March 27, 2013


So cliche, I know, but how has Eleanor been with us for a whole year already? This post is late because I'm just now catching my breath after an extended weekend of basketball, grandparents, and birthday festivities. 

My, what a year it's been. It seems like just yesterday that I went into labor on a PSW construction site. While I was super excited to become a mother, nothing could have prepared me for the journey ahead. We've certainly had our highs and lows, but the highs WAY outnumber the lows. We are so fortunate to have a happy and healthy daughter, and she just so happens to be smart, funny, and entertaining. I still pinch myself sometimes when I realize I'm a mother... there's really nothing better. 

So a recap of the birthday weekend:

Eleanor's birthday last year brought the Jayhawks good luck, and it appears that this year did the same. We had friends over for Home Slice Pizza and beer and had fun cheering on our boys, despite the ugly performance.

Bama and Gampa arrived in the afternoon, and we went to lunch at Snack Bar. We then hung out around the house and prepped for the big day. 

All in all, the birthday brunch was a success. Eleanor loved all of the action and having an opportunity to ham it up in front of an adoring crowd. We had about 20 people (17 adults and 3 kiddos) at the party.  The menu consisted of broccoli/cheddar and asparagus/sun dried tomato/gruyere mini quiches, bacon wrapped dates, fruit skewers, and assorted pastries. 

The little miss was a little skeptical of her birthday cupcake - hence the marathon video below. We're trying to stick to a sugarless diet, so I baked Pineapple Carrot Cupcake/Muffins. I couldn't resist topping with homemade whipped cream, and I HAD to put a bit of sugar in there. When I let Eleanor test the cream from my spoon, she squealed with delight and chased me down as I walked away with the spoon.

Justin and I decided to celebrate our 1 Year Parenthood Survival by dining out at Lenoir, one of our favorite spots in South Austin. We had a delicious 4 course prix-fixe menu paired with lovely wines. Free babysitting compliments of Bama and Gampa!

Swim class, lunch out at La Condessa, and play time with all of E's new birthday toys.

Eleanor has really been in a great mood lately (so I'm sure that'll change first thing tomorrow). She's full of energy and we joke that she only has an ON/OFF button - no in between. Some new developments in the last week:

: Very into opposites - up/down, in/out, on/off, open/closed, etc.
: Can sign and say "hat"
: Loves to imitate
: Still a little monkey with all of her climbing techniques
: Ate brussel sprouts and couldn't get enough (to be fair, they were flash fried). Also tried spinach, oatmeal, orange, and pineapple this week.
: Our daughter took 3 steps today! I missed them, but Laura assured me that it happened. Something tells me Eleanor will walk for a few days and then promptly start running (away from us, of course).

March Madness in the Thomas Casa - 3 screen action here.
Rock Chalk!
Just casually watching the Hawks. NBD.
The adult (read: full of sugar) birthday cake. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from Sugar Mama's. 

Playing with one of the birthday balloons.
Barrista Justin
So great to have Bama in town

The one and only Hadley Greager (7.5 months) - one of the best smiles in Austin;)
Looks angelic, but I'm sure she's plotting her next mischievous move.

Brian, Allison, and Audrey Beadle 
Eleanor playing her new keyboard (courtesy of Laura) and watching Audrey's balloon play.
Audrey was a big fan of the balloons!

Hadley couldn't get enough of the balloon ribbons.
Laura, Eleanor's BFF and nanny
Birthday hat/dunce hat
Great Great Aunt Sally painted a beautiful portrait of Eleanor - a talented artist and her first painted portrait at 75 years old!
A close up - looks just like our baby girl!
Not so sure about the cupcake...

Putting on a show with her tongue clicking.

All done. Cupcake in eyelid and all.
Favorite dinner on her birthday - chicken parmesan.
Bama and Gampa spoiled Eleanor rotten while they were here. Eleanor was perfect all weekend and started crying right after they left.

12 month glamour shots
Silly girl

Eleanor's new favorite this is to be thrown around (in a loving way, of course)...

Monkey see, Monkey do...

Waking up on the big day...

Warning: Looooong clip. There wasn't much to cut out because the cake eating portion of the party was super drawn out. Eleanor took advantage of the captive audience by doing her tricks - clicking her tongue and clapping her hand over her mouth for an "ah-ah-ah-ah-ah!"

Caught red-handed unleashing a box of tissues. Eleanor's been super giggly right before bed - trying to eek our every last bit of energy...

March 24, 2013

1 Year Love Letter

My Sweet Eleanor,

From the moment we knew you were just a seed in my tummy, we were instantly smitten. Our first sonogram showed that you were dancing like the busybody baby you are. Also, you were spread eagle like the limber gymnast we think you might one day be. From the constant in-womb movement to the moment I first set my eyes on you, you were a dream.

I thought the love I had for your Daddy was the best that a girl could ask for. Then, I became a mother. Daddy and I had no idea just how powerful unconditional love could be. When we became a family of three, we couldn’t remember life without you… it was like you were always a part of us. As we navigated the newness of parenthood, you taught us new lessons everyday in patience, love, understanding, and humility.

The moment we laid our eyes on you, we knew you were something special. When the doctors laid you on my chest, you so alertly looked at me, ready for all that was to come. Even in the NICU, you showed us just how strong you were, withstanding the constant testing to ensure you were as healthy as we’d hope you’d be.

Eleanor, you are our sweet, independent, strong-willed, energetic, spunky, giggly, active, outdoorsy, and overly social baby girl. Every day with you has been a joy and your mere presence makes me realize just how precious life is. No matter how challenging or stressful my day is, I take one look at you and everything else melts away. I love you more than I ever thought imaginable.

You are a carbon copy of me on the outside but you undoubtedly inherited your Daddy’s social demeanor, humor, and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out Syndrome). You love music, dogs, the outdoors, any chaotic scene, paper, bathtime, swimming, books, and dancing.

Eleanor, we are incredibly proud to call you our daughter, and we know are destined for nothing less than extraordinary. No matter what you become, Daddy and I will be your biggest cheerleaders, confidants, and support system.  We love you more than you’ll ever know, and we can’t wait to see what life has in store for you.

Thank you for teaching us just how precious life is - we have undoubtedly become better people because of you. In the past year, motherhood taught me that…

: Friends become family and are invaluable when you don’t have family that lives in Austin.

: Balancing a career and motherhood is more challenging than I ever thought possible.

: Naps and schedules make the world go round.

: Gratitude is powerful and I do my best to write down 3 things I’m grateful for every single day.

: There are a million different ways to approach motherhood, and to each their own.

: Parenthood is unbelievably emotional. As long as I can remind myself every day of just how lucky I am, all is good.

: As Eric Clancey so eloquently put it, don’t get too comfortable with a phase because it doesn’t last long. So true. Just as soon as we got used to your demeanor and schedule, you changed. Flexibility is key!

: Working out is now a treat. What I once took for granted, I now I have so little time for. I hope that you love physical activity as much as Daddy and I do.  There’s nothing better to cure a bad day, aggression, or complacency.

: You’re so serene when you sleep. I walk into your room every night before going to bed and feel your head. I know, I know, crazy mother. But I just can’t get enough of you and worry constantly that you’re too hot/cold.

: Size doesn’t matter. Growing up in the single digit percentiles, I never understood I was small until later in life. Think big and don’t compare yourself to your peers. Brilliancy, thoughtfulness, and ambition don’t discriminate size. While Daddy and I stand at 5”7 and 5”1, we don’t limit ourselves in any aspect of our lives.

: Our lives before you seemed so significant – complete independence, living life in the Big City, chasing dreams, a full social life, climbing the corporate ladder only to realize it sucks, starting over in a new city… little did we realize how you would put our lives into such perspective.

: Even though you don’t like to snuggle, sneaking cuddly moments with you are the best, even if you are sick. Honestly, there’s nothing better.

: Your smile is contagious. Family, friends, or strangers – you are a beacon of laughter.

Motherhood is the most gratifying role. I can’t imagine life without you – you are the reason I was put on this Earth. Thank you for your love, smiles, and belief in me. Eleanor, you are the love of our lives, and we’re thankful every day for you and your love. You have taught Daddy and me more than we ever thought possible, and we look forward to being by your side as you journey through your beautiful life.

I love you… Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Eleanor!

March 18, 2013

Social Climber

Our daughter is officially a climber and wants to do little else. I turn my head for a second and find her atop various objects/furniture/stairs. Eleanor stands next to something, and regardless of how high up it is, she lifts her leg and contemplates how she'll hoist her way up. I'm pretty sure she'd scale the walls if allowed her.

Outside the new climbing hobby, we dabbled in SXSW while Justin was in KC for the Big 12 Tournament. I had this romantic notion of mother/daughter outings of music, food, and sun. Eleanor had other notions. I will give her a little slack because her top 2 teeth were breaking through this weekend, causing major irritability.

SX San Jose. 

This lasted for about 5 minutes before little miss started to thrash and pull at her headphones... and not in a jamming to the music kind of way.

So, we started strolling down South Congress and came upon one of her latest obsessions - rocks - at the Hey Cupcake trailer. Then, all was good again.

Eleanor was a happy camper sorting rocks and carrying them from the ground to the picnic table.

So entertained... until she tried eating the rocks. When I insisted that we don't eat rocks, she thew a fit. Arms flailing, screaming and record breaking temper tantrum. Let's just say there were several onlookers as I walked E back to the car.

Day 2, let's do this Eleanor!

I was able to snap this cute pic right before another meltdown. We went to Molotov to hear our friend Lacy on the keyboard.

Happy St. Patty's Day! Shamrock headband courtesy of Aunt Katie.

Mommy's pearls, a Raggedy Anne doll, and a rock - what more could a girl ask for? Treasures that Eleanor insisted on carting around in the laundry basket as I folded laundry.
Sunday at the park

Only about 9 inches off the ground, but she insisted on climbing up to sit on the tree stump.
Justin's $ 6th row seats at the KU/Texas Tech game.

Buddies AKA fratters - Mike Roznowski

Big 12 Champs! Rock Chalk!

Other new happenings this week:

: Eleanor now tries to share her food when she eats. Usually slobbery, snotty, and pre-chewed.
: Loves the concept of opening and closing something - lids, books, laptops, iPad cover.
: We have a narcissist on our hands - Eleanor becomes entranced when watching videos of herself.
: Big fan of peek-a-boo, hide and seek (she's REALLY good at this), and knocking down towers of her new soft alphabet blocs from Bama and Gampa.

Complete defiance. Notice the mischievous snicker when I tell her "no"...