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). Continue reading

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! Continue reading

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

eloise {month twenty-four // two years}

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{lion: jellycat via Nordstrom // dress:  Tucker and Tate via Nordstrom // hat: DIY from last year’s birthday // Grovia Magic Stick*}

*this is the only thing other than my phone that would make her sit still for the picture…

{month twenty-four} How has it been a year since this update?! Eloise turns TWO today & it’s blowing my mind. In some respects it feels like she has been two for the past few months since her growth & development has really taken off, but in others, it seems like she is just my tiny, little baby. This Babble article is a really good summary of what this second birthday is like (minus having the second child) which is so, so different than that first birthday! (I cried so much reading this, so be prepared!)

Eloise continues to talk up a storm these days & is really into the alphabet & counting (in all languages!). When she is playing or is in the car, you will hear her chatting with herself or her toys. It’s the cutest! And so much of what she hears from me (her memory is insane) I hear her talk about. Like when we are going up or down the stairs, I hear her frequently say “careful” which is exactly what I say to her! Now I am super conscious about what I tell her & the tone I use since it is obviously impactful! And just in the past few weeks, Eloise has really started using sentences which makes her seems SO old! I knew it was right around the corner, but I swear we just woke up one morning & she was saying three to five word sentences (that actually make sense!).

Eloise is very polite, saying “please” and “thank you” without prompting (most of the time), and she also says “bless you” if she hears someone sneeze. Seriously this kid. She has always been pretty empathetic towards others & is especially that way if me, or Aaron, or one of her friends is sad or hurt. She is the first one in line to give you a hug or kiss to brighten your day! She has the sweetest little soul.

Meal times are still going well as Eloise has maintained an appetite for such a broad range of foods (please don’t let this jinx that…) and we continue to introduce all different types & flavors of food. The exception is sugar. We really haven’t introduced any type of refined sugar because not only does Eloise LOVE fruit so she gets natural sugars, but there is absolutely no nutritional value in refined sugar! So, we’ve decided to hold off a bit longer on introducing any added sugars, desserts, or ice cream for at least another few months. We never want Eloise to feel like she can’t eat dessert or birthday cake with friends, but since she has no idea what it is yet, we are taking advantage!

As I mentioned above (sort of) Eloise loves to go up and down the stairs. And while she doesn’t go up and down them all day (I love that you can’t see them from our living room or kitchen!) she does appreciate a good stair climb. Over the past month or two, Eloise has opted to climb up and down facing forward, rather than crawling which is the way she learned. Much to my dismay, she loves to climb the stairs like a big kid. The handrailing is still a bit too high for her, but she is good about holding someone’s hand while she climbs up or down. It still makes my heart race to see her do it, but she is a pretty good little stair climber!

This past week I finally introduced TV to Eloise. She had a vague idea of it since we will turn the TV on during football season & she will see it while we are at a restaurant or occasionally while we are visiting someone else, but her TV screen time was basically nil. We were pretty firm about waiting until she was two to do any type of screen time & I think we were really successful in that & I am glad that we waited. Now Eloise gets one 20 minute episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood in the afternoon which is normally watched while I start dinner. The first two times we watched the show & I tried to turn it off, she completely lost it & had a meltdown. But before I started the show on the third day, I reminded her that we got to watch one show & then we would be all done, and after the end credits came on, we said “good-bye Daniel Tiger” & I turned off the TV & there were no tears! Now Eloise will tell me throughout the day that she gets one show.

Along with the TV thing, we have found that generally if we talk Eloise thru what her expectations should be for something, things go much more smoothly & we can prevent meltdowns. Like with bedtime, we have the same routine which is done in basically the same order every night. Once we finish one thing, we ask Eloise what comes next & she will answer & start to do it. This prevents frustration for her (& for us) & gives her some control of what’s going on; and at bedtime especially it prevents her from doing anything & everything to delay actually going to bed!

Eloise is such a joyful child & it has been such a privilege to watch her grow-up these past two years. And while we are beginning into the “terrible twos” (which is actually a phrase that I loathe & really try not to use!) I know that these coming months & years will be the best! I spend more time with Eloise than anyone else & she is the best companion.

{weight} 30-ish pounds.

{hair} dark (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 12 teeth plus four molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  18 to 24 months, 2T, and some 3T.

{diapers} full-time cloth {bum genius pocket, & elemental and grovia hybrid with organic soaker pads} & honest company size 5 diapers at night with a bum genius diaper cover. **for about the past two weeks, however, we have been doing all honest disposables since I am SO tired of cleaning poopy diapers. I absolutely love cloth & will do it with any future child(ren) but until we start potty training at the end of the month, we are in disposables!**

{feeding} during the day, three meals, morning snack, & afternoon snack. sippy cup of milk with every meal. eloise is really starting to master using a small cup for water too, so we try to offer one with at least dinner & sometimes snack time.

{likes} coloring, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, chewing on her toothbrush, the mailman, 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, standing, 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, diaper changes, not eating when someone else is, being hungry, getting into the carseat, getting out of the carseat, having a poop in her diaper (& sitting).

{nicknames} Bug{s}, Love Bug, Baby Bug, E, Wheezy, Kiddo, Love, Bugaboo, Ellie or Elle.

Happy Twenty-Four Months Eloise! These have been the very best two years ever!

M

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