Wednesday, August 29, 2007


That's my word of the day.


Parenting can be heartbreaking for so many reasons. Right now it's heartbreaking for me because I think of how much attention I gave Eli in those first few months and I see how little one-on-one Maddux gets from me in comparison.


We are trying to really work on Eli's heart with our discipline and I see some of his 'bad habits' getting worse, resulting in more of our time together being spent on these issues. Holding my child(ren) to a high standard requires a lot of time-outs/etc. up front, even though they are too young to understand the reason behind it most of the time.


I know that Eli needs more reassurance that he is still so loved by Mommy and Daddy on days when Maddux is extra fussy. The kicker is, on those days I'm really not giving Maddux 100% either because I'm trying to be there for Eli, resulting in both feeling shortchanged.


Days like today make parenting two children so hard because one needed me for basic needs which must be timed just so (Maddux) and the other (Eli) needed me for some QT and couldn't understand why I couldn't just make Maddux stop crying sometimes.


Eli spent a good part of today in time-out because his temper tantrums have started to escalate in a way that finds him yelling and running around the room turning over toys and furniture. I'm sure the tantrums were because we weren't spending fun time together, but because he acted out, I had to isolate him, denying him even more mommy-time.


Maddux cried from 5-8pm tonight which means my dinner with Eli, our playtime, his bath time, and his bedtime/storytime all had the background noise of his sister's wails. (And they are very loud, shrill wails.) This meant that when I put him in his crib at 7:45 and rushed to Maddux's room to feed her, I heard Eli sobbing (which he never does at bedtime) the whole time I was nursing.


Of course I felt so guilty that I then did something I never do. After I fed Maddux and put her down, I went back into his room and found him sitting up in his crib with the most pitiful lower-lip pout ever. I kept the lights off and picked him up to rock him for a little bit. I reassured him that Mommy loved him and I know it's hard when the baby cries. I tried to tell him that's why he needs to obey Mommy when she tells him to do something so that we can spend more time playing and less time in time-out. He and I had a good ten minutes of rocking, hugging, and talking, but when I put him back in his crib he got all weepy again. He didn't even stand up because he knew he couldn't get me to stay, but he did hold onto my hand while his eyes filled with tears.


As much as I love Maddux and as strong as I am in my decision to nurse her, there have been moments in the last week when I wish I could just pass her off to someone else for a whole day so Eli and I could have lots of QT without any interruptions.

(The fact that I just said I want to 'pass off' my kid is heartbreaking to me.)

Even though Maddux doesn't get the same attention Eli got as a newborn, I do get one-on-one with her for at least three feedings of the day, sometimes more (depending on how long Eli naps). Eli doesn't get a whole lot of that these days, which I know is totally confusing to him. My fear is that he will take that frustration and anger out on his sister since, in his eyes, she is the reason Mommy spends less time focused on him.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Prayer Video

Last week I mentioned how Eli likes to pray with Daddy each night and thank God for the people in his life. We stuck the video camera in the room over the weekend and captured a few minutes of this, but of course Eli knew it was there and tried to show off and rush a bit. Lehr tells me he normally says the prayer along with him (some words) and there is usually more diversity in his list of people. This particular night, Cooper and Gappa Jib-ah got almost every shout out. (You will have to turn your volume way up because of how far away the camera was. I messed with the volume levels, but it didn't help much.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Puppy Love

Eli's friend, Gracie, made the long trip to our house for dinner last night. The minute she pulled into the driveway, Eli went into total show-off mode, of course. Since we were outside, this included hitting the ball off the tee numerous times and almost taking Gracie out with a few of his swings (since Eli has no spatial awareness). The good news was that he had no problems sharing the bat with her and taking turns. This is not always the case with his most prized possessions. The bad news is he actually threw a grape at dinner (resulting in a time out in another room). This has never happened to my knowledge, so it was quite a shocker. When Eli gets upset he might pick up some food and drop it off his tray because he knows that is a 'no-no', so it is a way to show his displeasure, but he's never actually thrown something before... Of course he would do that when we have company though!

After dinner we gave Gracie her birthday present (she turned 2 two days before Eli), and I was very happy to see Eli willfully hand over the present to her. Considering how recent his birthday was I worried he might try to take the gift for himself. After that we went to the pool where both kids had a good time for about 5 minutes and 42 seconds. Of course as soon as we arrived it started to thunder, so the lifeguard had us clear the pool. What luck! This news did not suit Eli and he cried the whole time we changed him.

The cries were replaced with giggles when we returned to the house, however, because Eli and Gracie took their relationship to a new level. At some point Eli was lying on his back next to Lehr and his shirt came up, exposing his belly. Gracie took this as an invitation to tickle him, which Lehr encouraged. Eli thought this was hilarious and laughed and laughed, finally rolling onto his stomach to prevent her from continuing. But as soon as both kids regained composure and stood back up, Eli walked two steps and then hit the ground again, rolling onto his back so she could come tickle him. To say he was begging for it would be an understatement!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Eli loves that word. But when he says it, "doey-tee" is more how it sounds. He will tell you that garbage trucks are dirty. He will tell you that diggers-scrapers are dirty. He will tell you that the dishes are dirty. But most importantly, in recent weeks he will tell you that he is dirty. More specifically, his diaper. (Not that he needs to tell you: this kid is regular with a capital "R". It is extremely rare for him to not wake up from his nap with a "doey-tee" diaper and it is extremely rare for him to go at any other time of the day.)

We've not pushed potty training given changes associated with the move and Maddux, but we do have a toddler seat that sits on the 'potty', and for several months now, we'll put him on the seat for a few minutes before his bath each night and I try to talk to him about it during the day if the subject comes up (not that our conversation usually goes to toilet-talk, but he has a few 'potty' books). A few weeks ago I had Eli up later than usual and he started to make a dirty diaper while we were cleaning up his toys. He told me, "doey-tee" and got that look so I asked him if he wanted to go to the potty. He nodded and away we went. It was sheer luck and timing that got him to make a deposit, but nonetheless, I made a big deal out of it and counted myself lucky for not having to change one more diaper that day. I was still not ready to start the training process because of everything going on in our lives at that time. That might have to change as Eli performed the same trick for Lehr today. This is GREAT news, though I know these are two lucky examples, and still a hard road ahead of us where potty training is concerned.

On a very related note, Eli is showing that he gets the process by role playing with his stuffed animals. Right before his bath tonight I heard him climbing up the stairs saying, "doey-tee" the whole way. When he got to the top I saw that he had Ernie in his hand. He walked right past me and went into Maddux's room where he said, "doey-tee" and put Ernie down on her changing pad. He then proceeded to pull out a diaper and put it on top of Ernie. I snapped a few pictures (out of sight) and then watched him pick up Ernie and say, "doey-tee. Ee-I." (that is how he says, 'Eli', by the way), as he carried Ernie to his room. He then repeated the process by putting Ernie down on his changing pad. This time he pulled out the wipes and everything. I went in the room and took a few more pictures and asked Eli if Ernie had a dirty diaper. He nodded and after a few moments took Ernie to the bathroom as he said, "Potty." Of course Eli then put Ernie on the potty seat. I love watching his little mind work!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Super Saturday

What an action packed day! To start with, some friends came over this morning for a pool-date. Despite our crazy week of 100+ temperatures, today it was very mild until noon. Eli had a blast jumping in the water and throwing all of the tennis balls in and out of the pool. (There is a tennis court sharing a fence, so many stray balls end up on the pool deck, much to Eli's delight.) We ordered a pizza for lunch so we wouldn't have to leave the pool, and as usual, Eli ate just as much as we did (two full pieces). Maddux slept most of the time, but not before she got her first sunburn, just under her eyes. I had a hat on her and I kept her in the shade most of the time, but I did hold her by the pool for about ten minutes and that did it. It's crazy how the reflection off the water came up and got her cheeks - I feel sick about it!

After Eli's nap we all went downtown. Or as Eli calls it, "tahn-tahn". I've wanted to bring Eli to Centennial Olympic Park all summer so he could see, and play in, the fountains near the CNN Center. Being pregnant and tired, that never happened before Maddux was born. Then it got too hot, so on and so on... We put Maddux in the BOB for the first time and let Eli walk with us, holding hands to cross the street of course. She seemed to like her ride, but Eli got a little confused as to why she was in the stroller and he was on foot. Once he saw the water, it was all good. He yelled, "Dah-der!" and didn't stop until we changed him into his baggies. (That is another new word also: "baggies".) He ran in and out of the fountains for a good ten minutes before he inevitably slipped and fell. As usual, he fell on his back and hit his head. There weren't any marks, so we just thought it scared him, but Eli refused to return to the water the rest of the afternoon, so it must have hurt more than we thought. He did enjoy watching the other kids play, and eventually we walked around so he could chase birds ("cah-ts" or catch the birds) and people-watch. They had a water 'show' just before we left: music and choreographed water activity. Eli watched intently the entire time, but didn't get really animated until the last song when the water shot up in the air much higher than it had previously. As soon as the water went up he said, "HIGH!! DAH-DER!!" (He's recently learned 'high' through stacking blocks and hitting the ball or balloon 'high'.) Now when he sees the pictures of the park he repeats, "high...dah-der."

One last thing: I tried to teach Eli to raise his hands in the air when he goes over a bridge, but it hasn't worked so far as Eli usually can't tell when we are going over a bridge in the car due to his limited vantage point. So instead, he raised them when we go under a bridge. ("Uh-der. Bridd-ah.")

Friday, August 24, 2007

Yin and Yang

Well that proves it: if I post about what a good day I've had I'm bound to have the opposite the following day. Yesterday was a much harder day with both kids. Eli was up playing in his crib at 715AM, which is VERY early for him (he's usually a snoozer till 845 or 9). Then he proceeded to melt down while we had one of his friends over, even resulting in a time-out during his play date. To make matters worse, Maddux fought sleep so badly that she was up from 915am until after Eli went down for his nap at 130PM. She then continued to fight sleep, but dozed on and off a little throughout the afternoon. The good part about the day was when we sat in traffic for an hour trying to meet Daddy for dinner. It was good because I did not experience complete meltdowns in the backseat, but it was still not fun.

Eli's hair has been getting quite shaggy recently, so I trimmed it up a few days ago, and then further trimmed it on Wednesday. I tried for a mohawk (again), but the back just looked like a mullet, so we ended up with another spike.

Maddux is sleeping pretty well at night; she usually goes down around 8PM and I feed her again (though she mostly sleeps through it) at 10 or 11. She'll usually not wake me up until 4 or 5AM again, which is not too shabby as far as I'm concerned. We have found one sure-fire trick to calm her at the house: her bathtub. I keep it on the counter to bathe her, but even when water is not involved, you can put her in there, dim the lights, and she'll stare at the mirror and become calm almost instantly.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Eli's Famous Feet

Just like I warned Lehr before I told him, I'll warn you: this may come off as a boast, but I'm too excited to not post about it.

I frequently read two support message boards for parents of clubfeet kids. I get the clubfoot posts sent to one of my email addresses daily since I don't always have time to visit the site, but I don't want to miss any posts. I rarely post anything on the site anymore because we haven't had any issues since Eli first started wearing his shoes. And when I do post, it's usually just an email to a specific person who is asking for help (rather than post to the whole board). (My point in telling you is that I've never been a regular poster on the board, nor have I 'advertised' Eli's video or story on there.) Anyway, today when I read the daily posts, I found this post from a woman in France (her English is not perfect) who is pregnant with a son diagnosed with bilateral clubfeet (The first video she references is one from a man upset about the poor treatment of his son's feet. They were NOT corrected by a Ponseti-trained doctor. The man who posted it has since made it a private video, otherwise I'd post the link.):

Well I have been lucky, I saw the video you're talking about but also the great "Eli's feet" one and the "Walking Miracle"... All three learned me somethings : Eli's feet shows so well the treatment I recommended the video to everybody I know !

WOW! Very high praise especially from someone I don't know. Then a few days later, this post showed up also (part of the same chain of posts, but from a different reader, still in France):

I wish I had discovered "Eli's feet" before because it is really a sweet video and shows everything with no words on a really nice music ;-) when I first saw it I thought : "oh well , it doesn't look so terrible to go through !"... And I sent it to all friends and family, you son is now famous in France, Nicole :-) I even sent it to the doc who is going to follow my son so that he can show it to the new parents :-))

This makes me so so so happy. Not for the selfish reasons though (but I am proud). It makes me happy to know that Eli's video is doing what it was intended to do: set parents' minds at ease about the treatment and end-result of Ponseti-corrected clubfeet and help them realize surgery is NOT the answer. It is so neat to know even people in other countries are benefiting from Eli's experience.

The other video I posted, Walking Miracle, gained these favorable comments in a post to a newbie this week (This is the video which featured a few seconds of Eli crawling with the bar. Click here for the whole story.):

Everyone in your family needs to watch the YouTube video "Walking Miracle". This video is amazing.

Also, another woman recently stumbled across the Eli's Feet video and she asked permission to post it on her site. She has three boys, all born with clubfeet. She informed me that there is a parents' banquet in Iowa City next month honoring Ponseti. I'm not sure of the details yet, so of course I'm unsure if it would be an option for us. But if the stars align and there would be some way for us to go meet the wonderful Dr. Ponseti, it would be great. Apparently there will be more than 100 doctors from 40 different countries attending.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Oh The Joys

Today has been a very good day; one that makes the harder days worthwhile! That is not to say it has been without problems. Quite the opposite in fact; we had to implement some new discipline today and it was time-consuming and hard on Mommy, but the end result was good. To start with, Eli had a great blanket time while Mommy fed Maddux. He stayed on his blanket for a full 20-minutes without so much as a whine and played with a few new birthday presents. When Maddux went down for a nap, Eli and I went outside to play (what else) tee-ball. This was great for about 15 minutes and then Eli started to whine. I don't even really remember what it was about...maybe he wanted me to hit instead of catch? Regardless, the whining started and I warned him once that if he continued to whine, I'd flick his cheek (a new tool I've only had to use once in the past). As expected, he continued, so I flicked his cheek. He cried out, ran away from me and threw his bat on the ground. We do not tolerate throwing toys so I had to make a quick choice as to how to further discipline. Maddux was sleeping upstairs, so carrying a crying, flailing Eli upstairs to his crib for a time-out could wake her up. In addition, I've been wanting to start using a time-out where he has to get self-control anyway. (By this I mean a time-out where he is not restrained by the crib or pack-n-play walls.) I figured it was as good a time as any considering we were in the shaded (but still incredibly hot) garage, Maddux was sleeping, and I could walk away from him without worry of him being destructive to the point of damaging anything. I had to put him back on the piece of carpet several times, and he cried for the first two or three minutes (felt like a lot longer), but after that he stopped and laid on the carpet quietly. Then I told him he needed to show me self-control before he could get up (this means he needs to sit up and fold his hands. I did remind him of what it needed to 'look like' just to make sure we were clear.) It took him sitting there about five additional minutes before he sat up and folded his hands (again, it felt like we were down there for 30 minutes), but he did it and I was ecstatic! I then went to him, reminded him why he was in time-out (he threw a bat and that was not showing self-control), asked for an apology and then hugged him and we played some more. This was HUGE for me. I've been so hesitant to start these 'open-space' time outs because I anticipated him not sitting there for me. I couldn't believe it really only took ten minutes or less to get him to comply.

After that we ran two errands. This was another 'uh-oh' for me considering Eli does not like the car too much. But it was way too hot outside to do much else, so off we went. First I gave Eli a sippy cup of water in the back seat and reminded him the rules regarding his drink. He has not had a cup or toy in the car for going on four weeks now because he started a really bad habit around the time of Maddux's birth: throwing in the car. I took all his toys out and no longer gave him his water in there because he lacked the self-control it required to have that privilege (yes, I used those words). I told him when he could show self-control in the car for a few days in a row (i.e. not freaking out and melting down when we are doing daily errands), I would give him his cup back. He has behaved rather well this week, so it was time to test the water (so to speak). He did great!! Not only did he not throw the cup, but when he was done sipping for the moment, he set it next to him instead of just dropping it on the ground. HIP HIP HOORAY! In addition, the unsolicited "thank you" is a daily occurrence now. I still have to remind him a lot, but at least twice a day Eli thanks me without prompting. Melt!!

On top of that, Eli behaved beautifully at Home Depot and Harry's. He even stayed 'good' all the way through lunch and up until his nap. I rewarded him by letting him ride in the Nascar cart at Home Depot (which I never do) and then letting him have his prized blanket in his room while we read stories for an extended time. Life is good.

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

So Maddux has slept great for a few nights now. She slept 7 1/2 hours a few nights ago, but it started at 830PM, so I still got up during the night (she will sleep a long time if I don't wake her for a 10 or 11PM feeding, but if I do, she will still usually get up at 3AM). Then last night she slept from 1030PM until 5AM, which was awesome. In addition, she 'let' Lehr calm her a few times the other night, which helped me out tremendously since 8PM-10PM is usually my only 'down time'.

Thank you to everyone who emailed me help/suggestions to get her to sleep while still following Babywise. I do try and 'stack feed' a little before she goes down (she usually eats at 4PM, 6PM and 8PM), and whenever possible I try to have Lehr do the 10 or 11PM feeding with a bottle; we did this with Eli and Lehr is still the one who puts him to bed each night. I'm sure we're not out of the woods yet, so if you have anymore suggestions, keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Happy Birthday, Eli!!

Today is your second birthday and what a day it has been! I had to wake you up because we were going to the park with some friends, but you didn't mind too much. That is not the norm; usually you are very content to sleep until 9AM and you prefer to be the one to wake yourself up (otherwise, you become very cranky). You started the morning off saying 'birt-dee', so I think you knew today was a special day even though we celebrated a few nights ago. We called Daddy to say 'good morning' while you happily ate your Kix, which is a new thing. In the last two months you have become so grown up that you no longer like to eat oatmeal: you prefer 'real' cereal in a bowl with milk and a spoon. During our drive to the park you pointed out and named everything you saw: fire truck, car, bridge, bus, digger-scraper, police car, tree, choo-choo, gas (station). And when we went under the bridge, you said, "UH-DER BRIDD-AH", and threw your hands in the air like I taught you. The smile you get on your face when we share an inside joke warms my heart every time. While at the park you reached for my hand several times while maneuvering the steps. This is unusual also because you are so very independent and usually do not like to accept help unless you are the one initiating the request. When you sat on the train at the park you patted the seat next to you, nodded and said, "Mommy?" I love how much you love me.

And last night when you said your prayers with Daddy before bed, you showed off your latest skill: thanking God for the people in your life. Daddy says the prayer with you, leaving out a few words for you to fill in, and then he says, "Thank you for...." and you insert the first name that pops into your head. Last night you thanked God for Mommy, Cooper, Gappa Jib, Baby, Cooper, Gappa Jib, Cappy, Daddy, and Gappa Jib.

All in all, this last year has been a very big one for you. You started to walk, you started to sign, and then talk, you started to eat with a spoon and fork, you became a big brother, you learned how to hit and catch and kick the ball, you moved to a new house, and now you're about to start 'school' in a few weeks. You continue to amaze Mommy and Daddy with your memory and recall skills, and your vocabulary expands daily now. We love you "so much"!!

August 2006
August 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Early Birthday Celebration

Let me ask you: when it's the birthday of someone in your household, how many cakes do you typically make? One? That does seem like the logical answer, yet I ended up making three this year and STILL didn't get one quite right! Way back when, I decided to make Eli a train cake, since he's obsessed with choo-choos. After all, I made him a frog cake last year on the first try with no pattern to follow or anything. If I could do that, this cake business can't be all that hard. Then I realized a train might be a little more difficult than the frog, and Eli seemed more interested in baseball anyway. GREAT! A baseball is easy...just a round cake, I thought. That was before I mentioned my idea to a friend of mine and she pulled out a 3-D cake mold so I could make a 'real' baseball for him. No problem; there were instructions inside. So last night I made the same cake mix from last year (low-sugar applesauce cake) and baked the night away. I measured exactly to the cake mold's instructions, but my cake came out not as round as it should have. Fear not! I bought a few boxed cake mixes just in case. After church this morning I got going on the next attempt. This time I tried to learn from what happened the first time around and apply it, so-as-to-not duplicate my smaller, less-round results. Of course, the opposite happened because I used two boxes and the molds overflowed. Not that big of a deal since I could have just cut off the extra cake. That was not the only problem though; the outside of the cake was hard and the inside was raw and liquid-y. Great. Now it is two hours before we're supposed to celebrate and no more than one before Eli will be up from his nap. Luckily I had not thrown out the applesauce cake yet, so I followed Lehr's advice and made two half-balls, in the spirit of the theme for the day: "2". Not quite what I'd hoped for, but a cake is a cake, right?

So, as the title indicates, we celebrated Eli's second birthday early this year. His real birthday is this upcoming Tuesday, but between Lehr working that day and our parenting class that night, it would be a rushed celebration, so we decided to have the 'party' today. Since time and energy are something I'm lacking these days, we did not have a full-out party yet again. Eli's godparents and Cooper and his parents came over, but that was about all I could plan for (since they all know to have low expectations where entertaining is concerned at my house). Eli and Cooper had a great time taking turns (or pushing each other off of) the new 'digger-scrapper' Eli received from David and Carolyn. Eli was not too keen on his cake this year; we're not sure if it was the singing or the candles or what. Despite that, he had a great time staring at the cake on his plate and saying, 'Ball!', but he didn't eat it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


We follow Babywise. Go ahead and roll your eyes and judge us now. I know many people don't think it is a good idea to 'schedule' a baby, but it worked great for us the first time around, and we've continued the series and are now taking parenting classes for Eli's toddler-stage. Also, in my opinion, it's not so much scheduling as setting your day to a routine, but (as usual) I digress....

Oh wait. My point in mentioning that was if anyone out there also prescribing to the Babywise format with an idea as to what we might be doing wrong, PLEASE send along suggestions you might have.

Eli slept through the night fairly early. We had a few regressions due to his shoes and bar, but for the most part, I got at least 5-6 hours out of him from 5 weeks on. Not so much with Maddux. She has given me 4, 5, 6 and even 7 1/2 hour stretches so far, but for some reason about a week ago she has reverted to only 3 1/2 hours in between feedings at night. I've gone back through all my books, I've reviewed what I'm doing with her regarding feeding/eating during the day and nothing is standing out to me. Last night was especially bad for Lehr. I asked him to get up with her if (when) she woke up around 2 or 3 and give her a bottle. We let her cry a bit first, but it soon became obvious she was hungry and would not be ignored. So he gave her a bottle and then re-swaddled her and tried to soothe her to a sleepy state. I stayed in our bedroom for a full hour listening to her scream at him before I came in to help. Of course I picked her up and she settled right down. I rocked her for maybe three minutes before placing her in her crib, at which time she drifted right off. This frustrates Lehr, of course, but it REALLY frustrates me that she won't allow him to be a calming source. This means it is all on me for a while. I think Eli was this way in the very beginning too, but it's been so long that I've forgotten. So for now, I'll be burning the midnight oil...

Thursday, August 16, 2007


So I set up the camera yesterday after Eli's nap and 'led' him into a conversation that I knew would lead to the 'ahh!' word he uses. He is trying to tell me that he and Cooper ate pretzels while they hung out at Cooper's house. Mom is a little slow with these new words......

And here is a short clip of Maddux as she just starts to smile more and more:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Few (More) of My Favorite Things

Where to begin. Eli is still struggling with the new balance of the house since Maddux's arrival, but he really is doing much better than I ever expected. And even though he has at least one time out each day, and even though he tests my will and patience, I do love the age he is at right now. Every day he has several new words that he just picks up from hearing someone talk! So here is the list today:

- Since Eli decided he wanted to jump in the pool, he loves to squat and pretend to jump at home (as he tells you, "iJump!"). So I decided to capitalize on this and try to get a hug out of the deal (since Eli doesn't really hug normally). When he jumps into the pool he has to say, "Mommy/Daddy. Please. Jump" and then Lehr or I say, "Go!" When we're at home now I tell Eli it's time to 'practice' jumping and he says the appropriate words. Then when I say, "Go!", he runs towards me and hugs me. LOVE IT!

- Eli has a new word for 'yes': "Ah!" I am going to try and capture it on video because (to me) it is the funniest thing. Since he has so many new words each day, it is hard to keep up, especially since not all of them resemble their origin. If Eli is trying to tell you something and you guess and guess, he keeps repeating the word. When you finally get it right, he cries, "Ah!!" Example: yesterday we went to Cooper's house and the boys played in the inflatable pool. Eli splashed the heck out of everyone and everything in sight. On the way home he kept saying 'pash' and I didn't understand until he made the motion with his hands. When I guessed correctly: "AHH!"

- Eli's favorite new thing to do these days is drink ice water (eye-shh dah-der). He'll ask for it when he wakes up in the morning, when we go outside, when we have lunch..all the time. Our rule in the house is that he has to sit down to have water, so half of the time he says, "eye-shh dah-der" and then sits on the rug in the kitchen while he waits for someone to fetch him a cup. As of late, after I give Eli his cup of eye-shh dah-der, he pats the floor next to him, nods and says "Mommy?" It's his sweet way of asking me to pull up the floor and have a drink with him. These moments are great because Eli and I do not have nearly as much one-on-one these days, so I comply almost every time.

- Maddux gets the hiccups almost every time she eats. It doesn't matter how much I burp her; about 30 minutes later she will get body-shaking hiccups. Eli recognizes this now and tells us, "baby. hic. cups.", as if it's three separate words.

- This is probably my most favorite thing this week. Eli has signed "thank you" unsolicited at least half a dozen times recently. This is one phrase we are still struggling to get him to say, but since it's the only thing that he still signs without a verbal, we're not too worried. I prompt him to say "thank you, Mommy" or "thank you, Daddy" a whole bunch throughout our day, so he is used to going through the motions. Last week he shocked me by signing it as I handed him a cup of water...totally before I had a chance to remind him. Melt. Melt.

- In the last few weeks Lehr and I have gotten back on track with our couch times. Eli has done really well with them too, playing independently and only coming over to try and 'entice' us a few times. I've been setting a timer for these times (and blanket time) for over a month now so Eli gets used to a timer dictating his time, rather than a seemingly arbitrary cutoff decided by Mom and Dad. Watching him jump up with wide-eyes when that timer goes off is hilarious - he totally knows what it means and he gets a HUGE smile on his face as he runs to us to give us high-fives and kisses (our 'reward' to him for playing during couch time).

- Last but not least, Eli is indeed a ladies man. Last night at our parenting class, another mom came over to me and informed me that her daughter (younger than Eli, by the way) is a bit obsessed with 'talking' about Eli. She says 'Eli, Eli church' at home all the time, apparently. Then as we were leaving, another little girl about his age walked by with her dad as I was standing with Eli and Maddux. The little girl pointed and started chanting, "Eli! There Eli" over and over. Not sure what he is doing to attract all this female attention, but obviously he's making quite an impression.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lawn Boy

After work last night, Lehr took Eli outside to rake some of the piles of pine needles in our front yard. Eli was overjoyed at the prospect of helping Daddy, especially when it involves using tools or yard 'equipment'. Lehr swears that Eli was actually more help than not, which is great considering we have several piles around the yard. Hopefully he'll be so enthusiastic when he's 10! I snapped a few pictures, but they were from inside, as I was feeding Maddux, so excuse the poor quality.

Monday, August 13, 2007


To say Eli 'likes' Grandpa Jim would be like saying Paris Hilton 'likes' attention. The boy is flat-out obsessed. From the moment my dad walked into our house last month, Eli has not let a day go by without uttering the words, "Gappa Jib" at least a dozen times. While Gappa Jib was here, he gave Eli a real golf ball. Not such a great toy at the time because any ball Eli gets his hands on these days becomes a projectile. So we limited it to outside use and tried our hardest to teach Eli how to drop golf balls instead of throwing them. (We are still working on that with some success.) Somehow in the last few weeks the real golf ball got 'lost'. Then last night while Lehr was getting Eli ready for bed, it appeared in the toy box in Eli's bedroom. The way Lehr tells it, Eli immediately started the Gappa Jib chant; apparently he resembled the "Mine. Mine. Mine" bird scene in Nemo. After five minutes of Gappa Jib talk (which turned into "Gappa Jib-ah" towards the end), Lehr grabbed the camera and captured this.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Family Weekend

After Eli's nap last night we all went to the pool. Eli had a blast, as usual, jumping into the water. Even though the picture makes it look like Eli just jumps into my arms, he really jumps into the water, goes under, and then Lehr or I fish him out. (See the video here.) He also asks now to go 'uh-der' the lane lines and 'tut' (touch) the bottom of the pool. It's crazy because I never see him hold his breath, yet he rarely comes up coughing. Lehr and I were very encouraged about what the future might hold for Eli where swimming is concerned; we saw our neighbor who is one year and one day older than Eli, swimming like a fish at the pool. She still had a flotation device on her back, but it barely supported her at all as she was able to jump in and touch the bottom, swim for toys on the pool floor, and jump off the diving board, all with it attached to her.

Maddux is doing well; I think she's going through another growth spurt because she's upped her feeding time in the last day. I know those of you with slow eaters will hate me for this admission, but her 'long' feeding time right now is twenty minutes. Yup.....from five, or maybe ten, to twenty. That's as long as they've been yet. She is still a pretty good sleeper, giving me a few six hour stretches at night and one seven hour slumber. As long as she's swaddled and sleeping in the boppy, she's good! Note: we started putting her in the boppy to sleep the first week because she was (is!!) such a wiggler that she could roll over. Now that fear has passed, but she seems to like the way it 'hugs' her while she's snoozing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Family Hike

Lehr and I planned to get up and hike Kennesaw Mountain this morning after Maddux woke up for her first feeding so we could avoid some of the crazy Atlanta heat. I did not plan on her waking up twice during the night last night when I made those plans, however. (To be fair, it was my fault. I fed her at 8PM and put her to bed and then fell asleep myself around 10, so she didn't get her 10-11PM feeding. That's no doubt why she woke up at 130AM and then at 430AM - note the bags under my eyes. She held up her end of the deal: sleeping 6 1/2 hours straight.)

So 7AM comes and I get up to feed Maddux while Lehr goes to wake up Eli. Most of you know by now that Eli is NOT an early riser, and if you try to 'force' the issue, he is crazy grumpy. Lehr did a great job though because Eli didn't whine or complain at all until about 30 minutes after he woke up (normally he wakes up fussing if we get him up early). We made it to the mountain just after 8AM and started our hike. We decided to take a much shorter route though once Lehr realized how heavy Eli is now-a-days. Carrying 30 pounds plus the weight of the backpack carrier on your back can take its toll, especially when you are climbing straight up. We still got three miles and change in, and Eli was able to get out at one point and play with some sticks. That was short-lived due to the incredibly slow pace of a two-year-old. In addition, Eli felt no fear in letting Mom and Dad walk way ahead of him, even out of sight at times. He had no problem wandering off into the woods at any given moment.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

New Words

Eli has a few new words this week. "Zoo", in honor of his trip to the zoo last week. The way I discovered he knew this word was rather interesting. Eli was looking at the random pictures on our screen saver today and one popped up of him kissing the giraffe statue at the zoo. I never showed these pictures to Eli before today, so it shocked me that he remembered that 5-second moment from the zoo.

Another two words are "under" and "umbrella". When Eli says 'umbrella', it's usually more like 'u-ball-ah'. He points it out to me in books every day. "Under" is more interesting because I really think Eli knows the concept of it. He first started saying it last weekend when we were jumping at the pool. We have one lane for laps and it is roped off. He loves to go 'under' the rope (underwater). I thought he just knew that swimming in that way was 'uh-dur'. However, during our visit with Cooper this week Eli tried to throw the ping pong ball across their ping pong table and he kept saying 'uh-dur'. I really didn't know what he meant until he walked to the net and pushed it up so that his ball would roll (or bounce) 'uh-dur' the net. He also says 'uh-dur' now when we drive under a 'bri-dah' (bridge).

Finally we have 'tor-kee' and 'gobble', in honor of the Adam Sandler Thanksgiving Song. For whatever reason I sang it to Eli on Monday while I made his turkey sandwich for lunch and the kid loves it. Now he constantly prompts me to sing by saying 'torkee' or 'gobble' as he smiles.

There are other words he picks up on a daily basis, but they usually don't last since they aren't ones we use often. We went swimming with Tyler and Noah today, so "tsee-tah" was a new word, in honor of Tyler's cheetah toy. "Hop-hop" is Eli's way of saying 'bunny', since that's what the bunny does, I guess. And finally, "dohr-tee" is how Eli says 'dirty', but he says it to refer to garbage trucks, excavators, and any other construction vehicles he sees (since they tend to be covered in Georgia clay).

Good As Gold

So I don't have much online time these days, which means I'm behind in news and current events most of the time. However today was one day where I had a few minutes to 'surf' and I actually got to read some articles on This one caught my eye for obvious reasons. When Eli was still nursing I blogged about this topic also. In preparation for posting this time, I re-read my previous blog and I still stand by every word I wrote. It is my opinion that breastfeeding is best, but that does not mean I think those who don't are bad mothers. How and what a mother feeds her infant is her choice entirely; I just hope all mothers thoroughly explore all options.

That being said, nursing Maddux has been more difficult than it was with Eli. The first month with him was no walk in the park, but I had time and energy to devote to getting it right. This time around time is short as is my patience. Unfortunately for me, Maddux latches, but is easily distracted like her brother was, and I've got to participate 100% in keeping her involved in the feeding. Add to that the extra pain I experienced all the time until about two weeks ago, and the mini-bout of mastitis I went through around week three, and I will be the first to admit that there were more than a few times that I wanted to throw in the towel this time. The article on CNN hit a lot of great points for me. I think the advice about getting a support group is right-on. I am usually very NOT into that type of thing either, but after I had Eli I found a Mom & Me meeting for nursing moms and it helped SO much because at the very least, I realized everyone else had the same struggles as me. That in itself helped me to push through the discomfort and doubt. Once again I urge anyone who is on the fence about breastfeeding to at least give it a month before you call it quits.

Missing: Life

Seriously. Where did it go? I finally felt like I was getting back on track with friends, family, and Lehr. Eli was behaving really well and we were in a great routine each week. I was able to return to my 5 & 10Ks and my gym and yoga schedule. Heck, we even took a trip out west to bike and hike because we were able to leave Eli all day long with no worries about feeding!

As Eli would say: ALL GONE. Our nights are no longer our own. We used to put Eli down around 8PM and have the whole evening in front of us. Same in the morning; I'd get up whenever and have time to be with just me before he woke up around 9. And when I brought Eli to MMO, I'd have time for the gym, haircuts, house cleaning, etc. Oh, and dinners? If it takes longer than 3 1/2 minutes to prepare, it pretty much doesn't happen, since that is during Maddux's 'witching hour(s)'. Add to that one very unhappy toddler, and if we are all wearing clean clothes it is a successful day.

I know. I know. I know. In a few months or a few years this will all be a distant memory and the kids will play nicely together, yada yada yada. That will be great. Until then, I apologize if I make NO sense while we're having a conversation (as my brain has way too many things preoccupying it to put together a sentence), I apologize if your phone calls or emails go unanswered, and I apologize if I show up at your house in a spit-up stained shirt with unwashed hair and hand you one or both kids before running very quickly in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

One Month Appointment

Maddux had her one-month well-visit with the pediatrician today. Not that I was concerned about her weight, but she comes in at the 75th percentile for all measurements. She weighs 9lb. 8oz. (WOW!) and measures 21 1/2" long. That is 'taller' than Eli was at her age. She did not receive any shots today, so the visit was calm and quick. On another pleasant note, a few nights ago Maddux slept for 7 straight hours. How happy was Mom!! Of course I woke up about 6 hours into it and couldn't fall back asleep, as my body was not used to going that long uninterrupted. Not that I expect this will happen regularly for a few more weeks, but it was a nice surprise! She is lifting her head so much more these days also. When I put her down for 'tummy time' she lifts and lifts for about two minutes before she screams in protest to being prone. Speaking of the scream, Eli does NOT like it when she fusses. Maddux has been very unhappy a few times in the car and Eli gets a very upset scowl on his face and looks out the window, ignoring us until she stops.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Don't Hate The Playa; Hate The Game

Several prefaces attached to this post... First off, I'm in a rambling mood, so this could get lengthy. Secondly, I apologize if my topic or my point of view offends anyone or makes them feel bad in any way, but I am not apologizing for how I feel, nor the fact that I'm posting my feelings about this topic. That said, here we go....

I feel great. Seriously. Even though it's 3:15pm and both kids are up (when they both should be napping at least another 45 minutes), I am very very very happy. Life is good. Part of that feeling great has to do with my returning to 'normal' again. I feel strong, capable and back to my old self again. I have felt that way almost from the moment I had Maddux. I will not apologize for that. Nor will I apologize for fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes less than a week after giving birth both times. As Dana Carvey playing Bush Senior would say, "Not gonna do it." I am a very active person. I love to exercise because of how it makes me feel. I love knowing my body is strong. I love that my feet can carry me 30-miles for breast cancer research. I love that my legs can peddle up the mountains of Tahoe to give me an amazing view. I love that my arms can lift Eli up and down several times a day. My desire to work out and bike and hike has so much more to do with how it makes me feel than how it makes me look. I assure you it is not a vanity thing with me, nor am I obsessed with wearing a size two or looking like the celebs. My obsession is the runner's high I get from pushing myself, blah blah blah.... (I told you I was going to ramble.)

My point (and I do have one) in going on about the above is because I have recently felt 'under attack' for feeling so good. It's as though I should still be in bed complaining about being tired or sore. In the last two weeks, since having Maddux, I've had a few nay-sayers giving me the evil eye and/or speaking negatively of me because I might not look like what they'd expect me to look like so soon after having a baby. (Note: I am not speaking of the well-wishers who joked with me last week at church; I know their hearts were right. This negativity has been more from mere acquaintances and strangers.) I will never understand why some people feel the need to tear others down, publicly or in their minds, just to make themselves feel better. I know that when I am in a bad place emotionally, I tend to think more negatively of others, so maybe it's as simple as that. Knock others down to elevate yourself. Regardless, I feel good and I'm not going to apologize for it. I've worked hard to be in the shape I'm in, so I get frustrated when people talk ill of me, as if I've not earned it. (Wow...lots of "I"s in that paragraph. Maybe it's me who has the iSpeak and not Eli.)

Enough of that. I did not post this to brag in any way...quite the opposite. It seems though the 'haters' I've encountered should consider the 'game' in their life; what is causing their negative attitudes over someone else's joy? (BTW - I've re-written this post several times already because each time I re-read it, I worry it comes off as braggadocious. That's my own insecurity, I know.) I just had to get off my chest how I feel about the negative feedback that comes from what should be something to be celebrated. I just had a baby and I feel great about it. Period.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Missed Moments

I have always felt that I truly enjoyed every moment of Eli's baby-hood. Since I was fortunate enough to be able to stay at home with him from the moment he was born, we spent a lot of one-on-one time, especially in the beginning. There aren't any milestone moments that I can think of that I missed, and I 'oohed' and 'aahed' over every coo and smile he had.

It's different this time around, of course. I am already seeing Maddux grow up and move out of stages and phases before I'm even able to recognize and dote over them. When there is already another child in the house, especially a toddler, it is quite difficult to spend any time with a baby unless s/he is being fed. And even then, the focus is on containing/entertaining the older one, not enjoying the moment of bonding. This really makes me sad. I know Maddux will not be lacking in the attention department because any attention she does not get from me she will surely get from Eli, but I am already mourning the missed moments. I remember nursing Eli and singing to him or talking to him for an hour or so as he ate and burped. I remember then putting him in the blue chair or on his stomach and staring at him while we 'talked' for 30 minutes or so before he went down for his nap. I remember occasionally rocking him to sleep in the early days. Unfortunately with Maddux all I remember is feeding her while I prepare Eli's breakfast and lunch. I remember putting Maddux on the boppy as soon as she finishes eating because I needed to play with Eli as I'd just spent 20 minutes 'focused' on his sister. I remember Maddux crying in her crib for ten minutes before I was even able to think about going to soothe her. I remember praying she'd sleep longer so I could have a few minutes to myself (rather than praying for her to wake up so I can spend time with her).

I am in awe of parents with more than one child, including those I know who have four (I can think of three families in this situation). Maybe it gets easier after two because the kids can entertain one another while the parent tends to the baby, but it still has to be hard. More than ever I'm realizing that there will never be another 'first' baby. Not that any children after that are not as fun or interesting, but you can never go back to that first experience....back when you didn't know any better. Back when you could stare at little toes for hours. Back when you could spend all afternoon just watching the baby nap.

I have no real way to end this post, other than to say to those of you who have yet to have your first child, cherish every moment, because you won't be able to, at least not in the same way, with your second. A prime example? I don't have any good pictures of Maddux that I haven't already posted to put with this entry....

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Just One Of The Guys

The four of us spent a relaxing weekend getting back to normal; nothing too exciting to report. We did finish Lehr's vacation off tonight with a dinner 'party'. Cooper and his parents came over to enjoy the pool and some pizza. Unfortunately when we arrived at the pool, we found it was closed to due 'hygiene' issues, so we ended up just hanging out at the house. Of course Eli was disappointed he didn't get to show off his jumping skillz, but playing ball and choo-choos with Cooper is high on his list of fun activities, so it was a pretty good trade. The boys played well together and Eli sent Cooper off with a hat to match his: Mater Mechanic. Maddux slept most of the dinner party, of course.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Big Girls Don't Cry

Well, mine does. She is no longer a scrawny baby girl, that is for sure! Maddux has grown so much in the last two weeks; she is no longer frail (hip hip hooray!) But when she is hungry, she'll let you know without fail. That girl can scream!

Eli loves to hold her and will ask to do so by sitting down next to her when she's on a blanket on the ground. As he reaches for Maddux he asks us, "Hold?" Of course he loses interest after a minute or so, but it's the thought that counts, right? Today for the first time he tried to pick her up without asking. We were doing couch time (and thus trying to 'ignore' the kids) and Eli sat down next to Maddux and reached over to her midsection as he's seen us do. We had to break our rule of not intervening with Eli during couch time to remind him not to pick her up, but again, it's the thought that counts.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Just Another Day At The Pool

Yesterday Eli decided he was tired of falling or leaning into Daddy's arms at the pool; it was time he became a big boy and jumped in himself. Now there is no stopping him! As you'll see from the video, Eli has no fear where this is concerned. Today we spent most of the afternoon teaching him to 'ask' Daddy before he jumps in, and we're making progress, but no backs can be turned from now on around water. Maddux missed the moments surrounding her brother's breakthrough; she slept the entire time we were at the pool.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Sometimes His Mother Wanted to Sell Him To The Zoo

Given his behavior in light of the company we've had in our house for the last four weeks, this is how I'm feeling about Eli some days. But I'll address that in another blog....

After threatening it for about six months, I finally took Eli to the Atlanta Zoo today. Since Lehr took the week off and Mom-Mom is here, we figured it would be the best time to go. The weather was pretty muggy though, so after two hours Eli could barely see straight (even though as I type this he is still in his crib talking to Elmo and laughing.....he's been in there 'napping' like this for an hour now). He did enjoy the flamingos and kangaroos, but most of the other animals were napping or 'resting' when we visited their exhibit, so Eli was not too impressed. (Who could blame them in this heat!?!) He liked the statues of animals almost more than the real thing! The picture above shows one of his many attempts to kiss the giraffe. Zoo Atlanta has a really neat kids' section, complete with a carousel and playground, so we'll be sure to hit that first next time. (Eli was way too tired to even get out of his stroller when we passed by this section today.) Maddux rode in the bjorn and napped most of the morning. She was obviously not too impressed.