Letters to Eleanor

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!).

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!).

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

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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.

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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 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.

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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:

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The Hanson Family on Christmas Day:

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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:

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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).

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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!

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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.   

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!    

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Standing! Almost walking…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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.   

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

You might have missed…

I put up some posts that were a little (okay, a lot) late. You might have missed them in your feeder, I’m not sure if Google Reader and the like catch old back-dated posts.

Eight Month letter to Eleanor

A weekend with family in South Carolina

Baby Girl’s 9-month Letter

Nine Months

As each of these month-a-versaries passes, I’m more shocked by the passage of time. My little girl is growing up so quickly! People have been stopping me in stores for months to let me know that it would happen quickly, but I’m constantly reminded just how BIG you are! Doing some newborn photo shoots lately has reminded me of how tiny and squishy you once were… You’re still my little girl, of course, but you’re just getting so big and learning so much all the time!

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You’re ringing in this month with seven teeth. I’m not even sure when the last two appeared… Somehow you went from five to seven seemingly overnight. 

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You’ve got such a personality, too. You’re beginning to get very vocal (lots of mamamamama and dadadadada… and yes, the “mama” came first! Good girl!) and love to chatter at us all the time. You’re hilarious in the grocery store, chattering away at the groceries and checking out all the people around us. I find myself repeating “she never meets a stranger!” and it’s so true… You’ll smile, laugh, giggle, and awkwardly stare at just about anyone.

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You’ve been standing up for months, but I feel like you’re getting so much closer to walking! You cruise around and climb through the craziest obstacles. Your daddy likes to put you in “predicaments”… meaning, he’s always putting things in your path to confound you and see if you can figure out how to get through. I know he thinks he’s being silly, but I think it’s actually helping you learn how to get around better as you navigate those various pillows, chairs, toys, tossed blankets, etc.

Your new favorite thing is to play in the pantry while I’m cooking dinner. We have a few of these water gallons on the floor and you enjoy knocking them over and scooting them around.

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You’re eating really well. We give you lots of finger foods to try out, but you’re still a lover of purees. I’m trying to break you of that habit as much as possible so you won’t be weird about textures. I try to share part of my plate with you wherever we go so you get used to lots of different tastes. You’ll try anything, which is encouraging. And by “try”… I mean “smash it around and smoosh it in your hair”… but that’s good too.

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You play HARD. You’re awesome when it comes to playing by yourself. We’ve expanded your play area to the whole den (we jam the ottoman into the wide doorway to the hall and pull kitchen chairs up between the recliner and the kitchen) and you’re all over it. You push toys around, toss them out of your toybox, sit and “read” books (meaning: chew the covers and yell at the pages), and love to cruise around the couch looking for one of the real tv remotes or my cellphone to grab and chew on.

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You’re not really sleeping better… in fact we’re about to start working on your nights hardcore. Waking 4-7 times a night is just not cutting it, and while I don’t mind nursing you in the night, the constant night-waking is just too much and not necessary.

You’ve started this cute thing where I put my head near yours and say “bonk!”… you lean forward and tap your forehead to mine. Each time we bonk foreheads I say “bonk!” outloud and you just giggle and giggle!

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The week before you turned 9 months, we went to the beach. You had a great time! The condo floors were tile, which freaked me out the whole time as I was convinced you were going to bash your head, but you loved it and they didn’t seem to bother your little knees. I’ll write more in another post, but you did a great job down at the beach, too. You weren’t too keen on sand so you stayed on our towel/sheet and played with your toys in the shade, only stopping when daddy took you on long walks down the beach.

Girlie, you’re amazing.

Eight Months

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You’re such a little mover, working your way all over the place when we let you crawl around free. It’s been fun watching you grow!

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I love the quiet time we have together when you’re nursing. Lately you’ve been more playful – your free arm is always doing something – pulling my hair, tugging the ribbons on your lovey, or throwing your blanket on the floor. When I nurse you on the right you always take your right hand and stretch to your foot, kicking it straight up toward your head. Somehow this doesn’t even interfere with what you’re doing, you little gymnast.

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We play every day in your “pen.” It’s an area in the den floor where I take our large ottoman and block off a part of the sectional. The fourth “wall” is created by your stand-up music toy and your canvas toy box. You love to sit with me in the pen and play for hours. You look intently at a toy for a while and then toss it over, crawl to the box, pull up, and get something else out to play with. Adorably, sometimes you stand there and start tossing things out till you find the one you want.

ElranorWk32_0018 While sitting on the floor together you eventually will give up on your toys and meander over to me. You use every means possible to stand up on my legs – pulling on my shirt or my hair, often using both hands wound in my hair to wrench yourself off the ground. I’ve read that motor development begins at your head and develops down – this is evident in your masterful and strong hands but sometimes-confused placement of your feet. When trying to climb (on me or the couch or anything else), you’re pulling with your arms rather than pushing off with your legs.

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And what are you climbing for? Well, sometimes for my face – you like to stand with our faces close and stick your sideways tongue out at me.

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Other times you’re on the look for one thing… buttons. Cordless phones, remote controls, the computer mouse… whatever you can find that will be bumpy and good to chew on. Nevermind if you somehow activate the parent-control buttons on our cable box and I don’t know how to undo it… Hah, we’ve even given you your own remote (batteries removed and the battery cover is permanently attached so not a choking hazard) but you lost it quickly. Well, maybe we lost it. Either way it’s a mystery.

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Teeth… oh teeth. Good grief. Your bottom two have been in for a while but you’re in the process of getting three top ones in at a time (two center and the left canine). I didn’t think the canines were supposed to come in for a while! But… they’re coming. Baby tylenol, teethers, and patience. Those are necessities now. Meanwhile you twist your tongue and chomp on it to the left side of your bottom teeth. It’s such a cute little squishy look.

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You’re also loving kitchen utensils.

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You’ve started reaching out to us a lot, in your crib, from the floor, getting out of your carseat… It’s sweet and I’m happy to pick you up anytime you come for me with your sweet smile!

And, because it’s Football Time in Tennesse…. Go Vols!

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Seven Months

I’m amazed I’m already writing this letter! I’m also amazed I’m a week late. Okay… no, that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Timelines and deadlines are flying by me right now and it’s only with my carefully-written to-do lists that I even manage to get stuff done around the house. Like laundry. Yes, I have to write that down on my list. Otherwise I get out of the shower in the morning and realize I have no clean pants… which has happened more times than I’d like to count in the last few weeks.

Anyway, Eleanor is technically 7 months and one week old by now… But who’s counting? Oh wait, I am…EleanorWk27_0010

Baby girl… I think more fun things have happened in this last month than any previous. I remember my friend Robin telling me that the 6-12 month window is the hardest because of increased mobility, and WOW can I just say that’s soooo true. What we defined as “crawling” at the end of last month is nothing like your achievements at this point. You’re flying around the house and are always underfooot! You’ve gained a lot of confidence in your ability to get around, though you still have some wipeouts every now and then (which are super dramatic and teary).

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We started you on cereal and baby food and real food a few weeks ago. We’re doing a modified following of the Baby Led Weaning practice, though I don’t always have organic vegetables on hand for you and we’re giving you baby food regularly too. So far you’ve loved avocado and sweet potatoes (steamed and also plain baked ones).

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As soon as you got comfortable moving around you started seeking UP positions… You’ve always loved being on your feet and bouncing in our laps, but now you’re actively reaching for toys and things up high, pulling your little body till you’re standing all by yourself! We have some fun activity table toys for you to play with and you’re enjoying all the sounds. You’ve gotten great at lowering yourself back to the ground, too. Every now and then you still take a tumble, but generally you’re doing well at adapting to this new view of the world.

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You love buttons. You become fixated on the remotes in the den, so we’ve confiscated and unused remote and removed the batteries so it can be your toy. You will sit still and play with that thing for twenty minutes – it’s incredible how many new ways you find to chew on the edges (or smash it around on the ground).

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Though you’re not sleeping any better at night (still waking to nurse 3-6 times from 11pm-6am), you do take some killer naps sometimes. Often when you awake, you’ll play quietly in your crib and I’ll hear you moving around. When I go to peek in at you, you’re pulling up on your bumper and peeking through the slats at me. Sometimes you’ll be standing completely up, looking over the rails for toys you can’t quite reach.

 EleanorWk27_0026We see glimpes of your personality shining through all the time. From your response to daddy’s relentless tickling and the way you reach for us or play shy… the defiant way you try to roll off your changing table every time we address a dirty diaper… even the way you crawl around trying to pick up the air conditioning floor vents to see what’s in them (I fear the day you realize there’s nothing there but to toss a toy down the metal vent would be fun… yeesh). You get a sweet look on your face and stare at your hands as you wiggle your fingers and turn your hands over and back. It’s precious watching you discover these body parts and the way to manipulate them.

EleanorWk29_0001Your smile is the brightest part of my day, sweet girl. As more of those teeth come through (and they’re trying!), I know we’ll have some tough moments but seeing that grin and your precious arms reaching out to me confirms I have the best job in the world as your mommy.

Six Months

(I’m posting this letter a few days late – we were in Atlanta on her actual monthly birthday and I didn’t have my laptop. Instead, Bronce and I brainstormed all the fun things the last month has brought – a great way to look back and collaborate on our favorite moments of her latest growth. I’ve included some of those things in the letter below.)

My sweet little bug, how is it possible that you’re 6 months old now? Half a year has passed since you were first placed in my arms all squirmy and wiggly.

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Though that surprised face had more to do with our expectations that you would be a boy, it’s certainly a face I’ve made a lot lately as you’ve done some hilarious things to surprise me. It’s been a wild ride, girl.

We’ve done a LOT this month and you’ve traveled all over the southeast! We visited some friends in Nashville, visited Grandee an Papa at their lake house quite a few times (where you slept like a champ in their crib. Yay!), you’ve seen the aquarium in Atlanta, and hopefully this next month will have us returning to South Carolina to visit your Uncle Jim and cousin Kathryn a few more times.

Our “family” in Nashville:

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We’ve made some change to your sleeping arrangements… You began rolling around your crib fully swaddled which scared me silly, so we got rid of the swaddle. Apparently that decision also rid us of our own sleep. Whew, you do NOT sleep well with your little arms and legs unfettered. Instead, they swing all over the place and wake you constantly. That first week you were waking every 30 minutes and needing to be soothed back to sleep. You’re getting slightly better now three weeks later, but haven’t really adjusted well at all. Sometimes you make it through the night only waking 3 times… that is considered a success, as bizarre as it sounds. If I can catch a 2.5 hour stretch of sleep, I feel like we’ve had a good night. I can remember complaining a few months ago that you were still waking in the night once to nurse… sheesh, I’d love to go back to those days! Your daddy and I pray for you every night before bed and we always slip in a request to the Lord that you would sleep well. After all, Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” We’re clinging to that literally – if He says everything, then He must care about it all! Including your (and our!) sleep.

Another hurdle to your sleep has been your newfound mobility. Yes, you’re about thisclose to crawling. Right now you scoot around quickly (you are no longer safe on our bed unless we’re watching you super closely) and can get to anything really fast. You get into crawling position and can make a few “steps” forward but haven’t started flying across the floors yet. You love getting up on all fours – hands and tippy toes – and “crawling” that way. Your Poppy thinks you’re going to be walking pretty soon. (Eek.)

As you crawl around you’re constantly finding new things to put in your mouth. In fact, sometimes I find you crawling off the carpet just so you can suck on the hardwood floors. Yuck, but you seem to like them. Or, you’ll crawl over to your jumper and gnaw on the bottom of the frame. Regardless, everything finds its way in to your mouth eventually (including my hair, cell phone, the tv remote – ooooh, you just love those buttons!).       

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Maybe part of the reason you’re putting everything in your mouth is to try out those new teeth of yours… Yep. You’ve got 2 teeth already! (The bottom front two) One came in a few days after your 5-month birthday and the other broke through last week. Yet another hurdle to your sleeping issues. It’s been a hard road as you’ve dealt with the pain – your cries have changed over the last 10-12 days too, and you’ve now included a new frantic scream into your repertoire. Tylenol and washcloth-covered ice cubes have been your best friends as you’ve adjusted to your newfound bite. Speaking of biting… yep, you’re making nursing difficult. I’ll leave it at that, but will say: OUCH.

Here’s a picture taken when your first tooth came in. I don’t have one of the two teeth yet.

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Your little body is growing up… and we do mean up. You’re so tall and have these long, lean, perfectly kissable legs with just the right amount of chub. You’re wearing 6-9 month clothes (some of your onesies are 12-month) mainly for the length. In fact, we’ve purchased a new carseat for you since you’re about to outgrow your newborn seat. Granted, the old one was smaller than most, but you’re hanging off it and HATE being smooshed in the straps. So… on to a toddler seat! We’ll keep you rear facing for at least two years as all the current recommendations say to do. (Sidenote: The Car Seat Lady website has some great information on WHY to keep a child rear-facing for at least 2 years. This is really important, moms!!)

When you’re not dealing with tooth pain, you’re a very happy baby. You get so excited when daddy gets home from work – as soon as you hear his shoes on the wood floors you’re climbing all over me to find out where he is. You also get excited to play in your jumper, sometimes laughing and screaming in glee for 20 minutes or so as we giggle and watch you flail all over the place (I swear that thing is going to rocket you into the ceiling one of these days!).

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You’ve become quite the mimic. When we make noises with our mouths you’ll try to copy us. You usually end up doing a great deal of spitting, too, but it’s so cute to hear you playing on the floor and trying to make the “pffffft” noises while you’re smashing your toys around. The other night you were sitting with your daddy and he whistled. You started blowing air through your lips at him – quite impressive!

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You’re obsessed with the dog and cat, still. Biton (our dog) has become more friendly and will let you get near him. Chandler (the cat) is a little curious but wise enough to keep his furry tail far away from your little grabby hands. EleanorWk25-023

You’re not much of a “foodie” yet. In fact, you hate cereal, making the funniest faces as you open your mouth and let it dribble down your face. We’re not planning to use much baby food, as we’re using Baby Led Weaning (info also here) to guide our food choices for you, and you’ve loved avocado, watermelon, banana, and bread so far. Up next? Sweet potato, carrots, and whatever our garden decides to start producing!

I know some people don’t like pictures of babies eating, but we have a whole series of shots like this one. See how much you love it? Hah.

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And… shoulder straps? Seriously? Why did we think those were necessary? Instead, they’re just completely covered in cereal goop now. Yuck.

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Last week Daddy put you in this box and slid you around on the floor. It’s true what they say – kids are more interested in boxes than toys! You had a blast and he thought it was so funny to see you giggle as he steered you in your “car.”

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You and your friend Luke had another playdate. You’re so cute playing together – and it’s a huge change from when you’d just lay on the same blanket completely unaware that the other baby was close by. While Luke’s mommy got his bottle ready, I picked him up to comfort him – making my own little Bug jealous. So I scooped you up, too. So cute! (I love the monkey on her bottom!)

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Sweet Eleanor, you’re amazing. It’s so fun watching you grow and change as you take in the world around you. Your smiles are the best thing in our lives. Watching you giggle as you plan with your Daddy is the best part of every day. I love you so much.

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Five Months

Sweet, Baby Girl Eleanor…

Five months… that’s more than 150 days and nights with you in my life. Before you were born, a good friend reminded me many times of the saying “The days are long but the years are short.” She was so right. Each day with you can be long (especially lately when you’re teething and I’m unable to completely console you!) but when I look back the weeks and months have passed in a flash.

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This month you’ve done a lot  of changing. We’ve seen your sweet little face fill out some as you’ve put on some weight (yay!). You’re much more aware of the world around you and we’re loving every interaction.

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You’re now a champion roller. You can roll from front to back and back to front (going either way… for a while you preferred to roll from back to belly by only rolling over your right arm). We have to be careful where we set you down for fear you’ll just get going and roll off the bed! In the mornings you like to hang out in our bedroom on the big king size bed while we get ready. You’re starting to pull your knees up under you and scoot some in all different directions, so placing you in the center of the bed is getting more imperative. (We always watch her, don’t worry!)

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I love this picture – you were looking into your daddy’s eyes when I took it, giggling with him. Those moments are the best.

You love your hands and feet. You’re always grabbing your hands and pulling them to your chest. You also found your feet and love pulling them to your face and jamming your toes in your mouth. You sleep in socks (to keep your cold toes from waking you at night) but I like to pull the them right off when you get up in the morning so you can start playing. You also grab other things all the time.

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If you’re in the mood and not to distracted, you’ll let me sit you up in “tripod” position. Sometimes you’ll stay like this for ten or so seconds, but every now and then you’ll sit this way for a few minutes before you go toppling over. Your favorite toy is “Lammy” – your little lamb buddy. You’ve really gravitated to this toy and I’ll admit I helped you with that – you have some other fluffy stuffed animals that aren’t quite this cute and I love that this guy is one of your favorites.

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Sometimes you lay on your belly and put your arms down by your sides, kicking your little feet as though they’re going to take you somewhere. When you catch us watching you, you think it’s hilarious and you’ll smash your face down and wiggle all your arms and legs like a fish out of water. It’s so cute! I need to grab a picture of it next month before you stop doing it.

Speaking of being on your belly… two weeks ago you woke in the middle of the night, crying, and I expected to find you scooted up into the corner of the bed like usual. Nuh uh! My little Houdini got all the way out of her swaddle and flipped over on her belly. You seemed so distraught to be on your tummy in your crib, you were yelling your head off about it. We’re going to have to spend some time in the crib during the day (as soon as I get done teaching summer school – ugh) to get you used to it. We’re also going to have to lose the swaddle soon – you’re all the time getting out of it and I think often you wake in the night because you’re fighting to get your arms out and you’d be content if you weren’t stuck in that straight jacket! I’m not looking forward to those sleepless nights as we transition, but I do see the necessity of teaching you to sleep without being swaddled.

We put you in your first cloth diaper to go swimming at Mimi and Poppy’s pool. Unfortunately, the pool was closed when we got there, so you haven’t been in the water yet. You looked so cute in your big diaper though, and seemed okay with it! (We haven’t been using them much yet because your skinny legs let them gap too much and we’re afraid of leaks. Soon I’ll purchase another batch of diapers that are designed for a skinnier baby and we’ll be in business!)

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Uncle Jim sent us Kathryn’s old jumper seat and you’ve looooved it. We decided to keep it a Grandee and Papa’s house, so we have a different one at home now, but here are some pictures of you in the first one. (Yes, we rigged some extra toys to hang from the top for added enjoyment) You love it.

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My favorite part is seeing your little toes dancing beneath it. So cute!

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You make the funniest squishy face when you wake up. One morning I pulled out the camera to capture it – love this!

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You’re teething big time, too. I think you’ll be cutting your first tooth soon. We have some frozen teethers that you use sometimes for a few minutes, but the old piece-of-ice-in-a-washcloth trick works just fine, too.

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Girlie, you’re the best thing to happen to your daddy and me. These months have flown by but we’ve made some of the best memories of our lives. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for us this summer! Happy 5 months, girlie!

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