Thursday, July 31, 2008

Picture Page

Monday morning the four of us schlepped downtown to have some pictures taken. All four of us. In the same picture. Without a remote or tripod. A novel idea, I know. The end result wasn't bad, but of course I don't think there is a really good one of any of us. (The photographer was great; don't get me wrong. I was just not a good subject, so any picture that contains me was less-than-pleasant.) The kicker is, it's my fault. Here I am, wanna-be photog who knows the struggles with getting other people to act natural, yet smile and look at the camera, and I didn't follow my own advice. In addition, it was the hottest of days on Monday (high was 96), and we shot downtown at noon. Great for my massive amount of hair. Anyway, there are a few great ones of the kids; Eli was awesome and Maddux was a ham (you would think they had practice or something!). Here is the link if you want to see them all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pool Time!

After dinner we all went to the pool so the kids could cool off. Eli had a blast jumping off of the diving board and swimming to the edge. His treading-water-swim is become more and more of a doggie paddle now, which is moving in the right direction. Maddux loves the water almost as much.....she swam with Daddy and then played in the baby pool. A few of the other parents there could not stop laughing at her. When Maddux is in the shallow water, she will literally throw herself in the open areas as if she knew how to swim. She does move her arms and legs, but the best part is her face: she smiles even when her face is totally underwater.

video

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cleancut

Eli's hair has gotten out of control. For the first 18 months of his life, I trimmed his bangs maybe two times. He didn't have his first haircut by me until much closer to his 2nd birthday (and then I buzzed it just to even it all out given the random growth patterns). As of late, however, it's grown almost as fast as his fingernails. And every afternoon and morning, after Eli sleeps, the kid looks like he is trying to battle Robert Smith (The Cure) for the craziest hair award. I don't mind the look so much, but the back of his head gets really knotted and that's where the battle begins. Eli doesn't like me to comb the knots out, but if I don't comb them, they get worse...so on and so on. I resorted to buying 'special' shampoo for him to help tangles, and then we bought 'special' spray (conditioner) for any time I needed to comb the knots out. It's not even that his hair is growing so long so fast; the heat has been I.N.T.E.N.S.E. for the last month in Atlanta. Any outside activity longer than five minutes leaves Eli's hair a wet, sweaty mess, aggravating his crazy mop even more. Once July hit, I knew I wanted to buzz his hair, much like I did last summer. However, we had a cool photography session set up for this week, and I didn't want Eli to have a military look for the photos. Once Monday passed, it was open season though. This evening after dinner I pulled out the clippers and comb and went to work. Of course Eli moved around a lot ("It tick-oles!!"), so it looks a bit choppy, but it's shorter. And cooler. And neater. It did make me sad to see his curls in the driveway, but I know they'll grow back quickly.

From this:


To this:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mommy & Maddie

Tonight the genders split up: Eli and Lehr met D for a 'dude-fest' (or 'dude-jazz-fest', as Eli called it) and Maddux and I hung out at home. The guys watched several top notch marching bands perform downtown late into the evening hours. Maddux and I went for a walk and played with every toy in the house. She showed off her latest and greatest skills in the bath tonight: waving, signing 'please', clapping, and saying "mama".

video

Creative Parenting

Isn't that what we all strive for? I know it is what I try to incorporate as much as possible. I think most of us (parents) want to instill good values and logical consequences into our daily interactions with our kids, but without all of the boring, "....because I said so..." lectures. Lehr and I have recently been stepping up our game where consistency is concerned. I feel we've been pretty consistent with Eli regarding what is and what is not allowed in our family, but how long we let things go before intervention happens has not been as predictable in recent weeks. As of late, he might get two or three directions to terminate a certain behavior before we send him to a time out. We know he should be dealt with properly the first time around, but we become sympathetic to his fatigue, we are preoccupied with Maddux, we are wrapped up in our own project, we try to give him another chance to 'do the right thing'... The list goes on and on. I can proudly say that in the last week we have both dealt with issues much more swiftly and there has definitely been a difference in Eli. He still gets out of sorts, but when we send him to time outs, there is much less hemming and hawing happening. He seems to have picked up that we mean business...imagine that!

Joshua, over at Game Theorist, posted a great interpretation of creative parenting the other day. I can only hope Eli forgets his jacket at school one day so I can implement the same consequence.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ice Popcicles

Ever since I gave Maddux a mesh-feeder with an ice cube inside of it to help her teething gums some six or seven months ago, Eli will ask for an 'ice popcicle' whenever the mood strikes him. Today we went for a morning walk with a bunch of his friends and it was another scorcher out there. Before we even pulled into the driveway, Eli asked, "Ken I have ice-pah-sickle, Mommy?" How could I say no to that!? So he and Maddux sat on the kitchen floor and ate their ice popcicles together. Boring, I know, but he asked for it. Maddux really got into the spirit too: she would attack the mesh feeder with her mouth, giving it an "ahhhh!!!" before she chomped down. The first picture I caught could have just been a fluke, but at the end of the session, I had three or four where she was making the exact same face.

Speaking of Mad Dog, she had a little scare today. After our walk, we strolled back to the fences to see the horses. Eli was so excited, running the whole way and calling out to the horses. Because the front gate was not open, I carried Maddux along the trail and held her as we watched the horses eat. They were very close to the fence Eli leaned on last time, so we saw them up close and personal. Since Maddie was in my arms, I told Eli to stay back a bit; he was disappointed he couldn't pet them today, but he didn't give me any lip. Three horses stood near us and grazed for several minutes when one moved a little too suddenly for Max (though I didn't notice anything unusual) and she tensed up in my arms. Seconds later she emitted the most pitiful, scared cry I've ever heard from her. Obviously something spooked her. I continued to talk in a calm voice as I rocked her a little, though never moving from the spot we were in. She calmed down within a minute so I told her to wave to the horses (she LOVES to wave to people now). She did, but that made her cry again, which made me laugh. It was as if she really didn't want to wave because they were scary, but she couldn't pass up the opportunity to show off her skills. She settled down once again and was fine the rest of the time. As we left, Eli said, "Bye, horsies!! I wuv ou!!!!"

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Date-Day

Due to travel and night-time activities and potty training, it has been several (many?) weeks since we've had date night with Eli. Lehr did take him on a Father-Son day this weekend, but I haven't had one-on-one with Eli for quite some time. So today Miss Laura came over to watch Maddie so we could rectify that situation. Per Eli's request, the two of us went hiking at Sope Creek and had lunch at The Flying Biscuit Cafe. Eli had a blast throwing rocks into the creek and in several ponds along the way. He wanted to run most of the way down to the ruins, which was a long way and I definitely had to run to keep up with him. Of course it was all level or downhill, so the return trip was a little more difficult for him, but he made it back up. We had crazy storms last night, so the trails were pretty muddy...not that Eli was bothered by that. It is always so neat to see what happens when I get the kids one-on-one. Eli knew this was a special occasion and he commented on it quite frequently.

"We have date today?" "Just us....Mommy an E-i....goin on date!"

Then he wanted to talk about all sorts of things.

"Mommy, member the muffler broked? Let's talk about it?" (When he says, 'let's talk about it', that means he wants me to tell him the story of whatever again. In this instance, he wanted to hear about the car crash he and Lehr had last winter.)

I got the kids up a little early today to prepare for our big day. (We still ran late though, and Laura arrived before breakfast even started.) My favorite part of the morning was when Eli went into Maddux's room and looked through her closet. He saw me put her down on the changing pad and realized she needed some clothes to wear. As he browsed through the hangers, he told me, "Ummmm, maybe she wear dis? Or she wear deese shirts?" I think it is so cute that he wanted to pick out clothes for Max.

Second runner up to that cute moment happened when we were walking out the door. Maddie was standing up at the train table with Miss Laura. I told Eli to say good-bye to them. He said, "Bye-bye Me-ss Au-ra." Then he bent down and kissed Maddux's head and said, "Buh-bye, swee-tee." Melt melt....It doesn't get much better than that.

Back to our hike. While we were hiking and talking, the subject of bears came up. I don't remember how, but it caused Eli to tell me that we might see bears on our hike. Well....maybe.....I guess it's possible, but not at all likely. So I asked him what he would do if he saw one. He told me he'd run away from the bear, but then he also told me he'd talk to them (da bears). He then followed it up with, "E-i see bears and el-fants." Good luck with that.

We finished up with a trip to the biscuit. Eli ate a wheat biscuit and scrambled eggs. He was very well behaved and he was totally into it being a 'date' with a big-boy chair at the restaurant (I let him sit in a regular chair instead of a booster). Life is good.

Monday, July 21, 2008

All Hail The Queen

Eli loves Queen. It came out of nowhere, and I'm not sure what caused it, but Freddy Mercury's voice does something for Eli. Last week we were driving in the car, listening to music, and just like I always do when a worthy song comes on, I turned up the volume a bit and told Eli who the artist was. That day the worthy song was "We Will Rock You". Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon. The four of us are driving home from church and the same song comes on, but since I don't notice, the volume stays. Eli pipes up from the back: "Mommy, dis Queen?" It took me a minute to realize what he meant, but when I did, high-fives all around. After just one listen, he was able to identify it again! Fast forward (again) to this morning. We're driving back from filling the tank and "Somebody to Love" comes on the radio. As I'm in the midst of potty training H.E.double-hockey-stick, I don't even notice. Eli yells from the backseat: "Mommy!! Dis Queen!!!" Right on, Little Man.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Just Another Update

As I'm sure you've noticed by now, I've fallen a bit behind in my blogging. And when I've actually taken the time to post, the pictures are non-existent and there aren't even attempts at wit. I've become the definition of a slacker. In my defense, things have just been busy. Potty training has taken away any chances I might have had to take some good pictures, as well as any opportunities for 'fun' things to blog about. Then, when I could have been writing about things Maddie is up to, or even what interesting tid-bits I've learned in the PT process, I've been otherwise occupied. Bootcamp prep has taken more of my time than usual in the last two weeks (not complaining at all though), and I've had several families at church request photo shoots. While I enjoy taking pictures and bootcamp oh-so much, they take time. So my usual second job (blogging) was placed on the back burner. I promise to try to move it back to the front ASAP.

Since I've missed posting about a few things that have happened recently, I'll catch you up to speed now. Maddux is full-blown walking. She took her first steps a month or so ago and then backed off from it. Then she started taking two or three at a time the week before her birthday. Every day since then has found her moving faster and faster. First she walked unless she wanted to go fast (in which case she would crawl). Then she walked some of the 'fast time'. Then she walked over toys and still kept her balance. Now she walks almost exclusively. Even if she falls, she usually pushes herself back up to an upright position immediately. And she is SOO proud of herself. She laughs and points as she walking, as if she's working the crowd in a bar. I love that girl.

Eli had a great few days, staying dry (except one small accident which he alerted us to right away and which never even made it through to his shorts) for five days straight now. He still doesn't stay dry when he sleeps (not that we expect him to), but he has increased the amount he goes in the potty, even using three outside-of-our-home toilets in the last few days. Saturday morning he and Lehr met two other daddy-son families for breakfast and a trip to a train museum. Eli had a blast and told me all about it this morning. We finished off the day yesterday with a trip to the pool. Between the rain and the potty training, we haven't been to the pool since July 4th weekend, and Eli has missed it. Last night he stepped up his game: not only does he jump off the diving board now, he jumps off and then swims (which is really a doggy-paddle-water-treading motion) to the side only to climb out using the ladder. All by himself. 90% of the time last night he requested Lehr and/or I NOT be in the pool with him when he jumped. He loves being all grown up.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Say What?

Eli just performed in the potty department again. (He usually goes once before nap and once after dinner...my kid is a camel!) When he finished he requested animal crackers, which were upstairs. We quickly cleaned up our toys and went up to collect our reward and get ready for naps. On the top step Eli said, "Gone-na have, uuuuum, an-mal cackers, uuuuum go-fish (goldfish), and uuuuum f-oooot snacks (fruit snacks). Have party for E-i!" I responded, "Oh really...that's good." (My typical response for some of the never ending questions that come from Eli these days.) Then Eli answered his own question (even though I was unaware that he'd asked one...I thought he was listing the ingredients to his potty party): "E-i haaaaaave....An-mal Cackers!!! I like dem. De're yummy. An-mal cacker party for the potty! I like parties. De're soft and gentle."

Wha-wha-what? The kicker is, he gets what 'soft' and 'gentle' mean...for some reason he thought to describe his ideal party with those adjectives anyway.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Updates

Maddux had her one-year well visit with the pediatrician yesterday. She checked out perfectly, as we suspected: 20lbs. 13oz. (only in the 50% this time) and 30" tall (75%). The doctor was happy to see Maddux drinking from a cup, eating table food and walking. Pretty much the textbook appointment. Eli did very well during the visit too, even stepping on the scale to tip it just under 30lbs.

Speaking of the boy...he stayed dry the whole day yesterday including the trip to the pediatrician's office. Yahoo!!! That dry time was 'awake' time though. Nights and naps are different. I'm not trying to push him to figure out how to wake himself up when he needs to go, but does anyone have advice for me regarding a child who holds it all day and then empties their (very full) bladder during sleep-time? I am not wanting to make a huge issue out of it because he does stay dry and 'in control' during the day...even in the car and the stroller. I'm just curious. Now on to our regularly scheduled random musings....

Eli had some good advice for me yesterday. He and I were sitting on the front porch while Maddux crawled in the grass and I was examining my latest batch of bootcamp bites near my knee.
"Woo got skeeto bites, Mommy?"
"Yes, I got a few bug bites at bootcamp."
"Dey just ih-chy?"
"Yes, they itch, but they don't hurt." (His concerned look prompted me to throw that in about the lack of pain.)
Eli looked relieved, stood up and started to walk away. Then he turned his head and threw some wisdom over his shoulder: "Ooze bug spray, Mommy."
Thanks, Eli...never thought of that.

Today Eli accompanied me into my closet as I got dressed for the day. Maddux was napping, so it was just the two of us. First he fingered through my collection of white race shirts.
"Dees Mommy's nigh-night shirts?"
"Yup...those are the ones I wear to bed."
"Hmmm. Dees Daddy's shirts?" (pointing to my non-white shirts)
"Nope...those are still Mommy's."
"Oh..." Then he grabbed the sleeve of one of Lehr's collared dress shirts. "Dees Daddy's work shirts. He wear dem to work. E-i get some of-v doh-ze. Go to store and buy some cuuuz Daddy's no fit me."

Can I just keep posting these awesome conversations he comes up with these days?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Heels Over Head

So potty training, day 4, is not my favorite. He's not had any accidents, but Eli's attitude about it is horrible. As I mentioned yesterday, he does not want to go when I (or the timer) remind him. That is a problem when I know that we're leaving the house for two hours and he really should empty his bladder. Nonetheless, the day is half over and all parties are still alive, so it could be worse.

Instead of continuing on with my groaning and moaning where that is concerned, I'll tell you a quick story from our weekend. Maddux loves the bath. Loves the water. Loves everything associated with it. (This includes having water poured over her head and face. Actually, I'm not sure she loves the water/face combo, but she'll tolerate it because it means contact with the clear liquid.) So we fire up the bath one night and Maddux comes running, as usual. She pulls herself up on the side of the tub and reaches over to wet her tiny fingers in the running water. After she does that for a few seconds, she becomes an addict: the initial thrill has worn off and she must have more. Now her aim is to get her whole hand under the faucet. Her healthy belly and short stature make that impossible while keeping her feet on the ground, so she improvises. Mad Dog leans just far enough forward to soak her palm and bring it to her lips (what is it with my kids and the bath-water-consumption obsession!?!? You'd think we never water them!), yet not too far forward for her to fall in the tub. Then she gently gets her feet back on the ground. Back and forth she goes, two or three times, before (you guessed it) she leaned a little too far into the tub and toppled in, head-first. She wasn't hurt, but a little confused when she first came up. Very quickly her victory of being in the tub won over though, and she started to play, totally oblivious to the fact that she was fully clothed and diapered yet soaking wet. Dara Torres, watch out: this girl is a fish.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Life In A Day

That's what the last three or four days have felt like to me: a lifetime. We've spent almost 100% of our time inside, near the bathroom, with Eli sporting his briefs only. (I think he's starting to like his new outfit, actually.) These videos are all I have to show for our time....you get pretty desperate when trying to think of something else to keep both kids entertained. Lots of music and dancing took place. Maddux refuses to walk to her full potential for the camera, insisting on 'crashing' every few steps. Eli rocks Greased Lightning* and other songs, all the while pushing around Maddux's stroller (what he calls his 'dancing stroller'). Life is goofy.

*I probably watched "Grease" 1,389 times in my youth. Never once did I realize that the lyrics to Greased Lightning were less than G-rated. When I think back, I was a pretty precocious child in the area of vocabulary (because I was a book-nerd, as Lehr reminds me), so if I didn't pick up on their racy-ness, I think Eli is safe to listen for a few more years without any harm.

video

Potty Training, Day Three

We're just going to skip day two. Only one success, and it was barely that. Three accidents and one was the Hoover Dam. Today was (is) my first day going it alone with both kids and PT, but it hasn't been too bad. Eli gets very upset and angry when it's time to go sit if he doesn't have to go. Which is every time the buzzer goes off. I'll have him sit for one or two minutes (about as long as I can contain him while keeping Mad Dog alive at the same time) and then we'll resume our activity. About three minutes later he says, "Have to go potty!" and runs to the bathroom. First I thought I wasn't making him sit long enough, but now I think he just doesn't like to be told when he should be going.

The first success we had today blew my mind. It's still blowing my mind. At 9:45 I told Eli I had to take Maddie upstairs for her nap. We had just spent a few minutes on the throne with no results, so I figured I was safe for five minutes or so. I told him to call if he had to go, but otherwise I'd be back in a few minutes. I rushed M upstairs to her crib, sang her a quick song and walked out. When I came downstairs, Eli was nowhere to be found. This worried me as he had access to our front staircase and he is not allowed up there. So I called out to him and from over my shoulder I hear, "I'm in da potty, Mommy!!" So I go in there and find the step stool pushed up to the toilet seat, Eli sitting on it (correctly) with his big boy pants down. And the best part is, he had actually gone!! He didn't make too much of a mess, but there was evidence to suggest it wasn't just a run through. So we called a few people and celebrated with some crackers and water. I told him again and again how proud I was and he told me, "Elmo's proud me too!!" (Elmo sits in the bathroom with us, on the smaller potty.)

That's how it's gone most of the day: no success when I 'force' him to sit, but several (maybe five?) successes when he calls the shots. (And only one small accident that caused him to run to the toilet and have a success.) And of those successes, only one happened when I was standing right next to him. So what I've learned is that Eli does not like to be told when to go and he does not like an audience. This could make things a little difficult.... The only thing making it more difficult for me is the need to be close to the house/potty at all times. This means no walks, no play-dates, no park, no errands. I am going Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!! I do not like to hang around the house all day, even if it is nice outside and we can be in the yard. We were outside some, but that's when we had our one accident, so we've been indoors the rest of the day. Those that know me know the kids watch hardly any TV, but we have watched almost the entire movie "Grease" today. (It's Eli's new found love...be still my heart!)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Poor, Neglected Mad Dog

I'm not purposely ignoring her on this blog!! She has started walking EVERYWHERE in the last week, but anytime we pull out the video camera she reverts back to taking two or three steps and then falling (on purpose). I promise to post some video as soon as she performs!!!

Eli's World

Another installment of what Eli comes up with these days.....

- After riding his sister's ATV around the cul-de-sac for ten minutes or so, I told him to head down the driveway so we could eat dinner. Eli's response? "I ca-yent (can't). My fum's (thumb's) tired." (A small button needs to be depressed by your thumb to move the ATV.)
video
- Eli has taken to dancing recently. Now instead of, "Let's turn moo-nic on and do concert on stage.", Eli asks, "Turn moo-nic on and dance!?" His dancing consists mostly of arms swinging wildly around as he jumps up and down and spins in a circle. I love it.

- "No talk about it!" Eli has said this to me many times....usually when he's not in the mood to talk. Or, more specifically, when he's not in the mood for me to talk. This week the phrase popped up when we were sitting on the potty and I tried to pass the time by asking him about what he did in Tahoe with Grandpa Jim.

- "Das my big big BIG dry-ver for when I be bigger." We played golf a few days this week and Eli pointed out the small but 'real' driver Daddy made for him from an old club.

- We honestly haven't had much of an issue with bugs since last fall. But before Thanksgiving or so, we had a HUGE issue with them in the new house. Obviously Eli stored all of the clean-up skills he learned from watching Lehr and I somewhere in the back of his brain because he pulled them out this week. There was a small dead beetle in the living room that Eli spotted during a dance session. When I told him it was time to go up for a nap, he said, "OK, but firsss I need to keen-up bug." He went and got a tissue and picked up the bug. What better training could a three year old have?!?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Potty Training, Day One

We waited until school was out and our summer travel was complete before really trying to get Eli on the potty-train. I gave it a shot one day here and one day there earlier in the spring, but had no luck. So today we buckled down, stayed around the house, set the timer, and prepared for the worst. But it wasn't. We only had two 'sittings' where Eli actually cried or threw a fit. Considering we sat at least every 20 minutes, that is a pretty low percentage. The main thing we learned today was that Eli can hold the contents of his bladder...he has very good control. He woke up at 9AM and didn't go at all until 1PM. That's through two meals and several glasses of water. (For the record, Mommy can't even do that.) Then he had one accident, right before nap time, but it was barely any. So Lehr changed him and had him sit (with no success) before putting him down for his nap. During naps we opted for the 'sleeptime underwear' variety (AKA pull-ups). Of course it was soaked through when he woke up. No worries. Mommy decided to pull out all the stops and make the afternoon/evening one big snack fest, filled with peanut-buttery bars and salty crackers (and lots and lots of water). Nothing until about 645 when he had another small accident. Fast-forward to 730 when we put the kids in the bath. I had Eli sit on the toilet for about three minutes before he got in the bath and he cried the whole time. When he finally entered the water, I reminded him that if he felt like he had to go, he needed to tell Mommy or Daddy. So he plays with Maddux for ten minutes before she gets out. Then he plays alone for five. I walk out of the room to get a towel and Eli yells, "Mommy Gotta Go Potty!!" I run back in and toss him on his potty seat. Within seconds he started to go. Holy Moly, Guacamole!!! Then he sits there and laughs and grins like crazy. Of course, I'm making a big deal out of it too. Even Daddy and Maddux, who were getting ready for bed, come in for the celebration. So I ask him if he has to go anymore and he says, 'yes'. He sits for another minute and then goes MORE. So excited. We have a quick animal cracker party and head to bed.

I know, I know.... I'm blogging about my child's bodily functions, but any other parent who has been through this process knows how pain-staking it can be. And how rewarding when you finally get some kind of breakthrough.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Favorite Things

I love love love how the kids play together. They definitely have their scuffles, and they argue over toys and whatnot, but when they play, they play good. And again today, after she woke up, Maddie crawled as fast as she could to Eli's door and pushed on it. She couldn't wait to go in and say 'good morning' to him.

And when it came time for Maddux to take her afternoon nap, Eli came right over to her, hugged her, and said, "Nigh-nigh, Max. S-eet d-eems." Then he came upstairs with Maddie and me to get her a book and her blanket. (This was not prompted by me in any way...he seems to be stepping up to the big-brother-plate these days.) He was very adamant about accompanying us, telling me, "Have to get ban-ket for Max...she need book, too."

I think my favorite moment came before the nap though. The kids were playing downstairs with me as I went through some hand-me-down clothes for Max. She was pushing her stroller around and she got stuck on the mirror. Eli went over and helped her without taking the stroller away. Of course, seconds later he helped her and then helped himself to the toy, but at least he helped her (right?). Then she sat in the stroller and he pushed her around. They do this often, but I never have the camera nearby. And as luck would have it, as soon as they started their game today, I hit the end of the tape...

video

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Showers in the Gardens

I woke Eli up today with a surprise: we were going to meet Tyler downtown at the Botanical Gardens. Though we've been a few times since last summer, this would be our first visit since the fountains (aka 'high water') opened this year. (Eli absolutely adored the water last year.) The whole time we were in the car driving downtown this morning, Eli repeated, "Goin go in da shower!" I'd forgotten that there was a large flower overhead that 'showered' water on the kids...obviously Eli had not!

The boys had a great time running in and out of the water. I dressed Maddie in a plastic diaper cover and a dress to allow her as much wet time as she might like also. She surprised me by sitting on the sidelines for most of our fountain time. Given her desire to throw herself in the pool recently, I thought she's get a kick out of crawling through the fountains.

Once the boys exhausted their attention span for the water, we changed and walked through the rest of the Children's Gardens, ending at the playground. It didn't take long for Eli to request some food, so playtime quickly turned into snack/lunch time. Tyler happily shared a few grapes with Eli before the boys started running again.

Gems

While we were playing today, Eli showed some concern for his sister's safety. Or his concern for her obeying the rules, regardless of safety... With a first-born, you never know which one is the over-riding motivator. Max was pushing one of the walkers towards the muddy grass where she would no doubt get stuck. When I see her doing this, I always redirect her because Maddie has a bad habit of sitting down near dirt and eating it. (Not to mention how dirty she gets when she sits in it.) What does Eli say as she approaches the area? "No, no, witt-el g-u-earl!" (little girl) Obviously he likes to call her what he hears me calling her. Maddux also happened to be wearing a construction hard hat and pushing a 'digger scraper' at the time, which made the name that much more humorous to me. If she resembled anything, it was NOT a 'little girl'. She loves that hat!!

On another Maddie-Eli note, I stuck a little bow in Maddux's hair the other day (I know, shocking!!) and Eli immediately asked if he could wear a 'clip' too. His desire was so strong that he asked again when we were at Target buying small barrettes for her hair. Eli HAD to be the one to hold them until we got to the check-out. Between the 'clip' obsession and his love of pushing around baby strollers, it's a good thing he also has a good fast-ball, or he might be picked on by other kids.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Clubfoot News

Club Feet back in the news. This teenager had to wait a long time to get her feet fixed, but now she takes her first steps. Read more about it here. To think had she know about Dr. Ponseti when she was a baby, she might have been walking all this time and without surgery.....

Video Times

Here are a few video clips from the weekend. The first is Eli in the pool with D on July 4th and the second is Eli's first trombone lesson (from D). It sounds a little rough, but Eli actually got some good notes in that day!

video


video

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Holiday Weekend

And we're still going...this weekend has been non-stop! Yesterday morning we woke up only slightly later than usual and did some yard work. Lehr edged and trimmed while Eli and I mowed the front yard. At one point Eli motioned to me so I turned the mower off.

"Daddy wear da glasses and he cut so da weaves (leaves) fall down and.. and... and... and... now he blowed." HUGE smile.

Eli is getting so excited about talking these days that he often sticks on one word, like he's stuttering. And there is no such thing as a one-word answer...Eli always has an explanation or a 'cuz'.

After we finished the front, we started the daunting task of mowing the ivy that consumes our backyard. We want to clear it out so there is more grass (AKA play-area) to enjoy. Eli did his best to help me, but I'm afraid most of the work was left to me. Maddux woke up from her nap and hung out in the pack-n-play set up in the shade. She seemed to like it in the beginning, but then realized how confined she was and complained.

After the kids' naps, we woke them up so we could attend a pool party for our Community Group. Eli was so excited to swim with the big kids. Even though he wore his turtle-back, he thought he was big stuff, treading water and 'swimming' in the big pool. Maddie swam a bit too, but the water was a little cold. Pizza arrived and Eli honed in on one, two three (THREE!!) pieces of pizza. That was in addition to the fruit and graham crackers he also ate. At one point, all of the other kids had finished eating their pizza (one or MAYBE two pieces) in favor of returning to the pool. Eli sat at the table all by himself and continued to eat. Where does this kid put it?!?

On a Mad Dog note, she is signing 'please' very often now. Instead of rubbing her chest (like Eli did), she is more of a slapper in her request. Either way, it gets her point across and she seems very proud of herself.

Friday, July 04, 2008

An Action-Packed Fourth

We had a long day and I don't think a minute of it (outside of naptime) was wasted! Lehr got the kids up at 7AM, which is a good two hours earlier than normal, to go downtown to see D and I run the Peachtree Road Race. However, even though we'd agreed on where they'd be spectating from, we somehow missed each other and didn't meet up until I came back through the spectator side after finishing and collecting my coveted tee-shirt. No worries because from there, the five of us walked to the car and drove to a scrumptious breakfast. The kids had a great time playing while we ate outside, even though they should have been exhausted. Maddux did catch a few z's on the ride home, but once we got there, she was up and ready to go again. Eli and she played outside until we served a quick lunch and put them down for a nap.

Maddie started talking in her crib around 3:30, so I took her to Publix with me while Lehr woke Eli and packed up the car. We headed over to D's house for some pool time before a dinner on the grill. Eli had a blast swimming in a new pool. His newest swimming technique is basically treading water (with his back-pack on), but he does it quite well and can carry on a conversation all the while! After dinner the kids got quite a treat as D pulled out his trombone. Both Eli and Maddux were intrigued by the sounds coming from the bell... Eli asked to play it and after only a few tries, he was totally able to produce a (good!) sound! He was hooked...30 minutes passed before we put the horn away.

After hemming and hawing about where to go see fireworks, we ended up at a nearby park watching our small-town square's display. We knew several families that had gathered there, so the kids had a great time playing soccer and running around before the main event. Eli got into the show, pointing out which ones were his favorite, while Maddie lost interest after the first five minutes. Speaking of Mad Dog, she stayed awake until we were two miles from the house, but then she crashed. So much so that when Lehr brought her up to go to bed, she never woke up. What else was he to do than place her around the house in funny poses so we could take pictures. Nice parenting technique, Dad!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Party for Mad Dog

Maddux had her first birthday party this afternoon. (More pictures here.) I'd decorated the downstairs and deck with balloons and streamers while the kids took a nap. When she came downstairs she got into the balloons BIG time. Lehr and I stayed up way too late last night blowing up balloons (Lehr) and drawing numerous ladybugs on them (me). It was worth it though when Maddie's face lit up and she cackled with joy. (Her excited laugh really is a cackle.) We opened her family presents (Eli helped a LOT) and then played with the balloons a little more before the short guest list arrived. Of course Eli wanted to eat the cake as soon as he got up from his nap. I explained to him that 1st birthdays are special because the guest of honor is the only one who eats the main cake. But I assured him that I made enough cupcakes for everyone else's consumption. (Little did they all know I used the same, applesauce-and-low-sugar recipe for the cupcakes that I did for Maddux's cake. Sugar police win again!) The kids played with some bubbles while Lehr and I put the finishing touches on dinner. Eli and Cooper sat at the kids' plastic picnic table. They were so funny, talking to each other and eating like little people. Once everyone was done, we cleared the table and brought out the cake. Eli was so intrigued by Maddie's consumption of it. For about fifteen seconds. Then he started chanting, "Cupcake, pweese!!!" Max was very focused on her ladybug cake. I purposely dressed her in her favorite red bandanna dress so the dyed icing wouldn't stain anything. It's a good thing too, because her outfit was covered by the time she was done! She dipped several fingers in before even trying it. Once she did, she went back for more. And more. And more. I forked into the cake at one point to allow her better access to the actual cake (instead of just icing). But she didn't need any help after that! Lehr did try to smash her face in the gooey mess at one point, but Maddie resisted with a pretty strong neck and then looked at him like, "What the heck!?!?" She came close to consuming half of the ladybug before we cut her off....then she happily played with all of the cool new presents she got from her friends. Eli was especially excited about her new 4-wheeler and doll stroller. Go figure... We ended the night by stripping Maddie down to clean her off. What better way to end a Georgia birthday than to hang out in the backyard, in nothing but a diaper, riding an ATV...
(Sorry - the audio on this video is very abrupt, but I am too tired to go back and mess with it any longer.)

video

Happy Birthday, Mad Dog!

Unbelievable. Last year at this time I was in a hospital bed, anxiously waiting for you to make your grand entrance. When you did (2:44PM), I couldn't believe how small you seemed. Even though you were healthy at 6lbs. 13 oz., it's easy to forget how tiny a newborn is. Unbelievable. And it's easy to forget how light they feel in your arms. (Especially when I'd been used to the heft of 28-something pound Eli.) Your dad and I named you Maddux, after the great Cubs' pitcher (he was in Chicago before he was in Atlanta, folks!), and you completely fit the Mad Dog name in every way. For the first week, your weight was an issue. You nursed great, but the scale went down more than it went up, which caused the doctors some concern. But once we brought you to the pediatrician's office and saw that you'd gained a huge percent in just a few days, you never looked back: you've been in the 90th percentile (or higher) ever since! Unbelievable. When we first brought you home, Eli was a little apprehensive about your presence. Even when we gave him the train table that you picked out for him. (We thought it might sweeten the deal a bit!) But within a few days he was asking to hold you and the kisses started immediately. You won him over right away. Unbelievable. Those first few weeks were difficult and I know that I did not give you the one-on-one attention and focus that I gave Eli when he was that age...balancing the needs of two kids was difficult and since you slept most of the time, I used those extra minutes to reassure Eli. But you never held it against me. Unbelievable. You were still so happy to see me each time I'd wake you from a nap or pick you up to be fed and changed. You were so laid back and mellow when Eli would pet your hair and roughly kiss the top of your head. And when we let him hold you and rock you, no tears were shed at all...you knew the way to his heart was adoration and you gave it to him every step of the way. Unbelievable. Eli calls you "Max" because he can't quite get the 'd' in your name, but he says your name with such endearment that yet another nickname has stuck. He loves watching out for you and I truly believe it's because you adore and idolize him and he knows it. The two of you are such good friends and I hope it always continues. When we put Eli's pajamas on each night, he asks, "Crawl with Max?" and when you get up in the morning you make a bee-line for his bedroom door. Life is good.

Maddie-Maddie, every day I am surprised at how full of your own personality you are. You give love so freely, allowing so many opportunities for hugs and kisses, yet you can be so independent, playing by yourself in a happy state for so long I often forget you are there. Your rough-tough side comes out every day when you wrestle with Eli or tackle me after I change your diaper or take one fall after another only to keep going. And even though I think you are gorgeous (you're going to be a heart breaker with those eyelashes!), you have some of the goofiest facial expressions I've ever seen... Maddux, you're proving to me each day that a girl is not all ribbons and bows (thank goodness), but more fun and laughs than I thought possible. Thank you for making our family happier and more full of love than it could have ever been without you. You are Maddux, Maddie, Daddy's Mad Dog, Eli's Max, and my Maddie-Maddie. And you are unbelievable.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A Year Ago...

One year ago today. It seems like yesterday. Your dad and I (and Eli) went to the OB's office for a routine 38-week check-up. The midwife measured my belly and noticed that it hadn't budged in the last week, size-wise, so she wanted to do a quick ultrasound. Everything looked great to me: your heart was beating fast, your limbs were still all there, but the tech told us to go wait in the midwife's office so we could talk. Apparently the cord was wrapped around your neck. You were still getting enough of what you needed, but the midwife worried that if I went into labor on my own, you might come too fast and the cord could tighten before I had a chance to get to the hospital. She gave your dad and I the option to come in the following day (July 3rd) or to wait until after the holiday. Daddy and I were in shock...we didn't expect you to join us so soon. After asking a few more questions and hemming and hawing, we opted to wait. After a brief pause the midwife told us she didn't want to wait: we needed to come in first thing the next morning. Less than 24 hours from that moment. A whirlwind of events later, your Grandma Cathie flew in upon a moment's notice to watch Eli, D took the day off work to do the same, and I packed my hospital bag. I remember lying down during Eli's nap, trying to get some rest for the big day ahead of me, but all I could think about was you. With Eli, I had no advance warning like this: he just showed up one morning. This was much different. And you still didn't have a name!! We didn't know if you were a boy or a girl, so we needed two names. The boy name had already been picked out, but we had yet to agree on one for a girl. Due to your size and perfect feet, I assumed you might be a girl, so this really stressed me out. Your daddy left for the airport (Grandma Cathie) around 11:45PM. I remember calling him on his cell phone and saying, "Right now. We HAVE to pick a girl name." After about ten minutes we agreed to call you "Maddux" if you turned out to be pink. I can't believe all of that happened just one year ago today....

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tutu Cute!!

ALERT! ALERT!! It appears I bought my daughter, my loud, rough and tough Mad Dog daughter, the frilliest item of girl clothing possible: a tutu! I assure you this is not just any tutu though. It is a custom made, red, white and blue tutu in honor of her birthday this week (which falls the day before July 4th). Kathryn over at Sparkle and Charm makes custom tutus, and she does a darn good job! I've known about her family for at least a year now, following their growth through adopted and foster children, and when I found out that she made custom items, I decided to check out her store.

Sparkle and Charm Boutique sells tutus and hair accessories of all shapes and sizes. Maddie's tutu was custom made (only two measurements needed) and it came with an adorable hair clip to match. Some might scoff at the $30 price tag for both, but if you could see the final product in person, you'd realize the amount of detail and work that went into this beautiful creation. Seriously. Not only does her tutu have three colors of oh-so soft tulle, it's also has satin ribbons, a belt-like chain of stars, and interspersed metallic stars attached to the tulle (and not with obvious superglue clumps that would appear if I were making the skirt). The tutu is definitely a work of art and when Maddux grows out of it, we will be hanging it somewhere to display rather than sticking it in storage somewhere. Thanks again, Kathryn!!