Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kids Say The Funniest Things

After lunch today, Eli was very anxious to get back to playing before his nap. Correction: he was anxious for Maddux to get back to playing. Tyler lent us a 'baby' toy that Eli finds interesting too and he knows that it is for Maddux, not Eli. In our house that means he can play with it, but she is sharing with him, so he needs to be gracious while he's playing. (It's amazing that he 'gets' that most of the time!)

Anyway, both kids were in a good mood, so I extended their after-lunch play a little. Maddux sat in her Bumbo and played with the new toy while Eli alternated between the toy and cooking. At one point he was cooking (hamburgers, as that's all he cooks) next to us, but he wanted something across the room. He set down his spatula and said, "Huh. 'patula wait heer. Be right back." Then he set down his 'patula and went to retrieve his other toy. I guess he was worried it would walk away??? It's funny to hear him say that because I think in any given day I say that same thing to Eli and Maddux three or four times. Usually as we're walking out the door, I'll realize I've forgotten something in the other room. I'll say the same words to Eli, "Please wait here. Mommy will be right back." He's a parrot, I tell you!

Quick side note: after Eli's nap yesterday I brought Maddux into his room and he (as usual) asked for "baby, nigh-nigh". (That means he wants her in his crib with him.) I put her in there and then went into her bedroom to get a new diaper so I could change both kids in Eli's room. As I was walking back into his room, but before they could see me, I heard both kids giggling up a storm. Eli was wrapping Maddux's torso with the mommy-blanket and making her 'snug-a-bug-a-rug'. I love this relationship they have!

Sleep Tight....

I love watching Maddux go to sleep. She will rock back and forth on her back for a few minutes, stretching up to grab the strings of the crib bumper from time to time. (Usually they are untied because she unties them and I get tired of re-tying them.) Often when I put her to bed for the night, she moves her fingers over her lips to make funny noises as she settles in for the night. Maddux almost always rolls to her left and hugs the side of her crib when I place her in there. She loves that bumper and I often find her (asleep) still clutching it with her little hands.

My favorite part about her sleep-ritual is when she clutches her blanket. Not the 'special blanket' (as Eli would call it) that my mom bought for her, but the one I knit when I was pregnant. Eli's connection is much stronger with his 'special blanket' as he's had it since birth. I didn't knit him a blanket until he was 18 months. Maddux has had the knit one since her very first day in this house and it shows as she pulls it over her face and sucks her thumb.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chugging Right Along

Maddux is almost a pre-crawler! She has been doing up-dog for about two months now, but in the last week she's pushed up on her knees for a few seconds at the same time. This is quite funny to me because she still does not sit on her own well enough to leave her without padding. She totally has the skill-set, but refuses to NOT throw her weight backwards and arch her back. Talk about running before you can walk!

It's Here!

The 2007 version of "The Tales of Eli & Maddux" arrived, in print, the other day. Eli was quite excited to see his face on the cover, but he was oh-so concerned about the 'cratches' on his nose and forehead. He has asked to 'deed it' (read it) no less than five times each day since it got here.

If you are interested in publishing your blog for prosperity or any other purpose, check out blurb.com.

'Mote

Eli discovered the power of a camera remote this weekend. Before church on Sunday we had a few extra minutes and everyone was looking halfway decent, so I suggested going onto the back porch for a few family photos. Of course all of the pictures with the four of us were bad, but we got a few OK ones of me and the kids and Lehr and the kids. In between all of this, Eli was 'in charge' of the remote. He enjoyed that 'vewy' much! It carried over into after church when D came over for lunch, and then a few shots Sunday night when our company was here. When I uploaded the camera's cache, there were no less than 100 'extra' shots of Eli, or the wall, or Eli and D, or Eli pointing his hand (holding the 'mote) at the camera. Too bad flashes are so expensive, otherwise I might think of letting the tripod-ed camera and 'mote babysit him one afternoon!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Oh So Very

Eli has discovered a new work: very. He knows how to use it too! He will tell me "loud. Vewy loud." while he plays his guitar, or "Vewy dewty" when I change Maddux's diaper. It cracks me up that someone who still hasn't mastered the semantics of a 'normal' sentence is already attempting to advance to more complex descriptions! For example, today he told me, "Mommy dwive big truck?" (As in 'Is Mommy going to drive the big truck?") Then he said, "Truck vewy big!"

Speaking of a big truck, I am currently driving a Pathfinder rental while Earl (our RL) is in the shop recovering from injuries sustained when Lehr and Eli were rear-ended last week. Eli seems to really enjoy the 'vewy big truck', and he has told me three times already today, "truck. FUNNY!!" No clue why he thinks the truck is funny, but he does. Last night (while he and Lehr ran a quick errand in the SUV), Eli said, "Hmm. Nice truck. Shiny!"

Monday, January 28, 2008

Friends Forever

Eli has a true best friend. The only problem is she lives about an hour away. Gracie was born two days before Eli and the two started 'really' hanging out when they were about nine months or so, and for about six months, they saw each other pretty much every other week. Unfortunately we've moved and Gracie's family has moved since then, and in opposite directions of each other. We try to get together every few months or so, but they way these two kids play, you'd think they see each other all the time. Gracie visited us for about 3 1/2 hours today and not once in that whole time did I see any struggles over toys, any grabbing or snatching, any hitting, or any meanness between them. And these are two 2 1/2 year olds I'm talking about! Eli was very very generous with his toys (compared to how he is when having a marathon play date with other kids, that is), and Gracie was an awesomely polite guest. At one point (around 1:30 when everyone was beyond tired), Eli fell on the stairs and started to cry. I was consoling him and Gracie had the most sad and concerned look on her face. She said, "I gonna hug Eli", as she walked over and put her arms around him. How sweet is that?!?

My favorite part of the day was after lunch when the kids played in the back yard. We had a beautiful day here (60 degrees) and the two of them rolled down our sloped back yard and jumped in little piles of leaves. At one point Gracie was up on the porch and Eli was in the leaves. Eli called, "Gracie. Come roll down E-I" (roll down with Eli). To which Gracie responded, "I coming. Just a sec!" Seriously too cute for words.

Another Family Visit

Some extended family came to town this past weekend, and the kids enjoyed their company to the fullest. This was the first time Lehr and I saw Eli shift into 100% show-off mode for guests. He's done a little bit here and there, but he was a ham the entire visit. It struck us as funny because Eli had never met Jim and Pat before this visit; Lehr and I hadn't even seen them since our wedding, almost ten years ago.

Regardless, both kids loved the extra attention and Eli had a blast showing off his guitar and drum skills. Maddux was more than happy to exercise her vocal skills as she jumped on Pat's lap. (First I passed her a burp cloth to catch the spit up. She laughed as I said, "It's not 'if', but 'when' with Maddux.", but moments later she was grateful I warned her.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Battle of the Bands

We took to the kids to the 2008 Honda Battle of the Bands yesterday afternoon. Eli is so into music these days, we figured he'd enjoy it immensely. And since Lehr and I are still marching band geeks at heart, it seemed like a no-brainer. The only catch was the start time: 3PM. For anyone with a toddler (and a 6-month old), that is a difficult time due to naps. Luckily, both kids fared pretty well for the first two hours. We stuck around another 30 minutes after that, but threw in the towel at 5:30. When we first arrived they were performing the Star Spangled Banner, which set Eli off immediately. The acoustics in the Georgia Dome echoed the fireworks so loudly that the poor kid was shaking in fear. Some of the music was a little loud (read: scary) for him too, but he warmed up after the first two bands. Maddux did well also, not crying until about 5PM when she was so exhausted she couldn't even hold her head up. (At that point I actually had to implement the 'finger' trick with her, which I haven't done in months!) They both had a great looong night of sleep last night to catch up, needless to say. Eli woke up this morning talking about tubas, drums, and saxophones.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Eli's Gone Fishin'

Eli has a rather unorthodox method of fishing (picked up from Ernie on Sesame Street):

video

Puke Baby

That was Lehr's nickname apparently and he has totally passed on the torch to Maddux. We thought we'd escaped the constant spit-up gene because Eli never spit up, but Maddie has it full blown. Honestly I changed her clothes eight times on Thursday. Did you hear me!?!? I SAID EIGHT! That is simply insane. And I'm not one to change the kids' clothes for a small reason; wipes go a long way, as far as I'm concerned. Her clothes were completely covered and/or soaked eight times. And three of those were within an hour. Yet she was happy as a clam; the constant puking causes her no discomfort at all. It obviously isn't affecting her weight either, so the doctor says we just have to 'get through it'. Until then, prepare to be puked on if you're around her!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Donation Corner: Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer

This month's choice was a no-brainer. Not only did I just sign up for the 30-mile walk, but February is National Cancer Prevention Month. Being a woman, and a mother of a daughter, breast cancer is obviously something that is on my mind from time to time. Unfortunately in the past five years I've known several women who have been diagnosed with some form of breast cancer. The statistics are shocking to say the least: someone in the US is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes and someone dies from this disease every 13 minutes.

The cool thing about this particular walk is the amount of money that actually goes back to the cause. Because there is not a third party organization running the event, most of the money generated flows right into the funds for research, support, financial assistance, treatment and awareness programs in Atlanta. The Atlanta 2-Day Walk's goal is to give back at least 70% of all money raised. That is a big number!! (Avon and other breast cancer walks are wonderful, but their percent of 'return' is much lower than this.) In the past five years, this walk has raised $4 million to fund local programs.

Due to a very large and generous donation on my first day out of the gates, I've already raised the minimum funds required and met my original goal. (I've since revised that goal.) I don't consider an achieved monetary goal a reason to stop trying to raise money! If you would like to donate to the walk, you can click on my link to the right, or go to the general donation page. Any money is good money, as far as I'm concerned!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Not Such A Proud Moment...

You're going to read this and laugh. Or you'll read it and snort in disgust. I'm aware of this before I'm even typing, but I still can't help myself.

I feel awful because I yelled at Eli today. Go ahead and tell me to get over myself now....

I'm not excusing it, but let me explain. It has been an especially taxing week due to lots of commitments and 'behind the scenes' work I'm having to do. For example, today I spent Eli's entire school time (and Maddux's morning nap time) on the phone trying to get other parents in Eli's class to help me with an upcoming class party. This will be the third party this year, and potentially the third time that I'm 100% responsible for every last detail and morsel of food. Yet I never signed up to be a room-mom; I was totally cornered in the parking lot one day last September. On top of that, when I went to pick Eli up (after wasting my morning pleading and leaving voice mails), I was handed a folder of new things to call about regarding an upcoming festival at the school. Now I get the pleasure of 'asking' these same moms to help out with baked goods, time and creativity. And I am NOT a good delegator.

So that being said, my patience was already thin when Eli started acting whiny after lunch. Maddux chimed in with her loud self crying and yelling over who-knows-what and fatigue. My mind was numb and I was physically tired from the last fifteen minute marathon of making Eli's lunch, then Maddux's lunch, then feeding Maddux, then peeling Eli's banana, then engaging him in conversation while I fed her, then straining my neck to check the caller ID to make sure it wasn't an absolute emergency call coming in as I had no free hands, then trying to move my chair out of the view of the front door as some random service man was furiously knocking at my door (again: no free hands).... If you're not exhausted after reading that sentence, I really should upload some video...it's not pretty, but it would get my point across!

But even in those hectic fifteen minutes, I had a light at the end of the tunnel: both kids were less than 20 minutes from a nap. After fighting with Eli to get upstairs while I simultaneously tried to catch every bit of Maddux's spit-up as it was brown (she had just eaten prunes and we have new carpet on the stairs), I changed Maddux's diaper and left Eli in his bedroom so I could put her down for a nap first. This would require no more than two minutes. He could do it. He does it every day with no problems. Before I left his room I told him that I expected him to stay in his room and read his book. I even gave him his coveted blanket! Obviously he was in the mood to disobey because I wasn't in Maddux's room for 30 seconds before I heard his feet padding down the hall. He walked in and started to happily gab away and I snapped at him and said "Get back to your room NOW!" in a very 'yelling' voice. His eyes got big and away he went. So it worked in the moment, but when I got to his room, of course he was smiling and he knew full well that he'd disobeyed. He lost the privilege of books before his nap and I walked out still frustrated and upset.

The reason I'm unhappy with my lashing out is not because I am naive enough to think I'll never yell at my kids. I know that will happen at many times in the future. I just hoped to save it for 'bigger' things. I am very proud of the fact that Lehr and I have (HAD!) not yelled at Eli yet. We've strived to be calm in the face of whatever he throws at us, and we've been 100% successful (to my knowledge) in not yelling so far. So, as most do, the parental, pie-in-the-sky dream I had of not yelling at my toddler officially died about 20 minutes ago.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Random Updates

It's interesting to hear Eli reason things in his own words and use logic to answer questions. Yesterday afternoon the kids and I were in Eli's room playing hoops (it was freezing rain outside!) and I asked him if Mommy could dunk like Eli. His response (as most are these days) was "Ummmmmmmm" Then he said, "Yes, Mommy dunk it." I then asked if Maddux could dunk it. Eli said, "No. Too lee-tle."

Maddux rolls over constantly now. It's not always back to front, though that is her strong suit. She will roll back to her back, but it's always the same direction. When I woke her up this morning she was sleeping (quite peacefully) on her stomach. I would prefer if she stayed on her back, but what can you do once they learn how to roll? Mad Dog has also taken to 'dancing' while doing her up-dog impression. She'll shake her shoulders back and forth while holding her head up high.

Speaking of Maddie, the poor child is teething something awful. Eli never had an issue with teeth until the molars came in last Christmas, but Maddux seems to be bothered by these first few that haven't even shown their 'bumps' yet. She is drooling up a storm and if anythign can be in her mouth, she is quite ferocious with it.

Eli is drawing and writing (as much as a 2-year old can) more and more these days. He has a few Magna-Doodle screens around the house and he uses them on a daily basis. His favorite thing to draw (or have you draw) is a basketball hoop. He prefers if you draw the ball and then make a line from the ball to the hoop while saying "DUNK IT!" He (accidentally) drew a heart a few days ago. Right away he recognized it though. He grinned and quickly exclaimed, "Happy Heart!!" (We ask Eli to behave 'all the way, right away, and with a happy heart', so anytime he sees any hearts, they are 'happy hearts' in his mind.) Today during blanket time he spent a good five solid minutes 'drawing' on the Magna-Doodle, holding the pen quite correctly, I might add. Let's hope he gets his fathers handwriting skills and not mine!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Snowy Hike

We visited Sope Creek for a lunch-time hike today, since Lehr didn't have to work. Eli was all about 'dunning' (running) and throwing rocks in the pond. The kicker was, the pond was 90% frozen over! Lehr found a few larger rocks to break through the ice, but most of the projectiles just bounced off the surface. Maddux enjoyed the cool air and sunny skies from the bjorn. I was sure she'd be too heavy for me at this stage (I finally stopped carrying Eli in it when he reached this weight), but my back must just be used to her heft because I don't mind it at all. The only issue we had while hiking was Eli's constant tripping over roots. There are a lot of them on the trail we took him through, and he is closer to the ground, so a large upward step is necessary in order to avoid tripping. After the first two major falls he learned though. He chanted 'oh-ber. doots.' (over roots) to remind himself.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Family Movie Night

Tonight we had our first ever Family Movie Night. Lehr had the great idea of popping up some plain popcorn and watching a movie after the kids' baths, as a special treat. He proposed this to Eli during dinner and the kid could not finish his food fast enough. We told him we had to wait until it was dark, but he wanted to skip dinner, skip playing and get into his PJ's right away so we could start the 'moo-nie' and popcorn. (Keep in mind, he's never had popcorn before, so I'm not sure why he was so excited!)

We chose Monsters, Inc. and Eli loved it. He (and Maddux) were in a complete tv-trance during the entire 30 minutes we watched before bedtime. And Eli's hand never left the popcorn bowl; he has found a new favorite food!

Frosty, the Snowman

We received another snowfall yesterday, and this one produced even more snow than we had earlier in the week. Of course Eli was excited to get outside ASAP and make snowballs and a snowman. Uncle D came over to share in the fun; the three guys built a small snowman on the back porch between their snowball fight(s) while Maddux and I watched from inside. (It was a battlefield outside between the snowballs and the blizzard conditions!) At one point we met up with our neighbors to compare snow stories. Lehr pulled out the garbage can lid in an attempt to make a sled, but the only success story was Eli: both dads made it about a foot down the hill before the sled stopped dead in its tracks. Eli was hesitant to taste the snow, which was one thing Maddux actually enjoyed about the storm. Each time I put a small piece to her mouth, she began to lick like crazy!

What would "Winter Storm 2008" in Georgia be without a disaster, right? Before Eli's nap, the guys were out running an errand and got into a car accident. Lehr and Eli were sitting at a red light and they got struck from behind by a driver who obviously had no intention of stopping, considering her speed at the time of impact. Luckily no one was hurt, but the other car was inoperable. Although there are many scratches and dents on our bumper, a dragging muffler was the worst of our 'injuries'.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kids Say The Darndest Things

I was a bit hesitant to post about this since some might be offended. But then again, I use this blog as a baby book/journal for myself, and this is something I want to remember when my kids are older. Plus, anyone with a toddler, especially a boy, knows this scenario all too well, so there shouldn't be too much shock value here...

Boy parts. That's Eli's most loved phrase/concept these days. When the time came to label such anatomy, I decided to go with 'boy parts' and 'girl parts'. Not a fake name that I would be embarrassed to say in a group of other adults, yet not too 'graphic' that I would be embarrassed if (when!!) Eli says it in a group of adults. It started out innocently enough, as it always does. From time to time in the bath Eli would point to his boy parts and label them as such. Then one night about a week ago he thanked God for boy parts in his prayer (I just blew it off...trying to not make it such a big deal because he didn't appear to be attempting to be funny. Eli honestly seemed grateful for what God had given him.) The moment that left me laughing later (I was able to compose myself in front of Eli) came the other day as we were unsuccessfully sitting on the potty, AGAIN. One of Eli's books is a picture book with family photos. The last page is a mirror and Eli found much amusement in that. First he looked at his face and said "cratches" (scratches, as in the scars on his nose and forehead). Then he pointed it at his shirt and said, "fuzzy bear" and at the shower curtain and said, "tower". Then he angled it a little lower and said, "boy parts". The inevitable obsession has begun...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Silly Monkey....

Eli has started singing more often now. Nowhere near how well his friends, Tyler and Noah sing, but we're making progress. Eli has always filled in the blanks for me when I sing (Take Me Out To The Ballgame and You Are My Sunshine, specifically), but recently he's started singing a full line of certain songs. There are two that he's learned at school that I'm unable to identify, but he loves to sing them: "Two Monkeys Sitting A Tree......CRASH!!!" and "Ohh....Ty-angle.....POP!" One day this week I sang "Wheels on the Bus" one day before his nap and he busted out all of the hand motions that I've been trying to teach him forever. As usual, none of my teachings took, but once they started singing at school, he learned rather quickly. It is so cute when he rolls his hands (round and round) and moves his arm to say "move on back"...

Speaking of teaching, now that we're feeding Maddux solids, we've been working on introducing her to a few signs: more, please, and eat. Eli loves helping with this. He tells me "teach. Sis-ser. 'more'."

Random Friday Thoughts

Maddux has started eating an actual solid now. We put her in the booster seat last time and starting yesterday we have given her puffs (finger food). Maddux can grab the food fine, but much like Eli at this age, she cannot get the food out of her hand and into her mouth. She's not sure how to open her fist and retrieve the morsel hidden inside. This means that I need to hand-feed her for now. Eli has seen this and wants very badly to be a part of the process. He asks constantly if he can "feed. sis-ser. baby food." I do have to remind him to be gentle, but for the most part, he is.

Speaking of gentle... A few nights ago I was drying Eli's hair after his bath. This consists of me using the towel to rub-dry as much as I can. I usually play a game where I tell him he's going through the car-wash and rub as quickly as possible. As soon as I said "fast" and rubbed vigorously, Eli looked at me and said, "No! gentle."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Let It Snow!

We got our first snow in a few years last night. About the time Eli woke up from his nap, flakes started drifting down from the skies. By the time I got Eli and Maddux dressed in warm clothes, the flakes were quite heavy and it appeared to be blizzard-like, though nothing was accumulating. We played with the kids across the street for about 15 minutes before coming back home to eat dinner. Much to Eli's excitement, snow had accumulated during dinner, and there was a dusting on the porch and lawn. Eli and Lehr went outside to make snowballs and play 'snowball' while Maddux and I stayed inside and watched through the window. Eli had a blast trying to hit the 'balls' with his bat. The first thing he said to me when he woke up was, "More snow?"

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

If You're Happy And You Know It...

Again, I know this will change once Maddux is more mobile and takes Eli's toys from him, but for now I'm soaking it in. Eli loves Mad Dog and she loves him right back. He is so nice with her; he constantly brings her toys to entertain her, and he looks out for her needs all the time. Eli is always quick to fetch a diaper or a box of wipes for her, and when it's time for him to eat he always asks, "Baby eat big chair. E-i?" (He wants her to eat in her new booster chair next to him.) Melt melt...

Guitar Hero

And how. This kid loves LOVES to jam on his guitar. He now bobs his head and moves his body a little as he strums away to 'church moo-nic' (church music) or 'bee-nee boys' (Beastie Boys). Quite a spectrum of choices, we realize.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Ears Need A Break

Seriously. Wow. Cannot express enough to those of you who have not seen Maddux in the last two weeks just how loud she is. And piercing. And resonating. Her 'new' voice is used in good times and bad, when she's happy or sad. Or bored. Or tickled. Or tired. Or hungry. Or joyful. Do you see a trend? I've seen other 'spirited' babies before. And those with the more loud (or obnoxious, take your pick) babies, I had pity on. I've never heard of a way to teach a baby to NOT use their God-given voice. I've done all the obvious things I can think of: not giving her immediate love/attention in a positive way when she screeches, calmly responding to her in a quiet voice, asking her ever-so-politely to use her "inside voice", like I do with Eli. But she's six months old. So 90% of that 'training' is not going to change her a bit. Until it does, I am starting to look for earplugs. Eli and Lehr will just have to go back to using sign language with me.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dooom-back!!!

That's Eli's newest word. He went to bed saying it last night and he's used it several times each hour today. This weekend, Grandpa "Head" and Nana (great-grandma) came to visit the kids. Grandpa Ed brought many drums and other percussive instruments for Eli to try out and a few for the kids to keep. Eli now has his very own Doumbek and he loves it! Another great gift Eli received was his very own set of boomwhackers. He had quite a blast hitting his own head with these to make music. After he experimented with all of the new instruments, Eli had his first trip to a drum store. Lehr said it was quite a challenge to keep Eli from touching any and every (expensive) piece of equipment.

Maddux enjoyed all of the drum concerts taking place in our house this weekend. She jumped in her Johnny-Jumper and provided a vocal accompaniment. At several times the noise level was very very loud. It wasn't Eli and the drums that made it unbearable though; Maddux has seriously reached a new level of loudness... Good luck to anyone who is stuck in a small space with her in the near future!

For those that don't know, "Eli" is just his nickname: Eli is actually 'the fifth'. This weekend we had 'the third' (Grandpa Head), 'the fourth' (Lehr), and 'the fifth' (Eli) all drumming on drums in our house.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Quick background: I have a friend who suffered a house fire this week. She lost her dog, whom she loved to pieces, but she is incredibly positive and very grateful that her family is safe because they were not home at the time of the fire.

When I received this news on Thursday, I told Eli and we said a quick prayer. (With a two-year old, everything has to be quick!) Then on our way to walk yesterday morning, I asked Eli to say another prayer with me in the car. Keep in mind, these are short, 'watered-down' (for Eli's sake) prayers. Last night before bed, Eli and I did the usual pre-sleep prayer, thanking God for things like hoops and Elmo. (I did not include my friend and her family at this time.) As soon as we said 'amen', Eli looked at me with a very concerned expression and said "pray. gen. (again) fire." I thanked him for reminding me and we said a quick prayer for the family. Once again, after we said 'amen', he said, "pray. gen. doggie. house burn down." Eli was so serious in all of this. He seemed so concerned about this family and the loss of their dog. I told him that the family includes a little boy his age, so maybe that hit home with him. He kept asking me, "carpet burn down? toys burn down?" Listening to my son pray for a family and show heart-felt concern for their loss brought me to tears. (And as Lehr can tell you, that's not an easy thing to do!) I hope he is always this sensitive towards others!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Random Friday Thoughts

We put a bulletin board up in Eli's room last night. He loved picking out photos of friends to attach to the board. One in particular (he and Cooper drinking water in a restaurant) had him in stitches; he kept telling me, "Cooper funny!!" as he laughed.

Eli is still really sweet to Maddux, but he was a little rough with her yesterday during blanket time. I had her propped up with a toy surrounded by pillows. She can sit upright, but she tends to arch her back and fall down, so I pad her immediate area. At one point, she was on her back, but lifting her head like she was trying to do a sit-up. Eli pushed her forehead back down and gave her a toy. He wants her to play hoops with him though, and he loves to read or sing to her when she's crying. And feeding Maddux is just the cat's meow, as far as Eli's concerned. He'll even name the food: "E-I feed Mannex ah-ca-do?" "Baby eat oat-meel. E-I do it?" This morning he had her in absolute hysterics (laughing, that is) on the way home from our walk. Eli was talking basketball (big shocker) and saying the number "five". (For some reason he thinks his jersey is #5, even though it reads, "08".) Hearing Eli say "ffff-eye-vv" just cracked Maddex up...she couldn't stop giggling!

**Quick Update: Lehr just informed me that when Eli and he went to the Hawks game the other night, Lehr gave Eli a choice between getting the basketball or the jersey for #5 (I assume since Eli is 'the fifth'). Eli chose the basketball instead, which is smart to me considering he got the "8" jersey for free. This is most likely the reason Eli keeps telling me his jersey says "fff-eye-vv".

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Same, Yet Different

Eli and Maddux have SO much in common. And then at times they are so different. In an effort to keep all of their similarities and differences straight, I thought I'd make a list:

Same:
- They both fall asleep unassisted 99% of the time. And they both like to fall asleep in their crib, not being held.
- They both have more energy than they know what to do with. From the moment Eli wakes up, he hits the ground running and doesn't stop until he is nestled in his crib. Maddux is turning out to be the same way. While I'm nursing her at 8AM, she pushes her legs against my leg or the chair constantly, letting me know she is ready to jump NOW.
- They both like their food. Maddux didn't and doesn't nurse long, but she is just efficient, because she's obviously getting the calories. And now that she eats 'solids', she seems to gobble up anything and everything I serve her, much like her brother.
- My favorite: both kids are way happy. 24-7. People comment to me about this all the time too, so it's not just from a Mommy's perspective. (In truth, I see not-happy times, but that's usually due to Eli not getting what he wants, of course.)
- Both Eli and Maddux were born with very little hair, and they stay(ed) that way. Eli was still barely growing hair on his first birthday and it looks like Maddux is following suit. She has a little more than he did at her age, but no where near enough to even think about putting a hair-clip or bow in.
- They both love books. Eli still 'reads' on his own in blanket time, and he loves loves loves to have books before (and after) naptime and bedtime. Maddux seems to really enjoy this too.
- Both kids learned to roll from their backs to their stomachs first. And both refuse(d) to learn to get themselves back on their stomachs, so they whine(d) and complained like a reverse-turtle, stuck in an uncomfortable position until someone assists them. Once I roll(ed) them to their backs, they would immediately flip to their stomachs again.

Different:
- Eli maybe spit-up two or three times in his entire two years of life, and those instances were maybe due to an extra large burp after a meal. Maddux, on the other hand, spits up at least ten times each day (no exaggeration) and there is no telling when or where she will strike. The problem with that lately is she refuses to stay on her back when you put her down. She just has to roll onto her stomach. When she does, she promptly spits up. (This is a warning to anyone who might be watching her in the next year or so. If you put her on your carpet, USE A TOWEL OR BLANKET under her. Otherwise you, like us, will be cleaning your carpet.)
- Eli was never a drooler. When he is/was teething, you'd see a little wet spot on his shirt from time to time, but even that was rare. Maddux is a BIG drooler. Especially now that she's teething.
- Eli didn't really find his voice until six-months or so. Maddux has been a loudmouth since three months. And when I say loud, I mean LOUD. I took her to Publix while Eli was at school this morning and people stopped and stared every chance they got. This girl will not be a wallflower!
- Eli was never a snuggler. He wouldn't fall asleep on your shoulder and he didn't like to be rocked to sleep or held to be calm or anything. Only now that he's a little older does he sometimes cuddle with me when he's tired. Maddux isn't a huge snuggler, but she's much more than Eli was. She likes to fall asleep in her crib too, but I think you could rock her to sleep without too much protest. And she'll snuggle against your chest and such her thumb when the mood strikes her too.

Love and Basketball

For Eli, they are these words are interchangeable because to him, love IS basketball. And last night Lehr loved Eli. He got some last minute tickets for box/suite seats to the Hawks game. He told me around lunchtime, but we decided to surprise Eli at the last moment. Uncle D ended up going with them (I opted to stay home with Maddux so the boys could stay as late as Eli's attention span would allow), which made it even more special for Eli. Lehr said he sat quietly and watched very intently while the game was in play. They gave out free jerseys to kids and, of course, Eli got a souvenir basketball too. It was all Eli could talk about this morning when I got him up for school. He asked to wear his jersey, but given how large it is, we decided the jersey would be for home only.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Times Like These....

They make it all SO worth the struggles! Eli is so good with Maddux 90% of the time. I just came across a picture in my phone from early December: Eli pulled a step-stool up to the exersaucer and was reading a book to Maddux. This happened while I was in the kitchen making dinner, so I almost missed it. Most mornings or after-nap-times, Eli and Maddux will hang out in his crib for a few minutes while I get diapers, shoes, or whatever ready for the next part of our day. He is so sweet to her, rubbing her head and saying, "Hi Baby!" He still can't pronounce her name perfectly, so most of the time "Man-nex" is what comes out of his mouth. Today he read "Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb" to her while they both sat in the rocking chair. He tried to show her how to drum on the book like he does. And he includes her in his obsession with music too. Before bath time we usually turn on some music and jam. Now that Eli has a guitar and drums, he'll happily give one to Maddie while he uses the other. No prompting to share necessary. Of course Maddux loves Eli too. No matter what he does, she wants to watch and be a part of it. Life is good.

Another Distress Call

Any and all advice welcome.

How do those of you who are or have been parents of toddlers get them to stay in time out? Before the holidays it seemed we were making big progress with this. Eli needed reminding, but for the most part, he'd stay in his corner or on his stair for the two-minute time out without problem. Now it's as though he's never been required to do this before. I know what our parenting philosophy suggests, but it's not working right now, so I'm looking for suggestions. And while I would love to hear from all parents, I'm particularly interested in the 'tricks' for boys. I'm realizing more and more that boys and girls are completely different 'animals', and though girls have their challenges too, I think this is one area I'll struggle with more for Eli than I will for Maddux.

So bring it.....what do you have for me?

Color Me Happy

Eli has been distinguishing colors much better recently. For a long time now, he'd just reply 'orange' if you asked him anything about colors. I know they've been working on this with him at school, so between there and home he's making some connections. The other day, when we saw the horse, I asked him what color it was and he told me, "Horsey. Brown." I asked him if it was orange? Again, Eli said, "No. brown." Then I caught him listing colors and pointing (correctly) to them on a coloring book cover a few days ago. He didn't know I was watching. As soon as I asked him to list the colors again, he played the 'orange' or 'brown' game.

Oga Baby

Eli has started to say words beginning with a "y" or "u" recently, but he uses an "oo" (like "too") sound instead. He runs up to me while I'm cooking each day and says, "Mommy ooze patula?" or "E-I ooze it?" The bizarre looks on people's faces are worth it when he starts talking about oozing...makes me want to reinforce his pronunciation.

Eli's most recent mis-use of the y-sound is "Oh-ga". I recently started back at yoga and Eli loves when I go, just so he can say "oh-ga". "Mommy oh-ga mat is?" "E-I oh-ga?" This morning while Maddux was sleeping I popped in a kids' "oh-ga" DVD so Eli could participate. He wasn't very into actually doing the poses until they got to down dog. He loved that, he could say it, and after a few seconds, he started to walk while in the pose. Strange bird indeed.....

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Maddux, The Giant

Maddux had her 6-month well-check with the pediatrician this morning. She did great while the nurse measured her, weighed her, and filled out the paperwork. Even though she was overdue for a nap, she did everything 'cute' in her bag of tricks to entertain and gain attention from the nurse. (Poor, neglected Maddux...no one loves her, right?) My little not-so-little girl weighed in at 16lb. 10oz, putting her in the 75th percentile for weight. If you'll recall, her first week of life had her at less than the 1oth percentile, which meant we had to go to the doctor at 5-days to have a weight check. As for height, Maddux is 27 1/4" long (tall), putting her at (drum roll, please) the 95th percentile! Wow! Considering her mom (me) measures at 5'1" on a 'tall' day, that's saying a lot. If she doesn't even out soon, she'll be taller than her brother before long.

As soon as the doctor came in, she saw Mad Dog bouncing up and down on my lap and said, "You have a Johnny-Jumper at home, don't you?" She could tell that was not the first time Maddux jumped like that! Everything else checked out great. I'm making an appointment with a pediatric eye specialist soon to move forward with correcting Maddux's tear-duct issue. Of course, today and yesterday her eye looked really 'dry', so by the time the appointment rolls around, it'll probably be fixed on its own.

Bobble-Head

My new favorite thing about Eli is his question-asking procedure. He will phrase his request in the form of an Eli-question (Daddy pay hoops E-I?, translated to, Will Daddy play hoops with Eli?), and then he'll raise his eye brows and nod up and down while he waits for an answer. He doesn't nod until he's done asking though, and he will nod until you give him an answer. As if he's trying to telepathically influence your answer. As if he doesn't realize he's nodding. I'm trying desperately to capture this on video as I never want to forget it.

Monday, January 07, 2008

All The Pretty Little Ponies

Eli had an appointment with the orthotic this morning to get a bigger shoe. All is well and he got his bar extended while we were there also. Afterwards we went for a quick walk near the polo fields, where there is always a chance we'll see a few horses from afar. We walked and then met Tyler and his mom for another loop before packing up to head home. Just as I was shutting the trunk, three horses clip-clopped down the street (with riders). I pulled Eli back out of the car and let him watch as they walked by us to the polo field gate. One rider offered for him to pet her horse. Holy Moly was Eli excited!! He barely touched the horse near his nose, but the smile on his face the whole way home was proof that his day was made. (He was so proud of himself; I heard "E-I pet horsey." from the backseat several times before we got home.)

Since I had to wake Eli so early this morning for his appointment, lunch was earlier than usual. We ate as soon as we got home, and given the beautiful weather today (high of 70), we ate on the back porch. Eli loves this and Maddux seemed to enjoy it as well. I took the opportunity to snap a few dozen shots of Maddux, as I haven't done a 'photo shoot' with her in several weeks.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hey Mike!

I've scoured the internet from Google to imdb to YouTube and back again and I cannot find the clip which spawned this family inside joke Lehr and I have. Sometime after the first Austin Powers movie came out, Mike Myers did an interview (possibly Inside the Actors Studio) during which he told of a story that happened with a fan while shooting the film. The (inebriated) fan kept calling out to Myers, saying "Hey Mike!!" Over and over again, following them for quite some time. Finally Myers gave in and yelled back to him, "WHAT?!?!" Without missing a beat, the fan responded, "Drink beer!" My storytelling is poor at best, but the original telling (per Myers) was so humorous that Lehr and I often have this call and answer whenever beer is present. Apparently we have no shame in passing that on to our kids because now, almost without fail, Eli will say "Hey Mike!" when he sees someone drinking from a beer bottle. Kids say the darnedest things!

Toe Jam

Maddux loves loves loves to chew on her toes. Her favorite place to do that is in the bathtub, as she's lying down at such an angle that her toes are very easily accessible. Last week while the kids were in the bath (We usually put Maddie's tub in the big tub with Eli and they both love it.), Eli saw her doing this and said, "Baby eat toes." And then he lifted up his foot and did the same. You know I've been trying to get a good picture of this, but once Eli picks up his foot, Maddux loses her grip, or vice versa.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Talky Talkerson

Seriously. My ears need a break. I love that Maddux is so happy and always so excited when I get down on the floor to play with her, but seriously. How loud can one (LITTLE!) person be? As usual, she stopped 'performing' when I turned on the camera, but this afternoon Maddux started something new. Now she will move her mouth in different shapes to make different sounds. Up until today, it was usually just her tongue or lips that made different (zerbert-ish) noises. Today she opened and closed several times in one breath to create a 'ya-ya' or 'da-da' sound. And if you're wondering what she is so intently staring at in this video, it's her own reflection in the mirror.
video

Big Boy

I'm one of 'those' moms now. The ones that use the phrase "big boy" in almost every sentence. Eli has been using his toddler 'tude for the last week since our company left in almost every situation. Yesterday he did it while the kids were eating breakfast. I was feeding Maddux pears and Eli was eating his cereal. Which he always does. Every day. For a year or so now. Of course he wanted me to help him eat his cereal, I'm sure because he saw me feeding Maddux hers. Sometimes I will indulge him a little in this, but he was particularly whiny and not even asking me to help, but rather demanding. So I heard myself say to him, "Eli, I'm feeding your sister because she's a baby and she can't eat by herself. You're a big boy and you can. Big boys also get to play hoops and run bases and cook. Babies can't do those things. Now do you want to be a big boy or a baby?" Lucky for me he chose correctly (this time).

Eli's latest new word is 'trong'. He will pick something up to carry it and tell me, "heavy", as he has for many months now. Then he'll say, "Eli trong." (strong) This morning I carried him out of the Target cart and to the car and he said, "E-I heavy. Mommy trong." Love it. Here's a shot of him flexing his muscles for me.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Picture Perfect

Our day has definitely not been that, but this moment was. Eli and I played hoops in the garage (it was below 30 today) while Maddux took her morning nap. When she woke up, I had Eli do blanket time while I nursed her. As usual, when she finished, I placed her on her blanket (next to Eli) for the remainder of the time left on the buzzer. I came to the computer to check my email and heard Eli talking to Maddie. He was giving her a toy and then she rolled over. Seconds later I heard him move and turned around to find the scene in the picture. How sweet was he to go lie down next to her, in the same position she was in so they could 'hang out'.

Happy 6-Months, Mad Dog!

I can't believe you've already been here for six whole months! Even though the time flew by, you've grown so much in that time. You're wearing 9-12 month clothing (and fitting in it quite well), you're babbling up a storm, you're eating solid foods, and you're rolling over all the time! Your favorite things to do are be with your brother, jump and take a bath, in that order. Any time I place you in close proximity to Eli your face lights up. When I bring you into his room in the morning or after his nap, he asks, "Baby, nigh-nigh?", which means he wants you to lie down in the crib with him to snuggle. You seem to love this as much as he does. Jumping is a full-contact sport when we put you in the jump-n-go contraption downstairs. You bounce back and forth in the doorway for a long time before calling 'uncle'. And bath time means you can reach and eat your toes. Since that is a good thing for you, 7:30PM is one of your favorite times of the day. Even if you are extremely tired, as soon as we put you in the water you become happy and talkative.

You recently learned how to roll from your back onto your stomach; the trick is that you have difficulty rolling onto your back. (The opposite turtle dilemma.) You are oh-so proud of yourself when you roll over and you usually push your head way up into the air, up-dog style.

Maddux, you are an amazingly happy baby and you've won over the hearts of everyone in your family. I love how you snuggle into my neck when you are sleepy; you are sweetness personified! Happy Half-Birthday, big girl!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Read It.

"E-I read it?" "Mommy read it?" I must hear these phrases a dozen times each day. Eli loves to read..always has. But in the last month he's become more into reading for an audience. I'm sure it has to do with his exposure to group reading at school. He'll prop up Elmo or Howie (the doll in the picture) and say "E-I read Elmo/Howie." Then he'll open a book and turn a few pages.

Back to the teeth, as always. Eli's had a better day today, but the last two days were pretty rough on him. I swear if these molars don't pop soon I'm going to call a doctor to see if they can somehow give him a nerve block until the pain goes away. Even eating, which is an all-time favorite activity of Eli's, causes him pain. At least once each meal he takes a bite of something and then frowns and grabs his teeth as he looks at me and says, "Teef hurt!"