15 months

i think i start every “month” post the same…where does the time go?! how is eli 15 months old?! it’s crazy and life is crazy, but it’s also SO MUCH FUN.

i miss baby (baybee as eli says). i miss nursing and rocking him to sleep. i miss his milk drunk body after eating. i miss his sweet “new baby” smell. but as much as i miss “baybee” eli, i am amazing at how much i love each new day and phase. i hate being away from him because with a day comes so much change. somehow in the past couple months we have a full-blown toddler. he “toddles” around (and into) everything and it’s both hysterical and adorable. by 8am our house looks like a small tornado has passed through it…cabinets open, bowls strewn, books everywhere, crayons in every crevis, laundry pulled out of drawers, balls flying through the air, food smeared on clothes (and hair). by 5pm this is all multiplied (although i do clean/straighten as we go b/c otherwise it would take 2 hours at the end of the day!) and he is sweaty, smelly and dirty — and usually covered in dirt and sidewalk chalk from head to toe. oh, and usually we have at least one new war wound to show for the day — scrapes, cuts, bruises…they are pretty common around here.

a few highlights…

walking is full force. he now has a few gears and when he wants can kick it into almost a power walk/jog.

he LOVES the dogs (i don’t but he sure does) and they usually love him. we are still having some issues with them — mostly food related aggression, but we are working through that with keeping them out of sight when eli is carrying food around. griff still lingers under the high chair for handouts (and has packed on the freshman 15 due to it), but flanagan has a few residence outside during all meal times as she has no self-control and basically was jumping into eli’s lap to lick him and the plate. sigh. dogs.

sidewalk chalk, balls, football games, books, balloons, swinging and anything that isn’t a toy (remotes, phones, purses, the fridge drawers, clean (or dirty) laundry, pens (learned a hard lesson here — pens and leather ottomans do not go well together) are a few of his favorites. he’s really, really into books right now which is so sweet.

food is still a highlight in eli’s world. i’m hoping he remains a good eater but i’ll take it as long as i can for now. his current favorites are strawberries, mac and cheese (annie’s organic of course), lara bars (new love), almond butter sandwiches/toast/waffles, smoothies, grapes, triscuts with hummus and cheese. he’s had a lot of new things recently and i’m trying to get better about mixing things up. he has to get bored! he’s in the 75th percentile in weight (pretty amazing considering he started in the 25th) so he’s doing pretty darn good!

words — BALL is still his go-to word. he sees a game on tv and says “ball”, sees apples and says “ball”, sees anything round and says “ball”. pk is so proud.

socializing — he’s a party animal. he loves ballgames, playdates, story time at the library, the nursery at the ymca. older kids and babies — he likes them all. he is totally a little politician.

basically, the days are more and more fun with eli. of course, there are some that are a little hairier than others (for instance, he was a bear on wednesday but we all have our “days”! side note: i dressed him in his suspender jeans and a cardigan so he would look like a grumpy old man to fit his grumpy mood!).

on one hand i want to pause time but on the other hand i can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

20130920-205823.jpg

20130920-205850.jpg

20130920-205858.jpg

20130920-205839.jpg

20130920-205912.jpg

20130920-205904.jpg

our lil’ cardinal

last year we packed eli to nearly every home UL football game (all but one that was too late and too cold for him and me!). looking back, it was easy (although it didn’t seem it at the time). all things considered, taking a 4 month old to ballgames is quite easier than taking a 15 month old. 4 month old babies don’t wander, they can sleep anywhere, their food is extremely easy (hello boob), they are content bouncing/rocking/bjorning for hours. a 15 month old…not so much. eli likes to be on the go ALL THE TIME. he gets uber cranky when he doesn’t nap (it’s ugly). he likes to sit for approximately 12 seconds before he needs to be up and at it. he likes to eat a lot. he likes to throw things. he’s a toddler and that’s just what they do (and it’s awesome but makes ballgames interesting!).

that said, he’s still 2 for 2 when it comes to UL football games this year. the first game was quite the disaster (in my book). but last weekend was SO much better. noon games might not be fun for those sans kids/want to tailgate/etc., but they are officially my favorite now. who says you cannot enjoy a beer at 10:30am (9:30CT)…especially if you’ve been up since 6am with a toddler and it’s a game day!

anyway, noon games work much better. eli napped on the way up and was ready to play at the tailgate (where we had aforementioned beer), ate lunch while watching the game (thanks to a prepared mom who loaded a diaper bag FULL of snacks), played with some of our friends, watched the band up close with the biggest eyes he’s ever had (thanks to a pass to the president’s suite), and had a ball (pun intended). he made it the entire game and crashed in the carseat before we could even pull out of our parking spot. it was perfection.

this weekend he will not be attending the UK/UL rival game (mainly b/c we don’t want to buy him a ticket as required at UK and b/c the last time we went to this rival game in Lexington, it was not a place i would want my child). however, he will be wearing his cardinal red all weekend and supporting his team. i know pk is beyond proud that his little “mini me” recognizes the cardinal bird, throws footballs and genuinely loves balls. it makes my heart smile to see the two of them already bonding over this mutual love. so much so that it has made me appreciate and enjoy the sport even more.

go cards!

20130912-220727.jpg

20130912-220736.jpg

20130912-220751.jpg

20130912-220744.jpg

the latest via pics

so much has been going on in our world. we’ve been soaking up the end of summer and starting to partake in fall as well. clearly i’ve slacked on the blogging of recent, so rather than write a novel i am simply posting pictures of what we’ve been up to with a laundry list of our adventures.

* play date to jackson’s orchard (with eli’s fist boy/ girl smooch!). i am so sad miss cherry is moving soon because she and eli have become good buddies.

* trip to the state fair! cows, junk food, ferris wheel, the works. it was so fun to watch eli soak it up like a sponge. and, i am so, so glad the fair is only once a year. two words – people watching.

* another trip to Jackson’s with new friends — and the end of peach season (cue the tears). eli sat in the wagon amongst the peaches saying “ball…ball…ball”. he was so excited to be in a wagon FULL of balls! and, he actually ate a peach whole — no peeling/cubing, he bit right in. my little boy is growing up far too fast.

* pool time and birthday parties – eli has been a hit at the pool with his older girlfriends and is quite the social butterfly with his birthday party schedule these days!

* football! tis the season! we visited aunt lala and uncle jp on saturday then took eli tailgating for the uk/western game on saturday (in a million degrees – hence the reason we didn’t stay long or go to the game). he was a trooper. then, on sunday, we traveled to louisville for the opening UL football game. eli did great. well, “great” might be an overstatment but the overall experience was pretty good. it’s just MUCH different from last year when he was content in the bjorn and/or napping/breastfeeding the entire game. he’s a bit more mobile these days making things a little more challenging. i think eli and i spent a total of 4 minutes in our seats yesterday. maybe 5. the game was smack dab during his nap but there was clearly far too much going on for him to snooze. after 20 minutes of me trying to lull him to sleep in my arms, i finally accepted the fact that 1) pk wasn’t going to be willing to leave during the first quarter, 2) eli wasn’t going to nap and 3) we were going to have to make the best of it. we lucked out and found a gaggle of 7-8 year old boys who LOVED eli. they had a ball (literally and figuratively) and played with him for over an hour in the club section (side note: we would NOT be going to games if we weren’t in that section!). my fingers are crossed they are at EVERY game this year. i might seriously offer to buy these boys snacks if they will play with eli during the games (of course i was standing there the whole time watching but it was nice to have him entertained!). we finally left at the end of the 3rd quarter and he was asleep in the car before we could even pull out of the parking lot. tired boy.

* today, for the final day of the summer season, we went to the pool to soak up the last bit of sun. and tonight, after our full weekend (and few weeks), i couldn’t help but rock him to sleep and hold him for nearly an hour while he snoozed on me. my little boy, our little boy, is growing up so fast. my to-do list seems to grow every day because i just can’t help but absorb my time with eli. he’s just so amazing. i know “mommy time” is much-needed and necessary (and i enjoy it) but i would be lying if i said that i have a hard time leaving EVERY SINGLE TIME i walk out the door. whether it’s for one hour or twelve, i hate being away from him.

well, my short recap has now turned into a small novel, so i’ll end on a high note with pictures of our little stud.

20130902-210550.jpg

20130902-210632.jpg

20130902-210603.jpg

20130902-210647.jpg

20130902-210626.jpg

20130902-210639.jpg

20130902-210615.jpg

20130902-210655.jpg

20130902-210702.jpg

20130902-210708.jpg

20130902-210732.jpg

20130902-210726.jpg

20130902-210715.jpg

20130902-210747.jpg

creating fun

sometimes the early morning wakeup call (6am is still eli’s approximate morning routine) and minimal naps (sometimes we get great morning and afternoon naps, other days not so much) can make for long days. don’t get me wrong, they are still great days, but they can be long. when you look at the clock and it’s 9:40 and you are ready for a nap and lunch, you know it’s going to be a long one. we’ve had some amazing weather this summer (think: mild and not the typical crazy humidity), but there have also been quite a few days that the mere fear of rain (or downpours) have forced us indoors for longer periods.

enter creating fun.

we always have the go to’s such as balls, books, the pantry (he still loves the damn straws), sidewalk chalk (outdoors only — at least we try considering our kitchen appliances and floor were covered in yellow chalk last week). a couple weeks ago, we incorporated crayons into eli’s life and he LOVES them. my little artist loves to draw. unfortunately, in less than two weeks we have gone through 4 boxes of crayons. griff and flanangan (otherwise known as “FFF” in eli’s language) have eaten 4 packs. FOUR. seriously…these dogs are killing me. killing me. side note, do NOT buy walgreens generic crayons. not good.

anyway, last week, i put eli in a box (ahem, thanks nordstrom) and put the crayons in there with him. who knew that would provide days of entertainment! and, balloons…well, they are just brilliant. floating balls, yes please. pk’s 40th birthday was last week so we had balloons (and cake) for days. eli was on cloud nine.

another source of entertainment…corn on the cob. the first couple times he merely pawed it. but now, he can efficiently clean every kernel off the cob in record time.

i am so sad to see summer coming to a close as it has been just perfect. pool time, summer dinners, play dates, travels, sidewalk chalk, lots of swinging, finger painting the sidewalks, post-dinner wagon strolls, fresh peaches and corn…the list goes on. i am excited to see what fall brings (hikes, leaves, apple picking, etc.) but i am trying to savor these last few weeks.

cheers to the end of the best summer. ever.

20130819-120720.jpg

20130819-120738.jpg

20130819-120746.jpg

20130819-120752.jpg

20130819-120758.jpg

20130819-120730.jpg

20130819-120806.jpg

20130819-120818.jpg

20130819-120826.jpg

20130819-120812.jpg

and we’re off

It is official…we have a walker! well, he isn’t walking like a pro, but yesterday on his 14 month birthday, he took steps alone. multiple times! i have a feeling maybe he did it for my parents over the weekend, but my mom would never tell me…and i appreciate that! when i picked him up bright and early yesterday morning (i was dying to see him and couldn’t sleep one more wink on an air mattress so got up at 6:45am after a late night!), he staggered around and then let go of the death grip on my hand and took five steps before deciding he wanted to crawl. after all, crawling is faster! so, we practiced all afternoon — we walked outside in the yard, inside, at the pool, in the baby pool, etc. and, the awesome news…he slept “like a baby” last night. i hate that saying because my baby never slept…but last night was great and he slept until 6:45 this morning! that’s a full hour later than normal! i will take it!

after not being away from Eli for quite a while, the weekend was a nice break with friends, laughs, drinks and dance parties. but come sunday morning, all i could think about was my little man! celebrating his 14th month with walking was pretty awesome.

20130812-092002.jpg

20130812-092010.jpg

20130812-091953.jpg

20130812-092017.jpg

20130812-092032.jpg

20130812-091945.jpg

20130812-092025.jpg

highlights at 14 months

i remember day when the highlight was a sushi dinner out with friends, finishing a big project at work, hitting a fantastic sale. days when i would actually complete everything on my to-do list (and more!). days when i would make it to the gym, cook dinner, clean the house, walk the dogs, take a shower…the list goes on.

days have changed a lot. in a great way. of course, i still love ALL of the above, but the highlights of my days have changed.

my highlights now are on a smaller, yet MUCH larger scale.

this week/month highlights…

* loving crayons. eli always seems to locate stray pens and notepads and totes them around (perhaps we have a “to-do” lister in the making), and love, love, loves his sidewalk chalk. i noticed last week he’s been holding them correctly. so, i decided it was most certainly time for crayons and paper. huge hit. HUGE. he gets so into coloring and it’s simply precious.

* tried his first sample of “licking the cookie dough spoon” tonight. technically it was only almond butter as the dough has eggs (my three ingredient, go-to, pretty “healthy” cookies), but he loved it. of course, he tried to share with the dog at which point it got taken away and replaced with a new spoon), but it was a hit.

* SO, SO close to walking. i just know it’s going to happen this weekend since i’m going to be out of town. and honestly, i will be happy (and sad) if it does. i’m ready for this boy to walk!

* a new favorite hobby is not just riding in the wagon, but pushing it in circles. over and over and over and over again. it makes me dizzy but he gets a major kick out of it.

* play dates with girls. eli is a hit with the ladies of all ages. at the pool the “older” girls flock to him and nearly fight over who gets to hold him, take him swimming, etc. it’s pretty awesome to have some help at the pool and i am going to miss that dearly this winter! he also loves the ladies his own age and has been loving playdates with his buddy cherry (and i’ve loved getting to know a new friend!). playdates are great way to meet new people and i’m just sad our newest playdate and her mom are moving soon.

* separation anxiety has made a little bit of an appearance. i think this is due to vacation where he was by my side 24/7 for a solid week. i don’t even think i showered alone that week…he was with me a lot to say the least (and it was great). but it made leaving for work monday afternoon REALLY hard. he cried. i cried.

* food – still going good. he’s an eater for sure, but his palette is getting a little more picky. brocoli and green beans are not high on his list anymore. right now, he’s loving smoothies (and yes, i add in some spinach!), fresh peaches and watermelon, almond butter, quinoa (it’s back…tonight he plowed through it), pretzel sticks, cheese sticks, annie’s mac & cheese (which i hide veggies in) and avocado. he’s not loving veggie burgers (he loved them for a while and last night he hid them in his high chair!), green veggies and fish.

*other favorites – music (still). the boy LOVES to dance and wiggle. flap books. balls (all balls — including fruit that looks like a ball), straws (huge entertainment), the dogs, playing “i’m gonna get you” chase, pictures (he loves looking at pictures of family/friends/himself)

*words – mama, ball, ffff (this is usually for the dogs since we have “f”lanagan and grif”f”

* points to – his belly, toes, mouth and head; birds; dogs; balls; trees; drink. sometimes he can point to his ears, knees and eyes but it depends on his mood!)

20130808-214431.jpg

20130808-214445.jpg

20130808-214437.jpg

20130808-214454.jpg

20130808-214514.jpg

20130808-214501.jpg

family vacation

this week has been amazing. there aren’t enough adjectives to describe what a wonderful family vacation this has been — from the beach to the mountains.

on a whim a month ago, we decided to travel to asheville for pk’s 40th birthday which is around the corner. we NEEDED a getaway. his mom/stepdad and sister/brother-in-law joined as well so we could make it a big family weekend to celebrate all the birthdays (Andy’s, Cheryl’s and pk’s) while visiting a really cool town and see Andy, Amanda and Turner (AAT). more on that trip in a bit.

on even more of a whim, we tacked on a few days at the beach beforehand; isle of palms since it is the closest beach to Asheville. it’s been too long since we’ve been to the ocean and eli had never really been (outside of the wedding in key west last fall but he was 4 months old and it was cool so he didn’t get to experience the beach). so, we booked a reservation at wild dunes (thanks Ty!) and packed our bags. the road trip was long, but as usual eli rocked it. he is so good (and our dual DVD players in the car didn’t even work – fail on our part!). we had two full days at the beach and enjoyed every single moment. family walks, ocean & beach play, pool-time, naps and yummy seafood – we had a blast relaxing as a family. just the three of us with no worries or plans (i know that’s hard to believe for me!). it was perfection. we didn’t even go into charleston as there was just too much relaxing and enjoying to do at isle of palms. despite some gloomy weather on one afternoon and the short duration, the two day beach visit was perfection. we have a stroller full of sand and seashells (Eli loved both) to remind us of our first ever beach trip with the little man, but the laughs and smile on his face when the waves rolled into him are what will forever be etched in my mind as one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

friday morning we packed up (basically we brought our entire house) and headed to Asheville. first stop, unloaded at the hotel and then re-loaded up and went to AAT’s house for family night of play, wine, homemade (amazing) pizza (by homemade i mean Amanda made the dough and the sauce from tomatoes they grew – it was insanely good), cake and more wine. at one point after dinner i was sitting in the living room giving Eli a bottle (yes he still gets an a.m. and p.m. bottle — working on that soon) in hopes to get him to wind down. i just sat and watched and listened with pure love and joy as pk and his brother, sister, mom and significant others relived memories, laughed and genuinely enjoyed each other. it tugged at my heart (and my ovaries) to see such a beautiful family bond. three states and three generations — and in an instant they are in one room and back to their family unit. the shine in Cheryl’s (cici’s) eyes was enough to make the trip 1000% worth it. i don’t think she could have dreamed of a better birthday day gift (and i don’t think Pk could either). you can’t buy this sort of memory and happiness.

saturday we swam at the hotel pool, played at the splash fountain (brilliant) and then lunched at a great little local taco place (right up Eli’s alley — give him a cheese quesadilla and he’s a happy boy), then wandered downtown asheville for several hours (secretly hoping Eli would be strolled to sleep but there was far too much stimulation). alas he did take a late nap (thank goodness for the fellow diners at dinner!) and we had the most amazing birthday dinner celebration at chestnut. festive libations, local and indulgent dinner and dessert, followed by family photos on the lawn/park (more on that below). this morning we loaded up (after a fitful night of sleep — pretty sure Eli is ready for HIS bed!), had a great breakfast at a local spot (love the local/natural options in Asheville and isle of palms!) and hit the road. we wrapped up the trip with a stop in Corbin to visit my nana (and gave Eli some play time to break up the trip). he loved seeing gram, poppy, nana and uncle randy – what a treat to see so much family in one weekend!

tomorrow we will get back into the routine of life — which is good and bad. i have thoroughly enjoyed a week of literally no plans. While my OCD personality is ready for a little more structure and to focus on some things I have lingering, it was a much needed vacation from life.

to wrap up this lengthy post, i must share my favorite moment of the week (aside from Eli experiencing the beach for the first time). yesterday we sat on the stairs in downtown Asheville overlooking the fountain and took the same picture we took 2 years ago (in October). only this time instead of Eli being in my belly (which we didn’t know at the time!!!!), he was snuggled up in our arms. priceless.

20130804-195137.jpg

20130804-195202.jpg

20130804-195153.jpg

20130804-195226.jpg

20130804-195216.jpg

20130804-195237.jpg

20130804-195322.jpg

20130804-195331.jpg

20130804-195303.jpg

20130804-195250.jpg

20130804-195358.jpg

20130804-195351.jpg

20130804-195405.jpg

20130804-195342.jpg

20130804-195421.jpg

20130804-195431.jpg

20130804-195411.jpg

20130804-195442.jpg

20130804-195451.jpg

20130805-201958.jpg

this day

no words. just a great day with my sidekick. dinner plans had to be cancelled (pk stuck at work) and pool never happened…but it has been one of the best days with the two of us. sometimes no plans are great plans with awesome memories.

20130726-163245.jpg

20130726-163251.jpg

20130726-163255.jpg

20130726-163315.jpg

20130726-163301.jpg

eli’s 1 year pictures

drum roll (a month+ late)…

a friend of mine is a super talented photographer (Ellington Photographs) and graciously drove down to glasgow a couple months ago and snapped some pretty amazing pictures of our precious boy. i am so in love with these pictures as they capture eli and his genuine love for life. if you need pictures taken of your family, i cannot recommend emie enough — she managed to juggle our 1-year-old boy, two dogs, outfit changes, bath, change of venue, soggy grass (read: utter chaos) all in under 1.5 hours and without breaking a sweat. that’s impressive. thanks, emie for capturing our little man on the cusp of his first birthday.

here is a link to all the pictures and some of our favorites below.

Klapheke-3

Klapheke-4

Klapheke-7

Klapheke-8

Klapheke-12

Klapheke-13

Klapheke-17

Klapheke-23

Klapheke-26

Klapheke-28

Klapheke-31

Klapheke-46

Klapheke-48

Klapheke-53Klapheke-22

summer lovin’

the summer is flying by. a year ago i was sitting on our porch eating fresh peaches from jackson’s orchard while nursing eli. this year, eli is eating peaches with me (and watermelon, fresh corn, blueberries…the list goes on). my how time flies. that said, this summer seems to have slipped between our fingers before we even realized it was here. but we’ve managed to have some amazing memories nonetheless. some of my favorite include watching eli sample all of my favorite summer foods — popsicle, watermelon, corn on the cob — he loves it all. he also is in love with the pool (as am i since all the “big kids” at the pool think eli is the coolest kid ever and “babysit” him the whole time we are there!), loves his sidewalk chalk and bubbles and loves his wagon rides so he can point at the sky, birds, cars, etc all while telling me all about them. i really can’t get enough of him.

this week his mind seems to be even more of a sponge than ever before (guess it’s really time to start watching our language!). he can point at his belly, ears, toes, eyes, birds, trees, griff (“fff”). he can play his toy flute in the tub now (that was the coolest to watch him suddenly learn how to make it work!). he can efficiently drink out of a tervis tumbler. and, his newest word is “abby” (his new cousin!). when we ask him who he wants to meet, he says “Aaabbyy”. it’s simply adorable and awesome. my phone storage just isn’t capable of handling the sheer amount of pictures and videos i seems to capture in a day.

that said…here are a few from the recent weeks. here’s to an awesome summer of watermelon juice, play dates, pool time, grilling out, grandparent visits, and new/old friends.oh and we squeezed in a music festival with friends (while Eli crashed at gram and poppy’s) which was awesome!

20130722-215607.jpg

20130722-215617.jpg

20130722-215656.jpg

20130722-215645.jpg

20130722-215632.jpg

20130722-215626.jpg

20130722-215909.jpg

20130722-220031.jpg

20130722-220043.jpg