Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bad trick; Good Treat

Here she is ... our little Stinkbug. I mean, Ladybug !

So, Elaina's record stands at "0" to "2" for successful Halloween fun. Well, I'm not really sure how much fun a kid can have for trick or treat under the age of 2. But anything has to be more fun than being sick. Elaina was sick last year over Halloween and this year too ! Eric was out of town last year and I wasn't exactly able to pose our then, almost 6 month-old sick frog to even snap a quick picture. We kept saying we would dress her up again for a photo and time seemed to get away from us. We should get a parents' slap on the wrist for that error. I still am kicking myself for missing what could have been such a cute photo.

Tonight, our town held trick-or-treat from 6-7:00 in the rain ! Who would have guessed ? We hadn't really planned on taking Elaina out other than possibly stopping at her babysitter's house and maybe to see a couple of friends. So, staying in suited us just fine. Being on a rather busy street, we usually get tons of kids and always run out of candy. This year, we were surprised to get as many soggy-costumed-treaters as we did. Elaina was so excited that all of those people came to see her at her house. What else would they have come for ?

She got plenty of compliments on her ladybug costume and she loved to see herself dressed up. When we ran out of treaters, I carried Elaina outside and we looked up and down the sidewalk for people coming our way. When we spotted some coming, we rushed inside and loaded our hands full of candy to hand out. She was so eager to see who was going to show up next. I was glad that she wasn't at all afraid and really didn't take an interest in the candy. She did great despite being on day three of her cold.

Looking ahead, our plan for next year, beginning on October 28, 2007, is to load Elaina with vitamin C, keep her in a bubble, make sure she gets lots of rest and keep her healthy !! 2007 is going to be her year ! She's got three years of candy to collect !


Monday, October 30, 2006

Sick Bay

Day 2 : Elaina is sick.

Symptoms : Fever, congestion, runny nose, leaky mouth.

Conclusion : Tylenol to reduce fever, Vick's baby rub to reduce congestion, baby wipes to clean up the green volcano and cotton packed into mouth and clamped to take care of leak.

Revision : Teethers and binkies to comfort baby as new teeth are coming in.

So there you have it, our girl is a wreck. Eric's schedule allowed him to stay home with Elaina in the morning and I left work in the afternoon to cover 2nd shift in the sick bay. We're one day closer to kicking these germs and feeling better soon !

Sunday, October 29, 2006

It's a Long Way Home ...

Oh no... I was afraid this would happen. Elaina has her first pre-winter cold. Here we go ...

All of Friday and Saturday she seemed perfectly fine. Last night, however, was a different story. We put her to bed an hour past her bedtime and she woke up 3 times before 2:00 a.m. Each time, she was crying a miserable, whiny cry, something to the effect of, " aaaahhhh, Mom-mmmeeee, aaaahhhh, Momm-eeee." Heartbreaking to say the least.

Come morning, she was shooting goo from her nose like it was her job. We went to church with Grandma & Grandpa W. and each of us had armed ourselves with tissue in the event that we would be holding her when she sneezed. We had to be quick and prepared, she was a mess.

We enjoyed the afternoon over a wonderful meal by Grandma W. and visited with Elaina's aunts, uncles and cousins. She barely had a nap, and after two doses of Tylenol, she was still going. We managed to get on the road before 5:00 and crossed our fingers that Elaina would sleep most of the 3 hour drive. She did well for the first 90 minutes until we had to stop for gas. She woke to realize that Dadda had left the vehicle and wasn't in her sight. She worried and whined until he was safely behind the wheel and back within his reach. Following our one and only stop, Baby Girl couldn't put herself back to sleep and cried over being sick and cried over being tired and cried over not being held. She was such a sad case. It wasn't non-stop crying, it was more of some sniffling, sucking on her binky followed by a random whine and fuss. Thank God that she isn't a crybaby and her cry has never been really that loud.

When we finally arrived home, she seemed much more content and better able to deal with herself. She found a good book and stayed out of the way of the unpacking process.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Family Matters

Lucky for us, we all recovered nicely from last night's partying ! Even better, we plan to spend plenty of time visiting with our family. The thing I love most about this weekend is that we don't necessarily have any time frames to squeeze into or any scheduled commitments. The only plan we have is to fill our weekend with family time, seeing both sets of grandparents and some aunts and uncles.

My mom and I started our day out by dropping Elaina off at Grandma and Grandpa W.'s house and then spent a few hours shopping. Grandma and Grandpa W. didn't seem to mind since they haven't seen Elaina in a while. They were more than ready to squeeze her with some warm hugs and give her plenty of kisses. I was glad that Elaina wasn't part of our shopping team since the wind gusts were so strong today that they could have carried away any 6 year -old off their feet. It was a stinky, cruddy, weather day.

After a few hours of scouring the mall, we all joined together for a fabulous lunch at City Barbeque. Eric and I are so fortunate that both sets of our parents get along very well and make it so easy to get together to visit. God knows that they have spent numerous hours together in the hospital waiting rooms on plenty of occasions. All of us have been through alot together and we've all grown closer as a result. Neither have ever made us feel like we're walking a tight rope of balancing our time equally between both sides and we've never had to deal with anyone being uncomforatable about being together. I realize that we are all lucky and I feel blessed to have such great parents in our lives. Another giant bonus is that Elaina gets to see the interaction and friendship between her grandparents and gets passed around to even more people ready to dole out the hugs.

I've probably never put it into words before, but to our mom's and dad's -
Thanks for being so great and accomodating all that we do. We both appreciate you more than you know !

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sugar Baby !

Congratulations to my cousin Abby and her new husband, Dan on their wedding day ! We've added a new family member to our crazy clan !

Abby and Dan's wedding took place at 5:30 this evening and since we live nearly 3 hours away, we had only planned on making it to the reception. Eric, Elaina and Keegan (who is feeling much better !) picked me up from work to begin our travels. Elaina, fresh from the babysitter's house, wasn't in the mood to sleep like her mom had anticipated, but to sing, read books and eat Goldfish crackers ! I couldn't beleive that the girl wasn't even a bit tired !

We made our first stop at my parent's house to drop off Keegan and change our clothes. We were soon underway to the reception hall. Only a short 20 minute drive and Elaina was zonked ! Oh yeah ... don't bother to sleep in the 3 hours that she was confined to her seat - but give her 20 minutes and she was in dreamland !

Abby was a stunning bride and she and her new husband glowed with happiness. The unfortunate part about the entire day was that it rained all day long. If it's true that rain on your wedding day is a sign of good luck, Abby and Dan have had a triple dose of luck today !
I was glad to see my extended family that I generally only see a few times a year, and some cousins that I haven't seen in many years. We were looking forward to seeing cousin Colin and his mom and dad, but it seems as though Colin has been a little under the weather and better off at home. Elaina had to make new friends to play with tonight and she chose mostly to cling to her grandma and grandpa. Grandma took her onto the dance floor to collect candy and do the motions to the chicken dance. Amazingly, by the end of the song, it seemed like Elaina knew when to clap her hands all on her own at the right part ! I was laughing so hard as grandma would spin her around that it was hard to for me to take pictures !

Eric played the role as the "Sugar Daddy" as he fed Elaina and her (2nd) cousin, Kari, Smarties candy. One for Elaina, one for Kari, one for Daddy and the cycle continued. The girls looked like little birds as they waited their turn for their sugary crack ! As if Elaina didn't get enough sugar from her dad, she made her way through a Tootsie roll, part of a lollipop, most of a cookie and some cake ! Mmm ... good thing she was only willing to eat grapes for dinner - she apparently was saving room for everything we don't normally give her. Looks like she did her Trick-or-Treating a little bit early !

Throughout the evening, Elaina was especially well behaved and took her compliments graciously. She did her best to dance by repeatedly kicking her one foot in the air as she stood with her hands loaded with candy. She gave her aunts and cousins kisses and smiled at everyone who looked her way. What a flirt ! We made the decision to leave around 10:00 to put all of us to bed at a decent hour. It's amazing that the affect of Elaina's sugar high didn't exactly expire when we wanted to. The child stayed up until midnight ! She was good, just not sleepy !

In a lesson to all parents, especially Elaina's "Sugar Daddy, " NO SUGAR AFTER 6:00 !! ( Unless it's for the cousins, whose mommy's and daddy's have to deal with at their house !)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Signs of a Growing Girl

Okay ... I'm going to state the obvious just one more time. (That's a lie - plenty more to come) Elaina is growing up so fast ! Seriously -our sweet baby girl is maturing and developing new skills every single day. She is truly incredible and I love being witness to her ever changing personality.

For the past few months, I've been struggling to break Elaina of having to sit in her bathseat for each and every bath. Both of Elaina's grandma's can attest to her intense dislike of sitting in the bathtub, without the security of her giant, plastic throne beneath her bare tush. The only solution I had been able to come up with has been to take a bath with her. She starts her protest immediately, even though I hold her securely next to me. Regardless, her anxiety decreases as we play together and we read her bathtub books and sing silly songs. Over the course of many co-baths, she's done well. ( I have to admit that climbing into a warm bathtub on a cold night is so relaxing and provides me with bonus hugging time with my girl ! )

As a result of our efforts, I put Elaina into the tub by herself on Tuesday night - bathseat and mommy-free - and she barely seemed to noticed ! Okay, so that was great, but how come it took her all this time and she suddenly just "forgot ?" Oh yeah ... she's a toddler. Now I realize that this seems minimal to the average reader, but Eric and I were beginning to wonder where we going to find a bathseat to accomodate a 6 year- old. We are extremely pleased with her latest accomplishment !

And about this girl of ours that seems to be growing at top speed ... Okay, I realize that I'm sentimental, but I had to hold back the tears as I was folding her laundry the other day. I had pulled out all of her size 18 month winter clothes and could hardly believe that she is going to be that big so soon. The clothes that I was folding no longer belonged to my sweet, little infant, fresh from the hospital nursery, but a beautiful little girl, loaded with charm and personality. I held up Elaina's a pair of size 18 month pants for Eric to see and my eyes began to moisten as I tried to hold back my ridiculous tears over our growing child. Duh .. that's what we want her to do. I could tell that Eric has been astonished with her growth as well, but he didn't see the need to cry over it. It's just a mom-thing.

I failed to mention that at her doctor's appointment on Monday, she weighed in at 22 pounds and is 31' tall. She ranks in the 50th percentile for her weight and 75th percentile for her height. I am pleased with that. The doctor made a point to comment on how healthy and proportionate she appeared and that she has never seen a little girl with such a bright smile. Oh yes ... that's our girl !

With a big girl, we make big changes. One of the recent changes we have made is that Elaina has grown into size 4 diapers ! Her size 3's have served her well, but the 4's seem to have a nicer, more comforatable appearance. I'd hate to think that my baby is walking around in a bikini diaper day after day !

And finally, Sweetness, herself just paid me a visit and I asked her if there was anything else that Mommy should say about her. Elaina wanted me to say, " Noggie." So, Noggie to all !

Sick Puppy !

This is one entry that doesn't happen to revolve around our beloved girl. In fact, consider this a disclaimer of gross content to follow ...

Last night I was having a dream about something which had produced the most intense, foul smelling odor ever realized . The stench I was dreaming about was literally making my stomach turn. I woke from my stinky dreamland, disturbed by the smell, and realized that it was a reality afterall. I knew that Elaina wasn't capable of producing that type of obscene odor and followed my nose downstairs to where Keegan sleeps. There it was. I wished I was still dreaming. Keegan had yacked about four days of consumption all over his bedroom. ( We consider his bedroom the front foyer which houses his dog bed on a tile floor. Making any doggie accidents easier to clean up.)

Although it was 2:30 a.m. I knew that I couldn't pretend not to see and smell what I had witnessed. I marched right back upstairs and woke Eric to tell him that "his dog" had been sick. As I pinched my nose so tightly that it could have easily broken off, Eric and I tried to hold back our urge to hurl too. This was by far, the worst stench I had ever encountered. After almost an entire roll of paper towels, a fitted sheet and a towel had been disposed of with all of just about the entire content of Keegan's stomach, we scrubbed up and headed to bed.

Wishful to return to our warm bed, we were closing in on 3 a.m. and Elaina lets out a cheerful "Dadda." Eric and I immediately freeze and hardly even breathe so not to make any noise. We let 20 minutes go by, still holding our noses because neither of us remembered to bring the air freshener upstairs, and Elaina gets more lively rather than sleepy. We finally gave in to picking her up after listening to a fair amount of rambling with a "mommy" and "daddy" thrown in for good measure and she began to bang on her crib rail. She was serious about getting out. Eric lay her in bed between us and she asked for "book" and "Noggie." Unfortunately, neither of her selfish, sleep-deprived parents were willing to read books at 3:30 and Noggin doesn't begin their preschool programming until 6 a.m. Eric turned on the tv on for her and she enjoyed at least 2 -fifteen - year -old episodes of The Cosby Show. It's possible that each of us got at least a few good hours of sleep near the 5 o'clock hour.

I guess the only relevance of this whole entry to be posted in Elaina's blog is for her to reference in her future. The message I want her to receive is that I want her to marry someone who is willing to help clean up dog yack with her at 2:30 in the morning ! Don't settle for anything less ! Elaina has a fine father who sets a perfect example of what a real man is.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Short Stories

I'm afraid that I have let some funny and cute Elaina stories fall by the wayside in the past few days of storytelling. Here's my attempt to catch up to speed in her many adventures.

* Elaina love the " Noggin " network which claims to be " like preschool on tv" for toddlers. I have to admit that I enjoy their programming very much and I have often heard Eric whistling some familiar cartoon theme songs as well ! I have sat down with Elaina to check out on the computer and now, she can't get enough. She runs like a banshee into the den and climbs on the chair and pulling at the mouse, she says, " Noggie !" So cute ! So she knows that she can get her fill of "Noggie" on the tv and on the computer too. This makes her so happy !

* The other night, Elaina was talking to Keegan and held his paw. As she said " Hi Keegey !, " Eric told her to give Keegan a kiss. She happily complied and crept up to Keegan's long nose and softly gave him a peck. I love that she gives kisses easily and loves her brother (dog, whatever) so much. Also, Keegan and Elaina have been great playmates. They respect each other's toys and have never overstepped their boundaries. Lucky for us !

* About Elaina's kisses ... she loves to give kisses. She has recently begun to close her mouth with each kiss, preventing the slobber-face-open-mouth- contact she had graced us with previously.

* When Elaina's bedtime approaches, I sit with her and hold her close. We read several books together and then sit together until she falls asleep. Lately, she says "book, book, book" over and over again begins to cry if she doesn't get her fill of books read to her. Seriously, I have never seen a child be so attached to books like that ever. This is something I am very pleased with and will do my best to promote. However, after reading her 10 books between mommy and daddy, I think we have to draw the line for bedtime.

* Finally, each and every morning, our routine is for me to get Elaina from her crib in the morning, give her her first hug of the day and take her into snuggle with her daddy before I get into the shower. Each morning, I am met with Elaina's open arms and her saying, "Dadda ! Mommy ! Keegy !" When she finally greets Eric in his arms, she either says "Noggie" or "book." The girl knows what she wants and knows how to ask for it !

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Wedded Bliss !

Can you even believe that Eric and I celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary today ?

Even more unbelievable - I'm still in love with him and haven't yet grown tired of him ! Lucky for me, he seems to feel the same about me !

In total, we've lasted over a decade together. It should go without saying that we've had our share of tears, heartache and devastation -but we've made it through with the strength and support of one another. With this said, we can't fail to mention all of the wonderful joys and happy times we've shared together. We just seem to be a good match for each other. Eric is my best friend and my soft spot to land. He seems to calm me when I need to settle down and I have a way of perking him up to things that he sometimes overlooks. I just have to believe that there is someone for everyone and I couldn't be happier that I am with the person whom I am meant to share the rest of my life with.

Neither of us were up to going out for any type of elaborate celebration this evening. We got carry out for dinner and spent the evening relaxing and sharing our time together. As our evening progressed, I just couldn't be more pleased with how my life has turned out. I look at Elaina and my heart wants to burst with love. I love how Eric loves her and how she relies on us equally to fulfill her needs and her life. She always says "Dadda" and squeals with joy when they play together. This is what I have waited my whole life for ! This is what we always dreamed our marriage would hold for us - mutual love for one another and a beautiful child to share our love with.

My grandparents just celebrated 60 years of marriage on Sunday. Congratulations to them for the example that they have set for their family and friends in their bond of marriage. It's truly admirable to see their compassion and playfulness towards each other after all of their years together.

I pray that our union will stand the test of time to provide the same example to our grandchildren one day.

Not Quite Right !

Let me just start off by saying that this is how Elaina looked when arrived home ! It seems as though Daddy may have been paying a little too much attention to the World Series when he should have been focussing his attention to diaper detail !

I could think that he is opting to start a new trend in the toddler fashion enterprise, however, I can't see that too many parents would be on board with this look. Elaina spent the better part of an hour with her little courderoy pants jacked up and most likely causing some type of diaper wedgey. Not to mention that it looks like she's ready for a flood to overtake our living room at any point !

Rest assured that after I had my fill of laughter and snapped some pics for your viewing pleasure, I took care of Stinkerbell's ensemble and her wedgey !

Fall Harvest

Here are some of the pictures from Elaina's fall photo shoot. Judging from these photos, you would never guess that it was a bit of a struggle for her to pose on her own. She was having some "Mommy" issues that day and just wanted to cling to me. Not that I ever mind clinging back onto my girl ... I just really wanted to get some cute pictures at the same time ! All in all - they turned out great !

Monday, October 23, 2006

3 Strikes and You're Out !

This morning Elaina and I were both scheduled to go the doctor at 8:00 a.m. When I had scheduled this appointment, I had thought that we would be the first ones seen and in and out of the office without a hitch. By the time 8:30 had rolled around and we were still the only ones in the room, I figured my plan had faltered. The doctor finally came in 45 minutes late, stating that she spilled coffee on herself while driving into work and had to go home to change. Ugh ! Funny, how I had brought only a few small toys for Elaina to entertain herself and some books from the waiting room, since I thought we would be so quick. We were there almost 2 hours !

Elaina ended up getting 3 shots and screemed her little head off. Trying to keep from crying myself, I had the nurse proceed with my elected flu shot to my arm while trying to comfort my sweet, miserable child. With soothing words and some soft carressing and a million and one kisses later, we finally made it out of the office intact. While I was strapping Elaina into her carseat, I noticed how she was staring at the front of the office building - studying every piece of siding and stone, knowing that she will never want to return to this God forsaken place to get stabbed again ! Good thing she is free and clear of all shots until she starts kindergarten. That is of course, if we elect to steer clear of the much dreaded flu shot each winter. I'll keep that in mind.

The entire ride home, Elaina was quiet and finally calm. Every motherly instinct was telling me to just stay home and hug my girl all day long. The realistic, professional side of me, who was unable to come up with a good enough excuse to call off, knew that she would be fine at the babysitter's house as planned. By the time we had arrived at Nancy's house, Elaina had fallen asleep, which tore me up even more. I filled Nancy in on our morning and she promised me that she would give her special attention and do everything possible to make Elaina comforatable. Since Nancy loves Elaina like her own grandchild, I had to believe she would give her everything I couldn't for the next 6 hours. I had to remind myself that she would be well cared for - just like every other day.

And just one more thing to add to our stressful morning, it snowed today. Just blowing snow through the air all day, which melted before it hit the ground. Yep, winter is upon us ! Goodbye fall - nice knowing you !

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Did anyone lose "Little Miss Moody ?

Because I think that we found her...

It seems as though there has been a baby mix-up ... somehow, somewhere, our darling, sweet, blessed, little angel has gotten switched out for a baby that looks just like her, but has mood-swings that change as often as the wind blows ! Welcome to our day !

Ooh ... I have to edit that wording - welcome to Daddy's day ! Today the weather was cold, rainy and nasty and I had plenty of errands to do, all of which would be much smoother without my shopping assistant, Elaina. Eric was willing to stay home and put in some Daddy-time while I went out shopping - all by myself. When I arrived home many hours later, Elaina was in bed and daddy was on the couch, ready for a nap. He happened to mention that the day didn't go exactly like he had imagined. Baby girl was a baby brat. In fact, somewhere throughout the day, I believe he actually changed her name to Bratsy Sue, because of the way she behaved.
No ... this couldn't be. My little sweetness ?

Bratsy Sue awoke shortly after I had finished putting all of my purchases away and I was ready to spend time with my good girl, fresh from her nap. Trouble was ... there was no "good-girl." Just Bratsy Sue ! Did we misplace the "good one ?"

Who knows what's going on with her little 15-month-old-self. Is she teething ? Is she growing ? Doesn't she feel well ? Does she need more sleep, more food, more toys, more love, more spankings ? What ?!

Her trouble was that she just wasn't content with a single thing around her. Yep - she's one ! My brother assured me that this is completely normal, and he's been waiting for Elaina to slip through the cracks of badness just like every other one year old ! Hold on ... we're in for a BUMPY ride !

Saturday, October 21, 2006

How Sweet It IS !!

I've been thinking, in all of the time I write about Elaina (afterall, this is her story) I should remember to write about what a great husband I have, who happens to be the best dad around.

Today is Sweetest Day. For what it's worth, we all know that is really nothing more that a deal made between Hallmark and the florists, scheduled on the calendar to promote business during their off-season. Neither Eric, nor I put much emphasis on this day of made up gestures. I guess you can think that we're so non-romantic, or else, just really practical.

So, without flowers, gifts or cards, we celebrated the day for what it was worth - family time ! I failed to write in the previous posts that Eric has been out of town the majority of this week. He was at a gun show last weekend and upon arriving home on Sunday, way past midnight, he packed his bag again Monday morning to leave for work in Cincinnatti until Wednesday night. Needless to say, Elaina and I were both missing him !

For today, we planned a trip to amish country for a little shopping and sightseeing. The best part about today was that we had no time restraints, no agenda and just time to soak in being together. Let's just say that this showed dedication and commitment from Eric's end as there was a Buckeyes game on and it's the beginning of hunting season. In all honesty, a trip to amish country really isn't all that excited to my loving husband. He was there for us, making it especially nice and the very best way to spend our made-up holiday !

Friday, October 20, 2006

Got Milk ?

Will Elaina ever forgive me for this ?

Just for the record, this costume is courtesy of Grandma H. ! (Yes - I told on you !)
Really - Elaina looked so cute in her cow costume. Eric put it on her and told her to go look at herself in the mirror. She knew we were up to something and ran to the mirror as fast as she could. Once she saw her spotted reflection, she began to laugh and "moo !" She thought she was hilarious ! So did we !!

Unfortunately, this is only a peek at one of Elaina's optional Halloween costumes. This didn't make the cut for the real costume she'll be wearing for "all hollows eve." Just a few more days to guess what she might be ... and it doesn't say "moo !"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Recipe for Success

I have two fun things to report this evening ... Elaina found a new love and I just wrapped up work on successful luncheon.

To begin with, I had a discussion with Elaina's babysitter this morning that left the both of us scratching our heads over what to feed Picky Pickerson ( a.k.a. Elaina). It seems as though her eating habits aren't quite as bad there because Nancy feeds her all of her favorites which I supply to her. She consistently loves her yogurt, applesauce and bananas. And this girl hasn't ever been known to turn down a snack ! That leaves the bulk of her lunch to just be hit or miss.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home from work tonight and a package of Little Smokies sausage links caught my eye. Elaina would surely love them. I cut them into Elaina sized bites, warmed them and watched them disappear from my very eyes ! My little carnivore begged for "mo !" ( Elaina speak for "more.") The good and the bad about this latest discovery is that we have another meat to keep stocked in our refrigerator, yet the down side being that Elaina could be the only 15 month old whose cholesterol levels are off the charts !

On a different note, I have to do a little boasting upon myself for a change. For this blog, my intention is to brag and journalize everything about our beautiful daughter, however, from time to time, I actually do something noteworthy. Yeah ... it's true !

I happen to belong to a committee at work that organizes our bi-annual Christmas party. Throughout the year, we do various fundraisers to earn money for our party. Last year, I had made a suggestion to hold a chili cook-off using our Family Court judges and administrators as contestants. It turned out to be a huge success with everyone sampling 5 various types of chili and casting their secret vote for their favorite chili. This year, I suggested that we expand our little contest to the chief county prosecutor, the clerk of courts, the head of the public defender's office and the head of the social services agency to compete against our winning judge contestant last year. With only a few weeks of preparation, our event took place today with an amazing turnout ! We knew we were going to go big, yet had no idea that by the end of the day, we would have served over 150 bowls of chili to our hungry voters ! Leading up to today's cook-off, we no longer regarded our efforts as "fundraising," it more or less became about building unity and fellowship between so many intertwined departments on a whole new level. It was awesome ! In the end, we made out very well financially, with some of the proceeds going to our Christmas party fund and a portion of the money sponsoring a family in the "Adopt-a-Family" program at Christmastime in the winning contestant and department's name.

What an incredibly busy day ... make that --- busy week --- but so rewarding !

" Stinkin' Feets ! "

Have you ever seen a one year old try to raise her foot in the air in an attempt to sniff her own feet while standing ? Think about that one ...

Over this summer, The Bad Influence Instigator, we'll just call him "Daddy" for the sake of being efficient, told Elaina that her sweaty-sandle-feet "Stink !" She thought it was hilarious when he or I would have to take off her sandles at the end of the day and smell her "stinkin' piggies !" Each time, Eric would hold her feet to his face (seriously - that was too close - people in the next town could smell her feet ! ) and say "smell those Stinkin' feets !" She giggled for all she was worth and grabbed her feet to her face.

Tonight, (thank the Lord that stinkin'-sandle-feet-days are behind us), Eric was teasing Elaina about her "Stinkin piggies" to get her reaction. He raised her foot to his nose and then asked her to smell them while she was standing up. She tried with all of her might to keep her balance and raise her foot in the air to no avail. She thought this was even more funny that she was wobbling back and forth that she fell to the ground in a fit of giggles and ankle grabbing ! So funny !

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Path of Destruction !

Okay ... so didn't I just finish saying how much Elaina loves her clothes (and shoes) ? She is so much of my girl - I really could be in trouble !

Elaina has picked up on a new game that she has created around her pajama drawer. She began by choosing the p.j.'s that she wanted to wear to bed tonight and then proceeded to pull out every pair that she owned to place them in a stack on her bean bag chair. She was so pleased with herself as she made about 5 trips back and forth the length of her room, emptying her drawer. What I do love about this little Stinkerbell is that she put every single piece of clothing back into her drawer after only having to ask her one time. Her idea of putting clothing away compared to mommy's idea of putting clothes away are still a long way away from being the same, but she did it ! If you know me at all, you're probably aware that I have a slight neurotic disorder of organization and order. Since Elaina has joined our family, I think that I have come a long way in putting alot of that aside. As long as we're all happy, healthy and not hurting anyone - I think we're doing okay.

As for Elaina's trail of disaster (as you can see in the first photo )... I just have to wonder how long this game may stay appealing to her. Maybe I'll just stop folding her pajamas for good.

NOT ! Come on -it's still me talking !

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

These boots are made for walking !

What a goofball ! I'm afraid it's all my fault - I have "tainted" my child already with a love of shoes and clothes ! After Elaina's bath tonight, we played up in her bedroom. Once we had read about 5 books, she moved onto "counting" her shoes. She pulled out her basket o' shoes and tried to squeeze her jammied covered feet into them. The ones that finally fit were, of course, her winter boots ! Can you tell that she is looking forward to wearing them ?

Word explosion !

Elaina constantly amazes me ! She has picked up a few new words in what seems like overnight. She has recently added the words "milk," "cookie," "book" and "Poppa" to her vocabulary. Daddy has even taught her to howl like a wolf ! She easily recites animal sounds that she knows when prompted and is often found reading her books aloud to herself !

Before I went to bed last night, I checked in on Elaina and as I covered her up, she said, "bye bye." She was talking in her sleep !

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Must need the Zzzz's...

Grandma and grandpa are headed home today. With so much activity yesterday with the walk-a-thon and shopping in the evening, all of us are pooped !

As we sat down to enjoy a delicious lunch together, Elaina began throwing her food to the floor and was generally discontent. Knowing that this wasn't a battle worth fighting, I picked her up from her highchair without a word and took her to her bed. Barely 2 minutes of sobbing passed and all was quiet. We enjoyed our lunch together and Elaina enjoyed her second nap of the day. ( The first one being on grandpa's lap as grandma and I attended church. )

It was unfortunate that my mom and dad weren't able to say goodbye to Elaina, but I think she was better off dreaming about them at that point. I was able to clean up the kitchen and begin some laundry before I heard the jibber-jabber of my littlel angel from upstairs. She seemed to be in a better mood and was even willing to eat a late lunch - happily. After filling her belly, I took her in the other room to play and noticed that she just seemed even more tired when only an hour had passed. Exhausting my efforts into trying to entertain her, I decided that I was worn out too, and took her upstairs to cuddle on our bed and veg out to some cartoons. Two and a half hours later, I woke up and had to wake Sleeping Beauty ! Whoa ... Girlfriend slept a total of about 4 hours in the middle of the day !

Our evening was much more enjoyable as we laughed together and played. Incredibly, she went down for the night only an hour later than usual ! What a good growing girl !

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Walk to Remember

Today marks the second annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day walk-a-thon.

October 15 has recently been declared, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day by congress. This is the result of a dedicated group of local individuals committed to bringing attention to a heartbreaking reality which so many families are forced to deal with. What a huge accomplishment and reward for their efforts in remembering every baby whose lives were too short.

For this year's walk, it was unfortunate that Eric ended up scheduling a gun show for this very weekend which I had wanted him to be a part of. Last year, we took part in this walk as a family, again with my parents present and some friends. I'm to blame for not making more of an effort this year in organizing a team and doing more fundraising for the cause. The proceeds benefit grieving families of infants, the pregnancy support center and ( I believe) even some money is allotted to The March of Dimes which is a charity close to our hearts. Don't worry, next year, I'll be hounding every one of my readers to join in the walk to remember and share in such a worthy cause.
For more information, visit :

This morning, as we prepared to celebrate the efforts of the support group and walk in rembrance of our girls, my mom, dad, Elaina and I bundled up and headed to the walk-a-thon. One factor working against us today was the weather. It was bitter cold and the wind was vicous. We arrived much later than I had anticipated but just in time for the release of a bountiful number of pink and blue balloons. In a formed circle of support and unity, the crowd sang together, " Jesus Loves Me," to which many tears were shed.

It's an overwhelming feeling to see so many families united for the same reason. Each and every one of us has experienced a loss beyond compare. Babies aren't supposed to die - yet that is what we all had in common. Our beautiful babies whom we wanted more than anything to share in our lives and give our hearts to them - have become angels. Seeing so many people together in support made me feel like I wasn't so alone. I have yet to attend a meeting, partly due to Eric's schedule and partly out of fear, but I plan to within the year.

This is an event that holds such special meaning to me for confirming a day each year to celebrate the lives of our beloved babies and their families who must carry on without them. I plan to make this an annual family commitment and make it always part of Elaina's life.

With love and remembrance every single day to our beautiful angels, Ella Rose and Ava Rose. We will forever cherish you and look forward to being together again one day.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Just in time for bed ...

Sign us up for yet another busy weekend ! Grandma and Grandpa H. are visiting for the weekend !

They arrived this evening just in time to catch Elaina fresh from the bathtub and ready to "feed" her piggy bank and read books. Elaina wasn't bashful at all upon their arrival. She wasn't quite ready to throw her arms around them immediately, but she was anxious to show them all of her books and melt them with her sweet smiles and laughter.

Grandma and grandpa had barely made it into the house to unpack before Elaina was investigating her gifts from them. Grandpa had refinished a wooden stool for her, which was about a third of her size, yet didn't stop her from carrying it around the kitchen and checking how her bottom fit onto the seat. The more we laughed at her, the more she hammed it up for us. What a goofball !

We made it up to her bedroom, where grandma and grandpa were able to enjoy Elaina's "feeding the piggy ritual." I think I have written of her little routine before, but it has evolved and become even more cute along the way. Every night that she gets a bath (usual every other night) she knows that when I am finished diapering her, lotioning her and getting p.j.'s on - she gets to put money into her piggy bank. She sits on the floor with a giant smile across her face, I pull the piggy down from her shelf and dig out 5 coins. She diligently drops each coin in as we count to five with each thud into the piggy's belly. Lucky for me, she remains content with 5 coins and has yet to ask for more. After we reach the count of "5," she picks up her pig, walks it back to the shelf and says, "night, night." Grandma and grandpa laughed so hard and were impressed with her systematic approach to financial wealth. ( The fact that Grandpa emptied the change from his pockets didn't hurt things either.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Call me a Quitter !

For the past 3 years, I've been the secretary of the Canal Society in our community. For the past 3 years, I've been disturbed and stressed by the lack of leadership, organization and professionalism of the president, yet she remains president. At each and every monthly meeting, there is friction, tension and discouraged effort shown to the members trying to make a difference. At our summer festival, which we work all year long to organize, things fall to pieces due to lack of help and support. Most often, I feel as though our efforts are done in vain.

Everyday, I make a conscience effort to do everything in power to make my life stress- free. (Stress seems to find me without asking for it !) After much consideration, I have finally thrown in the towel. At tonight's meeting, I resigned my membership and duty as secretary. For the first time in three years, I walked in the door from the meeting with a smile on my face. I plan to continue to volunteer under the direction of my friends who continue their involvement and put in some hours at the summer festival. As it stands for now, no more friction and stress, no more complaining and no more Thursday meetings. Even better yet ... I haven't a single regret. I am happily finished, so go ahead and call me a "quitter !"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Whatchoo Got ?

What do you think a 15 month old girl keeps in her "Hello Kitty" purse ? Her cell phone and her binky of course !!

What's wrong with this picture ?!?!?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Calling all units !

Elaina's manning the fire station !!

Tonight, the fire department hosted an open house welcoming families and kids to attend and learn about fire safety. Since Eric is a volunteer with the department, he had to been there early to set up and talk with everyone coming by. This was the first year that his little girl was able to come and be a part of the "fire safety awareness program."

They had set out a huge, 3" plastic mat where Elaina (and the other kids) were able to practice their Stop, Drop and Roll technique. Elaina was more interested in walking all over the mat and stared wide-eyed at the other kids who were actually "rolling" on the mat. At one point, she lay down and said "night, night." She was just kidding, of course ! There was plenty more running to be done !

She took great pleasure in getting behind the wheel of one of the fire trucks and was more than fascinated with all of the lights and buttons ! The girl loves to push buttons ! Just ask great grandma and grandpa ! When we had spent a Sunday afternoon visiting in their motorhome, Elaina had again, gotten behind the wheel and " fixed" all sorts of surprises that awaited them the next day when they went to start their engine. I believe great grandpa mentioned something about the lights, the windshield wipers, the radio, etc. etc. etc.... I guess Elaina just wanted them to remember her visit clearly (loud and clear !) the next day ! She definately made her mark !

All in all, tonight was very enjoyable - hanging out with dad at the fire house, eating cookies and sharing mommy's punch and being chased by a 4 year old boy who wanted to kiss her on the head and hug her ! ( He is the son of one of our neighbors.) Seeing little boys chase after our little girl already .... I don't really know what to think about that !

Can you see it ?

I'm just proofreading my last post of Elaina and Eric at the fire department ... Am I crazy or what ? If you look closely at the last picture of them together (double click to make it big ) - Elaina's resemblance to Eric is uncanny ! What I love even more is that they have nearly the exact same expression on their face !
Can I convince you any more that she was custom made to be our baby ? God - I couldn't love the two of them any more !

Monday, October 09, 2006

Perks and Pics !

Ah ... there are only a few advantages of being a government employee. No, we don't get paid much - but we do get alot of holidays off ! Happy Columbus Day everyone ! I'm home today !

Eric's canoe trip involved sleeping outside at their stopping point last night to get back on the water first thing in the morning for Part 2 of his trip. However, his friend who owns a local restaurant, learned very early that his shop had been broken into and he needed to leave immediately. Eric called me around 9 a.m. and said that he and Sam (our neighbor) were going to call it quits too since they were nearby and Jason had to jump ship - literally !

It was nice that I was getting my husband back to enjoy our day together, yet I had already made an appoinment to have Elaina's pictures taken and do some shopping. Her picture appointment went fairly well for a "Mommy's girl." The majority of time we were at the portrait studio, Elaina wanted to cling to me and said, " Mommy, Mommy, Mommee !" I have to tell you that while it's nice feel so wanted, I really wanted to get through our picture appointment ! The photographer was the same one who we have been fortunate to get every last time we've gone, and she is great and amazingly patient. I'll try to post a sneak preview of the pics one day soon.
Elaina posed in her fall outfit from Grandma H. and her Halloween costume too. They turned out way cute and I can't wait to get them back !

On the subject of ordering pictures, let me just relay a quick little story about my wonderful husband...
I decided to have Elaina's pictures taken because she had two cute outfits that I thought would be fun for fall and it's been all of 3 months since her last picture ! ( I know -- a whole 3 months ?) Yeah ... that's what Eric said too. I told him that he should have expected that when we decided to have a child together. That's just what he has to deal with ! I just wanted some frivalous, fun pictures taken of our sweet girl. So moving on ... I come back from a full day out with Elaina and showed him how cute her pictures turned out and which ones I ordered. Without hesitation, he asked, " Is that all you got ?" Agghh ! If I would have gotten any more, he would have questioned why I got so many ! Agghh !! Yeah, I pushed him. Three times. I felt better.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Grounder at the Playground

Early this morning, Eric left home for a canoe trip he had planned with his buddies at a nearby river. My beautiful baby girl must have still been exhausted from the previous night's parties and slept in until after 8:30 ! Mind you, we're talking about my typical 7 a.m. baby alarm. I was beat too and so it was nice to get some extra sleep.

We finally got ourselves together and let our girls' day begin. I had been meaning to allow Elaina to create some artwork for some time now and today was the day. I sat her on my lap at the table and with three colorful markers, she began her very first masterpiece. It was stunning ! Since it is her first work of art, you can bet that I'll be framing it. These are the things I have lived for !

Soon after, our neighbor girl, Elizabeth stopped down with her school fundraiser and decided to accompany Elaina and myself to the playground. Today was a beautiful day to take advantage of being outdoors. The weather was nothing short of perfect. The leaves are changing colors and the air was warm with a subtle breeze. The temperature hovered around 80 most of the day ! With such wonderful weather, we decided to hit two playgrounds - the park and that of the local elementary school.

Elizabeth, who is 10, loved playing with Elaina and was a great help as Elaina took about 15 trips down the slide. I hoisted her up to Elizabeth who led her down the slide time after time. By the second playground and one stone in her mouth later, Elaina met her demise when she wasn't paying attention and fell to the ground and bit her bottom lip. She cried plenty and the bleeding stopped fairly quickly. What a little trooper.

Soon we headed for home where Elizabeth continued to play with Elaina for about 30 minutes while I chased around the house doing laundry, putting away clothes and just some general cleaning as fast as I could. Elizabeth was an enormous help and we both enjoyed her company. Elaina even gave her a kiss before she left ! So sweet !

The rest of our evening we spent reading books and playing. What an enjoyable day with my sweet girl !

Elaina loves her "Fridge Phonics" - just like her cousin Colin !

Saturday, October 07, 2006


This evening we had accepted two separate party invitations for two different events. We didn't necessarily plan on staying too long at either party and therefore, decided not to get a babysitter. Elaina was a busy-body most of the day and much to our dismay, was only able to afford herself about a 30 minute nap. This became evident approximately the same time we had to leave for our first party which was an after-the-wedding-wedding-reception. One of the "senior" members from Eric's bowling team had invited us to join them at their wedding reception. ( I think they got married in September) Elaina held in pretty strong and looked just like a doll in her little autumn themed dress from grandma. (I'm still kicking myself for not getting a picture !)

Throughout dinner, she ate minimal food and her eyelids became heavier by the minute. Luckily, the noise from the guests that echoed throughout the facility drowned out any urge for her to make any noise herself. Apparently she recognized that we wouldn't be able to hear her anyhow. (Get the picture how loud it was there ?) After enjoying a wonderful meal, visiting at our table and well wishes to the newleyweds, we headed for round 2.

As I strapped Elaina into her carseat, Eric and I both said "Night-night" fully believing and intending for her to fall asleep during our 20 minute drive to the next party. To our amazement, she stayed awake and didn't make a peep. We joined the next party to celebrate the birthday of my friend from work who had turned 50. Betty's family had planned a fabulous (and successful) surprise party with all of her friends and extended family. We arrived after the party was underway and missed her surprise. Again, since we didn't plan to stay long, we weren't discouraged to bring Elaina along with us. We explained that we were just stopping in after a wedding reception and Elaina was of course, part of our package. No one seemed to mind and Betty picked her up and showed her off to all of her guests. (Elaina likes Betty) Elaina must have gotten her second wind as she proved to be quite the entertainer and stole the second half of the show. She played peek-a-boo with her dress, talked in her monster voice that daddy taught her, answered questions on que and was completely charming the entire hour that we stayed. Way to make your mama proud Elaina ! Although she was the only kid at the party, she was absolutely welcomed and adored by all. Melt, melt, melt ... I love that girl !

Friday, October 06, 2006


My apologies ... yet another rambling about Elaina's mealtime.

Alas - this one is a little bit funny ! We've already established that Picky Pickerson's parents are most displeased with her eating habits, right ? So, tonight at dinnertime I offered her a bite of macaroni and cheese. Yum ! She loved mac & cheese babyfood from the jar, yet hasn't proven to be a big fan of the "real deal" - but I offer anyway. She examined a piece of macaroni with intense interest, pinched it between her fingers and to her mouth and ..... and - it was met with immediate disgust. I had a bright idea (I thought) ! I fed myself bites from her bowl and yummed and oohed and aahed how good it tasted. And then I fed daddy with her spoon and he loved it too. This was peaking Elaina's interest by now and she decided she was a little bit curious what tasted so good to mommy and daddy. I ignored her outstretched arm and her pleas for a bite and continued our charade for a little while longer. Finally, I gave in and brought a bite of mac & cheese to her mouth for her to enjoy. Blbbtt ! Out of her mouth it came. Can't pull one over on her just yet ! The perils of having an articulate one year old !

Later this same evening, this same little stinker decided to get me back. Since her dinner was far from fulfilling, after her bathtime, I sat her down for a snack of teddy grahams and milk. She ate happily (of course - junk food) and even stretched out her arm with a cracker for me. So I thought. She brought it to my mouth and - psych ! - she tricked me and popped into her mouth ! Again and again, she pulled her little prank and I played into it every last time. I love seeing her develop her own little sense of humor. Her new game provided us both with plenty of smiles and giggles before her bedtime. She can be picky all she wants as long as she is happy ! (and not starving !)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Motormouth !

I love it ! Elaina has finally put her feet into motion and is beginning to push her way around the floor on her 4 wheeler ! Previously, she has propped her feet up on the cup holder to let us know that she was ready to roll. Whew ... talk about a backache after hovering over her, pushing her throughout the living room and kitchen ! Oh, and all the while making Vvvmmm-vmm! and beep-beep noises !

Tonight, she climbed onto her bike and pushed herself a little bit forward and alot backward until she backed herself into a dead end (the recliner). All the while, she provided her own unique car noises. ( Notice her puckered lips - she was revving her motor!)

And on the subject of cars ... Aunt Kate and Uncle Greg bought toys for all of Colin's guests at his baptism a few weeks back. (Thanks again guys !) One of Elaina's gifts was a set of colorful, mini, rubber cars. Elaina liked them immediately ! She continues to play with her cars at home and right away, was able to provide her own car sound effects. This surprised me until I remembered that she plays with a little boy named Maddox, at the babysitter's house. He waits patiently each morning that he is there for Elaina Rose to arrive. ( He's all of 4 and refers to her by her full name !) They play "cars" together ! That's how she knows car noises. How cute !

So Greg and Kate - I think that in all fairness, this means that I'm allowed to buy Colin dolls !

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hardly Ever

Let's see ... there's really nothing to report tonight except that we had the most unusual kind of night.

Since Eric bowls every Wednesday night, we reached an agreement that he would be willing to make dinner each Wednesday. (So what if we've had spaghetti 3/3 times - he's gotten really good at it ! ) Again, Elaina ate a minimal amount of food although I tried everything under the sun to feed her. She most certainly wouldn't eat spaghetti noodles -- oh no - they stick to her fingers and she makes a face. All in all, she got some food in her belly and that was enough to make me happy.

After dinner, Elaina was dragging and just about as tired as a little girl could be. Admittedly, so was I. It seems as though I had stayed up too late last night doing some laundry and chores around the house and after battling my allergy headache all day long - I was whipped ! I gathered Elaina and her binkys and climbed into our bed to watch some cartoons and take a little catnap. After the cartoons ended, Little One was too tired to keep her head up anymore and we both fell asleep.

Dying of thirst from the garlic overload at dinnertime, I awoke at 8:45 to find Elaina still sleeping like a baby. I managed to change her diaper, her clothes and tuck her into bed without a peep. So, you see what a most unusual night we had ?

This rarely ever happens and I regret not having any play time with Sweetness, but clearly, we both needed some extra Zzzz's ! Whew, I'm beat !

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

"Stinky Face"

If you didn't already know this by now ... Elaina loves books ! As her mother, I love that she loves books !

We read all of the time and she'll even sit and read by herself. I love to see this level of creative, independence blossoming in her so soon. Even when we leave the house and pack a toy bag, it contains minimal toys and an assortment of her favorite books. She'll often carry books to anyone around and want to read. Sometimes her patience doesn't subject herself to the completion of an entire book, but it's only because she has to move on to see what's in the next one.

A recent favorite of ours has become, "I Love You Stinky Face" by Lisa McCourt. The story begins with a young child and her mother reading a book before bedtime and the mother tells her child how much she loves her. Stalling for time, the imaginative child creates unbelievably, silly circumstances asking if this were the case, would mother still love her. Some include her asking if she were a stinky, smelly skunk and people called her "Stinky Face" would mother still love her ? If she were a great big swamp monster with seaweed hanging from her scaly skin - would mother love her ? The mother delivers her answer each time by saying to what extent she would provide her swamp monster (etc.) comfort and concludes by saying she loves her.

The entire book is enjoyable with great pictures and a beautiful story that Elaina never grows tired of. The big sap that I am, I still continue to get a little teary eyed over the mother's never ending love for her wonderful child and know just how she feels !

Monday, October 02, 2006

Plea for help !

I'm stuck. I don't know what else to do to make Elaina eat. Last night and tonight, I offered Elaina pork chops for dinner and she reacted as though I were feeding her parasite infested alge. Mind you, she has liked pork chops before - remember our carnivore ? I would think that she would enjoy them more since all four of her one-year molars have busted through.

So now what ? I refuse to feed my child a standard diet of bologna and chicken nuggets as her only meat sources. Those are her favorites by far. Here is a brief rundown of the foods that comprise her "will-eat-happily-list" : the fore mentioned bologna and chicken nuggets, bacon, yogurt, applesauce, bananas, dry cereal, and just about every single form of junk food or sweet including crackers, chips, cookies and brownies. (Okay - I'll take the blame for that. We're both guilty of enjoying our junk food ! ) But, seriously, limited fruit, no vegetables (except for tater-tots) and the same redundant foods ? What can I do ? I am completely open for suggestions. (Go ahead and leave out the part where I should have never given her junk food in the first place.)

Dinnertime more or less stinks at our house lately. We've finally gotten the baby we've always wanted and she's the pickiest eater ever made. That is something I never wanted my child to face. At dinnertime tonight, as she let the tiny bite of pork touch her tongue, she threw it back onto her tray with disgust. (Says alot for Eric's grilling technique, huh ? Hah - it was delicious ! ) I offered her some other things that we were eating and she met them with the same throwing-from-the-tray-disgust. So, we let her sit in her high chair and cry through our dinner. And she c r i e d.

After dinner, we took a family grocery shopping trip to Wal-Mart and guess who decided she was starving midway through the store ? Bratsy !

What can I do with Picky-Pickerson ?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Falling Into Fall !

Just like Moose and Zee sing : " I feel like I'm falling for fall !"

( You sorta have to be a fan of the Noggin network to identify the tune.)

What a glorious fall day to play and get motivated !

Well, it sounded good anyhow, it was a perfect day to be outside. At our house however, Eric tackled some projects and I tried to make Crankypants happy - all day. Sure, Elaina has battling a cold and not feeling well, but I think I have seen more crying out of our girl today than in her whole career of being a baby. She hardly ever acts like this. All day she wanted to be held and when she wiggled down from my lap, the minute her feet hit the ground, she wanted to be held. What's that about ? Throughout the day, I offered her food and multiple naps to get those "crankies" to go away, to no avail.

Thinking I could break her baby depression, I packed her cranky bootie in the stroller and headed for the playground. Yeah ... she was happy ! Well, at least happier- to an extent. She explored the jungle gym and took several turns down the slide- just like she likes. When she was finished, she just began to walk away from the playground. Oh yeah ... and the crying began when she found herself back in the stroller even though nearly 40 minutes had passed.

The only other time I saw a smile across my angel's face was when I tried her Halloween costume on her. (Stay tuned -- it's a secret what she'll be.) She got a look at herself in the mirror and laughed and smiled. Even she recognized how silly-cute she looked.

We're hoping for a better day tomorrow and I refuse to believe that this is the first sign of anything worse to come. (i.e. : chicken pox) Cross your fingers and say your prayers !