Friday, May 28, 2010

Back in action

As the doctor predicted, Ellie was back in action by yesterday afternoon. I was working from home for most of the day, but did take a couple breaks to play with Ellie. Now that she's crawling so much — and so fast! — we need to pen her in sometimes. She was so interested in the new gate that I let her hang onto it for a few minutes, and she proceeded to try and eat it :) Too funny. But at least she's not mad about the gate... yet.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ellie's surgery

The ear tubes are IN. And while our little girl is not happy right now, we're hopeful that this procedure will leave her better off in the long-run.

We woke her up before 6 a.m. today to head to the outpatient surgery center. Got there around 6:30 a.m., spent some time trying to distract her from how hungry she was (since there was no food or drink allowed until afterward)... and then in the span of about 15-20 minutes, she was being taken back by some nurses, we were escorted to the waiting area, the doctor came out and said it was finished and then a nurse walked out with our groggy baby. Ellie snapped out of the anesthesia pretty quick and made her feelings known! She screamed and cried a bunch at the center and when we got home, but now she's sleeping. I hope the turn-around is as quick and painless as the doctor told us it would be. She's supposed to be up and running around by this afternoon -- which I will be very impressed with, since she couldn't even walk yet before going in for surgery.

Oh, and here's a couple pics of the cutest patient EVER. The baby-sized hospital gown might be the cutest and saddest thing I've ever seen.
Yes, that's a rubber glove she's chewing on. At this point she was allowed to play with anything that made her happy... except mom's phone and coffee cup.

The winner!

I (Dorothy, here) am the victor in Month 1 of the weight loss challenge. I'm down about 3 pounds for the month... but Brian's number went up. He keeps saying I've only won the battle -- not the war. We'll see!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Baby weight

It seems Brian and I both have some "baby weight" that we could stand to lose. So one month ago we decided to start a weight loss challenge. Here's how it works: We will track our weight on the 26th day of each month and whoever has lost the largest percentage of body weight wins. (The percentage measurement is key because Brian and I have different weight starting points!)
Brian did one of these challenges last year with a friend, and he had some pretty good success. Their competition got derailed, though, sometime after a month in which the "winner" was the person who gained less over the past 30 days! I like to tease him about that, but both of the guys did pretty well most months.

But we all know how easy it is to let the number on that scale slide back up. Brian and I are both prone to stress-eating, especially from the candy bowls in our respective offices. And in Brian's job, there's a lot of other temptations like lunches out and "Den pops," which are half-gallon-sized sodas sold for around 75 cents on campus. I can understand the allure of the "deal"... but I also know that hundreds of calories hide out in a drink that size. I also have some temptations to avoid around the newsroom, including cakes from a co-worker who likes to celebrate almost every employee's birthday by baking. It's a sweet gesture, but I've had to learn to decline the frequent slices.
The stakes for the competition Brian and I are in are as follows: The winner each month gets to pick a weekend day and basically rule our schedule. The winner gets to choose what we do — projects and fun stuff — and what we eat all day. We all know how much compromise is involved in every day of a marriage, so the prospect of being the final say for a day is enticing. And we have grand prizes on the horizon. We're planning to run the competition until Nov. 26 — our anniversary and the seven-month mark in the challenge — at which point the winner of the most months gets to choose a high-priced electronics "toy." Right now I'm pushing for a GPS watch, but that may change, and Brian is working toward a Wii game system. (And before you chime in that his prize is something we both can enjoy, I'll point out that he could use the running watch, too. AND he had the opportunity, and still does, to pick a Kindle as his prize... but he changed his mind.)

So, today marks the end of Month 1... and the winner is: We don't know.
We forgot that it was a weigh-in day until after Brian had already eaten breakfast this morning. We're trying to keep the weigh-ins fair by doing them first thing in the morning... so we'll find out tomorrow. But Brian hasn't tried very hard this month, by his own admission. He's not expecting to win — and is already strategizing how he's going to get ahead next month. I've been doing pretty well over the past month, thanks in part to the half marathon I finished training for and ran. Hopefully I can keep the pace up!
Our competition is pretty good-natured. But we're both competitive, so I'm expecting to see some major results in those scale readings over the remainder of the year. I just need to steer clear of that dang candy bowl!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Puppy love

Ellie has always been interested in the dogs, but recently she's started giggling and smiling whenever they come in the room. It's very cute. And she really like to pet (i.e. pull the hair or tail of...) Muzzy. Of course, that's dangerous business given how much Muzzy likes to lick faces. I think Ellie is learning that! But she still loves to be near those doggies.

Monday, May 24, 2010

She crawls!

Ellie started crawling tonight! This video doesn't even do it justice. After we shot this video, as we were playing before bath time, she started crawling all the way across her room! We are just amazed at the progress she made overnight. Man, what's next?!

How big is Ellie?

SO big! (p.s. you may have to kick-start the video to get it going... not sure why, but pushing it forward a couple seconds seems to work.)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lucky duck

As Brian and I sit here collapsed on our Sunday evening, I can't help thinking Ellie got the better end of a lot of deals this weekend.

On Saturday morning the whole family participated in a 5-kilometer race in West Lafayette. Mom and dad ran, while Ellie rode in the stroller. She even napped on part of the course.. and still she crossed the finish line first! What a speedster.
Then today, Ellie woke up early... ate breakfast, played and then took a nice long nap while Brian mowed the lawn and trimmed (and mom got to go for a short run and work on laundry). She napped again this afternoon while Brian and I finished spreading the third of four yards of mulch we had delivered Friday. We're slightly exhausted now.

Ellie must have gotten enough fresh air and play time this weekend to wear her out, too. She's sleeping like a baby now... and mom and dad aren't far behind her.
But here are a couple pics of Ellie showing off her cuteness. I love how scrunched up her face gets when she's smiling big :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

The verdict...

Ear tubes.
The ENT looked at her ears and found, as expected, two full-blown ear infections. I asked about options, but he said our only other course of action would be to continue antibiotics. Those just aren't working. And there are risks associated with letting these ear infections continue. Not to mention that Ellie's speech and development could be impacted by having fluid interfering with everything inside her head.
We have the surgery scheduled for next Thursday morning. I got pretty emotional when he talked us through the risks — potential damage to the ear drum, infection or bleeding.... These potential side effects seem to only impact less than 3 percent of cases. (Somehow that doesn't make me feel great, but I'm trying to be rational.)
I know our little girl is strong. Ellie IS going to be fine.
We really appreciate all the support, as we freak out more than necessary about all of this! We're first-time parents at our worst right now.

Bring in the specialist

Ellie's ears are not in good shape. She spiked another fever Wednesday afternoon and it's still hanging around today. By the time we got her in to see the nurse practitioner Thursday afternoon it was up to 102. The culprit: Those dang ear infections.
Ellie has another/or the same ear infection in her left ear. And another one in her right. I am just amazed that she can develop more infections while still on the antibiotics! Just this morning we gave her the last dose of medicine from the previous round of ear infections.
So here is the new plan:
-The nurse practitioner sweet-talked the ENT into fitting Ellie in today... instead of waiting for the appointment we had scheduled in June. We hopefully will know more after the 1:30 appointment.
-She was going to get an antibiotics injection at the dr's office yesterday, because the oral ones obviously aren't working... but they decided to have us wait and see what the ENT thinks today.
-The likely treatment plan is going to be putting in ear tubes.

And here's what I'm thinking, and by "thinking," I mean *freaking out* about.
Our baby might need surgery!! I'm not sure what I thought went into ear tubes, but I've heard so many people talk nonchalantly about the procedure. I hadn't thought about the baby having to be put under general anesthesia, but I doubt the doctor would want to attempt putting microscopic tubes through the ear drum of a wiggly, awake baby.
Still, when I started doing online research on the procedure yesterday -- BIG mistake -- I got more and more nervous. Yes, it's the most common surgery done on children under 4... but there are still risks (as there are with any surgery). And this is our baby!!
I'm really hoping to get some good information from the doctor this afternoon. And maybe all my worrying is premature. We'll be asking about alternate options, as neither Brian or I want to rush into a surgical solution. BUT, knowing all that isn't making me any less nervous/sad/scared for Ellie.

The only silver lining of her illness this week is that mom and dad are getting more time with her. Brian took off work yesterday to stay home with her -- since she's not allowed at day care with a fever. I'm home with her this morning and we're having a fun, cuddly good time.
Anyone think I can hug these ear infections out of her? Seems like a medically sound course of treatment.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mothers Day... belated

And here are some pictures of our Mother's Day picnic with Rob, Nutter and baby Rosalie.
I like this picture even though we're not looking at the right camera! It's definitely tough to take group pictures with babies involved.
And here are the proud dads with their girls. (Ellie is a little more interested in looking at her hands...)

Ellie and Rosalie "playing" together — i.e. on blankets near each other. Ellie was eating a piece of roll, which helped distract her from trying to pull Rosalie's pretty hat off. Silly girls.
And here we are headed out for a walk. These guys did an 18.6-mile race together last October, but I know Brian was happier to just do a short stroll around the park this time.
Tired babies! I guess all the fresh air and "playing" together really took it out of them. What a great day :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Photo dump :)

OK, finally got some of the great pictures from the weekend off the camera. Here is Aunt Candice and Uncle Ben lovin' on Ellie at a post-race lunch. And here's Ellie with my mom's best friend, "Aunt" Betzy. It was SO great to see her while we were up in Green Bay!

Here's Ellie allowing "stinky mom" to hold her after the race Sunday. Oh yeah, that's Lambeau in the background...
Here's Ellie sporting her race-day shirt. She WAS born a Packers fan :)
Yay for being able to spend a weekend with Ben at the Packers turf. I loved being able to catch up with him and get some quality time with my bro.

SO true! Even Ellie agrees.
The family in Lambeau!!!!
Ellie having fun with Aunt Candice, even before she got cookie pieces from her!

Welcome to Lambeau!!!
Yeah, that's serious. We're at Lambeau...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Leapin' Lambeau

OK, so I didn't actually attempt a "Lambeau Leap" this past weekend — but I did think about it! In the final half mile of the race I ran on Sunday, the course looped into the players' tunnel at Lambeau and out to the field. I still can't believe I was on the ground inside Lambeau Field, home of my beloved Green Bay Packers. I was absolutely exhausted from the 12.5 miles I'd run leading up to the point, but the experience gave me enough of a rush to sprint across the finish line a couple minutes later.
I finished the race in 2:03:50, which is only about a minute slower than my PR. I had no plans to set a new best time at this race, so I was thrilled to come as close as I did. My training was far from perfect, thanks to all of the added responsibilities in my life these days. But I take great pride in being able to run as fast as I did!
And my little brother, Ben, did amazing in the full marathon — as usual! He didn't hit his goal time, but still finished 11th place (out of 7,000 runners) with a time of 2:30:40. He's awesome.

(I'll add pictures later, but our camera is being weird...)

Here are some of the highlights from our family trip up to Green Bay this past weekend.
A few firsts:
  • My first time hearing "Go mom" from the race course sidelines — and having it apply to me, and not the other, older women running nearby! Kinda weird and awesome. Brian and Ellie (and future sister-in-law, Candice) really pumped me up by cheering at miles 4 and 10.
  • It was also the first race in which I had to budget extra early-morning time to nurse before heading to the starting line... That meant a 5 a.m. wake-up call, but Ellie is worth it :)
  • When I really started to hurt during the run, it was the first time I could think to myself with real assurance: "My body can do something much more painful than this and get by!" After experiencing childbirth, I think a lot of things sound easier.
  • The first race where I really felt like my dad was running alongside me. He's the main reason I work so hard at running and to stay healthy. And he's certainly the reason I cheer so hard for the Packers! I know he was looking down from heaven and, in a way, was with us at the race Sunday. He was such a Green Bay fan that I know he would not miss it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ready, set...

Brian, Ellie and I are off to the race tomorrow. We're making the trek up to Green Bay for the half marathon I'm running on Sunday morning. That's right, we're going to Packers country!
I'm very excited, especially since I've never been to Lambeau Field -- which is where the race finishes :)
I'm sure this will be quite the adventure. I'll post more when we return. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Another one...

Poor Ellie has yet another ear infection. She had a low-grade fever Monday evening that we attributed to teething -- which seemed logical since we can feel one of her top teeth coming through. But an hour into day care on Tuesday, I got a call with the news that her temp had spiked to 102. I got her into see the doctor Tuesday afternoon, and she discovered the new infection in her left ear. (The one from just three weeks ago was in her right ear... but it has to be some sort of record that she got a new ear infection within five days of finishing her antibiotics for the last one.)
We were lucky to get some help last night from a friend, Holly, who I work with at the newspaper. I had a special nighttime assignment for work that I couldn't get out of and Brian had his monthly Science Cafe, a program he organizes for Purdue. We had originally set up for Ellie to go to the neighbor's for a couple hours, but we didn't want to expose their son to Ellie's germs. So Holly came over at the last minute and watched Ellie. It sounds like they had a pretty good time, considering that Ellie was sick and cranky. And we were SO grateful for the last-minute help! Last night was one of those times that we realized how hard it is not to have any family in town. We're lucky to have friends we can impose on in a jam :)
Ellie's fever is still raging today. It was 101.8 this morning, but seems to have gone back down with a new round of Tylenol (generic, since the name brand stuff has all been recalled).
Not only is it heartbreaking to see Ellie hurting, she's not allowed back to day care until she's been fever-free for 24 hours. I'm at home with her for a couple hours this morning and then will head into work when Brian gets done with a meeting he had to attend. He's taking the rest of the day off to run daddy-day-care.
The new ear infection means we have an appointment to see an ear, nose and throat doctor at the beginning of June. Ellie may have some tubes in her future... but we'll see. Since we're at or near the end of the cold season, there's still a chance she might not need them. But we hate seeing her with all these ear infections.
Here's hoping for a quick recovery for our baby girl.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Photo shoot

I haven't had time to get Ellie in for new professional photos anywhere recently, so I tried to do my own photo shoot with her in our front yard last week. I absolutely love the photo above.
And these next ones are just fun and cute. I'm going to keep working on my photo-taking skills with our new camera. It's not super fancy, but it takes good pictures and I just need to keep experimenting with different light and settings.

I've set up a photo page through Shutterfly that I believe anyone can visit to view/buy prints of our pictures. Hopefully it works. The site is:

Oh, and we had a great Mother's Day weekend. I had to work Saturday, but still had some fun with Brian and Ellie before going in to the office. And on Sunday we met our friends Rob and Mary for a great picnic. I'll post pictures later. Hope everyone else had a great weekend and made sure to say "I love you" to mom! Ellie hasn't quite mastered the phrase yet, but she said a lot of "ma-ma" yesterday. I'll take it :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Feeling like a mom

I got to spend some time at Ellie's day care this morning because the teachers in her room hosted a Mother's Day brunch for the moms. It was very sweet! And I got a painted flower pot from Ellie as a gift. I'm pretty sure Ellie painted it all by herself :) I love it and already showed it off to my co-workers.

I've been thinking a lot this week about how much I feel like a mom — which I suppose is good since I've been one now for quite some time!
It really hits me sometimes, though. One such occasion was last week when I was battling a cold. As I fished a Kleenex out of my purse one day I thought, 'Wow... I'm officially there.'
I will forever associate Kleenex with my mom because she is never without one! If I went into her house right now and borrowed a coat, I could almost guarantee I'd find at least one tissue in the pocket. Even most of the sweatshirts probably have a spare tissue hiding out inside the cuff of the sleeve. I guess she's always had bad allergies — and had a lot of kids' noses to wipe! — so Kleenex became her constant companion over the years.
I had another mom moment last night as I shared food with Ellie. We're trying out new finger foods with her, so I cut up a few pieces of banana for her tray and then ate the rest of the banana myself. I know it's not a big deal, but I felt like I'd "arrived" as a mom who eats her kid's leftovers while running around trying to do a dozen other things at the house. I know, how exciting.
I'm sure this will probably change over the years, but I'm still in the honeymoon phase of mommy-hood right now. I don't mind having to wipe Ellie's nose, hands and hair. And even when I'm starving, I don't usually mind having to figure out her meal before getting to eat my own. OK, there are times when I get frustrated — usually when I can't even find a moment to hit the bathroom. But the rewarding and "wow" moments of being a mom FAR outnumber those frustrating moments.
Right now I can honestly say that being a mom — in all of its unglamorous glory — is about the best role I've ever had. And I'd probably say that even if Ellie hadn't given me the flower pot this morning.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ellie's first wedding

Even though the reception was too late in the evening for Ellie, she came with us to her first wedding ceremony on Saturday. Linda took this family picture for us before we left and I think it turned out so cute! I love the look on Ellie's face — like she's thinking, 'Yeah, I know I look good!'

Here's Ellie being super cute and fun at the church. We were worried about her having a total meltdown during the wedding because she refused to take her afternoon nap Saturday, but instead she was hamming it up for the people around us. We actually got scolded by some strangers at the reception for not bringing Ellie with us... I guess they didn't get enough of her earlier in the day. She IS very fun.

And even though Ellie is squinting like a pirate, I had to include this one of her and her friend Jacob, who was a ring bearer in the wedding. Such cuties!

And here's a couple pics of Jacob and Ellie playing together on Sunday. Jacob, who's almost 15 months, is giving kisses now... though Ellie wasn't too sure what she thought of it!
At one point they started talking (i.e. babbling and shrieking) to each other. Wonder what they were saying...

Weekend trip

We went to St. Louis last weekend to visit Brian's family and attend a friend's wedding. It was a very fun weekend. Ellie got some quality time in with her grandparents and great-grandparents, although she is still a little fussy sometimes when Brian or I hand her off.
Still, she was a great traveler in the car and had some good visiting time. Above she's playing with great-grandpa Joe's hand.
And below she was playing in Grandma Linda's wash basket. Ellie is lucky that her grandma and grandpa love her so much... because she was very fussy on Saturday night when Brian and I left her to go to the wedding reception. I believe the report was that she cried and screamed basically until she passed out for the night. Not exactly the fun night of babysitting that the grandparents were hoping for. Sorry again, Linda and Bob!

Here's the happy great-grands holding Ellie. And below is a double-take: Two Ellies!

And I had to throw this one in because it's such a cute picture of daddy and Ellie playing on Saturday morning :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

9 months

Happy 9-month birthday to our little girl! Ellie is showing so many signs of being a "big girl" these days. We looked at some pictures the other day of Ellie in her first couple months home... and we can't believe how much she's grown. Here's a look at Eleanor Anne at 9 months:

1. Laughing and smiling, SO much!
2. She's right on the verge of crawling and walking. Ellie can rock and hang off the edge of furniture with the best of them :)
3. Scooting. Ellie is really good at going backwards, so far...
4. Covering some ground: Just in the past couple days I realized how effective she is in getting to toys and non-baby things that she wants to grab, even though she doesn't use any traditional techniques of crawling or rolling yet. She's unique.
5. Pmphlpmphttttttt!! She loves making farty noises, especially at the least appropriate times (i.e. church)
6. Clapping about anything and everything. Apparently mom and dad are very applause-worthy.
7. Waving, just a little. Brian has been working very hard on bye-bye with her, and Ellie is finally starting to wave with some consistency.
8. Eating some new foods. Just today she had bits of bagel and a couple small pieces of black olives. We're hoping to keep expanding her diet.
9. Putting blocks in a bucket. She's not quite fitting them through the right shape holes, but Ellie is good at dumping out her bucket of blocks and then slowly dropping ones back in.
10. Sharing? She just started reaching toys out to us when she's playing, as if she's offering to share. Sometimes she'll let go if we reach to take them and say "thank you".... sometimes she hangs on and pulls them back to her. Either way it's cute! But we'll keep working on sharing.

That's the top 10 we can come up with for now... but stay tuned, as she's growing so fast every day!