Pinterest Christmas {2016}: Toddler Ornaments.

Welcome back to week two of Pinterest Christmas! {See last week’s post here.}

Sidenote: Sorry guys, this post was supposed to go up last week and I apparently never posted it!

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Eloise does a lot of art projects at school, comes home covered in paint, and then we hang all of her creations on the front living room window. I love that she is doing art at school because it is one activity that this type-A mama can have trouble doing at home. But, I thought it would be fun to make a few simple Christmas ornaments for the tree this year with Eloise.

Cute button tree ornament for the kids to make

{original Pinterest link – Hands On As We Grow blog}

pom pom christmas tree craft

{original Pinterest link – Happy Hooligans blog}

I knew that I needed to keep things simple, so I kept the supply list short: felt, ribbon, buttons, pom poms, popcicle sticks, and glue.

I cut out the Christmas trees and wreaths out of felt and then had Eloise point to where she wanted to put either a button or a pom pom. Then I put a big drop of glue and she placed the button or pom pom down. It worked pretty well, although Eloise was much more interested in holding (and squeezing!) the bottle of glue… anyone know of toddler-friendly glue?

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By the time we were done decorating the trees and wreaths, Eloise had pretty much lost interest since I wouldn’t let her handle the glue, so the triangle popcicle stick ornaments are pretty bare. For those I just glued three sticks together on the ends to form a triangle and had Eloise place the pom poms. Once all of the ornaments were dry (overnight), I had Eloise pick out the ribbon color and I strung each ornament onto a piece of ribbon. She was excited to hang all of the ornaments on the tree which made all of it worth it!

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This was definitely a super-easy toddler craft and I am really glad we did it.

And be sure to check out what Kendra’s up to all December long over on The Gilbertson Family! {Here’s her first Pinterest Christmas post!}

Do you have homemade ornaments on your Christmas tree?

M

pinterest-christmas

Eloise meets Santa {2016}

Per tradition, Eloise and I joined her friend Beatrice and her mama earlier this month to meet Santa downtown at Nordstrom. We loaded the girls into the car and headed down in the morning with Starbucks in hand hoping to beat the rush. The line wasn’t awful this year and it took just over an hour.

As we got closer to the front of the line and Santa came into view, Eloise was super interested in seeing the other kids sit on his lap and ask him for what they wanted for Christmas. I was hopeful but since Eloise had already told me that she didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, I knew I wasn’t going to push her.

And by the time we got up to Santa, she was clinging to me like a baby monkey. Her friend Beatrice went first, but ended up in tears which made more Eloise upset. Somehow though I managed to get Eloise on a rocking horse and the photographer distracted her enough to move her back towards Santa and actually get a smile! And Eloise asked me to tell Santa what she wanted, so I made sure he got her list: 2 monkeys, a pickle, and a giraffe. Seriously. She talked about it the entire week before we went to see him!

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Maybe someday Eloise won’t be terrified of Santa? But then she also has been talking about Santa ever since she saw him… it’s a little confusing. And she kept asking where he parked! I told her the only place the sleigh and his reindeer would fit was on Nordstrom’s roof.

At what age did your kiddos get excited about seeing Santa?

M

And see Eloise with Santa for the past two years: 2015 & 2014.

family pictures {2016}

Like last year, we had The Happy Film Company shoot for our family Christmas cards. I chose Gas Works Park this year since I thought it would be a fun backdrop with an active toddler and wouldn’t be a repeat of our Greenlake shoot last year.

We ended up getting rained out on our original shoot date, but the day we rescheduled was nice and sunny (albeit a little windy)! And since I didn’t want to do another round of professional pictures for a maternity shoot, we did a few bump pictures too (even though I was not showing very much!).

My favorites ended up in our Christmas card, but here are a few others from the shoot!

{My dress: Zara // E’s dress: GapKids (similar) // E’s vest: Old Navy (similar) // E’s boots: Old Navy (similar) // E’s tights: GapKids // E’s bow: A Little Lady Shop // Aaron’s shirt: Nordstrom (old) // Aaron’s sweater: Banana Republic (old) // gold moccasins: Freshly Picked}

Do you do family pictures every year?

M

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eloise {twenty-seven months}

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{lion: jellycat via Nordstrom // chambray shirt: Carter’s // pants: Carter’s (similar) // socks: Carter’s (old) // beanie: June & January}

**also, I couldn’t choose just one picture for this month, so here are two!**

{month twenty-seven} Holy cow you guys, how has it been an entire quarter since Eloise turned two? In case I didn’t ever say, I have decided to do quarterly updates for Eloise since we are doing weekly pictures and posts for Baby Foot (which will continue thru the rest of my pregnancy and then that first year!). I was just reading back over Eloise’s two year post and she seems like a totally different kid! Okay, here’s a quick re-cap of the past three months:

Eloise has been “mean muggin'” since before she was one, but now she says “mean muggin'” while she does it. And it’s hilarious! She has the best looks.

She sings the alphabet every time Aaron or I spell something that we don’t want her to hear or repeat which is quite a bit these days. And, she has learned what a few of the spellings are, so we have had to come up with code names for words like: walk, bath, and applesauce.

Eloise is still obsessed with books! We read quite a few throughout the day and at least one or two before naptime and bedtime too. She has memorized many of her favorite books and reads to herself and her dolls or toys which is impossibly cute.

She uses a fork and spoon at all meals, though sometimes her fingers work just as well. Unless it is making a huge mess, I try not to be too strict about using a utensil if she refuses (picking my battles!). But generally she is excited to use them and wants to use the exact same thing that Mama and Papa use. Plus, she has learned to set the table. You guys, this is huge and I am so proud. I will put the utensils that we need (except for sharp knives) on the corner of the dining room table, and Eloise will come over and move all of the utensils to everyone’s spot on top of his or her napkin. Emily Post would be so proud!

Sometimes (especially if she is trying to be funny) Eloise says “MOM!” to get my attention. Or she will just yell it for fun. It gives me a good glimpse into her teenage years I think.

Eloise can count from 1 to 20 in English, and 1 to 10 in French, Japanese, and Spanish. She is equally obsessed with counting as she is with saying her ABCs, and counts everything.

She tells us she dreams about paradise and butterflies after she wakes up from naptime or in the morning. Paradise always includes: Mama, Papa, Grammie, Paga (what she calls my dad, or her version of Grandpa), Kilo (my dad’s horse), Yaya (my sister Anya), occasionally Sadie and sometimes a few other characters. And the butterflies are always green, blue, and purple.

Speaking of purple, Eloise is obsessed! Seriously. Every morning she picks out her underpants and socks for the day, and she wants her purple ones. She has about three pairs of purple underwear (maybe four or five if I can convince her that the smallest little bit of purple actually makes them purple) but only one pair of purple socks. So she is always stoked on laundry day when her purple socks are clean! Needless to say, she needs a few more pairs of purples socks and underwear… I sort of love that she loves purple since I too like it (plus, it is the color for UW so in this area it is perfect!) and Aaron loves it because it isn’t pink! We will see how long this obsession lasts, but I don’t see it ending anytime soon.

Eloise is always singing songs: when she is playing, at mealtime (which I am really trying to stop), in the car, and when she is falling asleep. Twinkle Twinkle, Are You Sleeping (Brother John)? (though we usually since the French version), The Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, songs from school are the current favorites.

And probably the biggest change in the past three months is that Eloise is potty trained! I had hinted previously that I was going to do it at the end of the summer, but wanted to keep mum since I didn’t know exactly how it would go. I am going to be honest and say that there were some rough times and times that I thought I would be happy for her to be in diapers forever, but we have turned a huge corner and Eloise is a champ! We rarely have accidents during the day and Eloise is self-initiating all the time. She is still in diapers at naptime and bedtime, though that is only because I am not willing to take on night-time training just yet; we have a loose plan to try to night-time train in December or very early January, but are just going to play it by ear since there are a lot of big events and life changes on the horizon for this kid. Plus, in total honesty, I don’t want to have to wake her up to go potty in the middle of the night when she would otherwise sleep completely thru the night and I am seven (plus) months pregnant. So I will keep you up to date on that! For those who are curious, we used the book Oh Crap! Potty Training which I cannot recommend enough! It was super comprehensive and broke things down into blocks (not days) which I appreciated. Plus, it discouraged the use of rewards which is really in-line with our parenting philosophy. If you are needing to potty train a toddler, pick this one up!

Eloise is learning her shapes and colors, and is pretty good at identifying at this point. I try to teach her without doing rogue drills, so we talk about things that we see and what shape or color it is. And now Eloise points things out on her own.

If you ask Eloise what time it is, she will tell you it is thirty-teen. Hilarious!

And another big thing that happened (in September) is that Eloise doesn’t use a pacifier anymore! We had restricted it to sleeping time (with the occasional exception like if she was sick, really upset, or we were travelling or out late) since she started really sleeping well (around five or six months). But, she became pretty attached to it. Our pediatrician had recommended we give it up right at two years, though our dentist said that since she was using the Soothie pacifier, it was fine for her to use it up until three. Though we knew it would change her sleeping (at least a little), we both felt like we wanted her to give it up and have a nice big break without it before Baby Foot is born. One night we had her put her doll Stella’s paci in a jar because Stella was a big kid and didn’t need her paci anymore; and then we had Eloise put her four pacis in the same jar the next night. We kept the jar in her room up on a shelf where she could see them but not get to them for about a week, and then they mysteriously vanished! It was a rough couple of nights and really took just over a week for her sleep to get back to “normal” but we did it. She didn’t ask for her paci nearly as much as we thought, but wanted many more cuddles before bed. We have noticed that it takes much longer (like 45 minutes to an hour sometimes at bedtime) for Eloise to fall asleep even if we have adjusted the time she goes down, but other than that, she is sleeping really well. And honestly, she is sleeping better thru the night because she can self-soothe without having to find her paci in the dark or having one of us go in there and stick her paci back in her mouth!

Shortly after the paci went away, Aaron converted Eloise’s crib to a toddler bed. This is really just taking off one side and having a small guard rail. We weren’t sure how it would go, but again, with Baby Foot’s impending arrival (and us not wanting to buy another crib!) we decided to go for it and see how it went. One night after dinner Eloise and Aaron went down and she watched him convert the crib, and boy was she excited! She even came up and wanted me to go back downstairs to her room so she could show me – so cute! And she is still pretty excited about it. She likes to climb in and out by herself (although she will stay in bed all night and until one of us comes in in the morning!) and have all of her blankets and animals in bed with her. She doesn’t move around nearly as much as she did when she was in her crib, staying in the top third of the bed. The only tricky thing I see is that she stays up near where the guard rail is, so we may have some rolling out of a twin bed once we make that transition (we are thinking January for that). Having her in the converted toddler bed has made it so much easier for me to get her in and out of bed (since I was having trouble lifting her up out of the crib if she was laying down flat), plus it allows us to more easily night-time train her and then eventually transition her to a twin bed.

And lastly, as most of you know, Eloise started preschool in September. The first two weeks of drop-offs were really rough, but now Eloise is off and playing by the time I head out the door. She is excited to go to school and really loves her teachers and her friends. While it isn’t a Montessori school, it shares similar principles which is perfect for Eloise and for us. She brings artwork home every week and they are all hanging proudly in our front window (though I am going to have a special place in her room for art once we move her in a few months). She has learned so much in terms of basics (colors, numbers, letters) but also sharing with others and being able to respond and respect other adults. We are always amazed what she comes home talking about; just last night she talked about the moon waning and waxing as she moved her hands open and closed!

It has been an amazing three months with this little gal and she is such an awesome kid!

{weight} 30-ish pounds.

{hair} dark (reddish) brown.

{teeth} 20 teeth and molars.

{eyes} dark brown.

{clothes}  2T, and some 3T.

{diapers} POTTY TRAINED! size 2T underwear during the day and honest company size 6 diapers for naptime and at night.

{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} school (her friends and teachers), talking walks around the neighborhood, coloring, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, football, yelling, Duplos, digging in the dirt, splashing, counting, chewing on her toothbrush, the mailman, any person outside on the sidewalk, bubbles, sidewalk chalk,  buckles, jumping, watching out the front window (dogs, kids, trucks), books, mama & papa’s cell phone, singing & music, dancing, Sadie, standing, FaceTime, bath time, 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, being hungry, getting into the carseat, getting out of the carseat, not being able to do something herself.

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

Happy 27 months Eloise!

M

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project baby #2 {week 23}

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{letter board: Letter Folk // tunic: Old Navy (old)}

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{And here’s an extra photo for the week since Eloise LOVES “photoshoots”! Gosh, that sweet smile.}

{week 23} This week, honestly, has been pretty uneventful as far as the bump goes. It has been a bit of a challenge to keep dry as my rain coat no longer zips over my belly (without being super uncomfortable!) and we have started into the rainy season. I am going to try not to have to buy a big, maternity fall/winter jacket, so I am going to have to be creative in the coming weeks and months!

I saw my midwife this morning and everything was great! My weight gain is healthy and steady, and all of my vitals are great. Baby Foot’s heartbeat was so strong on the Doppler and it always makes me tear up to hear it. I also got my glucose test drink at the end of the appointment which is crazy that I will be taking in the next few weeks – how are we this far along already?

I mentioned to my midwife that it feels like I am missing something since it seems like I was doing and reading so much more the first time around. And she reminded me that all of the leg work I did last time around is still relevant this time around, plus, there really is less to do this time. For example, this appointment she would have told me I should start researching and interviewing pediatricians, doulas, and scheduling a hospital tour; but we will take Baby Foot to Eloise’s pediatrician, our original doula Jennie is on-board for this labor and delivery, and we don’t need to re-tour the hospital – phew! I remember trying to schedule those things the last time around while Aaron and I were both working full-time and it was so tricky. I think the biggest logistic scenario we have to keep in mind this time is, of course, Eloise!

And if you are curious, here is my 23 week update with Eloise!

Happy 23 weeks!

M

Happy Halloween {2016}

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{Eloise wasn’t sure about all of the costumed people at our neighborhood parade, but she seemed to be soaking it all in from atop Papa’s shoulders!]

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{The Roosevelt High School drum line led the annual neighborhood parade. It is such a fun tradition!}

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{I decided to make Eloise a special Halloween basket filled with non-candy goodies that she traded in her trick-or-treat bucket for (after getting lots of good advice from mamas on Facebook – thank you!) and she was obsessed! And a few weeks ago Eloise and I made a chocolate Halloween house (from Trader Joe’s) which has been decorating our dining table!}

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{Mama, Papa, and Eloise pumpkins. I asked Eloise which shapes she wanted for each part of her pumpkin’s face and this was the result!}

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{Eloise and I before we headed over to the parade. The sweetest pumpkin ever!}

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{We were trying so hard to get a “cheese” out of her, but alas, the stoic Eloise pumpkin.}

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{And football was on tonight (her favorite after Daniel Tiger!) and she found a fun new TV viewing position while she snacked on trail mix from her Halloween basket before (a late) bedtime.}

Halloween is way more fun with kids!! Eloise is just understanding the idea of trick-or-treating and we practiced a lot in the past few weeks. She wore her costume a bunch this past month, including to school where she joined all of her friends who were dressed in costume as well. It was a bit overwhelming tonight for her to be out since we have so many kids roaming around the neighborhood, but Aaron took her to our neighbors’ houses that she knew. Plus, Aaron and I get first dibs on her candy stash, with the rest either being frozen for later or given away!

Hope you had a Happy Halloween!

And if you are curious, here are the past few years of Lower Halloweens: 2011 // 2012 // 2013 // 2014 // 2015

Oh, and Eloise’s costume is from Pottery Barn Kids (that beret basically sold me!) but it isn’t available online anymore!

M

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eloise {first day of preschool 2016}

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{letter board: Letter Folk // top: Cat & Jack for Target // leggings: Cat & Jack for Target // lunchbox: PackIt // sneakers: See Kai Run (similar) // bow: Hadley Girl (similar)}

Eloise started her first day of preschool today!

We didn’t know for sure that she would be starting this fall since she was on the waitlist since last spring, but we found out a few weeks ago and have been pretty excited about it. Her school is a small, 12 student school that is run by a former school teacher out of her home in our neighborhood. It is geared specifically for 2 to 4 year olds to attend for one or two years before spending their final year before kindergarten in a pre-K program. And this is exactly what we wanted for Eloise! She will spend Monday and Wednesday mornings (9 AM to 1 PM) at The Birch School with two teachers where she will play outside, have crafting time, singing, etc. It’s great for Eloise to have some social time with kids her age & be in the care of other adults, and it is great for me to have some time to work on the Shop or get things done around the house or have one-on-one time with Baby Foot come February!

Eloise was SO excited about taking her lunch in her new lunchbox, having a new ladybug water bottle (thanks Grammie!), and having a new outfit to wear on her first day. She was a little nervous in the car this morning when she realized she was actually going (I asked her if she was excited about going to school and she said “No!” and shook her head…) but she started playing as soon as we got to school and didn’t make a huge deal when I left. Not even any tears (from either of us)!

Happy first day of preschool E!

M

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