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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Special Moment

Yet another warm and fuzzy Mother-Daughter moment to cherish...

Upon finishing blow drying Elaina's hair:

Mommy: "Elaina, you are everything I always wanted in a little girl. I love you so much!"

Elaina: "Awe, shucks!"


Who taught her that?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Listen Closely

It's just not fair for me to keep these sweet laughing Lincoln pictures to myself.


With his sweet, little face and smiley expression, you can almost hear the cooing and aahing coming from his throaty little "gaah-ahhh-aack".
He's almost there...

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Very Hungry Lincoln

Do you think he's getting enough to eat? The legs on this 3-6 month outifit were so tight that I had to unsnap him just after taking this photo just to restore circulation to his toes!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

When "Pop-Pop" Pops In

When either Pop-Pop comes to visit, it's a special day. When Pop-Pop comes to visit and brings Grandma and they just magically appear when a little girl wakes from her nap, her day is even better.Eric's mom and dad stopped by to visit today on their way home from a trip to West Virginia. Elaina was napping when they arrived and was so surprised to see who had come to visit her when she woke up. Since both sets of grandparents live almost 3 hours away, it's not a common occurrence for grandparents just to stop by on a random afternoon. We had lunch together and visited for a few hours before they had to get back on the road, heading for home. While they were here, they were sure to get their fill of little girl hugs and bright baby smiles to tide them over for a while longer until we see them again.



Since Elaina was sad to see her grandma and pop-pop leave, Eric did his best to distract her and make his little girl happy once again. The bubbles seemed to do the trick!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Lip Smacking Good Book!


I think I could laugh every single time I watch this clip!

Elaina still loves her books and has recently decided that she would rather read the books to me than listen to me read. I don't know exactly where the throat clearing and the smacking of the fingers to her lips came from, but the first time she did it, I was nearly in tears trying to keep my composure in order not to laugh at her. She sounded like a 2 year-old version of the slow guy from the movie Slingblade. Hysterical!

And the finger licking? I don't have a clue! Even more funny, I know that she doesn't either! She must have seen someone wet their fingers like this at some point and believes it to be essential in book reading. Sometimes she'll go about her finger-licking-throat-clearing routine several times over before she even gets to the first page!

Needless to say, whenever Elaina offers to read Mommy a book, I always oblige. She is great entertainment!

Thanks, Self!

Amazing!

This week absolutely flew by! Since I've been back to work for almost 3 weeks already, I've discovered that my days and nights just seem shorter than ever. I never feel like I get enough done during the day and at night, I never feel like I am rested enough by the time the another day begins. And the cycle just keeps going and going and...

Last Sunday night, I did myself a favor. I spent nearly an hour putting away the last bit of laundry, picking up toys, and preparing for my week. My preparation and the favor to myself was that I laid out 5 days of outfits for myself, Elaina and Lincoln. As if that weren't enough, I looked at our evening schedule and planned what we were having for dinner for the entire week! Seriously!! If you only knew how anal I am about being organized, this shouldn't really come to much of a shock to you. I was just impressed that I did it and it went so smoothly.

It's funny to think that just putting those little morning and evening hassles at bay for the week, saves such an enormous amount of time and procrastinating when you really need to be getting down to business to get things done.

If you want to know where to find me on a Sunday night, just look for me in my closet or refrigerator!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

OH! What a Beautiful Morning!


Oh! What a beautiful day!


The birds may have been chirping. The sunrise may have been glowing more spectacular than ever. And the air may have carried the warmest, most delightful breeze.


The W. Family, however, missed out on all of the glories of the early morning. Do you want to know why?


Because Lincoln slept through the night!!! Oh, and I'm not talking about a simple 6 hour stretch. I'm talking about a whole 9 hours!! OMG! Let's take just a moment to exult in the joy that comes with a sleeping baby. Feel free to do the happy dance, bake a cake, or send a card. Our baby slept through the night!


{moment}



{Encore. This is just too good!}



{Moment}


You have to understand that this is huge news in our house since neither Eric, or myself have slept more than about 6 hours at a time since Lincoln has been home. On special, rare occasions, we've blown off our housework and projects and succumb to the bed almighty but again, this has been rare.


So, last night, Lincoln finished his evening bottle around 8:30 and fell asleep immediately after. We fully expected his 2 a.m. belly timer to go off as he needed another bottle. As you may recall, this is the alarm that sets off the billy goat holler from the little one in the jammies and wet diaper. Last night, it was Eric's turn to be the late night feeder. In turn, I would be the middle of the night/ early morning bottle bringer. Eric suggested, "Why not let him go to see how long he can stretch in between feeds.


Ummm... okay! Since Lincoln was already resting comfortably in his swing, Eric let him ride it out until he woke. Eric decided to make his nest on the sofa next to Lincoln's swing as he anticipated a hungry, crying infant to wake him shortly thereafter.


At 6 a.m.! Lincoln began to stir and Eric realized that he had slept the whole night on the sofa and Lincoln; safe and sound in his swing. Hooray!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My Little Linky

No. Really. I don't prefer to call Lincoln "Linky" just yet, but when I'm trying to conjure up a smile from my little man, the Linky-Dinky-Doo song and the high pitched silly mom voice usually does the trick.

So, let's hear a Lincoln update!

Our little chubbo has grown to a whopping 14 pounds already! I have to admit that seeing his weight gain is a nice compliment to us, knowing that we finally matched him to the right formula, he's getting plenty to eat and that he has a very healthy appetite. He carries his weight well, too. He's not fat and rolly-poly, he's just got chubby thighs and he's thick and solid. Every time I pick him up, my mind just goes wild wondering what his future will hold for him. Is it possible that we're raising the next Ben Roethlisberger? (Pittsburgh Steelers, people!)

At 2.5 months old, he has graced us with his sweet, little boy smiles and has recently begun to let out a throaty, little laugh. It's as if the laughter just catches in the back of his throat and he just can't push it out past his lips. He has tamed down his wild billy-goat cry when he's hungry and only fusses a little bit while he wiggles and lets out a little a few yells. That hardly compares to his full-blown-near-hysteria when he was a starving newborn. Now, when he hears the rip of the velcro from his bib as I put it on him, he begins to calm down knowing a bottle is imminent. Speaking of bottles, he is pretty consistent to drink 5 ounces per feed (sometimes, 6 oz.) and is spacing out his feedings between 4-5 hours. We're still not getting an incredible amount of sleep because he starts his sleep marathon about 8:30p.m. and wakes between 12 and 2 in the morning. Obviously, that doesn't quite match our typical sleep schedule. We'll get there. The sooner the better!



And what does a 2 month old like to do? He loves to be entertained by his mobile in his crib. He gets all wiggly and begins to coo and smile when I turn it on and he'll lay there as content as ever watching the magic mobile circle above his head. Recently, we inadvertently switched him to his crib. It all started one night as I was putting him to bed. It was about 2 weeks ago and he sounded a little bit snorty and congested. I thought I would do him a favor and let him rest in a slanted position on his boppy in his crib so that his head was higher than his chest. He slept peacefully for a little stretch of time and so did we. Lovely. Easy. Good boy!
Last but not least, his favorite thing of all time is holding onto my fingers as he drinks his bottle. It's just another little opportunity to bond and build trust and security in our relationship. He's and amazing boy and I'll always want to hold his hand!
Baby camouflage!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Souvenirs

Oh seriously, where does the time go?

It's an understatement to say that I am behind on my blogging. Heh, it's been so long that I still hope that a few of you are still remembering to check back. My sincere apologies for the abrupt abandonment.

So, let's get down to business. Stories! Pictures! I'm ready to go! Here's the deal, I'm going to recreate most days from memory the best that I can. I've taken some cutie pictures along the way and they'll serve as my inspiration of what actually went on that particular day.

Remember to scroll down back to the last entry prior to my departure and hopefully, I'll be able to catch up to speed soon. By the time I finish, you'll see how I've had little time for blogging as we've been busy enjoying our summer and dealing with sickness along the way.

As Simon Cowell would say, "Off you go..."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fair is Fair

Just as I was about to leave work , Eric called me and asked if I had anything planned for the evening. As I just realized that it had already become Friday, I hadn't thought of a single thing to do. Not even a single thing planned to cook for dinner. My dear husband proceeded to ask me out on a date. A family date. At the fair.
I'll admit, we may be country bumpkins, white-trash perhaps, but you won't find any better food than fair- food! Other than spending time with my family, that was my main motivation for shouting out a big 'ol "Ya-hoo!" in accepting his invitation. Just in case you've not been to Ohio fairs, let me give you the highlights of the fine dining that the fair has to offer. Texas fried pork tenderloins. Steak on a stick. Cheese on a stick. Dippin' dots. Elephant ears. Funnel cakes. Apple dumplings. Stromboli. Sausage and pepper hoagies. Roasted peanuts and cashews. Old- fashioned flavored root beers. Fair-fries didn't get their claim to fame by just being fried potatoes afterall. And then there is my new, personal favorite, deep fried oreos! Gah! (Note: clean drool off keyboard) Up until recently, funnel cakes have been my great weakness. That is until I discovered deep fried oreos! Another new and tasteful way to chunk up to 200 pounds overnight. Does anyone share my affection for these wonderful works of taste bud bliss? Mmm...

Another great part of going to the fair is allowing Elaina see and touch all of the animals that we read about in her books. Living, breathing and stinky. 7,000 pound cows, shaved sheep, goats that need to be milked, stinky chickens and God-awful-ugly turkeys. On the other hand, we also have the cute, little bunnies that hop around happily before they get sold to some one's dinner table. Elaina enjoyed it all. Fearlessly.
What a great family date! Can you tell that Elaina had a good time?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Call off the dogs...

My apologies. I'm not on vacation. I haven't abandoned my blog, by choice. I haven't broken all of my fingers and my computer has not crashed. These seem to be the only likely, and reasonable excuses I could offer for not posting for such a long time. However, I'm planning on making a speedy return to catch my world up to speed. Take my word folks, I've got lots of scoop to share! And pictures? Oh yeah... sure to back up your computer's memory in a hot second!

Hang on to your seats, I'll be back when I can!

I miss you too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Worry over "Winkin

Although Lincoln's fever was minimal overnight, I was still pretty much concerned due to his congestion and his temperature still not returning to normal. I took the kids to Nancy's house in the morning since she wasn't watching any other kids and was willing to care for Lincoln and his fever. Our pediatrician's office was able to squeeze him in for an afternoon appointment which Eric was able to take him to.

The appointment went fine, the doctor cautioned Eric that if Lincoln's temperature reached over 102, to call him immediately and prepare to get to the emergency room. At this point, his temperature wasn't particularly high and we held out hope that it was on the decline. I stopped by the pharmacy on my way home from work to pick up his prescription and dinner. When I walked through the door, Eric was on the phone to the doctor's office answering service, providing them with Lincoln's current stats and requesting a call back from the doctor. With hardly a word, Eric pointed to Lincoln laying in his pack 'n play, moaning and looking sickly. His fever had spiked to 103.8 in a very short period of time. Our doctor called back within minutes and told us to get him to the emergency room to get him checked out. I ran through the house like a wild tornado, preparing a bottle and formula to toss in the diaper bag, a bottle of water for me, a trip to the bathroom and a hug for a now tearful Elaina who didn't understand what was going on and only wanted a snack.

While I broke several speed limits along the way, the emergency department ushered us into a room. After enduring at least 18 doctors, nurses and information collectors, 78 tests and 4 hours later, I was told that Lincoln was going to be admitted overnight. Thank God that all of his test results proved negative for anything to be wrong with him, but there was still something not right with him. He was given an IV and a whopping dose of kill-everything-harmful antibiotic and he rested peacefully throughout the night. I was given a plastic covered recliner for my bed and scrounged up a bagel and cappuccino for dinner at 11:30 and actually called it a good night's sleep. I was expecting to wake to feed Lincoln a short time later and only planned on getting a few short hours of uncomfortable, interrupted sleep for myself. Imagine my surprise when I woke to find a lovely, nice nurse feeding a sweet, quiet Lincoln in his bed and checking his temperature without even a peep from my little guy. Better yet, he hadn't had a fever for several hours prior and he even looked healthy and content! As I was too exhausted to move from my new found comfortable spot on the chair, I apologized for not being more attentive and thanked her for feeding my kid. And I went back to sleep! Can you believe that? My kid is getting better and my nightmare of what-could-have-been-fears actually qualified for what I almost consider a good night's rest.
The next morning, Eric stopped by on his lunch break to eat with Lincoln and allow me time to get home to shower and pack my bag for what they had told us would be another overnight stay. Throughout the course of the day and conferences with our regular pediatrician, it was determined that since all of his test results were coming up clean and his temp had remained constant (normal) that he could be released after an additional dose of the extra strength antibiotic. Our pediatrician made special arrangements to see Lincoln in her office the next day to follow up and we were able to go home. The bottom line was that he may have contracted some kind of "bug" that may have been a virus in order for him to react with a fever. We'll never know for sure.
Elaina was so excited to see her baby brother that she even pulled out her 'monica to play him a special, little song of her own.
This experience was hard. Hard to see our sweet, little boy suffer and be poked, prodded and miserable. Hard to handle the worry that comes along with being a parent. And hard to be away from Elaina overnight. This was the first time I had ever spent a night away from her. Considering our track record caring for our sweet, sick babies, it never gets any easier. With our prior experiences, it only makes it more justifiable seeing your baby endure the painful needles and swabbing necessary to obtain every vital piece of medical information on him. Thank God that none of our babies are suffering! Lincoln has two incredible guardian angels that were with him every step of the way!
He's back at home where he belongs!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Cooling Down and Roasting


Today was a near perfect family day. The weather was gorgeous, we didn't have a single commitment of our time and life is seeming to be good.
There is one exception. Lincoln has a fever. A fever that has lasted from the mid-afternoon through the evening and not getting higher than 101. I've kept him on steady doses of Tylenol alternating with ibuprofen. He sounds a little bit congested and Mommy is always quick to worry. This isn't any part of fun for the day. Just one more degree and I'm promising myself that we're speeding off to the nearest StatCare. I've always been hesitant about taking my child's rectal temperature until today. With Lincoln's fever running high, I could not take any chances on his ear thermometer reading only one single degree different than true. Unfortunately, this day, I became a pro. I'm a realist and can put my differences aside when it comes to doing what I know is best and necessary for my baby.

101. Come on down fever!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Flying Solo

I'll admit that I will be the very first one (ever) to brag about her kids. Just in case you couldn't tell. Also, I will do everything in my power to never allow myself to ever complain about my kids. They're pretty much all I've ever wanted, how dare I even think a complaint?

But there are the times that every parent needs an interruption. A break, if you will. Today was my day.

Today was our company picnic which always guarantees an early dismissal from our regular workday. Knowing this, I meticulously began to plan and list and route my evening as "Solo Mom." Yes, I was going shopping! Wahoo! Since we've been redecorating Elaina's room (I'll post pictures when it's more complete) I've been on the lookout for curtains and some new accessories to finish the job. And, let's not forget, I am a true sale shopper and everyone knows that July sales are awesome. (Not as good as August, but I'll be back!) I had some returns to make at the mall and I had forgotten how nice it is to just leisurely stroll through the stores without a stroller, diaper bag or kid stuck to me. It's a nice feeling to move freely about the stores, zigzagging from one sale rack to the next through a 2 foot aisle opening. Freedom. In a sense, being a mom and shopping alone is even more fun now. Before I had kids, my shopping list was fairly limited, only shopping for myself, Eric and our house. But now, well now is altogether different. There are kid clothes to buy! And constant buying to keep up with them growing. And kids' bedrooms to decorate. Pinks and blues and flowers and cute! Somebody stop me! Shopping is fun!

As if my shopping marathon wasn't enjoyable enough, the thing that made my evening most notable was running into an old friend. Lisa was one of Ava's favorite nurses in the NICU who became almost like family throughout our stay. When a family is thrown into a crisis, having their newborn lay critically ill in the NICU, there are really no words to describe how your life changes. And with the outcome that we were forced to deal with, there's really no one that can relate to how you feel. Lisa, Becky and Marianne proved to be an exception to that rule. I've mentioned them before in a post about Ava, and they will always be a highlight in our lives in the time that we spent with our daughter. Imagine my excitement when I spotted Lisa from across the store and spent the next 20 minutes catching up! When we finished talking, I immediately called Eric to tell him who I ran into. Like a celebrity. Our Lisa!

Ironically enough, the very next store I went to, I spotted yet another nurse that had provided care for Ava. While talking to Lisa, I asked about LaVonne who had just brought her 2 year old daughter home from China. I had been following her adoption on her blog and was thrilled to meet her little Nina in person. Just for the record, Becky and Marianne, I asked about you also, but never saw you in the next stores. My luck was on a roll, I was looking for you!

So there you have it. My night of shopping was enjoyable, peaceful, exciting and long. I finished my grocery shopping at my favorite 24 hour store and was home by 11:00 p.m. Kudos to Daddy for picking up the slack and having a "Daddy Night" without me.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Something to smile about

I don't have a clue what went on today.

All I know is that I have two of the sweetest kids ever made and they make me and their father very happy.
And how about this 2 month old? He's smiling, he's really smiling. My stinking camera with a two second delay failed to capture the true essence of the sweetest smile ever. Nonetheless, I'll forgive my techy gadget because I'll never forget the first smile from my sweet boy! I'll guarantee that he has plenty more reasons to smile as he's getting plenty of spoiling from his mom and dad. I'll just need to keep the camera on standby.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Putting Her Best Foot Forward

After a terrific birthday weekend, we finally rolled into our driveway at 11:00 last night. Needless to say, I apologized to the sitter as I let her know that my kids may be just a little sticky around the edges from not getting baths the night before. But we all had fun and that's all that really matters!

Speaking of fun, Elaina loves to stomp around in mommy and daddy's shoes even if it means yanking them out of the shoe boxes whenever she chooses. Luckily, daddy's boots have their home in the back foyer so that all she needs to do is climb into them. If she can. What a fashionista!



How do you think that happened?


If she were Scottish, and if her dress was a kilt, she's showing the world what she wears underneath!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Family Reunion

What timing? One of the hottest days this summer and guess who had to go to a family reunion. My family! Correction, my family, with the exception of my dad and Eric. I'm not sure who they paid off, but they took a friend up on his offer to go fishing at Lake Erie. Lucky for them that they caught some fish while rocking in the boat with at least a puff of a breeze across the water. Us, on the other hand, absolutely melted in the heat in the not-so-roomy shelter house at a nearby park. It was a hot one, and I’m hardly referring to the Paris Hilton definition of “HOT.” We roasted in the 96 degree heat as we jammed about 60 already- warm- bodies in a shelter house which somehow lacked any breeze whatsoever.

Of course, the highlight of the reunion (which I have skipped for the past 4 years) is seeing my cousins and their baby bundles of joy. Here is a picture of my cousin, Trisha and her little baldy baby boy, Vinnie. We found that the boys became much happier when we stripped them down to their diapers. Lucky for them they are still able to pull off this style and look adorable at the same time! Despite the heat, Elaina enjoyed some time playing on the playground set and a new birthday gift from her cousin Colin and his parents.

After a whole day of playing and visiting with family, we still had to face the long ride home with our truck packed tight with birthday gifts and leftover cake. (Thank God... mmm, it was gooood!) Before we could leave though, Elaina talked Grandma into one last game of hide and seek. Just for the record, Elaina isn't very good at hiding yet, but she loves the thrill of seeking!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Terrific at 2!

Really. What is there to say about Elaina's most wonderful, fantastic, beautiful 2nd birthday?

Don't worry, I have plenty of pictures!
You may recall that Eric's parents were kind enough to host Elaina's first birthday at their house last year and my parents graciously offered their house this year for Elaina's party. Living nearly 3 hours away from all of our family puts a damper on us trying to host such events at our house. At this point, destination birthdays seem more practical than expecting all of our family to make the 3 hour drive to join our celebration for 3 hours and turn around to drive home. So, with a big thank you to Grandma and Grandpa H. let me tell you about my 2 year-old daughter's fabulous birthday.
My sister-in-law just happens to have ownership of a small inflatable circus which she offered for Elaina's party entertainment. Her inflatable bounce house was a hit last year and as luck would have it, she topped herself this year with the investment of a water slide! Hello... who has the lucky kid now? ( Hint: his name starts with an "E" and ends in -van.) All of Elaina's young guests made out today as the temperature was in the low 90's and they were able to skip around the yard from bounce house to water slide to baby pool. Do we know how to party or what? Correction: if it wasn't for Cindy, the baby pool would have been old news after the first 30 minutes for our busy little bees. Thank you, Cindy!
I'm not really sure that Elaina could have enjoyed her day any more if she had tried. She had more recreation in one back yard than she could ever fathom, 5 kids to play with and doting adults squeezing her with birthday hugs and kisses all evening long. And of course, let me not fail to mention the scrum-dilli-icious birthday cake and loads of food we devoured throughout the evening. Yum-O!
As always, Elaina's grandparents and aunts and uncles did an awesome job of picking out birthday gifts and she received loads of great new stuff to decorate her new bedroom and some great clothes too.

So at the end of any fun filled day, there's really nothing like settling down with a good book to read to your friend, or cuddling up with the ones you love.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

As Time Goes By...

Time is a funny thing.


In fact, I spend all of my time just thinking about how best to utilize my time. Can you imagine? I spend time thinking about how much time I have left to hold onto my kids before putting them to bed. How much time Lincoln will spend awake at 4 a.m. to drink a bottle. How much time I have to run to the grocery store and not be missed. How much time my kids have left before they outgrow all of their summer clothes and shoes. How much time do I really need to sleep at night or should I just try for that last attempt at even a somewhat entertaining blog entry.


So, you get the idea. I spend a lot of time thinking about time. And after 8 weeks, my time has come. The time to get clean, dressed and hustled out the door before 8 a.m. The time to kiss every square inch of my kids faces before turning them over to Nancy to do the very same for the remainder of the afternoon. Time to put on my big girl panties and face the day. I have to go back to work.

And here I sit. Asking myself, "where has the time gone?" Is it really possible that my sweet almost-7-pound baby boy has turned into a nearly 12 pound bundle of sheer bliss? And how much time did it really take me to fall in love with this little stranger whose needs I easily put before my own? And finally, where did the time go between Elaina learning to crawl and turning two?

As the saying goes, " Time is a gift; that is why it's called the present!" All I can say is, what a fabulous gift! Day after day, my kids have provided me with love, laughter and a never ending sense of awe. Only two days, in all of the 8 weeks I was on maternity leave, I wanted to glue my children to the wall. And they both picked the same day to be cranky. Their bouts of the fussies were easily mended with a little more sleep and a lot more patience centered around their care. I loved being off work and facing the challenges of the day only to bring on even bigger rewards. Eight whole weeks to get to know my new son and witness the evolution of a big sister. There's really nothing that will ever compare to this time we've shared. I loved it!

But as time keeps rolling on, and the bills keep coming in and my shopping habits have yet to dwindle, I must return to work. I chose to go back to work after the 4th of July holiday of which everyone was off and start my work week on Thursday. I figured that if I could make it through 2 days straight, there was hope for me yet to restore my once-rational-brain which has suffered for the past 2 months accumulating a fine assortment of cartoon songs and Dr. Seuss rhymes. There might be a chance that my fingertips may remember all of the fine details associated with my job and function accurately. I had to return to work before I fooled myself into believing that this stay at home mom job is easier than an office job. High-ho, high-ho, it's off to work I go...

And to Lincoln and Elaina; don't give all of your smiles away before I get home to hold you!

Fleeting Loyalty

4 Months Ago: Elaina was crazy about Sesame Street. Jumping up and down, screaming with excitement when Elmo came on. Mom was happy to see her interest blooming and bought Elmo books and videos.

14 Weeks Ago: Elaina decided to give old Noggin and PBS a break and made constant requests for her "bunny hop-hop" movie and "hattin-hat" video which translates to The Cat in the Hat collection of short stories.

12 Weeks Ago: Does everyone know who the Big Red Dog is? And how about that Curious monkey named George? She loves, loves, loves them both.

10 Weeks Ago: All of the animals hit the skids. Elaina was all about everything Dora. She would even sit in front of the TV and recite the destinations for Dora to travel according to The Map.

8 Weeks Ago: Elaina dumped the explorer for her jungle safari trekking cousin, Diego. Total crush, in love.

6 Weeks Ago: Diego who? Nothing can compare to Little Einsteins. Good music and adventure obviously go hand in hand.

4 Weeks Ago: We have discovered Pooh. Winnie the Pooh that is. And Tigger too. Elaina goes bouncing through the house like Tigger and reaches her hand down into cups like she is digging out honey like Winnie the Pooh.

2 Weeks Ago: Who needs a yellow bear when all you have to say is "Miska, Mooska, Mickey Mouse!" and a giant clubhouse unfolds from the ground? She nearly pees her pants (diaper) with excitement and shouts out each character as they appear on the opening segment.

Currently, Mickey Mouse is taking a toll on our home. Elaina loves that show and tried her hardest to sing a song that Daisy Duck sang to help earn her pretend doctor's sticker. I will have to have the video recorder handy at Elaina's next viewing.

Too bad that I bought all of her birthday themed merchandise approximately 10 weeks ago. The child could really care less about Dora right now. And while I'm not so much in love with licensed characters per se, I really wanted to make Elaina's second birthday party fun for her and letting her get excited about seeing Dora's face underneath her cake and ice cream. Silly Mommy! What was I thinking?

Can't wait to see who's next on the cartoon fan club roster!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My two shining stars!

And, yes, I realize that every picture I have taken so far with Elaina holding Lincoln, Lincoln is crying. I swear that Elaina isn't squeezing him or causing him to cry, I just have relatively poor timing when it comes to capturing them happily posing. I need to work on that.

Our 4th of July celebration was spent as a family day. An amish man that Eric has been working with on a job site had told Eric about this great auction that is held in the heart of amish country, less than an hour away from our house. The proceeds of this annual auction benefit the school system there and brings crowds from all around.

We set out early in the morning to take in the sights just as the auction was beginning. The pitfall of such a great auction for us, was that we didn't really need anything. And they had everything. The great finds were the handcrafted wooden furniture pieces. If we had any place to put another dining room table or bedroom furniture, this would have been our lucky day. The rest of the stuff was just gravy. Probably nice to have, but still not able to justify the price or throwing something out to make way for new.

While Eric snagged 3 items totalling a whopping $35 bucks, we enjoyed our family day and the kids were great. They took turns napping in the stroller and there was plenty of recreation (i.e. wooden playground sets) to keep Elaina occupied in intervals. I packed our day trip bag, prepared for anything and everything, (maybe swimming) but the weather was cold and a thunderstorm even rolled in mid-afternoon. Not quite the picture perfect day that we would have wanted. Our family time, however, was very close to perfection!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Trifecta!

Our perfect miracle...
How we have enjoyed our first year...
Looking forward to enjoying all that age 2 has to offer...

Not- a- Party, Party

So, pretty much everyday I sit here and gush about how much I adore my wonderful children. It's my job. And they're lovable. So why not?

When one of my lovely children has a birthday, wouldn't you expect the gushing mother and father to go all out for some fabulous, extravagant celebration for such an occasion. My answer: Sure, why wouldn't you?

Hold onto your seats... we didn't do anything special. Eric had to work and then had made plans to go to a race that he has had to forfeit going to for the past two years. (First year, the phone rang letting us know that our baby was about to be born just as he was leaving the house for the race and the second year, his wife would have hung him by his ears if he would have missed his daughter's first birthday party.) But this year, all of our family had previous plans or commitments or work that they weren't able to make it to a party for Elaina this past weekend, prior to her actual birthday. Easily enough, we switched her party weekend to the following weekend, coming soon.

Given the fact that we hadn't planned anything particularly special for the day, I wanted to spoil Elaina in a fun, little way to make her happy. I was going to let her help bake a birthday cake or take her out to eat at "Donoles" (which is McDonald's, the one with the playground) or invite some friends over to play. The day, however, met me with a cranky two year-old who whined and was hard to please for most of the day. I actually put her back to bed for a second nap to sleep away the crankies and become more pleasant. I was about to glue her to the wall if her crankies didn't cease. After more rest and a full recovery, she was back on board as my sweet, little birthday girl. Her birthday celebration, which made her the happiest was going to the playground and meeting 3 new friends to play with. It was a happy day indeed.

Monday, July 02, 2007

My 2 Year Old

Dear Elaina,

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweet girl!
I can hardly believe that two years have already passed by so quickly. I'm writing you this letter to commemorate our second year as a family and to let you know how much joy you have brought to the hearts of your family and friends.

In the past two years, I can honestly say that not a single day goes by that I don't look at you and see what a perfect miracle that God has blessed us with. An enormous and amazing blessing at that. You continue to be all of our joy and happiness and reason to smile every single day. The love that you have given us and that we have for you is beyond compare. You have always had a presence about you. I have yet to determine if it is more from your sparkling, blue eyes or your gorgeous smile alone that convey the most perfect innocence and beauty that I have ever seen.







I remember when you were only a few months old and a friend of mine, Ali's mom, said to me about Ali, "There are times when I am rocking her to sleep and I just look at her and want to cry at how much I love her." I find it amazing that I felt the very same way about my newborn daughter even though I hadn't carried you in my womb. What's even more amazing is that I still feel the same way about you to this day. Just thinking about you and talking about the miracle that brought you into our lives makes me well up with tears and emotion. You were meant to be our daughter. Even my bones know that to be the truth. Often, I swear that if you were to pry us both open, our DNA would match by some supernatural coincidence. Every single day, you make me proud to be your mother.
As a parent, people are constantly reminding you to enjoy your kids while they are young because they grow up so fast. Already, I know that to be true. I want you to know that your father and I have savored every last minute with you at every age. We thought you were incredible the day we held you in our arms for the first time. We thought you were great when you began to crawl and utter new sounds. We were thrilled when you learned to walk and were able to return a hug. And just when we think that our lives couldn't be any sweeter with loving you, we get a new tomorrow with you. You get even better by the day and we are enjoying every minute of you!
And so Elaina, I just want to leave you with a final sentiment from my heart. You are my love. You are my world and all of the beauty that surrounds it. You continue to be an incredible blessing and inspiration to me. Lincoln has made you a big sister and a loving one at that. I admire your tenderness and your ability to return love and kindness happily. I look forward to all that "2" has to offer and promise never to classify you as a statistical "terrible two." You're going to be my Terrific Two year old! We only have 364 more days left to enjoy our incredible 2 year old evolve. I don't want to miss out on a single minute with you!
Thank you for being the wonderful child God created you to be and filling our hearts with faith, hope and love along the way! May God always bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand my beautiful angel!
Love,
Mommy

There's No Place Like Home

Yes, my daughter is using her Maisy book as a pillow as she sacked out in her activity play garden on Monday after coming home from vacation. Apparently, our quick vacation weekend had really caught up with her little self. Eric and I were relaxing in the living room, exchanging stories about each kid that we had missed for the past few days and next thing we knew, Elaina was snoozing without even a warning. At 5:00 in the afternoon! Even though her pillow was a hard cover book, I found myself envious of her napping, peacefully in the late afternoon. J-E-A-L-O-U-S.

Although it had only been 2 full days that I hadn't seen Lincoln, I came home to a bigger kid. Really. Who knew that my baby could grow into a bigger, fatter baby with dark hair growth coming in on his head and dark eyelashes to match in only 2 days? Seriously. I spent plenty of time squeezing him before I left to know that this kid had changed. Even Eric commented on Lincoln's rapid hair growth. Now mind you, it's not to the point that he's looking like a rock star yet, it's just much, much more obvious and brown. Let's hear it for my brown haired boy!

Here's a picture of my little chubbo-legged-child who is enjoying his mobile in his crib that he has yet to sleep in. But, really, doesn't it just look pretty and cozy? Since I'm so far behind with my blogging and regretting every moment that escapes my record keeping, I've been trying to make a mental list of all-things-cute and momentous for each of the kids. ( Confession: I LOVE using kids, plural!)



Very noteworthy for Lincoln is that he gave me his very first reaction smile. He's secretly been allowing some involuntary smiles to escapes his sweet lips, but on Thursday night, I was making eye contact and talking to him in the silly mommy voice which every mom has and he smiled back at me! Oh melt me! And of course, holding back my drippy tears of gladness, I kicked up my voice a few more octaves to try to make him smile at me again. Not so much luck the second time around. I think he may have been frightened of his overwhelmed, excited mommy squealing in his face.

Since I last mentioned, Lincoln has adjusted to his lactose free formula very nicely. For Eric. Eric reported that Lincoln has been drinking 5 ounce bottles now and kept every one of them down without any spit-up issues like he had before. He even slept 5 hour stretches during the night while I was gone. Happy to hear this news, I snuggled into the sofa to feed my hungry baby the same night I got home and he yacked about 3 ounces out of his nose and mouth all over both of us and the sofa. Way to welcome Mommy home, son. What a better way to make Mommy feel completely and entirely helpless to make things right for him. Talk about worry...

The last thing on Lincoln's progress report is that he is doing so well at beginning to hold up his head. His neck muscles are strengthening and he is much less of a bobble head than just a few short weeks ago. One more thing, just because I have yet to mention it, Lincoln loves his baths. From his very first bath on, he loves the water. I like to think that I am doing a good job of making him comfortable, but he doesn't ever yell, cry or even fuss when it comes to me giving him a bath. He is such a good boy all around! Especially around his little rolly belly and thighs!I am so happy to see how he's filled out so nicely. It makes me feel like Eric and I are doing a little something right by this kid! (that is, aside from loving him to pieces!)

What would my blog be without some Elaina stories? I've got more than plenty. Little Stinkerbell is absolutely priceless these days.

Oh where to begin... well, she has begun to call her new Lily Leapfrog doll, Winkin'. I told her that the frog's name was Lily and that her brother's name was Lincoln. She looked at me like I had three heads and giggled and said, "No Mommy, this is Winkin'," as she clung onto Lily the frog.She still thinks that the answer to every question about what color is this or that- everything is always "Or-annj." Daddy is orange. Our house is orange. Keegan is orange. Mommy's eyes are orange. She sounds safely intelligent when we ask her what color Zoe from Sesame Street is. "Or-annj!" it is.

Since my time at home for maternity leave, I have been having Elaina take her afternoon naps in what was to become her new bedroom. This bedroom has since been painted (pictures to follow) and decorated exclusively for our little girl. The wall colors look like pure cotton candy! Yummy! The day finally came last week that I was able to put all of her bedding together and clear out some clutter and she was able to transition into a new full-sized bed of her own in a new bedroom without a hitch. I still have a tough time peeling myself away from her bedside as all I want to do is stare at how sweet and angelic and little she looks lying in this giant bedroom of girly pink and purple.

On Sunday, friends of ours who live at a nearby lake invited us to enjoy the day at their place and out on their boat. Elaina was so excited about her first boat ride and stood on the bank patiently waiting to wear a life jacket, which she properly requested, and cautioned everyone to be careful as she held out her arm in warning. Maybe Mommy has rubbed off on her just a little bit in her 2 years. She was excited and scared all at the same time as we started off. As more time passed, her comfort level grew until our driver/friend decided to kick it up a notch and tear out, full speed racing across the water. At this point she was sitting in my lap as we clung to each other and she left me with a warm, wet puddle in my lap as all of her fright leaked out of her swim diaper. We decided to leave Lincoln is his carseat aboard the boat and safe on the floor covered in towels, clear of the sun. The boat ride must have agreed with him as we didn't hear even a peep from him until I pulled him out while the boat wasn't moving. All in all, we enjoyed our day of play and Elaina's fright only lasted a very short time without any negativity toward the water or boating in general. She did well.

So there, I've been wracking my brain trying to think of any little details that I have missed that I have wanted to remember, but all I can say is that we've been enjoying ourselves and taking advantage of my last days of freedom before heading back to work this Thursday! Pooey.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Florida Fun

Since it's been such an incredibly long period of time since I posted last, is anyone still interested in hearing about our trip to Florida? Well hold onto your seats, it's your lucky day to hear all about the fun Elaina and I had at her great-grandparents' house.

After covering Lincoln and Eric's faces with goodbye kisses, Elaina and I set out early Friday morning for our 2 hour drive to the airport. We arrived in the right amount of time to check ourselves through security and wait in the cattle herd which they called the "gate." While I would never claim to be a frequent traveler by any means, I am accustom to the layout of most airports which accommodate a handful of coffee shops and other miscellaneous restaurants and news stands just past the security checkpoint. My intention was to get where we needed to be and enjoy our wait with a rich, warm cup of cappuccino and share a breakfast danish with Elaina. You can just imagine my shock/ horror when then gate number wasn't even listed on my ticket when we received our seating assignment. Oh yeah, the reason is because they only had ONE GATE! Comprised in that ONE GATE was approximately 200 stinky-rolled-out-of-bed people who had been herded into a tiny square of a room with seating for about 125. Nice. It was just this moment when I began to question, "Is this really a certifiable airport? Really? Seriously?"

Prior to boarding the flight, I had told Elaina that we were going to take a ride in the airplane and since they don't have beds on airplanes, she would need to sleep on Mommy's lap. Airplane rides are meant for taking naps. We shared a granola bar, a far cry from a cappuccino and danish by the way, and she snuggled down and slept for the entire flight. Granted it was her regular nap time hour, I was just thrilled that she actually got her rest before starting our day with grandma and grandpa.

Grandma met us at the baggage claim (at a real airport) where Elaina warmed up to her rather quickly and we were on our way out to grandpa waiting eagerly in the van. Elaina was a little timid around her grandpa upon our last visit in February, but greeted him with a warm hug, just as well, this time. Since it was already going on the 3 o'clock hour and Elaina and I had starved most of the day, grandpa treated us to a middle of the day meal, being neither lunch or dinner, just something to fill our bellies. Once we arrived to their home shortly after, Elaina was intrigued by the pool and asked to go swimming. My girl. Asked to go swimming. Who knew she liked swimming anyway? Grandma, Elaina and myself suited up and enjoyed the enormous, 80 degree bath-water-pool all to ourselves. Aahh... true love. Needless to say, Elaina slept well her very first night being away from home. On Saturday, day 2 of our vacation, we didn't have a single thing planned. Isn't that the beauty of vacation? We played in the pool as Elaina's comfort level grew by the hour, we made a trip to the store for dinner that evening, and we all took an afternoon nap. I was wondering if I could move in with grandma and grandpa at this point. Alas, I would miss my boys too much to stay away much longer. On Sunday, there was more swimming left for us to do. Even grandpa enjoyed the pool with us, despite his trepidation regarding how he might feel after exerting himself. It was great that he was able to splash around with us and enjoy some more silly time with his great-granddaughter. I was more than pleased that the swimming pool agreed with him and appreciated that he put forth the effort to enjoy more time with us. In the heat of the daytime, we went to the mall to enjoy the indoor play area and check out the over the top pet store which Elaina was able to pat the sweet little puppies with grandma. Finally, we rounded out our visit with a lovely dinner out with my Aunt Sandie and great food all around. So that's our visit in a nutshell. Now for the rest of the funny, memorable moments along the way:

* While looking for the sand hill cranes through grandpa's binoculars, I discovered that Elaina had been pretending to use binoculars of her own for weeks now. When she said the word and held her hands up to both sides of her face, I was left with confusion of what she was trying to say. Finally, I caught on that she had been using "ninoccoolers" all along. Duh, Mom.

* With all of our prune time playing in the pool, Elaina learned to blow bubbles, shout through the end of a water noodle and enjoyed a tea party with grandma in the water. With one hand held up in warning and shaking her head, she told grandma, "don't drink the water; tea time." Also, she began referring to the steps in the pool as her home. She gradually allowed me to take her from her home base to swing around in the water and play ring around the rosey and bounce, but she knew that she liked playing at her home just as well. On her first day out, despite grandma and myself being just an arms reach away from her, she managed to step off of her home step too far and went underwater for all of 3 seconds before grandma swept her up. For Elaina's sake, neither of us reacted to the situation with fear, and Elaina cried for all of about a minute before her full recovery and back to playtime. I was glad that this incident didn't scar her comfort level in the water and that she went on about her play. I was possibly more scared than her.


* Elaina was sheer pleasure throughout our entire stay. She was impressively well-behaved and full of entertainment. Every single time the phone rang, she yelled, "I get it!" Every single black pick-up truck that we passed, she pointed and shouted, "Daddy truck!" And every baby we saw or picture of a baby, she called Winkin'. At one point, we were talking about getting ready to go swimming and Elaina asked to "get Winkin' too." Apparently the both of us girls, missed both of our boys just the same.

Monday morning came very early (5:45) and it was time to say farewell. We had a great vacation with happy, enjoyable memories made with great-grandma and great-grandpa. While I didn't take nearly enough pictures, I have plenty of memories to treasure and quality time spent with the ones I love!
Stay tuned for the update on my guys holding down the fort on the home front in our absence!