Saturday, December 30, 2006

Look how Eleanor has grown...

Eleanor is doing SO many fun things now. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • responding to our talking by cooing very sweetly at us
  • squealing when she's excited
  • laughing out loud
  • grabbing and holding her toys
  • sleeping 11-12 hours at night (YEA!)

If you'd like to see these and lots of other completely irresistible things our baby can do, please come on over. We're enthusiastically accepting guests!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Eleanor's new look

Over the past week or so, our daughter has lost almost all of her hair. I asked the doctor about it yesterday. His explanation was that the hair she had was not her real hair, just her prenatal hair. I think she is starting to grow her 'real' hair, but you can barely see it. Here's how she looks now:

I know. She's still adorable! (A Mom's modest opinion) On the bright side, I guess we'll be saving some money on shampoo for a little while.

Eleanor's first taste of real food

Last night, we fed Eleanor rice cereal for the first time. (Yesterday was her four-month birthday.) I have to say, as a Mommy, it was a bittersweet moment. I'm excited that Eleanor is moving to new stages in her life, but sad that she's not my tiny, little baby anymore. She's doing so many new things now. We're amazed everyday at how much she is learning!

At first, she didn't understand what we were doing to her at all. She just kept pushing the cereal out of her mouth with her tongue, and making a very confused face:

After a few minutes, she really got the hang of it, and couldn't stop laughing between bites:

We all three had so much fun! What a blessing to experience these milestones together as family!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My husband, the comedian

A couple of weeks before Christmas, Jared brought home a small red and black box topped with a beautiful, shiny bow. He showed it to me and said, "I'll give you a million dollars if you can guess what's in this box." My mind started racing. Oh, the possibilities! (Realistically, I know our budget, so the possibilities were limited to sterling silver or Diamonique from QVC.) In the days leading up to Christmas, I would pass by the Christmas tree with that perfect, little box sitting underneath and ponder its potential.

Christmas morning came at last. As Jared and I took turns opening gifts, I deliberately left the little red and black box until the end. Finally, Jared said, "Open that one. You know what comes in small boxes." Now, my husband has a long history of giving great gifts. He also has previously not been able to wait to give them to me. So, with his expression of anticipation, I became more excited. I unwrapped the present slowly, carefully untaping each piece of ribbon, planning my reaction to what I was sure would be a fantastic gift awaiting me inside. I held my breath as I lifted the lid, and here's what I saw...

An easy button. You know, like from the commercials. It really works. You push it and an announcer-type voice says, "Man, that was easy!" Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed and only mildly amused.

I think my husband should hit the road with his comedy act. On second thought, maybe he should just hit the road.

Just kidding, of course. He did come through with lots of other great presents, much more befitting his gift-giving reputation. (And it does make me laugh outloud every time I think of it!)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, everyone! May God bless you all as we celebrate and rejoice in the birth of a King!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A new Christmas Eve tradition??

Well, because we couldn't spend Christmas Eve with family, Eleanor decided she'd like to spice things up a bit for us today. We spent the first few hours of Christmas Eve morning at the Urgent Care Center.

This morning, when I got Eleanor up for her bottle, I noticed that her left ear (and pretty much the whole left side of her head) was bright red. Because we had noticed that she was teething yesterday, I immediately thought our poor baby must have another (her second) ear infection. I left a message for the nurse on-call at our doctor's office, who immediately called me back with the following advice: 'I am 99.99% sure she is not teething. She's too young, and it's impossible that she's getting the teeth in the location you are describing, but you need to take her to Urgent Care to get antibiotics for the ear infection.' That really sent me into a minor panic (I think that's an oxymoron) because my baby definitely had something that looked like teeth poking out of her gums, and if they weren't teeth, what in the heck were they?

So, we went to the Urgent Care center where a line forms very early. After about an hour wait (during which several people in the waiting room gave us and our screaming baby menacing glares), we saw the doctor. When we told him we thought she was teething, he gave us one of those grins that means, "if it weren't really unprofessional, I'd laugh in your face right now." He actually gave us a spiel about how babies' teeth develop and the proper order of their arrival. Then, he looked in her mouth and said, "Well, that's very unusual." There they were- her pearly white first molars poking through her little red gums. Hmmm. Anyway, he wrote a prescription for antibiotics, and we left.

Wait, the fun doesn't stop there. I took the prescription to our local CVS, which my gut instinct told me not to do because we knew from our past experiences that they could screw up an order for cough drops. I had the prescription filled with relative ease, which I should have known was too good to be true. I took it home where I found Eleanor napping. We decided to wait until she awoke on her own to begin the medicine. Good thing- because the pharmacy called two hours later and said, "Oops! We gave you the wrong prescription." Once again, I will withhold my un-Christianlike thoughts...

I hope this isn't the beginning of a yearly event.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Our unpleasant encounter with airport "security"

As many of you know, I have just returned from taking Eleanor for her second visit to the Lone Star State. (Details of our wonderful time to follow in future posts.) For the sake of fairness, I have to admit that our airport experiences have been as pleasant as airport experiences can be until our return trip this most recent time.

There are few things worse than the anxiety a mother feels when traveling with an infant. There is the fear that she will poop in her diaper just at the time of boarding, and you will be forced to change her in the airplane bathroom (a task no less difficult than that famous trick involving a straight jacket and a stopwatch.) Or that she will spit up all over both of you, causing that non-parent passenger next to you to start lurching violently at that unfamiliar, disgusting odor. And then there's my biggest fear: that she will suddenly decide she is hungry and will break into her frighteningly-accurate impression of a cat with its tail stuck in the door before I can get the bottle into her mouth. Because of this last fear, I prepare myself with an arsenal of formula and pre-measured bottles of water prior to boarding. I usually board the airplane feeling pretty confident in my ability to quickly calm my baby should this situation arise. Until...

The "security" personnel at Hobby Airport decided that my bottles of water weren't allowed through the security check-point. They confiscated them and poured them out, leaving me somewhat stunned and exceptionally angry. (At this point, I could include all of the very non-Proverbs 31 things that were running through my head, but I won't.) Yes, I could just get water on the plane from the flight attendant (for details concerning what could happen while I waited, see cat reference above.) So, I boarded the plane with more-than-necessary anxiety about being "that lady with the screaming baby." Luckily, Eleanor was a perfect angel. I will mention, however, that she did have to drink a bottle made from airport water fountain water. She seems to have escaped without a case of dysentery or some other disease, but I would have preferred if the whole silly situation had been avoided.

I registered an official 'concern' with TSA, and got some lame, non-specific response about how hard they try, blah, blah, blah. They could really care less.

So, for moms out there who will be undertaking the task of traveling by airplane with their infant, be at ease. Even if your baby screams for the duration of the flight, I'm sure those well-trained, enthusiastically diligent security workers have made sure no one on-board has any liquid, gel, or cream with which to harm you.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Eleanor's favorite doll

This is Eleanor with her dolly that she just absolutely adores. Okay, she doesn't absolutely adore it yet, but I'm working on it. I think it's so cute when little kids carry around something special everywhere they go, so I'm starting a bond between Eleanor and this doll. I give it to her (lay it on top of her- whatever) when I'm changing her diaper, when we're in the car, etc. I do not give it to her at night or for naps because if you know me, you know I am a total freak about my child suffocating herself. (One of many things I'm a total freak about; others include a deer running in front of my car, robbers hiding under my car in a parking lot- this list is really long.) When we first brought Eleanor home, I was thinking of ways to remove her arms (just at night) because she kept putting the darn things up by her face. I tried to tell you- total freak.

I'm hoping when Eleanor gets bigger, she will name the doll. If she named it right now, it would forever be called "Goooooooo", and that's not a very good name, is it?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Jolly Old St. Nick

So, here's how visiting Santa Claus goes when you have a three-month-old:

Give her a bottle. Burp her. Then, while she's still smiling, take off her clothes, change her diaper, put on the oh-so-cute clothes you have picked out for that perfect picture with Santa, cram her feet into those precious little shoes you love and she hates, grab the hair accessory to add just before the camera flashes, strap her into her carseat, grab the keys and your wallet, bolt out the door, snap her carseat into the car, drive like a madwoman to the mall (all the way making silly faces and noises to keep her smiling), jump out of the car at the mall, snap her into the stroller, run through the mall like a crazed lunatic (praying there won't be a line to see Santa; don't forget the silly faces and noises), dash into your place in the line (you knew all along there really would be one) and wait calmly for your turn. Then, place your baby onto Santa's lap. Oh no...the smile is gone. So, you settle for the picture of your expressionless baby thinking, "Okay, this old man can hold me, but I absolutely, positively will not smile no matter how many times that goofy man waves that Barney doll in front of my face."

And here it is..


Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus

This is our Christmas tree. (Those are our Christmas goodies under our Christmas tree!) We put it up on Thanksgiving Day. Jared and I put the branches and lights on. I put the ornaments on, and Eleanor watched so intently. One of her favorite hobbies now is staring at the Christmas tree. I can tell she thinks it is absolutely amazing. Every morning, we have a little tree-lighting ceremony. I carry her into the living room, I count to three, then flip the switch that turns the lights on. She loves it! It will be a very sad day for her some time in early January when we walk right past the switch and just sit down for breakfast.

I thought she'd be way too little this year to get anything out of the holiday season, but I'm glad to say I was wrong. While she can't recite the story of Jesus' birth or sing "Joy to the World", she is enjoying looking at all of the beautiful decorations. She has also had more than one lengthy conversation with a Santa Claus towel Nana sent us.

I have thrown more than one crying fit about the fact that we will be here 'alone' for Christmas. Away from most of our family and friends with nothing to eat but my pitiful excuse for a holiday dinner. But I'm finally starting to get it. Instead of focusing on what I'm missing in Texas, I need to be thankful for what I have here- a wonderful, hard-working husband and a beautiful, sweet baby girl who both love me. I am so blessed!

And I know Santa Claus can find us, even in Virginia.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mommy and Daddy's Playdate

Jared and I got to go on a date! Just the two of us- with no diaper bag or car seat or stroller! We went to a restaurant, and both ate our food at the same time (while it was warm!) We strolled through the bookstore without worrying we'd get really nasty looks when our baby dared breathe too loud. And we sat through an entire movie in the theater! I don't mean to sound like we don't LOVE spending time with Eleanor. We just needed some grown-up time.

Our trusted friend, Robin, stayed at our place with Eleanor. Robin and her husband moved here from Texas about the same time we did, and they live right down the street. She's been volunteering since Eleanor was born to watch her so we could go out, and I decided it was time to take her up on it! It worked out great! Eleanor slept and ate. They played. Eleanor slept and ate some more. They played some more. Eleanor told me she had a wonderful time!

I was pretty much completely un-neurotic about the whole thing. I called one time before the movie, but it was necessary. (The movie started at a different time than we thought, and I needed to ask Robin if that would be okay.) I was able to enjoy most of the movie, but started getting a little antsy as it rolled over two hours. Partly because I missed Eleanor, and partly because I didn't want to take up Robin's whole day. Then, after the movie, I called again to let Robin know we were on our way home. Not too bad for our first outing, I think (especially since that's the most time I've been away from Eleanor at once.)

We really had a great time! Thank goodness for other displaced Texans!

Friday, December 8, 2006

Wanted: Scarlet for three

It is very cold here today! That's 25.5 degrees Fahrenheit! And they didn't even cancel school or work or anything! Can you believe it? How do they expect people to go to work in these conditions?!? Apparently, the natives think it's just great. Outside my window right now, there is a lady walking her dogs and another lady playing with three little bitty kids. Are you kidding me? If I went outside right now, I would become an ice sculpture in about 2.7 seconds.

The Bible says this about the P31 wife, 'When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.' (v. 21)

Does anyone know where I can get some good scarlet? (Delivery preferred.)

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Eleanor 'goes mobile'

Okay, so she's not crawling and she didn't get a cell phone. But she loves, LOVES her mobile. The characters on her mobile are her three best friends (besides Mommy and Daddy, of course.) Whenever she sees them, she smiles as if they're having some grand reunion. When times are hard, those guys really turn things around. (Get it- "turn" things around?!) I learned from a much wiser mommy than I to attach the mobile to the changing table so that diaper changes are more pleasant (or at least less tiring and messy.) And I must say it has really worked. So, here's to you, blue polka-dotted cow and green polka-dotted horse, and other creature that we haven't quite figured out.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The stockings were hung...

The stockings were hung by, by the kitchen...with care. And look, Santa found them!! Tricked you- that's just a nightlight disguising the unisightly plug for the picture. We (I) searched high and low for stockings this year before finally settling on these from Land's End. They'll do.

I hope I'm on the nice list, so I'll get treats in my stocking. Besides, I'd be pretty ticked off if a certain fat man with rosy cheeks ruined my new stocking by putting coal inside.

Can Santa get into a gated community?

A recipe (sort of)

So, the P31 wife 'gets up while it is still dark...and provides food for her family.' Since I am destined to never be JUST like her, I choose only the second part as a model to follow. The food I make for us to eat is adequate. That's probably the best word you can use to describe it. It takes very little thought, and even littler time. So, I thought other people might want to hear about some of our favorite dishes. I like to think of my recipes as "perfect for people who could cook, but don't want to." Here's my quick and easy meatloaf:

1 package ground turkey
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese (or not fat-free, whatever)
1/2 small can tomato sauce with garlic and oregano (or more if you like sauce, doesn't matter)
(I'm making up measurements because I don't actually ever measure anything)

Mix first three ingredients in a bowl with your hands. Form into a loaf. (Or whatever shape you want. I've been known to make a heart-shaped dish- I call it a meatlove. Not really.) Put it in a greased pan and cook it at 350 for about 25 minutes. Then pour the sauce on the top. Cook it for about 5 more minutes, or until you get the table set, whatever. Voila! Enjoy!

She had me at "Ah-goo"

Nap time at our house is usually relatively smooth. When Eleanor is sleepy, she will lie down for her nap with no problem. But the length of the nap is what is up for grabs. This week, she has decided to shorten her afternoon nap by thirty minutes. So, when she's ready to get up, she doesn't cry. She very politely calls for me to come and get her. She starts with a quiet little "Ah-goo." If I don't respond, she increases the volume a little bit at a time until she is shouting, "AH-GOO! AH-GOO!" When I do go in, this is what I see....Who could possibly resist that face?

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Chasing Proverbs 31

The 'wife of noble character' described in Proverbs 31 is a woman who has it all figured out. She's a great wife and mother, a farmer, and apparently a pretty snazzy dresser. I fall desperately short of her legacy, but am dedicated to the hope that my husband will have 'full confidence' in me and my children will call me 'blessed'. Perhaps I have got one thing right- in verse 25, we are told 'she can laugh...'