Wednesday, March 31, 2010

9 and 24

A 9 month old and a 24 month old... the sweetest little lady and the most charming little guy around!  They're ours and they're getting bigger.  

Together, they are quite the pair.  Ellie is content if she's within 5 feet of Robbie, regardless of where we are!  And Robbie is always mindful of Ellie, handing her one of his toys if he sits down to play near her.  I love watching their sibling relationship develop, and there are very few things that bring us more joy than to see them love and care for one another.

Of course they have their moments together too, like last night in the bath tub when Robbie experimented with Ellie's balance by lifting her foot up out of the water, toppling her over and causing a head bonk before mommy could intervene.  And as you can see, Ellie is a cup thief.

Robbie continues to be a good head taller than most kids his age.  His stats at the pediatrician were:
Height:  37.75 inches - 99th percentile
Weight:  32 pounds - 89th percentile
Head:  20 inches - 94th percentile

He's in 2T clothes, size 6 diapers, and size 7 or 8 shoes (no longer double wide!).

The poor guy slimmed down a little more this past weekend, thanks to the flu.  He looks so skinny to me!  

He is really enjoying all this talking business, and chatters on and on all day long.  He enjoys memorizing songs and books, and will randomly burst into song or recite a favorite new book.  (The best is when he spots a Bible and picks it up, clutching it to his chest, and sings "The B.I.B.L.E... yes that's the book for me!...")

The nights he sleeps in his crib are numbered, whether he realizes it or not (we've tried to explain).  His big boy furniture has been ordered and will be delivered any day now.  My mom and sister helped me paint his room on Monday and I am doing my best to enjoy the fact that he is becoming a little boy and is really no longer our baby.  Helps to have Ellie around in my weak moments!

I love that Robbie is gentle even though he tends to be bigger than the other kids his age.  He is enjoying playing WITH his friends now (as opposed to parallel play), and ends up being chased by his friends that are girls (mainly Charlotte and Riley!).  My favorite things about this stage are how obedient he is most of the time, his love for daddy and desire to be right by his side anytime he's home, and how much he wants to snuggle with me all of the sudden.  It's very sweet and I'm happy to enter the 'terrible two's' with him, even if these things change.  He is so precious to us.  

Ellie is in a great phase right now too.  At 9 months, she is so observant of the world around her, and although she is less fearful of strangers, she strongly prefers those of us who are a part of her daily / weekly life.  My mom dubbed her the 'cling-on monkey' when she was an infant, and that trait continues to be true as she always grabs on tightly to Rob and I when we hold her.  She loves to grab me by the hair with both of her hands and pull my face toward hers, mouth slobbery and wide open, to give me kisses.  So gross, yet so cute... so I  let her.  :)

At the pediatrician, her 9 month stats were:
Height:  29.5 inches - 97th percentile
Weight:  20 pounds 2 oz - 74th percentile
Head:  18.25 inches - 97th percentile

(*Funny story, her head measurement concerned the doctor for the second well-visit in a row, but when I reminded her that Robbie's head always trended this large, AND I think I have a big head, too, the Dr. wrapped her tape measure around my head and announced that I did, indeed, have a larger head for an adult!  Motherhood strips you of unnecessary vanity - thankfully - and I was just relieved that Ellie's head measurement wasn't cause for concern but instead most likely an inherited trait from me. Ha!)

This little lady loves to cross her ankles!  
She has begun to show signs of having strong preferences in several ways: she gags anytime I try to feed her pureed meat, dislikes things being taken from her grasp, and relishes in her bedtime routine.  All I have to do is place her on her back in her crib and hand her her little bunny blanket, and she grabs it with her left hand, snuggles it to her cheek, and places her right thumb in her mouth and snuggles down to sleep.

I noticed yesterday that she is cutting MORE teeth!  Her upper tooth has been coming in for a little while, but the next tooth over (away from the center) is starting to bud as well.  She is following in her brother's footsteps - once he started to cut teeth, he never stopped until his molars came in.  Sadly, Ellie's sleep is often disrupted by teething, and I can expect to go back to one 4am bottle feeding until these teeth are well through the gums.
(*To be honest, I don't mind it - who wouldn't want to snuggle this sweet girl, even at 4am?!  And we don't get a lot of time just the 2 of us, so I'm thankful for it even in the middle of the night.)

Ellie is more interested in getting mobile, and this morning she made an attempt to crawl over to a toy from a sitting position.  She still rotates 360 degrees like a pro, and inches backwards... but the forward crawl is elusive.  I'm not worried nor am I pushing it.  The minute she crawls, my life gets harder!  I know she will do it soon, because sometimes when I stalk her through the video baby monitor I see her inching forward in her crib in an effort to get comfortable.  No, I'm not counting these little movements as first crawl!

Overall Ellie is laid back, happy to be with Mommy and Robbie during the day and thrilled to see Daddy when he comes home from work.  She eats up her dad's attention, even at this young of an age.  Ellie is lucky to have a dad who loves her and is so taken with her!

Happy 2 year birthday, Robbie!
And happy 9 month birthday, Ellie!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sickie and Cutie

Well I am way behind in keeping this blog up to date.  I have Ellie's 9 month post, Robbie's 2 year post, and a weekend up in Wisconsin with dear friends to talk about!

But first, we are just trying to get this little guy healthy again.  He threw up in the food court at the mall yesterday (very high up on my list of things that used to scare me at the thought of happening - turns out, you live through it.).  And twice since.  I suppose we had a 'first' last night together, in that I made a bed on the floor of our bedroom out of blankets, sheets, and mainly towels for the two of us!  Not as fun as it sounds... By the way, how do you get the stomach flu twice in less than 8 months?  We thought the chances of it were low, but here we are.  I'm convinced that he picked it up the day before at the pediatrician (adding irony to the term 'well visit').

In other news, this little girl is as cute and charming as ever.
I think I am in love with her bed head!

With hair like that, how can you be bummed about anything!?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Thinking of you

Dear Great-Grandma Jessie,

We heard that our Mima was spending the week with you, and we just wanted to send a special hello from Wheaton to Cincinnati!

It's been a while since we've been able to see you, and we love you and miss you so much.

Have a wonderful day today!!

Robbie and Ellie

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Robbie is 2! (a very long post)

Robbie turned 2 years old on March 15th!  We really don't know where the time went but we're so thankful for these 2 wonderful years with our sweet boy.

Robbie's Birth Day...

Hello, little one!
(I really can't believe that he was actually this LITTLE once.)

2 years later... our growing boy!

We decided to celebrate Robbie's birthday on Saturday, the 13th, since Rob's parents were able to fly in and spend the weekend with us.  We kicked off the party day by going out to brunch at one of our favorite places, Egg'lectic.

I was feeling brave and confident in my recent attempts at dining out with Robbie, but as soon as we settled into our booth I had the sinking feeling that this was not going to go well.

1st indicator: the booster chair they gave to us for Robbie was too unstable on the cushioned bench, and we had to wrestle him back out of it and stick him in a high chair on the short end of the table... inches away from Ellie.  It was funny to look at them sitting next to each other and realize that we really do have 2 kids this little and close in age!

It ended up being a rainy, gloomy day... which was great since we didn't have to worry about feeling guilty about staying inside and enjoying the party all afternoon.  The downside was that there wasn't much natural light to work with as I took pictures, so the quality of these photos is really poor.

I wanted Robbie's party to reflect something he's really 'into' right now... and the choice was easy.  Monsters, Inc. is his favorite movie and the colors are so vibrant and the theme was just irresistible.  I could have chosen Thomas or trains, but frankly, I'm a bit burned out with the train situation.  Ha!

However: lesson learned.  Monsters, Inc. is actually an older movie, and so there is NOTHING in stores related to the movie!  As I wandered the aisles of Party City and Target, I realized I was going to have to get creative with my chosen theme (as I lamented the Thomas table runner, party horns and hats, pinatas, and plate sets!).

Always up for a challenge, I found a few Sully and Mike Wazowski mylar balloons online for a few dollars, ordered balloons in the signature aqua / periwinkle / lime green colors, decorated cupcakes to look like eyeballs, and my mom (who just happens to be the most phenomenal artist!) hand painted a 3 foot tall poster of Mike and Sully!  We had a lot of fun decorating the edges of the poster together with random crafty items.

The only picture I have of Rob and I with the birthday boy!!  It makes me laugh so hard every time we try to get a decent posed picture.  It does not exist.

You'll have to click on this picture so that you can see the great painting my mom did up close!

Robbie wore a shirt my friend Heather made for him - Mike Wazowski in felt!  How cute is that!?

Ellie enjoys the perks of being a little sister - playing with big brother's new toys.
I think she was going in for a good chewing here.

Especially precious - Robbie's cousins James and Nicholas, who live in NJ, sent a home made DVD of themselves rapping Happy Birthday to Robbie!  It was hilarious and the next best thing to having them here with us.  Robbie was entranced.

Robbie got a few things that will allow him to mimic Daddy...

A lawn mower, which apparently was low on gas...

...and a shaving kit for the bath tub (how did he know exactly what to do, and that you need to look in the mirror to get a nice, close shave!?).

He definitely gets his concentration from his Dad.

After opening the rest of his presents (which took entirely too long, thanks everyone for sitting through that painfully slow process!), we ordered pizza and busted out the cupcakes.

The decorating of this cupcake has easily consumed my idle thoughts for the last month.
Fondant finally helped me achieve the results I was looking for!
(Yes, I'm nuts.)

This was definitely the highlight of Robbie's entire weekend - everyone singing happy birthday to him, sugar in excess, and fire present.  He even thought the party hat was fun.

We did this over and over for a good 5 or 10 minutes!

Party Animal.

The bow was just the perfect size and I couldn't resist!

You are the best present ever, little guy!

It took a little engineering by Daddy and Papa Livingston to get the new GeoTrax pieces to fit together to expand our current track - Robbie has an idea though!

Rob's on-the-spot joke:  "How many people named Robert Livingston does it take to put a toy train track together?"
(Answer: Hopefully not more than 3, because that's how many we have.)

Time flies when you're playing with trains.
Robbie was in his personal heaven!

The always-entertaining view finder, but this one has animal sounds to accompany the images!

At the end of the night, as if he knew this was his chance to capitalize on the fact that this was HIS day, Robbie begged for 'just one M&M!'.   You know, because he wasn't all sugared up already.  Occasionally I will let him pick ONE M&M out as his treat after dinner.  So we decided, what the heck.  After an entire cupcake, gobs of presents, and more stimulation from all of your relatives in one day that a 2 year old can possibly handle, what harm can one measly M&M do?

Waiting patiently for his prized M&M (seen in Rob's hand as he descends the stairs)...

Oh yeah.  It's THAT good.
Can you tell he has nearly lost his sanity at this point in the evening?

Then things started to get crazy.

I absolutely cannot resist telling you that this picture was taken immediately after my mom announced that she had pulled a stomach muscle trying to get into a standing position from sitting the way Robbie does.  (We were all trying it, some more successful than others!)  Laughing that hard was a great way to end the perfect 2nd birthday celebration for Robbie!

Thanks to all of you who made this such a special day.  It was so memorable!

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's good to be almost 2

Robbie cracks us up with all of the phrases he is picking up and repeating.  
Here are a few of the things he has said recently...

"I like 'em BIG... I like 'em CHUNKY!" (Moto Moto's song in Madagascar)

"No fight a bib, Ellie"  (repeating my request when Ellie wouldn't let me bib her at lunch, 'don't fight the bib, Ellie'!)

"Daddy pancake!"  (Rob and Robbie's newest game - Rob flattens Robbie underneath him like a pancake  - ha!)

"Lick it..."  (Robbie enjoys leaning down and licking the food on his plate before meals, and announces when he is about to do it)

"Engine rumbling, smoke chuffing, wheels squeaking low" (his new favorite book checked out from the library - "Train" - he knows most of the words already)

"Daddy wrestle", "Daddy steamroller", "Daddy go gym" (requests and observations related to daddy)

"Daddy fix a potty, fix it tools" (our toilet had a little leak so Rob was repairing it yesterday as Robbie narrated the situation)

"Juice cup - FIND IT!" (now where did I leave that darn juice cup? I'm thirsty!)

"No paci table, counter" (before every meal he repeats the rule 'no paci's at the table' and places it on the counter)

"Catch him, grandpa"  (apparently my mom and dad were playing chase with Robbie the last time they came over and watched him, because Robbie keeps telling me about catching grandpa)

Also helpful is Robbie's newfound ability to climb up into his booster chair and buckle himself in.  He helps me wipe off his hands and mouth (careful not to forget to wipe his messy tongue, of course) after meals, and rarely passes up the opportunity to help me wipe Ellie during diaper changes.  What a good big brother! 

And that's what Robbie is up to right now!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Relatively speaking

It was a balmy Saturday afternoon out here in the Chicago suburbs!  Meaning, the sun was shining, the wind was nonexistent, and the temps rose to heights we haven't seen in months... the mid-40's.

So we bundled up the babies, went for a walk, and ended up at the neighborhood park.  After a quick assessment (let's be honest, once Robbie laid eyes on the park we didn't have a chance), we determined that it wasn't too soggy or wet to play.

If Robbie and Ellie could caption this photo, what do you think they would say?

Robbie is going to LOVE parks this summer.  He loved them last summer, and he wasn't even the most confident walker.  Now he can run, climb and slide by himself.  I can't wait!  Endless hours of entertainment.

It's confirmed: his affection for the swings remains.

Ellie got to experience her first swing ride, just as Robbie did when he was little - bundled up, and at the same park.  I love that they both love to swing.  Ellie's still a bit tiny for the swing, so I wrapped her blanket around her waist to help keep her from slip sliding around in there!

I like to call this one "I have 2 kids in baby swings!"

This little girl loves life!  And I love her.

Rob, take a picture of me and Ellie!  I never get pictures with her...

Awww... my handsome boys in the sunshine.

Robbie insisted on walking home.  He made it another 50 feet or so before melting down and returning to the stroller!  I love how little he looks next to Rob.  One day I'll be taking a picture of the 2 of them walking and he'll be as tall as Rob (or taller!?).  And I might cry.

I'm so glad these are the days of little babies and swings and parks.
Life is so simple... relatively speaking, of course!