Friday, November 30, 2007

Jump Shot!

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

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Put On A Happy Face

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Incredible Growing Woman

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

Pretend Play

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

Little Drummer Boy

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Totally OT: For Online Shoppers

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Teaching Generosity

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

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

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

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thump Thump

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

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Growth Spurt

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Lurkey Dee...

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

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

For The Love Of The Game

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Boy Is A Pin-Up!

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

Monday, November 19, 2007

An Everexpanding Vocabulary

It's not as if he didn't pick up new words before, but now Eli repeats them seconds after he hears them! After Eli's nap this afternoon, we played with Maddux for about five minutes before I put her down for a nap. Eli played in the hall while I placed Maddux in her crib. I said, "Good night, sweet-pea." to Maddux before I walked away from her crib. As soon as I walked out and closed her door, Eli looked at me and said, "goodniiigh tee-pee".

Last night as the four of us ate dinner, we saw another bug in the house (I'm almost immune at this point). Lehr, shocked by the size, responded with a "Holy Moly". Eli said, "Oh-lee Moe-ee" all night.

Eli was reminded of his pleasant pool visits when we visited the pool house last night. This morning he told me over and over that he wanted to "jumppp" off the "dy-bing bohd" into the "kee-dee pool".

Sunday Wrap Up

After their naps yesterday afternoon, we took the kids to a neighborhood chili cook-off. There was a fire truck and plenty of games to be played. Eli impressed by the big red truck, but not as much as I would have thought. He did enjoy the bouncy castle though. Especially since when we first got there only one other 'older' kid was inside. And he (maybe 8 or 9 years old) was GREAT with Eli. He would lift him up to dunk the ball, or fly him around the inside like Superman.

On our way to the event, Eli kept the (real) pliers with him in the car. We had them out in the house for some repairs this week, and Eli is quite obsessed with real tools. He even said "pie-ers. cheese." when I pulled out the camera.

After dinner, Eli and Lehr ran to the store while I bathed Maddux. When they got home, Eli came right upstairs to Maddux's room to greet us (as I was feeding her). He came in and said, "HI!" and then ran into the computer room. He returned a minute later with a tiny stuffed animal I'd been using with Maddux recently. He gave it to me and said, "Tis-ser. Toy." (sister. toy). Then he went back and got another and said, "Here-go, baby!" Of course he wanted to kiss her head before he left for good. On his way out he turned around and said, "Bye-bye, Mommy." as he closed the door behind him. His 'bye-bye' is so cute: he says it as he opens and closes his palm, in a wave. It's quite a good impression of how I do it to him, but 1000-times cuter.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Donation Corner: World Vision

The holidays are fast approaching which means everyone is hitting you up for charitable donations. And then when they're done, their kids come and ask for more money/food/gifts. Please do not view my Donation Corner in that light. I am not asking any of you for any contributions. I am simply providing information on charities that I deem worthy and in need, should you be looking for a place to contribute.

This month I'm highlighting a charity that is unique, in my opinion. It allows you to contribute money to specific parts of the world and to specific needs. World Vision gives you a breakdown of exactly what your contribution will provide. For example, you can donate $25 to be used to purchase two chickens for a family. They can eat the eggs as well as sell them for income. Or you can donate $16 and purchase two soccer balls for impoverished kids.

That's it. I'm not going to hit you over the head with it...World Vision is there if you choose to use it.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

I don't remember when Eli started waking up happy, at least happy enough to play in his crib until someone came to gather him. For the past week, Maddux has been doing this after her morning nap. I will hear what I think is her, but when I put my ear to the monitor there is silence. Then a minute or so later, I'll hear her shriek again. Eventually I realize that she is making noises, but they are happy, playing noises. This morning Maddux woke up and played in her crib for ten minutes before 'requesting' I come in to feed her. That was a first; I knew she had to be starving having not eaten since 8PM last night. Yet she still hung out for a while and entertained herself.

Also, Maddie is really enjoying the exersaucer. She gets to explore its possibilities at least once each day, and so far she's not been disappointed. She is grabbing objects with much more success in the last week, and she runs in place like Eli did when he was this age too.

Eli woke up quite lethargic this morning. We heard his aquarium turn on around 8:45, but we usually give him 15 minutes or so to wake up on his own. (He is not a happy camper if you rush his awakening process.) In that time we didn't hear any other (talking, etc.) noises. When Lehr finally brought Eli downstairs, he informed me that something was 'weird'. He said Eli fell asleep on his shoulder while they read a book and he was very lifeless. I reached out and took Eli in my arms to investigate for myself. He didn't seem to have a fever or any other obvious ailment, so thoughts of keeping him with me during the church service ran through my mind. As I put him in his high chair I realized what the problem was. Eli ate next to nothing for dinner last night, so his blood-sugar was most likely at an all-time low. This kid eats a LOT, so missing a meal could cause serious havoc. He did not enjoy the dinner I made, so he only picked at a few bites of apple and raisin from the salad portion. In our house we don't cater to the kids: they're at healthy enough weights that I know they aren't undernourished. The choice is what we are eating or a big bowl of nothing. There was no struggle or fight, but last night Eli chose nothing. After 'dinner', Eli and Lehr went to the nearby softball field to watch a few minutes of the softball games. When they returned home Eli was a mad-man: running around the upstairs imitating the base-running and ball-catching. Any calories he might have had during dinner were definitely burned in the 15 minutes before his bath. After breakfast he seemed to be himself again, so we're pretty confident that's all it was. Since Eli is never quiet and cuddly like he was this morning, it almost made me wish he'd skip a meal once a week so I could spend 'down time' with him. That's something that is reserved only for before-bed-books, which Lehr usually handles.

Even though I know this post is already too long, there is one last thing. Eli seems to have found his Lex Luthor (or his Superman, depending on which character Eli might be). There is a little boy who in in the same Sunday school class at church, even though he's about six months older than Eli. A month or so back, this little boy's dad told us that he (the boy) had hit Eli during Sunday School, but that he did apologize. We joked about how it would most likely be Eli hitting him (the boy) next time. That may have happened today (and every Sunday, for all I know). On the ride home, Eli said "I 'tarry, (boy's name)." We asked him if he had to apologize today and he said 'uh huh'. When we asked him why, Eli said, "Hit. (Boy's name)." On the other hand, Eli incorporates this little boy's name into a lot of conversation around our house, even though he only sees him for a few hours on Sunday. I think they tend to play together a bunch in that time, which of course means they end up butting heads a lot. I just hope Eli really did apologize! (I know who worked in Eli's classroom today, so I will be asking for more details soon :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Random Updates

Eli helped Lehr clear the leaves off the back porch this morning. We've had a lot of rain and cooler temps this week, so our yard, driveway, and deck are unrecognizable. Eli and I have raked for the past two days, but Eli's version of raking includes Mommy raking leaves into a pile and Eli raking them out of the pile. He was also little help to Lehr on the back deck. Instead of a rake, it was a broom, but a very similar process.

Last night we went to our bi-weekly small group dinner. We get together with several other couples, most of whom have small kids, so it's usually semi-organized chaos. In the midst of it, Eli picked up a new skill: hugging. Until now, Eli has not wanted to put forth the effort of contributing to a hug. He'd receive or he'd kiss you, but he would not put out his arms and squeeze. As we were leaving he finally decided to do it, and then we could not get him to stop. In fact, he hugged one little girl so much that she finally said, "He's squishing me!" To which Eli laughed and repeated "Skish-me!" over and over. Maddux pulled an 'all-nighter' by not nodding off the entire three hours we were there. Not to mention the 30 minute drive on either end of the visit. She was exhausted when we got home; I think she was actually mad at me for putting her pjs on before I put her in the crib!

While I ran to the store this afternoon, Lehr put Maddux in the backpack carrier. No pictures yet (since I was not home at the time), but he said she enjoyed it for almost an hour while he cleaned the garage.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Laughingstock

I gave Maddie some zerberts (sp?) today while Eli was napping. She couldn't get enough!!! This is my first time using blogger's video....let me know if you prefer it to YouTube (what I normally use).

video

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Trip to the Doctor

Maddux had her four-month well-check this morning. I decided to have Eli get his flu shot at the same time, to save a trip. Before the visit I guessed Maddie would weigh in at 15 pounds, considering how much my back aches when I put her in the bjorn these days. I wasn't far off: she tipped the scale at 14lb. 10oz!! That put her in the 75% for weight, and at 25 1/2" long, she is in the 95% for height. We have a big girl on our hands! Eli did very well during the appointment. I brought along his Spiderman camera (a favorite these days) and Fox In Sox, which kept him pretty entertained while we waited for the nurse to come in with the shots. Eli got his first and he barely flinched when she stuck him. Maddux gave a very, VERY sad cry when she got her immunizations, however.

For those of you with kids who sign(ed), did they forget signs as they started to use words? Yesterday I had my mouth full, so I told Eli to "drink. milk" with sign language. He looked at me like I was nuts. So I then reminded him of all the signs he used to use. Especially "please" and "thank you" and "more", which he still uses at the same time he says the words some times. Even those seemed to baffle him, which makes me think he doesn't realize he's using those hand gestures: it's just a reflex. Just tonight, when he finished his dinner, Eli shook his hands and said, "All done." which he does every time he says those words. But if you ask him to 'sign' it, he doesn't have a clue.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Give It A Try!

Lehr sent me the link to a fun online game. The great thing is, the better you do, the more people benefit. Teamed up with United Nations, freerice.com donates 10 grains of rice for every word you match correctly. You can practice your vocabulary skills while simultaneously helping end world hunger. Give it a try!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Like A Weed

Here is a quick video of Maddux in her exersaucer from this weekend. There's not a whole lot going on in the video, but it shows just how big she is!

The Storm Has Passed?

I hope!! Eli has had a rough two weeks. His two-year-old 'tude and defiance was present and accounted for almost every second of the last ten to fourteen days. Add that to his teething (yes, it is an on-going process that never ends, so I should just stop mentioning it) and you get one very tired, very frustrated, very overwhelmed Mommy!

I am so happy to report that this day has been 100% wonderful so far. We've had no time-outs, no chastising, no tantrums and only a few 'reminders' regarding obedience. Eli, Maddux and I spent the whole morning at the house, which is normally a recipe for disaster with Eli, as his attention span is limited. We all got up and had breakfast, then played with Maddux for about ten minutes before she took her first nap. Eli and I proceeded to play in the front yard with everything: rakes, baseball and bats, Eli's push-car, golf clubs. Then we moved to the back-yard and blew some bubbles before coloring a few leaf pictures for the refrigerator. Maddux woke up and Eli had blanket time for 20 minutes (which went PERFECTLY). We followed that by lunch (apple pancakes in the shape of letters: E and C today) and stories before his nap. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me! And I know it made Eli happy to regain rights to his sports equipment today. I am so excited to have my crazy, spunky, happy, mostly-obedient Eli back...I hope he's here to stay!

This weekend I counted with Eli every time we read the monkey book. I touch each monkey as we count them, and after 1, 2, and 3, Eli usually counts the rest on his own (with me still touching the monkeys). Yesterday I saw him reading the book with Lehr and Eli was the one touching the monkeys as he said, "doo, tee, fouu, pie-ve.." (two, three, four, five) When we colored on the back deck this morning, Eli touched each pumpkin and counted, though not always using the correct numbers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Time Flies!

Maddux is growing up so fast. We put her in the exersaucer this weekend for the first time. She seemed to like it ok, even though she's not pushing herself around yet. Of course when Eli came over and played with the toys, she giggled uncontrollably. I really need to keep the video camera strapped to me for those occasions!! Maddie is a true yoga baby; she practices "happy baby pose" all of the time now. She grabs her toes and coos. That's another thing we missed out on with Eli: foot play when he was a young baby. By the time he was out of his bar enough to play with his feet, he'd moved on to bigger and better things.

Our big girl is fully in size 6-12month clothing and size 3 diapers now. Did I mention she just turned 4-months last week? She outweighs all other like-aged babies we know, and she is only one size behind her brother in diapers. One size behind her two-year old brother. She must have very sticky bones because she still does not eat a whole lot, nor very often. She will be starting 'solid' foods around Christmas - that snuck up on me! It really hit me this week that I need to be sure and soak all of these little baby milestones up. I've always told myself two kids - no more. If that is the reality, this is my *last* chance to experience all of these baby gems. That has definitely caused me to stop in my tracks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Eager to Please

Even through the issues we've been having recently with Eli's behavior, one thing remains fairly constant. Eli is a true first born and he loves to please Mommy. This is evident in little things he does daily. When he is in an obeying kind of mood, he will obey all the way, which includes putting toys away in their correct place, even when he's excited about moving on to another activity or room. And our rule is his 'special' blanket has to stay in his crib all the time. From time to time he will go into his room and pull it through the slats. Tonight he did this right before his bath, but quickly returned to his room when I told him 'no'. He was in his room for about five minutes before I went in to see what the hold up was. He was trying very hard to make sure it got back into his crib, which is quite difficult considering the height of his crib walls. He has to ball it up and toss it over the top. Quite a feat for a two year old.

Eli's new word/phrase ability really hit me this morning. About a month ago we were in the habit of reading "Eight Silly Monkeys", one of Eli's favorite books. When I asked him what the doctor said, he would reply: "No, no." He found that book again last night and when I asked him this morning what the doctor said, his response was "No more monkeys jumpin!!" In just a month he went from a one-word answer to a full sentence. So cool! He also loves to ask where things/people are: "Daddy is?" "Truck is?"

Sorry for the lack of pictures this week; we got new carpet and the installers had our upstairs blocked off for two days. Between that and the preparation and clean-up afterwards, my camera hasn't been touched.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Name?

That's Eli's newest question de jour. He will see something (or someone) in a book or on the street and ask, "Name?" This 'game' can go on as long as I keep answering him because, depending on his mood, Eli will continue to ask even after I've given him the answer. He also asks to hear "Eli Tong" (Eli song) at least 100 times each day. The song he's referring to is "Eli's Coming" by Three Dog Night. The chorus is easy enough for me to sing as the words are simple (Eli's Coming), but if I sang every time he asked, my voice would be gone by 11AM.

Update

Sorry I haven't posted this week. We got new carpet installed upstairs and Eli has been 'difficult', so my free time has been very limited. Not much new to report re: Eli's misbehavior and hitting. He's lost rights to all of his sports equipment this week due to hitting/swatting. He did really well on Tuesday, so he was able to play with the soccer ball Tyler brought to the mountain yesterday, but ten minutes after we started playing, Eli swatted Ty's back. Then he swatted at Lehr in Target last night. Bye-bye sports again!! Eli does get it though. While we were walking with Tyler and his mommy yesterday morning, Eli told her, "Soccer goal. Time-out."

Maddux is growing up so fast!! I had her in the nursery with me while I worked at MOPS this week and she was the biggest baby. The only one that was similar in size was a 9-month old. WOW! My baby is a linebacker! This week she discovered that her hand can open and close. It's so much fun to see her stare at her fingers as she makes and releases her fist. Mad Dog is also in love with her brother. Eli had her giggling so hard last night, and it was right before her bath when she's normally exhausted and irritable. In Maddie's eyes, Eli can do no wrong. Both kids love to lie in Eli's crib while I read them stories. I try to read Maddux a book or two while Eli is sleeping each day; she touches the pages, but doesn't get too excited. When she's in his crib and I'm reading, she smiles and coos up a storm, mainly because she is watching Eli.

Monday, November 05, 2007

What a Day!

Today started much better than yesterday; Eli had a wonderful morning! After breakfast we drove over to Cooper's house to hang out for a bit. Eli and Cooper battled over a few toys, but Eli didn't lose his temper until it came to the oh-so-cool tricycle upstairs. Eli wanted to use it and he wanted to use it BAD. We were all playing in the downstairs playroom at the time though, so it wasn't an option. Eli was not happy with the situation, so he went downstairs willingly with me, but then ran over to the table and threw one of Cooper's crayons across the room. I took him to a separate staircase for a timeout. He sat, but refused to apologize to Cooper when he was done, which meant he had to stay in time-out. Then he cried and flailed and carried on. Finally I brought him to the car so I could put him in his car seat to have his tantrum. I buckled his seat belt and told him I was going to close the door for one minute so he could finish his time-out. After sixty seconds I opened the door and Eli started swatting the air and saying, "NO!" right away, so I told him we were going home. He cried and cried while I loaded Maddux up. Once we got on the highway, his tears stopped and he said, "I 'tarry, Cooper! I 'tarry Coopey! I 'tarry Mommy!" I thanked him for apologizing, and I informed him that when we got home he could apologize to me face-to-face and we would then call Cooper to apologize. But we were still going home. He cried again, but it didn't last long. He was very apologetic the rest of the morning, even going so far to say "I 'tarry Cooper's toys." Stay the course.... (Eli did lose the privilege of his soccer goal and ball during this tantrum when he swatted at me. He has already asked for it a dozen times and each time I've reminded him why the answer is no.)

For the last few weeks, we've been talking about Bible verses with Eli. His Sunday School class often sends home a worksheet or craft containing a verse. Usually during breakfast and lunch, I'll say to Eli "Time for our Bible verse!", and I'll recite the words. This week's verse was a great one because the wording hit home with the issues we're having.

Acts 3:19: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord

So I read the verse to Eli this afternoon, and then I said, "Do you know what repent means?" I proceeded to explain (using the best 2-year old words I could) that it meant you apologize for doing something bad, but also that you feel bad about it so much that you don't want to do it (the bad thing) anymore. We moved on to other conversation and five minutes later Eli blew me away so much I had to call Lehr immediately afterwards. Eli looked at me and said "Turn God?" I asked him to repeat himself because I could not believe my ears. He said the same thing again and then followed up with, "Feel bad." WOW!! I know this could be just regurgitation, but still....how amazing is it to hear your child recite scripture back to you at such a young age?! I will be the first to tell you that I don't have many 'memory verses'. In fact, I probably couldn't correctly recite and quote two. This gives me hope. For so many things!!!

Donation Corner: Charity Navigator

Isn't it neat when something just clicks. When connections are made in your life that make you say, 'WOW'. Yesterday our pastor talked about ways to give during the holiday season. Specifically, he talked about how you might ask the people in your life to consider donating instead of or in addition to buying you a gift. I'm happy to say that God had already been working in my heart on this particular matter. In the past month Lehr and I have had more than one conversation about this very thing. It is our wish that instead of buying us more 'stuff', friends and family choose a charity, or pick from one of our 'favorites', to donate to. We honestly don't need anything (though I am asking Santa for a bug-free, rodent-free house, at least for the holidays), and it seriously would make me more happy to know money is going towards someone who truly has a need.

If you feel led to give this year, or if you were considering purchasing a gift for your favorite babbling blogger, I have a link of previous Donation Corner spotlights to the right of my posts. If none of those are in line with where your heart or head are right now, check out the Charity Navigator to find one that suits you. This month I'm going to leave it to you to find your own Donation Corner. Please let me know if you find one you find worthy of a spotlight!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Death Wish

Seriously. That is what Eli woke up with today. He is teething his two-year molars, but that can't possibly possess someone to act out in such a horrendous manner (nor does it justify it)! We were awake at the house for about 90 minutes before leaving for church. Eli seriously spent about 60 of those minutes in time-outs. Good Gravy! It wasn't 50 occurrences either: he really only got placed into a time-out two or three times (which is still a lot, in my opinion). The problem was he continually failed to get out of his prison (it was the time-out stool, but he was moved to his crib since he wouldn't stay in his designated area). Lehr and I require that Eli do three things before he can re-enter the world: show self-control (sitting with hands folded), apologize to the offended, and give a hug or kiss to the parent who placed him there. This morning he fought the self-control for a long time. Then he would get there only to refuse apologies. I felt like I was hitting my head on the wall!! Then when he apologized, it would only be half way (he wouldn't identify the offense). Some of you might be reading this thinking, "Come on!! He's only two!!! He can't be expected to do all of that!" But I assure you he can and he does on a regular basis. We've been doing this type of repentance for almost six months now, and he totally gets it. Today he just chose not to. I'm pretty sure he was tolerable during church, as he was fine when I picked him up from his classroom even though I warned the teacher in his room that he might be a handful, so paging me during the service was expected.

Things weren't better after his nap. He continued down a bad road until our dinner guests arrived. I think he honestly thought, "No matter what they say, I will do the opposite today." Eli was a wild-man while our company was here, but nothing to warrant removal. I spent a LOT of time thinking about this today and starting tomorrow morning we are upping the stakes where his main offense is concerned. When Eli gets in a frustrated/angry mood and swats at one of us (something that is totally unacceptable in my book, and also something that is becoming too frequent with Eli), he will still be placed in time-out, but also one of his favorite sports toys will be in a day-long time-out. Eli is obsessed with all things sports: baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf.... He has all of the gear and he uses them on an hourly basis while we're at home. My justification is that he is showing a great deal of immaturity and lack of self-control. In order to enjoy the great gifts people (including us) have given him, he needs to respect the world he lives in. (And we are a big part of his world!!) I'm hoping it will hit close to home for him. One of the obstacles for me right now (and other parents of toddlers, I'm sure), is kids this age will test limits continually regardless of the consequence because that's their job. They are figuring out the world right now and that includes constantly checking the boundaries. So sometimes you don't know if the punishment works for quite some time. How's that for making life more difficult?!

On a side note, I am still confident the time-outs are working for Eli. (Just not today!!) He usually apologizes before I even ask him to, and he often cries when I put him in isolation. Therefore, we're not giving up on them yet!

Cheers and jeers, folks. Bring 'em!

Friday, November 02, 2007

What Could Have Been A Rough Night....

I was alone with the kids last night, so I tried to be creative with ways to kill the time between nap/dinner/bedtime. (This is a witching 'hour' for both of them.) After Eli's nap, the three of us went to Sope Creek to hike a bit in an effort to have some fun and wear Eli out simultaneously. We walked all the way around the big pond (maybe 3/4 mile?) before coming back to the dock to throw sticks and stones in the water. Or at least, what is left of the water...the drought has left it quite low!

I am happy to report that Eli had a great time! He hiked with me, stopping once in a while to pick up a new stick or rock, or to point out something in the scenery: a squirrel, a fallen tree, etc. When we walk at home, we allow Eli to get out of his stroller at the top of our street and walk (or 'DUN!', as Eli tells it) the rest of the way. He knows that if he hears a car, he is to quickly move to the gutter on the side of the street. He applied this practice to our hike also: when he heard a trail runner approaching, he moved out of the way and stopped our progress so he could watch them pass. I was so proud!

Another great moment for me was our time at the dock. About five minutes before we got to the dock, I told Eli that he could throw rocks and sticks in the water, but he had to sit down first. I had Maddux strapped to my front in the Bjorn, and due to the force Eli uses to throw, I did not want to make a trip into the water. (Remember this?) So we approach the dock and before I can remind Eli, he runs to the edge, sits down, and starts chucking his rocks. Wow. I was speechless. SO, so proud. Of course, minutes later we were walking back to the car and he had a meltdown so I had to carry him up the hill to the parking lot. Keep in mind that I still had Maddie strapped to my front. Oh yeah, Proud Mommy got put in her place!!

We returned home to make a quick dinner and get ready for bed. Luckily Maddux went down for a 30 minute nap while Eli and I ate. We were even able to play with some magic bubbles on the back porch before bath time. Eli had a blast when he was able to 'catch' one without popping it. His bath and story time went great, even though Maddux woke up right after the bubbles. She managed to hold it together until I put him to sleep, which meant I did not have to simultaneously give two baths. (Have I mentioned how excited I am for Maddux to be able to share a bath with her brother soon?!) Eli didn't cry at all when I left the room. In fact, during the last song, he said "Mommy. Dark. Peeez?" Love it.

Of course, things don't always go smoothly. Once I put Eli down, I gave Maddux a bath and nursed her. After 20 minutes she was done. I put her in her crib and left only to have her wake up ten minutes later screaming. I went back in after about five, and nursed her again. Apparently she had not finished before. This meant I was 'on-duty' until 9:40PM. And Eli was in his room with the lights out at 8PM. Something is wrong with that picture. Oh well...at least she slept till 7:30AM! All in all, a GREAT night considering I was pulling double duty.

Today we had a play-date with Eli's friend, Gracie. He woke up the morning and said "Gay-see" first thing - he was excited! The two played well together, but Eli's teeth did cause a few small meltdowns. He did great in the car though, which is huge considering it's an hour drive (each way).

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My "Other" Child

Sometimes I feel like Maddux gets neglected, at least on this blog, due to her brother's "bigger and better" accomplishments. I'll try to make up for that! Here is some video of the little lassie talking. She alternates between these mumblings and high-pitched shrieks. Lucky for you, this video only contains mumbles.

Eli's First Yearbook

Eli's teachers put together a class book that goes home with a different student each night. The pages include facts about the kids (according to the kids) and a picture taken at school. Eli's page says his favorite color is red (news to me!!) and his favorite food is bananas. We got the book for the first time this week and Eli had such a great time going through the pages and naming the kids and teachers.