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Monthly Archive for July, 2011


El takes her first self portrait
Taking her first picture.

When is your child’s bedtime? How did you come to that decision?
What kind of sleep training have you done, if any?

Nathan has been reading the book I got while I was pregnant called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. Turns out Weissbluth has a very popular pediatrics practice here in Chicago, as well. I’ve read bits and pieces of it. And, while my brain agrees with it my heart has a hard time dealing with some of the things that come from it. Like crying it out…

Eleanor has always been a good sleeper. At around 10 weeks she started sleeping for 6 hour stretches at night (7p to 1 am) which by most equals sleeping through the night. I by no means call it that since I don’t wake up at 1 am to start my day. In the beginning as a newborn we had no problem getting her to sleep. She would show signs of sleepiness (yawning, eye rubbing, red eyes, less alert) and we would swaddle her, lay her in the bassinet and off she would go to sleep. She would for the most part soothe herself to sleep as well. Forty percent of the time I might need to nurse or rock her to extreme drowsiness, but it wasn’t a big deal. The past few weeks she has wanted to be soothed for her naps – not all of them, but most of them – which includes rocking, holding tight (since she’s too big for a swaddle), and beat boxing (Nathan swears by it, and it works). I don’t see a problem with this either, but I know that it isn’t setting her up for the best sleep habits in the long run. I wouldn’t mind rocking her to sleep forever, but that’s just the silly mama in me that doesn’t want to see her baby grow up yet. I understand the need to encourage independence especially with self soothing sleep habits – they say 4 months is the best time to start – but a part of me doesn’t want to. I can’t help it.

This past week Nathan started a nap routine with Eleanor. When she shows first signs of drowsiness he will take her in the bedroom, change her, feed her if she wants any more, and rock her to relaxation. This takes about 15 minutes. Then he will lay her in the crib awake. She usually soothes herself anywhere between 5 to 20 minutes, and then sleeps for an hour. Three times a day.

At night she typically nurses herself to sleep, or at least to drowsiness and then I lay her down. She always without fail wakes up about an hour in to it and then goes right back to sleep with a quick feed. The last few nights she has actually fallen right back to sleep on her own.

It’s so hard to hear her cry. It rips my heart out. But she does seem to be going to sleep on her own and quicker most days. As a parent you can only hope that you are making the best decisions for your children with careful consideration and lots of love. In the long run she will be a happy well-rested child. Well, we hope. ;)


Miss Ellie James Griffin

I’ve been missing my baby so much. Today my eyes teared up when I got home because she was napping. I wanted to scoop her up and snuggle her all over. I have so much I want to say, write, tell her, you but I’m so tired. Having a newborn with little to no sleep was way easier than working and having a baby. Nathan is doing an amazing job staying at home with Eleanor. I love hearing about their days, what adventures they went on, what new things she is learning. They love each other so much.

Eleanor is 16 weeks this week, and hopefully if I get the energy I will write about how she blows my world every day with how fast she is growing. We have a lovely little girl.


Somebody is a Daddy’s girl.

Eleanor James - 16 weeks

Eleanor James - 16 weeks

Don’t cry over…

Ohhhhhh sad sad face.
I just spilt three ounces of freshly expressed milk. This is not how I envisioned starting my Monday.

Summer Nights

Friday night our electricity was out for a few hours. The storms finally cooled this hot city down, and after Nathan and I got Eleanor to bed we sat out on the porch with beers in our hands. It was my first Blue Moon of the summer. And, it was beyond refreshing. Nathan and I weeded the garden, drank, chatted with neighbors. Since the whole block’s electricity was out (a transformer blew) it felt like the entire neighborhood was out enjoying the summer night. I leaned on our fence and I thought, “I’ve been waiting all year for this moment.”

Fireflies were glowing around our heads, neighbors were telling stories about the history of our neighborhood, and as every hour passed I began to feel a buzz from my beer. We swatted mosquitoes, and I wondered how I’m ever going to leave this place. This big city, this red brick house, this front yard garden, this home we have built over the past four years.

I wish the electricity would go out more often.

Boob 9, Bottle 1

The past two nights after her bath, Eleanor has cried and cried and cried until I give her a bottle. She nurses throughout the evening from the time I come home from work until right before her bath. But for some reason she has not wanted to nurse for her final feeding before bed yesterday and tonight.

I have to admit it makes me sad.
I’m trying not to read too much into it since these things can change within days. But it still makes me a little sad.



I haven’t slept through the night in nearly 6 months. The circles under my eyes are sometimes as dark and blue as the night sky. We’ve made a hundred or so sacrifices. I don’t always have time for the things that I used to. Sometimes I eat nothing for dinner but ritz and peanut butter crackers. I do laundry every day. And, I can’t tell you how many times I have thought in my head since Eleanor was born that I was waiting my whole life to be a mother. I was waiting for this little girl. I was waiting for the perfect partner and friend and lover in Nathan to build this life together. To parent together. To bring love in to the world. To nurture together. I dream of many more babies. Little souls who don’t exist yet. Brothers and sisters for Eleanor. I can’t even put in to words how my heart aches for their possible futures. It may not be realistic for this life, but I dream. I hope. Love. It’s such a beautiful journey.

I Love Our …

Front Yard Farm 2011

Ya know, Nathan and I are always dreaming of the future. Of the land we will have or the chickens that will peck it. Of the kids that will be running around playing in dirt and the old beat up volvo in the driveway. But I have to say when we step back and really look at our life now it’s everything we wanted.

Front Yard Farm 2011

Front Yard Farm 2011

Take My Hand

In order to get from A to B since having Eleanor I have to be extremely methodical. The problem? I am not a methodical person. If I don’t make a mental note or a list of some sort I will inevitably forget something. I feel like Nathan and I have done a really good job at being parents and figuring everything out, but lately it seems like little things are just adding up in to great big annoyances. And, so when we really should be feeling happy at the end of the day we end up stressed and annoyed because of one of the reasons below or because we are just exhausted. I mean guys, I am EXHAUSTED.

Eleanor Saves the Birds

Our Jeep is literally falling apart. The breaks suck, something is making a weird noise when we turn left, the passenger side window won’t roll down AGAIN, and as of yesterday only two doors will unlock.
Our neighbors (upstairs) suck.
We can’t find time to sit down and talk.
The summer is just flying by.

Don’t get me wrong there are lots of happy, good things, too.

Eleanor and Nathan did great last week together at home alone.
Nathan is baking all kinds of delicious treats – today cranberry scones.
We had a bbq with our awesome neighbors a few doors down on Friday.
Eleanor is the sweetest, best baby in the world.
We are going to NH in August.
Our garden recovered from the storm, and is doing really well.
It’s summer.

Anyways, Nathan brought out the post-it notes today to remind us of good things, happy things, and things we should stop putting off and do something about. This was one of them.

Eleanor Saves the Birds
It says: “Remember when you were all excited about my baby book?”

It made me laugh, and remember that I still am. And, that I should do something about it.
I was also thinking that it’s just been harder to blog, but I need a fast way to remember things that Eleanor is doing each day or week. I’m thinking of doing shorter, quick posts of things I want to remember some day. Like today Eleanor looked so big because she was wearing a t-shirt. We took a nap together on our bed. She breastfed exclusively the past two days (yay to no bottles or pumping). And, right now she is sleeping in her crib (she looks so tiny in it).

Eleanor Saves the Birds

Eleanor Saves the Birds

Eleanor Saves the Birds

At the end of the day though thinking about this girl makes me smile.

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Sweet Dreams

Guess who’s big girl crib showed up yesterday?
I’m really not ready to have Eleanor sleep in the crib – I love having her mobile in the bassinet. I wheel it right next to our bed at night so I can easily reach in to grab her for her 1 am and 4 am feedings. It’s easy to console her from inside the bassinet since it is so small and close. And, when I feel like it I can bring her in to bed without even getting up. But more than anything it was the first place she slept when we brought her home. The first place her daddy slept some 32 years ago, and the first place her grammi slept, too.

sleepy baby

I’m not ready to give it up. But I’m sure I will feel this way more than once as she grows – I won’t be ready to take her to kindergarten, or buy her first dress for a dance, or teach her to drive. But she will be, and as much as I am not ready I will let my baby fly.

Now that Nathan is getting a laptop computer he won’t need a desktop station in the second bedroom, and a part of me wants to see if we can set up Eleanor’s own space there. But another part of me isn’t ready for her to sleep in another room. I also don’t think it’s feasible especially with yellowsquarelove lamps doing well, and needing an appropriate space for Nathan to work on them. So this weekend we are building the crib (we went with the standard size), and I have the itch to redecorate Eleanor’s nook. I’m not sure how it is all going to fit yet especially the rocking chair which I still use, but it will be a fun project. I want to add a few touches on top of what we already have going on – bright colors with a vintage touch.

I really love this nursery!

Source: ohdeedoh

We aren’t painting of course, but I am most inspired by these colors and the overall feeling. I have plans to sew a crib skirt out of a sheet that I found a few weeks ago at the thrift store. I also am thinking of doing the embroidery hoops above her crib with different fabrics in them, or possibly a bunting.

I am hoping that she loves the crib as much as she has loved the bassinet. I’m sure she will be happy that her arms and hands aren’t banging up against the sides now. Our little lady is getting so big.