Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Eli absolutely loved practicing that all week! He learned how to say "tick-oh-teet" and "pank ou" (after he received a treat). We loaded the kids up in the stroller and went to the start of the neighborhood parade at 5PM. Of course, Eli opted to ride in BOB, rather than walk with the other kids. He also found a leftover granola bar in his BOB pocket, so he snacked while we walked. Maddux rode right along side of him in the stroller, sporting the frog costume her brother wore his first year. When we finished the parade (at the pool house), there was pizza and drinks for everyone. Eli enjoyed two pieces of pizza (yes...even though he had just eaten a granola bar! Remember what his teacher said!) We then drove the kids back to house to light the jack-o-lanterns (gack-oh-lee-ners) and put out the candy before we started our trick-or-treat adventure. Eli was oh-so excited to light the gack-oh-leen-ers, for which he chose the faces for me to carve ('cwy' faces, according to him).

Our first stop was the retired couple next door. They've taken quite a liking to the kids, and Eli likes them right back. Even more so now because they bought him a special bag of colored goldfish crackers (his favorite 'treat'). We then went to a few more houses, one being our other next door neighbor. Their beagle was outside and Eli sought her out immediately. She is very easy-going and tolerant of kids, which is good because Eli took quite some time petting her and pointing out her facial features (ears, mouth, nose). He then stood up and said "all done doggie", which meant he was done with this game: time to move on to the next house.

We pushed the double BOB as we walked, since Eli often preferred getting a ride in between the houses. After every trick-or-treat I'd ask him if he wanted to go back in the BOB to go home or if he wanted to go to another house to trick-or-treat. His response was "house" every time. We finally pulled the plug around 7:50, as it was getting late and we'd avoided meltdowns from both kids so far (Maddux was still awake and happy); we didn't want to push our luck. Eli honestly had no interest in the candy other than looking at the wrappers and packaging, much like last year. So one more Halloween down with no candy consumed: Victory!!

It's A Bird! It's A Plane!

Some video of Eli's favorite activity while we were in Watercolor earlier this month:

Eli's Search

I couldn't have scripted this better if I tried (and I swear I didn't!). Eli has been very interested in Maddux's Toddler Bible (a gift at her Church Dedication). He loves to read the stories and point out Jesus. So earlier this week he found my Bible and recognized it as such, but was confused by the lack of pictures. I had the camera on Maddux (she was 'talking'), but moved over to Eli quickly as he started to say "pine. Zhee-jhuh." (Find Jesus)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

School Halloween Party

Eli's class celebrated Halloween today, as he doesn't have school tomorrow. Since I'm a room-mom, I had to participate (not that I didn't want to!), by bringing a snack, plates et all, and designing a craft/activity for the kids. We did hand print ghosts (the fingers are the bottom) made out of white foam 'paper' with googly eyes glued to them. It was difficult to get all the kids to complete the craft (with our help), but they turned out pretty cute. The kids also got a goody bag from the other room mom. Treats inside included popcorn ball, ghost suckers, paint, play-dough, and a Halloween ball. Eli honed in on the popcorn ball immediately (as you can see in the picture). We actually stayed after all the other kids left so he could finish eating it. (Come to think of it, I believe this was his first popcorn experience.)

I arrived a little ahead of schedule, so I was able to see the class walking to the playground in their single-file line (Eli is in the green hoodie.). It amazes me how well they follow instructions at this age! One of my favorite parts of today was chatting with Eli's teacher. She told me how much Eli loves sports, and how she's not seen a kid that into it before. When another little boy arrived today wearing a baseball player's uniform (his costume), Eli immediately started saying all of his baseball words: baseball, bat, ball, hit, home run, pitchers mound, strike out, home plate.... She also told me that I have quite an eater on my hands. (Like I didn't know already!) She said the little girl that sits next to Eli is the opposite, so he often eats her snack too. Sounds like a great match!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Product Review: Blurb

Unlike my last product review, I unfortunately did not receive any free 'incentive' to post my opinion this time. However, I cannot help myself because I am sold on this product: hook, line and sinker! Also, since many of my readers are bloggers and parents, this will hopefully be a post that will benefit others. (And hey, if Blurb decides to throw a free publication or two my way, it wouldn't be the end of the world!)

Last week I commented how much I've grown to love blogging for its memory-keeping purposes., then Confessions of Eli's Mom, and now The Tales of Eli & Maddux are what I rely on more than baby books to keep record of milestones. More importantly, my blogs provide the little details and corresponding pictures so I can remember these early days when my kids are grown. When Eli was younger (back in the days), I had a hard time finding a publication service that was user-friendly for bloggers. Luckily blogging has taken off in the last year or so and publication companies have noticed. For the time being, I've chosen Blurb to print out my blogs. Not only do they have an easy-to-use website with free download-able software so your blog can be copied directly into your working 'document', but they print in color and allow pictures!! This is a huge plus for me since I love to include pictures (in case you hadn't noticed). You can choose from a wide selection of covers, which are color (even though I chose b&w) and pretty 'customizable'. The cost depends on your book size as well as number of pages. I've published two books so far, and even my larger one (all of 2006 and I blog LOTS) wasn't too expensive (less than $50).

To sum up, I'm posting this product review to inform those of you who blog that this service does exist and it's a great way to preserve your writing. Especially if you blog about your families.....unless you don't want them to know what you've been saying about them, of course.

Halloween or Girls Night Out?

This article brings up concerns I've had for the last few years, but particularly this year, since I've been in more of the costume stores. I was totally shocked when Lehr and I took Eli to a Halloween store only to find the KIDS' isles loaded with 'hot witch' costumes and 'sexy nurse' get-ups. We are not even talking about teen-age costumes here. The sizes marked were 7-9years and 11-13years. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with women, even older teens playing 'dress-up', especially in the spirit of feeling good about oneself. In my college days I went out on a weekly basis and 'dressed up'. I did not do that when I was 8 years old. Or even 12 years old. I had parents who, though I didn't like it at the time, put limits on me and what I wore. I can't imagine letting Maddux wear even half of the costumes I have seen at Target or Halloween stores in the last month.

I'm curious about your thoughts...especially if you're a parent of a girl. I've heard the defense that dressing this way helps boost girls' self-esteem, but I think it does the opposite. IMO, it teaches girls (right in line with so much of the television/movie/music scene) that their body is their #1 asset, and it needs to be showcased at every opportunity. As Pink said (in one of my favorite songs), "What happened to the dreams of a girl president?"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday: Family Fun Day

After church this morning, we rushed home so Eli could go right down for a nap. We'd planned to attend a neighborhood "pumpkin carving" party at 3, when Eli was usually snoozing. Of course that backfired, as it always does. Eli did not get quiet in his crib until 2:30. Thirty minutes of nap would not a happy child make. I swear he gets too excited to nap sometimes...he did the same thing when Gappa Jib last visited. He stayed in his crib playing for almost two hours before I finally went in and told him that if he didn't take a nap, Gappa Jib wouldn't come until the following day. (It worked that time.)

(Speaking of no sleep. Maddux refused to sleep at church today also. She had a quick nap at the house before we left, but not long enough to justify staying up for three straight hours! I guess she's trying to follow in Eli's footsteps where sleep is concerned after all!)

So I go into Eli's room at 3:15 and he is lying down, but his eyes shoot open and he says, "Cut pumpkins??" At least he was in an ok mood!! The party was great; they had a few jumpy-castles for the kids, stations set up to carve or paint pumpkins, food galore (and we're talking creative food too), and a backyard playground set. Eli got a little moody during one or two of the jump sessions he had, but that's what happens when you get 1 1/2 hours LESS sleep than usual. Since I had Maddux strapped to my front in the bjorn, and since we were busy talking to people and watching Eli, we opted to wait and carve our pumpkin when we got home.

After dinner we put Maddux down for a quick nap (she had missed a lot of sleep this weekend also) and the three of us carved one of our pumpkins. Eli requested a "c-wy face" (cry face...I assumed it meant sad), but we were short on time, so I went for a standard smiley face. Eli was quite excited to see me cut and make the punkin a jack-ou-lee-ner. We lit a candle in it at the end and his eyes got really big.

One thing I forgot to mention from yesterday: Eli helped Lehr put up our bedroom wall lamps. He was oh-so excited to help Daddy with the real drill, but he did go downstairs a few times to get his tools (courtesy of Sesame Street).

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pumpkin Picking

Today we went to a nearby pumpkin patch to pick out some Halloween vegetables to carve. Normally we head to North Georgia for one of the bigger patches, but we were a little short on time this year. Not that the kids noticed at all.... Eli was so excited when we arrived at the patch two miles from our house; he ran over to the pumpkins yelling, "PUNKINS! PUNKINS!" He tried to pick them up, but deemed them 'he-bee' (heavy), so he made his way over to the miniature ones. We picked out two larger ones to carve and two smaller ones (one for each person) to round out our front porch display.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Halloween Is Almost Here!

We almost didn't make it to see the scarecrows this year!! Each year since we moved here I've gone to see the display of scarecrows at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see the assorted scarecrows. Due to weather and travel this year, I almost missed them! Carissa, Cooper & Finley met me and the kids there this morning. We had to dodge a few raindrops, but we were able to see the Children's Gardens. Both boys were not really 'feeling' it, so we only hung out for an hour or so. It's funny to think how small they were last year at this time; Eli wasn't even walking! Here is a picture of Eli (with Gamma Capppy) the year before that - he was just two months old.

Last night, the whole Eliason family went to Eli's school for an open-house. Eli was so excited to see Ms. Jane (his teacher), and he loved showing his room to Lehr and I. His older friend made an appearance, which totally made Eli's day. One of the many art projects hanging in the classroom was footprint-ghosts. On Tuesday one of the teachers took each kids' shoes and socks off, painted one of their feet, and stamped it on some black paper to make a ghost. I knew nothing of this before I entered the room last night, but Tuesday afternoon Eli did tell me, "Paint. Peet. (feet) Kool. (school)". I just thought he dropped a paint brush on his foot or something. Obviously he was trying to fill me in on his activities that day.

School Pictures

Eli had school pictures last week:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

And The Little One Said, "Roll Over. Roll Over."

Maddux rolled over today for the first time! She's been threatening to for a while, but she had me convinced she was going to roll from back to front first, like Eli did. When she first did it, I thought it might have been a fluke, so I put her back on her stomach and watched as she repeated her new skill. Three times!

While Eli was at school, the two of us went for our twice-a-week hike at Kennesaw. Maddux obviously missed the hike (it's been raining for the last week) because she barely slept at all; she couldn't stop looking around at the trees and the sky. And she's been oh-so vocal all day, using her lips to create a humming noise that coincides with her foaming-at-the-mouth trick. (She loves to blow bubbles with her spit. She's a lady!)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Eli's Babydoll

I forgot to mention my favorite part about Saturday's visit with Cooper's sister (with the exception of meeting Finley, of course). Cooper received the gift of a doll and umbrella stroller, in honor of his sister. Eli loved pushing the stroller around and at some point Lehr thought it would be a good idea to put Maddux in the stroller. I didn't realize this until Eli came zooming towards me with Maddux, looking scared to death, in tow. It seriously took my brain a few seconds to process what it was seeing, as Maddie very much resembled a doll, frozen in fear. I wish I'd had a camera, because once I realized what was happening, it was quite cute. And Eli was pretty gentle with his sister (a first), following Daddy's instructions to "Go slow".

The Count

Eli and I count to ten in English, Spanish and French all the time, but usually he'll just say 'two' or repeat the French or Spanish numbers after I say them. Today he finally counted on his own!! Since it's raining again (a mixed blessing), we went to Kangazoom for an hour before lunch so Eli could let off some steam. We were at the top of one of the slides and I asked him to count to three and then say "GO" for Mommy. We counted "one, two, three" and then he went on with "four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten". No lie!! I couldn't believe it since I hadn't 'checked in' with his ability in that area for a while. I'm sure they count at school and that's why he's all smarty-smart now. Of course he won't count for me now that I ask....

Last night I bought Eli a monkey costume from Old Navy ($12!!!). He has already tried it on twice and seems to not mind the hat/hood part at all. He even knows to say "tick-o-teet" and "pank ou!" when we make our way around the neighborhood next week.

On a side note, I did not mean to throw Lehr under the bus with my disclaimer the other day. I know he appreciates my ramblings; he just tries to keep me in check so that I don't bore you all to tears. Thank you all for the supportive comments though!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


When I started this blog, before Eli was born, it was with the intent to keep family and friends who live in other cities 'in the loop'. Since then I've discovered that my incessant writing serves as a journal also. I find it to be better than any baby book, and since my memory is not the greatest these days, I often find myself going back and reading about specific events that I've forgotten. So now the purpose is to keep a record of Eli and Maddux's accomplishments, words, firsts, etc.

*I though it might be a good idea to post this since Lehr reminds me almost daily that I get long-winded and 'boring' sometimes. I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I force myself to write about something, even when I have no energy to put forth wit or good pictures. So pick and need to read all of my ramblings!!

She's My Dawg! (Mad Dog, that is)

Since I wrote one for your brother, I figured now was as good a time as any to tell you just how special you are (and simultaneously send my readership into sugar shock due to all this sicky-sweetness).

Since your dad and I didn't find out your gender before you were born, we didn't have a name picked out until the day you came into our lives. I worried that because it didn't have time to grow on me, you might not 'fit' your name. Boy have you proved me wrong! You are the femininity of "Maddie", while still the strength and determination of "Mad Dog", all the while being a laid-back, likable "Maddux".

You are such a social being. Your #1 goal every minute of every day is to make eye contact with the people around you so you can 'flirt'. It doesn't matter if it's Mommy or the clerk at Publix or Eli's teacher leaning in to get him out of the car.....You're always the first to smile. You light up when Daddy comes home each night and greets you. When I'm feeding your brother his breakfast, you squeal to make me look at you, only so you can smile at me with your eyes. You're quite a prankster, making me think something is wrong when all you really wanted was my attention. And you constantly follow your brother around the room with your eyes!! Although I know sometimes it must be because you know you need to be aware of his whereabouts, should he decide to 'love' you roughly. But most of the time they shine when Eli looks back at you as he attempting to make you smile or laugh, which isn't difficult.

Though you don't nap very long during the day, you've been sleeping through the night for over a month now, which makes me oh-so-happy. And you don't nurse very long either, but you've grown very quickly; you're ahead of your size in clothing already!

You are so much more vocal than I can express. You are constantly cooing and singing and letting out little 'yelps' all the time...just to hear yourself! Your laugh is contagious too, and it's straight from the belly. Maddux, you have completed this family in a way we didn't know we needed to be completed; we love you!

Ode To Eli

With the exception of your first birthday 'letter', I don't think I've written you directly to tell you how much you add to my life. I'd like to take the time to do that now....

You amaze me daily with your ever-expanding vocabulary and your memory/recall skills. At least once a week you bring up something that happened weeks or months ago, and you 'tell' me about it. I also love how you randomly take note of anything and everything in a given room some days. You take great pride in looking around and naming any object you can see: chair, light, table, oven, door, etc.

You've only been in 'school' for a month now, but already you've won over your teachers' hearts as well. Just today one of them told me how good you are. It amazes her because you are the youngest in the class, yet you're often 'the best'. It warms my heart more than you know that you display your good behavior for other people, even (and often especially) when your dad and I are not present. We get similar reports from Sunday School, which makes me so proud.

I love that you are starting to care for Maddux more and more. You often try to make her laugh by mimicking the sounds I make when I'm changing her: goo-goo, etc. Just yesterday you asked for your sister to lie in your crib with you after your nap: a first! Then this morning you asked for the same thing. You seemed so excited to have her in there, both of you wearing your sleep 'capes', while I read you stories. And when Maddie sneezes, you always say, "Bess ou, Baby".

Last, but most definitely not least, you are so eager to please me. Even though you have your moments when you disobey, and even when you try to hit me, most of the time you are happy to "oh-bey Mommy", and you take pride in receiving praise for your behavior.

Eli, your dad and I are so thankful to have you in our lives and you are a constant source of joy for us. I love you!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Survival of The Fittest

The gauntlet has been thrown down. Mommy vs. Mad Dog. Only one will prevail....

So Maddux is sticking to her vow to 'win' and sleep for only 40-minute naps during the day. In my opinion, Mommy ultimately wins because she is still sleeping 10-12 hours each night. However, this 40-minute thing has got to go. Not only does it make it difficult to get anything done around the house while she's cat-napping, but it throws her sleep-eat-wake schedule into a whirlwind and I'm forced to pick between routine and the clock. (Not that I follow the clock, but her napping schedule begs for a 2-hour window between feedings....not exactly what we should be doing at 3-months.) It frustrates me to no end because she normally goes down for a nap without a problem. Oh, she'll squawk for a moment or two, which is really amusing considering she the lack of effort she puts into her protest. But Maddux has the last laugh because 39 1/2 minutes after her last outburst, she's awake again.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Update

Another busy, yet accomplishment-free weekend. It seems like Lehr and I have so many 'to-do's around the house these days, yet when the weekend comes, it's all about downtime with the kids. Not that it's a bad thing, but the house definitely suffers!

Friday night we ordered pizza and ate on the back deck, which Eli loved. He kept saying, "Biiiiig. Pee-tah." (BIG pizza) Then we went back to Target to try and find a costume that Eli felt a connection with, but we left empty-handed. He showed the most interest in a monkey costume, but after wearing it for about two minutes, he wanted out. Now.

On Saturday we went to Cooper's house to meet his baby sister, Finley. On the ride over, Eli kept repeating, "Happ. Burt-day. Pin-ley.... Cooper tiss-sir." (Happy Birthday, Finley. Cooper's sister.) He didn't care much about seeing her when we arrived however. He had free reign over Cooper's toys for the first 30 minutes or so, as Cooper was not home. After Eli's nap, we all went down to the Little 5 Points parade, an annual tradition for us. Luckily Eli is still not phased by 'scary' costumes, as there were plenty. We were concerned the loud noises coming from the motorcycles ('choppers') would frighten him, as loud noises do these days, but he was fine. Eli especially enjoyed the bands, which featured tuba, trombones, drums, and trumpets (all of which Eli can say). He also liked seeing the horses.

Maddux continued her nap strike until Sunday afternoon. For the last three weeks now, she refuses to nap longer than 40 minutes. She'll nap 20 or 30 sometimes, but just when you think she's going to break her cycle, in the 39th minute when you're patting yourself on the back, she wakes up. She will go down fine, but she will not stay asleep. After church on Sunday, she napped for two full hours. Hallelujah!!

Speaking of church, Lehr and I were last minute replacements for Eli's classroom (the 2-3 year olds). Wow. That is a busy classroom. And at the 1 1/2 hour mark it becomes the scary classroom. Combine the need for lunches and naps and we found ourselves with twelve unhappy kids at 12:15! Luckily the 'scary' portion only lasted five minutes or so. The rest of the time was chaotic and challenging, but overall not too bad. Eli liked having us in the room, but it made him a bit more aggressive than usual. I didn't see him hit or push any kids, but he felt like any toy was rightfully his as long as he wanted it, so I saw a lot of taking, which I'm told he normally doesn't do. Also, Eli really enjoys the snacks. We had goldfish today, which he only gets at church. He finished his and found some others that had been left behind by his classmates. I think he handed me three different (empty) cups throughout the snack time, all finished by him. That was not a behavior brought on by our presence; Eli often eats the leftovers when other parents are teaching too.

We finished the weekend with a hike at Sope Creek. Eli has been much more interested in hiking recently, and it was absolutely gorgeous weather in Atlanta today, so after his nap we tackled the trails. Eli actually hiked all the way to the creek without any assistance! After the excitement of throwing rocks and sticks in the water, however, he rode on Lehr's shoulders for half of the return trip. Maddux, as usual, slept through most of the hike.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Ramble, Ramble

Today I took the kids to Target so we could pick out gifts for the Christmas Child boxes. I really wanted Eli to be involved this year, in the spirit of teaching him how we can give to those less fortunate than us. I explained the concept to him yesterday and even though he knew we were going to Target to buy toys, each time I asked him who we were going to buy for, he told me "udder key-ds" (other kids). Eli picked out small tennis balls, playing cards, stuffed animals, tee-shirts, and flashlights ("pash-lie-tts") for the boxes. When we returned home, the two of us assembled the boxes; Eli was a great little helped throughout the whole thing.

On a separate note, yesterday was an outstanding day for Eli. It was one that I need to hold in my memory when times get tough. We had NO time-outs and no whining with the exception of about 30-minutes of almost whining after Lehr got home. He was seriously the personification of good behavior through and through. Today he has only had one time out, but it was for hitting me while he was having a tantrum (brought on by teeth pain, but unacceptable nonetheless). The good news about it is that he totally understood. Thirty minutes later while I was changing his diaper before his nap he said, "Time Out". I said, "Who was in time out?" Eli responded, "E-I. Time Out." I asked him why and he said, "Hit. Mommy. I tarry, Mommy." So at least my constant stream of telling him why he's in a time out is getting through to him. If nothing else, it's getting through enough so he can regurgitate it, right?

I know I post a lot of these lists, but Eli's vocabulary is expanding so quickly I can't believe it. Other new words and phrases today and yesterday are:
- "gurl" (girl)
- "boy"
- "key-ds" (kids)
- "udder" (other)
- "mmm. good" (in response to lunch I served him today)
- "good tot, mommy" (good shot - while we were playing hoops outside)
- "bess ooou" (bless you - after a sneeze)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Talky Talkerson(s)

Both kids are turning out to be of the L-OW-D (as Eli would say) variety. Maddux has definitely found her vocal chords in the last few weeks. Now she squeals and lets out little baby exclamations during most, if not all, of her wake time. And of course the beach trip has her refusing to nap for any extended period, but looking back at Eli's sleep patterns at this age, he was the same. Maddie can also hold her head up fairly well which means she enjoys tummy-time more these days. She can also grab at some of the dangling toys which makes her day much more interesting and entertaining.

Eli has not seen his older Chinese friend at school for a few weeks now. I'm not sure if he's moved on to an elementary school or what, but he's been MIA in Eli's life and Eli is sad about that. It has not stopped him from becoming a leader in his class though. When I went to pick him up on Tuesday, the leading teacher had moved back in the line to help another child, which left the front of the line 'un-manned'. Eli was at the front and he led the whole class down the breeze-way by himself. That's a first-born for ya!

Eli is filling in the blanks during songs a lot more too: he will still fill in letters when we sing our ABC's, and he will sing the missing words in "You Are My Sunshine" and "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" every time. He asks for both songs by name: Tun-tine and "Take. Ballgame." He also tells me about "Ha-weeen" when he sees pumpkins. (I think they briefed him at school this week which always gets through more to him than when Mommy talks about things.)

We met Eli's friends, Tyler and Noah, at a park yesterday and I witnessed something new for Eli: sympathy. Tyler walked under one of the structures and bumped his head, as kids this age do since they get taller each day, without warning. He cried and Eli came over and patted his (Eli's) head and frowned. Then a few minutes later while Tyler's mom was comforting him, Eli said "I tarry Ty-Ty."


Eli and Maddux sleep the same. We broke Maddux of the swaddle a few weeks back, well, because she was breaking herself of it. Shocker, because Eli was swaddled almost a full year in some fashion. But besides that, they sleep the same (at least the way Eli slept when he was a baby). They both sleep with hands over head. They both sleep in sleep sac. And they both fight naps like crazy!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Donation Corner: Operation Christmas Child

I know I'm behind on my Donation Corner's been a busy month! The charity I'm linking to this time is one I find very worthy, especially this time of year. Yes, it's time again. The hustle and bustle. The endless lists. The parties that consume our every weekend. And the stress. That stress is caused by many things, but for most of us it is stress over finding the perfect gift. Imagine if that quest could be accomplished in ten minutes in Target! For the recipients of Operation Christmas Child, the perfect gift is that easy. The children who receive their Christmas gift from Samaritan's Purse are underprivileged children located all over the world; some are refugees, some are survivors of natural disasters, and some are poverty-stricken. The common thread is they all need joy and hope in their life.

Lehr and I participated last year, and we will be doing so again this year with Eli's help. The website will give you any and all information you need, but the basics are simple. Buy a plastic shoe-box container and fill it with small gifts ranging from pens and paper (for school supplies) to tee-shirts and hard candy. You can find a drop-off location on the website, but most are collecting mid-November which means time is limited. I especially like this opportunity to give back because it is an easy way to involve the kids. Children can pick out toys, supplies, etc. for the boxes, pack them, and write a letter or draw a picture for the recipient. Eli and I plan to go to Target this week to prepare our boxes; we hope you do the same!


That's what Eli says when a food is hot or spicy: 'picy. He said it a few times on our trip last week, but last night took the cake. We went to Willy's for dinner (a staple in our house), and Eli ate his whole burrito bowl, as usual. (That is an adult helping, by the way.) Then he started looking for more, so we offered him some of the regular salsa, which is mostly cut up tomatoes. He didn't like that idea, but he wanted to try the other 'dip'. We told him it might be hot, but allowed him to try a chip in it. He did fine for the first few bites and then all of the sudden he got the funniest look on his face (similar to his sand-eating face) and he said, " 'PICY!!!", as he put the chip down and grabbed his water. Lehr and I were laughing hysterically because after he sipped the water, he went back for more several times, repeating the " 'picy" acknowledgement each time.

I keep talking about it, but the language explosion continues each day. Yesterday Eli told me "habber. pix. washer-dryer. broke-d." Translation: our washer and dryer were broken (replaced last night) and he wanted to take his hammer into the laundry room to fix them. His sentence structure could use some work, but he strings at least three words together most of the time now. I feel like he was still speaking in single-word-sentences only a few weeks ago!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Back To The Grind

Eli went back to school, Lehr went back to work, and Maddux and I went back to our MOPS meeting this morning. No beaches or pools or sun in sight, unfortunately...

Eli adjusted rather well to returning to school, given that he missed all last week. The teacher said he seemed a little 'out of it' first thing, but snapped back in his routing quickly. He did take a spill off the ladder to the slide, but tears were minimal. Maddux faired pretty well at MOPS also. I didn't have to leave the meeting to feed her until the time I'd planned, which was great news for me. The best part about today is both kids sleeping again. While we were on vaca, Eli woke up at 7AM each morning (maybe 8AM once), and Maddux at 5:30. AM, that is. Eli slept until I woke him at 8:30 today, and Maddux didn't make a peep until 6:45. Still on the early side of things for her, but hopefully that was just an adjustment on re-entry.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The End Has Come

Unfortunately we had to end our vacation today. After six wonderful days in Watercolor, we packed up the car(s) and drove home. Eli did pretty well on the drive home. He and Lehr drove home with Uncle Dave, while Maddux and Carolyn were in my car. Although chatty to no end, Eli didn't have any meltdowns and actually slept about 20 minutes (he is NOT a car sleeper). Maddux, on the other hand, had a difficult ride. Even though Carolyn got in the back seat with her to entertain and whatnot, she cried the first 90-minutes, almost non-stop. Come to find out she had less-than-fresh drawers, so maybe we were to blame. All in all, both car rides were better than expected: Hallelujah!!

The trip was awesome. I've updated the past few posts with pictures, if you want to see more than what is in this post. Eli's golf swing improved, as it should have considering the amount of practice he put in each day. He enjoyed the ocean and the pool (especially the kiddie pool), and he had a blast sleeping in the same room as D each night. (Apparently he woke Dave up each morning by throwing Elmo, then his Nemo pillow, then his blanket at him.) Eli got to see tons of butterflies up close too. They were everywhere, but one day we saw more than usual on a few bushes near the 'frog' pool. Eli got to touch them and he found that it 'tick-ole-d' when their wings touched him.

Maddux had a pretty good time too, but she seems to be unable to shake the 20-minute catnaps she's become accustomed too. I will say that vacationing, especially to a beach, is difficult with a 3-month old. They eat 5-6 times and nap 3-4 times each day....add that to the fact that they cannot sit up on their own and relaxing becomes near-impossible. Maddie spent a lot of time in the bjorn and the BOB (stroller), so I doubt she enjoyed her trip as much as Eli did.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Rest and Relaxation??

That is not the definition of vacation when you have kids. Or at least my kids. We are having a great time, but both seem to have forgotten that they sleep in (till at least 8AM - go ahead and hate me now...I have to WAKE Eli to go to school usually because otherwise he'd sleep in until 9AM when we have to leave the house.) Anyway, this week Eli has slept until 8AM once, but the other days he woke up right around 7AM. I think part of the 'problem' is that he is in a very bright room and he's sharing that room with "D". So when he wakes at 7, he sees that it's light out and he sees a playmate in the room, whereas at home he would not see the sun and he'd hit his aquarium on and roll over to fall back asleep. I'm not sure what Maddux's excuse is: she's been waking up at 5 or 6AM to eat (when we've had solid 12-hour nights from her for a few weeks now). Oh wait...she's sleeping in a bathtub right now...that's right. I guess I can't blame her then.

Besides the lack of solid sleep, the kids are having a great time. At least Eli is...Maddux's trip has been pretty uneventful. Today Eli got to chase the waves again and build sandcastles (which really just means shoveling sand). Each day we are sure to hit a field of grass so Eli can hit his golf balls, or baseballs, or throw the frisbee (kiz-bee). He's gotten "CC" in trouble a few times, but what fun is having a fairy godmother if you can't give her a hard time, right?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Happy Birthday, Finley!!

I hope I'm spelling that right!!

Cooper's baby sister was born tonight: Finley is here! Since we're not home, we haven't met her yet, but I hear she looks just like her brother did when he was a baby.

Fun In The Sun

Maddux had her first beach visit today, though she didn't seem to care too much. She napped once on the beach and once at the pool, but both naps only totaled about 40 minutes. She did seem to enjoy watching the waves, though that might have had more to do with the rhythmic sound than anything.

Eli hit the ground running today. He woke up at 7:45AM (again, very early by our standards....I hope our sleep goes back to 'normal' when we get home) and didn't stop 'running' until 3:15PM. It took a bit of convincing, but Eli had a blast at the beach. (Honestly, the first 20 minutes of our time on the beach made me second guess our decision to take this trip. Maddux was fussy and Eli was whiny to the max.) Eli didn't like the ocean at first, but he warmed up a bit by the end of the day. He's been pretty sensitive to loud noises recently ("L-ow-D", as Eli says), so I think the waves crashing freaked him a little. We saw a bunch of dolphins swimming (not too close), but I don't think Eli understood what they were. He liked the pool too, of course, but he preferred the kiddie pool, probably because he could swim without help in there.

We brought a bunch of Eli's sports paraphernalia (baseball bat, balls, golf clubs, foot ball, etc.), so after his nap we hit a few of the beautiful grassy fields. Eli alternated pitching and hitting every few minutes, all the while watching Daddy and D throw the football. After a quick dinner and bath, both kids were asleep without a sound again.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Road Trip

Yes, we're on vaca, but the Inn has public computers, so I can blog if/when I can get 15 minutes to myself, but no pictures until we get home.

Whew!!! We had a very uneventful and (dare I say) calm ride today! We woke the kids up at 6:45AM, which is quite early* by their standards, loaded them in the car, and headed south. Eli is very much not a car-rider, but he did exceptionally well. He never once had a meltdown, and he was even pleasant at times. Maddux did great until the last 15 minutes or so, and we only had to stop twice to feed her. Speaking of which, we stopped once to eat at Cracker Barrell and once in a random spot somewhere around the AL/FL border. Eli was quite pleased with that spot since we found a small grassy area with picnic benches where he could hit his baseball and run around.

* When Lehr went into Eli's bedroom to wake him up, it was still dark. He gently spoke to Eli and asked him, "Hey Buddy - do you know what time it is?" Eli responded, "Nigh-nigh time." Too funny.

Since Eli didn't sleep at all on the way here, we put him down for a short nap when we arrived which, of course started the bad note that would continue until bedtime. He was too excited to sleep, even though he could barely walk since he'd been up for a record nine hours already. Then, because he prolonged his slumber for so long, we had to wake him at 5:30PM, even though he'd only napped for an hour by then. We went to the beach and the pool for a short bit, but Eli's fuse was beyond short. After a quick dinner, both kids were asleep before 8PM. Hopefully tomorrow will be a more fun-filled day.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Gone Fishin'

We're off to the beach for fun in the sun. Check out how small Eli was when we went last year!

Video Stars

Before we leave for vacation, I thought I'd leave you with two 'cute' videos from the last week. One is of Eli, the ham, thanking Gamma Cappy (sometimes called "Caff-ee" now) for the "o-wools".

The other is of Miss Maddux demonstrating her constant vocal rehearsal. (She makes the same spastic movements her brother made at this's like having Eli as a baby all over again.)


Like Father, like Son. In honor of Eli's mohawk (which is growing out at a rapid pace), Lehr decided to take advantage of his 'in-between-jobs' time and duplicate his son's haircut. When Lehr went in to wake him up this morning, Eli's first word was, "pike". Eli found it quite amusing that his dad's hair "tick-oled" as well.

In the last week Eli has become quite accustomed to Lehr's presence during the day. Next week will be a harsh dose of reality when his dad returns to the working world and he only has Mommy to play with during the day.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another First

Maddux surpassed her brother in another 'first' today. She slept for a full 40-minutes in the church nursery. (Eli has yet to sleep a wink at church.) Granted, I was working in her room today, but she went down without much of a fight and she stayed down even when noise happened around her.

Maddie is such a social creature already. She fought her late afternoon nap today, but each time Lehr or I went in to check on her, she stopped crying right away and started to grin and 'coo' at us, as if her fussing was just a ploy to get us to come back in and 'play' with her. She loves nothing more than to stare at people and make eye contact, at which point she makes the funniest noises as she tests her vocal cords.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

OT: Knitting

I finally finished Maddux's baby blanket today. I started knitting it about a week before she was born and it's taken me three full months due to the 'busy-ness' that is my life these days. (Eli's blanket only took about a month.) The blanket is much smaller than Eli's, but he didn't get his until he was almost two years old. And since it was my first non-scarf project, I didn't realize how big it was going to be until I finished. I can use his blanket to cover me up, whereas Maddux's is much smaller and more suited for a 'baby blanket'.

New Words

Eli is still talking up a storm. Even more than new words these days are new sentences. He will put them together all on his own most of the time too. "Mommy. Chair. Sit. Eat." "E-i. Hit. Golf. Ball." "Curl. (Squirel) Nuts. Eat." And so on. Today Lehr sneezed and Eli immediately responded with, "Bess-ou, Daddy." A first. His newest phrase (a personal favorite of mine) is 'here-go'. What Eli means is "Here you go.": something I say to him probably a dozen times each hour.

Last week before my family showed up, Eli played in his crib for over an hour before his nap. I finally went in around the 90-minute mark to see what was keeping him up. I believe it was the excitement over Gappa Jib's soon-to-be arrival. I reminded Eli that our guests wouldn't get there until after his nap, so in order for them to arrive, he had to sleep. Then I told him to lie down and close his eyes. Ever since then he'll tell me, "coze-eyes" when he speaks about sleeping. Today he saw the neighbor's garage door close (they only close it at night) and he said "Nigh-nigh. Coze-eyes."

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Older Crowd

Eli has always seemed to prefer his 'older' friends, but recently he's gravitated towards them even more. One of Eli's teachers has a 6-year-old son who only speaks Chinese. Until this week, he spent his days in Eli's class, playing with puzzles and whatnot while his mom taught. Eli often speaks of this boy at home, but I thought their interaction was the same or less than that he had with other kids (his own age) in the class. Today I spoke with another mom from the class and she corrected me. Since she has been in the classroom with her child almost the entire time each day, she has seen Eli and this older boy play as if they were best friends. Apparently Eli gravitates towards him several times each day, to do puzzles, to play with trains, or just to hang out. When Lehr and I visited the class on Tuesday, we saw the two of them together when Eli and his class went to the drop-off area, where the other boy was waiting also. Immediately Eli and he started goofing around. Lehr and I found this quite amusing, considering they don't have much verbal communication. After all, Eli doesn't understand Chinese at all (to my knowledge), and the other little boy is very limited in English (his mom says he has about a handful of words). I wonder what they talk about?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Life. Is. Good.

No real reason for this post other than to gush like a sappy mommy, once again. I'm reminded almost daily now how much I love having two kids and how much I love being part of this family. I went to another parenting class last night (this one was just for moms), and while I sat during the Q&A portion, I realized that I have no real 'issues' I currently need help with. Eli is still challenging us daily, but I feel (for the most part) in control of it. I think what that really means is I've come to terms with the fact that he will not be good 100% of the time, nor will I always be in control of the situation 100% of the time. And Maddux is sleeping great at night, but her daytime schedule is on track one day and off track the next. So just because I'm feeling good about things, they are far from perfect.

Who knows..... Maybe it's the extra sleep talking (yes, Maddux is still holding at 12-hours). Maybe it's the fact that Lehr is home this week, so I have extra help with Eli. Maybe it's just a good month. I'll take it, regardless of the reason.

Joe the Turtle

Eli has his first least for today! It rained on and off while Eli was at school this morning, and in that time Lehr noticed a small turtle crossing our driveway. He created a small home for it in a cardboard box, and captured the turtle so Eli could see him when he returned. Eli was so excited....couldn't stop smiling! It did/does worry me that he claps his hands together (a threat?) when he sees the turtle. He calls him Joe and he says "tick-ole" when he touches the turtle's back. We'll probably keep him around for the day and then release him near the creek by our house. From what I can tell, Joe is a Three-toed/Ornate Hybrid Turtle. Not sure if they're common in our area, but we live in a neighborhood with a lake named "Turtle" lake, so I assume Joe has a lot of friends to hang out with here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Terrific Tuesday

We're taking advantage of Lehr's mini-vacation from work to do things we can't normally do. Today that meant visiting Eli's school for their song-circle. Of course as soon as we entered the room, Eli started saying, "Home. Golf." He semi-sat for the remaining ten minutes of class, which included about three more songs and putting away the carpet squares they were seated on. Then he lined up with the class while Lehr and I followed behind. It was great to see the other kids in Eli's class and how they all interacted. Eli showed us his artwork around the room, and even pointed to 'his' box on the bookshelf.

Maddux spent the morning at MOPS with me. She did very well until 11AM when it was time to eat again, which lined up with her schedule, so hip hip hooray! (Also, we're up to three nights in a row of 8-8 sleeping.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Family Affair

Our house was a full one this weekend. In honor of Maddux's dedication, Gappa Jib, Gamma Cappy, GG, and Treis came to visit. Eli absolutely loved having the extra attention. He idolized Treis and did whatever he could to spend time with him. The two played hoops, golf, and Eli requested book-reading by his cousin before bed a few times. This is not to say he didn't enjoy the rest of the lot, but while Treis was here, he seemed to be #1. Followed closely by Gappa Jib. Eli's favorite game of the weekend was golf with a twist. Eli stood on our deck and hit the golf balls, which inevitably fell through the slots on the railing, while Gappa Jib was *asked* to retrieve them. Eli thought it was hilarious that his grandfather fished around in the bushes for the little plastic balls. (Actually, we all thought that was a bit funny.) Even though Eli favored the guys, he had kisses, hugs and smiles for GG and Gamma Cappy too.

Maddux was happy for most of the weekend also. She loved having a constant stream of people cooing and doting on her. She even allowed Grandma Cathie to give her a bottle today (which we still struggle with sometimes). She's been showing off her vocal skills and her dimple for three days straight. The house will be much less exciting tomorrow, that's for sure!

It's A Date!

Not a phrase heard in our house very often. In fact, not at all in about six months. Between the house and then Maddux, Lehr and I have not had any date time recently other than watching the Cubs after the kids go to bed at night. (Speaking of which, post-season, here we come!!!) This weekend we had three able-bodied baby-sitters in our house, so we took full advantage and got out. About a week ago I suggested to Lehr that (in the spirit of kid-free time) we get out on our bikes since that is something we rarely get to do anymore. And when we do, we have to take turns riding the trails so one of us can watch the kids while the other rides. After Maddux woke up (at 8:10AM - the streak continues!!), we bolted. Although the lake was incredibly low due to drought conditions, the weather was awesome: perfect for a ride. We both managed to not injure ourselves and finish in respectable time, despite the fact that we've not ridden at all in 2007. We came home to find Maddux asleep and Eli out front playing golf with Gappa Jib. Life is good.