Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Laying around

Eleanor has been doing this thing where she will be playing and then will randomly decide to lay down on the floor. I'm not sure if she's tired, or if it's a method of keeping cool, but it's kind of hilarious. She usually still has a toy in her hand and will eventually get up and move on after a minute. Not sure what she is doing but it's an adorable phase :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eleven months

At eleven months old, Eleanor has learned several new things. First, she can take a few steps by herself, and can stand up from a seated position without touching anything by rocking forward onto her hands and feet and then standing up from a squat. She's gone a grand total of about 3 feet distance-wise and seven steps. I'm not sure I would fully consider this walking, but she's trying. She also has finally gotten some new teeth! She is currently working on her top four incisors. She first broke her left lateral incisor, then her right central, and the rest are still buried - hope to see them soon. It only took about six months, but they're finally coming in. Besides the sounds she was making last month, she can now say the word "dog." Whenever we go out on our walks, she points (another new thing) and says "dog" when we pass one. I would count this as her first real word outside of "mama" and "dad." She's drinking from her straw cup unassisted - she pulls it off the table and holds it herself when she wants some water. She also recently started taking Chris' spoon in the morning when he is done with his yogurt, dipping it into the (empty) cup and then putting it in her mouth. Also, after we get her out of the bath, I hand her her brush while I'm getting her dressed and she "brushes" her hair, though usually with the wrong side of the brush. She turns the pages of her books during story time at night, and she is able to put rings back on her toys once she pulls them off. She can also catch her ball (in her lap) and pick it up and throw it back.

We've got a very cute little lady on our hands and we plan to enjoy this last month before she turns a year old taking a couple vacations with her.

Eleanor at onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnine, and ten months.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Auntie Lauren and Grandma babysit!

We had told our family that we were in a bit of a tight spot this summer a few times when Chris would be out of town and I had to work, and thankfully, Lauren volunteered to come down for a weekend and watch Eleanor for us. She came down a day early so we could hang out together and then stuck around to help out. On Friday we took a few walks around the block, went shopping, and picked up some Slurpees, which Eleanor loved.

My mom came down for the babysitting day, too. It went wonderfully! Eleanor had a great time, and I think, so did they! My mom put up a ton of pictures from their visit here.

We are so, so thankful for the help of our family and friends. I honestly don't know how other parents are both able to keep their jobs when they don't have family or friends to step in and help out. Thanks again for coming down to help Auntie Lauren and Grandma!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Six years

This past week Chris and I "celebrated" our sixth anniversary! I used the term celebrate loosely because on our actual anniversary date, I was working and Chris was in Chicago for the weekend. But despite being apart on the actual date, we are celebrating and I feel very blessed to have been married to this man for six years. Six years feels like an accomplishment. We are certainly no longer newlyweds, and in fact, we are getting into the arena where people seem surprised at how long we've been married (i.e. "Wow. You guys must have been babies!" or "That's longer than I was married to my first wife" - two of the reactions I got from co-workers this weekend). I guess the "oh, how sweet" reactions we used to get are reserved for newlyweds and those that have been married 40+ years...though I still think it's sweet, and wonderful, and marvelous.

Prior to this past year, I believed honest, respectful, and effective communication, as well as clearly delineated expectations were the keys to marriage, and while those are obviously very important tools, this year has been about something different. Eleanor joined our ranks this past year. We became parents, had to learn what that meant, and perhaps more importantly, had to learn how to grow independently but together, instead of independently and apart. Though we are both willing for the sake of Eleanor, neither of us wants to lose ourselves (our hobbies, our life-giving friendships and activities) in the process of growing our family. This year has been about prioritizing each other and our interests and about learning how to say "yes" to each other even when it's easier not to. Phrases like "we'll make it work" and we'll figure it out" have become commonplace in our conversations this past year. We have prioritized things like my girls' reunion weekends and book club, Chris' poker nights, and his recent trip to Chicago, as well as our time together in the evenings and on weekends.

We've grown this last year. We've stretched everything: our hearts to welcome Eleanor, our capabilities in caring for each other and a baby, our thresholds of forgiveness because we all fall short, and our compassion because life is hard and we all need a break sometimes. Our communication has changed, our expectations have changed, we have changed. What a blessing that we have the capacity to become new people (and create new people!) within the permanence of our marriage.
(My sister and mom took this picture on our anniversary when they visited to help watch Eleanor.)

Six years. Six great years. I hope we have more than ten times that many to come.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Great Falls Reunion

Two years ago, we went up to Cape Cod for a family reunion on Chris' mom's side of the family. This year, there was another (slightly smaller, aka no matching t-shirts) reunion that took place in Great Falls. It was closer for us this time, which was nice, particularly with Eleanor. It was also the first time Eleanor got to meet most of her Boston relatives! We had a great time swimming in the pool and catching up with family.

After the pool, we started grilling, sitting around and eating, playing corn hole, and Eleanor's Uncle Jonny played some guitar which she was enthralled with.

Eleanor didn't want to miss out so refused to take her afternoon nap. As could be expected, she got more tired as the evening wore on and eventually just passed out. After that she stayed up until 9:15!

We also celebrated a few birthdays with some delicious cake.

Our reunion continued the next two days as we hung out around northern Virginia. Sunday we spent relaxing around the house for the most part. Eleanor spent her mornings out on the porch playing by herself waiting for all the cousins to wake up and then played on the floor with whoever was willing to entertain her.

That afternoon we headed over to the neighborhood pool to swim. We are slowly trying to get Eleanor used to wearing a life vest for our trip to California later this month and so far she is still not a fan. 

Monday we decided last minute to take the day off work and go to Kings Dominion with everyone. I probably haven't actually been to Kings Dominion since before I graduated from college, so it's been years. There were several new roller coasters I hadn't tried, and some that I had but that I don't remember being quite so rickety! Chris and I were able to pick up a "parent swap" pass from guest services so that we could both ride the roller coasters and not have to both wait in line (which as you can see, were basically non-existent anyway). We spent all morning riding coasters and honestly, never had to wait more than 10 or 15 minutes in line. It was wonderful! Eleanor also got to ride her first ride, the carousel, though I guess I didn't take a picture, sadly!

After lunch, we took Eleanor over to the water park because she had been such a trooper all morning in 90+ degree heat, and she lit up with excitement. I set her down near some fountains and she trudged right through them laughing and squealing the whole time. It was awesome to see her having so much fun! We spent basically the entire afternoon there and didn't end up leaving until after 6pm. By the time we got home, we were all exhausted from the trip, and thankfully we all slept really, really well.

It was a great weekend with family. Eleanor did wonderfully despite staying up way past her bedtime, the lack of naps and seeing so many new faces. Can't wait for the next reunion!

Friday, July 11, 2014

First Step

Last week, Chris and I watched the last U.S.A. world cup game with friends nearby our house.

It was obviously a bummer that we lost, but while we were there, Eleanor took her first step! Since then, she's taken a step here or there, but is still not walking. Her current record is three in a row. I have been saying that I think she'll be walking sometime while she's 10 months old but it was looking less and less likely for awhile. I'm still not totally sure whether it will happen or not, but she's got a few weeks left to go. Luckily, we caught her step on video.