Monday, August 29, 2011

Mom thoughts

I can not stop thinking about a conversation, a completely unsolicited conversation, that Payton and I had with a woman on Saturday morning.  We were sitting on a couch at a local coffee shop with our coffees and Eli sat in the middle with his little ice water.  He was flicking water everywhere as he pulled the straw in and out of the plastic lid.  Payton and I were talking about thoughtless things when a woman sat down in a chair across from us. 

[I will say, before going any further, that we DO live in Austin, and there ARE lots of, um, hippies and I think this woman fell into that category - Payton immediately noticed that she didn't shave her armpits, so I'm pretty positive you would call her "free-spirited", and um, a hippy.  Oh, and she wasn't wearing a bra.  I feel I can say this because I'm pretty sure that none of my friends are hippies and they all shave their armpits.]

She commented on how cute Eli is (thanks) and how well behaved he was (thanks again).  Then she said that she goes back and forth all the time about having another child - she has a 3 year old who was in yoga class next door.

She continued with "But this one child has completed changed my life and really put a kink in my plans.  This child keeps me from being able to do what I want to do.  Have you guys gone through the same thing?"  And I'm thinking, maybe this child is the reason you don't have time to shave your armpits?  Or put a bra on?

And this really got me thinking, not about going bra-less or throwing away my razors, but it got me thinking about how our lives HAVE absolutely changed since we had Eli a year ago.

Our nights out now cost at least $50 more for a babysitter,
require more planning than ever,
and I still feel like I'm on "mom duty" because I won't let my phone out of my sight in case something happens and the babysitter needs us.

We spend our mornings rushing to get Eli dressed,
getting his lunch ready,
getting breakfast in his belly,
and then I'll think about doing something with myself,
feeding Payton and I, and the dogs,
and more times than not, I get halfway to work and realize I forgot something,
and more than once, it has been my work laptop.

We spend our evenings feeding Eli,
playing with Eli,
getting him bathed and in bed,
and once he's down for bed, when you would think the day would just magically wrap itself up with a book in bed or watching a movie,
we spend our time picking up after Eli,
planning his lunch for the next day,
feeding ourselves (sometimes after 9pm),
I'll sweep up all of the dog hair, so Eli doesn't go to Missy's looking like a black lab,
Payton will mop up the water from the dog's water bowl that Eli splashed everywhere,
And we'll eventually get in bed.

And we spend our days working, to make money,
to raise our child and provide for him like we've always dreamed. 
I spend my lunches running errands, like going to the grocery store,
and storing the food in the office fridge,
buying diapers, wipes, teething rings, and diaper rash cream.
Getting all of my weekend errands done in an hour during lunch,
so I'll have time at night and on the weekends to spend with him.

"Quitting" after a bad day/week/month/year at work isn't an option anymore. 
"Figuring things out" as we go really isn't an option either, though we believe that things will always work out in the end. 
Having a child is a responsibility that we've never had before,
and quite a special one, at that.

We have a child now, so yeah, things have changed. 

But Dear God, I wouldn't change any of it back to how it was before.  During those long mornings, days, and nights, just one look at our angel's face, and any worries or fears that we have about anything are absolutely erased.  We go in his room often while he's sleeping at night to just stare at him. 

Eli is absolutely what keeps us going with a smile on our faces.

All in one look, one little giggle, one big glob of bananas from breakfast that Payton says he often finds on his shirt once he gets to the office, all of those moments erase any sort of selfishness that we could ever feel about our lives as parents compared to our lives two years ago.

A blog I read refers to this as "balance" and that is exactly what it is.  While we have been able to raise our child exactly how we've wanted, we've also given up a few things.

Sure, Eli impacted my decision to not serve on the board of a local professional women's organization that I've been involved with for more than 6 years.

Sure, because of Eli we say "no" to social invites a lot more because we'd rather be at home, cuddled up with him, than out.  And sure, we've probably lost friends along the way because of this, but the ones that remain and understand this are the true friends, the ones you really want around, anyway.

That lovely balance we're all searching for.  Have we found it?  probably not.  Will we ever find it?  maybe, maybe not.  Will we continue to look for it?  yeah, just so we can have something to do, I guess.

So what I've decided is that in those moments when I'm on the fence about something, I'll ask myself:

In the grand scheme of things does it really matter?
In 5 years, when I look back on how I raised my child, will this make me smile?

And so to answer the hippies questions:
Have our lives changed since last year?  Yes.
Did he put a kink in our plans? No, he IS our plan.
Does he keep us from doing what we want to do?  Absolutely not, he has introduced us to a whole new world of things that we never knew we would ever want to do, including watching ridiculous children's shows, crawling on the floor acting like an idiot, dancing in mirrors at public places, waking up at 6:30 in the morning, every morning, just to see his smile, and building forts in the living room when it is 110 degrees outside:

Austin Fashion Week

The 3rd annual Austin Fashion Week was this past week and for the first time, Payton and I had the opportunity to attend a few events.  It was so much fun and great to see all of the creative "fashion industry" people, and to say the people watching was very entertaining is an understatement. 

The week wrapped up with the Austin Fashion Awards ceremony on Saturday at the ACL Moody Theatre at the W.  We've attended a few events at the new studio in the first year of it being open (compared to never visiting the original studio on the UT campus) and this was definitely one of the coolest set-ups we've seen so far. 

The red carpet outside of the theatre...

Photographers at the end of the runway...

Rory Beca runway show...

One of our favorite couple friends, Spencer and Julie were there.  Julie is pretty much one of the coolest people I've met, and such a sweetheart, and just happens to be the Marketing Director for the 2nd Street District.  She's all sorts of amazing and was asked to present one of the awards.  She did great and looked fabulous! 


Speaking of awards, the women who did my wedding day makeup, Rochelle Rae, won the award for Best Makeup Artist, yay Rochelle!

The awards ceremony was very loooooong, and went an hour over.  There were runway shows, dancers, lots of awards, and then this happened, and it made the whole show and skipping dinner absolutely worth it.  I have NEVER seen anything like this and I think I had chills the entire time.

More pictures from the after party, and our crazy evil eyes from the phone flash...

Okay, and now I feel like I must go shopping and get ready for the fun fall looks that we saw, and loose 50 pounds after seeing the stick thin models (absolutely kidding about that one, but seriously, some of them looked like they were going to break in half, geez!).

Oh, and one more thing...Payton's 2nd Street District logo on the big screen at the show:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So I have a son, duh, and I'm definitely starting to see that "boy" really come out in him.  I'm sure that little girls get into mischevious situations, but I'm just amazed at how often I'm catching Eli doing things, very daring things, that he knows he shouldn't be doing.  Over the past month, I've had my phone on hand to capture a few of these moments. 

Picture 1:  The day after his birthday party, I was cooking dinner and happened to peek around the corner to find that he had crawled on top of the party tent and was trying to get his new Mader bubble toy.  This is how I found him...

Picture 2:  I was in the kitchen cooking dinner while Eli ate and I turned around to find this...foot up on the table, just eating away.  He has continued this habit, most recently at Eddie V's during dinner with some family.  I'm blaming this on Payton - don't worry, Payton doesn't eat with his feet up on the table, but these sort of manners definitely aren't from his momma!

Picture 3:  I wish I could say I just turned around and saw this, but I'll sheepishly admit that Payton and I both watched him crawl up on the ottoman to reach the remote control. 

He LOVES the remote control (and will obviously not let any piece of furniture get in his way), and not the old one that doesn't go to anything that we have designated as "Eli's remote", but the one that manages to complete ruin the TV settings if he gets a hold of it with the batteries still in (which I take out on a daily basis). This is also the remote that sounds like a marraca because he dropped it in the dogs water bowl and I put it in a bag of rice (like you do with your phone if you get it wet, right). Just a note if you ever have to "dry out" your remote, put the battery cover back on before you put it in the rice or it will always be full of rice and create a fine musical instrument for your child.

I am sure that we will have many more of these busted pictures in the future with raising this little boy.  These pictures absolutely proves the saying that "you can't take your eyes off of them for a second!".

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Man's work

Even though Payton's work has really picked up in the past few weeks, he always makes sure to get in plenty of Eli time when he is home.  He's such a great daddy and a great "buddy" for Eli.  So blessed to have both these boys!

Some of their weekend projects...

Eli helped fix Mader.

They built towers with Eli's blocks...
...this is Eli after he knocked it down, his favorite part.

He helped Daddy draw pictures on his paddleboard.

Showing off their designs.

Too cool for school

This little boy has definitely started to develop a "too cool" personality over the past few weeks.  Now that he's one, he's become a little too aware that he really runs this household.  I mean, we all know he does, from day one, but now that he knows it, we're in for some real trouble.  We're talking about feet up on the table while eating (including fine dining establishments) and just a general "I can just lean back against this couch with my sippy cup and watch cartoons and you can't do anything about it" kind of attitude.

In other news, we visited a friend's house this past weekend for dinner.  We went a little early so that the kids could play and I think that Eli is totally smitten with his Olivia.  She is adorable and they got along so incredibly.  We're looking forward to many more dinner dates and day trips with the Vallejo family!

And to wrap up this post, Eli got some new shoes.  Or actually, mom has an addiction to buying Eli shoes, so he gets a new pair each week.  I think these are keepers, they have velcro (and not the dorky velcro shoes, their Nike's for heaven's sake) and will work on his chubby feet.  Here he is checkin out the front shrubs, asserting his manhood.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We're 1

Eli is one entire year old.  I can not believe that just a year ago, I was walking into the hospital, 3 days later, I left with a baby, 6 months later our little boy started showing off his little personality, and now he has grown into the most fabulous little boy I've ever known.  He entertains us daily, always keeps us guessing (and on our toes), and continues to light up our lives. 

Eli had his 12 month appointment last week and it went so well, the doctor said that he is growing beautifully and we're ready to start the toddler phase (real milk, no more formula!!!!).  He had such a great time running around the doctor's office while we waited patiently and totally entertained himself.  He is right on track developmentally and the doctor is so proud of all of his accomplishments, including his napping/sleeping schedule, eating routine, walking, jibber-jabbering, etc. 

Weight:  27lbs, 4oz (95th percentile)
Length:  31.5" (95th percentile)

7:30am   Wake up
8:00am   Breakfast (banana - sometimes 2, toast, and a cup of milk)
10:30am Nap (2 hours at least)
1:30pm   Lunch (meat, veggies, string cheese) 
4:00pm   Nap (1 hour)
6:00pm   Dinner (meat, veggies, string cheese)
7:30pm   Bath
8:00pm   Bedtime (our bedtime routine will change now that we aren't doing bottles, I have high hopes that we'll replace that bottle with a book - but I don't know many people that would be excited by exchanging a food for a book)

This little boy has never had an issue with foods, he'll eat anything we hand him.  Some of my go-to foods are black bean burger patties, lunch meat (nitrate free and low sodium from Sprouts), fish sticks, and rotisserie chickens from the grocery store - already cooked = easy peasy.  For veggies I'm addicted to the freezer veggies that you just pop in the microwave for 5 minutes.  They have less sodium and are ready to go right out of the bag without seasoning.  He loves the peas and the broccoli versions.  He also loves avocados and green beans.  Now that he is really chewing, I've started giving him multigrain club crackers and he loves the size of them (he always wants the whole of anything and hates it when we cut up his food, so this is great).  He also loves macaroni and cheese and cous cous (which makes a HUGE mess).  He'll also eat pretty much anything we eat and he loved the chicken lasagna I made the other night. 

We've moved the booster part of his high chair off of the huge rolling part of the highchair and strapped it onto a chair.  I think that Payton worries that I'm moving him too quickly out of his "baby" stage when really, I'm just trying to get some of the big baby clutter items out of the way. 

What can we do now?
  • Walk
  • Climb up on things when mom isn't looking
  • Use a sippy cup all by yourself (you've been doing this for a while, but now you put it back in the cup holder on your high-chair)
  • Use a fork.  You love to grab any fork near you.  You see how mommy picks up your food and puts it on the end of the fork for you to eat and you try to copy her.  You also slide the fork all across the top of your high chair - I think in an attempt to pick up food - and knock it all over the place.
  • Say "da" (your version means "Dad" and "dog"), "boom", and "ma ma" (mama usually comes out when you're tired and whining).
  • Point at things we like and let out a grunt.  His way of saying "I want".
Eli's favorite things:
  • Whacking anything and everything with his drumstick (including the dogs, other people's heads, hands, knee caps).
  • Putting stuff in the dog's water bowl.  He thinks this is so funny, especially cell phones (sorry Nonna) and remote controls.
  • Pushing around chairs, his lawn mower, his Mater tow truck, his Radio Flyer bike, his firetruck, his wagon, or anything else that has wheels.
  • One of his most favorite things to do is play with the water hose.  He has no concept of this major drought we are in and enjoys wasting water.  I would love to see the Sherriff drive by on a no-water day and and tell us to turn off our water.  I would make him do it and try to wrestle the hose out of Eli's hand.  It would cause quite a scene.
  • Going outside, going for walks, playing at the playground, playing in the rocks, throwing rocks, trying to eat rocks.  He is such a boy already!
  • Stuffed animals.  Lately, he's really been smitten with his little animals, especially his lovey.  If you hand it to him, he squeezes it really close to his chest and smiles so big, showing off all of his teeth.  Sometimes he'll even let out a sweet little whisper, like he's talking to him.
Mommy's favorite thing:  Over the past week or so, Eli has really started to recognize who his mommy and daddy are, and most of all his mommy.  I love it when the only thing that will soothe him is his mommy's touch.  I love when I hold him and he wraps his chunky arm around my neck.  Or when we go to a new place with lots of people and he squeezes just a little tighter around my arms.  This past weekend we visited with lots of family at Payton's family reunion.  He did great walking around, but when he sensed that he was just a little too far from his mama, he would stop, look around until he saw me, then run my way and want to be picked up.  One afternoon, when he was winding down, he actually sat in my lap and let me rock him.  It was a fleeting moment, but oh so sweet!

He is such a happy little boy.  He loves his family and his puppies.  He's happy when he wakes up in the morning, with a big smile on his face, and he's dreamy when we lay him down for bed at night.  He does have his moments where he screams for attention and whines to be held, but he's easily entertained and often-times just looking for a change of scenery. 

We have a lot to learn, about him, and about ourselves and each other as parents, but we've learned that communication is key.  Communication with Eli and communication with each other can solve just about any issue we encounter.  Love is behind all of it and what keeps us going when we get frustrated or when we encounter something new and challenging.  We love this little boy to pieces and are thoroughly, 100% enjoying this journey. 

And a little video from our last trip to Fredericksburg, in Uncle Ray's old truck.