Tuesday, October 30, 2007


my life has been so full, so busy, so much the past few days. we adventured home (not as easy as the first run ten days prior), but how i can i predict anything? every day my little girl grows and changes. the house is asleep and i am too tired to recall anything with too much detail. this is what i know. i am officially a grown-up. i am incredibly vulnerable. i have never felt such intense love for anything or anyone; nothing like what i feel for my daughter. life is big and scary and tremendous and full and beautiful. every moment is brilliant and shining and so very real. i feel blessed and overwhelmed and absolutely here.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

heading home

tomorrow morning eliana and i brave the big bad world of travel, once again. i'm feeling way less anxious about the whole thing. that's how it seems to be in my new world with the little one. i freak out before the first time i try anything new with her and by the second go around, i'm way more confident and at ease. while we are both incredibly excited to get home and see dad, we'll miss our sunny times at gran's pad. i think we'll be most nostalgic for the mornings. eliana wakes and needs to eat around seven a.m. after that first feed, she is all smiles and charm, so thrilled to meet a new day and take in the sights and sounds of la vida. it's then that gran comes in and brings me breakfast (her famous "scrambly screw") and then hangs with the two of us on the bed. eliana gurgles and giggles, flashes her sultry dimples and bats her ever-so-lengthy lashes. watching my mom share these moments of brilliance with the little one always makes it all feel worthwhile. it's bittersweet to be returning, to know the loss that my mom will feel when she wakes on monday to an empty house. at the same time, i know that she is happy for our little life in the mountains and sees that, somewhere along the line, that became our home.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Strangers, Babies and Mama Blogs

Why do babies break all social barriers? While I do miss strangers meeting my gaze and smiling at me on the street (even with baby who attracts way more smiles and glances then I ever did alone, it averages only about 1 in 6 smiles whereas in Missoula it's pretty much a sure thing...yes, I've been counting...I've been walking an awful lot with a sleeping baby, what else am I going to think about?), I don't exactly need them to invade our personal space(s). Today while once again walking the busy, So. Cal streets with Eliana and my amiga, Hollace, we were greeted by an intriguing stranger. A woman stepped off the bus. In her late 50's early 60's, she sported jet black, curly hair (wig perhaps?), tons of necklaces, a leopard print top with some sort of strange, crocheted turtleneck (it was hot as hell out), a crazy amount of smeary make-up, and really gnarly teeth. She had a very heavy accent (we decided she was Armenian) and immediately started in. She reached towards Eliana's bald head (I had just removed her Samuel L. Jackson hat because I was afraid she was hot...bad timing). She asked me how long I planned on breast feeding and then launched into this whole thing about how people shouldn't have babies if they aren't going to breastfeed. I couldn't really follow her logic (duh) but realized she was harmless. She then talked about some other baby she ran into the other day who was super alert and independent because he was breastfed. She also said a lot of other things that I can recap in a way that will do the exchange any justice. Suffice to say that her head (and, may I remind you, atrocious teeth) were mere inches from my daughter as she continued on and on about all she knew about babies and breastfeeding and, really, how I'm doing as a mom. I'm glad she has me all figured out! It made for a fun moment, the only real negative of the whole thing being that I didn't have my camera to capture this extraordinary woman. Note to nursing brain...always carry camera (what kind of lameo blogger am I anyway?).

Which brings me to my next topic. Mommy blogs. So I won't get too into it, but, as I've mentioned throughout this blogolicious journey, I'm not really a computer gal. I honestly had only seen one blog before I set this one up. The whole thing was a way for me to teach myself how to do something on the computer and not be so reliant on my husband to be the technology whiz (he wears way too many other whiz hats in the house...I kinda needed to take back the night on my ability to figure things out on my own). So blah, blah, I have the blog, I like to write, I send my ramblings out to the universe and it's all fine.

Until I go to the blogs of real mommy bloggers. These ladies always use capitals (did anyone notice who is pressing her shift key tonight?) They only post cool, artistic photos. They have crazy little sections all over the screen and know how to send people to other web sites and blogs. They are funny and witty and smart and cool. I kind of hate these mommies and their precious, snazzy, little baby blogs.

I stayed up til 1:30 in the morning reading and feeling like I could never post again due to how inept and amateurish my little site is. But then today on my morning walk, I worked through it. This is not for cyberland. I don't care if I'm not getting paid and "Boppy" doesn't have corporate sponsorship and ridiculous little pop-up ads appearing on my page (but can you image how cool it would be to get paid to baby blog?). I'm doing this mainly for myself, lots for Eliana, and then also lots for our friends and family who can't share in our daily adventures. So there. I'm sure I'll continue to sneak time reading the other mommy blogs and be greeted with those same feelings of envy all over again. But really, like anything, it's a simple joy in a crazy world and we just have to do all we can to keep it real, and keep it our own.

attitude adjustment

cousin cameron shows off his beauteous baby niece...

mama reunites with her high school bff, alison

and uncle kent and eliana have some serious quality time

jeff and i enjoy the phrase "it's a new day!" i woke up this morning with those words in my head and decided to adjust my attitude towards my time here in los angeles. so many people i love are here and they all want to share in the joy and magnetism that is eliana. so with that in mind, we embraced our new day. it got off to a splendid start. elie and i had the sweetest morning. she usually wakes around seven, nurses for twenty minutes or so, and then is awake for about an hour before feeling sleepy again. but sometimes, we are able to extend that lovely, long evening slumber into a luxurious morning nap. that was this morning. after her morning nurse, she fell back to sleep in my arms. i gently slid down my stack of pillows and got myself comfortable with her pressed into my side. we then fell to sleep together for another hour or so. it's extra specially lovely because eliana doesn't sleep in my arms anymore. she's a big, independent thing who digs on sleeping sola in her special little bucket. to feel her little cheek so close to mine was enough to make anyone's day super.

she delighted in meeting another five cousins this evening. that makes nine cousins that she has met since being here! it's pretty darn cool to have such a big family. and there are still six more cousins that she has yet to meet. perhaps when we return for the holidays. luckily, dad will be with us then, and our little family unit will be wholly intact.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

climate control

eliana continues to enjoy her southern california stay all the while fires rage through the southland, the late october temperatures reached 98 degrees today here in pasadena, and everything feels a little eerie and armageddon like to mommy. it's interesting. some habits, some rituals, were clearly established through our life in montana. take the whole, walking the baby to sleep thing. i love walking where i live. there's wildlife. and weather patterns. it's always changing. bringing baby on a walk is a way for mommy to ensure that she enjoys her walk. today i was faced with a bit of the opposite. baby was so badly needing to nap and just wouldn't have staying inside - again. so mommy begrudgingly loaded baby up multiple times to walk the busy, busy intersections of south lake and california boulevard. we inhaled the exhaust. we dodged the sprinklers. we tried to smile at people and waited for them to smile back. i felt the ache in my back from eliana's new, heavier self. "why the hell are we walking again?" mommy wondered. "oh right...i did this to myself!"

but really, i had to work through a lot of anxiety this afternoon. when i left southern california five years ago, i left lots of phobias as well. trafficphobia. earthquakephobia. life is chaotic and out of controlphobia. all of those seem to be resurfacing as i return with my very precious, very helpless, very pure, very porcelain three month old daughter. yet she remains the same. she loves to nurse. she loves to walk. she sleeps well at night. she laughs at my songs. her sweet, climate controlled southern california existence is all roses because mom knows how to play by her rules. as i try to fall to sleep on my own tonight, i think i'll try to employ some of that bliss and trust in all that is good and true. hopefully i can sleep as well as she does.

Monday, October 22, 2007

getting around

Baby Eliana is meeting so many people that love her.
Auntie Alison, Cousin Cameron and little bright eyes.
Baby Eliana enjoys her Auntie Wendy.

Here she is with her special friend, Hollace.

Remove Formatting from selectionEliana loves her cousin Daniella and Uncle Mark.

eliana and her mama are learning some new things about getting around the big city. you have to understand that while i love living in montana, i was not always a country bumpkin. i used to love life in the city. i love the diversity. i love the restaurants. i love the different neighborhoods. and i spent an awful lot of the first 28 years of my life navigating los angeles area freeways, moving from one adventure to the next. i wouldn't even want to know, even if it was somehow quantifiable, how much time i've logged sitting stuck in traffic. my city ways have quickly shifted since having a child. eliana doesn't spend a ton of time in her carseat at home, but when she does, it isn't usually a problem (unless it's dark an we are turning the corner of Lolo Ave and Wylie coming down from Jeff's folks place...she hates that corner). anyway. during the pats few days, eliana has experienced a new kind of traffic. she's also experienced lots of long traffic signals, or multiple turns waiting through the same light because too many cars are in front of us and we just simply can't get through. and i don't know if it's because she picks up on my negative energy, on my complete frustration and lack of cool in this traffic, but she's started to sort of loose it when we are in these situations. i honestly don't know how i handled it for so long. did i just not know any different? has it gotten that much worse since i've been here? when did i so clearly lose my edge? so there we were driving back from my sister's house about an hour away on the ever so hideous 5 freeway. it was sunday evening. and the freeway was packed. aren't people supposed to be at home with their families eating a roast or something? where was everyone going? the freeway was stop and go, inconsistent, unrelenting, crowded. eliana was over it. she was crying and fussy and i was back there trying to get her to cool it. then i remembered a road trip trick that some of my gal pals back in the country told me about. the sketchy "lean and nurse" where you sort of hoist your breast into the carseat and nurse your baby while your partner tries not to have an accident in which you would not be restrained at all. the lean and nurse is tricky. it's scary. but damnnit, homegirl went straight to sleep after about five minutes. so we were back in buisness. but i have noticed that eliana can sense when the car stops moving, or changes speed (hence the reason why traffic is such a trouble area for us). so then we slowed down because, wouldn't you believe it, southern california is in a declared "state of emergency" due to tremendous fires. and one of those fires just happened to be burning out the window on the freeway. so all of the sudden things get super futuristic and eerie and all the cars are staring at this greyish blackish, tremendous thick smoke coming at us from the mountains to the east. and the sky is still and brown and yet all the bright neon signs along the freeway still blink and glare and everything is really creeping me out and i can't imagine, for a few moments, how anyone can live here and i see the concrete walls around the houses that are right by the freeway and the chain link and the box stores but really they are all over this country and when did we get so overpopulated and so prone to natural disasters and why does it sometimes feel so horrifying to be bringing a child into this future..... but i digress. we made it through the smoke and finally exited about fifteen miles from my mom's house. that's when elie decided she had simply had enough. she really started to go for it. like wailing and crying real tears and showing her gummy little mouth and heaving in between sobs. we both picked up some little cold bug, so in the midst of these gut wrenching cries, her little chest was emitting this rattly, congested sound. everything felt terribly wrong. those last ten minutes of the drive were painful. i didn't know what to do. all i wanted to do was take her out of her carseat and hold her, but that would just make the drive longer, postponing the inevitable return of crying in her carseat. part of me was ready to drive to the e.r. and find out was was wrong with her, when really i know, she was just totally over being in her carseat. she was hungry and tired and had a cold. and she's a teeny, tiny, helpless baby. that was it. so my mom and i white knuckled it through the drive, me speeding like a maniac through all the stupid traffic lights, my mom in the back with her trying, bless her heart, to calm her down. eliana would not have it. but the minute i had her back in my arms in the garage of my mom's building, she started to settle. she breathed a few very deep, shaky, congested breaths, and settled in my arms. we then moved into a three hour (no joke) marathon nurse n' soothe. she nursed and soothed herself until finally i was able to put her in her little bucket and fall to sleep by her side.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

sunny cali

Auntie Hilary loves her niece Eliana. Eliana loves her beautiful Auntie Hilary (enough to even behave during her dance performanc!)

we continue to have excellent adventures here in mama's home town. and eliana proved, once again, that she is indeed the most stupendous baby on the planet. we had a busy day planned. the kind of day that makes mama a bit anxious, because at any moment, the day could turn upside down, potentially, perhaps, disastrous. we even had a matinee at the theatre involved - like the real, los angeles style theatre where people are very serious and despise noisy, fussy babies. but i'll get there in a moment...

we started with a superb breakfast at mommy's old friend' the vaughns. eliana was charming and sweet, and then dutifully passed out in her sling after a few walks up and down the palm tree lined street. mom was amazed at how big the houses are (they seem to get bigger the longer i'm in montana), amazed at the limes and persimmons growing on trees, the wisteria ever blooming, the sun, ever shining. after sweet sauce woke up, we moved on to trader joes where gran needed to pick up some wine. rockstar was hungry, so mama dutifully fed her in the back of gran's car in the blistering heat of the ginormous parking structure. then it was on to....the theatre. i was worried. the theatre was small, intimate, the exact worst place for a crying baby. i was so happy to see my old, beloved high school theatre friend hollace in the lobby. her beauteous smile made me relax, but not enough to fully focus and move on from my worries about baby's time in the theatre. so first i fed eliana discreetly in the lobby, hoping to help her pass out. to no avail. then i put elie in her pouch and started to bounce, sway and pace in the back of the theatre, hoping, again, to put her to sleep. again, no luck. so i decided to sit in my seat, settle in, relax, and nurse her there. superstar! the little lady nursed through the whole show, coming to just in time for the finale, which she stared at bright eyed and alert, loving every moment of her auntie's glorious choreography. hurrah.

then it was on to auntie hilary's house for a post show party. eliana loved meeting her new friends. she met another cousin, the gorgeous daniella, my brother mark's five year old daughter. she also met her "cousin" emelyn, azure and jason's two year old. the little people loved each other and continued to gravitate towards each other as the evening wore on. how proud i was to pass eliana around. so proud of her smiles and relaxed attitude. she did so well, even tempered even in the car ride home (the car seat has not been her favorite thing here in the big city...). princess perfect then dutifully fell asleep after a long, fulfilling day, and slept, yet again, through the night.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

california adventures

Baby Eliana is having such great adventures on her new play mat! Here she is working on holding her head up.
Mommy and Auntie Hilary laugh at baby in her "Samuel L. Jackson" city girl hat.
Cousin Piper adores her baby cousin Eliana - Eliana is still a bit uncertain of life in the big city.
Eliana was exhausted after a shopping extravaganza. Thank goodness she had her snazzy new hat to shield her porcelain skin from the L.A. heat.

What a big two days we've had! Our travel day was exhausting, though Baby E proved how fantastic she is, once again. In certain situations, i.e. airports and planes, the general level of tension when you have a newborn - even when they're sleeping, is so high, it's hard not to feel anxious. It's the feeling that at any moment, the shit can hit the fan and all hell will break loose. Luckily, we had no such moment during our travel day. The little princess slept during the entire first leg, from Missoula to Salt Lake City. She then was alert in the airport, checking out the crowds from her Ergo carrier. She promptly fell asleep again while mama was cruising the nasty restaurants (I think I called them "skanky" to my mom on the phone - why can't there be decent, healthy options?), and slept the entire two hour layover. Then on plane #2 she charmed the pants off of the other passengers, even helping us finagle our own row when some kind man gave up his primo seats for us. There was a bit of fussing during the first three or four minutes in the air, she then made a big poopie, and then promptly fell asleep again. I decided to go "trashy mama" style and keep her in her poopy pants for the duration of the plane ride because she didn't seem to mind (thank god for disposable diapers!). I then changed her in the Burbank airport, found my beauteous mama by the baggage claim, sissy came to help us with all our gear, installed the carseat in my mama's Honda, a quick, lets-just-be-on-the-safe-side-nurse, and we were off. Easy!

We then had a lovely evening. Eliana continued to beguile her big girl cousin Piper and her auntie Wendy. Piper had a million questions about Baby Eliana and wanted to "see her nakedness" among other fabulous things. What a sweet time they had together. After a delicious dinner and playful bath, Eliana managed to sleep a whopping 10 hours straight through the night! (Of course mama couldn't seem to decompress and spent much of that time watching her amazing daughter sleep - why can't I be more like her?)

Today we woke up and went on our morning walk - city style. Eliana was entranced by the sprinklers, cars and the general hustle and bustle of South Lake Avenue. We then met up with my mama and had a stellar time shopping. Elie slept like a champ, even hanging out in the Ergo while mama tried on pants in Anthropologie (Mama also found the sexiest mama pants she has yet to see for her post baby body, feeling, finally, like the pre-baby diva she once was...how does one pair of pants do this, you might ask? Well when that pair of pants has a button and doesn't have the word "maternity" somewhere on the tag and comes from a snazzy big city store, you feel pretty darn foxy....I digress....). She then woke just in time for me to feed her in the lovely, oversized dressing room of Coldwater Creek where Gran was trying on clothes. By the time we were browsing in The Children's Place (where we found the ever so excellent purple sparkle butterfly hat, which when worn frontways looks like a city style newspaper boy hat, but when worn backwards makes Eliana look an awful lot like the ever so handsome, Samuel L. Jackson) Eliana was snoozing again. What a gal!

The afternoon was pretty mellow, though she didn't have any other long naps, resulting in an evening crying fit for about 45 minutes of "Elsinore" style wailing which was very strange, as I haven't seen that for a few weeks, which makes me wonder if sometimes she wants to remind me that she is, indeed, a mere twelve weeks old and I am generally getting off really easy with all her naps and compliant plane behavior, etc., etc., so I just try to take a deep breath and continue to sing "Bushel and a Peck" and rock and pace and hold her until finally she falls to sleep, done with the whole ordeal.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


look at all the wonder and anticipation in those big eyes! what new sensory wonders await baby eliana in the big city??

today eliana and i will be taking our first airplane adventure together. we leave from missoula, fly to salt lake, hang there for an hour or so, and then fly into burbank. i've been pretty anxiety filled for the past 24 hours or so, but am finally starting to feel more secure about the whole thing. i hate to think of being alone without jeff, navigating through airports, diaper changings and feedings on my own. but i know that my little girl will be a rock star (especially if my breasts are readily avaliable at most times...). that brings me some anxiety too, though, because i'm used to breastfeeding in missoula, a very breastfeeding friendly spot. i remember a story for the news a few years back about a woman getting irate on the plane when someone by her was offended by her nursing her baby in public. if i recall, she was eventually escorted off the airplane. yikes. i know nothing like that awaits us, but i do hope we are seated by good, kind folk. i generally have good luck on flights to and from missoula, but the larger planes are a bit of a crap shoot. regardless, it will be another mighty adventure to add to our story!


Baby Eliana loves using her little leggies. Here she practices pushing on her parents. She can't wait to be able to stand on her own two feet!

Monday, October 15, 2007


fall is always a bittersweet season. it's so glorious, yet so fleeting. that is sort of how i'm feeling about being a new mama and this time in my life. everything seems to be changing so quickly, passing, moving. tomorrow eliana and i leave for a ten day trip to los angeles. while i am thrilled to see my family there and have eliana meet all her peeps in the big city, i know that when i return, the leaves will have fallen, i will be returning to work, and this time will be over. this time of lazy days and long walks and no obligations, no schedule. i also am feeling sad about leaving jeff. ten days is a long time in a baby's development, ten days that he will miss. she is changing so much, all the time. her little legs and arms are getting so strong and she is just dying to stand up. one of her favorite things is pushing her legs up against a hard surface, the edge of the bathtub or my lap, and then extending them, creating resistance, learning about push and pull. her life is one big exploration. i guess my life is a bit like that as well.

i have anxiety and excitement about our travels. it will be a lot to bring her through security, on to two different airplanes, three different airports, diapers and nursing and luggage. i am such a pleaser and hate to rock the boat (or the plane in this case...). i worry about being the woman on the plane that is annoying everyone with her noisy, needy baby. i also know that i just have to face it head on, know that not everyone has to love me, and go about my business. what they don't know is that i have the best baby on the planet, that she's not just another noisy baby, but a super brilliant shining light that they should only be lucky enough to sit next to.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


it has been another glorious fall weekend. the colors grow more vibrant by the day, accented by the crisp blue of the sky. frost was on our picnic table this morning, marking the coming of winter. i wonder how life with eliana will change as we embrace the cold. i have become so comfortable popping her in her little hoody and bringing her on all sorts of walking adventures. i guess soon i'll be popping her in her snowsuit, but the walking will continue. i learned my first year in montana that the only way to embrace the winter is to become a part of it and get outside. yesterday we enjoyed the sunshine and took lots of adventures outside. it's hard to sit in the house when it is this lovely out. here are some pictures from our day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

let's swing!

so as my mama knows, my husband and i were very opposed to excess baby "stuff" before eliana was born. jeff was already concerned with the "ecological footprint" that our baby would leave. i was just concerned that our little house would turn into one of those junkyards of fisher price crap (you know the houses - chain link fence and tons of decaying yellow and blue plastic slides, castles, barbies, strewn about....i was determined that would not be my life!). so even though my mom has been dying to buy eliana a swing since before she was born, i always said no. besides, these things are not cheap and my mama doesn't need to be spending hundreds of dollars at target. so i kinda forgot about the swing. but then the other night we were eating dinner at bobby and joellen's. jeremiah was sleeping completely soundly in this swing. he was there when we arrived and continued to sleep on as we did the dishes. when he finally stirred and joellen brought him to nurse, jeffy and i decided to try little els bells in the swing. she is not a huge fan of being left and loves to be held or attached somehow to one of her parents. but we put her in that thing and she just adored it. her eyes got really big and beautiful and her little head was strong and alert. she checked out everything, the cool orange glow of the fire in the fireplace, lucy and sitka's doggie faces, the pattern on the rug. we left and i secretly couldn't stop thinking about the swing. suddenly i really wanted one. but there was no way i was going to go drop a hundred bones on a silly swing. that's why i'm glad to be a teacher! so at work yesterday, one of my mom friends asked if i needed any more baby clothes. clothes i don't need, i said. but, do you by chance have a swing? oh yeah, it's sitting in my garage, i'll bring it down to your house when i pick up the girls. and there it was, on my porch, a few hours later. she loves it (even though just as i write this, she has decided to flop over to the side and make herself really uncomfortable and after trying to stop her fussing, i picked her up and now she sits back in my lap again...and i wonder why she always wants to be on me...). so even if it's just fifteen minutes of excitement, even if she won't sleep in it for hours because i've trained her to sleep on me, it does provide a little break in our sweet routine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

back to work...sort of

today i did a trial run of what it will be like in november when i go back to work. i am working from 10 to two with a lunch break in the middle. while four hour sounds like an endless time to be away from my baby, i have to admit, today went quite well and i sort of enjoyed being out of the house. in some ways what was most exciting about today was having something to get dressed for. there was excitement in taking a shower, blow drying my hair, and getting dressed to actually leave the house (and not to go hiking...). there are some super fashionista teachers at my school (i pride myself on being part of that pack) so it's always a fun place to get ready for. and due to my feeling of post baby frumpiness, getting dressed is a very good thing for my ego. so i put eliana in her crib and raced through my routine of showering and beautifying myself. she did a super job lying on her back and admiring her fairies and watching her fishy "t.v." so mama had time to make herself fancy. then i fed her and raced out the door (i've learned that it is not a good thing to wait around to see if she starts to cry...then i would never go anywhere). when i came home an hour and a half later, she was sound asleep in her grandmother's arms. i had time to make some lunch and eat, and then she stirred enough so i could feed her. i then raced back around the corner to school, busted through so more reading tests, and flew home at two. now the little princess is sleeping soundly on her grandmother and i have time to type without a baby in my arms. i think the day went pretty well. she is such a good girl and knows how to keep her mama's mind at ease.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

farm party

Fall is closing in on the Rattlesnake mountains....

Eliana talks about hunting with her Uncle's Josue and Bobby....

the other night we had a party up at the farm. i was kinda pooped because we had already had quite a big day. eliana and i woke up early to participate in the 5K walk for choice hosted by blue mountain clinic. we walked proudly with some of our other mama and baby friends (though they pushed their babies in strollers while i carried my little "attachment girl" in her ergo...). then we decided to buy some apples and sausages at the farmer's market and try to take in the last of fall's bounty. then little good girl slept so well that mama got to spend a bit of time window shopping and cruising, proudly, around town with her girl. the farm party was a hit and everyone came with a growler of beer, some deer meat to grill, something grown in their garden, and their very own newborn baby. i swear sometimes this feels like the "stepford wives" montana style. it's beautiful, but surreal. i can't imagine doing this anywhere else though.
Can you believe how big she's getting?

Eliana and I are obsessed with walking. I'm not really sure how I would be a mom without it. Basically it's a sure bet for satisfaction for both of us. Mama gets to stretch her legs, perhaps even get a bit of exercise, and baby gets to trip on the light and eventually, doze off. Her favorite place to walk right now is Greenough Park . The fall leaves are in full effect and she loves to watch the light dancing through the trees. I've heard that babies really enjoy contrast in color at this age. I think the yellows, greens and reds are perfect for her light show. Yesterday we went on five different walks, culminating in a huge, long adventure in the north hills. Mama's legs are a bit achy today, as baby is not the lightweight she used to be. I also want to comment on how much she is growing. She seems to change every day. Last night Jeff and I watched her grow before our very eyes. And she's maturing. Now instead of just dolphin and pigeon noises, she lets out loud laughs and sometimes even does these weird sort of shrieks. She loves to talk and imitate my facial expressions. And her little eyebrows are growing darker. She just might be my child after all.
These are some shots I took in the park yesterday to give you an idea of what Eliana likes to look at....

Friday, October 5, 2007

bath time and famiy shots

we had our birth class reunion the other night. a friend took this photo of our family and sent it to me. i thought it was kinda sweet. sometimes i look at all the love in my life and can't really believe it's for real. as always, i'm flooded with gratitude.
fabulous news! my girl loves the water! the verdict was still pending before our trip to the hot springs. but holding her in that warm water gave me the confidence to bring her in the tub with me. we've had two baths and she's loved them both. we are now going to work the bath into our evening ritual (between show tunes and swaddling... and prior to the two hour nursing marathon). this is great news for mom who lives for her bathtime too. so far eliana loves to have staring contests with her rubber duckie. i think he kinda freaks her out.

miss lucy on the up and up

i'm thrilled to report that miss lucy is finally on the up and up. after two and a half months of drama, endless vets visits (and bills), lots of drug experimentation, and one culminating trip to the doggie acupuncturist, i think our dramatic mutt is on the mend. the first clue that she was working through her neurosis is captured in these photos. lucy actually took it upon herself to join us in bed the other morning. then she want as far as to put her arm on eliana. this is a huge step. then on our hike on mt. jumbo, she ran through the hills, found a lovely piece of deer vertebrae to chew on, and finally did a victory lap at the end. these are all signs of improvement! i think the stress of the baby freaked her out, her immune system reacted, and then the hardcore drugs messed her up. i am just hoping i have my doggie back.

here are the girls, enjoying a lazy morning.

we are all thrilled with these gorgeous fall days! this is the view from mt. jumbo -check the snow and the blue sky! love it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

going the extra mile

last night, eliana had the worst night she's had in a long while. i don't want to gripe, as i know i am blessed with a pretty amazing sleeper. but really, when i review the events of the day and evening, i realize that the upheaval really had to do with the fact that i didn't hang in for the long haul, that i didn't go the extra mile. while it seems somewhat counterintuitive, my baby sleeps better at night if she has slept well during the day. that means that i have to a) walk and hike a lot to keep her moving and sleeping in the sling or front carrier, or b) stay planted on the sofa or in the rocker - hopefully with a good book (though i've taken to reading just about anything that is within arms reach - we cannot always plan for these long periods of sitting still).

yesterday we just pushed it a bit. we had lots to do after jeff came home from work (the doggie, bless her insane heart, had her first visit with the acupuncturist, after seeing every vet in western montana to cure her cacophony of strange ailments post baby), then it was to the courthouse to renew our vehicles, yadda yadda. nothing exciting. nothing fantastic. but lots of getting in and out of the car for baby, waking her from her desired slumbers. then last night i started a new yoga class, so daddy got to watch baby for an hour and a half, again, disrupting her little schedule. but it was after yoga that did the deed. i thought of myself.

it's getting chilly here in montana. after sweating and, lest i forget, leaking a fair amount of breast milk on my clothes (through the layers and everything!) i came home to a cold house. we don't have the heat on yet (mama isn't working full time!) and it's not that cold yet. so i nursed eliana, sang a whole cd's worth of showtunes, and there she was, finally asleep. i popped my pinky in her mouth to break the suction, and gently placed her in her little bed. i then promptly drew a very hot bath and began gathering reading material for a nice, long, much needed soak. my muscles were actually used. my nipples were raw and chapped. my hair hadn't been washed in days. i deserved it. but, then again, i was only thinking of myself, not the needs of my little lady.

so when eliana woke up, oh a good three minutes into my luxurious bath, my dear husband took care of her. this meant getting her out of bed, singing to her, engaging her, and generally distracting her from the fact that her beloved best friend, the boob, was not around. what then happened was the little missy got a bit overstimulated. overstimulated and overtired. so then it took from about eleven to two to nurse her back into submission (and you wonder why my nipples are raw...). and then she wasn't really settled in her sleep. she's got these incredible leg muscles and she's lately really into pumping her legs wildly while lying on her back in her little bed. she is also really into the movement of her head. she can roll it from side to side really quickly (a bit like a bad stevie wonder impersonation). she does this, too, while lying on her back in her bed. so with little miss get in shape girl pumping her legs, tossing her head, and making her most frustrated and fussy little cries, it was a long night for the family.

but this is the good part of my story. lucky for me, i have help. while i did then stumble out of bed this morning completely befuddled and confused, put the wrong pump pieces on the wrong breast pump and promptly spilling precious drops of morning breast milk on the sofa, then tried to sterilize the pump pieces in a vat of homemade pesto sauce (i just assumed the pot was already filled with water!), i knew that help was on the way.

i've been putting in a few hours at work this week, trying to get eliana and myself prepared for when i go back in november. and there they were, like two beacons of radiant hope, like superheros in their capes, eliana's grandparents. roseann walked in with a basket of our perfectly pressed laundry (this is when those of you with parents far away and a new baby need to stop reading because i feel incredibly spoiled). morty got settled in the rocker where i handed him the sleeping beauty. the transition was smooth and the baby didn't stir. roseann then put on her rubber gloves and hit the kitchen, which was an absolute disaster (remember all those breast pump pieces!). i quickly snarfed down some food, brushed my teeth for the first time in a while, and put on some colored chapstick (i was "going to work" after all).

after a quick two hours, i found myself back at home. the kitchen was immaculate. amazing. fantastic. the baby was still sleeping. i felt a wave of relief wash over me. i felt filled with gratitude. i understood how blessed we were, all three of us, to have this baby in our lives. she brings out nothing but the best in everyone.