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Thursday, August 31, 2006

YellyPants

I'm not sure why I did it. I'll never do it again. Not ever. No way.

Today, Eric joined the Pittsburgh Steelers for a lunch reception kicking off pre-season football. He headed to Pittsburgh early in the morning and stayed late for the 7:00 pm game. I, on the other hand, picked Elaina up from the babysitter's and took her to my chiropractor appointment with me. Thinking I was being a good mom, I packed her favorite books, her sippy cup and her binky. All good things for a little girl to enjoy while sitting in her stroller for 40 minutes, right ?

As much as I like my chiropractor, he has a tendency to run behind. I did my best to keep Elaina entertained during the 20 minutes that we had to wait and then, it happened. The doctor walked in and she began to cry. Did I say cry ? I meant nose running, tears-dripping screaming crying. I have to commend my doctor, father of two under 3 years old, who told me that it happens often and he had no problem with her crying. After my adjustment and stressing over her discontent, I apologized profusely and made my way out of there as fast as I could.

I'll take the blame. Lesson learned. I really should have called neighbor -Katie again to babysit. My mistake. Now I know.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Fun at the Fair !!




Hey, have you heard ? The fair is in town !

Today I was helping to campaign for one of the judges I work for by volunteering some of my time in his re-election booth at the fair. After my 3 hour shift of passing out notepads and nail files, I soon had my fill of people watching. Eric and Elaina met me at my assigned booth and helped me to scour the fairgrounds trying to narrow down what fat-laden-overpriced-fair-food would be my dinner. Seriously, I wish they had a sampler platter - I could eat it all ! Elaina was quite content with sharing some greasy-vinegar-soaked french fries as I headed for the pork tenderloin.

Upon finishing dinner, we went straight for the animal barns. We started out with the ducks, followed by the goats, sheep, cows and horses. I was anxious to introduce Elaina to some real, live animals that we read about in her books. Elaina began to "moo" in her seat, letting the animals know that she was near. Throughout many of the barns, the animals heard the screeching squeal of our excited girl and took cover. The girl who was afraid of bubbles showed no fear as she rubbed the goats heads and tried to put her hand in a cow's mouth. (Smart cow wouldn't let her - only backed off in fear.) Just outside of the barns, we saw a young girl who had her cow out on a leash. She welcomed us to pet her 9 month old cow who stood every bit of my height, and someone asked to take our picture. After the photo, we discovered that it was a reporter from the local paper and she had taken our picture to publish ! How exciting -Elaina's first taste of publicity !

Although our evening was wrapping up long past Elaina's bedtime, she held on strong for the rest of the entertainment. On our final lap around the fairgrounds, I spotted a train ride that was just boarding. I left Eric in line for a funnel cake and Elaina and I ran to catch a quick ride. She sat on my lap, taking in all of the sights, sounds and lights that surrounded her. Even though it was a mere 20 foot loop, she enjoyed every minute of it almost as much as I did. Of course the ride was no thrill for me, but finally being able to put my arms around my girl and experience our first fair ride together was priceless.

Shortly past 9 o'clock, we bid the fair a fond farewell until next year. Eric strapped Elaina in her carseat and cuddled a blanket next to her. With her binky in her mouth and one in her hand, she was out before we made it out of the parking lot. What an enjoyable family day out !

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Table Manners

The count is up to 4. For the past 4 days Elaina has screamed and resisted me putting her in her highchair to eat dinner. Does Daddy have this problem in the morning when he feeds her breakfast ? Of course not. What gives ? I always win, her butt goes in the seat.

The only half-bit compromise she will offer is that I have to have her in one hand and her plate of food in the other, ready to place before the Queen. Not like she'll eat it, it just has to be visible. Tonight, after her sit-down-strike, I offered her some applesauce and let her help spoon it into her mouth. By her fifth bite, of course she believed that she was a pro and would do it all on her own. Okay, like I was in a position to resist that mess - at least she was eating and having fun. She and I were both so proud of her, she did really well. She has used a child-safe plastic fork in the past month and just eats off of what she spears. The spoon was an accomplishment. She was consitent from the bowl to her mouth several times in a row.

In our "Brady Bunch" meal of "porkchops and applesauce" she faired better than last night. Her appetite is still not where I'd like it to be, but she doesn't seem to be starving. I'm hoping for a complete turnaround within the upcoming weeks.
More teeth = more food = less pain.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Progress Report


The good, the bad and the ugly ....

The Good -
Elaina is feeling much better ! Yeah !
The babysitter reported that she had a pretty good day for the most part. She is finally beginning to act like her regular, sweet, little, silly self.

The Bad -
Elaina continues to be on a food strike. Apparently, she ate alright at lunchtime, but by the time dinner rolled around, she was only willing to try yogurt.

The Ugly -
The "ugly" made it's presence known in Elaina's diaper. The sight, the sound, the smell .... oohh, what a mess.
Just one more good reason for Elaina to feel better.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Babysitting


So you'd be inclined to think that I was finished talking about babysitting in yesterday's post, right ? And doesn't it bother you (like it does me) when parents say they have to stay home to "babysit" their own children ?

Well, I used the title, "Babysitting" for today's post because that is all I did today - sat with my baby. We rocked, we read books, we watched cartoons, we slept - not a typical day. Elaina is sick. A sick that I really can't explain, I'm going to have to put it under the symptom category that she is teething and she is on dental-protrusion-overload. How's that ?

Elaina was good all of yesterday yet, in the evening, refused to eat any dinner and was overly tired. This morning, she woke up and shot snot from her nose with each sneeze and refused to eat breakfast. I began to detect that we weren't going to have the best of days. Wanting to make her comforatable and content, I made a little nest for us on the sofa with a giant stack of books to read to her. She snuggled in with me and somewhere in the middle of our third book, she leaned forward and sat back up and hurled vomit of curdled milk everywhere. Twice. ( I should have put a disclaimer on the gross content at the top. That's all - no more gross from here on. ) Elaina began to cry and I cuddled her tight and took off her jammies and threw everything into the wash. Thank God (and Mom) for a slipcovered ottoman ! She settled down in a warm bath and fell asleep immediately afterward.

The rest of our day I spent sitting with Elaina. She was the most cuddly, huggy, close child you could ever want. She barely left my side or my lap, or my hip. Can't say that I had a problem with that ... 7 hours of hugging my baby; I just wished she would have felt better. I kept her loaded with Tylenol for the majority of the day since she had been running a fever and I could tell minute by minute as it began to lose effectiveness.

Daddy came home today about 4:00 from the NASCAR race in Bristol and was anxious to see his girls. Elaina welcomed him home with a big hug and rested her head on his shoulder. For the majority of the day, she refused to eat and shoved food right back at me. After daddy had been home for a while, Elaina picked up a slight interest in eating. I was pleased that she drank a fair amount of Pedailyte with a hint of apple juice for flavor throughout the day and had consistant wet diapers. She went to bed easily and I hope that she's all better by morning ! She'll still have plenty of hugs waiting for her without being sick !

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Getting There

In "getting there" I am referring to the fact that I am finally giving into admitting that there will be circumstances beyond our control that we will be leaving Elaina with a babysitter (other than Monday - Friday) and we will both be okay.

This morning I was invited to a baby shower brunch for my good friend, Jessica. Her guest list was fairly large and seating was already limited without children being invited. This was the perfect opportunity to break in a new babysitter. Our neighbor, Katie, whom I have babysat for in the past years and love, came over to watch Elaina for a couple of hours while I was at the shower. It just made sense; Katie is 14 and loves Elaina and is super cautious and responsible and is the big sister of two younger sisters. I don't really love leaving Elaina behind, but since the party was only 5 minutes from home, I would be close. Finally, I think it's good for Elaina to get used to someone other than myself or Nancy to watch her. All of this fit perfectly today in a two and a half hour window while I was out.

I arrived home to a smiling Elaina and a happy Katie and the toys all picked up in the living room. Katie commented that Elaina was a sweetheart and they had a good time together. I didn't have any doubts, but just have to say that this was a good experience for all of us.

Here it is !!




Pictures of the long-awaited-new patio !

I love it ! Our new stamped concrete looks like it belongs on an entirely different house, since this is the biggest upgrade we have made to the outside of our house since we got new doors. I've included some before shots (not the best example) and of course, the finished product. Now Elaina can play on the new patio with her picnic table and ride her tricycle (next year) and I can even decorate with some flowery planters.

And did I mention, no more weeding between the bricks ? And, I can't say that I'll miss falling off of our former short-back-step and nearly twisting my ankle on the broken brick at least one time a year. Also, as of last week, we had a giant metal water-catch basin next to our back door. That has been replaced by a barrel burried in our yard and a giant-sized step ready for plants in it's place. As if you couldn't tell by now, I love our new patio !

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tea Time !

Just about two weeks ago, Elaina and I enjoyed a tea party as we were playing in her "kitchen" together. We each had little bowls and teaspoon measuring cups to stir our imaginary "tea" with and then sip from our spoons. We included Elaina's doll baby at our tea party as I showed her how to offer BabyDoll sips from her spoon. She loved it ! ( Elaina that is ... Babydoll didn't comment.)

Tonight, as we were enjoying our tea party, Elaina pulled Babydoll over and began to offer her "tea" from her spoon.

She remembered ! She remembered how we played last time and she remembered to share ! Just another shining moment in the life of my one year old ! I'm so proud !

Precious Moments

Last night ended somewhat hurriedly as Mike, the concrete man was finishing our patio and Elaina and I had returned from a walk. After giving Elaina a quick bath and a mini-baby-massage, she was down for the count. Then I was back to discuss the final care of our patio with Mike, until he would return the following day.

As I was wrapping up my evening all by myself, I hadn't felt that I had suffient-baby-hugging-time with my favorite girl. I peeked in on Elaina sleeping in her crib just like an angel and just had to peel her out to get my fill of cuddles and kisses for the day.

I've always thought that adoption was an amazing to thing to unite a family in love. I guess that it's true that you don't know the power of that love until it happens in your life. I can't say that my love for Ella or Ava was any stronger than my love for our adopted angel. Each of them are a part of my heart. As I rocked Elaina in my arms, I began to play the "who-does-she-look-like-most-game." She looks like Eric and she has my characteristics. When we first became her parents, I wondered if there would be a day that I look at her and see her bio-mom. I am here to tell you that there is barely a resemblance. Elaina is and always has been custom made for us.

It's amazing how fast time flies, yet I can honestly say that not a single minute has gone by that I am not eternally thankful for our beautiful, healthy daughter. There hasn't yet been a time that I watch her and haven't been amazed by her. I still well up with tears of gratitude and awe when I think that this is the exact baby that God had made for us. It wasn't by luck or coincidence - it was a miracle. What an incredible gift to wrap my arms around every single day !

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Need for Speed

Can someone explain to me how watching race cars go around and around and around the racetrack can be so exciting ? I guess I'll just chalk this one up to "I'm-just-a-girl-who-doesn't-get-the-sport" kinda thing.

Eric left this morning (along with 11 other guys in an RV) and headed to the NASCAR races in Bristol for the weekend. I'm glad that he gets away to enjoy some down time with his buddies once in a while, but I don't understand how Eric makes it through the whole race. While watching the race on TV at home, he moreless ends up watching the insides of his eyelids. The constant hum of the race cars always puts him to sleep ! I'm going to have to guess that the actually race is more thrilling from the stands.

Since Eric is gone, Elaina and I will be enjoying some girl time this weekend. I can't even tell you how much I am ready for this weekend to get here. What a busy week ! Our concrete patio will be finished tomorrow night when I get home from work and I'll be posting a new picture shortly thereafter. It really looks great so far and I'm glad that we decided to get it done. One more house project to cross off the list. WhooHoo !

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back to School ...

and the kids are back ! Back at the babysitter's house that is. With the exception of Elaina, everyone of the kids that Nancy (the babysitter) watches, their parents are teachers. So that means that Elaina had the entire summer to soak up all of the spoiling as the only child, until now. The kids have now filtered back into the babysitter routine.

I just have to say that Nancy is awesome. She admits that she and Elaina have a special relationship and that she just loves her. She loves all of the kids that she cares for, but at least she has left me with the peace of mind to think that she loves mine the most. So, amidst all of the chaos and activity throughout the day, at least I know that our baby won't just be bumped off to the side. Nancy really does an incredible job of caring for all of the kids. There just happens to be one little boy who she watched last school year who really tries her patience. Luke is 6 months older than Elaina and isn't the easiest child to say the least. Apparently, he screamed and cried for 2 hours straight which interfered with all of the other kids' naps and disrupted the peace all day. (Thank God that he's only there 3 days a week ! ) I remember from last year that he was very temperamental and just screamed alot. In fact, our Little Miss Sweetness learned how to scream at the top of her voice as well. That only lasted one day at home before she learned that it's not necessary and we don't do that at home.

When I arrived to pick Elaina up this afternoon, Nancy met me outside with Elaina and told me about Luke-the-Screamer. Elaina barely got a nap (nor did the other kids) and she was dog-tired. As soon as we got home, the tired's got the best of her and she was out. She took an hour nap and woke up as good as new ! She just needed to recharge her battery and make up for lost time. We had a nice evening together and she played and played - happy to be the only center of attention again !

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Feeling Lucky

It seems as though Elaina's little, white sandals won't be making it through the end of the summer afterall. Her feet are growing like crazy ! That leaves her with only one pair of sandals and they make her feet stink like a skunk farm.

On my lunch break today, I set out to the local children's resale shop to see about getting Elaina one more pair of sandals to get her through the next month or two. What incredible luck I had ! I found the cutest pair of brand new brown sandals that don't make her feet stink !! They are perfect and had never been worn. While at the store, I checked out their inventory of used books to find 2 bathtub books. That's exactly what I had been looking for in the stores and I found 2 here for under $1 a piece !! I cleaned them up and Elaina loves reading her new books in the tub ! Seriously, the girl can't get enough of her books.

While we're on the subject, I'll just document more proof of my addiction problem : I bought Elaina a new winter vest, a spring rain coat and more pj's. And another pair of brand new shoes. And more books.

Okay .... I've always wanted a girl to spoil and now that I've got her... this is what happens ! Commit me !

Monday, August 21, 2006

Automatic Baby Washer

Who needs a bathtub ?

This is one of Elaina's favorite spots ... right on the dishwasher door !

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Family Date

What a most unusual day ... we went the whole day without any plans ! Yeah !

The biggest thing on today's agenda was to go phone shopping. My cell phone was in dire need of an upgrade and so we headed out to pick out a new phone for me. Just for the record, I have to say that I would rather have the skin cut off my knees than to shop for a new cell phone. The people at the store were less than friendly, hardly helpful and acted like we were in their way. That doesn't make for happy customers. The problem is that we had to stay with our current cellular provider due to the fact that it has the best coverage in our area. Otherwise, we would be with a different company in a hot minute.

So, on with our family date. No spankings for Elaina this morning, in fact, when she got tired I just lay her in her crib and she napped for nearly an hour and a half. Even more surprising, Eric and I took a nap too ! I'm not sure the last time we had a mid-morning nap other than times we've been sick. It was lovely !!! I know that every family is busy, and we're not much different. It was nice to finally have some down time and forget about the floor that could be mopped, the toys that could be picked up and all of the dust that could be dusted from the entire house. Not today ! Today was family-date-day !

Elaina was so very good. Two days of shopping in a row and she was great. We even went out to dinner and she did well. We must have fulfilled her shopping quota for the day since she fell asleep in her car seat barely 5 minutes after leaving the restaurant.

What a wonderful ending to an incredibly busy few weeks !

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's hard to find good help ...

Lucky for Daddy - he's got the best helper ever ! Here is a partial picture of our new concrete work. The flower box has been laid and the back step has been created. We were hoping the job would be completed by this weekend, but with rain in the forecast both Saturday and Sunday, the cement mixing places were closed. ( I may need to think of changing careers.)

How about Elaina's pseudo-Uggz ? I was taking inventory of her 18 month old sized clothes to see what I could get away with buying and came across these new kicks ! She's right in fashion with her slinky, sundress and her wooly boots ! That's one way to mask the odor from her "stinkin' feets !" (she thinks that is funny !) Whew ... until the boots come off !!

One and Fun !!

*** Just for the record, this photo was not prompted in any way ... the girl loves her books and her sofa ! If there isn't a cozy lap making room for her rump, this is her second favorite spot.

Doesn't our Little Sweetness look just like an angel ? Sitting on her mini - sofa, reading her "Jesus Loves Me" book. What a good girl !!

The first thing that you have to know is that this photo was taken on Friday. Let's just fast forward a little to this morning .... that would be when Elaina got 2 little spankings. The first one was to get her attention and the second swat was to make sure that she didn't forget. Please keep in mind that we hardly ever spank our child, nor is there reason to. Also, this mornings' "spanks" were really more of a swat. As far as I'm concerned, there is a difference. (you never know who's reading and making their own inferences) So when I was cleaning up the dishes from breakfast and Elaina was sitting on a chair at the table (4 feet from me) playing happily with her sippy cup and scattering the newspaper around the table, I felt secure that by turning around every minute to see her was okay. NOPE. The last time I turned around, she was standing on top of the table !!! Little stinker ! It's amazing that a one year old can make such quick and stealth moves - like a cat ! I don't even have to be reminded that it's only going to get worse. No wonder you hear so many accident stories begin with, " I only turned around just for a minute ... "

And so, Elaina recovered after brief tears and a sobbing cry after only a few minutes. I think that I hurt her feelings more by quickly plucking her from the table and scaring her than I did by swatting her rear. I have to admit that I'm okay with that - I would rather scare her into never doing that again than having her fall on her head. Oh, and did I mention that our table top is granite ? Not especially bounce- friendly. It looks like the next thing on the baby-teaching agenda will be " no climbing on chairs OR TABLES ! " I'm beginning to agree with great-grandma when she says that we need to tie an anchor to Elaina's legs to keep her from climbing. Now, where do I go about getting an anchor ?

After the the excitement of our new centerpiece for our table and Mommy's heart palpitations wore off, Elaina and I went shopping. She was so well behaved all day until the very last store, which even then, I knew I was pressing my luck. We had been out for nearly 6 hours and had a good time together. We stopped for lunch at Wendy's and shared our meal as Elaina bounced in her highchair with french fries in both hands. It was so cool eating out with just my daughter and myself. I go out to lunch plenty with my friends, my husband, and often in my car as I shop, but it was so special just to sit in the restaurant and enjoy a quick meal with my favorite girlfriend of all. We had a no-rush, no-agenda kind of day. A successful day at that - I even found a fall/winter coat for her.

** Editor's note : we weren't really shopping for a winter coat yet, it's just that her summer wardrobe is jam packed and her fall/winter wardrobe is ridiculous already. I just really needed a legitimate item to buy that she would need. Did I mention that she is fun to shop for ? I really have a problem.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

She Likes It ... She Really Likes It !


Today, August 17, 2006, Elaina likes pizza !

On several previous occasions, we have had pizza for dinner and encouraged Elaina to eat what we were eating. On these several, previous, occasions, Elaina has not wanted any part of eating pizza. Now what ? I had already foreseen that there would be plenty more pizza dinners in our future and hated to have to rely on bologna as the back-up dinner for her. So, tonight as the guys were working hard on our patio demolition (Eric is working with them, sweat- equity) Elaina and I went out to pick up dinner. Pizza. I had already fed her dinner earlier so that she wouldn' have to starve and she ate plenty. Once we arrived home, I put the pizza box on the table and she reached her little arm up requesting her share. I tore off some crust and she happily walked around the kitchen, munching on her prize. And then another. And then another.

Elaina likes pizza ! What a little Goofball !

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Can't Argue With That !

As we prepare to have our new concrete laid this weekend, we've been going to different homes to see some finished work done by our contractor. As we went to yet another home tonight to check out another pattern, the wife of the contractor admired Elaina and commented, "BOY .... does she look like her Daddy !"
We smiled together and I acknowleged the same.

Who are we to argue with that ? God knew what He was doing, it's not a coincidence. Elaina is a custom-made miracle. Of course she looks like her dad !

Stinky Jobs

Soon, we are going to be breaking ground (again) at this Old House. Eric will be tearing out our aged, brick patio in order to have a new stamped-concrete pad laid this weekend. Unfortunately, when he and his friend were digging out a hole in the ground with a gigantic backhoe ( it's good to have friends with big toys !) in order to bury a watershed barrel, they hit the sewer line. Oops ! It's lucky that I have a very inclined and capable husband who was able to fix and replace the damage in just under an hour !

Let the demolition begin !

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Grumpy Grower

I think I have mentioned several times now how amazingly fast kids grow ! I am certain that Elaina's little body is growing by the hour. Tonight, she resisted a second nap at the sitter's house and was cranky-tired by 5:00. She only wanted to eat mandarin oranges and Goldfish crackers for dinner and that was only in between whines and food throwing. It's not her fault that she is so tired, the poor baby is ever-changing. I carried her upstairs and cleaned her up and gave her some Tylenol. I rarely like to medicate her on a whim, but tonight's behavior is completely out of the ordinary. I'm sure that her growing molars are painful and she is just uncomforatable and exhausted. I rocked her for a few minutes to sooth her before I lay her in her crib. Once down, she screamed like no other. Oh My !! My heart was breaking, she never does this. I kept telling myself that I did what I needed to do and I had to let her be. Also, because this happened in the middle of dinner, I didn't want her to think that this behavior will release her from the table and demand attention. Once downstairs, I counted the minutes on the clock as Elaina sobbed overhead. It was painful to hear her cry. I set a limit when I was going to give in and console her. I would wait out a full 10 minutes. Time seemed to take forever as we stared at the minute hand. Three long minutes later and not a peep. That's all it took. Whew... 3 minutes can be an eternity!

An hour later, sleeping beauty was revived, refreshed and recharged. My girlfriends came down with their babies and we took out the jogging-stroller brigade to walk a few laps around town. As my friends and I chatted along, Elaina laughed along as if she was part of the conversation and she was the one making the jokes. She was cracking herself up ! What was even more funny is that she would begin to laugh at our stories about 30 seconds after we stopped laughing. She kinda reminded me of watching a film with a delayed soundtrack ! What a little silly ... this is the girl I know and love !

Sunday, August 13, 2006

And the Drum Roll, Please ...

*** I was so busy this weekend, I barely had time to grab the camera - I guess you take what you can get. We all had a hand in Elaina's fancy hairstyle !


And the lucky winners of this year's festival parade are Laura and Amie !!

Lucky winners, as in, chairing the entire parade ! (please note the sarcasm.)

Yesterday, my friend Amie and I received word that no one ad yet filled the position of organizing the grand parade scheduled for today at 2:00. It seems as though we got pushed into voulteering for that also. Last night, Eric and my dad helped to lay out the field with numbered markers for the line-up which eliminated one thing from our list today. All I have to say is that the parade went off without a hitch and with nearly 70 units in the line-up, we almost looked like we knew what we were doing. ( Even if we only got a 15 minute tutorial the night before. ) I think that when push comes to shove, the adreneline gets pumping and you just have to go, go, go. Thank God for dedicated friends who stick with you and lend a hand - Amie and Jessica were awesome !

So this year, I saw the whole parade as I released them from the waiting field in the line-up and waved them on with a friendly, "Have Fun and enjoy the parade! Thanks for coming." It was a challenge and I'm proud of the result. I made it home just in time to see the people from the parade route gathering their chairs and moving on. My mom and dad had Elaina decked out in 2 beaded necklaces thrown from political candidates and sucking on a chocolate lollipop. I was looking forward to her sticky, wet kiss all day long ! She apparently enjoyed the parade and got excited when she saw the horses coming down the street. It sounded like she had fun.

After the parade, I had some free time in which I was finally able to enjoy a little bit of the festival with my family until the next event. Next on the schedule was the canoe race, which Eric was in charge of. As the four of us stood on the edge of the water to cheer on our favorite team, I realized that we were standing in the middle of Elaina's very own fan club. Friends and neighbors of ours who oo'ed and ahh'ed over our little beauty and half of Nancy's (the babysitter) family. All of them paid Elaina plenty of attention and put on a smile on her face ! I was glad that my parents were able to meet even more of our friends and part of Nancy's family. (Unfortunately, Nancy was home baking cupcakes to sell at a fundraising booth.)

The day was finally winding down and my parents had to get on the road to meet my brother and S-I-L to pickup Colin. As if Elaina didn't wear them out enough, they were going in for Round 2, caring for Colin for almost a week. However, no complaints from the grandparents, they love those babies and do their best to spoil them both - they wouldn't have it any other way !

My final obligation for the day was just a one hour shift at the cookie stand. Since Eric was still working at the food stand, I had packed Elaina a bag full of toys to occupy her as she was going to join me. Not long after we settled in place, a friend of ours came by and offered to stroll Elaina around the park and enjoy some time playing with her. Nina siad that Elaina was so well behaved (not a surprise) and bounced like crazy to the music being played. She flirted and batted her eyes at everyone who gave her a compliment and was just an all around joy. Lucky for us - that's what we have been blessed with to have everyday !

After many long days, I was throwing in the towel. My work was done. I was headed home to play with my favorite one year old , give her a bath and hold her close. This is really what I enjoy the most. Our day was over and I was turning off the world around us. We snuggled in the recliner together, let the machine pick up the phone calls and Elaina and I were together again.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

2 Out of 3 Ain't Bad


So, we're on Day 2 of our town festival and I'm looking forward to the end of day 3 when we wrap this whole thing up.

Since I had a hand in initiating and organizing village-wide garage sales (more incentive for out-of-towner's to stop by) I felt that it was my duty to check out how many participants had a sale. So, my parents and Elaina headed out and counted nearly a dozen and made a few pitstops at the best ones. One great find for Elaina was a pair of winter mittens that can be strung through her coat sleeves. (These are relatively hard to find in the stores in the winter months, let alone in August, when Mommy thinks it's fun to put mittens on my baby hands.) We all cracked up as I put Elaina's new mittens on her. She looked like a baby boxer as she batted her covered fists together and rolled her arms trying to get them off. As you can see from the picture, she even tried out a new hairstyle as she flopped and flailed her arms about ! She was so funny ! She eventually began to laugh with us, as we were laughing at her -- she got that the joke was on her. Literally. What a goofball !

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bring It On !

This weekend marks the busiest time of the year when Eric and I both volunteer our time to help organize and help out at our local town festival. A whole year worth of preparation and planning comes into fruition this weekend for our annual event. Needless to say, with our time occupied volunteering, that leaves little time to devote to our most valuable commitment, Elaina. Have no fear... Grandma and Grandpa are here ! Yeah !!

Grandma is all ready to lend a hand any way possible and is ready to fill the role as a short order cook at the drop of a hat, and do wake up calls with Elaina and bedtime stories and jammies. Grandpa serves as the dog groomer and playpal, chauffeur for stroller rides and a comfy lap to crash for hugs and rocking. Thanks mom and dad !

I spent my evening setting up booths, filling up balloons, selling cookies and making signs !! Eric's weekend commitment remains in the food stand; collecting money, serving food and cleaning up.
And they call this a "festival."

Thursday, August 10, 2006

SleepyHead

It's true. Elaina is growing by leaps and bounds every single day. Every night this week she has been so tired from the minute Eric picks her up at the babysitter's house. She is used to one nap a day but, anymore, that doesn't seem to be enough. Today, I asked Nancy to lay Elaina down for an additional nap somewhere near the 3 o'clock hour. (Eric picks her up at 4) I don't like the fact that I'm missing out on quality play time with my favorite Stinkerbell. When I get home from work at 5 and Elaina is already running on empty, and goes to bed at 7:00 - I've only had two hours to spend with her. Oh yeah, and nearly an hour of that time is making dinner, eating and cleaning up ! What a stinky schedule this has become !

Hopefully, an extra nap a day will be enough to stretch our evenings together a little closer to the 9 o'clock hour. We'll see !!

Good Student

Like every other mom, I truly believe that my child's intelligence is outstanding !

Here are some things that my one year old scholar has absorbed.

* When I sing the alphabet song to her (usually during bathtime and while driving) she bounces in her seat and tries to "hoot" along the tune.

* When asked to get her "book" or her "Binky" she can identify the name of the item and retrieve it

* She can tell you that doggies say, " woof" and a a kitty says, "meow-meow" and babies say, "didder, didder, didder" - One day, when she did that I thought it was cute and that's just how babies go!

* Upon posing a question to her, she will answer with a "yes" or a "no" - she is able to identify that we're requesting a yes or no answer. (I wish that people I work with were this smart ! )

* When asked to sit down, she obeys immediately. She may stand up soon after, but she does comply with my request time after time.

Elaina has always seemed so mature to me. I could swear that as an infant, I would hold her in my arms and talk to her and she knew everything I was saying to her. We mostly talked about how much mommy and daddy love her and that she is our angel from heaven. It just seems like she soaked in all of my conversation and returned all of our love for her by being the sweetest girl ever !

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

More Proof !

Yep .... This is my baby girl !

Just in case you weren't quite convinced how similar Elaina's personality and traits reflect from Eric and myself, here is one more example.

At dinner tonight, Elaina enjoyed a 3 course meal of chicken strips, waffles with maple flavored butter and bananas to round it out . Mmm... (okay, desperate meal for a busy week.) Halfway into Elaina enjoying her meal, she decided that the chicken shouldn't really be touching the waffles. So, into the tray divider they went. She proceeded to sort all of her waffles away from the chicken very maticulously. Just the way she likes it. Her food shall not touch.

This doesn't seem strange to me at all. I'm a wee bit anal when it comes to organizing things and food not touching. I told you she was my girl !

** Disclaimer ** I promise you that this was not learned behavior and I have never taught her to do this. This was pure Elaina !

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

StoryTime

** Our "Bathing Beauty" **
Becky - this one's for you !! Elaina's hair is getting so long that her mohawk fell into a giant swoop !!


There's not so much to report on today's activities so I'm just going to write a love story instead. The love story is about a mommy and a daddy who fall in love with a healthy, perfect angel who has changed mommy and daddy's lives in the best way possible. The little angel, we'll call her Elaina, is everything mommy and daddy had ever dreamed of and more. She is an absolute delight and a reason to smile every single day. The only thing that could have made mommy and daddy's life better would be 3 of Elaina ! In this mommy's opinion, she is every bit incredible and nothing short of a miracle in our lives.

With her sparkling eyes and her glowing smile, I just know that this is the angel that God had custom made for us. Although I didn't carry her in my womb, it's a different kind of special bonding because we are so connected, yet we started out as strangers. God knew what He was doing as HE always does. This is our baby and has been from the beginning. When I was pregnant with Ava and we found out that she wasn't going to be especially healthy, that was the time that Elaina was being conceived by her natural parents. Conceived from God. I am a believer and know that Elaina had been ours from the very beginning. Lucky for her, she had not yet been sent to earth when Ava became an angel. Elaina has the opportunity to play with her sisters in heaven and Ava and Ella told Elaina about how much their mommy and daddy wanted to love her when she made it to earth. There's not a single minute that ever goes by that I don't feel like the most blessed mommy in the entire world. Even when Elaina is getting into every single thing in the house or creating toilet paper banners throughout the house from the bathroom, I am amazed by her just being her. I continue to be in awe of the way she thinks and her actions and how smart she is and how she knows how to react to things and just about everything that she does. I have learned to never take a single thing for granted. Nothing. Never.

So, I don't have an ending to my love story because our love for our angel, Elaina, is never-ending. Our story unfolds minute by minute and we are loving every second of it ! We just pray that we may be blessed to add a second volume to our story with another little angel to love !

Monday, August 07, 2006

Have you seen the maid ?

Me either !!

I don't do this often because I feel guilty every time, but I took the day off work and stayed home to get some deep cleaning done around the house while I took Elaina to the babysitter's. Oh yeah ... and I just really needed some time away from work ! Cleaning is an outlet for me and I have an end result that we can all be happy with - a clean house !

I scrubbed, I scoured, I washed, I folded, I ironed, I bleached, I swept, and the list goes on .... BORING ! No need for any more details, you get the picture ... I cleaned.

In my opinion, taking Elaina to the babysitter's house while I'm at home kinda stinks. On the other hand, having a house full of stinky cleaning chemicals and a baby is no good either. Also, if I spread out my cleaning duties over a period of time, nothing is very thorough and I'm exhausted and no fun for a one year old.

So, it looks as though my entry tonight was all about justification. Guilt and justification. I am pleased that my house is about 10 pounds lighter without the amount of grub I cleaned from it and I am pleased that Elaina has a better space to play in and I had energy for some fun by the time she got home.

The down side of this whole story ... I concentrated my time on the upstairs rooms and I swear I could use another two days to tear into the amount of cleaning I could do downstairs ! Oh... if I only had a maid !

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Shared Parenting

I need a break ! It seems like the summer is slipping away so fast and I can barely believe that it has already begun. ( Except for the ungodly heat wave in the 90's each day.)

With our community festival just around the corner ( next weekend), Eric and I have been busier than ever. We both volunteer our time to help out organizing the event, setting up, working booths and last but not least, cleaning up. This coming week is going to be filled with project after project and lots of organizing. Speaking for myself, I'm getting worn out. Oh yeah... and chasing after our precious one year old. And keeping the house clean. And 40 hour work weeks. And a couple hours of sleep now and then. So enough complaining !

This morning Eric assisted in cleaning out some trees from the canal and then worked on some outside projects at home. I entertained Elaina and we played the morning away. Once she went down for her nap, I got myself cleaned up and took the day off to do some shopping. This was my break and Eric's turn to look after the munchkin. Most often Elaina is a pretty good shopper (except during naptime !) but it's amazing how much running in and out of stores I can do without my 21 pound companion. I had time to browse in each store and actually make well thought out choices about what I was about to purchase rather than having only half of my attention focussed on the task at hand. In addition, it's not really fair to drag her from store to store and expect her just to sit there and not do anything. I get that part.

All in all, it was a pretty successful shopping trip and Elaina had every bit as good of time hanging out with her dear, old, dad. I think I shopped enough today that I am ready to drop !

Friday, August 04, 2006

Can't you stay ?

It had to happen. Grandma H.'s stay had to come to an end sooner or later and she had already stayed an additional day to enjoy time with Elaina and myself. ( I took the day off from work to stay with Elaina ! )

This morning we headed up to the stores to do some shopping. I guess that it was my fault for poor planning - our trip was during Elaina's usual naptime. She held up okay through our first and second store and then the meltdown began. Grandma even sat in the backseat with her to console her and accompany her. We decided to grab some lunch sooner than later. Elaina was decent at the restaurant, but not especially anything to brag about. Thinking that we had time to go to one more store, we gave Wal-Mart a chance. She spotted the Little Tikes dollhouse in the front of the store and pointed it out as far as her little arm would stretch. The door to the playhouse wasn't secured so I allowed Elaina to take a peek inside and play for a few minutes. After exploring an empty house on the store sidewalk for nearly 5 minutes, I thought we needed to move on. That wasn't exactly Elaina's plan. She cried when I carried her from the dollhouse until I was able to distract her attention to something else. Our trip was not any bit of a success as Elaina was so tired that she could barely stand herself. Once in the car, she had closed her eyes and was sound asleep before we got out of the parking lot !

Back home, my mom packed her things and with hugs and kisses left for her own house. Eventually, Elaina had enough play time and was ready to finish her mid-morning nap. She slept for another hour and a half in the middle of the day. There's more growing to be done !

We enjoyed Grandma's company and I think that even though taking care of Elaina means alot of chasing, Grandma did a good job !

Do I really have to cook my own meals next week ?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Gimme' 5 !!

Grandma taught Elaina how to " give me 5 " today. I got home from work and my mom told me to hold out my hand and ask Elaina to " Gimme 5." With her super-silly wet smile, she eagerly slapped her hand down upon mine. Too cute !

Another little quick funny ...
My mom cooked yet another fabulous dinner for us tonight - chicken pot pie. Yum ! As I scooped some into a bowl for Elaina, I announced that it was still too hot for her to eat. Before I was finished saying that it needed some time to cool off, Elaina had begun to blow in my direction onto her food to speed up the cool- down process. It's amazing how she knew to do that. Did she really understand what I had said? She's incredible !

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

13 Months Old !

I'm not really sure how long I'll continue to post Elaina's milestones since she has turned one ... maybe until she stops doing new things each and every month. So, it looks like they'll never stop !

It's hard to believe that a month ago, we celebrated our baby's first birthday. Whew ! Where does the time go ? Elaina just gets sweeter by the day and is as much fun as ever. Eric and I have loved every minute of her. I guess that's one thing that has remained a constant over the past 13 months. That's one thing that will never change. She is 100 % lovable.

So here's what Elaina has been doing as a 12 month old :

* one more new tooth on the bottom row has pushed through, another is slightly visible
* Elaina is a meat- eater and LOVES all beef bologna ! No more baby food, no more bottles !
* Went swimming twice this past month, doesn't care for the water no matter the temperature
* Taking on monkey-like characteristics as she climbs and pulls herself onto everything ! ( and I mean everything !)
* Beginning to say more words : "hereyougo" "thankyou" "Woof ! Woof !" " doggie"
* Loves playground slides !
* Her "Scum" is already healing up ! I'm beginning to think that the chlorine in the pool had something to do with it's recent disappearance. Yeah ! Only a slight trace left.
* Posed for a 4 generation family picture
* Made transition from infant carrier to forward facing car seat. I love being able to see her !
* Spending 3 days at home in the care of " Camp Grandma"

* Able to walk backwards
* Can point to her (and Mommy's) eyes, nose, mouth and ears
* GROWING ! Every time I look in at her sleeping in her crib, she fills more and more of her bed space. She is growing like crazy !

Yet another fabulous month for all of us !!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Courtesy of Grandma ...

I was thinking that since my mom spent the day with Elaina, it would be appropriate to let her try her hand at doing tonight's blog entry ! The only preface I can add is that when I came home from work, dinner was waiting for us and my baby was happy as can be. I could easily get used to this ! Let's see what grandma has to say ...

GRANDMA'S HERE! LET THE SPOILING BEGIN! What fun, I get to babysit with Elaina and spoil Laura and Eric (and Keegan) all at the same time. For the next few days, my only responsibility is to take care of Elaina. Laura and Eric are not used to having someone stay at their house to babysit so anything that I do for them, like cooking a meal or folding laundry, has been greatly appreciated. Babysitting with Elaina is so much fun. She doesn't usually get to stay home and play with her toys during the day so she has been busy all day long -- playing, playing and playing. She cooked in her Little Tikes kitchen, she rode her little toy 4 wheeler bike, she rocked and read books with Grandma, she watched some of her favorite television shows. (We had planned to go outside to play in her water table but with the heat index close to 100 degrees we decided to stay in.) All day long she was the sweetest, most cheerful child you could possibly want. She didn't even get cranky at nap time; she just started to go a little slower and would put her head down on whatever furniture she was near. So off to bed we went for a fast game of "Peek-a-boo" and then she rolled over and went to sleep. Elaina does have one fault-- she is a climber. She spent the day climbing onto the sofa or onto the chairs and usually she is pretty careful. But as I was cooking this afternoon, I was aware of the fact that she had come into the kitchen and was climbing up onto a chair. Before I could get my hands clean to get her down, I heard a "Huh, huh!" The monkey had decided to climb onto the table and had accidentally pushed the chair back as she launched herself onto the table. Now she was head and shoulders on the table and her feet were dangling. Rule #1 when watching Elaina -- it's not enough to know where she is, you must know what she is doing because she is fast. All in all it was a busy day. Elaina was so tired she could hardly wait for her bath and bed time. And this Grandma is ready for bed too because I just know she is going to keep me running again tomorrow.