Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Auntie Sara!

Yesterday Old Lady Auntie Sara turned yet another year older, and Grandma Rosie, Uncle John and Uncle Emery arrived a few days ago to celebrate with all of us. It has been great to have so much family around. Ellie is all about Grandma Rosie, which absolutely melts my heart. On Monday, she came with us to music class and as I was getting E out of her car seat she asked "can I hold hands with Grandma Rosie?" This does not usually happen - usually if I ask Ellie to hold someone else's hand, she will demand that I hold her (usually if I'm trying to juggle a diaper bag and a whiny baby.) She was so delighted to lead Grandma Rosie in and have her participate with Miss Elena. She liked it almost as much as she likes taking the instruments away from Adam at the end of every segment, so that she can bring them to Miss Elena and tattle on Adam for chewing on them (not a big deal - they just use a Lysol wipe and continue on.)

And as there always is when Grandma Rosie is in town, there is lots of book reading.
Adam, not as interested in reading as Ellie. But very interested in showing off all of his good baby skills.

Ellie was excited to finger paint a card for Auntie Sara, and VERY excited when it came to present opening time. I am proud to say that I did not cry with jealousy over the fact that it was Sara's birthday and not mine, nor did Sara cry when her horrible niece and nephew insisted on "helping" her open presents - Ellie by actually tearing into things, Adam by trying to chew on any paper he could find, including still wrapped presents.

She also let Ellie help her blow out the candles on her Mud Pie. Ellie insists it's not real mud. It's not even chocolate mud! It's just chocolate, so says Ellie.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Yesterday while I was uploading Adam's 10 month photos, I started looking back through the pictures from the day that Adam was born, and some things jumped out with me that I hadn't seen before.

Obviously, these are not the best photos of me and Tim, which is why I had just sort of dumped them in a folder and hadn't given them a second thought, instead printing and framing the ones where we don't look like exhausted new parents (some of us more tired than others after a long morning!) But looking at them again, I was struck by the sweetest of Ellie towards her new baby brother. From the minute she walked into my hospital room, she was in love with him.

Sure, there's been jealousy. There's been whining and toy stealing and rough housing, but the majority of it has been regular brat toddler stuff. I have never worried that if I walked away from the two of them, Elizabeth would take the opportunity to hurt Adam. She has never hit or bit him. She fights to sit next to him at meal times, and calls to him to hold her hand in the car. Seeing the two of them grow together and become a team of two melts my heart - I guess I just hadn't realized that it has been going on since the very first moment. Sure, it's great now that Adam's mobile and interactive, but she's loved the same since the start.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

One Zero.

Our little pal is ten months old today. Already! How is this happening so fast?

He is such a good little pal. At ten months, he crawls everywhere lickety split, and can pull up on most things. He hasn't started cruising yet though, and when we tried to show him how to use a push toy, it was good that he was wearing overalls because he had more interest in moving his hands than moving his feet, and so I was glad to be able to hold him up by his pants and keep him from cracking his face into the ground.

He loves singing and music, and will wave or clap along at music class, or at our singing around the house. He is an excellent addition to both family band and family dance party times. He is beginning to enjoy reading, and his favorite book is one about an elf in a stocking that Renee sent him over the holidays - he laughs pretty hard when we wiggle the elf puppet at him. He loves chasing Ellie and the cats around the house, and has grown a special kinship with Rocky, who will come and lay next to him and allow himself to be manhandled.

He's already in his big boy car seat and can sit up in the shopping cart, but he still loves the ergo most of all. Six teeth are in, and now that his front teeth have broken the skin, he's gone back to sucking his thumb (hooray, hooray!) The other night he woke up crying and then put himself back to sleep in the middle of the night, so I am holding out hope that he'll start sleeping through the night again. He eats well, and is to the point where most dinner times he just eats tiny bits of whatever we're having. He loves sausages and grilled cheese, but cheerios are still his number one true love.

These are my #1 boys.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's Starting Again.

We are once again doing renovations around this dumphole we call a home. It started when the neighbors cut down all the trees between our adjoining back yards. It has really changed the look (and temperature) of our house, not having all those trees for shade and privacy. We didn't do anything except complain about it and run the AC last summer, due to having a newborn, but now we're ready to make some changes. We met with a guy to get a patio cover put in over the living room slider, and today signed off on getting all the materials ordered. It'll be 14' by 23' and give us a nice outdoor space for eating and hanging out. He'll also pull down the dry rotted cover over the kitchen slider (which we are not replacing.) Our side gates are also broken and rotted, so those will be replaced as well, and then we need to get the entire house painted. And once all that is done, we'll have the back yard resodded and look into putting in some new trees on our side of the fence. We're also in the system to have our big trees trimmed by a local company, so that will hopefully happen in the next month or so. I continue to be concerned as to why our neighbors park under our big pine, rain or shine.

And we've even taken on a few projects inside the house. I bought curtains for our bedroom - you can't see in from the neighbors house, but the sun pouring in all day has really faded our carpet and comforter. So now we have some little sheers to hopefully keep everything from getting ruined any further. Tim installed them and I hemmed them. TEAMWORK!

(please ignore the piles - Thursday is laundry day.)

And here's a photo of our new dining room chairs.

I said it when we were redoing our kitchen, but after so many years of renting, it's such a revelation that if there's something we don't like about our house, we can change it. And that we're grown ups, so it means that we can change it by deciding to have nice things, not by scouring craigslist or waiting for a family friend to give us their old couch. I CAN PAINT THE WALLS AND THEN PUT HOLES IN THEM IF I DANG WELL CHOOSE! I CAN BUY AN EXPENSIVE PIECE OF FURNITURE AS LONG AS I MAKE PEACE WITH THE IDEA THAT A CHILD OR CAT IS GOING TO RUIN IT WITHIN MINUTES!

I can also have the worst looking yard on the block if I decide to make it so!

Anyhow. Here are some videos of recent amusement. The first is Ellie in the furniture section of her favorite store, JC Penny's. This is our second tour through "her home." The first time (which I wish I'd caught on camera) she turned the corner to the sale area and goes "oh look, I have two Christmas trees in my house!)

The second is Adam, climbing the stairs at Gigi's house. He is quite the little mover and shaker. And he loves his lambykins.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Three Day Weekend.

Woohoo, three days without work and no big plans! Saturday we ended up back at the petting zoo. For those of you keeping track at home, that's three visits in a week! Tim took her this time, and Adam and I went and wandered around downtown San Juan, which is probably my favorite place in Orange County. So much good antique shopping and poking around. It sometimes feels like the only place with small, family owned businesses. My big fun was picking up two Louis XVI chairs upholstered in eggplant velvet. We have six chairs for our table - eight if you count a decorative chair from my Grandma Pat, and a fabric covered chair from Eileen's grandma, but as our families have grown, we always end up having to pull out folding chairs along with extra leaves for the table. Not anymore! Now we have some slightly zany antique chairs. Adam enjoyed helping me buy them, obviously. He enjoys anything that allows him to sleep in the ergo.

The poor boy has been suffering with those front teeth coming in. The kid hardly ever cries, and lately he has just been screaming the same pitiful screams that he only emits when he falls on his face, just for hardly any reason. Last night he woke up at 9:30 just screaming, and the past few afternoons have been hard when he wakes up from his nap. I am really hoping that the worst will soon be behind us. I guess the good news is he's been busting two teeth at a time, so hopefully the whole teething journey will ultimately be shorter than it was with Ellie (she only had three teeth when she turned one, and she didn't get her last molars until she was two and a half.)

Ellie has been running around wearing her flower fairy crown lately, which is just the most darling thing ever. She continues to be very big into having hot chocolate made for her, and then drinking only a few sips. This morning she was very delighted to help me make pancakes, and is inevitably going to go nuts tomorrow when she realizes Tim doesn't have to go to work. One of her latest pretend games is telling me that she has to go to work, or that she has to go to high school. She also really likes to let me know that she's going to take the bus to high school. I don't have the heart to tell her that due to the fabulous location of our house, she'll be walking to school from kindergarten until high school graduation.

And lastly - just another day in the life.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This Week.

It's been a quiet week around here. Poor Adam's front teeth are coming through and he was so upset about it this afternoon - totally inconsolable. I feel like he's spent a lot of time in the ergo this week, especially in the late afternoon. If he could juuuuust take a little nap, he'd be so much better off in life. Alas, it is not to be.

The pulling up continues non stop. I had almost forgotten how much it stinks to be in the middle of something and feel tiny hands (and their tiny, always sharpened claws) trying to pull up on the back of your legs. Using a knife in the kitchen? The baby is pulling up. Trying to put on liquid eyeliner? The baby is pulling up. Trying to put your pants on? The baby still wants to pull up, and is going to cry about it. The fact that he is nearly one and going to start walking soon just wrecks me. What happened to my tiny baby?

Some recent funnies from Ellie: the other day in the car she asked me if we could listen to the Beatles, and I nearly wept with joy. We've since gone back to Miss Elena songs. She is really big on having people pretend to nap lately. My favorite Ellie-ism is how she calls things "at the night" versus "in the night." For example "I heard Adam crying at the night," or "at the night I have my Hello Kitty pajamas." She is at least sleeping well lately, so we're one for two on children giving their mother a damn break. Another funny was the other day I was getting dressed and she came in (because kids can always tell when you'd perhaps like a minute) and after telling me how much she liked my underwear, she started patting my thigh and telling me how beautiful my legs are. Then she told me I had a nice butt. I suppose we should get her checked for glasses, or I could just enjoy her sweet, naive devotion.

We did go back to the petting zoo again on Wednesday, since our year pass is just about the best thing that's ever happened to us. The rabbits continue to be in their own space, unpettable, but we told the girls they were on time out and they seemed okay with that explanation. The binny pigs were insane with love for us (and carrots.)

Of course, Ellie always wants to pet the binny pig that expresses the least amount of interest in her, and wants me to chase it down for her.

I tried to let Adam play in the corn box, which is about the only attraction for him at the petting zoo, and after 60 seconds in which I had to pull his hand away from his mouth as he tried to eat corn 10 times in a row, he got pulled out. NO FUN FOR HIM! Story of his week.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Gruesome Twosome

It's amazing how fast time is going - it seems like only a few weeks ago that Adam was a tiny newborn, cradled by Ellie on our couch whenever she got a chance. Today, she asked to hold "the baby" and was disappointed when he immediately started screaming and squirming to get away and do his own thing.

Now she can only cuddle him on the floor.
It's so fun to see the two of them together, really interacting.

They had a tea party in the hallway the other day when I was vacuuming Ellie's room

They had a party banging on the chair once Adam was able to stand himself up in the dining room

...which is to Ellie's dismay when she's trying to do some art working

There is definitely some fighting around these parts - mostly when Adam finds a forgotten treasure and Ellie rips it out of his hands and I demand that she either give it back, or ask him if she can have it first. It's a work in progress (and I know we have years ahead of us on that front.) The nice thing is that Ellie loves being a tattle tale, so if I am in another room, she will always come and tell me if Adam is misbehaving. I spend a large portion of the day reminding him "this is not for babies." This past week, he got his first taste of delicious, delicious cat food.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Book Club.

That's right. Adam is pulling himself up and then standing with only one hand. He's also figured out how to climb the step in and out of Gigi's living room. Walking is just around the corner, it seems!

Missy Moo was excited today, as we got to go to the petting zoo. I had asked Mimi for cashola for a new pass to the petting zoo for Ellie's birthday. Well, then there was a groupon for a year's admission for four people (the four of us cost $20 to get in) and 12 pony rides, 12 train rides and 12 baskets of carrots for $150. You better believe I jumped right on that, thanks Mimi! We went today to try it out, and it was great. Except for the part where the goats tried to jump all over Ellie. I hate those goats and their bonkers eyes. And now that we have the pass, we can go every day if we want! And bring our friends! Binny pigs for everyone!

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Hoooooooray, it was Ellie's first day back at preschool today! Last night and this morning she whined about not wanting to go, and I was prepared for it to be a complete mess at drop off, but she did her usual routine - giving me a kiss and then going to lay down on the floor - and that was it. She is such a good little egg. When I picked her up, she announced she'd made a new friend. They are moving some of the older kids into the kindergarten classrooms (I guess since it's Montessori they can do it mid-year?) and so they had some little kiddos from the tot rooms. So that's nice for Ellie, since she has been the youngest in her classroom since joining in September, which has sometimes been tough for her. When mentioning it to me, her teacher said "but still, Ellie is SO TALL for three!" Indeed she is! I feel like every two weeks I look at her and she seems to have shot up even more.

Adam also got his height and weight logged today - during preschool he had his nine month check up (a few weeks late.) His regular doctor wasn't in, but I liked the doctor who saw us, so that was good. Adam is 28.5 inches long (75th for height) but only 18lbs, 7oz, which bumps him down to the 30th percentile (Ellie, by contrast, was an inch shorter and nearly twenty pounds at nine months.) He has still gained nearly two pounds over the past three months, so no one is concerned. I don't remember Ellie crawling as much or as fast as Adam does, and when I look at him, I see so much of Tim's build. It's been a bummer that Adam is eating in the middle of the night again, but a lot of times I remind myself that if Adam has Tim's metabolism, there is basically no way for him to get enough calories in during the day, especially considering how easily distracted heis (though I try to get him to eat more whenever I can!) I definitely think Adam will be easier to transition to full time solids than Ellie was. Last night at dinner he ate a bunch of Cheerios (which he loves) some strawberries, some string cheese, and then a whole bunch of beef chili. Meatasorous Rex continues!

It was also nice to see the doctor to get confirmation that our plague is just a head cold. The other night when Adam was having trouble sleeping and coughing and snuggled into my chest, I wondered if I should be taking him to urgent care or the ER. He wasn't struggling to breathe or anything, but it's easy to be overtaken by worries in the middle of the night when you're already exhausted. The doctor confirmed that his rattle is just in his throat, not his chest or lungs, and so just keep the humidifier running and keep him comfortable. And I'm sure part of Adam's snottiness is that he's also cutting those top teeth (I don't know what my excuse is.)

In short, we are all mostly healthy, definitely growing, and ready to be booger free as soon as possible!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Adam and Grizz

You see those pajamas that baby is wearing? Those are supposed to be for sleeping. Too bad that little fart has been spending HOURS awake in the middle of the night. I am le tired.

(flash back - Grizz has a long history of spitting things at his grandkids, to their delight.)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Catching Up On Pictures

We made it through the weekend, even though it seemed like someone needed their nose wiped every fifteen minutes. Poor Adam is having trouble sleeping between his cough and his front teeth breaking through. I think his mouth is hurting him more than he lets on because he is not really interested in eating during the day. Don't worry, he makes up for it at night! (ugh, blergh, and other frustrated grunty noises that I make when I have to get out of bed every two to three hours.) Ellie is sleeping fine, but does find herself yelling "I HAVE BOOGERS" fairly often. And is usually the case, now that the rest of the family is getting better, I am getting worse. I totally lost my voice today, which I guess is good for the kids in terms of there being less yelling. I did not take Ellie to preschool this morning because I didn't feel like it was fair to the other kids (or the poor teachers, having to wipe her nose.) We did make it to our new music class. We've gone to this particular time slot and location before to do make up classes in the past, and when we pulled up, Ellie goes "this is where we went with Auntie Becca." Please note that it was MAY when we last attended. Mind like a steel trap!

Here are some of the last few photos from the holiday, which I finally pulled off my phone and uploaded. Please to enjoy!

Lunch at the beach turned into Ellie wading into the ocean, wearing a pajama top and her skirt hiked around her arm pits.

Watching the Packers/Bears game, with Ellie in her Packers Binny Pig suit. We're bummed that the Packers are done for the season but hey, it's always satisfying to knock the Bears out of the play offs.

"Hey Mom, I'm awake! Just hanging out here until you pick me up!"

This is how he looked on the morning of the 2nd, after we saw all of our friends and family off and went for a walk.

Poor Thory Boy Bear. He is such a good sport about being loved on by her. Probably only puts up with it because now she knows how to get him treats.

Oh, my loves. As you can see, Adam is in his big boy car seat.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Catching Up.

Our house continues to be full of huge booger faces. And to add to the fun, it looks like Adam is going to get his front teeth any day now. I am going to miss the vampire smile so, so much. It is really so funny and charming.

Otherwise, things are pretty normal around here. The kids and I got a lot accomplished during our two days back "at work." Mostly putting away the holiday decorations and cleaning up the house as a distraction from the holiday let down blues.

The kids are doing well though. Adam is crawling around the house at a rapid pace, and has such a funny, sweet personality. I love seeing him together with Ellie, because she is such a good, doting big sister. They have started holding hands in the car and it just makes my heart crush up into a tiny ball. He is eating more and more now. He likes to feed himself, and the other night he plowed down on some tiny chunks of carne asada that we put on his tray. Ellie can be more hit or miss with culinary choices, but she never met a grilled cheese she didn't love (well, except for the crusts of the bread.) However, at least I am no longer worrying about her eating cat food. Adam is just dying to get his hands on some of those tasty little treats.

He can pull up on his crib, and pull up on our legs. Only a matter of time before he brains himself against the coffee table. I also find him in the dining room sometimes, trying to chew on the legs of the chairs. Perhaps he is a wood chunk.

Meanwhile, Ellie continues to grow so big so quickly that I am left stunned. She is interested in the concept of left and right (she likes the left) and asks me a lot about what time it is, and what time she takes a nap, etc. I find myself challenged by her sometimes in trying to explain concepts that I take for granted - like why IS it one o'clock right now and not four o'clock? Lately she's been very into wearing a tutu skirt with pants, much like Punky Brewster. Her favorite is still her tutu dress from Auntie Jolie, which she wears the second it comes out of the laundry every week. After getting her fairy ballet costume and book from Mimi for Christmas, she wants to wear her ballet shoes lately, but if I ask her about taking ballet class again, she continues to inform me that she doesn't want to until she's ten. We are instead opting to return to music class next week, though I suspect ballet will happen in less than seven more years. She is so funny and has such a good imagination and a memory like a steel trap. The other day I realized that she knows all of the words to the Mighty Bruins, and can sing along to the music in the car. Class of 2032, here she comes!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Rude Awakening.

Uff, the holidays are definitely over! This morning was quite a shock - I was up at 6 to take Becca and Brian to the airport (sob! And yes, they made it home despite the snow in Chicago) and then when I got home, both kids were up and Tim was getting ready to go back to work after nearly two weeks off. Add to that, I have been mostly going to the gym while he's been home, so this morning the double stroller felt extra heavy. I would have perhaps a little more easing back into our routine. Maybe keep one of those extra pairs of hands for another couple of days.

Becca and Brian's visit was wonderful. It felt really homey and easy to have them around. And poor Bec finally got to sleep in a grown up bed, without having to share a room with a little kid. My house is becoming a grown up house! She and I got to have plenty of lady time together (pedicure, Korean massage, antiquing) and we got a chance to go out to dinner and some honky tonk dancing with our boyfriends. We spent a lot of times playing bananagrams after the kids went to bed, cracking ourselves up (mostly at my terrible spelling) and the boys also played some Starcraft together, bonding them for life.

New Years Eve we had two of my mom friends over with their families. Four boring old married couples, five kids, and Auntie Sara there to act as the sheriff.

We had mostly appetizer foods, and TONS of it. Lots of cheese and crackers and dips and hammie sammies. I screwed up YET ANOTHER sticky toffee pie for dessert, because I am hopeless, but thankfully everyone was pretty full by that time. We had fancy champagne (from the actual country of France) and toasted at nine pm. Adam was already asleep by then, and Ellie finally got to bed around 10. Then woke up in the morning running a fever. Uff da! She has been fine with regular doses of ibuprofen, and her spirits have stayed high after the first dose of meds. She's not listless or anything, and I suspect it's just her poor little body trying another strategy to rid itself of the cold we've all been passing around. And like the rest of us, she's been eating rich foods and not sleeping well, so no wonder. Today she woke up a little warm but has been fine since. While Adam napped after lunch, she and I took all the ornaments off of the tree. I finally cleaned out the ornament box - all of the ornaments that are broken, hideous or completely devoid of sentiment are boxed for donation. No more free rides on the tree! Tomorrow is trash day, so we'll put the tree on the curb tonight, and then sweep up pine needles through most of the first half of 2014, as always seems to be the case.

But as for now, the house is clean-ish, the laundry is churning and I have some vegetables to steam and blend for my chubby little baby friend, who I found after his nap standing in his crib, gripping the bars. It's only a matter of time before he figures out how to pull up in the living room and start cruising.