Friday, July 30, 2010

Buddies and Showing Off.

Renee is back from Australia and came over to play and see Elliot. We had a lovely time and didn't stop chatting the whole evening! Elliot was napping when she got here. When he woke, he looked at Renee, looked at me like, "Who the heck did you bring in here?" and then 5 seconds later, this sly little grin grew and he was immediately snuggling with her. After laying his head on her shoulder, he pulled back, looked all serious again, and then got all coy again. It was a riot.

Elliot then proceeded to go into hyper-show-off-mode. He crawled every which way, really fast, looking back to see if Renee was watching. Then he'd pull a new toy from his bin, and grin, waiting for her to notice. On our walk, he kept looking up at her and laughing, kicking his legs, like he couldn't hold in how excited he was to be back with his buddy. It was so evident the bond they have. We thought it was hilarious! My sister's comment: "And the male need to strut begins."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lovely Weekend with Family!

We headed down to the farm again, as Uncle Brad and Aunt Emily were coming in from Portland to see Karen and the kids before they fly back to Lebanon on Sunday. This is one of the big reasons why we love living in Chicago-- because we can jaunt in for things like this with little trouble. Mom opened the house for a bbq on Monday night, so our aunts and uncles, and a handful of others, could pop by and say hi.

We ate soooo much good food, but did not move enough! :) Every time I turned around, Mom had whipped up homemade peach cobbler, or had a chocolate angelfood cake ready (my favorite!) or had brought us cheesecake from the restaurant (which was not open, but we had lunch delivered to us by the owner... so spoiled).

Thomas and Anna, just like Kath's girls, were fabulous with Elliot; so helpful with baths, playing, "he's going toward the stairs...", you name it. John's boys came over to play, too, and there was an all-out wrestling match with the men. RJ (cousin who is 4 mo older) and Elliot are closing the gap and seem to be interacting much more.

Elliot and RJ, sharing Cheerios.

All the cousins who were there, except Caleb, who came but is only 6 days old and was sleeping!!

Anna and Thomas loved reading to Elliot. He stayed put for a long time, by his standards.

We arrived on Mom's birthday, and Anna had done very little for her birthday back in June, so we put candles on a cake and sung to them and Elliot; a mini party that was easy and fun.

We had rough sleep the first night there, and Elliot woke up at 4:45am, and DID NOT go back down, so I had a little talk with him about how when your parents have you when they're in their 30's, and you normally sleep 12 hours at night, these crazy early mornings just won't do. Karen very thoughtfully kicked her kids out of the "kids room" (where there are bunk beds and a crib), giving Elliot a crib instead of the pack and play, and we were golden. I think the central ac was tough on him, too, as he promptly got a runny nose and a cough. But, he's bouncing back and still doesn't stop!

Just realized I failed to get any shots of Uncle Brad and Aunt Emily and Elliot... sigh. And no photos from the bbq. :(

When we got in, it was cling-to-Uncle-Pat mode and Thomas and Anna just wanted to be near him all the time. Once Brad and Emily arrived, Pat was off the hook for a bit!! I got some attention, but Pat is definitely favored, and he loves it.
Grandma, falling asleep after giving Elliot a bottle. Finally, he gave Grandma some good snuggling this weekend.
Aunt Karen, teaching Elliot how to pop these little bubbles in a new book they gave him.
Grandpa, reading Fortune Magazine to Elliot. Both seemed very interested, so ok!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"How Do You Solve a Problem Like Elliot?"

Well, that's a little unfair, but this new situation made me start singing, "How do you solve a problem like Maria?!" Elliot likes our tower fans, but I tell him no when he goes to touch them. This has not worked, so I have gone to smacking his hands with a firm "No." Then, it becomes a game, he laughs, I stay serious, and we continue for about 4-6 hand-smackings, then progress to a smack on the behind. I also added in there a serious sit-down talk about how dangerous it is and why he should not do it. A few times he does end up in tears and I have hope.

Yesterday it changed to sprinting/crawling to the fan, touching it real fast on the fly, looking back with a glint in his eye, and sprinting on. This was an immediate spanking, and 10 minutes later, he did it again. I'm in for it, aren't I? The outlets aren't much different, but have taken on less interest now that the fans are out.

This is little Pat, according to his grandmother, who told me he was the only one of the five she ever spanked.

His other thing lately, too, is when he cries when he's mad, he'll clinch his fists tight enough that he shakes, and really cry/grrrr it out. This temper he gets from me, I'm afraid.

Lovely blend of the two of us, don't you think!?

He's starting to really like rocking in his chair... except, he doesn't know how to turn around once he climbs up, so he simply stands up in the chair. That's where I come in.

Monday, July 19, 2010

One Year Check-Up.

And Elliot's still a runt... not sure how I expect him to suddenly jump up on the charts, but every doctor's visit, I silently hope and hope, and then go, "WHAT?!" to myself, but try to play it cool to the doc. Of course, she's like, "Ok, so he's at the bottom, but he was before, and there's nothing wrong with him, he's just small, and always will be. I have no concerns. Picky eater? Many are, they run the show, and you will lose the battle, don't force it." Alrighty.

At one year old:
17lb., 2 oz.
28 1/4" tall

I am using the numbers in a way that makes me feel better: He gained the exact same amount of ounces since his last visit (13 oz), but this visit was really 3 weeks shorter of a gap, so he's doing great! :)

We took him to get his portrait taken on Sunday. The family ones, um, left much to be desired, but we had enough to choose from for him. And, hey, he's much more fun to look at than we are, right!?

Some random shots of when Diane came over to play one day.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Birthday Cake!

Being the busy hostess, I failed to get a shot of our guests... but we did have a small gathering for a cookout and some birthday cake for Elliot. It was supposed to be a casual game night, with cake thrown in, but it turned out to be more of a birthday night, with a small game afterwards. Oh well... it was a lot of fun, even if Pat complained too much about the prep! (We'll spend the day at the lake tomorrow...) Really wish I had gotten a shot of everyone.

I dug out my cake books and hoped for some guardian angelship from Pat's mom (who taught me how to decorate cakes), and I was pretty pleased with the outcome. It's literally been years since I attempted something like this and it was fun be creative with my hands.

Elliot (and the few other tots as well!) got quite tired by the time we got around to cake, so he seemed confused and stunned by the attention. He perked up a little, though, and managed to keep his hat on a while. He did like the cake, and when we changed him into his pjs, we found cake in his diaper.

Devil's Food cake with Almond Buttercream frosting.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elliot!

Today, Elliot is ONE. What a year. It's so amazing how much they learn and how they develop in this first year. And I now know what birthdays really mean to parents. What a special day. We woke him by singing to him and then we proceeded to retell the details of his arrival, how alert and bright-eyed he was from the first moment we saw him. And how we didn't know if we were having an Elliot or a Leah!

His Uncle Bill and family sent something and Grandpa P. sent a card, and when I read them both aloud to him yesterday, he sat there, with the sweetest grin on his face, that I swore he felt special. And Grandpa U. called this morning and as I held the phone up to Elliot's ear, that same little grin grew. I love it.

Of course, the box ended up being just as popular as the toy!!

We're not planning a big party. Just our usual crew to play cards on Saturday and we're adding a birthday cake to the mix before Elliot goes to bed. So there will be some cake photos to come. I did buy party hats and that's about it! I also had to relearn my cake decorating skills this week...

Had to throw in some favorite photos from a year ago, just to remember the moment more. You forget how little and feeble they were, especially when this rolling-tumbling monkey is all over the place now!! We now have beat-up knees, dirty fingernails...

(Wish these little rolls of pudge would reappear...)

And a year later...

Just like any toddler, his favorite thing is to empty the drawers... I found my face cleaner under the computer, sunscreen under the bed...

Not walking yet, but I give him a few more weeks.

My baby boy, who loves to be outside. Happy Birthday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Enjoying the Ocean.

This is how most of our mornings went.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vacation Photos...

These are backwards chronologically...
Enjoying the local pool in Farmersville, OH.
Hanging with Grandma at the pool.
The cousins (well, some of them)-- Thomas + Anna (the ones in Lebanon), E, Grant + Logan (John's, my brother's, who are in Farmersville near my parents).

Playing in blue sand at my cousin, Jill's-- not that much more messy than regular sand, but it sure looks worse!!
Trying to get a shot of the 3rd generation at the famous fireworks display at my Aunt Amy's (she goes all out)... these are all kids of my cousins and siblings. And many were missing!! We never did get a good shot, surprise, surprise.
There was a better shot of us all smiling, but this one captured Elliot's personality better.
Hilton Head Island-- The Miners, Jen, Brian, Nicholas, and Will. They live in Cuyahoga Falls, OH. Before the bambinos, we met in Italy for a vacation as well. They had been to this beach with their kids before, so they knew how smoothly it was with the condo and such. The boys were just fabulous with Elliot.
Our good friend, Granddaddy, living pretty much right outside our backdoor...
Playing army with the boys while Jen and Brian went to dinner. We had a ball. (They watched Elliot then while we went to dinner with some family friends living in Hilton Head that we hadn't seen for years.) Notice how the "surgeon" has on his goggles and training manual nearby, the toilet paper served well for a bandage, and the beanbag was a convenient icepack for the injured soldier. Elliot served as "Bambino Bombsquad" and wherever he crawled, he sniffed out the bombs and the soldiers moved in.
One of many trips to the beach. At one point, Elliot was inside the hole. This must have been an early morning trip, where we just left right out of bed, as there's no swimwear...

We spent a day in Savannah and ate at this pirates' tavern. It was fun and really great that they gave us our own private room to make a mess of. Almost every other meal was cooked in.
Brian made breakfast, and his trademark is initial pancakes... so Elliot got an E. He wasn't so interested in eating it, though, but wanted to see what happened when he dropped it on the floor.
Jimmy Buffet, anyone?
One of many treks to seek out aligators...

Jenna and Elliot planning their escape in Atlanta...
Here comes trouble! But we're missing Rachel, who was sick inside, poor thing. (Both twins were sick while we were there, but Kathy did a great job of keeping them isolated and we were fortunate to not get it.) I failed to get a good shot of these kids with Elliot. They played so well with him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ah, Vacation.

We lost our camera battery charger on vacation, so I am unable to upload photos for the time being. I'll get them up here soon.

We took a road trip to Atlanta (to see Kathy, my sister, + family, and Ann + Jenna), Hilton Head Island (to meet up with Brian and Jen, friends from college,+kids), and ended up on the farm (to see Karen, my other sister, + kids, who are in from Lebanon). We had a great time. Clocked about 2300 miles on the car. Elliot did awesome for the first 12 hour leg, so we were pleased and thinking we're in good shape. But, he did pretty horrible for the next 6 hour drive, and not great for the next 14 hour stint. And the final trip back to Chicago was not fabulous either. All-in-all, tolerable for sure, and we'd do it again, but he's not the "travel in the car anywhere" baby anymore! I think he moves so much when he sleeps and usually ends up on his tummy, that the car seat just ain't cutting it now. And he tends to miss his "window" to go down easily, and then it's a grumpy battle from there until he's truly so exhausted that there's no choice.

We spent a full week on Hilton Head Island. Elliot absolutely loved the beach. He would laugh and crawl and splash through the shallow water. We shared a condo with our friends, Brian and Jen, who have Nicholas (7) and Will (almost 4). It went so well, as the homebase for naps and eating in was key. We had the pool right across the street. Most days, the morning was spent at the beach and the afternoon was spent at the pool. Definitely felt like vacation.

We had a little bit of adjustment to make to get the sleeping in order, and Elliot was up the first two mornings at the crack of dawn. Pat solved the whining and complaining with whisking him off to the beach at 6am. The 2nd night Pat says to me, "I hope Elliot gets up early again so I can take him to the beach. I like that." This coming from my non-morning-person husband?!?! And I got to sleep in!

We're back home now with too little air conditioning and bad habits to break (we coddled him, rocking him down too often, afraid he'd wake whomever we were staying with at the time...). Yesterday, Elliot fell (a pretty normal fall for a soon-to-be-toddler, but Pat thinks he got too used to crawling on carpet versus our hardwood...) and busted his upper lip open pretty good-- his new front teeth are nice and sharp. Plenty of blood, a real fat lip, and worried parents. He's fine, of course, and the swelling is down a bit, but he's really got a nice split in it. I'm sure this is only one of many to come...