Monday, July 31, 2006

Growing Spurt

It's amazing how fast babies grow ! I'm pretty sure that my baby is growing into a "kid" before my very eyes !

From the minute I walked in the door as I got home from work, I knew Elaina was tired with a capital "T." She was into everything and being about as busy as a baby can be. That's a sure sign that she is running on empty. "Tired baby mode" strikes and she is going, going, going yet, nothing holds her attention. This was the case tonight.

After a good dinner, I changed her diaper and I could tell that she was wearing thin. She was sucking on her binky and rubbing another binky on her face and in her eye. That's it - she was ready for bed. I lay her in her crib with her lullabies on and she was out within 5 minutes. Elaina's night wrapped up at 7:00 ! A whole hour earlier than usual.

My mom arrived only minutes later, ready to dole out some hugs upon Sweetness, only to find her curled up in her bed. These nights are rare. Elaina hardly ever goes to bed that early and my mom never comes during the week to visit. The reason for grandma's visit is due to the babysitter's daughter having surgery tomorrow and I told her to take care of her daughter as she recovers and Elaina's grandma will take care of her. Grandma was more than willing to come pitch in to spend some time with her favorite Lulu. She was looking forward to it !

Since grandma missed out on Elaina time, she helped out with some laundry and we baked cookies together.
Before I went to bed, I checked on Elaina and put her jammies on her and swear that she has grown since I lay her down at 7:00 !! It's true !

It's incredible what can get accomplished when you have extra set of hands to help and not having to juggle with a one year old. But, I would never, ever want to do without my one year old, the only thing I'm thinking of changing is not letting my mom go home !

All Girl

Here's a funny short story I just had to share ...

As we were waiting for grandma to arrive tonight, Elaina and I were outside playing with Keegan and Eric was cleaning up the yard. Soon our neighbor Sam came home and stopped over to visit. ( remember that Elaina has a crush on Sam ! ) Once Elaina laid her eyes on Sam she began to wave and was all smiles. As we were all talking, I was holding Elaina's hands as she walked along our brick wall by the driveway. At one point, she lost her footing and one foot slipped to the side of the brick. She stopped in her tracks and outstretched her arms for me to pick her up. I could tell that she was on the verge of tears and consoled her. Clinging tightly to me, she looked to see if Sam was still standing nearby. I soon figured out that Elaina didn't want to cry in front of her "boyfriend" Sam !!

What a G I R L !!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Land Legs

Days like today are few and far between. Eric and I had no plans for the day except to enjoy the afternoon with our friends and their family by the pool. With our recent heat wave, there's nothing that sounds better than hangin' out in the pool. Elaina, on the other hand, would disagree.

This was her second time in the water and she was less than thrilled. She clung to Eric and myself like crazy and fussed and yelled as we hugged her, letting her legs dangle in the water. Elaina was all about playing on the Little Tikes slide and jungle gym in the backyard. With the temperature in the 90's I thought she would welcome the cool water to refresh her as the beads of sweat began to pool on her little nose. Nope ! She wanted out. Mom obliged and I changed her out of her bikini and into her play clothes. She was as happy as a little munchkin can be. Out of the water !

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Picture Perfect Day

It's family picture day !

Today is the day that we gather up my parents, grandparents, my brother, sis-in-law, nephew and Eric and Elaina for our four generation family portrait. Because I'm sentimental, I see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity. My grandparents live in Florida and may not be coming back any more to spend their summer's in the north. This appointment for our picture was made on very short notice, but sometimes you have to create an opportunity to get things done when you need to. This was the day.

Our poor photographers did a nice job as they managed to squeeze our group of 10 into a picture. And let's not forget that they had two little ones to deal with, trying to get them to smile at the same time ! Same goes for the adults ! We were all so concerned about the kids smiling and sitting still that we were forgetting to look at the camera too ! I have to admit that we had a few shots that were less than flattering but, in the end, we'll all be going home with priceless photos that have captured the day and our family just being a family. Togetherness. That's was the most important part of today.

Afterwards, my grandparents treated us all to a great dinner which we all enjoyed. The kids, both Elaina and Colin, were putting the food away like no other. I was impressed with how well they both behaved throughout dinner as they sat at the table like two miniature adults and ate samples from the buffet. Who knew that Elaina and Colin liked popcorn shrimp so well ?

When we were all stuffed to the hilt and could barely move, we made our way back to my parents' house where we just sat around and enjoyed each other's company. Elaina and Colin got to play together and do all the running around that they could handle. It was like a three ring circus at times. Elaina in one ring, Colin in another and one lucky grown up to do the chasing ! We all had a ball ! At one point, Elaina was so tired that in the midst of her playing she laid down in the middle of the kitchen floor just to take a break. That's one tired girl ! It was so cute to see the cousins together and how they interacted. Colin is the sweetest boy ever and made it known as he went up to Elaina's face and pressed his face against hers. Just checking out the pretty girl !

It was a great day from beginning to end and our photos will be everlasting keepsakes for all of us to cherish !

Friday, July 28, 2006

Weekend Away

My family recently decided that it would be a good idea for us to all gather together and have a family picture taken. It originally started out as an idea my brother and I had to present to our parents as an anniversary gift to them. As it turns out, my grandparents are in the area and they would be a great addition to our picture as well. A four generation family portrait. Perfect.

So, we're off for the weekend with the families. Tonight, we headed to Eric's parents house for the night so that they were able to spend some time with Elaina. Elaina was so funny as she is beginning to say more words since the last time they had seen her only one month ago. She was a little clown ! She remembered her grandma and grandpa and was a little bit shy for only a little while. We all had a nice time visiting and stayed up too late together as we all have a big day tomorrow. Eric's mom has to work and I don't want bags under my eyes for family picture day !

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

We must be nuts...

Eric and I have lived in our current house since we got married in 1998. In fact, in August, it will be 8 years since we purchased our home. In these 8 years, we have poured countless hours, loads of hard work and insane amounts of money into remodeling and making this our home. Unbelievably, we still aren't finished, but we're happy. So, the fact that we looked at a house for sale tonight is crazy !

It all started last weekend when we were headed out of town and as we passed a "For Sale" sign, Eric suggested that I jump out of the car to grab a flyer. The house sits on 43 wooded acres and has an inground pool. Hmmm... that's attention grabbing. In addition to that, there is a mineral well on the property which supplies gas, making it free to heat your home (and POOL ! ) That's another fat bonus.

We discussed it for a while and didn't see any reason not just to take a look. We hadn't at all considered moving, but we could be swayed if the perfect opportunity presented itself. We had an appointment with the realtor at 7:00 and we began to tour the house. The pool was gorgeous, the lot was appealing and there was even a pole barn in the back for Eric's workshop. The inside of the house needed some updating, namely, the wallpaper needed stripped from every room. The kitchen was brand new and the carpet was too. As we headed down to the basement to find a full kitchen, I was convinced that we were moving ! This was going to be our new house ! I was excited to see the bedrooms upstairs to seal the deal. And then it happened - the bedrooms were like closets and there was no storage to speak of. It was over. We couldn't move; we are entirely spoiled with loads of storage space already, I couldn't possibly move into something less than what we've already got. In our house, I've got a closet for my sweaters alone and another for my off-season clothes ! Each bedroom has two separate closets in them and all of our bedrooms are big. It doesn't look like the White's will be enjoying a pool of our own anytime soon. No 43 acres. And we'll have to continue to pay our gas bill.

When we got home, I walked through our house, admiring and appreciating all that we already have. Looks like we'll be canceling the moving trucks and heading to the community pool !

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We'll call it SCUM

This is unfortunate to report... Elaina had to go to the doctor today. For the past two weeks she has had little hard bumps on her knees and they recently began to appear on her hands and feet. I was concerned where they were coming from and why they weren't going away. She gets a bath every other night and wears pajama pants and long sleeves to bed every night. I couldn't bring myself to believe that they were bug bites. My grandma suggested that they looked like little warts. I didn't want to believe that either. Ugh. But, grandma's usually know their stuff - and my grandma was right. Elaina has about 10 teensy, little warts.

Upon Elaina's visit, the doctor confirmed that Elaina had presented a classic case of Molluscum Contagiousum. What ? We'll just call it scum ! How did my perfect angel get scum ? It turns out that it just spreads as a virus, a virus from the pox family of viruses and has nothing to do with being dirty and no way to prevent it. The only way to get over it , is to get through it. There's no treatment available and it just has to run it's course. Usually it can be itchy (Elaina doesn't seem to be bothered) and it can last between 3 and 8 months.

That's a crummy - scummy thing for a baby !! Let's hope that she is on the mild end and she'll get over it very soon !

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday Driver

Aahhh .... scary - Elaina behind the wheel !!
Not so fast, Baby ! Mom and Dad are not even close to ready for you to grow up that fast !

In this picture, Elaina is behind the wheel of great-grandma and grandpa's motorhome. She had a blast playing in the driver's seat with all of the knobs and gadgets. She found the horn a couple of times and scared herself, not to mention the neighbors at the next lot !

It's the last day for great-grandma and grandpa to be staying nearby at their campground in amish country so we planned to spend the day visiting them. What a beautiful day it turned out to be too ! Yesterday was cool, rainy , muggy and overcast with only a few breaks of sunshine. The temperature today was in the 80's with gorgeous sunshine and a great breeze. A perfect day to be outside. While we were at the campsite, an amishman and his family headed through the campground in their buggy lead by a sleek, black horse. It was Elaina's first horse and buggy sighting to witness up close and personal. We exchanged a friendly hello and headed out for lunch. Most of the shops and restaurants in amish country are closed on Sunday, but we found a great restaurant nearby and grandma and grandpa treated us to a fabulous meal. Eric brought Elaina samples of many different menu options from the buffet, yet she was only willing to eat her bologna that I had packed from home. Stinker ! Elaina sang and talked loudly throughout our meal, but never a fussy whine or whimper - she just wanted to make her presence known to all !

We had the most wonderful day with grandma and grandpa and Elaina was on much better behavior. She talked and played and soaked up every bit of attention from all of us.

*** One more thing... the whole screeching thing from yesterday ... it's all OVER !! Just a one -day - phase ! Could we be any luckier than that ?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Great -Crank

What do Great- Grandparents do ? They spoil their great- grandchildren of course !

Continuing their northern tour for the summer, my grandparents had spent the past week camping with a group of friends about 40 minutes from our home. Fortunately, they made special arrangements to clear their weekend to come to visit us. They brought us donuts, a hand crafted musical puzzle for Elaina and a belated birthday gift from her Great Aunt Jan and Uncle Stan. ( A glow worm and a cheerleader dress that says the 'Bengals." Ever heard of them ? Who is "Ben" and his "Gals" ? )

So, we spent the day visiting with grandma and grandpa and showing off some of Elaina's new tricks and some recent behavior that Mommy isn't going to let last long. Never before has Elaina just walked around screeching when things don't go her way and whines at every, little thing - but the day we have company and I want grandma and grandpa to enjoy our sweet angel - we get a day of monkey screeches and whimpers ! I swore that this really isn't her typical behavior and I don't know what has gotten into her. In Elaina's defense, she didn't get a full, uninterrupted nap like usual and she is cutting in her molars. It seems as though the crankies have overcome her. Ugh ! She really wasn't all bad, but certainly not her usual 24/7 -sweet-self.

We did, however, enjoy our day together and grandma and grandpa fully understood Elaina's mood swings. Afterall, they did raise 4 kids of their own and have 7 grandkids- all of who have had their fair share of the "crankies ! " I guess we've all been there - done that - and then got a nap !

Friday, July 21, 2006

Daddy Day !!

I'm thinking that we really have the best babysitter ever for our sweet angel. Nancy has never called off in over a year and today was the first day that she had made plans to take a vacation day to go out of town with her husband. Oh yeah ... and she and her whole family LOVE Elaina !

Eric's schedule was flexible today so he won ... he got to stay home with Elaina and be Mr. Mom ! For 8 hours straight ! He got her to take 2 naps rather than her standard one-nap-a-day. (Guess he needed a break or he was just boring. Maybe he fell asleep ! ) Other than that, they went on a walk to swing in the park and Elaina played with her water table.

I have to admit that I'm a little bit jealous that I couldn't join in the play day, but I'll be taking a day off with her soon. It was all about father- daughter bonding today. You know how some kids are really "Mommy's Girl's" or "Daddy's Girl's ?" Elaina doesn't play favorites. It's obvious that she knows that she can fully rely on either of us to fulfill her needs and she loves us the same. That makes us all happy.

That's Mommy's good girl !

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cuter Than Cute !

It's easy to tell Mommy's favorite BabyDoll !!

Tonight, I was invited to a Pampered Chef party hosted by Elaina's babysitter. I love Pampered Chef items, but I could barely think what more I really needed to buy - alas, I always come up with something. Tonight's buy was a striped serving dish and a nylon whisk. I have to admit that this party was the best P.C. party I have ever been to due to the fact that the consultant was demonstrating the ice cream sandwich maker and we all got to make our own ice cream sandwiches using chocolate chip cookies and loads of toppings to roll the sides in. Mmmm !! She almost convinced me that I needed one of these handy little gadgets to clutter my kitchen drawers. Not. Put my ice cream in a bowl, throw a cookie on the side and dump on the toppings. It really doesn't have to be all that pretty for me. When it comes to ice cream, I'm not picky ! The more - the better !

The only thing I hate about making evening commitments is that it eats up my time away from my little girl. Lucky for me, she was still up, playing with her daddy when I got home - just waiting for me to rock her and cuddle her to sleep ! Ice cream and cuddling ... Now that's a good night !

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Welcome Back Sunshine !

Ahh ... what a relief ! Elaina had a much better night tonight ! Yeah - I've got my sweet sunshine back in my life !
( in the photo above, Eric spit-stuck a puzzle piece to Elaina's forehead. It really goes to her God's Creations book set that G&GH got her for her baptism, but Elaina was shining bright tonight in her happy mood so it was appropriate ! )

This morning, as I dropped Elaina off at the babysitter's house, I asked if Elaina was still getting enough rest during the daytime. Nancy assured me that her napping schedule rarely varies, and that she is pretty consistent with a 2-3 hour nap daily. So, I still wonder why some nights Elaina is as happy as a peach and other nights, she is dreadfully tired and monster-mode goes into effect by 6:30 pm. I guess that just goes along with being all of 1 year old. Regardless, our night was filled with hugs and happiness and giggles and squeals. Who could ask for anything more ?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Not Again !

Food Fight, Part 2 :

I'm telling you, I'm not really loving this whole discipline thing. Who knew it would start so early ? Elaina is truly the very best baby you could ever ask for, but when she's tired, she goes into wreckless-monster-mode.

This is how our dinner went tonight. Elaina was enjoying her dinner and being quite content for as tired as we both knew that she was. As I began talking to her, complimenting her on how good she was being, she threw her food to the floor as she looked at me for my reaction. I grabbed her hand, putting it back onto the highchair tray and as I began to tell her "No" she gave me an immediate " Pbbblllttt ! " spitting from her mouth. Oh no !! We are not going there ! Before she could even finish, I smacked her mouth, letting her know that she was quite through with that behavior. (Again, Mother's Oath - I did NOT hurt my baby !) She was so surprised and devastated that her tears were immediate. I hurt her feelings again ! BAD !
We were both surprised that our little, sweet angel came up with this defiant, little act that our mouths hung open in disbelief. But, for the sake of being consistent, action needed to be taken.

A few minutes into her meltdown, Eric wiped her down and carried her straight to bed. Like last night, we both knew that she was tired ( Eric layed down with her only an hour earlier & she didn't sleep) and she was just losing touch with her little self. I checked on her about 15 minutes later and she was in her crib, wide awake, sucking on her binky. As another 10 minutes went by, I checked on her again to find her still laying in her crib, eyes wide open. I pulled her out with a tight hug and I rocked her while sweet- talking her with apologies and kisses. We made up and we're happy again !

Let's get this lesson learned soon so that we can be done with this behavior and no more food fights !!

Daddy Day !!

I'm thinking that we really have the best babysitter ever for our sweet angel. Nancy has never called off in over a year and today was the first day that she had made plans to take a vacation day to go out of town with her husband. Oh yeah ... and she and her whole family LOVE Elaina !

Eric's schedule was flexible today so he won ... he got to stay home with Elaina and be Mr. Mom ! For 8 hours straight ! He got her to take 2 naps rather than her standard one-nap-a-day. (Guess he needed a break or he was just boring. Maybe he fell asleep ! ) Other than that, they went on a walk to swing in the park and Elaina played with her water table.

I have to admit that I'm a little bit jealous that I couldn't join in the play day, but I'll be taking a day off with her soon. It was all about father- daughter bonding today. You know how some kids are really "Moomy's Girl's" or "Daddy's Girl's ?" Elaina doesn't play favorites. It's obvious that she knows that she can fully rely on either of us to fulfill her needs and she loves us the same. That makes us all happy.

That's Mommy's good girl !

Monday, July 17, 2006

First Fight

It's true. The discipline has to begin sometime. Tonight was the night.

This is no fun. Disciplining my sweet angel. Ugh ! Unfortunately, tonight Elaina provided her own learning experience. At dinnertime, she was picking at her food with only a little bit of interest and then, looking me in the eye, she dropped her food to the floor to feed Keegan. With a firm "No Elaina" I led her hand back onto the highchair tray for her to resume feeding herself. Still looking me in the eye, she let her food from the other hand onto the floor. I grabbed her hand more firm this time and offered her a sturn, "No !" At this point, her world fell apart and the water works began to flow. Ohhh ... the drama ! I swear with a Mother's Oath that in no way did I hurt my Sweetness, but she continued to crank out the heartbroken sob of a tired baby whose feelings had been hurt. One minute into her bawling, it was obvious that she was then just pushing out the crying. Just like Daddy says, she is a Drama Queen.

As we tried to ignore her plea for attention, Eric and I sat at the dinner table with an immediate discussion on the most appropriate way to resolve her meltdown and let her know that this behavior isn't acceptable. Our gameplan : Eric managed to get her to eat 2 bites of food toward the end of her fit and only then, was she removed from her highchair. Our lesson which we tried to convey was that her behavior wasn't acceptable and when she is in her highchair, it's time to eat and crying or misbehaving won't be a ticket out. (we used to watch alot of Dr.Phil - are we on the right track ? )

Once out of her seat, it was my turn again. I picked her up and said I was sorry and offered her a drink before cuddling her in my arms as I rocked her to sleep. This was classic tired-baby-misbehaving-action but now we've established guidelines to remain consistent and reinforce.

I already don't love this part of parenting and we're just beginning ! Wish us luck !

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Drive

Today, we headed to the southern portion of the state to spend the day visiting with friends. Eric had worked with his buddy, Karl before his retirement and they have remained close since. Karl has been to our house a number of times, each time, leaving with an open invitation to visit him and his wife Brenda at their home. So, today was the day we packed up Elaina and headed south.

Karl and Brenda have a phenomenal house in the country and they were more than happy to allow Elaina to toddle around to take in all of the fascinating, new sights around her. We packed her bag ' o' toys for her entertainment but, little did we know that she would be providing her own entertainment. She flirted with Karl and soaked up hugs from them both. Of all of the stuffed animals Elaina has at our house that she has never paid attention to, she couldn't remove herself from Brenda's basket of Ty beanie baby- dogs in a basket. Eric taught her that dogs make a "woof-woof" sound and so for the next 1o minutes - Elaina walked around woof- woofing ! Too cute !

With the temperatures in the mid 90's, it was too hot to be outside so Karl and Brenda prepared the most wonderful feast for dinner straight from the oven ! Mmm ! During dinner, I cannot confirm, nor deny that Elaina was especially good. Let's just say that we got through dinner without any tears and minimal yelling. Elaina didn't shed any tears either and her yelling was somewhat contained. Not bad !

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon !
Karl and Brenda - Thanks for a wonderful day together !

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Big Girl Day !

Another first ... Elaina is out of her infant carrier and is now enjoying the luxury and fit of her new carseat ! Yeah !

Last night, Eric switched out her infant carrier and replaced both vehicles with new big-kid-carseats ! I love looking over my shoulder to see her sweet, smiling face and see her looking back at me. Oh, what a big girl ! I know the importance of the rear-facing infant seat for safety purposes, but when traveling with a newborn, isn't that all you want to look at ? I've always hated that. So, now I have my big, one year old that I can peek at any time I'd like. I just can't get over how cute she looks in her big seat.

We tested out her new seat by going out for ice cream. ( Oh yeah, and the fact that it was like 95 degrees outside ! ) With her disposable bib in place, Elaina sucked down her very first baby cone all on her own ! She loved it. In the beginning, she wasn't entirely sure what I was offering her in her face, but as she caught on, she was like a baby bird with her mouth gaping open ready for the next bite. Yum ! The cone turned into a soggy mess before she was able to tackle it, but she did a great job.

When we got home from our ice cream party, Eric tried to ease Elaina into her new baby pool which had about 3 hours to warm in the 95 degree heat. Yet, it was still on the cold side for the Princess's liking. Eric dipped her feet into the water as she fussed and hollered and made her dislike known to all within a 5 mile radius. I would hope that she begins to like the water soon. We don't really know anyone with a swimming pool and we had hoped that the 3 ring baby pool would suffice for now. Who knows ? I guess we'll have to keep trying ; I can't wait to see our water bill !

Friday, July 14, 2006

Down Time (?)

Whew ! What a week ! Eric and I don't have any major plans or commitments for a whole day and a half, which leaves us time to sit back and enjoy ! ( I say that now - but do we ever just sit around ... ? In my dreams ! ) Oh, but the never-ending to-do-list is ever present. We've got project after project lined up that will take us from now into the winter months to finish. Not to mention, all of the regular household chores which wait for me daily. That darned maid of ours.... I don't remember the last time I even saw her. Wonder if she'll ever come around ?
( Oh yeah ... it's just been me ! )

Tonight, we put everything aside and went out for pizza at our favorite local pizza place to welcome in our weekend. From the time we walked in the door, until the time we left, we ended up running into about a dozen friends of ours eating out. ( That's small - town living for you ! ) Elaina made up her mind that she doesn't especially care for pizza, but found it to be alot of fun to throw her food on the floor. Way more fun than eating ! Stinker !

*** Get Elaina to like more food. *** Put that on the list !!!

One more thing ... remember my post of, " Mom Reinvented" ? Anyone who guessed that I got my haircut wins the goldfish ! In this picture, Elaina and I were sharing Goldfish crackers ( she loves ) as I profile my new do. It was time for a change !

Thursday, July 13, 2006

2 Little Piggies

Seriously, is there really anything cuter on a little girl than 2 pulled - back - pigtails ?

After Elaina's bath tonight, we played beauty parlor ! Her hair has been getting so long and she gets the cutest little curlies in the back and on the sides. I love it ! I've been trying to get her accustom to wearing a barrett pulling back her bangs, but sometimes she decides that she would rather investigate her "pretties" than leave it in her hair. She has the greatest natural part and her hair is just beautiful golden brown. My plan is to let her hair grow long and see how much natural curl she'll develop.

By the way ... the water bottle in the picture has become her most favorite toy. She pulled it out of the cupboard herself and I let her have it ever since. We take it to the bathtub and I squirt rinse water at her and then empty it and it becomes a puzzle for her to match the lid onto the bottle.

With so many fabulous, recent birthday gifts and a house full of toys - please tell me that this is just a phase. She can occupy herself for a good 10 minutes just playing with this single water bottle ! What a goofball !

** Just between you and me, I think that the water bottle may just disappear for a couple days very soon !

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Did I Mention ?

After thinking about what I would be writing about tonight, several random thoughts crossed my mind in no particular order that I thought I could share.
So, here it goes ....

Did I mention ... that Elaina has become a complete carnivore ? The girl is a meat-eater ! For her dinner tonight, I had given her a slice of all- beef bologna, peas and bananas. Eric and I were having steak. Little did I know that I should ahve thawed 3 steaks, rather than 2 ! I shared a few bites with Elaina and she wanted more, more, more ! No more peas for this girl - she wanted steak ! I have to admit that Eric's steaks are truly out of this world ! He seasons them just right and grills them just rare enough that they are still good and juicy ! Yum !

Did I mention ... sometimes I cheat on my blog ? I'm not sure if our world will ever slow down. With a first birthday happening and our town's summer festival coming up that I help to coordinate and big changes at my job - I look forward to the day that I can enjoy some down time. I swear that I have the best intentions of doing a blog entry each and every night, yet sometimes when it's already midnight, going to bed wins my debate. ( I haven't seen my bed before midnight in a long time ! ) With this said, I try to do as many entries as I can when I actually do get the time and then date them for the correct day that each event took place. I have these beautiful images of years down the road, when Elaina is 4 or 5, I'll lay with her each night and read to her my blog entries of what she was doing so many years ago on that particular day. Nice, huh ? So the fact that I cheat every once in a while won't have any bit of relevance for Elaina's keepsake journal. I just get to share it with all of you in the meantime !
On that note ...
I have really enjoyed writing about our little Beauty ! I love that she will know how much she is and has always been loved by all of her family and how she grew and developed so amazingly ! Some of my friends have put countless hours and hundreds of dollars into incredible scrapbooks for their kids and I just have this little, old blog. The difference is that I have put my heart and soul into writing about our lives and documenting so many specific details about events that we have shared as a family. And posting pictures just enhances the sweet memories. Tell me how to squeeze all of that onto a decorated sheet of paper ? ( Oh yeah ... and I get to share this with you in the meantime ! Ever get to look at someone's scrapbook everyday when you live miles away ? )

Did I mention ... that I love hearing who's been reading about Elaina and our family ! I just learned that my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Roger have been reading ( Hi !!! ) and Aunt Cindy and Uncle Ben ( Hi !!! ) and especially some of Ava's former nurses ! ( I think of you often Marianne and Becky !! You guys will always hold a special place in our hearts in the way that you touched our lives ! ) What a great surprise !
So you see, I love knowing who's reading and the easiest way for me to know is by leaving comments. I've heard that alot of people have tried to post a comment and weren't able to so, let me brief you in the easiest way to do it. ( If the mood ever strikes you. )
After my entry, click on "comments" and type your message and sign your name and then click the "annonymous" option and then decode the word jumble and then click on " Publish." Easy !

Did I mention ... that if you see a picture that I have posted and want to view it larger, you can double click on the picture and it will appear full screen. To go back to the text, you just click on the "Back" arrow in your toolbar. Easy too !

Did I mention ... how excited I am that Elaina is done drinking from a bottle ? She had been using a sippy cup for juice for about 6 months now, so weaning her off a bottle went unnoticed for her. No more washing bottles. No more buying formula. And, soon, she'll be out of her infant carrier in a front - facing car seat ! No more lugging that monstrosity in and out of the house ! Eric intends to install her seat soon, but our brand new car seat that we had purchased for her didn't happen to have the directions included in the box and has about 15 straps attached to it. We're waiting on an e-mail from the company with the directions.

So ... we're all good here ! And just for the record - I wrote this blog entry on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 - just like it says at the top ! If I stop now, I may get to bed before midnight too !
Good Night !

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Score !

How many blog entries ago was I agonizing over finding curtains for our bedroom ? Months ago ! Today was the day I found the perfect curtains for our bedroom. Goodbye ugly-old-don't-match-anything-cheap-curtains ! I scored some beauties today !!

Elaina and I spent the afternoon shopping together and although I can't brag that she was exactly well-behaved in the store, we did have a successful trip. After our big curtain find, we headed to Jo-Ann Etc. to find some pretties to enhance Eric's landscaping in the backyard. He finished installing the garden trellis and picket fence and gate and our yard was crying out for some finishing touches. I found some outdoor accessories that perfectly fit the need.

After our afternoon of shopping, we joined our friends going out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Elaina was on the edge of being good and being not-so-good. Generally, after her shots, her body reacts with moodiness for about 3-5 days. She ate nearly a whole loaf of bread and some chicken as she sat in her highchair, throwing her book and sippy cup to the ground repeatedly. Well, that's what we thought anyhow. Pulling her seat back from the table, we discovered that not every piece had made into her mouth. In fact, a flock of birds would have had a buffet with as much food as Elaina left on the floor. Needless, to say, Eric did some clean up of his own and we tipped our waiter generously.

As if our day wasn't full enough at this point, after we arrived home, I changed Elaina into her jammies and with her cuddly blanket, we drove down the street to our friends house for a bonfire. Most of their guests had since gone home, but we stayed for over an hour, visiting and cuddling our sleeping girl as she finished off her bedtime bottle.

I guess you just have to soak up as many of these beautiful summer nights that you can handle. The days go so quickly and summer is slipping away even faster !

Friday, July 07, 2006

Say What ?

And if you can take one more list, I have to document a run down of all of the words that Elaina is saying.

She clearly says : Dada, Mama, Bye-Bye, Hi, Laina, Nana (Nancy, the babysitter's nickname)

Strong efforts into saying : Keegan ( Kegke )
Hello ( Lo ello )
Thank You ( Thankku )

Off the record, my mom reports that Elaina said Off and What while we were visiting. It's really the craziest thing, but I swear that Elaina has been responding to us in words or phrases that actually make sense. Please, if you know me, I hope you don't think I am just this looney to make this up, but Eric has heard it too. For instance, we were driving in the car, Elaina was just coming off her Mama Strike and after she finished singing her "Dadadaddaa - song " she said another word that resembled Mama. I asked, " Elaina, did you say Mama ? " Okay - I know this is crazy but it sounded like she said, " I said Dada ! " A perfectly logical answer to my question. Eric interpreted out loud, what I thought I had heard myself. How much does she really know ? Stay tuned ...

One year check up !

Another great birthday gift from Aunt Cindy, Uncle Ben and the Boys !! Drinking and Driving !

More shots. Darned those shots that hurt my baby.

Today, Eric and I blew off work in the afternoon to take Elaina for her one year check up at the doctor's office. We thought it was important to go together since she is growing and changing so fast and want to know what things we can do differently since she has turned one. Our concerns were with her eating habits. Elaina loves chicken and turkey (not deli meat) and all beef bologna. She's not so much into fruits and vegetables at the moment other than baby food. Her favorite food is potato chips ! Does that count ? Stinker ! Anything that sticks to her fingers is not going in the mouth. And a bigger problem is that she has to take everything off of the spoon I feed her to investigate in her little hands. Apparently, this is to identify the sticky-factor. Her pediatrician (who is also our family doctor that we love) said that her daughter did the same thing and although it's hard, you just have to be persistent and try new things. One huge benefit in our favor is that Elaina is great with her sippy cup and we may get to pack up the bottles and cut out the formula for good. Yeah !

Her eating habits have been changing on their own. Before, she was reliant on her bedtime bottle and now, she'll sometimes put herself to sleep by just sucking on her binky when she's really tired. ( I know... she's an angel ! And she still sleeps through the night ! ) We're making strides in giving her dry cereal or pancakes and milk for breakfast rather than a bottle. I've tried every possible way to serve her eggs for breakfast and she's not into that either. So, the babysitter is on board with helping us feed Miss Picky and we'll give her all the time she needs to develop better eating habits.

Now, back to the doctor visit ... Elaina got three vaccines today in the form of two shots. She had been given the Almighty Tylenol before her visit and I was armed with her first taste of a lollipop before and after her pricks. A trick I learned from S.I.L. Kate - thanks ! Elaina screamed without breathing until she was in her daddy's arms and she recovered within a minute. Way to go, Big Girl ! Poor mom has been on the sidelines of affections with a bad cold - still. Getting Elaina sick is the last thing I would want to do. As for her current stats, she measured in at 29 1/2 inches and weighs 20.10 pounds. This puts her in the 50th percentile for her age. I'm happy with that ! When we were finished with our time with the doctor, Elaina walked around the office saying Bye-Bye to everyone. Just letting them know that she was done being there ! " Bye- bye ! "

Thursday, July 06, 2006

S. B. P.

S.B.P. = Standard Blog Protocol

Since I am still somewhat new to blogging, I have taken the hint from my sister-in-law's blog and some of her links... there are certain rules that each blogger must follow. One of those rules being that you are required to compose an annual list of nicknames you have given to your baby. If you have any doubts, you can refer to The Mommy Files (Kate's blog) to verify this to be true.

So here it goes : Elaina - a.k.a :

Lulu, Lulubelle
Love, Lovey
Beauty Queen
D.Q. : Drama Queen
Bratsy Sue

That's about all I can come up with ... my blog requirement has been fulfilled ! We'll see how her nicknames evolve over the next year.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Welcome to my crib !

"Elaina, what a beautiful home you have ! Please tell me the name of your decorator !"

Is this how all one- year -olds live ? She has her own house, and her own furniture ! The house was a fabulous birthday gift from Aunt Kate, Uncle Greg and Colin . And the couch is from Grandma and Grandpa W. By the way, the couch fits beautifully inside the house and as it pulls out into a bed, you couldn't ask for more of a custom fit ! Perfect ! Let's hope that Keegan doesn't make any attempts at taking over her house - he is spoiled enough, just like our girl !!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Birthday Blues

You know the saying, " What goes up, must come down ?"

With Elaina's big birthday weekend and the fourth of July holiday coming to an end, we had been riding high, having one great, busy day after another - but great days in all. Today, we came down from our high in a big way. We had stayed the night at my parents' house and Elaina must have just had enough of being away from home and off of her routine. She was a little, crank-butt today. After lunch with my mom and dad and lots of serious packing the truck, we headed for home. Elaina, who is usually great in the car, whimpered and cried on and off for almost an hour before falling asleep. As we approached the middle of nowhere on our drive, our gas light warning came on and within 2 minutes (seriously - 2 ! ) our truck was stammering and we had run out of gas ! (For our sake, we have to believe that there is a problem with the gas gauge. ) So, did I mention that it had been pouring down rain most of our trip and was still humid and sprinkling ? At this point, Elaina wakes up unhappy, Eric runs across the highway over 4 lanes of traffic to the nearest house and Keegan is in the back of the truck panting like he's having a heat stroke. Happy 4th of July !! You could have probably seen the fireworks shooting out from my head at this point !

This story really could take forever, but I'll save you the misery ... lucky you - we lived it. So - fast forward : a State Trooper pulls up behind me, I tell him our story, swearing that we really aren't stupid people, he waits for Eric and a nice old man to arrive with a couple gallons of gas , I feed Elaina some baby food as she sits on my lap in the front seat to keep her quiet as we're both sweating and 30 minutes later, we finally get on our way (to the nearest gas station for a fill up !!!) Whew... this could quite possibly be the longest trip in my life ! We finally arrive home and as I am standing at the counter in the kitchen unpacking, I stepped back and saw a little, black face looking back at me. It was a bat. A bat that had wedged itself between our countertop and the top insert of our dishwasher. Ugh ! I voted to spear him with a handy hot dog roasting fork, but my nature-loving -dork- husband saved his little, bat life and took him outside. ( I know that sounds crass - but we have plenty of bats outside attached to our shingles that they don't need to be in my house ! )

And just for a little more humor in my day, I can feel cold symptoms developing by each passing hour ! Great !

So, there you have it - the good, the bat, and the ugly of our birthday weekend !
Home Sweet Home !

Monday, July 03, 2006

Another Party !

We must be popular ... our third party in 3 days ! Whoa - whose life is this ?

Today we were invited to a cookout / pool party at our friend's new house. I was looking forward to gliding Elaina around in the water, except for the fact that there were so many kids there that we had to pass. She would be scared to death to get into a pool with so much commotion. Instead we spent our afternoon and evening poolside soaking up conversation and being entertained by Elaina and her friends who shared potato chips and the same sippy drink and played together on the jungle gym.

What a great way to round out our perfect weekend. Elaina was zonked. We even forfeited her bedtime bottle and she got to sleep in her new birthday clothes ! She was cozy enough and I didn't hear a single complaint from her !

Let's Party !!

Here are some random birthday photos from Elaina's party !
The water table was a hit with cousins Evan, Colin and friends, MacKenzie and Camryn joining in the fun !
Elaina left the water alone to soak up some hugs and kisses from Great-Grandma H. -- she knows who does the spoiling around here !
The cone-noses belong to my side of the family. That would be Grandpa H. and cousin Colin putting on their disguises.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Remembering 7-2-2005

As I reflect on our lives exactly one year ago today, I can barely imagine what our lives were like without Elaina. We had just come off of a heartbreaking roller-coaster ride with the loss of Our sweet Ava and only had a trusting hope and lots of prayers that The Lord would finally grant our prayers in a child to love and call our own.

At 10:10pm on Saturday, July 2, 2005, with the sound of fireworks echoeing from a nearby park, Elaina Rose was born and welcomed into the world by a new mommy and daddy that craved a baby girl and couldn't wait to fall in love. Eric was first to hold Elaina in his arms as I hugged Elaina's birthmom and tried to express what this baby meant to us. A near impossible task as my heart was pounding with excitement and my body trembled with joy.

As we held our daughter in our arms we knew immediately that this little stranger had just changed our lives. This little stranger was everything we had prayed for and we couldn't wait to begin our new life together. Looking into our baby girl's gray-blue eyes, we knew that we had finally gotten our angel here on earth.

Elaina Turns ONE !!


Can you really believe how fast one year can go by ? Our beautiful, bundle of joy turns one year old today. Undisputed, this has been the very best year of our entire lives. There has not been one single day that has gone by that I haven't felt like the luckiest mom in the entire world. Along with that, not a day has passed without me thanking God for the most amzing gift ever created especially for us. Elaina is the best of everything we could ever dream of having and probably more than we deserve in her sweet temperament and gentle nature. What a blessing !

I have to admit that we (and by that, I mean "I" ) have been looking forward to planning a first-birthday party for alot of years now. Our day has arrived and we celebrated Elaina's special day with more than 30 of our closest friends and family members. With the rain pounding on the rooftop first thing in the morning, and booms of thunder and lightning, I worried that our day might not turn out so lovely. By the time 1:00 rolled around and our guests began to arrive, the sun was shining bright and it turned into a perfect day - although a little hot, about 90 degrees, but no complaints here !

Aunt Cindy and Uncle Ben had brought their bounce house for the kids to enjoy and my parents had gotten Elaina a water table which was set up for the kids to play and splash in before Elaina began to open her gifts. And about the gifts .... Oh my did this girl get spoiled !! She got some fabulous gifts from everyone and even took an interest in helping to pull them out of gift bags and investigate her new toys before moving on the next one. She did great ! I can't wait to see her at Christmastime !

Grandma and Grandpa W. provided the cake. And, as always, it was the best ever. Looking back months from now, we'll remember the funny story of Elaina's 2 birthday cakes ! ( the first one didn't make it out of the box ! ) Elaina had her very own smash cake to celebrate in her own special way. She was leery at first, probably wondering why mommy and daddy were coaxing her to make a mess, but she dug into the frosting with both hands and enjoyed her very first birthday cake ! In the end, our pink, frosting girl had smeared some frosting into her eyes and began to express her dislike for the mess she had created. Along with Aunt Cindy's help, we cleaned up the birthday girl and sent her off running, revved up with sugar and smelling deliciously sweet !

Elaina's birthday was everything I had hoped it would be - a beautiful day to celebrate our beautiful girl along with the people who mean the most to us. That's all I ever wanted. It was a success ! After nearly 4 hours, our guests began to filter out and head home. At this point, Elaina was running on empty and crashed on her sofa bed from her Grandma & Grandpa W. for a well deserved nap.

Sweet dreams to my sugary, sweet BabyDoll and a happy birthday to you !

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Calm before Crazy !

Last night we arrived at my parent's house late in the evening and since Elaina had slept most of the drive, she got her second wind about 10:00pm. This made for a late night for the three of us. She was so tired that she could barely sit or stand upright, but she didn't want to miss a single thing going on around her. Sorry to say that at 11:00 pm - there wasn't much going on. Poor baby girl was just restless and lay awake, flopping between Eric and me for nearly an hour before she gave in.

Needless to say that 6:00 came early this morning for Eric and my dad who were headed out fishing on Lake Erie for the day. Little Miss Sunshine awoke at her usual 7 a.m. and a loving, willing grandma fed Elaina her breakfast followed with lots of hugs. Aahh... this mommy got to sleep in ! No steadfast, tight plans for this family. Just an easygoing, relaxed kind of day. I love it already !

The three of us did make our way over to Eric's parents house where Grandma and Grandpa W. gladly offered to watch Elaina while my mom and I went out to stock up on menu items for tomorrow's party. Although, I love Elaina more than anything, I have to admit that there is a certain freedom with going to the grocery store by yourself from time to time and browsing at my leisure without two grabby little hands picking out items all on their own.

With our shopping list complete, my mom and I made our way back to the in-law's house and along with Grandma W. we began preparing as many dishes as we could the day before our party. It's amazing how much can get done in a short amount of time with 3 diligent workers joining forces. What a team ! I could certainly get used to that !

Soon we were finished and it was time for Grandma H. to go home and Eric was headed back from the Lake. We still had a party to go to tonight. Friends of ours were hosting a retirement party for Jake, the dad, who was retiring after nearly 35 years at the GM plant. Our friends had come from North Carolina and Stow to celebrate and surprise their dad with the party. We had a great time showing off our big girl and catching up with old friends !