Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Town, also known as the most magical place on Earth

Chris and I got season passes to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens again this year. I had never been before last year, and we ended up going four times in basically four weeks. This year we've only been twice, but I'm hoping to get another time in before it ends on New Years Eve.

We took the sky train all around the park, which I had never seen in daylight before (at least as Christmas Town) because last year we only went after 7pm when it was already dark and all the crowds were gone.

We were also able to let Eleanor ride some rides this year! There are signs at most rides that say "no handheld infants" but this year, after she demonstrated she could walk for the attendant, she was able to ride some things. The Clydesdales were the only one she could ride alone so far. She definitely didn't love it as much as I was hoping she would.

She was able to ride the Little Gliders with us, as well as the carousel (which she's ridden before).

Her favorite attraction at the park though, was Christmas Town's newest show, Scrooge No More. As soon as it started, she bounced and clapped basically the entire 30 minutes. People around us seemed more entertained by her than the show itself.

In second place by a close margin was the Christmas tree light show in Germany.


We, of course, had to get Eleanor's picture on the Polar Pathway. Go HERE to see her picture from last year.

Overall, great visits to Christmas Town so far this year. I love this place - it truly puts you in the Christmas spirit.

We went with friends one week and by ourselves the next but will always welcome company :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas things like parades, Grand Illumination, and Advent

One of the things I love about this town is that there is so much to do related to Christmas in the month of December. The first weekend of the month was definitely the most packed for us. We made our first visit to Christmas Town, the town's Christmas parade was on Saturday morning, and then Grand Illumination was Sunday evening. Saturday morning we headed downtown to watch the parade and see how Eleanor would react. She spent the whole hour waving at people and dogs walking in the parade and bouncing, clapping, and dancing when floats had music or marching bands passed by. It was absolutely adorable. Eleanor's particular favorite was when a group of Jazzercise dancers came by and performed a routine in front of us.


Sunday evening was Grand Illumination. Colonial Williamsburg hosts fireworks from the Governor's Palace, the Capitol, and the armory. Candles in all the windows of the homes are lit and there are baskets of burning wood by which to warm yourselves. Chris and I brought hot chocolate down with us and Eleanor was fairly mesmerized by it all.

We decorated our tree and house that weekend, I made apple pie (I know it's a little more of a fall thing, but we had everything for it so we figured we might as well), and we watched Christmas movies. We've also been doing advent calendars with Eleanor this year. She got an advent calendar last year from my Aunt Holly that she absolutely loves. She needs some help getting the pieces to stick and clearly has no idea where they would logically be placed as evidenced by the fact that we have a flying camel, but she is enjoying it anyway.

We did happen to pick up a chocolate advent calendar for her this year, too. We have to hide that one on top of the fridge because unlike the other calendar that I can let her play with multiple times throughout the day, she can't eat all the chocolate at one time. She likes that one, too.

Monday, December 15, 2014

O Tannenbaum

Because Thanksgiving was so late this year, the advent season ended up being pretty short. We went up to northern Virginia for the holiday so we decided to waste no time and stopped to get a Christmas tree on our way back into town. It was weirdly warm that day despite it already being December, so none of us were wearing our jackets. We have decorated the house slowly over the last couple weeks, but wanted to be sure to get the tree up and ready first thing.

We let Eleanor help decorate the tree, but since that day we've been finding ornaments all over the living room. After Eleanor ripped one of her adornaments from Gmom in half, we put only wooden or plush ornaments in her reach and everything else up high. She particularly loves to pull off a small teddy bear and then we will later find him shoved in the middle of some branches somewhere on the tree. She also really likes to pull on the bells from our tree skirt because she loves to shake them. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Fifteen months

Eleanor had her fifteen month check up at the doctor this week and ended up having to get three shots :( Only one more shot to go before she is free and clear until she starts school! Eleanor is now 31 inches long (62nd percentile and 46% of the way to my adult height) and weighs 21 pounds, 3 ounces (21st percentile).

Eleanor uses lots and lots of words now, new ones include cracker, dance, please, teeth, eat, thank you, banana, basketball, cheese, blueberry, baby, water/agua (not sure which she is saying, but she means water), and perhaps her new favorite, no. There are many other words, but they're hard to keep up with! She also says lots of names now, particularly her friends Hannah and Amelia, and then Papa. Her newest feat is doing animal noises. She knows that cats say "meow," dogs say "woof woof," horses say "neigh," cows say "moo," ducks say "quack quack," and lots of others. She can also point to body parts: head, hair, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, belly, knees, and toes.

As I mentioned before, she started saying the word "no" a couple weeks ago and its use is in full swing now. "Eleanor, do you want to put on your jammies?" "No no no." Etc. She loves kissing and hugging. She still loves dancing and her moves get more varied the older she gets.

She only naps once a day for somewhere between 1.5 - 3 hours. She goes to bed around 7:30 and wakes up around 6:30. She now sleeps with a blanket and without a night light. Eleanor drinks all her milk, water, juice, through a sippy cup now. We have been slowly transitioning to whole milk and besides one night time feeding, she is almost weaned. She still puts everything in her mouth and loves her pacifier. She still loves fruit much more than vegetables and has unfortunately started throwing the food she doesn't want on the floor during meals. She has twelve teeth now and can chew almost everything.

Eleanor at onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleven, and twelve months.

Monday, December 8, 2014

November wrap-up

It's already well into December, but between work, travelling for Thanksgiving, and getting ready for Christmas, we've been busy. Eleanor had a check up at the doctor (more on that soon) and Chris is taking on a lot more responsibility at work right when his semester is ending so he's been running a bit ragged. Throw on to that the insane amount of leaf raking we have to try to stay on top of, and there's just not room for much else!

Basketball season is now in full swing, so Eleanor has been staying up a bit later some nights just because of the game schedule. She seems to enjoy them more this year because there are other girls around to play with and now she is a bit more interactive so they pay a little more attention to her.

We have still been getting out on the bikes during the nice days. I actually went out this morning, but the wind was so cold that I cut the ride short. I am not looking forward to the next couple months because Eleanor and I typically spend our entire day outside...

Our neighbors hosted a chili cook-off earlier this month and Chris decided to enter this year (I did ours last year). He ended up winning first place and was pretty excited because he really put forth some effort and I guess it paid off!

Eleanor is started to get into baking, and when I say she's getting into it, I really mean she likes to eat the dough/batter/etc. as much as I do.

Even though Eleanor moved down to one "official" nap a day, sometimes she'll take a little cat nap with me on the couch in the morning or afternoon, and especially on the weekends in front of the fireplace.

Eleanor has suddenly become very into kissing. She loves to kiss us goodbye, to kiss Maynard, and to kiss basically everything. Here she is kissing her baby friend:

I also started letting Eleanor push the shopping cart at the grocery store. The trips end up being a lot of redirection, and a lot of me taking items out of the cart to put back on the shelf so she can get something off the shelf and put it back in the cart again. It's all right though because she enjoys it and I only let her do the cart if we've got lots of time on our hands.

Speaking of shopping, Eleanor doesn't always love to shop. Here she is acting a bit like her dad when we went to Home Goods the other day:

One of Eleanor's favorite activities lately has been the shower. She has started climbing into the empty shower even when the water isn't running. She just loves the water, or "ah-whoa" in Eleanor speak (which sounds very similar to agua - so I'm wondering if she learned some Spanish at day care).

And speaking of day care, Eleanor celebrated her one year anniversary at day care this past month! We are considering making a day care change soon, but certainly not due to her wonderful teachers in the baby room. 

We've been spending lots of time with babies this month. Eleanor has met several very small babies due to the Hike It Baby challenge we did this month (I tried to reach out to new, new moms to make that first 6 week period less isolating, so she met 3 or 4 babies under 6 weeks old)! She now says the word "baby" very well. 

Speaking of Hike It Baby, Eleanor and I did complete the challenge and walked/hiked a grand total of 47.5 miles in the 30 days of November. About 15 miles was on trails and about 10 miles of it I had Eleanor in the carrier instead of the stroller, but my goals evolved over the month and it ended up being more about getting brand new moms outside for a stroll than actually hitting up legitimate trails. 

We also went to a birthday party for a friend this past month. It was a pajama party and when we showed up, the first three babies there were all wearing the exact same pajamas! They were absolutely adorable. I loved it.

Last but not least, fall being my favorite time of year in this area, and Colonial Williamsburg being a popular place to walk (Hike it Baby), we spent a lot of time in CW. Our mugs that we typically bring downtown to fill with ice cream alternated between coffee and hot chocolate this month. We always hit a lull of visiting CW in January/February, so I'm glad we got a few good trips in this past month.

So another month in the books - onward to the Advent season!