Flashback: Jim’s 30th Birthday Party

On Feb 28, my “little” brother turned 30. I’ve been to SC quite a few times in the last year to hang out with my brother, and it was exciting to celebrate his 30th birthday. Mom and I decided before Christmas that we’d plan a surprise party for him, and we had a great time getting ready for it.


Of course, I managed to get absolutely zero photos of the whole family together – I cannot stress how quickly time passes when we’re together, and when Mom and I are secretly setting up a party it’s no different. In fact, she and I cleaned his house, decorated it (I brought a bunch of frames with photos I’d done of him and Kathryn over the years), and got all the food set up while Jim worked with Bronce and Dad to empty a huge storage unit. They made maybe four trips to the house at which point we’d pretend nothing suspicious was going on. At the last minute Jim spied some food I forgot to stash before he came in the kitchen and I think he was clued in to something going on, but it was literally minutes before people began arriving so it wasn’t a huge deal.

All in all we had about 30 people who came and hung out with us well into the evening. I really enjoyed meeting friends of his that I’d been hearing about for so long.

Mom and I thought it would be fun to get the girls matching outfits. They both had the same jacket and skirt, but different color t-shirts. I found out from Kathryn’s daycare leader (who is a friend of Jim’s and in a Bible study he leads) that for months Kathryn would talk about her sister, Eleanor. This would confuse them at daycare until finally they realized she was talking about her cousin, Eleanor. So cute… Sister Cheese and Baby Cheese, two good friends.



Bronce and Eleanor


Some pictures from the party, of folks hanging out. We had a great time!






Eleanor is 13 months!

{Actually, today she’s 14 months. Among other things, I’ve learned a lot about my proclivity to procrastinate during the last year of being a mother. Her weekly pictures (which we stopped at 1-year) and monthly letters/entries have taught me that clearly. As usual, the post was written but the photographs weren’t ready. I’ve been really busy lately over at That’s Loverly Photography and it’s kept me from tending to my personal photos as frequently. I’ll try to get the 14-month entry up in the next few days, too.}

Baby Girl… 13 months and you’re growing like a weed! I often have people stop me and comment on how cute you are. They’re shocked when I reveal that you’re only 13-months old. It’s true, you have the awareness and attitude of a much older child. You’re so wonderful in stores and in the car. Your daddy and I are truly blessed.

This last month has been fun. The weather has been weird (way warmer than usual) so we’ve had the chance to go out a lot more than I expected in the [not-so-]dead of winter. That may be hard to tell based on the pictures in this post… looks like they all were taken in our house!

You’ve discovered a love for your chair. You like to sit in it and rock (pretty aggressively, too!).


When you’re in your chair, you prefer to have your “baby” in your arms and hold her just the way I hold you in my own arms. I love seeing you snuggle with her the way we snuggle… it’s such an adorable little girl thing!


You love giving kisses to Daddy and me. Just about anytime we ask, you’ll give kisses on command and smooch your lips together. Sometimes you just kiss the air when we ask for a kiss, more inclined to “blow kisses” than to smooch us on the mouth.


Your hair is growing so long! You have this hilarious little tail in the back. It’s usually curled up and around the nape of your neck, but sometimes I can coax it to lay flat… though it looks kind of ridiculous. I’ve debated having Aunt Lauren give you your first haircut, but I think we’ll let it grow out long and just take this as a time of awkward hair for you. Plus, if you’re dressed in blue when we’re out, people tend to comment that you’re a pretty boy… maybe keeping your hair long (since you won’t let me put a bow in it anymore) will keep those comments to a minimum.


Right now everything is “Dada” or “Daddy.” Often I can tell the difference and discern when you’re saying “Doggy.” Otherwise, it’s a guessing game to deterine what you’re asking for or pointing out. The loudest I hear your voice is when you see other children. You get so excited yelling “Daddy” and pointing at them.

Walking? Nope. Not yet. Still crawling quickly and walking behind toys. You’ll be there soon enough.


Teeth… girl, you can grow teeth like nobody’s business! None of these pictures seem to be showing off your pearly whites very well, but you’re up to 14 teeth! Amazing, girl. None of your friends have even half this number at this age. It’s wild.


You’re still nursing around the clock. I’ll ask if you want “nummies” and you toss yourself into my arms, throwing your head into my right elbow to be in position. It’s adorable and such a fun thing that we get to share. Your acrobatics are in full swing these days. We play a lot while you nurse… I’ll talk to you about the different parts of my face and pretend to eat your toes. You’ve mastered giggling and nursing at the same time – quite a skill (and potentially dangerous on my part!).


You love getting in to our stuff. Here, you’ve found your Daddy’s Bible study and are reading along. You’re so smart.


You looove playing with your toys and tossing them all around the room. I end up picking up a mess like this a few times each day. Sometimes we work on cleaning up together, but I end up doing this mostly while you’re down for a nap so we haven’t done a lot of that.


Your sleep has been a tough spot this month. You’re sleeping some in your crib, some in our bed, but never through the night. Daddy and I are in agreement that breastfeeding long-term is worth the lack of rest. Though we realize that not all babies are still waking at this point, we don’t intend to aggressively force you to sleep and understand that your body will get the rest it needs. Plus, some kids just need less sleep than others! You’re still taking two naps a day (roughly 9am and 2pm) though I bet we go down to 1 soon.

Girl, you’re amazing. I love watching you grow and knowing how many fun things we have coming up as you get further into your second year. You’re the light of my days. I love you so much.

Eleanor’s Birthday Party

My birthday girl… She’s a beauty, isn’t she?


Eleanor turned 1 year old on Monday, January 11, 2012. Because it was a Monday (even though it was Martin Luther King Day), we held the party at our home Sunday afternoon. We had everyone over at 3 – my parents, brother, and niece… Bronce’s parents, siblings, their kids, his grandmother, and his Aunt Deborah and Uncle Richard. It was a low-key affair… just some casual food and cupcakes. No games or anything silly. The only other kids present were Eleanor’s cousins Nonavea and Kathryn.IMG_0046

Cousins, enjoying themselves (Eleanor with Kathryn). I have so many great pictures of them playing together around this same basket… backs turned, intent on the toys at hand.


Time for gifts! We opened them in the living room and set chairs all around for family to sit in.    


Eleanor was gifted many beautiful and kind things… books, toys, some beautiful dresses, summer clothes, giftcards for Mommy and Daddy to get her some fun things, and a beautiful garnet charm (which I’ll probably wear while she’s growing old enough for jewelry!). We are so blessed to have such generous family and she enjoyed hanging out with all of them!


I love this picture of Kathryn:


Enjoying my two girls:


Time for cupcakes! {In these pictures, notice on the wall behind the highchair that the weekly pictures I began when she was born are hanging on the wall. I printed each out and strung them from a colorful ribbon for everyone to enjoy. Most of the family had no idea I had done this and they really loved seeing them all!}

IMG_0261 IMG_0288 IMG_0304-2    IMG_0116-2

We stepped outside for a family photo – this is everyone in attendance.

{Left of Bronce: my parents Bob & Jane, my brother Jim and his daughter Kathryn. Behind Bronce: his sister Lauren and her husband Rob. Behind and to the right of me: Larrry & Linda, Bronce’s parents; Bronce’s brother Spencer with his wife Melissa and daughter Nonavea; Bronce’s aunt Deborah and uncle Richard; Mamaw (the original Nonavea!)} 


And… crazy!


{Because I wanted to actually be in the pictures, I had a friend come do the photography for me. Best decision I made about the day! Photography by Taryn Yager}

Family Photos

I knew I’d have a friend come do Eleanor’s 1-year pictures and some family shots sometime in January, and when piecing together the details of her party I decided it would be best to combine the two events. (Which meant I didn’t have to drag my camera around during her whole party… such a relief. Those photos will be up in another post soon.)

During the hanging-out portion of her party, Bronce, Eleanor, and I slipped outside with Taryn to take some family photos. These are some of my favorites – she did a great job and I was blessed to have her there.






{A huge thanks to my photographer friend, Taryn Yager}

Eleanor is 1 year old!

{Yet again, this post is late. Imagine the posting date is January 16, 2011, and let’s go on from here, mkay?}

Sweet baby girl!

My little Bug is 1 year old. I can hardly believe this day has come! Last January your daddy and I were in a frantic rush of getting things ready for your arrival, and this January the days are flying by so fast we can hardly keep count. When I try to think of a memory from each month, there are so many that occur in the recesses of my mind as a blury vision, things I’m not even sure are totally true… We spent hours snuggled together in my moby wrap and under blankets… One of my favorite things of this year is the precious time we’ve spent together nursing, with you curled up against me, belly rising gently as you were nourished through this amazing gift of God for motherhood… Your daddy and I have treasured every step along the way – your sweet baby voice, precious smiles directed at us, watching your roll over, scoot, and crawl like a champ… The sweet smell of your head as a newborn (you still smell like my own slice of heaven to me!), the feeling of your tiny fingers wrapped around mine, the many nights spent with you curled up on my chest. Milestones and moments… they’ve all been a part of this year and they’re tucked away in my heart much the way Mary “stored up” her treasures. It’s been an amazing journey and I wouldn’t trade a second of it.


The last month of this year has been amazing… and busy! Celebrating the holidays with our growing girl has made this season even more fun! You loved Christmas and all the fun family events. It was certainly a month of being with people, and our social calendar was full! Extended family together was great fun.

The Rodgers Family on Christmas Day:


The Hanson Family on Christmas Day:


You’re doing lots of silly things now. You love playing with your feet! Around the house you often just have socks on your feet, and I can count on them being pulled off within a short amount of time. You’re not walking yet and get angry if we try to set you on your feet and assist you in walking across the room… and forget about putting shoes on your feet while you’re playing! You’ll keep them on for a bit, but just like the socks, they end up strewn about within a few minutes (sometimes they just fall off, especially your boots).

Pulling your sock off while I read you a book:


You’re still nursing like crazy and I’m loving it! I read a while back that for children who nurse and begin talking, it’s wise to come up with a “secret” word to describe nursing so there are less embarassing moments in public. So rather than asking if you want to nurse, I ask if you “want nummies?” You completely understand and will often throw yourself in my arms and lay down in my right elbow when you need comforting. If you want to nurse and I haven’t asked, I’ll hear you saying “mama, mama” or “nana, nana” (the latter is, I believe, your approximation of “nummies” at this point).


You’ve become a picky eater. You still eat really well, but unfortunately I can never tell if you’ll eat a lot for dinner or just pick at your food during lunch. Pasta and sauce is always a good bet. You’re mostly refusing your purees, which is great from the standpoint of purchasing those dumb jars, but means I have to think through our meals a little better to be sure we’re eating something you can eat, too!


You’ve become a nursing acrobat recently. You almost never lay peacefully but contort your body all around while nursing. One foot in the air, yanking on your sock until it comes off, craning your head around if you hear the dog or your daddy in the room, curling your feet under you so you’re almost hunched in crawling position… As long as you’re comforted and not hurting me, it’s all good. Sometimes you get carried away, but we have a little talk about it and you’re back to normal quickly.   


You sleep has been iffy lately. You’re still nursing many times during the night, but we were thrown with an extra curveball when you came down with the stomach bug a few days after Christmas. It started in the middle of the night while you were sleeping in your crib (we finished the night in the den in the recliner) and lasted about ten days. During that time, you mostly slept with daddy and me so we could tend to you if you had any nighttime issues. Before we were even sure you were better, you got a terrible cold that quickly turned into bronchitis. Breathing treatments… antibiotics… it was a tough week or two. Again, you slept in our bed for that time. In fact, you’re still sleeping with us and you’re certainly better from both illnesses. I’ve found it’s generally easier to nurse you through the night if you’re already laying on my arm, and I’ve enjoyed the laziness it affords! We’ll get you back into your crib… eventually!

Watching your PraiseBaby DVDs. Not “educational”… but not harmful like some cartoons. They’re praise music and videos of nature and babies and colors/numbers. You love them!


You’re such a good little entertainer. You love to pl  ay with your toys and books and do a great job with “self-guided-play.” Adults always comment on how well you entertain yourself and don’t require an adult to direct you or play along side. You get upset if you lose sight of me while you’re playing (even if I’m just around the corner in the kitchen), but as long as you’re sure I’m near, you can play for an hour before initiating contact or requesting help/comfort.


You loooooove to kiss. You’re such a sweetie about it and are so “fair.” If daddy and I are both in the room and we ask for a kiss, you’ll reach out your puckered lips to one of us and then quickly to the other as though we all get an equal amount of kisses. You also love to kiss the animals in your books. I’ll often catch you looking through your big picture books and hunching over to give the babies or kitties (your favorite) a kiss. You have a tender heart, I can tell you’re going to be a kind child. It’s amazing seeing those glimpses into your personality at this point.



For Christmas your daddy wanted to buy your first baby. We spent an hour at ToysRUs, frustrated by the choices of talking, walking, pooping, peeing, and crying babies. {Really… who needs a crying, pooping baby at home? I’ve already got one, thanks!} We settled on a simple little baby with eyes that open and close. Actually, we settled on two of them but you contemplated them both for a moment and pointed at one… which, of course, is the one we purchased! You love to hold your baby tight and if we ask where Baby is, you’ll look around until you spot her!


You love flirting when we’re out in public. If you see other kids around you’ll twist and turn and practically lean out of the shopping card to maintain your look at them. Your little mouth opens and your eyes dance with glee as you watch them walk around and do “big kid” stuff.


Sometimes you’re too curious for your own good.  You’ve gotten great at opening drawers but have gotten equally adept at shutting them. Sometimes the two things happen so quickly your little fingers get smashed in the process. Cabinet doors, toys, side tables… anything that will open and shut will also cause some temporary trauma. You recover quickly but the look on your face when the pain registers is awful – and the sound of your cry is heartbreaking. I know there’s some pain to the learning process for these little feats, but it’s terrible to see you hurting from a mistake.


Sweet Bug, you laugh so much and so hard! We constantly chase you around the house and you squeal loudly and crawl frantically. Sometimes you get confused and crawl right toward us for a second before you realize you should be heading in the opposite direction. We often chase you around the ottoman or across the bed (carefully). If I’m holding you and daddy says “I’m gonna get you!” you throw your body into my shoulder furthest from him, laugh loudly, and kick your feet because you just know he’s going to tickle you like crazy!


Your face is the best part of my day. I’m so thankful God has trusted your Daddy and me with you. I love you, Baby Girl.

Eleanor is 11 months old!

{Pretend this was posted remotely on time. I let it sit in my writing program far too long and only just got around to adding the pictures! Oops!}

Amazingly, we’re nearing the 1-year mark. That’s blowing my mind, seriously. I remember last winter and being pregnant and waiting for her arrival… and it just can’t have been almost a year ago!    


You’re getting a lot more active and are doing lots of fun things at this age. You love playing on the floor with us in the den. You’ll give us this look and then take off around the ottoman, inviting us to chase you around. You do the same thing when your daddy is holding you – I’ll “hide” by crouching behind his back and you just giggle and giggle trying to peer around and figure out which side of him I’ll pop up. We play a lot on our big bed, too. You’ll give me the same look and then when I pretend to fall on the bed beside you, you’ll throw yourself over on your side and giggle madly like I’ve tossed you into the pillows.


Right before you turned 11 months you spontaneously gave up bottles. It was surprising to your Mimi and Grandee when they’re so used to you eating well, but you seem to prefer getting your milk from the source. No problem, the milk I have reserved won’t go to waste, we can use it to make you cereal and such.


You’re quite the helper. Except… not really.🙂 You love to take the laudry I’ve carefully folded and pull it all off the couch or bed. And when I’m emptying the dishwasher you like to climb up on the door and pull things out of the bottom. Usually it’s just some tupperware or a plastic cup, but occasionally you’ll grab a butterknife before I can get you away from the dangerous silverware.

You’ve started waving! It’s so cute, but you open and close your little fist, then you turn it toward your face as though you want to examine the movement yourself. So precious.


You’re getting so much closer to walking! I feel like I’ve been saying that for months, but you’ve really been thisclose for such a long time. I swear, you’re going to just take off and run one of these days. We’ve borrowed a walking cart from some family members and you love toddling off behind it. You stick your little bottom out and walk so silly but you just love it! You’ll get going at a fast clip and the whole thing will veer off toward a kitchen chair or the fireplace and you’ll just smash into it and start laughing.


Standing! Almost walking…


You have the best belly laugh! You really get going when you’re tickled. Your toes, your thighs, your belly, your feet and hands… everything is so ticklish and you love it when we get close and threaten to smother you with tickling. You start this huge belly laugh that sounds so much like a little child it just slays me.


Recently you’ve taken to calling out the word “Daddy” for just about everything fun around the house. I find you babbling the word constantly. It’s certainly your favorite! The other day we were in mommy and daddy’s bedroom and you were yelling “Daddy! Daddy!” and pointing at one of the pictures of us in there. It’s sweet that you can pick him out and get so excited when you see him on the walls around the house. But when he comes home from work… that’s when you really get excited, starting your fast crawl toward the basement door, stopping to point at him and cry out “Daddy!” He eats it up, of course.


At this point, you say Mama a lot, but it mainly means you’re hungry. I’m trying to teach you some special words that mean “nursing” so you won’t be yelling anything offensive once you start getting a better grasp on your words.


One of the most fun things you started doing recently is kissing. It’s this huge, exaggerated, open-mouth thing where you cover the other person’s entire mouth with yours. You’ve been sick a lot lately which, coupled with your desire to kiss, probably explains why your daddy and I keep getting sick, too. Regardless, it’s adorable and our hearts melt everytime we say “kiss!” and you respond by leaning up with those pretty little girly lips. You’re delightfully affectionate and we love it!


Baby girl… this year is flying! I guess I better start planning your birthday party! Sheesh, it’ll be here before I know it!


She’s eating… what?

One of those proud Mama moments occurred the other day… it’s one of the ones I’ve been waiting on. I wasn’t even there (Bronce had Eleanor over at his parents’ house while I was busy with my small group), but I got all giddy when I heard about it nonetheless.

The family was sitting down for a meal of homemade chicken noodle soup… The adults each had a bowl full of soup… Eleanor’s 21-month-old cousin sat down to eat her meal of purees and apple sauce… and my sweet 11-month old girl ate a whole plate of chicken noodle soup (minus the broth). Family members who hadn’t seen her eat recently said {this is the moment… wait for it…} “She can eat that?”

Yessiree. My little girl is a table-food monster. At 11 months. And really, earlier… I just didn’t tell you about it yet.

I’ve read about these moments… when other parents will respond with shock that these tiny kids can put away a real meal of food… and it’s awesome. In fact, right now she’s eating a hearty breakfast of half a banana and a scrambled egg with a little cheese on top. No spoon, no fork, no mama-feeding… just a baby girl and her fingers, smashing food in her hair mouth. In fact, she’s not even wearing a bib at the moment (oops), just eating away and dropping a bit of food on the floor for the dog. It’s good stuff.

Yesterday’s lunch… spaghetti and sauce plus a few cheerios, totally self-fed and completely loved.  Notice the spaghetti is totally gone, but she’s left some of those cheerios behind. My girl knows what’s yummiest!


She does tend to smash multiple handfulls of food into her mouth and store them up like a chipmunk. She especially does this with chicken… she’ll just keep chewing and chewing and chewing… eventually she’ll open her mouth to show it to me and I’ll scoop most of it out so she can work on swallowing the rest. Silly girl.

Yes, she started with purees (though her actual first solid food was a smashed up avocado that she played in fed to herself. I hoped to go all-real food (following this Baby Led Weaning website and book) but she really did love the purees for a time so we did use them regularly in addition to offering real foods. She’s eating just about everything we do… lentil soup (minus the sausage), spaghetti and sauce (without the red meat we were enjoying), baked chicken and steamed vegis, and she’s even had some sardines on a cracker when I was partaking last week.

 Eleanor, enjoying her first avocado at 27 weeks:


I was going to sell my remaining purees to a friend last week, but we’ve had some issues with constipation now that she’s almost 100% off them and on real food, so I’ve decided to keep them around and use them as the base to add some chunks of vegis and protein rather than tossing them completely. I think she needs the added liquid in her diet.

Yes, we’re still nursing (around the clock… about every 3-4 hours during the day and 2-3 hours during the night). I always make sure she nurses first and then eats food (about 30-60 minutes later so she’ll actually want to eat something).

But won’t she choke? Yeah, that was my fear, too. But really other than a few instances where she packed her mouth too full, we haven’t had any issues. In fact, the food hasn’t been a problem, it’s been things like teething biscuits that have been more of an issue. I chop up her food pea-size for the most part to avoid this issue. And you’ll recall I took a CPR class early on with a friend, which has given me more confidence in this area. And, ironically, the only true choking scare we’ve had around here was when she ingested part of our Christmas tree the other night and got a pine needle stuck in the back of her throat. The websites I’ve listed below address the choking/gagging issue (because there is a difference and it’s important) in more depth.

Bottom line? It’s awesome. And so convenient because she can actually eat food with us rather than watch from the sidelines while I’m spooning mush into her face.

Resources I’ve used:

Eleanor is 10 months old!

10 months. That’s so close to a year it freaks me out. My little tiny baby girl can’t possibly be close to celebrating her first birthday, can she? Ah, but sweet girl… you’re close. My mind swims with birthday party ideas and invitations and themes… and the reminder that it’s not about all that stuff, but about you and celebrating your wonderful life.


Your daddy and I have so enjoyed watching you grow into this tiny 10-month old girl. You’re getting so much longer and bigger… weighing in at 16 lbs, 3 oz in early November. Yeah, that’s pretty teeny (somewhere below 10th percentile!) making you our little Bug still. But you’re so long… when we nurse your feet can kick the side-table and sometimes you’ll get so animated you tend to launch yourself over my elbow as though you’re making a run for the door.   


Speaking of running… nope. No walking yet. (or running) You’re set on cruising, it seems. You can squat and stand and rise up with your hands gripping a fun toy… but no steps. I hear stories of other parents whose children got stuck in this prolonged rut of cruising until one day… off they went. I think you’ll probably be that way. Your first step will set you off and down the hallway (probably after the dog’s tail or to chase the kitty) and that will be the start of everything (or the end of it, depending on how I measure my sanity!).


You’re becoming more focused on your hands and feet and what you can do with them… You clap your hands together all the time, though I’m not sure you know what you’re really doing with them yet. Your feet have a mind of their own and are all over the place. We’ve put shoes on them a few times and you’re fairly uncomfortable with them. To sit with them on your feet isn’t so bad, but as soon as we pull you to standing you look down at them, bend your knees as though you’re unsure of standing, and begin crying. They’re big for your feet, so it’s not a pinching thing… I think it’s that your toes are restricted. Yep, my little Bug likes to be unrestricted. Anytime we try to hold you against your will for a nap or a hug or for food, you lose your sweet mind and resist. Ah, defiant child. I’m sure that’s not the last time I’ll call you that.


Sleeping… wait, what sleeping? You’re driving us nuts! You seem to want to hang out with me all through the night… You act as though you want to nurse, but I secretly believe you’re just craving company in the night. However, it’s getting a bit extreme. Some nights you’ve had me up as much as every 45 minutes. Whew, that’s exhausting! Your daddy and I are so confused about what you need in order to settle down. And, of course, it doesn’t help that just as we figure out something you get a nasty cold and it sets you off your rocker for up to a week. In fact, since we’ve been going to Bible study on Wednesday mornings, you’ve been getting sick just about every other week. Meaning… we can’t go back the next week for fear that we’d re-infect the other kiddos (I only wish the moms with the other sick kids would take the same route… ugh). Either way, I love that you’re hearing about Jesus from someone other than your daddy and me.


Food… oh, that’s what you really want to talk about, huh? Yep, that’s your favorite thing. You’re still a champion nurser and don’t seem to be letting up (about 6x during the day, roughly every 2-3 hours, and 2-3 times during the night). I’ve read other moms whose kiddos are down to 4 sessions during the day and 2, 1, or even no night sessions… but we’re not headed that way anytime soon from what I can tell. Fine by me. Holding you and taking some quiet time out of our crazy day is one of the best things about being a mom, in my opinion. You nurse best in your room so we walk away from the noise and snuggle in your glider many times each day and night. It’s precious time to me. But table food… that’s another matter. You’re still eating baby food (and loving just about all of it! Spinach and Potatoes? Butternut Squash soup? Zucchini and Broccoli? Bring it on!) but you’re eying mommy and daddy’s food more and more each day. When we go out to eat I always order you a side of broccoli and give you some of my food if it’s baby-appropriate. And cheerios. Whew, you love those things. You’re a great eater and you’re very adventurous with your food.


This month we celebrated your cousin Kathryn’s 3rd birthday at the lake with my parents. We had a great time all together and the cousin-friends got to love on each other a lot. It was a fun weekend. You didn’t seem to notice the celebration was about her and not you, but rather enjoyed the attention and company of family.

Time is passing so quickly… 11 months will be here before you know it…

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Perdido Key

For about a decade I’ve been vacationing in Perdido Key, FL. It started when my college girlfriends frequented a condo owned by one of their parents and has continued long since losing touch with that friend. Bronce and I have been to Perdido nearly every year for vacation.



This year since I’m working part-time and can work flexible days, we were able to get away for a whole week. Eleanor had been to the beach before (our trip in the spring to Charleston) but this was the first time she’s really get to spend time down near the water. We invited Bronce’s parents to join us for the first few days so we had some extra hands to corral the little stinker, and it was a big help. With us all at the beach, we took up a lot of room.


Eleanor hanging out with her Mimi.


Down at the water we popped up Eleanor’s canopy and borrowed a sheet from the condo to create this little play area. Because our rental included fabulous beach chairs and one of those giant umbrellas, we relocated the umbrella to cast a shadow over Eleanor’s whole play area.


Quickly I realized that she didn’t like the feel of sand on her hands or feet, which meant she happily stayed on the sheet and played without wandering around anywhere. Score!


Most mornings Bronce (and his Dad) would head down to the beach to fish. You can see Bronce out in the surf in the picture below. Storms the week before had created this strange channel along the beach separating the crashing waves from the beach where our chairs were.


Bronce caught a number of fish including whiting, a giant flounder (caught our last day… we weren’t sure what to do with it but I’m sure it would have been fabulous if cooked properly!), and this moray.


Here’s a sweet picture of our family taken on the 11th floor balcony of our condo.


Little Miss hanging out at the beach:


Me, snuggling with my Bug in the sun.


Bronce, dancing her toes in the surf. The water was pretty cold until you got used to it, so she wasn’t much of a fan.


Baby Girl and her Daddy


Out to eat. Shrimp Basket!!


The condo had a wall of mirrors. She was obsessed and kept “kissing the baby.” I’m sure the maid service was thrilled when we left and they had to clean all that glass… oops.


The last night we went on a long evening walk. As usual, Eleanor snuggled up with me in her carrier and we took some pictures as a family.