Thursday, March 30, 2006

New Schedule

It's a fact..... our baby is growing up. She has always seemed so mature and she's growing and changing by the minute it seems. It always sounds so cache' for people to say, "Enjoy them while they're little, because they grow so fast !" But, as a new parent, I can now attest to this as a proven fact and find myself saying it to other new moms.

This week, we have taken a break from our standard routine while trying to establish a new pattern for our "big girl." From the beginning of her day at the babysitter's house on Monday, she began altering her schedule by napping through feeds and just deciding she wasn't hungry at the designated time. When I arrived to pick her up, she was 3 hours past her normal feeding time -- and didn't seem to mind. Her babysitter was frazzled, thinking that it would throw off her whole evening routine , but I saw it as an opportunity. Never once did she become cranky, whiny or fussy as I kept her awake many hours straight without her regular evening nap. I fed her some baby food and then we played and then it was time for a bath and bottle and she was in bed by 8:30. She slept like a baby and woke in the morning at her usual time. Yeah for success and an early bedtime for all of us ! Even though Eric and I are night owls, getting to bed after midnight and waking at 6:30 can take it's toll after many long days of work and play.

Since Eric has been out of town this week from Monday thru Thursday, I have been flying solo. I have been so thankful that she was so easy to re-schedule ! Even better is that I have been able to squeeze in some early bedtimes for myself - especially this week as I have been getting up an hour earlier to feed her and give her some extra attention before zipping out the door for work ! Eric seemed impressed and is looking forward to more hours to play with his little girl each evening.

Here's a run-down of a typical day in our home :

7-8:00a.m. -- Daddy wakes and feeds Elaina / Mommy gets ready for work
8-4:00p.m. -- Elaina plays at the babysitter's house and soaks up tons of love and spoiling
4-5:00 -- Daddy picks Elaina up and playtime until mom gets home at 5:00
6:00 -- 2 jars of baby food and juice / then playtime to wear the baby out !
8:00 -- Elaina begins to get clingy and so we get jammies on the girl, bottle in the mouth,
and she is sound asleep by 8:30 !! What a dream !

In other news to report ..... Eric claims that Elaina took "a step & a half" tonight. I am still unclear what actually qualifies for that "half of a step." I don't know if I have ever witnessed that for myself. More and more, Elaina will stand alone as her attention is focussed elsewhere and she forgets to hold onto something. While she used to love walking along as someone held her arms, she has found that crawling is a much more efficient, independent means of traveling. She still loves her walker and has become quite the drag-racer in her little seat on wheels ! She tries to plow down the dog every chance she gets. That's one way to keep the dog from laying in the middle of the kitchen floor !

Monday, March 27, 2006

Steeler's Country !

What a great weekend for the White Family ! Elaina and I joined Eric in Monroeville, PA (near Pittsburgh) for a gun show. Boy, was Eric in his element : Steeler's garb everywhere you looked, the smell of ammo and gun powder and his two favorite girls at his side ! Since he has been insanely busy with work and 3 consecutive gun shows, he invited us to join him for the weekend. And, because the show was only 2 hours from home, I gave in and decided to have a weekend getaway with my husband.

The trip there and back was flawless and Elaina slept the entire time. Eric had already been in PA since Friday and so the biggest obstacle for me was just trying to get out of the house on Saturday. What a challenge ! I tried to pack everything possible the night before to ensure that Saturday morning would run smoothly. Elaina woke up at 6 a.m. and drank a whole bottle before falling back to sleep. We snuggled together in bed for over an hour (that time is priceless !) and then it was time for her bath. A warm, relaxing bath is always enough to put her right to sleep - just as I had planned. This allowed me plenty of time to get myself clean and clean up the house too. Just as I finished, I walked into Elaina's room to an overwhelming stink and my smiling, little sweetheart just waking up. Okay - get the stinky diaper out of the way before we begin our trip. Good Girl ! The only trouble was that her brand new shirt that she was about to show off to to dad, didn't fair so well. Fast forward : Wardrobe change. Laundry duty downstairs. 2 jars of baby food to fill my little girl's belly. Leave note for dog sitter. And finally, I remember to get the newspaper off the front porch. To my horror, I found that Keegan had gotten sick in the front foyer. (I miss Eric more than anything a this point) Gross ! Clean up barf. Finally.... out the door !!

As we arrived at the show to an anxious dad, Elaina beemed as she laid eyes on her dad. Since we had gotten there so late, we stayed for the remainder of the show until Eric dropped me off to shop as he went to the hotel to clean up and play with his little girl. After that, we were off to enjoy a nice dinner out. With more than a 60 minute wait at all 3 restaurants we went to, we called ahead to the Outback which was located directly next to our hotel. Basically, right back where we started !

Now for the part I had been waiting for ... we took Elaina to the swimming pool ! Unfortunately, it didn't go quite as I had planned. We walked into the pool room which bore the echo of at least 100 kids with at least 12 kids in a 10-kid-pool. Elaina was so scared, she tried to crawl up me as she clung tight and whimpered. Poor baby ! We sat with her for at least 10 minutes to allow her to decompress and adjust before Eric made his way to the far corner of the pool and I handed her off. He sat with her for awhile as the monkeys were splashing all around her and as Eric dipped her toes into the pool, she peed on him ! It wasn't the best experience for her, but she sure looked cute in her bikini !! So that the bathing suits weren't a total waste, Eric popped Elaina in the hotel bathtub along with him and they played and splashed around on her own terms. She squealed and smiled as her daddy poured water over her head and played with toys. (Which are still water-logged !)

Sunday was Eric's final day of the show and an opportunity for Elaina and I to do some shopping ! With the most beautiful baby in the world, it's hard to want to look at anything other than baby clothes ! It's not nearly as fun to shop for my size and see what I can and can't squeeze myself into. Needless to say, we found several cute outfits for Sweetness and a Pittsburgh Steeler's shirt for dad. Later, we met Eric at the show before getting on the road. After kisses goodbye, we made our way back home. All in all, it wasn't the most profitable show for Eric to have done, however, the time we spent together was absolutely priceless !

Thursday, March 23, 2006

First Word ?

Do I have an echo ?
Tonight, as I was playing with Elaina in her room, she kept crawling to the outlet to play with the plug of her wipes warmer. Because I didn't want electricity shooting through her little body and I didn't want her to think that this would be acceptable behavior, I continued to wrangle her back to me after a firm, "NO." In the midst of her baby- talk, she let out the cutest, little "no." And again, "no." And again. It was absolutely cute and so funny ! She continued to pound her hand on top of her diaper pail and talk in her gibberish with an occasional "no" or something to that affect which started with the "n" sound.

We have previously heard her sing the "Dada" song where she rambles a "dadadadadada" like most babies, and in a fit, she said something resembling "mmama." And as her mmama, that was close enough to "mama" for me ! She was praised with lots of hugs and kisses ! Hopefully she realized that they were in reward for her verbal skills and not her chronic case of the crankies !

Elaina has taken up reading my lips. Often, I will get directly in front of her face and annunciate words very clearly to her as I watch her little mouth try to form the same shape as mine. These little tutorials usually end in zerberts to her neck and lots of tickling and kisses as she begins to squeal ! There are plenty of times throughout the day where she will begin to excercise her voice with a constant "aaaaaaaaa" to which I will harmonize another "aaaaaaaa" at the same time. She looks forward to hearing my voice join hers as she smiles a goofy grin and raises and lowers her pitch. This is fun for us, as she thinks it's a for-real conversation. On the other hand, our fun chatter drives Eric nuts ! I think he's jealous that his voice just isn't girly enough !

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Running Out, Crying and Revision

Tonight is just a random bag of craziness around the White House.

To begin with, to know me, is to know that I hate to run out of anything. I always try to have a fully stocked inventory of just about everything on hand. It's genetic. Don't even get me started on my mother's inventory - sorry Mom ! After reading this, you'll see that I am every bit as guilty. It seems as though Elaina generally eats about 3 jars of baby food each day. She has so many favorites and I try to fit in each of the food groups throughout her day. When I found out that our local IGA store had baby food on sale, I went full speed ahead preparing the stockpile. I bought 60 jars. Now you have to realize that is approximately enough to supply about 3 weeks. Lucky for me that I have enough storage for 60 more jars on top of the 20 currently on hand. So I plan ahead. No more baby food shopping for a month !! Sounds like a baby- buffet to me !

Now, about this baby..... our sweet tempered, little angel had a bit of a rough patch tonight. On a typical day she rarely fusses or cries except when she is tired and her binky usually is enough to soothe her. Not tonight. Just after giving her a bath (she smells so good) she lost touch with herself. Ohhh the crying..... and crying, which lead to her coughing and practically gagging herself. This is only blog-worthy because it is so out of the ordinary. Her meltdown lasted no more than 10 minutes and then she was dressed in her jammies and cuddled with mom and a warm bottle to follow. Good night, Baby.

And finally, as the writer, editor, historian and narrator of this blog, I feel that I owe you the truth. In regard to yesterday's entry in which our prodigy child learned "bye-bye" practically on her own.... that wasn't the whole truth. And now, for the rest of the story. As I dropped Elaina off at the babysitter's house this morning I was beaming with pride as I shared with her Elaina's new trick. She told me that they had been working on that since Friday. Oh. Well, I can still gloat that after 2 days of no practice with the babysitter, she retained the gesture as if it was second nature. So, I'll be the first to say that I am still every bit as proud as my daughter and it still makes me melt when she flaps her little arm in the air with her sweet, little smile !
Now, as little, Sweetness is fast asleep, on her behalf, she'd like to say, "Bye- bye !" for now.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Bye Bye !!

Today Elaina learned how to wave "bye- bye !" She is a very diligent student as we only introduced her to the motion yesterday ! I guess that it just hadn't occurred to us that it's a worthwhile baby-gesture that we should probably share with her. In the meantime, however, I've been trying to use some baby sign- language with her during her feedings. She thinks that I am hysterical as I offer her sippy cup and gesture "juice" to her. ( it's a sign I made up myself - but I never thought it was so funny ! I form an "L" shape with my hand and bring it toward my mouth. If you are 8 months old - that's humor ! ) Our signs are fairly limited at this point; we have signs for food, more, and of course, funny-juice. Even without relying on signs, we seem to communicate very well together. Whenever she is feeling sleepy, she automatically stops what she's doing, lets out a little whimper and crawls to me and climbs me until I scoop her up with a big hug. What could be sweeter ? Luckily, her meal schedule suits her belly- schedule just fine. She eats every four hours, alternating bottle only then baby food & milk or juice. Although we're not strict about a tight schedule, consistency is important and it is so helpful to our babysitter as well. More importantly, Elaina knows that her needs will be met. How could you deny that sweet, little girl anything ? Chocolate pudding, anyone ?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Good Girl, Bad Boy

Today I was a housewife. Eric left early yesterday morning to work a gun show in Pennsylvania and Elaina and I had no plans for the day whatsoever. We spent last weekend in the curtain aisle in every store throughout Stark County. ( In fact we shopped for 7 hours straight with no luck ! She was so good ! ) Since Eric is repainting our bedroom, we need to bring some style to our windows with new window treatments. After a long week at work and late bedtimes for mom & dad, I was looking forward to some down time with my little precious. Now if you were Keegan, of course you would think that I am referring to you. Nope. When Elaina was born we weren't the only ones whose lives changed in a big way. Our spoiled rotten baby, Keegan, took a backseat to the hugs and kisses around the White house. He has been exceptionally patient with Elaina and he gets plenty of "good boy ! " encouragement for that. However, our furry bundle of joy (Keegan, that is) has gotten a bad case of spring fever. All day I tried to balance getting laundry caught up and play time with Elaina and Keegan put himself in the middle of everything, wanting me to throw his toys and play with him. Everytime I walked into the kitchen, he ran to the back door, waiting his turn to go out and play. Too bad it's 30 degrees outside and not much chance of that for today. His heart's desire would be to play ball outside until his little, arthritic legs fell off -- but today he was just craving attention. Please don't believe that this baby is being abused in any way, but today, he was quite the puppy-pain. On the other hand, Elaina was an angel today. We got lots of quality play time together - while tossing Keegan's "baby." We read some books - and tossed Keegan's baby. She enjoyed her lunch and dinner baby foods - while Keegan begged. And we played upstairs in her room - while Keegan whimpered at the bottom of the stairs. How far can you stretch one mommy ? Today, I felt like a single mom, taking care of twins ! Oh well, during Elaina's nap, I patted her twin brother and rubbed his ears and belly and wagging his tail, he let me know that he still loved me ! That is until tomorrow when his "fever" strikes again !

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thanks to Kate !

Day 3 of "blogging" and I am really getting a feel for being able to preserve our memories online. I owe a special thanks to Auntie Kate for introducing our family to the world of blogging. It's nice to be able to connect with my brother and sister-in-law and see what my sweet nephew is up to while being 2 hours away. Also, it was Kate who took time out of her day to sit on the phone with me and help me to create my own site. At one point, I had tried to establish a blog on my own and then was unable to access it for some reason. Kate, on the other hand, sailed right through the setup and guided me through the in's and out's of posting. Next, we'll be asking for a tutorial of how to post pictures. Stay tuned and thanks again, Kate !

Recording events in Elaina's day is nothing new for this proud mama. Since the day she was born, I had a special calendar which I was diligent to write down her daily events. You wouldn't believe the tiny handwriting on most days - she's a busy girl. While the calendar will be a valuable keepsake, it's not especially practical to share with her doting grandparents and great-grandparents. At this point, I think the calendar will be taking a backseat, used only for recalling milestones and pulling fun memories to be able to share online.

Because today wasn't especially fascinating or action- packed , Elaina's written calendar would probably read : Good girl, ate 2 jars of baby food at dinner, played with mommy, tried to run over Keegan in her walker.

Looks like this day's blog will be reading the same.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Indulging With Dad

Have you ever wondered how we got such a sweet baby ? We feed her chocolate pudding, of course ! Mmmm ! What a sweet treat for a little girl. When I got home from work today, Eric had dinner on the stove, Elaina was zipping around the kitchen in her walker and while I was in the next room for only a minute I heard, " Mmm ... don't tell Mommy and I'll give you another bite. This has got to be better than that 'old baby food' that Mommy feeds you... yum. Elaina likes dessert." Curious what type of dessert my baby loves - and loves to share with her dad, I peeked around to find my child sitting in her walker with a chocolate-pudding- mustache and beard ! That's my girl !

When Elaina was about 2 months old, we stopped at an ice cream parlor and Elaina had gotten her first sample of our favorite frozen indulgence - ice cream ! Eric and I had both ordered cones (and one for Keegan too) and we dipped the tip of Elaina's binky into some chocolate ice cream. With her lips tightly gripped around her binky, searching for more chocolate flavor, she was hooked ! She's been sweet ever since.

Maybe we wouldn't get the seal of approval from a dietician or even our pediatrician but we've always attempted to offer Elaina a taste of "real food." Everything from mashed potatoes to lemons. Her expressions are priceless, as if to say, " Did you mean to give that to me ?" She doesn't seem to be a picky eater - thank God ! She loves her baby food menu and takes her juice at dinnertime in a transitional type sippy- cup. She has yet to be sold on peas and carrots (jarred baby food), but then again, it looks as though it's already gone through her when you first open the jar. I can't blame her - yuck !

Now more about Elaina and her dad. They have taken up a new evening ritual. Let me give you a little background before I catch up to date. Unless you've been living under a rock, you have to know that the new season of American Idol is in full swing. I made a reluctant Eric watch the auditions with me as the contestants are pure comedy. The auditions ended, the singers are chosen and Eric continues to watch. The DVR recorded version of course. Eric hasn't missed a show, even offering his own critique to the singers and trying to guess which each of the judges will have to say. Is this really my husband ? That's just a funny story in itself ! So, the other night, Eric gets home from bowling and he's playing in the living room with Elaina and then, very soon, they both get very quiet as I hear the TV on. Moving into the living room, I see Eric sitting indian - style in front of the TV with Elaina propped in between his legs, sucking on her binky, with her full attention on American Idol ! Eric turned to me and said that she loves the show. She gets a little impatient between singers, but otherwise, sits still and enjoys the songs ! Did I mention that she is a sweet girl ?

Since Eric is due back from bowling any minute now and American Idol is being recorded, their Daddy - Daughter date will begin very soon !

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Shall We Begin ?

And here I sit. About to embark on a web journal documenting our baby's life from her 8th month of life and more. Oh what a fun ride ! I am truly convinced that Elaina was custom made for Eric and me. She has her dad's temperament ; easy going and relaxed and her mom's humor; she is a silly little clown alot of the time. What a wonderful blessing to have such a beautiful, happy baby to love and squeeze each and every day !
Since Elaina is already 8 months old, it seems as though there will be ample room to report her daily activities and achievements and provide plenty of flashbacks of her first 7 months. To begin, at this point she has become a crawling champion. About one month ago, she was beginning to discover that alot of her favorite toys were just out of her reach. So, if she wiggled on her belly and pushed with her legs, she could get ahold of her toys and so many more things that mom & dad wish were out of her sight ! The belly-wiggle lasted about one week until she discovered that the hand and knee position gave her a better view to map out her course. Once this happened, Eric and I knew that our lives had just changed ! Within one week, she was all over the room. The belly-wiggle and "turtling" on her back was no more.
We are very fortunate that Elaina's daily schedule is pretty consistent. Right now, I am stealing away, neglecting all housework and laundry to brag about my girl as she is taking her evening nap. Before her nap, she was squealing with laughter and her little gurgly giggle as mom and dad tickled her and played "get the baby." That involves me holding her as I push her back and forth to daddy only for him to tickle her and kiss her. Always a guarantee for some squeals ! I love that she loves to interact with us more than she likes to play with toys or anything else. How long do you think we can make this last ?
So before I go to wake up Sleeping Beauty, I would just like to add that although my posts may not make an appearance everyday, and who knows how long it may take my electronic-illiterate-self to figure out how to post pictures - I want to welcome you to our website and I hope that you enjoy our story !