Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Somethings Just Make You Smile

This past week and a half has really been a memorable one. The weekend before Thanksgiving we got to celebrate with two friends from college as they got married. They have been together for over seven years, everyone has known they would get married for awhile and it was so fun to be a part of the huge celebration. It was just one of those weddings that every feels good about, is happy to be a part of and was just overflowing with love and joy for the couple. It was also so fun to get to see so many college friends that we don't get to see near enough.

We took Eleanor to the wedding for the first couple of hours and then it was close enough that my parents came and picked her up before her dinner time, fed her dinner, took her to our house and put her to bed. We stayed for a few more hours and had a great time dancing and visiting. Eleanor must have known that mom and dad were out a little late because she didn't wake up until 745am! Unheard of! We got a slow start, Ben worked at home for a little while and then we headed over to my parents' to celebrate my brother's 25th birthday. A friend of his that was like a little brother to  me came up and we got to meet his almost 9 month old son and visit with him and his wife. It was really nice to see old friends that we hadn't seen in awhile.

Starting mid-week, we spent a lot of time over at my parents' house because they were hosting Thanksgiving so E and I went over to keep my mom company on Tuesday and then again Wednesday afternoon. My dad was off work Wednesday and Ben came our when he got off work. We had a throw together dinner since they were preparing for Thursday but it was just a nice relaxing evening.

Thursday we spent a nice morning at our house, slept in a little, had breakfast, Skyped with our Texas fam and then headed to my parents' after E's morning nap. My parents tried something a little different this year for the bird which actually consisted of three birds; turkey, duck and chicken. Yep, that's right, a turducken. We spent the rest of the day there, my brother and his girlfriend came, my grandparents and my great grandma. It was a nice dinner, relaxing day and we went home full and happy.

Friday we were home some of the day, ran some errands and then came home and made a good dinner. I did start to get out some decorations that day but it sure is quite a bit harder to whip it all out with a baby running around!

Saturday Ben headed over to my great grandma's with my dad and brother to put up her Christmas lights and I put E down for her morning nap and then we all met over at my parents' so the guys could brew some beer, we played with E and I ended up making some gumbo.

Ben worked for awhile Sunday morning and then we spent the rest of the day finishing up Christmas decorations, lights and relaxing before the holiday was over.

I know none of this sounds out of the normal or not like any super special events took place. It was just a week full of things to be thankful for. People, family, friends, warmth, good food and relaxation. It was a "good for the soul" kind of weekend and it actually was kind of calming rather than stressful like sometimes holidays can be. It felt like a great kick-off to E's first holiday season as not a newborn!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yes, I Know How to Wash Nice Jeans

A few months back, Ben, Eleanor and I headed to the mall to get a birthday gift for Eleanor's friend who was turning one. Well, of course, Ben mentioned he needed some new, brown work shoes. Wouldn't you just know that Nordstrom had the men's half yearly sale going on? Perfect timing.

My logic on work clothes, nice clothes, etc. is that if I am going to buy them, I want nice things that will last. I don't mind spending a little extra on clothes that last so when we can hit up the sales at stores like Nordstrom for these types of clothes, it is perfection.

We head over to the shoe section, he quickly picks them out since he knew what he wanted and while we were at it, I told him he should just get a new pair of casual/dress shoes since they were on sale too. After some grumbling, he agreed so we walked out of the area with two pairs of shoes for Ben.

Since we were in the area, I suggested we go look at jeans. Let me bring you up to speed on Ben's jean situation. He basically wears Wranglers (from Target) and his "nice" pair to wear to work on casual Fridays was, I believe, Calvin Kleins from Costco. I had been bugging him for awhile that his Friday jeans were not up to par, didn't fit right and it was time for a new pair. Ben is a public accountant and audits for a pretty big, well-known company and I told him he can't be going in there looking like a 12 year-old anymore!

He rolls his eyes at me a lot.

So we head over to the men's section. We are quickly approached by a sales associate as we are looking through piles of jeans. We tell him what we are looking for and he shows Ben his jeans and asks if that is what he is looking for. "No, mister sales man, by husband who is wearing boots, wranglers and a t-shirt from his brother's basketball tournament is not looking to wear dark male skinny jeans with weird seams down the sides!" Ben, politely re-explained what he was looking for with a couple chime-ins from me and the guy pulled a few pairs and we went to try them on.

Ben picked a pair, realized what he has been missing--aka, a pair of jeans that actually fit and look like a grown-up-- and we went on our merry way.

Ok, this was all back in June. He basically wears them to work every Friday, comes home, hangs them in the closet and repeat the next week. Well, last weekend I realized, and yes I can't believe it took this long, that they had never been washed! In 5 months! What kind of wife am I? So I tell him I'm washing them.

"No you're not," he tells me, "You don't know how to wash those kind of jeans."
I laugh and tell him I do and that they are going in the wash.
"Do NOT dry them!"
"Ben, I won't." 

Although, he did have a fair point here because I will put things in the wash, have a couple things I don't want to dry then shove it all in the dryer because I am in a hurry and have ruined some clothes along the way with this method. Again, he did have a fair point of making his no dry policy clear. However, I am aware of the method of washing nice denim so it doesn't get ruined.

Basically Ben, just because I am not up on all the latest trends lately, I do still have a few tricks up my sleeve and one of them is making sure your prized jeans are not dried. Except, they did go in the dryer. To get fluffed after hanging to dry.

Pretty sure they are still in tact for next Friday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey Day Link-Up


Well, well, no secrets here, I LOVE me some Thanksgiving. I love that it is basically focused on family, relaxing and food! I like that it isn't as stressful as Christmas what with giving gifts and such and more focused on the things I mentioned above. I am excited about it being Eleanor's first Thanksgiving and I think she will  have a great time testing all the food. She has had a lot of it before but some may be new, so that will be fun. It has also been really fun to remember back to this time last year and how much anticipation we had to meet our little girl and she came one week later!

I decided to link-up with lil' Miss Holly today for a short questionnaire about the fun holiday.

1. What do you look forward to more: the food, football or parades?
Obviously, I look forward to the food the most. I love a good feast and it is such a fun day, grazing on snacks, sampling bits of the dishes before they go on the table and then the all-out feast we are blessed to enjoy!

2. What is your favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving Day dish?
My favorite non-traditional dish? Hm, that's a tough one but I may have to say it was my melting leeks that I made a couple of years ago. I loved them and haven't made them since! So silly, I know. Sauteed leeks with cream, seasonings and topped with a crunchy, bread crumb-parmesean crust were a nice side dish. Maybe I will try them again this year. I do love all the traditional foods though!

3. After dinner, is it football or a nap?
I'm sure football will be on, and I will glance at it every once and awhile. I would love a good full-belly nap and maybe, just maybe, I could sneak off and catch a 30-minute cat-nap.

4. Do you watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Which is your favorite float?
I would say I like to have it on in the background but I am not glued to the television. I think I like the idea of it more than actually watching it. I think it is kind of a kick off to the holiday season so I like what it represents but probably would never go to it in person and don't have the attention span to watch the whole thing on TV.

5. Where do you go to celebrate and eat your big meal? Who is there (family, friends)?
For our first couple years we were married we actually hosted and it was really fun. I really enjoyed putting the meal on but last year since I was 9+ months pregnant, I figured I could take the year off and this year, my mom is hosting so we will go there, relax, help out and enjoy the meal in their cozy house with my brother, his girlfriend, my grandparents, great-grandma.

6. What is your favorite turkey day dessert?
My favorite dessert on Thanksgiving has to be pecan pie. I just love it. There are so many dishes we eat on Thanksgiving that we always say, "Why don't we make this more often?" and I think, for me, pecan pie is one of those. It is so easy, so delicious and I just think I should make it more often. I will definitely be enjoying some of that goodness in a couple of days!

Thanks for the link-up girls, now go ahead and take a minute to go link and talk about how your day may pan out!

Friday, November 16, 2012

11 Months

Dear Eleanor,

This past month flew by. So much so that I am writing this post just a short two weeks from your first birthday! Before we get ahead of ourselves, let's remember this month because it has been so fun and so full of excitement as far as you are concerned.

Your personality shines more and more everyday. You are happy, talkative, determined and yes, sometimes stubborn. You seem so inquisitive and curious which your dad and I love to watch. Watching you try to figure things out is like watching every little gear in your brain hard at work and it is so amusing. You are showing when you get frustrated also if something isn't going quite your way.

We tried to teach you the "more" sign starting a couple months ago and you picked up on it quickly although your sign is more squeezing your hands together. It helps cut down on whining when you want something so I guess we accomplished our goal. You have kind of taken it a step further and it has kind of become your sign for nursing, "yes," please, and more. I guess we will work on that.

You talk all the time when you are awake. Jabbering, blabbering, babbling and I love it. You are mimicking our inflections on sentences and such and it is so cute. We think we can also pick out some "words" such as:

night night (nigh nigh)
yes/ya (dis, da)
juice (jis)
dad (dada)
mama (mama)
no (na)

It seems as though you use all these at the correct times so I think they have proper meaning behind them. Also, you can sometimes make a cow noise. We ask what does a cow say, or show you a cow and sometimes you will just moan or we have to do it first and you mimic. Not all the time but when you do it's cute!

On your 11 month birthday, I would say, is the day you started walking. It was the first day I saw you take steps, unprompted on your own accord. Now, two weeks later, you usually choose walking over crawling, your balance is better everyday and you can turn and such. Love it.

Your sleep has improved tremendously. We tried to move your bedtime back with DST and then again a little bit more so our evenings weren't so rushed and Dad got to spend a little bit more time with you. So at night, you are usually going down between 8-830 and we actually had a couple of nights where you slept until 7am! What?! I know, crazy. But usually, you still wake between 5-6am, nurse and go back until about 730. You are still usually taking two naps a day, morning and late afternoon. I should say you still should be taking two naps, the afternoon can be hit or miss, still. We can definitely tell when you don't take it!

You continue to love food. You are such a good eater and for that we are so thankful. Over the past two weeks we have started offering you watered down juice and coconut milk. You seem to like both and it seems you like the coconut milk more everytime you have it. We have tried working in a snack time in the mid-late afternoons to cut down on that nursing session which you have been taking to pretty well. We are nursing about three times a day now, there have been a couple two times and a couple four times but seems to be mostly three.

Over the past month, you stayed with your grandparents for extended periods of time, about 8 hours, we missed a bedtime with you and did wonderfully and you continue to gain independence. It's hard for me to grasp but I know it's a good thing!

You love to explore, as well. You will toddle into the next room by yourself, you love to look in the cupboards and pull everything out, you point at everything and love watching the birds fly around outside. You also love riding in the shopping cart. It is new-ish to you since we don't go shopping too often and for a long time I was putting you in the Ergo. You feel like such a big girl in the seat and love to look around. I know this stage before you want to be down walking on your own is probably short-lived so I am soaking it up while I can.

I just can't say enough how fun this past month has been. You are learning everyday, I am so thankful I get to be right by your side to watch and learn along with you.

We love you so, so much, sweet girl and count ourselves lucky everyday to be your mom and dad.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Busy Bees

The next few weekends it feels like we are jam-packed with plans.

Sometimes I feel like we never do anything and then all of a sudden it is the total opposite and there is no end in sight.

Tomorrow I have a bridal shower for a good friend and then Ben and I are going to a brewery's anniversary party. After that we have been invited to a friend's house to hang out in the evening.

With all these plans comes some juggling with the babe. I still don't really leave her except for a couple hours here and there with my mom to run to the store or be home to get a couple chores done, uninterrupted. Over these next few weeks I think there are some events that will require a few more hours than normal.

I know, I know. It's good and I need to start and breakaway at some point but that doesn't make it any easier on my mama heart. We are sllllooowwly starting the weaning process. {Unexpected, yes and basically a whole 'nother post in itself.} So she is definitely going longer stretches between nursing sessions and eating table food really well. I think it is just a hard thing to grasp. That she is okay for that long without me. You get so used to the routine of basically being needed by this little human all the time and then all of a sudden that need starts to slow down. She is becoming more independent, plays on her own here and there, can find me in the house on her own. It is all so exciting yet bittersweet at the same time.

Tomorrow will require being away for a minimum of 5-6 hours. That would be the longest I have been away from her. Even when I say it, it sounds a little crazy! But, it has been what has been right for us. So I will leave mid-morning, attend the shower, meet up with Ben for the afternoon and then we will head home. She will most likely have lunch and an afternoon snack and maybe some coconut milk with my parents. I will come home, she will be happy and well-taken care of.

Oh you don't need to be reassured by all this? I do? Ohh, okay, got it.

Anyway, next weekend's events will require us to be away for bedtime. We were away for bedtime, kind of, once. Once in 11 months. We did the whole dinner, bath and I nursed her, and she went down soon after we left. This time, we will be leaving late afternoon and won't be back until about 10:30pm.

This instance is a little more stressful for me but I know I just need to do it and she will be fine.

We are four weeks away from the big one year birthday and I think my heart is having a hard time adjusting to this new stage.

Yes it is exhausting to be needed all of the time, but I am her mom. That's what I'm here for and what I am used to. I know the next stage is so fun as well but with this first year coming quickly to a close and these new experiences approaching, I feel like I am entitled to some sentimental time as well.

All that said, I am excited to leave her in very capable hands and get to get out, visit with some friends, have fun and feel like a normal human. I mean, I will admit to being a little socially awkward these days, but hey, friends should understand right?!

What are you up to this weekend?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Show & Tell: Shopping

Two Monday's in a row for a link-up?! Well, okay then! *Okay, so I didn't quite make it to finish my post for the link on Monday so I'm doing it today!*

I used to be such a shopper. Loved it. Went a lot. I made my money and I would spend it. Not to the point of danger but I liked nice things, cute clothes and taking care of myself. Then I got older, married, bought a house and had a baby. Let's just say my shopping habits have calmed down. Quite a bit. Anyhow, I though it would be fun to chime in on the shop talk anyway.

1. Tell us your favorite stores to shop at.
My all-time favorite clothing store to shop at is Nordstrom. I love how nice their stuff is, the return policy and how organized everything always is. I can't stand shopping in a mess. I definitely don't shop at Nordstrom as much as I used to but if I do have some spare money or want to update with a couple items you can most likely find me there because I like to buy classic pieces that will last. I also enjoy going to Target. I'm sure this is a popular one but they usually have some in-style stuff for cheaper and I do think their items have gotten a little better quality. I also like a lot of their home items if I am looking for those kind of items.

2. What are you "signature pieces" to wear.. your go-to outfits?
I definitely wear jeans a lot. I actually just got a new pair of jeans that I would call everyday jeans. I have been lacking a pair of these for awhile so I was so happy to see when one of my favorite brands {Lucky} were at ... yes... wait for it...Costco! I am absolutely in love with them--perfect fit, perfect wash, just great! So, anyway, jeans and a sweater, jeans and a flannel or jeans and a cute zip-up are all at the top of my list for go-to fall/winter outfits!

3. Show us your style through pictures {of you or pinterest finds}.

Source: polyvore.com via Allyce on Pinterest
This kind of makes me laugh because there is a definitely pattern with all of these looks. I chose everyday looks and I like to think I branch out a little if I am dressing up or for different events. However, my everyday is pretty casual right now!

4. Show us your favorite celebrity style icons.
5. If you had to spend money on clothes or home items, which would you choose?
For where I am at in life, I would definitely say home. We have a few remodeling-type projects we are looking forward to so it would be nice to have a little extra to spend on those!

6. Show us your favorite accessories.
Rachel Milk Glass Stud Earrings

Carole Rhinestone Flower Stud EarringsCarole Double Triangle Earrings

Link to all

If I wore no other accessory other than earrings, I would be a happy girl. They complete me. Except, with an almost 11 month old my ears have been naked lately for fear she will rip my ear off. Sad.

7. Tell us in one sentence your philosophy behind shopping. {What makes you buy an item
How much will I use this?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Choosing the Good & Positive

Sometimes I find myself slipping into Negative Town without even knowing it and then I am so far in that it is hard to recover and I start convincing myself that everything is hard, or going to be hard or being mean to those closet to me, i.e. my husband. So ridiculous right?! Afterwards I am so embarrassed and know I am better than that.

For some reason though, sometimes it becomes easier to be negative or to look at things pessimistically. Does that even make sense? Isn't that silly? It should always be easier to be happy and choose the positive, should it not?

I have been super inspired by this lady's posts lately about bettering herself and being better at her most important roles: wife and mom. I think we can all stand to improve in these areas on the daily, myself most definitely included. It is easy to be selfish and feel sorry for myself sometimes about how little sleep I am getting, how I am tired from breast feeding, how my days can be long, how Ben is working long hours and we barely get to say two sentences before falling into bed exhausted.

But you know what?

I am also pretty damn lucky and have a lot to be thankful for. I should be choosing the positive way more often than not. I don't want to be a martyr and I don't want to feel sorry for myself. Or my husband to feel like he should feel sorry for me by the passive aggressive quips I like to immaturely throw into conversation from time to time. Grow up, Allyce, seriously.

So, as a start, I sent off a positive text to my husband this morning. He didn't get home until 10:30 from work last night after being in at 7am, driving home in construction, dealing with an annoying dog, I got up twice in the night nurse the baby and after laying her back down and crawled back under the covers myself hoping for just maybe 40 more minutes of shut eye and feeling slightly bitter as to how the last 12 hours had gone, I looked over at my phone sitting there and sent him a text thanking him for his hard work and telling him I loved him. He responded positively and I know he appreciated it.

Yes, it would have been easy to not send it, to stew this morning about how annoying our dog is, how tired I am, how we haven't had dinner as a family since Sunday night but as I have started learning from Shannon, who does that really help? It isn't Ben's fault he had to work late or that E woke up a couple of times or that our dog is annoying. I know that if he had the power, he would wave his hand in a second to make it all better. And that's why he deserved my appreciation this morning instead of a few negative comments to start the day like I have been known to do.

I'm not saying it's going to happen over night but I want to start making the effort especially since this won't be the only couple of weeks that we have some late work nights for Ben. Yes it is only a couple months out of the year and I know some have it way worse and in the big picture it is not that bad. At the time it always seems horrible and hard but this too shall pass and we will be in a better spot because of it all. So it's time I suck it up and start acting like a grown up!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quiet Moments are the Best

I have definitely talked about how E is not the best napper. Lately I have been really good about trying to nurse her and then lay her in her crib. She used to not have any part of that at all so it became hard for me to want to try and I would just let her lay, sleeping and nursing.

Today she started to get tired so we quieted down our playing and headed into her room for me to nurse her and lay her down. Which, again, sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. She was sleeping, I tried to lay her down and she wasn't having it. Tried to soothe her while she was laying down, she quieted a little and then started crying again. It was the kind of cry that I just knew she wasn't going to sleep so I picked her up and tried a new method a friend told Ben about and Ben relayed to me. Just holding her tight and not letting her squirm as best we can while she is trying to fight sleep. It worked yesterday so I wanted to try again! Well, that wasn't working either so I flipped her around and she laid her head right down on my shoulder and fell asleep.

I sat down in the chair and when I knew she was really asleep I almost got up to lay her in the crib but I thought twice about it. I thought, okay, I have been pretty good about laying her in her crib lately and she is doing way better than she used to. I also thought, when does she ever sleep on my chest anymore?!

So right then and there, I got comfortable and she stayed asleep for an hour right on my chest.

I didn't have my phone by my side, there was no TV in the background (which isn't normally the case anyway), and no distractions. Just me and my girl, quiet, in the dark, snuggling.

It is so easy to get caught up in what I need to get done during the rare occasion that she does lay in her crib and nap for any length of time but I am so glad I took that second thought today and cherished it. I know that no matter what I will look back at this time and know it went by in the blink of an eye so I know that when I have that feeling of just needing the closeness, I just need to soak it right up.

Maybe that's what she was trying to tell me, anyway, by not wanting to be in her crib for that nap. Just needed some extra Mama snuggles.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Show & Tell: When I Was 17

I have been reading these link-ups for a few weeks now and always want to join in but, shock of all shocks, I never get around to it. So today, I am starting this post in the morning in hopes of finishing by the end of the day. How's that for a goal?!

From Mrs. to Mama hosts this link-up every Monday and I think it's just a fun way to get to know little random facts about people.

1. When you were 17, tell us what kind of car you drove, where you worked, and what you were usually up to on the weekends.
When I was 17 my parents surprised me on by birthday with my dream car. A white Volkswagen Jetta. I loved that car and just the other day, actually, I was reminiscing about how I loved it! I worked at a coffee shop in the little downtown part of our smallish town. It was a pretty easy job and friends would always stop in to visit. On the weekends you could find my group of friends and I at whatever game was going on at our school, or away games too, then usually some family time and my soccer games.

2. Show us a picture of you when you were 17 {roughly}.
Me on the left! ;)
3. When you were 17, tell us what you wanted to be when you "grew up."
This sounds silly, and I guess keeping with the theme of a few of these that I have read, I wanted to be a mom. However, I also wanted to be a teacher. Then for whatever reason when I got to college, I strayed away from my teaching dream even though I was at the best teaching college in the state and went with a business degree. Half my dream came true and I am a mom!

4. When you were 17, tell us the kind of boys that you dated. Did you have a type? Do you have a relationship you remember well? Tell us about it.
I guess my "type" would have been athletic, nice guys at that time. Well, I guess that still is. ;) I did have a specific long term relationship in high school, he was a year older. We had a lot of mutual friends, enjoyed spending time with each other's families and then once I got to college we started to go our separate ways since he was at a school about three hours away from mine. We had a lot of good times and I definitely look back fondly on that relationship. 

5. When you were 17, tell us where you pictured your life 10 years from then. Did it turn out the way you expected it to?

I think my life is absolutely the way I expected it to be. I expected to be married, have one or two children and either be working or being a stay at home mom. I am staying home now but who knows what the future holds whether it be me continuing to stay at home, going back to school or starting a small business for our family. It's funny because sometimes I deem myself as "so predictable" which is why I'm not surprised my life turned out as it expected but I don't think that is a negative thing either. It's just who I am. I am not one to up and move at a moment's notice or flit around the world travelling from country to country. I am pretty happy where the past ten years have brought me. I don't think I am that different from when I was 17 either. I still have so many of the same core values. Yes, I have definitely matured and things I thought were so important at 17 aren't so much now (i.e. clothes, being in style, hanging out with friends all the time, having the right friends, etc.) and I feel I am a little wiser to the world now than at 17, even though I felt like such an adult and that I knew so much at the time but for the most part, I am still a simple girl who likes simple things that make me happy!

Thanks for the fun link-up Becky! Head on over and join the fun!

10 Months

Oh, Sweet Eleanor,

Halfway into your eleventh month and here I am posting your letter. I am just keeping with my system though of being a little behind. Mostly because I am always trying to keep up with you!

This month has just been a joy. Just like all the rest. Even though you are not always the best sleeper and you are pretty stubborn like your parents, watching you continue to learn, change and develop your personality is just so amazing. That's basically the word that always comes to mind: amazing.

This month you are crawling around at the speed of light, pulling up on everything and cruising along furniture, walls and cupboards. Oh, the cupboards, they keep you so amused! You have taken little half steps but then fall into whoever you are aiming for. You think it's pretty funny. You clap, dance, give kisses and babble up a storm. We have noticed many different sounds this month also, with your tongue, you make a little hissing sound, you have ba, ma, da, nya all down and you string them all together. I'm pretty sure you have looked right at me and said mama a few times now and although Dad was hesitant to accept you saying dada I jumped right on my name and know you know who I am!

You are getting into some 12 month clothes and definitely 12 month pants and even some 18 month. Again, mostly because of your diapers. You had your well visit at 9 1/2 months and you were 28 inches long and 18.5 pounds. Still petite but again mostly average in everything and still steadily growing. I don't know how you couldn't be growing because you still love to eat, feeding yourself and nursing. You basically have three food meals a day and then nurse in between putting you at eating something about every two to two and half hours.

Your sleep, again, is a little hit and miss. You have good stretches of going down between 730-8 pm and sleeping until 4-5am, nursing and going back down but then we hit a rough patch with what we thought was another little cold but then the next week you had a tooth pop through and another close behind. So, we wondered if it really was a cold or just the weirdness that we have heard can come with teething. That's right, your first tooth at 10 months 2 days. For the most part, you have been great. During the day you are happy as a clam, it was just a couple of nights that we thought the teeth were bugging you and we did end up giving you some Tylenol. It's hard to tell if it helps or not but I hope it took a little of the edge off. As far as naps we are still mostly all over the board. It seems like we can usually count on a morning nap although we can't always count on how to get you down for that whether it be rocking, nursing, walking, etc. The afternoon nap is the tough one. It is clear that you need it because you do become whiny and clingy, you just fight it like a mad woman! Sometimes I just give up, get dinner a little early and try to get your bedtime routine going so that it distracts you from being whiny. Bedtime still goes smoothly so that's nice.

You still love to be outside, we visited the pumpkin patch, which you loved. You love playing with other babies and you are back to enjoying car rides. You like going to the store with me and riding in the Ergo although we have put you in the cart a couple times and I think that may start winning out because you love that and act like such a big girl! We got to go for quite a few afternoon walks this past month because we had such beautiful weather and you enjoyed your stroller. Sometimes I would do that if you weren't showing signs of going down for a nap and you would just sit back and relax in the stroller.

Eleanor, I just want to soak up everyday as much as I can because I just can't believe how time is flying by. Your personality just cracks me up everyday and you are such a joy to be around. Yes, there are tough days and I do lose my patience at times but know that it is always me that I am being impatient with. I am working at just knowing you are just a little person who goes through the same things I do. Bad days, bad moods, tummy aches, head aches, etc. You are such a wonderful light in our lives and your dad and I could not be more proud to be your parents.

Love you so much, baby girl.


I am still taking monthly photos, just haven't gotten around to taking this one on the big camera yet. ;) Gave up on the weeklies at about 6 months but I want 12 pictures of her once we hit one year!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Update, Memory Record, Random

I am trying to write this, drink some water, relax and decide on the theme for E's first birthday all at the same time. I know, not that crazy but still, always multitasking if she is in her crib for a nap! Can I also just pause for a minute and re-iterate that I just typed first birthday?! Can't believe that's on the radar!

I am trying not to make the decision on her party decor a huge deal, but I still want to decide on something cute. Ben just reminded me of the "bedding debacle of '11" in which I stressed and went back and forth and thought long and hard over her bedding for her crib and how I laughed the other day and said, "I think I should sell her bedding, we don't even use it." We obviously don't use the big puffy "comforter," we have back up sheets so we aren't always using the crib sheet that came with, the bumper is off because we have a breathable one in there right now, the skirt is barely visible under her crib and just the other day we took the valance down and replaced with longer, blackout curtains. You know, because her window had been draped, hillbilly-style, with a blanket to create darkness. Oy.

Anyway. Back to the randomness that is our life. Over the past couple months we have had a little bit of goings on. Nothing of huge significance but worth noting on our part. We, well mostly I, am thoroughly annoyed of our dog. Which I feel really bad about because I love her and it's mostly not her fault that she is annoying it just is the way it is. She sheds like a...well, something that sheds a lot. And with the shedding comes the dander and when she scratches, shakes, walks or breathes, she is shedding. And it's disgusting. I can't really believe I have let my baby cohabit in the same dwelling as her for this long. And crawl around in it. Sick. So, last weekend we began taking our house back. We, as embarrassed as Ben is to say this, bought a shock collar, and are training her to be an outside dog. Why do you have to train your dog to be outside? you might ask. Well, our dog is afraid of something in our backyard and we don't know what. We thought it was the chickens and then quickly learned that is not the case because she jumps the chicken fence and plays merrily with the chickens. That's a whole 'nother story. So, we have to shock her, gently, when she is jumping at, scratching at or whining at the back door. Work in progress. We also got rid of the gross area rug we bought right before Eleanor was born because I really wanted a new, clean rug for the baby except that the dog hair wove itself into the stupid, braided design that I so carelessly bought because it was onsale and I was 9+ months pregnant and just wanted something. My awesome Dyson that I got for Christmas also began promptly ripping it up as soon as I started using it. Cool. Insert new, beautiful rug we got last weekend that has not begun to come apart and which I am trying my best to keep the dog off when she comes in to sleep at night.

We finished up the season pretty well with our garden with plentiful amounts of tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash. My rosebush also bloomed that we waited like, forever, 3 months to plant. It was beautiful.

I made a trip to my beloved college town, Bellingham, the other day in search of a solution for our night time diapering situation and came back with pre-fold cloth diapers of which I cannot figure out how to get around my baby. Hopefully more practice will help.

Here I am again during a nap time with a minute to blog and I cannot remember what I always want to sit down and type.

I am still in the middle of trying to decide to cut my hair off or go long. About 8 months ago I cut it just above my shoulders and then it grew pretty quickly and is in a fairly awkward stage of length and bushiness so I am back to trying to decide if I just want to grow it long or cut it to my chin, inverted bob-style. And some color, maybe I need some color. I see pictures of both my long and short styles and I like both. So, here I stand, undecided. As usual.

We went to the pumpkin patch last weekend with some friends. It was fun because it was the same patch Ben and I went to last year while I was still pregnant and we talked about how the following year we would have a lil' baby. And we did! She loved being outside, of course, and holding herself up on the pumpkins. There were two other babies so they all had fun exploring and being out in the beautiful weather!

I have been trying to decide what type of milk product we will be offering E once she turns one year. I was on a little kick of goat's milk for awhile and trying to convince Ben we need to get a goat. Probably not going to happen at this time. However, goat's milk is slightly more appealing to me than cow's milk, not that I don't drink cow's milk because I do, but supposedly goat's is just a little more easily digestible, less likely to be allergenic and a few other things. But do you know that goat's milk is flipping expensive?! So yes, we will see. Also, Ben thinks that since I can't stand the chickens right now, there is probably a good chance I will get annoyed of a goat too. Kind of like the dog. Also, we do live in the city-limits so we may not necessarily be wanting to create such a farm-like atmosphere on our little, quarter of an acre property. We may need to sell our house someday and don't necessarily want to look like such hillbillies with goats, chickens and whatever else we may dream up. Those might be dreams for the future.

Last week, one of my college roommates was passing by our city and she stopped in to meet E. She lives in San Diego and I hadn't seen her in over 2 years so it was great to see her and have her meet E. She just turned 30 and it was kind of a shocker that meant we had met 9 years ago in the dorms. Wow. Time flies.

So, those are some of the things going on in our life. On top of that, gearing up for the holidays, E's first birthday, traveling to Texas for Christmas and just trying to enjoy each say in itself and not getting ahead of ourselves. I am trying to soak up this last little bit of E's first year still in constant amazement that some days seem so long yet I look back and can't believe December is so quickly approaching!

And, sorry for the randomness but this is how my brain works these days! ;)

Monday, September 17, 2012

The New Normal

Coming off of vacation is usually a difficult adjustment whether you have a baby, kids or not! Getting back to work, the normal schedule, meals, etc. is enough to tire out anyone and even bring on a bit of depression. Okay maybe not depression but just a little disappointment that vacation is over and basically with our vacation being over, summer is pretty much over here as well. We have had some beautiful weather, don't get me wrong, but there is definitely the fall-chill in the air in the mornings and evenings despite the really warm afternoons.

I feel like I have been doing just a terrible job of documenting the everyday happenings around here and I really hope that changes because we are in a really good place right now and finding our new normal. I'm pretty sure I have talked before about how Ben and I are pretty routine-craving people and that having a baby threw us for a loop in that department. It's like before you have a baby you know things will change, be different, unpredictable and challenging but you don't know quite how much until it is you.

These days we are embracing whatever "routine" or "schedule" we have for the day. There have been many low points in my days with Eleanor, I will definitely admit that, but I am focusing on the high points these days. All of a sudden, last week, it hit me that she is 9 months, well actually over 9 months, old and will be one in less than three months. Less than three months?! What in the heck have I been doing these past nine months?! Well, even though it has been a slow process, I have been adjusting to my new normal.

This past weekend was pretty great even though I was feeling a bit under the weather. Last weekend, we had arrived home from vacation on Sunday and kind of just hopped back into the week. This weekend we got to relax on Friday night, enjoy a leisurely morning on Saturday and celebrate a friend's engagement on Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning, again, started out slowly, enjoying family breakfast and lunch, a couple of naps for E and then Ben's birthday dinner. None of it was too fancy or exciting but that is where we are now. And we love it. Friday night, our friend's band was playing in the city and we considered going until we found out he probably wasn't going on until about 11:30. PM. Ben still thought about going even after heard that because he hasn't seen them play yet and he wanted to see our friends but after talking about it, we realized {and I think we already knew but were trying to feel somewhat social} that we just aren't in that place right now. And that's okay. Maybe next summer we will be able to make a late show like that but last Friday night just wasn't the night. We haven't stayed a night away from Eleanor as a couple and Ben has only been away for business and a wedding and he decided that wasn't how he wanted to spend a chosen night away from her quite yet.

If we have learned anything {I mean we have learned a million things} it is that each phase/stage is so fleeting. Each stage that I have thought couldn't possibly get any harder, could have been over the next week.  I know that people told me that at the time and it is so easy for experienced moms to tell me all that but at the time it is just really hard to hear. There have only been a few people that I have been able to just vent to and not get some sort of piece of advice. Sometimes you just need an ear, ya know? I am grateful for those people and over time, one of those people did become my husband. Ben always wants to be able to fix a problem or give a solution and I think he realized that wasn't always going to be the case. Sometimes, I just need to talk, vent, get mad or cry and he would just have to listen. We have always had strong communication but this experience has strengthened it even more. We have found balance between when to say something and when to not. When he is being super patient, I may not be and vice versa. I am by no means saying we have any of this figured out or that we are experts at all, but we are getting better and getting to a point where we have our feet under us a little bit more than we did.

I know this is all sort of random and scattered but I haven't been able to blog much and when I do it feels more like a journal entry of where my thoughts are on this one particular day. I know it will be nice to look back at when we are considering another baby and I need a reality check as to if we are really ready to head down that road again!

So, Happy Monday and here's to a good week! ;)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

8 & 9 Months

Dearest daughter of mine, Miss Eleanor,

Well, here we are again, combining two months into one letter because I just can't seem to keep up! It is all beginning to blur together and before this wonderful experience, I could not understand how moms couldn't remember exactly what date these wonderful milestones all happened on. How do you not know the first day you gave your baby food? How can you not remember when your baby started sleeping through the night? Oh, it's because it feels like there is something new every day!

My sweet baby, you continue to amaze us all the time. You are at such a fun age where you are just on the move and all you want to do is explore. You just love taking it all in whether it be roaming from room to room {with me close behind, of course}, outside on a walk or in a group of people. You are quite the chatterbox when you have the floor and it is hilarious. Right now we get a lot of "dadadada" and some "nyanyanya" and we like to mimic you and try to get you to mimic us.

You started to wave over the last month. It is adorable, of course. Your wave is an outstretched arm and open and closing of the hand. Melt my heart. I think you are also on the verge of clapping but not quite to full on open hands together. You get excited, shake your arms and sometimes put closed fists together. You also love to dance! Music comes on and you bed your knees and bop up and down.

As for your chosen method of getting around it is still crawling--fast. You stand up on everything and will try to walk if you are holding you up from behind. You can turn from one object of furniture to another and will sometimes change what you are holding onto. Your dad thinks you are close to walking, I like to think no. Partly because I am not ready for that step and I like to stay in denial.

You still have no teeth but some days I think I see the starts and some days I don't which is what I hear is pretty typical.

Right now you are doing really well sleeping at night. {I'm sure I just jinxed that by typing it ;) } We have your bedtime routine down and it seems to work well. We eat dinner around 530-6, if it's during the week you and I usually have to start before Dad gets home. We try to get you in the bath by 630 and reading books shortly after. Ideally I am nursing you by 715 but sometimes 730 at the latest. Usually I put you down after nursing but some nights we do have to let you cry or fuss a bit in your crib before you go to sleep.

Nap times have been a little trying as I think has pretty much always been the case for you. I think we are in transition from always napping while nursing and sometimes you will do great with two naps in your crib, sometimes just one, and on the not so great days, sometimes none! I really am trying to learn to be patient with this and just take it one day at a time but sometimes that is hard. I just feel so bad for you when you get so tired and won't go to sleep.

You are doing so wonderfully with food. I don't think there has been a single thing we have offered that you haven't eaten. We did give you some yogurt about a month ago and I think I gave you a little too much, 4 days in a row, and I think it was a little hard on your tummy. Since then you have a had small amounts of cheese here and there and it seems to be fine. We may revisit the yogurt soon or maybe not. You continue to love meat and scarf down any that is put in front of you. Fruits and veggies are always a favorite as is Mom's homemade hummus.

You are nursing about every 5-6 hours during the day which has been interesting for me. I feel like for so long I was so used to the frequent nursing but now with food added, you definitely skip one nursing session during the day right now. You nurse when you wake and then have food for breakfast and lunch and then usually nurse again sometime in the afternoon and again before bed. There are definitely times I can tell it's more for comfort which is fine too!

You love to be in the water and you also had your first boating expedition on Oma and Opa's boat. We went on our first family vacation and it was a blast. We went with our group of friends with your friends Addison and Freddie. We had five days of fun in the sun and on Lake Chelan. You were a little bit difficult in the sleep department but we pushed through and enjoyed ourselves despite that.

You are wearing mostly nine month clothes with mostly 12 month pants because of your diapers. We have your nine month check up next week so we will see what your measurements are.

You continue to light up our lives everyday and we are so blessed to have you as our daughter. Your personality continues to grow everyday and we love watching you learn, explore and discover every bit of the world around you.

Love you always, baby girl.


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Toofers

No, Eleanor does not have any teeth.

Yes, everyone asks.

As a matter of fact, everyone has been asking for awhile. She is always gumming everything, hands, arms, toys, etc. She drools. I don't know if it's excessive, it's all I know, but don't most babies drool?

Anyway, for a few months now people would probably think she was teething. We have yet to see any signs in her gums and it is just fine by me. Not only because I am a little scared out of my mind nervous about her biting me but also because I just cannot imagine her with teeth! I loooove her sweet, gummy smile and I think it will just make her look too, darn old! She is already growing fast enough and I just think a tooth or two will put me over the edge. My brother and I were both later teethers so that's what I am hoping for.

Another reason, I think, people ask about her teeth is because she eats quite a bit. She does really well getting chicken down but tougher meat is a little harder. She chews really well too, there are just no teeth to chew with. I think people also forget how incredibly hard babies' gums are. Her gums are strong!

Kind of a random post but I just think it's funny how many people ask and I really don't give it a second thought. Just another thing that is such a wide spectrum of difference for babies. *Thanks for all the beautiful, gummy smiles, my sweet baby!*

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rugged Mountain Baby

...Or something along those lines.

She didn't get bit by bugs. She didn't eat much dirt. She slept. She wasn't too wiggly or wanting to be down all the time.

We camped and it was a success!

About a month ago, I think I was maybe feeling like I was missing out on summer fun, the sun, camping, swimming and all that goes with summer. Don't get me wrong, of course I am having so much fun with the babe, but it's definitely a different type of summer than we are used to. So on a whim, I declared to Ben that I wanted to go camping. Of course he was on board right away because a.) he is always up for an outing or doing things that are outside my comfort zone because he thinks he knows what is best for me...and b.) because he loooves camping. So do I. So, why not, right?!
Loves of my life!
We found a spot about 20 minutes from our house and put the invite out to our group of friends that have babies and that we go on our vacations with. The two couples with babies responded with yes so it was planned.
Yes, we still have a dog and she even got to come! 
About every other day I was skeptical. I tried to back out a couple of times and Ben was not happy about it. I was worried about E not sleeping, eating dirt, getting bit and getting West Nile or something. You know, crazy-first-time-mom-stuff.

Two Fridays ago, we began yet another new sleeping technique. We did the normal bath, cuddle, jammies, lotions, etc. routine, I nursed her for about thirty minutes and we put her in her crib. She cried. We let her cry for five minutes, went in, soothed her, patted, sung, etc. and repeat. I can't remember all the days and nights and how they went down but after a few nights of doing this at bedtime and a couple nights of not running right into her room when she fussed in the middle of the night, she was sleeping 8-10 hour stretches. Whatintheworld? Whoisthisbaby? We had in in our minds that if we went right in, got her before she was all the way awake that she would always go back down easier. Well, turns out, as of now, if we give her some time, she may put herself back to sleep. Go ahead and think it all you moms out there...well, duh, I could have told you this! I guess we had to learn it on our own and be ready to let her cry/fuss a bit.

The reason I mention all this is because she did it while we were camping too! We didn't quite let her cry too much as to not disturb the rest of the campground--which was great because it was full of families with kids and babies--or the other babies at our campsite, but I think all the fresh air, playing, new scenery just wore her our. The second night she slept 10 hours...her her pack and play...in a tent! 

So awesome.

Anyway, we had a great time, it was nice being close to home in case we thought we needed to rush home, it was great to be able to head out after Ben got off work on Friday, and it was beautiful weather. We arrived Friday night, made dinner, put the babies down, got to sit by the fire for a bit, hiked Saturday morning, had lunch went down to the river, dinner and fire Saturday night and packed up and headed home Sunday morning.

I am so happy and thankful--I think Ben was even more so than me--that it all worked out. I am by no means a negative person, but since becoming a mom, I think I can get myself worked up about all the negative or difficult situations we could encounter on such excursions and that can lead me to just not want to do them all together.

Very glad I busted out of that and we survived Eleanor's first camping trip, survived it well and are eager to do it again!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thoughts Lately

Well, I basically can't believe that it is already a week into August. Summer felt like it was already flying and now we have plans the next few weekends so basically there goes August. It is kind of bittersweet. It is so fun experiencing summer with an 8 month old. She is so observant and curious and loves being outside but at the same time, when time is flying, all that means is that she is getting older!

Having a baby is full of double edged sword type situations, I think. On one hand, this is awful to say, but some days I can't wait for her to grow, get older, sleep longer, be walking and talking and telling me what's wrong and what she needs and on the other hand, I just want her to stay this sweet age forever with soft baby skin, sweet toes, lovely baby talk, and sweet cuddles when she is tired. When she is happy, I am so happy and when she is mad or sad...well, you can guess, I am so mad or sad. We are all just learning everyday...how to balance, how to deal, what to try, what to throw out and although it is one of the hardest, most challenging job I have ever had--I wouldn't change it. I am becoming better. I am becoming more patient, more nurturing, more selfless everyday and I would say those are all traits I welcome with open arms.

Ben and I had our three year anniversary last week and then actually celebrated this past weekend. It is funny how dates make you reflect. I guess that's why we have them. It was interesting to look back at our wedding day, our first anniversary, our second and where we are today. So much has changed yet a lot is the same. Our relationship has continued to grow, flourish and strengthen each year. That's really all we can ask for. For our celebration we went to a little town called La Connor about an hour northwest of where we live. It was a beautiful day, we had lunch, wandered around and relaxed. We left Eleanor at my parents' house and the goal was not necessarily to miss a feeding for the first time but to know that we could if we wanted. We left my parents equipped with breastmilk and cups and we were gone for about five and a half hours. I know it doesn't sound like that long but for a mom who is with her baby basically 24/7 it felt like so long. But in a good way. I felt refreshed when we got back and that's just what we were looking for.

I want so badly to blog more and take down our memories but every day all of a sudden the day is over and all I feel like doing is vegging out on the couch in the evenings. It has finally gotten to where I don't feel like going straight to bed when I put the baby down every night so it is nice to have a little husband time at the end of the days and not have my face glued to the computer.

I was running a little bit with the jogging stroller because I was aiming to possibly do a 10k when we go on vacation in September but seeing as now that is about 4 weeks away and I stopped jogging due to my back flaring up again, I don't think that is going to happen. I am hoping to pick up some yoga to work on my back muscles and stretching. I don't know if I am aiming to do some at home or find a class I may be able to get to a couple times a week. I don't want to jinx anything now but it seems Eleanor's sleep habits may be getting a little more predictable. Like everything else, it seems we take two steps forward and five one step back!

Eleanor is actually taking her first mom-induced crib nap right now and everyday I think of a million things to jot down if only I could actually open up the computer and not look at blogs on my phone and now I am drawing a blank!

I guess that's all I have to offer for today but hopefully I will be having a little more in the coming weeks. I will also be sure to post and 8 month post here pretty soon. There is much to report on with our little girl and I surely don't want to forget any of that!