Friday, November 8, 2013


It was Eleanor's first Halloween! Which she almost didn't have a costume for because both kids were sick the week beforehand and I was almost too tired to remember I had this old duck costume in the attic left over from Charlie's first Halloween. I think she made a lovely duck, don't you? With the little duck head snapped on, she and Charlie look identical. 

Charlie decided he wanted to be a red ninja a few weeks ago, after giving serious consideration to Jango Fett, Luke Skywalker and "white ninja".  I got excited at the prospect of Luke Skywalker, as Eleanor could go as Leia and I thought I could hunt down a Darth Vader mask for Brad. Alas. Maybe next year.

I found an online karate supply store that had some karate/tae kwon do/ninja type costumes and was really pleased with the quality when it arrived. Nice heavy material and strong stitching. Since Charlie will wear this costume for at least another year, it needs to wash well! Poor Batman costume from last year didn't survive the Spring. 

The costume you see above also came with a hood, which we omitted because it seriously took the whole look to an uncomfortable level of KKK resemblance. Clearly not what we were going for and very glad we moved on from white ninja!  I'm not sure why the company includes the hood - looks much more ninja without it.

We kicked off Halloween a week prior, when our preschool had their Pumpkins and Pasta dinner, where the kids get to break in their costumes. Charlie was just getting over the croup but still coughing some. Fortunately, the mask shielded others from germs.
Charlie had a great time with his friends, barely ate anything and just ran around being a ninja with an assortment of ninja turtles and civil servants. By that night he had a fever again and was sick for 3 more days. Ugh. 

We made it out by Sunday (even though Eleanor was still sick) to the University of Richmond's Halloween carnival and Charlie had a great time. He didn't feel like painting pumpkins when there were bouncy castles and s'mores to make, but Brad did and the result was the pumpkin version of Wilson the volleyball:
Am I right?

We all recovered by Halloween and Charlie had his class parade and party that morning. He forgot his mask for the parade, but stayed in character the entire time. He is so method.
This cutie watched the parade with me. She squealed when she saw Charlie.
I had my usual amnesia about what a pain it is to keep an excited child entertained all afternoon until it's time to trick or treat. When will I learn and have some kind of activity planned? It was a long afternoon. Note to future Kara: PLAN SOMETHING.

I had to wake Eleanor up from a mega-nap to get ready for pictures and our neighborhood potluck. We have it each year before trick or treating and it's really fun. LOTS of kids.
Our neighborhood is so fun on Halloween. A lot of homes now decorate and set up tables in their front yards for distributing candy. We make some roadies and walk around with the kids and socialize. It's a blast. Usually there's a bonfire in the cul de sac, but it was 70-ish and we were all sweating instead.

Brad made it home from his work trip in time to scarf down what was left of the potluck and get started on trick or treating. After Eleanor decided she was quite done with all of it, I took her home and passed out candy while Brad took Charlie trick or treating with friends. My helper:
It must have been a long, tiring day for Charlie because he announced to Brad that he was done trick or treating and ready to go home. Last year we had to drag him kicking and screaming back home. He was happy to pick some treats, camp out on the sofa with The Great Pumpkin and pass out candy to the last of the trick or treaters.

Also unlike last year, he has not insisted on going trick or treating every night of the week following Halloween. Our Charlie is growing up! He is now asking about how long until his birthday because he really just wants to turn 5.

Anyways, it was a very Happy Halloween for Ninja Charlie and Duckie Eleanor! HIIIIYAH!

10 Months of Eleanor

Admission: I never wrote a post for 9 months of Eleanor. I can't even find the slip of paper from her 9 month appointment that has her height, weight and percentiles. I remember she was almost 18 pounds and 90th percentile for height. Poor second child, the number of blog posts detailing your life is quite small.

I remember thinking about what I was going to write at the 9 month mark and couldn't think of a ton to write so I'll just mush it all into one. I came back from Cape Cod and she had just turned 9 months and she was crawling up on her hands and knees. She also pulled up for the first time, on the fireplace hearth. And then promptly looked like she had no idea what to do from there. 

There was also a lot of eating, still some getting up at night and the beginning of getting into everything. So far she is not as persistent about it all as Charlie - he would open cabinet doors and really put a lot of effort into Search and Destroy. She is curious, as babies are, but takes a closed door as a sign to move on, not a challenge to overcome. 

I can cover the past two months in saying she loves her brother so much. She is always watching him and reaching for him. We will walk up the stairs with him right ahead of us and she is lunging to grab his hair or smack him - anything to get his attention. I started putting her in the bath tub with him last month and they have a blast playing together. He makes her laugh and it, in turn, makes my heart melt.

Eleanor now notices music and will start bouncing up and down to the tune. It's like a reflex! She'll hear a little blip of something on the tv or Charlie and I will sing a song and she stops whatever she is doing and breaks it down. Like it's her job. It's really cute. 

She's making some sounds out of her babbling - the mamamamama and dadadadada. I can tell she wants to call Charlie something but can't quite figure out what. It will be neat to see what baby nickname he gets. Today, at just past 10 months old, she looked up when I walked in the room and said mama. I about died. 

She's also just learned to clap for things and it is beyond adorable. She'll just start clapping and I suddenly remember why it's sad when the baby phase is over. Sure, you're sleeping more, but there's no adorably clumsy clapping of the chubby hands.

Eleanor got sick again this past month. Charlie had a virus and then she got sick, though not majorly like he did. She does not have Brad's asthma lungs like Charlie, so it was a minor virus. With some very major diaper rash. Not fun.

Her top two center teeth broke through around the same time, so I'm not sure if some of the fever and congestion (or even diaper rash) were due to those. They are such cute little teeth. I see some white in the surrounding gums, so I think more are coming. Man I hate teething.

I just realized some time in the past couple of months that she has completely stopped spitting up. Maybe it the last time was actually a while ago - I'm not sure. The stains are there, but we have moved past that particular phase.

I'm starting to have way too much fun dressing her. We have reached the end of the line on most of the baby gifts and hand me downs, so I am frequently on a quest to find her cute outfits. It is about the most fun thing ever. I love finding things I myself would love to wear. Jeggings, cute shoes, cardigans, tunics - it is so fun. Because she is so long, she is in 18 month clothing right now. I would like her to just stay this size for a little while so we can enjoy the clothes!

She loves to eat table food and will eat just about anything. I can't tell you how many frustrating dinners I go through where Charlie will turn down just about anything. Eleanor, on the other hand, will eat it all. She especially loves meat. And cheese - even very pungent cheese! I attribute this to her first few months in utero taking place in a country that has truly exceptional cheese. 

We took Charlie and Eleanor to Chipotle last weekend and I don't think two children in the world could have enjoyed dinner as much as they did. Charlie kept taking bites and saying "This is the BEST food!" and Eleanor ate a bunch of my carnitas, rice, beans and guacamole. It's neat to go somewhere and just eat what they're serving. So easy!

She is taking two naps a day, usually a shorter one in the morning and a longer one in the afternoon. I try to schedule them right after we drop Charlie off at preschool in the morning and again after we pick him up. She seems to sleep best when she has both naps. Overtired has never been good for Eleanor.

That's all I can think of. In a few weeks she will be 11 months and then her first birthday will be upon us. I can't believe it. It really does go by in a blink.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Niece!

Isn't she adorable?? We found out Megan and Bruce were expecting a baby ages ago and I have had to keep it mostly a secret since then. Killer! But they had their "big" ultrasound yesterday and are now sharing the big news! In other words, it's Facebook Official!

And they are having a girl!! We all thought it was a boy. Her morning sickness has been similar to what I experienced with Charlie and we all just had that boy instinct. My family was 2 for 2 on guessing the gender of my kids.

I am usually wrong in guessing gender, though. I thought Charlie was a girl and Eleanor was a boy. So if you need an accurate indicator, ask what I think and go with the opposite!

Eleanor and her new cousin will be just over a year apart in age. It will be so fun to have two little girls close enough in age to be good friends.

Charlie was on the phone with me yesterday when Megan called to share the good news. He was so excited! He asked what they were going to call the baby and I told him that they haven't decided yet. He must be studying the 50 states in school because he suggested Carolina and New Jersey as possible names.

I can't wait for April to get here so I can meet this little peanut! She is already as cute as can be.

Cape Cod

My mom turned 60 this year and to celebrate, my sisters and I planned a trip for us to have a girls' weekend in Cape Cod. None of us had ever been so it was an adventure for us all.

In addition to my mom's birthday, we had Meredith's engagement and Megan's pregnancy to celebrate! The morning sickness gods granted Megan a pass for the weekend so she fortunately felt well enough to enjoy the yummy food they have up on the Massachusetts coast.

We rented a cottage in the town of Chatham, which is about as picturesque and perfect as a little town can be. There was a "downtown" area with shops and restaurants and we could walk to several beaches.

Saturday was my mom's special day and we started it off by walking to the beach and then hitting up the one bridal shop in town for Meredith to try on gowns. We didn't really expect to find anything, but there was one dress that we all got excited about. In the end she has selected something different to wear on the big day, but it was exciting to have an actual contender!

After the bridal shop, we had lunch and then hit the shops and had a nap and relaxed for a while. I had not felt that relaxed in a long while. Even flying to get there was relaxing. On a plane with no children and the latest Vanity Fair. Bliss.

That night we went to the Chatham Bars Inn, which has a beautiful view of the sea. We sat on the front porch and had drinks and a snack. We also watched this massive wedding going on down at the beach club. A shop owner had told us earlier in the day that the wedding party had 17 groomsmen. Can you imagine?

We had yummy seafood and wine at the Impudent Oyster, which is the can't-miss restaurant in town. By the time I flew home I was actually sick of seafood. Here we are at the Inn, Meredith shivering, per usual:
View from the Inn:
Beautiful, perfect Chatham:
Monomoy refuge:
View from the Pier and a little friend:
I think we would all go back in a heartbeat. It was about a 2 hour drive, with traffic, from Boston Logan. You can also fly into Providence and it's further mileage-wise, but less traffic. 

Meanwhile, the kids were back at home with Brad, who went to visit Art and Sue in Williamsburg. Well, first he loaded up both kids and made it to soccer in time for team pictures. That had me impressed.

This little pumpkin liked the swings with her Daddy. I could not tell you where her shoes are! And Charlie only suffered injuries not requiring emergency room visits. Success!