Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Poop Show.

Dear Adam Howard: this is what happens when you poop through your clothes at Gigi's house on a day when your mom is a little frazzled and doesn't have a change of clothes for you in the diaper bag. I blame our travels. He looks good though, and was pretty happy once he got warmed up.

He was less happy when, while sharing the tub with Ellie, she dumped a cup full of water down his face. She was just trying to help!

Meanwhile, we have delved into the world of potty training, after Ellie got really excited about the discount Hello Kitty undies that Gigi bought for her. The first 12 hours were a bit of a crap show (har har) but since then she's been doing really well and is very excited about having Hello Kitty around. Today she walked into music class, hitched up her tutu skirt and screamed delightedly at Lexi "I HAVE UNDERPANTS!" Then later during music Lexi held Ellie's arm and said very seriously "you belong to me, you're my best friend." Kristen and I nearly cried. Those sweet girls.

Meanwhile, pictures from the wedding are beginning to filter in from the internet. Here are a few choice ones:
Doing some EXCELLENT dancing with my boyfriend

Break dance fighting with the bride.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Trip Videos.

Just a few nuggets of joy!

Thanks to Grandma Rosie, Ellie no longer cares for plain ice cream. She likes it to have chocolate sauce on it, as you can see from her face and her teeth.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Home Again, Home Again.

We made it home, safe and sound. What a great trip! It feels like we had a thousand different vacations crammed into one week. Saw all the Millers, the Thiels, and then saw Becca get married to a wonderful man. It was the best of times, it was the best of times.

I could not have asked for two better travelers in the back seat. Adam slept the entire flight home and most of the driving. Ellie didn't sleep on the flight, but was happy to color nonstop, until we finally got her engaged in watching Ice Age so that Tim and I could zone out for a bit. It was just a really refreshing trip, tiring as it was. Seeing my kids through other people's eyes (instead of my own tired mom eyes) really helped me appreciate what dreamboats they both can be.

The wedding was wonderful! All of Becca's planning really came together for a great day. The food was fantastic, the DIY flowers were beautiful, and the bride was gorgeous (Brian looked cute too.) Ellie's flower girling career was fairly brief, but fun. She loved her dress and her new sparkly shoes, and the other flower girl Natalie. They both walked in holding my hand, but then bolted down the aisle. Natalie ran to her grandma, and Ellie came back and yelled "com'n mama!" She and Adam lasted about five minutes into the ceremony, and then that angel of mercy Gigi whisked them out to the bride's room. All night people kept telling me how cute the kids were, and they were... because they didn't disturb anything.

This is what Becca and Brian discovered when they went to the bride's room for a few moments of newly married quiet time after the ceremony.

This is how Adam spent the morning of the wedding. And when we took group photos I put him in his car seat, and he continued to sleep for awhile. What more could you ask for in a baby?

The girls with the bride and groom before the ceremony.

These are all terrible cell phone pictures - the photographer snapped a few of us as a family, and some of the kids, which I will hopefully have soon. In the meanwhile, I have to go throw myself at Justin Timberlake. It will be my REAL vacation.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


We made it! The four hour drive took us closer to seven hours (11am to 6pm) but such is traveling with little kids. Stopped for lunch, got everyone fed and changed, pulled back onto the highway and heard some music from the back seat. Butt music, if you catch my drift. Back off the highway to do diaper changes in a creepy abandoned gas station's parking lot. We did get to have Culvers twice though, so I shouldn't complain. And we got a chance to stop by and see Kate's house, which was lovely. I have also managed to get a lot of reading done in the car, and have finally trained Ellie to say "another song please" instead of whining "I don't like this song!" when she hears a Miss Elena song that doesn't meet her liking. I AM SO SICK OF MISS ELENA SONGS.

The kids were both good travelers though, other than ill timed pooped. Ellie is content to look out the window or read a book, and only spent a little time playing on the tablet. Tim and I were feeling pretty smug the other night - we let her play the Monkey Game on her way to Famous Daves, and then we considered letting her play with it at dinner, since it was late and she was already on the feisty side, but we decided we didn't want to have "that kid." She was remarkably well behaved through dinner, and we felt quite accomplished, especially because next to us were two grade school aged boys who didn't look up from their game boys the whole meal, despite their mom nagging them.

We're sad to say goodbye to Grandma Rosie and Grandpa Howie and everyone else in La Crosse, but ready to get some wedding fun happening! We managed to meet up with everyone for dinner, and Ellie very proudly showed off her new sparkly gold wedding shoes. Tomorrow is flower prep, pedicures (thank heavens!) and the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Our little apartment here is nice, and I'm happy to not have Adam in the same room with us. And we'll get to be reunited with Gigi soon! Who doesn't love Gigi?

My grandparents and their little namesakes

Snuggle buddies

Culvers stop #1

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Last Day in La Crosse

We had a great time at the pool this morning, though I must admit, it makes me feel old that David and I are at the pool chaperoning our kids, when it feels like not that long ago we were asking Grandma for money to go to the pool in Holmen. The new Erickson pool is really great - the wading area is really large and only gets to about 2 feet deep, with lots of sprayers and fountains that Ellie loved. She went down the water slide a couple of times with me, and like the fearless girl she is, threw herself in the deep end before I could stop her (she quickly surfaced and I pulled her out.)

We also went to ShopKo this morning, where she got some glittery gold Mary Janes for Becca's wedding. As we left, she said "oh, I like ShopKo" and I have never been more proud. The big highlight of the day was going over to Hailee's house and seeing her bunny rabbit and her new puppy. What could be better? Grandpa came home for dinner tonight and we'll see him tomorrow before we hit the road back to Chicago. Hopefully the kids will continue to be good travelers. Ellie has slept better than I anticipated, given that falling asleep has been such a nightmare at home this past month or so, and Adam continues to be his good natured self, though this morning he was awake and wanted to eat at 4:30 and he was hungry at 5:15 the day before.

From our visit to Maiden Rock

Reading with Grandma Rosie

The little Packer fan snuggles with his great grandma

Everyone snuggles with Auntie B

Rabbit time!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Maiden Rock

Another good day around these parts. Adam was up early but went back to sleep, so the majority of us were asleep for the majority of the time until about 8:30 this morning. Can't complain too much about that (yes I can. Being on vacation with two little kids is exhausting!)

I did get to go for a quick run this morning though, which was great and much needed, and by the time we were all ready, Grandma was home and we set out towards Maiden Rock, where my Grandma Pat is buried. It's such a pretty drive, and so familiar to me after many childhood visits in summers past. We stopped in Nelson for lunch and had sandwiches and ice cream from the creamery. And I bought three bags of cheese curds, because I am hoping to cause my entire digestive system to shut down by mainlining cheese. DON'T JUDGE ME. The garlic curds are really good - highly recommend.

Then we drove through Pepin, Stockholm and Maiden Rock, and to keep Ellie from falling asleep I kept pointing out random houses and saying things like "there's Grandpa Charlie's old house, wave!" It might have been his house, so it's not like it was a total lie.

The cemetery was nice, as it always is. Very peaceful. Ellie was impressed with Grandma Pat's "pretty stone" and was interested in the fact that Grandma Pat had been tall like Gigi and Daddy. She also enjoyed eating the blackberries that grow on the edge of the plot, which I encouraged. It's what my grandma would want! I of course, also got eaten alive by mosquitos.

We drove home on the Minnesota side, which is not as pretty or exciting. Probably because there are more Vikings fans. Ellie fell asleep, and Adam woke up crying a half hour from home and I made the Sophie's Choice to let him cry so Ellie could nap a little longer. We had dinner tonight out at Famous Daves with everyone and tomorrow we're meeting Dave and Hailee for a swim at the fancy local pool. So many water slides!

And of couse, tomorrow I'm hoping to hit up ShopKo.

La Crosse

We made it here safely yesterday afternoon, after a stop for Culvers and a stop for snacks (both necessitated by Adam waking up and screaming in the back seat.) The kids have been remarkably good travelers and decent sleepers - Adam is not giving us the kind of easy overnight rest that we get at home, but a 6-7 hour block is nothing to sniff at, especially as he's fighting a cold, in a new place, and working reeeeeeeeally hard on rolling over (made it 90% of the way this morning, but then was content to lay and suck on his hand instead of pulling his head up.)

We had dinner last night with the whole family, which was great. Ellie and Hailee get along like gangbusters, and everyone was impressed with Adam's ability to just lay around and enjoy the crowd. Today we're heading to Maiden Rock, and then out to dinner. Tomorrow there's plans for a morning at the pool and then perhaps visiting Hailee's new puppy and her bunny rabbit. All the things Ellie loves!

Adam meeting Grandpa Charlie

Ellie gardens at Lisa's

Kids table

The Howie babies. Adam was quite content to snuggle with his great grandpa

Saturday, July 20, 2013

travel day!

We made it to Chicago, safe and sound. The kids were great on the plane- Adam slept the entire way and Ellie refused to do anything for more than ten minutes at a stint, but she was well behaved, if high maintenance. We got off the plane, used the family restroom and were able to immediately collect our bags, get on the hertz bus and get the hell out of Dodge. We were on the road within an hour of landing.

Ellie has enjoyed chasing the cats, eating frosting and badgering Lisa. She held up well despite no nap, and Adam continued to be a happy sprite. We're enjoying seeing everyone and looking forward to heading to Wisconsin in the morning. Mostly, I am ready to sleep. 4:30 is an early wake up time.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Small Accomplishments.

Oh, look who thinks he's people!

He is drooling like crazy lately, possibly because of teeth (they can start breaking through as early as 4 months. Ellie got her first two right at the six month mark.) He is also SO LOUD when he talks. I fear that I may have another early talker on my hands. There will be so many Muppet voices in my car!

He still hasn't rolled over back to belly, but he can go belly to back, and while on his back, he can pivot himself around. A couple of times I've gone to get him out of his crib and found him 180 degrees from where I put him. I guess a lot can happen when you're sleeping 9pm to 7am (best baby ever!)

We continue to prep for our trip. I probably won't pack until Friday night, but I have a packing list made. The nice thing is that we're mostly staying with family so I don't feel like I have to haul everything, and I can always run out and buy something if I forget it. Plus we can do laundry, so no need to pack the entire closet (now the question is how many striped shirts do I need to bring.) The biggest hassle is bringing car seats, and worrying about how we will ferry everyone through the airport. I'm sure it'll all be easier in a year or two when Adam can walk and Ellie can walk a little faster. Right now we're bringing both baby carriers so that I can wear Adam in the Moby and Tim can strap Ellie into the Ergo. We'll curb side check our bags and then just hope for the best. And maybe when we get to Lisa's house, I will go hide in the bathroom and cry for awhile. WHATEVER WORKS!

Thanks to her new owl suitcase, she's ready to go!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nothing Much.

Sorry I've been a bad blogger - not much exciting has been going on lately, and I've hardly taken any pictures. Just our usual routine - preschool, music class, play dates, hanging out with Gigi and Grizz and Sara in the afternoons, and beginning to mentally prepare for our trip to Wisconsin and Baja Wisconsin next week.

Adam's hair is starting to grow back in on top, and it's still brown. Hopefully by the time we get to Wisconsin, he'll have as much hair as Grandpa Howie again. He continues to be a generally sweet, mild mannered little guy. He keeps trying to roll but hasn't made it over yet, but he sure does love to lay around and chat with his toys. He is also IN LOVE with his sister and will gaze adoringly at her when she's around. I'm still his favorite though (as well I should be, with all of the eating he does.) He has gotten SO BIG! Today he was in the ergo and was sort of grousing and trying to stand up because his legs were tucked underneath him, and so I took him and put his legs out of the carrier, on either side of me, and he happily snuggled in and fell asleep. Ellie wasn't big enough to fit like that until she was seven months old or so. He's really not a newborn any more.

Ellie continues to be obsessed with him. She is seriously the sweetest big sister. In the morning, she wants to hold him first thing, and she likes to make sure to give him goodnight kisses. The only time it gets dicey is when she wants to hold his hand in the stroller, especially if he's already sleeping. However, when he wakes up and cries, she will sometimes put her fingers in her ears and complain to me about how loud he is. She is such a funny little thing - I don't know how the jealousy is going to go when he can actually compete with her for everyone's attention. She loves to tell us what we're all going to do and then end her tirade with "okay?" in this chipper little voice. Today she was trying to get everyone to take a turn reading her a Biscuit book and she told me "I can read it next, but I'm just going to look at the pages because I can't read yet. I'm too little." The other day when she was playing with her farm set I asked if I could have Farmer Grizz and she said "no, Grizz has to have him. You can't have him. It's Farmer Grizz, not Farmer Mommy." Her favorite thing lately is to practice cooking, and she's been asking me every morning if we can make pancakes. Making oatmeal is just not the same! We both wear our aprons, she stirs the batter and repeats after me when I tell her what we're adding "one cup of milk... now we need one cup of flour..." She is a great sous chef.

"I used to get to sit in her lap. Now there is no room for me, and no one reads me stories."

Her art is shrouded in mystery (har har har.)

"Yes, hello, I am a bald, drooly delight!"

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Rolly Poly

I had a fabulous today with my funny swimmy fish girl, and then tonight while he was playing in his play mat, I realized that Adam is alllllllmost able to roll over. So please enjoy this long video of him not actually rolling. He is however, chatting up a storm. And he's wearing one of the first outfits I received when I got pregnant with Ellie - a cute French onesie from Mimi. It looks adorable on both baby girls and baby boys!

Beansers, back in the day.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

In recent weeks Ellie has begun discussing how we're going to the zoo. I have no idea where she came up with that theory, given that we've never discussed the zoo with her. I blame that rat Elmo. Who knows what he's filling her head with when I leave him to babysit so I can shower! In recent weeks she's also been a whiny pain in the butt most times, so I thought perhaps she could use a mommy and Ellie date, like old times. Now that Adam is a little bigger and goes longer between feeds I felt like I could leave him for a few hours and not be a worried mess.

So yesterday morning we headed up to the Santa Ana Zoo, which I had heard was small but good. Good if you like monkeys, it turns out. They have a million kind of monkeys, and then we saw one camel, two anteaters, some emus and farm animals. Not really a huge selection of animals, and none of the lions that Ellie wanted to see. But you know, we had a good time. They have a little train, so we rode on that, and we wandered through the barn to talk to the farm animals (while I informed E that she didn't to stick her fingers in near the ducks) and then we rode on the carousel. They didn't have any bunnies, but they had a lot of beautifully painted animals. I tried to convince her to ride the hummingbird, but she wanted to sit in the birds nest, which turned like a Disneyland tea cup. So of course, I rode in it with her and spun it until I was sure we'd both barf. Then we ate lunch, what more could you want! They also had a nice play ground for some climbing and sliding. Having mom and Ellie time hasn't diffused Ellie's hideous whining tendencies, but it made me feel better.

Then last night we met up with friends for Dana Point's first summer concert in the park. Last year we had a hard time cobbling ourselves together, but this year we arrived with a cooler, some chairs and a blanket. Ellie, Lexi and Whitney went in a bounce house and danced like mad women, the boys ate and napped in their wraps, and the adults had a good time. It was a very full, very fun weekend. Onward to the rest of a fun summer!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Baby Fish Mouth.

Since Tim has the day off today, and Sara had a late start to work, we were invited to go over to mom and dad's for an early morning swim (10am!) Sadly, it's not terribly warm out today, but mom fired up the spa (aka Gigi's pool) and we decided to see how Adam did in his first real dip.

I bought him a suit when he was a few weeks old, thinking that he'd wear it closer to the end of the summer. It's six month sized, and the truth is he'll probably outgrow it before the pool closes for the season. BEEFCAKE. Maybe I should check to see what size Ellie's bear suit is, ha.

He was a gem in the water, liked splashing around and kicked his legs when we put him on his tummy. His favorite though seemed to be laying on his back. Observe:

Everyone floating!

Ellie was very enthralled by having a swim buddy. Perhaps a little too enthralled at points, as she wanted to hold him and have him swim with her.
He is not 100% on the idea!

Overall, he was a great little fish, and should be jumping off the back wall of the pool with Ellie before we know it. He got a quick sink bath and then passed out for a cat nap in the fun cage. When he woke up, I fixed what little hair he has left into a fetching style.

He is welcome.

Fourth of July.

As is well documented, the Fourth of July is just simply not as fun if we're not in Wisconsin, but we made the best of it! We decided to have friends over to BBQ and hang out, and it was great! Lots of food, lots of good friends, and the evening got cool enough that we could sit comfortably outside. Plus on my way home from a trip to the gym yesterday I trashed picked some perfectly good plastic chairs, so we had seating for everyone. Plus I made this awesome strawberry pie.

The only bummer was Ellie touching the hot end of her sparkler. She'd been having a great time with her sparkler up until then, but it was over at that point. It's a tiny mark and nothing to be worried about, but it was past her bed time and she'd had a crappy nap, so there was a larger melt down than expected. Thankfully after some whipped cream and a band aid, she went to bed easily and woke up feeling fine.

Adam was a dream during the party, sitting with our friends and sleeping in the Moby wrap. We got our first genuine giggle out of him this week (choppy video below. I cannot wait to get a new phone so my cell phone camera isn't such a piece of junk.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


The other night driving home from Mimi's, Ellie started doing some storytelling in the car, describing how the Big Mac Woof had gone to a slide, and there was a bunny, and the bunny had to TAKE. At first we didn't understand what she was saying, and then when I figured out she was pronouncing "big bad wolf" as Big Mac Woof, we kept asking her to say it over and over again, while we silently died with laughter. Her speech gets better every day, and it's sort of sad to hear her learn how to pronounce words. Gone are the days of oh-gir-duh, for sure. The thing that makes me laugh most now is how she sometimes says "beautiful" as bew-dee-ful. Especially when she talks about herself, and how bew-dee-ful she is with her pigtails or her tutu skirt. And I love the random stories she tells. She's prone to a little fibbing now and then to try to get her way - she'll tell me that Gigi lets her walk in the street at the YMCA, and she's told Gigi that her mommy needs her to do something (like eat candy) that Gigi knows is untrue. She loves to test boundaries, that kid!

Adam has been sleeping well in his crib at night, though day time naps are still hit or miss. It's just frustrating when he won't stay asleep for more than 20 minutes, but I am told that it can be common for breastfed babies who sleep through the night to cat nap during the day, basically so they can keep their eating on schedule. I also suspect that we are having a growth spurt right now. He's in mostly 6 month clothes, which amazes me. Ellie was always big, but she was never that far ahead in terms of her wardrobe sizes. She wasn't in six month stuff until she was almost six months! What can I say, he's a fatty! I just live in terror of having another baby who only wants to nap while being held, though I know I won't let that happen a second time. Even if I spend an hour rocking him and putting him back down, he WILL sleep in his damn bed! And on some level, I can't complain about his desire to sleep in the moby wrap - it means I can get out and do so much more.

It's amazing though how much I can love a fat bald guy who sucks his thumb.