Sunday, October 22, 2006

my Fall checklist

* The Normals hooded sweatshirt (does not discriminate between the pregnant/non-pregnant)

* these Birks

* Hazelnut Cream candle

* cans of Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin (for the oft-mentioned Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins)

* "Welcome Autumn" sign on the front door

* pumpkins on the front porch - this year gathered from Gentry Farm

* Ella sleeping on the warmest and softest crib sheet in the land (one of the best shower gifts of all time)

* at least one viewing of "Little Women"

* fresh acorn dents in the tops of our cars

* jackets

* hats

* rosy cheeks

Thursday, October 19, 2006

two weeks

I've been meaning to document the goings-on of the past two weeks - really, I have. But something always happens, know how it is.

But I feel like a lot has happened in Ella's world. She's acquired two new and Very favorite things. Alas, I don't have pictures to prove her absolute bliss with each one, but hopefully soon they'll be up here. The first is her swing. The child Loves to swing, and it's been a crying shame that she hasn't had one until now. But now it's here, and hanging from our big tree in the front yard, where she has a front row seat to all that is happening in the neighborhood.

She waves at cars, she points to planes, she Especially loves it when a city or school bus passes down the cross street two houses away. But soon she gets a starry look in her eyes, hunkers down in the swing, and experiences Tranquility. I have never seen her so calm and serene and utterly content.

We swing for literally thirty minutes at a time, and just when I think she's about to fall asleep, I take her out and she cries and begs for more. It's amazing.

Her other new and favorite thing is her baby stroller. A gift from Andy's parents, it's the perfect size for her 19-month-old self, and she loves loves Loves to push it around the house and around the neighborhood. Her doll and Care Bear get the most rides, but my child does not discriminate. I'll look over to see her sippy cup going for a spin, or some Post-It notes out for a tour of the kitchen. On our outside walks she'll put a leaf in with her baby doll - but only one leaf at a time. She makes sure to remove the existing leaf so the next one can have the full stroller experience.

One of the things Ella loves most about her new things is the whole buckling process. Pretty much anything with straps and a buckle she's all over. This includes her wagon, high chair, booster seat, swing, toy ride, name it. This afternoon the rain kept us inside, so Ella didn't get her fill of "moving things with buckles." Soon enough she had crawled up into one of her strollers, attempted to strap herself in, and make it Very clear to me that she wanted to go.

So, the next twenty minutes we strolled around and around the house. It reminds me of "Pride and Prejudice" or other Jane Austen moments when the ladies would "take a turn" about the house. I don't think I found it as delightful and refreshing as the ladies of yore, but I know Ella did. Ah, my little gentlewoman.

Ella also has three new words that she Loves to use. My newfound theory is that she could probably say whatever word she wanted, it's just the words that she deems important for her daily life she latches onto. Currently those words are "Bus" "Cheese" and "Shoes." She's obsessed with all three concepts - although we can't really distinguish between a bus and a big truck. Come to think of it, a city bus and and semi look pretty similar.

My pregnant brain is officially reaching the fuzzy point, so I'm going to go flip through my latest issue of "Real Simple" and garner all sorts of clever holiday ideas that I'm sure I won't use.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

her favorite things

Whatever she does, it is executed with deliberation and passion. Except for when she puts a paper bag on her head and walks with abandon. Then she laughs hysterically as we scurry to clear a path for her. She is now a devoted little mommy to both her baby doll and Care Bear. It started with putting one or both of them in any bag/basket/stroller/container she could find and toting them around...

She has now begun putting them down for naps. Lots of naps. And apparently she follows the Judson Parent's Day Out procedure. They told us that they lay all the kids down on mats and pat their backs until they fall asleep. Sure enough, when she got home from her class Tuesday, she pulled out a little mat that lines her baby's cradle, put it on the floor, laid her baby facedown on it and gently patted her back.

This morning she came into my room (Andy plays with Ella and lets me sleep in whenever possible) and we were talking a little bit. She was standing down on the floor looking up at me, and I was as close to on my stomach as a 7-month pregnant girl can get. She reached up her sweet, little hand and patted My back for a couple of seconds. It was one of the sweetest, most fleeting moments I hope I always remember.

Ella loves to draw. And write. While the end result is pretty much identical, there is definitely a distinction in her mind. We keep large sheets of drawing paper and a box of crayons downstairs that she enjoys. She also has a MagnaDoodle that she employs when she's feeling artsy...

But she often seems to be in Business Mode, and for this she needs to have some sort of notebook and pen (she currently uses her new butterfly notebook and pink pen). Receipts and coupons work as well. When we were at my parent's house she preferred my mom's Daytimer...

Bouncy balls are part of her daytime fun. Again, the large bags come out, and she puts the balls in and out for a while, then carries any number of them around the house. She also likes to say "ball" a lot. At anything that is a filled-in circle really. Kix, polka dots, round potatoes - she's on the constant watch. She loves to throw, roll and chase after them as well.

She is always ready for a wagon ride. She loves to try to buckle herself in (good to know she's into safety) and just sits back and enjoys the outdoors (and barking at all the neighborhood dogs). Note her jauntily-perched hat...

Actually, she enjoys riding in lots of things - including laundry baskets. A few months back, her Aunt Sarah filled up a basket with blankets and animals, stuck Ella in, and laps were made around the house. Now, Ella will throw clothes Out of laundry baskets, climb in, and expect a ride. Ha. Not from this rotund-bellied mother. I leave that to the more agile community...

Her daddy. Ella has a newfound love and attachment to Andy. It is so very sweet. She says "Da-da" countless times in a row. Knowing he works downstairs, she often goes over to the door leading to the basement, knocks and calls out his name. When she sees him after a period of time apart, even if it's been a couple of hours, she immediately begins to recount her time spent without him. At least that's the way it seems. She wants to share with him everything she possibly can.

They also have a ritual called "noses." It's basically Eskimo kissing. It's very yummy.

These are a few months old, but oh-so-cute...

While Ella pretty much loves everything, these are the main attractions in her little one-and-a-half year old world. I'm interested to see what crops up next.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

home again

No matter how great of a trip was had, it's always good to come home. It's kind of strange knowing that I won't be leaving again until the baby's born. My cut-off date for flying is next week, long drives have become pretty brutal, so here I stay.

I am in no way lacking for things to do. No no. I am part of a women's group that is currently going through a book about getting your home organized, and I am feeling all-at-once intimidated and inspired. You see, I am one of Those people who have high hopes and good intentions for being organized, but something gets lost in translation and I end up frustrated and missing weddings because I misplaced the invitation.

I dare not attempt to make gradiose statements such as "This all changes today" or "I will never be disorganized again" or "I am the all-around coolest girl in town." I realize it takes a lot more than a week, or even a month or two, of being really motivated. It's a process of figuring out what works for us.

So today I made the all-important pilgrimage to Target. Armed with my new life-saving manual I scoured the organizational aisles, and am feeling pretty darn good about things. Oh, and really daunted. But that's ok. My little gem says to work on one room for 15 minutes a day, then forget it til the next. Anybody can do that, right?

My first room to work on will be the new baby's nursery. Because, well, it's nowhere near ready. It's still housing all of our games and CDs and tote bags (of which there are a lot because I have a slight addiction to large carry-alls) and a chest of drawers brimming with everything under the sun except for clothes...yes, there is a lot to be done. But it will get done. And painted. And we will buy crib number two. And then we will have a baby. In that order, preferably.

Speaking of, I'm off to my 30 week check-up (out of 40 for anyone who's trying to calculate). Then again, Ella arrived at week 38...