Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Monday, November 24, 2014

Eloise - First Food

Eloise hit 5 months on November 18, and we introduced her first solids. In many ways, our girls have seemed similar in hitting milestones (similar sleep patterns, slow to roll over, chatty, etc.), but Eloise had an easier time swallowing her first spoonfuls and wanted to eat as much as we would give her. She tried sweet potatoes for her first food and since tried butternut squash and green beans. I'm giving her a couple ounces of vegetables per night for now.

In the last month, Eloise has become much more vocal, almost to the point of yelling. She grabs aggressively at toys and has started rolling over onto her side. She's wearing 6 months clothes. Eloise is going through a bit of sleep regression the last couple weeks and has been waking up 2-3 times/night. I'm hopeful she will move through this stage quickly.

November 28 edit for two more pictures. Eloise rolled over for the first time on November 26. Chris and I were in Fiona's room for 30 seconds together while Eloise was on her back on her playmate in the living room. When we came out, she was on her stomach. She rolled over again for a second time later that night. Next picture is of Eloise trying carrots.

Monday, November 10, 2014

San Diego

After Chris flew to a conference in San Diego on Sunday, November 2, the girls and I joined him on Wednesday, the 5th. The preparation for a trip like this is the most arduous part of the journey for me. I realized a day before the trip that I didn't have any summer clothes for Eloise at her current size and made a quick dash through the clearance section at Target for a dress and short-sleeved tops. Once I got my huge suitcase and backpack together along with Fiona's carry on backpack stuffed with snacks, stickers, crayons and most importantly, a fully charged Kindle with Dora and Super Why downloaded, I breathed a sigh of relief. Getting the car seats, luggage and double stroller into the airport was an ordeal, but the 3.5 hour flight went relatively smoothly. Chris met us in baggage claim, and it felt like we were on vacation after that. San Diego was hot with highs in the 80s, perfect for Chris, but a little toasty for me.

While I was still in MN, Chris texted me this picture of his coastal run, which he did after a refreshing, undisturbed night of sleep. 

On Wednesday, we grabbed a couple tacos and then walked to Seaport Village. The girls crashed early according to Pacific Time.

Winding down with Dora and her blanket

After an early morning wake-up for everyone, we packed lots of walking into Thursday. Thursday morning, we walked a couple miles from our hotel to Balboa Park. We didn't visit the Zoo since the girls are too young to appreciate it given entrance prices, but I'm sure we will visit again someday. After a perfectly time nap for Fiona, we (Chris) had the idea to ride the train as far South as possible and exit someplace picturesque. Well, the scenic stop never arrived, just strip malls and cement mostly. We ended hopping off, grabbing lunch and then heading back to our hotel.

Balboa Park


Waiting for the train

Thursday evening, we took the train to Old Town (no pictures), but the girls were fussy, and we headed back after a rushed dinner. 

Each day in San Diego, Chris and Fiona spent a significant amount of time in the pool and hot tub. They alternated between jumping in the pool and rushing back into the hot tub. Fiona often declared that she like the hot water better. Chris has been taking Fiona into the pool at the YMCA almost every week, and she has transformed into a little fish. She's learned to kick until she can get her head out of the water for a quick breath (Chris is always with her) but strangely does not panic if she's submerged. I feel a little worried that she's so comfortable in deep water because I think she might jump in even if nobody else is around. 

Eloise took her first dip in the pool with Fiona encouraging her along the way. If you ask Fiona who Eloise is, Fiona will say, "Sister. Best friend." That's everything I can wish for these girls. 

Sweet baby

Friday morning, we slept in a little longer, then walked along the water. Late afternoon, we encountered the proverbial white unicorn: both girls feel asleep for an hour at the same time. Chris and I grabbed a table in Little Italy and enjoyed a glass of wine together.

 A fortunate hour

I loved our Saturday. We rented a car, drove to La Jolla and walked to the beach. Fiona hung back from the water due to the substantial waves but enjoyed raking sand and scouting seals with Chris.

First time in the Pacific Ocean for Eloise. (Fiona dipped her toes the first time on a prior trip to California). 

After La Jolla, the girls both feel asleep in the car so Chris and I grabbed some coffee and drove leisurely up the coast, past Torrey Pines, Del Mar and sunny beaches before finally turning around in Encinitas. We then drove back through San Diego to Coronado and grabbed a sushi lunch before heading to Coronado Beach. The day had cooled slightly, and the moment felt perfect as Fiona ran and ran in the cool, low tide sand, and Eloise swiveled her head back and forth to watch the dogs running ecstatically in and out of the waves. After the water crashed over her shorts, Fiona just pulled them off and kept going. 

Excited to heading back to the water.

I had a couple memorable nursing sessions with Eloise on Saturday. While in La Jolla, we stopped at a shaded overlook so I could feed Eloise, and an older lady started chatting with Chris and me. She told us about moving to the U.S. from Germany at the end of WWII and described some of the political considerations for her (German born) and her Chinese husband. Interesting session number two occurred while I fed Eloise in a sunken gazebo on Coronado Island. I thought I had found a private space, but all of a sudden a couple wedding parties and several quinceaneras groups wandered past, with one bride and groom coming into the gazebo with me to take pictures. Even though I am always covered, it was very awkward.

Our early morning flight Sunday went relatively smoothly, and we are happy to be home, although not so happy to exchange sandals for winter boots.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Halloween Festivities

I found myself exclaiming to Chris a couple times this week, "Wow, we have a child old enough to go trick-or-treating! Crazy!" We had a great time celebrating the holiday as a family this week. To start the festivities, I took the day off work on Tuesday to attend a Halloween party that Bonny threw. Most of the women going to the party were mutual friends from church so it was nice to relax with a group of moms and kids, although I guess relax isn't the right word when you describe hanging out with a bunch of toddlers.  

On Wednesday, we (Chris and Fiona) carved a pumpkin after work/school. Fiona drew her hands back squeamishly from the seeds at first but then got excited about seeing the eyes, nose and mouth emerge.

On Halloween day, the kids both wore their costumes to school, although Fiona was less than excited about wearing her lion outfit.

Then that evening, Chris took Fiona around the block while I stayed back with Eloise to hand out candy. We had been talking about what to say at the door, and Chris said Fiona was a little shy, but she did manage to say "trick or treat" at most of the houses.

The spoils of the night below: Fiona's first Snickers bar.