November 25, 2013

20 months

The Fall is flying by! Unlike our days in Chicago, we've been blessed with lots of 80 degree days this month, so Eleanor has been able to play outside quite a bit. It turned bitterly cold this weekend (what Austin folks call the 40s), and we're wondering what our KC and Chicago friends do with their kiddos all winter. I can't imagine. Eleanor just learned what a winter hat is, and when I pulled out a basket full of gloves, she asked "What's that?" I put a glove on my hand to explain the purpose of gloves, and she started laughing hysterically. Texas Girl on our hands here!

Last weekend, we took a family field trip to Lockhart for some good old fashioned Texas BBQ. Lockhart is a super small town about 30 minutes outside of Austin. We hit up Smitty's (our favorites there were the sausage and pork ribs) and Black's (our favorites there were brisket and delicious sides - creamed corn, potato salad, mashed potatoes and gravy). As you can see below, Eleanor soaked in her first true BBQ grazing experience. 

Open pit at Smitty's

E diving into her first pork rib.
No forks allowed!

Finger lickin' good.
Daddy and Eleanor sharing a modestly sized 1.5 lb rib.
Relaxing after an exhausting day of play. Toddlerhood is rough.
Katie and Eleanor during a South Congress outing.

NBD. Just some naked wheeling with her Jayhawk hat.
Play date with Hadley Greager.
Play date with Audrey Beadle. Lounge time. Notice that E insisted on wearing 2 different shoes that night.
Dell Children's Museum Preview Event - the new location opens in December, and we can't wait!
More museum time.
Girl loves her puddles. 

Is that a push up??
Lunch date with Auntie.

My very sophisticated grocery list. Notice the adult column is short and sweet.
Self portrait.
Reading about world travel at her favorite coffee shop, Fair Bean Coffee.
Auntie Love
Katie ended up having to buy these shades at Target because Eleanor refused to take them off.

We've gone vertical on the new house! The race is ON - house or Baby Boy first? Fingers crossed that baby is still cooking as we attempt to create a peaceful abode for his birthday. We'll soon be Clarksville stalkers as we do creepy slow drive bys to check in on the progress. This is a side view of our home. On the left will be sliding doors out to a covered patio. On the far right will be a stucco'd courtyard entrance to our front door.

View of the garage/back of the house from the alley.

In other new tidbits:

: Eleanor is mastering putting multiple words together: "New one" when referencing the new house, "Mommy/Daddy see/come/do it/sit," "Oh no, what happened?" when seeing the leaves falling from the tree - had to explain that leaves fall from the tree when it gets cold outside.

: Other new words: messy, empty, cereal, bowl, boots, spoon, yoga, Abby (yoga instructor), heavy

: Our daughter is a professional flirt. She's drawn to boys and men more so than their female counterpart. Smirky little grin, cute little voice, and hand holding - we're in trouble.

: When we ask her where baby brother is, she points to my belly and most often says, "Baby sleeping."

: Justin taught E how to blow bubbles in the bath, and she's already mastered that. 

: Eleanor is barely eating these days. What happened to my daughter with the hefty appetite and extensive palette? These days, her sustenance is milk and cereal. Sad. Even sadder is that you can see her ribs. We need to figure out a sneaky way to fatten her up.

: I've heard of this but hoped we would skip this phase - E is now spitting and biting, and it's not necessarily in frustration or anger. She bit my arm the other day and almost broke skin. We continually tell her that it's not nice to bite and that it hurts people. Not sure she's caught on yet...

Eleanor is a full on Mr. Walter (music teacher) groupie. This is at his Book People gig. She was exhausted but showed some subtle spirit in her grooves.

Baby Bear accompanied her to the jam session. So sweet of her to share with a complete stranger.

November 11, 2013

3 Years & Counting...

Lots happening in the Thomas Casa recently with work travels + lots of evening work events for both me and Justin, Aunt Katie living with us, Anniversary celebrations, Halloween, house building, etc. We have been running non stop for the past month, and we're slowly getting back into our "normal" busy lives. I'm not sure we'd survive the mayhem without Auntie here... she has been a lifesaver almost every day. Ellie and Katie keep busy every day, exploring Austin and trying to keep my daughter's mania under control.

We're setting quite the example for our daughter as she continues to thrive on constant action. We've added some new activities to her repertoire to keep her stimilated - Mommy/Toddler Yoga at Little Yoga House, toddler storytime at the library, regular rides on the Zilker Zephyr (choo-choo), swimming at Katie's indoor pool at her gym, etc. And Eleanor still revels in her weekly music classes and prides herself on being the teacher's pet.

We celebrated 3 years of marriage at our 3rd Outstanding in the Field dinner.  For those of you who haven't heard of OITF - it is essentially a  "restaurant on wheels" the makes stops at farms throughout the country (and even Europe) to serve farm fresh food to 100+ people. Each stop is honored with a local chef that sets the menu and prepares the food. This year it was Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine - he didn't disappoint!

For those of you that are on the edge of your seat about our Halloween costumes, you'll be sorely disappointed. Justin and I were too busy this year to commit to dressing up. As you know, it's "go big or go home" with us, and this year we stayed home. Bore-ring! Eleanor must have sensed the unusual Halloween antipathy because she, too, refused to dress up. She's pretty enamored with Curious George, so we bought her a very simple monkey costume as our backup option if we didn't get our family costume act together. As we were headed out to a company Halloween party, she stuck to her guns on the no costume bit. Serves us right, considering our attitudes this year;(

In addition to Outstanding in the Field, Justin and I continued our anniversary celebration with an ACL Live Taping of Portugal. The Man. I surprised Justin with tickets after he fell in love with PTM at Austin City Limits last month. It was my first ACL (Moody Theater) show, and it didn't disappoint!

This weekend, Grandpa Charlie and Cini were generous enough to treat us to tickets to one of their favorite singers of all time, Marilyn Maye. Marilyn is an incredible 85-year-old cabaret singer who could run circles around me with her energy and talent. We kicked off the date night with dinner at Uchiko, and then ventured out to listen to Marilyn. She was super entertaining, and she even gave us a shout out during the show: "l'd like to welcome the granddaughter of a very dear friend from Arizona who couldn't make it himself tonight - wonderful to have you here, dear." We stayed afterwards to visit with Marilyn, and she is as sweet as can be. Thanks again, Grandpa and Cini!

In new house news, we're hoping to pour our foundation this week, and the build will hopefully go quickly from there. We're really anxious to get into the house before Baby Boy is born, but timing is still up in the air.

New tidbits:

: Eleanor's super active and also have a very active vocabulary. New words/phrases: eyebrow, chin, neck, what happened?, oh boy!, smell (she gets a kick out of us smelling her feet and saying "pee-uuuu, stinky feet!", yogurt, yoga, fort, chewy (dog friend), Aud-dey (neighbor friend, Audrey). She's sure to point out every object and person she recognizes, so there is constant chatter.

: Forts are a bit hit in our house, as is hiding, zippers, pretend driving in our cars, and counting.

: Our next door neighbor's dog, Chewy, is Eleanor's new best friend. Chewy is a sweet dog that respects our daughter's love of dogs but doesn't invade her personal space. We've even gotten to the point of E throwing the ball to Chewy and him retrieving it and bringing it back to her. Super cute.

: We're on a few waiting lists for preschools (I was late to the game there). We toured our first school, Athena Montessori, this past week and fell in love. We don't have much to compare it to until we tour a couple more this month, but all in all, we were impressed. The program, facility, and teachers made me want to be a toddler again! We're finding that Eleanor really craves the social interaction with other kiddos, so we're working on keeping her stimulated with extracurricular activities. I think it's doing the trick for now, but I'm sure that will change when we have our hands full with a newborn come Spring.

Outstanding in the Field was held at Urban Roots Farm this year. It's a non-profit organization run by local high schoolers and volunteers.

The "kitchen"
This year had the biggest turnout we've seen - probably about 200 people.
We broke out our wedding china for the occasion - the first time we've used it since we registered for it.
Everyone brings their own plates - makes for a colorful table.
The super cool bus the OITF crew tours on. 7 people sleep on the bus throughout the tour!
An amazingly delicious dinner menu
First course
Second Course - part 1
... paired with Second Course, part 2
Third Course
Fourth Course

Eleanor was showered with Halloween cards - we spent days putting stickers on them and re-reading each of them.
This is as close as we got to a Halloween "costume" - about a week after the actual holiday. 

Train time at Zilker

Birthday buddies, Ellie and Nora, riding the train today. Nora's mom, Elisa, is due with their 2nd baby any day now. Troopers for meeting us out this morning...
ACL Live Taping

Coffee date with Mommy.

A new favorite activity - playing in the car and pushing as many buttons as possible.

We were surprised with a balloon artist at breakfast this weekend.
Our little "helper" at the grocery store.
Playing in our neighbor friend, Audrey's, backyard tent/fort.
The one and only, Marilyn Maye.
"What happened??" Um, Eleanor, you ate your noodles so gracefully that more ended up on you than in your mouth.

One of the few moments she sits completely still. Even in her crib, she's a wiggle worm while she sleeps.

Dress up in Mommy's boots.
20 months or 20-years-old?! Little miss thing...

And some shots of E and Auntie - they don't have ANY fun together...

And to think I was going to throw out this box when it was empty of diapers...