Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sweet Girl.

How lucky am I to have this crazy little sprite to hang out with every day?

Here is a story about how she is a genius. One of her favorite books is called "Posy." It's a book about a cat, and it was given to her by Granny Janny's two cats Willow and Lizzie (trust me. They even wrote a message inside the front cover.) So tonight, I'm lacing up my shoes so we can go for a walk, and Ellie toddles around the corner of the recliner, muttering "Poe... Poe..." and I look down and she's got Posy clutched between her little mitts. Smart as a whip.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Love.

Sunday afternoon we drove up to the Valley to met Ellie's newest baby friend, Lucas Francisco, son of Fluffy. I have to say, he is my second favorite baby ever in the entire world. So sweet, and so adorable, and just the most perfect little doll. It was a little bittersweet for all of us, having Ellie and Lucas meet, because in a perfect world, she should be hanging out with his older brother, who was delivered premature in the summer of 2010. Instead, "baby Blue" will just have to keep an eye on Ellie and Lucas as they get to know each other better, and hopefully, are as snarky to each other as Fluff and I are. For example: when I was in the hospital with Ellie, Fluff texted me "I'm only going to say this once. Ellie is beautiful." Now he tells me she's ugly and smelly When we got word that Lucas had arrived safe and sound, my text to Frank was something like "I'm so glad he's here! I'm sorry he has a weirdo like you as a dad!"

I am learning fairly quickly that Ellie does not take kindly to her mommy holding other babies. She cries and gets up in my face, trying to weasel into my lap. Sometimes she's interested enough in the baby to pipe down and not be a total pest, but sadly, a lot of her interest involves trying to poke babies in the eye or stick her fingers in their mouths. Not helpful! Woe betide my hypothetical future second child... they are going to have an overbearing jealous baby for a sibling!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas!

True Story: I knew we had to buy our house when we were standing in the foyer, looking into what is now the pretty room, and Tim said "and we can put the Christmas tree in here." I promptly burst into tears. Funnily enough, the first two years we celebrated Christmas here, we kept the tree in the living room, because I wanted to look at it all the time. This year it finally made it out to the pretty room, partially because we have less space in the living room with the new furniture, and partially because I was hoping putting it in a different room would discourage Ellie from destroying it.

She seems mostly disinterested, which is okay with me.

I didn't realize until I was an adult that some people have "theme" trees at Christmas. Like, their ornaments all match or work together. And I always thought colored lights were awesome, but apparently in some circles, they are tacky. BEHOLD, our tacky, yet themed tree! The theme is, nice ornaments and glass balls up top, and handmade, soft ornaments on the bottom. Grandma Rosie's quilted ornaments are heavily featured on the lowest branches. It's a pretty sweet tree.

And going with my non-theming, the mantle still has all of the usual weird stuff, with bonus stockings and nativity scene. As you do.

Yesterday we had a bunch of friends over to watch the UCLA/USC game. Most of us were Bruins, with two Trojans (hissss!) and a couple of Ohio State fans. Thankfully, we all knew the outcome going in and everyone was able to keep the peace. What a blood bath. I was thankful that I spent forty five minutes feeding Ellie in the other room and could avoid some head shaking embarrassment. How many times do you need to get stuffed in the red zone before you kick a field goal just to get some damn points on the board?

On the upside, they don't make Trojans this cute. And check it out - we officially have enough hair to get a quality boinger going.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thankful.

Last year, Ellie didn't get anything but boring old milk on Thanksgiving. Such are the perils of being a newly borned.

This year, she learned about all of the food groups that she has to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Eve.

This year, you know what I'm thankful for? Zoloft. Thanksgiving marks a year ago that I realized that what I was going through - the endless sobbing, the feeling like I was hanging on to my sanity by the very edges of my fingernails, the feeling like I was never going to feel "normal" or "okay" again, was not simply "the baby blues." I mean, my daughter was six weeks old. Still a newborn, but my blues were not just hormones gone awry. After my sweet husband and my best friend had mentioned to me several times that maybe, just maybe, it was time to call my doctor and ask for help, I finally did something over Thanksgiving weekend.

It's still funny to me that in modern America, taking anti-depressants is seen as fairly taboo or shameful, but the on-call doctor had no problem calling in a script for me, and when I went and met with my regular OB a few weeks later, he was like, "are you feeling better on the Zoloft? Great! Then call me if you're having problems, but if it's helping you, stay on it," like I had mentioned that I'd been taking a gummy vitamin and seeing improvements in my skin. It was completely no big deal to them.

It was a hard thing for me to admit then, I think because I didn't feel like I had typical post-partum. You hear about celebrities who felt like they weren't bonding with their baby or didn't love their baby - I never felt anything except for overwhelming, soul crushing love for my daughter. I just felt like I couldn't hack it as a mom, even while also knowing that I was doing a pretty good job of caring for a colicky newly borned. And on the medication, I just felt like I wasn't so overwhelmed or on the edge. I could handle a baby who cried all afternoon and ate for three hours straight. I mean, I gritted my teeth at times, but I didn't sob until my face swelled up. Now it's no big deal, and I'm quick to talk about it with my mom friends, especially the new ones. Because I'm not and never was some sort of catatonic zombie who didn't love her baby - I'm a lady who had a couple of risk factors for PPD (thyroid problems, c-section deliver) and who really benefited from a chemical boost for the first few months of my baby's life.

This Thanksgiving? I'm grateful for a million other things as well. For my amazing girl who is walking everywhere. Who laughs and breaks into an enormous smile after you lean in and give her a smooch. Who giggles during diaper changes because she's anticipating a big fat belly raspberry. Who gets out of the shower and does a happy buns on parade dance around our master bedroom. Who is so snuggly and sweet after her naps. I'm so glad I get to be her mom, and that she put up with me when I wasn't at my best, and who is teaching me every day how to be the best mommy I can for her.

I adore her so.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Another couple of busy days, not just for Ellie, but for Tim and I. Sunday night we had one of the MOST fun dates we've gone on since becoming parents. A big group of us went up to a great Italian place in LA for dinner, and since there were 7 of us, and since it was going to involve two cars carpooling, and since it would be more fun to all go together, and since it didn't really seem fair to make Jake rent a van and drive us... WE RENTED A LIMO!

And it was amazing. I have only been inside a limo once before, and it was stationary. Which is not the same as piling in the back with a bunch of friends, opening a bottle of bubbly and enjoying the hour drive.

Our meal was great! The restaurant, Vito, is very old school - dark wood, waiters in tuxedos, classic Italian fare. They make their own caesar salad at the table, which is amazing. Our waiter was very similar to Agador Spartacus in the movie "The Birdcage," which made me giggle every time he came by. Or maybe that was the champagne talking... But either way, the food was good and the company was great. Tim and I have had some nice dates in the past year, but it was so fun to be out with grown up friends, having a grown up night (and jokingly hissing "stop it, this is a grown up dinner!" when people got rowdy at the table.)

And look, Tim and I even cleaned up special! I wore my best fake eyelashes.

But who cares about us - look at this cute little nugget!
Man, the walking? She is all about the walking at all times. It cracks me up because while she's a little less Frankensteiny, she's still not 100% smooth. I definitely understand the idea of the pitter patter of little feet, because she's no twinkle toes. She's gotten better about wearing her shoes though, so that's a plus. Her favorite thing to play with lately is the picture magnets on our fridge, and any electronics she can get her hands on. And of course, cat chasing. Her best walking is done in pursuit of a cat who wants nothing to do with her and her grabby hands.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Week in Review.

Tim hassled me last night for the lack of blargh updates this week - it's been a busy one! Which sadly leaves him no new pictures or video to look at when he has down time at work.

Because of our schedule, we moved swimming to Monday morning. Now that Ellie is a real person with thoughts and feelings, she's gotten a little ornery about her lessons. She still LOVES being in the water and playing with the toys and splashing around, but she doesn't like when the instructor makes her work. There's a lot of yelling during back floating now, but Mr. Shane just holds her there until she gives in and does what she's supposed to do. I joke that he's working her like a show pony. He asked me if she's pretty independent, and I said no, but she's definitely willful. She'll come back around.

Tuesday we weren't at swimming because we were at Granny Janny's surprise 70th birthday party, thrown for her by the other Gardening Angels. She was completely surprised, and it was a great party. Jackie made a big cake and they actually lit 70 candles (and Jan actually blew out about 65 of them on the first try.) All of the Angels seem to enjoy having a small Ellie Bean running around, and Ellie very confidently walking between the ladies that she loves and recognizes.

Wednesday was a play date day! We spent most of the afternoon with Christine and her daughter Carina, who is a few months younger than Ellie. Took the girls to the park, hung out and played with all Carina's awesome toys, ate some Cheerios together - what more could you want if you were a small baby?

Thursday was adult play date time. We headed up to LA for lunch with my former coworker girlfriends, Ingrid and Emily. Emily was bringing her almost three month old son Liam to the office for the first time, and Ellie made a repeat appearance. We grabbed lunch and Ellie wandered around the office, impressing people with her walking skills. Most of my former team is now gone, which was a little sad, but I guess time marches on. We still saw a lot of our favorite people, and Elizabeth was delighted with Liam. She thankfully napped on both parts of the drive, which I always appreciate. I must say though, there's nothing cuter than watching her in the rearview mirror when she obeys commands from me - kissing her baby, hugging her baby, making weird noises with her mouth in response to me. I always crack up when she's being quiet and I think she's asleep, but she's only quiet because she has a foot in her mouth.

Thursday night was also big fun, with a fundraising dinner for the Glennwood Foundation, which facilitates Sara's youth group "club" on Monday nights. Once again, Ellie was a hit, wandering around in her little shoes, cramming parts of other people's dinner into her piehole at an alarming rate. I wonder if she's going through a growth spurt, as she seems to be a bit of a bottomless pit when it comes to dinner time lately, and then a half hour after eating she's ravenous to nurse for another 40 minutes before going to bed.

Friday was mommy class, which we always love, and lunch afterwards, where Ellie and Lexi pushed a tray back and forth across the table to each other and laughed like loons. They are so funny, feeding each other Cheerios and stealing each other's sippy cups. The little germ farms. And then we had dinner with Grams and Gramps, and John, who is in town for Thanksgiving. Things are a lot different now - last time he saw Ellie she was in her "screaming all the time" phase. She is quite pleasant now.

In between all of the events, we've done our usual - hanging out, reading books. She loves pushing her Cozy Coupe around the house, or moving the coffee table in the pretty room. Her other favorite thing to do is pull her picture magnets off the fridge and walk around with pictures of cute babies clutched in her hands. The walking is full time now - she only crawls if she falls and is in a rush to get somewhere. Otherwise, she pushes that big booty back up in the air and takes off with her little Frankenstein walk.

Unsurprisingly, Grams made her wear a flower as a hat.

Here she is, bothering Granny Janny and attempting to steal her presents.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Cat lady cat lady, make me a match

Find me a feline

Catch me a cat!

(Yes, she is head butting Rocket. She just wants to be friends! For those who don't know, Rocket is Rocky's mom! Can you believe such a big fat cat came from such an itty bitty lady cat?)

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Took my little farty to the park this afternoon. She was, as you can see, delighted to play on the swings, and walked all over the toddler part of the playground equipment in her new shoes. She was also a fan of the slide, and the stairs to get up to the slide. Also, she was able to hoot lovingly at some dogs that walked by.

She is my favorite, that kid.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Elizabeth and Friends.

I feel so lucky to have found a great group of moms to help me survive the first year of motherhood, because this stuff is tough. Advice from the older generation is great, but can sometimes be a bit outdated, or clouded by the ensuing 30 years. It's nice to have moms who are down in the trenches, surviving each stage along side you, so when you email freaking out about the amount of drool streaming down your child's face, someone else says "yeah, we had that last week, and now we have a tooth." Oh... a TOOTH! I hadn't thought of that in my sleep deprived haze.

At first, our "playdates" were all about the moms - in a perfect outing, all the babies stayed asleep in their bucket seats. But now they're all toddlers, and it's so fun to see them interact with one another.

Ellie (on the left) and her friend Clare, out for a morning walk.

Here Ellie and Clare are at Friday's play date. Ellie is telling Clare secrets of walking (Clare is 10 months.)

Ellie and her buddy Jonathan (just turned 1!) and all of the books, which ended up on the floor.

"Hey you guys, check out my sweet ride! Yeah, my grandparents gave it to me, they're pretty generous. My parents are still making me pay for gas though."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Grandma Rosie.

Today was our last day with Grandma Rosie, but we made it a good one. Ellie and I walked this morning and then napped, and then showered. She's basically done having baths at night on weekdays (unless Grams wants to plop her in the tub) because I can't get in the shower without her crying and banging on the glass. And after our shower door shattered on my due date, I figure it's just better to bring her in and let her splash around with her various rubber duckies. Then afterwards, she crawls in and out of the shower while I get ready and dressed. I usually hold off on lotioning her and putting on a diaper, because that pisses her off, and I try to keep the beast calm so that I can brush my teeth without trying to hold her. Sometimes, it's cute, and the buns go on parade all over the place - checking on herself in the mirror, going out to the linen closet, chasing the cats. Sometimes (once) she poops on the carpet. NOT OKAY.

Anyways, after the nude parade ended, with the application of clothing, we went out for a lunch at the harbor with Grandma Rosie, where we soaked up a little sun and some good company. We also took Grandma to cookie hour at Tim's office. I think she was suitably impressed with the cookies and the nerdery. And then an evening full of watching Ellie desperately chase the cats and demand that books be read to her. It's so nice that Grandma Rosie has been able to spend so much time with Ellie during her first year (and a bit.) They got to read a lot of books, talk a lot and snuggle. What more could you want? Now Sara and I will have to manage for a few more days until mom and dad get home - they made it to Venice this morning (our time) and apparently mom had been pointing and grunting at many things she wanted (in imitation of Elizabeth.)

Here's a couple of recent photos:

Here's Ellie and her chicks. She has Coco (like from her books) and then Cuckoo (who has a hat) and Bluey (who's Blue.) She's been extra attached to them since Grams left, and spent hours crawling around with them clutched in her fat little hands. I think Grams is going to have to get new chicks when she gets home to replace the mangled, over-loved friends.

Here she is on Sunday, giving her calamari a ride with her ducks, while eating a tortilla chip (she mostly holds it, less so eating it.) She is wearing a Packers onesie under that sweatshirt, of course.

Here she is, one of the times Rocky let her near him. I think he was interested in the cats on her shirt. True story: it's the cutest shirt in the world, but it was a regular crew neck and didn't fit over her head. Grandma Rosie fixed that for us so that Melonhead can now rock her kitties and stripes.

Here's Grandma Rosie with all of her California girls. And Ellie's belly.

"Hey, I'm tired and teething, quit bugging me!"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Alive! It's Alive!

A few little segments that display Ellie's Frankensteinian walking abilities. She's so funny - puts one foot forward and drags the other one parallel. But she's getting better every day! And as you can see, she'll get that big bootie in the air and then stand up on her own.


Feeding Ellie is an exercise in hilarity most days. She has a pretty adventurous palate for a baby, and will generally eat anything you spoon into her mouth - fruits, vegetables, chicken, beans, olives. She'll go through phases where she loves a food, and then all of a sudden it's no good to her anymore - this was inconvenient when she decided she didn't want to eat bananas, because I don't particularly care for bananas, and I suddenly had a bunch that had to get eaten by someone in this house. Oh well, the potassium is good for me I guess.

She's pretty good at feeding herself, however, if she sees everyone else eating with a fork, she'll refuse to feed herself and demand to be fed by fork. Hey, if it gets the food into her belly.

Last night Sara took us all out for dinner at El Maguey. Elizabeth had taken a horrible afternoon nap and I was on my last shreds of patience, and then she insisted that I hold her during our wait for dinner. We gave her a tortilla chip, which she happily clutched in her sweaty little fist, occasionally offering it to me for a bite or two, and she was so cute that I couldn't stay mad at her. When our food came, we stuck her in the high chair at the end of the table, between Tim and Auntie Sara, so I could shovel some carnitas into my hungry, cranky mouth. Hilarity ensued, as Ellie refused to eat the delicious tortilla and tomato we put in front of her, and instead turned alternately to her daddy and her favorite aunt, with her mouth open like a hungry baby bird. She seemed to focus mainly on Sara, as Sara was quicker on the ball with forkfuls of rice and beans.

This morning I made strawberry pancakes for breakfast, and it was so funny to watch Miss El tear into her baby sized pancake. I offered her a small, plastic fork of her own, and even speared some food for her, but she was happier just to wave the fork around like a scepter. She still got about half of the pancake down into her pie hole, though I could see she was envious of us having syrup. Sorry kid - that's just too messy at this point in time. She also drank a couple big sips of 2% milk and didn't look horrified when she realized it wasn't her regular brew.

That kid, she cracks me up. It's so funny to see her sitting there like a little person, having real food with her folks. Won't be long now until she'll be able to sleep over at her Grandma and Grandpa's, and demand Grandpa make her waffles in the morning!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pictures of Love, Italian Style.

A view from mom and dad's hotel room (in Revelo? I could check the email for reference, but am too lazy to click between windows.)

Mom, trying to relax after a harrowing day of Dad's aggressive driving combined with Italy's narrow, winding roads.

Between this and Skyping with Itty Bitty every morning, their lives aren't too bad.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


If you thought yesterday's picture of Ellie with her Grandma Rosie was cute, check this stuff out:DO YOU NOT DIE OF THE CUTENESS?

Grandma took us girls out for dinner tonight at the pier (we didn't bring Tim, not because we are jerks, but because we wanted to go before sunset and he was still at work. Plus otherwise we'd have to take two cars. As it was, we got there slightly before 5 and only got a four top table because another couple moved to let us have it. It was crowded!

Miss Beans was mostly happy to eat french fries, hoot at birds and stand in my lap. She also slammed a menu corner into the bridge of my nose, which brought tears to my eyes. But then she was busy being darling and adorable, and that also brought small tears to my eyes. I do love that girl so.

I love all these girls so!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Grandma Rosie has arrived, safe and sound.

Mom and Dad are having a great time in Italy - they are probably traveling to Naples as I write this. They've been able to Skype with their Itty Bitty every day, and actually my new cell phone does a better job with video chatting than my laptop. Technology today is CRAZY!

Ellie is going to go on a journey soon too. If she doesn't stop being such a little teething monster, I am going to sell her to the gypsies, and she will get to travel the world in the back of a chuck wagon.