Monday, November 30, 2009

Two foot tall human.

Elliot is 13 1/2 pounds... woohoo! Movin' on up to the 25th percentile! I like it. He's just shy of 25" long. Got a little grumpy waiting on the shots, but he did well overall and promptly conked out within 10 minutes, sans lunch :( . Cold is getting better as well. Onward and upward, young fella!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

On a side note...

There is this really huge wind farm on our drive down to my parents. It's amazing to drive by-- there must be 300 or so mills. One is set really close to the interstate. They are gorgeous on the horizon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rolling over suddenly.

I was just talking with Jen about Avery, and we were both saying how our children seemed to be going backwards with regards to rolling over.  Geez, how long ago was it that I had said that he was all the time arching his back and getting to his side with frustration-- 2 or 3 months ago??  He slowed down on that front but tonight, as we were doing tummy time with the assistance of a pillow, he flipped from his stomach to his back (that big head helping this time as it fell over first!).  Pat was sitting there, and we looked at each other with a "What?!  Did that just happen?"  It seemed like an accident.  Pat says, "Does that really count if the pillow was there to help?"  So we took the pillow away, and he did it again.  And again.  

No luck with the back to tummy direction yet, but that seems a little more difficult.  Now he's tired.  

Just in time to report to the pediatrician on Monday!  

As with everything, from his arrival to this rolling over, I watch and watch for signs, hoping for the development, all excited and anticipating the moment, and then when it comes, I find myself going, "No, go back, I'm not ready for that yet!"

Holiday with family. And his first cold.

Pat and I decided kind of late in the game to head to my side for Thanksgiving because my sister, Kathy, was driving up from Atlanta to my parents in Ohio... and I just don't get to see those three nieces enough (I don't see all our nieces and nephews enough actually!). Abby is 6, and the twins, Lindsey and Rachel, are 3. Boy, were we entertained. I failed to snap any photos, and our visits overlapped just by one day, so I am relying on my dad to send a few that he snapped.

Apparently, the girls had been talking about "Baby Elliot" all week and couldn't wait to see him. They could not seem to be apart from him and wanted to continuously touch him. Abby is already telling me that she will be allowed to babysit when she's 16, and will come to Chicago to do so. Grandma and Grandpa delivered Christmas early for Santa while they were in town, so we thoroughly enjoyed their musical skirts that played the macarena, the chicken dance, and the hokey pokey. We were dying laughing.

My brother's (John) kids came by as well, wanting to play with the baby. Logan is 7, Grant is 5, and Chandler is 3. The boys were amazed at how small he was and were comparing their hands to his. Grandpa insisted on a game where they had to mimic all the movements and noises Elliot made, and they were worn out within 10 minutes (mental note to self...). It was quite funny when Elliot passed gas and Uncle Pat said, "Ok, now you have to do the same!"

Friday night was the big Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's with the extended family. My brother and sister did not make it, but let's see, even without their brood, we had seven little ones under feet... 4 of them are under a year old. It was "Pass the baby and make sure you take your own home." Great food and darling kids to watch for entertainment!

Actual Thanksgiving we laid low and I did not leave the house. (Well, this isn't that hard, as my parents are out on a farm...) Elliot gave us a few rough nights there. A new bout of waking up screaming, not just his crying, which seemed to be from bad dreams or gas or something. Or maybe he's starting to recognize that he's in a strange place? Pat and I just looked at each other like, "What do we do with this?"

Then, last night, Elliot came down with his first cold. We were worried, of course. He was up crying about every hour or two, all congested and uncomfortable. He ended up in bed with us, with the hope that he'd relax a little with the snuggling. By morning, he sneezed a bunch out (lovely), and seemed to clear up a bit with being upright and moving around. I was really glad to see the old Elliot reappearing. Tonight, the snottiness is back and he seems a little more stuffed up again. My real hope is that Grandpa is correct with his assessment that this stimulates his immune system to ward off the flu!!

Monday is his next check up, so if the cold symptoms persist, we'll be in the right place. We're off again on Friday to head back to Ohio to see my other brother, Brad, who will be in from Portland, and to baptize Elliot at my home church, so let's hope he perks up. I am feeling a little guilty for trucking him around so much, but he seems so pleasant traveling that I don't really hesitate while he's this portable. Maybe that will change with this cold.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Here's to lots of food, family, and fun.

The draw of Ohio.

Elliot's napping and I am packing for our trip to Ohio.  I was thinking that by Christmastime (Elliot will be 5+ months), we'll have made 7 trips into Ohio and one to Philadelphia with Elliot.  So much for our big idea that once a baby comes, the trips to Ohio will lessen and everyone will have to come to us.  Ha!

This may need to slow down a little.  No wonder we're always tired!  :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lovely, he's learning to share.

My cousin called this a rookie mom mistake, and that seems fitting. Today I forgot he had just eaten and had not burped, as I was interrupted with changing him, etc... We start playing airplane, he starts cracking up, and up comes the spit up while he's in mid-air. In my hair, over my glasses, down my shirt, on my pants... someone said, "at least it wasn't in your mouth..." and, um, yea, a little went there too. I sat amazed for a minute, even though I was so grossed out. Elliot, of course, was happy as could be, proud of himself, and clean.

We're getting more regular sleeping through the nights again, 7+ hour stints, which is great. Looking forward to seeing how much he weighs at his check-up on Monday. More shots then. Ew.

We've conquered sweet potatoes and are moving onto peas tonight! Fun times. (At least none of the sweet potatoes were part of the "sharing your food with mommy" earlier...)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Joe and more photos.

Our old neighbor, Joe, is a very hard person to catch.  He has sent Elliot clothes and cards and keeps in touch, but we rarely get to see him because he is a flight attendant and is gone so much.  Last week, I popped in on my old neighbor, Candace, out of the blue and caught Joe at home too!  Finally, they met.  And they really seemed to dig each other.  :)

Elliot and Dad tackle Philadelphia.

Last week, the family headed to Philadelphia on Wednesday until Saturday so I could attend the national conference for NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English).  I was meeting up with a colleague (and first cousin!) from rural Georgia to present on the penpals our students experienced last year (billed as "country mouse meets city mouse").  We were part of a panel on engaging students with authenticity.

Briefly, the conference was great-- this is my 3rd time attending, and every year, it seems I learn new tricks.  It always seems I'm just getting in the groove when it's time to go.  The presentation was a success.  We were a little nervous to count 312 seats in the room, but realistically expected about 20, which is what we ended up with (the free book giveaway was at the same time, so we knew our crowd would be diminished if only because of that).  Of course, there are things I would improve next time, but for the first time, we were all proud to have accomplished it on a national level and are excited to do it again!  The new colleagues I met were great and it will be nice to see them each year at the conference.  Next year, Orlando; 2011=Chicago!

It was Elliot's first flight, and he did fine.  The packing for a flying trip to a hotel is quite different than packing for a road trip to our parents.  The prep was a little tiring and daunting, but I only overpacked a little.  Pat spent the days tooling around Philly with Elliot in the carrier or stroller while I hit the sessions at the conference.  We'd meet to feed Elliot and ourselves, and part ways again.  I was apprehensive as to whether the timing would click, but it did and there were no crises.  Elliot loves walks, so he tended to take in the scenery and then promptly conk out.  (Which left us with a little grumpy boy on Sunday once back, as he was not out for a walk all day!)

We both think the trip was really enjoyable.  Philly is a great city, very doable on foot, and lots to see historically of course.  Personally, I am not too into historical documents or sites, but when you are there, there is something powerful that you cannot deny when you see where our forefathers developed the ideas that run this country to this day.  It was impressive.  I only got one afternoon of touristy stuff in, but Pat hit most of the major spots and neighborhoods.  

It was also great to spend some quality time with Ann, the cousin I presented with (she's the one with Jenna in the earlier posts).  She was kind enough to share her hotel room with us and tolerated the awakenings at night in stride.  

As good as the trip was, we were exhausted once we got home.  We really needed Sunday to get through the zombie phase and become normal humans by this morning.  

Now, it's laundry, packing, and off to Ohio on Wednesday for Thanksgiving!  So crazy to think that the holidays are upon us.  

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Party Hardy.

On Friday, I took Elliot up to Ultimate Bride, the bridal salon where I worked for 3 years before teaching. The lovely ladies there gave him so much attention and it was fun to catch up with those who were there. I have to go back soon to see those who were out.  Thanks, ladies, for a great visit!

Saturday, we all went to our neighbor's 1st birthday party-- I'm sure the first of many that we will attend now that we have entered "the kid world." Riley and Elliot will be in the same class together at school, but it is so crazy to see how different they are at this stage in their lives. Elliot was the youngest child there, and the oldest was three, so we met tons of new parents. It was a little overwhelming actually-- neither of us have been around that many new families at once (35+ people there (?), all seemed to be budding families with their first child...). It was great to meet everyone (I often felt like I needed to take out a pad and paper to take notes!) and we got a valuable connection for a small, in-home daycare for next fall! Keesha and John put on a wonderful party.

Elliot slept for the first half in our arms, and then was his typical Mr. Mellow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Zombie leads to cereal.

Elliot had been doing wonderfully with sleeping 7-8 hours consistently and I was feeling fine. Well, he hit a growth spurt almost 3 weeks ago now, and he has needed full feedings during the night ever since, anywhere from 3-5 hours apart. I have felt like a zombie, hoping each night that he's out deep enough to last, and voila, there's the crying on the monitor at 2am... 4am... There's no hope of him crying it out and the pacifier doesn't work, he's just hungry. He eats, then conks right back out for another 3 or 4 hours. It's not the end of the world, since he doesn't stay up to play or anything, but I need a break, as he's eating every 2-3 hours during the day with this growing.  I wish I could see more "chunk" on him for the effort he's making to grow!

I keep waiting for him to get in his groove again, but alas, there's been no signs of it.  I hate to complain, as this is typical baby stuff, but he spoiled me early on!  I figure he needs more in his belly to get him through the night now. Thus, we started him on cereal last night. Of course, more went down the front of him than down the inside of him, but hopefully it will help eventually. He seemed really asleep, as you can see... and I was relieved. Until 2am came and a hungry boy awoke.

Last night, when the cat crawled all over me trying to get me to feed her at 5am, I lost my cool. The cat almost became splat. Declaration: No more cats allowed in our room at night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Check this one out... notice the funny part?  :)  Maybe his smile can be deceiving.  

Just Some Shots.

Elliot is constantly chewing on his fist, finger, bib, clothes...

Tried a mini-photo shoot of my own at home.  I don't know that I can face the fuss and pressure at a studio for a holiday photo... these tell me I might be able to pull a good enough one off at home (and have the flexibility of really capturing the smiley Elliot at our leisure!).

Dad using the stuffed frog for his own good.

Friday, November 6, 2009

New Noises.

Elliot sat here on my lap while I went through a few video clips to see which one to post... he seemed mesmerized by his own noises.  

Beyond these new noises, yesterday, he seemed to discover his hand and it was so cool.  He has this investigative, pensive look every once in a while, where you can just see his wheels turning.  He stared at his left hand (I think he's a lefty so far, much more dominant with that hand), and it was like he was seeing it for the first time.  His right hand remained in a tight fist, but he would open and close his left hand, very slowly, over and over, as if he was just then realizing that he had the ability to make this motion happen.  This is when I am so glad I am home with him right now to see these initial discoveries happen.  Nerdy, I know.  Second kid's discoveries like this won't even be noticed!  :)

He's starting to outgrow the 3 mo. clothes, mostly in length.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Truly an Ulrich.

My little brother used to play until he fell asleep, wherever he was.  We have photos of him asleep in his sandbox, collapsed on a step between rooms, and I even think there is one of him asleep in his snowsuit, out in the cold.  
Well, Elliot has some of Uncle Brad in him.  We recently pulled out the jumperoo, which he is too small for, but we put a chair cushion under it so his feet will reach.  It simply gives him a new place to "hang," yet he seems to be seeing the reaction for his actions and is starting to make it bounce.  This morning, I was paying bills, etc., and Elliot had a good time playing on the floor next to me.  I then gave him a bath, put him in the jumperoo, and went on with my computer chores.  I was impressed to hear him making the music go with his movements, and laughing out loud.  This went on for 20 minutes or so.  I was just ready to go rock him down for a nap, and found he had fallen asleep in the jumperoo!  How darling.  Played just too hard.  (Notice how his hand is still gripping one of the toys!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Laughing out loud.

This laughing fit seemed to morph into a crying fit by the end... too much fun for one night!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The "I forgot my camera again!" non-graphic update...

Sorry for the lack of photos... I know they're more fun than my words. I forgot my camera during a few events that are worth mentioning recently.

During our busy week with Gina visiting and Pat's grandmother dying, I was invited over by a neighbor, Margo. I had heard that another resident in our condo association had had a child the same day as us, but I had never met her directly, as all of our buildings have different entrances, and we rarely would cross paths. Margo thought that we really needed to meet, and arranged a full tea party, complete with hand-painted china and mini cookies and muffins. It was darling and so sweet of her to host. I misread her message of "coming over for a snack" as a casual meeting of families, so I took Pat with me. Well, he immediately was dismissed when Margo informed us that this was a "hen party"-- of course, he visited and graciously excused himself. August, the other mother of the baby born the same day (whose name is Tye), also has Georgia (4th grade) and Athena (kindergarten), and I must say, these ladies were definitely dressed for a tea party! Another mother came with her 4-year-old and 2-year-old. It was just so thoughtful of Margo, and now I officially know the other mother of the baby born on July 15th!

The boys were so cute-- we held them face to face at the end, after they both woke up, and they just stared each other down. A few grins, but mostly, they just investigated. This was the moment I wanted my camera.

Halloween. We decided to take a walk and check out the infamous (although we just had heard of it) Harper Street here in our neighborhood. (About a week ago, we walked that way and found a few Halloween decorations, but nothing like the reputation we had heard about. Harper Street, between 57th and 59th, is full of wood-framed houses that would lend themselves well to haunting...) Well, not only was it blocked off to traffic and FULL of trick-or-treaters, but almost every house was decked out to the nines. Crazy. We saw only one house that had politely put up a little sign at their door, "Closed for Halloween." Every other house had major decorations. We saw a 5-foot spider drop from a tree, rigged through a pulley from a porch. That resident, I think, was enjoying it more than the kids. Almost everyone handing out candy was dramatically costumed. It was quite impressive. There was even social commentary-- skeletons operating on each other in the yard with a sign, "Harper Street Health Care," a tombstone with "GOP, RIP" inscripted, and another skeleton hanging with a sign reading, "Pre-existing condition." We were quite entertained. And I wish I had had my camera.

Next year, this is a must for Elliot. Um, hum, for mom and dad.

We had friends over for dinner tonight-- Marsha, Bill, and their two-year-old, Spencer. These are friends that we don't see or talk to very often... we keep in touch so poorly, that when we called them one time to come over for cards or something, they informed us that they had had a child. We had not known they were pregnant! The joke was that they, then, would not see Elliot until all of his teeth were in. So, the challenge was on to get together sooner rather than later, and after a few reschedules, it happened. A nice time was had by all, and when Spencer went into overdrive to fight his tiredness, they called it an evening. And this is when I realized I had not used my camera with the kids.