Good Talking!!

In an attempt to lessen Noah's whining and "uh-uh-uh"-ing, I am finding myself saying "Use your words, Noah" and "Good talking!" when he finally speaks to me to let me know what he wants or needs. He has his 18 month checkup coming up, and I know Dr. Gloyeske will ask me how his language is progressing. So, just for the fun of it, I decided to write down the words Noah is currently saying. I'm also attaching pictures of Noah doing some of his very favorite things. Walking around in Ryan's or my shoes, for example, is already one of his favorite pasttimes.

Names: Mommy, Daddy, Kya, Nana, Papa, Mama, Dalia, Meaghan

Phrases: "Bye bye!", "Hi!", "Bad Boy", "No Touch", "You're welcome", "Get Back!"

Objects: Chicken, Cracker, Cheerio, Bear, Book, Ball, Puppy, Baby, Cow, Toast, Brush, Bath, Poop, Peas, Pee, Chair, Mail, Juice, Guitar, Towel, & Bubble

Adjectives: Hot, Cold, Yellow

Words to Express Needs/Wants: Help, Please, More, Bite, No, Yeah, & Turn

Two Cutest Words: Pray (Pay) & Amen (Mee-Meen)

Word/Phrase with Unknown Meaning: "OH-Ba-DIE"

(seriously, Noah says this 500 times a day, but we have no clue what he is trying to say. He seems to be saying "I want that" because he is always pointing to an object when he says it, but "Oh-Ba-Die" sounds nothing like "I want that," so who knows! :)

If you count all of them, you'll see that Noah is saying 50 words!!! Had I not written them down, I would never have guessed he was saying that many words. Noah is still using some sign language, mostly for "please," "thank you," and "more", The others have gone by the way-side. Actually, now that he is saying please more consistently, I'm noticing that he is signing it less and less in just the past couple of days.

In my job, I often do interviews with parents in order to obtain information about their child's adaptive functioning (i.e., how well he or she functions independently throughout the day in comparison to same age peers). One of the questions I ask is "Does your child say at least 50 words?" Sometimes I honestly have parents who say no to this question. Knowing that Noah already at 18 months old is saying 50 words really puts that into perspective for me. Ever since I started working with kids who are struggling in school and sometimes have developmental issues, I have realy lost touch with what "typical" development looks like. God has really blessed Ryan and me with a healthy, typical child, and I am grateful for that every single day.

If we ever figure out what "Oh-ba-die" means, I will let you know! In the meantime, if you have any ideas, feel free to pass them along.


New Moon

Last year my sister-in-law, Kelli, told me about Twilight and told me that I would love the books. SHE WAS NOT KIDDING! I, like so many millions of other people, loved the books and finished them in just 3 weeks. I have never felt so addicted to anything in my life. Stephenie Meyer provided the most fun stories, and I just could not put them down. I remember finishing the second book, looking at Ryan, and saying, "Oh my gosh! I am dying to start the third book. Target closes in 9 minutes. Should I go??" He was like, "Just do it!" So, I ran out the door, drove like a wild person to Target, grabbed Eclipse, jumped in the car, and proceeded to read for another 3-4 hours. They just provided such an exciting escape, and I was entertained in a book like never before as I found myself immersed in Forks, Washington with all my new friends. :)

About a year ago, the Twilight movie was released, and of course I had to go see it with Kelli, the one who started my addiction! The second the movie ended, I began to look forward to seeing the next installation, New Moon. After what seemed like a lifetime, lots of hype, and of course re-reading New Moon, the big premiere was Friday at 12:01 a.m. That's right - we got tickets for a midnight premiere, something I had never done before. All week Ryan was so awesome, supporting my addiction everyway he knew how. For example, on Tuesday night I came home from having dinner with my friend Alyssa, and he had three packages wrapped on the kitchen table just waiting for me. He had drawn these really fun pictures of wolves, vampire teeth, blood (of course), etc. It was really sweet! I opened the packages to find these KILLER heels! I mean, I honestly felt like a true Cullen wearing them. He also spoiled me with a new vampire t-shirt and a cute red, black, and grey sweater that sparkled like vampires in the sunlight. :) Is he the greatest or what??

We tried to find some friends to go see the movie with us, but people were either not up for seeing a movie at midnight (I don't know what the big deal was - just kidding!), the husbands weren't "into it" (hello, it's called doing something special for your wife!), or they didn't know anything about the books. Despite it just being the two of us (again, I have the best husband for taking me!!!), we had a fabulous time! When I got home from work that day, Ryan had Twilight playing on our TV, and the soundtrack was playing in the background. Wasn't that so thoughtful?? My mom picked up Noah after she got off work on and took him back to her place for the night. Ryan and I left shortly after that to have dinner at BJ's Brewhouse. We had some delicious mozzarella sticks, deep dish pizza, and a breaded cheeseburger with thin, crispy fries. YUM!! We ate to our hearts' content, and then walked over to the mall.

We kind of got lucky at the mall because Macy's did not close until 10 p.m. due to holiday hours. So, we walked around the mall for about an hour. I had had a pretty rough day that day, so when we found some chairs with those massage pads on them, we knew we hit the jackpot. Getting a free massage on a $350 piece of equipment was just the ticket to make all the stress melt away. I stood up feeling like a new person. We left the mall and drove to the theatre, not sure what to expect at 10 p.m. on such a big premiere night. This is Ryan being "stressed out" in the car before walking into the theatre. :)

Since we had already picked up our tickets before dinner, we walked right in without any trouble. They had opened about six theatres at that time, and we easily found some awesome seats in Theatre #11. It was 10 o' clock, so it was time to figure out how we were going to spend the next two hours. Much to Ryan's annoyance (though he was a great sport!), I wanted to commemorate the occasion with a picture of us at the theatre. Some teenage girls in front of us snapped a quick photo. Didn't it turn out great??

Yes, that is a Forks t-shirt you see me wearing! My friend, Amanda, spoiled me on her trip to Washington by surprising me with this fun shirt. I love it...it's so soft because it's made from bamboo. THANKS AGAIN, AMANDA!! We played a round of Brick Breaker on Ryan's Blackberry, and then he gave me trivia questions about New Moon. I made small talk with some 19 year old girls from Martinsville while Ryan BRAVELY went to get us something to drink. He said there were lines at every single register, and they went all the way back to the doors. He sent me a text saying, "I am so mad at your right now...everyone out here is 14, and they're talking about Jacob not wearing a shirt!" It was hysterical!! After about 25 minutes, Ryan finally returned with our drinks. What seemed like just a few moments later, the movie finally began!

Sorry to skip ahead, but there is no way I can spoil any of the movie for people reading my blog. I will just say that I LOVED LOVED LOVED New Moon!! It was fantastic from beginning to end, and I walked out of the theatre with the biggest smile on my face. They had sold out 13 of their theatres, and below you can see the stream of people trying to walk out of the theatre. Ryan and I both worked the next day after sleeping from 3-7:30 a.m.

We had an awesome time together, and now it's time to wait as patiently as possible for June 30, 2010 when Eclipse is released. I think we'll have to do another midnight premiere...it was definitely worth it!



Some of you know this about me, but many of you probably don't. I LOVE TRADITIONS!!! Seriously, I will create a tradition just for the sake of creating one. It can be BIG, or it can be small. I don't care either way, as long as it's fun! Awhile back my friend, Amanda, told us about this little tradition she does with a Christmas Elf each year. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the elf starts doing mischievous things around the house while the kids are asleep. Then, when they wake up, they will find that silly things have happened (e.g., lining up all of the stuffed animal through the house). There was probably more to her story, but that is what stuck with me.

Recently, my friend Dalia sent an email about Jingles the Elf, and I remembered Amanda's tradition with her kids. She is a consultant for Bumble Bees, a cute company with lots of fun items for kids. The description of Jingles the Elf says:

"Jingles The Elf" is a charming tale of a jolly little elf that magically appears on the first day of December, to embark upon a delightful adventure. After Jingles' silly mishap at the toy factory with the "Magical Copying Machine," Santa decided to send each little Jingles out on a special mission! Equipped with a magical bell to report back to Santa, Jingles is sent out to the special boy or girl to whom he was assigned. Every night, this playful elf will hide someplace new and wait anxiously to be found in the morning! This thrilling hide and seek adventure continues until Santa picks up Jingles on Christmas Eve and takes him back to the North Pole. Also included is a family fun section with activites and recipies sure to delight children of all ages!Written with a rhythmical flair this innovative tale is sure to capture the hearts of all who turn it's pages. Jingles will return to his special child year after year!

Because I love creating new traditions, I thought this would be the perfect tradition to start this Christmas. When I was a kid, I remember hearing about the Naughty & Nice List, and even though I knew I was always naughty, I still got gifts. This is true for most kids, and to this day, I have only heard one story where a kid actually got nothing but COAL from Santa one year. I really like the idea that there is an elf watching over Noah to report back to Santa. It just gives a good visual reminder to behave and obey your parents. Plus, I'm going to piggy back on Amanda's idea and hide Jingles in different places around the house so that Noah can find him. We'll plot little mischievous activities for Jingles to do at night, too. I am so excited!

I met Dalia yesterday evening to pick up the package. I really am pleased with the quality! The box where you store the book and Jingles the Elf is very sturdy, so I'm confident that it will stand the test of time. The story has really cute illustrations, too. In the back of the book, there are some additional activities including a story about how Jingles came to have this job, a cocoa recipe, ideas about how you can help and give to others, crafts, and reading activities. If any of you are interested in purchasing one, please let me know, and I will get in touch with Dalia! You can always order it online, but if you are in the Indy area, going directly through Dalia will save you money in shipping. :)

I can't wait to start our new tradition on December 1st!! I'll be sure to blog about our adventures with Jingles the Elf!

John's 60th Birthday

On Saturday, November 7th, Ryan, Noah, and I drove up to the northside of Indy to SURPRISE Ryan's dad, John, for his 60th birthday! Gloria (Ryan's mom) had organized the fun celebration at Hollyhock Hill. When I was little, my grandparents would often have our Christmas and Thanksgiving celebrations at this restaurant. They make really good "down home cookin'," and everything is served family style. I probably haven't been there in over 15 years, and I was excited to taste their delicious food again! Although Gloria tried to keep John from guessing what they were doing that evening to celebrate, I'm pretty sure he figured it out! Ryan's sister (Kelli), her husband (Joel), and their little girl (Madyson) were all there to celebrate, too. Mikayla and Micah, their other children, were both sick at home and missed the festivities. I think Noah had enough for all the kids (see below).

Dinner was fabulous! Even after all of those years, the food hasn't changed a bit. The appetizers consisted of salad, a veggie tray, cottage cheese and pickled beets (which I think are scary, but Noah apparently loves them!). The main course was fried chicken & shrimp, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, and rolls. As if that weren't enough, we also had vanilla ice cream with a variety of sundae toppings. I had mint and chocolate, and it was divine!

What is it about balloons that makes kids so happy?? Noah was entertained for quite some time after dinner just playing in the balloons, which was nice so that I could finish eating my food. After dinner, John opened his gifts from the kids (us). We got him a bunch of running gear (see below), and he loved it! John runs about 3 times a week and is in great shape. We recently ran a race with him in Carmel, and I honestly felt like he was going to run laps around me. Oh wait, he did run laps around me. :)

Noah just loves his Mama and Papa. Noah was carrying around this wet washcloth after dinner (they give really warm washcloths to clean up your hands and face), but his Mama didn't seem to mind!

Here's Noah posing with his Papa and his favorite cousin Mady...and the washcloth made an appearance again, too. :) Mady is so sweet with Noah, and he just watches her and smiles at her and just adores her!

Happy birthday, John! You truly are a wonderful man, and I know Ryan admires you more than you will ever know. Thank you for raising your son to be a man of integrity who loves God! Noah and I are blessed every single day by the legacy you have passed on through him.


Fundraiser for Noah Kriese

Saturday night, Ryan and I went to church to participate in a fundraiser to support Noah Kriese's family. Here is some information about Noah:

On May 22, 2009, twelve year old Noah Kriese fell into the Trummelbach Falls while vacationing with his family in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. Noah was an active member of the Emmanuel Church of Greenwood and the Center Grove Community. Swiss police, rescue teams, and third party search teams searched for Noah until he was found June 17th, 2009 and brought home. The majority of the cost incurred to find Noah and bring him home lies with his family.

Some wonderful people organized a talent show and silent auction in hopes of raising $25,000 to help with some of the costs from the search. Any additional money would be put toward the Noah Kriese Foundation. Ryan, Noah, and I got there around 5:30 p.m., and I was giddy with excitement upon seeing so many awesome items for the silent auction. I walked around and around the tables, eyeing everything and figuring out my strategy for winning some of the items. We were also excited to see Ryan's 2nd cousins Jessie and Hannah, as they were both performing in the talent show. I bet they had at least 40 entries!! We had a LONGGGG wait until they would perform. Plus, we found out if we wanted to win the prizes, we had to stay until the end. Well, because the talent show was running way behind, the night got longer and longer! Regardless, we had a great time visiting with friends and watching Noah chase our pastor's daughter, Ruby, around the gym. He was seriously mesmerized by her beauty! During one of his many trips across the basketball court, Ryan said to him, "Get used to it, Buddy. You'll be doing this the rest of your life." It was hilarious! Noah just looked at Ryan, smiled, and kept running!

Finally by 8:30 p.m., Noah was BEAT. I drove Ryan and Noah home...thank goodness we live like 2 minutes away...and then went back to the church. By this point, I was bidding on a Woodlands Camp gray sweatshirt and sweatpants, and one other AWESOME auction item! For the past several years, I have been dying to go on a trip by train where we would actually sleep on the train. Well, the auction item wasn't exactly that, but it is the closest I've ever been! I was bidding on overnight accomodations in a TRAINCAR at the Crown Plaza Union Station, 2 coctails in Pullman's Restaurant, a carriage ride around downtown Indy, two movie tickets to the theatre at Circle Center Mall, and breakfast the next morning at Pullman's Restaurant. Ryan and I have our 5 year wedding anniversary coming up on New Year's Day, and we thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate! Plus, it was an awesome way to support an incredible cause...I mean, I'm sure Noah's parents had enough to deal with just losing their son, and we really wanted to help them not have to worry about the finances.

After a few hours of waiting...

...and getting into a bidding war with another lady...

...and feeling like my heart would explode out of my chest...


I was BEYOND EXCITED! I even got the sweatshirt and sweatpants, too. I am wearing them right now...and they are COMFY! I can't wait to celebrate our 5 years of marriage because as anyone who is married knows...it is definitely something to celebrate!!!

The icing on the cake is this - through the grapevine, I heard that we were able to raise over $25,000. Isn't that amazing?!?! I think it was a win-win situation for everyone. :)

Bone Marrow Registry

So often during this time of year, many of us begin thinking less about ourselves...and more about others. This past weekend, I was inspired by a young man to get my name and information submitted to the bone marrow registry. I had always wondered how to do this, and when I realized how quick and easy it was, I wanted to share the good news! If you are interested, just follow these steps:

1. Go to http://www.marrow.org/
2. Read about the FAQs (if desired)
3. Read about the Myths vs. Facts (if desired)
4. Join the registry here

After completing the information online (takes about 10 minutes), they will send you a "kit" that contains 4 Q-Tips. All you do is swab your inner cheek, insert them into a piece of foam, and mail the prepaid envelope. After registering, I received my kit in 4 days and put it in the mail the following day.

What an awesome (and easy) way to give the gift of life!


Happy Halloween 2009 Edition

Welcome to the 2009 Edition of the Abell Family Halloween celebration! It really does seem like just yesterday that Noah was dressed up like a dragon. I know I've posted so many pictures of him in the frog costume, but isn't it just perfect?!?! Once again we grabbed some pizza, though this time it was Pizza Hut stuffed crust (our fav!) rather than Papa John's. Because we've done this two years in a row, I'm committed to making it a tradition. I just love popping open the CR-V, putting the pizza in the back, and pigging out while little kids run around in costumes collecting candy. I know, I know...we'll probably end up taking Noah around next year. How will I fit in the pizza tradition? I'm not sure, but we will do it! I have a passion for creating traditions.

Noah really got the hang of giving people the candy after they said, "Trick or Treat." I felt horrible because after I snapped this picture, I said, "Don't worry, I didn't get her in the picture" to this dad. Ryan was like, "Uh...that was a boy." I felt horrible. Oh well! Guess he pulled off his costume really well. That's a compliment, right?

This is our little neighbor, Elizabeth. Isn't she beautiful?? When she told me she was dressing up as Snow White, I asked if she had ever seen the movie. After answering with the shake of her head, I promply ran into the house and let her borrow our copy (Toys R Us had a deal for $9.99 after using a $10 off coupon...of course). She loved it! Ryan and I like to believe that Noah will grow up and fall in love with her. :) What a beauty, and she's super sweet to him, too!

Last year it was easy to snap a quick picture of Noah on my lap. This year...not so much! He wanted to run, run, run and take the candy bowl from here to there. He was on a mission! Seriously. This kid focuses on a "project" like that, and there is no stopping him. It reminds me of someone, but I can't think of who...

Here he is...still crying and not wanting to get his picture taken. Oh well, there's always next year! Until then, Happy Halloween!


Toys R Us Deals

There is a great deal at Toys R Us this week on classic Hasbro games. I bought the following games this afternoon:

1. Cootie
2. Ants in the Pants
3. Don't Break the Ice
4. Don't Spill the Beans
5. Candyland
6. Chutes & Ladders
7. Memory

Each game costs $3.99, and the total cost was $29.89 with tax. I got a $10 Toys R Us gift card for spending over $25 on those games. Plus, I will get $14 in rebates ($2 per game). This means I got all of those games for less than $6...WOOHOO! :) These would make really great gifts for children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friend's kids' birthdays, etc.


A Pumpkin Carvin' Good Time

Last Halloween Noah was too young to care much about pumpkins, and to be perfectly honest, I don't even think Ryan or I thought about carving one. However, this year is a different story! We wanted to participate in all Halloween festivities, so a pumpkin carving had to be done. My dad and Danette took Noah to the pumpkin patch (see above) while we were away at the Bourbon Chase. He picked out a PERFECT pumpkin, and I couldn't wait to carve it!
We started out with Noah in his high chair. I just love this picture of Noah looking up at Ryan. It's the classic son looking up to his father picture. Gets me every time!

Once Ryan cut off the pumpkin stem, Noah was ready to get his hands dirty! I was surprised at how well he actually cleaned out the pumpkin seeds and goo. Of course we had to have Charlie Brown on in the background!

We moved the carving party to the floor, and Noah continued to help clean out the pumpkin. Before we had gotten started, Ryan bought a great pumpkin carving kit for us to use. Although it might be surprising to some, I had never used a carving tool set before! We were old fashioned, I guess, just using my good steak knives! Now I understand how people can carve out elaborate designs...these little knives are the key! As much as I wanted to carve a Twilight-themed pumpkin, I didn't feel like it was fair since the pumpkin was technically Noah's. :) So, Ryan picked out a fun haunted house & ghost stencil. We were really happy with how it turned out!


Tim & Ronda cracking us up!

The teens leading a sing & dance-a-long

We've been attending Emmanuel Church of Greenwood for about 2 1/2 years now, but this was our first time participating in Trunk-N-Treat. This is just an extra Halloween event that allows kids to dress up one extra time to go treat-or-treating. It's also an opportunity to invite other people who don't attend our church to visit and do something fun with their families.

Daddy & Noah watching the festivities

Mommy & Noah having a dance party!

After registering inside the newly refurbished children's wing, Ryan, Noah, and I went to the auditorium where some of the adult staff members were putting on a fun show for the kids! Our friend Tim was hilarious on stage!! Then some of the teenagers led everyone in some singing and dancing. I felt like I was in one of those made-for-kids educational programs. Noah was CRACKING UP and loved dancing with me (surprise!).

Meaghan & Noah - She takes care of Noah every Sunday!

Noah and Evelyn - Best Buddies

After the program was over, everyone went outside where dozens of cars were lined up with their trunks decorated in various themes. Kids and their parents lined up for trick-or-treating. We took Noah around to see each of the trunks and visited with friends along the way. We didn't collect any candy - we just didn't feel right doing that when we're not going to let him eat any of it. I mean, he's only 18 months old! :) It got pretty chilly, so we stayed just long enough to make our rounds and visit for awhile with some friends and family. We had a great time, and I'm sure it will become part of our Halloween tradition for years to come.

Snacking on some teddy grahams on our way out

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