Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Friday, February 20, 2015

Eloise - 8 Months

I intended to do a nine month update for Eloise, but she has developed so much in the last two months that I feel compelled to do this now. In the last month, Eloise has leapt forward developmentally. During our week in Puerto Rico, she hit three milestones: she can now push herself up to a sitting position, crawl and pull herself up to a standing position. When I dropped her at daycare the first day, her teachers were amazed how quickly she had progressed. Now that she can pull herself to a standing position, Eloise wants to be on her feet all the time. If I sit with her on the floor, she will crawl over and pull herself up to stand next to me. She is also pulling herself up to a standing position in her crib. She is very aware of new toys and loves to take things apart, such as pulling rings off a stacker or taking the little people out of Fiona's toy bus. She eats 2-3 meals a day of solid food, mostly baby oatmeal, stage 2 purees and some finger food snacks. Now that we're home, she is starting to sleep better again. Last night, she woke up only once during the night. She is also ridiculously wriggly on the changing table, flipping and grabbing. I'm going to pack away her exersaucer soon since she no longer wants to be stationary.

Watching the Superbowl with me in our hotel room in MA

Passport photo: We submitted her application on her 8 month birthday

Monday, February 16, 2015

Puerto Rico

January and February in Minnesota have been relatively mild; nonetheless, Chris and I still eagerly anticipated traveling to Puerto Rico with most of my family. My mother, Sean and Bonny and their kids and Chris and I with our kids flew to Puerto Rico on February 7 and returned on the 14th. Jamie, Varsana and Malia joined us on Wednesday, the 11th (due to the girls' school schedule). We booked a condo through Airbnb in the Condado neighborhood only a couple blocks from the beach. The condo had four bedroom and two bathrooms, along with shared living spaces. While the rental appeared large from the pictures, the space certainly seemed to shrink when the four kids played with the limited toys in the living room/dining room. Juggling naps, snacks, meals, etc. proved difficult some days, but we were all happy to have this time together.

Chris and I previously visited San Juan eight years ago so we weren't in a big hurry to see the touristy sites again. We spent most days at one of two beaches (one with large waves and another with calmer water for the kids). We also strolled the neighborhood, eating out here and there, and every day, we inevitably needed something or other from CVS or a grocery store (milk, diapers, coffee, sunscreen, etc.). I anticipated spending more time in the old town, but we only got there one morning. We did rent cars one day and drove to El Yunque National Forest where we hiked a mile to and from a medium-sized waterfall. After that, we grabbed a fried lunch from a string of local vendors in Luquillo and then stretched out on the smelly beach for a few minutes (smelly from the nearby horses?).

Travel fun and first night in Puerto Rico

The entire group trekked the couple blocks to the beach our first full day in Puerto Rico. Fiona was a little scared of the waves after Chris waded her out into the water right away so she played on the sand most of the day with Cora and Jack. Poor Eloise got sand in both her eyes, and Sean and I tried to rinse them out with bottled water before Chris and I carried her to a shower and flushed out all of the particles. 

Old San Juan and lunch on Monday

 A few pictures from the kid-friendly beach. 

Late one afternoon, we grabbed sandwiches from a waffle shop (not very good) and carried them to the beach.

Pictures from the rainforest hike. 

 Fiona woke up from her nap (transfer from carseat to stroller actually worked!) to this view.

Feeling adventurous on Thursday after Jamie and the girls arrived, we made a very early reservation at a great seafood restaurant called Oceania. A slight drizzle kept the air cool, but we enjoyed a fabulous meal and view. Fiona had woken up late from a nap and was especially grumpy so we let her watch a Dora show on the Kindle while we waited for the food.

My mom and/or Varsana and Malia were gracious enough to stay with the kids a few nights while the rest of us (minus Bonny one night) went out for a bit. The first night I went out with Chris and my brothers for a couple mojitos, another night we ate tapas and watched flamenco dancing and the last night in Puerto Rico, the five of us ate an early dinner (Jamie then took my mother and the girls out for dinner afterwards and ate a full second dinner).

Pictures of the kids throughout the trip. 

My brother Jamie co-owns a business that has recently expanded into Puerto Rico, and his business partner moved a month ago along with his wife and three young children (triplets) to the island. Our last day in Puerto Rico, we had to be out of the condo by 11 am so Adrian and Michelle graciously invited us to crash at their place until our flights left early evening. The kids melted into the plethora of toys readily available at the house, and we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon. Due to plane delays, we didn't arrive back to Minnesota until nearly 2 am, but we survived.

Lastly, many times I feel the four of us (Chris, me, Fiona and Eloise) belong in a "which one of these things don't belong?" segment because even Eloise's hair is curling. I joke to Chris that their hair is meant for warm, humid climates because Fiona's hair especially spirals into beautiful, full ringlets. 

Trio of curliness