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.

Monday, October 23, 2006


OK....who did it?

Who slipped the Red Bull into Eli's milk at dinner?

Eli woke up from his afternoon nap screaming in what appeared to be unbearable pain. After trying to soothe him in as many different ways as I could think of for 15 minutes, I figured it must be teething and gave him some Motrin. Shortly after he returned to normal (just in time for Daddy to come home....it figures!). Once dinner was finished, Lehr and Eli went upstairs to play for a few minutes before Eli's bath. I could hear the animated screams of delight all the way downstairs. I could also hear the crazed solo laugh of Eli as he played by himself. When I went up to check things out I saw a baby on speed. Eli was zooming in and out of rooms (on all fours), moving from one toy to another so quickly it gave me whiplash. He pounded the mallets on the xylophone, then he shook the bells, then he picked up the cup and pretended to drink, then he climbed up the chair, then he crawled into the bathroom, and so on and so on and so on. All within 20 minutes of his bedtime.... Eli normally has a lot of energy, but at 7:45PM, it was quite a tenacious display. My only guess is the Motrin gave him a little extra boost tonight.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Here Comes the Big Parade

Eli went to his first parade tonight. One of our annual (Atlanta) traditions is the Halloween Parade in Little 5 Points. We missed it last year, so this was Eli's first L5P experience. Even though this parade is more scary than friendly Eli didn't seem to be too freaked out at all. He probably doesn't know enough to be scared yet - give him a few years! The only time Eli started to cry was when someone threw glitter/confetti on him. For some reason that was too much for him to handle! He thoroughly enjoyed the stream of costumed dogs, as well as the five or six marching bands that passed through. All in all it was a very enjoyable experience for Eli. Next stop: Mardi Gras!

Click here for more pictures of the parade.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Shake It Like A Salt Shaker...

In case you weren't aware, Eli has been taking two music classes for a few months now. I signed him up for the first (non-free) before I found out about the second (free). I figured if nothing else it would be another good social outlet for him (and me!). He seems so interested in music at home; he sways his head and arms, uses sticks to bang on the drum, or spoons to bang on the pots and pans, shakes the tambourine, strums his apple, etc. However, once we arrive at either class, he does nothing but explore the instruments with his mouth. This is surprising to me considering we have almost all of the instruments he sees at home already. That changed yesterday. We got to the 'egg shaker portion' of class today and Eli went to town. (It's only fitting since that's the instrument he's had at home the longest, and the one he uses most frequently.) He shook that egg like crazy for three whole songs; the class leader even commented on that. Ahh, my little rockstar....

Thursday, October 19, 2006

More of the Simple Life

Lehr took Eli to Home Depot this past weekend for the first time in as long as Eli can remember (his memory-span is lacking, however). You'd have thought they were at Disney World given Eli's excitement. Lehr said the race car shopping cart took up the whole isle, but the look of contentment on Eli's face made it all worthwhile. Apparently he thought he was hot stuff, 'driving' the cart from the top. Apparently the cart was complete with a steering wheel, so Eli felt like a navigator. I guess that's another trick in the bag for a rainy afternoon!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Real Simple

Eli is very into the simple pleasures of life these days. The vacuum is (and has been for some time) his favorite toy. On the days I vacuum the floors Eli spends a good 20 minutes inspecting all of the tubes and compartments before I plug it in.

In addition to his pots, pans, and tupperware infatuation, Eli is a little obsessed with socks. Usually his own, but if I'm folding my socks he still perks up. Recently he started trying to tighten his shoes with the tool each night; now he's using the same tactic to attempt returning his socks to his feet.

Another 'simple' game Eli plays is the silo game. He has a Little People barn with a silo attached. There is a operable door at the bottom of the silo for Eli to collect dropped toys. This afternoon he dropped the sheep down the silo, opened the door and took her out, dropped the sheep, opened the door, and so on and so on for close to ten minutes.

Finally there is Flounder. We have a large stuffed Flounder from back-in-the-day when The Little Mermaid first came out in theaters. Since Eli is mobile enough to wrestle with the toy now, it has become a big source of entertainment. See for yourself...

(BTW - we recently got a new computer with new video software, so if the clip looks to be of 'older' quality, that is the effect I was going for. Yes, I'm aware that particular effect is lost on web-viewers considering most video looks 'old' online anyway. I'm excited about the new software - bear with me.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Eli's Feet

I am posting this on the "Eli's Feet" page, to the right. It shows the progression of treatment for Eli and his current state. My hope is that it will also ease the minds of the many parents who email me about clubfeet and how it will affect their baby when it comes time to walk/crawl/pull up.

When Lehr and I first found out about the potential for Eli to have clubfeet, we were very encouraged by the information we found online, mostly posted by parents of children also affected. Once I began blogging about Eli's treatment I immediatly started receiving emails weekly from other parents-to-be, or friends of parents, or neighbors of a family, thanking me for providing Eli's story and other (useful) information. I can honestly say that documenting his process and helping other families dealing with this has been (and will continue to be) a pleasure. I consider it more of a 'pay-it-forward' type of service considering we were once in the shoes of those who are uncertain what the future holds for their child(ren)'s feet. What I'm trying to say is Thank You to everyone who has left comments or sent an email regarding the posts about Eli's feet. When I hear the stories about successful treatment and the process a friend or family member has gone through with clubfeet reminds me why I keep Eli's website public. More importantly, I'm so thankful that what I've posted is helping someone.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sunday, October 15, 2006

How Corny!

Eli had his first official corn on the cob tonight. He has tried it before, but without too much interest. Tonight we gave Eli a whole cob and he went to town! Seriously, I think if I had enough, I could have fed him ten cobs and he would have finished them all!! When we put the corn on his plate, he first tried to eat it by putting one end in his mouth and chomping down. After watching us for a few minutes, Eli caught on to the more efficient method of consumption and there was no looking back. Before we knew it Eli had finished a whole cob on his own. I guess I'll be adding corn cobs to the grocery list!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Pumpkin Shopping

Since our move to Atlanta several years back, it has been a tradition to drive an hour north to Burt's Pumpkin Patch to pick out our pumpkin(s) each year. Last year Eli got all decked out for the occasion, but this year he opted for comfort over fashion. We got up early this morning to meet some friends at Burt's, and no sooner did we arrive than the camera started clicking away. Eli only got one pumpkin this year (to be carved next week), and no wheelbarrow rides. The weather was absolutely gorgeous: lots of sun with just a hint of fall in the air. This was the first year we arrived before 10AM....MUCH better than the noontime crowd we've contended with in the past.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Stealing Kisses

Lehr was rewarded for going into the office late this morning. Eli blew kisses to him three times as he walked out the door.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fall Kickoff

The weather is starting to cool, we're going pumpkin shopping this weekend, and the leaves are changing.... Fall is here!! To start off the season, Eli and I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens with Cooper and Carissa yesterday. The boys had a blast crawling around the kids' garden playground. We managed to snap a few pictures of them, but, of course, they never seemed to look at the camera at the same time. The ABG have a great display of fall-themed scarecrows right now; it's worth the trip if you're in the area!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Eli has been imitating phone use for a while now; if he sees a telephone, or if he hears it ring he will hold his hand to his ear, cock his head to the side and say "yah?" Now he has moved his imitation skills to dressing. Each night before Eli goes to sleep we put on his bar and shoes and tighten the screws on the bottom so he doesn't come 'undone' during the night. (He tends to kick a lot and this loosens the screws.) The wrench we use to tighten the screws is of great interest to Eli. He loves to hold it and turn it over and over in his hands while we get his shoes tied. In the last week instead of handing it to us after we've attached the shoes he's taken the tool to the bottom of his shoes directly in an attempt to tighten them himself. He even knows which side does the tightening. One smart cookie!!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ants in the Pants!!!

That is Lehr's new nickname for Eli. He cannot seem to sit and focus at all these days. Lehr actually asked me yesterday where Eli got that from. (Seriously? You have no clue?!) From the airplane trip to any occasion where Eli has to sit on someone's lap for more than two minutes, Eli is all over the place. Toddler-hood is here, I guess. He wouldn't even sit on the front porch long enough for me to take some pictures of him this morning; he had to crawl over to the watering can, down the stairs, up the stairs.....

One of the most obvious manifestations of Eli's condition is his newfound interest to act like a dog or cat and chase objects around the floor. He bats around gator-ade bottles, soccer balls, tupperware..anything he can find. Clearly he is starved for attention and has no playmates. We captured some of this behavior while out west: Eli chased a (soft) pinecone around the deck for a good 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Fall is Here!

The weather in Atlanta is beautiful this weekend, so we took Eli along for a bike ride this morning. Of course, this meant the camelbaks were out again, which was music to Eli's ears. Our little scuba diver look-a-like had a blast figuring the valve system out once again! He also got to explore the vast array of leaves falling to the ground at the trailhead; as usual, Eli hiked with Lehr while I rode and vice versa. His newest game is saying "Uh Oh" when something falls (or when he drops something purposely so that he can say "uh oh").

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Big Dipper

For about a month now Eli has been eating with a fork about once a day, but we have to really work with him to make that happen, considering he cannot get the food onto his fork by himself. I decided to start trying the spoon with him now because it should be easier to load that utinsil on his own. Last night I gave him his little dipper (a flat ended plastic utinsil that he can dip into thick foods) with his applesauce and millet while I made dinner. I showed him once or twice what to do and he seemed to catch on pretty well. If I stopped paying attention he tended to allow his fingers to wander into the bowl, but that's to be expected, right?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Sign

Eli has become a signing fool. Some of you may have noticed that his 'current sign' list to the right of the page has grown in the last week. He is signing "more" pretty consistently along with "milk". Now when he hears an airplane overhead (quite often considering we live near an air force base), he tries to sign that. Also "hot" (which is similar to "thank you", so there is sometimes confusion there) and "telephone", which has been the easiest to teach.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Standing On Top Of The World

Eli is not walking yet, but he is motoring around as much as he can. He uses the wall, the stairs, furniture, people, whatever he can to cruise. When we are upstairs he often uses my large red exercise ball as a walker. It rolls at just the right pace on the carpet. For the last few days he's been letting go of his support (whatever it may be at the moment) and standing/balancing on his own for several seconds before sitting down. Last night he pushed the ball a few feet, stopped and let go to stand, then put his hands back on the ball and repeated several times. All the while he was very controlled in his movement. Pretty soon, I tell you!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wild, Wild West

What a week! The trip started with a not-so-bad four-plus hour flight westbound. Luckily we were on a newer plane with individual television screens so Eli had something to help distract him. Lucky again, the seat between Lehr and I was empty so we had three between us to spread out. We decided to stick around the house the following day to get Eli acclimated to the new surroundings before abandoning him to pursue our own activities. Grandma Cathie knew how much he enjoys his walker/rider at home so she bought him one for his time out west. Eli is going to be very disappointed when he wakes up to play with his original here because it is far inferior. The vehicle in Tahoe lights up, talks and has a large compartment under the seat to store toys. My favorite audio: "Mah name is 'Mater. It's like tuh-mater, but without the 'tuh'!". (I guess he is one of the characters from the movie "Cars".) Eli absolutely LOVES 'Mater and spent many hours pushing him around the house, walking with him on the deck, running him into walls, and riding him down the driveway. Even though Eli stuck pretty close to my side that first day, he was happier than a clam the next day when we left before he woke up to go for a hike. I guess it helps that he has Grandma Cathie wrapped around his finger. The next day when Grandpa Jim arrived Eli acted like he'd become reacquainted with an old friend. "Grandpa Who" no longer! Eli was quick to show Grandpa that banging the keys on his laptop was really the best thing for it, and that soy Chick'n Nuggets aren't really that bad. Eli had such a good time that Lehr and I were able to steal away twice to hike, once to bike, and once to take a computer class. (This was great for us as we were able to complete three portions of the Tahoe Rim Trail: just over 24 miles hiking and about 14 miles mountain biking, including the well-known Flume Trail.)

There is a creek and an irrigation 'creek' running behind my parents house, so Eli spent much time throwing leaves into the water and watching them meander down the stream. He loved to add a little fake laugh after he tossed the foliage. On the way back up to the house one day we encountered a mother deer and her baby. The two were very aware of our presence (especially the mom), but they never ran, even when Eli let out a huge giggle. The trip ended with a less-than-preferable flight home, but we made it. And Eli recognized his car, his house, his crib immediately. He was very well behaved on the hour-long ride home after the flight, and he stayed up until his regular bedtime 'running' all over the house and inspecting all of his toys.

Here is the link to more pictures, if you're interested.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sweet Home Atlanta

I have never been as glad to land in Atlanta as I was today. If anyone reading was on Delta flight 1174, or any other flight in the area anywhere between Nevada and Georgia today, you would know why. Eli was not a happy camper for the entire flight. He got up at 6am so we could get to the Reno airport and he didn't sleep again until 25 minutes before we touched down in Atlanta. That's right....approximately seven straight hours of waketime for someone who can do four on a really good day. Lehr and I alternated walking around the cramped plane for most of the time; I even had two grandmothers offer to help me get him to sleep since he was so obviously unable to be soothed. Whatever...I have been on many a plane full of screaming kids in my day and I have never once given the parents of said kids the evil eye, so I figure I have some good karma points banked up.

Despite the last five hours, our trip out west was great. Pictures are uploading now, so I'll post details tomorrow.