Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{ Elaina: 16 Months }

Dear Lainie,
You are sixteen months old, and I don't know where the time has gone! You are a chubby-cheeked toddler who is constantly trotting around the house, pointing and making insistent noises at things you want, babbling nonsense baby words nonstop {many variations on "dada" constituting a large portion of your vocabulary}, and still super snuggly when you are tired or not feeling well. You have grown and changed so much the past few months, and with the whirlwind of moving and the tiredness of growing your baby brother, I feel like I've already forgotten so much. I definitely haven't remembered to take as many photos!
So here are some snapshots of you now, sixteen-month-old Lainie Rae. Tomorrow I will wake up pinching myself for not remembering this or that, I'm sure!
:: old-ish photo...taken just before we moved ::
You love to pretend to talk on my phone, which you also call Dada. I turn on the screen {a photo of Daddy holding you the day after you were born} and you jabber away. Actually, anything suffices as a phone in a pinch, from your own hand to a spoon, doll, or sippy cup. If you're playing with my phone and the screen goes to sleep, or if you somehow unlock it and get into a program, you immediately march over to me moaning, "Oh no no no no no!" through pursed lips.
"Oh no no no no no no"--repeated ad infinitum, with your mouth half-closed and your brow furrowed, is your new phrase of choice. It may be used to announce that you are bringing me a book from the bookshelf you're not supposed to touch, or that you dropped something, or that you got into the text messages in my phone. Whatever disaster precipitates the announcement, you definitely understand that "no no" means bad things.
Your most-used word is still Dada, which applies to anything and everything you desire. Including me. If I ask you to say Mama, you grin and yell, "Dada!" Mama is reserved for the most dire of emergencies, when you really need to get my attention.
You know how to say dog {doh}, duck {duh}, ball {ba-ba}, bubble {buh-buh}, Bible {by-buh} and maybe cat...I can't remember, I haven't had a nap today...
Your hair is getting thicker and longer, especially in the back, and you are in love with the little clip on hairbows I got you last week. You ask for them {by pointing} if you see them, and when we get dressed in the morning, if I ask you if you want a hairbow, you get a huge grin and point at them. They don't always stay in for long, but they are well-loved.

:: wearing your friend Julia's headband when we stayed at their house, between moves ::
You are a lot more interested in the dishwasher now than you were before we moved. You enjoy helping me unload the silverware, but you're especially fond of gathering a few toys on the open dishwasher door and sitting with them while I clean up the kitchen. It's such a nice spot to swing your legs and read a book!

The last few days you've started singing. A lot. For a month or two, you've cradled your milk cup in the crook of your arm at every single meal and rocked back and forth, splitting into the biggest grin when I start singing "rock a bye baby" or "twinkle twinkle little star." It seems you think you are rocking your milk to sleep. I'm serious. You do this at every single meal--and now you know enough of the tune that your baby syllables are recognizable snippets of twinkle twinkle or rock a bye baby.
Ever since you were born, we've sung Jesus Loves Me to you as your lullaby. You sing bits of it now too, including the word "Bible," which is quite possibly the sweetest thing ever!
You are also quite interested in your dollies, frequently carrying one or two of them around and very sweetly swaying back and forth and singing to them.
You weaned yourself at 15 1/2 months. For a month or more, you'd only been nursing once a day, first thing in the morning--which I was happy to let you do, since it meant long sleepy snuggles in bed with me. But one morning two or three weeks ago, you made it clear you wanted your binky while we snuggled...and that was that. It was much easier and less stressful than I anticipated; ever since you've never asked to be nursed or even expressed interest. It's still such a bittersweet milestone! Every day it becomes clearer that you are a toddler, not a baby, and while toddler Lainie is sweet and precious and hilarious and so much fun, I miss baby Lainie. I suppose this is how parents feel about every one of their kids' stages in life.
In the past few days, you have also taken the initiative {read: Elastigirl arms can reach ridiculously far onto the table} to start feeding yourself with a spoon. Your skill and aim is MUCH better than I expected--you actually hit your mouth with almost every bite!! A fair bit of yogurt/applesauce/etc. still ends up on your face, the spoon is usually upside down, and half the fun seems to be "mixing" whatever food is in the bowl, but you are doing really really well. And so far, you seem to be right-handed.
 You still take two naps most days, though missing your afternoon nap is no longer the catastrophe it once was. Morning naps are leisurely affairs, often 2-3 hours.
Your favorite place in the house is the garage...in place of that, you will gladly trot up and down the sidewalk as long as I'll let you. You are also quite enamored with the neighbors' cats, Daisy and Theodore.
:: one day as I unloaded groceries from the car, you carried a bag of coffee up and down the sidewalk, stopping to sit on the stoop and talk to and pat the coffee with each trip ::
There is so much more I could say, but this post is already pretty long.
Love you Lainie Bug,

Saturday, October 26, 2013

{ Pumpkin Patch }

Last weekend, we went to a pumpkin patch.
Turns out that not only was it Lainie's first time, but Mike's and mine as well. Work has been demanding a lot of Mike's time recently, so it felt deliciously indulgent to be going somewhere together, as a family, during daylight hours, just for fun. Lainie was obviously bewildered by her parents' seemingly crazy and out-of-character decision to wander aimlessly around a muddy field full of funny-shaped giant orange balls. She was more interested in chewing on the tab of her new {hand-me-down} jacket than perusing the pumpkins.
In spite of the cloud cover, it was a delicious afternoon, with gorgeous trees, enormous pumpkins, and plenty of very excited little people.

:: obligatory family selfie to commemorate first baby's first time at a pumpkin patch ::
Once we left the pumpkins and walked by the cornfield, however, Lainie was on! She was determined to find her way through the corn maze all by her little self.

...Until, of course, she fell down in the mud approximately five steps in.

On the way home--after coffee and pastries to warm up--I was craving homemade macaroni and cheese, so we swung by the store to get what we needed. Mike and Lainie watched an episode of Baby Einstein and munched on goldfish crackers while I made the mac and cheese. {I'm not sure who made out best with that deal: Lainie got uninterrupted Daddy time and a movie; Daddy got to snuggle with his girlie, and I got to make a meal without fourteen dozen interruptions!} 

One more to close...just because they are so.darn.cute.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

{ Right Now: In My Head }

I'm not sure if life is really busier, or more overwhelming, or more stressful, or crazier than usual, or if it's just the combination of pregnancy = almost always feeling tired, being type A, having an undecorated house, and being an introvert thrust into a season of meeting new people and forging new relationships...but a lot of the time lately I certainly feel busier, overwhelmed, stressed, and a little crazy!

It's been just over a month since we moved, and while all the boxes are unpacked, the "new home" feel lingers as we tweak furniture placement and realize just how childproofed our condo really was, simply due to its small size. I'm still figuring out which grocery stores are closest, where the nearest parks and ATMs are and which freeway exits and entrances work best for going different places. While I long for all of this to feel comfortable and familiar and like home, it's also exciting. The newness. I think, if I were not simultaneously a) parenting a toddler, and b) nearing the third trimester, I would be reveling in this newness--it feels kind of like playing house when I was a kid, just after my Dad finished building our treehouse, or when my cousin and I finally finished the playhouse I grandly determined to build in the pasture behind the garden. It is fun and exciting. However, taking naps, and having at least one room that actually feels finished, and a meal plan that is realistic and doable with a curious toddler--these are also on my list of "fun and exciting things." You can see my dilemma, I hope.

I am trying to savor these days, hard as that sometimes is, because I know that in addition to hard they are also fleeting and sweet and oh-so-brief. Right now is when I can rock Lainie to sleep and read her endless books and work life around her nap schedule...because she's my only baby. She only gets to be "the baby" for a few more months, and then she's the big sister. These are precious, precious days of just her and me. Right now I hold Jellybean safe and secure in my belly all day, feeling his thumps and stretching exercises and getting much longer stretches of sleep at night than I will after he's born. Right now may involve cooking dinner with an adventurous almost-16-month-old, but at least I don't have to juggle a newborn too. Right now is freedom to nap whenever Lainie does. Right now is dreaming and planning about paint colors and kitchen remodeling with Mike. Right now may be harder than a couple months ago, but it's also super sweet mixed in with all the change and newness and exhaustion.

One of our favorite features in our new home is the enormous fireplace. It has the biggest firebox I've ever seen, and opens on both sides. {I'm also in love with the painted white brick, but Mike thinks it is a horrifying travesty and wants to un-paint it. I am therefore grateful that altering the fireplace surround, as a purely cosmetic undertaking, is pretty far down our to-do list! I'm curious, though: What do you y'all think about painted brick? Is it a yea or nay here?} I keep finding myself surprised that there is no hearth; we had a large hearth on our tiny fireplace at the condo, and I'm used to decorating it. Here, there are just two small nooks fairly high up on each side...nothing under the fireplace. Last Friday my parents were in town for a brief visit, and I took advantage of a few spare minutes to thread some leaves Lainie and I picked up at a park and make a couple garlands. They are already curling up quite a bit as they dry, but I really like the simple, striking touch of autumn they bring indoors.

Here's the "living room" side...No, I am not at all sure that a zebra print rug is right for this spot, or that it will stay, but it works for now!...

...and here is the "other" side. Sort of dining room, sort of not--currently nearly empty.
That's all for now, though maybe someday soon I'll download the last month's worth of photos off my camera and give you a peek into Lainie's world. Because that's pretty much all I take pictures of! ;-P