Friday, November 6, 2009

What Elliott's Reading Now

Elliott's latest reads: The Christ Commission by Og Mandina and The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. Yep, that's right, my kid is a genius!

Elliott, like many other toddlers, finds it very entertaining to empty our bookshelves. What I find interesting is that almost daily he chooses the same two books and sits down and ''reads" them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh, how things have changed!

Yesterday, I had a profound realization about how much my life has changed since Elliott came into our lives.

I was enjoying my lunch at work: rice cakes dipped in jalapeno-artichoke dip and chicken nuggets. Maybe that doesn't sound so strange to you.

Well, the jalapeno-artichoke dip was in a sippy cup because I didn't have any other tupperware clean and the chicken nuggets were the shape of Mickey Mouse's head.

I think Jason and I need to go out for a grown-up dinner this weekend. We need a dinner without sippy cups, string cheese, fishy crackers and certainly with Mickey Mouse in the form of food. Maybe sushi. That seems awfully grown-up!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Elliott has discovered dip. He loves to dip fries into ketchup, chips into salsa and cheese tortillas into sour cream.

But here is what else he likes to dip into sour cream:

I can handle the goldfish crackers dipped in sour cream, but it is the banana bread that makes my stomach turn. After he licked off all of the butter, he started dipping it into the sour cream.

Obviously his taste buds are still developing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First Prayer

Elliott is absolutely obsessed with trucks. He spends most of his time playing with and talking about trucks. Big trucks, red trucks, meat trucks, trucks, trucks, trucks. My dad even took him to Hoglands Trucking and let him sit in a real truck and play. My dad made him a mini-photo album of the experience that Elliott carries around with him.

So we shouldn't have been surprised this morning when Elliott woke up and exclaimed, "Big trucks, Amen!"

Thank God for trucks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

He's a Hope!

Elliott is definitely belongs in the Hope family!

I made him a plate of french fries and started munching some fries from the cookie sheet. He kept whining and fussing and I thought he wanted the fries off the cookies sheet which were still too hot for him. I kept trying to convince him that the fries on his plate were the same but he would just not let up. Finally I figured out he wanted the ketchup! This was his first experience with ketchup and he LOVED it (as with many other Hopes).

Of course, he didn't actually eat many fries. He mostly just sucked the ketchup off of them. At the end, he gave up on the fries all together and just started eating ketchup. That's my boy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Photo Highlights From Our Trip to Arizona

Our friends, Jay and Cathy, kindly hosted us in Phoenix, Arizona (actually, Gilbert or Mesa). They have three girls, Brittany, Lily and Brianna who loved to entertain Elliott! We had a wonderful, relaxing visit.

Brittany (10) is taking Jason for a spin on the jet ski. She actually frightened him at first because she took off so quickly!

Elliott is hanging out with Brianna (5) and Lily (6). He loved playing with them!

Elliott warmed up to their dog, Coco. By the last day of our visit, Elliott was giving the dog kisses and snuggling with him. And he also discovered the dog's water bowls and played in them every chance he got!

Brave Elliott is floating in the lake.

Our trip wouldn't be complete without an adventure. We got a flat tire while at the lake. We were at a man-made lake in the middle of a very desert-like area quite a ways from the city and towing two jet skis and carrying 8 people in the van on a doughnut spare. We said a little prayer, Jay (Cathy's husband) drove carefully and we made it safely back to Mesa.

Elliott really hit it off with Brittany. He followed her everywhere and was fascinated by the ceiling fan in her room (and less interested in the several other fans throughout the house). Several times a day, he walked into her room and pointed at the fan with new enthusiasm and said something like 'see!' He never got tired of this, although we did!

He loved 'driving' the car in this video game. We didn't even put quarters in but he didn't know the difference. I wonder how long we can get away with that.

He got up early in the mornings before the girls (and couldn't wait to wake them up!). So we took him outside in the toasty 80 degree weather at 7:00 am so he could plow their backyard. He went back and forth endlessly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Flying with a Toddler

We survived the airplane rides with Elliott, but barely. It was terrible. Really, I cannot exaggerate how horrible it was. I am so sorry if you have an upcoming flight with a toddler (and we have another one in December to North Carolina that I am terrified of). If you happen to be flying with a toddlers soon, here are some tips:

  • Be prepared that your kid may make everyone on the entire plane miserable with sounds and smells. Get over it because it is a real possibility.
Prior to take off, a passenger actually walked to the back of the plane (near where we were sitting) and asked to be reseated because she was sitting by a kid and parent. Well, the flight attendant noticed some seats around us but of course the passenger didn't want to sit near us either. It is like we had cooties. So my advice is just get over it. You will be treated like you have lice, cooties, swine flu. And actually we pretty much deserved that treatment from Elliott's behavior on the flight.

  • The advice everyone gives you is to make sure they are sucking (on a bottle, sippy cup, thumb, pacifier, whatever) on take off and landing to help them pop their ears and relieve pressure and pain.
I also gave Tylenol which some people suggest (apparently my bottle of Tylenol was defective and I'm considering taking it back to Target for a refund). Take off wasn't to uncomfortable, but landing was brutal. And here is what I learned: it is not the actual landing where the plan in touching the ground that is uncomfortable. It is the ENTIRE 30 minutes prior to that when the plane is slowly decending. That is when the screaming and thrashing started. And if anyone can give me advice about how to convince a hysterical toddler to suck on something, please let me know prior to our December flight.

  • A well rested toddler might be better than an overtired toddler.
We had kept Elliott up except for a short afternoon nap and hoped it might crash on the flight home because it was his normal bedtime. Instead we had an overtired, oversensitive, distractable, and MANIC toddler for the first two hours of our flight. And by manic, I mean LOUD. He was talking and singing in a very manic way. I actually wondered if my defective Tylenol had methamphetamines or speed in it. It was that bad.

  • Find the airplane restroom with the changing tray if you need to change a diaper.
YES there is one that was pointed out to me AFTER I had already changed his diaper with him while sitting on the toilet.

  • You can buy organic milk in a kid-sized carton that doesn't need to be refrigerated in the health food sections of most grocery stores.
It comes with a handy straw... which apparently is not long enough for the carton and even though we had an extra one, it CAN be pushed down into the carton fairly easily by an exploring toddler or the milk carton can be squeezed sending milk all over the airplane seats. So bring a sippy cup to put the milk in.

  • Obviously, bring lots of entertainment.
Especially all the things that are normally not allowed like cell phones, car keys and of course the bulb thing that sucks boogers out of noses.

  • Benadryl.
We didn't do this on this flight, but were considering it for our next flight in December. We'll either give some to Elliott or all the other passengers. We haven't decided yet.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Those People

I am horrifed. We were THOSE PEOPLE.

We are currently in Arizona enjoying a relaxing long weekend with friends. We left Thursday morning on a early flight that we almost missed. I grossly underestimated the time we'd need to get through the airport and as always, everything takes longer with Elliott.

We got to the airport at 6:30 am for a 7:20 am flight. I didn't even realize we were running late until the lady at baggage check told us we needed to hurry and gave us a special ticket to get us through security quickly.

We rushed over to the security line and gave the ticket to the first TSA agent that we saw who promply did.... nothing. He had no idea what the ticket meant and looked at us suspiciously and told us to get in the family line.

We waited in line to get through security and I nearly had a break down. I acutally started crying a little. By now it was 7:00 am and our flight boarded at 6:50 am. I was freaking out. We made it through (took off our shoes and all) and Jason was "randomly" choosen to be inspected. He seems to always be choosen. But finally we were through and off to Gate D5.

We were running and I felt like that family in the airport scene of Home Alone. We made it to the gate and it was shut. Panic. They must have just shut it (not "sealed") because they opened it and let us in.

So there we were. THOSE PEOPLE who walk onto the airplane late when everyone is seated, all bags are stowed and they are ready for take off. With everyone glaring at us we made it to our seats, only to find the flight attendants had moved someone to our seats because they thought we weren't coming. So there was this big scence of moving the people out of our seats and us searching for a spot in the overhead bins for our luggage (there wasn't any space left so we crammed all the bags under our seats).

Finally we were seated and we sat for a LONG time. I started to wonder what was taking so long and then it hit me: we were waiting for our luggage to be loaded on the plane. I was horrified.

Finally, we took off and Elliott settled in for a peaceful sleep on my lap. I thought our adventure was over. We even commented how good Elliott was (sleeping of course) and how this wasn't so bad after all.

But it was. I'll fill you in later on our actual plane ride. I have to go relax some more on our vacation first!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Elliott's Motorcycle

Elliott loves motorcycles and makes an adorable motorcycle sound every time he sees one.

And he saw one today. Well... sort of. It was actually a tricycle but that was close enough for him.

Jason proudly put it together during his nap today. It was a very special gift from Elliott's Grandma Julene.

The moment Elliott saw the tricycle/motorycycle in the back of our van, he was giddy with excitement.

Here he is enjoying his tricycle (nevermind that his little legs can't actually reach the pedals OR the ground). Jason had a blast pushing him around McCullum Park this afternoon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Star Wars Espisode 7

Much to Jason's delight, Elliott has finally shown interest in Jason's lightsaber. Jason tried to introduce it several months ago but it scared Elliott quite a bit.

But things have changed and our boy is officially practicing for his part in the next Star Wars movie (and he has competition from a very talented 7 year old neighbor).

And in case you're not sure what the following picture is about, Elliott is hugging the lightsaber.

Oh, little boys are so much fun!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Elliott has become quite the explorer. He holds our hands and walks around everywhere. He especially loves to go outside and go up and down the curbs, in and out of bushes & grasses. Every sewage drain, plant, and car is exciting to him.

We've encountered ant holes, sticker-bushes, and even a spider together. I can handle and even enjoy these adventures.

But I am terrified of snakes. And I have come to the realization that if I continue walking through tall grass, bushes, trees and dirt every single day, that eventually, I will run into a snake.

Just thinking about it makes me quiver, but I'm sure Elliott will be absolutely fascinated.

I'm sure I will post the traumatic day that it happens, whether it is next month or next year. It is inevitable. A snake is in my future.

Friday, May 29, 2009

I'm Not Superwoman

If I was, I would've remembered the meatloaf in the oven.

This afternoon, I was looking for a specific glass pyrex baking dish to soak rice noodles. And I finally found it.

In the oven.

Still holding Tuesdays (yes, that is 4 whole days ago) meatloaf. After dishing up generous portions for Jason and I, I put the leftovers back in the oven to keep warm in case Jason wanted seconds. While cleaning up the kitchen, I had intended to put the leftovers in the fridge for lunches (as usual). Apparently this never happened.

How on earth could I forget the meatloaf for FOUR whole days?


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Boys and the Beach

Yesterday, I went to Kristi's for some much needed Elliott-free sewing time. Jason planned to hang out with Elliott for most of the day. I assumed the boys would be hanging out at home as usual, chasing each other around the house, making a mess of all of Elliott's toys and perhaps going on a walk around the neighborhood.

Jason had other plans. I received a textpicture from him in the early afternoon of Elliott hitting a piece of driftwood with a stick.

Jason took Elliott to Picnic Point Beach. They played in the sand, waded in the water (in his nice clean, new shoes), and climbed over driftwood.

I have such a boy. Make that two boys. Boys who like to go on adventures and get dirty.

They arrived home a while later flushed from their adventure and they had this joyous energy about them. And of course sand. Lots and lots of sand everywhere. By the end of their time at the beach, Elliott was left in only a diaper (dirty of course) and a t-shirt.

(Oh and those of you anxiously awaiting the results of our poop test last week: that exact test wasn't so successful, but after a few other trials, I was persuaded to buy a set of cloth diapers.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Let the Poop Begin!

We are in the process of trying cloth diapers. Right now Elliott is in his room pooping and I'm waiting for the results!

You might be wondering how I know he is pooping.
Well, every morning I nurse him and then he plays for about 1/2 hour in his room.
When I come back to get him, almost without fail, he has pooped.
Usually I rest, read or shower during this time, BUT
today I am so eager to see the results that I can't relax!

Before Elliott was born, I also considered using cloth. But that idea was quickly dismissed because my thoughts were "Yuck" and "How would I ever have time for all that laundry?"

Now, I'm thinking. . . "I could save A LOT of money" and "I feel horrible throwing away bags and bags of used disposable diapers that will sit for thousands of years."

So this weekend, with another brave, like-minded friend, I ventured to UVillage on a mission to but a single cloth diaper each. We had success! Emily bought the very popular Bum Genius brand at one store, and I bought Fuzzi Bunz at another.

These are FANCY diapers! I will post a picture later. (poop free, of course)
(and the diaper looks awfully cute on Elliott).

Yesterday's trail was positive. He wore the diaper for about 3 hours and when I felt the fleece that touched his skin, it felt slightly damp but not as wet as I expected. The liner inside (not touching him) was appropriately soaked.

So I washed the diaper last night (easier than I expected), and that brings us to the poop test.
Stay tuned for the results!

Friday, April 24, 2009

How much does pure joy cost?

Exactly $2.83.

A couple days ago, I bought Elliott a big bouncy ball for a whole $2.83. I knew he'd enjoy it because he has played with a similar ball at a buddy's house, but I had no idea how incredibly thrilled he would be to have his very own ball!

In the above picture he is kissing the ball. He kissed that ball about 100 times in 20 minutes while chasing it around the house. Although Elliott is big on snuggling, he is pretty random about kisses. I get about 1 kiss a week from the kid. That ball got more kisses that I have in months. I'm so jealous!

Monday, April 13, 2009


I have a confession to make.

We bought 2 loaves of bread in the last couple weeks. (this is not my confession, it is just the back story to get you caught up). We usually do not buy bread since Jason doesn't eat wheat, but we started buying it for Elliott. You see, Elliott is a little guy. At his doctor's recommendation, we are feeding him high calorie foods to fatten him up a bit. So I bought some bread so I could make him toast slathered with butter.


(this is the confession part)

I have used nearly the whole two loaves to make myself grilled cheese sandwiches.

If you're counting, that's a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. But I simply cannot resist the buttery grilled bread with oozing Tillamook cheddar cheese. So most days for lunch, I have a delicious grilled cheese sandwich while Elliott nibbles on his broccoli (with calorie high olive oil) and bits of seasoned chicken.

Elliott isn't too thrilled with buttered toast so he isn't eating up the bread fast enough. So really, I'm just using my resources wisely and not being wasteful, right?

Or maybe I should start making grilled cheese sandwiches for Elliott too.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Highlight of Every Week

This past Thursday morning, Elliott experienced his favorite part of the week. Actually, it is not only Elliott's highlight, but one of my favorite times also. We both eagerly anticipate every Thursday morning.

You must be wondering, what happens on Thursday mornings?

The answer:

The garbage truck.

Yes, the garbage truck faithfully visits every Thursday morning (except during all that snow we had this year). And with complete fascination, Elliott watches the truck go up and down the street with his undivided attention. I used to hold him next to the window until that got old (for me, not for him). I realized that if I put him in his highchair to watch the truck, I had quite the opportunity to get things done while the truck provided a good 15 minutes of entertainment.

Here he is watching the truck as it goes all the way down the street:

And here is the reason why I look forward to Thursday mornings. I always know that I will have time to get my kitchen clean on Thursday mornings (without a little helper in the dishwasher).

So if you happen to visit me on a Thursday morning and you're impressed with my tidy household (quite the feat with a toddler), now you know my secret to a clean kitchen.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

An Unimpressive Birthday

Elliott is over 13 months old so I thought it was about time to write about his 1 year old birthday. I could come up with lots of excuses about why this post is so delayed (we've been working overtime, we've been sick, etc) but the real reason is that I just didn't have much to say about his birthday.

But being a major event in one's life, I thought I'd ought to write something.

But really Elliott's expression says it all:
Elliott was rather unimpressed with his own birthday. Nevermind the gluten free cake I baked (he has since shown he has no allergies! Thank God!), or the festive sports themed party decor or the nice, clean house I worked to make presentable to all his guests.


Throughout the party, he seriously surveyed the busy living room and didn't crack a smile. Not a single smile. Here's is a sampling of his obligatory participation of birthday events:

Even though Elliott wasn't thrilled with his birthday party, Jason and I enjoyed it. We delighted in an afternoon to spend chatting with family, some of who drove quite a long distance for the celebration. Family, thank you for celebrating with us!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Adventures with Blood

I fear this is only my first post of many about blood.

Check out this sequence of pictures for a hint of Elliott's exploring nature:

Here is his sweet smile to me after pulling this infant bouncy seat next to the window.

And here he is in action. He was bouncing all over the place while he climbed up but it didn't slow him down at all.

And within seconds he was standing on the bouncy seat with his feet not touching solid ground at all. He was quite delighted with his accomplishment.

This adventure ended without incident. However, a few days ago, we had an incident.

There was blood. Lots of blood.

He was standing holding onto a metal futon style chair. I was sitting right next to him just in case. Well, my just-in-case position wasn't good enough. Jason walked in and Elliott flung himself in pure excitement and hit his chin on the metal chair. At least that's what we think he hit. All we saw was mouthfuls of blood pouring out. He was screaming and we couldn't see what was bleeding (a tooth? split gum? tongue?) so we jumped into our van to head to the walk in clinic.

The bleeding stopped along the way but we thought it would be wise to get him checked out anyway. We discovered he bit his tongue pretty hard. With the help of hydrogen peroxide, Tylenol and time, he has healed up very nicely. No stitches at all.

Lessons learned from this first adventure with blood:

1. Babies are unpredictable (you would've thought I would've learned this one already)

2. Metal chairs are hard.

3. Soak your clothes in cold water to remove blood stains.

4. Even if the bleeding has stopped, walk into the clinic or hospital holding the blood-soaked towel. This will help you get into triage right away.

Hopefully we won't have many more adventures with blood. But as my sister-in-law reminded me, we did name him Elliott Ray with the initials "ER". Oh well.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We stole a van

It's true. We stole a van yesterday. And I feel a little tiny bit bad about it, but not too much. I really love the van. Here I am in it:

Let me explain.

We have been in the market to buy a used van to accommodate the stuff we have to cart around with Elliott. During the last month, my sweet husband has spent countless hours scanning the used auto ads on craigslist. I have to admit that it crossed my mind a few times that he was just wasting time. But that is just not so.

His hard work and diligence paid off. Big time.

Yesterday, he noticed a 1996 Honda Odyssey with only 88,000 miles for $4300 go up on Craigslist. It is the top of the line model with all the bells & whistles and the guy was selling because Microsoft was transferring him overseas. The seller wanted to get rid of it quickly because he was leaving at the end of this week, and he knew he had priced it low. The ad showed us the Kelly Blue Book value at $5500 so this was quite a deal.

Jason got that gut feeling that this was "the one" that we had been waiting for. So he called around noon (within one hour of the original posting) and found out that someone else had already called and was planning on looking at the van at 2:00 pm.

So we jumped in our car and hurried to beat the other guy there.
First come, first serve, right?

We arrived at 1:10 and I knew immediately that we'd be buying it. It was in excellent condition and it is the smaller model (seats 6) so I found it easier to drive than the full sized mini vans. I hurried on the test drive because, after all, we had to close the deal before the other guy arrived. At 1:30 pm, after the test drive, we offered the asking price and the van was OURS!

The seller called the other guy and said that the van had already been sold. And then I felt a little bad, but like I said before, not that bad. Jason rationalized that it was probably a dealership anyway who noticed how underpriced the vehicle was and planned to resell it at a higher price.

So yes, we stole a van from someone else. You just gotta be quick to get the deals on Craigslist.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Baby is Back and Ready for Swimming

Our cheerful, active baby is back.

How do we know?

Well, last night he said dog, quacked and roared all in the space of a few minutes. (Notice an animal theme going on here?)

And, boy, are we relieved!

After a week of fevers and rashes, we are thrilled that Elliott is ready to take on the world again.

That's a good thing because he starts swimming lessons next week. Yep, big boy swimming lessons. (the class is really called "Tiny Tots" but I'm telling Elliott he is a Big Boy!)

He is already practicing his swimming skills. He is becoming more and more active in the bath tub and our bath tub is rather slick. Being the good parents we are, we bought a non-slip pad that is supposed to suction to the bottom of the tub to prevent slipping except that our tub has an odd finish on it that the little suction cups won't stick to. So the pad floats and creates a rather dangerous obstacle for a baby. Without the pad, all Elliott has to brace himself on is the slightly rough finish on the bottom of our tub. This strange, lightly bumpy finish looks like it is supposed to resemble a non-slip surface but it is completely ineffective for an exploring little boy.

During the last two days, Elliott has slipped a couple of times and his little face went into the water (we right there, even holding onto him, but he just slips around). Both times, he came up sputtering but okay. So I'm off to Fred Meyer to further baby-proof our tub for our adventurous guy. If anyone knows what works on that fake-non-slip tub surface, please let me know!

Stay tuned for details of swimming lessons!

Friday, January 30, 2009

On Our Way to Toddlerhood

It's official.

My baby is 11 months old. And that brings me to this blog.

A brand-new blog.

A chance to savor my baby before he isn't a baby anymore. I know he'll always be my baby no matter how old he is, but really, he is not going to let me treat him like a baby for very much longer. He is getting more and more independent everyday. He crawls everywhere, pulls to and standing all the time. He is talking a little, well, actually he roars and quacks on occasion. He prefers to eat solid chunks of food and recently he has started asserting his opinion very strongly!

Here he is:

See, he already knows to smile and pose for the camera. Babies don't know to do that, toddlers do!

Why start a blog now, you may ask? I know many families who start this when their babies are much younger.

Well, there are two reasons.

Reason #1:
He is turning 1 soon. And that seems so official. In the past I could fudge about his age. When people would ask me how old he was, I could say, "10 months" even though he was really 10 months old plus 30 days old, but not yet officially 11 months old.

Sneaky, I know. But they really do grow up fast and I was trying to slow it down.

So reason #1 is that I can't lie about his age anymore. 1 is 1. There is no way around it.

Reason #2:
I am bored out of my mind. Elliott has been sick all week and thus, I have been home everyday except Tuesday when Jason was able to take a day off work.

Normally, I don't mind being at home. Actually, I am really looking forward to being a stay-at-home-mom except for that stay-at-home part.

I really want to be a go-out-and-about-mom.

When Elliott is feeling well, we go to the baby story time at the library, visit his baby friend Jack, or go on outings with great-gramma.

But with him being sick all week, I've been trapped here. He has had a high fever which broke after 3 days and then turned into a mildly contagious rash (Roseola). Poor little baby. (Yes, he is still a baby for 29 more days. Or 3o more days depending on which day we decide is his birthday this year. As leap day baby, he won't actually celebrate February 29 until his 4th birthday).

So while his little body has been healing and sleeping a lot, I've been doing things around the house.

made a grocery list and menu for a month
done laundry
written emails to friends I haven't seen in a while
watched TV through our computer (we don't have a real TV)

And that brings me here to this blog.
I am out of ways to entertain myself with a sleepy baby who must stay-at-home today.

Now hopefully, I'll be able to keep this up for all those of you who are oh so interested in the daily happenings of our lives.

We'll see......