When Eleanor was born, something happened to us. Aside from the obvious “we became parents”, we also quickly became sleep deprived, and as our sleep decreased, our coffee intake increased. Not just any coffee, though. We started buying coffees from cafes an absurd amount of times. We were looking for the quickest and easiest solution (but still very tasty). We sort of mentally succumbed to “survival mode”, and apparently lattes were a part of that for us.
We have had moments or seasons where we do better at this than others in the two years since becoming parents, but unfortunately this has become our default in busy times or when returning from holidays. We have had an assortment of coffee brewing methods at home over the years as well from a used espresso machine we found on Gumtree when we first got married to a french press and a pod machine, and more recently, to an Aeropress. We use the french press and Aeropress at home now, but we still find ourselves getting more coffees out than we should (or need).
We have this incredible cafe at our YWAM base, and it’s so easy to buy a small, extra hot latte each day during morning tea, especially when you partner up and get 2 for $4! I bring Eleanor over to play with her little friends, catch up with other staff and grab a coffee. It’s almost become a habit. There’s also the ridiculously convenient coffee shop that is probably only 150m away from our house and has amazing hours – such as Sunday mornings! Not only is this coffee shop convenient, the owner and staff are awesome. They know all of our names, including Eleanor. They know our order. It’s fun to go to this cafe because of the hospitality.
I have no problem with buying the occasional coffee out. In fact, I love the culture here in Australia of going out for coffee, particularly because of the sheer goodness and care Aussies have with coffee making. However, I feel like I need to rewire my brain to not think I need it. To not default to it. This is probably a true statement for a lot of this generation. It’s interesting to consider what drives these decisions more – the taste, the company/friendship or the ease of someone else making it for you. It’s definitely not a financial decision…well at least not a frugal one!
All that to say, it’s a new month – Happy August! Robbie and I have talked about this a bit recently, and we have set some boundaries as far as how often we will buy coffees out and how much we will budget for this area. We also recently purchased Keepcups, which will not only reduce our charge at some cafes by up to $1, but more importantly it’s helping us to do our part in the War on Waste in one small way. Have you guys watched that? Really inspiring and challenging!
I am aware that in a month and a half or so, we will transform back into those sleep deprived new parents, but I am hoping to gain some momentum with our habits this month so we don’t break the bank. Also, since you don’t really have a baby registry with second children, I will tell you that this is what is on ours – lattes. Feel free to bring those over, and we will let you cuddle a newborn in a couple months.
What is something that you find you often have to “reset” in your life every so often? Habits you fall into or decisions you make without even realising it sometimes?
Nesting kicked in in full-force last week, and I found myself purging, reorganising and cleaning everything. Maybe it’s the third trimester or finally starting to feel a bit better after all our colds, but either way, it’s happening. I realised a couple months ago that I never actually did a follow-up post about Eleanor’s room once she moved out of her little corner of our shared room. As I’ve been working in there over the last week, I decided to take a few photos of where it’s up to so far. I’ve tried to be very intentional about what toys she has and clothes and really feeling the whole “less is more” principle. I’ve been seeing so much about minimalistic living lately, and it’s inspiring on so many levels. I’ve listed some great articles below if you want to have a look. We plan to have the new baby in our room for sleeping in the beginning, but eventually, I would like for him and Eleanor to share a room. I am already putting his stuff in their room aside from sleep stuff. I think Eleanor is pretty excited about it all, too! There are a few things I’m still shuffling around to make work, but it’s getting there and all becoming more and more real. I’m going to have 2 kids soon!
Here are some photos of our littles’ room right now.
^Both of the white cubes used to be full of Eleanor’s toys, but I’ve narrowed things down to one of them and created a little “toy corner” in her room. She was so excited about this, and when I asked her what she thought of her room this way, she said “AWESOME!”
^This shelf used to have Eleanor’s toys, and it was great being all open for that purpose. However, now that there are a bunch of clothes on the shelves, I’d like to either get baskets or the inserts that fit into the cube so it’s not quite as messy looking (and so a certain big sister doesn’t think they’re clothes for her dolly!).
^This is probably Eleanor’s favourite toy at the moment. She is often making cookies, baking things and more. She has such an imagination!
^Baby’s clothes! They’re so tiny. You totally forget how small newborns are, and it makes me so excited for all the cuddles. I also got really excited when we were in the States shopping because I realised that I can actually pick a specific outfit to bring him home in because I know it’s a boy this time. With Eleanor we didn’t really buy many clothes prior to her birth because we didn’t know the gender. I can’t wait to dress up this little man!
Here are some articles about minimalism that have inspired me recently!
I am totally stealing this idea from one of my favourite blogs – Love Taza – but now that Eleanor is talking so much, I really want to remember some of the funny things she is saying and doing.
Eleanor-isms: the funny sayings and doings of Eleanor Hazel, 2-years-old.
A couple weeks ago, we were coming home from church, and this preggo lady was so hungry. I said, “Mommmmmy is hunnnnngry” in a sing-song sort of way, and without missing a beat, Eleanor follows along and sings “Lella hunnnnng-y tooooooooo.”
Since returning from holidays, Eleanor’s endurance/capacity to entertain herself has exploded, and she’s also loving her toys that she had missed for a month. One of her current favs is her play kitchen and picnic basket. Often, she will bring us a cup and saucer or a plate and say “One you. One me!” Hers is always “really hawwwt” and she will warn us to “touch it, k?” while she motions over the cup. She also does this with the oven cabinet of her kitchen, motioning “really hawwwt k? Touch it k?”
Another one of her favourites is her stuffed animals and pillows in the corner of her room. She is often rocking them to sleep and singing “Sunshine away you, sunshine away you,” which is her version of “You are My Sunshine”, the song I sing to her before naps. She also seems to think that anything can take a nap, and we are often finding all sorts of random objects “asleep” on the pillows in her room. Some examples of those random objects include remotes, the baby monitor, her play phone, and even her last bite of toast…
Eleanor is having “pic – its” all day long these days. We call them picnics, but she’s pretty convinced they’re called “pic -its”. She wants you to have a “pic – it” with her often, and she will get it all set up and occasionally even let you eat the food.
Leading up to her birthday, Eleanor often told us it was her birthday soon. “Everybody sing me!” she would tell us, and then she would start singing “Happy Birthday Lellllllla” to herself.
We also have told her that “Gaga and Papaw” (my parents) will come on an airplane when the baby boy comes out. She has since told everyone that “Baby boy growing. Baby boy come out. Hold him arm. Zoom on the airplane and Gaga and Papaw come see me!” I think she’s maybe convinced that the baby is coming on an airplane. If only it were that easy right?
I feel like I need to write an update about life because a lot of what I have wanted to write in the past few months simply hasn’t happened. I don’t necessarily feel like I need to explain this, but I also feel frustrated that the blog has become a bit more dormant than my hope is for it.
Life has been busy these past few months and a bit unexpected at times. We went on holidays for four weeks to the States, and when we returned, it was a whirlwind three weeks as we finished June with Robbie’s school, teaching, a massive fundraising campaign for our centre and more. We finished the month sick – all of us – and honestly, I wasn’t surprised. I said to Robbie somewhat jokingly (somewhat not) that if June were a person, he took us out back and beat us up. It was too much, and even though we walked into this new month under the weather and exhausted, it was nice to have a chance to slow down and recover.
I entered my third trimester this past week as well, and it’s not escaping me that in just a couple months, life is going to change again with this new baby arriving. Busy will look and feel different than it ever has before, and the dynamics of our family that we have known for these past two years will shift to welcome our little guy. It’s good, and I am so, so excited. I am also a little nervous and a lot curious. I haven’t written hardly at all about my pregnancy because to be honest, I have no desire to do so this time around. I thought I would want to, but things are so different this time around. Half the time I can barely remember how far along I am. I have taken about a fourth of the photos of my belly this time, and pregnancy feels more like a road to a beautiful and incredible destination. Because I’ve been there before, I am just ready to get there again. I cannot wait to meet him. I am not marvelling at the newness of pregnancy this time around, but rather, I am watching my daughter daily, loving her more and more, and finding myself so anxious to add more of that to our little family. Did anyone else feel this way?
All that to say, my pregnancy is going well, and traveling to the States this time was a bit easier pregnancy-wise than when I traveled while pregnant with Eleanor. It was harder in other ways (hello, entertaining a nearly 2-year-old for a 16-hour flight…), but overall, it was pretty smooth. I am measuring normal, have normal blood work and glucose tests, am not swollen quite yet and haven’t had many cravings. I feel stronger in general because of working out prior to getting pregnant and staying moderately active this time because again, hello, 2-year-old. My current sickness that I am getting over has been frustrating and quite persistent, but I am hopeful that if I stay at a slower pace, I’ll fully recover soon.
In general, I have so much I want to write, and in the past few weeks, I feel like God has been speaking a lot and showing me more and more of his heart for me in this current season. I am reading a book called Long Days of Small Things, and it’s so good. I am only on the second or third chapter, but seriously, it’s so good. It’s just what my heart needs right now. I am trying to slow down, but I am also wanting to really soak up these last couple months with just Eleanor and me each day. One thing God has been showing me with writing is the area of vulnerability – how to do this well and why it’s good and right for me. I’ve been confronting fears when it comes to writing, particularly about parenting because the internet (which is people really) can be so harsh sometimes, especially in parenting. Like I have said before, I have questioned if I am strong enough or brave enough, but I am realising that some of that bravery and strength is forged in the fire. Some of it is founded in the tricky conversations and questions and responses. And again, like I said before, I do believe it’s worth it. I know it’s been worth it for me when others have been vulnerable, and I am incredibly grateful for them.
More on that to come. If you haven’t gathered in the past few years with this blog, it’s taken a lot of different shapes over the years, and part of that has to do with the season I am in. I am really working to continue plowing through the main heart and vision for this space and defining that more as I go on. Stick with me. I appreciate all of you who read, and I hope you continue.
My baby is somehow 2 years old today. Will it ever stop being sentimental and nostalgic as a mother? I find that both times now before her birthdays, I’ve wanted to re-read her birth story and look at photos of when she was first born. It seems impossible that we are here, and yet, I don’t remember life without her. I may be more emotional because of alllll the hormones and the realisation that I am about to embark on this journey all over again in just a couple months. Motherhood. Parenting. What a journey, hey?
Eleanor is acutely aware that it is her birthday today. There were a few friends who have had birthdays in the past few weeks, and when she would ask about her birthday, we would tell her that it was coming up. Then this past week, in the busyness and craziness of it all, we tried to be excited with her about her birthday in just a few days. This morning, Robbie got up with her, and I had forgotten to put her gift in our room until we were ready for her to open it. It was sitting on the coffee table, all wrapped up, and she was so ready to open it. Robbie told her she had to wait until I woke up so you better believe when they came to wake me up a bit later, Eleanor wanted nothing to do with my birthday wishes or cuddles and simply said “PRESENT!” She’s a girl who knows what she wants.
Robbie and I have really enjoyed these last couple months with Eleanor in particular because of how much she communicates now. She’s known heaps of words from about 18 months, but in the past couple months, she has become “conversational”. So she will say sentences and tell us what she is doing (or what we should be doing). It’s really exciting to watch language develop in a child; it’s definitely one of my favourite parts of watching her develop so far.
When we have asked her what she wants for her birthday this past week, she leans in and whispers “cake” with a little gleam in her eye. She also loves to sing “Happy Birthday” and has told us that everyone will be singing “Happy Birthday” to her now. She enjoyed this morning when her friends sang to her during morning tea, and she also thoroughly enjoyed a little “Happy Birthday” song video from my sister, Lisa (which we probably watched 100 times).
Birthdays are so exciting to Eleanor and not just her own birthday. Eleanor loves people. She always has, and now that she is getting older and talking more, we are seeing more of this gift come out. She loves when she gets to tell someone “Happy Birthday”, and she loves to give them a gift or a hug. She loves doing that all the time in fact. When Eleanor and I have baked cookies together, she is almost more excited about handing them out to her friends than eating them herself, although she does indeed love to eat cookies.
She is enthusiastic as can be. This morning when I told her she got to wear her birthday shirt today, she started singing “BIRTHDAY SHIRT! BIRTHDAY SHIRT!” When I cook one of her favourite meals, she comes into the kitchen, sees it and just starts giggling and dancing. She is so positive and joyful. As much as I love, love, love snuggly babies, I am realising that getting to know your kids as they get older is probably one of the best things about parenting. I know there will be hard times and parts of them that will challenge me to my core, but seeing them develop as their own little people – what a privilege.
Finally, a book that Robbie and I have been sifting through more recently has a bunch of names in it with their spiritual meaning/connotation. Our friend Terese sent me the meanings of Eleanor Hazel when she was born, but until recently, I hadn’t fully remembered. It’s incredible how much they describe her.
Inherent Meaning: Bright as the sun
Spiritual Connotation: Kindhearted, warm
Inherent Meaning: God sees
Spiritual Connotation: Watching in the light
I love you, sweet Eleanor! You are my baby girl and always will be. You have grown so much in this past year, and you bring so many smiles and laughs to everyone around you. We are so privileged to be your parents. I cannot wait to see all that the next year brings. Happy birthday!!!
As you can see, I am a bit late in writing this post about Eleanor, as I meant to do it at 21 months. Things got pretty busy, though, and to be honest, the thing that was holding me up was taking photos of her for this post. I wanted to take specific photos just for this, but I was doing so many other photo shoots and prep for them that I didn’t get around to it. Eleanor was an excellent little model for me, though, when I was preparing to take photos of the af Petersens’ family, so I got some photos for this blog. I am also planning to publish some blogs that I’ve been meaning to write lately in the next few weeks. So, stay tuned!
Highlights & Milestones
I last wrote when Eleanor was 18 months just after the New Year. Her development has exploded since then, particularly in the area of speech/vocabulary. I went to her 18-month check-up, and they told me she should be saying about 10 words or so at this point. I sort of laughed because it seemed like Eleanor was already saying twice that many people’s names, let alone words. She’s a talker for sure, and particularly in the last 6-8 weeks, her vocabulary is amazing us. She not only knows heaps of words, but she is putting them together now into 2-4 word sentences. She is starting to repeat new words more clearly, and she randomly showed us that she can count to 10 a few weeks back (although she has an aversion to the number “7” for some reason).
A couple times in the last several months, Eleanor’s sleep has gone from pretty good to amazing, and we relished in those fleeting days of 7am wake-ups and 1.5+ hr naps. She seemed to time her progression into this extremely well, though (hint my sarcasm here), as both times she has done this have been in the couple weeks leading up to a big change – aka Daylight Savings Time and traveling internationally. Overall, though, our once fickle sleeper and relying on bad habits to sleep baby is a pretty great sleeper, and for that I am really grateful. She goes to sleep without a fuss for most naps and nights, and even on our current trip to the states, her routine has transitioned pretty well (aside from a few middle of the night wake-up-and-plays).
Eleanor’s canine teeth have mostly come through – just waiting on the final one. I will be so glad for the day when she is done teething. (Just in time for our new baby to start getting teeth probably…sigh) She has that last canine and then her 2-year-old molars to go. For Eleanor, she has tended to get all of the same type of teeth at the same time. She doesn’t spread them out. Go big or go home right?
She is still a very active and energetic toddler. She is often on the move, loves to go outside and run around, and has to have her fill of people each and everyday. With her increased vocabulary, it has become a little easier to know what she’s wanting. She still has your standard meltdowns and tantrums, and funny enough, they mostly seem to be about food. She is such a good kid, though, and she has such a sweet heart.
One of my favourite things she did these past few months was learn to pray. When I had my 3+ week sinus infection/migraines happening, Robbie taught her how to pray for my head. She put her hand on my cheek and said “Je-us better”. She has since learned to put her hands together and close her eyes, and she really concentrates. She has such empathy for others, and it’s been a beautiful part of her little soul to discover.
A major milestone for Eleanor in the past few months has been starting daycare one day a week. I put her name on a waiting list at some point last October/November, not really anticipating she would get a spot anytime soon. We got a call in January, though, and she started in February. I was so nervous about it at first because she can get quite clingy with me, and we hadn’t had much success with leaving her with many others or at church creche at that point. I slowly transitioned her into a full day over several weeks, and she seriously loves it now so much. She loves her teachers. She loves playing outside. She loves the art projects. She even takes naps pretty well now. I feel confident in taking her there one day a week, and it’s been so timely with this second pregnancy and being able to not just rest but to accomplish a bit more that can be challenging with a toddler running around. My heart practically jumps out of my chest each week when I pick her up, and she squeals “MOMMY!!!” with a big, goofy grin. We have noticed how much it has affected her trust in being left with others now as well. You can see she understands when I leave her with a friend for an hour or so and tell her I’ll be back soon. You can see it “click” in her little mind, and she is totally fine. In fact, just a couple weeks ago, Robbie and I were able to leave her for the first time in the church creche while we both sat and listened to the sermon. It was awesome.
We also turned her carseat around a couple weeks ago as she finally reached the shoulder marker. She absolutely loves facing forward, and we all call it her “big girl seat” now.
- Daniel Tiger – current tv love, and we are pretty ok with it
- Friends – she cannot get enough of her little friends, and she gets so happy to see them
- Fruit – she loves bananas, watermelon, and melon in particular
- “Ring-around-the-rosy” and other little interactive songs
- The moon and stars – every night she is looking for them
- Her Lucy doll
- “Cooking” in her kitchen – she’s always making cookies
- Painting, colouring and playdough
- Helping me in the kitchen – she’ll come in and say “CHAIR! CHAIR!” so she can see what we are doing
- Veggies of course
- Moving cars – I am ok with this btw
- Being chased or “approached” by anyone she isn’t super familiar with
How Am I Doing?
I am doing pretty well now that I have finally hit the “sweet spot” in pregnancy – past the yuck of the first trimester (+extended sinus infection sickness) but not quite to the huge, whale stage. I am really enjoying Eleanor right now. I have always enjoyed her, but I feel like lately, I am noticing moments more and just staring at her and wanting to kiss her a hundred times. I love her cuddles and her empathy and her little voice and so much more. It’s seriously such an incredible gift to be a mum. I know I haven’t felt that in every moment of everyday, but I feel like I am “noticing” or “remember” that more lately. Maybe it’s the second baby coming. It’s a weird thing to think about adding another to our family. We are thrilled, and we cannot wait to meet our little man. I am so aware that my days with just Eleanor and I are fleeting, though, and there is definitely something bittersweet about that.
We are currently in the States for a holiday, and it’s been so good already to see Eleanor interact with family at this age. I am enjoying being here in warm weather again as well. Other than that, I have been doing a lot more photography – shoots, as well as learning and developing – and I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed photography more at any other point in the journey. It’s such a different feel this time around, and I am loving it and learning new things all the time. It’s also been such a great outlet for me during the week, and I hope to continue growing in it.