Friday, August 31, 2012

Somewhere, Neil Armstrong is Smiling.

After Friday dinner and ice cream with Gigi and Grizz. Ellie was so excited to see the moon with Grizz, and when I came outside (a few steps behind them) there was the most glorious, uproariously toddler laughter, because Grizz was standing in front of the palm trees and was tipping a little to the left and a little to the right, so that sometimes the moon was visible and sometimes it was blocked. She was such a delight.

Then when we got to our house, we walked on to the drive way to see the blue moon yet again, and Ellie started telling us about how she was going to catch the moon, and catch the stars. "I can catch dem! I can catch da moon!"

And then when we walked inside she looked over Tim's shoulder and waved "good night moon, good night stars."

Worst Moment Ever.

E: These are buttons on my dress.
Me: These are called sequins.
E: They are called buttons. 

I AM SO DISAPPOINTED. I HAVE FAILED AS A MOTHER. Sure, my child can talk in complete sentences before the age of 2, but she can't even identify a SEQUIN. I will be laying face down in the ditch, if anyone needs me.

Just kidding. I will beat it into her.

Just kidding. I will burn all of her clothes and let her walk around in burlap, like the INGRATE she is.

But moving on. 

Ellie is SO happy that Gigi has returned. We picked her up at the airport on Wednesday, and I expected Beans to run screaming to her Gigi. She seemed more stunned by the hustle and bustle of the airport, but was incredibly happy to get to ride up and down the escalator with Gigi. Then yesterday when we went over before lunch, Gigi was still at the Y. Ellie immediately burst into tears when Grizz told her Gigi was gone, and then she walked around the downstairs crying for Gigi. Poor Grizz. His tenure as the favorite grandparent was sadly brief (he'll have a moment in the sun tonight during ice cream time.)

Ice cream time has actually helped us learn a lot about "waiting our turn." Now when we're stopped at stop lights, Ellie will say "is not our turn," and then when I start driving, she exclaims "it's OUR turn!" Overall though, she has no patience (neither do I.)

The other thing I adore about her lately is our bed time routine. She gets in her jammies (which she pronounces as "pee-jammies") and brushes all those fangs, and then comes in to sit on my lap in her rocking chair. We read Goodnight Moon, and she searches for the mouse on each page. Then when we've said goodnight to everyone, I pick her up and she says "goodnight to Ellie." We sing her lullaby and she waits to give each of us a big kiss on the lips, and then we plop her in bed and someone (usually Tim) sits with her until she falls asleep. Someday, we'll get up and walk out. SOMEDAY. 

This week she's worked on getting herself OUT of bed. The other morning at 5am we heard her crying, and Tim found her out in the living room (thankfully, she went back to bed pretty easily.) On Wednesday she was napping at Gigi's, and all of a sudden I realized she was downstairs with me. She'd gotten up, gotten a little rabbit figurine off the night stand, let herself out of the spare room and trucked down the stairs, rabbit and stuffed animal in hand. She's a funny one, that girl. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Go Fight Win!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I think this video is self explanatory in its hilariousness. We have NO idea why she hates Biscuit and the Frog, but she hates him. I blame his bonkers eyes.

Lately, all we do is read. Read read read. Read the same books about Biscuit and kittens OVER AND OVER AGAIN. I am ready to buy her some Hooked on Phonics so she can learn to read on her own and cut me a break, because I am tired of the Little Kitten and the Little Puppy and Biscuit and the Hen.

Tonight we were putting her books away and she picked up Biscuit (book one) and read the whole thing to herself, quietly. A step in the right direction! Next we'll tackle Biscuit and the Frog again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Birthday Partaaaaaays!

Saturday, in Griffith Park for Liam's first birthday (his mom Emily is my old coworker)

Absolutely loved the carousel!

Also loved having a balloon

Sunday, at a local "splash pad" for Tre's second birthday (the oldest in our group of mommy friends)

She went absolutely caaaaaah-razy for the water, which did not surprise me. She also loves to be sprayed with the hose and have water dumped straight over her head, and she has no problem getting splashed square in the face when we're swimming. She's has that Thiel, mean-splashing streak.

Also went for a quick horseback ride with Lexi

And wept when we tried to take a group photo

Tonight we got to have dinner with Lucas Fluffcisco, who was in the area for the weekend. After several very trying, very stressful months, he is out of the hospital and at home with his wonderful parents. He is still on medication and supplemental nutrition because how much of his intestines had to be removed, but they are working on solids and hoping that by the time he starts school, this will all be a distant memory and he will be normally medically. Since we saw him last, he's put on a ton of weight and grown inches, and is looking GREAT! Thanks to diligent work, he's also catching up developmentally. Now we're just looking forward to a big first birthday celebration for our favorite boy, a week before Elizabeth turns 2.

Look at these two melonheads!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Potty Training.

I feel like I'm getting a lot of questions about potty training lately. I personally don't think we're there yet. For one, Ellie is not even two yet. For two, she will usually tell me WHILE she's pooping, but she won't tell me that she has to go poop (which means I can't get her into the bathroom in time.) For three, *I* am not ready. Potty training means a lot of long days at home, lots of trips to the bathroom, and then having to make all errands very short, while also learning where every public bathroom is located (and how clean or disgusting each bathroom is.)

Plus, I feel like people act like potty training means you're done dealing with your kid's bathroom functions, and as I understand it, you still have to supervise and wipe their butts. Potty training does not mean I'm done asking the question "did you poop?" And there's no award for having the youngest kid ever to quit using diapers. I mean, you don't have to buy diapers anymore, but they're not that big of a deal.

Anyhow. Long story short. Yesterday we were playing at a friend's house, splashing around in the water table in just a diaper. And then Ellie begged to take off her water logged diaper, and I told her she could, but reminded her that she'd need to tell me if she had to go poop so we could poop in the toilet. You know where this is going, right? She totally crapped in the backyard. You can call her Dog Baby.

I did however, finally buy her a little potty. It might be worth to just start practicing. I promise I won't start taking pictures and posting on facebook about every time she poops in the potty. Blech.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


We have moved on to that super fun part of parenting where we have to start disciplining. Not every one of Ellie's problem can be solved with a diaper change or a feeding. Now, there is whining. There are wants that cannot be met. There are neeeeeeeeeeeds that have to be ignored, because sorry, you can't pet Lulu while she's trying to use the litterbox. Cry all you want kid!

I always felt like my parents were strict but fair growing up, and I'd like to hope I'll be the same to Ellie. We are trying not to use the "smack the kid around" school of discipline, which leaves us with 1) ignoring her behavior and letting her be some wild, untamed hippie brat or 2) having to use our words with her (sometimes sternly) and administer time outs. The latter strategy seems to be working pretty okay. She knows what behavior earns her an instant time out (hitting, kicking, generally being a horrible, mean little child) and even though time out means being put in a room by herself for literally, a grand total of 30 seconds, the threat of such a wretched fate usually causes her to straighten right up.

We also spend a lot of time saying things like, "how do you ask?" (prompting her to say please) "please use your listening ears" and a lot of "I can't hear you when you whine like that."

So, yesterday morning she started whining to watch the Cat in the Hat. I told her no, we weren't going to watch Cat in the Hat until after our walk (ie: when I need to take a shower and have the television baby sit her.) She kept asking, so the conversation quickly went from "not until after our walk" to just "mommy told you no!" When she kept whining, I picked her up, plopped her on the step in the foyer and explained "mommy told you no Cat in the Hat. You need to use your listening ears. Mommy said no," and then walked away, and ignored her. She sat on the step for a good five minutes, just whining and weeping. When she calmed down, I asked her if she wanted to read a book, and she wiped her snotty nose on the back of her hand, came over and climbed in my lap to read the Poky Little Puppy. But on her way across the living room, she told me "I sit on big step. I cwy. I sit on big step and I cwy." She also made sure to tell Cara that she'd sat and cried when we met for our walk a half hour later. Because you know, I am SO cruel and mean.

The good news is, when I made her explain to Gigi why she sat and cried, she told Gigi that she'd cried because she hadn't used her listening ears. Thank goodness some of it is finally sinking in.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More Park Photos.

I know you're surprised to hear it, but we had another busy weekend last weekend. Saturday, since my parents were out of town, we decided to take over their house and throw a pool party (since I never threw any parties when my parents were out of town during my high school years.) It was mostly Tim's coworkers, hence, no photos. The miles of buck white skin would have probably ruined my camera. We had brats the PROPER WAY (grilled first, soaked in beer in and onions second, obviously) and lots of chips and dips and ice cream. The biggest kudos goes to Auntie Sara, who was auntie of the year, entertaining Beans so that I could participate in adult conversation for the first time in what feels like months. I always feel like Ellie will be easier out in public now that she's not a screaming infant, but ugh, I'm always wrong and have to leave when I realize that I can't get a single word in because she is demanding so much of my attention.

Then on Sunday we had Mimi and Pa over to hang out with their girl (and celebrate my birthday.) Ellie was mostly good at dinner time, but was at her best when we went to the park on the way home.

Suffice to say, we had a good time.

It continues to be hot here, so Ellie continues to live most of her life in just a diaper. On days where we have nowhere to be, it's not worth the fight. Plus, she is like a miniature furnace - yesterday she was sitting in the rocking chair, watching the Cat in the Hat for a half hour, and when I picked her up, she'd sweat through the back of her pajamas. Just sitting there.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Best Ellie Says Yet.

(with a fat little arm around my neck)
I love my mommy.

You Know Your Baby is a Californian When...

You go out to a sushi place for lunch

And she eats a bunch of edamame, a cucumber roll, and then delights in eating an entire spicy tuna roll all by herself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ellie Says.

(while having her diaper changed)
There might be some poop in my butt.

Me: Oh shoot.
Ellie: Shoot, I forgot my keys.

Me: (sneezing about a million times)
Ellie: Bless YOU mama!

(this morning, as she's leaving the house in a romper to beat the heat)
I don't have any pants on!

(then later, when I was relaying the story to Gigi and Grizz)
I don't have any pants on. I have my romper.

(whilst dropping my broken phone off at the repair place)
Oh no! Mama hello!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Home Safe & Birthday Gifts.

We have returned back behind the Orange Curtain, after a lovely time with Bob and Nancy in the Bay Area. There was a little drama with Tim's car, and I dropped my phone in a gas station parking lot and cracked the heck out of the screen (still useable, but probably not for very much longer - I'm sure to drop it again soon and just shatter it to pieces) but otherwise it was a wonderful time with some fabulous friends. Baby Amelia is a little doll, and Ellie enjoyed hanging out with her, pushing her in the swing and watching her get her diaper changed. Though she can say Amelia, she mostly called her "her." And would ask for more her, her mama, her dada, her fresh diaper... it was very funny and cute.

Ellie was a great little traveler, but when deciding when to come home, we opted to not risk having her in the car, awake, for 7 straight hours and instead came home a little early, leaving Sunday night. This time, we put her in her pajamas straight away, so that she could fall asleep whenever she felt like it. When we were in Gilroy, she started whining for cow milk, and thankfully we could stop at a gas station and fill her sippy. A half hour later, she was sound asleep, and she didn't make a peep throughout the rest of the ride. Rolled into our driveway at 1:45, and Tim and I were asleep in our own bed at 2. AM. But still! We were home in our own lovely bed.

And of course, our well rested daughter was up at 7am on Monday morning. The good news was that Monday was also my birthday, and as a lovely present, Gigi took Ellie home with her after lunch, and I got to climb back into my bed (now with freshly laundered sheets and a down comforter fresh from the dry cleaner) and take myself a fat old nap. It was like a tiny slice of heaven.

I got to spend the rest of my birthday with my family - swimming in the pool was great, even though Tim beat me at zip and Dad dunked me and then held me under water, and mom made taco salad and strawberry shortcake. PLUS there was canned whipped cream, and we were total pigs, spraying it into our mouths. Ellie thought it was pretty great too. She was really funny on Monday - after the pool she refused to put her clothes back on, so was wandering around in a diaper and a paper crown from her toy box. She actually spent most of dinner like that, sobbing because we were eating instead of taking her out to see the hop hops, the little snot. She was enthused about helping me open presents though.

Being on vacation was interesting in that being out of her routine really shook things up for her. The biggest thing is that we're done nursing. We'd been done to just the mornings for a few weeks, and while at Bob and Nancy's she was so busy in the mornings that she never even asked. This morning I went into her room armed with a sippy cup of regular milk, and she curled up in my lap on the couch, sucked it down and then went about her day. Totally painless for both of us. I'm grateful that we made it this long, because I think nursing has been a good parenting tool and obviously great nutrition, but I am also SO ready to be done. I just didn't want it to be a huge fight. I get to fight with her about enough things related to eating (like... her desire to eat two popsicles all the time.) Speaking of eating though, she seems to FINALLY be mastering the use of the fork. She has had trouble with "poking" her food hard enough to actually spear it, but did much better at Bob and Nancy's dining room table, putting away an entire pancake one morning and an entire hamburger patty that night.

Since we got back, the cats have been over the moon to see us. Thor is so desperate for love that he actually let THIS happen.

That's right. He let her touch him. She is smelling his fur. She said he smells good.

You know who doesn't smell good? Her little white cat friend that she has latched on to as her one true love.

Pictured here during Biscuit Story Time with Grizz (wearing only a crown and diaper.) That cat was a gift from our friend Shannon, and was actually the first gift Ellie received at the hospital. He's been sort of kicking around our house with all of her stuffed animals. For a long time, she was more into babies than stuffed animals, and never really seemed to pick one animal friend over another. Now, it's all kitty cat, all the time. She sleeps with him clutched like that. She walks around the house like that. She plays like that. Tonight, she was running around and kicking a soccer ball, without ever letting Kitty Cat out of her chokehold. He needs a bath, but I'm not sure when I can separate the two of them for the two hours a fluff and fold would take.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ladies Who Brunch.

What shall we make this morning girls?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair.

Guess where we are?

Oh, can't you tell? Don't you see that beautiful bridge in the background?

Recognize it yet?

We are in San Francisco, and having the time of our lives.

After our successful trip to Wisconsin, I decided that it was time to stop being afraid of traveling with Ellie, and start showing her the world. So last night we went wheels up at 7pm, and drove straight up the 5 to stay with our friends Bob and Nancy. Beans was a pretty remarkable traveler - she fell asleep right before we wanted her to, which sort of sucked, but after we got her in her pjs, she did eventually consent to going back to sleep (because I got in the back seat and stroked her sweet little face.) Slept in until 7 this morning, and took a great nap at my friend Anne's apartment in the city while we were off exploring.

Then she was DESPERATE to ride a bus, so I told her we could ride the cable car. There was much screaming about wanting to go to the cable car. We got there, and the line was an hour long, so we convinced her that she just wanted to sit on the cable car (thank goodness for the nice operator who let us sit her up there for a minute.) Then of course, once she got what she wanted, she whined nonstop about it. This is basically the only picture where she appears to be a decent human being.

It's the best trip ever!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Hey, I don't know if you guys know this, but Ellie likes swimming, and we love to take her swimming, even if the Resort and Spa's pool is not as warm as we would like this summer.

This week, Gigi took it to the next level by buying Ellie some floaties. Or as the floaties like to call themselves these days, "Aqua Leisure." They are hot pink and we love them. It gives Ellie a chance to work on kicking her legs without having to worry about keeping her head above water, and unlike the wet suit with floaties inside of it,the Aqua Leisures don't cause her to drift to her back, and then onto her front with no way to get her face out of the water.

She can still blow bubbles if she wants.

As she does with Auntie Sara

Meanwhile, she has to ruin my floating by climbing up and giving dirty looks

She is really such a delight in the pool. She will suddenly scream with happiness "I'm swimming!" The other day when I asked her who was a shark, she yelled "I'm a shark!" Grizz, Sara and I are also sharks. Gigi is not. She also likes to splash, and much to Grizz's delight, doesn't mind getting splashed square in the face. I love her fearlessness in the water, and I hope she stays this way forever.

A milestone: we have reached the point in our lives where Tim can go see a movie with his buddies and I am not tearing my hair out trying to get Ellie to go to bed. She has always been a tough nut to crack when it comes to bed time. As a newborn, she'd nurse for hours and then cry for hours in Tim's arms. And since we're not fans of the cry it out theory, it has traditionally meant that someone had to lay quietly in bed with her while she wound down at the end of the day - no sneaking out until she was completely, stone cold asleep. After a long day with her, I was rarely capable of such a feat of patience - lying with her made me want to smash through her bedroom window and run screaming through the streets, tearing all my hair out. But recently as she's gotten better at understanding English, we've started a bedtime routine that involves less work on our ends. We get into her jammies, brush her teeth with her fancy electric toothbrush and then bring her into her room for a round of Goodnight Moon (looking for the mouse on every page) while snuggling with her friends. Then we turn off the lights and I rock her and sing her a lullaby, and then into bed. Now the parent who sits with her just has to sit in the rocker at the foot of her bed. It's SO much easier than laying silent and still with her. PLUS I get to screw around on my phone while I wait for her to fall asleep. It still takes her awhile to settle down, but it's sort of funny - she'll be rustling around and I'll say "Missy!" sort of sternly and she stops kicking her feet, rolls over onto her kitty and lamby, and usually is out within five minutes. It is SUCH a relief. I finally feel like someday we'll be able to lay her down and walk out. Or, she'll go to college, and it'll be her roommate's problem.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

No More Monkeys!

Sorry that there's some frozen moments. She's just telling me who's in her crib with her. Please note that she will not sleep in that crib - the only person who snoozes in it on the regular is Lulu. Of course.

So, Beans loves her stuffed animals, but until recently, she loved them all about equally. She'd have a few days carrying one baby around, then ditch him for a hop hop, and then perhaps it would be about two hop hops, but then back to puppy. But over the last few days, she has been carrying her little white cat around pretty much nonstop. Because she comes from a long line of pillow-snugglers, she is currently in bed, basically smothering Kitty Cat under her body.

I love when she starts singing. It's also amazing to me to consider that a year ago, she was this little blob - barely crawling, not very communicative, and here she is, chattering up a storm. It makes all those long days spent talking to her (ie: basically talking to myself) feel very worth it. Especially today when I was getting her ready for swim class and she wrapped her fat arms around my neck and yelled "mama loves YOU!"

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sad, lonely baby.

She has no friends at all.

From Saturday Night
Ellie, Clare and Julianna

Piggietail partners

Ellie, Clare and Penelope

Sunday Night

Lexi, the two Elizabeths and Hunter

Host Dean checks on his guests (Ellie lets her baby slide.)

Loving the sprinkler

Perhaps loving it a bit too much

Lex and Ellie head out in their smart car.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Swimming, Summer 2012.

The Bearducken has come a long way!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


People have joked with me that Ellie's love of rabbits and dogs means that I need to adopt one or both for her. To which I laugh, because I am a cat person. I don't want some big dopey smelly dog running around my house (I already have a 6'6" husband) and I don't need some little rodent creature pooping everywhere (I already have a Thor.)

Plus, Ellie has so many stuffed animal friends, that who needs a real life animal?

Please witness today's nap time:

She has a rabbit in each hand, including the one on the right, that she basically stole out of Granny Janny's house. When she woke up, she spent a good half hour pretending to feeding him yogurt, and then asked to bring him to bed again tonight. He is her new bestie.

Also, here is her new dog, Sweet Puppy. He's one of Sara and I's old pull toys. Mom brought him out the other day after Ellie was scared of the bear pull toy (because Gigi said it was chasing her.) Ellie was all about the dog until mom goes "he doesn't have a tail, but that's okay." Umm... that is NOT okay. Ellie cried until Gigi cut him a little tail out of ribbon and taped it to his butt. She loves him. Several times a day, she insists on walking him down to check out the hop hops. Here she is holding him up so that he can see the early moon before bed time. When we got to Mimi's house, Mimi ALSO has a Sweet Puppy for walking, and apparently Ellie tortured Mimi into walking the puppy around the house for several hours at a time.

With that in mind, WHY would I ever adopt a real dog? You know as soon as I got some living, breathing, NEEDY animal, she'd refuse to go walking with it ever.