April 25, 2013

Mini Family Reunion

Wow, what a fun filled weekend in Phoenix! We had a mini family reunion of sorts and stayed at the BEST B&B (Uncle Brian & Aunt Becky's B&B) - we couldn't have asked for better hosts. So the cast of characters included me, Justin, Eleanor, Nana, Aunt Katie, Grandpa & Cinnie, Aunt Becky & Uncle Brian, (Cousin) Katherine and her daughter, Joss, (Cousin) Elizabeth and her fiance, Christian. 

Eleanor had a little trouble adjusting to the time change with regards to napping and sleeping at night. That combined with her FOMO... let's just say there was some fussiness. Overall, she did great though, all things considered. 

My cousin, Katherine, was so brave to fly in for 36 hours so that the 2 babies could join in the fun. Katherine's daughter, Joss, is exactly 5 months younger than Eleanor and is such a sweetheart. While our daughters share some very strong digit genetics (skin tags where their extra fingers would have gone - just like their Mama's - and webbed... ahem, "twin" toes). Besides that, they couldn't be more different. Eleanor can't. stop. moving and requires constant action. Joss, on the other hand, is the most chill baby I've ever met in my life. She really just goes with the flow and takes everything in. Very even tempered... God bless her!

My cousin, Elizabeth, and her fiance, Christian joined in the fun on Friday. We're headed to Santa Barbara in October for Liz and Christian's wedding - we can't wait. I think it's safe to say Eleanor had a little crush on Christian. She's very into flirting with boys now, which slightly scares the #*@! out of us. On the flight home, she wouldn't leave a 13-year-old boy alone... she'd literally break her neck to make eye contact and squeal at him. Sheesh.

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Grandpa and Grandma. Grandma Cinnie is so bravely battling cancer, and we visited her in her rehab facility. Eleanor quickly learned that Grandma is one of the best laps to sit on and also learned that Grandpa's your go-to when it comes to anything sugar related. We are so proud of Grandma Cinnie in her journey to beat the cancer beast. She's one of the strongest women we know!

We spent the rest of the weekend eating The Palumbo's delicious home cooking, walking Eleanor to the park, hanging by the pool (water was too cold to get in), and foraging for rocks (at least that was Eleanor's favorite).

Some tidbits from this week:

: Eleanor is OBSESSED with watching our lawn maintenance men, and this, of course, was no exception in Phoenix (video below). She doesn't let the men out of her sight, and talks to them as they go about their business.

: Our daughter is getting better with animal sounds when we ask her the sounds a cow/dog/lion/owl make.

: She now knows how to give eskimo kisses - so sweet - and also knows "uh-oh!"

: Body parts! Eleanor (most of the time) can point out her nose, eyes, ears, and head.

: We only let Eleanor watch one 30 minute "show" a day (Sesame Street or Signing Times). Well, even so, she's now very into the TV. She'll hand us the remote control, and then settle in on the couch with her fingers in her mouth ready for her "show." 

: If Eleanor could sleep outdoors, she would. This girl is so at peace outside. She could be screaming and throwing a nasty temper tantrum, but the minute we step outside, she's an angel. I'm a little concerned about the triple digit weather approaching. We need to get creative!

: Eleanor is clearly our daughter... she LOVES spice and seasoning. We ordered a kid's (mild) portion of Tikka Masala from our favorite indian restaurant, and she was in heaven. She literally was elbow deep in indian food and licking her fingers. I didn't eat indian food until I was in high school (thanks to the Jayarams) - this girl has quite the palette for a 1-year-old. I'm hoping this means she'll become a chef:)

2nd generation of cousins! Joss & Eleanor

All strapped in, ready to visit Grandpa and Grandma

Mommys and Auntie in the backseat

2 of the best people I know

Love Joss and her arm "bracelets"

Nana and Eleanor

Auntie and E

Joss with her Mema

Eleanor showing Grandma Cinnie one of her favorite activities - wallet destruction

Balloon fun

The fam! Grandpa's a little outnumbered;)


Sweet cousins

Morning hang out with coffee, egg casserole, and sticky buns.

Joss and her Poppi

Cool Cat

Joss and her amazing light socket hair

Elizabeth made it! Another visit with the grandparents...

Me circa 1980 - rainbow swimsuit at Aunt Becky's pool in Phoenix

Eleanor in 2013 in her rainbow swimsuit at Aunt Becky's pool in Phoenix

Nothing like the joy of a ricotta cheese container at the pool

Playing with vintage Fisher Price toys that were about 30 years old.

Fish face

Multi tasking : wine drinking and baby wrangling

Watch out, Liz - you have some competition! Eleanor was smitten with Christian.

No nap all day traveling back to Austin... until we pulled into the driveway.

Representing 'Via! The Affordable Family Fiesta...

Literally elbow deep in tikka masala

Her first run at Tikka Masala...

Justin was worried about a client presentation - here was his captive audience... I heard this from upstairs and had to sneak down to capture this. Notice the camera shaking because I was silently laughing hysterically.

April 18, 2013

1 Year Glamour Shots

Our dear friend, Meredith Greager, captured 1 year photos of Eleanor, our spirited, outdoorsy, and book loving daughter.

You check out the mug shots here: http://meredithgreager.smugmug.com/Portraits/Ellie-2013/28935411_WFVqR8#!i=2459344985&k=KhXhqCk

April 17, 2013

Signing Frenzy

Eleanor is officially OBSESSED with her Baby Signing Time videos. The instant I push play, she becomes entranced with the show and learning the various signs. You don't DARE bother her during her "show," although I am often able to sneak in some snuggling without her realizing it, which is always a bonus.

Because of this recent obsession, Eleanor has really amped up on her her signing skills this week. She can sign: eat/food, more, please, thank you, bird, dog, baby, milk, hat, and all done. I could have sworn that she also signed flower this week...

When Eleanor woke up in the middle of the night unconsolable (teething, I think) last weekend, the only thing that would calm her (instantly) was our DVR'd Signing Times show.

Eleanor is into everything that is outdoors. It's gotten to the point that if one of our doors to the outside opens, our daughter fully expect to venture out. And if we don't let her, all hell breaks loose. We had a UPS delivery the other day, and after I receive the package I shut the front door. Eleanor promptly erupted with tears. It's serious business, the great outdoors.

Other new developments:

: When you say dog, Eleanor says "woof."

: Eleanor wants to eat everything we're eating - spoon fed foods are becoming extinct.

: The little lady loves to be chased.

: E's into playing "keep away" and teasing us with objects that she doesn't want us to have.

: She continues to take couple of steps but won't commit to anything more than that.

: Eleanor loves her bunnies that she sleeps with. When we go in to get her when she wakes up, she wants us to kiss the bunnies and tuck them in for their rest time before she gets out of her crib.

: We had a makeup swim class on Friday, and E wasn't into it at ALL. The teacher said that this is common with makeup sessions (new time, new teacher, new students, etc). Hopefully a few days at the Palumbo's pool will get her back to loving the water...

We have had a busy yet productive couple of weeks. To top the list, Eleanor graduated to a convertible car seat - such a big girl. You'd think we bought her her first Cadillac with the cost of this new addition. We're hoping that she'll be a better car traveler in her plush new digs.

We spent last weekend prepping for another photo shoot in our home. Our house was one of the 10 homes in Austin selected for the Austin Cool House Tour, which showcases homes with solar panels that promote energy efficient living. The photographer came on Tuesday to shoot our home for the tour's guidebook. We're hoping this publicity makes for an even quicker sale when we sell this fall/winter:)

We head to Phoenix tomorrow morning for a mini family reunion of sorts. We'll see Mom, Katie (last minute booking last week - yay!), Grandpa Charlie & Cini, Aunt Becky & Uncle Brian, Katherine and Joss, Elizabeth & Christian... what a crew. The craziest part is that all out-of-towners are staying at the Palumbos. God bless Brian and Becky - hope you're ready for the mayhem! I am so excited to see everyone and especially looking forward to Eleanor meeting my cousin Katherine's daughter, Joss, who is exactly 5 months younger than her. I have so many fond memories of Katie and I growing up with Katherine and Elizabeth, even though we lived several states apart. I hope that the baby cousins get even a fraction of that close connection:)

New kicks

Big enough to sit in the grocery store cart. As soon as I strapped her in, Eleanor started waving to everyone like she was queen of the castle.

Driveway play

Climbing in the backyard

Ornery little smirk

To buy us a little more early morning time in bed, we bait Eleanor with Signing Time. She has the same "arms up" reaction every time the show comes on. You see her signing "baby" here - one armed, never the true two armed version;)

You have to look closely, but she does sign eat, more, please, and thank you...

Happy as a clam...

April 9, 2013

Easter + Good Friends

It's been a BUSY couple of weeks. We had Eleanor's 1 year checkup last week, and she came out with the following stats:

Height: 29.5" - 75% (E was super wiggly during this measurement, so I think it's a farse. No way she jumped from the 10% to the 75% in just 3 months.)

Weight: 18.12 lbs - 25%

Head: 47.7 cm - 97% (the bigger the head, the smarter the child?)

We spent Easter Sunday at our friend's house for a fish fry. There were about 10-12 little kiddos there, so Eleanor was in HEAVEN. Most of the kiddos were 3 years old and younger, except for Patrick, who was 7. You would expect a 7-year-old boy in that scenario to act too cool for school - not Patrick. This sweet boy entertained Eleanor, and she couldn't get enough of it. I said to Patrick, "I think Ellie is flirting with you." He promptly asked, "What's flirting?" I responded with, "That means she thinks you're handsome and fun."

This past weekend we had The Clanceys in town from Chicago and had an absolute blast. We kept Eleanor and Olivia (18 months) very busy, so we were all exhausted by the end of the weekend. We hit up the park, Dell Children's Museum, hike and bike trail, and splash pad. Some restaurant stops included: Torchy's, El Primo (Eric loved it so much that he had to return for lunch after our breakfast takeout), 24 Diner, Doc's and Shady Grove. The Clanceys are such dear friends that it was sad to see them go, but we realized we'll see them in just 2 months in Chicago.

I'll let the photos and videos tell the story, but new Eleanor tidbits overview:

: Rocks and climbing and anything outdoors dominate our lives right now.

: No walking yet (a couple of steps here and there), but Eleanor's mastered walking with the walker and "crab crawling."

: Eleanor's appetite has been pretty astonishing - she ate 3 full meals with a 3 hour time frame last night.

: Field trips to the park are a favorite - E loves watching the big kids, swinging, climbing the jungle gym, and sifting rocks in the sandbox.

: Eleanor is obsessed with watching any service or repairperson - lawn maintenance men, trash man, cable repairman, etc. I find this so funny because I distinctly remember Katie and I sitting and intently watching any repairman that came to our house growing up. It was to the point that we invaded their personal space trying to zone in on what they were doing.

: I did a little mini-trim on Eleanor tonight to get rid of her stringy duck tail. In order to make this happen, I had to sit in the bathtub with her and distract her with a comb and various antics. Let's just say I need to keep my day job - not the best hair dresser. I do think it looks better than before though...

Stroll on the trail

No big deal, just a bright white peacock about a mile from our house.

Easter Fish Fry lounging - rock in hand.

Flower girl.

Another rock - never empty handed 

Birthday Buddies... up to no good.

Bathtime buddies! Olivia and Eleanor had so much fun together.

Captivated by the Dog book.

Olivia checking out the ducks on the trail.

Stopping on the trail to meet a doggy.

Family pic! We love the Clanceys!

First visit to the splash pad at Butler Park.

Eleanor wouldn't stop rummaging through the diaper bag. After about 20 minutes of this and her apparent anxiety, we realized she was hungry and looking for food. A stop at the quick mart for a banana did the trick.

One of Eleanor's favorite new toys from Bama - Easter Eggs!

Such a sweet girl

Clancey and Thomas Girls


Forgot to include this one in the birthday party post...

Some fun in the backyard...

Why do we buy toys??

Olivia loving the splash pad...

Lunchtime rock fun...

Sliding action at the Children's Museum...

3rd time's a charm...

Mischievous little lady...

Mastered the walker...

Park lover...