Letters to Elle: Two and a Third

Dear Elle,

You, my dear, sweet, funny, wonderful girl, are two and a third. Plus a little bit.

It’s amazing, after having been gone for two nights for work, to come home and see how you’ve changed, how your vocabulary has grown. You talk.

A lot.

I mean, a lot.

And most of the time, I understand everything you say. But then there are times you just devolve into a mumbling mess — those are the times when I feel like you are absolutely 800% my daughter.

I see me in you. In pictures, in behavior. And it’s incredible.

When I say “I love you” you say “I love you too”.

Or, sometimes, you’ll question “you love me?” or sometimes just state it. You’re getting better at your vocabulary though, so those are becoming fewer and farther between.

You LOVE Sherriff Callie’s Wild West, a show on Disney Junior. I stumbled upon a cowboy hat at a meeting I had at Cracker Barrel last week. Paired with your pink cowgirl boots from Aunt Jill and your lasso (mainly anything that you can fling – a pom pom, a Greektown Casino Players Club card with the springy attachment cord thing, a broken princess jeweled necklace from a dress up kit), you say that you are Sherriff Callie. Sometimes that you are Sherriff Elle.

You know your letters – most of the time. You learn so much at school. It’s truly incredible. You know A is for Apple, B is for…I’m not sure what the song is, C is for Cat, E is for Elbow, etc. You know the letters on sight. You can count consistently to 13, though not every single time. You can even go as high as 20 if you aren’t focusing on what you’re doing and just count. It’s repetition, I know, but it’s damn impressive to me.

The other night you tried to climb onto the back of the couch and your Dad said “No Elle” and you turned around, pointed at him, and said “No, Daddy, you don’t tell me!” to which I buried my head in the pillow in immense laughter, looked at your Dad’s face (priceless!) and composed myself before ultimately reinforcing that you shouldn’t climb on the back of the couch.

You are an INCREDIBLY terrible eater. I mean, really bad. We’re not good at family dinners, but you don’t really care to eat too much. You’re very much like your Dad that way. And I REFUSE to battle on food. I feel like we have this huge focus on finishing your plate, etc. and I just think that you know when you’re hungry and you eat when you’re hungry. And you’re not a person who eats just to eat. So, you eat a lot of fruit and yogurt and vegetables, cereal, some chicken fingers or nuggets, macaroni and cheese. But you like veggies and fruit. So I don’t worry too awfully much. I know we could do it differently, but this is the way we do it.

You are funny about your ‘brudder’. This afternoon you told me that you ‘hear him’ and sometimes you tell me that you need to tickle him, which requires lifting my shirt and tickling my belly. I’ve tried to get you to sit still and feel the kicks and punches he throws, but you’re not good at sitting still for that long unless it involves Octonauts or Sherriff Callie.

I mean, you still like Doc McStuffins (you give Dad and me check ups pretty often, including some pretty vicious ‘shots’) and Sofia the First. But, Octonauts are who you talk to when you pick up the phone and Sherriff Callie is your FAVE.

Speaking of the phone, evidently the few days I was out of town for work, you began picking up the phone in your play kitchen, walking around, calling Papa Scott, and telling him that your Dad is grumpy. Which both your Dad and I think is funny. And that I think is true. He is grumpy sometimes.

You always compliment me on my jewelry. You say “I wike you eawwings mumma” or “I wike ou neckace” and then you touch it. Today, I put the necklace I was wearing on you and you said it was your amulet (like Sofia’s).

You love spending time with your Grandma and Papa’s.

Last weekend you went skating on the ice at Great Grandma Rosemary’s for the first time with Amy while she was in town and Steven. You were very good and not scared at all.
We also welcomed your first-ever baby cousin — Max — too. He’s your second cousin, but you loved him. You held him and you kissed him and then you went on your way. Hopefully that’s what it’s like when your brudder comes.

YOu went through a tough phase where you refused to take baths because you were afraid your toys would go down the drain. So you took showers with me, which has led you to talk frequently about ‘you boobies’ (my boobies). We are past the fear of the bath, but you still like showers sometimes. So, it’s a nice change of pace either way.

Well, I know it’s been a long time since I wrote one of these, but seriously, I’m tired and it’s tough keeping up around the house when you destroy it all the time!! 🙂

I continue to be amazed how smart you are, how much you seem to care about other people and how shy you can be though you don’t ever strike me as a shy person. You’re this perfect blend of personality, really. You’re just incredibly you – and because I see me in you, it makes me want to be better too. I can’t wait to see what’s next for you, my girl. I just love you so much, you just have filled me up.



Girls Weekend on the Horizon

Ahh, with one vacation springing up unexpectedly, it’s been nice to have been looking forward to getting away with my bestie Andrea.

I had purchased at an incredible price a two night stay at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa through a silent auction for an organization I work with – and for Christmas Andrea and I decided we’d plan a girls trip. We’ve both sort of struggled with whether it should be just us or we invite other people, but in the end we opted that just the two of us head to Traverse City. Having just had to go there for work, I scoped it out and am looking forward to the boutique browsing/shopping, meals out at some great places, maybe a pedicure or massage, maybe heading to the wineries (she’ll be able to imbibe while I’ll drive…but I like the shopping and I can always handle re-stocking the wine shelf!).

Anyway, even if all we do is linger over meals longer than normal, walk slowly and only worry about ourselves for a two night stay, I’m ok with it. The entire point is to get away without our kids.

We both love our kiddos immensely…but I’m very much looking forward, after this long winter, to just relaxing and seeing what happens. We’ll probably hit up the casino (I mean, why not?!) and do whatever tickles our fancy. Perhaps we’ll take our time getting to the resort and stop along the way, or just hop in the car and see where we go on Saturday for the day, or maybe take our time getting home. Who knows. Whatever we want to do, that’s what we’ll do. We won’t be changing diapers or worrying about all the ways we’re trying to wrangle our kids…we’ll just be us for a few hours of the day.

What a fan-freaking-tastic proposition!!!

Disney Trip Ahead

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’re headed to Disney!

I knew several weeks ago that we would be heading to Orlando for work and Jon and I discussed the possibility of making it a family trip and he and Elle flying down on the Wednesday when work meetings were done and spending the balance of the week there. But, he was working on a big project that was going to be going through a shutdown and the work and hours would be too good to pass up, so we agreed that the money/hours were worth skipping the Orlando opportunity.

But, then Jon got laid off earlier than anticipated from this particular job, so I thought I’d see if I could still extend in Orlando, etc.

I started looking at rates at Disney through their website. Holy, freaking, moly. I was not anticipating costs of $500 per night. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it to be cheap but to stay in Disney I guess I just never knew what it cost. So, I asked if it was still possible to extend at the hotel where we’re going for work, the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort. And it was. And the rate is so good I’m not sure I can even brag about it. Suffice to say that I would pay more than that if I’d booked in Frankenmuth for the weekend!

Anyway, now I’m reading all sorts of blogs about toddler-friendly Disney and Orlando. The good news is that kids under 3 get into the parks for free, so it will just be $100 tickets each for Jon and I (yes, that’s how much it actually costs…who knew?!).

So, the plan is that I’ll fly out on Monday, then Jon and Elle will fly down Wednesday morning and rent a car and drive to the hotel (did you know that the shuttle service from the airport to the hotel is $100 every time you take it. Orrrrr…we can rent a car at $50 per day and have a car at our disposal for the same cost. So yeah, Jon will be renting a car. I’m planning on packing all the warmer weather stuff with me to take down there, that way Jon will have less to cart around with him. That way he’ll bring a carry on and Elle’s car seat and should be good to go. I’m honestly very, very nervous about Jon flying with Elle on his own. Not so much him with her, because he’s awesome with her. But more about the logistics of all the things he’ll need to be able to manage all at once…making sure he remembers all the stuff (I’ve made lists to remember to remind him of…) and that he doesn’t lose track of her in the airport while trying to keep track of whatever else he might have…her freaking out on the plane…not even sure all the things I’m anxious about. I’m sure it’ll be fine, but I just want it to be a great vacation and want his trip down with just her to be seamless. Wish that her first time on an airplane wasn’t going to be without both parents, but…it is what it is. It’s a way for us – who rarely take trips – to actually take a trip. So, I’m going to look forward to it.

The challenge is that I’m out of town this weekend for work for the entire weekend and will likely end up having to work next Saturday so that I can be gone for vacation for the few days and not have to work that weekend…so, I have a very, very limited window of time within which to find summer clothes for Elle, for pregnant me, to make sure Jon’s stuff is ok. I’m sure it is…he’s going to be the easiest one in this whole thing.

So, anyway, we’re working on it. I think we’ll go to Magic Kingdom one day, hang out around the hotel one day, maybe drive to Legoland if we’re feeling up for it, or maybe we’ll go to Universal. I’ve read some interesting things about Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but the only thing with that is that the only super toddler-oriented thing that I know Elle would love is the Disney Junior stuff. Not sure. I’m going to get a better plan together in the coming days, but what a thing, to have something fun to look forward to!

Week 25, Day 3

Due Date: June 22, 2014

week25Baby Developments: You’re 25 weeks pregnant and it’s probably dawned on you that soon you’ll actually have to deliver this baby. (A little scary, but exciting!) What’s cool is that most hospitals will let you preregister, which means you can put in your paperwork early, so the day you go into labor, you don’t have to stand around filling out a bunch of forms before you get admitted. Maybe you’re getting nervous about delivery, or maybe it’s your haywire hormones, but you might start to have trouble sleeping around week 25. This is a common complaint of many moms-to-be. Some people will tell you that’s just your body’s way of prepping you for sleepless nights with baby, but those comments won’t help you get the rest you need! Experiment with different strategies for getting some sleep. One idea is to drink extra water early in the day, so you can start tapering off your intake as you get closer to bedtime. That way, you might need less bathroom breaks during the night and can keep sleeping. After all, now that baby’s crowding your bladder, you’ve got to pee. A lot.

Crazy that it’s just 14 weeks to go – just over three months!

Weight Gain: Ehh. Not terrible. Not good. I had a really down in the dumps month there in January into my last appointment. And then when I went back most recently, at my 23 week appointment, I realized I’d only gained a total of 15 pounds. So, not as awful as I’d thought, but just gaining weight in TOTALLY different places than I did with Elle. My ass – like I needed any more there – and thighs this time. Whatever.

Cravings: Still nothing really.

Symptoms: General ‘yick’ feeling. Dizziness sometimes. Thirst, inquenchable thirst.

I am loving: How quickly this is all flying by. And, that we just booked our first every legitimate family vacation in two weeks! We’re headed to Orlando/Disney, so that will be fun. I’m going to Orlando for work already, so this was just a natural dovetail with all of that. Jon and Elle are flying down on the last day of my meeting and then we’ll get four+ days to play in the sun and see Mickey Mouse (or Mickamouse as Elle refers to him). When I asked her today if she wanted to go for a ride on an airplane she responded “Roarsome” which is Henry Hugglemonster-speak for “Awesome”.

Sleep: I’m really uncomfortable when I sleep. I now have three of the four regular pillows on the bed (Jon requires just one) and the body pillow that I’ve added into the rotation. Getting comfortable to sleep seems pretty impossible, but once I fall asleep it typically is ok and I sleep for awhile.

I miss: Feeling like I was in some type of physical health. Got out for a walk with Elle on Sunday afternoon and walked two miles and I was winded and just generally out of shape. I feel winded too often and I just am welcoming the warmer weather (though 6 inches of snow is on the way tomorrow night!) and the sunshine and the longer daylight hours later in the day.

I am looking forward to: FLORIDA!

I am spazzing about: Nesting…I can feel it setting in. I think all day about all the things I’m going to get done when I get home from work, and by the time I walk in the door, my energy level is sapped. I feel like our house is out of control – not entirely but I just feel that way. And that I haven’t done great grocery shopping that keeps us stocked up. Winter us and summer us are very different…wish it weren’t so dramatic 😦

Best moment of the week: Walking outside with Elle.

Milestones: Not sure…the nursery is nearing completion. That’s exciting.

Movement: To the point it takes my breath away. I feel like the kicking/punching is significantly harder and placed differently than with Elle. I feel like Elle rolled around and had big dramatic movements more and this child just continues to beat on me from the inside.

It’s a….: Boy.

Exercise: Not much.

Diet: Better, and all I really want is water. I feel like it settles my stomach.

Goals for the upcoming week: Muddle through the week – I was in Traverse City for a work conference Sunday-Tuesday and then in Grand Rapids this Friday-Sunday. In an odd turn of events, Jon was laid off last week, so he’s now home for the time being. I think until after we get back from Florida. I’m SO SO glad that we’ve got a trip planned. I feel like this will be a great few days just the three of us.