Tuesday, December 25, 2007

eliana's first christmas, 2007

Eliana thoroughly enjoyed her first Christmas...

well if christmas eve was fantastic, then christmas day really takes the cake. this was one of the mellowest holidays i've had in a long time and i have to say, i am way down with mellow holidays. the three of us woke up and while elie and jeff snuggled and hung out in bed, i made a big pot of coffee and a delicious lemon poppyseed loaf. by the way, i never really bake, but lately i'm feeling like it's my responsibility as a mama to care more about baked goods in the home. this morning was an excellent example of the new culinary path of mine. i put the bread and some fruit out on the coffee table, poured some fresh squeezed oj and coffee, and got myself ready for the day ahead. mort and roseann arrived and i fixed them up with good stuff, ever ready to be the christmas hostest with the mostest. the gift opening went well. not too much stuff, not a frenzy filled, paper tearing fest, just a nice, go around the circle sort of present time. and of course, eliana made out the most with all sorts of fantabulous new accessories to her already fantabulous life. after presents, we decided to head up to lolo pass to do some cross country skiing. lolo pass is one of my favorite spots around here, and being that i'm the xxskiier in the family, i was super excited. risk-taker roseann had rented a pair of skis the day before and morty was planning on just laying low in the visitor's center. the drive was beautiful and soon enough we were at our spot. while jeffy strapped eliana to his chest, i tried to give roseann a little lesson. i basically told her to walk slowly. she then took one big lunge forward and promptly had her first fall. xx skis are slippery lil suckers the first few times you experience them. i did, indeed, make many a fall the first time i embarked on this sporting adventure. so i wasn't too worried. but then in order to get to the trails which are basically flat, you have to go down this little mini-hill. a mini-hill that can be a bit intimidating. so while i tried to coach her down, i saw that she was slowly losing control. next thing i knew, her bottom was in the snow and her head snapped back, hitting the ground last. yikes. this is the time when you ask the person their name and address and sure as hell hope that they can answer you correctly. thankfully, she did. at which point jeffy came to see how his mommy was, with his little one screaming her head off in the ergo. all of us were on skis and sort of wiggling our way through this little scenario. so we decided to make a change of plans. roseann would join morty and hang with eliana. i would get a quick ski in. and jeff would ski out of bounds with the doggies who are illegal on the groomed trails. ready, break! we all did our respective things and i was afforded a bit of time to reflect on my year and all the wonder that is currently my life. all's well that end's well!

we headed back down the mountain and broke up for a bit. i did a few more preparations for dinner and then drew myself a nice, hot, eliana-less bath. i've sort of forgotten how much i love to bathe without my daughter. i mean, there's probably nothing sweeter than bathing with her, but i do enjoy a bit of lavender oil and a trashy magazine in the tub now and then. and that was the super time out i had. then we went up to the folks house for a delicious steak dinner (i had been marinating the meat for 36 hours - definitely the way to go). this meal was extra special because eliana joined us at the table. not on the table or on one of us, but in her very own, proper chair. she even had a piece of pear from the salad to fondle and occasionally suck on (though she was much more into sucking on the tray itself). eliana was chipper and chatty the throughout the whole meal, really adding her two cents worth to the conversation (when, of course, she wasn't tray sucking).
she managed to fall asleep while we were watching some horrible billy bob thorton santa movie on tv and actually stayed asleep through the car ride home. now it's late and i'm madly blogging while jeff tries to assemble eliana's "exersaucer" (and i said i didn't want plastic crap hanging around my house! well after she tried it out at her buddy's place and hung solo for an hour bopping around in the thing, we had to get one...or, at least ask for one from santa, aka, grandma). unfortunately, these swell devices for small children do not come assembled and neither hubby or i are really the follow directions and build things type. i certainly am not. jeff's doing just great though. he's currently pacing through screws and little bits of brightly colored plastic parts trying to navigate his way towards completion so the little one can "exersauce" in the morning.

so there ya have it. our first christmas with the baby. i couldn't have hoped for anything more lovely.

the live version of the tray sucking and table babble is here for your viewing pleasure. happy holidays!

Monday, December 24, 2007

more on christmas eve...

Creating our own traditions: Eliana Celie's first Christmas Eve Funfest

it's exactly 11:11 at night on christmas eve. it's been a lovely day. just the kind of christmas eve i wanted. i finished all my errands yesterday, marinated the food, baked a couple of pies, and subsequently was able to spend the day just chillin' with my little fam. no driving. no lines. no last minute panic. jeffy went up to snowbowl this morning, so eliana and i had an old fashioned lovefest morning which included an extra specially long nurse and nap time on the sofa. we then took a nice long walk on the river trail and picked up some delectable pastries for this evening. there was something so sweet about the bakery this afternoon. while most shops were closed for the day, bernice's was all hustle and bustle with folks buying treats for their family feasts. there was this fantastic small town at christmas vibe through the streets of downtown today. i just loved it.

after a lovely salmon and risotto dinner with mort and roseann, our friend's casey, richard and moana stopped by for dessert. the girls were too much in their matching red suits. then the little ones got sleepy and it was time to wrap things up. i then had the pleasure of putting my daughter to sleep. there's just so much love these days. so much love.

christmas eve

Mr. and Mrs. Klaus got a little loopy after too much eggnog on Christmas eve.


The view from the chairlift is equal parts amazing and terrifying for this new mama....

so i did it. i went skiing. for real. and now it's chrismas eve and there's so much more to write about but, it's important that i give this ski thing a moment of my attention. because going down that big, snowy, white, intimidating mountain, took just about all i had out of me. i was terrified. there were times where i just froze up and told jeff i couldn't do it anymore. and then i'd make half a dozen perfect, parallel turns and feel super snazzy about myself. at which point some yahoo snowboarder would, like, fly over my head and get my face all snowy and i would kind of cower and freeze up and forget everything i'd just done. at one point i started telling myself to breathe like i did when i was giving birth. i figured if i could do it then, and produce a whole live baby without drugs, i could certainly get back to the damn lodge to finally see my own. i swear. something about that scenario brings up all the anxieties and fears and traumas that lurk way down deep inside of me. i felt like i was three, sitting at the top of a really long slide in the park, afraid to let go of the metal railings and lose control. but the idea of my little girl kept me going. thinking of how i now have the power to give her the chutzpah to become a rockin' little mountain mama, to soar on her own down these nutty slopes, to be brave and bold and never, ever experience the terror i felt on saturday, as a 33 year old, fairly accomplished woman. i have the power to teach my daughter to fly.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

santa's sweetheart

It really doesn't get much sweeter than this! Tis the season!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

ready for friday

What a week it's been! I feel like time is moving by too fast, like every time I pick up Eliana, she's a bit heavier, can hold her head with a bit more conviction, is more expressive in every way. I am so ready for a little break. A break from running around and spreading myself thin. I'm ready to hang tight with my girl, with my little fam, and just be.

Tomorrow is the last day of work for two weeks and the family is headed down to sunny Southern Cali two days after Christmas to enjoy my peeps. I've never been more ready for a little down time.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


patience is something i've always prided myself on having. i am patient in my work with the children. i am a patient friend, a good listener. i am extremely patient with my daughter, nursing her until she falls asleep, setting her up again when she wakes up, being gentle and sweet and, yes, incredibly patient all the live long day. then there's my dog. i used to love her. i really did. i would hand feed her, patiently, on the ground when she wouldn't eat from her bowl. i let her torture me on the mountains when we hiked and she was too hyper - let her yap and nip at my booty, never disciplining her the way jeff or joellen or any other number of people suggested. and then baby came. and the patience for lucy dissipated like the steam coming from elie's humidifier. poof. gone. out into the universe, never to be found again. it's like i have this well of patience to draw from. but it's not a bottomless well, like, say, a well of love or a well of hope. it definitely has a bottom. and when it's taken a lot of tenacity and hard work to get the baby to sleep and lucy barks like a ballistic hyena at the mailman (even though he has been coming daily since she's been six weeks old), i can't handle it. or when she pulls me on the leash to try and unearth some deer or cat or bear scat on the trail, it drives me nuts. lately my new thing is just letting the leash go and seeing if, perchance, she'll run off. i know it sounds awful. she is the sweetest thing. it's just that she's sort of pathetic these days and, honestly, i don't have time for it. when i cook, she stays on my heels at all times trying to be right there with me, waiting for me to drop stuff on the floor. sometimes i want to step on her on purpose. she truly brings out all the impatience and frustration and general ugliness that seems to be lurking within my otherwise cheery self. so there it is. the dog is making me crazy. at least it's not my daughter.


I can't tell you how much I adore the mornings I have with Eliana. She is such a delight! First she sort of looks around, focuses her eyes, and smiles at the new day. Then she flips her head back and forth to give adoring smiles to her parents on either side of her. When I remove her swaddle, her arms sort of float up to her face and she wipes her eyes. Then the real action begins and she starts to kick and flap like a dancing queen. Here she is, doing her morning workout.

Monday, December 17, 2007

holy monday!

The whole family is zapped, though it's just another Manic Monday.

Whoa. Another crazy Monday in Babyland. After our morning rush routine (why does time always seem to be moving along just fabulously, so I decide to make a second pot of coffee, decide to put my hair in braids, decide to see if my red jeans finally fit...and then suddenly, time has sped up substantially, and I'm suddenly frantically trying to get Eliana in all her layers so we can get out the door when she decides to make a mega-poo and I'm racing through another diaper change and the clock continues to tick and there's ice on the windshield, etc., etc.), I did a superstar teacher routine. I try to have the kids write letters for important causes about once a year, usually around the holidays, as an example of a way to take action and give back. So today we were writing letters to the presidents of the Hilton Hotel Chain, trying to get persuade them not to build a mega resort on Bimini Island and subsequently destroy the mangroves and all the fauna that exist there. I had enough caffeine in my system to really get fired up and pull the whole preacher at the pulpit routine, rousing the students to write ardent, well-informed, heartfelt letters to these two fools, so we can send them to their Beverly Hills high-rise office at the end of the week. Feeling like I'd put my little mark in for positive change for the day, I left work remembering why I've always enjoyed teaching in the first place. This is a particularly important feeling for me to remember these days, as I do still veer towards the whole throw-the-career-towel-in more often than I'd like to admit. Moving right along. Then shortly after retrieving Eliana, I had to drive her across town (which is kinda a big deal around here...any drive longer than ten minutes is really a doozy in our house...) to get her hearing screened. Now, as most of you know, I don't exactly hear well. So I've been putting off this whole hearing thing since the day after she was born when my pediatrician urged that I get it done ASAP. Five months later and I finally made the move. Well, not only did Elie charm the pants off the audiologist who said she's never seen a baby smile so beautifully, and sit so still, while having a little cordy dealie bop put in her ear, she passed the test with flying colors in both ears. Phew! I can only imagine what odd traits I could pass on to my little girl. Having her pass this test was a godsend. Then we had to rush to my audiologist to check my little mics. Of course, my left one is acting up just in time for the holidays! But, really, it's much better than Elie failing her test - I'll take my hearing issues any day. So we then got all saddled up in the car, again, by this time the snow was really coming down and Elie was laughing and tripping on the back windshield as the wet, white drops fell. I could feel that she was getting really sleepy, and sure enough, by the time we walked in the house, she was arching her back and rubbing her eyes. So mommy planted herself in the rocker for a good "nurse and sleep", a sure bet way to get the little princess to take a time out. At five fifteen it was wake up, as mama was determined to get to her five thirty yoga class. She gave Eliana a top off, passed her to dad, and rushed out the door. After restorative asanas and a good sweat, I raced to the burrito joint to pick up dinner. Then it was back to a fussy, hungry little girl. Even though I too was ravenous, I fed her first and then snarfed my own delicious dins. I then gave Els a bath, her daddy dressed and swaddled her, and I again took my post in the rocker, for a bedtime nurse. Now she sleeps soundly in her bucket (even though her long legs are now touching the end...she's just about outgrown the thing, though I can't imagine what we'll do when she does...) and I'm treating myself with a little glass of red wine and a small dish of Ben and Jerry's half baked frozen yogurt. Life is good. Busy and full and fabulous.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

five months old!

Here are some of the tricks that big girl, five month old Eliana is currently capable of....

blowing spit bubbles...
hanging sola in the boppy (and hurling her body out of it on to the rug)...
supporting herself on the carpet...
smiling and grabbing...
and breaking her mama's heart.

my little princess is a whopping five months old today. i can hardly believe it. she's up to so many new tricks, her mama can hardly keep up. we just had some serious play time on the rug and i can't believe how strong she is, the way she holds her little body up, grabs hold of things, giggles and responds. we enjoyed a beautiful day together. took a stroll downtown, did some christmas shopping, and took in the glorious blue skies and snowy sidewalks. i am so madly in love, i can barely stand it. right now she's just sitting in my lap as i type, watching the words as they appear on the screen. i remember when i couldn't type two handed with her in my lap because i had to support her with all of me. now all she needs is a forearm behind her head and she's good to go. my perfect little lady. my little big girl.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

ski bunny

so, as most of you know, i live in montana. i didn't plan on living here. i didn't come here because i grew up trout fishing or, for gods sakes, downhill skiing. but here i am. and it's another winter. and it's time for me to conquer my fear of the slopes. last winter i had the "i'm too pregnant to ski" excuse, so i was able to avoid the scene at snowbowl completely. while jeff went up with his bro-bras and yahooed all the way down, i stayed in the comforts of my living room with a good book. he would then come home and tell me about all the cute little families he saw in the snowbowl bar. how the mama would take a run while the papa played with junior in front of the fire with a nice, tall glass of draft beer. this pastoral scene really stuck a chord with my hubby. i really didn't give two hoots. ski areas are simply not my scene. never have been. never (though one can never say never...) will be.

then i had a birthday in march. and guess what hubby bought me? brand new downhill skis. so the whole "it's too expensive for me to rent skis AND buy a lift ticket" excuse doesn't work so well anymore. and today a good friend is having his birthday party at three in the snowbowl bar after everyone spends the day playing on the slopes. and i have no more excuses.

so i'm in my long johns. my hair is in two "wannabe shredder" braids. i have my sporty orange vest on. and i'll be heading up the mountain in about an hour. luckily for me, i have a baby. and my baby doesn't want to spend the day in any bar at the top of any mountain. so she and i will cross country ski, a sport i happily picked up upon moving to montana, and meet her daddy after he gets all his ya-ya's out on the slopes. and i'll try my best to have a good attitude while looking at all those rosy cheeked folks talking about "pow pow" and "skiing the trees" and all that other crap that drives me nuts. i'll do it for my daughter. my little montana babe. i'll take one for the team.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

holy stroller

so i have been walking/hiking/cross country skiing, with eliana attached to my chest since she was born. and while i adore it, homegirl is putting on some lbs and it isn't exactly easy anymore. yesterday while hiking up the "L", i slipped on some ice and fell. it was fine, but it could've been bad. a fall with thirteen plus pounds of love attached to your chest isn't good for me and isn't good for her. so today after i came home to a dog who needed to be walked and a baby who needed a nap, a broke out the ol' stroller. i bought this kickin thing for her carseat, this sheapskin bag thingie that she loves to hang out in. well turns out, she also loves to hang in it while rolling along town. so i got her bundled up, stuck her in the bag, grabbed the dog, and head downtown to get some things done. within ten minutes wonderbaby was sleeping, the dog and i got some exercise and i managed to deposit the checks that have been burning a hole in my purse for the past month and even buy some stamps! while life can feel busy and hectic, actually pushing my baby instead of carrying her made my load feel a whole lot lighter!

Monday, December 10, 2007


Can you believe this is my mantel? I love it!
Elie loves playing with her stockings...

Jeff caught this "cozy winter moment"...the nursing baby, the doggie, the blanket, the neighbors sweet vw bus parked, perpetually, across the street...
eliana chillin' with her tree...

i'm kind of going a little holiday crazy out here in mountainland. i decided a few weeks ago that i needed to order stockings for our house this year, one for each one of the family members. after spending what felt like the better part of a sunday afternoon looking at stockings on-line, i finally decided to go with this gal in minnesota who makes stockings "the old fashioned way." you know, patches and buttons and fun little reindeer and snowmen and what have you. it was that or the super, snazzy, pottery barn kids kinds that didn't really feel like us. while i wasn't overjoyed with my purchase (i don't really usually jive with things called "old fashioned"), it seemed fine. but then the email came that said that the minnesota stocking wouldn't be ready until february 2008. so i took matters into my own hands. i walked into the fabulous new fabric store on the hip strip, selvedge studios, and asked one of the owners if they someone around there could help a gal out, and make some stockings for a sweet little family.
quick background info: i do not sew. i would love to sew. i have tried to sew. i even went as far as attempt to "sew my own gifts" one year, trying, in such a befuddled way, to be a little more montana, a little bit more crafty, or country kitchen, or whatever you say. but i just hate it. the precision involved. the needles. the thread. the straight edges and foresight. i'm a little too fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants to handle the whole thing. god knows i would love to make my own clothes. i'd even love to hem my own pants. but it's just really not my thing.

so back to the story. the sweet gal said sure, overcome, of course, by the little lady with the big, earnest eyes and sparkly dimples, smiling up at her (that would be eliana, not her mama, lest you be a bit confused as to what little lady with what sparkly dimples...). at this point i realized that i didn't have a vision. i wanted three stockings, sorta christmas-y, but not too much. i said something to the gal like, "i want one for a sweet baby, one for a manly husband, and one fabulous one, for me." and this is what i got. i couldn't be happier. i could stare at my mantel for hours. my tree too. i'm digging on christmas this year.


Morty and Roseann help us find the perfect tree...
i need to take a moment to talk about what an incredibly lucky new and working mama i am. while i can whine and moan about having to go back to work and leaving eliana, i can sing a hallelujah to the high heavens that i am leaving her with her grandparents who adore her. there is nothing better than watching the way these two people absolutely light up when they see their granddaughter. the relationship is blossoming between the three of them and they are establishing their own beautiful, multi-generational lovefest. i know that even if she doesn't take the bottle and punishes her nana with her cries of protest and angry old man face, her nana will persevere and hold her and love her and rock her and talk to her in that crazy, "mohanna" language that seems to come out of roseann when she speaks to babies and animals. then there's morty and the "up-ies and down-ies", the little standing and sitting routine that he has with the little one. i never see his face as joyous as it is when he's holding and looking at his granddaughter. they make us laugh and fill our lives with so much excitement, these two folks. and to think of the sacrifice they made, of the way they uprooted their east coast lives to live here in this groovy little mountain town with its wild, progressive ways. it takes balls. it takes chutzpah to make a move like that. i am so thankful for their zest and courage and love. and baby eliana has yet to set foot in a day care.