Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yoga baby

Ellie and I got a yoga session in this morning. I got a post-partum yoga dvd from the library. It's designed for both mom and baby. I've done parts of the routine on my own (with Ellie sleeping in the room) but finally Ellie was in a good enough mood today to join me. She seemed to have fun and I got some much needed ab work :)
Oh, the dogs joined in the yoga routine, too. They provided a floor show and licked my face whenever I laid down on my mat. Sometimes our house is a total circus!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I have less than two weeks left at home with my precious baby girl. I've been trying not to think about the time flying by, but it has anyway. Instead of freaking out about my fast-approaching return to work, though, I'm hoping to embrace every minute I have left at home with Ellie. We're calling the next two weeks Ellie-palooza.
And while I'm trying not to be too dramatic about it, I know there are a million things I'll miss once she's at day care during the days. I can barely keep up with all of her growth and changes right now when I'm around her all the time. In the past few days, I've been documenting the world according to Ellie. Below is her watching her Pooh mobile over her crib. She loves the dang thing and I'm so happy, because it gives me a few minutes in the morning to get my contacts in, get dressed and do other stuff.
Brian has been coming home almost every day to have lunch with us. He always takes his dress shirt off before eating. He does it mostly to protect his shirt from his messy eating, but it was a good more today because Ellie spit up all over his shoulder just as he was getting ready to head back to the office. I think she was trying to keep him home with us for the rest of the afternoon!

Ellie is having more and more fun doing things by herself. Here she is admiring herself in the mirror above her papasan chair. She's also started batting at her caterpillar toy. Such a big girl!

Here's Ellie's view. Very exciting.

And Ellie is having lots of fun on her play mat these days. We discovered she can hold on to toys that we put in her hands. Here she's got a death grip on a set of plastic keys and she's reaching up to grab a plastic ring over her head. What a talented girl!

Our weekend

We had a great weekend and Ellie was a champ during all our travels. We drove out to Springfield on Saturday to meet for lunch with members of our graduate school class. Ellie slept the whole way there and was a happy baby during lunch. We visited the Capitol after lunch and took pictures at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the press room (we couldn't go up because we didn't have press badges). This was a special trip and I made sure we got a family picture at the site. Brian and I would never have met if it wasn't for the Public Affairs Reporting program. We started dating almost right away, in the fall of 2003. We marveled on the drive Saturday at how much we've done in the six years since we met.... lived in four different states, adopted two dogs, bought a condo and then a house... and now, most importantly, we have our first baby. She's definitely our greatest accomplishment so far. I hope we take Ellie back to Springfield when she's older and tell her (some of) the stories of how her mom and dad met and fell in love.

On Saturday night we drove out to Indianapolis and met our friends Rob and Mary Anderson. We all ate some endless pasta at Olive Garden to prep for the big race Sunday morning. Rob and Brian finished the race, which was their main goal. Mary, Ellie and I hung out on the sidelines and cheered. We were so proud!
Here's Ellie wearing her race day pumpkin outfit and saying "my dad is #1"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Home, sweet home

We're back from our weekend adventures. Brian and I are ready for bed, I know.... even though it's only 7:30 p.m.
We had a lot of fun, but perhaps packed too much into two days. Just a quick update: Brian finished his big race and did great! But perhaps even more exciting -- or equally exciting -- Ellie slept for 6.5 hours straight last night!! We couldn't believe it when 5:30 rolled around this morning and she was still snoozing. We hope, hope, hope it happens more than once!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Car time

Ellie will be spending a lot of time in the car this weekend. Brian and I are keeping our fingers crossed that she is a good traveler!
We are going to Springfield, Ill., on Saturday morning to meet up with our former graduate school classmates and celebrate a five-year reunion. We'd hoped to stay out there for a visit with everyone, but the event overlaps with a 30K (18.6-mile) race that Brian has spent months training for. So... after a few hours in Springfield, we're turning around and driving to Indianapolis. We're staying in a hotel there overnight and then getting up early Sunday for Brian's race. I just hope Ellie lets Brian get some sleep Saturday night before his run. It's going to be a tough race for him regardless because her sleep schedule (or lack thereof) has cut into his training... but he and our friend Rob are mostly just hoping to finish. And Ellie and I will be cheering him on! Wish us all luck on this packed weekend :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baby smiles

Despite all of our talk about Ellie's colicky times, she has a lot of happy times each day, too! She's smiling more and more these days... I'd like to think I'm causing it sometimes, but I'm not sure yet. When she smiles after I do something silly, I try repeating it (many times) but usually can't get another smile. But I'm gonna keep trying!

bumpy stroller rides

I celebrated the big 2-8 yesterday with the help of Brian and Ellie. Brian took the day off work to help take care of Ellie and spend time with me. He watched Ellie in the afternoon while I went to get a massage. It was wonderful! And Brian bought be a gorgeous sapphire necklace. I've got such a great husband.
Ellie decided to start fussing early in the evening, but did wait until we both got to eat dinner. The radio white noise didn't work its usual magic. So we took her out for a ride in the stroller. She wasn't really happy until Brian took her off-roading in the grass at the park by us. We continued walking with her for about 30 minutes and marvelled at how she would start crying the minute the stroller returned to smooth sidewalk or even a flat section of lawn. I guess Ellie liked being bumped and jostled around... she's such a weirdo sometimes. I never thought I'd be grateful to the city for letting so many sections of sidewalk in our neighborhood get torn up and broken. According to Ellie: the more bumps, the better.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

First slumber party

Ellie got a visit from her friend, Jacob, this past weekend. Jacob is our friends Kris and Melissa's 8-month-old son. The family drove up from St. Louis to visit and meet Ellie. We all had a great time. And Brian and I got a preview of some of the older-baby stuff we have to look forward to. Jacob isn't crawling yet, but he was able to roll around the room and reach for stuff. He also did a lot of fun stuff, like recognize his own name, smile at stuff we did and play with toys. While I'm sort of sad to see Ellie getting bigger each day, I'm looking forward to watching her discover new things and be able to do more. Then we will really have our hands full!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Thank you, vacuum cleaner

As Dorothy has mentioned in previous posts, Ellie is a bit colicky. And when we say a bit, there are two hours each night in which I want to pull my hair out and throw myself off a cliff.
I love Ellie so much that hearing her cry, and knowing there's little to nothing I can do to stop it, just about drives me mad. And I'm not a person known for my patience anyway, so this is doubly frustrating.
A few nights ago, we found out that baths calm her during this period form 8-10 p.m. But we can't keep her 75 percent submerged in water for two hours. I'm pretty sure she's still developing, and I don't want a fish girl for a daughter. The ability to breathe under water would be cool, but I'd be weirded out by the scales.
The next night we found out that Ellie is soothed by the vacuum cleaner. It's like turning on a freaking light switch. In fact, I played with it a bit. It only takes 2 seconds for Ellie to scream once the vacuum is turned off. Less to get her to stop when it's turned on. Unbelievable.
Last night we had the vacuum on for about 20 minutes (and the television to volume setting 54) when we realized that sooner or later the motor would burn out. We needed another option.
With fingers crossed, I turned on the radio to an unoccupied frequency with white noise that, coincidentally, sounded like it had a heartbeat in the background - equal parts of creepy and awesome for us. Then we turned off the vacuum.
Ellie's head perked up for a second, as if to evaluate this substitute noise. But she put her head back down, satisfied that this otherwise annoying sound would do. We were able to save the vacuum, our sanity and lower the television volume to around 46.
All that said, we're feeling much better. Oh, and just in case it's driving them nuts, a quick apology to our neighbors. Sorry, Ben and Janet.

What we've been up to

Ellie and I have had another fun week. We had several dance parties at the house, usually when Ellie decided to be fussy during the day. One of us took lots of naps. And we went walking at the park with some friends -- Janet and her son, Isaac; and Casey and her daughter, Layla.
Yesterday I took the jogging stroller out for its inaugural spin. Ellie seemed to enjoy the ride. Well, she slept through the whole thing... but I take that to mean she's happy. Here's some shots of us after we returned from running (with some walking) two miles. I was very tired, but it felt good to get a run in. I haven't done any running since my sixth month of the pregnancy.

Oh, and here's a shot of a crafty project I did last weekend while Ellie watched some football with her dad. Getting to do something with my hands besides hold the baby was a great stress-reliever. And Ellie loves her new room decoration :)

(Note: I didn't cut out the letters or anything... I'm not that skilled. Just bought them at Michaels and then painted them.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


It seems that Ellie has a touch of colic. At least that's what we think is behind her evening hours of screaming during the past week-and-a-half. Just as it's described in the books, Ellie decides to start crying around dinner time and doesn't let up until close to bedtime. When she was crying Sunday night, I thought it was just because the Packers were behind in their first game of the season. But she wasn't happy even when they took the lead... so I knew something was really wrong.
And it's the same routine every night. She's not hungry, her diaper is fresh and we can't get any gas bubbles out. She just wants to scream.
From what I've read, the colic thing can last until she is three months old! But we're hoping she gets past this phase before then. I don't know if she's in any real pain or discomfort when she's crying, but the hours of wailing are certainly taking a toll on me and Brian. It's hard not to get cranky with your spouse when you're passing a screaming baby back and forth all night. He's tired from being at work and training for an upcoming race. I'm tired from taking care of Ellie all day and trying to keep the house up. Sometimes I want to join Ellie and try to just wail out my frustrations... But I don't think we need a colicky baby and mom.
I just try to keep reminding myself (and Brian) that this is a phase that Ellie will get past. Hopefully soon. For now, I'm collecting tips on getting through these loud, stressful evenings. Walking around with her and bouncing only helps to a point. Tonight we may try taking her out for a drive, giving her a bath or (as suggested in one book I have) putting her in a baby carrier and running the vacuum around the house. We'll see if anything works.


It's not often that Ellie has the perfect outfit... but I thought this "Nobody puts Baby in the corner" onesie was a fitting choice today in honor of Patrick Swayze's passing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A visit from grandma

We had a visit from Brian's mom last week. Ellie was able to get some quality time with grandma and I was able to get some things done... i.e. a long overdue haircut. Brian and I also went out to dinner Friday night while Linda watched Ellie. It was one of the first meals we've had since Ellie was born where we were both able to eat at the same time. It seems like Ellie times her crying for whenever Brian and I are about to sit down to lunch or dinner... so one of us usually has to rush through eating while the other holds her, and then we switch off. It was really nice going out and having some adult-only time, but I got a preview of how hard it's going to be for me to leave Ellie at day care. I was really surprised at how much I missed her in just the 90 minutes we were out. I can't imagine what it will be like to be away from her for 8 hours.
On that subject, I also got some bad news last week about my maternity leave. My insurance company is only going to approve me for a six-week absence, not the nine weeks my doctor requested. The company has a set policy of six weeks for regular delivery and eight for c-sections, so there's no real leeway. This means I would have to take three weeks unpaid to stretch my leave time out to 12 weeks (including the three weeks of vacation time I've saved and plan to take). Brian and I can't afford to lose that much income... so I will have to return to work earlier than I planned :(
Looks like Ellie and I only have a month together left at home, so I'm trying to make the most of it. I love this little girl! Here are some recent pics.

Radar likes "tummy time" on the play mat more than Ellie does...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What was that?

The other night while getting Ellie ready for bed, she let out a scream like I've never heard before. (This is Brian, by the way)
I've heard her progression of cries. It starts as a whimper (sometimes she enunciates the 'w' in 'whaaaaa.' It's hilarious.) Then she goes into a full cry, and eventually a scream that tears at your heart because you can tell she really is hungry or upset and can't relieve it any other way.
Well, as I was changing her into her PJs, she skipped all the preliminary cries and went straight for the deep scream, louder than I'd heard in a while.
I stopped cold and looked around her. Had I pinched her slightly with a snap? Had I pulled one of her fingers back as I pulled her hand through the sleeve? What had I done to cause this? It was clear that she was hurt because of the intensity of the scream.
It was then that I noticed Ellie had inflicted this wound herself. As the scream got louder, she pulled harder on her own hair. And she it hurt more, she clinched and pulled some more. It took a second or two to get her hand to loosen. The look on her poor face was one of pain and utter disbelief that this could happen.
It's crazy how bad I wanted that scream to stop. Not for my own ears' sake, but because I didn't want to see her hurt and upset.
I guess she's not as thrilled as Dorothy and me that she was born with so much hair.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Ellie's first road trip

Brian, Ellie and I went to Rockford this past weekend to visit family and help celebrate the slew of September birthdays among the cousins. We were nervous about how Ellie would do on the car ride, which is usually about 4 hours each way but wound up taking us closer to 5 hours this trip. She did pretty good on the way up Saturday. We stopped to feed her about an hour in and then she slept another couple hours. She started screaming about an hour from Rockford, but once we stopped, changed her and gave her some love for a few minutes, Ellie was good to go for the rest of the trip.
The way home was a little more eventful. Ellie had a couple big stretches of screaming, but once we found exits off the highway we were able to get her calmed down each time. Overall, I think she did great for a one-month-old. But we're quickly learning the complications and stress of traveling with a baby.
Aunt Pat (below) hosted a big extended family celebration at her house Sunday and got to meet Ellie for the first time.
Cousins Jay and Alora came all the way from Nebraska to meet Ellie! Jay is very happy to meet her... and he's very well-dressed, too.
Alora is such a big girl! And she's going to teach Ellie all sorts of things before too long :)
Chris wasn't the most-eager to hold the baby, but really who can resist Ellie in ruffled pink pants?And these are the Lewis cousins -- Eliot, Ila, Meriel and Izzie. Ellie is very excited to have lots of clothes passed down from these beautiful girls.Ila, Mason and Alora got to blow out the candles on the cake. They are the newest generation of September birthdays... Alora (who is turning 6) even shares her Sept. 23 birthday with me! Maggie, me and cousins Matt, Jason and Kevin also have September birthdays and have gotten plenty of group birthday action over the years.

Friday, September 4, 2009

She's perfect

That was the summation from Dr. Miller today at Ellie's one month checkup :)
Ellie weighed in at 10 lbs, 10 oz...! Seems like a lot, but given her length Ellie is right in the 50th percentile at that weight. She's grown almost another inch since her 2 week checkup and is now 22 1/4 inches long.
We can tell Ellie is a generally happy baby. But it's great to hear from a medical professional that we're doing a good job and Ellie is in good shape. And we totally agree with Dr. Miller: Ellie is perfect!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

1 month

Happy 1 month birthday to Ellie! In many ways this past month has flown by. But I also think we've learned a ton and watched our little girl growing up so much already.

Ellie started her celebration today by spitting up so much that both she and I required new outfits. And I'm talking new pants and shirts on each of us! It was pretty impressive.

Here are a couple of my favorite pics of Ellie from her first month alive:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Meeting family

Ellie met lots of new extended family members in the past week. Here are some pics of her getting some family love:
Here's Ellie with her grandpa, Bob

And Ellie with great-grandpa, Joe

Ellie says hi to her great-grandma and namesake, Eleanor
Here's Ellie with Uncle Dan, who is also her new godfather

And Aunt Jen, Ellie's godmother, finally got a chance to hold her at the end of the day of the baptism!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I can do this

There have been so many moments this year when I've wondered how I would do as a mom. So it's been exciting this week to have some moments when I feel like I'm hitting my groove as a parent.
Today is a really great day because Ellie slept for almost five hours straight last night! Brian got her down around 10 p.m. and she didn't wake up to eat again until almost 3 a.m. I was so shocked that I woke up at 2 a.m. and had to go check the nursery to make sure she was OK :)
Brian and I are hoping for a repeat... but trying not to get our hopes up too much!
Beyond the nighttime routine, Ellie and I have had some pretty great days together. We're developing a bit of a routine. She's been waking up hungry around 8 a.m. and I get her fed, changed and clothed by around 9:30 a.m. We've discovered the joy of the Baby Bjorn for walks around the park in the morning. Ellie still isn't a huge fan of the stroller, but once I strap her in the bjorn carrier she's good to go for as long as I'm up for walking. Carrying her on my belly makes me feel a little like I'm pregnant again... but now I'm able to take her off at the end of the walk. The weather has been too gorgeous not to get outside each day.
Brian usually comes home for lunch, which is great for visiting and having an extra set of hands for a half hour or so. In the afternoon, Ellie has been taking a nap for a couple hours. We either run errands or I use the time to get something done around the house. Today my activity was sorting through my closet to clear out maternity clothes and figure out what still fits from my old clothes... not much, unfortunately!
So that's a glimpse at the lives of Dorothy and Ellie these days. I'm sure something will pop up to derail me soon enough, but for now I'm feeling pretty good about mommyhood.