Friday, August 29, 2008

Fun Friday

Last night we had family yard-work after dinner. This really wasn't a punishment: Eli looked forward to it all week! Due to the rain we got all week, the grass was out of control. Since last night was the only night all week both Lehr and I were home, we all pitched in and got it done. Maddux is a bit weary of the lawnmower, even though she is also curious about it. Eli had a blast pushing his new bubble-mower behind me as I mowed, and Maddie alternated between chasing me and crying (she wanted to be near the mower, but it scared her) and riding in the back-pack carrier while Daddy edged and trimmed trees. I know it sounds weird, but yard work really is fun these days!

Lehr inflated the outdoor pool for the kids last night so they could enjoy it first thing this morning. After breakfast I got them suited up and we spent the better part of the morning outside. Eli loved playing hoops in the water and Maddie loved everything. It's heartwarming to see them bond so much each day. Eli kept saying, "Maddie, less go swimmin!" and she thinks the sun revolves around him. She still runs to his room each morning, laughing and smiling. And when he's in time out or crying over some parental injustice he's been served, she cries out of sympathy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Up To Speed

So I mentioned that Eli is in the question stage of his life. Every day, every minute. Who is that? Where is this? Name this is? We go here? So on and so on. In the last two days he's honed in his focus to the growth of food. For a while now he's been saying, "Less talk 'bout it, Mommy. Talk 'bout..." and then he'd fill in the blank with 'muffler', 'baseball', 'fruit', or something equally as random. When he started talking about fruit, he wanted to know where it grew. Now he ONLY wants to talk about where things grow. Today he asked me where sandwiches, water, nectarine pitts and WINE grew. Lehr opened a bottle of wine last night, so that's the only reason I can come up with to explain that one. (Hey, I did leave him to feed, bathe, and sleep-induce both kids on his own...can you blame him?) My favorite is Eli's response to my answers: "Ohhhh, yeah. Das right."

The kids and I met Tyler and his mom for a walk and playground 'date' today. Ty brought along a birthday gift for Eli, and the boys couldn't wait to play with it. Even without a bat, glove or ball, the two of them were able to have a mini baseball game with the new bases!

Maddux has come into a new phase as well. The temper phase. Goody. She screams when you take things from her (like knives and lighters), and she totally knows when she's doing something wrong. We were hanging pictures in the living room the other day and she kept going over to the timer on the lamp. As soon as one of us would notice her over there, we'd say "Maddux, NO!" We'd barely have her name out of our mouth before she'd hunch her shoulders up, turn and run away from the lamp, laughing the whole way. Buckle up, kids: this is gonna be gooood!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My Maddie

Maddux is changing in so many ways now that she's officially not a baby anymore. For starters, she signs 'more' at every meal now. She doesn't always do it on command (in fact, sometimes she yells at the person requesting her performance), but she does it a lot. And just like Eli did when he first mastered that sign, she is so precise with her motion, you'd think she was trying to enunciate! Same goes for milk. Last night she gave us the double-milk sign (signing milk with both hands at once), which cracked Eli up. She also says a few words here and there, but nothing consistent so far. For example, sometimes she'll play with or point to books and say, "buuh".

There are two things that make me smile every time right now. First are hand motions, but not signs. If you start singing "Itsy Bitsy Spider", Maddie immediately moves her fingers together in a 'more' shape and moves them up and down (like I do when I sing and do hand signs with her for that song). She also sings along by making cute noises in a somewhat musical way. She absolutely loves when you sing to her. Maddie's head bobs and, if she's standing, her knees buckle as she tries to dance.

The second thing is Mad Dog's new game of peek-a-boo. She's always liked to play it, hiding behind a chair or a toy and peeking out to elicit attention. Now she plays with her hands, but it's very ruff-and-tuff. Maddux covers her face (usually just one eye though) with her hands, but in doing so, she ends up smacking her face pretty hard. She doesn't seem to mind, but I've got to think she'll get tired of the stinging sensation sooner or later.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Parties!

We are so fortunate to live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids. Even more so, there are a lot of young kids. And to one-up that, we have neighbors behind us and across the street with kids the same age as Maddux and Eli. As luck would have it, two of those kids have birthdays on either side of Eli's special day, so today was party-time. The neighborhood jump castles were rented, popcorn was popped, games were played, and cake was eaten. Maddux didn't quite understand her part in the jump-castle equation, but she did enjoy the stand-up-fall-down aspect of it all. Eli did a little of everything, including eating his cupcake in one bite. And then asking for more. Probably my favorite part of the day was as we were walking to the party. Eli saw the jump castle and said, "I jump in dat!!! I wanna jump in dat thing with Max!!" Then, after he ate his cupcake, Eli had some popcorn. Not something I would have offered Maddux, but at one point I saw Eli feeding her some (because she signed 'please' to him). Such a nice big brother. Does it get any better than that?

After naps we planned to host a pizza dinner to some friends, but a fever got in the way, so we were on to plan B. The hosts of the party this morning were outside about the time I got the cancellation news, so I offered up our dinner plans to them. They were in and another family joined us as well. We blew up the jump castle from this morning and let the kids jump to their hearts' content. Then Eli discovered one of his friends had a foam rocket launcher. He was set for the rest of the night. Maddux milled around playing with the kids and getting within three feet of the dog the whole time. The pizza arrived and we set up the (six) kids at a kids table. I decided to put a plate of broken up pizza and fruit in front of Maddux just to see how she would do. She actually didn't make any more mess than she makes when she's in her booster chair. She did lift up the plate towards the end in an attempt to 'drink' it (like a cereal bowl), but besides that she ate as well as Eli did. She also stole fruit from his plate. Even though hers was full. Even though she had plenty in her bib. Speaking of which, Eli might (finally!) be done with the bib. He asked me to not put one on him about a week ago and since then he's kept it pretty clean. (I told him that was the stipulation.) Looks like three means he's all grown up!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Birthday Bash

Eli had a great birthday. The morning was a bit hectic: I had a doctors appointment that got a bit jumbled, but Eli and Maddux got to Panera for a special bagel, so they didn't mind too much. (This was their first time there.) Eli was so excited. He got to sit in the big boy chair and eat a big, blueberry, breakfast bagel. After lunch and a nap, the kids woke up to find D at the house. Then Cooper, Finley and their parents arrived, along with Lehr and CC. While Eli was napping I decorated the downstairs with large paper "3"s, streamers and balloons. I also set out some birthday hats and noise-makers. He got into this big time. When D and Daddy arrived he brought hats to them and insisted they join him in the fashion statement. After a quick dinner we brought out the cake: an acoustic guitar in honor of the gift from Lehr. (Just before Lehr walked out, Eli said, "I don't want to cwy!" I guess he remembers last year when he cried during the traditional "Happy Birthday" song!) Eli and Cooper ate at the 'big boy table' and then played in the yard with some of the gifts Eli received. He loved his bubble-mower from Grandma Cathie and Grandpa Jim; he's mowed the entire yard about three times since yesterday! After our guests left we pulled out the special gift. Eli was so excited about the guitar! He still has some technique to work on, but he's putting in a lot of practice already.

Eli's 3rd Birthday from Lehr Eliason on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Three Already???

How time flies. It is hard to believe that three years ago right now I was close to a c-section. It is hard to believe that three years ago right you were still in my belly. It is hard to believe that three years ago right now I didn't yet know you. It is hard to believe that three years ago right now I had no idea how amazing my life was about to get...

Three years. As difficult as it is for me to believe that my baby is now a full-grown 'big boy', so many wonderful things have happened in the last three years, so many awesome memories, that it's also difficult to believe that it's only been three years. How blessed have we been to have experienced all that we have in such a short time!

In the last three years you have gone from being 100% dependent on Daddy and me for food, clothes, transportation, and entertainment to being almost 100% independent in those areas. You love to get water for yourself and climb into your chair for meals, and you eat as much as I do at each meal. (And that is saying a lot!!) You don't quite dress yourself, but you can undress certain items of clothing, and you are very enamoured with your Cubs shirt, your drum shirt, your Vans (skateboard shoes) and your Crocs. Not only do you walk on your own, never needing to be carried by me, you run. Always. Very fast. I swear you'll be a track-star some day. You can't quite ride your bike, but you'll master the pedals very soon, I'm sure. And you are never short on entertainment. You often bring your toys into the kitchen while I cook so you can be near me (which melts my heart), but you are also just as fine to go into the backyard and mow or play golf instead. And instead of blanket time, you have graduated to room time (still with a blanket though). You play independently and very quietly in your room for up to 40 minutes now. Amazing.

In the last three years your special feet have gone from a severe case of twisted and turned clubfeet to the straightest, most perfect appendages you could hope for. The doctors are totally impressed and they say that except for the small scars you have from your tenotomy, you can't tell that you ever had an issue with your feet. To see you run and jump and play so freely and successfully makes me happier than you could know.

In the last three years you've gone from not talking at all to talking non-stop. You've definitely entered the question phase, though we're not quite to the "Why, Mommy?" section yet. (Thank God!) You chatter to me and your sister all day long about anything and everything, and you love to say to me, "Let's talk bout it, Mommy." Then when your Daddy gets home from work, you fill his ears the same way.

Eli, you light my life in so many ways each and every day. You will forever be my baby, my first-born, the one who made me a Mommy. I love you through and through, and then some more after that. All the way up to the firecrackers, all the way down to the swimming pool drain. All the time. Even when you're playing baseball. Happy Birthday, Little Man. You are my sunshine.

Mere Minutes Old:

One Year:
Two Years:
Three Years:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Enjoy It While It Lasts

While I was trying to kill some time before lunch today, I pulled out a borrowed umbrella stroller. I have a doctor's appointment in a few days, and I need to keep Maddux 'contained' so she doesn't crawl around the exam room while I'm otherwise occupied. Since our stroller is a large jogging one, it tends to be a bit clumsy and awkward anywhere but the trails, so I asked a friend for help. Since I've never used one, I wanted to check the ins and outs to make sure I was competent enough. One of the trial runs was putting Maddux in and checking the seat belt system. Everything worked fine, but that's when the fun started for the kids. Eli saw what I was doing and said, "I push Max." I gave him a quick instruction to not tip her and he was off. He pushed her around for 'a walk', as he called it...all around the driveway. Then he said he wanted to push her around the cul-de-sac, like we do with the big car and the 4-wheeler. Eli was very cautious the whole time, and Maddux had a blast!

During bath time tonight, Maddux returned the love. Eli was sitting in the front with his back to her. She started rubbing his back with her hands like she was washing it. Then she pulled out her washcloth and continued the job. Her version of 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours', I guess.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Turning The Corner?

What a great day!! Eli slept until 9:30 because of the lack of sleep he got this weekend. Maddux and I hung out for a while in her room before we went to rouse him. We had a pool date at 10:30, and given that the pool season is coming to an end, I figured it was a good idea to not skip this one, even for sleep! We met Tyler and a few other friends at Ty's pool, but the water had been drained and a large lock was on the gate. Luckily, Tyler's mom knows a nearby neighbor (in another hood) well enough to ask permission for us to hold our pool party there. Eli was all set to jump and swim with his newly flotation-reduced turtle back and goggles. He did so well when we removed one float from his contraption, but after a few swims he seemed to realize that he had to work harder. He still keeps his head up and refuses any help offered to him, but to the untrained eye, he appears to be drowning. It's always a good time when I take him to the pool now as he causes everyone watching to jump out of their seats when they see my child jump in and barely lift his head out of the water as he treads water to the steps. Lots of laughs!

Our pool hosts came to join us, which made Eli's day. The two girls attend our church and Eli adores them. They entertained him (or he entertained them) the entire time we were there. They jumped in and then he jumped in. They swam and then he swam. And when Eli asked to use the restroom, the girls watched Maddux for me. I honestly felt guilty that I wasn't paying them for the great service they provided! But back to the restroom request. Eli asked to go twice before I told him he needed to (basically) 'put up or shut up'. He has a tendency to go to the bathroom, but then try for less than a second. When I'm at the pool with both kids, this is not an ideal situation as I usually do not have helpers to watch Maddux for me. I just reminded him that he either needed to stay on the toilet and 'be patient' with his body, or we'd have to go home. Wouldn't you know, a few seconds later he went! And not just the liquid variety! This was huge cause for celebration. Grandpa Jim and Grandma Cathie just sent him a shirt and card congratulating him on his progress, so when we got home he was able to open the card (it plays music...Queen, which is his favorite these days) and wear the shirt. The shirt says "Potty Like A Rock Star". I told him when he went, he'd be able to don the shirt and have a drum and/or guitar concert. He got totally into it. Today was a great day!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekend Getaway

After a great Friday night spent with our small group from church (where Maddux had an absolute blast climbing up a plastic slide and laughing anytime anyone got near her), we packed up the car and drove west a few hours first thing Saturday morning. We joined some friends at a lake condo for 24-hours of fun in the sun. Eli hit the pool and slide as soon as we arrived, testing it with Daddy and then by himself. Maddux wanted to try it too, but it was pretty fast, and we weren't sure her head would not knock the sides. When Maddux and I went upstairs for a nap, the rest of the gang took the boat out. (Sidenote: Maddux slept 3 1/4 hours...I had to wake her up so we could leave for dinner. WOW!) Eli skipped his nap and joined them. He did great while driving, but he did not like it when Uncle D tried to water-ski. Eli was so concerned D would get hurt or fall or drown that he was almost inconsolable the whole time David was in the water. Every time they circled the boat around to give David the rope again, Eli asked, "D all done now?" with a pout on his lip. Before heading home this morning we went back out on the boat. Eli gave a repeat performance when CC tried her hand at skiing. He is just too worried about his Godparents getting hurt, I guess. Eli did jump into the lake (from the boat) a few times though. With the exception of water in his eyes (no goggles), he loved it. Maddux stayed on the boat for that part. She most enjoyed the wind in her hair as we drove to and from our skiing spot. Both kids (and Lehr) slept the entire drive back to Atlanta today.
video

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sweetie

That's what Eli calls Maddux these days. I love it. L.O.V.E.I.T. He's done it here and there for a month or so, but in the last week, it's been several times a day. Today he looked at her after we got in the car and said, "Hi, Sweetie!!" Then, just before their naps, the kids were dancing to some music and Maddie fell down. Eli said, "I help her up. Get up, Max! Here...I help you up with hands. Get up, Sweetie!" They are going through an AWESOME stage right now where they love each others' company all of the time. Maddie rushes to Eli's room first thing in the morning to see him. The other night when Eli was at the rained out game with Lehr, Maddie kept going into Eli's room and calling out. Made my cheeks hurt from smiling. And when Eli is allowed to play on the back deck while I prepare lunch for the kids, he always asks if she can come outside to play with him. He doesn't seem to want to go outside when I tell him she can't come. They crave the company of their sibling right now. I frequently tell Eli that Maddux is his best friend and she always will be.....maybe some of the brainwashing is working. Regardless of the cause for the behavior: Life is good.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Clean Sweep

The Cubs took care of business again tonight and both kids were there to witness it. As soon as we sat in our seats at the Cubs/Braves game, Eli asked for peanuts. The pushover that he is, D bought some right away. I was very impressed to see Eli actually crack the shells himself most of the time. How grown up!! Maddux didn't like staying seated (what 1-year old walker does?), so Lehr and I took turns walking around with her on the upper deck from time to time. When she was in the seat she posed for her first washed-out- beer-bottle-in-Cubs-gear picture. (I'm sure it won't be the last.) At one point Eli told us he had to use the restroom and D offered to take him. Eli was successful in his endeavor, so D rewarded him by purchasing a new bat/ball combo. Way to step up the rewards, David. That makes my job SOOO much easier! ;)

On our way out, we stopped by the kids' area downstairs so Eli could hit the ball a few times. There is a small baseball field set up with staff and older kids working the field while random kids (Eli included) wait in line to hit the ball and run the bases. Eli stepped up to the plate, tapped it a few times with his bat, and knocked it out of the park on the first try. He ran around the bases twice before stopping for high fives. The second time around he took two strikes before he got a hit, but the same enthusiasm went into his tour-de-bases. (As before, more pictures here.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!

Eli and Lehr went to the make-up Cubs/Braves game this afternoon. Due to storms last night, the game was postponed until 1PM today. Lehr said the stands were filled with Cubs fans, making it more like a Cubs home game than an Atlanta one, but we've noticed that in years past also. (Cubs fans spread far and wide!) Eli had a blast, calling out to some of the players and holding his glove high to catch a foul ball. Though he wore his Derrek Lee jersey shirt, Lehr said he called out to the catcher ("Geee-oooooohhh!!) more than anything. Somewhere around the 5th inning, the guys went upstairs to the kids area so Eli could run the bases and practice pitching. There was almost no wait, so Eli got in plenty of runs. The staff enjoyed him so much that they ran with him most of the time. The four of us (and Uncle D) will attend tomorrow night's game for (hopefully) a repeat win. (More pictures here.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mad Dog & Mommy

The game was rained out, but originally, the plan was for Eli and Lehr to be downtown watching the Cubs beat up on the Braves tonight. Maddie and I didn't have anything major planned, but I did want to spend some quality time with her since we don't get a whole lot of one-on-one. Two things I wanted to tackle also were blanket time and eating with a utensil. Maddie used to do blanket time at the same time as Eli, but since she started walking, she's forgotten the 'rules', and it has become all too frustrating for me to deal with that while Eli is doing his time also. (It riles him up when she gets on and off the blanket.) So tonight I set up the blanket with a few toys and set the timer for five minutes. I had to put her back on ten times or so, but honestly I consider it a success. First of all, when I pulled the blanket out and spread it on the floor, she walked over to it and sat down. Amazing memory considering it's been over a month since I've even attempted this 'skill'. When she was on the blanket, she was totally into the toys and she seemed to understand that it was where she was supposed to stay. Her journeys off of the blanket were just a game for her to have me chase her.

The other thing I worked on was eating with a utensil. I started introducing Maddux to a spoon a while back, but she is a flinger, and with carpet all over downstairs, that was just not flying. (Pun intended.) Recently I've given her the spoon again, just to get used to the motion of scooping at bringing it to her mouth. Instead of yogurt or applesauce though, I've let her practice with dry Cheerios. Tonight we used a fork with some edamame. She did REALLY well and grasped the concept immediately. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that she gets to watch Eli eat every day, providing a great example for her. (Video of him eating with a fork can be found here.)

An unexpected milestone for tonight happened at dinner. I was working with Maddux's signs while she ate and she reproduced a few new ones for me, correctly! She reached for milk and then squeezed her fist together. Then I showed her how to say 'thank you' after I gave her a bite of food and she duplicated immediately (a few times later in the meal also). Finally, she signed 'more' to me. She has done this before, but she rarely signs it, so I thought I'd count it as a new one.
video

The rest of the evening was spent playing with toys, chasing Maddux around while she laughed hysterically, and reading. Maddux LOVES to read. While I was getting pj's and clothes for tomorrow set out, Maddie walked over to her bookshelf and plopped down in front of it. She proceeded to take books off the shelf, one at a time, and 'read' them. Then she'd place the book to the side and reach for another. I think I watched her do this for a solid seven minutes before she noticed me staring. I love that she does this...as she does this every day. She's going to be a book worm like Mommy!!

Positive Feedback

I took the kids to the play area at the gym this morning while I snuck in a quick workout. They go once a week, at most, and they never stay more than an hour. (I'm usually pretty tired due to bootcamp.) The last two times we went, Eli didn't cry but he wasn't happy to be there. Even though the other kids were having a blast playing with the 'teachers', Eli told me, "I just wait for Mommy.", when I asked him what he did. And Maddux usually does ok, but she's been drooling and a bit fussy the last few days due to teething, so I didn't know what to expect from her. Both kids got glowing reports today! Maddux was crawling through the play-yards like they were part of an obstacle course when I went to pick her up. She was having such a good time that I had to call her three times before she noticed I was there to get her! The caregiver in her room told me, "She is such a happy baby!" Then we went over to Eli's room and he was totally engrossed in a block-build with three or four other kids. I had to call him to get his attention too. When the 'teacher' came over to open the door, she told me, "He plays so well with other kids." Man...music to my ears on both accounts. Regardless of the hard times I have with each of them at the house, if they are always a joy to be around when they are in the presence of others, that's all I can ask for.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rock N Roll

Maddux recently discovered Eli's rocking chair (which used to be my rocking chair). Her favorite thing to do these days is go into his room and climb in and out of it, repeatedly. Sometimes she tries to bring a book with her, so she can read once she situates herself in the chair; sometimes she just rocks for the sake of rocking. She has toppled the chair on top of herself a few times in her exit, but nothing serious to-date. As you can see from the video, we use a lot of positive encouragement around here. Maybe too much given the amount of clapping Mad Dog does for herself after completing such a basic task. Nonetheless, she's proud, so we're proud.


video

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

Today signaled the last full pool day in our neighborhood. School starts tomorrow, so our weekday pool hours decrease. This is not welcomed news in our house! The kids lived it up though, celebrating every last second of water time they could before dinner. Eli jumped off of the diving board so many times...I have no clue how any water remains in the pool, given how many "big pashes" he made. Lehr took off one more float from his turtle-back too, forcing Eli to use his arms and legs a little more while swimming. I can't believe how much he's improved over the summer!! When we started, Eli could only 'swim' with one of us in the pool and he wouldn't jump off the board. Now he's not only jumping, but he's swimming with minimal help!! Maddie had a blast too, allowing me to 'throw' her off the side to Lehr. She loves swimming in the big pool with one of us! She definitely loves her baby-pool time too, walking around and pretending to swim as she touches the bottom with her hands.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Full Weekend!

The kids have had a great weekend, but a full one. Friday I took them to a nearby park (Eli calls it the 'bootcamp park') where we watched tennis and ran in the fields. The temperatures are staring to top out in the 80's now, which is very welcomed. When we put Maddux down for her nap, Eli and I made blueberry muffins from scratch. He loved testing them once they came out of the oven more than mixing them, but the whole process was fun. He took a cue from the prep work to step it up in his pretend play. The whole time they were baking, he was using an ice cube tray and one of my wooden spoons to make his own muffins. After playing catch and soccer in the front yard, Daddy fed the kids and put them to sleep while I was at a CPR class.

Saturday morning Eli and Maddie woke up to find our visitors in the house. Friends from NOLA passed through town this weekend and stayed with us, and they brought their black lab, Satchmo, with them. Eli loved it. He has really taken to dogs recently, and Satchmo is so mellow and so tolerant. Maddux wavered back and forth, waving enthusiastically to him from across the room, but sometimes protesting a little if he got in her bubble of comfort. When I got back from my training walk, we all traveled down to Piedmont Park for lunch and a leisurely park stroll. Eli loves the playground down there as it has very different apparatuses than any other park we frequent. After a long, well-deserved nap, the kids ate and played with the dog until Miss Laura arrived to relieve us. The four adults enjoyed an adult dinner while Maddux and Eli wore Laura down. Everyone, including "Mo-Mo", was asleep just after 8. Life is good.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Onslaught



I know I've commented on Dove's Real Beauty Campaign before, but as we gear up for school I thought it might be a good time to revisit their ideas on self esteem. Even for the most confident girls, the start of a new school year can bring out all types of insecurities, including those surrounding the concept of 'beauty'. Starting at a young age, girls are subjected to an insane amount of pressure regarding their physical appearance: watch MTV for five minutes and you'll no doubt see teenagers following each other's examples and leads when it comes to clothing, make-up and dieting as if they were all sheep, blindly accepting their peers' judgements as the gospel.

Dove has created the Self Esteem Fund to try and combat the mentality that a woman's beauty is only found when looking in the mirror through critical eyes. (Go to Dove.com to see other great ads by Dove.) To strengthen a young girl's sense of self, positive role models and 'real' examples of true beauty are necessary. It is my hope every day that Eli and Maddux do not look to others for validation on their road to finding pride and value in their strength and beauty. I want them to know that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and God made them perfect the way they are. No matter what anyone else tells them. Ever. They need to know that the pictures they see in magazines are manufactured and airbrushed and photo-shopped. They need to know that ads they see on TV and in the movies are not the prototype they are supposed to follow. They were designed to be them. The way they are. Glorious, beautiful them. Eli, with his special feet. Maddux, with her goofy, crooked grin. They do not need to lose weight, gain muscle, be tan, wear Prada, get a nose job, or wear colored contacts to be beautiful. They were beautifully made and I hope they know that every day of their lives.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yuk Yuk Yuk

Eli provided me with a few more gems this week:

For a few months now I've been trying to teach Eli the reasons behind some of the good choices I want him to make. For example, not spilling his water glass on purpose or not leaving toys in the middle of the floor. As far as he's concerned, those two offenses aren't bad because we can always get more water, and the toys are right where he can see them. The catch phrase we use around here is "That's not respecting the preciousness of others." (I then go on to explain that someone else has to clean up the water and someone might trip over his toys.) The other day when Eli purposely knocked over towels I'd just folded and stacked, I said, "Eli, that's not respecting the...and I waited for him to fill in the blank. He responded with "pressures of udders."

About a month back I purchased four place mats for Eli to use at the breakfast table: the alphabet, numbers 1-10, musical instruments and a map of the United States. Last night we pointed out all of the cities/states Eli had links to. Then he asked where everyone lived. After three or four, he ended up asking about all of his friends who live within 20 miles of our house. That answer got old quick as we kept pointing to "Atlanta". This morning he threw me a curve ball. He said, "Mommy, show me where God live?"

Eli hasn't been afraid of much in his short life, but every once in a while a loud noise will throw him for a loop. And for some reason he thinks there are bears in the house and he is scared of them. Yesterday I reminded him that he doesn't need to be scared, even when he's alone in his room at night because God is always there with him. Before he went to be Eli told me, "Not be scared. God be with me. He texts me." I guess God has the new iPhone? I know Eli was trying to tell me that God protects him, but his interpretation of what I tell him leaves some room for confusion.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Feets Are Good!

Eli had his annual foot check up this morning. Both kids were up before 8AM which is SO strange for them; they had a surprisingly good morning even with the early wake-up call. Eli and Maddux had a blast in the playroom before the nurse called us back to our room. I read the 'rules' while they played and I was so happy to see the side note: "Don't worry about the noise:this is a pediatrics office. If your kids are happy, we are happy."

Dr. Schrader had a few med students with him, so he did a lot of pushing and pointing with Eli's feet to show what to look for and what the feet have done in the past. Eli didn't mind at all though; last night I was sure to show Eli exactly what the doctor was going to do (so he didn't get scared). After Dr. Schrader left our room, Eli asked, "He all done???"

I love love love how much the kids play together now. Even though I know they aren't even really playing together yet, it warms my heart to see them both have some imagination and play skills that have nothing to do with me. Maddux's favorite thing to do these days is tote things all over the house. She'll carry the strainer into the dining room where she finds the train. Then she pushes the train to the kitchen, where she finds a book. She carries that back to the playroom where she finds a piece of pretend food. And the cycle continues.

My favorite moment today came when the three of us were rocking out in the living room after lunch. It was one of those moments every parent has: you can't help but laugh at the cuteness of the situation even though it contains some 'wrong' behavior. I walked out of the room for a minute to grab a diaper for Maddux. Almost immediately I heard the volume on the stereo get louder, then softer, then louder again. I knew it was Maddux right away as she is VERY interested in the receiver knob these days (a big no-no in our house). I ran back in to find Eli giggling, but telling her 'no', and Maddux in front of the receiver. As soon as I called her name, she turned her head, hand still on the knob turning back and forth, and her knees were bending up and down in a jig while she bobbed her head and grinned from ear to ear. I don't think I've ever wished for a video camera more than I did in that moment. It was awesomely precious (even though she was disobeying). I turned my back and laughed a few seconds before I removed her from her post. Life is good.

Her First Shiner

Poor Maddie...she is going to be so tough when she gets older (not that she's not already)! Yesterday Maddux took a spill in the bathroom and appears to have caught the side of the tub with her cheek on the way down. She cried and cried and cried which is a bit unusual for her. (Maddie takes a lot of tumbles, so she usually doesn't even notice.) After her nap, the area under Mad Dog's eye was a dark red...this morning it's a little deeper and more black/blue than red. Nothing causing me to run to the doctor (no swelling, etc.), but it does give her a pitiful look. Of course when I took pictures, the flash and angle lightened everything, making the bruise appear not so bad. I'll be sure to refer to the pictures when DFACS shows up.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Angels Watching Over Us

So I took these pictures over the weekend and had a grand plan to post about them today. Then Lehr had to go and write a better blog than I ever could....
When the cattle gates are open and Maddux has free reign of the house, she runs around like she has some place to be. Invariably she will pause at the table in the dining room and say 'hi' to this picture likes it's someone she sees all the time. Now, I will say that waving 'hi' is pretty much her best trick right now - and she will wave 'hi' to anyone. That being said when she is running around and then stops in her tracks to say 'hi' to Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop, it sure tugs the heart strings. I think she knows exactly what she is doing. Damn it I miss them.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Family Fun Night

After a trying afternoon with Eli, we put the kids down for a nap and collapsed. It was definitely an 'in the trenches' kind of lunch-hour. In an attempt to shake the ugliness out of the day, we packed up the car and took the kids downtown when they awoke. We hadn't visited the Olympic Park since they turned the water on this year, so that was our destination for Family Fun Night. The last time we went, Maddux was a wee little lass, barely six weeks old. This time she was all over the place, crawling and running in the water. Both kids had a great time, but Eli requested his goggles several times. The water shooting from the fountains is very chlorinated and it bugged him a bit. But not so much that he wanted to stop. Maddux couldn't get enough of the water...she walked from fountain to fountain, loving every second. After about 20 minutes, we took a quick snack break. It was like feeding time at the zoo. Eli anxiously sat down next to Lehr as the granola bar was being divided up, and with the way Maddie responded, you'd think she had never eaten before. She ran around the stroller over to where the boys were sitting, squawking the whole time. (Seriously. Squawking. It was like that scene in Finding Nemo when all of the birds are chanting, "Mine! Mine! Mine!") And her eyes never left the food. Five minutes later both kids were back up and in the water. Life is good.
video

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Catch-Up

That's what I feel like I'm playing with this blog. Nothing but catch-up. Things seem to be so busy that even when the kids do something blog-worthy, I end up writing the blog in my head, but it never makes it to the keyboard. Then, when I finally sit down to transfer the story, details, wit and my thought-process are gone. So I'll just try to update with a few tid-bits now.

There is always a bear where Eli happens to be. If he needs to go upstairs to retrieve his guitar (alone), he'll tell me, "Can't go dere....dere's a bear up dere, Mommy!" Or if he comes into a room where Maddie is playing, he'll say, "Mah-ttix is bear!!" (That's his new pronunciation of her name: Mah-ttix.)

We have another musician in the family: Maddux likes to play drums as much as Eli. When I take her into the laundry room with me to change out clothes, she immediately walks over to the set and picks up a pair of sticks. She's content to stand on the ground and play the drums, but if you set her on the stool, she will reach for the high hat (with the stick) right away.

Maddux calls Eli 'ba-ba'. Or maybe it's 'bubba', but I'd like to think it's not. When I get her up first in the morning, she runs towards his room, chanting, "Bah!! Bah!!!!" I assume it's because she thinks she is saying 'brother'?

Maddux's favorite game is peek-a-boo, even with strangers. She will start a game unbeknownst to anyone but herself though, which makes it hard on the other participants. Usually you're first clue she's playing is her absence. She'll start by hiding under the table or behind a couch. Then she'll pop out and wait for you to say 'Peek-a-boo!' Her response is a hearty laugh. Every time.

Eli says "Less talk boutit" (Let's talk about it.) anytime he wants to discuss something. Usually something we've talked about before, like the car accident (muffler) or a trip to the baseball stadium. His latest favorite topic is when he was born, or when he was a little baby. "Mommy, member I was born? Less talk boutit." Then he wants to talk about fruits or vegetables. That basically means he wants to list as many as he can. He actually knows the difference quite well and is rarely incorrect.

We are still struggling with time-out/obedience issues with Eli. For a while he would go to time out about 90% of the time, even though he wasn't happy about it. This number has dropped lately, which has resulted in other punishments we'd rather avoid. Just by chance I remembered the trick that helped us several months back: a chair to sit on instead of just a section of carpet or a step. We will put that back in his time out area tomorrow and pray that it works.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Donation Corner: The Jessica Project



A friend of mine recently started a foundation to help put a smile on the face of cancer patients. When you battle cancer and go through chemo therapy, hair loss is often the inevitable. For a woman, that can be a bitter pill to swallow, as hair, whether it be long, short, curly or straight, is often paired with femininity. Brittney Davis founded The Jessica Project to collect scarves and donations as a way to reach out to cancer patients going through the same thing her sister, Jessica, did several years ago when she battled cancer. Please join me by making a donation to this worthy cause.