Eloise's birth started a year of change. After doubling the kids in the family, we moved across the country, Andrew started a new job, Penny started preschool, Eloise become a toddler and I struggled to find my new normal.
Before I had Eloise, I thought I was an expert on babies. It turns out, I was only an expert on Penny, and she was an easy baby to figure out! Going from one kid to two was really difficult. In hindsight, I think I tried to force Eloise to be the same kind of baby as her older sister. Not only was that an unfair expectation, but Eloise's strong personality would not allow that to happen.
I made some observations about Eloise in this post when she just two months old that hold just as true now as they did then. I described Eloise in 4 words, particular, determined, strong, and happy. If something is not to her standards, Eloise will let us know. Once things are in order, she is all smiles and giggles.
Eloise's middle name is Marta. This is a name she shares with my Swiss great grandmother. Although I have no memories of my great grandmother, her memory lives on in her posterity. Through their stories and memories of her, I feel as if I know her. She was a strong-willed woman who became a widow when my grandma was a toddler, shortly after she immigrated to the America.
I cannot think of a better middle name for Eloise than, Marta.
I don't miss living somewhere where it snows. But living with snow and visiting snow, are two different things entirely. This Christmas, I welcomed the snow, but there wasn't a bit of snow when we arrived in Utah and in the days leading up to Christmas the forecasted snow fell instead as rain or lasted only a few hours. But not so on Christmas! Late Christmas Eve it began to steadily snow and by morning we were covered in fresh power. The snow continued to fall all day, like a scene out of White Christmas. I am not exaggerating when I say, it was magical!
During the short-lived snowfall before Christmas, Stephanie and Penny made a mini snowman.
Penny insisted on bringing her little snowman inside the house. She eventually left him resting on a towel in the hall but she didn't forget about him. A while later, after the tiny snowman was nothing more than a puddle, she went looking for him. Penny was a little upset to find her snowman missing, and didn't understand what we meant when we told her he had melted.
Christmas Eve came and I hadn't had a chance to take the girls to visit Santa. We assumed the mall would be crazy the day before Christmas, but we decided to brave it. Turns out, it was perfect timing. There was no line to see Santa, and he was able to take his time with the girls. Eloise was enthralled by him while Penny was classically unsure.
The girls also rode on the Merry-Go-Round. Penny was too nervous to ride the horse by herself so Stephanie rode with her.
Eloise was fearless and only complained when the ride stopped.
The little moving cars were a big hit too, with everyone!
But the highlight, was the animal riders, which are big mechanical animals that you can rent and drive around the mall. Penny could power the little dog by herself, but did not understand the concept of steering.
We let both girls ride together and Eloise squealed with delight the entire time.
If Eloise could talk, I am pretty sure she would confirm that our mall trip was the highlight of our time in Utah. It was one of those experiences couldn't have come together more perfectly if we had planned it.
If you haven't figured it out by now, Penny is my little Nervous Nelly. Her idea of a good time is quietly playing with toys. She can do without heights, loud noises, crowds, and surprises--anything that is outside of her control. She was happiest when we found Taylor's old toy kitchen stuff to play with.
Decorating gingerbread houses was another favorite for nervous Pen.