Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Quiet Christmas and a Happy New Year

December flew past us this year with alarming speed. Eliot and I started the month with a trip down to Milwaukee to visit family and friends. It was so great to see my family and I even got a chance to swing by Froedtert and see many of my former co-workers. Eliot loved getting into all the kitchen drawers where his old toys are stashed and giving the rocking horse plenty of exercise.
Helping Noni in the kitchen.
He was very busy sorting through all of the drawers.

Lake Michigan was well worth a visit, even in the cold.

We returned home to Toronto and celebrated Christmas just the three of us. On Christmas Eve we went with some friends to a live performance of the Nativity at a local church. And when I say live, I mean live. I had been told that there would be animals and assumed that there would be some sheep on the lawn for the kids to pet. There were sheep and Eliot did pet them, but they were just inside the doors of the church along with a camel and a donkey. We took our seats and the show began. Imagine our surprise when the sheep were paraded down the center aisle followed in turn by the donkey and the camel! I think the camel even made two trips--I suppose if you're going to rent a camel you may as well get your money's worth. It was a very nice production and a great way to spend our Christmas Eve. If we were planning on being here next Christmas we'd probably plan on seeing it again.

Eliot had a great time on Christmas morning. Unwrapping the gifts was still a bit strange to him but playing with all of the new toys was right up his alley.

New Year's was celebrated in Canada's capital city, Ottawa, where our friends Dave and Lianne Backstrom live with their four children. It was great to see the Backstroms again and Lianne took me into the city center to see the Parliament buildings and to sample a "beaver tail." I was greatly impressed with both. Eliot had a riotous time with the four little Backstroms and came away, I believe, favorably impressed with idea of siblings :)

The Parliament buildings were beautiful. We'll have to go back on a non-holiday weekend and have a look inside.

Eliot and Daddy shared a plate of real Quebecois poutine. Notice it didn't last long.

We hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season and that 2011 is starting out on a good foot.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

An Edmonton Wedding

Last week we had the opportunity to head north to Edmonton for the wedding of Spencer's cousin Lindsay. She was a beautiful and happy bride and I'm kicking myself now as I realize that I don't have any pictures from the wedding. You'll just have to take my word for it I suppose.

We stayed for a week after the wedding and Eliot had a great time playing in the snow, catching up with family, and learning all kinds of new words. Spencer also gave two lectures at his alma mater, University of Alberta. One was for a class taught by one of his former professors and the other was for faculty, students, and the public (meaning, of course, that several family members including myself were in attendance). It was so great to hear him lecture, he's a natural. His lecture was titled "Laundering Money and Souls: Usury, Poor Relief, and Theology at the Early University of Paris". It was pretty interesting stuff. You'll have to ask him about it next time you see him. All in all it was a great trip and a wonderful chance to see family and friends.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

News From the Stork

We found out yesterday that we will be welcoming another little boy into our family next March. We're so excited about this little guy and are looking forward to meeting him.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Eliot loves books (when he's in the mood) and he and I have been going to the library once a week for a little song and story group. On our last trip we picked up a book on numbers and Eliot has been having fun learning to say the names of the numbers. Some of them you can't hear as well on the video, but he's particularly good with his pronunciation of two, four, five (as in, 'gimme five!'), eight, and nine. Six has a tricky combination of sounds and comes out sounding more like 'gik', but he's well on his way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone had a fun-filled Halloween this year. Eliot dressed up as a puppy-dog and you can probably tell from the picture that he wasn't super enthusiastic about the floppy ears.

Eliot was quite pleased with our Jack-o-Lantern and enjoyed identifying it's eyes, nose and mouth.

At the ward Halloween party Eliot split his time between running around with the big kids and visiting the snack table.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Favorites

Eliot has discovered a love of crayons. He enjoys coloring with them, of course, but sometimes it's enough to simply sort through all of the interesting colors. He takes them out of the box and puts them back in--working on his hand-eye coordination. By the way, since when was there a color called 'Macaroni and Cheese'? I guess it's been a long time since I last saw the inside of a crayon box.

This picture captures two of Eliot's favorite activities: cleaning out the cookie dough bowl, and playing with Daddy. He and Spencer have great fun rough-housing in the evening and it's so fun to hear Eliot's squeals of laughter coming down the hall.

Eliot loves pie and asks for it by name. So far pumpkin, apple, and cherry have all met with his approval.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Apples to Apples

These past few days have been sunny and beautiful so we decided to take advantage of the weather and head out of town today to do some apple picking.

We boarded a tractor-pulled wagon that took us on a scenic little drive down into the orchard. If you zoom in on the photo above you'll see Spencer and Eliot right in the middle of the wagon.

Good times were had by all and that evening we enjoyed a caramel apple pie with our supper. Now I'm dusting off all my apple recipes and looking forward to apple butter, apple cake, apple pancakes, etc. I welcome recipe recommendations :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Busy Mr. Eliot

When I told Spencer that I was going to put up a blog post this evening he asked me what I was planning to write about. In all honesty, I wasn't planning on writing much. I just wanted to offer up a few samples of the divers activities of a certain little boy (and 'little boy' is really becoming a more appropriate term for him every day) since arriving here in Toronto.

Eliot loves to rough-house, climb and wrestle. And never tires of it.

Eliot enjoyed his first Happy Meal the other day.

He has been getting more use out of our exercise ball than we ever have.

He's been preparing to wow them on the basketball court.

He's been helping Mummy bake.

He maintains an abiding love for balls, cups ("bup") and bowls, and doesn't leave home without them. You just never know when you're going to need a bouncy ball.

He has been getting out to the park almost every day and loves to swing ("sing!").

Friday, September 24, 2010

Looking Back: Eliot's "First" Summer

Now that the dust has settled from our move and I have a little more time on my hands I've decided to blog about some of the things I've appreciated in the past little while but didn't have time to write about. First on the list is this past summer with Eliot.

Though Eliot has already technically lived through a summer (having been born last March), I consider this year to be his first. It was so much fun. Perhaps it was because he was old enough to run around and delight in the great outdoors but too young to heed the siren song of the ice cream truck. Eliot got a real taste of what summer has to offer with Andrew and Sarah Schmidt next door and his 3-year-old cousin, Maddie, in Milwaukee for a visit. Some of his favorite activities included:

  • Playing in the sandbox
  • Swimming
  • Snacking on watermelon
  • Pushing a stroller, shopping cart, anything with wheels, around the block and using said vehicle as a receptacle for sticks, leaves, rocks, etc.
  • Going for rides in the wagon
  • Swinging
  • Going down slides
  • Learning to say "bubble"
  • Visiting Lake Michigan
  • Tasting new foods like raspberries and cherry tomatoes

Watching Eliot discover the joys of summer has been a delight and I'm looking forward to every new season with their special adventures in store.

Friday, September 17, 2010

All Moved In

So, some of you might be saying to yourself, "Nora and Spencer have been up in Toronto since Sept 1, why is she just now saying they're 'all moved in'?" Well, that's because I just now feel "all moved in." Like with most other population centers, space is at a premium here in Toronto which means that our new apartment is somewhat smaller than our last one. This has made unpacking something of a challenge. Or, as my mother would say, like trying to stuff 50 lbs of potatoes into a 20 lbs bag. But the upside is that it has served as a keen test for my organizational skills as well as an effective sieve for all the needless junk we'd been hauling about with us simply because we had the space.

So now after feeling like an over-stuffed storage locker for about a week, our little apartment is starting to feel like home. Just in the nick of time too, because Eliot is, as I type this, on the road with my parents making his way across the border. We can't wait for our little guy to arrive. Then it will really be home.

Spencer and I have taken a few excursions in the city and I've been impressed with what I've seen. We took a trip down to Toronto's lakefront and had a lovely walk that included stumbling across a vegetarian food fair. There always seems to be something going on here. The Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing and while we haven't come across any celebs, word is the place is crawling with them. All in all, I'm really pleased with my new Canadian digs and looking forward to getting to know this city over the coming year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Haircut for Mister Eliot

Today was a big day in our little household. For some time now Eliot has been sporting, as Spencer so aptly put it, "a flowing mane of golden locks."

It had become one of his most prominent features, overshadowing other noteworthies like his eyes and his cheeks.

So this afternoon we went to see a friend of my father's, Robert Hoeft, who also happens to be a barber. Eliot handled the loss of his locks like the little man that he is with only a few tears and a few more howls.

He received a certificate with a bit of golden tress taped to it (which will promptly go in the scrap book) and was good to go.

To celebrate we took him to our favorite gelato shop here in town. Now, as he grows into his new role as big brother he'll be prepared to look the part.