Sunday, October 22, 2006

my Fall checklist

* The Normals hooded sweatshirt (does not discriminate between the pregnant/non-pregnant)

* these Birks

* Hazelnut Cream candle

* cans of Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (for the oft-mentioned Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins)

* "Welcome Autumn" sign on the front door

* pumpkins on the front porch - this year gathered from Gentry Farm

* Ella sleeping on the warmest and softest crib sheet in the land (one of the best shower gifts of all time)

* at least one viewing of "Little Women"

* fresh acorn dents in the tops of our cars

* jackets

* hats

* rosy cheeks

Thursday, October 19, 2006

two weeks

I've been meaning to document the goings-on of the past two weeks - really, I have. But something always happens, know how it is.

But I feel like a lot has happened in Ella's world. She's acquired two new and Very favorite things. Alas, I don't have pictures to prove her absolute bliss with each one, but hopefully soon they'll be up here. The first is her swing. The child Loves to swing, and it's been a crying shame that she hasn't had one until now. But now it's here, and hanging from our big tree in the front yard, where she has a front row seat to all that is happening in the neighborhood.

She waves at cars, she points to planes, she Especially loves it when a city or school bus passes down the cross street two houses away. But soon she gets a starry look in her eyes, hunkers down in the swing, and experiences Tranquility. I have never seen her so calm and serene and utterly content.

We swing for literally thirty minutes at a time, and just when I think she's about to fall asleep, I take her out and she cries and begs for more. It's amazing.

Her other new and favorite thing is her baby stroller. A gift from Andy's parents, it's the perfect size for her 19-month-old self, and she loves loves Loves to push it around the house and around the neighborhood. Her doll and Care Bear get the most rides, but my child does not discriminate. I'll look over to see her sippy cup going for a spin, or some Post-It notes out for a tour of the kitchen. On our outside walks she'll put a leaf in with her baby doll - but only one leaf at a time. She makes sure to remove the existing leaf so the next one can have the full stroller experience.

One of the things Ella loves most about her new things is the whole buckling process. Pretty much anything with straps and a buckle she's all over. This includes her wagon, high chair, booster seat, swing, toy ride, name it. This afternoon the rain kept us inside, so Ella didn't get her fill of "moving things with buckles." Soon enough she had crawled up into one of her strollers, attempted to strap herself in, and make it Very clear to me that she wanted to go.

So, the next twenty minutes we strolled around and around the house. It reminds me of "Pride and Prejudice" or other Jane Austen moments when the ladies would "take a turn" about the house. I don't think I found it as delightful and refreshing as the ladies of yore, but I know Ella did. Ah, my little gentlewoman.

Ella also has three new words that she Loves to use. My newfound theory is that she could probably say whatever word she wanted, it's just the words that she deems important for her daily life she latches onto. Currently those words are "Bus" "Cheese" and "Shoes." She's obsessed with all three concepts - although we can't really distinguish between a bus and a big truck. Come to think of it, a city bus and and semi look pretty similar.

My pregnant brain is officially reaching the fuzzy point, so I'm going to go flip through my latest issue of "Real Simple" and garner all sorts of clever holiday ideas that I'm sure I won't use.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

her favorite things

Whatever she does, it is executed with deliberation and passion. Except for when she puts a paper bag on her head and walks with abandon. Then she laughs hysterically as we scurry to clear a path for her. She is now a devoted little mommy to both her baby doll and Care Bear. It started with putting one or both of them in any bag/basket/stroller/container she could find and toting them around...

She has now begun putting them down for naps. Lots of naps. And apparently she follows the Judson Parent's Day Out procedure. They told us that they lay all the kids down on mats and pat their backs until they fall asleep. Sure enough, when she got home from her class Tuesday, she pulled out a little mat that lines her baby's cradle, put it on the floor, laid her baby facedown on it and gently patted her back.

This morning she came into my room (Andy plays with Ella and lets me sleep in whenever possible) and we were talking a little bit. She was standing down on the floor looking up at me, and I was as close to on my stomach as a 7-month pregnant girl can get. She reached up her sweet, little hand and patted My back for a couple of seconds. It was one of the sweetest, most fleeting moments I hope I always remember.

Ella loves to draw. And write. While the end result is pretty much identical, there is definitely a distinction in her mind. We keep large sheets of drawing paper and a box of crayons downstairs that she enjoys. She also has a MagnaDoodle that she employs when she's feeling artsy...

But she often seems to be in Business Mode, and for this she needs to have some sort of notebook and pen (she currently uses her new butterfly notebook and pink pen). Receipts and coupons work as well. When we were at my parent's house she preferred my mom's Daytimer...

Bouncy balls are part of her daytime fun. Again, the large bags come out, and she puts the balls in and out for a while, then carries any number of them around the house. She also likes to say "ball" a lot. At anything that is a filled-in circle really. Kix, polka dots, round potatoes - she's on the constant watch. She loves to throw, roll and chase after them as well.

She is always ready for a wagon ride. She loves to try to buckle herself in (good to know she's into safety) and just sits back and enjoys the outdoors (and barking at all the neighborhood dogs). Note her jauntily-perched hat...

Actually, she enjoys riding in lots of things - including laundry baskets. A few months back, her Aunt Sarah filled up a basket with blankets and animals, stuck Ella in, and laps were made around the house. Now, Ella will throw clothes Out of laundry baskets, climb in, and expect a ride. Ha. Not from this rotund-bellied mother. I leave that to the more agile community...

Her daddy. Ella has a newfound love and attachment to Andy. It is so very sweet. She says "Da-da" countless times in a row. Knowing he works downstairs, she often goes over to the door leading to the basement, knocks and calls out his name. When she sees him after a period of time apart, even if it's been a couple of hours, she immediately begins to recount her time spent without him. At least that's the way it seems. She wants to share with him everything she possibly can.

They also have a ritual called "noses." It's basically Eskimo kissing. It's very yummy.

These are a few months old, but oh-so-cute...

While Ella pretty much loves everything, these are the main attractions in her little one-and-a-half year old world. I'm interested to see what crops up next.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

home again

No matter how great of a trip was had, it's always good to come home. It's kind of strange knowing that I won't be leaving again until the baby's born. My cut-off date for flying is next week, long drives have become pretty brutal, so here I stay.

I am in no way lacking for things to do. No no. I am part of a women's group that is currently going through a book about getting your home organized, and I am feeling all-at-once intimidated and inspired. You see, I am one of Those people who have high hopes and good intentions for being organized, but something gets lost in translation and I end up frustrated and missing weddings because I misplaced the invitation.

I dare not attempt to make gradiose statements such as "This all changes today" or "I will never be disorganized again" or "I am the all-around coolest girl in town." I realize it takes a lot more than a week, or even a month or two, of being really motivated. It's a process of figuring out what works for us.

So today I made the all-important pilgrimage to Target. Armed with my new life-saving manual I scoured the organizational aisles, and am feeling pretty darn good about things. Oh, and really daunted. But that's ok. My little gem says to work on one room for 15 minutes a day, then forget it til the next. Anybody can do that, right?

My first room to work on will be the new baby's nursery. Because, well, it's nowhere near ready. It's still housing all of our games and CDs and tote bags (of which there are a lot because I have a slight addiction to large carry-alls) and a chest of drawers brimming with everything under the sun except for clothes...yes, there is a lot to be done. But it will get done. And painted. And we will buy crib number two. And then we will have a baby. In that order, preferably.

Speaking of, I'm off to my 30 week check-up (out of 40 for anyone who's trying to calculate). Then again, Ella arrived at week 38...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

fall in north carolina

Ella and I are wrapping up a long weekend at my parent's house. I feel like Fall has actually arrived, and here are some reasons why...

My parents when they were in the first grade...

Homemade pumpkin-chocolate chip mufffins (way better than the Frothy Monkey's) and milk from a local farm...

It's good to be here.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

tuesday at the monkey

I got to the Frothy Monkey just in time to snag the last booth. I Love booths. Especially when I'm pregnant. I marked my territory, ordered a decaf mocha and an organic pumpkin/chocolate chip muffin (how can one's day be anything other than wonderful when it starts off with so much chocoalate?) and now I sit facing the sun and the street and enjoying the general coffeehouse buzz.

How did I manage to get here midmorning in the middle of the week? Because my sweet Ella is at Parent's Day Out for the fourth time. We started her this semester one day a week, five hours a day (naps are included - and the kids Actually sleep on their little mats. I Really wish I could be a fly on the wall for that.), and she still definitely cries when we drop her off. We get reports, though, that the tears don't last too long, and she's soon playing with her four classmates.

My freetime activities have varied these last four weeks - and although a nap is most assuredly in today's agenda, I was feeling the pull of the blog. I was going to just update from home, but we have an infestation of chipmunks that ruins all concentration and sleep. That's right. Chipmunks. At first we thought it was a demon bird escaped from the rainforests of Hell. The noise wakes us up every morning, disrupts peaceful moments, and I liken it to a kind of Chinese water torture - but with sound. It's a basic pattern, but with just enough pauses to make you crazy. Well, me anyway.

So one day I was looking out the window trying to spot this horrid bird, and I looked down on our patio at the cute little chipmunk that hangs out there. It was then I noticed that everytime I heard the noise, that chipmunk's sides moved. WHAT. "It's the chipmunk!!!" I shrieked. "Whooooaaaa," Ella answered - probably wondering why I was having a tantrum in front of the window.

A few days later I looked out another window and, two feet away, that dumb thing was was perched on it's hind legs Barking. I swear, that's what it looks like. But I wish to the good Lord that it sounded like a dog's bark instead of the spawn of Satan having a hissy fit. And Now more chipmunks have gathered on our property - we think there are about four of them - and pretty much are on all sides of the house screaming at each other.

I know. It's the weirdest thing. I used to love chipmunks. Who knows why this fall they decided to show their true allegiance with the Dark Side. But we are seriously considering traps. And if that doesn't work, bombs.

But since I'm not actually in my house being driven crazy, I will divert my thoughts to happier topics. Like shopping. Now that Ella's in "school" I decided she needs a whole new wardrobe. Ok, it's actually because she's growing like a crazy weed (our 18 month check-up yesterday confirmed this - she's in the 85 percentile for height, but only 25 percentile for weight) and the season's changing - so she needs warmer clothes and shoes that are not sandals or flip-flops.

I spotted these boots at a Franklin consignment store, and because they were $5 and I've been looking for a pair in my size, they are now part of her collection...

Here's another pair of shoes she loves to wear no matter what she is (or isn't) wearing...

And here are a couple of pictures that I'm posting just because I love them. My friend, Krista, captured these moments...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

saturday, squatters & neverending laundry

It's Saturday, and Andy is out of town. Thankfully, it's just for one day. With fall shows coming up, I'm going to have to get used to him being out for three-four days in a row. I don't like this. One day I can handle (usually). There's just this thing called sleep that I can't get enough of, and Ella has not been the most reliable napper as of late. Especially today - the poor babe has a very runny nose and sneezes constantly. She's also gnawing on her hands so much that she has raw spots on her fingers. Sure signs of teething. Right now she's moaning in her crib and I can hear her sniffling through the monitor. Very sad.

I've been trying to do laundry during her spotty napping, and managed to fold four loads, Stain Stick one load, and throw one load in the dryer. Two more are waiting to be washed. How in the world does a family of three manage to have this many dirty clothes? It's unbelievable. And now we're dealing with a very mysterious problem...

I believe it is all due to a squatter living in our basement. Andy does not. But for whatever reason, there is definitely a smell of cigarette smoke in the basement/garage, and it's starting to creep upstairs. Sometimes I'll walk inside and smell it. Sometimes I'll walk to the back of the house and catch a whiff. But what I cannot accept is that it is starting to make the laundry smell. I pull out Ella's sweet, little clothes from the dryer, and instead of smelling baby, I find traces of grody. Boo. We can't seem to find the source, and since nobody has been lighting anywhere in the house, it continues to be quite the puzzle.

I just hope I don't stumble across a family of smokers living down there because I will (first) have a heart attack and (when I recover) giving them a good talking-to about the dangers of smoking and their audacity for choosing my home.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


a summer night I can enjoy outside. As I write this I'm sitting on my front porch, in my genuine Cracker Barrel rocking chair, listening to the crickets and actually appreciating nature. I literally cannot recall the last time I have done this. I realize there is nothing old-fashioned about typing on a laptop, but rocking and writing under the porch light feels almost quaint. The windows are open to let in the fresh air, and I can see (and hear) Andy in the living room.

Nighttime brings with it a whole new perspective. Just the occasional car passes by, the lights are off in the surrounding houses - probably due to the fact that the inhabitants have real jobs, and the retired ones are just cute and need their sleep. This applies to the babies on the street, too. It's trash day tomorrow, so all of our matching "Keep Nashville Clean" brown cans are neatly placed so that the garbage truck can extend it's arm-like lever-contraption and dump the contents in the morning.

The train yard half-a-mile away never sleeps - the night is when it comes alive. Or maybe it's just that the sound travels better. The brakes are squealing, which sound not unlike aliens talking to each other across the galaxy (the aliens I've encountered, at least) and the boxcars accentuate the conversations with a resounding bump. And tonight, I'm not even bothered by it. In fact, Matthew Perryman Jones' song "Beneath the Silver Moon" is quite happily lodged in my head - the perfect soundtrack to this evening.

There is a definite calm that descends, mmmm, about the second Ella goes to bed. Not that it's better than when she's awake - just quieter. I welcome the change, live an "adult life" for a few hours, and then am ready for her smiling face by morning. We have good times together, she and I. I literally laugh out loud at her crazy ways. The way she says "hi" is about the sweetest thing I could imagine (it's very high, soft and drawn out) and her growing fascination with dogs is quite endearing. Good thing there are lots of them on our street to keep her entertained.

Today we went to a playground right down the street from where Andy's working this week. We played on the swings, went down the slide, and I kept looking around for signs of Nicole Kidman (she's doing voice-over work for a movie at a studio in the neighborhood, and all I wanted was for her to drive by, see a cute baby playing, stop and talk to that baby's mother. Is this too much to hope for?).

Afterwards we went to say hello to Andy and the others at the studio. Ella's milk had been outside for a while, so it was time to refrigerate. You know your daddy doesn't work at a typical office when your sippy cup is chilling in this environment...

Monday, August 21, 2006


Every night before I go to sleep, I go in and check on Ella. Sometimes it backfires, and she wakes up (not that I mind rocking her back to sleep). But most of the time I just look at her, smile at whatever crazy position she's in (if it's especially cute I go get Andy to join the fun), pray over her, re-tuck her blanket, and just enjoy seeing her so relaxed and delicious.

Often I'm reminded of snippets from a passage in "Peter Pan." Last night I figured I should look up the actual quote, and I believe it's going to stay with me through many a night looking in on my children...

"It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during that day.

"If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight.

"When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on." -J.M. Barrie

Sunday, August 20, 2006

grapes and teens

So I've started reading "Grapes of Wrath." I'm only a fourth of the way through, but I'm definitely intrigued. I haven't read Steinbeck in a couple of years - he's brilliant and has a way of exhausting all emotion. It's good to work my brain again. I just finished an absolute mindless book about a young twenty-something tutoring spoiled NY's Upper East-Siders for their SATs. I know. Don't look for it. Not worth it.

A few minutes ago, I flipped on the "Teen Choice Awards." Whoa. I thought I was pretty in touch with what's going on in pop-culture. But when I don't even recognize some of the nominees? It's then I feel all 7 years that's it's been since I've been a teen. I also don't like feeling like a fuddy-duddy, but when "Promiscuous Girl," by Nelly Fur(stupid)tado won in some category, I admit feeling disheartened. In her acceptance speech, she encouraged kids to use protection during their little escapades. Timbaland (who performed with her) leaned in and said, "Don't be promiscuous." Andy and I laughed. Good ole T.

I guess we'll keep watching while we're waiting for our pizza to arrive. There Are some drama moments to anticipate. Will Nick and Jessica cross paths? Will K-Fed suck (wait. I believe I already know the answer to that)? Oh, the "Choice Grill" award (yes, that means gold/diamond/platinum teeth just went to Brooke Hogan. I personally think it should have gone to Flavor Flav. oh good, pizza's here.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

a legacy and the ivories

My parents are in town this week. They brought with them an assortment of things - including a very little and red rocking chair for Ella. First of all, Ella is currently Obsessed with chairs. Particularly ones that are her own size. During a recent trip to Pottery Barn Kids, for instance, she found every single chair in the store and gave it a sit. The children's section at the library is an overwhelmingly wonderful place because not only does it have little tables and chairs her size, it also boasts a reading area filled with little couches and easy-chairs. She tests as many out as possible - as quickly as possible.

So her very own Ella-sized chair in her very own house? And it rocks? Too good to be true. She doesn't go five minutes without giving it a quick sit and rock. What she will come to appreciate one day is that her great-great-grandfather gave this very chair to her Nana (i.e. my mom) when she was just Ella's age. The chair is in incredible condition (probably due to the fact that none of us remember my generation ever sitting in it) - and today I tried to capture some moments.

alas, she doesn't stay very long...

and decides the camera is far more exciting.

Next we go down to the studio, where another of Ella's favorite things resides. The big, powder-blue piano.

The sweetest hands I know

Thursday, August 10, 2006

It was a dark and stormy night...

and I am a contented girl. Because this rain means a drop in temperature of at least 10 degrees. I've been imposing house arrest upon myself and Ella while the sun is hanging high - it's just been that dang hot. But upper 80s? I can deal with that. We might even go outside.

But tonight I am cozily inside. The baby's sleeping - that is, the one with a crib. I just had the most perfect Baja salad, and my tiny resident is quite excited about it. My husband just left to go see "Talladega Nights..." for the second time (I was happily with him the first time) and I'm going to spend the evening with my dear ole friend Goudge.

Ella and I (and Andy the last couple of times) have been going to the downtown library every week for story hour. It's a great program (although I bet only a fifth of the kids there actually get what's going on), and afterwards we roam the library. Actually, you kind of have to pick an area to roam, it's that big. A couple of days ago we visited an exhibit of original illustrations by several African-American author/illustrators. One book was actually featured in story hour recently - "Tar Beach" by Faith Ringgold. It's about a little girl growing up in Harlem, and the pictures are really amazing (especially seeing the originals in person).

Last week we hit the fiction room, and after walking around for a couple minutes, I headed over to find the Goudge books. There are a lot of them at the main library - and I was excited not to have to request one and wait for it to be sent to a closer location. Anyway, I was looking through, trying to find one that I had not read (thankfully there are still some) and I picked two that didn't look familiar. The one I started with is called "White Witch," and come to find out, it's historical fiction. The problem, dear reader, is that I don't really know a lot about 17th century British history.

I'm about halfway through, and really enjoying it, but keep seeing names that I know I should know, but am too tired to get out of bed and look them up. So tonight I looked up Oliver Cromwell, and I feel a bit better about things. Of course, reading the bio gave some parts of the book away (i.e. I know which side is going to win the battle of which I'm currently in the midst) but I bet a lot of people smarter than I - and certainly Goudge's original intended audience - knew.

I was a little sad that we didn't have a set of encyclopedias so that I could look up ole Cromwell, and then I got a little more sad that our kids might not have a set when they're older. I fully understand that the internet has gobs more information than any one set of encyclopedias, but there's just something about looking something up in a book. And I loved to pull out our World Books when I was little, and look through all the pictures, and happen upon information on something that I wouldn't have thought about researching. Then again, if there wasn't such handy technology, it would have been harder to show you all the man of the hour...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

and the winner is...

At least every other day, Andy looks over at me and says, "So you're twenty-seven, huh?" I guess it's time to put a little something else down here. It isn't for lack of internet time. It's because I've been Largely occupied by something else. Something new and exciting. E-bay.

"E-bay?" you might say. "That's been around forever!" Yes, but I have just discovered the wonders, the intrigue, the breathless last moment before an item goes, hoping you are still the highest bidder...OK, so that's only happened twice. One time I won, and one time I lost. Mostly I just watch items and see how much they go for. Sounds psychotically boring, but I think it's good times.

I'm learning the little "tricks" of E-bay along the way. Like, say, reading the entire description of an item before bidding. My one item I've won was my first foray, and I was eager. I saw a very hot item (the entire Baby Einstein DVD collection) going for a ridiculously low price. I bid. I won! I looked at the picture a little more closely, and realized that all the writing was in CHINESE.

aaaaggggghhhh! I freaked out. "What are we going to with a Chinese Baby Einstein???" Andy calmly stated that That is why you read the blurb Thoroughly. He also assured me that if it was totally unusable to us, we could just sell it again. It Was new and in it's package.

It arrived. Every single word on the box and booklet is Chinese. Only a select few DVDs have English titles on the front as well. But, Thank Goodness, there is at least an English option on every DVD (so far). So, in my opinion, it's totally worth having Chinese characters all over the (actually authentic) Baby Einstein set for so Darn cheap.

I'm confident that with my next purchase there will be no surprises.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Today has probably been the most revelatory birthday I've had so far. Well, there Was my ninth birthday when I got a note saying that on my Tenth birthday I could get my ears pierced. This may at first seem kind of, "well, why couldn't you have just gotten them pierced on That birthday?" or "why didn't they just wait to tell you when you were ten?".

I'll just go ahead and tell you that I was the most excited I had been in a long time. From the moment I first was able to discern what earrings were I was asking for pierced ears. At first my parents said I had to be sixteen (aaaagh!) then it was thirteen (still an eternity away) then I got The Note.

There's a picture that captures the moment. I had had a swimming party, and was still in my pink bathing suit that was one-shouldered with ruffles around the top. My hair was in a pony-tail (this was a few months before my mother chopped all of my hair off, making me look Really and Truly like a boy - I still won't let it rest), and I'm wearing purple leg-warmers. I'm pretty sure those were also a present - part of the "Get in Shape, Girl" set. (anyone? anyone?) My fingernails were painted pink, and I've got the biggest grin possible stretched across the skinniest face possible. That, my friends, was a happy day.

But seriously, what are pierced ears compared to finding out you're having another baby girl? Not all that important. Except that I know that I will Not make Ella and her little sister wait until they are sixteen to take the piercing plunge. And I will Not chop all of their hair off (but I wish I at least had the option with Ella. still wispy).

So, yes, today has been a good day. I think I'm going to like being twenty-seven.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

who knew?

Ella discovered that her pacifiers rubbed with a slice of lime are just her thing. Strange that we figured this out, I know. My mom gave Ella her empty cup save limes at the bottom. First Ella pulled out the limes and gave them a few licks. Then she dropped her pacifiers in the cup, shook it a few times, then pulled them out for a tasty treat. Inventive.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I know we have yet to reach June 21, but to me, summer has begun. The schoolkids are home, it's hot as blazes, and the pools are open every day.

I took Ella "swimming" a couple of times last summer. However, she was only 3-5 months old and it involved me going to the neighbor's pool and swishing her legs around in the water. The fact that she would fall asleep in my arms should be an indication that she had no idea (and could care less about) what was going on.

This summer will be different. Today being the first of June, I decided this would be a perfect day to introduce Ella to an actual pool experience. We went to the Y. Where I grew up, we didn't belong to a Y (although if I recall the info correctly, I believe I attended "water babies" at a Y when I was 9 months old). But since I was old enough to remember, we went to the Eno Valley Swim and Racquet - and then to my uttermost delight, we had a pool of our own. I digress.

The YMCAs here in the Nashville area are a pretty big deal. There are several of them within 15 minutes of our house, and although they all cost the same, some are decidedly more posh than others. Take the Green Hills Y - valet parking is at your disposal, and I've heard tell that a good number of Green Hill's soccer moms go straight the the Starbucks post-workout. And while I've never been inside the actual building, I hear a lot of the stars go there to work out.

Two years ago I worked for the Y, and had a free membership. By some stroke of brilliant fortune, when I stopped working there, they never revoked my free membership. You'd think I would have been taking advantage of this - there are so many great programs, classes, and equipment there. But today was my 3rd time ever to go. And today I didn't even workout. This leads me back to the pool.

We went to the Maryland Farms Y, which also has a reputation as being one of the "nicer" Ys. I suited Ella up, slathered the suncreen on, and away we went. I held my breath while my card was scanned, but we were waved through without a second glance. We breezed past the Subway (yes, a full-on Subway) in the lobby area, walked down the staircase and weaved our way through the building. We walked outside, and were greeted with the squeals and shrieks of pool fun.

First we went to the kids pool, which has a sloping bottom, so that kids can sit and let the "waves" wash over their feet. I think Ella was intimidated - she wanted to be held, and kept her head on my shoulder the whole time. Her eyes were wide open as she tried to take all the craziness in. I then spotted the baby pool, and it looked much more her speed.

We headed that way and the only other occupants were a girl 3 months older than Ella, and her grandmother. The girl took an instant liking to Ella, and after spending many more minutes in my lap, Ella began to follow her around the pool. The little girl climbed out; Ella climbed out. The little girl walked over to the fence; Ella walked over to the fence. Ella never followed suit when the little girl dunked her head in the water, but maybe we'll work up to that.

I wish I had a picture, but I have no doubt that Ella will be wearing the same bathing suit playing in the same pool, and will still probably have first a look of concern, then utter delight.