Ellie

Our little lady is growing up so fast! Today, she turns three years old! And next Tuesday, she's off to school for the first time. Amazing.
Apparently, when you're little, you get a day's worth of presents for each year you've been alive. Ellie started opening presents on Sunday, and she's still got some left over to open today. She was a little under the weather yesterday, but (knock on wood), she seems to have kicked the fever today. She's been having a lot of fun playing with her new trampoline and her new dress up shoes. Plus, she hasn't even opened a bunch of presents, including the scooter from her cousin Colin.
It's hard to believe it's been three years already. It seems like just yesterday that she was eating (and spitting up) rice for the first time, rolling over, toddling around, and kicking the pacifier habit. We know she's going to be a great big sister and we couldn't be happier to have her as a daughter.
We love you Ellie! Happy Birthday!



Wiggles!
Originally uploaded by Big DC.

Yes, yesterday was the big Wiggles concert. Ellie was so excited that she didn't take a nap, and when we got downtown so early that we had to wait to get into the MCI Verizon Center, she was so confused.
But once inside, her excitement continued for the whole show. Unfortunately, the main guy (who wears yellow), Greg, had a couple of fainting spells and had to be taken to the hospital. They said he's flying back to Australia and will miss the rest of the tour. Some guy named Sam took his place, and while he was adequate, it just wasn't quite the same.
Still, Ellie had a blast dancing (in our laps, since she didn't want to stand; I don't think she could see very well unless she was on our laps), and even gave a rose to one of the guys for Dorothy the Dinosaur. She had a great time, and it was actually totally worth the money. Lisa and I even enjoyed ourselves. And, Ellie got the awesome Dorothy-spotted hat pictured above, which should fit her for years to come.

Ellie's big 3rd birthday party is coming up this weekend, so last week we asked her what kind of ice cream she wanted. Her mind quickly ran through her options. She had just been up in Michigan and tried some new ice cream varieties including Blue Moon. It's no shock that she loved Blue Moon, because she picks out her ice cream based solely on color. That was real fun while Baskin Robbins had purple and pink "Cotton Candy" flavor ice cream. But then she remembered that she also had Superman ice cream and loved it. And so the quest to find Superman ice cream began.
I quickly discovered that Hershey's Ice Cream, a Pennsylvania-based creamery, made Superman. They say it's a blend of strawberry, banana and Blue Moon (of course, they don't sell Blue Moon separately). But when I tried to figure out how to buy some, I was baffled. I found a couple of places where I could order over the Internet, but didn't want to take the chance with melting. Plus, most of them required a 3-gallon order. A bit much for 8 or 9 kids at a birthday party (or is it???). Hershey's own web page only had information on distributors, no retail store information.
Finally, I got closer when I discovered that there was a store in Ashburn, Virginia. OK, I figured, worst case scenario is we have to drive 45 minutes out there to get the ice cream. Then I did a Google Maps search and discovered a Hershey's in Chantilly. Not a lot closer, but only a 30 minute drive or so.
Lisa made a quick call and confirmed that they did indeed carry Superman ice cream, and we could get it hand-packed into quart containers. We also discovered that the Entertainment Coupon Book had coupons for that exact place. Duh! I smacked myself in the forehead and we were off.
We arrived at the store to find a brand new tub of Superman awaiting our arrival. The lady behind the counter asked if we were the ones who had called a little while ago. What, you were expecting someone else to show up asking for two quarts of Superman? Ellie ended up getting Orange Sherbet, while Mom and Dad indulged in Chocolate Moose Tracks. And we returned home successful in our quest, with two quarts of the coveted Superman ice cream.

Ellie went off to Ann Arbor to meet the new Ratkowski baby, Samuel. Here's a few pictures.

Let's not forget cousin Colin in all this. They were tie-dye twins at the Art Fair.

Ellie and Colin on their favorite mode of transportation.

Baby Sam getting a bath, continuing the grand tradition of the first photo on the web being naked.

Ellie was a good helper, both with the bath, and in the general concern for Sam's well-being. She's gonna make a great big sister!