Saturday, March 5, 2011

Well, it's only been a little over two years!

This is mainly a test post to make sure I remember how everything works.

The very bare-bones updates:

Elliot just turned THREE! We had a great party and a few of his daycare friends came over and Elliot did a very nice job of being polite and gracious.

We spent the 2009-2010 academic year in rural Ohio. Brendan had a visiting position in a small liberal arts school and I had an assistant professor job at a different small liberal arts school about an hour away. Elliot spent his days with a wonderful family who have six kids and he integrated into that situation really well. Christina took care of him very well, and we all miss them terribly.

This summer we moved to Michigan, where Brendan has an astronomy post-doc and I'm teaching and overseeing the special education components of the School of Education's general licensure programs. Ann Arbor is great and we're both enjoying ou jobs. Elliot's in a Waldorf "inspired" home daycare program during the days, and he is really thriving. He is funny, sweet, sensitive, curious, and becoming more and more himself every day.

We never seem to get less busy, but I feel lucky and blessed every day for my beautiful little family.

Hope to be writing more (with pictures!) soon!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mid-week updates

I've decided I'm just going to do frequent quickie posts so I don't get so far behind.

Elliot can do high-fives now, though he doesn't quite have the slapping part down, he'll raise his hand and sort of gently touch yours with fingers slightly curled. Very cute!

He has another ear infection and once again we have to take 10 days of that awful Augmentin that he hates and throws up as often as not. But I guess it could be worse, we spent a big chunk of today in the doctor's office and he had to get a chest x-ray while being immobilized in this contraption I can't even describe, and then he had a 5-minute nebulizer of albuterol. Nebulizers are these things that turn medicine that would normally be in an inhaler into mist that you can breathe in. But he had to have it through a mask and it was just traumatic. For both of us. At least we don't have to do that every day.

Finally, I think (though Brendan disagrees) that Elliot said his first word ("head") today. I'll try to flesh out the details later but right now it's Elliot's bedtime so I must run!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Just wanted to let you all know that we're still here, alive and kicking, and I'm sorry for the long delay in posting. A few things are going on, mostly that Brendan and I are applying for jobs (so much more time-consuming than I thought it would be), I am defending my dissertation this Friday (the 13th!) and spending lots of time getting my presentation together now that I've gotten the actual chapters to my committee, and we have managed to misplace the camera. It's less exciting to post updates when I don't have pictures to go with them.

But since the last time I've written here, we went home for Christmas and it was wonderful and Elliot will be turning one at the end of the month! He is dancing, laughing much, making up new games, and walking while holding on to us or something else. No real signs of impending words--he can say Da-da, Ma-ma, and a few other things, but it's clear he isn't referring to anything in particular. We're still working on a bit of separation anxiety but he's doing better for the most part. The big challenge now seems to be trying to figure out different things to do with him when it's cold outside--we go to the library a lot (he and Brendan are there even as I type this) or Barnes and Noble, or the grocery store, but we will be so glad when spending serious time outside is an option again.

Anyway, love to you all and I hope to be updating more regularly soon.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Super Baby! (has stranger anxiety)

Grandma Kerry warned us this would happen around 9 months, but we were hoping it would be mild. Our sweet, cuddly baby who would happily stick his fingers up anyone's nose or smile at anyone who cooed at him is starting to turn timid. It's heartbreaking, really.

This started last week. Miss Jessica is the consistent daycare lady in Elliot's life and after the first few days he would leap into her arms as soon as we got there, give me a kiss and a smile over her shoulder, and I was off knowing that he was happy. He was always happy to get to daycare. But last week...

I should stop and explain something first for the following to make any sense. At daycare, there are three main ladies in Elliot's life, and their names couldn't be more confusing: Miss Jessica (lead teacher), Miss Jess (other teacher), and Miss Jessie (new, part-time, lovely teacher).

Beginning last week, a slight schedule change meant that Miss Jessie would be the one with Elliot for the last half hour of the day rather than one of the other two. The first day (Wednesday because of trouble getting back from the Minni-apple) we went to pick him up he was crying real tears and his little eyes were red, and he nearly hurt himself straining for us. Heartbreaking. For Miss Jessie, too. He just didn't know her that well.

The next day was the same and she said, "I just don't know what to do to calm him down. I think he just misses Miss Jessica." We felt bad and tried to brainstorm solutions or just let it work it out on its own. The third day, Friday, Brendan just wanted to pick him up early. I did talk to the director about it (Yes, Brendan, sweetie, I'm one of those parents) and suggested that maybe if Jessie and Jessica could have some time in the room together with Elliot before Miss Jessica had to leave, maybe that would help with the transition.

Over the weekend we were curious about how today was going to go. Even more so because when Marcela (known to Elliot certainly, and they have a grand old time whenever they get together) babysat for a couple of hours this weekend to give me some dissertation time, the poor baby was in sad shape by the time we got back. Marcela said that he kept trying to crawl towards the door when we left and he was upset most of the time, though going outside and watching the cars go by seemed to help somewhat. I felt so badly for Marcela because she really loves Elliot and it's so hard to have a sweet baby and not be able to calm him down.

It must just be this stage he's in, I guess? He always was a cuddle-bug. He prefers to be snuggled up most of the time. When he was on the floor playing with his cousin Finn over Thanksgiving, he kept scooching over until he was nearly on Finn's lap while they were each doing their own completely distinct thing. When I was sleeping on the mattress on the floor with him a couple of days recently because he's been sick, even if we're facing away from each other he'll roll and nudge over til his little bum is against my back, give a sweet sigh, and drop back into the deep sleep. The funniest is when he's hanging out between Brendan and me in bed because if he's looking at me, he's got a leg tossed over Brendan. If he's playing with Brendan, he's got an arm on me, just to make sure I'm still there! So yes, he's always been a cuddle-bug. But I wish he didn't find people who are not me and not Brendan so...scary? Does he find them scary? I don't know what's going on in that little head of his.

Anyway, when we went to pick him up today, he was asleep in Miss Jessie's arms, just like a little angel. She said that she was able to come in with the kids she would watch before coming to the baby room to spend about an hour before Miss Jessica had to leave, and it seemed to be working okay.

So, I hope he's good with everyone over Christmas. Just a heads-up in case he isn't. But I hope he is.

Can't wait to see you all!

[The video clip is just a really sweet one we call "Super Baby" because he gets to fly all over the house like that. Brendan just can't resist. Notice the Vikings garb head-to-toe.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thanksgiving trip home and a bunch of pictures

Dear Loyal Reader (that would be Marcela)--

I am sorry for not doing a better job keeping up with this blog. We seem to be getting progressively more buried under work, dissertations, sniffles, and the day-to-day...

But we did make it home for Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving itself was lovely, and many of these pictures come from that trip. You see Elliot playing with his cousin Finn, hanging out with Grandpa Tom & Grandma Deirdre, chilling with fun Auntie Sarah, behind bars in a hotel crib in Indiana...and there are a few new pictures not from Thanksgiving but from the same time frame. I didn't mean to post the teeny versions of the pictures but if I go back in to fix it now I fear I'll fall asleep halfway through and not get this posted, so I'm just going to plow on through!

We decided to drive to Minnesota for Thanksgiving, it worked before when Elliot was smaller, why wouldn't it work again? Well, it wouldn't work again because a 9 month old apparently has considerably less tolerance for extreme carseat confinement than a 4 month old does. That poor kid.

We got on the road at about 1 p.m. and it was very slow going with a lot of stops but we were hoping to make up some time when he fell asleep for the night. His sleep was really fractured, though, and every time we stopped at a toll booth, went under bright lights, hit a bump or whatever, he'd wake up and by about 10 he was really strung out so we decided to stop for the night. It was a good decision.

Eventually we made it and had a lovely visit with the Grandparents Miller, and Elliot got to meet his aunt Bernadette for the very first time! We also had a great time with Aunt Sarah Rose, Uncle Tobi, and Cousin Finn who seems to be getting so much bigger every time we see him. We had Thanksgiving dinner at Dad and Deirdre's--the Millers and Sarah came over, too, and then we went to Matt and Liz's huge Thanksgiving blow-out later on that night. Elliot got to see *everyone* and he was just basking in all the attention. Katie was so happy to see him that she fell down the steps and broke her ankle or something, and she must have hit her head too because she decided to report for her Black Friday shift at Kohl's all hobbled.

Grandma Marie was in town for the holiday helping Sarah get her apartment in order now that she's a real grown-up working teacher and she got to spend some good quality Elliot time, too.

I know it's been a while since we'd been home because everyone said Elliot hardly looked like the same person. Tobi said he looked more like a boy and less like a baby, and I suppose it's true. I can hardly believe it, though. He wasn't even born yet this time last year and I feel like he's been with us for so long.

Because the roadtrip was so rough, we decided that Brendan would drive the car back to PA and I'd fly with Elliot. Working out the details of this, though, proved to be quite the task, and we finally made it back about three days later than we meant to.

Boy did they miss him at daycare! Though I do have to mention that they have a new baby there (just on Thursdays) who is younger than Elliot, and I guess our poor little baby is just the tiniest bit jealous. He's used to being the center of attention. (Wonder where he gets that from? I guess the oldest child of two oldest children is probably bound to have some problems.) Normally Elliot spends a lot of time crawling around and playing but I guess the new baby who was getting used to daycare needed a lot of holding and Elliot didn't like it that Miss Jessica had her arms occupied by someone else. Apparently she had to spend a good part of the day with a baby on each hip.

Let's see, what else? We took Elliot to the library today because they have a fantastic children's room with all sorts of toddler-sized tables and toys, puppets and big windows, and cushions to crawl around on. I think we'll be there a lot this winter because already our house is far too small. We met a little German baby named Larry and Larry's mother--isn't it funny how we never exchanged our names, just the babies'? and Elliot kept trying to stick his fingers in Larry's mouth. Then Brendan spent about a half hour just holding Elliot in front of the windows, watching the cars go by.

My advisor told me my dissertation was "close" and I'm working like a crazy person trying to get that done. Oh, how I want to leave it in PA when we come home for the winter break. I guess I'm defending on February 13th--that's a Friday! This can't be a good sign.

Marcela, bless her heart, is coming over to babysit tomorrow afternoon for a few hours. Yay for Marcela.

Hope you're all well. Sweet dreams!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

slapdash updates

[First photo is just a nice sweet one where he's showing off the full range of tongue motion from the frenectomy. I'm so glad we had that done. He loves playing around with his tongue! His top tooth hadn't popped through yet in this photo, but his two underneathers were there. Second photo is his new favorite activity that we actively discourage but obsessively supervise because he loves to try to pull himself up on the coffee table and then just lay into it with his teeth. I don't know why he prefers the table over his teething rings to such a great degree. ANYWAY...]

Because I just realized that I'll be away from easy computing for the next week and it's been awhile. We very last-minute decided to load up the kid and all associated stuffs he needs into a rental car and head to Minneapolis for Thanksgiving!

And one Ms. Bernadette Miller will get to meet her nephew for the first time!!

But what Elliot's been up to: he's crawling with a vengeance, pulling himself up on everything stable or not-so-stable he can get his chubby little hands on, really enjoying crumpling up paper and hanging up on his grandparents, chewing on all sorts of surfaces...including ME while nursing and something has to be done about that or we will be weaning really soon and I don't think either of us are ready for that yet. But I'm talking two blood blisters today!

But the bright side of that is that it couldn't happen without his 3rd little tooth, this one on top! His grin looks so different now.

What else? He doesn't whistle anymore, but he clicks his mouth by sucking air down low on one side. That didn't make any sense, but if you see it you'll get what I mean.

Okay, must sign off now because I still have a bit of work to do and then packing, but my next post will be about Thanksgiving with all five grandparents and all six aunts and uncles.

We are blessed, truly.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"Mama won't understand..."

I was in the kitchen cleaning up while Brendan and Elliot were enjoying a nice fall afternoon in the front yard. I heard them come in, I heard Brendan say the quote above, and I walk in the living room to find what these pictures only begin to describe. I've said it before, I'll say it again, the Dustbuster is the single best household purchase ever.

But how can you even be frustrated at that face?