Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Fun.

Elliot has inherited a tent with a tunnel entry from a neighbor, with the promise that it saves the day when stuck inside during the bad winter weather. So far, it's a hit.

Yes, that's some random piece of an electronic he's playing with... ??

The insistence to read usurps the parking himself in the toybin to play.

We have some good videos to post, too-- Elliot has gotten so he cracks up if I say a certain phrase a certain way (the phrase varies from, "What do ya know, Joe?" to "Whatcha think about that?") and will just keep cracking up when I keep saying whatever the choice words are for the moment. I'll get some of those up soon.

Fall Colors and What's New.

Every time we'd go to the lake lately, and Elliot would have on his little orange hooded sweatshirt, I'd so wish we'd grabbed the camera for some nice fall shots with the leaves. Finally we remembered, but with these warm October days we've been having, it was just too much to force the sweatshirt for the photo op.
The famous finger point of inquiry.
Check out these fall colors at Promontory Point. Gorgeous. The monkey loves exploring out there.
Elliot has progressed from riding in mom's Moby wrap to hanging on dad's back in the backpack for walks. I think dad likes it as much as Elliot does. (Did I ever post about the summer day when Pat decided to wade up to his thighs in the lake with Elliot in the backpack? And he couldn't find a good spot to escape from?)

I'm feeling the need to apologize for posting so infrequently... school has me swamped right now. However, I left my mountain of grading at school, by accident (sssuuuurrre), so alas, I have a moment to blog with little guilt that I'm neglecting other things. This makes for massive posts... another reason to be sorry.

Elliot had his 15 month check up-- he's at 18lb, 10 oz, and 30.5". Growing just fine. That's actually excellent gain for him since for the last 3 check-ups, he had not gained a full pound (not really close even) and we're at 1 1/2 lbs for this stretch. Happy momma here! But I'll admit I was hoping to at least be at 19 lbs... for some reason...

I really think he hasn't wholeheartedly tried a new food in about 8 months. It's been only banana, egg, yogurt, bread/cereal, cheese, all in and out of favor depending on the phase. Oh, and add granola bars in there as a little variety (ha). Then, on Monday, I got a text from Pat: "I am looking at a kid with a tomato-sauce-smeared face... our little Elliot eats rotini." Apparently, he took a handful of bites for lunch, and proved it to me again with 10 or so bites for dinner, along with mooching some of my garlic bread. Yet, if the noodle had too much sauce on it, he'd push it around with his finger and reject that one.

Pat attempted to slip him strawberries on the sly in his bowl of cereal one day, and Elliot did his common strategy for getting rid of food he so effectively detects and then rejects-- taking both hands and rapidly wiping it off his tongue like it's poison.

Fun developments lately: He has this toy of concentric wood discs that slide onto a peg. For a while, he's been using his index finger positioned inside the disc's hole to feel the peg in the center to drop it on. Now, he has to flip the disc around until it's right-side-up (they're angled to make a cone-like shape), and only then can it go on the peg.

We're beyond the "simply destroy" phase as he's starting to explore putting things back into containers, drawers, on shelves, etc. He'll often respond well to us prompting him to put something back. His current chores around the house are closing the refrigerator door, closing the dishwasher door, closing the dryer door, and if you're lucky, he'll help push the laundry into the dryer if you drape it half-way over the opening.

Last time Grandma and Grandpa Ulrich visited, they brought these really light-weight blocks. The lightness of them actually makes them harder to stack because they get bumped so easy. However, Pat got my attention few nights ago because he glanced over and Elliot had built a single-block tower about 8 blocks or so high. Pretty cool to see. He tried to top it with another one, and when that one made it tumble, he proceeded to wreck it on purpose before we could get the camera. Kinda like that big fish that got away, eh?!

We can hardly get through a day without reading about 25 books. Really. And he's becoming a bit demanding about it, shrieking if you deny him the luxury.

The same attitude accompanies walks when Elliot insists on pointing his little finger out and doing his "I'm asking what that is" noise with a questioning inflection... to every single car that we walk by or that drives by. And if we don't respond with "Blue truck. Red car," he certainly lets you know with an urgent, shrill second request. He seems to always be asking what something is, like he's soaking it all in for when he can utilize the information later.

Beyond just roaming, Elliot loves to climb on the rocks. He doesn't always like holding our hands, but that's a must.

It was funny how at this moment, Elliot had the path all to himself. There were people coming up behind us, though, on bikes and such.

This one's tricky- do you see the other monkey besides Elliot? Look up in the tree.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Marathon Weekend.

Waiting at the trainstop in the morning to head to the marathon.

Pat ran the marathon this past weekend here in Chicago, along with a friend from college and another friend from Ohio. We had 4 people staying here and Elliot seemed to finally get into a groove of having visitors, as it was the best he's been with warming up to people. They were all here Fri evening through Mon afternoon, so the longer visit probably helped. And, he had gone through a real rough patch the week before, so maybe a growth spurt or teeth were involved with the other visits?

It was Jen (Brian's wife) and Marilyn (Tim's mom) and Elliot and I, doing our best to catch Brian, Tim, and Pat, who were all at different paces. We took the train downtown and tooled around, trying to catch the guys the most we could. At one point, I took the stroller and literally ran from Adams and Wacker (Loop area) to Greektown, a bit of a hike for sure. We clocked our path afterward-- over 6 miles for us spectators! Although we felt very inadequate when whining about our aching joints and feet, we certainly earned an honorary medal for the support we gave them. Jen and Marilyn were out the door with the guys before 6am! Elliot and I slept in a little more then caught up with them downtown. None of us felt guilty about the big ol' Chicago-style pizza we ate for dinner!

Trying to get a good view while giving Pat a fun way to see Elliot. Afterward, however, Pat informs me that he never saw me at this stop, despite my efforts to make Elliot very visible.

This photo falsely represents the experience... they were hot, exhausted, and everyone did so much worse than expected time-wise, that finishing was the main goal. And they all gutted it out and finished!

The initial recovery. Everyone seemed relatively ok until it was time to stand up.

Elliot actually got a decent nap in while we were out and about. Guess it was that tiring that he had no choice! We did lose a shoe when I took them off because it was SO hot (80s! the worst for a marathon) and forgot about them, losing one somewhere out in Chicagoland.

I wish I had gotten a good shot of the group as we shared in a pre-marathon pasta dinner or lunch on the deck, but c'est la vie.

A few other random photos from the last few days...

Playing with mommy in the afternoon... he's not good at holding on, so this is short-lived.

He will crawl into anything and create a boat (or so I imagine he is doing).
New pjs! And a weird fetish for q-tips... I think he thinks they're toothbrushes, as he uses them that way until they're too soggy to let him continue.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Uncle Brad and Aunt Emily visit.

Here are some photos of Uncle Brad and Aunt Emily visiting two weekends ago... snagged from their blog!

Elliot showing off at the playground, going down the slide head first.

Photo attempt #1.
Photo attempt #2... as close as we're going to get. :)

Tomorrow morning Pat is running the Chicago Marathon along with some friends who are in from out of town. We'll be out there rooting them all on... GO RUNNERS! If you're a Chicagoan, they'll be in bright orange... but finding them amongst the 40,000 runners is always a challenge.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Visitors Galore.

I was thinking, "Man, we've had ton of visitors," and it made me flip through my calendar to see just how many. Well... we have more coming this weekend for the marathon, so counting that... in the last two+ months (since beginning of August), 8 sets of visitors will have come through, and we have had only 3 weekends without Pensione Papczun being full or us going into Ohio. We are super lucky that these are all people we really like to see and have enjoyed all the visits completely!

Uncle Brad and Aunt Emily visited two weekends ago... sadly, I failed to snap any photos of them with Elliot. He played the normal role of being the stand-off-ish toddler, but by the end of the day (we really only saw them for a day or so, they were very busy and in for NU business), both of them got to hold him while walking back from the lake. He almost fell asleep in Brad's arms after a ride on his shoulders-- it was really cute. I am hoping they post some pics on their blog and I can snag them!

Then, this past weekend, my mom and dad decided to come up. I was very excited. We were trying to think back to when they were here last (I should check my own blog!) and I really think it was when Mom and Karen came up when Elliot was born! We've been down to the farm or seen them other places so much though. It always seemed like they only saw him melt down in strange, crowded places and never got to experience the fun Elliot. So I was really looking forward to them spending time with him here at home. Any trip is too quick, and although he didn't snuggle up with them, the coyness subsided enough that as long as they were willing to read him a book, he'd relax on their laps. Mom's goal next time: to spend enough time here that he puts his head on her shoulder.

Both mom and dad were on the floor, playing with Elliot and his toys. He did some classic goofing off for them, laughing out loud with his contagious giggle.

Elliot's walking has gotten exponentially better this past week. I think I can say he's run twice now, but just short distances.