January 21, 2015

Eloise at Eight Months Old

Oh, Eloise.  These months are piling up on each other and hard as I try to soak up every minute and treasure every second, the time is passing faster than I can handle.  It's a good thing that you keep getting cuter and cuter and that your personality grows each day, because as much as I am missing my tiny little infant (a lot), I can't help but look forward to each new day and discovering more who you are becoming!  

It's getting harder and harder to do these monthly shots with the cards.  Today you wanted to grab this one every time I laid it beside you.  Grabbing is your favorite activity right now.  Hair, earrings, food, toys, my face... if you can get your hands on it, you are grabbing and pulling.

You're showing us that you're a feisty one too.  You may be flexible in many ways, but you are determined to be heard.  Literally.  You are so incredibly loud.  You don't cry much, but boy oh boy can you squawk/scream/holler.

You love to laugh too though.  Those two bottoms teeth peek out and your whole face wrinkles up and the sounds of your cackle make us all totally melt.

Know what else makes us melt?  Those eyes.  Darkening every month, you're definitely going to be our brown eyed girl.   Your eyes are full of expression and curiosity.

You're watching Rufus in this picture.  You love him.  You also love your sister more than words can say.  You love bouncing and singing and playing little rhyming games.  Peek-a-boo and patty cake remain favorites.  You love flying high through the sky and tickles on your big round tummy.

 Oh how badly you want to crawl.  You're starting to do a few army-crawl scooches in the forward direction, but haven't quite gotten the hands-and-knees thing down.  But I can see already that you are determined and persistent, two qualities I hope we'll be able to foster in you.  It won't be long now before you're able to crawl.... you're working so hard on it.

 You're working hard on some more teeth, too, but right now just have your bottom two.

That hasn't stopped you from eating though.  In the past week or so, you've grown tired of baby cereal as you've discovered more and more the joys of self-feeding and pick up food.  You still prefer your vegetables to your fruits, but we're working on a good variety of stuff.  You like beans, sweet potatoes, squash, green beans, peas and eggs.  You tried broccoli today for the first time (it was a hit). You tolerate pear and apple and mandarin oranges. No bananas for you though.  No thank you.

 You're still nursing well too and I love those times because it's about the only way to get calm sweet snuggles from you.  You mostly like to nurse when it's time to sleep (nap or nighttime), but will occasionally have another quick snack here or there other times during the day.  You'll drink pumped milk from a straw cup during the day too.  You love your straw cup... I think it makes you feel big like sister.

You're still not sleeping at night.  About that.  Your sister was sleeping LONG before now and since you kept me up with vomiting most of my pregnancy with you, it's been well over a year since I've had consistent decent sleep.  I'm really getting quite tired.  We've tried making you cry it out for weeks and weeks and I'm throwing in the towel with that for a bit.  You win.  I will feed you at 3am or 4am.  But maybe you can learn to sleep all night soon?  I'd love it.

Look at this belly and this roly poly legs!  It doesn't appear that you actually NEED any extra feedings, now does it?

But because you are my second baby, and probably also my last, I have a different perspective. While I'd love for you to be sleeping more now, I know that these days are numbered.  The sweet warm smell of you wrapped in a swaddle blanket, nuzzled into my neck in the dark stillness of night, breathing your sweet hot baby breath on me won't last long.  You won't always want to nurse or rock or let me pat your little bottom.  So, if you insist for tonight, I will.

 And morning will come and there will be coffee for me and many more things for you to explore. Have I mentioned how much I love to watch you explore?  Pulling wads of grass out of the lawn, banging spoons on your high chair tray and sending food flying, pulling toys out of your basket, opening and closing things, studying books with flaps and textures, listening to songs and rhymes.  You are so curious.  See?

And it delights me.

Happy eight months, Eloise Ann.  I love you, my little squish.

(So does your sister, and she doesn't want to be left out of any photo shoot.):

She's still three.  In case you forgot.

Princess watch and pink fingernails.  That's my girl.

January 12, 2015

Dear Daughters

Dear Daughters,

This morning as we drove Clara to school, I heard from the backseat, "Mommy?  You probably don't have any idea how much I love Eloise.  I love her so much you can't even believe it."  I replied to you by simply saying, "I know, Clara."    What I wanted to explain to you was how thankful I am that you truly adore her.  I wanted to somehow dislodge my heart from my throat in order to find the words to thank you for treasuring her instead of resenting her.  I wanted to freeze time, to record your sweet little voice saying those most sincere words and believing them with every bit of your soul.  At the same moment, I wanted to fast forward, just for a moment, to see what your relationship with each other will be like a few years down the road.   Would I think to myself, "I wish I could play back those words so that Eloise can know how  much her sister loved her"?  Or will there be no need because maybe, just maybe, your love, respect and affection for each other will only continue to deepen and grow.

Having never had a sister, this sisterly bond is new to me, but I'm watching it unfold, already, and I'm amazed.  This afternoon I watched Eloise look at Clara with a glimmer in her eye that said "you're the most incredible person in my world."  I watched Clara abandon her three year old toys in order to shake a rattle for Eloise and demonstrate how to manipulate the baby blocks.  I watched you both laugh at each other and gaze at each other and.... love each other.  You just love each other so much and it makes me ache, in a good way, to get to witness this.  Tonight, Clara rubbed lotion on Eloise's back and begged to give her one more hug before she went to sleep.  Although I'm not rushing time, I can't wait until Eloise finds words to express what she thinks about her big sister.  

I know it's inevitable that there will be days ahead when you fight with each other and lose your patience with each other and are jealous of each other and frustrated by each other.  And I know that those days won't mean you love each other any less, but today just felt like such a pure and genuine and honest expression of mutual love and adoration.  Right now, in this moment, you both just think that the other is incredible and it's wonderful and beautiful and precious and somehow I want to remember it.  So, thank you.  Thanks for letting me experience this sisterhood beside you.  You two have such beautiful hearts.  And Clara, as much as you think you love Eloise right now, let me assure you:  I love you both even more.


January 5, 2015

The Third and Fourth Weeks of Advent

Sunday, December 14: The Third Sunday of Advent, JOY!

Both girls are wearing red velvet dresses that were "Mama Wore That."  (Clara's is way too short, but that's another story.  It SAID size 3!!).  

Here's me, in Eloise's dress, my first Christmas.  Since our birthdays are so close, we're basically the exact same age here.

Here is Clara wearing that same dress, her first Valentine's Day.

It was the big Christmas music at church this Sunday, so Clara's advent calendar said "Go to Big Church!"  She did a great job of sitting through the service.

And because I'm on a bit of a video kick, here's Clara reading The Night Before Christmas to Eloise that night. (Sorry for subpar videography; I was holding a baby and turning pages...)

Monday, December 15: Make cards and ornaments to deliver to friends.  I didn't get a picture of her doing this, but she did.  She had lots of fun writing many Christmas cards this year.  I did get a picture of this though (pretty cute, huh?)

Tuesday, December 16: Go visiting!  We had originally planned to go visit some church members in a local retirement home, but heard that there was a great deal of sickness, so we decided to avoid that community and instead visited a few individuals in their homes and took goodies to our neighbors.

 Wednesday, December 17: Christmas Jazz Concert at KBC

Sweet Mama sang a few solos and we enjoyed hearing a wonderful jazz band play some of our favorite Christmas songs.  She got a little bit of a second wind at the end.... Here was some "dancing" with a few of her preschool friends.

Wednesday morning, I had a chance to have a few mom friends over for coffee.  It was an excuse for me to get out some of my Christmas china in a life-stage dominated by sippy cups and plastic spoons.

 Thursday, December 18: Beech Mountain with Big Daddy

On Thursday, we headed up to Beech Mountain to celebrate Christmas with Big Daddy and the Davis cousins.  All the girls had lots of presents to open and had fun being together.

 Trying out their new board games..

Friday, December 19: Candyland Day at CUMP (and class Christmas party)

I must say over and over again how thankful we are for these two ladies who love, teach, and care for Clara three mornings a week.  They are an incredible blessing!

 Her preschool went all out for this special last day of school and transformed the entire school into a full sized Candyland.  Here are just a few of the photos which do not really do it justice.

Saturday, December 20: Go see The Nutcracker (for the very first time!)

I was dreadfully afraid that we were going to miss this because Clara came down with a stomach bug Friday afternoon, but we were able to get her well enough and I'm so thankful.  She's been talking about the Nutcracker all Christmas and we've been reading books and listening to the music and enjoying private dance recitals in our living room.  She was so so excited.  It had been more than ten years since I'd seen it myself, and it was a really magical afternoon.  Here she is, in her Nutcracker dress at the Steven's Center for her first really big girl performance.


The Fourth Week of Advent

Good thing that the fourth week of Advent was really short this year, because between illnesses and general exhaustion, we were just worn out.  We kind of puttered to a close with the last few days of Advent.

Sunday, December 21: This was supposed to be Agape (one of my most favorite KBC traditions), but Clara was not quite 100% so we didn't want to risk spreading germs to anyone, just in case.  Instead we stayed home and wrapped presents.  Clara wrapped with gusto, if not perfection.


Monday, December 22:  Annnnnnd.... Mama and Daddy both got the stomach bug.  It's bad enough when a sickness circulates throughout the family, but the mom and dad are not supposed to both get sick at the same time.  Thank goodness for Sweet Mama.  There are no pictures of that day.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 23:  One of the greatest joys of living in the same town where I grew up is that around the holidays I sometimes get to visit with friends from long ago.  Roshan comes home several times a year to see his parents and his sweet niece and nephew (maybe his sister too), so we lucked out and got a visit this Christmas.  He brought his nephew, Janak, along and he and Clara had a ball while Roshan and I caught up. 

Next up: Christmas Eve!

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