Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fiona - 3.5 Years

Fiona is 3.5 years old today. Sometimes I stretch out her arms and legs and say, "Look at these long legs! Look at these arms!" Then I pretend cry and Fiona reassures me that she will always be my baby. Our Fiona remains inherently sweet, loving, mischievous and persistent. The other day while giving her Uncle Jamie a hug, Jamie told her that she brings so much joy to everyone, and it is very true. However, she is a trickster and loves playing tricks and sneaking up on people. The other day, Chris and I brought Eloise into her room as she was waking up from a rare nap. We all sat on Fiona's bed while Eloise put together a puzzle, and Fiona casually reached over and swiped a puzzle piece, hiding it under the covers. Even in her semi-sleeping state, she still was trying to play a joke on Eloise.

Fiona is a great big sister. Although the girls scrap about toys and sharing, Fiona tries to comfort Eloise if she falls, always running to get an ice pack from the freezer. She builds towers and lets Eloise knock them down and tries to distract Eloise during diaper changes. I have such high hopes for them being great friends.

Fiona talks a mile a minute, writes her name, counts probably to a 100, dresses herself, dislikes having her wild hair in ponytails (tolerates braids), loves broccoli, cheese, apples, pasta and crackers, loves swimming, loves playing kitchen and tea party and is now sleeping in her new twin bed. We sold her crib on NextDoor last week, the same day that Chris set up her new twin bed. I love the extra space with her and the ability to reach her stories while we stretch out on her fluffy duvet. We read lots of books, and Fiona is naturally curious. She still demands an oral story before she goes to sleep and greatly prefers a made-up story, such as my "Fiona in the fairy tale" series in which I stitch together parts of various fairytales which Princess Fiona must navigate through. Chris has his own original story line about a girl named Fiona and her younger sister who is always creating a crisis. Fiona sleeps through the night well. She weighs about 33 pounds - not sure about her height.

Some other particulars about my big girl:
  • When Fiona wants water, she asks for "cold, fresh water" which means water needs to come out of the refrigerator dispenser with ice in it. 
  • She loves to wear layers of clothes. When she dresses herself, I might discover she's wearing a pair of shorts underneath her pants.
  • She calls anything with a large bite profile (crocodile, shark, hippo, etc.) a "snapper."
  • My mom watched the girls for a a couple days (one night) recently while Chris and I had concurrent work trips. While Fiona was on quiet time and Eloise was napping, my mom put her feet up in the guest room, and Fiona took the opportunity to get her bathroom stool and pilfer a half bag of marshmallows out of the pantry which she proceeded to devour. Chris relayed this story to me in a rather amused tone.

 Cupcake on her 3 1/2 birthday. 

 Silly with her sister

Snow Angels

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

December, Christmas and New Year's

December was packed with activities and celebrations. It was so busy, I didn't even have time to write separately about any of the events, so here's a giant post.

At the beginning of the month, we attended Eloise's Christmas party at school (she wasn't too thrilled about singing along to the songs, but not many of the 18 month olds were) and Fiona's Christmas recital where Santa made an appearance.

I snapped some pictures of the girls while they were dressed up after the recital. 

I took a day off work mid-December and kept Fiona home from school so she could help me make Christmas cookies. She loves to help around the house and had a lot of fun pressing down the cookie cutters and dumping sprinkles on the cookies.

On Christmas Eve, we attended a late afternoon service at our church and then went out for a sushi dinner at Raku in Edina. I think we might make a sushi dinner on Christmas Eve our new family tradition. At home afterwards, I tried to snap some pictures of the girls in front of the tree, but failed. We let Fiona and Eloise each open a present that night (markers and coloring books).

Fiona was very excited that night about waking up the next morning to open more presents.

Christmas morning, Chris made a fire, and the girls opened presents and played. My parents, Jamie, Varsana and Malia came over in the afternoon for a lasagna dinner and more presents. Anytime we are home for more than a one hour stretch, Fiona will change into a fancy dress, which she then generally refuses to take off.

Eloise was battling a cold and in combination with the routine changes was a bit cranky for much of Christmas. I let her watch a show towards the end of the day before putting her to bed. She crashed hard.

Our first real snowfall hit the day after Christmas, and Chris and Fiona took care of the sidewalk. Chris and Fiona also made ice balls by filling up balloons with water, putting them outside to freeze and then peeling off the actual balloon. It would have been pretty to add dye to the water, but we were afraid it might stain the concrete.

Sunday, the 27th, we celebrated at my parents' house with my Dad's side of the family. After checking the forecast for the next day and realizing a snowstorm would hit during our drive to Indiana, we left a little early from my parents to pack up suitcases so we could leave earlier on Monday.

I put the kids in daycare for a couple hours Monday morning, while I finished cleaning out the car, stopped at the grocery store for snacks and packed suitcases and activities. We picked up the girls about 11:00am and set off. By the time, we neared Wisconsin Dells, road conditions has deteriorated significantly, and Rob and Allison, who were about 45 minutes ahead of us, called to say they had pulled over at a hotel with a waterpark and were staying the night. We decided to do the same, and the kids enjoyed some pool and waterslide time.

Weather starting to deteriorate

We braved the pelting wind to drive across the street to a restaurant. 

We arrive in Lafayette, Indiana Tuesday midday and enjoyed a relatively calm next couple days. Fiona and Lilly got to sleep in a room together which made Fiona very happy.

The grandparents watching the kids open presents.

Thursday, midday, we drove an hour to Indianapolis for Hannah's wedding. Hannah, foreign exchange student from South Korea, stayed with Mike and Rhonda during her high school years, recently finished pharmacy school and was marrying her high school sweetheart from Indiana. We all love Hannah and consider a member of the family. Katie was her matron of honor.

After we arrived in Indianapolis, we walked around a bit at the mall attached to our hotel and then Chris and Rob took the kids swimming while Allison and I got our hair done at a nearby salon. Rhonda arranged babysitters to stay at the hotel room with the kids so we could enjoy the evening.

Hannah and Phillip got married at the Columbia Club in front of this beautiful fireplace. I don't have a good picture of the two of them together.

I loved how my hair turned out.


It was hard to get out of the hotel the next morning, as we were all tired, except for the kids who woke up early. We drove back to Lafayette and celebrated the last Christmas celebration with Chris' mom's side of the family.

Eloise really loves Evan 

Huggy Fiona

Bobbi bought all of her great-grandchildren Western-style boots when she and Rhonda were in Arizona. Eloise and Fiona both love theirs. 

We are home now and trying to adjust back to work and school. Fiona has been out a couple days with a fever and cold, so I don't think we will really get back into the swing of things until next week.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Eloise - 18 Months

At 18 months, Eloise is a ball of energy. We can't keep her on the ground. She climbs on the beds, the chairs, tables, anything, really, which as you can imagine results in a few bumps. She loves to say "jump" as she flings herself on the bed or into the pool at the YMCA. Chris throws her up in the air like a doll sometimes, and she constantly signs the word "more" while she says it (sounds like "mu, mu") because she never wants to stop. We put a little infant life jacket on her in the pool, and she likes to roam the water. She loves to be read books, with her favorite being  Pete the Cat and Llama, Llama books. Eloise also loves to watch shows, which we try to limit, and her favorite shows are Dora, Daniel Tiger and a Mother Goose nursery rhyme show. She also LOVES puzzles and can spend long stretches at a time putting them together. When she dumps out a puzzle, she gasps and says, "Oh, no!"

Eloise can say quite a few words, such as Mama, Dada, Greta, water, milk, ball, up, jump, yes, no, book, banana, spoon, cheese, as well as quite a few more.  Her string of words/sounds for "thank you" and "there you go" are interchangeable. It sounds something like "dere go." Eloise says the phrase when she's given something or she gives you something.

She sleeps okay, generally through the night, but may wake up a couple times and cry for a couple minutes. Eloise is increasingly affectionate with us and will give tight hugs and put her cheek against yours for a "kiss." Her favorite foods are egg, cheese, yogurt, bananas, chicken, crackers and anything sweet. She really doesn't want to be in her high chair anymore, and will try to put herself in Fiona's booster seat instead.

At her 18 month check-up, Eloise weighed 25 lbs, 9.5 oz (82nd percentile) and was 32 inches (49th percentile) tall.

Hiding under the coffee table while I vacuum

Eating an apple

Still eating everyone else's food