Sunday, January 31, 2010


Ellie tried her first vegetable last week: Carrots! She seems to like them. Brian has already said we'll have to give her a green veggie when she moves onto the next one. He's worried about her turning orange -- which he did briefly as a baby because his favorite foods were carrots and sweet potatoes and he ate them too often :) We hope to avoid an orange Ellie! Of course, she's getting a little orange while she eats.

Here she is with a carrot goatee. What a daddy's girl!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Baby toy or horror movie prop?

Here's a scary one... Brian slipped up when trimming Ellie's fingernails last night. He clipped the tip of her thumb pretty bad. Her thumb-sucking thumb, no less! It was very sad for all of us. And it bled a lot! We thought the bleeding had stopped when we put her to bed, but this morning we found one of her toys didn't fare so well. Apparently she played with it before falling asleep and now it looks like something from a horror film! Poor seahorse... Hopefully we can get both Ellie and her singing seahorse all patched up.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mom guilt

Well, I'm officially blog delinquent at this point... but I'll try to get back into a rhythm. It's been a tough week for me. Work is crazy as I'm filling in for my boss (!) and home life is as busy as ever.
I did get a couple of days with my girl this week. I worked the late shift on Monday, so I got to spend all morning and early afternoon with Ellie. Of course, then I worked until midnight... but those are the breaks of working in media. And then I had Wednesday off from work completely, because I have to work on Saturday this week. (Again, why did I choose this field?)
To be honest, I've been pretty stressed recently. The busier I get at work, the more frustrated I am, it seems. Even though it's hard to be away from Ellie so much, I do want to work right now. But I hate when I feel like I'm spinning my wheels on the job. Ever since Ellie arrived, I've felt more of a push to really make my work count. I've always tried to write compelling stories and important articles, but now that my work is keeping me away from Ellie it seems even more important to do something great. I've got to justify missing all this time with my daughter!
On Tuesday I left the office with steam practically coming out of my ears. I had to stick around an extra hour and 15 minutes to cover for another editor and do busy work... so by the time I finally got home, I had about 45 minutes before Ellie's bedtime.
It is SO hard to figure out how to balance work and motherhood. I'm still trying to figure it out. I remember reading one time that working moms need to give up on being the best in all they do. Frankly, the article said, it's near-impossible to be perfect on the job and perfect at home — so don't try! The advice was to live in the moment. Do the best you can while at work and then do the best you can when you get home.
And don't feel guilty about it. Well, that's a lot easier said that done. As a Catholic of 28 years, I already know a thing or two about guilt ;) But it's taken on a whole new meaning as I became a mom. Too often I find myself feeling bad about what I'm not doing for Ellie, or feeling like what I'm doing isn't good enough. Is she learning enough? Is she hitting milestones soon enough? Is that another cold she's picking up from day care? Is it OK that Brian and I cheaped out and bought the Sam's Club-brand diapers (for about 75% the cost of name-brand)? And, speaking of diapers, how's her poop today? Soooo much to think about!
The worst incidents are when we try to put her to bed at night and she just screams. I hate, hate, hate that! It's just heartbreaking because she'll be so happy at bath time and then content in my arms as she gets her last meal of the day. And then we set her down in the crib and she realizes what's happening. Her arms actually shake and her whole face scrunches up as she prepares to cry. So sad. At these times, I try to remember another section of wisdom I read recently: Your baby won't remember in the morning, and you're not scarring her for life.
It seems to be true. She's back to happy, smiley Ellie in the morning. I love that baby... and in the grand scheme, I guess that is the best I can do.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sitting pretty

As promised, here's Ellie showing off her new talent.

Ellie is pretty happy these days having a little more independence. Well, at least a little more power over watching the world go by and reaching for things.
She loves this wire/block toy, but doesn't quite get how to play with it yet... It apparently tastes delicious and is good for offering a little extra balance to the wobbly baby.And Ellie's favorite activity is watching "the floor show" (i.e. the puppy wars that are almost always going on around here...) Turning to watch the action has caused her to tip a few times, but she's been a champ about it.

And Muzzy certainly likes any time Ellie is on the floor. Here she is gearing up for a big lick. Judging by how often we have to yell at Muzzy around Ellie, we're sure her first words are going to be "Muzzy, No!"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eating and sitting and rolling, oh my

Ellie is hitting a couple more milestones this week. On Wednesday night, after finishing her first meal, we were working on rolling over on the floor for the 100th time. And she did it! Well, she did it about 80 percent on her own... Her teacher showed us a trick for encouraging rolling over. We have to hold one of her legs crossed over the other one, which helps her get moving. Between that hold, both of us on the floor calling for her and the dogs getting in the mix... she was persuaded to flip from back to stomach. Yay!
I will say that I feel at times like I'm working with a dog on this particular trick. It's hard not to when you're sitting on the floor begging "roll over, roll over, roll over." And the dogs responded plenty to our high-pitched pleas and to the toys we shook next to her as enticement. Radar actually knows how to roll-over, but he knows the trick as "play dead." Muzzy isn't so cooperative, but I think she hears "Lick our faces" and/or "Lick the baby's mouth" when she we call for the trick...
But with or without our encouragement, it seems Ellie is catching on. I'm glad to see it because I've been getting nervous about her not hitting this mark yet. Many places I've read suggest babies will roll over at 4 months. I wasn't worried at that point or even a few weeks later. But as her 5-month birthday came and went with no rolling, I was getting a little concerned.
I just found, though, in our Baby 411 book a great segment.
Q: Help! My baby is almost sitting up and he hasn't rolled over yet. Is this OK?
The authors explained that this is fine and fairly normal in the post-babies-need-to-sleep-on-their-backs era. Ellie is at just about the same point. She's been sitting on her own a bunch this week. She can usually balance for a few minutes completely by herself, and then continue with just minimal propping. What a relief to see my exact concern addressed! I love all that baby knowledge out there!

p.s. Pictures will come soon...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Num, num

Ellie had her first food last night!
We decided to give her some rice cereal and it was a lot of fun. We're trying to enjoy the feedings now because I'm sure it becomes less exciting and more of a chore as time goes on. Here's the evidence!
She wasn't too sure at first...
But dad warmed her up to the cereal and she did pretty well.
Um, Ellie, you've got a little something on your chin...

Ellie is 5.5 months old and just getting her first food — or already getting her first food, depending on which side of the fence you're sitting on. I've read in many places that babies can/should start eating some solid foods at around 4.5 months. Some people start even earlier than that. Others wait until the 6-month mark or even later. We decided to hold off for awhile for a few reasons:
  • 1. Our pediatrician said there's no reason to rush into it because it's mostly for fun at this stage and the feedings to become a hassle at times.
  • 2. Breastfeeding is still tenuous-at-best for me (more on this in another post). So we didn't want to risk filling her up with cereal and wanting her to nurse less. Truthfully, this is still a concern for me... but hopefully it will be OK.
  • 3. I've got some serious food allergies on my side of the family, so we're going to have to take the food stuff slowly and carefully. Brian and I don't have food allergies, but two of my brothers are allergic to nuts. And one of those brothers is allergic to a lot more. We're talking all poultry, beans, garlic, eggs, celery. It would be easier to make a list of what Dan isn't allergic to! So, we're going to be careful just in case Ellie has any of those genes passed down to her.
But so far, so good! And we're looking forward to more fun with food in the coming weeks and months.

A few more

Here are a few more fun pictures from our vacation last week:
Ellie in a new outfit she got for Christmas and smiling up a storm!Ellie and Grandma Jerrianne having fun in the morning! I didn't take nearly enough pictures of Ellie with the family up there. She had a great time playing with (i.e. being entertained by) her cousin Mason. He's going to teach her all sorts of things as she grows!

A fearless crew of sledders heading out to try out the Fireball! Best sled EVER. I joined up with Dan, Candice, Mason and Ben for a ride later. It was freakin' awesome :)

Here's Ellie wearing a Wisconsin-appropriate "Got Milk" outfit. This was a gift from a county commissioner (and dairy farmer) here in Lafayette. What fun!

And another pic of me and Ellie heading out for some "sledding," which really just involved us walking down the road and the up the hill back home. Fun for baby = hard work for mom. (p.s. Thanks for the cute Pooh snowsuit, Aunt Sarah!)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Routine... wherefore art thou?

We've really done it this time.
I know I've talked about Ellie getting into a routine before now... but really those grooves we saw briefly in the first few months were fleeting. However, before last week we had hit a stride for nearly a month that saw Ellie hitting the hay between 6:30-7:30 p.m. and sleeping until at least 3:30-4 a.m. Then I'd nurse her and put her back down to sleep until almost 7 a.m. It was glorious!
Well, those glory days disappeared last week when we were on vacation. First she teased us with a couple nights of sleep stretches that lasted more than 10 hours. But by the end of last week she was fighting like a tiger when we tried to put her to bed, waking up more frequently in the middle of the night and just plain being fussy.
Last night I had to work with her for more than an hour to get her to sleep. And even then she wasn't out until about 9 p.m.!
I hope we didn't ruin the good thing we had going by allowing a lax schedule on vacation.... we'll see if we can get things back on track this week. Keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, January 18, 2010

660 minutes

Whew. We capped off our week of vacation yesterday with an 11-hour trip back to Lafayette. That's 660 minutes on the road. Ellie really was a trooper!
We adopted one cardinal rule for the long ride back from northern Wisconsin:
  • No stopping unless the baby is awake. This resulted in about 90 minutes of Brian and I bouncing in our seats and then fighting about who got to go to the bathroom first when we finally stopped!
Like I said, Ellie did mostly great on the ride. She had three "naps" that got us through much of the trip. We stopped for about 45 minutes for lunch and then an hour for dinner, to give her some time out of the car seat to play. The dogs, who stayed in the car during most of the stops, also should be commended :)
With nearly two hours left in the trip, I think Ellie decided she was done with being in the car. She screamed for close to an hour, and even me riding in back to sing, cluck, rock and play with her did not help. She finally fell asleep again 45 miles from Lafayette. I don't know if we've ever been so happy to pull into our driveway.
Here are a few pics from the happier (i.e. earlier) parts of the drive. Ellie had lots of toys for the ride.
And Radar kept her company, as did I riding in the back seat for two stretches of the drive.
Muzzy was happy when I rode in back, because it freed up some front seat space for her. Although, after she spent 75 percent of the drive trying to get up front (when I was still sitting there and didn't want a dog on my lap)... Muzzy then decided she had to be in the back when I was there with Ellie at the end of the drive. So the final stretch of the drive was Brian as chauffeur in the front and me, Ellie and two dogs (along with several bags of stuff) in the back seat of the Sable. Comfy.We did have so much fun on Ellie's first vacation! I'll post more pictures later... but, sadly, it's back to work for me today while Brian and Ellie are home recouping from the drive on this MLK Day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Our snow bunny

Ellie is having too much fun on our northwoods adventure! She went sledding for the first time yesterday... with a little help from mom and dad. We took her all the way down the bunny hill, at times very fast! And she's got the right idea on sledding: Get pulled down the hill AND back up.
Here she is trying to figure out (1) who is this monster? (2) where did my dad go?... he was just here!

Both Ellie and Muzzy are enjoying laying by the fire.

And even though Ellie is too little to ski, she's rocking the snow bunny look.

P.S. The Wisconsin fresh air must be good for our little girl. She slept for 12 hours last night!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Brian, Ellie and I are in Wisconsin all week on vacation. I'm enjoying the days with my favorite people :) And here's Ellie enjoying the new tray we bought her for her bumbo seat. Maybe she'll get to enjoy some time out in the snow tomorrow... but we'll see if it gets a little warmer (though that's all relative up here!) It's just nice to have some dedicated time as a family. I'll try to keep the blog updated, but we're on winter break!

Meeting Rosalie

We got to meet the beautiful, tiny Rosalie on Saturday, too! Mary and I switched daughters briefly, but she would've noticed it we hadn't changed back... something about Ellie weighing almost triple what Rosalie weighs...I didn't do a very good job framing this picture of the dads and daughters. But here are Brian, Rosalie, Rob and Ellie! And here's Brian enjoying Rosalie. I love the concerned/disapproving look Rob is giving from behind :)

Foor family visit

We got a visit from our good friends the Foors last weekend. Andy, Michelle, Matthew and Nicolas stopped by on their way from SC to IL on Saturday. I reconnected with Andy and Michelle (friends from high school) when we first moved to Lafayette. We hung out all the time until they moved out of town at the start of 2009. But we still stay in touch, and Ellie was very excited to meet her good friends!Matthew has always been a big fan of Brian. He's just goofy enough :)

And Brian and I could not believe how much little Nic had grown. I met him when he was less than one week old... and now he's this 2-year-old bundle of energy. What a cutie.
And Michelle is so great with kids. I've relied on her for advice with Ellie. It was so great for she and Andy to finally get in a visit with our rapidly growing girl!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Chubs McGee

I can joke around and give Ellie a nickname like that right now, because she's so little and perfect. I promise I won't give her a body image problem later in life!
But I forgot to update that we learned her current weight at the doctor's appointment Monday. She's up to 16 lbs, 8 oz! Ellie has officially doubled her birth weight, she's wearing some ginormous size 3 diapers and fitting into a whole lot of 6-12 mo clothes... where is our little baby?

Of course, there are advantages to her growth. We saw one of them last night when she slept 11.5 hours straight! I woke up this morning and realized it was after 6:30 a.m. and I hadn't gotten my usual 4:30 wake-up call from Ellie. My first thought was: she's not breathing. But then Brian said he'd heard her playing with the caterpillar on the side of her crib about an hour earlier. I guess her big, full belly carried her through the whole night. What a present to get more than 8 hours of sleep in a row. Of course, she's teased us before with these long sleeping stretches... so I'm not counting on it for too long, but maybe we'll get a few more extended sleep nights on vacation next week. We'll see.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Moms night

I got some dedicated "me" time last night when I went out with my friend Lia to get pedicures. We both had gift certificates — and awesome husbands who were willing to babysit while we went in for some pampering and mom-talk! Ellie got to play with Lia and Mike's son Colin. I love these pictures Mike took. You can see in the first one that Colin is checking out his new lady friend... and then he decides to make a sly attempt at hand-holding. Ellie's already got the boys lining up :) Although Colin is almost three months younger than Ellie, so I wonder if that makes her a cougar?
I had so much fun getting out with Lia, too. We joked as we were picking out nail polish at the salon: "Hmm, what color do we want to hide under our socks for the next couple months...?" But our outing wasn't as much about giving our toenails the royal treatment as it was about having uninterrupted time to talk. There are many things that are hard for people who aren't new moms to understand. And it's great for us to realize we're dealing with similar challenges and triumphs with the kiddos.
There's no "off" switch for this motherhood gig. And while I'm happy to have Ellie consume 99.9 percent of my life, it was nice to carve our those two hours for me.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bad to worse

Ellie is having a rough go this week.
On top of the ear infection, she's managed to put some major gauges in her cheek. I took a picture of the damage when I visited her at lunch today. Her nails/talons will be trimmed tonight! And the antibiotics she's on are giving her runny, frequent bowel movements — which seem to be causing her first diaper rash. Poor baby.
At least we figured out a way to get her medicine down. We're mixing it into small bottles (so that she finishes the whole thing and gets all her medicine). It's a little weird feeding her pink liquid twice each day. But we're calling it her "strawberry milk." And after making a weird face about it the first time, she doesn't seem to mind anymore.
I suppose one good thing in all this is that she's not acting super sick. She's happy and smiling still most of the time. (Yes, it's possible this ear infection is worrying me more than Ellie... I just hate to see so many problems thrown her way all at once.) Let's hope this whole thing stops getting worse and starts heading the other direction!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ouchy ear

Ellie has an ear infection.
I wasn't sure if that was "good news" from the doctor, after we took her in Monday thinking she had pink eye. I'm not sure yet how child illnesses rank... but from what I've read about the contagiousness of pink eye, I'd think the day care workers would prefer she have an ear infection.

So, Ellie woke up Sunday with a whole lot of crustiness on her eye lashes. We wiped it away and didn't think too much of it that morning because Ellie was still her normal, happy self. By late afternoon, though, she was very fussy and almost nothing could make her happy. We noticed her eyes looked a little pink and started to get suspicious. When "the crust" was on her eyes again Monday morning, I called the doctor and made her an appointment.
After a quick exam the doctor said no pink eye, but found an infection in her right ear. Poor baby.

And then the three adults in the room did something that definitely should qualify us for doctor/parents-of-the-year recognition.... Ellie's doctor gave her the wooden tongue depressor to play with after her exam. We all laughed as Ellie flailed it around and then threw it. We gave it back to her, Brian jokingly warning her NOT to poke herself in the eye with it.
Can anyone guess what happened next?
I was holding her and saw her arm jerk up toward her face... and the depressor went straight into her eye! She gasped, had a long wind-up and then started crying. I'm glad the stick had rounded ends... but why were we letting her play with it?! If she didn't have pink enough eyes coming into the doctor, she sure left with one. Poor Ellie.

Her eye is fine. But now we're trying to get rid of that ear infection. Ellie has to take "the pink medicine" twice a day for the next 10 days. I was excited for her first bubble gum medicine, remembering how much I liked the stuff when I was a kid. But when the first drop of it hit her mouth yesterday, she made a disgusted face and immediately spit it back out. I waited for reinforcements and when Brian got home we tried to give her the medicine again. I'm hoping at least 80 percent of the stuff went down the hatch... but she's definitely not a fan. This morning, Brian mixed it with a small bottle and got her to take it that way. But the antibiotics must not be kicking in yet because she's cried almost all morning :( The lead teacher in her room at school finally called me and asked for permission to give her children's Tylenol. I said yes, of course. I visited her a little while ago at lunch and she seemed to be doing a little better. I hope she gets some rest, though, because she only slept about 10 minutes this morning.
I hate it when Ellie doesn't feel well. I just hope her immune system is getting all ramped up and she'll have a healthy spell soon!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

5 months

We can't believe our tiny baby Ellie turned five months old today!

As you can see, she can sit in her highchair now... not that she needs to... but it's very cute and she looks so little in it! I've had a combination of sadness and excitement as Ellie hits milestones -- well, things like graduating to the next size of diapers or clothes :) I am proud as she grows and learns new things, but hate to see the baby in her fading. Good thing she'll always be our baby... sorry, one-day-will-be-16-year-old Ellie. That's just the way it is.We had such a fun, long weekend at home with Ellie. It was nice not to travel or take her to day care. We played A LOT!
Here's Ellie's top 10 list of favorite things at the ripe old age of five months:
1. Smiling, especially at daddy's silliness.
2.Drooling. Yup, she's always got the waterworks going.
3. Grabbing everything she can... Her favorites are hair and burp cloths.
4. Putting everything in her mouth, including hair and burp cloths. If she can't fit it in her mouth, she settles for licking it. Brian and I have both found this one out the hard way :)
5. Getting thrown in the air. This is a new favorite game we play with her, carefully!
6. Exersaucer!
7. Tummy time. She's doing it more than ever and even smiles sometimes. I think her rolling over is coming any day now.
8. Playing with friends at "school." She always has more fun on the floor (and on her tummy) when other kids are around for her to watch.
9. Sticking out her tongue.
10. Her THUMB!
Sorry this post is so long... But here's our last family picture from 2009! Two out of the three of us stayed up until midnight to ring in the new year with our friends Ben and Janet. We're so excited to see what Ellie has in store for us in 2010.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Congrats Nuttersons!

We're so excited that Rob and Mary Anderson, aka the Nuttersons, welcomed a 6-pound, 10-ounce daughter on New Years Day! Mom and baby were doing great when I talked Mary.
And we can't wait to meet Rosalie Martha!! I foresee a great friendship in Ellie's future :)