Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Brown-Eyed Boy

He has the sweetest little face.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Mobile Baby is an Exhausting Baby

E.J. is nearly eight months old now, and has been purposefully on the move since he was a wee 5.5 months old. Let it be known that this was far earlier than I wanted him to be mobile; my days of being able to set him down in one place and have him stay there for at least a few moments were far too short.

It all started on December 21, when we saw our first purposeful forward movement, in pursuit of a ball.

VIDEO: And he's off!
***Click here to watch on YouTube***

So, he was on the move a little before Christmas, but I'd say he kicked things into high gear around the time of our January Disney trip, when we would give him some time to stretch out on the floor of our hotel living room. We'd set him down with a few toys and look away for a moment, only to look back and find him trapped under the coffee table or halfway across the floor in pursuit of whatever toys Ellie didn't want him to have.

By mid-to-late January, and about 6.5 months old, E.J. was comfortably making his way around the living room, leaving the nice, soft, padded foam mat we set up for him in his dust while he went off in search of his favorite thing to gnaw on: shoes.

VIDEO: E.J. creeping to Ellie's shoes
***Click here to watch on YouTube***

As you can see in the above video, his technique was still more "creeping" than crawling: pulling his body weight with his arms moving at the same time.

E.J. really perfected this method and soon was traveling around the house.

I don't think we're in the living room anymore, Toto.

His favorite destinations? Ellie's room, for some new and different toy experiences...

Well this looks fun.

Can you find the baby in this toy explosion?

...the dog bed...

Achilles is all, "Come get your puppy, woman."

...and of course, the classic baby favorite: the dog food dish.

Because kibble is totally delicious, but we're still boycotting banana.

For a while, he also had some trouble with getting himself stuck on the metal bars at the bottom of our coffee table:

How do you like my babyproofing technique of wrapping the bars with scarves? It looks just lovely, doesn't it?

But he quickly learned how to go up and over and now basically just treats them like a speed bump.

VIDEO: E.J. goes over the coffee table bars
***Click here to watch on YouTube***

All of this exploration has led to the creation and expansion of varying levels of "baby jail," including the Pack 'N Play in our living room for those times when I just have to leave E.J. unattended momentarily, and baby gates at the kitchen entrance (to eliminate the dog bowl problem) and front door (to keep him off the porch when we want to have the door open).

Ellie is taunting him with tales of life on the outside

Thwarted!

In the last month, E.J. has continued to hone his craft and adapt his technique. His movements are less "creeping" now and far more "army crawl," in which he remains on his belly but moves his arms one-at-a-time and also uses his legs to help propel himself forward. He really gets some speed this way!

VIDEO: E.J.'s army crawl
***Click here to watch on YouTube***

I do wonder if this will be his final crawling technique. He certainly can get up on all fours:

He thinks he's fancy.

But I'm not sure what the incentive is to do an off-belly crawl when he is hardly inhibited by his army-style method. As you may recall, Ellie was quite an unconventional crawler (one-legged scoot crawl!), so maybe my kids just like to do things their own way.

Regardless of method, E.J.'s insistence on go-go-going, persistence and speed make him one exhausting baby to keep an eye on. And it's not only limited to our time at home, either! He keeps me on my toes when we're out and about, too, because if he sees an opportunity to move, he is going to grab it.

Here is E.J. heading for the exit during storytime

Crawling clear out of his pants at the museum

Making a getaway while Ellie shows off her latest craft

Ellie did not crawl this early. I know this for a fact, because we moved out of our teeny tiny Hoboken apartment when Ellie was just over eight months old, and I remember being relieved that we never had to figure out how to babyproof that crowded little home. My first memories of her really crawling are in the empty apartment after all our stuff had been cleared out by the movers. Up until the age of eight months, she was content to just sit on her soft foam mat (that's what it's meant for, E.J.) and play with her toys. I had hoped E.J. would be similar, because two mobile children is just a lot of mobile children, but alas, he had other plans. I'm mostly just chalking it up to the "every kid is different" line of thinking, but sometimes I wonder about other explanations: Boy v. Girl? Second Child (trying to keep up) v. Only Child (nowhere else to go)? It doesn't really matter, of course. All that matters is that he's on the move and helping me to increase my calories burned each day because PHEW, it's exhausting!

Heaven help me when the walking starts...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

February Catch-Up

I can't believe we're almost done with February already! Time is flying, my friends. E.J. is almost eight months old and Ellie will turn three years old in just over a month. Eric only has about three months left of this school year. It will be summer before we know it!

But anyway, let's catch up on what else has been happening in February!

We had some really rainy days, which made for one stir-crazy mama and lots of puddles to jump in.

Jump!

Enjoying a non-rainy evening by the river

I love this picture of happy Ellie!

My mom came to visit, which was very helpful because I was sick with a bit of a cold. We didn't do much, aside from a little playground run just to get out of the house (this was after the aforementioned rainy days and I was itching for some fresh air).

Ellie sliding with Grammy

He's turning into such a little BOY! What happened to my BABY?

I found a ring sling that E.J. just had to have, and used some Christmas money to make it ours:

It suits him.

Ellie cooked up some fine banana swirl in her kitchen.

What a chef!

E.J. went upward, learning to both sit himself up...

Big boy!

...and pull himself to standing.

He'll just help himself to a toy, thanks.

His ever-increasing mobility also led to the expansion of "baby jail."

He's not amused.

E.J. also rocked some sleep training, and is now sleeping through the night and napping in his crib!

Look at that sleeping, would you!!!

Ellie discovered Siri on my iPhone and decided that we should regularly invite her to play with us.

Siri is kind of a buzzkill.

Achilles continued to reluctantly tolerate the children.

One of them is far more excited about their close proximity than the other.

Eric ran a half marathon out at the beach with his Marathon High kids.

We tried out a new storytime at the Mandarin library, where Ellie particularly enjoyed the craft.

She made a bear, and was quite pleased with herself.

Speaking of Ellie and storytime, she also went ahead and grew up and left me in the dust. One day at storytime she asked me, "Mama, can I go sit with my friends?" and I said, "Sure, Ellie." She very seriously looked at me and said, "Bye, Mama," then went and sat with the other kids. And my heart shattered into a million pieces.

How can I be so proud and so sad all at once?

Speaking of Ellie growing up, I registered her for preschool, to start in the fall. On the way home we stopped at the playground and she up and climbed this "rock wall" all by herself. ENOUGH GROWING UP ALREADY.

Then she came home and wrote her college essays.

E.J. continued to prefer eating inanimate objects to actual food.

I call this "expressive eating."

We did, however, find a food that he will willingly put in his mouth: wheat toast!

Progress!

Princess Anna did a little babywearing at Publix.

What a sweet little mommy princess.

Speaking of Anna, I got crafty and painted up some Anna and Elsa t-shirts for Ellie.

This way, she can still be in Frozen costume even when I make her take her Anna dress off.
Phew! That was close. She almost had to be a non-costumed child for a moment there.

Earlier this week we had a pocket of lovely weather (following up a few days of frigid-for-Florida temps), and we celebrated by playing in our backyard for the first time in 2015.

"It's fun to play baseball!"

We also had some fun with a box on our front porch.

Coloring her "rocketship"

"We're going to get a moon rock!"

On one particularly beautiful evening earlier this month, we had a great time at the playground. Ellie once again broke my heart by excitedly going over to "play with [her] friends"—she ran over to a group of older kids playing with a ball and started calling out, "Throw it over here! Throw it to me!" When they didn't, I absolutely died inside. But never fear! Her daddy found an abandoned ball and they had their own fun.

Nope. I don't have the stomach for this sort of thing.

Eric is a great dad!

That evening also included a sweet baby...

I can't.

...and a beautiful sunset.

February in Florida!

Not a bad little February, eh? There are still a few days left, which will likely also bring more storytime fun, another visit from my mom and a quick visit with my aunt and uncle, and some more jury work for me. A great way to end the month!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My Dog is Uproariously Funny

...That is, at least, if you are a 7.5-month-old baby.

Friday night I was trying a new creative technique to trick E.J. into allowing a spoonful of food into his mouth, because yes, that is still happening. Once again I turned to the dark side for guidance, and realized that if I make my relentlessly happy baby laugh (not exactly a tall task), he'll open his mouth and I can shovel a little food in there. His eating has improved in that the full-body shudders have lessened and he'll usually keep the food in his mouth (and swallow it!!!!) if I can get it in there, but getting it in there is still quite a feat.

So. I was pulling out all my best goofy faces and noises and dance moves to get the kid to giggle, and then he spotted Achilles and his face lit up. He's super into the dog right now. He was smiling just watching Achilles sitting there so I thought, huh, I could enlist the dog's help and he could finally earn his keep around here a little bit. So I asked Achilles to speak. And OMG. What happened next was amazing. Achilles barked, and E.J. got hysterical. I have never heard a baby laugh quite like that. It was the funniest thing, and I was able to capture it on video. I have rewatched this video no fewer than 20 times and I still laugh every single time:

VIDEO: E.J.'s amazing laugh!
***If you are receiving this post via email subscription and cannot see the video embedded above, click here to watch it on YouTube.***

Watching this video triggered my memory and I dug back through my archives for a video of Ellie laughing at Achilles when she was a baby. As it turns out, the video of her was taken when she was almost exactly the age E.J. is now (she was maybe a week older):

VIDEO: Ellie laughs at Achilles, too!
***Click here to watch the video on YouTube***

Also hilarious and heartwarming!

So apparently, if you are nearing eight months old, you will find my dog hysterical, and all the rest of us will just sit back and bask in the adorable baby laughs. Thanks, Achilles!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pirates and Princesses

I realize I've shared a good bit about the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) in recent posts, but we were there yet again this weekend, for a Pirates and Princesses event. So, hey, Dad—rest assured, we're making good use of your Christmas gift! Thanks!

We had a great time at this event. We arrived right around 10:30, just in time to make it up to the planetarium for a special showing of a Curious George pirate-themed episode on the big screen. And Ellie liked it!!! She wasn't scared!!! We stayed for the whole thing!!! (You can tell by my excessive exclamation points that this was not the anticipated outcome.)

After the show we walked around to see what other fun activities were being offered that day. First, we stopped to make a fish out of clay. Eric fashioned the fish and Ellie painted it. All the fish were to be collected, baked and then put on display at both MOSH and the Cumner Museum of Art. Ellie and Eric have their art showcased in a museum already! Fancy.

That's a finely crafted fish.

Master painter at work

Showing off their finished masterpiece

After that, we walked through the museum a bit, where we bumped into Curious George himself. E.J. was pretty amused, but Ellie was...excited from a distance, and a two-year-old up close.


E.J. is all, "Well this is interesting."


Aaaaand, Ellie is nonsensically sulking.

From there we went back downstairs and came upon the headwear-making station. With Eric's help, Ellie made a princess crown, and I helped E.J. make a pirate hat.

Eric's crafting was on point that day.

Family photo!

Then it was off to more exhibits, most notably the animal room. Ellie sure does love her some animals, and she does not discriminate.

Trying to touch a tarantula through the glass

We then decided to head out to Friendship Fountain, where there was a big science festival going on. It was really neat! There were tons of participants, with all kinds of interesting projects. There were also some chalk artists doing their thing down by the riverfront. It was a cool little event.

Cool guy pirate headed to the festival

Just a small sampling of all the booths!

How cool is this???

After making our way around the festival, we stopped back in the museum for a quick play session at the big treehouse.

A little Marilyn Monroe action for Ellie in the play room

By that time it was time to head home for lunch and naps.

E.J.'s nap was brief and Ellie's was nonexistent, however, so E.J. and I ran some errands then met up with Ellie and Eric at the playground for a bit. The weather was lovely!

Playground fun!

Kisses!

It was a really fun little Saturday!