December 16, 2013

Giving Thanks

We've had a fun yet very busy few weeks. Thanksgiving was nice and relaxing... we decided to stay in Austin for our third Friendsgiving, and it did not disappoint. Our friends, Andy & Essie, were our gracious hosts this year, and they threw quite the shindig. Also props to Meghan Hack for contributing with her culinary delights. Somehow we escaped without having to lift a finger, other than chase Eleanor around to make sure she didn't ruin anything in the house the entire day.

We made a trip up to Georgetown over Thanksgiving weekend to visit Uncle Jim and Aunt Sally and some relatives that were in from San Antonio and Kansas City - Molly, Rosemary, and Emily Stamper. Even though our stay was short due to E's nap schedule, it was a great visit. Eleanor looooved Uncle Jim and kept calling him Grandpa. In fact, she would ONLY let Uncle Jim hold her... so cute. During our visit there, our daughter managed to "race" by food with Uncle Jim, gave herself a full tour of their house, played hide and seek behind the curtains, used the coffee table as a fort, and even went for a golf cart ride with Aunt Sally.

We rounded out the Thanksgiving weekend by putting up our Christmas tree. So far, Eleanor hasn't paid too much attention to it. As we were putting up the tree, she called all of the ornaments "toys." Then, for the first few days afterward we put the tree up, we'd walk down the stairs in the mornings, and she's squeal in delight at the lit tree as if she'd never seen it before.

New Happenings:

: Lots of new sentences with Eleanor. She's like a little sponge and surprises us each day with her new phrases like "C'mon, c'mon, Dad, let's go" and "I do it/I see it/I hold it" and "Audrey's house soon?"
: When I go into get Eleanor each morning, she usually spews a myriad of words, sort of stream of consciousness gibber gabber. I went in last week to get her, and she looked up at me, grinning from ear to ear and said, "Ellie happy, Mommy happy, Daddy happy!" Um, I'm not even sure she knew exactly what she meant/said, but I melted nonetheless.

: Last week when Auntie was watching Eleanor, she gave a deep sigh and shoulder shrug and looked over at Katie and said, "I tired." She must have caught onto that phrase as I say it at least 5x/day. 

: We have a clean freak that teeters on OCD. Eleanor loves throwing away trash and wiping up the smallest of spills on the floor.

: Aunt Katie has kept Eleanor BUSY BUSY, which is just the way our daughter prefers life in general. In the last couple of weeks, they checked out the new Dell Children's Museum, My Gym (a place where E can run herself down), yoga, music class, play dates with Audrey, etc. 

: Ellie insists on "cooking" every day. I bought her a 50 cent bag of beans, and she spends each day pouring them in and out of bowls with her various cooking utensils. 

Ogling over the big girl feeding ducks on the trail.

Snuggle time with Daddy

Little Miss in her new poncho

Little Red Riding Hood at her favorite coffee shop with Auntie. Notice the jingle bell bracelet that Katie gave her - she won't let it out of her sight.

Snuggling with Auntie and her favorite furry friends.

E learned about play-doh at her friend's house, and when I bought it for our house, she couldn't/can't get enough of it. The problem is that she wants US to do all of the work - pancake, worms, and ball making.

First trip to My Gym
Eleanor and Clark having a chat. Clarky and his girlfriend Kelli were in town for a wedding, and we had such a fun weekend with them. Eleanor couldn't get enough of "Clarky."
Very busy cooking her beans

We're loving that E has no clue about Santa or this Elf on the Shelf madness. I figure this is the last year we can get away with no presents. Even so, Katie thought it would be fun to send Santa a little wish list/picture at Macy's.

In house news, we now have a roof, walls, and windows! Up next mechanicals, plumbing, low voltage and drywall. It's slowly becoming a reality, and we're just crossing our fingers that we can move in before Baby Boy's birthday.

View from garage, stairs going up to the house. 

View from kitchen/dining area out to living room and covered patio.

View from living room into dining/kitchen area and stair to second floor.

Kitchen leading into mud room (on the right)

Eleanor was a maniac and was doing saw dust angels on the floor. We learned our lesson that we can't take her to the house until we have drywall in - she managed to find every nail and unsafe place in the entire house.

Justin and I spent this last weekend in San Francisco, soaking in some much needed adult only time. I hadn't been away from Eleanor overnight since last October, and it was glorious. While I love my sweet daughter, it was so refreshing to escape motherhood for a few days. The highlights were light packing and not feeling like a sherpa walking through the airport, no baby monitors to wake up to, no chasing toddlers around, engaging in uninterrupted adult conversation (although many of our conversations always came back to Eleanor and Baby Boy), no rigid schedules, etc. Speaking of schedules, my one request for the weekend was to NOT plan anything in advance. We spend our days working around our daughter's eating and sleeping schedules (not to mention my own work schedule), and I needed a break. Thanks to various friends' recommendations, we were able to hit up some great sites and eat delectable food the entire weekend:

: Thursday: Landed at 9:30 am; Early checkin in a room that overlooked the Bay Bridge; Immediately went to Tartine for coffee and pastries as we'd heard it was a madhouse on the weekends; Walked the Mission; Rested at Dolores Park; Rest/nap time at hotel; Dinner at Zuni Cafe with Andy (Austin friend) who happened to be in town for work. At the end of the first day, I told Justin that I was already so relaxed that it felt like we'd been gone a week!

: Friday: Coffee and (uninterrupted!) work catch up at Stable Cafe; Walked around Pacific Heights/Nob Hill area; Rest/nap time at hotel; Dinner at Nopa.

: Saturday: Perused the Ferry Building's farmer's market (this was no joke, the most extensive and beautiful market I've ever seen); Grabbed coffee at the famous Blue Bottle Coffee and breakfast sandwiches at Cowgirl Creamery; Lunch with old Chicago friends AV and Sonia Volkens (and their adorable 9 month old daughter, Vera) at Mission Rock Resort; Lounged at the hotel and watched the Jayhawks dominate; Dinner at Pizzeria Del Fina.

: Sunday: Brunch at Mission Beach Cafe; Strolled Union Square (the Mag Mile of SF); Rested and watched the Chief's game at the hotel; Flight back to the homeland... We missed our Ellie!

Happy Daddy at Stable Cafe

In the clouds in Pacific Heights. These hills are no joke!

Delicious and pretty coffee from Blue Bottle Coffee

Our view from breakfast at The Ferry Building
View from our hotel room at the W. Thanks to Justin traveling for a living, we stayed for free;)

The repercussion of walking all weekend, some pre-brunch calf stretching.

Meanwhile, Aunt Katie kept Eleanor busy back in Austin with Gingerbread making, arts and crafts projects, play dates, museum outings, shopping, lunching, etc.  We were able to FaceTime with them twice throughout the weekend, and E was really confused why I was on the screen (she's used to Justin FaceTiming).

Eleanor and Katie just happened to run her to E's best friends, Audrey, at the museum. Buddies!

Drying off after playtime in the water room

Making gingerbread houses! How fun is Aunt Katie?!

Final masterpiece - they improvised by not using tempting candy with these toddlers.
More arts and crafts projects from our budding artist, courtesy of Auntie 
I can't believe this is Aunt Katie's last week in Austin - the time has FLOWN by. It was so fun to see Eleanor and Katie form an almost immediate bond. Katie and I were so lucky to be surrounded by our aunts and uncles growing up, and I can't imagine it any other way for my kids. Um, Katie, that means you need to move to Austin! Warm weather, easy access to Kansas City, fun/easy going city... as Eleanor would say, C'MON!

As an overdue Thanksgiving post, we have SO much to be thankful for this year: our health, a new baby on the way, a new place to call home, the unmeasurable amount of help from family, our careers, our wonderful nanny, Laura... just to name a few things.

C'mon, C'mon!

Chez Eleanor

Shirtless snacking... insistent on hiding in fort-like places

Bedtime wind down