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Monday, December 22, 2008

An Early Christmas Present

We gave Eli and early Christmas present, and now we're giving one to you. We have never seen or heard him laugh this much. Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as we (and he) did. And thanks to everyone who suggested that we get a Johnny Jump Up. You were right!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Santa Claus and Christmas Hijinks!

This was an action-packed Christmas weekend. Well...maybe not that action-packed, but we did try to relax this weekend, do some Christmas shopping, wrap some presents, and hang out. We also tortured Eli in various photo-ops, some of which you will see here.

I was giving him a ride around the house here.

Sunday morning, and Mom was maybe a little too excited to see Eli, though he appreciated it.

Eli took some time out of his busy day to read his new favorite book: The Night Before Christmas.

And here, Eli suddenly realizes why he was being forced to wear this goofy costume, and wonders how he didn't see this coming.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Guess How Much My Mom Loved Me

My parents' friends from Canada, the Yeldon's, sent us an amazing package of gifts for Eli after he was born (at the time, we had never even met them). One of the books in the package was a book called "Guess How Much I Love You". It's a story about Little Nutbrown Hare trying to tell Big Nutbrown Hare how much he loved him, and no matter what Little Nutbrown Hare came up with, Big Nutbrown Hare would always out-do the little rabbit. Here's a sample excerpt:

"I love you as high as I can reach," said Little Nutbrown Hare.

"I love you as high as I can reach," said Big Nutbrown Hare. That is very high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that.

My mom read this book to Eli on one of her visits to Wilmington (seen here, along with the blanket she made for him). I never really got it before. Was the book saying that a child cannot possibly love her parents as much as they love her?
Then one night last week, a few days before my mom passed away, Tony and I were sitting on her bed on either side of her, sharing a special moment. I told her, "You are the best mom". She immediately shook her head as emphatically as she could and said "You are".

Now, we all know that I have big shoes to fill if I am to be as good a mom as she was. But she loved me so much that she believed that I already was. And she knew how important it was that I believe it--that I would be a better mom if I did. It was as if I had said, "I love you right up to the moon" and she said, "I love you right up to the moon--and back".

Since her passing, I have realized just how much my mom did over the past year to prepare me for this time. I am so thankful to have had her with me for my first four months of motherhood, and am thankful for all of our conversations over the past year. She gave me gifts every time we spoke, and continues to. I will do my best to live up to her words.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

4-month checkup

Eli had his 4-month checkup today. We are extremely grateful to be able to say that he is perfectly healthy. He is still above average for his height and weight and there was not one concern from the doctor. Mostly, I begged for tricks to get him to sleep through the night and the doctor said to tell him if I came up with anything. Not that Eli's bad--he always goes right back to sleep after eating--but he does wake up at least once or twice a night. I know parents who have a much harder time getting their babies to sleep. He's doing much better with the cereal now, too. Seeing him smile is saving my sanity right now, during this stressful time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A First Attempt at Solid Food

So it was decided that, since Eli was almost four months, we try out solid food, which was really cereal. And here is the glorious first attempt at it:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Ahoy! Halloween off the Starboard bow!

And this be Elliot's first Halloween! Out of the roots and grass a pod snaked up and grabbed him!

Thus, Eli's costume came to be:

It will be years later that he will look back on this and thank us for the fun trick-or-treating. In the meantime:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back to Work, part 2

I'm writing this just because I hate going for too long without updating this blog, but unfortunately do not have much to report. I have been back at work for 2 weeks now. I think I'm over the hardest part, but you never know when the regret and doubts are going to creep back. I like being back at work. I love my job. I just wish I could take Eli with me. Or be in two places at once. But we have a great nanny who comes to our house and brings her son who is 6 weeks older than Eli. She is wonderful about entertaining and challenging him while keeping him happy.

I've had to change my breastfeeding schedule, as I now pump during the day at work and breastfeed at night. I think he's still a little confused, but he's getting used to it, as am I. Fortunately there is a lock on my office door so I can have lots of privacy!

I'm back to playing volleyball one night a week. It's frustrating to not be able to make my legs move as quickly as they used to--my head is there, but not my body. But if my teammates pass the ball right to me I can usually do something decent with it, and we've gotten off to a 5-1 start so I guess I'm not too much of a drain on the team. The hardest part is when we have late games (half the time) I get home around 11 PM and then have to shower, pump, etc. and it makes for a long Tuesday at work. This past Monday was the first time I had been awake past 10:30 since the week Eli was born!

Right now, I'm looking forward to a 3-day weekend next weekend, including dressing Eli up for Halloween and getting a visit from my parents! Can't wait! Enough rambling for now. That's what I'm up to. Maybe I can get Chris to post a poem or two.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Back to Work

Enjoy this video that was taken on Eli's two-month birthday. He was just becoming aware of his hands and his ability to use them. We think it's pretty cute, but then we think everything he does is cute.

Tomorrow I go back to work. I am working half days Thursday and Friday, and start back full time on Monday. How do I feel about it? I'm devastated. It's purely selfish, as I know that Eli will be fine without me. I just hate to miss all the little moments that happen during the day. I also hate to give up the good sleep I usually get in the morning, as Chris usually lets me sleep in a bit. No longer.

Well, I've been lucky to have 12 weeks at home. I'll miss the freedom, but all good things must come to an end.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Are you ready for some football?

We took this and other adorable photos of Eli in his Bengals jersey (given to us by our friends Becky and Tim Horejs) yesterday. Those and a few photos from the wedding yesterday can be seen at our photo site here.

Eli's namesake, Eli Manning, is actually playing against the Bengals today, so I guess it's an appropriate time to tell the story of the name, for those who haven't heard it. It's not that we love the Giants or the Mannings, but more that we hated the Patriots and Tom Brady last season. Before we knew the sex of the baby, we were discussing names and I said "What about Peyton for a girl?" Chris didn't want to name the baby after Peyton Manning, but said "How about Eli?" This was the day before the Superbowl. I said that if the Giants won the Superbowl, we would name the baby Eli. The Giants were about 20 to 1 underdogs for the Superbowl, since the Patriots were undefeated. Also, Eli was always the underachieving goofy younger brother. So the whole thing was really a joke.

But as we rejoiced as the clocked ticked the final seconds, I remembered our joke and I said, "I guess we have to name our child Eli". Still joking. But the more I told the story and the more we said the name Eli to each other, the more we liked it. We didn't want to use Elijah, so we decided Eli could be short for Elliot, which we also liked. And the rest is history.

Last night, Rae and Jeremy had a beautiful wedding on a pier on the Cape Fear River. We were very happy for them and enjoyed our first night out, hanging out with all of our volleyball friends.

Friday, September 19, 2008

First Shots

Eli had his 2-month check up at the doctor today. He was weighed and measured; He weighs 12 pounds, 10 ounces and is 23.75 inches long. He's in the 75th percentile for weight and height, but in the 50th percentile for head circumference. His head doesn't look small for his body...we just hope this doesn't mean he's a pea-brain! But they said he's perfectly normal.

I think the shots were harder on Chris than Eli. I hope Chris doesn't transfer his fear of needles to our son. Don't get me wrong, he did cry and was very taken by surprise by the first shot, but the crying only lasted a minute. You can see from the picture, he got three shots in all. He's been doing a lot of eating and sleeping since, and he's been just a little crabby when awake.

Tomorrow night Grandma and Grandpa Talley will be babysitting while we are at a wedding. It will be our first night out without him. I'm anxious but excited.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Go with the "flow"

We had an interesting night last night which tried our patience and reminded us that the best laid plans often go to waste.

We have lately been establishing a bedtime routine to help Eli go to sleep at night. It's pretty extensive, but it works. We go for a walk around the neighborhood from 7 to 7:30. When we get back, we either read to him or Chris plays guitar. At about 8 PM we give him a bath then put him in his pajamas, feed him one more time and rock him to sleep.

Last night, all was going very well. We were right on schedule. Eli was all clean and cozy in his Packers pajamas (a gift from Packer friend Warren) as you can see. He was nice and hungry and sleepy when I sat down to give him his last bottle for the night (I have been nursing during the day and bottle feeding breastmilk at night to give me a break). Chris had just sat down to serenade us while Eli ate. I put the bottle to his lips, and...the top came off and half the bottle spilled all over his chest! So much for the bath, so much for the peaceful transition into sleep.

Next thing we knew, he's screaming, we're scrambling to get his pajamas off and new ones on. After that, he was crying too much to really eat very much and he just fell asleep crying. We gave up, thinking that he would be up again around midnight to eat, rather than the blissfully late 4 AM we have been enjoying lately.

Much to our surprise, he didn't wake up until 5:30 and clocked his longest sleep yet...9 hours! Incredible and shocking. Maybe this spilled bottle thing should become part of our bedtime routine =).

I must note that I checked the bottle's temperature in the sink before giving it to him. I turned it over and let it drip on my wrist. The cap didn't come off or even spill then. How it went from tightly screwed to not is beyond me, but we will not be using that bottle again!

One more thing...Eli turned over for the first time today! He was on his belly and not happy about it and started kicking his legs. I saw some potential so I let him keep crying a little bit, and sure enough, he rolled over. On his 2 month birthday exactly!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Eli learned how to jump!

Okay, not really. But you can see this and other photos on our photo site here. As you can see from the photos, Eli is more awake and alert every day. You may not be able to tell this, but he is growing fast! His 3-6 month clothing is getting snug already. His 2-month birthday is Thursday and we also go for his 2-month Dr. appointment this week. He seems mighty healthy!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

TS Hanna spares all of Wilmington--except us!

Yes, TS Hanna was pretty kind to Wilmington. She made landfall about 40 miles from here, near the NC/SC border. This meant that we were on the Eastern side of the storm, which did not carry much rainfall. We did get some sort of heavy winds, but while I was awake with Eli last night, I remember thinking, "This is it? This just seems like a bad rain storm". Then when I got up this morning Chris told me to look out the window, and this is what I saw.

So he went to buy a chainsaw this morning and has been busy chopping up the tree today. Tomorrow will probably be spent picking up the rest of the debris in the yard. Meanwhile, all the other houses in our neighborhood, and it seems in all of Wilmington, are mess-free. It's like Hanna came by and just hovered over our yard. At least the tree didn't hit anything or cause any significant damage. We were lucky.

Eli had his best night of sleep in a long while. He didn't seem to mind all the noise of the storm one bit, it actually seemed to put him to sleep.

Friday, September 5, 2008

We took our walk early today--Tropical Storm Hanna is on her way!

Normally, Chris, Eli, and I go for a walk around the neighborhood at 7 PM every night. However, with Tropical Storm Hanna on her way, Eli and I walked early today. Chris has been busy stocking up on water and ice--just in case, although it looks like this is going to be a relatively mild storm and forecasters are still unsure about where it will make landfall. Any input, Tony?

Preparing for a storm has been slightly different this year. Neither Chris nor I can even hope to get any time off work, as I'm already off and Chris works from home.

So keep an eye on the storm with us and hope that Ike leaves us alone! Also, a few more photos have been posted on our photo site here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finally, a photo site

Okay, I have finally gotten on the ball and created a site for our photos. I must admit, I was inspired by my dad. If he can do it, I can do it. There will be a permanent link to the site on the left side of this page under "Links", or you can click here. The address is http://talleybaby.shutterfly.com. Enjoy! Now that I have the photos organized, I just need to get better at taking them more often.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back in Wilmington

Well, we have returned to Wilmington and settled in after our first trip to Cincinnati. Eli was incredibly good on the plane. Our flight up was very uneventful; I held Eli in a Moby Wrap (see photo--not me) on the plane and he slept the entire flight and throughout the airport until we got our rental car. We had a wonderful time in Cincinnati, sharing Eli with his grandparents especially, as well as neighbors and other family. While we were there, his umbilical cord fell off (finally!). He has also mostly outgrown his newborn clothing and is safely in 3-6 month clothing, despite only being 6 weeks. He is growing fast; at more than 6 weeks he is getting some chubby legs and cheeks and weighs more than 10 pounds.

Our return flight was a bit more stressful, but Eli was the champ again. Due to a broken part and then thunderstorms at the airport, we were stuck on the plane for 3 1/2 hours before taking off. Our flight was then 1 1/2 hours. He slept the whole way and didn't cry at all. What a baby! Of course, he didn't sleep well last night after all that, but hopefully he is back on schedule.

Thanks to the loss of his cord, he finally had his first real bath today. He wasn't crazy about it, but he enjoyed being wrapped up in his towel afterwards. We'll try to post more photos soon. We're really bad about taking, saving, printing, and posting photos, but we'll try to do better. We miss all our Cincinnati family and friends! Hope to see you all again soon.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Eli!

Today is Eli's one month birthday. He's doing well, sleeping well, eating well, and generally being cute--even his burps and farts are quite cute. At least, his parents and grandparents think so. Today he made his first trip to the beach and tasted a bit of ice cream. It seemed like he enjoyed it. At least, it made him quit crying for a minute. Best of all, we were accompanied by Grandma and Grandpa Wimmers for these two firsts. We treasure every moment together.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Okay, okay, more photos!

Okay, you get your wish; more photos! Here they are.

As far as our Talley family, we are doing just fine. Some days are harder than others, but every day we are learning more and more. Once we got the whole breastfeeding thing down, we found that Eli wanted to eat ALL the time. For four or five hours at a time! Then we figured out that maybe he wasn't hungry, he just likes the attention from his mommy. But his mommy started getting a little sick and tired of it. So today he was strongly encouraged to take a pacifier. And guess what--it worked! Hopefully this progress will keep up.

We owe a big thanks to our parents. Although we have been struggling to learn about how to best take care of Eli's needs, they have been patient, understanding, and very generous, bringing us whatever we need every day and waiting patiently for their turn to hold him. Although we know they think that they haven't done much, they have been a huge help and we couldn't have made it through the first week without them. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We love you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Pictures!

Thought it was worth adding some new photos.

Here we are on our first night...everybody has left and it is just Andrea, Eli, and me. Eli's eyes were, I think, open and looking around for the first time. He slept in that little cradle, and it was nice that it was clear so we could maintain a constant vigil over him.

Andrea and Eli having a peaceful moment together. They are very beautiful together.

At Grandma Talley's request, a new picture. :-)

Me and Eli maxing. I thought I had it all figured out...but it doesn't take long to dispel that.

This photo was after we had gotten back from the Doctor's office (for Eli's snip). It was hot outside, we were exhausted, and so we just fell asleep. I assured Eli things would be alright.

Will post some more soon. Many appreciative thanks for the thoughts, flowers, cards, and assorted goodies that have been sent our way. These first days have been exhausting, exhilarating, and forever etched in our memory. And Eli is the coolest!


Chris, Andrea, and Eli

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Hi All!

So here's an update on details.

Elliot "Eli" James Talley weighed in at 8 Pounds, 11 ounces, and the tale of the tape says he was 21 inches long! That's a keeper!

The whole thing started at around 2:30 AM Thursday night--Andrea wondered if she was having contractions. By 4:30 AM, we were measuring them, and by 6:00 AM we were in the hospital.

Andrea decided going in she wanted to do it "naturally", and was an incredible trooper through it all. It was sometimes hard to tell she was going through contractions because she was so quiet, though she did have to start gritting her teeth by the time it came to push around...I think 1:30 pm. She didn't give up though, and after almost fainting in the last push, Eli
decided it was time and arrived at 3:35 PM. It was a great achievement, and we really want to thank our Mid-wife Suzanne and nurse Ericka for being a super support team!

Cleanup took awhile, but finally by about 5ish, the Talley Grandparents and Susan Wood (thanks again for posting the pics!) got to see him. Smiles all around! Later, around 7, the Wimmer Grandparents made it in from their Cinci flight, and it was more of the same. We also managed to eat some food (Andrea's first meal in a long time!), and by 9, we settled into the night...

I continually have been finding newfound respect for parents (in general), and particularly all the parents I know (least of them my own), and last night was hard fought--and much loved--and I am proud to join the club. Eli did keep us up, and we were both beyond exhausted. When I finally stretched out on the pull out couch at...hm, 1 in the morning, I literally felt like a steamroller had given me a go; I was amazed by Andrea's strength in this regard, as she continued to show such patience for Eli's needs (I did, too, but I didn't have to breastfeed!).

We made it through though, and we got a good couple of hours in the later morning that has really shot us through the day so far.

Elliot. Wow. Again, newfound respect and kinship with parents. When my mother says you will never feel a love as powerful as that love for your newborn, she was so right. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. He has been amazing, and seeing, just inches away from my face, a little human being open his eyes for the first time and look around...there is no price for such an experience, and the most pivotal experience I have had as a human being--it shakes me to my core, and I certainly hope everyone has an opportunity to experience it in their life as well.

Ok, enough chit chat...time to get back to business!


Chris, Andrea, and Eli

Friday, July 18, 2008

July 18, 2008 - The Big Day!!!

Elliot James Talley arrived today at 3:35! Woohoo! Andrea was incredible, but we’ll save the details of all that for later. It’s hard to explain how happy we are right now…I cried more than Eli when he was born!

Thanks so much to Susan for doing this update! And we will update more tomorrow!

Love! Chris!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

One Week Til Due Date!

Sorry it's been so long since we updated this blog. We just haven't known what to say! I'm still pregnant and the baby is still "head-down, but face-up", but it seems like my body is progressing towards labor well. It's been a pretty quiet weekend, just waiting for something to happen...

Here are a few pictures taken by my friend in Cincinnati. I have to give him a plug here--he was very professional and made me comfortable, despite showing off my giant belly. If you are looking for a photographer for any occasion, visit his web site here. These pictures were taken about two weeks ago and I'm quite a bit larger by now, but I don't feel the need to produce evidence here.

Last weekend on July 4th, Chris' parents had a wonderful party for us at their beach house in Ocean Isle. We had a cookout, made homemade ice cream, and enjoyed seeing our family who we don't see often enough! Thank you, Briggs and Talley families, for everything!

I'm still working; unless something happens early, I plan to work up until this Friday and then maybe some half-days after that if I'm still around. Our bags are packed and we're ready to go any time, though. We will write a post here with pictures as soon as we have some news to share, so keep posted!

Friday, June 20, 2008

One Month to Go

The second-most common question I am asked these days, after "When are you due" is "Are you ready?" Until last weekend, my answer was always "absolutely not". Now I am starting to get a little closer to feeling ready. We do have a crib and dresser, and the bookshelves and changing table are on their way. We also have chosen a pediatrician and are in the process of finding at-home child care.

But I think what people most want to know is, am I physically and mentally ready. I'm getting there. Although I have really enjoyed being pregnant, I think nine months is just about the right amount of time, and you get big enough that you're ready to be done. Despite all the warnings we receive about how difficult the first few weeks are, we are trying to stay positive and look forward to that special time.

Knowing that my mom is doing so well has been such a huge relief in the past few weeks. It will be wonderful if this keeps up and she feels this well while she's here with us and our new baby.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My New Favorite Activity

A couple weeks ago, I gave up on going to the gym, going for walks, and weight lifting. My hands and feet are just too swollen, and any type of upright walking position just makes them worse. When I wake up in the morning, it is painful to move my fingers, and when I clock in at work the machine doesn't recognize my fingerprint!

But I have discovered the PERFECT workout for pregnancy. Through my job, I have a pool available to me during my lunch break, and I have been swimming laps for about 40 minutes a day. During those 40 minutes, I don't feel weighed down by my extra 40 pounds--I'm actually more buoyant! Also, I don't feel hot, the swelling goes down, and it gives me energy for the rest of my day. Swimming is also good for getting the baby in a favorable position, as it relieves pressure and allows the baby to move.

Sometimes I go to a senior water exercise class, also available to me through my job. It's harder than it sounds and is a great workout for the entire body. It's a good change-up from the laps.

Monday, June 16, 2008

He's not breech!

As some of you know, a doctor I saw in Cincinnati and the midwife I saw here in Wilmington, upon feeling my belly, both suspected that the baby was in a breech position (head up instead of down). Which worried me because I didn't want to have a c-section, which is pretty standard for a breech baby. We found out through an ultrasound today that he is not breech, but he is in a posterior position, meaning that when I am on my back, he is on his back. He is supposed to be face-down. I have been given some things to try to get him to flip, so if you were to look in my window at night, you might see me doing all kinds of strange movements. I'll be on hands and knees a lot and generally leaning forward. Since a baby's back is it's heaviest part, if I am belly-down that will encourage his back to move down. So I have something to work on. Posterior babies can be delivered normally, but they generally cause extreme back pain during labor.

Chris and I were both a little disappointed by the ultrasound--we expected pictures like we got before. But since he's so much bigger, the ultrasound could only capture small parts of him at a time. But we did get this profile of his face. He is facing to the left, nose in the middle, forehead on top, chin on bottom. Hopefully you can make it out.

More on the midwife--I have decided to switch to the midwifery care at my practice. I still go to the same practice and will have my delivery at the hospital, but from now on I will see midwives there instead of doctors, and the baby will be delivered by a midwife. I was lucky enough to be accepted by them at the last minute.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Want my autograph?

A major project that I have been working on, called the Cross-City Trail, was highlighted in a TV news story on Monday. You can view the story at http://www.wwaytv3.com/video/trail_being_built_to_connect_parts_of_wilmington/06. I have a brief appearance in the video. Not a great shot of me, but I am just happy that this project received some positive publicity.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Go Green!

Our very wonderful friends in Wilmington held a baby shower for us on Sunday. The theme of the party was "Go Green", as in "Save the Environment", not the color green, though some people took it more literally than others. Here we are with the party planners who made it all happen (Holly, Susan, Roseanne, Rae, John Thomas). A special thanks to Warren and Andy for making the cakes (not pictured).

You can see from the spread below that they worked very hard to stick with the theme--the plates, cups, and "plastic" ware were all made from bio-degradable items, such as potatoes and corn! No, you can't eat them. We even got a Sago Palm to take home and plant in our yard.

The guests were instructed to wrap gifts in newspaper or some other re-usable bag. It was a totally guilt-free party--except that we felt guilty being showered with gifts and attention with nothing to give in return!

What can we say except how wonderful it was too see everyone and how grateful we are to have such generous and fun friends. It was a great party!