Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grandma Rosie.

We had such a wonderful visit with Grandma Rosie this past week. Ellie took to her right away, probably because Grandma is always ready and willing to read a book, including the "Cute as Can Bee" book that features Ellie's picture. It's always so nice to have Grandma around, getting to know her little name sake a bit better. Now we have our big trip to Door County to look forward to!

Grandma and her littlest (and some might say, naughtiest) grandgirl

Oh, those four crazy generations.

A little sweet bike action from earlier in the day

The elfin sprite takes a bath.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New Favorite Games.

She loves climbing the stairs, especially when Grizz is on the other side. We're also teaching her how to go down the stairs on her butt. The only problem is that her legs are too short to reach from the lip of one step to the lip of the next, so she has to push herself forward and off each step. But she likes the concept of going down on her behind, which is good.

She also enjoys fine linens, and reorganizing (or rather, having me reorganize) the linen closet in the hallway.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pete, Repeat, Stinky Feet.

I feel like we are in a phase now where I'm finally getting rewarded for my hard work. It's as though I can see things sinking in, percolating in Ellie's brain and then spewing forth in ways that completely surprise me.

For example: she has a book called Baby Animals that she particularly loves for her Grizz to read to her, because he does the animal noises, particularly the moo, loudly and proudly. Last week he was mooing for no real reason other than her amusement, and she immediately walked over to her bookcase, dug around and came up with Baby Animals. She also knows the name of her new favorite book The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, which she calls "hah dah." She's started pointing to the moon and saying "moo," because Grizz points the moon out to her when he walks her to the car. Other than mama and dada (and rah-rah for Rocky, naturally) the only person she calls by name is Sara, who she calls either "sssss" or "Sar." I was saying something about families and uncles and aunts, and when I said the word aunt she said "Sar!" It just sort of surprised me that she'd made that connection - yes, Sara is your aunt. Auntie Sara. She is learning so much and absorbing so much at every moment.

We when we play with her puzzles we make all of the animal noises too, except for bunnies, who apparently only make noise when they are being eaten alive. Rather than having that discussion with her, I've informed her that bunnies go "hop hop hop" and last night for the first time she volunteered "hop hop hop" when I asked her what a bunny did. Then today, we TOTALLY BLEW HER MIND. Around 5ish we were outside at mom and dad's and there were two bunnies on the green belt at the end of the culdesac, so we snuck down the street to look at them. They hopped away once we got too close, but Ellie spent the rest of the night informing us about the hop hop hop. Until she got all revved up chasing Grizz around the kitchen, and then she was basically lost to us. She fell asleep having her final meal of the night, the poor tired Bean. She needs to rest up for Auntie Sara's party!

Grandma Rosie arrived last night, and we have been having a great time. Last night we all went out for German food, and Ellie sat in her high chair like a good girl until the plates were cleared and desserts were offered, so two thumbs up to that. Today Grandma Rosie came with us to mommy matters and lunch afterwards, and then hung out with Ellie in the yard. Yet another lesson - trying to teach her to listen to the sea from inside a shell.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Inclement Weather.

What a rough day we had today! We could barely survive the terrible weather. I mean look at all that snow! (on the far mountain)

It was so cold that Ellie had to wear a hat and sweater against the chill.

Poor Ellie had to hang on to Gram's finger to keep from blowing away!

And then she had to go tend to her crops to make sure they wouldn't freeze in the chill.

Yep, we have it hard in Southern California in January. Real hard.

I present this picture with the title "The Most Beautiful Thing in the World." That's my baby, sleeping all alone in her bed. With only her pillows for company. I used that time to take out the recycling and unload the dishwasher. Do I know how to live or what?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Above Average.

Today was the Lovebug's 15 month well baby checkup, so we braved the rain (RAIN! EVERYONE DUCK AND COVER!) and headed out. Like usual, she took a huge poop as soon as we arrived, but kept it in her pants this time. I hate that you can't put diapers in the trash at the pediatricians - nothing sucks more than carrying a giant turd in your diaper bag.

Elizabeth is almost 24 pounds, and 30 1/2 inches tall, which puts her right at the 50th percentile. Her head is still in the 90th, of course. The doctor immediately noticed the little bump that remains from when she got her goose egg in December, and said that it's probably just a little blood still trapped under the skin, and it'll go away. She seemed very nonplussed by all the head bonking - she said her second baby had a big head and was prone to a lot of toppling over and bruising. Makes me feel better about not immediately rushing to the emergency room.

The doctor was VERY impressed with Ellie's command of the English language, and said she's more like an 18 month old in terms of her development. I was glad that Ellie actually showed off for the doctor - she announced that birdies say "caw caw" and then proceeded to show the doctor the location of her nose, ears, cheeks and belly. The doctor was impressed that she not only touches the body part, but names it as well. Then I asked E to smell my feet, which she did. It's my best baby party trick!

We got three shots, which sucked, and we're going back in two weeks to get two more so we can be all up to date. That is the worst part.

Since we returned from Pittsburgh, we've been working with our now 15 month old on some behavior changes. She's still nursing a few times a day, but definitely cut back when I was gone for two days, and she didn't drink any of the milk I left for her while I was away (which is actually sort of great, because I won't worry about leaving some when I go on dates from now on. Forget you for the next year or so, pump!) I'm fine with the idea of nursing her until two, especially if we're just doing morning and night. And it's funny - she doesn't care if she nurses during the day now, but in the morning and at bedtime she collapses into tears, saying "mil! mil!" the second she sees me get near the recliner.

The big thing is that we're working on napping in her bed. When she was a baby, from about month 1-5, she'd only nap in her swing, which was fine by me, because I was willing to take a nap any way I could. Then she refused to nap unless I was holding her and nursing her, and I went with that for awhile, because I was still half-way desperate for naps. And then it mostly became a bad habit. One afternoon I tried to put her to sleep in her bed and after THREE HOURS of rocking, shushing, patting, nursing and crying in her crib, she was still as awake, though totally exhausted. So I'd given up and just sort of resigned myself to my fate. The nurse and nap wasn't the worst thing ever - I'd watch TV, read, catch up on my internetting, but it was pretty sucky, overall. Having a few days to myself, to get my groove back and feel more normal made me ready to make the transition out of my lap and into the bed. Friday we were having a little meal around naptime and she seemed to be fighting sleep, so I took her into her room, rocked her for a little while, then laid down with her for a few minutes. She played with her hands and flapped around and then all of a sudden she went limp and fell asleep. I held my breath and then crept out of her room, where she slept, all alone, for an HOUR. I haven't had an hour to myself during daylight hours in I don't know how long. And it gave me strength to keep working at it.

Saturday it took us 2.5 hours to get her to sleep in her bed, but she finally did it. Yesterday Tim got her down in 25 minutes, and today it took me a half hour. It is SUCH A RELIEF. The other good news is that she'll let Grams rock her to sleep at their house and then sleep in my old bed. Finally, mommy is free. FREE! Except for the part where I creep around the house on tiptoe, because I'm terrified to wake her up.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shake Ya Groove Thing.

Auntie Bee totally spoiled Ellie this past Christmas, but then again, she is sort of legendary with her love for her nieces and grandnieces. I've been slowly doling out the puzzles Auntie Bee sent, and Ellie gets so excited every time to meet some new friends. Today she was very interested in the bunny from her pet puzzle, and how he goes "hop hop hop." But do you know what she loves best of all?

The card Aunt B sent Tim for Christmas.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

15 Months.

As of tonight, Elizabeth Rosemarie is officially 15 months old. Who would have thought? She just gets more fun every day (even if not every day is fun.) She has so many words now, and is so goofy and funny. There's lots of wrassling and lots of laughing in our lives.

Today we went up to LA and she spent the afternoon lunching like a lady.

And then... some quality cat sniffing.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Home Again.

We made it home unscathed. Another great round of flights - this time we didn't even have time to eat our sandwiches before we had to get on the plane in Chicago. But that was okay, we ate them while watching some jerkwad stand up and argue with a flight attendant. Sir, arguing with a flight attendant while on the plane is like arguing with a cop on the side of the road... either you do what they say, or you end up in handcuffs. SIT DOWN.

Ellie was excited to see me... about as excited as she gets when I come home from the gym on a weekend morning, which is to say, not that much. It makes me feel like this was the perfect time for us to get away on our first trip. Elizabeth is old enough to be independent, eat real table food, etc, but still too little to understand the concept of time or absence. For all we know, she thought we were in Pittsburgh for 15 minutes! It was great to be reunited with our little sweet Lovebug tonight, and especially nice that Tim has tomorrow off so we can sort of ease back into regular life again.

Sara and Dad sent me constant photo updates on Friday and Saturday - this is my favorite of the bunch. Who doesn't love your own bath water?

The boys of Yorba Linda, pre-ceremony. The wedding was a BLAST, as we knew it would be. Everything involving Rocco is a party. Tim and I were the first people out on the dance floor, though he was nowhere to be found during the anniversary dance, and then Cory had to step in and gallantly escort me around the floor for the final dance, because Tim was once again using the restroom. We stayed out at the after party until 2, then got a hot dog and some french fries from the Original, and sacked out like happy, tired logs. My legs hurt from dancing today, and my knee hurts from where I fell off the curb on the way to the reception (before drinking!) Tim again, was nowhere to be found, but Jake helped me up. Good news: even though I broke the skin, I didn't rip my tights!

Rocco and his beautiful bride Kristin during the ceremony at Heinz Chapel (also beautiful.) They were both nearly vibrating with joy, and it was so sweet to see Rocco's face scrunch up with emotion when he saw Kristin coming down the aisle. A great time was had by all!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Pitts.

Hello from Pittsburgh! Tim is off with all of the boys, helping Rocco survive his last few minutes as a single man, and I am reveling in my alone time.

We are having a GREAT TRIP so far. Our flights yesterday were perfect: on time, layover long enough to go to the bathroom and get a sandwich but not much else, and we walked right out to our rental car and drove into the city, where we met up with everyone at a bar. I'd almost forgotten what winter was like - we haven't seen snow since the last time we were in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving (2007 I think?)

It's so good to see everyone - I only wish Cory's wife Natalie had made the trip, but I understand not wanting to do 28 hours of traveling with a 14 month old in tow, while also being 20 weeks pregnant. It leaves me on my own as the only lady, since I don't really know the bride, but I love me some quiet time - I teased Jake and Tim on the plane that they weren't to talk to me. And then I put on my noise canceling headphones and ignored them, no joke.

Those two crack me up/kill me. I handled all of the travel details, booked everything, and then basically have to hold their hands through the airport. Asked them to look up directions to the hotel, neither of them have the address (though I know they both do in an email.) Asked them to text their friends to say we were coming, they couldn't find the phone numbers. Rocco assured me that the food at the wedding will be plentiful, so maybe I can find Tim and Jake something soft, and therefore avoid having to cut their meat. The other boys make fun of Jake for not booking his own travel, but I think they're jealous that he just has to show up and cut me a check at the end.

We're staying right next to campus, and will be able to walk to the wedding and reception. I had to go to Rite Aid today to get myself some tights - I'm excited about being able to walk/no one has to be the designated driver, but less than excited about a couple of blocks walk with completely bare legs.

Anyhow, it's been a nice day today. We slept in until 10:30, then I walked a couple miles off campus to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, where I had an hour massage. It was HEAVEN. Except for the part where she had to dig out a couple of enormous knots. Yikes. Then I went and had what was billed as "Pittsburgh's best French Toast" and wandered home through a big park. Tonight, I will drink and dance with my handsome husband (and his slightly less handsome brother, my second husband.)

My baby apparently could care less that I'm gone - when I tried to kiss her goodbye, she started crying because she wanted Grams to hold her. Grams reports that the night went well, though they've had to drive her around to get her to take a nap (fine with me!) That turd... she is the worst at falling asleep. But everyone seems to be surviving. I was thinking how fun it was to be away from her for awhile, and then in Rite Aid they played Carrie Underwood's "All American Girl," which is about parents welcoming beautiful wonderful perfect all American girls, and I burst into tears. Such is parenthood.

Pittsburgh's best French Toast. It was pretty damn good.

Pittsburgh in January - pretty beautiful!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baby Bruins Comes Home.

Today Ellie and I had to haul our butts back up to LA to pick up my camera from Tio Fluffy. Sure, it's a long drive, but it's cheaper and easier than trying to pack an expensive camera for proper shipping. Plus it was a great excuse to show Elizabeth around her future college campus. Now, I'm not expecting her to remember everything I told her - I'm sure she'll hear all of Tim and my stupid stories a million times over the next 18 years, PLUS we will totally do our best to embarrass the hell out of her when we go on the official tour when she's a high school senior, but it's never too early to start building pride in her Bruin heritage.

We started at Enzos, where I had dinner with my girlfriends once a week all through my junior year. It was also the sight of Tim and I's first date (and Fluffy and Jasmin's first date also!) The food was just as excellent as I remember. Plus Ellie fed me some fresh Cheerios.

Then it was off to Diddy Reese. And you know our cookie monster loved her some Diddy Reese. She cried when I wouldn't give her a second piece of cookie, but such is life kiddo! Fluff had to go back to work at this point, but Ellie and I continued on to explore campus.

Let me tell you, nothing makes you (me) feel like an old crone like pushing a stroller around your alma mater. No one's going to mistake me for a senior, or a graduate student. Everyone instantly knew I was an old lady, though they did coo over how cute Beans was in her outfit. I took her to the library, my former place of business. It's been updated downstairs but everything else is the same old 70s style. Then we went to the quad.

Where, as expected, Ellie tried to get into the fountain.

Then we did a little studying with the gals outside of Royce.

Before we left, I introduced her to the Bruin bear. While she liked saying "rawr," she was more interested in a catalog that she found. INGRATE!

We had a long drive home because we didn't leave until 4. Thank goodness for the carpool lane.

Tomorrow Tim and I are off to Pittsburgh. I am both elated and a little sad about going. I love being a mom and feel so grateful that I get to stay home with my little girl, but let's be honest, momma needs a break. Everyone needs a day off now and again! I even booked myself a massage on Saturday around lunchtime. HOORAY! Plus I'm excited to see all of the boys of Yorba Linda and to dance at the wedding. But oh, I am going to miss that sweet little face and all of the good snuggling we do. Especially since Grams and Grizz vetoed Skyping, because they don't want their charge to get all riled up about seeing, but not touching mama. I hate when they are right.

You know what else I hate? Folding laundry. But I have to go do that now, and then pack our suitcases.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Let's Knit Together, Yeah Yeah Yeah.

It's Wednesday again, which means another afternoon with the knitters. I probably don't say often enough how much I appreciate those ladies taking Ellie and I under their wings (and knitting needles.) They are so sweet to all of us - holding Ellie so I can eat my lunch, holding cookies right where Ellie can grab them, and loving both of us to bits. We are lucky girls.
Also lucky, getting to see everyone twice this week. On Monday we all met up to take Tia Tillie out for a fabulous birthday lunch. We went to the restaurant where Tim and I usually go for our anniversaries - a restaurant I would NEVER bring Ellie to at dinner time, but where she was remarkably well behaved at lunch (didn't hurt that we were out on the patio and she could walk around a little.) There was so much good food, though Elizabeth focused on eating bread and ice cream. She was apparently carbo loading.

Look at all these beautiful ladies!

And then, after having lunch with the knitters on Monday, we came home and found that one of mom's knitting friends from Massachusetts sent Ellie an absolutely beautiful hand knitted sweater.

The flash washed the colors out a little bit - it has some neon green and yellow and really fun, funky colors. Lyn is a master knitter, and the sweater is a work of art. After Ellie arrived last year, Lyn sent her a little pink and white sweater and hat set with hearts on it. I almost cried when I had to pack them away in the outgrown clothes box, and now I have a new sweater to love on and put Ellie in constantly for the next few months.

Lucky girls indeed.

In other news, I've been trying to get back to my morning walks every morning. Ellie doesn't nap on them, but she talks to her baby, woofs at dogs, caws at birds and generally enjoys herself. This morning when she saw me putting on my sneakers, she ran over to the front door and started saying "a walk! A walk!" (which sounds like a-wah, a-wah.) So, one point in the "modeling good, active behavior" column I guess. She is also really into walking out to the garage on her own when we have to go somewhere. I'm constantly amazed at how much she understands, and how quickly her vocabulary is expanding.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Grizz and Ellie Show.

So, the other day we were hanging out with Grizz, as we do, and he had the webcam on and was making some little videos of Ellie, which she found fascinating. I mean, who wouldn't. Seriously though - I love these videos, partially because it's a chance to catch all of her new skills on camera. When I pull out the camera or my phone to tape her cleverness, she immediately waddles over and wants to see the baby in the camera. That vain baby. But on the webcam, she was happy to perform like the trained monkey she is. Perhaps you will enjoy these videos as much as I do. Perhaps they will be seven minutes of your life you can never get back. But I think it'll be the former.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week End.

Another fun, busy weekend! Friday night we had a baby dinner party. I brought Ellie's stroller along, and it was a huge hit. The kids were chasing each other around and fighting over pushing it. It is the present of the century - loved by all children, and super easy to fold up and throw in the car.

Part of Ellie's playing house also involved giving her buddy Jonathan a little smooch.

Saturday we went up to Reseda to hang out with Frank and Jasmin and baby Fluff, Pari and James and Jesus (or as I always call him, baby Jesus.) It was such a nice afternoon. Pari hadn't met Luke yet, and she was suitably impressed with his cuteness. I continued to fall deeper in love with him, and he let me snuggle him up plenty. There are no pictures, because OF COURSE I forgot my camera at Frank and Jasmin's house. 90 miles away. Ugh. I am going to meet up with Frank at UCLA this week to do the exchange. It's another long drive, but Ellie's never visited UCLA before so it should be fun. She will be rocking her UCLA cheerleader outfit, naturally. Expect many pictures, partially because a baby Bruin is always adorable, and partially because I will be very happy to have my camera back.

Today we had a laid back morning and a nice visit to Grams and Grizz's house. Ellie went with Grams when she dropped Sara off, and said something like, "we're going in Grams' car." Ellie got all excited at the word car because she thought she was going in her little car-car (as she calls it) but it was a TRICK! Into the hybrid she went! (though she did get a ride in car-car when she returned.) Then tonight we got to go out to dinner with Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Jake, which she much enjoyed - who wouldn't love dancing in the booth and eating a big piece of bread?

I don't know if I've mentioned in here, but next weekend (or rather, this coming weekend) Tim and I (and Jake, my other husband) are going to Pittsburgh for our friend Rocco's wedding. Without the baby. I am SO excited about it, but as it grows closer, beginning to get a bit panicky. I know Ellie will be okay - her grandparents have raised four great kids between them and love her with all their hearts - but I worry how she'll do without the comforts of mommy (and nursing) at her beck and call. I wonder how I'll do not seeing my darling girl for two whole days! The good news/bad news is that I'll be across the country, and can't come home if she cries all day. She'll just have to figure it out. And I will just have to kiss her as much as I can in the next couple of days.

It does feel good though, to be ready to be out and about. A couple of my mom friends have announced second pregnancies recently, and I did the math and realized that they are going to have two under two, for a few months at least. Crunching the numbers made me realize how not ready I am for a second baby. It's so fun to have a walking, talking little friend... to escape from!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oww Sigh.

After having a week lounging with the Nollins, Ellie is now obsessed with going outside. Or "oww-sigh," as she says it. When we're over at mom and dad's, she'll go and point to the front door and let us know where she wants to go.

There's good stuff outside. There's flowers (and the occasional cactus) to smell. She plays with the shells and pinecones mom has collected with even more enthusiasm than she does some of her inside toys. She likes to walk down to the edge of the sidewalk and send a forlorn "woof woof" over to Bear and Bailey barking across the street. Then she cries when we sternly tell her to get away from the street.

But as you can imagine, when you hang with Grams and Grizz, there is very little sternness. There is a lot of this, in fact:

World's unhappiest little girl.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You're in Luck, Auntie Becca.

Here is the chatting you requested.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hi Ho Silver, AWAY!

Grandma and Grandpa gave Ellie a rocking horse for Christmas, which she didn't take much notice of until the tree came down and all of her favorite ornaments were put away. But once she and pony had a moment together, they fell in love. My friend Flicka, for real.

That is one delighted baby.

Here she is being especially delighted with her dada, who is trying to teach her how to say the word pony. It comes out a lot like "poe."

She has already become such a good horsewoman that she feels confident riding with her baby.

The only downside is that he does sing a song if you squeeze his ear. The upside is that Ellie probably won't notice if I take the batteries out. Battery removal is every mom's favorite hobby.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,
A little Wisconsin cheerleader will look as cute in her cheerleader outfit even if the team loses the Rose Bowl.

Elizabeth and her epic boinger in an antique rocking chair.

Reading a little Coco with her Auntie Sara.

One of my New Years Resolutions is to make sure Ellie gets her teeth brushed every night before bed. It's important to start good habits! She has apparently resolved to be less of an ingrate, and has started, after many months, to call me Mama. I shall keep her.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Last year we barely made it to 9pm at Ed and Erl's house before having to pack up and go home - at that time, I was easily in bed by 9 every night while Tim fought Ellie for another hour before she gave in and went to sleep. This year, it's a different story. Not that we made it to midnight, or that we could lay Ellie down in a pack and play and have her go to bed at our friend's house, but hey, at least this year she had a friend her own age to play with at the party.

Our friends Cara and Colby invited us over to their house for dinner and fun. Their daughter Clare is a few weeks away from turning 1. When Cara first started coming to Friday mom class, it seemed like Ellie was SO much bigger and older, and then all of a sudden, BOOM, they are the same age and little best friends. Clare has just started taking a few steps at a time, and Cara jokes that it's because she hangs out with Lexi and Ellie and is sick of crawling after them.

Dinner was delicious and amazing, and we had a few glasses of champagne - why wait for midnight? After dinner, we tried to play Trivial Pursuit, boys versus girls. We didn't get to play an entire round because we hit pumpkin hour for little pumpkins, but let it be said that the girls were beating the boys when we hung it up for the night.

Oh, look how helpful the nuggets are being. Thanks ladies.

Ellie walked out on to their little patio and then started taunting Clare from the outside. That's Clare's sippy cup, of course.

Oh, what? Me?

We went to bed before 11 last night, because we'd had enough bubbly, and didn't want to stay up and watch Ryan Seacrest on tape delay. Then at a few minutes to midnight, our little friend woke up crying, so I went to lay down with her for a few minutes (she pretty much instantly goes back to sleep - she just wants to be spooned for a minute.) So as 2012 dawned (and fireworks went off) I had a sweet little auburn haired girl with her head tucked under my chin. And by 12:03, I was back to my own bed with my sweetheart, giving a fat cat belly a quick scratch.

This morning, we had some delicious pancakes, and unlike last time, Ellie knew what was good for her and ate the pancakes as offered.

So, in short, 2012 has been treating us quite well so far. It's amazing to think how much happened in 2011 - how quickly our lives and our baby friend changed. I can't wait to see what kind of nonsense she gets into this year.

So excited to help sweep the front stoop.