Saturday, December 30, 2006


I think there is something wrong with me. I honestly think it's cute when Eli says 'no-no' back to me. In my defense, he hasn't said it meanly or to be defiant yet. Most of the time he's saying it as he is reaching for or pointing to something I typically say 'no-no' to (like the remote or the computer cords). The rest of the time he just repeats it after I do, like he's learning a new word. He scrunches up his little mouth and tries to his best to enunciate so properly. If I had this captured on video I would no doubt post it as I'm sure most of you would side with me if you could hear his cute little voice saying 'no-no'. There...I've used up my quota of the word 'cute' for the year.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Eli Walks!

Here's some video from our trip to prove it:

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dum Ditty Dum Ditty Dum Dum Dum

Eli, Treis & Lehr had a blast one night out west drumming on some pots. The show lasted a good twenty minutes; here is a sample.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

One Week

We had a great holiday week in Washington. Eli loved seeing 'Mater again, though he didn't really need to rely on him as much since he decided to exercise his walking skills the day we got there. He met my grandmother, his great grandmother (G.G.) for the first time. Even though they had a few tender moments, for the most part he gave her a really hard time. Lehr and I called him a 'brat', but she insisted he was anything but. Eli caught up with his cousin, Treis, who loved chasing him around with 'Mater, talking back and forth, playing with Eli's new toys, or beating on the pots like they were drums. We were fortunate to have one really good snow day, so Eli was able to get out and build a snowman. On Christmas Eve we went ice skating downtown and Eli got a ride around the rink with Grandpa Jim. He also rode on a mini-carousel (think $0.25 in front of Wal-Mart) for the first time and LOVED it. Eli gave G.G. and Grandma & Grandpa a DVD and a photo book for Christmas; of course they were smitten.

On a surprising note, the plane rides weren't horrible. The way out was a little tough, but they way back was smooth sailing compared to last time. (The last flight we took out west proved Eli to be "that" baby.) This was quite shocking considering Eli's age and teething status (another tooth or two popped while we were out west). A pleasant surprise, but still a surprise.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Another Big Reveal

We waited to tell my family the big news until we traveled out west for the holidays simply so we could deliver it in person. We purchased a "Big Brother" t-shirt for Eli so he could 'tell' everyone; we thought it would be quite obvious. Not so much. It took a little explaining each time someone new saw the shirt, but at the end of the day our secret was out and everyone was very excited.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Walk Like A Man

I know I'm on vacation, but a computer is very accessible to me and I could not let such an anticipated milestone go 'un-blogged'. Eli is walking!!! He's taken a few small steps here and there at home, but nothing to write home about at all. (Almost every one of them has been on a downward motion on the way to the ground.) Since we arrived at my parents house around noon, Eli has been a walking fool. He took four steps, then six, then nine before he stopped and stood for a few. NUTS! The whole family is very impressed that he decided to save his new skill set for Christmas so they could all see it. I don't have the means to post pictures or video from this computer, but I will upload them as soon as I return home.

Merry Christmas! is on 'holiday' for the week - back after Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Few Random Things

1) So I've mentioned how Eli has been very protective of his toys and his house recently, to the point of complaining if/when other children play with his toys. Thank goodness it seems to have passed for now. Monday morning we had a playgroup at the house and Eli did GREAT for two whole hours. Every once in a while he would get into a small dispute over a toy, but nothing out of the ordinary.

2. Another recent mention is Eli's recent lack of variety in what he'll allow to pass his lips. (Keep in mind that I'm still offering different foods each meal, but he's been flat-out refusing to eat for that meal if what I'm serving isn't 'acceptable'.) So last night I make chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli (steamed without any seasoning). Eli ate more broccoli than either Lehr or I. Seriously. The kid would not stop. I know from previous experience that this means nothing for future eating, but the amount he ingested last night buys me three or four days of no vegetables.

3. Eli had his last Little Gym class this morning. He has enjoyed them all semester, but the last two have found him in a more surly mood, no doubt due to the teeth. (That's Eli's excuse for everything these days.) Today was quite the opposite though. During our warm-up circle time, Eli ran/crawled over to the teacher two separate times to sit in her lap (something he's not done before), completely unprompted by me or the instructor. He climbed and rolled and pulled his way through the rest of the class in a great mood. I will definitely be signing him up for that class again in the next year.

4. Eli had his first haircut this morning. His hair is quite thin and it is growing in weird patches, but the long pieces were getting a little too long, so I chopped them this morning. It's not very obvious in any area except his neck (which is now 'clean'), but here's a photo anyway. Eli did a GREAT job of sitting still while I first 'buzzed' his neck and then cut the rest with scissors.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Never before have I felt as bad as a mother as this morning. Today was Eli's Mother's Morning Out, which he attends once a week. Normally this kid is very happy to be there; he doesn't even notice me leaving because he is so quickly crawling towards the many toys. Unfortunately today was quite the opposite. We arrived in the baby room and I placed Eli at my feet while I unloaded his bag and talked briefly with the caregivers. Not only did Eli not take off towards the other kids as he usually does, but he started to cry like I had just dropped him off in the middle of the mall and walked away. The caregivers (who he is very familiar with) picked him up and started to console him but he was NOT going to give up without a fight. He reached for me and cried like I've not heard him cry before. The workers hurried me out of the room assuring me he'd be fine, but I hung in the hallway (out of sight) for five minutes, just to be sure. He calmed down after a few minutes, but I could hear that he was still a little upset. Talk about a shot to the heart! I felt horrible! It helped that I was Eli-free for a few hours - I had some major cleaning, packing, and wrapping to do - but it wasn't like I had no choice but to drop him off. I realistically could have kept him with me. The agony....I've said it before and I'll say it again: My heart goes out to mothers who have to drop off their children every day when they go to work. This is NOT an experience that I'd like to go through on a weekly, or even monthly basis.

I felt at least as bad when I picked him up and they told me he cried off and on the whole time. He didn't play; he just sat in their laps. The main caregiver assured me she wasn't telling me because he was a problem, but rather because he has never done this before and he always plays non-stop. I assume it's the teething, but it doesn't make me feel any better.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Every year since I can remember holiday 'light-seeing' has been a must-do in December. When I was a kid I loved to drive around and see all of the beautiful displays of lights covered in snow (I grew up mostly in the great white north). When I moved out and started my own traditions with Lehr, this is one that stuck. Like it or not, each year Lehr is 'lucky enough' to drive around with me in search of the best decorations. This tradition is one I plan to continue with Eli. A few weeks back we drove around after dinner one night looking at lights and Eli loved it. Luckily it was warm enough that we could keep his window rolled down, giving him an unobstructed view of the Santas and snowmen. Tonight we went out again, but this time it was to an outdoor display in Centennial Olympic Park. Since the weather is still unseasonably tolerable, we walked around the park for an hour or so while Eli 'oohed' (no 'aww's) at all of the lights, trees, and decorations. There was a mini-train driving around the park which caught Eli's eye; his version of "choo choo" is "doh doh".

A few people have commented on Eli's "Chicks Dig Me" shirt. I cannot remember the website I found it on, but there are similar t-shirts available on Uncommon Goods and Cafe Press.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Look out world: Eli thinks he is the king!

Eli's friend Tyler came over tonight to hang out for a few hours. Eli was already in a surly mood due to teething, so I didn't expect him to play nice anyway. An alarming trend with Eli that held true tonight is his need to not have any other children play with his toys. No matter what Tyler pulled out of the toy bin (even if it was something that Eli has never shown an interest in), Eli whimpered and protested. This did come in handy when Eli was eating his dinner, however: Tyler pulled up on the chair and tried to grab Eli's milk which caused Eli to snatch it back and gulp it down as fast as he could. (Eli had been refusing to drink the milk, so that worked out great.) The insecurity Eli felt was quite unfortunate considering how eager Tyler was to play with him. He was a very polite and friendly guest, not that it helped Eli's territorial attitude at all. There was one feel-good moment between the boys when we went to the playground. They both loved the slide and while they took turns, Eli never complained that he had to wait for Tyler. (Hey, I'll take what I can get!) Eli's favorite way of enjoying the slide is to go down on his stomach, backwards (so his feet hit the ground first and he's looking back up at the top of the slide.) I took many pictures, but he was moving so fast that they all blurred a bit, which is a shame because Eli could not stop laughing and smiling.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not So Humble

Eli's having a trying couple of days with the molar-pain again. Since there is nothing blog-worthy to report, I'll just post a picture I shot of him this morning, before he remember the agony he was in. (The shirt reads: "Chicks Dig Me".)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Ugly Side of Teething

Yup. It's back. That stubborn molar that was just below the surface a few weeks back when Eli popped three in such a short time. Eli ran a little fever today and he's miserable and unhappy. This makes the days interesting as Eli has become impossible to entertain or feed when he feels this way. He has become a bit picky with his food in the last weeks (right around the same time the molars started beating him up); he doesn't like foods from one day to the next and the only thing you can count on him eating is dried fruit, which he'd eat his weight in if you let him.

Eli had another gym class this morning. Before we started the classes he LOVED to do forward somersaults, but not anymore. He won't even tuck his head if you try to 'force' him. That's why I found it quite interesting that he has no problem doing the back handspring (over a 'hot dog' apparatus). I'd think that would be scarier than a silly forward roll. Shows how much I know!

Monday, December 11, 2006

This Kid Is BEGGING For Chores!!

So Eli is still very eager to help out around the house. Lehr stopped at Home Depot the other night and picked up a few hole-patching supplies so we can finally get to work on some of the 'mistakes' we've made in our home decorating. Eli found the 'taping knife' (not sharp like a real knife...relax) tonight and decided to investigate. He crawled around for a few minutes, one in each hand, and then he stopped and tried to figure out how to use them. This is great news for us as we have many holes that need to be patched and painted time like the present to put Eli to work!

During the entire 15 minutes of exploratin, Eli was wearing his cowboy hat, which seems to be a real staple these days. He really thinks it is the coolest thing and he loves to wear it while crawling, playing....he'd probably wear it in the bath if we let him!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Daddy's Little Helper

For quite some time now whenever there is work to be done in the garage, or whenever handyman tasks are required around the house, Eli is more than happy to help Lehr. He loves nothing more than to sit and watch, and when Lehr allows Eli to help, he is beside himself with excitement. Today was no different as Lehr and I hung a mirror in the bathroom. Eli was very intrigued by the stud finder, and he was quite enthralled with the tape measurer and hammer. While Lehr was on the ladder Eli often came behind him in an attempt to climb up with Daddy, so when we were done we snapped a few photos. (Don't worry: the photo doesn't show that Eli was tied-off with a net below him. He was completely safe.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lessons to Teach

There are so many things I want to teach Eli. I often worry that I missed my window for starting to teach him things or instill certain values in him. I always wanted to teach him to sign and that's worked so far, but I also wanted to teach him French. So far that hasn't happened at all, but in my defense, he hasn't picked up on English very well either.

Growing up I was my own person for the most part. Sure there were times when I followed the crowd and times when I wanted certain CD's or clothing because other kids did, but all in all I flew my freak flag and I was ok with it. That is something Lehr and I really want to teach Eli: it's ok to be who you are. PLEASE don't follow the mass herds of sheep milling around on MTV and in LA as they try so hard to be 'in' and accepted. PLEASE don't mindlessly regurgitate what the kids at school say and try to pass it off as your own original thoughts. PLEASE think for yourself about what you believe and who you are.

In summary, this is what I want to teach Eli:
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
- Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Few Of My Favorite Things

I just realized that it has been a long time since I've mentioned my 'newest favorite' thing about Eli. I assure you I haven't run out of them; I've just neglected to document them.

#1 - Eli has learned some pretend play. About a month ago I started using his stuffed animals to show him how to 'be nice'. (He often forgets how to do this when other children are playing with his toys, or toys he perceives to be his.) I usually hug his frog or rub his bear's back. Every once in a while if we are playing with one of his spoons, I will pretend to feed me, Eli, or the stuffed animal. A few nights ago Lehr and I gave Eli a sippy cup of water while he was on the kitchen floor playing with his stuffed frog. When we turned around we saw him 'feeding' his frog the water. Adorable.

#2 - Eli loves to put on things on his head. First we thought it was just hats, but now he does it with the washcloth in the bath or clothes while I'm folding laundry. Today Eli pulled one of Lehr's undershirts over his head and thought he was the coolest. He then proceeded to crawl with the garment covering his face. Inevitably he ended up bumping into the wall. I started to laugh and he pulled off the shirt and laughed with me. Now it's a game to make Mommy laugh, so Eli pulls the shirt over his face again and crawls even faster. This time when he ran into the wall it wasn't so funny; he looked at me and pouted a little, but never actually cried. (Needless to say, he wasn't up for blind-crawling any more.)

#3 - Eli is very smitten with his new snow boots. We just purchased him a pair in preparation for his trip out west in a few weeks and they currently sit in a corner in his room. At least once a day Eli goes over to the boots, picks one up, turns around to face Lehr or I and signs "please". As in "please put this boot on my foot". So we do, and Eli sits very patiently as they go on. He will then crawl around for as long as we allow, happy to be in his boots. And yes, Eli's shirt does read "PLAY NICE". As I mentioned above, Eli needs to be reminded of this often.

First Midwife Visit

I went for my first prenatal visit this morning. You've got to love three hours of bloodwork, paperwork, and meeting with the nurses and midwives! Anyway, we had a quick ultrasound to see the 'age' of the baby: 9weeks. The due date is early July, so this will be the first year that I will have to miss the Peachtree Road Race. I am NOT happy about this, but I'm thinking that would be a guaranteed labor-onset situation, so I guess I'll skip it this year. The baby (which totally resembles a tadpole right now) had a heartbeat of 161, which is right in the target zone, and everything else looked normal. Now if this silly morning sickness would just go away, we'd be set!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Great Day!

Eli has had two great days in a row. Maybe, just maybe, the teething is subsiding for a while. He still has not popped the most recently detected molar, but it seems it's at least giving him a break for now. Eli was so wonderful and happy all day yesterday (except when the pediatrician's nurse gave him his shots), and that continued today. It's nice to have my happy baby back! (BTW - at Eli's appointment yesterday he weighed in at 22 pounds and measured 31 inches long.)

After his appointment yesterday we went to the park with Cooper and then home for lunch and a great nap. After dinner the three of us sat by the fire (which Eli LOVED) before bathtime. This morning Eli was in the church nursery for a few hours with his friends, and then we ran some errands after his nap. For dinner I made a veggie pasta dish with green beans and asparagus. Even though Eli is typically an easy eater, I did not expect him to like these greens much. Shows how much I know: Eli could not get enough, especially of the asparagus (the last thing I thought he would have liked!).

Monday, December 04, 2006

My Buddy

Eli got to spend a lot of quality time with Cooper this weekend. Friday night he came over for dinner. Both boys played (independently) and then we gave them a bath together. No real interaction between them, of course. Yesterday we met at the park and then had dinner and then today we met at the park again. It was rather cold this morning, but the boys were good sports and played for about 45 minutes before we left. Eli still loves to climb climb climb, and Cooper is a pro at going down the slide by himself. (It's pretty cute actually: Carissa counts, "1, 2, 3" and then he lefts go and slides down, grinning the whole way.) The cold weather apparently kept everyone else away because Eli and Cooper had the whole place to themselves!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Beep Beep!

Eli's new favorite activity is playing in Betty while Lehr is cleaning the car or the garage. Eli LOVES to stand at the steering wheel and pretend to drive, but not as much as he likes to check out all of the gadgets and buttons available to him. Often times after one of Eli's play sessions, Lehr will turn on the car only to be blasted with loud music, blinded by blinking hazard lights, or jolted by the windshield wipers furiously wiping back and forth and break-neck speed. Alas he can blame no one but himself as he introduced Eli to this new 'toy'.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Donation Corner: Helping Others Help Themselves

For the month of December I'm spotlighting a charity known as Ready, Willing & Able. This program, which is connected to the Doe Fund, is a holistic, residential, work and job skills training program designed to help homeless become self-sufficient. RW&A has helped over 2,250 homeless men and women through drug programs, employment placement and housing. The program targets the segment of the homeless population considered the hardest to serve: single, able-bodied adults, the majority of whom have histories of incarceration and substance abuse. Criteria for acceptance into the program is that the applicant be ready, willing and able, both physically and mentally, to work and maintain a drug-free lifestyle. Those who come to Ready, Willing & Able do so because they are ready to ready to be productive and useful, and they are ready to take back control of their lives.

I have no problem giving to charities to help those who can't help themselves, but I feel one that teaches people how to get themselves out of the position of needing charity is a very deserving one. The greatest gift you can give is self-sufficiency and a sense of self-worth. Ready, Willing & Able not only provides employment, but it teaches the trainees how to save money, pay bills, and obtain stable employment so they can support themselves and their families. If you feel so moved as to contribute, please click on the link above as there are many ways you can contribute.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More Than I Bargained For!

I'm realizing now just how easy I had it with my first pregnancy. I had really bad restless legs (to the point where I had to walk around the neighborhood 5 or 6 times each night right before bed if I even wanted to think about sleeping), I woke up 4 or 5 times each night, and I had some sciatica nerve pain towards the end, but that was it. This time around I've got full blown morning sickness. I now realize that it is no laughing matter! If I let my blood sugar get at ALL low (by that I mean if I don't consume calories every 2 hours) I get lightheaded and nauseous. GREAT! That works well for me! Also, my active lifestyle is making me sick too. When I go for a walk, or to the gym I feel lightheaded and more winded than I felt the whole time on the 2-Day Walk. Another bonus, since my workouts are my lifeline.

On a more positive note, Eli's "Big Brother" shirt got here today. The Big Reveal Part II will take place when we travel out west to see my family for Christmas. We figured we'd let Eli wear the shirt and tell the good news for us.


Lehr let Eli play with our camera for a few (supervised) minutes the other night. Surprise surprise...he knew EXACTLY where to look and put his hands to take a picture. If we had another camera I would take a picture of it, but we don't, so you'll just have to imagine the cuteness of a 1-year old holding up a big camera to his face.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

If He Walks Like an Ape and Talks Like An Ape...

In addition to Eli's monkey crawl, he's now correctly telling me what 'the monkey says' on a regular basis. (He's also signing 'pig', which is a new development.) Here is some video. Instead of "ooh ooh ooh. Eee eee eee.", Eli prefers "ooh. eee. ooh. eee." Also, today I dropped Eli off at the church for an hour so I could get my hair did. I really don't think he recognized me when I returned to collect him; he stared at me intently, but without running over to me for a few minutes. Anyway, on to the video of my son: the chimp:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Simon Says

Eli is still mimicking anything and everything he sees Lehr and I do. It started with him attempting to tighten his shoes/bar at night, but it has since progressed to many things. Eli loves to try to put hats on his head and socks or shoes on his feet. However, his way of putting socks on includes laying the sock on top of his foot. (Hey, it's still cute!!) The latest is Eli trying to brush his hair. This week he was staring so intently at my comb while I used it that I decided to let him have a 'look-see' when I was done. He then brought the comb to his head and tried to run it through his hair.

The next day he pulled his cowboy hat out of his closet and put it on his head. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but he proceeded to crawl around the upstairs and play for over ten minutes, all the while leaving the hat on his head. Also, in addition to taking out the trash for us on Thanksgiving, Eli tried to help Lehr vacuum last night. He seriously stood and held the handle while trying to move it back and forth. It's amazing what a sponge he is these days, but it means Lehr and I will have to be on our best behavior in front of him from now on!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What Are You Thankful For?

I'm thankful that Eli is finally starting to pull his weight around here by doing some chores!

Unfortunately, this was one of the only happy moments we had all day. It seems Eli has croup and he has been beside himself with misery today.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Donation Corner: Giving Back

It appears Eli is finally going to be able to repay Dr. Ponseti for the correction of his feet. Most of you know that I keep a page dedicated to the progress Eli's feet have made (right side bar), where I post pictures and video of his feet over time. In the past month a woman working with a professor at the University of Iowa (Dr. Ponseti's home) has contacted me with a request to use before and after pictures of Eli's feet. Since we feel so fortunate that everything has gone so smoothly (which we credit Dr. P with, in addition to Dr. Morrissy, since he invented the technique), I happily sent on the photos. I was told they would be used in a presentation to inform and impress potential donors, who would hopefully then give money to the International Ponseti Foundation. The assistant then contacted me again informing me that she had also forwarded on the short video I made of Eli's transformation to this professor and a doctor who works along side of Dr. Ponseti. Apparently the prof called her right back praising the video and asking her if I'd be willing to allow them use of it for further presentations.

At this point I'm already excited to be a part of helping this incredible doctor become more well-known. The professor, who is also the chairman of the Ponseti Association, and I exchanged a few emails and then spoke on the phone about what exactly was needed. It was so wonderful to hear even more about the doctor Lehr and I think is so amazing. The professor confirmed everything Lehr and I had read and heard about Dr. P, and even managed to make him appear more hero-like in my eyes. It was so great to hear that this 92-year old doctor is still in the clinic four days per week, answering at least 120 emails every day on top of seeing all of the patients that travel from all over the world to see him.

Back to how this affects Eli: the professor liked the video so much that he hopes to have it playing (along with other informational clips) on a loop in the waiting room in the clinic, in hopes of putting the families there at ease about the process their child is about to go through. Also, he would like to use the video and pictures in the presentation they will be giving in a few weeks at a Wealth & Giving Forum.

The presentation, which they have been working on for two years, is one that will hopefully result in large corporations, such as Nike and Johnson & Johnson, donating services and materials to help with clubfoot patients in third world countries. In places such as Africa, children born with this defect are without hope. Their only means of survival is education, but the only way to attend school is to walk miles and miles. Untreated, children born with clubfeet cannot walk properly, if at all. This obviously means no school, which moves them further down the food chain in their world. I find this incredibly tragic, especially considering that the costs for materials to fix the feet (casts and bar/shoes) would only amount to $60/child.

Another goal of this presentation is to further inform the medical community of the success rate of Ponseti's non-surgical treatment. Several long-term studies have been done in recent years proving that even physicians not specializing in podiatry or orthopedics can be trained to correctly apply casts and the bar/shoes with a very high (at least 98%) success rate.

I know, blah blah...Nicole's back on another cause. If you haven't read any of my attachments or links related to Dr. Ponseti so far, here is yet another one; this one explains a little about why Dr. P is convinced that the non-surgery route is the easiest, most successful treatment of club feet. (A side note: In the last year I have come in contact with many parents who went the surgical route first, or saw a doctor that tried casting, but didn't receive correct training from Ponseti. I have yet to hear a success story from them. Either they are still trying to undo what the original doctor did with incorrect casting, or they are going for multiple surgeries (sometimes after the child is 4 or 5). The lucky ones realized quickly that Dr. Ponseti could help them, so they've flown to Iowa to seek his wisdom.) The Ronald McDonald house in Iowa houses most of these families, and Angel Flights help make travel accommodations for them. Dr. P doesn't turn anyone away, so his waiting room is always full which means the RMD house is always full. I will spotlight them in the next month or so, but if you are looking for a holiday donation to make this year, they are a well-deserving one!

In case you missed the video the first time around (or you're too lazy to click on the link to the right), here it is again!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Under the Weather

Eli woke up yesterday with a rather runny nose along with a severe drooling problem. These molars are giving him a time and a half! There is another (the fourth in a week) right under the gums on the bottom, so he's still got some pain ahead of him. The mucus/drainage has been so bad that he's started to cough a little too, so he's basically miserable. Anyway, I apologize for the lack of posts and pictures for the last few days, but there hasn't been much to report with a not-so-happy-toddler on my hands.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

QT With Daddy

I was gone most of the day today, so Eli and Lehr got a lot of one-on-one. Apparently they met up with Cooper and David, went to the park, and then went to Moe's for a free lunch. Not too shabby! Considering what a good time Eli (and Lehr) had, maybe I should leave them alone more often.

After dinner tonight Lehr did the dishes while I bathed Eli (we usually reverse those roles), so I got to see Eli in action in the tub. He is a one-man circus! He uses the washcloth as a hat constantly, which appears to be quite amusing to him. The whole time he was in the bath he had a washcloth-hat at least 75% of the time. What a goof!

Oh, and one more molar broke through yesterday; this one is on the bottom.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Papa, Can You Hear Me?

He's done it. Eli has gone and impressed the socks off of Lehr. Every night when Lehr comes home I hear the garage door open and ask Eli, "Do you hear that? Daddy's home." As I do this I sign "Daddy". For the last week Eli has started to mimic that sign, but usually only one time and not very accurately. Tonight he did it twice before Lehr walked into house and several times since. I think Lehr was speechless; he had no idea Eli was even close to knowing that sign.

Here is a short clip of one of Eli's first attempts earlier this week:

The Big Reveal Part I

So I planned a 'fun' way to tell Lehr the news: Eli and I bought a book titled "I'm a Big Brother" in hopes that Lehr would get the clue. Since I found out the news around lunchtime, it was a LONG day before Lehr came home....I am so not good at keeping big news like this in! Around 6PM, Lehr came home and we had dinner right away. It was ALL I could do not to tell him! But then I reminded myself that I'd dragged Eli and I out in the rain to get a book ....I needed to stick with the plan!! So after dinner I said, "Let's go upstairs before Eli's bath and play a little. We went into Eli's room and played with a few things. Then I said "Eli, do you want to show Daddy your new book? Where is it?" So Lehr is talking to Eli in 'daddy-voice' and asking him if he got a new book, etc. I opened the closet and try to coax Eli to grab the book but of course he doesn't. So Lehr comes over and tries to sit with him to read it. Lehr turned the book over and (in his daddy-voice) reads "I'm a Big....What??" The look on his face was PRICELESS!!! He said "Are you sure?" several times. Eli was looking at us like we were crazy; that poor kid has NO idea how much his world will change a year from now!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Redact! Redact!

(First off, if you don't watch The Office, you should. Especially the second season.)

So I post earlier about Eli being less-than-enjoyable for the last few weeks and then he goes and wakes up from his morning nap in a great mood. We spent an hour in his room after his slumber reading, playing with blocks, and just goofing around in general. While we were in there he looked out the window and started signing "flower". Sure enough, there were flowers a few doors down that he could see: he knows he can hit a soft spot with me when he displays intelligence! Then he proceeded to make "ooh. eee." sounds (like a monkey) for me. Melted my bad mood right away.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Calgone....You Know The Drill

This teething stuff is obviously hard work. Otherwise someone came in to my house one night and switched out my baby for a more whiny, easily-bored, complaining one. (I hope it's the former.) Eli is such a mess....I play with him and he whines, I leave him alone and he whines, I take him for a walk and he whines, I feed him and he whines. Do you see a pattern here? It's one of those times when I wish he could talk a little more to tell me what is causing his mood and 'tude. If it is pain, I'll give more meds or at least be sympathetic. If it's need for attention, I'll give it...just tell me!!

Here We Go Again...

After trying for just a month it appears we are expecting again. Just like with Eli, I'm completely shocked which seems quite contradictory, but I am. Of course because I got this news today Eli has been out of sorts causing me great stress and concern over the thought of adding another to the mix. Gotta love that! Eli and I went to Barnes & Noble this afternoon to buy a book titled: "I'm a Big Brother" to 'give' to Lehr tonight as a way of telling him. Last time I didn't do anything neat or creative, so I tried harder this go-round. My first appointment is set for the first week of December and I'm relieved it is so soon. I'm not sure how it's possible since it has been just over a year, but I've really forgotten most of the do's and don'ts that I was so versed in when I was pregnant just over a year ago. I guess it's true that children make you lose your mind!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

So Much for Separation Anxiety!

So I decided to enroll Eli in a Mothers' Morning Out program at a local church. I'm not committed to any set number of days, but the plan is to bring Eli there once/week for a few hours. The only 'non-mommy' time Eli gets is on Sundays when he is in the church nursery, so I wanted to increase that time a little in the spirit of gradual transition from 100% Mommy Time to Pre-school in a few years. (Yes, I'm aware that at this rate the gradual will be V E R Y gradual.) I planned to only leave him there for two hours max today, so that he could get used to it. (However, on my return visit I overestimated how long the drive would take and ended up cutting Eli's time to only 90-minutes.) When I brought Eli to the classroom he clung to me for a fleeting moment until he spotted a walker identical to one he has at home and crawled over as quick as he could. He never looked back.... When I went to pick him up, I had to search to find him as he was in a pile of toys, totally engrossed. Once we made eye-contact he held up the wooden banana he was playing with, said "Nana", and returned to playing. Since there were no tears, even upon re-entry, I think I can safely say that Eli will enjoy his next visit when I leave him a bit longer.

Monday, November 13, 2006


So last night Eli had another meltdown, very similar to last week's incident that ended in some blanket QT for Eli in his crib. Lehr was home to witness this one, and he was just as baffled as I. Once he calmed down we brought him back to the table to eat some dinner before we bathed him and sent him to bed. This morning Eli was a little testy also. Right before his morning nap I found the culprit: two molars have popped through. The poor kid was probably in major pain! I've been wondering when more teeth would show, since his moodiness HAD to be a symptom of teething (I refused to believe it was just Eli's new 'personality'). Anyway, now we can be certain the cause of some of his recent temper tantrums and meltdowns. Also the reason we've had a lot of sullen faces posing for pictures this last week.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Halloween, Take II

We planned on trick-or-treating with Cooper on Halloween night, but sickness foiled those plans, so tonight the boys got dressed up in their costumes again so we could get pictures of them together. Strangely enough, the best photos of both boys came when they switched costumes. Eli started as a pumpkin and Cooper came dressed as Dumbo. But once Cooper put on the orange suit, he strutted around like he was in a fashion show. And as much as Eli loves his pumpkin costume, the ears on Dumbo were quite intriguing to him.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Welcome to the Monkey House

So Eli is normally a monkey. He's all over the place. He makes funny noises. He makes odd faces while eating. He crawls like an ape. He climbs up and down anything he can.

But today he was a monkey for other reasons. This morning I took him to his first gym class at The Little Gym. His music class is over and I figured before we started swim lessons again we'd try something new. (If I don't get out and see other adults once a week I go nuts, and I've learned that Eli feels the same if he doesn't get out and see other kids. We are trying to rotate activities so we always have something going on, but only one thing per week, as to not overwhelm our bank account or Eli.) From the minute we walked in, Eli was in awe. Mats and bars and beams a plenty. As far as thee eye can see. Once we entered the play area Eli made a bee-line for the lowest balance beam, which he scurried under at breakneck speed. (Eli often crawls under any obstacle he can. Last week I found him crawling under the shorter side of our kitchen chairs, just for kicks.) The class started with a few songs/activities on the main mat, but Eli was far too busy investigating the equipment for most of that. There were a few structured activities on the equipment. Eli passed the first one with flying colors. The kids were to walk sideways on the balance beam (with an adults support around their waist, of course.) I didn't even have to prompt Eli's feet, as the instructor told us to. She was so surprised she even asked me how long he'd been taking gym classes (which he hasn't). I figure the dexterity he displayed comes from hours of inching around the guest bed, the coffee tables, the walls, etc. in our home.

The second part of Eli's monkey transformation today was in the form of speech. We've been working on animal sounds forever, but with no distinguishable comprehension. Today as we were reading a book with pictures of monkeys, I said to Eli, "Monkeys say 'Oo Oo Oo Oo. Ee Ee Ee Ee'." Eli looked at me and said "Oo Ee Oo Ee". I pulled out a few other books and went through the same process with the same results. Another case of Monkey See, Monkey Do.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Letting Off Some Steam

So after last week's *challenge* with Eli not seeing Lehr two nights in a row, I decided to make the most of today, since Lehr would get home after Eli went to sleep. Luckily, the weather in Atlanta was very accommodating: sunny and 70 degrees. Eli and I went for a walk by the river after lunch so he could see all of the dogs and ducks. And after his nap we went to a new playground near our house. Lehr has taken him a few times, but this was my first visit. It is WONDERFUL for younger kids because all of the raised areas are completely closed in by wood fences (no space at all), so I can let him climb inside without worry of him falling and hurting himself. Eli had a blast climbing to the top of the slide and then going down all by himself. I tried to show him how to turn his body around once he got to the top so that he would slide down feet first, but once left alone he *forgot* and went down head first. He seemed to have a blast either way....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New PJs

Now that the temperatures are dipping I've had to re-vamp Eli's nighttime attire. During the summer we would just dress him in a diaper and a sleeveless cotton sleepsack (to protect the crib from his bar more than anything). He needs more than that now that winter is upon us. Eli has two long sleeved pajama-ish outfits from the spring that still fit him, but just barely. So on a weekend trip to Old Navy I picked up two new pair of 'big boy' pjs. Tonight Eli posed for several pictures in them as if he were in a photo shoot (wherever would he get that idea?!?!)....kneeling and putting his back to us, only to turn around and look over his shoulder at the camera. What a poser!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Pumpkin Love

Eli loves his Halloween costume. Plain and simple.

Since Halloween Eli's pumpkin costume has been on the floor in his closet (the closet floor is the 'pile' of outgrown clothing to be boxed up). Well, one of Eli's favorite games is to open his closet doors and play with all of the items in there: his shoe basket, his cowboy hat, his extra diapers, and now his pumpkin costume. About a week ago I noticed that the first thing Eli would do when he opened the closet door was giggle and crawl right over to the costume (the puffy pumpkin part) and lie his head down on it to snuggle.

Oh, and Eli started signing "bath" this week....this kid is on a roll! I couldn't get him to do it for the camera, but he did sign "flower" on command for me today:

Monday, November 06, 2006

Donation Corner: Never-ending Need

In case you haven't noticed there is a link to the right of this post for a grassroots organization called Emergency Communities. Their work in the relief efforts after Katrina have continued to help the many affected. This is a cause very near to our hearts as we have loved New Orleans and appreciated its culture for many years. There used to be a link underneath that one to the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. Now that the walk is over, I've removed the link, but I still feel strongly about that cause also. I've come to realize that there are many charities and organizations that I want to help by way of listing them on Eli's site, but I worry that such a long list will overwhelm my readership. In an effort to remedy this, I plan to change my "Donation Corner" at the beginning of each month. I'll do my best to choose charities/organizations that are truly worthy, and if you would like to suggest one to me, I'd be glad to read up on it.

This month I'm going to maintain the Emergency Community link. I know it's been over a year since Hurricane Katrina, but there is still SO MUCH to be done in the Gulf communities. Thank you to everyone who has supported or will support any of the causes on Eli's website. You are making a difference!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Eli has had a pretty uneventful few days. His teeth have been bothering him more than normal (though I fully realize the first two years he will ALWAYS be teething), so there have been some fussy days in recent past. On Friday Eli spent the entire morning (from 9:15am until 11:00am when we had to leave for his music class) in his crib. It was not a punishment; it was completely Eli's preference and choice. In the midst of breakfast Eli started pitching a major fit and didn't stop when I took him out of his high chair, when I put him down, when I picked him up, when we went get the picture. Finally I thought, "I'll put him in his crib for a minute to see if that calms him and then we'll move on from there." (Note: Eli has a blanket that he sleeps with that he absolutely loves. (I've nicknamed it the "magic" blanket.) It's use is restricted to the crib only though, except for rare exceptions like a plane ride. Sure enough, once he was in the crib with his blanket he immediately calmed. Even though he wasn't acting tired, and he'd only been up for 45 minutes with a full 12-hour night's sleep under his belt, he put his head down and stuck his thumb in his mouth. (That is another trick of the blanket. Eli doesn't typically suck his thumb, but once he sees or feels his blanket, the thumb is like a magnet to his mouth.) So he calmed and reached out his arms like he wanted out of the crib. I picked him up but he was barely over the rail when he started to complain again and reach back for his crib. We repeated this three or four times before I realized he just wanted to be in there and he was happier in there. I walked away and started laundry, coming back to check on him every few minutes. He was happy as a clam, singing, humming, pointing...all the while clutching his blanket. That kid stayed in there (un-entertained by me) for almost two hours. He did nod off at the end, getting a short little snooze before we left, but for the most part, he was awake, disproving any theory I might have had about him being tired. Go figure...sometimes this kid just wants to lie around in bed all day!

Another oldie but goodie in his crib: his aquarium. Eli not only knows how to turn it on and off, but he knows how to adjust the volume and how to change the 'station'. (There is a button to toggle the music/sounds available). It is rare for me to come into Eli's room in the morning and not find Eli lying on his blanket, on his stomach with his knees under him and his thumb in his mouth as he stares at the aquarium which he turned on minutes before.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fish Out of Water

Eli and I went to the Georgia Aquarium today. It's been so neat to see how much more he gets into the fish and other aquatic life each time we go. Today he was so excited to see the sea lions as they zoomed past him in their tank. Also the tropical fish caught his eye; he watched them swim around and around for a good ten minutes.

I've mentioned before how much Eli likes the water to run for his entire bath. We usually fill the tub up enough for his bath and then let the water drip for the remainder. His favorite activity is placing his open mouth underneath the stream of water. It doesn't matter if the water is dripping or on full blast - he wants to drink. Since I usually let Lehr bathe Eli his 'new' trick might not be that new, but yesterday was the first time I noticed it, so my label is sticking for now. I often place the wet washcloths on Eli's back or head, like a cape or hat. He usually pulls it right off, but last night he put it back on his head again and again. Tonight he repeated this trick for me several times.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs....

I forgot to mention Eli's newest sign in the post about our trip: flower. This is a sign that has been viewed by Eli at least three times each day since I began signing with him because of Eli's love for flowers. Everytime we go to the grocery store we stop at the flowers outside and/or inside so Eli can point and giggle. Last week we came upon some flowers and Eli started to move his hand near his nose (as close to the sign for "flower" that I've ever seen from him), prompting Lehr to recognize this as Eli communicating. He's also become more specific with his "more" signs. When I'm feeding him from two bowls at home he'll sign "more" and then point to which bowl he wants "more" from. (Quite demanding, isn't he?) Also, his "please" has become more frequent. We still have to request it from him, but he complies more often now. Like most of his signs, "please" is not quite correct. Instead of rubbing his heart, he rubs his stomach.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

Eli enjoyed his first Trick-or-Treating experience tonight. We were hoping Cooper could join us, but he was a bit under the weather today so we'll have to wait until next year for that. After dinner we got Eli dressed in his costume and we sat on the front porch handing out candy to a few neighbors. Eli was quite taken with our jack-o-lantern. He could see the flame inside and he wanted to touch it. (Even though he knows it is "hot" and will sign that to you, he doesn't quite understand the concept of "burn" yet.)

Once we started making our rounds Eli turned comatose on us; he was a complete mute with a total lack of expression on his face. I guess the whole routine of going up to houses and meeting new people was overwhelming enough to make him shut down. He never fussed though, even when we prompted him to walk holding our hands for some of the houses. Eli did enjoy seeing the other children in their costumes. That was probably the highlight for him. That and the house that gave him a box of Nerds (he loved to shake it like his egg shakers).

When we returned home Eli finally got to see what all of the neighbors had been putting in his pumpkin carrier. He was quite interested in the different colors and shapes of wrappers. I'd think by now you'd all know me well enough to know Eli will NOT be eating any Halloween candy this year.
That's right.
I'm a horrible mother who is undoubtedly scarring my (fourteen-month-old) child by not letting him eat processed sugar products for which he has no taste and therefore does not realize what he is (or is not) missing. I can only imagine the hours of therapy he'll need....

Here is some video of Eli's first 'official' Halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Like My Own Little Puppet...

So I mentioned in my blog about the weekend that I've been trying to teach Eli how to crawl off of higher up surfaces by going down feet first. Even though he tried to climb down the front porch steps head first this afternoon (at which time I corrected him and he proceeded to comply), he did his first unprompted dismount tonight. Lehr had Eli on our bed after his bath (Eli's bath, not Lehr's), and Eli went to the edge, turned himself around so that his legs faced the drop-off instead of his hands and face, and lowered himself off. Our bed is pretty high, so he could still hurt himself if no one is there to supervise, but I have to think any injury sustained from the backwards dismount has to be less in severity than a forward falling one. Lehr said Eli performed again unprompted twice before he summoned me upstairs to view our prodigy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted...

We were fortunate enough to travel to Watercolor in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida this last weekend. Even though the weather didn't cooperate 100%, it was another phenomenal experience. Eli was not crawling at all the last time we visited, so this trip was much more exploratory for him. Unfortunately it rained on Friday, but we still managed to get to the pool and beach on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday before we left. Eli really enjoyed the beach this time around. He didn't eat much (if any) sand, but he did discover the birds. He loved to chase them (doing his best ape-walk, of course) once they landed on the shoreline. Of course they never let him get close enough so he could touch them, but he sure tried! He also got much more courageous regarding the ocean. Although it was too cold for him to go swimming until the last day, he would crawl to the edge of the water and start to 'chase' the waves a little. Lucky for him, he never got completely soaked.

Eli spent a little time in the pool also, and he was MUCH more adventurous there. He liked to crawl to the edge and put his hand down to test out the water. Of course, then he wanted to lower himself in. I've been trying to teach him how to crawl off of couches, chairs, stairs, etc. by turning around and lowering his legs down first, but that only works half of the time. One afternoon by the pool Eli tried to climb out on top of the water and ended up swimming by himself for a few seconds. He actually stayed up pretty well considering he had no help. Another pleasant surprise: he didn't freak out or get scared enough to cry.

We rented a 'co-pilot' attachment for our bikes again, so Eli would have a way to enjoy the bike rides with us. He absolutely loved it. Before we left today, Eli and I went for an hour-long bike ride through Seaside and Watercolor, and all I could hear the entire time was Eli singing, laughing and talking.

The house we stayed in was amazing. We rented it with three other friends which turned out to be a great arrangement because we could cook at the house, saving money on restaurants and such. We brought along one of Eli's walker toys, which he used constantly to explore the house. There were several large screened-in decks for him to play on; one included a small Adirondack chair just for him!

Our ride home was not terrible, but Eli only napped for 40-minutes the whole (5 1/2 hour) time. Since he's been in the larger car seat he has not been able to nap long-term. One of the payoffs to getting older I guess.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gone to the Beach....

Back on Monday....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Drop It Like It's Hot

A few things I've neglected to mention in the last couple of posts...

#1 - Eli 'drew' his first drawing last week. I bought him some washable crayons and let him go to town. I honestly didn't even have to demonstrate what to do; I just let him pick a crayon and away he went. He picked four crayons (and drew with each one) before he decided he was done. The masterpiece is currently hanging on our fridge.

#2 - Eli is signing hot all of the time. He knows what objects are hot, but he signs it even for objects that aren't, as if he's asking us, "Are these things hot?" The other day Lehr walked into the room and Eli signed "hot". Right on!!! I've been trying to convey the meaning of hot to Eli, so he would realize it's not just something that refers to objects, but rather their temperature. I often give him a warm piece of food and wait until he touches it and looks at me quizzically before signing to him "hot". We've gone through this process with the laundry too. As soon as I open the dryer door I pull out a warm towel and let him touch it while I sign "hot". Today was the first time I think he understood. I gave him some lunch that was warmer than normal (not on purpose) and he went to pick it up and dropped it quickly and signed "hot". NICE!!

#3 - Eli says "nana", as in BAnana, almost every time he sees or eats one. Last night he was pointing towards the counter (as pointing is his favorite sign) throughout his dinner. After he finished most of it I went over to the counter and picked up a banana and asked him if he wanted one. He said "Na-Na", very slow and deliberately. Same thing this morning. He likes to say it and then have me say "banana" back.