I’ve been telling everyone that we do not have a toddler yet, since she is not technically toddling. It seems unfair that you only have a baby for a year. But in the last 2 weeks or so, the baby has left the building and the toddler has moved in – with a vengeance.

She has taken to hurling herself backwards when she doesn’t get her way, or when I fail to read her mind, or when the breeze picks up from the west. Luckily, that didn’t last too long. Now, she at least has the good sense to crawl to a rug or carpet, sloooooowly roll back, and then commences with the tantrum. I’m thrilled to see that she has some iota of self-preservation in that little body of hers, because I was really beginning to wonder.

She also likes to test her limits. And who can blame her, really? I like the spunk. Several weeks ago I stopped picking up the animals’ water bowls and decided instead that we’d learn to not play in them. This went against everyone’s advice to pick my battles, just remove them from her sight & reach, etc. But due to our pets’ ages, temperaments and health issues,  I decided that the water bowls needed to stay where they were. So we spent a full morning playing excruciatingly close to the water bowls and correcting her when we swan dived into them. I felt like it went pretty well. After a few more reminders on subsequent days, I’d say we have an 85% success rate going here.

But then the testing started. The other day, she crawled up to it and her little pointer finger flicked up like it was on a spring. She locked eye contact with me and slowly put her finger on the rim of the bowl. And then proceeded to draaaag it around the edge of the bowl. I had a brief moment of panic. Was the rule that she wasn’t to touch the water bowl, or just the water? OMG, that’s so cute. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh!  So I just said, “Elia, you know that’s the cats’ water. Do you want your water?”

She removed her finger and then flung her entire hand over the bowl. Just hovering over the water. “Elia, come get your water. That water is for the cat.” She smiled and stretched her hand even further and proceeded to pat, pat, pat the wall behind the bowl. OMG, that’s even cuter. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh.

I’m extremely proud to report that she eventually crawled away to get her own water. That time. Sometimes a bowl full of water is just too tempting.

January 2012: The good ole days.

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Loving You & Loving These Photos

I love having talented friends. I love even more when my talented friend are also brilliant.  My friend, Megan, has a photography business and she’s launched a new concept that takes “a day in the life” to the next level. If you want, you can skip the coordinating outfits, and gorgeous settings, and posing, and instead have her come over to shoot your every day life as it is. PJs, toys on the floor, baby wipes out, dog in the background, and all. (She probably will not come over to your house the night before and drink wine and have a slumber party, but it cannot hurt to ask.)

But seriously, she can find the beauty in the mundane. Like below? I’m 99% sure I was wiping Elia’s hands clean after she went dumpster diving for the 10th time that morning. But it’s a really sweet snapshot of life as it is right now. I am pretty much in love with this series.

My little dumpster diver.

A few photos are included, but click here for the full link. (And I have no idea where some of you mystery readers are from, but if you’re on the Florida panhandle, check out Loving You Photography).

Sweet baby.

Elia – 14 months

Elia & Mama singing Jenny Jenkins.

The pigtail wars – just one of an awesome series.

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A thing of the past?

This was washed & packed up yesterday. Granted, she only took 1 bottle a day – her bedtime bottle with her mama. But still! We have a big girl who goes to sleep at night without boob or bottle.


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The routine

I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve recapped our daily routine. It’s changed a lot and is on the verge of another big shift, so I wanted to record this snapshot of daily life at 1 year old.

Good morning, sunshine!  After months of working on this, we’ve pushed her wake up time from 5am to between 6 & 7am. The time change helped us tons, which has resulted in TWO 7am mornings in a row.

Bed Head

Breakfast of Champions: She nurses for a bit, but is becoming more easily distracted. There are too many amazing things to look at in the morning. Mom, dogs, sunlight streaming through the window, etc. After that, Ashley brings her downstairs for breakfast and music. Though she doesn’t need purees any more, she still likes them with oatmeal in the morning, so she’ll have apples, pears or prunes. Sometimes Ash makes her an omelet or pancakes. I’m shamelessly lazy while this is going on, and usually spread out in the bed. I tend to fall into peaceful sleep about 2 seconds before they come back upstairs. I take my shower while Elia destroys the bathroom, then we go downstairs and play and read a bit.

Nap-a-dap: She’s ready for her nap exactly 3 hours after waking. Like clockwork. She still nurses down and gets rocked to sleep, but there are 2 big changes in napland these days. First, at 10.5 months I tried to put her down in her crib, as I tried every month or so. She rolled over and looked right at me. I started the butt pats and waited for the loud protests that I knew would come. Instead, she dropped her head and went right to sleep. She’s napped in her crib from that moment on! At the same time, she dropped from 3 naps to 2. She was on 3 a day for a looooong time, but she needed them. And now 2 months later, she’s trying to get to 1 nap a day, but we’re not quite there yet. Nap 1 will last from 45 minutes – 2 hours. The uncertainty makes planning our day hard, but it is what it is. The up side is that I get to clean while she naps now.

Sweet Sleep

Ladies Who Lunch: At noon, we sit down for lunch together. We often have leftovers from dinner, but I also try to keep one type of steamed veggie, beans of some sort, boiled eggs, greek yogurt or cheese, and fresh fruit on hand at all times. If there are no leftovers, we just make it up as we go based on the list above. She eats really well. She still hasn’t outright rejected anything – not even salmon. Some days she eats more than others, but if she has a light lunch, she tends to make it up for dinner. Plus, she still nurses a lot so I know I don’t have to worry too much, as long as she’s eating a nice balance of things.

Red Beans & Rice

Gallivanting Girls: Now it’s time to dress her for the day and GO! We get out of the house nearly every day, whether it’s for errands or play dates with the local parent group. She loves story time, and there are 3 libraries fairly close, so we always have options. We go to the park A LOT these days, even though she’s still not walking. I’m working on a running schedule (but keep getting derailed due to knee pain), so sometimes we go for a run in the jogging stroller. We’ve also just started music class, which we’re very excited about. And by “we”, I mean Ashley and I, though she seems to love it too. 😉 Otherwise, we play and by “play”, I mean that she explores and I try to keep her alive.

Music Class

Nap-a-dap Deaux: Since she’s dropped to 2 naps and is in her crib, I try to be home for her naps now, whereas before, I’d just make sure that we were on a long drive, or she was in her sling at nap time and she’d nap on the go. This 2nd nap is from 30 minutes to an hour and occasionally doesn’t happen at all. Aye. I think pretty soon we’ll start delaying her first nap to see if she goes to one a day. If she won’t sleep, we still nurse and rock with the lights off, so she at least gets quiet time.

More pictures of a sleeping baby!

More pictures of a sleeping baby!

Galavant Deaux: If the first excursion was of the errand variety, which it often is, I’ll try to get out for a walk and to the park after the 2nd nap. Or, if I couldn’t do all my housework during the first nap, I get it done while she chases me around and pulls down what I just put up.

I'll help you with the laundry, mommy

Mama! Ashley comes home between 5 and 6, they have cuddle and playtime for just a bit before dinner. For most of her young life, we have fed her and then Ash put her to bed while I completed dinner. The 2 of us ate once she was in bed. Lately though, we’ve moved up our dinner time and pushed back her bedtime so we can all have dinner together. Ashley and I have really enjoyed it and Elia has really just gone with the flow. She now eats what we do for dinner (with minor modifications to her food of course).


Good night, sweetheart: Ashley give her a bottle at 7 and rocks her to sleep. Sometimes she downs 4-5oz and sometimes the bottle is only a tool to help her drift off and she only has an ounce or two. Unless something strange is going on, she goes to sleep fairly easily.

Party Time! After 4 or so months of sleeping through the night, we hit a massive speed bump. It started with a cold and then turning into teething (4 teeth in 3 weeks). A bad night had her up every 1.5 hours, or awake for up to 2 hours before napping for an hour and starting all over. It was a huge challenge, but at exactly 1 year she got back to a good sleeping pattern. We’re loving and appreciating every moment until the next set of teeth.

Nursing: She officially has milk 4 times a day: early morning, before the 2 naps and her bottle at night, however, she does frequent “drive bys” during the day while playing and of course gets nursed down at each night waking, so she’s getting far more than that.

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1 year!

Our sweet baby is no longer a baby by strict definition. However, I’ll refuse to call her a toddler until she’s toddling. Although I have to admit that toddler-like emotions and opinions are beginning to emerge.

1 Year Old

The Botanical Gardens

Before we get to baby milestones, let’s talk about mommy. I handled 1 really well, if I do say so myself. I only teared up once as we started singing happy birthday. The morning of her birthday, I posted “Elia survived our first year as parents!” and I was only kind of joking. Looking back, I’m amazed at how little we knew, but you just hunker down and do it.

Now to put the focus back on Elia:

In your last month as a “baby,” you kept very busy. You got your very first tooth (upper right) and then immediately got 3 more. That’s 4 teeth in 3 weeks, so I’m afraid that it was a very, very rough month for everyone. Your sleeping, which had been a dream from 7 – 10.5 months, reverted back to a newborn schedule with you waking every few hours. We knew it was because you were in pain, but there was little we could do besides the pain relievers and lots of cuddles and nursing. It was quite pitiful.

Teething Chomps

You continued to get more espressive with your hands, so we’ve been working on more signs. We cannot believe how quickly you learn and how well you can communicate. Your mama has started putting hand motions to all of the songs that we sing frequently, and we were shocked to discover how quickly you learned them, even when there are several different hand motions to a single song. You’ll also randomly start doing the hand motions, which we take as a sign that you want to sing that particular song.

Elia & Maw Maw

Besides the official and unofficial signing you can do, you say several words. In addition to your very first word, dog (DOH!), you also say cat, bird (bir), duck, that (dat), and, embarrassingly, boob. Nope, you do not say mom, mama or mommy. Oh, well. We’re also learning that your vocabulary is much bigger than what you can technically say. If we ask you to get the ball, you do so consistently, and you know your cabbage patch doll as “sweet baby” and will get her when asked too. Your mama would cuddle and rock and pat the doll’s back, while saying “awwww, sweet baby.” So you not only picked up that she is “sweet baby”, but you now pat our backs when we pick you up, which we find so unbelievably cute.

St. Patrick's Day

You still love to eat. You’ve tried just about everything except for peanut butter and have yet to outright reject anything.

Red Beans & Rice

Your favorite pastime - eating your friend's snacks.

You are still pulling up, and have started standing for a few seconds at a time before you realize what you are doing and plop back down. I don’t think you’re too close to walking though, and that’s fine.

We’ve also started Music Class, which you seem to love. You particularly like the songs where the babies are allowed to shake, rattle and bang on instruments and often protest loudly when the song is over and I have to put them away. You can be pretty serious during class (even while dancing and bopping about to every song. Dancing is serious business), but you perk up immensely when we sing the songs and play the CD for you outside of class.

Playing with Callie

And I cannot recap this month without mentioning The Face. You have started this horrible yet hilarious expression whenever you see something new, or confusing, or upsetting or annoying or anything, really. Luckily, you’re cute so people see it and laugh, but honestly, it’s a little embarrassing for mommy.

The Face

We had your party on Saturday, March 24th, the day before your birthday. The theme was The Very Hungry Caterpillar in honor of the fact that we stuff you, only to find that “you’re still hungry.” Oh, and because the theme pretty much did the menu planning for me. We had fruit salad (apples, pears, plums, oranges, strawberries & watermelon), a meat and cheese tray (including swiss cheese, salami, sausage, and pickles among other things), a cake and some “lollipops” (cake pops in the shape of a caterpillar).  In addition we had baked brie, jalapeno poppers, sweet tea and sangria for the adults. The hungry caterpillar didn’t have any of that, but he really should have.


There were about 13 guests, including immediate family and close friends, so you were surrounded by a lot of love. We were pretty excited to see what you’d think about the cake, since it would be your first real taste of dessert. You studied it and then very carefully picked at the icing with your thumb and pincher finger. You considered the icing for a second and then decided to feed it to mommy. We finally gave in and cut a small piece of cake for you, but you were underwhelmed. In all, it was the daintiest cake “smash” we’ve ever witnessed.


We adore you, princess angel monkey!

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What she thinks about the child safety locks


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Sleep Learning

While scientists still are not 100% sure about the purpose of sleep, they do know it is vital to learning. I cannot begin to comprehend what goes on in a baby’s brain while she sleeps since there is simply so much to process, but I occasionally get little glimpses into it.

During periods when Elia’s just exploding with new “tricks” – like now – her sleep becomes, well, a nightmare. I’ve noticed that in the early morning hours, between 4 and 5, that she’s very restless and very difficult to get back to sleep. The perfect duo of nursing and rocking just doesn’t do its trick during these phases.

She appears to be asleep. Her eyes are closed and her face and body are fairly relaxed, but it is as though she is compelled to rehearse all of her new learning and it’s beyond her control. Without fully waking, she reviews all her sounds: raspberries, kisses, “ooohhh”, “doh (dog), doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh, doh” ad infinitum. Or so it feels at 4 am. Her body is in on this mandatory review as well. Her little feet spin constantly while her hands fly through her signs. Waving, clapping, pointing, milk, happy. She sucks her lower lip, grimaces, then smiles. She giggles as she reacts to some memory that I’m not privy to. She tosses and turns on her boppy; she nurses and stops. This can carry on for an hour. Good thing it is so amusing to me to watch. Finally, finally those little twirling feet slow down, and her movement changes from purposeful motions to the jerky twitches of sleep. I turn her to me, use my arms as a human swaddle and nurse her one final time. I rock firmly until her little head starts to sway with the rhythm and I know the show is finally over.

Sweet dreams, princess.

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