Friday, October 30, 2009

Crazy Talk.

What happened to the sweet, soft little coos? The biggest problem-- Pat loves it, and encourages it, while I roll my eyes. It's a conspiracy already.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Discoveries.

Elliot and I got out for a walk and the leaves were magnificent. I thought I had overdressed him, as it was pretty pleasant out, but after falling asleep in the wrap, his hands and arms were still pretty chilly when I unbundled him.

Elliot has found a new octave when he plays-- a lovely, high-pitched squeal that he learned gets him attention. So, the smart little dude has transferred that sound to his crying fits, too. Nice.

He has a new habit of sucking on his lower lip. Pretty funny. New sounds came with that one, but i don't think I can officially claim a "mama" yet. :)

We've turned him to face out when we take him in the Snuggly carrier or the Moby wrap and he loves it. There's so much to see, he has now taken to staying awake during errands, kicking and cooing, enjoying the escalator at Target to no end. I thought this was great, thinking then when I got home, he'd crash and I'd be able to get some odds and ends accomplished... nope, he decided it was good to be awake and got to that intense, over-tired phase where the giddiness quickly flips to tears. This happened two days in a row. You can see how Pat dealt with him-- he seemed content that way, and promptly fell asleep.

He also was moved from the bassinet in our room to his crib in the other bedroom. As much as Pat was resistant (which was pretty cute), Elliot of course did fine. We figured he would since he's been sleeping through the night relatively consistently. I even stopped swaddling him, as he'd fall asleep on the couch (bad habit he's getting from his mom and dad!?!?) and I'd just place him in bed. We thought all was going great, until he gave us two rough nights, and last night would not go to bed for all of the tea in China. And, this morning, he was a fussy mess until he got another nap in. Like one of my friends said, once you get everything rolling nicely, think you have it all under control, and things seem to be predictable, a growth spurt comes along and uproots all your efforts. Man, I hope these multiple, massive spit-ups disappear with the growth spurt... I think we both fashion a new outfit about 3 times a day!

Last night, Pat tried to teach him how to pet the kitty. He took a fistful of fur, and the cat was super patient.

He's doing better with the head control. Same signs of half-rolling over as before, no progress there. He's starting to discover his feet. We're almost at 3 1/2 months already. Time to get a high chair. Geez.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mini-Pat, check out those cheeks.

Can't seem to get it bigger; sorry to hurt your eyes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Pacifier?

Pat put Elliot on his shoulders for the first time the other night.  Elliot very quickly found Pat's ear and went to town... leaving Pat with a saliva-drenched ear.  It was quite funny to watch!

Gina visits from Seattle!

Before our last-minute trip to Ohio, our very close friend, Gina Elsen, came to stay with us on Friday.  She used to be our neighbor and would host almost weekly poker games.  In June, her and husband, Frank, and 1-year-old, Sophia, moved to Seattle, even though I did everything in my power to ransack their move.  Gina had a conference back here in Chicago for 5 days or so.  It's been awesome to catch up, and very nice to know that she was fine staying here on her own as we slipped off for the funeral.  Sadly, she's leaving today.  I think a trip to Seattle is in our future to see them, if we cannot manage to recruit them back to Chicago!  And, we did get a poker game in-- the first since this little guy has been around (friendly, of course, and cheap entertainment!).  As you can see, the cat had missed the games too.

That's Candace in there in pink, one of our neighbors from when we lived up north, and Gokhan, another Hyde Park friend.  Dave and Jen came with Avery, but she wanted no part of the social action, so they enjoyed some chili and took off.

The frog that Sophia sent to Elliot was quite the hit... it's the perfect size for him to hold on to, and of course, he had to suck on the frog's foot.

Fly-by trip to Ohio...

Pat's grandmother (his mom's mom) died last week, so we made a quickie trip to Ohio on Monday and Tuesday for the services.  Although we moaned about the drive (13 hours in the car round trip), and the circumstances were less than favorable, we were really glad to see family of course.  Grandma was 90 years old and had developed bad dementia, so it was not unexpected.  We are glad for her peace.  It is amazing to think about what she saw in our world in the 90-year span.  Pat did a lovely eulogy at the service, and so did his Aunt Maryann-- they added a little laughter to the sadness.  It was also a nice chance to visit Pat's mother's grave.

Maryann and Pat's sister, Katie, had never met Elliot, along with many others, mostly of the great- generation.  We pulled in to the funeral home with 30 minutes left for the calling hours, after 7 hours on the road and changing our clothes in a gas station bathroom.  The funeral director informed me that "there are many people awaiting the arrival of this little guy."  I first felt bad for turning a somber occasion into a social event, but someone reminded me that Grandma would have liked that, and the spontaneous family reunions help to celebrate the passed life.  He got lots of attention.  Maryann was quite adept at getting him to laugh out loud, and Katie was very talented at getting him to sleep!

We had a few meltdowns in the car with Elliot, but nothing that wasn't fixable.  Tuesday we had the funeral, a nice lunch, the burial a few hours later, one last feast with family at Bob Evans, and then we hit the road.  Rolled in around midnight last night, and Elliot did fabulous on the way back.  We planned to stop when he needed something... and at the 3.5 hour mark, he was still snoozing, and I insisted on stopping for my own bladder!  He fell right back asleep and we made record time for the drive back.  Well, Pat did, I slept in the back seat!

I felt like a nomad for the two days-- nursing in two parking lots in the car, pumping about four times while Pat drove, changing Elliot and our own clothes everywhere on the fly.  Whew, we made it.  And it was definitely worth it.  However, I think we need a bigger car.  :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dad and Elliot discuss their day.

This went on for a good 20 minutes or so.  We couldn't get him to bed last night-- I got in the door around 4:30pm and at 11pm, I finally put him in his bassinet with wide open eyes.  A few minutes later of course, he zonked.

Elliot and Avery go to the Aquarium.

We partook in one of the free days at the Aquarium.  The kids had a great time, while the moms were a little disappointed that free day= only the first floor... no dolphins, penguins, otters, belugas, the fun stuff.  Overall, though, it was a lovely visit and it had been a long time since either of us were there.  And with our short time frame with the kids, we did see plenty.  We were all impressed with our meter parking for $2.50, seeing that the lot is usually $19!  We'll go back to see the big stuff later. 

Avery enjoyed a nap most of the time.  Elliot really seemed to be mesmerized by the movement of the fish.  Check out the big bullfrog hanging out behind the kids in the one photo.  I had to look up my old friend, the lungfish.  If you've never checked him out, he's a must.  Darwin theory in the flesh and blood.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Glass Balconies, etc.

Brian and Jen visit. Elliot does the Sears Tower.

Our good friends from college, Brian and Jen Miner, visited this weekend.  They live in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (near Akron/Cleveland).  Normally, we get to have tons of fun with their Nicholas (6) and Will (3), but this time, they came sans kids.  We hit Chinatown on Friday night (first time we've been there without our Chinese sister-in-law-- Ha ha!).  On Saturday, we created our own walking architectural tour of downtown: nice and chilly!  The guys got up to catch the Chicago Marathon on Sunday morning and then we headed back downtown to do some shopping.  The evening ended with a trip up to the top of the Sears (now Willis) Tower.  

We underestimated a Sunday evening crowd, not thinking so many more people were in town for the marathon, and had to wait in lines at the Sears.  They really wind you around a maze before you even get to the elevators to go up!  The new glass balconies opened recently and they are quite the hit.  Long lines to get your moment on them, and as you can see in the photos, we were getting a little worn.  However, we all agreed they were well worth the wait.  Crazy feeling, standing on glass, looking down 103 floors to the street below.  Kinda freaky in a one-minute amusement ride way.  

Starving and having split our last granola bars the mothers had packed, we then sat down to a lovely dinner made by our guests.  Very sad to see them leave this morning.

Thanks, Aunt Karen, for the bundle-sleeping bag thingy for the carseat-- we pulled it out this weekend and it was awesome!  We were lucky when it was mid-40's! 

Oh, and good luck next weekend, Brian, at the Columbus Marathon!!

(PS- Elliot ate like crazy on Friday and slept 10 hours that night!!  Woohoo, keep it up, little one!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Avery and Elliot go to the Art Institute.

Should we start our own children's book about our adventures around Chicago?  Today it was the Art Institute.  Jen picked up the free pass from her local library, and I got in for free as a teacher, so knowing that we didn't break the bank to change diapers and feed babies inside an art museum helped us enjoy the day even more!  
We did catch some art while we were there, and the new wing has some very cool moments; but galleries are galleries-- large, plain spaces with no windows... nothing too novel there.  The outdoor terrace has a great view of Millennium Park as well.  Oh, and that photo of Jen changing Avery?  Just to show the cool, modern changing trough in the bathroom (and there was one in the men's bathroom as well-- I like it!).
Next time, the aquarium!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Elliot was talking up a storm, so I grabbed the camera to capture it.  Of course, you can never quite get the good stuff at the right time, but this clip shows a little talking, a little kicking, and of course, a little spit up at the end!  Kind of Elliot in a nutshell!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Few more from the weekend...

Napping with Grandma and Grandpa-- looks like Grandpa needed one too!

Mom has this basket bassinet that he sleeps in there, but it looks like he'll have outgrown it by the next time we visit!

Last minute trip to Ohio-- Cousin Jenna and Cousin RJ

On Tuesday, I found out that my cousin, Ann, who I grew up with and we were always best friends, was going to be in Ohio near my parents for the weekend (she lives in Georgia).  Her daughter, Jenna, will be 2 years old in December.  I couldn't stay away.  We took off Saturday morning and got back late on Sunday-- quickie trip.  Of course, Grandma and Grandpa Ulrich were over the moon that we were heading in.

It was a very good thing that we found out last minute, as this was one of our few free weekends without visitors.  If I had known ahead, I probably would have passed, thinking we needed to be home and rest.  But, when I found out, I said, "Hey, this weekend is open, let's go!"  I shopped for flights until Pat decided he wanted to go too, so we drove.

Ann's family was (and still is) basically an extension of our immediate family-- we do lots of holidays together, travel together, whatever it might be.  (Ann and I were born 3 weeks apart.)  Ann's younger sister, Jill, whom we're close to as well, had a baby just 3 months before us-- little RJ.  It is so cool to see the parallels between RJ and Elliot-- very similar builds (he was a premie, so he's on the small side too), coloring, personalities.  It's like RJ is a future Elliot for us to see!  
Jenna was quite entertaining-- she's very tall for her age and you can just see her wheels turning.  She went non-stop and has her grandma's (my aunt's) spunk!  Pat and her had a nice wrestling session.

Saturday evening was spent at Jill's and we all simply watched the kids play (and she provided us with some awesome chili for dinner!).  Sunday was spent letting Elliot nap with Grandma and Grandpa, until we had to head home.  On our way home, we stopped by Hazel's-- who is Ann and Jill's grandma on the other side, but who we have adopted as a grandparent as well.  She was very happy to meet Elliot and he smiled and smiled for her.

Elliot traveled well again.  He didn't sleep the whole way like before, but he was fine and didn't cause us any extra stops.  Not yet.

It's Monday morning and we're a little beat-- we always think we're doing ok, feeling pretty well when we get home, and then by the time things get wrapped up and you settle in for a moment, it's past midnight and the alarm rings way too early.  I can muddle through my day, but Pat's the one who has to be alert for work.   It was well worth the wear, as the weekend was very fun.