eloise {four years}

Eloise_Four Years

{lion: jellycat via Nordstrom // dress: June and January }

{four years} Four. It seems like this is such a big birthday! Maybe because it’s one year until five and then kindergarten? Eloise is SUCH an amazing kid and it feels like I’ve known her much longer than these past four years (and at the same time it blows my mind that she’s already four)!

Eloise is such a compassionate and thoughtful little girl. She is worried about babies or children that she sees or hears crying, wants to help give cuddles and comfort, and is always wanting to make cards or write notes for her friends and family. She is such a helper (just like her Papa) and wants to be included in everything. She is still a bit reserved at first and wants to observe in new situations, but has really branched out and started playing with new friends she meets and interacts with other adults too. She is a lover of all things creative (paint, crayons, clay, glue) and still LOVES books!

Summertime is different than the school year because she is home with me and Daphne during the mornings, but our daily structure is still the same. She is up just before 8 AM, eats breakfast, and then gets ready (unless we stay in jammies if we stay home which she loves). Eloise can brush her teeth by herself (with assistance at the very end, of course), brush her hair, and get dressed completely on her own. She generally wants to pick out what she wears both during the day and for bedtime, but prefers to match with Daphne. Lunch is around noon-ish, and then quiet, independent play time between 2 PM and 4 PM. Eloise does really well playing by herself in her room either reading or playing with toys. We have a lot of the kids toys in storage boxes under the stairs and rotate them out from time-to-time with toys upstairs, but lately we have been offering a box of toys to Eloise to play with during this time. It is awesome because she is seeing toys she doesn’t see all the time and it is easy to pick-up and put away! Dinner happens around 6 PM with the entire family and then we generally head outside for a walk around the block. Eloise LOVES to see neighbors and gets sad if no one is out at the time we are. There are lots of kids and families that we know close to us so we often see a few friends while we are out. Bedtime happens just before 8 PM (or 7:30 PM on school nights) and generally goes pretty smoothly. Eloise gets into jammies, brushes her teeth and hair, and gets two stories before being tucked in. She frequently asks one of us to stay with her but she will read quietly to herself and then turn out off her lamp before falling asleep.

Since our school here doesn’t get out until the end of June, Eloise doesn’t head back to school until after Labor Day. She will be starting Pre-K at a local preschool near her old school, and for now, we are planning on just one more year of preschool before sending her off to Kindergarten; however, given her late summer birthday, we are still considering whether we should delay her start and have her do one more round of Pre-K since she will be SO young when starting school. We won’t have to make the decision until this winter and will have at least a few conversations with her teachers before making any final decisions. But for now, she is really excited to be going to school again in a few weeks!

Eloise loves the game Don’t Break the Ice but thinks it’s called Break the Ice. (It’s a game where you hammer out “ice cubes” and try not to have the penguin fall!) She renamed the penguin Phillipa (originally Philip) and squeals whenever the cube she is hammering falls thru. And then when the penguin finally falls in, she will give the person who is playing with her a hug! I am not sure why, but she does this every single time.

Even though we live in a huge city, our community feels small. We know almost every single one of our neighbors and are close to quite a few. Our mailman Teddy has such a sweet relationship with our kids and stops to chat with the kids. He even left Eloise a birthday present in the mailbox this morning. The garbage truck drivers all stop and waive at the kids if we are out on the street or looking thru the window. We know the local children’s librarian, Erica, who teaches us silly songs and recommends books for the girls. We frequently see our “family friends” made up of parents and kids that Eloise has known since she was born; these adults are familiar to her and are almost like aunties and uncles with the trust and communication lines that have been formed over the years. And watching Eloise interact with these adults in our community, and ask to see them, warms my heart.

Birthday Interview. {I am hoping to do this interview every year to see how the answers change!}

What is your name? Eloise.
How old are you? Four!
What is your favorite thing to do? Watch shows.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Hmm. A ghost! Actually a doctor.
What is your favorite food? Hmm. Desserts.
Who do you like to spend your time with? Daniel Tiger’s family. Oliver (a friend); I haven’t seen him in a long time!
What do you do really well? Color. I am good at breaking things. (hahaha)
What makes you laugh? Jokes.
What is the best time of day? When I get to jump in puddles in the rain time.
What are you afraid of? Rainstorms. Scary movies (any movie with any scary part).
Who is your best friend? Mama.
What do you like to do with your family? Go to the park.
What do you love to learn about? Painting.
Where do you like to go? To the Space Needle.
What is your favorite book? Tigee the Adventure Tiger. 
If you had one wish, what would it be? Going to Candyland.

And the newest rendition of Things Eloise Says:

Eloise: “Mama, can we go on a walk?” Me: “No.” Eloise: “Papa, can we go on a walk?” Aaron: “Didn’t you just ask Mama and she said no? What makes you think I’m going to give you a different answer?” Eloise: “Sometimes I get lucky!”

Me: “Did you have any dreams last night kiddo?” Eloise: “No. I just had plain sleep.”

Eloise, looking at an old photo of herself: “Are those my old overalls? Aww, that blisters my heart!”

“That just really blows my mind!”

I said something in a conversation about the earth going around the sun. Eloise: “The earth goes around the sun? I have a song for that! The earth goes around the sun tra la la! The earth goes around the sun.” (This is a song that she sang at her school for birthday celebrations.)

“Where does your echo live Mama?”
Eloise: “Are there hydrangeas in that bouquet Mama?” Me: “Nope.” Eloise: “Why?” Me: “Hydrangeas don’t really do well in vases kiddo. They just wilt.” Eloise: “Oh, well maybe they just like to be with their families!”

Eloise heads to her wellness check-up next week, so I will update if her stats are vastly different!

{weight} 39ish pounds (my guess); height: 40 inches

{hair} (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 20 teeth plus four molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  4T, some 5 or 4 to 6 (which is a kid’s XS).

{feeding} during the day, three meals, (sometimes a) morning snack, & (sometimes an) afternoon snack. cup of milk with every meal.

{likes} singing, dancing, taking walks around the blocks, talking to the neighbors, Teddy the mailman, school and her friends, Daphne, coloring, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, any person outside on the sidewalk, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring, buckles, jumping, watching out the front window (dogs, kids, trucks), books, mama & papa’s cell phone, FaceTime (but she always wants to hold the phone), bath time, shoes, mama’s (diaper) bag, putting things inside a bag or box, helping with anything & everything, when Papa comes home from work.

{dislikes} not being included, having something taken away from her, not eating when someone else is, being hungry, TimeOut.

{nicknames} Bug, Love Bug, Baby Bug, E, Kiddo. She recently has decided she doesn’t prefer being called anything but Eloise so E-Lo and Wheezy are no longer. At least for now!

{See her grow up: birth story // one year // two years // three years}

Happy Birthday Bug!

M

daphne {one year photoshoot}

Two weeks ago Daphne and I dropped off Eloise at school and headed down to SoDo for her one year mini photoshoot with Ashley, who did our Christmas card photoshoot in the fall. (If you are local, I HIGHLY recommend her!) It wasn’t the best time for Daphne (right after lunch is her favorite time of day, or first thing in the morning) but since we were confined to Eloise’s school schedule and I didn’t want to be driving thru downtown anytime in the late afternoon, I picked 10 am which is right when Daphne’s usual morning nap is. Generally speaking, I can get away with planning something at this time once or twice per week and Daphne just goes with it, taking a longer afternoon nap (which will be her new schedule in the coming months).

But for whatever reason, she was not ready to be in front of the camera on that particular morning. Of course. Luckily, Ashley is amazing behind the camera and I did have a paci and snacks for Daphne which we bribed her with between photos. I was so nervous during and after the shoot that we weren’t going to get anything where Daphne wasn’t crying or sucking on a paci… it’s a miracle for sure. While I am sad that we didn’t get the delightfully happy Daphne that we all love, there are some great photos here!

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Isn’t that d is for daphne sweatshirt adorable? I bought it a while ago for this photoshoot and saved it in Daphne’s closet so it didn’t get stained (because #toddlers) BUT it barely fit over her belly when we put it on for the shoot! So she’s been wearing it about every other day since then so I can get the cost per wear down. (Ha!)

Grandparents: let me know which one(s) you want printed!

Happy happy first year Daphne Lucille!

M

Wearing: dress: Tucker + Tate via Nordstrom // party hat: from D’s birthday party // alligator: Jelly Cat // floral wreaths: from D’s birthday party // moccasins: Freshly Picked // D is for Daphne sweatshirt: Cheerily // jeans: babyGap // letterboard: Letterfolk // bow: Hadley Girl

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daphne {first birthday party!}

To start, I wanted to give updates on Daphne’s stats since she went to her wellness check-up last week.

Daphne’s check-up went so well and she was happy and interactive with the doctor. She is generally pretty social and friendly, but sometimes gets stranger danger, so we never know. I really don’t like to try to get the kids to “perform” for other people, but it is always nice when your kids actually show their doctor things they can do (rather than just hearing us say that she is doing those things). Her doctor was happy with her growth (she is right at the top of the growth curve!) and impressed that she was walking so well. All-in-all a great check-up!

D’s stats:

  • weight: 24 pounds, 9 ounces (95 to 96%)
  • length: 28.5 inches (50%)
  • head circumference: 46.2 cm (75 to 90%)

We knew Daphne was gaining weight but since we don’t have a scale, I had no idea what to expect. And she is almost 25 pounds!

And here are E’s 12 month stats for comparison:

  • weight: 21 pounds, 12 ounces (60%)
  • length: 29 inches (60%)
  • head circumference: 46.8 cm (90%)

I am so surprised by the weight difference in these girls! It has been a long time since E was this little and I remember her being a pretty big one year old! But the head difference, not so much. Eloise always had such a large head!

And onto Daphne’s birthday party since that is what you are really here for, right?

First things first, a party theme. Not totally necessary but I find it a nice way to start thinking about the party. I always head to Pinterest for inspiration and I immediately settled on flowers months ago; specifically Rifle Paper Co. I haven’t done anything girlie or pink for either of the girls, so I had a lot of fun with this one! And if you know me, you know I am sort of obsessed with Rifle Paper Co.

Conveniently, Paperless Post, which is my go-to for party invitations (the event tracking is amazing!), had Rifle Paper Co. invitations. I chose this invitation and updated the wording to work as a party invitation. Sadly, Paperless Post doesn’t offer printed invitations anymore, but I did print one version of the invitation (and will make a lined envelope) for Daphne’s keepsake box.

Rifle Paper Invitation_Blog Edit

There were tons and tons of ideas that popped up on Pinterest that worked with this theme, but I really tried to keep things simple. And since we are still in early March and fresh flowers aren’t quite in season (and are really expensive) I opted to go with felt flowers. I wanted felt flower wreaths, a swag for a birthday flag, a swag for the weekly pictures frame, and a bouquet, but as I started pricing things out from some Etsy shops, I quickly realized it was going to be so expensive! So, I found a few good tutorials (linked below), ordered some good wool felt, and taught myself how to make felt flowers! They definitely weren’t perfect, but it was a super fun project for me to do, albeit it took me hours (and lots of The Bachelor) during naptimes.

And for all of the rest of the decor, I tried to keep it simple. As I have mentioned before, first birthday parties are for parents, and I will be the first to admit that I throw birthday parties for my kids because I want to. I LOVE throwing parties and having a house full of family and friends, so we will probably always do birthday parties!

And my tip for food and drink (again, to keep things simple) is to not cook anything. Daphne’s party was right at lunchtime, because that was the best time for her, so I ordered two sandwich platters and served other lunch-type stuff that was kid friendly: veggie puffs and sticks (healthier than potato chips), sliced strawberries and blueberries, and carrots and snap peas with hummus. I did make an exception to the “not cooking anything” though by baking a cake for Daphne (I used this sugar-free cake recipe which is basically just banana bread), cupcakes for the rest of the party guests (an organic box mix from Whole Foods and pre-made frosting), and baked sugar cookies (ready-to-bake Annie’s cookies).

Plus, we had the most beautiful and sunny weather for the party which made it so much better!

I will list more party details below (there’s a complete source list at the bottom of the post) but here is a slew of pictures. Thank you so much for my brother-in-law Ben for being our party photographer!

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{A fun flag on the front door to greet party guests!}

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{We did a time capsule for Daphne and had everyone leave her a note. I am also including some party decorations and birthday cards, as well as some printed pictures. We plan on giving it to her on her 18th birthday. And that is a recipe box (which was so on-theme).}

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{We did a Dol (a traditional Korean fortune-telling) with Daphne just like we did with Eloise. I had everyone vote which one she would pick and then drew a winner after she chose.}

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{Daphne’s weekly photos all printed out. This is something that we did for Eloise too and it is one of our very favorite things in the house. I didn’t think we could make it thru another set of 52 week photos, but having this poster made it so worth it!}

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{Eloise and her Aunt Sarah.}

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{Daphne’s new trick… but, it was her birthday party, right?}

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{Setting out the Dol items.}

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{Daphne is a master squatter. She has SUCH strong legs!}

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{After only a bit of hesitation and a lost party hat, she pretty confidently chose the rice! An abundant life for Daphne.}

 

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{And then she chose the stethoscope and then the gavel, so being a doctor or a lawyer may be in her future too!}

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{I think she was a little scared about everyone watching her and singing.}

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{She wasn’t sure at first, so I gave her a taste of frosting on my finger.}

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{And Eloise took a turn offering a taste!}

And here are so many cake photos because I just couldn’t choose! Daphne, you are such a sweet girl!

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{She was pretty happy with the cake, but it took forever. Seriously, 20 minutes after this photo was taken she finally started devouring the cake!}

We were so happy to celebrate Daphne’s first year with our friends and family. It meant the world to us to have everyone there and really see this amazing community/village that we have built for our family. Thank you to everyone who has supported us during this past year!

And here is Eloise’s first birthday party.

Happy happy FIRST birthday Daphne girl!

M

Party sources: Rifle Paper Co. invitations: Paperless Post // felt flowers: DIY (see instructions here) // felt: Benzie and Co. // birthday flag: custom from The Petite Flag Shop // recipe box (for time capsule): Rifle Paper Co. // weekly photo poster: Social Print Studio // party hats: DIY from Rifle Paper Co. wrapping sheets // framed floral print (white frame): Rifle Paper Co. // framed floral print: Rifle Paper Co. wrapping paper in Target frame // ONE cake topper: Etsy shop // Daphne’s dress: Tucker + Tate via Nordstrom // Daphne’s bow: Hadley Girl // moccasins: Freshly Picked // Happy Birthday banner and ONE banner: Rifle Paper Co. // cake stand: Crate and Barrel (old; similar) // letterboard: Letterfolk (from D’s weekly pictures) // gold D card: painted by Grammie

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daphne {month twelve // one year}

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{alligator: JellyCat // top: Peek (old) // onesie: Carter’s // jeans: babyGap // moccasins: Freshly Picked // lovie: Angel Dear (duck)}

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{And an outtake! That smile.}

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{That’s a wrap! Of course Eloise wanted in on the photoshoot fun!}

{month twelve} Happy FIRST Birthday Daphne!

Walking. A walking machine. Daphne is all over the place now (and SO quickly) and hardly ever crawls anymore. She can get up to standing from her bottom which is a big game-changer at this stage. It means she doesn’t have to crawl over to anything, like a piece of furniture, to help her stand up. Holding something in her hands helps with her balance, and Daphne nearly always has something in her hands. She has been loving carrying books around recently. And she carries them open in her hands so it looks like she is reading and walking at the same time. We definitely have another bookworm on our hands, much to my delight!

We just introduced cow’s milk, rather than formula, yesterday. The timing worked out perfectly that we ran out of formula about half-way thru the day. So at lunch Daphne got a bottle of mixed formula and cow’s milk*, and had cow’s milk for dinner. I saved the last serving of formula for bedtime just in case she decided she hated milk. I suspect that the transition will go well since Daphne’s formula is cow milk based, and the biggest thing has been temperature. We have always warmed up Daphne’s milk bottles since she does not like them cold! It has got to be a change going from drinking something body temperature to something cold, so we will continue to warm up her milk for now.

*I am specifically calling out cow’s milk since we also drink milk alternatives, especially since I am lactose intolerant (at least sometimes) and dislike cow’s milk. Almond milk is our milk alternative for the most part but we also drink soy milk, hemp milk, and coconut milk.

Daphne has gotten really good at holding her own cup and is very insistent on holding her water bottle at mealtimes. For milk we are using this ThinkBaby sippy cup since it has a similar nipple to a bottle and a handle for easy holding. Daphne has finally learned to tip the cup up to drink which is so helpful! For water we use either this OXO straw cup (but in the short size), this Miracle 360 sippy cup, or a small plastic shotglass. We want Daphne to be able to use any type of cup or straw so we are having her practice with basically everything! We are just using all of Eloise’s old cups since pretty soon we will stop using plastic cups completely and offer milk in a real glass (we use these tempered glass cups with Eloise right now) and milk in a water bottle (we will probably go with a small Hydroflask bottle since the Camelbak ones aren’t my favorite).

Daphne LOVES to play peek-a-boo, turn book pages, pull Legos apart, chew on wooden food, open kitchen cabinets, and push the shopping cart around. She does so well playing on her own (independent play) which is something I worked hard on for both Eloise and Daphne. I think it’s important for kids to be able to play on their own, without adult intervention, from an early age, not only because it is self-serving to this mama (especially when I am trying to cook dinner) but helps kids imagine and create on their own! I do play and interact with the kids sometimes, but I don’t want them to feel like they can’t play if they don’t have someone telling them what to do.

Also, I have mentioned before but it’s worth noting because it is truly so funny, Daphne is OBSESSED with the Roomba! It has a specific noise/alarm that it makes when it is about to start (we have it set on a timer) and when she hears it, she rushes towards the living room and waits for Roomba to appear from under the table. And if she is close enough, she will get down on the floor and look under the table so she can see it. And then she claps and follows it all around (if I let her). And then she calls it “good girl” which is what she calls Sadie or any dog she sees. It is so sweet!

Sleep, knock on wood, has still been going well. Daphne has always been a good sleeper, from day one in the hospital (when she slept for 4 hours that first night)! Today, she goes to bed around 7:30 and will wake up in the morning between 7:30 and 7:45. I usually don’t go in her nursery until close to 8 am, so she hangs out in her crib and is pretty content with that. She is sometimes up in the night, but almost always if she can find her paci, she will go right back to sleep. And she is still napping twice per day, in the morning her nap is around an hour, sometimes 90 minutes, and her afternoon nap is about 90 minutes, though sometimes it is 2 hours. Her morning nap has gotten considerably shorter in the last month or so and I am hoping that once she drops that nap then her afternoon nap will get longer.

Daphne has the sweetest personality and is such a joy. Aaron and I were just reminiscing last night about what a good baby she was. I know we are bias and the newborn fogginess is real (do you even remember anything those first three months?) but truly Daphne was/is such an amazing baby. It is hard to believe she is already one year old and at the same time I honestly don’t remember life without her.

{weight} *updated* 24 pounds, 9 ounces!
{hair} blackish brown.
{teeth} three bottom middle teeth, top four teeth, one more on the bottom cutting in.
{eyes} dark grey/brown.
{clothes} 9 months (pants) and 12 months, 12 to 18 months, 18 months (Carter’s), some 2T.
{diapers} size 4 {from the honest company}.
{feeding} 4 oz bottles at breakfast, lunchtime, after nap time, and at dinner. bedtime is around 7:30 with a 4 oz bottle.

{likes} watching and chasing the Roomba, eating, bath time with Eloise, watching big kids or babies, crawling, pulling up to her knees or feet, spinning on her back and belly, teething rings, chewing on anything, sitting in her highchair, banging on her tray, staring at her quilt (from Amanda), rattles, nursing, riding in the car (usually), her big sister Eloise, Sadie, singing, lights, paci, being bounced, being tickled, talking, her Lovie.
{dislikes} having a hat on in the car seat, seeing some type of food on a plate that she doesn’t have on her tray, having gas, lying down flat, being hungry or tired, not having a bottle immediately after seeing it, having her face or nose wiped off.

{nicknames} Daph, Daph Daph, Daphers, Bug, Snorty, Baby D, Daphne Doo, Daph-a-doo, Love, Lovebug.

We are having a birthday party at the house this weekend to celebrate with our family and friends, and I have had the best time planning it. I will be sure to post pictures on Instagram and will also share in a blog post in the coming weeks!

And here is Eloise’s twelve month update!

Happy Happy Birthday sweet Daphne girl!

M

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eloise’s third birthday party!

Months ago I asked Eloise what she wanted to do for her birthday, and she told me she wanted to have a party with her friends and have a purple dinosaur cake. {She was very insistent on having a “purple dinosaur cake” and would say that’s what she wanted for her birthday if you asked her. I recently caught a part of a Daniel Tiger episode where there were make-believe dinosaurs, and one was purple, which is probably where she got the dinosaur idea from!}

I didn’t really put two + two together, but when I started mentioning “purple dinosaurs” to people, everyone immediately was like “Barney?” To which I wanted to stay as far away from Barney as possible! So I started looking on Etsy for a shop that could make a cute “purple dinosaur” invitation and I found this little shop that personalized the invite for Eloise!

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I love using Paperless Post because it has a great event tracker for keeping track of RSVPs, but in the past I had always used one of the invitation designs that was offered on the site. I discovered though that they offer an “upload your own” invitation that allows you to upload your own design (or one that you buy like I did) which was perfect!

Generally I take on way too much for parties (um, imagine that!) and then end up scrambling the few days leading up to the party which isn’t very fun (and is super stressful). And I also always end up with WAY too much food (you’d think I would learn after all of these years how much food we actually need). So this time, I made sure I kept things super simple (because, two children = no free time) on both the décor and the food. Food-wise, I didn’t make anything except for the cake and Rice Krispy treats (which are the easiest thing ever to make!) and it was all stuff I picked up and took out of a box or bag, and set out on the table. And décor-wise, I picked up (purple) flowers, a banner, and some balloons, but focused on one craft: party hats. I used my tried-and-true party hat (including mini ones this time since there are so many younger siblings in the mix now) and added purple “dinosaur scales” to them.

I did make Eloise’s purple cake. It was purple frosting with purple dinosaur candles. Sadly, there aren’t any close-ups of the dinosaur candles, but I spray painted plastic dinosaurs purple and candle holders gold (we are early indoctrinating this girl to be a UW fan!), had Aaron drill into the backs of them, and then put them together (like this) with purple candles as a finishing touch. I usually bake a cake for birthday parties, but this time it was a bit different because I did a “test cake” the week before to make sure the recipe was good (or that I could make it well). It was a buttermilk cake (I didn’t do the fruit compote or cream) with whipped frosting, and it was yummy!

And onto the pictures! {Thank you SO much JESS for taking these!}

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For those that have asked, the girls are both wearing one of our favorite brands June & January, Eloise in the play dress and Daphne in the play romper (both in violet).

And here are links to Eloise’s first and second birthdays!

Happy Third Birthday Eloise!

M

This post contains affiliate/referral links.

 

eloise {three years}

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{lion: jellycat via Nordstrom // tee: Old Navy // skirt: June and January // party hats: DIY}

{three years} Three years. I seriously can’t believe it. Eloise seems old and young at the same time (and if you have had recently or currently have a three year old, you know what I mean!). I am amazed by how much she understands and how well she communicates. It’s astounding. She is this incredible little person and I am so, so honored to be able to watch her grow, and also very humbled that I have the great responsibility of raising her. {See her grow up: birth story // one year // two years}

Since we sleep trained Eloise when she was five months old, she has basically been a great sleeper. 12 hours at night and a nice nap (most days). But, as we got into the mid-year of her twos, we started running into issues of Eloise screaming and crying when we tried to leave for bedtime. Aaron got the brunt of it since I was either pregnant or caring for newborn-Daphne, but her wails would echo thru the house! After getting some advice from friends and talking it thru, we started getting more firm with a bedtime routine. I think most of our issues stemmed from Eloise’s expectation that she would get an endless amount of books before she went to sleep and each night was a negotiation; now we have a firm rule of one book at naptime and two books at bedtime, though those books can be lost if she is naughty in the time leading up to sleeping time or during the bedtime routine. And we also found that if we allowed her to have books in her bed to “read” while she is falling asleep, it’s helpful too. Eloise takes a really long time to fall asleep (sometimes over an hour) which is partly because I still allow her to have a pretty long afternoon nap if she’ll take it, but she does do well falling asleep herself.

Eloise has been an amazing big sister these past five months. She has always loved babies and was really in-tune with what was going in with my pregnancy, but you just don’t know how things are going to shake out once that baby comes home (and never leaves)! We have had our moments for sure, but the vast majority of the time, Eloise is awesome about Daphne. She is always so loving and curious about her, and just wants to help all. the. time. My little mama. It has been amazing to see the relationship between these two girls!

Just in the last week or so we started Time Out with Eloise. One of the parenting books that I have flipped thru (The Incredible Years) recommended that real Time Out really isn’t effective until the age of three. Before this, we put toys (or whatever was the issue) into Time Out, or just removed Eloise from the situation that was causing the issue. Eloise is a pretty good kid (considering she is a toddler and exploring her boundaries) and does not like to be in trouble (just like her mama) so we didn’t have a ton of issues. But there are some things that Aaron and I have decided aren’t tolerable in our house (like hitting or throwing) that lead to an official Time Out. Eloise isn’t great with Time Out as she screams and cries the entire time and really just wants someone to stay with her, but I think it’s been effective. I know she doesn’t totally understand it yet as a consequence, but the vast majority of the time just the threat of a Time Out will correct behavior quickly!

Eloise’s pre-school is based on the school calendar year, so she has been on summer break since the end of June and will start again in early September (right after Labor Day). While our school schedule in the PNW is vastly different than the rest of the country it seems, it really fits our weather much better regarding summer. We don’t really get warm until June (or even July) and have a gorgeous September, so it really works out well. This year Eloise will attend the same pre-school (the Birch School) but will go four mornings a week (Monday thru Thursday) instead of just two. It is great because on Tuesday mornings she will go to story time at the library with her class which is something I have struggled to make happen with both girls (trying to get everyone out of the house in the morning to make a 25 minute story time is a little insane). Eloise asks at least twice a week when she gets to go back to school, so as much as we have enjoyed the summer, I think we are all ready to get back into the school routine in the fall. She just loves her teachers and her friends and just thrives in that environment which is so wonderful for us to see. I am currently starting to research possible Pre-K programs for Eloise to start in the fall of 2018 (which is blowing my mind… Pre-K? That means Kindergarten is just around the corner).

In the past few months, Eloise has learned how to button buttons and zip zippers. It isn’t all the time, but she always tries at first (“I can do it all by myself!”) and about half the time she needs help. But I am seriously impressed with her fine motor dexterity!

Also, band-aids. So many band-aids. We love the Oh Joy! ones from Target since there are fun designs and colors (without any character branding) that I can also wear, and I buy at least three boxes at a time. Eloise has a habit of re-skinning her knees as soon as they are healed from the last time, mostly from running down the sidewalk. I am a total klutz so hopefully she doesn’t follow my lead and gets over it sooner rather than later…

Lastly, we did (in May) turn Eloise’s car seat around so that she is forward-facing. It was a really agonizing decision and we went back and forth for a really long time on it, but ultimately turning her around made the most sense.

And the newest rendition of Things Eloise Says:

“Papa is a big giant boy! He can run. He can catch me. He can play tag and drink coffee.”

“Why does Susan (our neighbor) have her Christmas lights on? Maybe she likes them? Or maybe she needs them in her life?” (Shrugs.)

Papa: “Eloise are you string?” Eloise: “Yes. And din-dependent. (Independent.)”

Papa: “Your brain is very interesting.” Eloise: “And independent!”

“I don’t prefer my zucchini.”

Says everything three times (like from her Eloise books): It’s my favorite, favorite, favorite! I loved it, loved it, loved it!

Watching the marching band: “Maybe they are going to the marching band house. Or to school. Or to work, but not Papa’s work.”

“Do you think he has a weeding whacker?”

Eloise: “I love ice cream.” Me: “Oh, what is your favorite flavor?” Eloise: “Chocolate. Purple chocolate.” (This is before she had ever had ice cream!)

“Adios! I’m going to Mexico… It’s not open. Mexico.”

Papa: “Where does (cow) milk come from?” Eloise: “Cows.” Papa: “So if cow milk comes from cows, where does almond milk come from?” Eloise: “Bears?” (Papa asks again.) Eloise: “Teddy bears?”

“Maybe he’s brooming” (about Aaron sweeping the stairs).

Eloise: “Here you go Mama, this is for you” as she hands me a painted picture. Mama: “Oh thank you, it’s beautiful!” Eloise: “I know you love it.”

Mama: “Which jammies do you want to wear for naptime?” Eloise: “My Christmas jammies. I know it’s not Christmas. I love Christmas!”

Eloise: “Can Stella see the world?” (She wanted to take Stella her doll outside.)

“Hey there little cutie!” whenever she sees Daphne.

“Did you get those nom-a-noms from Madeleine’s party?” referring to M&Ms.

“Paga (my dad). You have a guest downstairs waiting for you. I don’t remember his name but he’s a guest!”

Running down the street: “This is a really good workout for me!”

Puts board books into her jean shorts: “Mama, it’s a nice little present.”

“Hot sauce is kind of my favorite but I don’t like the flavor of it.”

Birthday Interview. {I am hoping to do this interview every year to see how the answers change!}

What is your name? Eloise.
How old are you? Three (holds up three fingers).
What is your favorite thing to do? Play with Mama and Papa, and go on walks.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A doggie.
What is your favorite food? Bananas and pee-pop (it’s a food that you drink, it’s like milk or water or something like that).
Who do you like to spend your time with? Mama and Papa and Daphne and Sadie.
What do you do really well? Um, play with food.
What makes you laugh? Jokes.
What is the best time of day? Opening presents.
What are you afraid of? (Shakes her head). I like cats.
Who is your best friend? Mama.
What do you like to do with your family? Paint.
What do you love to learn about? Blocks.
Where do you like to go? To school.
What is your favorite book? Curious George.
If you had one wish, what would it be? I would make a witch?

{weight} 31 pounds, 8 ounces (50 to 75%); height: 36.5 inches (25 to 50%)*

{hair} (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 20 teeth plus four molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  2T (swimsuits from last year), some 3T, mostly 4T.

{diapers} underpants during the day and for naps, Honest Co. diapers at nighttime. {And the only reason she is even in diapers still during nighttime is because neither Aaron nor I have wanted to make the commitment; we are just now sleeping consistently thru the night and want to enjoy that for a moment. Eloise is the type of kid who will pee in a diaper if she is wearing one, so it isn’t like we are waiting for her to wake-up dry in the morning. Plus, her pediatrician just told me that (in his opinion) “nighttime training” isn’t really a thing and children will naturally stop producing urine at night sometime between 3 and 8 years. Long story short, it’s up in the air!}

{feeding} during the day, three meals, morning snack, & afternoon snack. cup of milk with every meal.

{likes} coloring, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, chewing on her toothbrush, the mailman (Teddy), any person outside on the sidewalk, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, coloring, buckles, jumping, watching out the front window (dogs, kids, trucks), books, mama & papa’s cell phone, toys that squeak or rattle, singing & music, dancing, Sadie, FaceTime, bathtime, shoes, mama’s (diaper) bag, clapping, putting things inside a bag or box, taking lids off of things, talking, helping with anything & everything, when Papa comes home from work.

{dislikes} not being included, having something taken away from her, not eating when someone else is, being hungry, TimeOut.

{nicknames} Bug, Love Bug, Baby Bug, E, Wheezy, Kiddo, Love, Bugaboo, E-Lo or Elle.

*I always said Eloise was a big two year old, especially in comparison to some of her friends, but according to her weight and height stats, she really isn’t!

Happy THREE years Eloise!

M

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eloise’s second birthday party.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Eloise’s second birthday party had a watermelon theme. It seemed like such a perfect (& easy) theme for an August birthday party, & Pinterest had many, many ideas. I limited myself to just a few & then let myself relax about the fact that any party theme or décor was entirely for me (& not for Eloise)!

I found these adorable watermelon cards on Paperless Post which were perfect & made me feel better about not designing one & mailing it out (although you know how much I LOVE snail mail!). Plus, Paperless Post is awesome because it tracks all the RSVPs for the event & you can send out reminders & message with guests – it’s awesome & a lot of the cards are free!

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This balloon garland was about the extent of the décor (minus one big helium watermelon balloon) which was based loosely on this picture from Pinterest. At the last minute I decided not to add the seeds on the pink balloons because I knew that the perfectionist in me would never be satisfied! But I really ended up liking the simple-ness of the garland in the end.

At sort of the last minute I decided to make Eloise a cake. I was originally going to just do a full watermelon & fruit cake with maybe a little yogurt frosting (like this) but it seemed a little too wedding for a toddler’s birthday party. So I made her a few sugar-free, butter-free, oil-free cupcakes using this recipe, but used frozen strawberries instead of blueberries for the frosting. And since I didn’t have any small cake pans, I just made one batch of 7 cupcakes & stacked two of them for E’s cake. Eloise seemed to enjoy her cake (which tasted like a muffin) & the frosting much more this year than last year.

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I made these impossibly cute watermelon rice krispy treats which were super easy & super yummy. I knew as soon as I made them that I should have made at least two more batches & I was right – everyone loved them!

And here are pictures of Eloise with her cake, blowing out the candles, & enjoying her birthday treat!

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Happy Second Birthday Eloise! And a HUGE thank you to Jess who grabbed the camera to take all of these pictures! M