I just scrolled back through to find my post about Eleanor on her second birthday, and after reading that, I am realizing just how big this last year has been for Eleanor…for all of us. The two obvious events – getting a new brother and moving to a new country. Although she had been to the US before, up until December, it wasn’t actually her country per say. She was born in Australia, and she spent the majority of her first few years of life there. It’s sort of hard for me to realize that she’s not actually going to remember living there, and she’s already started to forget some of the people she spent every day with, even though we often look through old photos and FaceTime our friends that are still there.
In the last year, Eleanor went from “beginning conversational” talking to “non-stop talker and singer.” Some of the things she says are unbelievable, and we laugh so hard. She expresses herself with her hands sometimes, and it’s so funny to see how she is like Robbie in that way. She has quite an imagination, and she’ll take us on adventures and missions all day. She has picked up a love for singing, and her ability to memorize songs is super impressive. I’m going to give that one to Robbie, too, because it takes me quite a bit of effort to memorize new songs. More recently we went to see the musical Annie at a local theatre, and you bet it’s been on repeat in the car ever since. She’s got most of the soundtrack memorized!
Some of Eleanor’s favorites over this past year have been dancing, more specifically ballet, and she will be doing dancing lessons for the first time later this month. I can’t wait to see this in action! She loves to help out in the kitchen, and when we got back to the States, my Dad had made her a kitchen helper, which is the perfect height for her to help. She loves dresses and having her nails painted, but she’s also not afraid to get messy and play outside. She loves to be outside, and I am so grateful for my parents backyard, which has been so wonderful as it’s warmed up. She loves singing! She loves reading books, and we’ve been to the library many times. She loves play places and playgrounds, although she’s gotten a little apprehensive on some of the bigger parts of a playground more recently. She also loves any sort of arts and crafts, and when she’s gone to summer camp at points through the summer, she’s come home with so many craft projects.
Eleanor – we love you so, so much, and we are so proud of the little lady you are becoming. You are growing in so many ways, figuring out the world around you and relationships, testing boundaries, loving hard and laughing much. We love being your parents so much, and we can’t imagine what this next year will bring! LOVE YOU!!! Happy 3rd Birthday my girl!!!
I am approaching a week overdue for this update, but hey, better late than never. (And I’ve definitely been much later than a week!!) Otis turned 9 months last Sunday, and once again, it snuck up on all of us. He just had his 9-month checkup, and it was mind-blowing when they gave me the follow-up paper that said to return after he’s one. Only a few more months!
Highlights & Milestones
Otis had a big month on the movement front. He went from army crawling and sort of scooting around to fully crawling, and the kid is crazy fast. I forgot just how fast crawling babies get. He is loving his newfound freedom to explore, and boy is he exploring. The other day, he was in the living room playing with toys one second, and all of a sudden, he was gone. We could hear him, though, so we followed his little squeals and yells and found him near the bathroom. He loves his baths, so I suppose that’s where he was heading. It’s a whole different ballgame figuring out what needs to be baby-proofed in my parents house. Not only is it much bigger than our flat in Australia, but there’s also a lot more for Otis to get into. Have I mentioned how easy it is to get into the dog’s food and water bowls?
Otis went to the water park for the first time this month, and it was his first time in swimming gear as well. He wasn’t a fan of the water part, but he definitely liked watching all the kids run around and play. The water was decently cold, and I remember Eleanor not enjoying water at this age. I’m hoping to get them both into some swim lessons soon, though, so they’re a bit more comfortable in the water before our trip to South Carolina in August. I’ve also learned my lesson after two failed attempts at the water park by myself with two kids – bring reinforcements!!
Otis’s top two teeth came in this past month, and he’s already working on more. He has gotten his teeth so much quicker than Eleanor did! His toothy grin is so sweet!
A few highlights were watching the Indy 500 Parade with some friends, as well as both kids’ first time to an Indians game. Otis also tried the swings at the park for the first time and really enjoyed that!
We got Otis a shirt this month that has a lion on the front and says “Little Guy. Big Roar.” It’s so fitting for him right now because he can seriously be SO loud. He is really into shouting, squealing and growling at the moment. I “think” he has said “Mumma” a few times over the last week, but it’s not repeatable at this point. Hopefully he’ll commit to saying that one first, though, because Eleanor said “Dadda” first.
Otis’s favorite game is peek-a-boo or chase around with Eleanor, and he loves the buildup the most. He laughs so hard when he’s getting his diaper changed and Eleanor runs back and forth to him. They’ve also created a little game where Eleanor will run loops inside the house and one of us will be chasing her with Otis “flying” in our arms. They both laugh so hard. It’s quite a workout after awhile!
Otis is a little guy just like his sister was, and he’s riding the bottom line of the charts just like her. He’s actually on formula now after a month and half of transition. It was surprising for all of us considering I breastfed Eleanor until 16-months, but it’s a perfect example of taking each child as a unique individual and doing what’s best for them. No comparison! He’s also sleeping through the night most nights now, which is so wonderful. Overall, he’s hitting a lot of milestones, and there seems to be almost daily highlights with this little cutie!!
Anything outside – backyard, front porch, long walks, parks, zoos, etc.
Peek-a-boo and tag/chase
Gaga and Papaw
Being thrown in the air, flying around chasing big sister, swinging, going down the slide (held of course)
Bathtime and splashing
Having to wait for food or a bottle
If I leave a room too fast
Being in the car too long (especially if he’s hungry)
How Am I Doing?
I’m not sure how/if I can answer this question fully. We had a major setback last week as a family that I’m not going to go into, but I’ll just say it rocked me a lot. Outside of that, which is sort of hard to differentiate but nonetheless, I am doing well. Eleanor and Otis are both doing well, and I feel like we are getting into a bit more of a rhythm at home. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say I am not as well as I was doing a week ago. Again, I don’t want to get into it, but I do know this – we will be ok and we will get past this. God is good. God is with us and for us. We are ok. So I’ll leave it there and finish with a cute photo of Otis working on his downward dog yoga pose. ;)
What a month! And now we are 2/3 of the way to a year. Excuse me while I go cry in a corner!!!
Highlights & Milestones
A highlight for me this month is watching the brother/sister bond between Eleanor and Otis get stronger and stronger. Earlier in the month I posted a video of Eleanor doing some twirls in her room while falling, and Otis couldn’t get enough. He was laughing so hard! She’s so sweet to him, too! The other day I watched her go over to him while he was in his jumpy chair, and she said, “Oh buddy! Where’s your cracker? Did you eat it all buddy? Oh silly, you dropped it! Here you go, Otis!!!” It’s so sweet to watch her love on him and take care of him. He loves her so much, too, especially when she sings to him. On a recent trip, there were a couple moments on the drive that Otis was over it, and once I showed him a video of Eleanor singing, he was happy as can be. I am so excited to keep watching their friendship grow.
There were a lot of movement milestones this month. He’s rolling all around a room, shimmying himself around to get where he wants, planking, rocking on all fours and sitting up unassisted. He still loves his jumpy chair as well. We have an old one outside, and I think that’s his happy place – outside and jumping. He is probably only days away from crawling. He has it all down except for the arm part, and he’s starting to lunge forward for now. I can only imagine what it will be like when we have him crawling around and exploring.
He’s started eating more foods that have more texture – bananas, avocados, oatmeal, eggs, cheerios and raisins. He really wants people food now and has no patience for purees. I know Eleanor had a lot of these things at 8 months, but I think because he’s our second, he seems too young! I also think with your first you are hyper aware of all the new things to do and try and watch for. With the second, you blink and they’re 8 months!
We went on a road trip this past month to Washington DC to see my cousin retire from a 20-year Air Force career. Just before we went, I could see some movement happening on his top teeth, and he had a slight fever. I assumed they were related, but he was getting more and more uncomfortable. The fever wasn’t really going away much either, so I ran him up to the Dr. before our trip just in case something else was going on. She checked him out, and he looked fine, clear of any bacterial infection. She said he probably has some sort of viral infection and to watch it over the weekend. A couple days later, his fever subsided, and he had a rash all over. I’m pretty sure it was roseola, but fortunately, by the last day of our trip (our drive back), he was much better. His top teeth have mostly come through this past week as well. You can see them in a picture below.
This past month has f-i-n-a-l-l-y consisted of good weather, so we’ve been outside a lot more. We’ve gone on walks, to the zoo, to the park and more, and Otis is such a big fan. He loves to be outside. One of his favorite spots is sitting on the front porch, and he gets super excited with each passing car. He gets especially excited when the big work trucks that are doing construction at the back of our neighborhood drive by. At the park one day, he went on the swings for the first time, too.
Another highlight was a visit from our friends from Australia. They’ve done a huge trip around the world, and they were up in Chicago. We met them in Lafayette one afternoon, and it was so great seeing them. Kate had their little boy two weeks after Otis was born, and his name is Otto. We affectionately call them the “O-Men”. It was so good to see them!
Food – fruit purees and people food (bananas, avocados, eggs, bread, raisins, broccoli and cheerios), baby mum-mum crackers and puffs
Being outside – walks, parks, sitting on the grass, front porch watching
Jumparoo chair still going strong
Being tickled (and the anticipation of being tickled)
Being thrown up in the air
Any toys, especially his sister’s toys when she shares (which fortunately is most of the time at this point)
Yelling and growling are his favorite sounds to make
Do not take food (or anything) out of Otis’s hands if he’s playing with it…just don’t ;)
Being in the car for too long if he’s tired
When you don’t share your food with him
How Am I Doing?
I’m doing really well. This last month has been like a breath of fresh air in a number of ways – seeing old friends, making new friends, being outside. I’ve re-launched my photography business here in Indianapolis, redesigned my blog and started writing more again. I am dreaming more for the future and all the possibilities. I’ve started a mom’s “Summer Meetup” group that I am excited about. I’ve been doing a bit better with working out and eating well, hopefully continuing to improve upon that. A lot is going really well.
There are challenges of course in this season, but I am trying to be content where we are at and not rush things. I’ve learned so much over this last year about God’s timing and “withness” and to trust that, so I am hoping to remember that in the day-to-day when challenges arise.
I’m loving these times with the kids and figuring out our rhythms. I am trying to get us out a bit more on a daily basis, which I think helps Eleanor a lot. There have been some challenges with Eleanor over the last month or two that we are praying about how to navigate, but I think the more consistent our routine can be, the better. Otis is so chill and laid-back at this stage that it’s helpful when I have to work with Eleanor. And of course, I am optimistic and hopeful that the older Otis gets the more they’ll play together.