Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Teeth and tears

Ellie's second bottom tooth is SO close to popping through her gums. But it's not there yet, and is making her pretty sad. Our baby girl has been quite a crab since Sunday. After she spent much of the afternoon (at day care) and evening (at home) crying, we gave her some Tylenol and it seemed to help. Hope that tooth comes in already!
While we're on the subject of tears, I'll admit to having a mini-breakdown yesterday. I blame "working mom stress." It's so hard to see Ellie in pain and struggling. And it makes it even worse to see those things and then leave her in the care of someone else. My heart was breaking yesterday when I left her wailing at day care after our lunch visit :( I know that babies are going to cry sometimes from teething pain or overtiredness, but that knowledge isn't too comforting to me when it comes to Ellie. I just wanted to take her with me or stay in the visiting room all afternoon holding her.
But, instead, I went back to work and had a super frustrating afternoon. On the days when I fill in for my boss at work, I am SO busy that I feel like I can't do any of my tasks very well. I tend to just hop around "putting fires out" — or, literally, dealing with fires that are breaking news! Instead of feeling any sense of accomplishment at the end of the day, I just felt exhausted and stressed from the weight of all the tasks I hadn't yet finished bearing down on me.
So yesterday I felt like I failed on both the work and mom fronts. Brian kept telling me last night that it wasn't true, and I love him for offering support. But it was still a bad day for me, and I'm still trying to shake it off.
I have friends, some who are new moms themselves, ask me how I fit so much in — especially keeping up with my running. Sometimes it's overwhelming to figure out how I'll squeeze in a few miles during the day. I usually run at the end of the work day because it's easier than going in the morning (largely because of the logistics of still nursing Ellie) and I like having the option of taking Ellie with to get some fresh air.
There are days when it's the last thing I feel like doing after an insane 8-10 hours at work. But once I actually get out for the run, and afterward, I'm so glad that I put the energy into making that workout happen. I know getting regular exercise helps me de-stress, puts me in a better mood and makes me a better mom (and wife!). Still, I won't pretend that it's easy fitting everything into the schedule most days.
Hope I don't sound like too much of a whiner. So much of what I put up here is happy and positive — because it's hard to be down with such a wonderful little girl in our lives. But Ellie and I both have bad days. Here's hoping Ellie conquers her tooth today and I can stop gnashing my own teeth!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hoo-ray!

Brian posted something recently about Ellie showing a lot of favoritism for mom recently. And it continues. She loves her dad, obviously, and plays great with him. But if I come in the same room she starts to fuss and reaches out until I pick her up.
Even though Brian tries not to let it bother him, I know it does. And I totally understand. It would drive me nuts! We're just trying to focus on this being a phase — as all our parent-friends have told us it is. I'm sure it'll be the other way around at some point.
In the meantime, I was so excited to let Ellie and dad play on Sunday (while I got a few other things done). Brian continued the "clapping training" that we've been working on for a couple weeks with Ellie. And guess what? He got the big pay off! Here's the proof:

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Afternoon in the park

Our friend Michelle and her sons, Matthew and Nicolas, visited Lafayette this weekend and spent a few hours with us Saturday. The Foor family is headed to Hawaii in a few weeks! (Andy is in the Navy) The temperatures weren't tropical in Indiana, but it was warm enough for us to take Ellie to the park. Ellie went on the swing for the first time. She loved it! Can't wait to take her back soon.
She's not big enough to play on the equipment yet, but Ellie thought the bench was pretty cool. And she had fun watching everything going on. I foresee a lot of time spent at the park this summer. It's so cool that we have such a good one just down the block from us. And there's a zoo and water park in it, too! Glad to be in such a kid-friendly spot right now in our lives.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Evolution

Ellie is amazing! Last night we realized just how much she can do...
Here she is enjoying tummy time. And rocking back and forth in the crawling position.

And STANDING while holding on to the couch. That's right, she stands now!

Ellie: "What? No biggie. I can do it with one hand!"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

She scoots!

Ellie can scoot backwards on her belly! I put her down on the floor on her hands and knees last night, and a few minutes later she'd moved about 5 feet backwards. And then she flipped over onto her back all by herself! What a big, mobile baby :)
I think we may be doing some baby-proofing at the house this weekend...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weekend with grandma

Phew! My most recent pictures from our camera wouldn't upload last night... I was getting worried, but after rebooting today I got them!
Good thing, too! We got some good pictures during grandma's visit last weekend. Here she is with Ellie on Sunday morning before church. And here's Ellie and Grandma Linda playing! (Note: The Leinenkugels box on the floor is not from any weekend drinking exploit. It's empty and I made it into a "drum" for Ellie last week. She's a big fan!)

And here's Ellie having Cheerios for the first time. And when I say "having" I really mean playing with them and not eating them :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bouncy baby

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Ellie has learned how to get some air in her jump-a-roo! She's nuts for the thing. The other day Brian said she bounced in it for almost an hour and was sweaty when he took her out!

Up close

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Ellie has had enough with "the paparazzi" always up in her grill. Or she just likes to reach for cameras and everything else within arms reach...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bucket of blocks

One of Ellie's favorite toys right now is her bucket of different shaped blocks. She will sit and play happily with the bucket for quite some time, which really helps mom get ready in the morning! Here she is playing for a couple minutes while I got ready for church Sunday. As you can see, she's already dressed in her Sunday best :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Finger food and fun


Ellie's had a couple forays into the finger-foods arena in the past week. We offered her some pieces of cooked pasta last week and some Cheerios this weekend. She likes playing with the stuff, but hasn't quite mastered the art of eating it. Brian marvels at the fact that anything else she puts her hands on ultimately winds up in her mouth... but not the food!

And here is Ellie relaxing in the laundry basket for a moment while mom gets a couple things done. No, I won't set her in here often... but she actually thought it was a lot of fun — and it has the added bonus of being a secure spot free from dog licks!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Feeling sunshiney


It has been a great week! The weather is absolutely gorgeous, and we've gotten outside to enjoy it every day as a family. It just puts me in such a great mood!
Brian and I suited up for running after work two nights this week. Ellie came along, of course, in the stroller and bounced her legs/feet most of the time to show us she was "running," too! Even though it doesn't happen that often, I love when Brian and I can coordinate our schedules to go on a run together. It gives us a chance to talk and be active. We both really want Ellie to grow up in an active household, one where playing outside and being a part of sports team is "the norm" not the exception.
Anyhow, here are a couple of fun, recent shots. Above is our who family decked out in green on St. Patty's Day. And the next one is me and Ellie before heading to church Sunday.

And here's Ellie and her dad before work one day last week. You can't see it, but Ellie's wearing a shirt that says "Daddy's little princess." She might be showing a little preference toward me right now, but I'm sure the days of mom-coolness are numbered. I have no doubt Ellie's going to be a total daddy's girl :)


Phone images

I tried taking video of Ellie the other day with my phone. It's not the best quality, but she's still cute and talking... so I decided to put it up. My favorite part is the "ma" :)


video video

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring art

Ellie (i.e. her teachers) have been busy doing spring art to decorate the walls at school. She helped make a rainbow along with the other babies in her room. Ellie's is the orange row of hand prints... a.k.a. the best row.
Below there's a shamrock she made, and Ellie decked out in green today. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting ready...

...for Easter! Ellie isn't supposed to have eggs yet, but here she is trying to eat a pink, plastic one :) She got her picture taken with the Easter Bunny at school last week. I thought the big bunny looked a little creepy, but she didn't freak out at all. The bunny gave her her first Easter treat... and we let her play with it after emptying the Hershey kisses from it.
I can't wait to put her in her fancy Easter dress and hat in a few weeks. I remember how excited I used to get about wearing a bonnet on the holiday! I'm guessing Ellie won't care one way or the other this year, but hopefully she'll understand both the religious and fun traditions of the holiday further down the road.

Monday, March 15, 2010

NBLB

No Baby Left Behind? Apparently kids these days aren't immune from testing even as infants.
Brian and I spent our lunch hour at Ellie's "school" today for parent-teacher conferences. Bobbi, the lead teacher in Ellie's room, starting the discussion by saying that she doesn't agree with testing babies — and that Ellie is not behind developmentally.
She then proceeded to tell us how the recent tests showed a couple areas where Ellie is behind.
Well, sort of. I may have taken the discussion a bit too personally... Let me explain.
The Denver testing shows a bunch of social, language, fine and gross motor skills that babies should be developing at different ages. Ellie has hit a whole bunch of them right on target, or even ahead of schedule. She's sitting up unassisted, jabbering, holding objects in both hands and passing between the two.
Some of the testing areas have outdated benchmarks, Bobbi explained. Now that babies are sleeping on their backs, very few if any roll over between two and four months of age... yet that's on the test. Ellie still isn't rolling over on a consistent basis... so there's a big fat "F" (fail) marked in that category :(
Most of her test shows "P's" (pass) but there are a few other F's. Ellie can't clap yet — but how many 7-month-olds can? She also isn't waving good-bye. We're working on it, people!
I'm trying to keep my sense of humor on this whole testing thing, but in some ways I really take it to heart. I actually got a lump in my throat during the conference, when hearing about areas where Ellie needs work. This crazy, protective feeling swelled up in me and I wanted to shout: "She's perfect!" Thankfully, I did not. I'm sure Brian appreciates when I don't let the "crazy mom" in me take over!
So many fellow moms have told me that babies hit milestones at their own pace. Yet, these benchmarks are still out there and hard to ignore! I want Ellie to be where she's supposed to be developmentally. But where exactly is that?
OK, I'm mostly venting here. I'm not really that worried about Ellie. She's a happy, healthy baby girl who can do a whole lot of things already. She truly amazes me every day. I don't care if she's pulling herself up to sitting or making funny grunting noises as she fills her pants... too bad that last one wasn't on the test!
And I don't mean to sound down on her day care either. They do an amazing job working with her and teaching her things. And Bobbi began and ended today's conference by saying that Ellie is doing great. Now there's a test result I can get on board with.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

NOT a teething toy


Ellie has just started lunging at almost everything in her sight... including, the other day, my foot! I guess she decided that if she can chew on her own feet, she should also attack mine. I was glad my socks were clean. But I still only let her do it one more time — once I had the camera ready :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

One more...

Here's a fresh picture from Ellie working on her tummy at school today... She's heading into the great unknown, though not with any great speed since she's not exactly mobile!

Ellie's Everest

TUMMY TIME! Ellie's homework from day care and her doctor is to get more comfortable spending time on her tummy. She's not been much of a fan of it since birth, but it's important for her development... so we're trying to get her on board. We try to distract her and help entertain her when she's working on tummy time. Ellie loves when we stack up blocks for her to tip over!

Ellie enjoys spending tummy time on either mom's or dad's belly. I'm sure they're nice and soft for her to lay on :) And this way she can slobber all over us and see our faces. She's gotten really good at scooting up so that she can really land some drool right on my face...

We also just pulled out this keyboard, which is a lot of fun for Ellie. The dogs are a little less enthused when they walk on it and it starts making noise. Very funny!(P.S. Here Ellie is sporting a T-shirt Aunt Jen, Uncle Dan and cousin Mason brought her from Disney World! It was practically summer weather here on Wednesday, and Ellie and I spent a ton of time outside. She looked very summer-ready in her fun Winnie the Pooh T-shirt. Thanks guys!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mom and puppies (by Brian)

It was bound to happen sooner or later.
Ellie has been equal-opportunity with mom and dad since she was born. Either of us would do when she wanted to play, be held, eat or be rocked when she was fussy. But lately, it's becoming painfully obvious that Ellie has started favoring Dorothy over me.
I knew it would happen sooner or later, and I've been told that her preferences will go back and forth over time. But there's something tough about picking up your daughter and having her wriggle a little and reach for mom.
In a way, I'm glad it happened this way first. I think Dorothy would have a much more difficult time with it than I am. She takes these things to heart. It's not that I'm not taking it to heart just a little, but Dorothy just has a tougher time when it comes to stuff like this.
I guess the good thing is that one day, she'll probably swing back to being daddy's girl. I'll get to gloat that she's had it the other way, and decided on dad. And Dorothy will know how it feels and let me have my moments, as fleeting as they'll surely be.
Oh, the headline mentions puppies. No matter who is in the room, Radar and Muzzy always win out over mom and dad. Ellie can't get enough of watching them romp and roughhouse on the floor together.
So the real battle here is not which parent she favors, I guess, but which species.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

First tooth!

I discovered this morning that Ellie has her first tooth coming in! For real, this time. There's actual tooth through the gums, I'm not just hypothesizing :) It might explain when she's been a little cranky the past few weeks.
This is the best I could do when I tried to get a picture of this miniscule tooth peeking through her gums! It's there, I swear.
And here she is being a trooper at the doctor's office, even though she had to get two more shots. She also weighed in at 19 lbs, 2 oz. And the doctor gave her a clean bill of health. No ear infections, yay!
We walked to and from the doctor's office (which is only about a half mile away) and the weather was gorgeous! And we met up with Janet's weekly play group on the way home at the park. I have today off since I'm working on Saturday this week -- fun today, but won't be fun come this weekend. Oh well.
Ellie slept through most of the play group, which was OK since she's not really big enough to do much playing yet. The other kids are all over a year old.
But Ellie woke up near the end and got to visit with Janet for a bit.
Meanwhile, Janet's son, Isaac, fell asleep on the swing! Too cute. I guess he played himself right out. That's the sign of a tired boy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ellie in print :)

Ellie made the paper this morning! Here's the picture that ran with it, and you can check out my column HERE

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Go bananas... not so much

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We introduced veggies to Ellie first because I've heard most babies love fruit so much that they'll have a hard time with veggies after tasting "the good stuff." Well, we finally decided to give Ellie her first fruit this morning. She did NOT love it.... Bananas will not be on her menu for now, but we'll probably try apple sauce tomorrow. Maybe that will be more to her liking. I'm so glad Brian had the camera going for this meal because her expressions are priceless :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ellie's first purse

Ellie is very easily distracted from nursing these days. And one of her favorite "distractions" is mom's purse. She's always reaching for it, patting the side and trying to pull things out of it. I've started hiding it out of her sight in the room where I feed her lunch, or I just don't take it with me. I did give in the other day to let Ellie wear it for awhile!
And then her Grandma Linda gave her the perfect present this past weekend: Her own purse! Ellie's soft-fabric purse comes complete with a stuffed cell phone, keys and a lipstick. I showed her below how to use her phone hands-free.
Here she is ready to hit the mall!

And you can't see it in this picture, but the item in her left hand says "credit card" on the other side. I told her it doesn't have a very high limit, though. You can see how pleased she was with that news.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

7 months

Here's Ellie's Top 10 at seven months:
  • 1. Babbling up a storm. I joke every so often that I hear her say big words — "daddy," "mama" or even "Eleanor" — but I don't think she's quite reached that milestone yet. She sure likes to hear herself talk, though! And we love it, too.
  • 2. Eating veggies and rice cereal. She's back to eating like a champ, after her hiatus for a couple days. The biggest obstacles are when Ellie decides to chew, talk or blow bubbles right as we put the spoon full of food in her mouth. The only bigger mess comes when she sneezes during meal time!
  • 3. Sitting up and playing with toys. She loves just about everything we put in her hands, whether it's soft blocks, rings, board books or a paper plate.
  • 4. Reaching for everything in our hands. If Ellie sees it, she wants it! I've learned to keep a strong grip on any cup or papers I'm holding if Ellie is in the other arm — because she inevitably reaches out and gives it a good yank.
  • 5. Laughing! I'll have to get some video up on this, but she is really giggling a LOT these days. She is ticklish sometimes and loves getting "whooshed" in the air. Proof to come.
  • 6. Putting her feet in her mouth. I noticed a fuzz on her chin the other day after changing her. It was sock lint left behind!
  • 7. Listening to bedtime stories. Part of our routine almost every night is for dad to read a story while I feed her before bed. We're currently reading her chapters from the Classic Pooh book, for the second time. Brian does a pretty great Eeyore voice. Maybe I'll get video of that, too?
  • 8. Jumping and bouncing. Ellie goes a little nuts whenever she's in her exersaucer, especially the ones at school because they have more springs for jumping. And if we're holding her in a standing position in our laps, all she wants to do is bounce, bounce, bounce.
  • 9. Learning how to get what she wants... this one isn't entirely positive, but it's clear that Ellie is learning how to "win." She'll often cry and fuss until one of us picks her up or sits on the floor with her. We know that she's aware of how it works because we (and the ladies at school) have found that she'll quiet just from seeing us walk toward her. But if we veer in another direction or don't come to actively play with her, she starts fussing again. We will continue working on getting Ellie to entertain herself for longer stretches.
  • 10. When we're not trying to teach her important lessons, though, a favorite in our house is cuddle-time. Ellie will sometimes give us hugs, and when she's getting sleepy she'll lay her head down on my shoulder. It absolutely melts my heart. Just when I think I can't possibly love her any more, she goes and gets even more adorable and wonderful.
Happy 7 months, Ellie!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Happy 80th Great-grandma Ellie

We all had fun visiting St. Louis this past weekend. We timed to trip to coincide with great-grandma Eleanor's 80th birthday. I know Ellie was psyched to help her celebrate!
Ellie got plenty of love and attention from her great-grandparents, grandparents and others. See some of the weekend's pictures below: Ellie being a parrot on Grandpa's shoulder :)

The great-grandparents treated us to a breakfast at Golden Corral. Here's both Ellies in one picture!
Grandma had a lot of fun playing with Ellie on the floor and snuggling her in her arms.
Here's great-grandpa and great-grandma (i.e. the Birthday Girl)



Ellie is a very big girl in her own highchair at the Olive Garden. She didn't get to order off the menu just yet, but was still a very active part of the meal. She didn't stop talking/babbling the whole time we were there!

Ellie and Jacob had fun playing together Friday night. Here they are hanging out before bedtime. This picture might come back to haunt the "young couple" down the road...


Ellie also got to see her Grandpa Wallheimer and Aunt Sarah. She was a big fan of grabbing grandpa's beard :)