Friday, June 29, 2007

Signing Time: Live!

Tonight we had the privilege of seeing Rachel Coleman of Signing Time live at our local library branch. Ella has been watching the Baby Signing Time DVDs since about 6 months and she loves them! Sarah joined in on the fun a few weeks ago and tonight we had a fantastic time signing and singing with Rachel!

On the way in all the kids received Hopkins hats (Hopkins is the animated frog in the videos)! Ella's lasted about 10 seconds.

That is Hopkins, Rachel, and Rachel's daughter, Leah. Leah is a main character in the DVDs. Leah is deaf and she is the reason her mom started the Signing Times videos.

And this is just us having fun! Sarah's hands moving (in the first picture) are her signing and her mouth moving (in the third picture) is her singing! Sarah is a quick learner and she was in the groove in no time.

TV, Kids, & Sesame Street

One thing Mitch and I struggle with as parents is the issue of media -- mostly TV and video games. We generally only deal with this when Sarah is here. We do allow Ella to watch TV, but only our "Baby Signing Times" DVD. We have chosen not to have cable or satellite in our home, at least for now. Yesterday we received a notice that our apartment community is now offering a really great deal on cable. It was tempting, but thankfully our budget is tight enough so we declined.

This morning Sarah and I were watching Sesame Street on PBS (one of the 8 or so channels we get with the goold ole bunny ears!). I had a conversation a few months ago with some other moms and grandmoms about Sesame Street and how liberal it is getting, but I had yet to see anything objectionable so I was still open to it. This morning on the Elmo section of the show they showed different families in short video clips. They went through interracial; single parents; different cultures...and then showed a clip of two daddies and their kids. Sigh. It was quick and subtle, but I now for a fact that this is how media works -- through subtlety.

Now, I don't want to completely seclude our kids from reality. We originally had planned not to have cable at all, ever, but some older wiser parents showed us that having cable allows us to teach our kids how to make wise choices when it comes to what we watch. It's just unfortunate that we're going to have these discussions about Sesame Street! Thank God for Veggie Tales and the other fantastic cartoons the Christian media is putting out!

I hate to think of our kids growing up without Big Bird and Cookie Monster, but at least we have Bob and Larry to replace them!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

So many milestones....

Last night we put Ella down at 7 PM without a fuss at all for the night, or so we thought. At 9 PM, while I was at the grocery store, Ella woke up. She didn't go back down until 11 PM! Apparently it was just a nap -- silly mommy and daddy! As daddy was playing with her to wear her out -- he noticed her top two teeth have broken the surface of her gums. No wonder she's been so fussy. It took a good 3 weeks for those puppies to erupt.

Meanwhile, Sarah has been working on walking with Ella. Sarah is determined that Ella will be steadily walking by the time she leaves. Here they are working together. Ella is actually walking very well now. It won't be long before that's her primary mode of transportation, which means it's time to get some shoes.

Las Vegas Mini Gran Prix

We spent a few hours at this place today. It's like a Chuck E. Cheese with rides and go-carts. Daddy got sick from the plane ride. :-) Sarah was timid on the go-carts at first (I think she went a whopping 2 mph the first few times around). One her last trip around she was sitting in her car waiting to go and talking to a boy next to her. As she sat there cracking her knuckles, she remarks to the boy, "I think when I grow up I am going to be a NASCAR driver." :-) That's quite a leap from the 2 mph gal at the beginning of the day! Ella enjoyed hanging out in her stroller, as usual!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Just hanging out waiting for Dad....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Greatest Show on Earth!

Last night we went to the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Baily Circus at the Orleans Arena and it was fantastic! We took Ella with us only because we couldn't find a babysitter, but I expected to spend much of the show walking her around. Not so! She loved the circus! Of course, mommy also fed her popcorn, which is a favorite food, so that helped out. I haven't been to the circus since I was in kindergarten so I don't remember anything about it and I LOVED it! And as we were standing in line to get our pictures taken before it started... Sarah said she hoped they would hurry up because she didn't want to miss the beginning of the Greatest Show on Earth!

We got to the arena about 45 minutes early (on accident) and I was apprehensive -- what were we going to do with 2 kids for an additional 45 minutes. Turns out, if you get to the circuse early, you can go down to the floor and meet the performers! Perfect! I should've known the circus would have lots for the kiddos to do.

When I originally went to buy tickets for the circus, I about fell out of my chair. The CHEAP tickets were $30/each! But on opening night, Thursday, they were half-price so I snatched those up. The next morning I got a phone call -- I had won tickets to the circus. Figures. So I just got new tickets in better seats for Saturday night for free. My point is -- I would pay $30/ticket to see this show. It was fantastic! Plus, they use LIVE musicians and we absolutely support that! So many shows are going to canned music and many musicians are out of jobs thanks to technology. We were glad to see the circus has not followed that trend.

While the tickest may be pricey (but worth the cost), the souvenirs are just out-landish! $7 for popcorn. $15 for a plastic souvenir cup. $30 for a stuffed elephant!YIKES! I guess when you get tickets for free, though, you could afford a few souvenirs. But man, with a family of 5??? No way! Makes me understand why my parents rarely took us on vacation!

We had a GREAT time last night and I hope when the circus comes to your town you can go, too!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mexican Train Dominoes

When I was about 6 months pregnant with Ella, a friend taught me how to play Mexican Train Dominoes. I am not really a game person, but I LOVE THIS GAME! I had every intention of waiting for my contractions to get strong enough to go to the hospital with Ella while playing this game. Ella had other ideas.

So last night I taught Daddy and Sarah how to play. I wasn't sure Sarah would get the strategy, but as usual she proved me wrong. She even beat us a few times! While Sarah may struggle with reading, she has a VERY analytical mind and is able to do whatever riddles or puzzles we put in front of her.

If you haven't played, I would highly recommend a set for your house!

The Butterfly Park

That's not what it's actually called. I think it is Centennial Hills Park, but we call it the Butterfly Park. The coolest thing about this park is the water feature. As you can see, we had lots of fun! It's free for all to come and play. We made sure we went in the morning, but it was still 95 degrees at 9:30 AM. Apparently we took A LOT of pictures! And I'm even posting pictures of me in a swimsuit... on the internet....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sky Mania

This afternoon we ventured out in to the 105 Las Vegas heat to a trampoline gym -- Sky Mania. The entire gym is wall to wall trampolines! It is really cool! Sarah had a great time and got a great work out!

11 Months Old!

Ella is officially counting down the days to 1! It's hard to believe how much she's changed since July of last year. She is weaning from her bottle and has mastered the sippy cup -- even the ones with the straws. We have about half a can of formula left and then it's bye bye bottles! Ella is also venturing in to walking. She'll take a few steps at a time, thanks to the help of her big sister. Unforunately it's not all joyful milestones for Ella. She does not like to be told NO and will have a fit if you take away something she wants. We have one independent little girl who knows what she wants! She still only has 2 teeth, but we think she might have at least one more by her birthday. Ella is a very happy little girl and we have a lot of fun watching her antics!

In the pictures above, Daddy and Sarah were eating blueberries. Now, Ella does not like blueberries, but insisted on having some. So she'd play with one, put it in her mouth, take it out, put it back in, and then take it out and throw it away! As you can see, she also doesn't stay very still!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hello from Sarah!

Ih I am SARAH! I have 4 cats violet felix and the ones in philly sam and frank! My favorite ice creem is mooss.

Father's Day!

Saturday evening, Mitch and I are putting up window tinting on our west facing are in bed...bragging to ourselves about what a great first day Sarah had (they can be really rough sometimes). We went to bed around midnight, but we just couldn't fall asleep. About 1:30 AM, Sarah appeared in our doorway wanting to get in to bed with us. Mitch tucked her back in to her bed. Fifteen minutes later, Ella was screaming bloody murder having been woken up by Sarah being put to bed. 2:15 AM everyone is back in bed. 2:45 AM, Sarah is BACK in our doorway... needless to say it was a very restless night!

Father's Day dawned bright and early for the Gabels. Mommy had planned ahead and had everything ready to makey yummy popovers. Only Mommy hasn't been able to figure out why popovers don't like to "pop" out west.... still good, but not nearly as much fun! (If anyone knows how to fix this -- I'm all ears!)

After breakfast we headed to church where Ella was not pleased about being left in the nursery -- which she usually loves! So mommy sat with her while Daddy went to church and Sarah went to the kids church. After church we headed down to the Strip. On our way for lunch at Rainforest Cafe at the MGM, we passed by the Lion Habitat. It was crowded so we didn't stay long.

The Rainforest Cafe was fun! Sarah loves the place and I enjoy the ambiance, but I'd forgotten how pricey and terrible the food is!

A short walk down the Strip and we were at Gameworks to play some video games! A favorite (other than air hockey, which always gets much play time) was a Star Wars pod racer game....

Daddy said he had fun, but I think exhaustion set in early from lack of the sleep the night before. We ended the day hanging out on the couch watching a flick!

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