Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Adventure of the New Crib

Ellie's crib, the one she's slept in every night since she out-grew her cradle, was recalled. New furniture usually makes me giddy, but this time the idea of getting something new was kind of bitter-sweet.

Like most expectant parents, we spent quite a bit of time agonizing over what crib to get. And there were about a million options. Expensive or cheap? Fancy or simple? Light or dark wood? Or painted? Drop side or not? Just a crib or convertible to a toddler bed? We decided on middle of the road, simple and understated, not expensive but not the cheapest we could find. And we loved it.

{her first night in the crib}

The first time she smiled when I came in to get her in the morning was in this crib. She found her feet, went from a back-sleeper to a belly-sleeper, and discovered she could sit up, then stand up, in this crib.

Even though the recall was for something silly, we decided it wasn't worth keeping a potentially (no matter how slight) dangerous crib. So, it was off to Babies 'R Us to look for a suitable replacement. After a second round of agonizing, a selection was made. They didn't have the one we wanted in stock so it was back to BRU a week later to pick it up.

{such a helpful child}

Things we like: the darker wood and more modern design fits in a little better with the furniture we've shoved into her room. The lowest setting is a little lower making that much harder for her to climb out should she ever try this. Things we don't like: It sits lower to the ground and so we can't store the pack 'n play and other things under it. Despite costing more the mattress support isn't as nice. The bolt placement made it hard to assemble. Also, this one doesn't have a drop side. We didn't use the drop side much in the other crib so I don't think we'll miss it, but it was nice to have the option.

{old crib, newly assembled}

{new crib, newly assembled}

Her old crib is sadly now part of the local landfill. Except for the bolts, which were painstakingly removed and sent back to the original crib company in order to receive the voucher that we will then take back to BRU to be refunded most of the cost of the new crib. The voucher should arrive in 1-2 weeks. Don't get me started.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cuddling With Daddy

It doesn't happen very often, but every once in awhile the stars align. The sun is out, Ellie is in a cuddly mood, we don't have a million things to do, and the couch isn't buried under a pile of...stuff. And then you get moments like these.

It used to be that Ellie would fall asleep in our laps all the time. Then the day came when we wondered if it would ever happen again. And then it does.

And it is good.

Grandma Gets A Visit

We try to make it up to see Pete's Grandma about once a month. These visits have been a fun way to track Ellie's growth since Grandma moved down by us about 2 days before Ellie was born. In the month since we last saw her Ellie has gotten really good at both walking and communicating. She doesn't have a lot of words, but she points and has a few signs, and definitely has a way of getting her point across. It made this visit particularly fun.

She played peekaboo and touched pointer fingers for a bit, then sat down and rolled the exercise balls around with Scruncle.

And she practiced the piano. Got to get her started early.

She also noticed some birds hanging out in the trees by the feeder (this was our first measurable snowfall of the year, by the way). She called them "kitty" as she does with all animals except dogs which she calls "woof".

We usually stop by Starbucks on the way and pick up Grandma's favorite treat...and we might as well get something for us while we're there, you know.

{Grandma sneaks a frappuchino break}

Ellie didn't really want to sit on Grandma's lap for the obligatory "sit on Grandma's lap" shot. This isn't saying much because she doesn't like sitting anywhere for long. I got one tolerant picture of them.

And then it was time to say good bye until next time.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Year's Day

This year we spent New Year's at a sports bar watching the Iowa Hawkeyes beat up on whomever they were playing. It doesn't matter.

The local chapter of the alumni association always collects at this particular sports pub to watch Iowa games, it's a lot of fun usually. We had a good time, but it was too crowded to sit with the rest of the fans so we had to sit out on the heated porch. It wasn't quite the same not being surrounded by rabid cheering. So, we stuck it out through half-time and then went back to Aunt S's to "watch" the rest. I think we all fell asleep.

The Day After

The day after Christmas is always cause for big celebration as it is Grandma's birthday! She turned 92 this year. We all got together for brunch at this very nice converted farm house/inn that had the perfect set-up for a large group of people.


After that we hung out and enjoyed our new gifties. Ellie enjoyed her new chair and her little hippo family while looking particularly adorable in this beautiful sweater my dad and step-mom sent.

We watched some of our new movies while eating popcorn and drinking beer from our new mugs.

{Ilow does not like beer}

Ilow guarded her new bones, Dragnet wrestled with his new fox squeaky. And Sammy finally got a new dangly toy since Dragnet ate her last one, and a moth!

Oh joy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Christmas Part 2

The symphony I'm playing with uses a local church for their performances, and as a trade they ask for a couple of musicians to perform during their larger Christmas and Easter masses. This works out really well for us because Pete is Catholic and I'm not and this gives us a good reason to all go to Mass together. So, after opening gifts at home we all headed out for Christmas Mass.

After that it was off to Scruncle and J's house for Second Christmas. One of Pete's other aunts and her 3 kids came down as well. And of course Grandma (a.k.a. Queen Dorothy) was able to come over. One of Pete's cousins is expecting her first baby in May! So, she was excited to get some practice at the whole "Mom" thing.

Grandma picked this outfit out special for Ellie and she looked adorable in it. Again, I think the hat makes the outfit. She also spent a lot of time showing off her newly honed walking skills. Everyone was very impressed.

Santa had come to Scruncle's too! So, another round of gifts to be opened.


All the grown-up women got fuzzy socks.

After gifts, we had a marvelous dinner that Ellie napped through, and really enjoyed a wonderful evening with family.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Christmas Part 1

People often ask if this was our first Christmas with Ellie and I have to catch myself before I say "Why, yes!" Last year was such a blur I really don't remember much about it. I know people were here, I know gifts were exchanged, I have the pictures to prove it. But this really felt like our first Christmas to me, so I was pretty excited. I had way too much fun picking out gifts for Ellie. I also didn't anticipate the generosity of our families, although I should have because they've always been very generous with us. The result was way too much stuff under the tree after Santa came.


When I was little, Santa always wrapped his gifts in white tissue paper or comics. I was so excited to see that he kept up that tradition with Ellie.

This wasn't a traditional Christmas in that Mom and Dad got up before Ellie and were getting anxious for her to awake. Finally, we heard her stirring in her crib, so we got her up and she dove right in.

Aunt S. came by to help us, and thank goodness she did because we would have been there all day if we left it up to Ellie. She sat in a chair as any reasonable adult would, so that means of course that her head got chopped off in about 50% of the photos I took.

Fortunately, I realized the mistake and was able to get some good ones.

{new favorite chair}

The funniest part of the morning came when we opened the gift from our daycare provider, a baby doll. Once she laid eyes on that baby, everything else was forgotten. I didn't know that a one year old could insist on anything, but insist she did. She wanted that baby out of the package, and NOW wasn't soon enough.

{Daddy trying to get her to notice the beautiful "Quillow" from G. Grandma B}

After the initial obsession wore off she actually did go back to playing with her other toys, but we were all a little shocked at the vehemence with which she pursued that baby at first.

After breakfast, she got all dressed up to go to Christmas Mass and enjoyed her new chair and books for a bit before we headed out the door to start Christmas Part 2.

To be continued...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Merry (belated) Christmas

I hope everyone's holiday was wonderful and the weather didn't hit anyone too hard. I will be back to recap on our crazy holiday adventures soon.

{this is the best you get on a timer}