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Monday, August 29, 2011

Eliana Update

Maybe it is just me, but this picture makes me smile.  What is also funny to me is that it was taken just seconds after the one below.

I don't think Eliana will ever lack in expressions.

Notice the color of Eliana's onesie?  She had a bit of fun with the water in her sippy cup on the way home.  Eliana decided to cool herself off with most of the water before we realized what was happening.  We didn't mind since we were on our way home, and it is still VERY hot here.  I'm just glad it was water.

What can I say?  She has good control of her facial muscles???  Kyle had taken her outside while I finished packing things up to head out for a walk.  We've found that walking in the evening is pretty much the best way to enjoy our time together.  Eliana isn't nearly as fussy despite the teething.  (By the way, she decided to skip her canine tooth and break in a molar.)  We get exercise.  Eliana gets to see new things.  Kyle and I get to catch up on our day.  Awe, I do love summer walks.  I am looking forward to the cooler weather, but I am NOT looking forward to it getting dark sooner.

Although it does appear that Eliana is practicing a disco move, she was probably just waving to someone.  She waves to most people and cars.  Kyle and I often catch people in other cars waving to Eliana as we walk or drive along.  I'm so glad she brightens so many people's days.

I am continuing to try and capture geese flying.  I realized that Trisha's camera simply doesn't have the same zoom capabilities as mine.  I'm sure it would if we had another lens for her camera, but this was about as close as I could get last week.  The sunset picture turned out well though as I waited for the hungry geese to find the turned over corn field. 

I am so glad that we decided to let Eliana in the kitchen.  Here she is helping me stir banana pancakes for breakfast.  Kyle and I added butterscotch chips to ours.  Delish!

Eliana knows many words although she can't say them back yet.  Book is one of those words.  I can ask Eliana to bring me a book to read.  She gladly grabs a book, hands it to me, climbs up the couch, sits on my lap, and enjoys nursery rhymes, stories, or the above book which she just figured out how to move the parts inside.   

 This is such a rare shot.  Well, she does often fall asleep after out park day on Wednesdays, but I haven't capture a sleeping picture of Eliana in many, many moons!  Awe, she used to look like this for so much more of the day last year.
Spaghetti is one of Eliana's favorite foods.  I can lay a foundation of veggies below the spaghetti, and wala, they all disappear!

Aren't these fun?  Rachel taught me how painting on tissue paper is the technique Eric Carle used to make the Hungry Caterpillar.  I need a new piece of glass, some new mats, and soon these will be up in Eliana's room!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

14 Months Old!!!!!!!!!

 Eliana turned 14 months old yesterday!  She was very fussy for most of the morning and we had a busy afternoon, so I wasn't able to post on her 14th month day.  I think the fussiness is related to getting some more teeth.  It started two nights ago and hasn't really stopped yet.  I sure hope these teeth come soon so she can give our ears a rest.  I'm guessing the top canine teeth will be joining the other eight teeth she already has.
 This month she learned how to cradle things in her arms.  She is also very steady on her feet now.  She still needs help when it comes to steps, but she is working on it with my help!

Trisha loaned me her camera, otherwise I wouldn't have even attempted capturing Eliana in our poorly lit apartment.  Our little girl is growing, growing, growing.  Maybe you need a reminder of what she looked like 12 months ago.
Tiny, right?

Eliana has three stuffed rabbits.  Now wonder she can say rabbit.  Did you notice the frown?  I've been seeing it a lot lately, especially if she eats something she doesn't like.  One day this week, Kyle rubbed the bridge of her nose to try and help the frown go away.  I laughed, and so she relaxed.  Trisha thought her frown was quite over the weekend.  I told her it wasn't.  After all, I'm seeing it a whole lot more than she is.

Eliana is on the go!  She has worn the tips of these shoes out quite well.  It is a good thing summer is almost over, because these shoes won't fit much longer.  Eliana has learned that putting on her shoes means she gets to go outside.  She LOVES to be outside.  She is quite disappointed (and is able to express so very clearly) with short trips outside to just water the plants.  This week I've been taking her walking with me to pick up the mail.  We take a grass route through the apartment complex.  She is pretty worn out by the time we get back to the apartment, but that probably is in part due to the heat.

Eliana's hair is starting to grow ever so slowly.  I'm still a-okay with her lack of hair.  It makes bathing and getting out the door easy since I don't have to worry if her hair is okay.

I had my piano lesson on Wednesday.  Like I said, Eliana has been fussy for awhile.  To help distract her, Kyle took her shoe shopping.  He did a fantastic job!!!  The ones on the left are size 3T, and she fits in them okay with socks and laces we borrowed from some other shoes.  There are still a little big, but they'll work for now.  The shoes on the right are size 4T for later this year.  Kyle even got a deal and saved $10!

A few words about the kitchen...  I was talking to my friend Michele about how her kids help her in the kitchen.  They love to help, and they are quite good at it.  Her four year old has been helping to unload the dishwasher for quite some time.  Her nearly six year old is the best egg cracker in the home.  Her soon to be eight year old has been learning how to use the stove.  I want Eliana to love the kitchen too!  SO, Kyle and I have changed the rules a bit.  Eliana can come in the kitchen.  This has helped us in multiple ways.  First, I think she simply likes that the linoleum is cooler on her legs than the thick carpet.  Plus, now she has a place were she can practice her siren noises with her firetruck as she rolls in on the smooth floor.  I didn't teach her to make those noises, and I don't remember if Kyle taught her.  Either way though, she knows to make loud noises when pushing her firetruck around.  Eliana is still learning not to go into certain cupboards, so there is still training going on.  I've relaxed about the Tupperware drawers, but don't panic.  My house isn't always covered in Tupperware like the picture above.  This past week, I've been working with Eliana to help me pick up things.  She thought it was pretty nifty to help me put the Tupperware back into the drawer.  When Eliana was first crawling, I didn't want her getting hurt on the silverware in the dishwasher.  Well, as some point I realized that I hand wash the sharp knives.  Since she isn't putting everything she touches into her mouth, I'm not as worried about her touching the rinsed dishes that are waiting to be washed.  Eliana got a kick out of holding the empty dishwasher silverware holder.  She carried it around the kitchen while I quickly loaded the rest of the dishes.  When we were all done, she helped me close the dishwasher.  Awe.  Things are much better now in the kitchen.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sister Visit!!!

Thanks Trisha for coming up this weekend!  It was SOOOOOOOOOOO good to spend time with you!

 Here is another attempt at getting a family photo.  One day, we'll get Eliana smiling too!

My hair is starting to get long again!  I've considered during the numerous 100+ degree summer days of chopping it all off, but it is actually getting close to the length needed to donate.  Maybe one of these times I'll actually chop my hair off in spring rather than in the fall or winter.  

Friday, August 19, 2011

Missing Teaching, but Blessed to be Home

As many are gearing up for going back to school, I've been asked if I miss teaching.  Without hesitating I honestly answer that I do miss teaching.  Knowing that my former coworkers went back to school this week was a little hard on me at times.  Although I love teaching, I don't miss the grading or the time it took me to lesson plan.  It isn't that I didn't enjoy lesson planning; it is that I didn't like that it took up almost all of every Saturday during the school year.  I'll be starting up the Bible and Art Club again in September, and that will fill the need to teach.  I'll get to be around students for an hour teaching my two favorite things in the world.  Plus, I'll only have students who want to be there.  There is a definite advantage to having students who want to be there!

On the flip side, people ask if I love every moment I am a stay at home mom.  My common response it that I enjoy most days.  I am so gratefully that Kyle and I made choices when we were first married so that I can stay home.  True, we don't have new cars,  fancy things, or a big house, but I get to be with Eliana.  I have the pleasure and responsibility of raising her.  We play, wrestle, read, walk, and eat together.  Her favorite chore has always been the laundry.  When she first joined our family, she loved to see of the bright colors moving as I folded clothing in front of her.  These days she is delighted to take her daddy's socks out of the basket.  I'm working on teaching her to help me put clothes away.  As I carry a stack of clothes, I give her an item to carry as she follows me down the hall.  She normally makes it half way down the hall with the item before it gets dropped.  So, I'd say we're making progress from just helping to take clothes out of the basket.

Not all days are bliss.  I do have seasons of loneliness that our little one just doesn't fill the same as a classroom of kids.  Thankfully, those seasons of loneliness aren't as frequent or severe as they were in Eliana's first year.  Teaching once a week, being part of Bible Study Fellowship, having a daily quiet time with Jesus, starting a play group, and getting out of the house more often have helped me tremendously.  Oh, and I try new things like the recipes recently posted about.  I even decided to try my hand at a little gardening.  You've got be to pretty creative when you live in an apartment to garden.  I planted cilantro and some peppers recently.  Yes, I know it is a bit late to do so, but I'm okay with that.  I was SOOOOO excited to see some sprouts yesterday!!!

I know this photo and the one below don't have anything to do with this post, but I love sun sets and geese!  Kyle capture the sunset as we walked a neighborhood near a delicious frozen yogurt shop.

As Elizabeth and I walked during our play date, we saw these beautiful geese.  I used to hear them often in our former one story apartment.  Now that we are in a downstairs apartment, it is a special treat to hear and see them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August Updates

Eliana is down to one nap, which means I have very little down time all to myself.  She isn't one of those babies who will then nap for four hours just because she is down to one nap.  Yesterday she fell asleep nursing before nap time, so she decided she didn't need a nap for the day when I moved her to her crib.  :(  Currently though, it is nice and quiet in my home, and that is lovely:)  So, in my limited time, I'll do my best to catch up our blog for the month of August.

We went to a splash park near us with a bunch of friends and family.  Rachel loved taking Eliana into the water.  I love watching them play together!
It was so nice to have many people come to the play group!  Yeah for Laura and Mary joining us!

We often take walks, even though it is often around 100 degrees still at 7pm.  In the shade it isn't too bad.  This rabbit cruises a neighborhood with a sidewalk that is lined with trees.  We drive over there just to walk in the shade and check out the well groomed homes.  I wonder if the neighbors know who is trimming their grass!  OH, OH, OH!!!  Eliana can say rabbit which sounds like ab-bi or rab-bi.  She can also say cat which sounds like gat sometimes.  Eliana definetly knows what they are since we have many living on the grounds around us.  She's working on book and block.  She can sign milk, more (although she often chooses not to), and eat.  We're working on signing water.

Eliana, small as she is, has figured out a way to get up into chairs.  It is a rather tricky process.  She stands on the post in between the legs of the chair, lays on the chair until she can grab the edge of the other side, and then pull her bottom half onto the chair.  Ha!

A group of us ventured to the Cat Haven.  We stopped at this farmer's stand.  There is just something special about nicely displayed fruits and veggies that motivates me to grab the camera and snap a few shots.  We had hoped that Eliana would sleep on the way, but she was way to interested in the conversation we were having with our friend Mary as we drove.  She did finally fall asleep 10 minutes from our destination, so she and Kyle hung out in the car for a bit before our guided tour.

Our timing didn't quite work out as planned, so Eliana was hungry and fussy during the tour.  Thank the Lord for extra hands like Rachel and Ruli to help us carry her around.  I'd recommend going in September or March to beat the heat.  Even though it is up in the hills a little ways, it was still very warm.  Also, the path really isn't stroller friendly, so I think it would have been better had Eliana been four or so.  I know she'll be steady on her feet before then, but there really isn't much in between you and the wild cats.  They are used to people, so they often hang out where a quick runner with little hands could pet them.  Thus, I figure a four year old might be a good age, or maybe even a little older.  We got to see and learn about many wild cats like the cheetah below!   Did you know lions like to follow cheetahs around and steal their kill?  Did you know that panthers are really dark colored spotted cats like a cheetah, jaguars, or leopard? Did you know that cheetah's have sold spots, leopards have spots in a circle called a rosette, and jaguars have a rosette with a one to four spots in the center?

Eliana loves to be my helper in the kitchen, so I often make dinner while she is napping.  We're still trying to train her not to be in the kitchen, but I often feel like it is a lost cause.  She doesn't mind a swat on the hand or leg.  She doesn't mind being told no.  She isn't detered from returning to the kitchen after being shown a tub full of toys to play with while I do the dishes.  One day she will get to be my helper in the kitchen, but not this month.

I've tried several new recipes this month!  It has been quite exciting!  Most of them have turned out pretty good, which is very encouraging to me.  The Lattice-Topped Chicken Bake turned out yummy.  The Peanutty Chocolate Banana Bread tasted much better than it looked since it didn't look anything like the picture (ahhhh!).  My small group was gracious in their complements despite the looks of the bread.  The Ham 'N Eggs Brunch Bread is pictured above.  I swapped the ham for sausage since it was what I had in the kitchen.  Eliana and Kyle loved it!  I even made some Hawaiian meatballs with green onions, green bell peppers, and pineapples.  I was pleased as punch when Kyle said he loved them and took the leftovers for lunch.  Kyle, who distastes green onions and bell pepper, loved the meatballs!!!

On the spur of the moment, Taylor invited me to join her, Kelly, Tara, and Donald shopping at the outlets in between our cities.  It is so good to spend time with family!  Eliana got to show them how she is walking now!!!  Just this past week she has really become more stable.  She isn't running yet, but she is choosing to walk places rather than crawl to them.  

 Eliana was very serious before church last Sunday.  Here is a half smile from her.  Most of the other pictures we took were either with frowns or distant serious faces.

 I love my hubby.  My hubby loves me.  We love our wee daughter!

I started weaning Eliana last week.  She isn't too sure about getting milk in her sippy cup.  To help with the transition, she is getting a snack when she wakes from her afternoon nap.  She seems to be handling the change well, but I'm a bit sad.  On one hand I'll have a lot more freedom and flexibility if someone needed to watch Eliana, but part of me is sad to see this phase starting to end.  There were days when I couldn't wait for this phase, but that was many months ago.  It will make things much easier when the Bible and Art Club starts up again in September.
Aren't you impressed with this photo?  I got his wings open and everything!!!  Oh, you say to look at his legs?  Oh, you say you think he was dead?  Um... you'd be right:)  I found this guy near a different plant and moved him here for the photo.  Still pretty stunning though, right?

Eliana has gone from being content on a blanket watching other play at the park to an explorer of the playground.  Look out world, here she comes!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Missing Shoe

A Missing Shoe
(Inspired by Mr. William Carlos Williams)

So much depends upon a missing shoe
and a bare foot spotted while entering the car
which lead to a return trip to the store
for an exploration of the floor

The shoe, size two, belongs to
a tiny girl
couldn't tell me when she lost her shoe
or where to find it

The tiny shoe
trimmed in white
with a matching flower
and a yellow center
was rejoiced over 
by a mom and two clerks
when found simply waiting for her tiny owner to miss her
as it sat patiently on the grocery cart

On the way home
just down the street a little ways
the blaring siren of a fire truck as it u-turned in front of us
and two police cars on either side of the street
plus an ambulance
cautioned us to slow down between an accident with 
one car on smashed on one side of the street
and another car smashed on the other side of the street

It lead me to wonder
had the shoe not gone missing

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Family Visit

 Troy, Aimee, and Kallie came to visit us!  Rachel and Ruli joined us for a day of fun!  I love Troy's smile in this picture.  It was the second take, so he opted to be goofy.  It makes me chuckle every time.
 Aimee and I went shopping with our girls.  Eliana was pretty funny when we had the shopping carts together.  She kept pulling her cousin's cart closer to her!

 Eliana had just woken up from a nap, so she was serious for the entire photo shoot.  

Our girls can now both stand!!!  Some day soon Eliana will be able to keep up with Kallie's steps.
Eliana is holding her walking coach's hand.  Ruli has been working with her for months to scoot, crawl, and now walk!  It is very entertaining to watch.

Thanks for visiting us Troy, Aimee, and Kallie!!!