Monday, December 31, 2007

Snug As A Bug In A Rug

Except when Eli says it, it's "Snug-a-bug-a-mug" or something similar. I started saying that to him a few weeks ago as I tucked his 'special' blanket around him before naptime. Then one day he started asking for it with his 'snug-a-bug' version. Now he asks for Elmo to be snug-a-bug, 'hoop' to be snug-a-bug, and today he asked for Maddux (or "baby") to be snug-a-bug. I put her in his crib before their naps and he was quite delighted. Two kids, snug-a-bug. Life is good.

All Day Long

Lehr taught Eli to say "All day long!" when he makes shots on the basketball hoop. Of course when Eli says it, "All De Yong!" is the translation, confusing anyone other than Lehr or I. Due to the numerous guests we've had in our house the last week or so and the rainy weather, Eli has put in many MANY hours on the court. (His main hoop is on the enclosed portion of the back deck.) I played out there with him for about thirty minutes on Christmas Eve and the kid was (is!) insane! He gets in a rhythm and it is amazing how many shots he can make in a row. "All day long" really is an appropriate commentary for him. As skillful as he is at two years old though, the poor kid doesn't have a chance at the NBA. Short (pun intended) of becoming the next John Stockton, his lack of height will most likely keep him on the bench. Regardless of whatever tall genes he might get from Lehr's side of the family, Lehr is taller than everyone on my side. Males included. (And he is only 5'10".) Looks like Eli will have to settle for being a big fish in a little pond....

Bummer

We tried to take Eli to see some neighborhood lights last night, one last time. There is a cul-de-sac a few blocks away that displayed three white Christmas trees in the median. These weren't just any trees, as they not only lit up but also played Christmas tunes. Eli loves these trees and for the last month we've altered our walking route to include the cul-de-sac at least four times each week. Back to last night: we drove to the cul-de-sac to find the trees still standing, but without any power. The lack of lights and music did not hold Eli's attention, of course. And as Lehr told him, "Oh no, Eli. The lights aren't on!", from the backseat came this response: "Bummer." It's been a while since I laughed that hard. It cracks me up that Eli not only repeats what he hears, but he also tends to use the new words in correct context.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gee-tar Fever!

Eli LOVES to play the guitar, or as he calls it, the gee-tar. I usually keep him in the beginning music set at church so he can hear the band and do any air guitaring before he goes to Sunday School. And at home he is forever asking Lehr or I to turn on some music so he can play gee-tar. Since D is an overindulgent Godfather, he bought Eli not one, but TWO guitars for Christmas. Eli absolutely loves one in particular and his strumming is consuming much of his daily life. No video of that yet, but here are a few seconds of his air skills the week before D spoiled him rotten. video

Donation Corner: Walking On Water

I have Lehr to thank for this one. He pointed me to this site a while back, but due to the overabundance of charities I wanted to highlight before the holidays, I'm just now getting to post this.

Walking On Water is a non-profit, Christian-based organization that focuses on sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This work is done primarily through surf camps in California. They also use surf films, called "Outreaches" on their website, which feature pro surfers as the Gospel message is presented.

The most unique thing I've found about Walking On Water is their approach to mission trips. They focus their trips to areas where Christ is not known and where He might not be known due to difficulty entering those areas as a missionary. The "10/40 Window" is their emphasis: "this Window extends from West Africa to East Asia, from 10 degrees north to 40 degrees north of the equator. This region includes 61 countries, two-thirds of the world’s population, 82 percent of the poorest of the poor, and 97 percent of the least-evangelized people groups." Walking On Water hopes to make a presence in these areas by befriending the surf community.

There are several ways to support this organization. Financial contributions are always welcome. They also have an online store where you can purchase clothing. Non-monetary aid is needed in the way of prayer
, awareness, and volunteering.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

She's Done It Again...

This week Maddux has learned to successfully roll from back to stomach any old time she feels like it. The problem is she will do this from time to time in her crib and then be stuck. (Eli did the same.) Today I had her rolling back to her back, but she seems to only want to go one way, so if she doesn't have enough room on that side, she's hosed...

Mad Dog will also stand at the train table still, as Lehr has taught her, and now she's getting cocky about it. She'll hold on for about ten seconds and then let go with one hand and try to reach for something. One step at a time, please!

Kingpin

Eli enjoyed a night of bowling last night. There was quite a wait at the local alley, so we occupied our time with 'hoops' (go figure), skeeball, and a few race car games. The skeeball was a trip to watch because Eli could not get the concept of rolling underhand, no matter how much his cousin, Rachel, tried to show him. I figured Eli would enjoy the actual game too, given that he repeatedly strayed over to the lanes while we were in the arcade with Rachel, Mom-Mom, and Aunt Megan. Finally our number was called and Eli put on his little bowling shoes (they were so small!). On his first attempt, Eli bowled a strike! There were bumpers up, but it was impressive, nonetheless. He even carried his ball out to the starting gate by himself half of the time. Of course, that same half found him triggering the 'buzzer' that sounds when you cross the line. As for surprises, Eli only tried to kick the ball (like a soccer ball) once! I'd have guessed he'd try attempt that at least half a dozen times... His favorite thing to say was "Peeens. Knock down."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Standing On Top Of The World

Look at the new trick Daddy taught Mad Dog this morning! While Eli and Mommy were otherwise occupied, Lehr placed Maddux close enough to the train table so she could grab and lean. That she did! Then when Lehr showed Eli Maddux's new feat, he complained, 'Dirty!!' because she started to gnaw on the side of the table.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Leavin' On A Jet Plane...

The kids and I drove my parents to the airport after lunch today. Eli got in an insane amount of hoops with both of them before we left...it's no wonder he's still taking a nap (at 4:45PM). He kept saying, "E-I get out?" at the airport while we were unloading their bags. This is the first visit I think he'll really 'get' that they were here but now are gone. As he drifted off for his nap, I heard him through the monitor: "Gappa Jim. Hoops. Two-points. All day yong (long)." Confusion and disappointment are soon to come....

Basketball Fever

Eli got a visit from some Florida friends last night. One of my closest friends from high school (and her family) came over for dinner last night. This meant a very full house as she and her husband have three kids. Eli slept until the second they got here (actually several minutes after they arrived), which usually means a very grumpy kid. Once he saw Brandon and Jake playing guitar and hoops though, he realized the potential for a very fun evening. He even kept asking the youngest (girl) to play: Emm-ee pay hoops??

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Beat-Bohs!

That's what it sounds like when Eli says 'meatballs'. Our traditional Christmas dinner consists of homemade spaghetti and meatballs (family recipe). Gappa Jib does 90% of the work, so Eli decided to help him as much as he could. This consisted of saying "beat-bohs" and counting to three for Gappa Jib to press the button on the onion chopper. Nine of ten times, Eli's count to three was "three, foh, fibe, eight, nine, ten", but it's the thought that counts, right?

Christmas, Indeed!

Eli has had the best few days. Maddux too for that matter, but Eli's joy is much more apparent. He's had Gamma Cappy (or Caffie, depending on the day) and Gappa Jib (sometimes Jim now) wrapped around his finger. He has done nothing but play hoops, cook, and be showered with attention for the past three days. His run-oh-love will end tomorrow afternoon, which means he's going to be quite disappointed when he wakes up Friday morning to Mommy and Maddux only. Eli has had such a blast with his grandparents. Even the simplest activities, like making water with Grandma or sweeping spiderwebs outside with Grandpa, become memories for him.

Mad Dog has been a willing recipient of the attention and love also. Although she still loves to jump in her jump'n'go, she LOVES that someone will sit in front of her and watch while she jumps. And there is no shortage of willing laps and arms when I'm not feeding Maddux, that's for sure!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Silent Night...

We opted to not attend a Christmas Eve service this year (first time ever). Our church had their special service on Sunday morning, and if ever a year to skip the Christmas Eve night church-dinner combo, we figured this was it. Managing to keep both kids occupied and happy through a service and a nice dinner out on the town in the evening hours would have been difficult. On top of that, my parents are only in town for a few days, so we decided to let them enjoy every moment they could at the house with Eli and Maddux.

The first gift we had Eli open on Christmas morning was the porcelain Jesus from one of our Nativity Scenes. We tried to explain to him that Jesus was/is God's gift to us. All he understood was that he got to place it in the manger all by himself. Santa brought Eli a variety of plastic food items, some pots, pans and wooden spoons, and a microwave. He was loving it. Maddux received several gifts she couldn't care less about (yet), but Eli was quick to test them out and he approved.

After lunch, Eli helped me decorate the "birt-day cake" for Jesus. His sprinkling technique is amazing :) He blew out the candle after we sang, though his forehead almost burned because I held him too close.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Roll On!!

Maddux rolled from back to front today. Even though she has already rolled the other way (stomach to back), she hasn't performed that trick in at least a month. She's attempted the back-to-front maneuver several times a day, every day for at least December, if not earlier. She gets 90% of the way there and then stops, causing herself to roll back like a turtle stuck on his shell-side. Her success today was aided by a rug however; she grasped the shag carpet one we have in the living room to give herself the extra edge to push past her usual 90%. We'll take it either way! Daddy was present for this milestone, so Maddux repeated her trick, just to make sure he'd remember.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Too Many Chefs in The Kitchen

Since it is the holidays we have a bunch of cardboard boxes arriving at the house. One particularly big one showed up yesterday, so Lehr got a great idea. Instead of just recycling it, he made a 'toy' for Eli first. If you've been to our house in the last month, you've seen Eli's fondness for cooking these days, so the obvious choice was a range/stove top and oven. Lehr decked it out with holes for spatulas and knobs on the front (made from Eli's tool set). Eli loves it. No need to spend money on a 'real' kitchen for the kid - cardboard is just fine! We missed our walk yesterday due to rain, but Eli didn't mind at all. He made 'hayn-gers' (hamburgers), pancakes, corn, birt-day cake, and 'bok-lee' (broccoli). We honestly spent every waking minute (except for a quick 30-minute trip to Harry's) 'cooking' and playing with Daddy's gift.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What a Difference...

What a difference a few days makes. Thankfully, the last two days have proven to be much more 'normal' and much less 'horrible'. The past two weeks have found me questioning any parenting philosophies I'd adopted, as Eli's behavior was off the charts (and not in the good way). Today has been the most awesome day so far, and yesterday wasn't half bad either, so I'm hoping that 'phase' is on it's way out. This isn't to say Eli has been perfect - we've had two small tantrums already today - but he has been displaying his sunny disposition and sweet nature more often than not. Eli has been entertaining his sister all day long: singing to her, talking to her, and reading her books. And he's been sharing with Mommy too! We cooked all morning and then had a trip to Harry's. Eli didn't give me any lip when I asked him to clean up his toys or put away his books. I've had to pinch myself numerous times.

Anyway, no real point to this post other than to say my boy is back. Sometimes I feel like I blog more often about the hard days than the good days, when in actuality, the good far outweighs the bad.....

NayTeeVeeTee Scene

Last night we took the kids to a live Nativity Scene after dinner. I was unsure how much Eli would get out of it, but at the very least I knew he'd see kids and animals, which are always a hit. We arrived after the first showing started, so we only got about half the story before they took a break. Eli sat on Lehr's shoulders and watched intently as the shepherds walked to the stable with the llamas and sheep. During the break, the animals were leashed and available for petting. That pretty much made Eli's day! He loved the two sheep, but he wasn't as much a fan of the llama. (I'm sure it was a size issue.) As we drove away, Eli kept asking "Nay-tee-vee-tee?" I think we'll be making a return visit tonight.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Days

Life is good. Eli loves his sister and she absolutely adores him. Anytime he is doing anything (reading, playing, running), she stops what she is doing and tracks him with her eyes. Even if she is tired and fussy, she'll stop crying and laugh if he is doing anything remotely entertaining. My new favorite phrase of Eli's is "Here-go tisser." (or "baby") (Here you go, sister.) He loves to give her his toys, his blanket(s), his food.... Today he read a book to her after their naps. Life. Is. Good.

The Story Behind The Scrape

There really isn't one. Lehr and Eli were outside playing in the bitter cold. Eli was wearing his jacket (makes some arm movements difficult - think "The Christmas Story" and Ralphie's snowsuit) and a pair of gloves. One of the gloves was on the ground so Eli bent down to pick it up. He toppled and mopped the driveway with his face. Given the amount of hard falls and tumbles he's taken in the last two years, it's amazing that this is the first 'real' bang up he's received. He cried for less than a minute and only got really upset when Lehr showed him his reflection in the mirror. It looks much worse today as his wounds have started to scab. It's hard being a rough and tough boy!

You Should See The Other Guy....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Party Time!

Eli's class Christmas party was this morning. I had a Mom's Meeting while he was at school, but I was able to leave early so I could help out with the party. Lehr had the day off, so he was there too (much to Eli's pleasure). I had foam "Santa" hats for kids to decorate. I attached sticker letters to spell their names before we got there and then the kids got to decorate them with Christmas shapes after they ate their cookies. The kids were so excited to see the balloons and the cookies (in Christmas tree shapes).

Maddux didn't sleep at all when I was at my meeting, and then the party kept her very alert. (She has been 'out' in her crib for two hours now.) One of the teachers kept telling Maddux that she looked just like her brother, as if she didn't know!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Talk To The Hand!

Maddux has been enjoying and exploring her hand(s) big time in the last week. At least a dozen times each day I catch her holding one (usually her left) in front of her face as she rotates it front and back, so she can get both views, I guess. She seems quite taken with her appendage(s)!

Mad Dog is eating much better now...she enjoys her solids quite a lot. Her menu now includes sweet potatoes, avocado, rice cereal and bananas. Eli still loves to feed her when given the chance, but he's become a little more rough with it recently. I need to stand pretty close by when he feeds otherwise Maddux ends up choking on the spoon.

Weekend Wrap Up

The bleeding gums are back. Eli woke up from his nap on Saturday crying out for several minutes until I got to him. When I opened his door, he way lying on his back in his crib, just crying and holding his mouth. As soon as he saw me, he said "Teeth Hurt!!" Poor guy. Of course that was only the second time since Maddux's birth that Lehr and I were leaving the kids for a date (Lehr's Christmas party), so the guilt was flowing. Eli had a great time playing with Uncle D, but he did cry out for Daddy a bit after Dave put him to bed.

Eli and I watched the original "Grinch" on Saturday. He doesn't see much TV, but that is such a great holiday show, and given his pain factor, I figured a little indulgence was in order. Eli was mesmerized. He only broke his glazed-over gaze to say "Kiss-mas Tee!" or "Tar!" (star) every once in a while.

Sunday I was otherwise occupied all day, so after 1PM, Lehr was on double-duty. There were plenty of bottles for Maddux, but apparently she refused them. This meant she didn't eat anything from 1PM-6:30PM. That's a pretty long (daytime) stretch for her! No wonder she was in such a foul mood for Lehr! He said he knew she must be miserable because she was even crying in the Jump & Go.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jump For Joy!

Maddux has found her calling: she'll be a trampoline or bungee expert one day. Some friends lent us their children's Jump & Go on Friday night, thinking Maddux might get some use out of it. And how. She didn't leave the contraption unless she was sleeping from Saturday morning until Sunday morning. We thought she was squirmy and active before; now she pushes off of one leg while laughing and spins herself around, all at the same time. Eli loves to watch her and tell her "Jump! Jump!"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Came Early!

Since Eli still doesn't really get the whole concept of Christmas as an over-commercialized present-Santa extravaganza (though I'm sure our time is approaching), today might as well have been the greatest day of the year for him. He and his friend, Tyler, made treats for the local firemen and then delivered them. The boys had a blast helping with the goodies: first they sprinkled green and red sugar on chocolate covered pretzels (I think more sugar ended up on the counter and the floor than on the pretzels), and then they helped Ty's mom make layer bars. Eli was all about that because he got to use a measuring cup to layer the ingredients. Of course when he thought no one was looking he attempted to scoop the bars with the cup. The boys played in the yard while the treats cooled down and then we drove over to the fire house. As Eli would say, "Holy Moe-ey!" The firemen were appreciative and offered to let the boys have a tour of the small house and firetruck. Tyler wasn't so sure about the big truck, but the ever-trusting Eli went right up into the 'cockpit' with the fireman. Both boys got plastic fire hats and badge stickers to wear. I think Eli touched every hose, tire, button, and light on the truck. He was also quick to point out the lawnmowers and rakes (because they were at least as exciting as the truck, right?). If you have kids who like fire trucks at all, I recommend bringing treats (or coffee, or lunch) to the local fire station (hey, you might need them someday, so why not thank them in advance?), and maybe you'll get a tour also! These firemen were more than willing to show the kids around and they seemed very happy that we were there to visit. Since Maddux was in her car seat, I was trying to keep an eye on Eli while still maintaining a close proximity to her. The guys were so friendly and helpful with her too, urging me to follow Eli around while they kept her entertained. One even followed us to our car so he could carry Maddie (since I obviously had my hands full). A huge Grand Slam day!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Cookie Monster

Eli had a Christmas cookie decorating party in the neighborhood today. It was immediately after his nap, so if there was a 'good' time of day, that would be it. To my pleasant surprise, he was awesome!! (We've had a rougher than rough week, and the day started out pretty bad too. Earlier in the week I was quite fearful because Eli's defiance didn't seem to be tied to anything (fatigue, sickness, teething). But today his teething pain was quite evident.) When we first arrived, the other kids were sitting at the table about to start decorating and Eli just stood and stared, unsure of what to make of the chaos. Once he sat down though, he started to spread icing like everyone else. After he saw other kids eating their creations, Eli looked at me and asked "eat?" Much to his surprise (and delight!) I told him he could. (We don't 'do' the sugar thing with Eli....he's over-energized as it is and he hasn't missed it yet!) He ate two cookies before all the kids decided they wanted to go inside to play with the hosts' toy collection. Eli busied himself for over an hour with the toy stroller (a favorite these days), musical instruments, and the pretend kitchen. Not that I was surprised; Eli's favorite activity at home right now is to use our pots, Tupperware, and wooden spoons to 'cook'. Unfortunately the rest of the night after the party was similar to earlier in the week. It was fun while it lasted!

Sing For Your Supper

Eli has grown fond of 'singing' recently. A few weeks back, he played in his crib for a whopping two hours before going down for a nap. Most of that time was spent 'singing' "Eli's Coming". Eli's version is a monotoned "Ee-I's Comin! Eee-I's Comin!" He asks for several songs by name: "Mane-der Tong" (Away in a Manger), "Een-gel Tong" (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing), "Take Ballgame Tong" (Take Me Out To The Ballgame), "Tun-tine Tong" (You Are My Sunshine), and "Ee-I Tong" (Eli's Coming). In the last few weeks he has added a few random songs to that list that I can only assume he learned at school. He asked for the "Pie-der Tong" and I correctly guessed "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and he asked for "Tar Tong", which was "Twinkle Twinkle". However "Ty-angle Tong" and "Owl Tong" I am lost on. I asked him to sing his "Ty-angle Tong" for me the other day and it sounded a little like "Twinkle Twinkle", but with a few "Ty-angle"s thrown in. Here is a quick sampling of Eli's singing.
video

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trouble....

I really have no business posting today; it's been a rough one where Eli is concerned. The last week has revealed a few less-than-desirable behaviors, but today was the most defiant. The kids and I dropped off some gifts at a local donation center and Eli was a typical 2-year-old. I really do try to not put too much expectation on him to be 'good' all the time, but certain things are not acceptable. Like going into someone's office and touching EVERYTHING. Granted, there were 'fun' things to see (Christmas trees and presents), but that's no excuse. I obviously need to start teaching Eli the concept of "hands-in-your-pockets". We then went to Willy's for dinner (Eli's fave) and took a quick spin through Publix (right next door). Lehr pushed the kids around while I got all of the necessities. Daddy's report was that Eli was incredibly defiant in everything....defiance for the sake of defiance. Hold on to your hats, folks!

Speaking of concepts, one of Eli's teachers taught him shapes recently and he's been showing off his skills at home. He knows how to put his pointer fingers and thumbs together to make a triangle! We were driving last week and all of the sudden Eli yells out "TY-ANGLE!!". We'd talked about triangles recently, so I thought nothing of it until I looked in my rear view mirror and saw him concentrating very hard while trying to put his fingers together just so. I asked him who taught the finger-triangle and he said, "San-da" (Ms. Shanda). Very cool!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cooties

While Eli ate lunch today, Maddux jumped in her exersaucer. She was having a blast and smiling up a storm, so I looked at her and said, "Hey, Cutie!" a few times. Then I looked at Eli, who was aware of all the attention his sister was getting, and said the same to him. Then I said "You're both cuties!!" Being the parrot he is, Eli repeated, "Boff Cooties!" Indeed....

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Eli is learning more and more about Christmas each day. He already told me that people sing "Hap. Birt-day. Zheesus." on Christmas, but now he knows who Mary and Joseph are too. I told Eli a watered-down version of the Chistmas Story a few nights ago, and one day when we were walking I told him Mary and Joseph were the (earthly) parents of Jesus, but that's it. Then today while Lehr was feeding Eli, he told him "May-ry. Zhosep. Zheesus Mommy-Daddy." Very cool! And even though half of the time he mistakenly identifies him as "Zheesus", Eli is learning to recognize Santa Claus. Though he calls him "Sin-ta Caws" instead.

Today we decorated our tree and strung the lights while Eli napped. Then after dinner (when it was dark outside), we turned off all the interior lights and lit up the tree so Eli could see it for the first time. Wow - his eyes got pretty big! Then he helped Daddy with a few outdoor lights. Much excitement for Eli today!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Mother Eli??

So Maddux is five months old. Since July she's nursed anywhere from 5-8 times each day. That's five months at approximately thirty days each with an average of seven feedings each day. 1050 feedings, give or take. And out of the blue, after all of those feedings, most of which Eli is present for, he mimicked me for the first time today.

During our afternoon walks Eli brings a book or two, and maybe a small toy, in BOB with us. Recently he's been asking to bring "Sam", a small stuffed dachshund dog. As we were pulling onto our street at the end of the walk, Eli said "Doggie. Peed." I couldn't see Eli very well, nor could I clearly hear him because his BOB cover was pulled down. I asked him to repeat himself and then figured he must be talking about actual peeing, due to our recent focus on potty training. But when I repeated it back to Eli, he tried to clarify, meaning I was incorrect in my interpretation of his words. "Doggie. PEEEEED!" I finally pulled the BOB cover back so I could see what he was talking about. Eli had his shirt pulled halfway up and he had placed the dog's nose/mouth on his upper stomach. "Doggie. PEEEED. Milk!", he repeated. I have not laughed that hard in a long time.

Kiss-Mas!!

Eli loves Christmas. He is really getting into it this year! We plan to get our tree tonight, but we already have a few decorations around the house. Eli's favorite thing to do is help Mommy unpack the decorations. After we take one out and look at it, Eli looks at me and says, "More??". Snowmen hold a special place in his heart; each time one comes out of the Christmas bin, his eyes light up. And when I assembled and lit up the little tree.....wow. It is so neat to see Christmas through his eyes! He loves every light and ornament and cheesy lawn display. We took a trip to Home Depot this morning and Eli went ga-ga over the large inflatable Tigger-Santa. He then pointed out EVERY Christmas tree display in the store (and there were a lot).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Listen For Yourself!

Here is some audio of Mad Dog . Not too much screeching, but noise nonetheless. Oh, and these are happy noises!

video

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Might As Well Jump!

What a day! Eli and I planned to meet three other kids and their moms for a walk and then a trip to the local jump-castle (as Eli calls it), Kangazoom. We've visited it a few times in the past, but Eli has never really been interested in the large inflatables. After the last neighborhood get-together, Eli changed his tune, and for weeks he's been asking for it. First thing this morning it was a bit chilly, so we skipped the walk (only to have the weather turn out to be BEAUTIFUL) and went straight for the jumping. Eli had a great time running around with Tyler, Noah, and Logan, and a few other kids he knows from church that just happened to show up. His favorite part by far is the large 'castle' with two hoops in it. Even though there is no chance Eli could make the basket, he loves to stay in there and throw the balls. I had Maddux strapped to the front of me in the bjorn and she giggled a bunch when I entered the 'hoops' with Eli and jumped up and down. After two hours of running, throwing, jumping and climbing, we called it a day.

After Eli's nap we went for a walk around the neighborhood, where Eli pointed out the 'pall down hoop' and any Christmas lights or trees he saw ("Kiss-mas tee!!"). Lehr got home in enough time for us to put out some Christmas decorations before baths. Eli was oh-so excited. I hung a small strand of tinsel garland, intertwined with lights, above his window. Holy Moly, did his eyes light up! After baths I read Eli books and put him to bed, which was 'exciting' because Lehr usually does that each night. (Lehr played with Maddux and got a few giggles. More about that later.) Eli and I read two books, one of which was "Twas The Night Before Christmas", which is new to Eli. I found it quite amusing that Eli gets confused and responds "zheesus" sometimes when I point to Santa and ask who it is. (On a side note, during our walk we passed a manger scene and I stopped for a minute. I pointed out the three wise men, Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. Then I said, "What do you think they are saying to Jesus?" Eli responded, "Hap. Birt-day." Exactly the answer I hoped for, but never thought I would get.) After books I sang some Christmas songs to Eli: "Silent Night", "Away In A Manger", "Hark The Herald Angels Sing", and "Joy To The World". (I was attempting to explain why we celebrate "Happy Birthday, Jesus", and I'm so glad he is young because I'm sure I botched it.) As far as the songs go, Eli could not get enough. When I finished he said, "Please. More Kiss-mas Tongs." Melt melt.

Back to Maddux. She and Lehr hung out while I put on the off-key Christmas concert and Lehr recorded (audio) a taste of the screech monkey and her antics. I am working to get the clip uploaded....

Donation Corner: Still Working on The Big Easy

I've put NOLA in the spotlight before, as many of you know how much Lehr and I love visiting there. Even though Lehr sent me the info about this new campaign last week, I'm slow to post, so by now you've probably seen it in the news. Brad Pitt is working with architects to help continue the rebuilding process in New Orleans, specifically the Lower 9th Ward, which I've highlighted before also. The "pink" campaign will be discussed more tonight (Wednesday) when Brad talks about it on Larry King. Donations are accepted through the website, should you feel so inclined.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Screech Monkey

Seriously. Maddux has no concept of the phrase 'inside voice'. She has been more vocal than Eli ever was and in a totally different way. She loves to sit and blow bubbles, while humming so she can create a 'ppbblll' sound mixed with a 'mmmmmm'. Her other favorite is to laugh, full-bellied, in a high-HIGH-pitched voice. Of course her most vocal time of day is the afternoon, during the time when Eli gives Mommy two blissful hours of down-time (aka Eli's naptime). She is so loud I often take her on the back porch so she won't wake him up. She seriously does not know how to not make noise. Don't get me wrong; I love that she is that happy. Sometimes I just wish she would express her joy a little less shrill-ly.

Mad Dog has had three meals of avocado so far, but she's yet to ingest more than a teaspoon total. Every time I feed her she takes a bite, begrudgingly, but she takes it. Then she moves it around in her mouth for a few seconds before making a not-so-pleased face and bubbling it back out. It amazes me that the total amount she 'eats' each meal doesn't even equal one of Eli's spoonfuls these days.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Christmas Digs

Gamma Cappy and Gappa Jib bought Christmas outfits for the kids, which arrived late last week. Of course I have been unable to get both kids dressed in the outfits during 'good' outdoor light time for pictures at the same time. For now, we'll just have to settle for solo photos:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Ah-Cah-Do!

That's what Eli calls 'avocado'. And for the last week, that's all he's talked about. We decided to feed Maddux her first meal today so I've been talking it up with Eli in the hopes that he would get involved in the milestone also. After her first nap this morning we set her up in the Bumbo and mashed up some avocado. Just like with her liquid feedings though, if she does not want to eat she will mash her lips together making it impossible for you to get anything past them. I'm not sure how much she ingested because she didn't allow much to get through. Honestly I think Eli had the best luck of all of us! Unlike her brother (who loved food, even the first time), she didn't seem to like the 'solid' form too much. Hopefully we'll have better luck tomorrow!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Jump Shot!

Tonight we took the kids to their first basketball game. A friend coaches a local JV girls team, so we went to cheer them on. Eli was all pumped, as 'hoops' are a fave of his, but the loud buzzer and crowded gym threw him a bit in the beginning. He got a little whiny and clingy for the first quarter; it might have had something to do with his lack of nap also. After that, he and the other two boys we sat with had a great time. At one point Lehr took two of the boys to run around, but besides that, they sat in the stands and cheered. Aftterwards we pressed our luck and went out to dinner. Three toddlers and Maddux: recipe for disaster considering we'd already been at the game for an hour and all the kids were working on no sleep. Once the bread came, things went pretty smoothly (thankfully!!), but before I had my doubts. I think part of the problem was the original seating: Eli was right next to one of the other boys (4-years old). For some reason that got him too wound up. Once Lehr got between them it was much calmer.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Put On A Happy Face

Ouch. Eli cried when they took him out of the car at school this morning. I don't think that has happened before. I know he recovered quickly, but I did not enjoy hearing him say "Mooommmmmyy" with his cry-face* on. In all honestly, I don't think it was me he was missing. One of his two teachers is out for the month and today was only the second day of her absence. I have a strong feeling she is his favorite because he talks about her all the time. Something is telling me the idea of leaving Mommy to go to someone other than "Miss Dane" (Jane) didn't sit well with him. The teacher who put him in my car this afternoon informed me that I had "quite a little athlete" on my hands. She did creative movement with him today and said he was quite good with the ball.

*Cry-face. I've been meaning to blog about this for some time since it's a very common phrase in our house. Around the time Maddux was born Eli's language exploded and he started to make up his own phrases and compound words. "Cwy-face" is one of them. When he would see Maddie crying, he would scrunch up his face and say in a whiny voice, "Baby cwy". He quickly changed that to "Baby cwy-face". Then he moved on to tell us if someone else had a "cwy-face", especially when we read books. Now the tables have turned and I use it on him. When he starts to whine for no real reason (and most of the time, there is not a real reason), I tell him "There is no cry-face." It's amazing how quickly he shuts it off and asks for whatever he wants in a very controlled, normal voice after that.

One more language thing before I sign off. The kids and I take a walk almost every day after Eli's nap. We walk a somewhat consistent path around the neighborhood for about 45-minutes. Each day Eli points out the gutters, the lawnmowers, the dogs and cats, and the "hoops". A large percentage of our neighbors have basketball hoops, so he gets many opportunities. One in particular is knocked down, and it's been that way for as long as we've lived here. Eli always says, "Hoop. Pall down." (fall down) and then "I 'tarry hoop". So yesterday when we walked I asked him about other hoops before we got to that one. I would say "Eli, did that hoop fall down?" He would reply, "No." Then I would tell him he was right; it was standing up. We repeated this about three times before we got to the "pall-down-hoop". A few minutes later I asked him (about a normal hoop) if it had fallen down. Eli said, "No pall-down. Tann-een Ahhh-p." (No fall-down. Standing up.) Monkey see, monkey do!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Incredible Growing Woman

Seriously. How is it possible to grow as fast as Maddux is? The outfit I had her in yesterday was massive on her just two weeks ago. It wasn't big like I had to roll the sleeves once, it was HUGE. Roll-up-pants-and-sleeves-three-or-four-times-and-she's-still-swimming-in-it huge. And when I put it on her yesterday, I had to pull the snaps a few times to get them to snap underneath her. Crazy. She seems to have passed this current growth spurt at least; she's given us 11 hours for the last few nights. It's nice to have that again! This weekend we will be introducing Miss Maddux to solids. We started Eli with sweet potatoes, but he had a small rash in the beginning because of it, so we're trying avocado with Maddie. Eli absolutely loved that when he was younger, so hopefully she'll be the same. Eli is very excited about helping feed Maddux. All week he reminded me "Harry's. Ah-cah-do."

Pretend Play

Eli pretends he is cooking ALL the time now. For three days he's busied himself while I'm cooking or feeding Maddux by pulling out his 'pat-la' (spatula), 'tohns' (tongs), 'mommy bowl' and 'eli bowl' (two strainer bowls), and 'too ah-pods' (two hot pads). He then puts various blocks in the bowls and retrieves them with the tongs, telling us they are 'haw-t!' He cooks up a mean corn or 'hin-gers' (hamburgers), or his latest discovery, 'birt-day cake'. (We looked through some old pictures the other day and Eli saw his first and second birthday cake in pictures: a baseball cake and a frog cake. Now it's all he talks about.) Needless to say, I'm glad I made the decision last month that Eli would be receiving 'fake' food for Christmas. I'm thinking he'll jump for joy when he sees the plastic and wood hamburgers and bananas.

Little Drummer Boy

So Eli is in love with playing musical instruments. He strums imaginary guitars all the time, and he loves nothing more than to pound on one of his toy drums. He is obsessed with it and he loves to tell you when he (or someone he is watching) is using "two dum-ticks". The other night he had a 'concert' right before his bath. This included him creating a stool to sit on and then performing. After he had his fill, he placed Pablo on the stool and attempted to let the stuffed animal get in some licks. Eli will request certain songs be turned on (l-owe-d!) so he can play along with them, even though his music does not, in any way, match what comes out of the speakers. For the past few weeks, I've kept Eli in the church service with me for the first ten minutes or so. He absolutely loves watching the musicians on stage while we worship. Every once in a while you'll catch him bending his knees in a jig-ish fashion, but most of the time he's pointing and staring in awe.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Totally OT: For Online Shoppers

If you like to shop online, or if you just like to search Google-esque, check out this site. GoodSearch.com is a search engine which gives 50% of all ad revenue generated from the site to charities. Even better: the searcher (read: you) gets to choose the charity. And if you shop through their site (all of the usual suspects are there: Gap, Best Buy, iTunes, Target), even more money is donated. (The amount is different for each retailer, but it averages 3% of the total sales amount. A few examples: Nike gives 4% and Old Navy gives 2%.) So before you tackle Santa's list via the web, think about entering your sites through GoodSearch.

Oh, and of course one of my favorite charities, Ponseti International Association, is listed as a choice to donate to, in case you didn't already have one in mind.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Teaching Generosity

It is my hope that Eli and Maddux grow up to be generous kids and happy givers. Regardless of your religious affiliation or belief, I think you might all agree that the world could use more do-gooders. The only way I know to 'teach' that at this phase of their lives is to model the behavior. I try to reinforce why we share (so other people can be happy too), but in the end, I think it's more about what we as parents do than what we say. So from time to time, the kids and I take trips to Goodwill to drop off clothing and toys. And last month Eli and I bought and assembled Christmas boxes. But aside from the obvious holiday giving, I was running out of 'new' ways to show Eli how we can brighten someone else's day. Enter our church's "On Mission" challenge.

A month or so ago, our pastor started commissioning people in the congregation to accept a mission to give back. One of the missions was to go through a fast food line and pay for the car behind you. Easy Cheesy - Done and Done. The kids and I attempted this last week before we met friends for a walk, but the line was too long and after ten minutes we had to bail so we could make our meet-time. We finally completed our task this weekend. I'm not sharing this to boast or say "Yay me" in anyway. All I did was donate five minutes and $10. No skin off my back really...I'll never miss the time or money. But I would be willing to bet the person on the receiving end smiled for a minute, if nothing else. The reason I'm blogging about this is to invite you to 'model' for your kids in similar ways. Maybe even in a way that allows them to see how they can positively impact the people around them. Maybe it's baking cookies for the local firehouse, or a larger-than-usual tip for your next Waffle House waitress. If nothing else, it will spark some conversation with your kids about why you're doing whatever it is you're doing. I am trying to remind Eli to think about how happy it would make him to receive a Christmas box, or an unexpected meal from Chick-fil-A. It is oh-so easy to be the one on the giving side (again, $10 and five minutes), but the impact it can have on some one's day is the focus.

Enough preaching....I will now return to my regularly scheduled baby-worship posts.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thump Thump

As I posted before, Eli knows what the Bible looks like. Even more, when he sees one, he will say he wants to "pine. Zheesus." (find Jesus) inside. As wonderfully scripted as that sounds, he really means he wants to find the pictures of Jesus, like he's seen in his Toddler Bible. Today he ran around before church, carrying my Bible saying "Pine. Zheesus. Pine. Zheesus." until we pulled the camera out. Then he posed, saying "Cheese. Bible." I think he's going to start knocking on doors next week trying to save the lost....

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Growth Spurt

Maddie is growing yet again. For the past week, she's only slept through two or three nights. The others have found me nursing her somewhere around 3AM, much to my displeasure. I'm glad she's growing, but I wish she'd keep her 10-12 consecutive hours of sleep in the process. Mad Dog is currently in a size three diaper, but with the amount of blow-outs she's had in the last few weeks, we might have to move her up. That would mean she and Eli wear the same size. Mind-boggling.

Maddux's newest trick is an odd, throat-y laugh that comes in a rush. Tonight on a post-dinner car ride, she made this funny noise for about fifteen minutes. She then repeated it while she lay on the floor before bedtime. One thing is obvious: she only does it when she *thinks* she's alone. Once she makes eye-contact and realizes she has an audience, she stops. This might make it difficult to capture on video, but I'll try.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Lurkey Dee...

Happy Thanksgiving!! The kids have had quite a day already. Eli and Maddux hung out with Daddy while I went to the gym and then we all ate breakfast together. We finally removed one of the many 1970-style radio boxes attached to the walls in our house. Eli was very interested in 'pixing' the radio once we pulled it off the wall. He pulled out his tools and went to work. Maddux got a little fussy around that time, but once we put her in the bumbo so she could watch her brother, she was fine.

A little while later, Eli and I watched the (tivoed) Macy's Parade (totally an annual tradition for me). In between the balloons, tubas, trumpets and drums, we made a Thanksgiving wreath out of cut-out Eli hands. Then I asked him what he was thankful for and I wrote his answer on each hand. Lehr and I did not prompt at all, except to say "What or Who are you thankful for?" And I didn't repeat items/names, even when Eli did. (Let's be honest: had I done that Eli would have a wreath with nothing but "Gappa Jib" on it.) His 'thanks' are as follows:
- corn
- hamburgers
- body
- Grandpa Jim
- Grandma Cathie
- books
- Treis
- football game
- pumpkins
- Mommy
- Daddy
- pictures
- CC
- D

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

For The Love Of The Game

As I've posted several times, Eli is a baseball nut. He loves to watch it, he loves to play it, he loves to talk about it.... I thought we'd covered all of the basics with him, but he picked up two new tricks last week when he saw a softball game. Now when we play catch, Eli squats down to catch and throw the ball, like the catcher does. I tried to tell him that he can stand up to throw the ball, but he insists on squatting to catch and throw. He also started yelling, "Hey batter batter!!" when he hits. That's right, when he hits. I guess he's trying to psych himself up?

We had a really good day on Monday, which I forgot to mention. After Eli's nap we played outside while Maddux snoozed. She woke up before Lehr got home, so I tried to kill thirty minutes before I fed her (in the hopes Lehr would be present to entertain the lad). I put Maddux in the single BOB and told Eli we were going to walk to the top of the street so he could run down. We live at the end of a cul-de-sac with a lot of kids on our street, so cars go slower than usual. Plus I always keep Eli in front of me (coming down the street), so any incoming cars would have to hit me before they got to him. (That was a joke.) Eli is really good about running to the gutter when he hears a car; he even does this when he hears a car several streets away. That being said, he loves to run down the street because he's 'free' of the stroller and Mommy's hand. On Monday he started up the street very excitedly. Then about halfway up, he stopped and held out his hand to me: "Hold-ya?" I grabbed his little hand and he continued on walking. My heart skipped a dozen beats! What a sweet gesture from a usually non-touchy-feely boy! He did this again last night when we repeated the time-wasting walk. On the run back down the street, he turned around three or four times and waved to us saying, "Hi Baby!!!". He does love his baby sister!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Boy Is A Pin-Up!

A few months back a calendar was put together by a group known as "Ponseti's Angels" to raise money for the Ponseti International Association. As soon as they became available I ordered one, if for nothing else, to throw some money their way. We received the calendar this week; low and behold, Eli is in there! At one point I do remember them asking for permission from a few of us on one of the message boards, but that was months ago, so I forgot. The calendar contains pictures of babies and kids in various stages of treatment (Eli's picture is of his corrected feet, from about six months ago) and lots of useful information about the treatment of clubfeet. The pictures are not all high quality, but the information included is absolutely wonderful. I'm really impressed by how they managed to give some great insight without overwhelming with too many words. If you know anyone with a clubfoot child or if you just want to support the cause, here is the link to order. (This would be a REALLY great gift for someone expecting a clubfoot child, through pregnancy or adoption. There are a lot of tips on how to deal with casts and the shoes/bar inside.)