Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Don't Doubt Ella (EVER!)

Ella and Avery walking the beach!  
 I am a little late with this post. I guess you could say it took a few weeks to recover from the vacation hangover! We had a lovely week in Hilton Head this year. It was the first time we took a family vacation since Avery was born. It was a great week filled with the beach, sun, biking, golf and lots of good food. This was not only our first "family vacation", it was also Avery's first plane ride and the girls first real beach excursion. I have been going to Hilton Head with my family since I was a child. I couldn't wait to share this special place with my own children. I went into the week so excited for them...figuring every kid LOVES the beach. I had visions of building sand castles, splashing in the waves and walking the shoreline for hours on end to collect shells and other treasures. Needless to say this was not exactly our experience. Avery loved the water and running around. We came home with lots of shells and overall we made many happy memories.
Ella, however, was not a huge fan of the beach. The sand on her feet sent her into a tizzy and the ocean (specifically the tide and waves rolling in and out) was terrifying to her. Every time we felt progress was being made, she would revert back to tears. "All done, all done", she would yell as the water moved closer. Those first few afternoons on the beach were long. I felt badly for her and we tried everything we could think of to get her to relax and enjoy herself.

Since this was our first trip together as a family, I REALLY wanted to have some pictures taken on the beach. I wanted to capture this special time in our lives and these wonderful ages that the girls are at. Months before we arrived, I scheduled a photographer to meet us at the beach. Once we were in Hilton Head, I began to panic and even contemplated cancelling the shoot. Ella's beach woes were stressful. I had visions of her completely freaking out, crying and refusing to cooperate. As much as I had wanted the pictures, I also didn't want the drama to ruin a great week.

 I was quickly put in my place the night of the shoot. I was reminded (as I have been sooo many times), don't ever doubt Ella. She came through with flying colors the night of the pictures. Both girls looked beautiful. Ella smiled so brightly and never once let the sand or ocean bother her. I was humbled by my 4 year old once again. The night was extra special. I got my family pictures and I was also reminded of how fortunate I really am.
Hilton Head Island, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Good Talking

Ya, Help, Stuck, Buh-bye...

Avery is talking! She is a bold 14 month old with a mind of her own and no problem expressing herself. This is a totally new experience for Jason and me. Like so many other milestones, the words just come so easy for Aves. Almost every day she has a new word. Ella has taken notice too. She even praises her sister. The other day in the car I just had to laugh when Ella burst out with, "good talking Aves!". Ella must hear me and so many other people (Jason, Jess, Renee, Erin, etc) say this all the time to her. I am almost hyper focused on every aspect of Ella's speech. When she has a new phrase or says something a little clearer, I am sure to let her know. She is really stepping up her game too. Five and six word sentences, asking questions and even expressing her own feelings are just some of the huge accomplishments we are celebrating these days.

Paging Dr. Tapp!

It seems like we have all the right ingredients. Ella has patient and consistent teachers. She has very good peer models. Her buddy Alesia has been by her side in the classroom since last September. If you didn't know better, you may think Alesia was a six year old with the vocabulary she has. It's a great example for Ella. Another wonderful model is my niece and Ella's BFF Lucy. They are 17 months apart and closer than I could have ever hoped for. Lucy is a chatterbox and a leader. She is always encouraging Ella. It's adorable. Perhaps the best motivator for Ella is her sister. It's been with Avery's new language that we have truly seen a difference in Ella. Her slow and steady progress which at times seemed tedious and plateaued has been amped up by a need to out-talk Avery. She is cementing her spot as the big sister and raising her voice in the matter!

I LOVE to hear the chatter in the backseat of the car. My day is made when Ella asks me "whatcha doin Mamma?". Her words are clearer, her sentences are longer and her world has opened up just a little bit more. I hope it continues. I hope this healthy competition stays just that. I never want either girl to feel burdened by the other. They may not know how good they are for one another now, but some day in the future I hope each realizes the value of their sister.