Monday, March 28, 2011

Three months old!

On her three month birthday, I thought I would write in with the current stats on our little Ellabella. We love the versatility of the name Eleanor, which lends itself to a number of grown-up nicknames and also affords us a slew of more affectionate terms for our little Elliepie.


We’ve encouraged her to like a pacifier, and it seems to have mostly worked. She often appreciates the paci when falling asleep or a little upset. We love to put hats on her and she seems to enjoy them too, but if the edge of one slips over her eyes, watch out because she does not like that in the least!

As time goes by, she enjoys watching Luke more and more. We wonder what she must think of his wild antics and sometimes remind her that surely she won’t be so crazy when she turns two. Right, Eleanor?!?

Our favorite Eleanor moments

To our delight she has become more and more of a smiler. Almost every time I come over to her, she beams up at me with the sunniest of smiles.

Sibling report

I still think having two kiddos isn’t double the work of one (because there aren’t enough hours in the day to double the effort you were putting into just one, so with two children both kids just have to wait sometimes). But sometimes it can feel like triple the chaos. Since the beginning Luke has latched onto a somewhat maddening way of letting us know, in case we couldn’t hear it already, that the baby is crying. As if his panicked tone and loud whining isn’t dramatic enough, he can’t say the ‘c’ sound very well. So he tells us “baby die, baby die, baby die” instead, in an ever-escalating tone of hysteria. His concern for his sister is endearing, but I do wish that he would be a little less dramatic about it!

Of course Eleanor doubles her crying when she hears Luke’s tortured cries, which makes Luke cry more, and the cycle continues. My efforts to calm either child are undermined by the other one’s crying!! My least favorite place for this cycle to erupt though, is the car. It makes for a long ride home. Maybe Luke should be concerned about his dear mommy in those moments instead… (:

Our routine

Our routine hasn’t changed so much since my one-month post, but with the warming temps going outside has become a regular part of each day. We usually put her in the shade in her bouncy seat sporting a cute little hat!

Recent milestones

She can roll from her tummy to her back and scooch herself forward a few inches at a time. She has now been delighted to meet all four of her grandparents and her Auntie C. After outgrowing her newborn clothes and most 0-3 months items, she’s moving up to 3-month outfits.

In negative news, it seems she has had not one, not two, but three sicknesses in the past two months! The first was some sort of long-lasting RSV bug. Then came a virus that brought a fever and coughing which also lasted a couple weeks. Currently, she’s recovering from a more mild cold that just seemed to bring nasal congestion. We are very, very sorry that you have been so sick so early little one!!! We’re praying that the string of sickness is over!

Thank you for brightening our lives with your sweet and joyful spirit dear girl! We love you so and pray that God will bless you and shape you to follow Him!

From ‘watch out’ to wonderful

After 11 tons of gravel delivered and 5 loads of debris removed, it feels our backyard has doubled in size! Since we moved in our sideyard has been something of a wasteland with a crumbling path, overgrown shrubs, and discarded building materials.

I refused to venture much farther in than you see me in the above picture, convinced that there was a distinct possibility that spiders, snakes and maybe even a mountain lion could be making the area their home.

But after much effort these past few weeks, it’s become one of my favorite places to be! Watch it transform in the pics below.

Stage 1: We ordered gravel and cleared the area.

Stage 2: Weed barrier and gravel goes in with help from Nathan and Tucker. Erik and these two supermen got all 11 tons moved in a morning!

Stage 3: Gravel has been raked, leveled, and watered.

Stage 4: Adult and child furnishings have been added.

Stage 5: We laid a flagstone patio for the sitting area and covered the sprinkler pipes. You can tell that a week has passed since the last pic because our pear tree is leafing out.

We’ve all been enjoying the way the wall shelters the sitting area from March’s gusty winds. And the peace of mind that comes from the eliminated wildlife habitat makes outdoor playtime much more carefree. Luke particularly loves the new biking terrain and the designated ‘truck yard’ in the deep gravel behind the shed.

Many more happy family memories will be made here, I think!

(For more photos, click here.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Luke the “helper”

Luke’s participation in a project is a bit of a mixed bag.

Daddy works hard on digging out our leaky sprinkler pipes.

Luke backfills. (Yes, that brown blur is dirt descending into the trench.)

When the time comes to fill in the hole, Luke has already practiced and brings out his heavy machinery.

Daddy works hard to dump all the rock in the right places. Luke’s truck got the wrong directive and we found it dumping gravel into the grass.

He got back on track though when Mommy was planting pansies.

And this one could go either way. Luke checking in on Eleanor.

Whether helping or hindering, you make every project more exciting Luke-a-duke!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Counting the hours…

Erik’s first trip after Eleanor’s birth did not bode well for this week. When 5 o’clock struck with sick children and no hope of a knight on a white horse headed my way, I pressed the escape button. I strapped both kiddos into their car seats, hoping to avert Eleanor’s fussy evening period with a soothing car ride.

Luke of course needed more than engine noises for entertainment, so we drove to the construction site across from our church to look at the vehicles left there, and put his favorite song on repeat. We “wiggled it like Piglet” as the chorus goes, more times than you can imagine.

This week Erik has been gone again for a longer trip, and I’ve successfully made it through without resorting once to aimless car rides. Hurray! Last night was our most positive evening yet, with a smooth bedtime for Ela-belle followed by a nice playtime with Luke. We colored in the book I helped him make (we just stapled paper together and glued in pictures he chose from magazines) and assembled puzzles together. I just love the Melissa & Doug puzzle boxes – they’re a satisfying challenge for him so we’re both excited as he figures out each piece and there are fun ways to make them more challenging over time.

Then came the grand finale – Luke’s second successful potty visit! I don’t know if I’m ready for full-blown potty training quite yet, but it’s exciting to see his interest in it… or is it interest in my M&M reward system and his new potty book (Even Firefighters Go to the Potty)?

I was very proud of my big boy, but I’m even happier that my knight’s white horse is due back later today. Even though last night went well, I don’t think it would take too much longer for me to hit another car ride evening!

Their cuteness (and a little high-test coffee) does cover most of the chaos though, so I’ll sip my cup and leave you with a few recent pics.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luke the aviator

Grandma and Grandpa Nielsen met their first granddaughter a few weeks ago. Do you think she was a heart-stealer?

Luke of course thought that they were just here for nonstop playtime with him!

While they were here, we spent an afternoon visiting the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History. We were delighted when it opened near our house soon after we moved to ABQ. What its aircraft collection lacks in explanatory placards, it makes up for in surreal proportions and interesting photo opportunities.

The gargantuan scale and diversity of the museum’s outdoor aircraft collection is astounding. Inside, they had plenty of exhibits that Luke could touch and play with, including an antique pedoscope that used to be commonly used in shoe stores to image people’s feet until it was banned due to its x-ray radiation! They also had several exhibits dealing with the atomic bomb: Erik and I left sobered by the magnitude of nuclear destruction and having learned several interesting historical tidbits.

It’s hard to believe it took us so long to visit the Nuclear Museum, but hopefully we’ll find a time to bring our little aviator back soon. Thank you for taking us Grandma and Grandpa!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thank you, Osh Kosh!

Luke: Hey, Eleanor, isn’t it so cool that we have matching outfits?

Eleanor: I can’t believe I’m wearing clothes that match my brother’s! Mom, take these overalls off me right now!

L: Well, I think we look pretty cute.

E: This is so embarrassing!

L: Here comes the hug monster!

E: Back off, big boy!

L & E: Truce??

L & E: I think we’ve lost interest in this photo shoot.

L: Now that we’re outside are you having fun?

E: Where are those explosive bodily fluids when I need them??

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A sick buckaroo

It seems there’s some sort of fever + coughing bug that has taken up residence in our home. This morning, just as I was getting over it, Luke woke up with a fever. Our little boy has had two fevers while we were away, but this was his first real fever at home. And I think it was the first time that he’s done this:

I had just taken his temperature (102.6) but I didn’t really need to. Putting his head down on his high chair must be at least as reliable at revealing fevers as a thermometer.

And please don’t judge me for his lunch. Yes, he is eating a chocolate chocolate chip muffin top, plums, and two types of juice, but at least it was a VITA-muffin, 100% whole grain! And who wants to say no to a whiny, sick two-year-old?

Soon after that pic was snapped, Luke pointed to his head and said ‘hurts’. Then he said ‘little boom’ because we call falls booms in our house. He was likening the pain in his head to a small head injury. A moment later he reconsidered and said ‘big boom’!

And the hat, you ask? He kept telling me ‘brrr! cold!’ so I let him wear his special hat to ward off the fever chills. Even though sickness gives Mommy an excuse to indulge your whims the way she likes to, munchkin, we do hope you feel better soon!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Taking clean a little too far

A few weeks ago, Erik walked into the bathroom to find that Luke had taken a bite out of… CLEAN!

His generous bite from the soap bar may signify yet another punishment that is ineffective on our little boy. Thank goodness for his time-out pen!

The incident simultaneously adds to our blog post series on unusual items our boy has eaten and to our series on strange things he’s left for us in the bathroom. This time, Erik interviewed the taste-tester and we just adore his expressions in the video found here.

In other news, we’ve been doing lots of work on our yard and will eventually share a little tour with you. In the meantime, here’s a glimpse of Luke’s favorite part of the project so far.

We’ve been so proud when he’s helped us gather leaves and sticks. And he recently added a kitchen chore to his repertoire. Putting away silverware!

How else can we channel your energy in positive directions and keep you too busy to eat funny things, little boy??

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Luke turns two!

Our sweet boy traded up to two and added a very grown-up ‘s’ to the word ‘year’ in his age. For weeks we had prepped him for the big day so that when asked how old he is, he would reply TWO, at least most of the time. About a third of the time he says three, which seems to be his favorite number because when you ask him the quantity of any item, it’s usually three.

Auntie C came to town to help us celebrate and we all started out the big day with a trip to the zoo. Luke had only been on the zoo train once before so it seemed a fittingly special birthday treat.

Of course, riding anything without sitting in a car seat is novel for Luke, but the train that he had waved to enthusiastically on so many zoo visits was particularly exciting.

He liked the animals too, but just like last time it was hard for them to compete with the thrill of climbing on the rocks with Daddy while I fed Eleanor.

Then we came home to bake a cake while Luke napped, and of course the birthday boy got to have a few samples when he woke up.

I think it passed the taste test, do you?

We decorated a bit

and even the littlest family member put on a party dress. I think she may have thought the hat was a little much though.

Then Luke blew the cake candles – he didn’t quite manage to blow them out  but Erik did document the blowing! (Plus we have videos of our whole bday evening here. Watching them, it strikes me that the adults seem to have a lot more fun with the cake routine than either of our children!)

We love you so much sweet one, what a wonderful year we’ve had with you. We’ve seen you develop your first passion (vehicles, especially trucks), begin to play imaginatively (so much more fun for Mommy than just stacking blocks!), show tender compassion (for your little sis when she cries), and pick up countless new skills. You admirably transitioned from our baby to the big brother, and your exuberant personality fills our home with activity, noise, and great joy!