Tuesday, July 31, 2012


It's official. I am about to become the crazy athlete mom. We, like many others, have been obsessively watching the Olympics. The other night when they were talking about 17 year old Missy Franklin, the new swimming phenom, all I could think was "that will be Elizabeth someday." Not as in "maybe that will be my daughter," or "perhaps Ellie will grow up to love swimming," but "my daughter is going to grow up and win a gold medal because she is THE BEST SWIMMING TODDLER IN THE WORLD." It's sick, I realize.

Still, we had a great time at swimming today. She continues to have no fear jumping off the step to me. I keep telling her to kick her feet, because if she did, she might ACTUALLY be propelling herself through the water, i.e. swimming. She also loves to tell me to let her go, which I do. It's hilarious to watch the other moms basically poop in the pool at the sight of Ellie going down down down. She comes up smiling and begging me to do it again.

The best is that today, for the first time, she floated on her back ON HER OWN. Mr. Shane had his hand near her, but not on her. He was almost as proud as she was - she made that poor man WORK for it. She probably spent a good 6 months scha-REAMING any time he put her on her back. One lesson, he made her lay on the mat and cry for 10 entire minutes until she calmed down, did what he asked of her, and floated quietly. And now, it's all paying off.

Missy Franklin, we're coming for you! Elizabeth Ford, gold medalist, 2030!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Seven Year Itch.

Today is my and Tim's seventh holy weddiversary. No itches here, just a lot of love. He is such an amazing husband and an even better dad (which makes him an even better husband, because goodness knows, I need a lot of support in the parenting department.)

To celebrate, we went out to Le H'irondelle on Saturday night. It is our favorite place ever, and it's so nice to just sit and eat... and eat and eat and eat until we can barely walk! Mom had purchased me a new dress for my birthday and so I got to wear it out (and I didn't spill anything on it, which is the real victory) and the food was amazing, as always.

Even better was the fact that Mimi and Pa took Ellie for the night. I thought about getting Tim and I a hotel room, but the truth is, our bed is the most comfortable bed in all the land, and it was SO nice to come home, snuggle up with our own pillows and fancy sheets. It was even better to sleep without the baby monitor and lay around in the morning without a certain small someone jamming her face into mine and demanding breakfast.

We didn't even do anything super exciting, but it was wonderful just to laze around. And I know I'm supposed to say that I missed Elizabeth to death and was desperate to get back to her, but she has been a huge whiny machine lately, so she's not always that fun to hang out with. Spending time with a screamy toddler is somehow, just not as appealing as sitting on my butt watching Olympic cycling while also cutting pictures of beautiful dresses out of magazines. Truth story.

But Elizabeth had a great time with her grandparents, going swimming, riding her bike, making them walk around and around the house pulling a pull toy with a too-short string. And then this morning after our walk, I made her come with me to a house in the neighborhood with great sunflowers out front. It's true, I am turning into my mom.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Stuff My Baby Says.

Ellie: Shhhhh! Baby sleeping!
Me: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake your baby. I know how tough it can be to get some babies to sleep. Babies are tough.
Ellie: Baby tough. Mama tough too!
Me: Yes, your mama is tough too.

Me: I love you! Do you love me?
Ellie: I love.... BABY LAH!

Ellie: I forgot my hop hop! Hop hop eat carrots.

Me: are you following Gigi?
Ellie: Change Gigi diaper!
Me: Gigi doesn't wear diapers.

Me: Do you want to go pee in the toilet?
Ellie: No.
Me: Okay, well, when you want to, you can. Big girls pee and poop in the toilet. Where does mama go pee? Does she pee in her diaper?
Ellie: No.
Me: Does she pee in her pants?
Ellie: No.
Me: Where does mama go pee?
Ellie: Over dere. [we were in the car when this was discussed, so I'm not sure where she was indicating.]

Ellie: No way Jose Dada!

Ellie: Mama, more run so fast? (this is after I've done my usual mile or so running down the trail)
Me: No, that's okay, that's enough running for me!

Sometimes, we also see a rabbit on the trail. They of course, hop away.
Ellie: Hop hop hop away so fast. Hop hop home. Mama hold him.
Me: That's right, he went home, to see his mama.
Ellie: Mama hold him.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Today we had our regularly scheduled outing with Lexi - a little trip to baby gym class, which Ellie is really starting to get in to. Then a quick stop at Starbucks for some coffee and some chatting time. The patio there is nice in that there's only two ways out, so Kristen and I can pick a seat with good sight lines and then basically kick back and let the kids wander around (until they get hungry and come back for more fruit and crackers.)

Then, because we haven't seen the knitters in what feels like a million years, we swung by to meet them for lunch, and Kristen and Lexi came with too! The ladies really seemed to love seeing Ellie and Lexi together, basically because they are the cutest. When Lexi arrived, Ellie ran over to her screaming "baby Lah!" and there was much chitter chattering and following each other around. It's so fun to see them really playing with each other, after 21 months of playing next to each other. On Sunday night, we'd hung out with Lexi and her family, and for the first time, while the adults were prepping dinner, the girls were playing quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) BY THEMSELVES! I mean, occasionally we had to break up a fight and redistribute toys, but they were mostly content to sit and play at their picnic table and chase each other around. And the cutest ever - when we had them hug goodbye, Lexi goes "see you in the morning!"

It's so nice to have a friend like Kristen (and a friend like Lexi.) I was so worried when we moved to Orange County because none of my college friends are here, and none of our friends were starting families. I feel so lucky that one of the first moms I met has become one of my closest friends. Her husband is also great (as is my husband) so we can just hang out, goof off and enjoy ourselves. It's so fun to watch the girls talk to each other now; I can't wait to see them at 5, 10, or 15, knowing they've been friends for their entire lives.

Somehow, saying cheese ends up looking like saying teeny tiny.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cousin Time!

Today we went down to Oceanside to visit with our little twin cousins, who are getting SO BIG! Sadly, the nap schedules meant that the girls only got about a half hour together, but they were in love. Ellie kept calling both of them Nina, but then as soon as we got in the car, she started crying for Thalia. Both girls thought Ellie was the bees knees, and it was so cute to watch them crawl after her as she wandered around, whining for things and generally getting into trouble.

"I especially enjoy sitting if I can have an item." (Nina on the left, Thalia on the right.)

"Some sugar for you, baby Nina"

"Would you like some sugar, other baby Nina?"

"Learn how to walk, because I'm off to play with your toys!"

The downside of all the fun was that Beans took a terrible nap, which we dealt with by throwing her in the pool for almost an hour. It was HILARIOUS. First, there was a great deal of splashing each other in the face with me, Dad, Sara and Ellie. If you can't rough house, you can't hang. Then we convinced her that it would be fun to float in the duck again, which of course, it was. Especially with me and Dad swimming up to her and pretending to be sharks. Please note: while Ellie is NOT a flower, she is in fact a shark. So am I, and so is Grizz. There was also a lot of jumping - off the step, from arm to arm, and then she wanted to do like the big girls, go up on the back wall of the pool (which is about three feet from the water level) and jump in. Our video recording had some technical difficulties, but suffice to say, it was pretty awesome. Grizz was up there holding her and helping lower her part of the way into my waiting hands, but I usually let her whole head submerge when she jumps - the swim instructor has talked about how you want to be close to your kids in the water, but when encouraging them to jump in, let them go under for a beat before scooping them out, otherwise they'll always expect you to have their hands on them the entire time, and no kid swims with their parents hands underneath them nonstop.

We did however, manage to get Ellie doing some business calls on video.

"Hello, Ellie here."

Friday, July 20, 2012

So Smart!

Ellie's teeth continue to hurt, so we treat them with our old reliable friends - baby ibuprofen and lots of cold toys. And we do the best we can to get sleep when we can. For example, normally I wake her up from her nap if she goes past 4pm, but her night sleeping has been so terrible that today I couldn't bear to wake her up (she squeaked on her own come 4:05.) When she woke up, I was there with a cold toy and some snuggles - she is just the best little cuddle bunny when she wakes up in the afternoon.

Today she started crying a little and asking for "poppieco," which I thought meant popcorn, and told her no, we were not going to have popcorn. She kept whining and finally I realized that she wanted a popsicle! Such a smart little egg. So a dose of motrin and two popsicles later, she was ready and raring for the rest of our afternoon.

Being the Momma

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our Little Flower.

Today has been one of those mother of the year type days. Firstly, we've been sort of out of routine lately - Beans hasn't been sleeping well, napping well, or pooping well, and I was just chalking it up to her being a horrible little fart, and then this afternoon I convinced her to show me her teeth and lo and behold, she's cutting both top canines. Please note, these are teeth 15 and 16, and it still took me several days to figure out what was going on.

We have had some good moments. Today we were wrassling on the floor, and she was screaming with joy crawling away from me and then having me grab her leg and pull her back. We did that for a good ten minutes, and at the time I thought "man, I hope she doesn't end up with rug burn." Then when changing her into her swimsuit, Gigi discovered that her entire belly is one big carpet burn. EXCELLENT WORK, SELF.

A funny moment: while we were floating in the spa, a bee came and landed first on Ellie's watering can, and then on her swim suit. Gigi and I just told her to stand still and not bother the bee, because there's no use freaking  out - the bee is not going to sting her out of nowhere, so there's no point in getting her all worked up about bugs. When the bee flew away Gigi joked that maybe the bee thought she was a flower. And so we asked her, are you a flower? Her response is classic (this is obviously taped later.)

While she doesn't think she's a flower, she does think she's a butterfly.

And yes, we do eat a lot of yogurt.

Other things we have been up to:
-we returned to tumbling class today, as we are taking a summer hiatus from music. It was so weird to think that last time we went, Lexi was just taking her first steps and Ellie was barely beginning to crawl. Today they ran all over the place, climbed a thousands steps and shouted to each other. So cute!
-Speaking of music, Ellie has a favorite song, "Shipoopy," from the Music Man. While I'm pleased that she hasn't become addicted to some horrible Elmo song, there are days when I grow weary of listening to Shipoopy for the third time in a row. She definitely prefers when showtunes random through on my iPod (good thing I have a boat load of showtunes!)
-She's finally starting to call herself Ellie, as you can hear (seriously, it was hilarious. She picked up my phone this afternoon, held it to her ear and said "Hello, Ellie here!") Previously, she mainly referred to herself as baby. But still, if you ask her what her name is, she says Itty Bitty.
-As always, her vocabulary astounds me, especially what I consider advanced concepts, like the idea of "too" and "now." I took her out of the car the other day and she said "outside now," and when Tim and Ellie went to visit Mimi and Pa this weekend, she said "mama stay Ellie's house" (she did not add "to sit on her big ass," which is what I did for two glorious, quiet hours.)
-She continues to adore babies and stuffed animals, and is especially pleased when I swaddle one of her babies for her.
-Her little manners are very sweet. I love when she says please and excuse me. We are still working on thank you (today she burst into tears when Grizz asked her to say thank you for some banana chips) and she gets very upset when you ask her to say she's sorry.
-She likes to tidy and be helpful, and is very big on throwing away garbage
-She also likes to put our carts back at the grocery store, because I've taught her that people who don't put their carts back are jerks (because they are!)
-And if she's not playing with her babies, she's begging for someone to read her a book. You know, that damn stupid Biscuit book "just one more time. Read one more time mama."

Saturday, July 14, 2012


Someone's been bitten by the shopping bug!

For reference, this is the hat I was hoping she'd pull out and put on.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gills Rock Park.

One of my favorite Gills Rock childhood memories is the little park down the road (technically, highway) from my Grandpa's house. It was close enough that when we were little kids, we could walk there, play for a couple of hours and then walk back (it was on those walks that I can remember the moms teaching us that if you are a pedestrian, you always walk AGAINST traffic. It is a lesson that I go over with Tim constantly. That's what happens when you get too used to sidewalks, I guess.)

I was so excited to take Ellie there, and on the 3rd, Becca and I were fancy free and so dragged Itty Bitty over to play. When we got there, I wondered if it was the same play equipment, and then I saw the rusty bolts and realized yup, it's the same 20 year old stuff. Still, Ellie loved it.

There is also a slightly newer, larger play structure in front of our old faithful spot. It had one really long, tube slide (see above.) That was the site of our only real melt down. I decided that I'd follow Ellie down the slide, having figured out that while I am plump, I am not SO fat as to get stuck in a tube (I had hesitated for a moment.) However, the tube is plastic and so I got static-shocked pretty hard on the way down and yelped, which made Ellie cry. Then at the bottom, the opening is not that big, and so my legs were hanging out, but I was unable to sit up and have my head clear, so I was sort of scooting my butt down and flailing my arms, while my legs dangled and Ellie tried to grab them, screaming. Park time, OVER!

Now that I'm a mom, I resisted the urge to go down the slide with her and let her get squished (as we used to do to John.) And though I pointed out the old school teeter tooters to Becca, I didn't make either she or Ellie sit on one end, get them up in the air and then drop them hard on their asses. Finally, I am the Kinder, Gentler Meg that my mom has always wanted.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Picture Bomb.

We are home safely! And I have spent the past few hours editing the 354 photos we took over 8 days, now to share with you (down to 227 when all was said and done.)

The trip home went well - we made it from La Crosse to Chicago in about five hours, boarded our plane without too much fuss, and were on our way. Once again, Ellie was about as good as can be expected on the flight. There was very little crying, but a lot of loud talking. The funniest was when we were landing and I said "look at all the lights!" and she slammed her face into the window and yelled "I see YOU lights!" There was also a lot of exclaiming over the Cat in the Hat and his antics. I will say, I was very much in the "no screen time before 2" camp, but having her enjoy the Cat in the Hat cartoon for a quiet hour on the flight was a dream come true. As was having my entire family with me on the plane - it was such a relief when she asked to go to Gigi for a few minutes (for me, not for Gigi.)

It was also nice that Auntie Sara and Gigi were willing to ride with us for a few legs of our car journey, because I can only read Biscuit so many times.

The cats were incredibly happy to see us when we arrived, and were proud to show us how they shed and barfed all over the house. Thanks, animals. It made me wish I had a trusted cleaning lady that I could have come in the day before we arrive home. But with a little help, the floors are clean again and all of the laundry is cycling (how is it possible to have so much laundry when we did a huge batch mid-way through the trip?)

Today it was back to swim class - after a few months of Ellie putting up a fuss with everything she was asked to do, she's really starting to follow directions and get herself together. I am so proud of her, and love watching her enjoy the water. Now if only mom and dad's pool would heat up, we could have the best summer ever!

Ellie with Aunt Audrey

Our owl friend, deep in the woods

Learn to swim kid. Subtitled: it's okay that I'm taking pictures, Becca is about to scoop her up and save her life.

I love lawn games.

Continuing to help daddy with lawn games

Happy Fourth of July!

Everyone's drinking water, I swear.

Some sweet boil over action!

Thanks Brian, for photobombing our family shot where my baby is making a weird face and my sister has her eyes closed

Grandma Rosie reads to her great grand girls

We did not let Hailee drive with her

We let Grizz, duh.

Two of my very favorite faces

She loves him very much, even if she fought me on taking a picture

Let's be honest though, her favorite is Hailee Bob, or Hay-bob, as she says

Four generations of Thiel girls

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Newest Trick.

I love watching her discuss the puppies that she saw/hopes to see.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Door County Photo Dump

We.... had... the time of our lives... and we owe it all to Door Cooooounty.

We are now safely in La Crosse, where it is 100-some degrees, but at least there is internet access. Our little lady has been a wonderful traveling companion and generally a joy to be around. I feel so lucky that we've had such a great vacation so far, and that she's getting to see so many family and friends.

But I am also exhausted, so here are some pictures, and then I am off to bed.

Center of the Universe!

Basically, the only reason any one got off the deck was to go get snacks/ice or to play yard games. Here we have Nerds versus Nollins playing bags.

Ellison Bay Beach

Additional splashing time in the front yard

Kid spent most of the vacation just running around in a diaper. Hey, if it makes her happy!

The boil master gives her a rinse

A little sharing with Uncle John

A little uppa-down with daddy

Fourth of July with Becca and Brian, who were excellent cabin mates

Hot as hell but still happy at the parade in Bailey's Harbor (so glad Tim managed to fit all of my chins into the picture!)

WE ARE OUT OF ICE CREAM AND I AM SWELTERING AND I AM NOT HAPPY AND WHY IS THIS PARADE SO LONG?  (please note the real tears rolling down her fat, sweaty cheeks.)

Boil over time! Time to get your fresh fish!

Becca and Brian were nominated to pull the fish out of the boiling over pot. They did an admirable job.

Family hug!

Becca and I with our best Door County finds - I got a sweet owl* feather, and Becca bought that amazing owl lamp for $35 at the antique store.
*actually, a turkey feather, but who cares.

And today, after a pretty good drive across the state, Ellie was reunited with her favorite little relative, and introduced to the marble game. A fabulous trip so far!