two years old

i realize these are not the best photos and are in fact blurry but these two images show her, just as she is, fun, goofy, and a true joy!

goofball

>>>listening to music as we often do and when a song she deemed worthy of dance came on she ran to her toy basket, grabbed her tutu and sombrero and insisted we put them on (this has become a regular occurrence and music and dancing are now synonymous with dress up)

goofball

>>>twirling


an update on our first born

stats
height: 37 inches / 94 cm
weight: 29 lbs / 13kg

the other night as i rocked eleanor to sleep, humming the same tune i've hummed to her for the last two years, i thought about how quickly it has all gone by. i am so happy to see the independent little girl she is becoming but a part of me longs for and wants to cling to the days of her being my baby.

our little girl has grown up so much in the last few months. she is such a great big sister and takes her role very seriously. she loves to help with felix all the time, even when i would rather she didn't (no, eleanor, he doesn't need to be force fed your milk.) the other day she laid next to him in bed, put her arm around him and said, "i love you brother." i about died. she is the most loving child and always wants to give hugs and kisses. she love to hold hands and tries to with just about everyone. she is also very sensitive and empathetic. she cries almost every time she has to say goodbye to someone. i hope she never loses this love for others.

it makes me laugh that i was ever worried about her speech since now it feels like she never stops talking. i suppose this was my first lesson in never comparing my child to another, they all learn differently and at their own pace.

some of my favorite things she says:
a donkey says, "meat-ball"
"what doing mama?"
"i do it." (all the time)
whenever i tell her we're going somewhere, "felix come too?"
"shopping target mama"

her favorite color (much to my dismay) is pink. her favorite books are, "for just one day" and "if you want to see a whale". her favorite food is "breakfast!" her favorite animal is "animal cookies!"

dear eleanor,

for two years now you have shared your smile, your laugh, your goofy antics, your facial expressions, and your incredible love with us. you taught me and continue to teach me how to be a mother. you have made me into the woman i always hoped i would be and for that i am incredibly grateful. you were the first to teach me that my life could be about something bigger than myself and i am so happy that through you we are able to see the world differently. you are the light in every room my dear girl and we are all lucky to know you. it is my keenest wish that you always know how much you are loved and cherished.

love,
mama

12 months old

12 months old

dear eleanor,

my baby girl, you turned 1 a few weeks ago! i can't believe that our first year is already behind us. as i've said before, time has flown by and at the same time it feels like you've always been with us.

12 month stats: height-32 inches (100th percentile!)
weight-21 lbs. 7 oz. (9.7 kilos) and (72nd percentile)
teeth-11!

food:
you're such a good eater! you'll eat almost anything and you really like to try to feed yourself with the spoon. it can be quite messy as you have the spoon in one hand and your other hand in the bowl with food covering our hands and face but i enjoy letting you explore and learn. and well that's what paper towels are for. your favorite food is still any type of fruit and cheese. you would eat both all day if i would let you. you love indian food and you eat it quite spicy. we took you to my favorite sichuan restaurant and gave you tripe and all kinds of other crazy foods and you ate them all up. i love that you are such an adventurous eater! we started weaning a bit, introducing cows milk and going down to two breastmilk feedings a day. you seem to be fine with it and i am still enjoying those two times a day when it's just you and mama feeding quietly.

12 months old

doings:
you are such a lover. you give kisses and hugs that make this mama's heart melt. when i first lift you out of your crib you always snuggle into my neck and hold on tight. those moments are some of my favorites.
you love animals. any book with animals in it is your favorite. when we ask you how a lion goes you let out a big growl that is so cute. we're working on the other animals too but for now whenever we ask you about a cow or a dog or a pig you growl...we'll get there.
you're mimicking everything. you often pick up my phone, hold it up to you ear, and begin fake talking (mouthing words that only you know). when i put my makeup on you love to pick up a brush and rub your face with it. you're a long way from the days of makeup but i think it's so fun that you want to do what mama does.
you are fearless! you explore your world with no reservations. and you my dear are a little monkey climbing on everything! yesterday you pulled one of your big blocks over to the desk to stand on it to get up higher. these moments are always a bit difficult for me as i want you to be safe and understand that certain things are dangerous but i don't want to hinder your adventurous spirit or stop you from being creative.

as with every other stage and milestone we have hit in this first year this is such a fun time and i love watching you become the little person that you are. you have such a strong will and yet such a loving, friendly personality. we're looking forward to the next year and all that it holds for you, our dear first born.
12 months old

10 months old

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my dear eleanor,

monday you became 10 months old! that means that in just 2 short months you will have been on this earth for one year. (yes mama's math skills are impressive. remember that when you're learning trigonometry) it's been a big couple of months for you. there is so much that you seem to be learning everyday, i can hardly keep up.

stats:
height- 29.5in. (75cm)
weight- 19lbs., 14oz. (9kg)
teeth- still holding steady at 6

you will eat pretty much anything though you seem to be especially fond of bananas. you started eating plain yogurt and decided this morning that you were going to feed yourself with the spoon. you're still breastfeeding about 4 times a day. we were planning on waiting until the one year birthday mark before introducing sweets but at ella's birthday party this past weekend i looked over to find you under her high chair eating every crumb that fell from her piece of chocolate cake. you were a fan!

you go on and on all day long with your bahbahbah and dadadada and an occasional mamama. no discernible words yet but since you are being taught two languages we expect you to be a little slower to speak. you do seem to be understanding words though. whenever you want to touch something that mama doesn't want you to touch you walk over to it, turn around and look at me, and then shake your head no. this doesn't keep you from touching it though, you just think no is funny. you also know who kenya is. when we ask you where she is you get super excited and point to her. when we ask you where mama is you also point to kenya so we're working on it.

you love books and get really excited whenever we read a book with animals in it. your favorite book right now is the book of sleep. when we read a book you turn the pages for me (sometimes before were done reading the page) but it's so fun to see you connecting with how it works. because you love the animals in books so much i thought it would be fun to take you to the zoo and so we went to the lincoln park zoo when we were in chicago and you smiled the whole time. i'm not sure whether it was the animals or all the other kids but you were so happy. your favorite was the monkey that swung back and forth right in front of you. you just kept following him with your eyes back and forth and smiling and pointing. i tried to show you the lions since that is your favorite stuffed animal right now but they were sleeping.

my absolute favorite thing you are doing right now is giving kisses. when i ask you for a kiss and pucker up and start to say "mw-ah" you lean in and plop one on me. sometimes you even finish the "ah." it is simply the cutest. you have also started to cuddle a bit right when you wake up. you snuggle right into the nook of my neck and it melts my heart.

you have been cruising on furniture for months now, pulling yourself up, climbing, and cruising down the couch or the table. you have been standing on your own for short periods of time these last few weeks and last week i pulled out a folding chair for you to push around the kitchen. you loved it and so everyday we practice walking by pushing your chair. and then today while i was taking pictures of you for this post you took one step toward me. you immediately fell over but still your first step! later on today you did it again, and again. when papa came home from work you wanted to show off so you took two steps. i think it's only a matter of time before i'm chasing you around the house.

walking
you are such a joy and we are so lucky to have you shining in our lives and our family. you, my dear, make everyday awesome!

eight months old (+ a week or so)

a little late on my e update but well, we've been busy. 

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my dear eleanor, it has been quite a month little one, both for you and for our little family.

about a week into your seventh month you traded your army crawl for full fledged on all fours crawling and you haven't stopped since. seriously, you are fast. you also decided that standing would be your new favorite position and so you continue to pull yourself up on just about anything. at first you would just fall/plop back down and it was so cute to watch you stick your cute little behind out as if feeling for the ground. you have now gotten quite proficient at sitting back down from standing. you are also walking along tables and couches. there have been a few missed landings and one busted lip but you haven't let any of that nonsense stop you from exploring. you are quite literally everywhere and in everything. i have found you inside cabinets, over and under tables, stuck under cabinet doors, and yesterday after turning my back for two minutes i found you on the second step going for the third. my heart stopped beating for a second as i scooped my brave little girl up. it is so fun to watch you play and explore your world.

we bought a house baby. a house for you to grow up in, a house for you to play in, a house for you to be a big sister in. we spend just about every day there working now and you seem to be quite at home in your wonderland of boxes. your mobility and determination to put anything you can get in your hand into your mouth has led to some stressful moments as we attempt to update a 100+ year old house. i wish i could teach you to take down the wallpaper instead of trying to eat it or to hold a paintbrush.

we went to florida a few weeks ago. we drove 19 hours each way to relax for a week on the beach. you loved the sand and of course wanted to eat it. i spent most of the time trying to keep you from doing so. we swam in the pool and you were a natural as we knew you would be. you have always been such a water baby.

we are still doing baby led weaning. you are pretty much sticking with fruits and vegetables and some occasional low sodium breads. you love pasta and even tried a few rice dishes this past month including indian food. these last few weeks i've been trying to be more diligent about giving you something to eat at each of my mealtimes. you don't seem to care much about food yet and i'm not sure how much you actually ingest but you are happy to discover everything i put in front of you. you have rejected the idea of a sippy cup but have been drinking water from a straw since you were about five and a half months old. we were at dinner the other day when someone came over and said, "is she the baby that drinks from a straw?" i guess you are well know around these parts.

you really love kenya. when we ask you where kenya is you get very excited while looking around for her. she continues to love you too as you are always giving her extra food. you have an incredible ability to make a mess darling. whether with your food, or the contents of my purse, or every book on the shelf, or everything on the coffee table, or just everything really you seem to take great pleasure in throwing it all on the ground.

you are so pleasant and just such a lovely little girl. you continue to delight everyone that meets you. people remark on three things consistently upon meeting you. after asking how old you are they usually say, "really only _ months?" sometimes i get the feeling that they think i'm not telling the truth. secondly people often remark on your hair. i apologize for this my dear as i fear your crazy hair came from your mama but i assure you that it won't always be this way. thirdly and most frequently people ask if you are always this happy. and the truth is you are, you are such a joy! i have loved every moment of being your mother. every stage has been enjoyable but i must say that this stage right now is so much fun. you seem to be growing and learning at such a high rate and it is so amazing to watch. i am so glad that i get to be a part of these moments with you.

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seven months old

7months

7months

my sweet eleanor,
you, my dear, are a whopping seven months old!

stats: 18 lbs. 13.9oz. (8.6 kilos)
29.5 inches (75 cm)

you have six teeth! and i have unfortunately been on the wrong end of those teeth a few times.

you have tried lots of food in the last month. tons of veggies including; sweet potatoes, tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, avocados, potatoes, green beans, and broccoli. lots of fruits including; apples, pears, banana, strawberries, cantaloupe, and pineapple. you have also had ezekial bread, hummus, guacamole, cheddar cheese, pasta with sauce, chicken, and polenta. it was so fun to watch the first time you actually bit into something and chewed rather than just sucking and gnawing on it. letting go and allowing you to discover the food has been quite an exercise for mama but seeing it paying off as you confidently feed yourself is wonderful. you have also figured out that kenya will happily eat anything you would like to drop which leads to times where you just feed her everything without putting anything in your mouth. she doesn't seem to mind! you shared an apple with me the other day. you were holding the piece of apple and after taking a bite you would put it near my mouth for me to eat as well. you were so pleased with yourself, i'm pretty sure you could have continued this game for hours.

you have begun to wave. you haven't totally figured out when to wave but you wave a lot when people talk to you. you are also pointing. i'm not sure who or what you are pointing at but you like to stick your pointer finger in the air and wave it around. you love peek-a-boo and use just about anything to play. whether it's your towel after a bath, a blanket, or your dress, you pull it up over your head until we ask, "where is eleanor?" to which you quickly push it down revealing a giant smile.

you are so mobile! you are not yet crawling but you easily move from one end of the room to the other in seconds. you get up on all fours and rock back and forth but to get to where you want to go you lay back down and scoot your way there. you love standing and walking while holding onto our hands. you get so proud of yourself as you place each foot in front of the other and on sunday you walked on sand for the first time.

i love seeing your personality shining. everyone that meets you can't help but to adore you as you share that beautiful smile. i'm pretty sure you are famous here in this small town of holland. saturday our server at salt of the earth picked you up and took you on a tour of the restaurant. you visited her other tables, you met all the other servers and bartenders, and you even got to go into the kitchen and watch the chefs work their magic. i love that you are comfortable with anyone anywhere. yesterday while sitting on a park bench we were joined by an elderly woman named loraine. she held out her arms to you and off you went to shower her in hugs and smiles. i love that this is the mark you leave on others, just pure joy. thank you for all that you teach me and for dragging your shy mama out of her comfort zone.

7months

six months old

6 months old

my dear eleanor,

saturday you turned six months old, which is half of a year already. i can hardly believe how much you've grown up.

you are sitting on your own now. every once and a while you still topple over but you love sitting and the new view that this is giving you. you aren't yet able to sit up from laying down on your own but we are working on it.

you now have two little bottom teeth and they make your smile even cuter. you seemed relatively unfazed by the whole teething process. none of the fevers and rashes that i had heard about. you chewed on just about anything you could get near your mouth and then suddenly there were two little teeth.

with the addition of those teeth and your new ability to sit up we started you on solid food. because we are doing baby led weaning this has meant just putting different foods down in front of you and allowing you to discover them. so far you have tried carrots, broccoli, apple, green beans, asparagus, avocado, banana, a little chicken, and ezekial bread toast. it's a bit early but it seemed as though your favorites were asparagus and avocado. so far i'm not sure how much you are actually ingesting but just moments ago you were getting the hang of chewing with an apple slice. it is so amazing to watch you figure food out and until you do breast milk is still keeping you at the top of the growth chart.

you continue to babble mama mama and dada dada. while we would love to believe that you are already calling us by name i am fairly certain that these words are no different to you than babababa and ahahahah.

since we arrived in the u.s. three weeks ago you have been sleeping in your crib at night. i was worried that this would be a difficult transition as we have been co-sleeping since you were born but you have taken to it like a pro. the transition may have been harder on me than on you so when you wake up at 4 or 5am for a feeding i usually keep you in bed with us until morning.

you continue to bring joy to everyone that meets you. you light up and smile the biggest smile whenever you are spoken to and everyone remarks on how happy you are. i am so glad and feel so lucky that you are mine.

6 months old

five months old

5 months

my dear eleanor,

wednesday we celebrated five months of life with you. we spent the day in belgium saying goodbye to moemoe. simonne, your moemoe, was the central figure in papa's family and another model of a strong woman in your life. i have no doubt that stories of her rich history will be told to you for years and years to come. i am so incredibly grateful for the time you were able to spend with her as i know that you brought her so much joy. you continue to live up to your name my little "ray of light!"

you chose your five month birthday to pull yourself up into a sitting position. if you hold onto someone's fingers you work really hard to use those little tummy muscles to pull you upright. once up you're not quite ready to sit on your own but you enjoy testing the waters. no need to rush though darling. i am quite sure you will be sitting in no time.

my goodness you are a talker. i swear you can gab away nonstop for at least half an hour. sometimes you seemed surprised by the sound of your voice which is just too cute. i wonder what it is that you are thinking as you babble on and on. i'm sure it's quite important. grandmas thinks that you have a lot to say and will therefore probably have a blog. we do need to work on your inside voice though.

speaking of grandma, she just left this morning after spending ten days hanging with us in lausanne. we actually traded her for aunt carolien, uncle bert, and luna who came to spend one last weekend with us here and so you could show luna around your town. i'm sure she will love the lake.

5 months

our time here in switzerland is coming to an end. we move out of our apartment in a week and make the long trip home to the u.s. in less than two. i can't wait to make a new home with you and papa but am also a bit sad to say goodbye to switzerland. this will always be the beginning of our story as a family. it will always be the place where your papa and i were married and where you were born.

one little request my dear. you seem to be on the verge of getting some teeth. i can see them faintly under the surface of your gums and i am asking, no begging you, to please either get them next week before we leave or wait until we arrive in cincinnati as i'm not sure i can handle a nine and a half hour flight with a teething baby.

xoxo

four months old

4 months

4 month stats: 7 kilos and 66 centimeters

dear eleanor,

here is where i would like to push the pause button as you have grown up so much this past month. we made a big trip overseas and you, my dear, were a champ, a real traveling pro. in the two weeks we were there mama took you to all her favorite places, you met tons of new people, celebrated your first thanksgiving, picked out a christmas tree, saw a holiday train display, and went to see your uncle aaron's band perform. in those two weeks you changed and grew tons and i really feel that we started to see your personality coming through. prior to the trip you spent almost everyday with only your mama and papa and i was a bit worried about how overwhelming you might find meeting your american family and all of my friends but you seemed to develop into quite the sociable child. you began talking a lot and are now testing the volume of your voice.

coming back to switzerland was tough as you had a harder time with jet lag. my previously perfect sleeper has been a bit of a terror these past few weeks. i was starting to think this might not only be jet lag but also the dreaded 4 month sleep regression and then miraculously just last night your sleep habits normalized. (le sigh and thank you)

my absolute favorite time of day is in the morning when you wake up and your big eyes light up at the sight of your papa and i as we lean over to give you good morning kisses. you smile this big toothless grin and i think, "wow we are a family."

you saw and felt snow for the first time in zermatt this weekend and we celebrated by building a snowman. it seems as though your first christmas is going to be a white one!

as a gift to yourself on your 4 month birthday you mastered the art of rolling over from back to belly. you seem so pleased with yourself and every time i place you on your back you immediately roll over just to show off. once on your belly you scoot in circles which is pretty cute.

4 months

i captured this little video this morning to demonstrate her new trick along with another one of her habits. i must say that i am impressed that she manages to keep her thumb in her mouth while rolling. oh and please excuse the shaky camera, mama may have had too much coffee this morning.

three months

3 months


dear eleanor,

what a big month it has been for you my dear.

3 month stats: 6.5 kilos and 63.5 centimeters. you finally have some baby chub to grab onto!

you are really starting to experiment with your voice. you sit in your bouncy chair kicking and babbling away. i keep trying to record you but every time i reach for my phone you stop. you love looking at yourself in the mirror. the first time you laughed was while doing so. your cute little laugh made me laugh which made you laugh harder which eventually made me cry. you also seem to think its funny when mama coughs which really isn't very nice my dear. and you think it's hilarious when i sing. i can't blame you there as i think my voice is pretty funny sounding too.

you desperately want to roll over. every time i set you under your play gym within minutes you are on your side working like crazy to get all the way over. you made it from your back to your belly twice now but it's not a regular occurrence. you seem to not be able to figure out what to do with one of your arms once you get there. you love standing up and showing everyone just how strong you are.

you never took a pacifier but you seem to be perfectly content substituting your fist. you are obsessed with putting your hands in your mouth. i'm a bit worried that this might be foreshadowing for you being a thumbsucker. along with your oral habits you are sticking your tongue out and blowing lots of bubbles. i especially like when you stick your tongue out and lift your dress at the same time. way to class it up little lady!

your cousin was born this week, little luna de bremme and i know you just can't wait to meet her and show her the ropes of life as a baby.

we leave today for a big trip over the ocean to the united states where you will meet the rest of your american family. i'm quite certain that you will be the perfect baby on the 9.5 hour flight since you are destined to be a world traveler. (fingers crossed) now if only we can figure out some sort of plan of attack for baby jet lag.

3 months

life as your mother is the greatest. watching you grow and change is so amazing and you make everything more fun. you have brought so much love and joy into our lives and we are just so grateful that we get to be your parents.

two months old

two months old!

my darling daughter, another month has gone by. you have grown another 2cm and 700grams and some of the 3-6 month clothing you've been wearing since you were born is starting to look a bit small. you smile a lot and i've even heard you giggle in your sleep. i can't wait to hear you laugh for real. you love playing under your play gym and your favorite toy is the brightly colored doll we call laura. we've been singing and dancing a lot, you and i, but your favorite activity is still long walks with kenya. in the last month you became a belgian and u.s. citizen, you received your first round of vaccinations (neither you nor i liked that very much), you met your aunt elisabeth, we traveled to paris and belgium, and you met your entire belgian family at a party thrown just for you. it's been a busy month and next month will be even crazier as we plan to move our little family across an ocean where you will meet your american family. none of us can hardly wait!

one month old

one month old

one month old

eleanor faye,
one month ago you entered my world and in the best way possible you have turned it upside down. this last month has been the happiest of my life. in the last four weeks you have grown 4cm and 400grams, you can almost hold your head up, you follow objects with your eyes, you stand (with some help), and you smile (sort of). i love all your little faces and sounds. i love the way you kick your legs out when you fart. i love the way you stretch when you wake up (your papa says it's the same way i wake up). i love our daily walks through lausanne, rediscovering my favorite places with you. i love watching your papa with you and our morning family cuddle time. i really love that you sleep for 6-8 hours at night. but mostly my little bird, i love my life as your mother. for 41 weeks you and i were one and now as i get to know the little person you are i feel i am getting to know myself as well.