over the weekend, we took Ellie on her first trip to New England to meet the Whiting clan. Grandma Connie moved to her hometown of Merrimac, MA last fall and joined Great-grandma Dot and lots of other Whiting family members. Phil's cousin Mike got married this weekend, and it was the perfect time to spend a few days introducing Ellie to this side of her extended family. The weekend was non-stop fun from start to finish. We arrived on Wednesday (Ellie was an all-star on the 5 hour car ride!) and spend Thursday with family. We walked around Newburyport, a beautiful town on the water. Ellie particularly enjoyed our lunch as it gave her a chance to do some of her favorite things: 1. be outside 2. talk and most importantly 3. hang out with Grandma!

The next day Ellie got an entire afternoon with Grandma by herself! Phil and I picked up Steve from the airport and decided to go in to the city a few hours early to walk around Cambridge. I had not visited Boston and Cambridge since we moved away in 2002. We lived in Boston for two wonderful years right after college. All afternoon, memory after memory kept me smiling as we walked around and reminisced about that time in our life. It was a great way for Phil and I to get a little time to ourselves in a place we love, and for Grandma to have Ellie all to herself.

Phil at Widner Library (where he spent a LOT of time while at Divinity School!)
D drinking iced hot chocolate in Cambridge (a fav!)

Ellie is extremely blessed to have two great-grandmothers. Great-grandma Dot (aka Grandma Grandma) had been waiting to meet her and was pretty excited when we arrived. They spent lots of time together in the rocking chair and snuggling.

The Merrimac Whitings all realize that Ellie is a New York Giants fan (obviously), but still hold out hope that she may have a little love for the New England Patriots. Aunt Suzie decided one way to influence this was to buy Ellie a Tom Brady jersey. I mean, who doesn't love Tom Brady? Uncle Bob went so far as to make it an "authentic jersey" and managed to spill Bud Light all over it before giving it to her. But everyone knows that Ellie loves the Giants the most, and has her gameday onesie, a gift from her padrino Steve, that says "The Future Mrs. Eli Manning". Love it, love it, love it.

Aunt Debbie and Great-Grandma showing Ellie the Brady jersey. (I think she looks skeptical;)

The main event of the weekend was Mike and Rachel's wedding. It was tons of fun for everyone and I have to admit, at 13 weeks old, my daughter really likes parties. She was held by all her aunts, uncles, cousins and loved every minute of it. She danced her first dance with Daddy (Why do you build me up, buttercup baby), her first slow dance with padrino (I can't help falling in love with you), and rocked out with Mom to a little Justin Timberlake. I like that she's learning rhythm early;) She fell fast asleep for about two hours in the middle of the day with the party going on all around her. We all had a blast and Ellie really loves all the Whitings.

This last picture pretty much sums up how she felt at the end of the weekend...too much fun!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Greetings from Ellie

Ellie had a few things to show off this week. She is quite the talker these days and spends every morning cooing and laughing. Her head control is also improving everyday as she gets stronger and stronger. Phil and I love hearing her voice and we try to listen intently to what she's saying...possibly the secrets to time and space?

She also began showing interest in the mobile above her swing and the mirror. We imagine her inner monologue goes something like this, "Who is that good looking baby up there? And why is she smiling at me? WOW! This is so amazing!"