Thursday, March 29, 2012

Music Makes the People Come Together.

I am so glad that Ellie loves music. If she's sitting in her high chair at Gigi and Grizz's, she will almost always ask that we turn on the Bose stereo for her, and then she'll wiggle around in her seat. In the past couple of days, she has danced like crazy to an old Beck song, and an old Cranberries tune from my iPod, making her favorite musical genre "Meg's CD collection circa 1996."

This week was our last week of music class. Towards the end, Ellie had finally started warming up to it - shaking her eggs when it was egg shaking time, getting me the washboard to play during musical free play, chewing heartily on the mallets when it was bell and mallet time. She didn't turn into the crazily singing and dancing girl she can be at home, but I thought she was enjoying it well enough for us to sign up for next session. Part of music class is that they give you a CD with all the songs from your session on it, so you can listen at home and in the car. I put the songs on my iPod and today one randomly came on. When it was over, from the backseat a small creature yelled for more. I put the whole CD on, and she happily danced through every song, and then asked for more when it answered. She completely remembered them from class! I guess she was absorbing something, despite her stony faced silence for Ms. Elena and her guitar.

Possibly the cutest thing is when I sing to her goofily throughout the day, and if I stop, she will occasionally ask me, "more la?" Yes, more of my fabulous singing, augmented with la la las when I forget the words. You're welcome kid.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another Milestone!

She knows her name!

Chit Chat Chatterbox.

Two days a week I walk with my girlfriend Cara. Two more days a week, I just walk with my little girlfriend. Here is a small sample of what a walk with Ellie is like.

Ellie: woof woof, woof woof!
Me: That's right, a puppy dog.
Ellie: AH-walk, AH-walk
Me: That's right, he's on a walk with his dada.
E: Dada! Dada! More dada?
M: Your dada is at work right now.
E: More woof woof?
M: I'm sure we'll see another dog shortly. Keep your eyes peeled.
E: Pine. Pine. Pine. Pine.
M: Do you want a pine cone? Here, here's a pinecone for you.
E: Pine, pine, pine. Uh oh, pine KAH-boom. KAH-boom.
M: Here's your pinecone back. Don't drop it.
E: Pine KAH-boom.
M: I said don't drop it.
E: Pine KAH-boom. Bye bye pine.
M: That's right, bye pine. You dropped it and now it's gone.
E: Agua? Agua? Agua?
M: I will give you your agua, but you need to keep it open. Do not close your agua.
E: [approx. four seconds later] agua! Agua! More agua?
M: Did you close it? Tough nuggets.
E: Agua KAH-boom. More woof woof?

She is very cute, but I have to admit, there are days (and moments when I'm trying to push her up a steep hill AND talk) where I miss when she was little and would sleep on our walk, and I could listen to my iPod. I will say though, I am continuing to love the new jogging stroller. I even jogged on Monday! (and now am so sore that I can barely sit down.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

First Birthday Party Fun.

Not ours (though ours was fun.) Ellie's friend Carina had a birthday party at My Gym today, and Ellie enjoyed the heck out of it.

Especially the cake part. But also the slide part.

Please note that when I put her in the ball pit the first time, she acted like I had lowered her into a vat of scalding oil.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012


She hates the Easter Bunny almost as much as she hates Santa! Even having her little hop hop with her didn't make it any better.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy First Day of Spring!

She's the most beautiful flower in the patch!

The picture from a year ago is my FAVORITE shot of her from her first year. And even though looking at those pictures side by side I can see so many of her baby features in her little girl face, I feel like I hardly recognize that baby.

In addition to being a flower, she is also unicorn, apparently. Check out all of those molars!

17 Months.

We are almost a year and a half, can you believe it?

Ellie's biggest development at this age is all of her crazy talking. She's begun to put words together, which is very cute. I just wonder how many words it takes before it becomes a sentence. Does "mama shoes" count as a sentence? She is big into discussing people's shoes, food items and her babies. Oh man, is she in love with her babies. She is constantly pushing one or both around in her stroller, and sometimes she lets her bunny join in the fun. Today she put her baby in the stroller and placed a washrag over her, and then told me "shhh... baby night night." It's way cuter than when she barges in on me in the bathroom and yells "mama pee! Bye bye pee!"

She loves music, and will often ask us to start playing music so she can dance. She's also definitely warmed up to our weekly music class and will play along pretty loudly. In music class, we do a song where there's tap-tap-tapping and clap-clap-clapping, and she loves to do it in the car (the mommy in the front will tap tap tap and then the baby in the back will clap clap clap.) Tim was sort of amazed the other day to realize that she can differentiate the two and perform the right action when asked.

Vanity Smurf is still the vainest baby in all the world and adores looking at pictures of herself. I realized the other day though that in her little baby flip book, her favorite pictures are the ones of her with someone else. She likes to look through it and point out all of her family members, including Howe and Ro, which always makes me so incredibly happy - I can't wait for her to see her great grandparents again this summer. She also loves skyping with people, and when she hears the skype start up noise, will look at the computer and ask for Howe or Ro.

Overall, she's a pretty great little egg.
Sitting in her lawn chair with her babies.

Reading "Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog" to her pals.

"Oh Grams, don't go on vacation EVER AGAIN."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Many Faces of Fusserina.

It appears we are in the throes of the terrible twos. I've been kind of down, feeling like no matter what I do, I can't seem to make my baby happy for more than ten seconds at a time, unless I let her sit in my lap, nursing and eating yogurt while also zoning out to pictures of herself on the computer and kicking me in the chin.

Good thing she's cute, eh?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

First Sleepover!

A few months ago, I got an alert that Guster, a band I loved in college (and beyond) was playing a small acoustic show in LA on a Friday night, so I bought some tickets for Tim and I to go, assuming as I normally do, that my parents would be able to take care of Ellie for us. When I realized they were going to be out of town being snowbunnies, I had to come up with a second plan, and so we called Grandma and Grandpa (note: this is not a comment on anyone's grandparenting - it's just easier for my mom to come over and put Ellie to bed in her own bed at night than it is for Don and Eileen to drive a half hour here and back during the evening-times. And since baby sleep can be a tricky thing, my goal is usually to ensure that E is asleep in her own bed at the end of the night.) Because Friday was a workday, it was a lot easier for us to bring Ellie to their house than for them to come to us in the timeline allotted (Tim and I needed to be in LA, at the show no later than 7:15.) When we were discussing it, Eileen volunteered that we could leave the baby with them and have AN ENTIRE DATE NIGHT TO OURSELVES. It was like she had just handed me a winning lottery ticket. Seriously. There is something so nice about imagining not only going out on a Friday night, but also sleeping in on a Saturday morning.

So we got our wheels turning. We needed to leave early enough to be in LA for a 7:30 show, we needed to have all of Ellie's items packed for the overnight, we needed to find ourselves a place to stay and think about what we'd have for dinner, etc. Thankfully, Grandma and Grandpa (now renamed Mimi and Paw... I know - it's getting so confusing!) went above and beyond, getting a bed rail for the guest bed and a baby gate to ensure that the Peanutty Buddy could not find her way down the stairs. We brought over our stroller and a car seat so they could get out and about as they wanted, and I booked Tim and I downtown at the Biltmore Hotel, where we stayed for our fourth wedding anniversary, low those many years ago.

It was a perfect night. The Guster show was in a tiny little theater and so intimate and fun. They played great songs off their new album and a lot of old favorites, as well as doing some goof ball conversational stuff with the audience. We'd arrived early enough to get some delicious sushi across the street, and then after we checked into our hotel we scampered down to Bottega Louie (my favorite restaurant) for a couple of desserts, and then we had a cocktail back at the hotel lounge. Went to bed late, slept in, and then woke up and laid around for awhile. I will admit, it warms my heart when I wake up and hear Ellie's happy little voice over the monitor asking "mama? Mama? Milk? Mama?" but it also warms my heart to roll over and snuggle into a pillow because I have nothing to do and nowhere to be.

Once we got up and going we hit up the Nickel Diner for good old fashioned diner food, and maple bacon donuts. My sinuses were all wonky and giving me a terrible headache that made food look not so good, which was sad, because everything was pretty amazing. We managed to make good time driving home in the crazy rain, and our little lovebug was only sort of happy to see us - she had slept like a dream and was still in full on Mimi and Paw-loving mode, which is about the best thing ever.

The rest of the afternoon was a bit of a rainy bust, but the clouds parted around 6:30 and we jammed Ellie in her stroller and took a quick spin around the neighborhood. Hopefully she'll sleep good for us tonight, after all the fun she's had. Baby's first sleep over!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Day With Auntie Sara.

So, Grams (now apparently known as Gigi, per Dad's recommendation) and Grizz abandoned their girls (and Tim) to go skiing in Colorado. SELFISH SELFISH SELFISH. That's fine, we don't need 'em! I can raise my baby by myself, while also keeping an eye on Sara.

Since Sara had today off from working and volunteering, we decided to make the most of it. Ellie had a make up swim lesson, so Sara went in the pool with her. Beans still cried when forced to back float, but overall made less of a stink about being in the water. It just continues to prove the instructor's point that she cries not because she's upset or scared in the water - she just wants to cling to mom and not do the work. Then Sara and I had lunch and watched Family Feud (her choice) while Ellie napped. Hit up an afternoon play date and then off to our big fun - buying Ellie some new shoes. Her current ones are getting pretty beat up and I figured it was time to have her size checked. Plus Stride Rite was having a buy one get one half off sale. I love me a sale.

As a refresher, here's what happened when Gigi bought Ellie her first pair of shoes.

Which brings me to today. She was so cute - she just kept pulling shoes off the racks and saying "baby? Shoes? Shoes? Baby? Shoes?" It was really fun to see. I ended up getting her two pairs - one pair of red Mary Jane-like shoes, and then a pair of sequined jobbies. HOW COULD I RESIST? I couldn't.

(sorry for the quality - my cell phone's camera is a piece of garbage.)

I figure they'll be great for summer, as I'm not sure how a kid who is still klutzy as heck will do in sandals (please to witness her forehead bruise in the above picture.) She was so happy about it all, with no crying.

Until I took my Jamba Juice back and refused to let her drink it in the car. Sorry kid, I'm pretty sure you don't need an entire smoothie of your own. Next time, perhaps I will get her a little child sized one. Something to look forward to for her fall shoe shopping trip.

Sara also took Tim and I out to dinner tonight. Ellie is having some serious tantrum moments lately, especially if I don't let her stick her hand in my ice water while at restaurants. When I told her agua was all gone, there was much screaming, and a trip out to the parking lot. She never misses a chance to ruin a nice day, that kid. But then when we got home, I asked her for a kiss and she ran over and gave me a big snotty one, and let me snuggle her off to bed tonight with zero fight. I guess I'll keep her. I mean, I did just invest in new shoes, so she can stay until she outgrows them at least.

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Wheels.

Last week I realized that the wheels on my umbrella stroller were worn to the rims from all the walking Ellie and I have been doing. I called the manufacturer, and they said that they don't make my stroller anymore, and they never made wheel kits for it, so basically, the rims are the rims and the wheels are the wheels. It's still completely usable, but obviously not meant for the 20+ miles I'm putting on it every week. So after much hemming and hawing, I decided to get a fancy jogging stroller, like the Orange County yuppie I am.

Lulu loves the Bob.

She also loves the box. Ellie loves playing peekaboo with her - it's the most interaction they've had with one another since Ellie started crawling.

And in only two walks, the stroller has totally changed my life. It's so easy to push and steer, and it's got a much nicer seat for my little love bug. Sometimes I feel bad about hauling Ellie along on all my walks - she spends about 90 minutes a day in the stroller - but then on the mornings when I'm tired and want to lay around like a fat lazy slug, she will go and pound on the front door and say "a walk! A walk!" or bring me my shoes. She's a good little workout buddy. It doesn't hurt that we try to walk with friends, so while the moms talk, the girls will try to hold hands or exchange toys. And Ellie loves seeing all the dogs and scenery while we walk.

We had a really nice weekend. Saturday afternoon we had tickets to see a community theater production of Suessical the Musical. The kids in it were really great, and the show was super fun. The story was familiar to those of us who read "Dr. Suess's Alphabet Book" 12 times a day, so I don't know that I'd pay to see it on Broadway, but it was great as community theater. Ellie sat through the first half really well, though she got a little fidgety during the slow numbers. Lexi and Ellie chased each other around during intermission and then... the cause was lost. She hollered and cried through the first few minutes of the second act, so we took her out and let her run around and hoot at the birds outside. Still, it was a great experience, and I'm so glad that she seems to love the arts. She'd make her Grandma Rosie proud.

Lexi and Ellie love the Cat in the Hat

Yesterday the weather was beautiful here, and so after a nice long walk and a nice long nap, we decided to have friends over to BBQ. A couple of our baby friends came over, and a couple of Tim's nerd friends, and we all sat outside and had hot dogs and beer while the kids ran around, fought over the stroller, pushed each other in the Cozy Coupe, and in Ellie's case, took every opportunity to fall face first onto the patio concrete. Sigh. Lexi came over with a black eye from a fall earlier in the day - I think we'll just tell everyone that the girls are in a baby fight club. It's like no matter how close I am or how much she's been watched, she finds a second to take a digger. Right now Ellie's big fun is trying to go up and down little steps without crawling. Unfortunately, she lacks the coordination or the balance to do it without holding on to something. So she'll stand there, stay "step!" put one foot up, and then topple over. She'll get it eventually... hopefully before she knocks out all of her teeth.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Ellie insisted on spending the entire morning outside, which was fine with us. We wandered around the front yard for awhile, then hauled ourselves to the park for an hour of swinging, sliding, and chasing after every dog who happened to pass by. When we got home, she helped me sweep the patio a little, ate an orange in the backyard, and stomped around (which helped shake some of the sand out of her clothes, thankfully.)

I'm so glad to have such a cute little outdoorsy girl.

Here's a couple of pictures that didn't get posted over the weekend, from some more backyard fun at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

While Tim and Jake were playing bags, Ellie was pushing her car car, and generally standing in the line of fire.

Then the boys worked on their juggling skills.

And then moved on to inventing new rules for how they were going to play bags. "Okay bruddah, this time we're going to throw sitting down without bending our elbows." "Okay bruddah, that sounds so fun!"

Ellie got Tim to do some baby tossing. The problem with baby tossing is that she wants you to do it for hours on end, and she's a fat little medicine ball.

Who wouldn't love a little time outside? Thank goodness for our beautiful weather!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Grams!

Today was our fabulous Grams' birthday, and Itty Bitty and I spent the day celebrating with her. We had middle eastern feast for lunch, mom and I escaped the house for a few hours and left Grizz to babysit (thankfully, Ellie was down for a nap for all but a half hour that we were gone) and then we had some good outside play time.

I mean, who wouldn't want a dustpan ride?

And who wouldn't love a little crown action? (even if she isn't the birthday girl.)

This morning I brought Ellie with me when I picked up the cake. When we got back to the car, I said "this is Grams' cake. It's made of ice cream," and Ellie burst into tears, yelling "ice cream! Ice cream!" and reaching for the cake. She was not pleased about being put into her car seat, away from the cake. We made it up to her after bath time.

Except... we didn't let her eat herself sick. And at one point, dad dripped some ice cream on the floor. When I wiped it up, THIS happened:

It was REALLY SAD you guys. Sad enough to require actual tears.

But as you can see, a little bit of love from Grams fixed all that sadness, as it so often does. We love you Grams!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Melonhead Play Date.

See? Ellie's hair is not as bad as I made it out to be. I think she actually looks a little like Audrey Tatou in the movie Amelie. Plus all the knitters told me she looked cute, and I trust their judgment.

Today she and Clare walked with us in the morning, and then had a play date in the afternoon. While the girls were wrassling around and chasing the dog, Cara and I had a glass of wine. I am finally living my Real Housewives dream. We are just a couple of highballs and a pack of cigarettes away from being some sweet 1950s ladies who lunch.

Though we weren't able to catch it on camera, suffice to say that the two toddlers giving each other a happy smooch is the cutest thing ever.

Monday, March 5, 2012


March 5th, the day that mama screwed up her hair by trying to trim it for the first time. I meant to only cut her bangs so that they were above her eyebrows and out of her eyes. They won't be in her eyes for awhile now, as you can see. I made her look like Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Name Game.

Ellie is really picking up the names of her loved ones right and left, and it cracks me up. Right now, she's got mama, dada, Lulu and Rah-rah (Rocky) as well as "Sah" for Sara. After much prompting she's also begun to call Grizz by Dizz. This leaves out poor Grams, who puts up with her crap AND my crap every day. Poor thankless Grams. But I realized the other day that she's started making a specific noise every time she sees a picture of Grams - she says Maw. I wonder where that comes from, because she's not even trying to say the G, and we call her Grams, not Grandma. Then I wondered if she's calling her Maw because she hears Sara and I call her mom all the time. Time will tell. The other fun thing is that after some great skyping the other day, she started calling Grandma Rosie "Ro," and has continued to do it when we look at pictures. The funniest thing was yesterday while I was cleaning the kitchen, Tim and Ellie were looking through her baby photo albums, and Ellie started yelling out "Lah!" and pointing at the picture of her friend Lexi. We have a date with Grandma and Grandpa tonight, and I'm interested to see if she starts trying to call them by name.

Last night we had a great baby party. One of the ladies just moved into a new house, and they have a great backyard for playing. Now that most of the kids are walking, it's like observing a bunch of wiggly puppies together. They go and wrassle with each other, steal each other's food, but thankfully don't bite each others ears.

...Then Ellie stood up, started crying and begged to be picked up.

Ellie, supervising Tre and Hunter

Friday, March 2, 2012

Too Smart for her Own Good.

This kid, she amazes me left and right. And when she is not amazing me, she is frustrating me. She has a memory like a steel trap, and a will of iron.

Observe: the other day I was getting dressed. I'd already given her the two pictures of her that I keep atop my dresser, but she was still crying for more baby. So I took a little photo album out of my dresser drawer. It features pictures of me, but what does she know? One beautiful baby looks much like the next beautiful baby (funny though, because she does recognize pictures of Sara as a little girl by calling them Sara. If it's me though, she thinks it's her. She fails to notice that I have REAL brown eyes, and she only has PRETEND brown eyes.) A couple days later when she was in our room, she started crying for the baby and pointing to my dresser drawer. She'd only had the album ONCE.

This morning her stroller was in our entryway from yesterday's walk. Having strolled 10 miles yesterday, I decided to take a break this morning. Ellie started pushing the stroller and crying about "a walk," so I took her outside for a bit, figuring that maybe seeing some caw-caws would be enough. She took off walking around the corner, and I followed. She eventually took my finger and kept strolling in her little lavender footie pajamas. Then I realized she was saying "slide. Slide. Wheee! Slide." Oh no kiddo, we are not walking the half mile to the park in our pajamas. Or at least, we're not doing it if mama is barefoot. Following a shower, I did take her to the park, which made her morning.

I am constantly amazed with her. On the drive home from lunch today I was treated to the noises that all the animals make in the barnyard. She has gotten big enough and figured out how to open the doors in our house - no more privacy for mommy! She's starting to call all the cats by their own names, and the way she says Lulu is the cutest thing. She's also starting to put one or two words together, and I feel like our first sentence is just around the corner.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nap Nanny.

"Oh yeah, I put her to sleep for you. I used my giant butt to smother her. You're welcome."

Petunia is a good babysitter.

For those of you about to freak out about an infant and a cat having a nap together, please read the following article and set your souls at ease. Cat smothering is an urban legend.