Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Breakfast

Elynor loves her new MeToo seat (thanks for the recco, Eric & SC) that attaches to the side of the counter. And Mommy loves no longer worrying about her popping out of her previous Bumbo seat! This is an awesome staple for those who don't want to fill their small space with a highchair. It's also incredibly portable, making dinners out or at friends' more enjoyable.

She also loves to play with Cheerios. Still no interest in eating them... but we figure she's got time. Hopefully this photo/clip of how we start our day will make you smile! And thanks for the super-cute PJs Grandma V.


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Playtime

Elynor is getting more & more content entertaining herself for extended periods of time. It's really quite amazing to watch her mind and body develop through play. Most days this means rolling & scooting all around the living room carpet jumping from one toy (real or improv) to the next with intermittent yelps and babbles. Here's a clip to give you an idea of these developments.


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Daddy Time

Elynor spent lots of time with her daddy this weekend while her mommy was posing as a real estate agent. Here are a few of their favorite activities.



Thursday, April 24, 2008

Condo Open Houses: This Weekend

If you're looking for a great 2BR condo in a fabulous Chicago neighborhood, stop by and visit us at this weekend's open houses (or send friends/family):
Saturday, April 26: 2-4pm
Sunday, April 27: 12-3pm
We've really loved this place and trust the next owners will have equally great memories here.

Lest You Think...

This world of caring for a 7 month old is all fun, games, & smiles...

In looking back through my posts, I realize that the honest accounts of some of the less-than-pretty sides of caring for baby have trickled off since those first weeks/months. I find it's easy to fall into the "life is beautiful" storytelling mode and forget to also share some of the bumps (literally & figuratively). While the happy stuff is certainly what we chose to focus on, I find encouragement in knowing others are going through tough stuff too AND I hate to suggest that we've got it all together.

So, here I'll share a few of the bumps we've experienced lately. They don't seem nearly as all-consuming as the challenges (remember the sleeping in the crib saga...) we faced early on. But they are challenges, all the same.

1. Where's My Mommy? We've officially entered into the Mommy attachment phase. It peeked out a few weeks back and it's really reared it's ugly head in the past week. What this looks like is Elynor is happy as long as she can see or sense I'm within a reasonable distance. But as soon as she can't see or sense me, then out come the screams. As you've probably sensed, I really value her developing a sense of independence. I don't hold her a ton throughout the day and I don't think I've done other things to encourage this. From what I hear, it's just a phase. And actually, it highlights a pretty significant developmental milestone called "Object Permanence". Simply, this means the kid is learning things still exist even when she can't see them. While I guess we could celebrate this milestone each time the screams come out, we don't. It's really pretty annoying to hear her screaming when I leave her at the babysitters or when I step out of the room at home. She's okay with others, even strangers, holding or playing with her... just as long as she knows I'm around too. It was actually kind of funny when I was volunteering at the church nursery last weekend. Elynor sat playing in the middle of a large pack of babies, surrounded by adults. As I walked around this scene holding an upset baby, I watched Elynor periodically peek up to find me, then go right back to playing. If I was behind her or in a not-so-obvious spot, she would twist, turn & crane her neck to make the sighting.

2. BANG! I officially entered the ranks of careless mommy this past Monday morning. While getting dressed I sat Elynor on our bed, like I've done almost every day for the past several months. I sit her in the very middle and give her a fun "toy" (one of my scarves or belts). On this particular day, while I gazed into my armoire, I heard a thud... and turned around to find Elynor lying face-up on the floor. I don't know if her scream or my mommy instincts kicked into gear first. I swept her up while she screamed. While my instinct said she was not seriously injured, my guilt over my carelessness came pouring out. Just days before Rye & I had watched her rolling around and commented the days of her hanging out on the bed were nearly over. On Monday they came to a crashing halt. Praise God she is okay. After about 10 minutes of screaming/crying (I think mostly from shock), our little girl was back to smiling & laughing and showed now visible signs of the fall. What's crazy to think is this was likely only the first of many childhood accidents. I'd like to think this experience will cause me to always be a diligent, careful mommy. But the truth of the matter is, as Elynor becomes part of our everyday life, careless accidents are inevitable. Hopefully they'll all be as simple as some screaming and minor bumps!

3. Spit up, spit up, when will you stop? Honestly, I'm over the endless stream of spit-up! I think I spent 30 minutes last night stain-treating Elynor's clothes. For some reason I thought it would have slowed down by now. But it really hasn't. And now that she's eating solids, it's much more colorful (and noticeable) than milk. It's also making it a little tricky to keep the house in order for visits from potential home buyers. Inevitably, she decides a great spit-up spot is the middle of the living room area rug (just off of the blanket laid down to prevent such events) or on the clean wood floor as you enter the condo.

I could probably continue, but I've gotta run for now. Hopefully these not-so-pretty anecdotes balance out the picture of our life with a 7 month old!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Our Little Techie

I've been known to be pretty hard on my computer. It looks like Elynor may be following in my footsteps.
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Sippin'

After some trial & error with how to work it, Elynor has fallen in love with her new sippy cup. Sometimes she even gets a drink of water.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The End & The Beginning

The fact that I haven't posted much this week can be attributed to several factors:
1. It's been BEAUTIFUL outside!
2. I've been doing some paid work outside my CEM role.
3. We're in the process of purchasing a new home and putting our current place on the market.

That's right, friends, we're currently in that strange time between signing all the paperwork for a pending sale and praying for a pending sale on our current place.

Here's the short summary (because I really need to get back to cleaning):

1. Don't worry, Chicago friends - we're staying in town. Our offer was accepted on a Logan Square fixer-upper. Please join us in praying all the details go through. Assuming they do, we'll rehab (while we live in temporary housing, TBD) this summer and hopefully be in by the fall.

2. If you or anyone you know is looking for a great 2BR/1BA condo in Chicago's North Center neighborhood (near Irving Park & Damen), send them our way. We've loved living in this home and this neighborhood and would be thrilled to sell our place to a friend or a friend of a friend.

Here's the COMPLETE LISTING.

And more PICTURES OF OUR CONDO.


Present (soon-to-be past)...

Future...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cows - Part 1

By all appearances, Elynor will not be a vegetarian (though technically, I think only dairy cows have black spots). And she's definitely in-tune with her daddy's family's dairy farmer roots.

And note, these pics were taken about 2 months ago. The shirt she's wearing no longer fits and the jeans will soon be capris.

Thanks, Kathryn, for the photos and letting Elynor drool all over Amelia's toys!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Enough is enough

WARNING - I'm going to do something here I try very, very hard to never do - judge other parents - but I've seen 2 instances of a certain behavior in the past week that I can hardly hold myself back from going up to the parents or kids and giving them a piece of my mind... so, with goal of saving me from said behavior, I'm going to let it out here. I apologize in advance. I've just got to get it out of my system. (And don't worry anyone with kids who I've been with in the past week... said behavior occurred with complete strangers!)

Okay, so here are the scenes:
1. Last Tuesday night I'm waiting in line at Chipotle. It's around 6pm and the dining area is filled with families. At most tables Mom and/or Dad are asking kids what happened at school, cutting tiny bites for tiny kiddos, or listening to whatever it is little kids talk about at dinner. As I watch from the line area I think it's pretty cool these kids are experiencing this food and dining experience. Don't get me wrong, Chipotle's not exactly fine dining, but when you come from a town where all you've got is McDonald's, Dairy Queen, or Pizza Hut, it seems special.

2. Tonight we stopped in at O'Donovan's for $2 burgers. Since Elynor's birth we go out a little (a lot) earlier... which means we're now exposed to the family hours at the bar. Rye & I were commenting on how before the "bar crowd" arrives, the place is like a little neighborhood family gathering. Grade school kids roam about looking to see what friends are there, and parents catch up. And who can blame them, we concurred. The meal is less expensive than McDonald's and the scene is far better.

Here's where both scenes set me off - In the midst of many families sharing food & conversation was one table with one child eating to the tune of their iPod and "sharing" conversation with someone via cell phone text messages. These kids were not sitting at a table all alone. Nope, at Chipotle said child was a girl in her early teens at a table with a similarly aged sibling and a dad. Sibling & dad were talking and eating as if said girl wasn't even there! At O'Donovan's a mother sits down with her teenage son at the table right next to us - he across from her. Only the two of them - and he NEVER takes out his headphones. Not to speak to the waitress. Not to watch TV. Not to talk to his mom. And I don't think they were just in his ears without music coming out. From my close vantage point I watched them order and eat in virtual silence. At one point she asked him to take out the headphones and said something to the effect of, "I didn't come here to eat by myself.". But he completely ignored her. Maybe he couldn't hear her. Or see her... since he was also texting the entire meal.

Wow! I'm getting fired up again just writing this post. I realize I probably sound old fashioned, or like I'm becoming an old lady by sharing this. But really, where have some basic manners and respect gone? I'm all for technology and I do my fair share of iPod listening and texting - and in different circumstances (like the el, a plane, or the gym) I use them to help create my own space and block other people out... but where do we draw the line?

Both instances caused me to think about the idea of having a meal with other people. A meal always involves food. And at the most simple level, we eat food to be nourished. But with others, is it only about nourishing the body? I happen to think when having a meal with others the food becomes a backdrop for nourishing the spirit and relationships. And when young people are involved, the meal becomes an incredible training ground for sharing and teaching. I suppose the iPod and cell phones aren't the first distractions from a meal bringing families (or other groups) together... but with their widespread accessibility and portability, it makes me wonder if they will cause an even greater decline in dinners together... and if such things as respect for elders, table manners, and the basic skill of making conversation will be lost with the generation of youth today (yes, i sound old using that phrase, i know).

So I wonder where those parents most regret spending their money - on the meal spent in silence? Or on the iTunes and unlimited text messaging cellular plans?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fingerpaint

Hmmmmm.....

Interesting...

You better not be here to stop me!

Stay away... or I'll slime you!

Postscript: Though I hoped Elynor would feed herself this avacado, I think this is now one of very few times something did not go directly from her hands to her mouth. I guess smashing it around was just more interesting.

Weeeee.....

Spring has officially sprung in Chicago! For families with kiddos this means escaping the confines of home to the freedom of the park. When your munchkin is as young as Elynor, I think a trip to the park is more for mommies & daddies than babies. Rye & I were psyched for the first of what is sure to be many, many park outings. And we were not disappointed. We (and Elynor) had a blast. I wish we could bottle up this enthusiasm and tap back into it on a future day (say, 3 or 4 years down the road) when we're worn out of the park!

Daddy introduced me to the swings.

We had a blast!

He also taught me about woodchips. They came from lots of trees. But he didn't know exactly how many.

We got Mommy to come out from behind the camera for at least one picture.

I sure hope more fun days at the park are in my future.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Our Baby-Free Weekend

I know most of you check out this site for pics of the little munchkin... but today we pay tribute to her mom & dad's Texas weekend of baby-free bliss. While she spent Easter weekend entertaining her Grandma V & Grandpa Kev (sorry, no pics of their adventures...), we chilled outside Austin & in San Antonio, TX. Both destinations were awesome. We highly recommend them for a long weekend and even more highly recommend all new p's plan a little getaway. You'll love it, and so will the select babysitters. Promise!

Following Katy & Jeff's AMAZING wedding (& Rye's 29th b'day)!

A bad attempt to showcase San Antonio's river walk (down below).

What's San Antonio without the Alamo (& a snow cone)?

And some good ole' Texas BBQ - yeehaw!

Dogsitting

We've been dogsitting our former dog, Ally, for the past week. Since Elynor & I were gone until Sunday night, they've really just gotten to know each other the past two days. So far their relationship ranges from very, very interested (meaning lots of poking and licking) to complete disinterest. While they've done very well with each other, I look forward to returning to our days of unobserved playtime tomorrow. Here are some pics from today's playdate.

The calm before the storm.

A gentle, introductory shake.

Faceoff!

Pow!

Yikes!

Following an attack of Ally kisses!
(No, Elynor is not growing a beard, those are Ally hairs all around her mouth.)