Thursday, March 26, 2015


Eleanor is now stringing words together fairly well...for example, she'll say "more" and then say what she wants more of and then "please" all together. She is also getting better at taking directions. One of her favorite things to do right now is the throw things away in the trash for us. I'll had her something and say, "Can you go put this in the trash?" and she'll run into the other room and throw it in the trash for us. The other day I gave her a diaper after she was changed and asked her to throw it away for me. Instead of running into the kitchen to the trash can, she ran into the bathroom. Sometimes I throw things away in the bathroom trash but I didn't hear anything for a minute or two and then she came out without the diaper, so I figured I should go in and just double check. When we went into the bathroom, we found the diaper floating in the toilet. I asked her why she put the diaper in the toilet instead of the trash and she said, "Pee pee, potty." and then walked back out. It was hilarious. She at least is getting concepts right, even if her logic isn't quite on point yet!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Seattle, WA

After the wedding in Oregon, we headed up to Seattle to explore the city and visit some friends. Our hosts were some of our good friends from college that ended up getting married after we graduated. Luckily they also happened to play basketball with Chris so were just as invested in the CAA tournament as we were while we were there. We planned our day around coming back to watch W&M play in the championship game. They showed us some wonderful sights while we were there and introduced us to some great restaurants, as well. One of our first stops was Pike Place Market, of course.

From there we went to see the Freemont Bridge Troll and then to Gas Works Park - both pretty cool stops.

Most of the places we went had incredible views of the city.

They introduced us to many of their favorite restaurants, all of which were amazing.

The next day we met up with Chris' family who had also driven up to Seattle for a couple days. We started off by touring Starbucks headquarters, which was very interesting. There are kitchens all over each of the floors where employees can make their own drinks (which we also did). Then we went to a food truck for lunch. The truck happened to be parked in front of a warehouse and Eleanor did some exploring while we were there. One of the employees came out and gave her "her first paycheck" for working so hard in the warehouse, which was an anjou pear!

From there we headed to Akai beach.

The next day it was time for us to fly home. The flights out had gone pretty well and we had a direct flight home. To be honest, I think Eleanor did better with the layover on the way out because the flights were slightly shorter and she was allowed to get down and run around for a minute or two in the airport between flights. However, besides that, everything else about our flight home was much better. We flew Alaska Airlines, and I will always choose Alaska from this point on if I have the choice. First, they let active duty military (Erika) check 5 bags free, which was awesome because we could check the pack and play and our luggage giving us much less to tote around in the airport. Then on the flight, they offered to switch our seats to give Eleanor her own seat, they brought crayons and coloring books around for Eleanor, there was more leg room between the seats, and the flight attendants were some of the nicest, most helpful people I've ever had. Every time Eleanor started fussing it seemed like someone came by asking if there was anything they could do or give her (juice) to help. They also had outlets on each seat to charge your electronic devices. Overall it was just all the little things that made the experience so much better.

Overall the trip out to the West Coast was a lot of fun and very memorable. We are pretty content though now to stay put for quite awhile. Though she behaved fairly well overall, travelling with a toddler does not make for the most relaxing vacation :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Congratulations Rob & Joanna

Saturday that we were out in Oregon was the wedding. Chris was his brother's best man and Eleanor was the flower girl. Chris ended up walking Eleanor most of the way down the aisle during the ceremony itself. During the ceremony, Eleanor watched with me from a pew. About 10 minutes in, she started pointing to Chris and shouting "dada" and then pointing to me and shouting "mama" and then pointing to herself, in turn, shouting "El know." I ended up putting headphones on her during the rest of the ceremony so she could watch a movie and be less disturbing :)

Between the ceremony and the rehearsal, we had several hours. We ended up heading back to our place for a bit and Eleanor took an afternoon nap in the car.

The happy couple at their reception having their first dance:

The reception took place along the Deschutes River and there were gorgeous views outside. We took a few family pictures, of course.

Eleanor then went inside to demand dinner by banging her silverware on the table.

She ate lots, but particularly enjoyed the chocolate cupcake she had for dessert. I know the lighting is bad in this picture, but that is chocolate covering her entire face from chin to forehead.

There was also lots of dancing at the reception. The DJ even played the Sesame Street song for Eleanor, as well as "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift, her current favorite.

After dancing, Eleanor faded fast. We took her outside to relax and enjoy the river at night and then she ended up falling asleep on Chris until we ended up leaving.

Overall a great wedding that we were thrilled to be a part of. Welcome, Joanna, to the family - we are so glad you are officially a part of it now. And congratulations to Rob & Joanna!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Bend, Oregon

We just got back from a trip to Oregon and Washington. We went out for a week for Chris' brother's wedding and had a great time. We are glad to be home and adjusted back to the time change, but we are happy that we had the opportunity to go see these beautiful states. Our new sister-in-law is from Oregon, which is why the wedding took place out there. We drove up to D.C. to fly out of Reagan with Chris' sister, and thank goodness for an extra set of hands! It made all the travelling we did much less stressful.
Notice the frozen Potomac River to the left of the wing. Another great thing about this trip: we left all the freezing cold weather behind us and enjoyed 50-70 degree weather on the West Coast all week long.

And of course as soon as we got close, there were snow capped mountains in all directions. Gorgeous. Definitely a view I wish we had somewhere out here on the East Coast.

Eleanor did quite well on the airplane. We brought her a toy cell phone and a pair of headphones so she could watch movies on the ipad during the flight. Outside of a few short, albeit loud, meltdowns where she wanted to "get down" (in her words) and walk, she did very well overall. A couple of the surrounding flight-mates commented on how good she was, though I suspect it was more to reassure me that I didn't have to feel bad for her meltdowns than regarding her actual behavior itself.

The first night we arrived, we met all the family at the place Chris' parents were staying and had dinner together. That evening Eleanor and I headed to bed "early" which was actually quite late our time. Our first morning in Oregon (we were staying in the Bend area) we went to Smith Rock State Park, just about a half hour from where we were staying. It had gorgeous views and a few stroller-friendly trails. 

We did much wandering on trails, and unfortunately, a little wandering off trails unexpectedly. Eleanor did a little napping and when she wasn't, she wanted to push her own stroller, which she wanted to do most of the trip. Basically every meltdown that happened while we were out on the West Coast were direct results of Eleanor wanting to push her own stroller in an area which it was either not safe or wise for her to do so. There were also a few boulders for the cousins to climb on. I took a picture of the first four up before literally the rest of the cousins ended up on top all at one time. It was quite crowded up there!

That evening involved an extended family (on both sides) get together at Deschutes Brewery. We were able to tour the facilities and Eleanor lasted about as long as we could expect her to, which was much later than she normally stays up, and three hours later than that due to it being on the West Coast.

Day two involved the guys heading into Bend to partake in Cycle Pub and the ladies heading to Sisters. Cycle Pub was basically a taxi-style bike where all the guys hopped on and pedaled. The driver steered them to 4 or 5 breweries around Bend where they filled up growlers, toured the city, and generally had a good time. 

Sisters was a small town named after the mountains surrounding them.

We had ice cream for lunch in true Stratton fashion and though Eleanor was sleeping in this picture, she woke up in plenty of time to share my ice cream.

We later found a small park where we could relax and spend some time, and Eleanor pushed her stroller around. Shortly thereafter, she wanted to push it into the middle of the road and had another short meltdown when I took the stroller away and let her sit on the sidewalk to sort out her feelings. As you can tell, she was not happy to be strapped back into it later.

That night was the night of the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Eleanor practiced her heart out before the rehearsal officially started, carrying her flower girl basket of petals up to "dada" on stage and then back up the aisle to "mama." We even had a few successful instances of her scattering the flower petals in the aisle, which were more like her stopping completely and violently throwing handfuls of petals on the aisle saying "he moe" over and over (which if you can't remember, is her translation of "kaboom"). During the actual rehearsal itself though, she froze and would not go down the aisle. She ended up sitting down and I picked her up and we decided Chris would come walk her down on wedding day. The rehearsal dinner at Solstice Brewing in Prineville was great success, as Eleanor got her own water cup with lid (huge highlight) and cake at the end. It was cheesecake, and when it was announced, Eleanor immediately started yelling "Caaaaaaaake, caaaaaaake" at the top of her lungs and attempted to climb over the table. The waiters and waitresses clearly did not pay any attention to her because our table was served cake last and she was practically in a panic by that time. Gmom (or Gaby as Eleanor has taken to calling her) had to pass over pieces while she waited so she would stop hyperventilating. The other successful part of the evening was that the brewery had a small section of toys for Eleanor to play with. She had a blast during all her free time going down the slide and "cooking."

Saturday, our last day in Oregon, was the wedding. Pictures coming soon!