Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Toy

Fortunately Elynor does not greet all her new friends this way.

Elynor's First Movie

Yesterday Elynor saw her first movie in the movie theater. That's right, we're starting her young. Though I anticipated she would be in baby heaven with the giant screen (since she's so addicted to our TV), she really payed little attention. Instead she played with her toys, bounced on my lap, and fell asleep. Maybe it was the mediocre film, 27 Dresses.

Please know that I've not completely lost my mind taking a baby to a movie. No, a few theaters in the area have Mommy (or Daddy) Matinees on Tuesdays. They don't completely darken the theater and babies are welcome. It was actually a funny sight - a theater filled with about 30 women with babies and strollers in tow. There were periodic yelps from the younger audience, but overall, it was not too crazy. The best part was the elderly woman who apparently didn't get the baby movie memo. Poor thing. Her future matinees will not be on Tuesday!
Movie Babies! (Lauren, Elynor & Charlie)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Splish Splash

Every baby needs a few good bath time shots for future blackmail, right? Or possibly some press photos when she oneday swims to Olympic backstroke gold.

Doesn't she look like a little Ewok from Star Wars?

Stroller Strides

I don't make a practice of using this site for product/service reviews unless something gets me particularly excited (or irked). Keep that in mind when considering my rave review for Stroller Strides - my latest adventure in this Mama world.
I remember seeing fliers for this mom/tot workout while pregnant and thinking I should check it out post-delivery. But like so many things, it slipped my mind in the early days haze. Then my friend Susan brought it up again. She'd been attending and said thanks to Stroller Strides, she was in possibly her best shape ever. Wow!, I thought. Though the idea of a mom/tot workout was intriguing, I had secretly wondered just how much "work" it would really be. The last thing I wanted was some stereotypical, sissy exercise class. But Susan has run marathons and just exudes "fit", so her positive endorsement was the kick in the butt I needed.

And a kick butt (mine) experience it has been! Elynor and I attend 2 or 3 times/week for this 1-hour cross training workout. The combination cardio/resistance work has helped me get closer to my previous level of fitness in just a few short weeks, and it's really fun! I should caveat this rave review with the fact that I have never enjoyed group fitness classes. I would always go once or twice but come away annoyed at the crowded room, distracted by the other people, or just plain bored. But my experience with Stroller Strides has been anything but. Our instructor does an awesome job mixing up the activities and incorporating the kiddos. Activities range from sprint intervals followed by jumping jacks or lunges, to basketball-practice-esque shuffle drills interspersed with chest presses (using tubes). Class always ends with wall sits, during which we sing a fave children's song to the strollered kiddos, followed by ab work, during which the kiddos get out and play. During cold weather we meet in a gym and when it warms up we'll meet in a park. Besides the amazing fitness results, it's also a wonderful way to meet other moms & tots. We're all there for the same reason and we've all recently (in the past year or so) gone through the same thing, so there's freedom to take it at your own pace and also encourage one another in this new adventure.

Clearly I could go on with this review... but I want you all to return to my site, so I'll finish up by encouraging all you new mamas or soon-to-be mamas, or sisters or husbands or friends of a mama to check out the Stroller Strides website and find a class near you. The first visit is free and then you can sign up for the class plan that makes sense with your schedule (the one I signed up for was financially comparable to my monthly gym membership, which I wasn't going to b/c Elynor is too young for childcare). Though your needs may be the last thing on your mind right now, remember that a healthy mama makes for happy kiddos (and husbands)!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Artist

Spit Up On Sweatshirt by Elynor Westrom
Medium: Spit Up
Genre: Modern Art
Inspiration: Justin Timberlake's Senorita

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


It seems Miss Elynor's body heard about our recent streak of frigid temps and wanted to get in on the act. So here we sit enjoying her first cold (it's crazy to think about how many more will surely attack throughout her life). Her poor little nose is stuffy and her cough rings of congestion. Praise God, though, it doesn't seem to have hijacked her spirit. Other than waking up more in the middle of the night (and who doesn't when they can hardly breathe?), she seems to be her typical happy self. That is, until I come after her with that crazy nose cleaning tool (my aunt used to call it a snozzola). She doesn't quite get the concept of "it's for the best, I promise", instead wriggling her little head and batting her arms in defense. When I finally hit my target (I pray I never hit her eye with all her wriggling) and suction away, she just screams. I have to keep brainwashing myself that it's for her best, this is the only way she can breathe while eating... or there's no way I'd keep enduring this battle, being the evil nose suctioner!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Friday, January 18, 2008

Officially a Full-Time Mama

Yesterday I learned that my former employer decided not to give me a part time job as proposed/requested. It's been an interesting 24 hours processing this decision. Though not thrilled about it, we're choosing to look at it as one of a door opening instead of closing. We are confident this is the beginning of a new adventure - one in which God has something just perfect waiting for us.

As a good friend reminded me, it's not like I was just let go (which is kind of how it feels) to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs. No, I have a beautiful, growing daughter to hang out with and teach all about this world. So for now, when people ask me what I do, I will confidently say, "I am a CEM - Chief Executive Mama!". I will likely do some work on the side as an independent contractor in order to fund our adventures (so let me know if you have any research/project management/writing/marketing gigs...). Or maybe pursue whatever other crazy dreams enter my mind!

Pizza Man

Last night I had a special delivery from the greatest pizza man ever. No, that's not DiGiorno, but a homemade pie created by Chef Ryan. He scoured the freezer/pantry for toppings, assembled the creation, and a short while later, served up his masterpiece. Despite my skepticism (you see, he doesn't have a long resume of kitchen feats to back him), the pizza was awesome - better than any I've made. I think we've got a new pizza man in this house!

Third of a Year

Can you believe Elynor is 1/3 of the way to being 1 year old!? And we've been at this parenting thing for 4 months!? Crazy!

Here were the vitals from her 4 mo. check-in:
Wgt: 15.5 lbs. (90th %tile)
Hgt: 25 3/4 in. (95th %tile)
All in all, she's right on track w/ her development and handled the FOUR shots like a champ. And this time around I remembered the Tylenol, so our evening was okay too. (phew!)

Waiting to see the doc... (those socks, compliments of Auntie Becca, say Lil' Miss September)

Waiting to get her shots....

Showing off her battle wounds (or at least her Snoopy Band-Aids)

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Do makers of Tupperware or Rubbermaid or whatever other brand of plastic storage containers have to design them with little ridges & lips around the edges that insist on collecting water in the dishwasher and spilling all over the poor soul who empties the dishwasher or the floor or the counter? Really, we're in the year 2008. How long has Tupperware been around? Surely some brilliant design guru could fix this. Their own designers must not use the stuff in their homes. Or must not use the dishwasher to clean them.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Elynor Goes to Work

At Brandtrust, we've been very successful with a strategy of hiring bright, young people and then training them in our methods and processes.

Oh, and everyone who works here is extremely good-looking, too! :)

- Reported by & photo by Rebeca Arbona, Brandtrust partner

If You're Happy & You Know It...

Touch your toes!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tax Me, Baby!

Elynor can now be tracked for taxation purposes thanks to the receipt of her very own Social Security Card. Welcome to the real world, baby! Receiving this in the mail was a little surreal for Rye & me. Another reminder that we are officially parents. It's kind of cool to think about all the times she'll use this number in her future. I wonder if she'll have as hard of a time memorizing it as I did. I also wonder if these cards have ever been redesigned. I mean, really, for such an important document, aren't they kind of archaic?

Comfy Tummy

Elynor has taken to sleeping on her side/tummy. I lay her down on her back and she immediately curls her arms in, moves her hands to her mouth (usually putting her pointer & middle fingers in) and wriggles to the side. Sometimes there are tears involved, and others none. This has become her get comfy/settle into sleep time routine. It's also become my cue that she's ready for a nap. When she goes from happily playing to whiny and rolling onto her tummy, off to bed she goes. And yes, I guess it goes without saying that she is officially rolling from back to tummy. Scary... this means mobility isn't too far off, right?!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Saturday, Saturday

Saturday is our fave day of the week at the Westy home. We do our best to relax and spend time as a family. Usually this means sleeping in, laying around in our PJs watching whatever sport is in season or going over to Breakthrough and coaching whatever sport is in season, going out for lunch or dinner, and then laying around some more.

This Saturday was Elynor's first visit to Breakthrough basketball, where her daddy coached 3rd-6th graders in his beloved sport. She picked out a very fun outfit to mark the occasion.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Illini Couple

Elynor & her friend Chase showed up to cheer on the Illini in the Rose Bowl wearing matching orange hoodies. In about 15 years this might lead to taunting jeers and weeks of embarrassment, but right now it just means posed pictures. Elynor loves Chase, but wasn't too happy about this photo shoot (or maybe the fact that he copied her outfit), so here's our best shot. Note, we didn't get any photos with their alumnus daddies because there were few smiles throughout the eve. Better luck next time, right?

Happy New Year!

What a year we had in 2007! We praise God for the many blessings, Elynor being at the top of our list, along with the many lessons learned. We rang in the new year at what was dubbed "the baby party" (all of us new and soon-to-be parents laughed about how our NYE celebrations have changed a bit) - thanks to our awesome hosts, the Fearings. We look forward to another memory-filled year marked by friends, family, and a growing understanding of God's character & amazing love.
Elynor rings in the New Year before her 10pm bedtime

Ryan after a few too many Diet Cokes - watch out!