500! And an Easter Egg Hunt

Well, this is apparently my 500th post!  In many ways I feel like this should have come like 3 years ago, and it would have if I had continued blogging consistently.  Alas, I haven’t so instead we get post 500 today.

On Saturday our church did a community Easter Egg hunt, which was a really great event.  They did crafts and activities and then of course a massive Easter Egg hunt.  Eleanor was interested in the eggs, but more interested in the contents of the eggs.  This meant we had to really go to the edges of the hunt to even get the eggs since other kids were really quick at snatching them up, and Ellie would pick one up and then spend a couple minutes trying to open it, then another couple examining the contents.

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Eleanor and her friend M

The highlight of the day for E was probably the parachute.  I thought at first she might be timid, but she charged right in and couldn’t get enough, giggling and smiling and squealing in delight.
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Of course I didn’t get pictures during the actual hunt because I was busy holding a hand and guiding along, but rest assured it was cute.  After, Eleanor couldn’t wait to find her cousin Claire (they separated the kids by age for the hunt) and was quick to walk hand-in-hand.  So sweet!
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Overall it was a great day!  A little windy, but sunny and warm and the kids all had a blast.

And now for the only picture that I took on actual Easter in her actual Easter dress.
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She’s gotten really old, hasn’t she?  Looking all grown up these days…

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Rainy Days

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Rainy days are FINALLY here, and Eleanor could not be happier.  This girl loves umbrellas so much that we must hide them, otherwise she will throw a tantrum if we leave the house and don’t let her have her “brella.”  Further complicating matters, she isn’t content holding an umbrella that is collapsed–it must be open, and she must carry it herself.  Going into the store/library/house becomes a point of contention, since we won’t let her go indoors with the umbrella open, and that is not acceptable to her.  She has gotten better, but it always takes a few minutes to move past the issue.  Dang, does she look adorable with that umbrella, though!  She loves nothing more than throwing on those rainboots, grabbing her umbrella, and heading out into the rain to do some good, old fashioned puddle jumping (or “splash” as she refers to it).

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Also, she does not own a raincoat (oops) and she DID have a scarf and hat on, but she quickly took them off because they interfered with her splashing.  She also enjoyed standing under the roof dripline and getting soaked by the big water droplets.  She’s a nut.

In other news, whether it was from said “splashing,” or just from generally being in public around other people, Eleanor has contracted a cold.  Thankfully for me, it is not one that involves copious amounts of snot–those who know me well know that snot is NOT my thing.  It really really grosses me out and I can’t handle it.  Anyway, enough on that.  Whatever she has is more of a chest congestion/cough thing, poor girl.  A quick funny though–her voice is a little raspy, and the other morning she was “exploring” her newly acquired raspy voice, having fun with the strange sounds she could make with it.  SO, back to this illness thing.  Unfortunately, little ones can’t really take much, but she’s been having a tough time sleeping so this mama went a little crunchy and decided to try some things that are a little more natural.

After a trip to the health food store, I came home armed with homeopathic tablets (Eleanor loves these, calling them her “num nums” and is sad she only gets 5 of them 3 times a day), essential oils for breathing easier, and ingredients for a homemade cough “salve” you apply to the bottom of the person’s feet that is supposed to stop the coughing.  Brandon has made plenty of jokes about me having my seance (with the essential oils and candle oil diffuser–don’t worry, we don’t leave this lit in Eleanor’s room), but by golly, she does seem to be breathing easier.  Also, she still has a few coughs with the salve, but she does seem to be coughing less SO I’ll consider it a win.  Plus the bottoms of her feet are extra moisturized now!

In case anyone is curious about my crunchy measures, here is what I have been using:

For breathing easier, I have been using Olbas Oil in a diffuser (now I want an electric one, but for now we’ve been getting by with a ceramic candle diffuser purchased at the dollar store)

For the salve, I made this recipe for a natural cough remedy

For the homeopathic tablets, I have been using Boiron’s Spongia Tosta

Anyone have any go-to methods for fighting colds in the toddler crowd?

Growing Up!

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Kids…they just grow up so fast, don’t they? It’s been amazing to watch Eleanor’s personality and vocabulary explode lately.  She has taken to saying things like “It’s beautiful, mama!” or “Mmm…delicious!” and even “Here, Mama, I’ll trade you!”  She enjoys singing, or more specifically singing songs from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which is a-ok with me.  I pretty much melt instantly when I hear her little voice sweetly singing “I like you, just the way you are…” or “keep trying, you’ll get be-e-tter!”

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Her imagination is taking off as well, “making” things in her little kitchen, and “hiking” around our living room.  Her current favorite activity is stirring up a pot of beads, spooning it out and telling me to “try this!”  It’s amazing the little phrases she parrots back to us.  When she spoons me some of said beads (often they are “blueberries” which I find hilarious, because she refuses to eat blueberries but she likes pretending about them!) and then after one bite will say while putting the lid on the pot “Okay, all gone! That’s all we have!”

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She also enjoys stacking things, or rather she enjoys stacking them so she can knock them down.  I finally found some blocks for her, because she had taken to stacking packages of diapers and wipes since we didn’t have any blocks around.  Our local library also has those large cardboard box blocks, so we try and take E to the library and let her play with those as well.

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E is also getting more adventurous!  Now, that said, she still asked my sister to help her step over the hose in her yard this morning, but she confidently can step from the sidewalk to the grass now, so I consider that a win.  She also can be found running around at the park, yelling “Mama, where are yoooooooooou?” as she runs directly away from me.  She also greatly enjoys the medium and small slides (we have done the large slide a few times, but she seems to enjoy the independence of the other two slides–the large slide requires some team effort) and the swings.  I love seeing her physical confidence grow, as she climbs up and down the play equipment and runs after other children, laughing and smiling.

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I was watching her the other night and was struck at how amazing kids are–it is such an honor and blessing to be able to watch her learn and grow, developing into a more independent, self-sufficient little human.  Now for the humorous part of this epiphany moment, let me describe the scene which stuck me: Ellie was sitting in the bath, talking into a bucket (with the bucket completely covering her face).  I was just marveling at how there was definitely something going on in her head, a scene playing out.  There she sat, totally uncaring what anyone around her thought about her antics, entertained completely by what she was doing.  It was also a nice moment to step back and realize we can be happy with so little, if we would only let ourselves. Right? So, now my question for you is what are your truly simple pleasures in life, or have you had an epiphany moment in life lately? Big or small, what was it?

Words

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Eleanor has been increasing her vocabulary lately, although I’m not sure it has been the most traditional expansion. She says typical toddler things like mama, dada, doggie, kitty, ball, etc. some of her other favorite words, however, include door and window.

Of course, she also has her own spin on the pronunciation of words. The following is a list of some of her words with pronunciation:
Window: noy-no
Shoe: oosh
Paci (what we call the pacifier): bah-mmm. We have NO clue how she came up with this one
Water: caca. Seriously. And the girl actually loves water. Again, no clue how she came up with this.
Bruce (her aardvark): Booce
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(here she is handing me the “phone” aka wii controller)

Other funny little word-related things:
She has started telling me to sit when I am feeding her. Frequently I will hand her food in her high chair while I do things in the kitchen, but now she will tell me to sit and doesn’t like to take the food until I sit next to her.
Any time she sees a pair of shoes she starts saying “Oosh! Oosh! Oosh!” On repeat. She also says this if one of her shoes falls off, which is quite handy. Related: she has taken to putting on my flipflops and trying to walk around the house.
She loves giving an affirmative answer by saying “mmm-hmm!” And nodding instead of saying yes. She has no problem saying no, and emphasizes it with a firm head shake.
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She truly is the sweetest, most fun and adorable little girl and she is growing up so fast!  I’m sad that I haven’t recorded more along the way, but I am comforted knowing that I’ve spent much quality time just soaking in the memories.

Overdue Update

I really have to just stop apologizing for the infrequent posts and accept that as the norm, or get on my game.  I’d like to do the latter, but we’ll see.

Anyway it’s been since April, so there is a lot of catching up to do.  Now, to do an abbreviated catch-all post, or stretch it out over a few posts…how ambitious am I feeling?  Decisions, decisions.  I’ll start with the present and then hopefully backfill later.  SO.  Now we begin with today.

My sister and I have been wanting to hang out for a while, but between her kids getting sick and my work schedule, nothing has worked out in an embarrassingly long time.  Today, however, the stars aligned and Eleanor and I went out to visit Aunt Jen and the cousins.  Nothing like the self esteem boost you get when, upon arrival, you are greeted by adorable jumping kiddos shouting “Auntie B! Auntie B!  ELLIEEEEE! Auntie B!!!”

We spent the morning attempting to put the littles down for a nap (success for Kieran, complete failure for Eleanor, but she was good humored about it all) and then making some homemade graham crackers (yum, I’ll have to find out where my sis got the recipe).  Once the other little one got up we let Kieran and Ellie hang out for some quality get-to-know-you cousin time.  Needless to say, it was Adorable with a capital A.

Notice Kieran holding Ellie’s foot in that last picture?  Too cute.  They mainly rolled around grabbing their toes and sticking out their tongues, which made us giggle.  Jen got some video, I’ll have to post that once it’s up on the internet.  Then came what I call The Great Thigh Comparison.

Eleanor and Kieran are around 6 weeks apart and about the same length.  Kieran’s hands and feet are bigger than Ellie’s, and Ellie weighs about 3+ pounds more than Kieran, and the circumference of her thigh is about 5x that of Kieran’s.  It was ridiculously adorable.  And for those concerned, no I am not worried about the size of Ellie’s thighs, or worried that she is overweight.  I know once she lengthens out and starts crawling/walking things will thin down.  For now, I find them one of her most endearing qualities.  I LOVE those thighs.

Post thigh time, we headed outside for a picnic lunch where Eleanor actually accepted some solids without tears for the first time–in fact, she seemed to enjoy them.  I’m not sure if it was the much more smooth consistency (store-bought instead of home-mashed by me), the flavor (peaches), the setting (on mom’s lap outside surrounded by her Aunt and cousins) or just the fact that she’s had a few more weeks to get used to this new concept, but I was excited.

Next came naps for everyone under 4 (some shorter than others, ehem Eleanor) and then the most exciting part of the day: SWIM LESSONS!  Claire and Conor have been in swim lessons for a couple months now and I’ve wanted to go watch but haven’t been able to yet.  Wednesday night, Jen messaged me and told me that their swim school had a free trial and suggested that Ellie and I come along and participate.  Great idea!  We picked up Grammy, grabbed some In-N-Out beforehand and then headed over to the pool for some swimming fun.  Ellie was a little bit crabby due to her massive nap failures throughout the day, but she seemed to not mind the lesson for the most part, and I think had she been more rested she would have actually enjoyed it. She liked the noodle-floating portion the best.  Jen and I died of cuteness.

I mean, seriously?  Between the bathing suit and those arms out while she floated along…I could barely stand it.

All in all it was a fantastic day, and now I’m anxious to find a place to put Eleanor in swim lessons more consistently.

Technology

My sister and I only live about 45 minutes apart, but between us there are 4 children (and 4 nap schedules), 2 jobs, 2 bridges…you get the picture (okay, who am I kidding…I only have one of those 4 children, but still.  I contribute to the number).  The reality is we don’t get to hang out nearly as much as we would like to.  Instead we have to be satisfied with phone conversations and our newest “discovery”–Skype.  Yes, we have known about Skype for a while but it has only been recently that we have actually started using it.

This is a typical scene during our chat sessions.  If I remember correctly, about 10 minutes later on this particular day I couldn’t see my sister at all because Claire decided to join the pile.

Now, if you have followed this blog at all there are countless posts about Claire.  Unfortunately Conor and Kieran have gotten MUCH less air time.  I would like to take this moment and gush a little about Conor.  This boy…sigh.  He is the biggest sweetheart EVER.  E-V-E-R.  As is common with boys, his verbal skills came along much more slowly than Claire’s (and who knows–maybe he didn’t feel the need to talk since his sister took care of most of the talking for him) but lately he has become much more talkative.

As soon as Eleanor appears on the screen, I hear a big intake of air and then “LELLIE!!!!” (well, sometimes it’s BABY!!!!).  He then spends the rest of the Skype time asking me to alternate between Eleanor and the cats.  It sounds a lot like this: “Kitty?  Kitty?” [I pan to the cats, giggles ensue] “Lellie?  Lellie” [I turn to Eleanor, giggles ensue] “Kitty?” You get the picture…He also likes to kiss the camera to show his affection.  How sweet is that?  There was one day where my poor sister’s computer was probably covered in fingerprints and lip marks because Conor and Claire both had about a 5 minute kiss session sending kisses my way.  The other day Conor was upset because Claire had gone somewhere without him, so I offered up an Ellie Skype session to make him feel better.  He was eating breakfast (pancakes, in case you are wondering), chatting it up with Eleanor and me.  We did the obligatory apartment tour (the cats, our exercise ball, and the baby), we made some animal noises (cats now say “rawr!” in case you were wondering), discussed the dinosaur on his shirt, and just enjoyed “hanging out.” Claire typically pops in to say hello, inquire about where Uncle B is, and then runs off to do whatever she was doing or asks to play games on the computer and Kieran just hangs out much like Eleanor does, but Conor truly seems to be the one that enjoys it most.

I love these sessions because I at least get to see this munchkins more than I would normally.  Conor has been much more interested in me since Eleanor came along, and I couldn’t be happier.  I love that little boy fiercely!  I mean, he brought my sister her robe after her shower the other day.  He isn’t even two!

Alright, enough of my little gush fest.  And no, Skype did not sponsor this post or have anything to do with it.

Photobooth {Belated}

Only a few months late, below is a photobooth picture Brandon, Eleanor and I took at the Renegade Holiday Craft Fair.  Eleanor was about 3 weeks old when these photos were taken.  Brandon and I had gone to this craft fair the previous two years, and taken a photobooth pic at each, so we decided to carry on the tradition with the addition of Eleanor.  Enjoy!  Also, note how she progressively is more and more asleep in each photo…