Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meet Eleanor Thessalia! Her name & mini birth story

Our sweet little girl arrived yesterday! Her name Eleanor means shining light and we love the way it matches Luke’s name, which also means light. Now we have two little lights to love!

We also like the connection between shining light and the Christmas season of Eleanor’s birth. This is the time when we celebrate God’s gift of light to the world in Christ, and so we like that her name captures a piece of that most momentous birth too.

Her middle name Thessalia is in honor of Erik’s mother and great-grandmother. We are delighted to be able to link her to these two very talented and caring women, and we also like that their name reminds us of the two New Testament letters to the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:23-24).

While her name matches her brother’s closely, her arrival couldn’t have been more the opposite. Luke was over two pounds heavier and it took almost three hours of pushing before he was born, which happened 5 hours after I reached 10 cm! In hopes of avoiding that, Eleanor was induced (with pitocin) on her due date. She arrived only fifteen minutes after I’d been pronounced 8 cm, coming out during just one dramatic contraction which included my water breaking! Needless to say we are all feeling much more chipper following her delivery and are most thankful that both babies arrived perfectly healthy.

We had some wonderful friends from church watch Luke for us last night, and now Erik is home with him for a bit before they both come back to the hospital to take me and Eleanor home. We can’t wait for Luke to meet his sister then!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Luke’s partners in crime

Recently we busted a crime ring. Their hideout was Luke’s bedroom and their illicit activities took place at approximately 8:30 pm each night. Take note of the ringleader:

For the past few weeks, Luke’s ability to sleep through the night had deteriorated drastically. While a full night of zzz’s had previously been the norm, he had begun waking up once an hour or more in an inconsolable state, beginning around 1 am. We tried all sorts of measures and finally targeted his bedtime. The little boy would seem fairly peaceful when we put him in his crib around 8 pm. But then we would hear his happy talking noises until 10 pm or later! Since he was fairly quiet and happy, we didn’t see it as a problem until he started crying around 10, and then he would need a little reassurance before he would finally fall asleep.

Well, eventually it dawned on us that staying up too late in his crib must be making him so overtired that he wasn’t able to settle back to sleep during the night. But we weren’t sure how to encourage him to fall asleep sooner. After all, when we left him we made sure he had his night light on, his shushing machine playing softly, and his favorite blankets and stuffed animals at his side. Wait! The stuffed animals! They must be the main participants in all the animated talking and moving around that we heard from the living room. So Erik decided to try removing them from Luke’s crib.

When he walked in to do so, he found Luke jumping Mr. Chipmunk from wall to wall – a red-handed arrest. Once the animals were removed, Luke has settled down to sleep in just 10 minutes or so and is back to sleeping through the night! Who would have known that such sweet looking toys would be criminal influences on our child? Perhaps that chipmunk does have a suspicious look to him now that we think about it. Daytime activities only from now on for him!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Luke’s first snowman

Last week brought the season’s second snowfall (read about the first one here), coating the grass and even the roads with an inch or two of snow! First Luke monitored the accumulation…

And then he got ready to face the elements!

Erik made a marvelous snowman and I added accessories. Don’t you love the pink cheeks? All that took was a spritz of food coloring tinted water, though I’d suggest using a proper spray bottle so that it might be less apt to seep down Frosty’s face…

Luke’s admiration of our handiwork didn’t last long, soon he was back to munching on handfuls of snow

and snowmobiling. Looks like Luke should have opted for the winter package on his cozy coupe -- but he did get the CB antenna!

Despite his soggy pants and gloves, Luke would confidently reply ‘O!’ whenever asked if he was cold. So a few tears were shed when it was time to go inside. But once he was cozy with an ‘ibbit” (Lukespeak for blanket) on the couch, he was all smiles once again.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Merry Christmas to me!

Erik gave me the perfect gift this Christmas and strategically completed it a few weeks early. For years, jackets left on the couch, a pile of shoes by the door, and bags set on the table have been my nemeses! But without an easy place to store these outlaws, I’ve had little success in keeping them in line. But now a new sheriff is in town, and we have a mini-mudroom in our entry to corral these offending articles!

I bought the bench online and Erik used paint leftover from our cabinets to give it a crisp white finish. He also made a matching hook rack. I love the time-worn dark grey finish on these vintage hooks, found on ebay.

Then we picked up a few baskets for shoes from Target and our entry miscellany was corralled! Now there’s even room to add another little person’s shoes, coats, and bags to our home. Thank you Erik, it’s just what I wanted for Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our baby Luke

The end of Luke’s tenure as our only baby feels a little bittersweet. We can’t wait to meet our already-adored little girl, but I don’t entirely relish how a baby sister will bump our sweet Luke out of the baby role in our family. Both in our eyes and his own, it will suddenly be clear that he’s light years away from a newborn and we’ll all start to see him as more of a big kid and maybe even a little helper. I know I’ll miss the luxury of time I have to spend playing with and caring for him now, noting his every cute phrase and action.

So here are some things about Luke right now that I just love.

  • How he says his name – ‘ook’.
  • His astonishing sense of direction. It took me some time to get to know my way around the curving streets of our neighborhood, but Luke already has a surefire sense for which way you need to turn to get to the playground. If we’re out on a walk and we don’t make the turns that will take us there, he instantly starts to whine and cry!
  • The way he bends over with one hand on his head to sign reindeer when he wants us to take him out to see the neighbors’ Christmas lawn ornaments.
  • The cute way he kicks his stuffed soccer ball around the house.
  • How he knows the difference between a wheel and a tire thanks to his daddy.
  • The way he rocks his whole body when he nods yes. It is so earnest and eager and adorable!

  • How he tap dances like Elmo on his ‘the Best of Elmo’ DVD. (I also love the eighties-style ‘Five’ song on that DVD!)
  • How he’s quick to say ‘shhhh’ when he sees an animal or person sleeping. Hopefully this bodes well for him respecting little sister’s naptimes!
  • How he thinks Albuquerque is full of fire trucks because of all the red public transit buses. When I try to describe why they aren’t fire trucks, I realize that the difference is rather subtle if you can’t read!
  • How he waves bye and blows kisses without prompting, which is especially entertaining when those kisses are received by the tough guys on the sanitation truck who aren’t quite sure how to respond.
  • How he tells me ‘it’ while pointing to a spot on the carpet when he wants me to sit and play with him.

It’s so much fun to see the world in new ways through his happy, inquisitive, active exploration of it!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas wonders

Thanks to our baby girl (due in less than two weeks!), we’ll be spending Christmas in our own home, a first for us as a couple. We also recently hosted two Christmas parties and a few small get-togethers, which adds up to an unprecedented dose of decorating incentive. But most motivational of all is our precious Luke boy who is just enthralled by Christmas lights and symbols!

Our tree definitely got the Luke treatment. After considering buying a real one, we opted to pull out our skinny artificial standby to avoid policing him on de-needling. Then we added colored lights, which he delights to identify, and used non-breakable ornaments exclusively. We love our fun, stress-free tree and the hours of toddler entertainment it has provided.

Luke ‘helped’ put up the tree and add lights, but we waited until he was in bed to decorate further (is that cruel?). The next morning he was so enraptured that he tried to give each ornament a kiss!

He was also pretty delighted when he saw the reindeer on his stocking. But his eyes really widened when I said there would be presents inside on Christmas!

We love our nativity set, but keep it up high until Luke gets a little more trustworthy with his ‘gentle’ skills. In the meantime we have a terrific fisher-price version that we can use to talk about the Christmas story with him.

Things are looking pretty Christmas-ready in our house, now all we need is our much-awaited Christmas gift! When will we bring her home I wonder?!

PS: I love to make and give these Danish heart ornaments at Christmas time. All it involves is folding paper (here’s a diagram and directions). I made this set with watercolor paper which gives them a more sophisticated texture, but it’s a little easier to make them with smooth cardstock since that weaves more easily. You can find lots of additional weaving designs online.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Monkey boy

This has become a frequent scene underneath our kitchen counter. Sometimes it’s Luke’s way of releasing frustration, sometimes it’s a performance to earn our applause, and other times it just seems to be baby body building. We love how the scene captures some of his sweet and active munchkin personality (just as long as our countertop is up for the challenge!).

Since posting about Luke’s speech patterns earlier this week, I keep thinking of additional Luke-isms. So here are three more of my favorites… ‘ah-joo’ = juice; ‘ee-up’ = clean up; ‘ake-ooo’ = thank you; and ‘bel-bo’ = Elmo, often followed by an enthusiastic ‘a-a-a-a’ rendition of the Elmo’s World song.

He also says ‘ee-po’ for Home Depot. He will even cooperate with a diaper change and getting dressed when a trip to this store is on the line. The forklifts captivate him, and his whole body stiffens with glee when their beep, beep sound starts up. He simply can’t contain his excitement until we go spectate and he shines when the operators wave at him. The moving animals and other lawn ornaments in the Christmas section are another big hit with our Luke boy. Most nights we bundle up before bedtime to walk down our block and look at the holiday lights already out on display in neighbors’ yards. What a magic it brings to Christmas to see Luke experience pieces of it for the first time!