Eleanor, the nut


This is Eleanor at 16 months.  She is happy, she is sweet, she is a nut.  On the day these were taken, we were playing the sunglasses game.  I would put them on her face, and she would move around, trying to keep them on.  When they fell off, she would attempt to put them back on, have trouble, then hand them to me to start the cycle again.

Eleanor sings and babbles all.  the.  time.  It’s absolutely adorable.  Her vocabulary is also expanding rapidly and she frequently parrots what I say.  For instance, I said “Oh MAN!” the other day and then heard a little echo behind me.  Her favorite words lately are “ball” and “doggie,” but her standard words include mama, dada, kitty, doggie, ball, up, thank you, bubble and cheese.  Some adorable words to watch her form are Stu (one of our cats’ names) and Lola (my sister’s dog).

She has adjusted quite easily to our new life, is sleeping great (at least has been the last week, knock on wood) and loves talking walks down First Street.  She loves seeing my family more frequently and hanging out with her cousins.  She has also taken a liking to Kieran’s tricycle, which is adorable to see.  Her favorite part is ringing the bell (it’s the kind of trike where she gets pushed) and she just sits there with a big grin.  If you stop, she makes it known she would like you to continue forward.

She is a good eater, but I am so painfully uncreative when it comes to feeding her!  Any suggestions for easy and varied meals for a 16 month old are welcome.  She loves cheese, bagels, eggs, yogurt, and her fruit purées.  I’m going to be working on getting her to eat fork mashed fruits/veggies because right now if I try and give her the non-puréed version she is not a happy camper.  I have found the best way to get her to try new things is to be eating them and wait for her to demand a bite–if I try and offer her a bite first she usually refuses.

Well, that’s E in a nutshell!  She is absolutely loving having her daddy home all the time and we love watching her grow and learn.


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.

One of these days…

One of these days I will write a post with substance.  Perhaps one that doesn’t cheat by just having a bunch of pictures of Eleanor and calling it a day.  This is not that day.  I want this blog to include plenty about Eleanor, but I also don’t want it necessarily to be all about her.  These days, however, it’s difficult not to write about her because well, 1. she’s so dang cute but 2.  she pretty much consumes my activities 24 hours a day. We haven’t gotten her to take a bottle yet (I admit the effort has been poor at best) which means she isn’t far from me for more than a couple hours at a time.

(Eleanor helping Brandon study for his exams and yes, she only has one sock on)

Not that I mind–she’s proved to be quite the entertaining sidekick!  I also have a backlog of non-iPhone photos to share, but they are still on my camera (along with some family portraits of my sister’s family…yes Jen, they are still on the camera…SIGH) and I just never seem to get around to downloading them.

(chatting with a polar bear.  That literally kept her entertained for about 30 minutes straight. Also, thighs!)

I have to admit it’s been a little overwhelming at times, being mom full time AND working part time AND attempting to keep up with chalk + dot.  I still dream of a day when chalk + dot can be a serious money maker, but for now I have to keep the day job.  These past few weeks we have gotten into a much better routine which has been great.

(Ellie and I out at lunch with Brandon)

For a while I was getting frustrated and upset because I felt I was always half doing something–half taking care of Ellie and half trying to work at the same time, which meant neither task was getting my full attention.  Of course in my sometimes-still-a-little-hormonal state I mentally spiraled down the road of how I was going to miss so much of Ellie growing up because I wasn’t able to focus on her.  After I got to the end of my mental pity party (I mean, let’s be real–I am fortunate to be able to be in the situation where I can stay at home and still earn money!) I decided to institute a strict schedule where work time is work time and Ellie time is Ellie time–no trying to combine the two.  I work while she naps and once she goes down at night.  When she is up, the laptop goes away.

(Ellie in her Easter best.  And yes, there are photos from Easter on the camera too)

So far for the most part my scheduled time has worked out quite well.  Of course there are days where naps are a mess and I don’t get any work done, but then I just put in extra time in the evening or the weekend and try not to get upset or frustrated.  I just have to accept that things are beyond my control and I just have to do the best that I can.

(Me: “Brandon, you need to see the look your daughter is giving me!”)

It’s amazing how quickly the time goes when your days are built around mini-cycles.  Wake up.  Feed.  Play.  Wind down.  Nap.  Wake up. Feed.  Play.  Wind down.  Nap.  Wake up.  Feed.  Play.  Maybe cat nap.  Bath.  Feed.  Bedtime for E, work time for me.  That’s my schedule in a nutshell.  The time seems to slow during the final cycle because Ellie gets a little crabby because she only gets a cat nap in but that means she is up for a longer period of time than normal.  She enjoys the bath so that helps pass the time but as you can imagine crabby baby = slowed perception of time.

(Mrs. Pickle in her new sun hat, waiting for Brandon to get his new glasses)

Well, I guess I ended up writing a little more substance than I had planned!  Check that out–675 words and counting. My goal for this blog going forward is to yes, chronicle the goings on of our life, but also incorporate a little more reflection, share a little more of the inside me.  We will see how that goes.  For now, I’ll leave you to stare at the pictures of Eleanor.  Go on, scroll back up to that picture of her with the polar bear and those amazingly scrumptious baby thighs.  You know you want to.

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…

Out and About

I live in San Francisco. This means it’s not always practical/convenient to drive; well, who am I kidding…it’s in fact rarely convenient to drive. Between getting the car and finding parking, it usually just doesn’t make much sense, especially because most things are within walking distance or are a quick bus ride away.

For my sanity and for the sake of fresh air, I try and get out at least once a day, and have done so since Eleanor was about a week old.

It’s amazing how much attention you get when you are out and about with a baby, especially a younger baby. People remark “Aww, a baby!” and ask how old, boy/girl, etc. I don’t mind these interractions typically (unless someone is trying to touch Ellie, then I mind) but sometimes people volunteer suggestions that are a little bit…unnecessary. I am always polite and return their comments with a smile or nod and then wait until I have my back to them to roll my eyes.

Some of the comments I have gotten are:

“It’s too cold to have her out in this weather!”
“She’s not warm enough!”
“Why are you holding her like that?”
“Can she breathe?” (this is when I had her in the Moby wrap, and she had face-planted into my chest. Yes, she could breathe, although I was tempted to say no, she can’t)

And my favorite, while taking Ellie on the bus:
“On the bus at this age! Well, she is going to be immune to everything…”

When Brandon and I are out with Eleanor and we get the comments, Brandon always remarks how I really can’t go anywhere without someone saying something. Nope…luckily I am confident enough in my parenting that nothing really gets to me. Smile at the time and then laugh when I recount the “advice” to Brandon later.

A Weekend Away


The week after my birthday proved to be a long week for some reason.  The baby was crabby and not sleeping well which puts a big drain on everyone.  On Friday around noon I was at a café working, and I got a call from Brandon asking what I was doing.  I said I was working, but just about to pack up and go home to which he replied “Good.  When you get home pack an overnight bag for you and Eleanor.”


Woohoo!  I love surprise getaways.  Brandon booked us a room at the Seal Cove Inn in Half Moon Bay, where I took him for his 29th birthday.  It’s a beautiful, cozy spot that is only 30 minutes from our home so you feel  like you’re getting far away without taking up the whole weekend to get there.


Between some good naps that day and just how relaxed Brandon and I were, Eleanor was amazing on the trip.  We had such a great time!  I even got a soak in the jacuzzi tub while Brandon entertained Ellie.  We took walks along the coast, watched a movie, ate, drank and just had an extremely relaxing time.  A jacuzzi tub, a fireplace, a comfy bed, fresh baked cookies…what more could a girl ask for?


Trips like this are a great refresher, reminding me of all I have to be thankful for (and it’s a lot!). Thanks to Brandon for making this trip happen…such great memories as one of our first family trips!