This morning, we took Ellie to go visit the preschool down the street. For the longest time, we drove by these three houses and wondered why they had such a huge playground in their backyards. We figured it must have been for the pool next door. Since we were at work all day, we never saw the kids going in and out. Finally we discovered that it's Parkwood School, and they have preschool for kids 3 and up.
Ellie's friend from around the corner is going to go to the school starting in the fall. They're only a couple of weeks apart in age, and they get along great, so Ellie will have a good friend there to help her with the transition. We figure that Ellie will go there two days a week, from about 9 until noon, which is a good start to the going to school phase. We liked the school, it had a lot of toys that we recognized from when we were kids (it's been around long enough that people that went there when they were kids are now sending their children). So we got all the forms we need, and we'll send them in over the summer so that Ellie can go to preschool two days a week starting in the fall. Our little girl is growing up so fast!

This morning, I was getting ready for work while watching the women's curling semi-finals when Ellie came into the office, excitedly babbling. She had somehow found a pacifier. Apparently she had dropped one behind her mattress, and this morning she moved her mattress and found it. Oh, the horror. Lisa was in the shower and unable to help. Ellie was hellbent on washing it off and plugging it into her mouth, setting into motion a vicious series of events I do not care to repeat. What to do?
She brought the pacifier over to her play sink and was pretending to wash it off. I convinced her to give it to me, and sat her down for a talk. I told her that we weren't using "night-nights" any more, and that our neighbors across the street were very happy that they could understand her talking, now that she didn't have one any more. I told her that we should put it away, because we're very proud of her for giving them up, and that she didn't need them any more. Somehow, despite a small fit, it actually worked! I was able to stash it away where she will never find it, and catastrophe was averted.
And so, life goes on, pacifier-free for almost two weeks and counting.

It has now been almost a full week since Ellie threw away her last pacifier. She had voluntarily thrown away a couple of others before, because they were really old, and according to her, "yucky." She had one left, and somehow managed to bite a chunk of it off last week. We talked to her about it a lot, and she was finally convinced that it was broken and she should throw it away.
The first couple of nights were rough, and she whined for her "night-night" a bit. She's never been good at falling asleep, and this just exacerbated things. The past few nights she's taken a good long while to fall asleep. But she's been pretty good about everything, and for the most part has been sleeping through the night once she falls asleep. She has her moments, when she's feeling shy or gets hurt somehow, when she really wishes she had the pacifier, but she's stopped asking for it now, so that's a good thing, especially since she might start part-time preschool in the fall!

Just a couple of quick snow pictures for you. It's almost all melted already, as it's been near 50 degrees the past couple of days. I figured I should at least get the pictures up before it all melts.

Our poor dogwood tree in the front yard sagged big time under all the weight of the snow. One of the branches is busted and will have to be cut. Others in the neighborhood had much bigger branches come down, so we can't complain too much. Our azaleas may have taken a hit too, they were sagging pretty bad, but I don't know whether they will spring back up.

A nice family photo. Lisa was a little chilly though. Okay, that was a bad joke. We got a snow-woman "kit" from Auntie Amy, so naturally we used the tiara, necklace and fancy lips for our snow-woman. As big as Ellie!

On Saturday, Lisa's stomach wasn't feeling good, and we were trying to think of things we could have for dinner that would be okay for her upset stomach. We came up with chicken soup and not much else. Not wanting chicken soup myself, I suggested we go to the New York deli, Chutzpah, so that I could get a big sandwich and she could get genuine Jewish chicken soup (there's also a signed picture of the kid from "A Christmas Story" who can't put his arms down, and it's signed, "Dear Chutzpah, I ate like a pig! Oink oink!"). Naturally, she was easily convinced.
Our waitress was a heavily-accented Russian/Eastern European woman who, naturally, loved Ellie. We ordered our food (I got the "Fuggedaboudit": which has corned beef, pastrami, and chopped liver, yummy!) and got our orders pretty quickly after that. Ellie, being descended from two of the world's slowest eaters, is herself the slowest eater in the world, so the waitress kept coming back to check on how we were doing. Ellie was nibbling at her pizza bagel, but enjoying her broccoli and Lisa's soup as well. When the waitress came to ask why Ellie wasn't eating her bagel, we explained that she was eating the cheese off the top first, and working her way down. She offered to take my plate, which had long since conquered me, and Ellie asked "What she doing?" We told her that the waitress was taking my plate because I was done. Naturally, Ellie asked "Why?" and the waitress asked if Ellie wanted to help. She held out her arms, and Ellie jumped right out of the booth to go help! The waitress gave her an empty and unused bowl to carry back, and together they went to check on another table, then walked to the back to put the bowl away. The poor kid who was in charge of cleanup and mopping was so confused when he saw Ellie back there. I wish we had a camera to catch that classic moment. Ellie then ran back to the table and told us (and everyone else in the small restaurant) how she helped with the dishes. Hilarious. Now if we could just bypass the child labor laws, I think she'd make us a TON of money in tips!

* The title of the post is a song by the 80s girl group "The Waitresses." Bonus points if you caught the reference.