Monday, December 10, 2012

Tis the Season

Here we are halfway through December. I am extremely remiss. Here are the highlights:

Ellie has been sick for the better part of 5 months now. Mostly she's had back-to-back colds, although we've had stomach flu, sinus infections, pink-eye, and hand, foot, and mouth disease in there also. Currently, she has a straight cold, but is trying to give herself pink eye again.

She is now 2. Like flipping a switch, she is now super chatty, a little mischievous, not above throwing the odd tantrum, and has had a huge growth spurt. She is almost 25 pounds and about 34 inches, which puts her squarely in the 50th percentile for height and weight. If you recall, she has been holding steady in the bottom quarter for the last two years.

Thing 2 is getting more active. We are now 6 months along and he/she is getting pretty frisky. I've been fairly careful this pregnancy not to gain too much weight. However, we traveled to Texas last week and I indulged in a few too many sweets and snacks, so I blame half my weight gain on that. I'll try to clean up my act over the holidays and see if I can get back on track.

Ellie's big girl room is on hold. Mostly because it currently houses all the unwrapped Christmas gifts. And, I have a few sewing/craft projects on-hold until after the holidays. I'll have to come up with a different gift-storage solution next year.

Ellie's "big" gift for her birthday (a baby doll). She is quite the busy little mommy to Francesco. Thank you Aunt S & Uncle D for the stroller!

Sisters can live 1200 miles away, but apparently they still dress alike... M was wearing a grey sweater too, but she got her wires crossed and wore a teal shirt....

Ellie playing with Dad's eyes/hair at the Christmas Festival (Sights & Sounds of Christmas).

A self portrait by our budding photographer.

With Aunt C outside of Smitty's BBQ.

Apparently, pregnancy lets you get away with a lot. P thought I was going to wear this to his formal Christmas party and wasn't going to say a word. His relief when I said I was going up to change was priceless.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween

Mom used some old linoleum carving tools and whipped out this sucker. Other than this guy, no one was harmed.

Ellie the Vampire:  Mom freaked out and had E pick out a spare costume Monday since she was showing signs of not wanting to wear Yoda. She wore this to school. There may or may not have been chocolate involved in putting the costume on. And, bonus, she'll be able to wear it for another 4 years :)

Dad was able to sweet-talk her into Yoda for actual Trick-or-Treating. She doesn't look thrilled here, but she was actually VERY excited to go trick-or-treat with Cousin S. All afternoon, she kept busting out with "Happy Halloween!"

I can't believe it's already November. Ellie has had a chronic cold for almost 2 months. Then, a couple weeks ago, P started complaining of a sore throat. A few days later, I had it too. I'm blaming Thing 2, but the mucus has been crazy thick this time. And, where I would normally treat with Sudafed or something, I've been pretty helpless to take anything since most over the counter drugs are not baby friendly. So, after suffering horrible flemmy mornings, conversations punctuated by violent coughing, and trouble getting comfortable enough to sleep, the mucus moved from my throat to my nose and I sought help from a professional. I have one day left of my Z-pak and am feeling much improved, although I think the coughing and slime will linger for a while. So long as I don't hack up a lung every morning, I think I can handle some residuals. Ellie is on milder antibiotics (that she loves since it's bubblegum flavored) and her runny nose and coughing are almost gone.

November is the start of the busy season. We have a golden anniversary next weekend, lots of appointments over the next couple weeks, Thanksgiving, Ellie's birthday, then we go to Texas for "Christmas-giving". December kicks off with the company Christmas party, the Kappa Christmas party, and our other two Christmases. Sometime in there I need to make/buy gifts, decorate for the holidays, wrap up Ellie's big-girl room and switch her so I can start refurbing the nursery.

Our ultrasound is in a couple weeks. This one will be a surprise as well. We're still debating girl names, although we do have a better list this time around. 

Yoda and Vader

Believe it or not, they are actually both smiling....


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

E at 22 Months

I just realized I haven't updated on Ellie in a while. I may need to reference this when Thing 2 is her age, so it would be nice to have on record. She is currently a super busy little bee. She sleeps well (11-12 hours). She is taking dry naps (no diaper). She now WANTS to use the big toilet instead of the potty chair. She peed and pooped (in the toilet) today at Target after telling me she needed to in the middle of the baby clothes. I'm seriously considering taking the potty chair out of my car, but I'll probably leave it there for emergencies.

At her last weigh-in, she was 23 pounds 6 ounces. She's still petite, but has started to gain a little weight/muscle. Grandma just delivered a new batch of big girl undies in the next size up. I think she'll be able to wear commercial underpants from now on. I just saw Hanna Anderson makes a conservative underpant for 20-30 pound shrimp boats. At that rate, she'll be able to wear the same underpants for another year or two.

She currently is in love with The Train Song and actually requested to stop watching Mystery Box to watch it the last time we did her nails. Another favorite is the Elmo Song. She hasn't requested the Bus Song in the car lately, but she does spend a lot of time babbling and even engaging me in conversation sometimes. She is speaking in caveman sentences. "Mommy blue jeans." (trans. Mommy is wearing blue jeans.) "Mommy car, no Daddy car." (We're in Mommy's car, not Daddy's car.)

She has become quite the whiz with puzzles and sorting. One of her favorite toys right now is the Melissa and Doug block farm puzzle. It has 6 different puzzle pictures you can choose. She prefers Mommy to complete the puzzle, but she can now identify all the correct pieces for whichever picture she chooses to "make". Currently, they are abstract Cubist pictures. But, some of the pieces are tricky to categorize, so she is on the right track. So far, she is not real great on color identification.  Her standard guess is that something is blue. Then, pink. She does know some colors, but most of the time, I think she is messing with us. Sometimes, she can count to ten. Other times, she gets tripped up around "six".

Ellie recently decided she was ready to graduate from her high chair to a booster. So far, she has been pretty well-behaved. However, when we use a booster at a restaurant, she usually climbs out at least once or twice to sit in my lap. Still working on that one. She also has decided she is too big for a bib (since they don't use them at school). However, I have put my foot down and require one when we eat red sauce or yogurt. This morning, she circumvented the bib and rubbed yogurt all down her black pant-leg. I may be outclassed.

She likes to draw. Mommy is pretty tight with the crayons for now, but she draws at school most days, at every restaurant, and every time she goes to the library. Hopefully, I'm not stifling her artistic spirit.... She has started being able to identify the ripe raspberries on our bush (as opposed to eating the unripe ones). Right now, raspberries and strawberries are somewhat interchangeable since both are grown right outside our house and she can eat them fresh.

She is getting braver about going down slides. She can be very sweet and understands the concept of sharing. Today, she got to the bucket and scoop at the playground a split second before an older girl. The girl tried to take them away and her father scolded her to give them back since Ellie had them first. The girl started crying, so I encouraged Ellie to take them over to her and share since she had already played with them quite a bit. After thinking it over, she did and they were able to play together a bit. We'll see if that good will lasts after she has a sibling to compete with.

In books, she is still interested in Thomas, but now also likes one from the library called "By Myself" about doing things independently. I'd like her to get to the point where she can at least lower and raise her pants herself. She got a pair of velcro Chucks today. Maybe she'll start putting on and taking off her shoes soon. She likes to walk up and down the stairs now. She still prefers a helping hand, but she is learning to hold on to the wall or rail, so by the time I'll need to carry Thing 2, she should be okay. She also likes anything Curious George and an old 50's book called "Saucy", about a dog who has puppies. I'm not sure why, but she also likes anything about rabbits.

I could go on, but that's probably enough minutia for now. I'll try to get pics for next time. If anyone knows of any good kid/family portrait photographers in our area, please share. We're looking to get this year's holiday pics and documentation of Ellie at 2.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Surprise!

That's right folks, we're expecting again. Soon there will be four.... Tentative due date is 3/30/13.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mommy's Days Out

I'm feeling nice and relaxed after my recent long awaited "weaning" trip. Ellie weaned a couple months ago when I took a brief 36 hour sojourn to Wisconsin. I went with another mommy friend to the Sundance Resort in Utah. I have had my eye on this place for a few years since it came to my attention while I was searching for possible family vacation locations. It was very secluded up on a mountain with a beautiful babbling creek running all throughout and down the mountain. The resort was relatively rustic, but had fabulous dining onsite and wonderful staff. There was also a spa onsite and a gallery with art classes. We indulged in several of the offerings, including a bit of the shopping. We also made a couple day trips into Park City and Salt Lake City.

P on the other hand, did not have a relaxing 5 days. He chose to go above and beyond with super ambitious plans. He took Ellie to the Shedd Aquarium on Sunday and the Museum of Science and Industry on Monday. Reportedly, Ellie enjoyed the "fishies" and the baby chick exhibit. P thought she would love the trains at the MoS&I, but they were a little small. I guess she is a little spoiled by the Railway Garden at Taltree. She had several accidents and a couple of meltdowns over the course of the week. And, as I found out when I returned home, a nice little upper respiratory infection. Now, it's mostly over with, just a little residual runny nose. Needless to say, P was very glad to see me.

I have been promised a similar trip for consequent children. Luckily, I have it in writing, because I'm not entirely sure he is still wants to do that.

The beautiful flowers waiting for me in my room.

A couple dozen strawberries. I shared.

Hard to see, but a family of wild turkeys walked past the cabins daily looking for grub(s).

Alicia and I at Cucina Toscana. If you are ever in SLC, you MUST try it. Best Italian evah!

Helping out the economy at Gardner Village. (Cute, mostly reasonable boutiques.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August, Bodily Fluids, and Other Adventures

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Once again, where did the time go? Ellie is now climbing furniture. She has also been battling a bout of Stomach Flu. I had a sore throat last week, so all in all, it's been super fun lately. As a first time mom who doesn't remember getting sick much, I was kind of hoping my kid wouldn't either, but just a few weeks into school, she got her first real cold with fever. Last weekend, we visited friends who it turns out had stomach flu the week before. And, Ellie slept in the youngest girl's crib. That may or may not be where we picked it up, but, as I found out with a little research online, this is a pain to quarantine as you are contagious for 2 weeks after you have symptoms. Joy. I don't know anyone who can keep to the house for 2 weeks plus.

Some of the highlights of Ellie's past week include throwing up three times in bed, waking up at ungodly early hours, diarrhea on the floor (which the dog ate), and explosive diapers at night. Needless to say, I've been making good use of the washer and had a minor freakout this morning when I had a pile of poopy sheets and a washer that would not unlock. (As a side note, the dog has also been suffering some loose stool, but I doubt he'll learn his lesson. He now trolls the potty chair looking for fecal matter we forgot to dispose of.)

P got back from his summer trip to Yosemite a couple weeks ago. There, he climbed Half Dome with some friends. He had a fabulous time and took a ton of photos that I'm sure don't begin to do justice to the real experience. We are slated to take a family vacation there sometime in the next 10 years or so. I get a Mommy vacation (a weaning gift) over Labor Day. I'm really looking forward to a long weekend of being able to go potty on my own, eating Cheetos in peace, and not lugging my 22 pound accessory up and down stairs. I'll also be enjoying some lovely views in the mountains of Utah and a meal of fabulous Italian food that hopefully lives up to the hype.

We went to a gorgeous wedding at an unlikely garden spot in Wheatfield, Indiana last night. Of course, we did not take pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Hopefully, I did not give the bride stomach flu....

A friend from Texas came to visit while P was in California. Initially, the idea was that I would have some help taking care of Ellie. However, it quickly became clear I'd need to farm that out to Grandma and our beloved babysitter so that I could take our houseguest to see the sites. We saw a local play, saw the Cubs lose, cursed Chicago traffic, went to Michigan for the day, saw a clown driving on the Dan Ryan, had brinner, and did a little shopping. I had fun. I think she had fun. Ellie didn't seem any worse for wear. But, I think I'll just man up next time P travels and stay home alone.

Me with Tri Kappa book club in Madison

My garden looks like a garden this year. This is before the melons went rogue...

A nice creative arbor at FLW's Taliesin

Ellie taking advantage of having the splash pad ALL to herself. She only plays in the baby jets...

My zinnias are so happy. Will be doing these every year from here on out.



M with the Cubbster himself.

Mom and Ellie.

  
Ellie at her favorite destination - Taltree's Railway Garden

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Incredibly Fast Summer

I knew I'd been forgetting something and about a week ago, it occurred to me that perhaps, I hadn't updated the blog in a while. Talking to my sister this morning, she mentioned it had been more than a month.... So sorry, you guys!

Ellie has been in school for a full month now. She will be going for a full days 5 days a week for the next couple weeks. I am hoping I'll get a bit done this week. I'd like to organize outgrown baby items, clean the spare room, and organize the craft room (which has become the repository of all things). It's a good thing I've caught up on Gossip Girl ;). Next week, we have a Texas visitor coming to keep me company since P will be climbing Yosemite's Half Dome.

I just took my first mini-trip away from Ellie. I had the opportunity to travel to Taliesin (in Wisconsin) with a wonderful group of ladies Friday and Saturday, so I jumped at it since P is traveling throughout most of the summer and this was probably my last chance until possibly September. We also took the opportunity to finally break the nursing streak. At 19 months,  I think she's finally done. Unfortunately, Dad had to bear the brunt of her bad attitude at being denied the boob, but this morning, she took my refusal remarkably well. Let's hope she continues to be satisfied with hugs and yogurt instead.

She has been much more linguistically inclined since starting Montessori. Most of it is unintelligible, but we've picked up on a few new words. She also is anxious to use utensils at meals and drink from a real cup, although we have to supervise that pretty closely. Recently, she began running. She often runs "like a girl" with one arm frozen and the other swinging. It would be hilarious, if her mother didn't run the same way.... Let's just hope she handles games with balls better than either of her parents. Poor kid.

I can't believe the summer is already more than halfway through. Ellie has gone through two rounds of swim classes. For the rest of the summer, we're going to try to go on our own. She actually started to get the hang of swimming and moves kind of like a frog in the water. She also has mostly learned to keep her mouth from hanging open so she doesn't inhale the pool water.

In large part because of all the songs we sang in swim class (and the ones she sings in school), Ellie has become quite the fan of the in-car sing-along. Honestly, I thought she'd tire of NPR a little later. Favorites include:  Row, Row, Row Your Boat; If You're Happy and You Know it; The Wheels on the Bus; and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. (Basically, anything with movement.) I have decided I need a crash course in singing and that my repertoire is too limited. Song suggestions are appreciated.

Rocking the Ewok at Roger's Lakewood Park

Zeus suffering after getting an insect bite. I thought he was just being a poop, but it quickly became apparent he was actually really ill. A night at the vet, and he was good as new.

At the splash pad with unknown children.

Exhausted and cuddling with Darwin after a day filled with trains and sun.

Stormy's big game.

How my garden grows. Right now, zinnias, zuchinnis, tomatoes, raspberries, and herbs are in full swing.

For comparison, the garden at Taliesin....

Monday, June 11, 2012

School and Potty

So, I know all of you that read this blog and don't get a semi-regular phone call are wondering how school and potty training are going. The short answer is, "okay." The long answers....

School - We just finished Day 4. She seems to like it. I ask if she wants to go, if she likes the kids and her teachers, if she's excited, etc. All get a yes. She has brought home a craft/activity every day except today. However, her teacher seemed a little distracted today, so she may have forgotten to grab whatever today's was. Didn't really get an update today except the standard, "she did pretty good today and only started crying when we started getting ready to go home." For the fourth day, Ellie has worn a pull-up to school and come home dry only to pee like the proverbial racehorse the second (and I DO mean second) she sits on the potty. Girl has got some staying power. However, they want her to keep wearing the pull-ups until she successfully pees in the toilet at school. Friday, she sat on it, so hopefully she'll graduate out of her safety net soon. Mostly, school has been an exercise for me to see how much (or little) I can accomplish in 3 hours. And, a practice run for the rest of her life when there are many many areas of her life over which I have no control or knowledge of her activities. Oh, she has "learned" the Hokie Pokey. I will keep trying to get the dance recorded. She gets a little camera shy, which is not a shock seeing as who her mother is.

Potty - Today was Day 17 of "no diapers". We still use them for sleep, and until the school says otherwise, for school, but otherwise, she goes commando. Grandma has her prototype undies ready for trying on tomorrow, but she's not supposed to wear them until the end of the month. We had a really good run at first. She even napped two days diaper-less and dry. Then, two days diaper-less and wet, and then two days diapered and poopy. I'm really glad those last two were diapered. Most days, she does really well. However, things are starting to get "normal", so the initial novelty has worn off some and she has been choosing to pee her pants lately rather than stop her activity. We're also encountering some resistance to sitting on the potty and have to dangle a carrot such as going somewhere or doing something really enticing (going for a walk or playing in the pool). I'm beginning to wonder if the method the school uses is causing this or if it's us. Now that there is a period I don't know about, I can at least attempt to blame them....

One of our caterpillars enjoying the late season pansies.

Chickens and a performing rooster at Sunset Hill Farm.

She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

18 Months and Counting

We've completed our 5th diaper free day (excluding sleep). Day 4 and 5 were accident free, so I'm hoping we don't backslide too much or at all. The keys appear to be recognizing her cues and poop schedule (after breakfast and dinner), carrying a potty in the car, and checking in often. Also, she forgets herself when she becomes absorbed in the iPad, so that is potentially dangerous in the pre-dinner mix.

In other news, Ellie is becoming quite the shoe maven. I think we finally have sufficient sandals to accommodate her through the summer. Yesterday, she spent 20 minutes just changing shoes. She really needs to learn to do that herself.

She had her second mini-trauma two weeks ago Saturday. In her hurry to look into the microwave at her leftover dinner, Ellie tripped over her own feet and narrowly missed hitting her left eye on the short ledge. She has a jaunty black scab marking where her eyebrows are starting to show (finally). So far, we've had a few people ask what happened. I need a better story. The truth is, I freaked a little even though in hindsight, she didn't bleed that much for a head wound. I called my MiL over for a second opinion of whether I should take her to the ER. One night with a band-aid sufficiently closed it up. Her scab fell off Monday. She appears to have a little scar, but it's shallow, so that may go away.

School starts next week. Since she's got tender new potty skills, the timing could make it harder for things to stick. But, the way this week is going, I think she will probably be okay.

We've been taking some marathon walks in the dreamy McMansion neighborhood across the road. I have our next address all picked out. Now, we just have to wait for the dogs to live their little lives. We're giving them 10 years (I think we've been saying that for at least 2 already). That means Isis will live another 16. Although, she's been acting older lately. She is 11. Despite what the vet says, her vision seems to be failing somewhat. She's more reactionary to sudden moves and Ellie. And, the barking has not gotten any better. She periodically "fasts". And, a few days ago, she kept standing funny and staring at me. P was traveling at the time, so she may have been confused.

Today was our 18 month appointment. Ellie weighed a whopping 20 pounds, 2 ounces. She has "shot" up to 31 inches. So, she's at the 3rd & 30th percentiles, respectively. I need to go down to the basement for some of her 6-9 month leggings because she's a little plumber in her 12-18 month pants.
Little Monkey ready to hit the road on one of our last chilly days

Conducting trains at Bellaboo's

One of her latest tricks – looking under furniture for lost toys

All patched up after "the incident"

The day after "the incident"

With Cousin Sophie (looking tough)

Cousin Sophie

The only smile we could get from "Poker Face" Ellie was when we told her to clap

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring: The Busy Season

Apologies for the late update. As happens every year, things go into hyper-drive in April and May as everyone realizes summer is just around the corner and "we" have to get things done before kids are out of school and people start going on vacation. For myself, I'm not entirely sure what I've been doing. The days just fly by. I have been working on a new logo for the local Master Gardeners Association Garden Walk (June 30). I am co-chairing the Bar Committee for our local Taste, but that really has been a minimal time investment in comparison. Someone approached me about a new logo for a new non-profit, but I've told her I need to get through May first. And, I still need to find a day sitter or two for all these random meetings that crop up. 

The latest news, Ellie is coming right along. She's still a bit of a shrimp. We went to buy sandals today and there was a 15 month old that dwarfed her. She's not short exactly, but she has a 12 mo. waist and an 18 mo. inseam. She has a cute little shape. Very french curve with her Buddha belly and diaper bulge in back. Her hair is slowly coming in. We still wear a hat as much as I can manage when outdoors since she still has pretty thin locks. But, we've worn a bow once or twice. I think she liked it because when she saw herself in the mirror, she kind of obsessed about it and the next time she saw the mirror without the bow, she still reached for where the bow was. Despite my best efforts, she may yet turn out to be a girly girl. She also has been known to favor purses when she visits the dress up room at Bellaboo's.

We just started week two of a clear runny nose. If anything, I think it's getting worse. She's pretty good at blowing her nose into a tissue. But, she's also getting good at licking her upper lip and wiping her nose on furniture, Mommy's shirt, etc. And, she's turned into an overnight champ at using a spoon. She eats a small bowl of oatmeal/yogurt for breakfast, followed by more yogurt. Since she still doesn't drink milk, this is a major chunk of her calcium and protein for the day. I've already caved on my no-sugar yogurt stance. We buy the flavored greek yogurt since you can buy a two week supply at Sam's for half of what it costs at the grocery store. I am still sporadically making plain yogurt, but it's a lot easier to buy it, although I just ran across a how-to a couple weeks ago that uses ultra-pasteurized milk and thus cuts out the longest supervised step (heating and cooling). I think I'll try that one this week.

Potty training has stalled out. She is "kind of potty-trained" in that she can go on the potty and does sometimes. Which is to say, she isn't potty-trained at all. She doesn't know when she needs to go except for the rare occasions when she is on the potty and insists on staying longer because she knows something is coming. So, I've found a new potty guru at ohcrappottytraining.com that recommends a more committed initiation that I think we'll try over Memorial Day Weekend. Hopefully P didn't have anything too big planned because the plan involves 3 intense days at home spent watching the kid and rushing her to the potty as needed. I am oversimplifying a bit, but that is essentially the strategy. Then, E starts Montessori the first week in June, so I'm not sure how that'll work with her fragile new potty skills. Jamie (the guru) recommends kids going commando for a month after training so they don't have to deal with the added layer of underpants until they have things down better. We will see, I suppose.

We started a new swim class, too. It's the same parent/child class we did a year ago. We even have the same teacher. However, last week, we were running late and although Ellie gave a happy squeal when she saw the pool, the rest of the time, she fussed, clung to me like a little barnacle baby and wanted to get out of the water. So, this week, we're going to try going earlier and hopefully we'll have a less stressful experience.

Currently, Ellie's favorite game involves opening Easter eggs. She is also liking her water marker board (drawing with water on a special cardboard surface). And, she loves to go outside ALL the time. Her favorite books lately have been Curious George, The Goodnight Whoozit Book, and her Elmo Lift the Flap Book.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March Flowers Bring...?

So, it's April 4th. While the weather has cooled a bit from the balmy bit of premature summer we were experiencing, it is still warmer than average for this time of year. Ellie has been outside everyday. Our sandbox is now filled to the brim and operational. We have a few sand toys, but will probably add a few things like cars to the mix before long. At this point, E is equally enamored of the sand, which she eats, and the pea gravel from the dog yard which she flirts with putting in her mouth, but I think the first time she tried to bite one she decided that maybe they weren't edible. That may explain why she's been suspicious of yogurt covered raisins lately. Now, she picks favorites and ceremoniously brings them to me while I try to read and keep an eye on her from my chair. After touring a few of the local parks, we may revisit the idea of a plastic swing set for our yard. I was a little apprehensive about getting one because that just means we'll have to dispose of it in a few years. However, I think between word of mouth and the internets we can probably find another family who will take it off our hands when the time comes.

Otherwise, E is working on full-blown tantrums. Last week, I cancelled two appointments because she was in such a state. In retrospect, the first one probably could have been avoided, but since I was new to her hijinks, I didn't know any better. Friday though.... She woke up from her nap in a very bad mood that was only exacerbated by my refusal to nurse her. I'm not sure if she uses it as a power thing, or just a comfort thing, but lately, she asks to nurse at weird times throughout the day. Usually, there's an amount of boredom associated. However, I've been telling her there is no milk and offering water instead. Usually, she moves on pretty easily. Friday though, she wasn't having it. We were supposed to go get her pictures taken, but I figured that after 40 minutes of fussing and screaming, she wasn't really going to be into it. She refused to eat lunch, she wouldn't get dressed, didn't want me to touch her diaper, nothing would calm her except looking out the window. So, despite the fact that it was in the 50's, after I called the photographer to cancel, we went outside and she was instantly better. I think we're going to be buying sunblock in bulk by the end of summer.




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Monday, March 19, 2012

Texas in Indiana

Thank you global warming! We have been experiencing a record warm spell here in the midwest. Baby girl is loving going outside and we had to go find some sandals since she does not want to wear shoes with socks. I'm hoping we stay warm, even if it cools some. However, it's really going to screw up the crops and things. I've had poor luck germinating my seeds for the garden so far since it's been over 100ºF in the greenhouse. Most of the seeds like temps in the 60-70's to germinate. They don't quite know what to do in summer temps. That, and something is trying to eat my seeds. I installed mouse traps, but I think it might be bugs. We'll see if things start coming up, I suppose.

Ellie is walking like a champ. She is crawling less and less. With the warm weather, I've been putting her in dresses that are impossible to crawl in, so she's figured out that it's just easier to walk. We've been socializing with the neighbors since everyone wants to be outside more. We've already talked to them more this week than the last three years put together I'm afraid. There's a little boy just 3 months younger than Ellie just across the cul-de-sac, but he's playing shy and Ellie has a bit of a crush on his bigger brother. She thinks every little boy is named "David" because of our other friends. And, she remembers which is his house and where exactly we've run into them along the sidewalk, even though that was a few days ago.

I've just about decided to not use the Y Childwatch program anymore. Ellie has a fit every time I drop her off and then someone has to hold her every time. I offered to go get her started playing to help transition her, but that is apparently not allowed. Last time, I sent her with a snack hoping that it would give her a familiar ritual/object to focus on. They took it away (instead of telling me when I dropped her off) and caused her even more anxiety. Apparently, snacks aren't allowed except under 12 months and on Drop off (which is why I thought it was ok). I feel like there's a new rule every time and that it's just impossible to make Ellie feel at ease. I have a shortlist of sitters that I need to start culling through. We have been doing play dates more often and with different kids, so between that and starting Montessori in June, I think she's getting socialization. She's actually a fairly friendly child, so once we can get past a little unnecessary shoving and learn to share, I think we'll be golden.

Potty training is kind of meh. We have good days and not good days. She has started identifying when her diaper is wet if you ask. But, the question is, "Do you need to go potty?" and the answer is, "yes". So, we have a little clarification to work on. She's so active now, that she has to really need to go in order to want to sit on the potty. Still, we're sort of on a schedule and she's comfortable with the whole process. She's even started wiping herself, which I think is a good sign. We're going to go diaper free this summer and hopefully get this all under control. They also work on potty training in Montessori, so she should have additional reinforcement.

How we roll these days – minimal clothing and on two legs (no standing still here)

Boom-boom – One of our favorite activities, jumping on the pile of pillows. She gets upset if I try to put them on the couch :(

Wearing a cute frock Grandma made. With temps in the 70's, this isn't your typical Midwestern March attire....
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Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Tale of Two Toddlers

We're back at home. We seem to be recovering nicely from our not restful weekend. In short, we followed Daddy and the company pilot to a training weekend in Florida. I opted to try it so we could get some warm weather and not have to stay home without back up for three days. In hindsight, it was not my wisest decision. The pilot brought his family too (son is18 mos.), so while the Daddies were getting smarter, the Mommies and kiddos tried to stay busy and somewhat on schedule. It was interesting and exhausting, to say the least. Neither toddler liked the pack-n-plays very much. Ellie would sleep for 9-10 hours and then wake up around 5 and not go back to sleep. Luckily, she did nap–even in the car. However, we did a lot of driving around and visiting parks. There aren't just a whole lot of activities for kids that young. We also contributed heavily to the Starbucks economy in Lakeland, Florida.

Luckily, the mom and I got on very well. She was pretty laid back and helped navigate. We both were pretty taken with Lakeland. It was a cute little town of about 100,000. There were downtown shops and restaurants with character, a Saturday street market, a botanical garden, a dedicated playground for preschoolers, Detroit Tigers Spring Training, nice wide streets with reasonable traffic, etc. We also found a food franchise that we need in Valpo. Crispers. It's a salad sandwich place with flatbread. It had wonderful ranch dressing, good combos of flavors, several vegetarian options, and reasonable prices. We actually went there twice.

Today, we went to Ellie's 15 month appointment. She is still shy of 20 pounds. But, almost there :) Officially, her height hasn't increased all that much, but judging how she has to wear 18 mo. pants with adjustable waists cinched in to the smallest setting, I think she's a little taller than 30". Still, she's kind of holding down the bottom of the growth curve on most counts.
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Cling-on

Ellie is going through a major separation anxiety phase. I took her to the Y's Childwatch twice last week and she did not handle it well either time. The second time, they called me to come get her. Coincidentally, my trainer talked to me (mini-lecture) about doing more cardio than (the almost none) I'm currently doing. So, to solve two problems in one masterful stroke, E and I are planning to head to the Y at least a couple days a week for at least a half hour of cardio so she can get reacquainted with the place and I can get in my cardio. That way, if she has a melt-down, I'm on-site and it's in small enough doses that hopefully, she won't be too traumatized. Also, we can go on her schedule which should help since I have been making her adapt to my schedule for appointments.

Thus far, E is shaping up to be a morning girl. Of course, that could just be how all toddlers are wired. She is most independent and cheerful before nap, so I found myself planning to trim her nails this morning instead of last night. It worked out pretty well. She treated it as a minor annoyance rather than a full out assault. As the day progresses, she becomes more and more likely to cling to me or Dad (on the weekends) like a little starfish. The only thing better than Mom or Dad apparently, is the iPad. I try to reserve it for when I really need to get something done, but I can see how some parents tend to really rely on the TV. It's kind of awesome not to have a little ankle-anchor. And, even with my weight training, she is getting a bit heavy to carry around. I suppose I could use my sling, but I'm trying to get her conditioned to play nearby instead.

Last week, we experimented with one mid-day nap. Friday, we switched back to two. The single nap didn't get longer and while she kept about the same amount of overall sleep per day, by the end of the week, she seemed to be even clingier. So, hopefully, renewing the second nap will help things a little. Although, she still wakes up crankiest from that last nap. At least it gives me a little break so I can handle the crankies better and sometimes get a little work done preparing for dinner.

We've advanced out of the honeymoon phase with the shoes. Now, she has discovered the velcro and prefers them off, so she can carry them around and work the straps. Luckily, she understands getting dressed to leave the house, and readily puts them on for trips about.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February Already?

Lovely in yellow stripes

Her hybrid stand. It's tough deciding whether to stand or push buttons.... She now crawls in this position sometimes.

I can't believe it's already February. So far, the Holiday Zeuser is off to a bad start. He wore his Christmas antlers all through January and I have yet to devise a Valentine outfit for him, despite having purchased supplies about a month ago.... About the only New Year Resolution that is holding up is the playdate(s). We've been hanging with D and her mom every Tuesday for 3 weeks now. It's not a super long time, but I think we are going to stick with it. It's nice talking to a local mom, because I learn things like the fact that Montessori is taking enrollment for next August's toddler class. On my own, I'd have thought about it around October (maybe). I'm not in a big hurry to get rid of Ellie, but a scheduled 2 hours M-F with options for extended play/care would be lovely as I'm trying to schedule all those doctor/dentist/meeting appointments.

Since it's been forever since I updated, I'll recap.
• Ellie is 14 months-old.
• Ellie is napping fine again (for those of you who were concerned after the last post), although she's been shaving her afternoon naps shorter and shorter (35-45 minutes) or just playing in her crib for an hour if she happens to sleep in. She is still getting about 13 hours of sleep per day.
• She has regressed and is waking up 1-2 times a night again.
• We have successfully weaned off the bedtime and afternoon nap. However, she's thrown in an after breakfast snack (or three). I think she gets bored, so I think I have to up my game. Maybe a post-breakfast walk as weather allows. Or, if we can get our stuff together, we may head to the pool.
• P got in his custom poker chips designed by me. He also finished his snazzy new poker tables with their in-table screens. I'll post pics later.
• Ellie has new shoes. We went to Child Watch at the Y and they suggested that in the Toddler room, it's a good idea to have a little more toe protection than socks or booties. She is obsessed with them. As soon as she wakes up and sees them, they MUST go on her feet. Or, be cuddled. I prefer them on her feet. And, she's already turning into a follower. Our new friend D wears her shoes sans socks, so Ellie has been taking her socks off.
• We've been on a decent potty run this week. Which is good since we're coming off teething 2-3 more teeth. Today, I washed diapers after 4 days (instead of 2). And, there were still a pile of diapers in her room. In general, she's going through 2-3 diapers during the day and mostly just wetting during naps. Otherwise, she's pretty consistent about going in the potty.
• Dad has been working with Ellie on body parts. So far, her tummy is the big fave. But, she can identify her nose, toes, ears, head, hair, mouth, teeth, and tongue.
• Although she chooses not to use actual words much (pointing and grunting seems to meet most of her needs), she has started using "Bye-bye" and I think she tried the babysitter's name "Em-mah" (Emily).
• She is pretty obsessed with balloons. Especially red ones. Blame Goodnight Moon.
• She has an ongoing piggy-bank collection. The latest is a baby-sized lavender one from a friend's recent trip to France. Like the shoes, if she sees it, she wants it. Unfortunately, I just have to redirect. I may need to find a small stuffed pig she can hold instead.
• E is still not walking. However, she really loves standing on her own. I think it's just a few weeks away.
• She LOVES crawling up the stairs. Loves. It.
• E is gonna be a bookworm. Almost every time I point the camera at her, she goes for a book. Of course, on second thought, if there is a digital device handy, she goes for that instead. It'll be interesting to see which compulsion wins out ultimately. Dad is really hoping for a video game buddy....

Tomorrow, we tour Montessori to see if it might fit the bill. We know tons of people who love the Montessori program and have sent their kids through it. I'm fairly certain that Ellie would benefit from any socialization and the learning part would just be bonus.