Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Day At The Park

The kids and I met a group of other moms and kids at a local park for a big MOPS play date this morning. As expected, as soon as Eli saw Logan, Noah, and Tyler, he immediately went to play with them. Noah and Eli were scaling the rope wall right away, and when they both made it to the top (and then slid down the slide to the bottom), they ran over to Cara and I and each said, "I made it!!" I am so happy that Eli has such good friends. It makes me sad that he won't go to school with these boys given how far we live from them, but I'm glad he will have great non-school buddies to hang out with on the weekends. It is so cool to see the four of them totally gravitate towards each other at all times. This past Sunday, Eli and Noah got into a little bit of trouble in Sunday School when their fun game of blocks turned into throwing blocks. That's usually what tends to happen (especially with those two): they start out innocently enough and then they have so much fun that they put both feet right over 'the line'. I can see those two in a tree house in the not-so-distant future, plotting where to put frogs or bugs in an effort to scare Maddux and her friends....

Speaking of friends, Shannon emailed me a picture that I missed while we were at the beach. Here are Maddie, Tyler and Eli, all stuffed into the bike-trailer on the way to the beach one day. What a good time they all had!!

My Shadow

Maddux has become my little shadow at times. She is VERY independent, and has no problem running away from me in the store or the park, but when she gets a little sleepy or doesn't feel well, she sticks to my side. The other night I was working on some pictures of a band that I had taken earlier in the day. Maddux pulled a step stool up to the computer desk and stood on top to see what I was doing. Lehr and Eli were on the ground behind me playing, and Lehr kept trying to engage Maddie, but she would have nothing of it. If he did succeed in pulling her off of the stool, she'd wiggle away, yell at him, and climb back up next to me. I can't say that I minded at all!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dinner Date

Eli's friend, Logan, came over for dinner tonight. Eli woke up from his nap in a bit of a funk due to a painful mouth 'boo-boo', but his mood brightened a bit when Logan's car pulled into the driveway. The boys had a blast riding the car and the digger-scraper down the hill...how neither one wrecked on the construction vehicle is beyond me! Maddux got into the action a little bit, but most of the play was between the boys. Many a golf ball was hit, many a football was thrown, and many a whiffle ball was lost. Good times.

After a solid hour of playing, it was dinner time. All three kids sat at the little table on the back deck, and they all ate pretty well. I never know if it's a good idea to put Maddux at that table or not, but she stuck it out pretty well, only wandering away once or twice. After the food was gone, the kids moved to the yard where some grass was cut and a few sticks were toted. The diversion of a friend for dinner was just what Eli needed!

Monday, Monday

School has been in session for two weeks now and I really miss Eli. It's only 9 hours/week, but the three mornings he is at school, I really miss him! As much as Maddux probably enjoys one-on-one with Mommy, I know she misses him too. But there is no way I could deny him; he absolutely loves school. When I pick him up, he climbs into the car and immediately tells me something random. Sometimes it is about snack ("We have goldfish today, Mommy!"), sometimes it is about someone in his class ("Alex fall down and cry today. He want his mommy."), but most of the time it is about something he learned. Today he climbed in the back seat and said, "Leaves fall off trees cuz it's Seh-tem-mer. Leaves in the fall, Mommy." I asked him where he learned that and he told me they read a book at school. Never mind that I also read him a book about leaves changing colors and falling. Never mind that we also talk about the seasons and what happens in fall during breakfast and lunch. Just like last year, Eli gets most of his retained information from his school. And I love that he loves learning. Maybe next week he'll solve the mess on Wall Street...

Maddux, Maddux, Maddux. Where do I begin? With her new shrill, attention-seeking scream? With her blatant disregard for the word 'no'? Nah.... I'll go with the wonderful way she signs off before naps and bedtime. As she's becoming more 'vocal' with her signing, she uses certain ones all of the time. Particularly 'bye-bye' waving and blowing kisses. If she is leaving the room, she always says "AH!" and waves until someone waves back to her. And when I put her in her crib and sing her a song, towards the end, she'll say "AH!", wave and then cover her (open) mouth with her palm before pulling it away (her version of blowing kisses). I do love this. She also signs 'milk' all of the time (Eli laughs when she gives a 'double milk' sign, using both hands.), as well as 'hot' and 'fish'.

To round out this entry, I'll dote on the kids' relationship again. It is still a good one, even though Maddux is becoming more vocal about her toy preference. Eli still shares SO well with her, and Maddux usually shares well with Eli. My favorite thing right now is Eli's request after meals and after baths. He will ask me, "May I play with my Maddie?" Sometimes he'll change it up and say, "I wanna play with my sis-ser."; can you say 'melt'?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beach Bums

Here is a quick (less than four minutes) video of our trip to Watercolor last week. Even though it was taped two or three days, it appears we had the same suits on each time I pulled out the camera! Around 2:45 you'll find my favorite clip: Maddux trying to re-enact Mommy's "aaaaand...JUMP!" on her own. Good times.
video

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sweetie Pie

It might come off that I only view Maddux as a child who makes more noise than necessary, so I'll try to keep you updated on her many other attributes in the future. For starters, Maddie is such a sweetheart. She really is! After we dropped Eli off at school this morning, she and I went to the YMCA. She hadn't been in over a week, and she was VERY excited to enter her side of the childcare classroom. When I picked her up, the caregiver told me how happy and sweet Maddie had been. There were three non-mobile babies in there with her and she took care of them the whole time. Talking and laughing with (at??) them and whatnot. At one point, Maddux went over to the bin of toys, pulled out a rattle, and brought it to a baby sitting in a swing. What a gal!

Lehr ran out after baths tonight, so I had both kids immediately before bed. We watched a quick podcast (They Might Be Giants) after they had their PJ's on, and both kids were standing on step stools, looking over the edge of the computer desk to watch the screen. Maddie would rock her head back and forth in time to the music (only hitting her head and crying once, but returning to the same motion immediately afterward). At one point during the podcast Maddux got off of her stool, moved it closer to Eli, and stood back on top. Once she got her balance, she stretched out her hand and patted his back repeatedly. Then she laughed and smiled when he looked at her. Can you taste the sugary sweetness yet? She also rubs his back and hair sometimes in the bath, trying to 'wash' him. I love their relationship right now!

Maddux is also sweet with other people too. If you ask her for a kiss, she'll lean in, say 'ahh' and give you an open mouth kiss. (A bit forward, but it's her thing.) She is also very adamant about waving 'bye' whenever you leave her, or when she is leaving you. She does it now when I put her in her crib for naps and bedtime. And when we're all playing in the big room, she will start to walk away, stop, and turn around, saying "Eh!!" and waving until you reciprocate.

Last but not least, my favorite aspect of her sweetness is her cuddles. She especially loves to come lay on people when they lie down. If I'm playing with the kids, I usually end up on the ground, on my stomach, at some point. She takes that opportunity to come over, lie on my back and rest her head sideways as she throws her arms by her sides and sighs. She did this to D a few times at the beach also. She is a love-muffin!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Trip to the Zoo

Last year, when Maddie was just a few weeks old, we took the kids to the zoo, but that was their only visit before today. I've been wanting to take Eli for a while due to his recent increased interest in animals, but the heat has kept us away. (That's not to say I didn't want to take Maddux too; she's just a little young to 'get it' yet.) So after a moody 10-15 minute start on the day by Eli, the kids and I were on the road. We picked a great day as far as temperatures and crowds go. The zoo was not at all busy and it was maybe 85 degrees in the sun.

Eli remembered his visit from last year and talked about the 'mingos' (flamingos) the entire drive downtown. As we drove downtown, we passed Turner Field and Eli got super excited and started naming everything he saw: coke bottles, baseball field, lights, etc. Once inside the zoo, he ran right over to the mingos and started talking to them. Maddie even got a little excited about them. We also saw giraffes, zebras, gorillas, turtles, lots of birds, pandas, orangutans, and elephants. Eli really liked the elephants because they were 'dirty' (covered in clay from rolling on the ground). We overheard one of the zoo volunteers telling a class that our two elephants are both female and one is expecting a baby this spring. Eli got very excited about that and said, "We come back after Easter and see the baby." I do wonder if he understands it will be a baby elephant and not a baby 'baby'.....

I knew Eli was having a good time because of the sheer magnitude of questions he asked me about the animals. That and the excited voice he used when he pointed out new animals to me. I wasn't sure if Mad Dog would take any of the sights in, but she did. Every time I parked in front of an exhibit, her eyes tracked any obvious animals and she got a very intense look on her face.

The highlight of the day was midway through when we stopped at the petting zoo. Eli was very excited to pet the sheep, pigs, and goats. He was very gentle, and he got all kinds of excited when he found a bucket of animal brushes to brush their 'hair'. Maddie likes animals (her experience is mostly with dogs), but sometimes touching them causes her some hesitation. She did pet three or four farm animals while I held her today.

Speaking of Maddux, she hung out in the BOB most of the day, but I let her out a few times to run around. One of those times was at the playground. She had a blast riding on the bouncy duck and driving the bus with Eli. She zonked out the last ten minutes of the car ride home.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Out Of The Mouth Of Eli

- "Mommy, I so proud of ooh!"
Eli says 'ooh' for 'you' a lot still. Sometimes he gets it right, but many times he'll leave the 'y' sound off. Today he told me he had to pee, so I let him go to the bathroom by himself. I came in at the end to help him with the soap because he couldn't reach it to wash his hands. Since I was there, I took care of business for myself too. When I was done, Eli said, "Mommy, I so proud of ooh!!!"

- "He no say "Maybe I da one."
Eli loves music. Duh. The kid also has a mind-blowing memory. He'll hear a song once and recognize it within the first few notes the next time he hears it. Two months later. His latest 'thing' is asking me who the artist is for any song that remotely peaks his interest. Most of the time I know, given I'm a music fan myself with what I thought was a good memory about songs/artists. (I thought that before I met Eli.) A few days before we left for the beach (roughly two weeks ago) "Psycho" came on the radio. Halfway through, Eli asked, "Who sing this, Mommy?" I told him it was Puddle of Mudd. "Oh. I like dem. This is my favorite song." He says this a lot these days, so this song didn't seem any more significant than any other. A few times while we were on vacation he would ask for Puddle of Mudd, but since this is not 1986, we didn't have a boombox with us while we were hanging out at the beach, so his requests were not granted. Fast forward to this afternoon. I told Eli he could pick one song to listen to on the computer while I put Maddux down for her nap. He requested Puddle of Mudd. I had forgotten about the "Psycho" incident, so I chose another one of their songs ("Blurry"). When I came out of Maddie's room, Eli told me, "Dis not Puddle of Mudd. He no say, 'Maybe I da one.' Not da right song." (Side note: If you're not familiar with the song, it starts with a few guitar notes and then the lead singer says, "Maybe I'm the one. Maybe I'm the one. Who is.") It took me a few minutes to understand what he meant. Once it hit me, I was once again reminded that nothing gets past this kid. Time to really start paying attention to those lyrics!

CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!

Not that you all are fans (even though you should be), but I had to share this video. I managed to finish the second leg of my walk on Saturday in time to get back to the hotel just as the game started. Our boys in blue clinched the 2008 National League Central with that win, and the Windy City is going nuts. Almost as nuts as the Eliason house. Eli wore his Cubbie socks (pulled all of the way up) to school today and Maddie is sporting her "I'd rather be at Wrigley" shirt. On top of that, Eli broke out in song this morning: "Hey Sha-cah-go, whaddya say.." We've taught him well.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Daddy Weekend

As soon as we returned from the beach last week, I unpacked my suitcase only to fill it again with walking clothes for the weekend. A friend from high school flew up to walk the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer with me in downtown Atlanta, and we needed to check into the hotel less than 24-hours after our car returned to our house. (Thank you to everyone who supported me this weekend, financially or with kind words of support. It's A Journey raised a lot of money, and I had a great time raising funds and awareness for a worthy cause.)
* Someone just uploaded a BUNCH of pictures from this weekend to SmugMug: check them out!

Lehr said he and the kids had a great time too. Friday night they hiked at Sope Creek and ate a picnic dinner/ snack. For the first time they saw turtles swimming just off the dock! Saturday was a lot of outside play, with a quick trip to purchase a new baseball as Eli had another big potty success. And Sunday was church. I am so happy to be back home with my babies...I can only hope they missed me as much as I missed them...all three of them!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Harmonica

Eli picked out a special toy at Cracker Barrel.

Mr. Harmonica from Lehr Eliason on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beach Vacation: Last Day

All good things must come to an end, just as this trip has. We spent our last night with some friends that just happened to be in Watercolor at the same time as us. They have kids of similar ages, so we did pizza and pool until the kids basically begged for bedtime. This morning we woke everyone up a little early (7AM) so we could enjoy the beach before loading the car. Eli spent most of his time chasing fish and crabs in the ocean. There were no waves and the sandbar was even more shallow than it has been this past week. Such conditions were conducive for animal hunting; we saw a few crabs, plenty of fish, and a small shark. (Not the mention the dolphins we saw daily.) All in all, the kids fared pretty well on the drive. They watched the Muppet Movie with D and snoozed a few minutes here and there. Eli's highlight was our stop at Cracker Barrel because he was allowed to pick a special toy in celebration of a big success on the potty before getting into the car. Now they are sound asleep in their beds and all is right with the world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Beach Vacation: Day Five

Each night we put the kids to bed and I think, "This has been the best day of the trip so far." And each day at lunch I realize that I was wrong: the current day is even better!!

That was definitely the case today. We woke up to great temperatures and very little wind. Once down at the beach, we discovered almost no waves (which is good news when you have small kids). Eli was a little disappointed he wasn't able to crash into the big waves as he's done the last few days, but a very, very, VERY long and shallow sandbar allowed for both kids to stand in the water as far out as their hearts desired. The temperatures mixed with a slight cloud-cover was the perfect setting for our morning on the beach. Noon snuck up on us and passed us by without so much as a whine from either kid. Although Maddie was starting to get tired, her mood was very pleasant. She found some sand to lie on from time to time, or some one's back, but I think she could have stayed at the beach for another hour or so with no problem. Eli threw on his goggles and actually swam underwater in the ocean (a first) today. And Mad Dog had an absolute BLAST 'jumping' over the waves. I'd hold her hands and slightly lift her off of the ground when a (small) wave would come. I'd count, "One, two...THRRREEEEE!", and she would lift her feet so that her legs were perpendicular to her torso. Then she would say, "Dahh....DEEEEE!" and go through the motions herself. Yup...today was the best day so far.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Beach Vacation: Day Four

Maddux was the first to wake this morning; 7:30 found our house up and ready for another day of fun in the sun. As usual, we headed down to the beach first. Eli ran straight for the water and never looked back. He not only ran with the waves today, he also went out 'way far' with Daddy and D to go boogie boarding. Eli had a blast laying on the board and riding the waves. Maddie stayed on the beach with me for most of that time, but she also loves the water. We sat in front of a section of the ocean that had a long, shallow section, so she was able to walk and fall without going under (much). Then D dug a massive hole and all three kids (Eli, Maddie and Lehr) took turns sitting inside and getting some shade.

Due to her early rise, Mad Dog was so sleepy that she snuggled up to D and almost fell asleep at one point. Before we came back for lunch, we stopped by the pool for a short while. Eli swam under the water, using his goggles to look for dive sticks. And Maddux had a blast swimming (on her own) back and forth between Lehr and I, or between the wall and one of us. I love love love how much both of them enjoy the water. Eli could not stop putting his face in the water to swim like "my-call felps!" (Michael Phelps) He even went under a few times when he wasn't swimming to see other people under the water. After naps we opted to ride bikes and play at some of the great parks on the campus instead of going back in the water. Eli really enjoyed helping us play boccie ball, and Maddie used her dive sticks to hit wiffle balls off of the baseball tee.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beach Vacation: Day Three

Eli rose early again this morning. (For him, 8AM is early. I think it is mostly due to D sleeping in the same room; Eli sees him when he first wakes up and, instead of rolling over and getting another hour of snoozing, he starts trying to wake D up.) So we ate and got the bags ready while we waited for Princess Maddie to finish her beauty sleep. Once she woke up, we were back at the beach.

The waves have gotten less severe each day since we arrived, but there is still a good breeze on the shore. The boys had a great time loading up and emptying Tyler's big dump truck (the same one Eli has at home), and Maddie loved using the shovel in between climbing in and out of the Pinson's beach chairs. I am so in love with how much the kids are enjoying the beach this time around. Our past trips have been great, but this is the first time that Eli just runs towards the water when we hit the sand, laughing the whole way. He has such a good time chasing the waves, and he couldn't be happier when the waves come in and stir the sand around his feet. Tyler's dad and Lehr went down the beach to fly the kite, so we all followed them to see the show. While the guys unwound the string, I held the kite, rendering me a little helpless when it came to chasing the kids. This wasn't a big deal until Maddie decided to follow Eli down past the initial shoreline. She got a little closer to the break than she was used to and a wave knocked her over. Maddux was on her stomach, with her hands on the sand, facing me on the beach while she was pulled slightly out to sea. Mad Dog lived up to her name, not showing fear as she body surfed for a minute before she was rescued. In the end, the top of her hair never even got wet....my girl is tough!

A patch of rain scared us off the beach right around noon, but it passed so quickly that we really should have stayed put. The kids were hungry anyway, so we went back to the house for a quick lunch before playing with Tyler. Once the Pinsons loaded their car and drove away, the kids passed out in their beds and the house was quiet for a few hours.

After a quick dinner at the local taco stand, the five of us went down to the beach at Seaside so we could play and try to fly the kite again. The wind had all but stopped, so no kites made it into the air. Instead we just watched the sun set while we played baseball on the shore. Both kids were covered in sand when we loaded up the bike trailer though...no matter the time of day, they cannot get enough of the beach!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beach Vacation: Day Two

Another great day of fun in the sun!! After the kids woke up, we quickly ate before heading to the beach. Everyone was very excited to see the riptide warning did not cause a beach closing again. We set up camp on the sand and Eli immediately ran for the waves. (Yes, thanks to the hurricane, the Gulf had serious waves!) He chased the water back and forth several times before settling into some sand play with Maddux and Tyler. The three kids dug holes, played in the water, and pushed around the dump truck for the entirety of the morning. Before naps, I took the kids over to the children's camp to see the four turtles they had living there. One kept trying to escape, so we named it "Maddux" (as she is a monkey-girl). Eli saw the "Maddux-turtle" climb over another turtle and he said, "Look what he doin!! That's not nice!"

So the kids took well-deserved two hour naps and then we were back in the sun. This time we went to the pool across from our house. Tyler swam in his inner tube, Eli jumped in and out of the water, trying to swim with his turtle-back, and Maddux walked around the pool, playing with a shovel and a dive stick. Unfortunately she had a blow-out soon after, so I brought her back to the house for a shower before dinner.

Before bed, Ty's mom read Eli's favorite book to the boys: "H is for Homerun". The boys sang along wtih the baseball song and had a blast winding down for bedtime together. Life is good.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beach Vacation: Day One

After an early rise, we got on the road and headed to our favorite beach spot. The kids were loud loud loud in the car. Actually, that isn't fair. Eli did really well watching a movie here and there, but Maddie's contributions to any car conversations were deafening. She is still in this latest loud phase that trumps any others we've gone through thus far. Ouch.

Once we were all changed and sun screened, to the beach it was. Unfortunately, the beach was closed off due to very dangerous rip tides. Luckily we had several pools to choose from and our kids aren't picky. Maddie was exhausted, as she only napped for 20 minutes or so in the car, but she managed to keep it together enough to play in the pool with Eli and Tyler. (Ty and his parents are joining us for part of this trip.) Around 5PM we headed back to the house to change and start dinner. Our house is right across from one of the better parks of green grass, so we had a few innings of baseball, a few football tosses, and some kite-flying while dinner cooked. Quick dinner and baths later, all three children passed out in their respective beds. Life is good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Donation Corner: Operation Smile

Yes, I'm late with my donation pick this month: sorry!! Between school starting and other things, the first week of September just flew by!

This month I'm spotlighting Operation Smile, an organization dedicated to helping children with cleft lips and/or cleft palates smile. A plastic surgeon and his wife founded Operation Smile when they traveled to the Philippines and saw hundreds of kids with untreated deformities. A cleft palate or lip is when the tissues of the mouth or lip do not form properly during fetal development. In the United States, clefts occur in 1 in 700 to 1,000 births, making it the one of the most common major birth defects. Clefts occur more often in children of Asian, Latino, or Native American descent. The good news is that both cleft lip and cleft palate are treatable birth defects. Most kids who are born with these conditions can have reconstructive surgery within the first 12 to 18 months of life to correct the defect and significantly improve facial appearance. The bad news is, in many countries, funds and medical professionals are not as widely available as they are in North America, so too many children do not have the option of surgery. A child with a cleft lip or palate tends to be more susceptible to colds, hearing loss, and speech defects. Dental problems - such as missing, extra, malformed, or displaced teeth, and cavities - also are common in children born with cleft palate. Speech, eating, drinking and social interaction are also challenging for those afflicted with a cleft lip or palate.

As always, the easiest way to help Operation Smile is to donate funds. There are other ways, however. If you want to volunteer time, there are Mission trips going to different countries every month, and extra hands are always appreciated. If you are a medical professional, your skills are even more valuable.

I encourage you to check out some of the stories surrounding this wonderful charity. The impact Operation Smile is having on these children is larger than life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hair Clips, Headbands and Tutus; OH MY!

I posted about Sparkle and Charm Boutique a few months ago, but since then I've ordered more (girly!!) stuff, so I thought I'd share again. The new website is still under-construction so please be patient as photos are still being uploaded and kinks are being worked out.
As much as I try to get Maddie to wear barrettes or hair clips, she loves to pull them out and hand them to me, as if we are playing a game of mommy-clips-my-hair-and-I-unclip-it. Clips often get lost during this game, so I haven't had much of a chance for Max to wear the new clips I bought from Kathryn, but I am excited for that day to come. (Plus, the Sparkle and Charm clips do not pull her hair out, like the store-bought ones I have, making Maddie a much happier little girl.)

I recently purchased a handful of flower hair clips, mostly on the small side due to Maddie's lack of substantial hair. As usual, the craftsmanship and attention to detail in Sparkle and Charm's work is flawless. The clips are even cuter than the pictures on her site, and the clips stand up to Maddie's grabbing hands. Also, when I ordered the clips, Kathryn (Sparkle and Charm) contacted me suggesting an alternative base clip to the one she usually uses for the product I chose. (I do not know all of the proper clip/barrette lingo, but I believe we ended up with an 'alligator' clip, which holds better in Maddie's hair.) A few friends of mine have also ordered from Sparkle & Charm, so I've seen a variety of clips and I can attest that they are all of superior quality. Plus, they are easy on the wallet. And just like with Maddie's tutu, the turnaround time for my order was really quick.

As I mentioned in my previous post about Sparkle and Charm, Kathryn also makes custom tutus, which are gorgeous. If you or anyone you know has a small child (preferably a girl), this would be a great purchase. Who doesn't love a photo of little legs poking out from underneath yards of tulle?!?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

3-Year Well Check

Eli had his 3-year appointment with the pediatrician this morning. He was not at all scared, which I am very thankful for. I think it helps that he's been able to see Maddux go so much the last year, and nothing too scary happens. The three of us show up two minutes after our appointment time (very typical for us at that time of the morning due to Atlanta traffic), and we get ushered right in. Eli weighed in at 30.5lbs (50th percentile) and he measured 37 3/4" tall (50th percentile). He even got his blood pressure taken this time!! I don't remember the numbers, but they were good, as one would expect from a 3-year-old. The doctor looked in his ears, looked in his eyes, looking in his mouth, and listened to his heart. Then she had him do a few spacial awareness and physical ability tests: touching his nose with eyes closed, jumping with both feet, etc. He passed with flying colors. The visit ended with a flu shot for both kids. I opted for Eli to go first, as I knew Maddie would cry and maybe scare him. He sat very still and only flinched slightly when he felt the pinch. No tears at all. ("I be braved.", he told me.) Then Maddie went and she cried like...well, a baby. Eli tried to reassure her, but when we got in the car he told me, "Maddux not be braved. She cwy."

Monday, September 08, 2008

How Sweet It Is....

Eli started school last week and he was a little apprehensive. Not enough for him to ask not to go, but he went through a list of questions for me each day: "Mommy be dere? Mrs. Jane be dere? Max be dere?" and so on. So we read "The Kissing Hand" in preparation and when the first day arrived, I kissed Eli's palm, just like the book. Eli called it 'Mommy's special kiss' and he held it tight all day. That night he asked for another 'special kiss' to take to bed with him. The following morning I barely had his bedroom door open when I heard him say, "I dropped Mommy's special kiss!! I need 'nother one!" Life is good.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Max has been in a sour mood all day, most likely due to that SAME eye-tooth that will not cut. We were downstairs playing and Eli asked very nicely if he could get some water, 'all by self'. I told him yes and immediately Maddie followed Eli to the kitchen. Since he could not get her a cup with a top, nor could he work the top if he could reach it, I hoped he would just share his with her, but I wanted to see what he did first. I heard the water pour into his cup. Then I heard Mad Dog start to grunt a little and Eli told me, "She say 'please', Mommy." I told him she was asking for water, please. He said, "I share mine wiff her?" I told him that would be very nice. Then I heard him tell her, in a low, patient voice (they were just out of my view and I didn't want to ruin the moment by intruding), "No, Maddie...I hold it for you. No. No hands. I do it for you. Dere go." This is when surveillance cameras would be helpful. To have that footage on hand would make any bad day instantly better.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Random Videos

I haven't been using the video camera much lately, because by the time I think to find it, the kids have stopped whatever 'cute' activity they were engaging in that cause me to search out said camera. That being said, I have a few short clips of recent times around the house.

1. Monkey See, Monkey Do. So true in our house. If Maddux is doing something, Eli follows suit. If Eli does something, Maddie copies him. This was played out in the tub the other night. As I said, by the time I grabbed the camera, they were tired of the game, but they did reenact it once for me:
video

2. Maddux dances. All of the time. And much like Eli when he first started, it is quite a sight. She starts by shaking her hands. Then she stops the hands and starts marching in place, then she stops the feet and starts bouncing her knees. Then she stops the knees and starts moving her head up and down. Then she stops the head and pulses her torso front and back. Then Mad Dog repeats it all again. One body part at a time. Eli is still an energetic dancer, flailing arms and jumping around until he falls. I think a mosh pit is in his future.
video

3. My house is loud. L.O.U.D. And all it takes is for one (usually Maddux) to start being loud for the other to chime in. This week we were a little short on entertainment one afternoon, so I pulled the video camera out. Maddie gave several cute smiles and lip purses and Eli tried to hog the camera. (He was supposed to be otherwise occupied with his guitar, but once he saw me pull the camcorder out, he was in the kitchen in a flash.) I cut most of the loud spots, but I think there are a few hints of the volume still in this clip.
video

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Camping

I had to wake the kids from their naps yesterday afternoon so the three of us could head north for Cooper's birthday party. After major traffic, we arrived at Monkey Joe's and Eli went to town. He ran around with Coop and Coop's dad for about twenty minutes while I stayed with Maddux in a smaller 'jump castle'. She was a little unsure of standing up on the unsteady ground, but she loved crawling through the tunnels and hanging out with Finley. After the party and dinner, we came home and Lehr told Eli that the guys were sleeping in the tent. Eli was ultra-excited. Lehr decided to set the tent up in Eli's room in case things didn't go well and Eli had to go back to his crib. (This kid tends to like routine and he typically does not like to sleep anywhere but HIS bed. I tried to get him to nap in my bed with me one day and after ten minutes of tossing back and forth he asked me, "I sleep in my crib now, Mommy?") So Eli helped Lehr and I get the tent all ready, including blankets for padding and Eli's special blanket and pillow for comfort. Then Lehr stayed in the tent with him for about fifteen minutes to acclimate him before he left for Eli to fall asleep. (It was only 8PM and Lehr didn't feel like going to bed just yet.) Lehr came back into the tent at 11 and Eli was sound asleep. He even slept until close to 9AM this morning, which is typical, so it appears the tent-dwelling did not change his sleep pattern at all. This is good news as we want to move him to a real bed soon (he is 3 now, after all), but I'm SO afraid of it impacting his 12-hour slumbers which he so desperately needs.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Fun Times

The questions have gone from "Where carrots grow?" to "Where burritos grow?" and "Where sandwiches grow?" to "Where tables grow?" and "Where cars grow?" It was hard enough explaining that burritos and sandwiches don't just 'grow'...now I have to figure out how to explain cars and whatnot? At least he's curious and in search of answers. I will say that he retains the information too. Even though he still asks me "Where water grow?" each day, as soon as I ask him (in response) "Where does water come from, Eli?", he is quick to tell me, "Lakes and wivers."

Eli had a great blanket time today while I worked on some pictures. He found his french dictionary that I bought for him when he was about two months old. As soon as the buzzer rang he wanted me to read it with him. I asked him to repeat most of the words I pronounced for him and he made an honest attempt each time. Most of the time he sounded like Joey speaking french in Friends, but at least he was trying.

The kids and I went to the park we frequent on Wednesdays yesterday after their naps. There is a one-man show there singing and playing the guitar AND drums. (Eli is totally in awe.) Most of their dancing was done by the time I grabbed the camera, but here is a small taste of their enthusiasm.
video

Speaking of the camera, I have yet to get my New Favorite Thing on video, but I promise to keep trying. Eli loves, LOVES, to rock Maddux. He says, "I wok Maddie now." and then he waits for me to put her in his lap. Sometimes convincing her is difficult, but she usually likes it. Then he rocks back and forth while I sing "Rock-a-bye-baby". He thinks it is the best. Tonight he actually sang along and of all the words in the song, "bough" is the one he got spot-on. Go figure!!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First Day

Eli is back in the saddle: he had his first real day of school today. We got all dolled up, posed for a few pictures (just like last year), and we were off. He did tell me once as we were loading into the car, "I no wanna go to skool.", but there were no tears, and he seemed to forget that thought immediately. He exited the car (via carpool lane) with no tears, and he never once looked back at the car. (That made it easier for me!) When Maddie and I picked him up, he was all smiles and laughs. Another teacher ran towards our car as Eli got in, waving to me. She told me that she worked in Eli's room for part of the day today and he was SUCH a joy to be around. She complimented me on my sweet-natured son. Music to my ears!! The whole way home I asked him about his day and he reported back to me that he played trains, cooked, pushed the lawn-mower and ate a bolly-op. It took me a while to figure it out, but I think he means 'lolly-pop'. Not exactly my snack of choice, but I'm trying to not be such an anti-sugar freak in social situations.

As we got ready today, Maddie could tell it was a special day too. She danced and laughed with Eli all morning as we ate and took pictures. Check out her silly face!!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Back To School

Almost.... Eli had his meet-and-greet at Preschool this morning. We've been talking it up for weeks and he was prepared to meet his new teacher (not Mrs. Jane, his teacher from last year, who he hoped would be his teacher again). Maddie was a wild-woman in the class while we visited, sampling the goldfish crackers and sitting in every chair around the table, but all in all she was well-behaved. Eli was very excited to find his new classroom right next door to the one he was in last year, so he'll be in close proximity to Mrs. Jane when he's at school. I brought the camera, but I still had the memory card in my other camera from some work I did this weekend, so I don't have any pictures, but I promise to get some tomorrow, before his first real day of school.

After we left Eli's class, the three of us went to Logan's house to play. Eli had never played over there before, so he was VERY excited to explore all of Logan's toys. Maddie found entertainment in an electric screwdriver, much like one we have at the house. She pushed the button and said, "Ahhh!!" as she tickled her tongue with it. Strange bird, that one is! Eli was captivated by the remote control trains and cars...he was very sad to leave when the time came.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

The kids had a very busy, very whiny weekend. I'll give Maddie a break: she was (is!) cutting an eye tooth and it has caused her a lot of discomfort since Friday. Eli, however, had no excuse other than new people were in the house. He was a tad whiny and demanding, which did not sit well with me. Nevertheless, the kids got a lot of extra attention from their Florida grandparents, including several one-on-one guitar lessons from Grandpa "Head". While I was busy at the church yesterday, Lehr, the g-rents and the kids all went to the neighborhood pool. It was quite chilly (per Lehr), but Eli still jumped in several times. The fun stopped when Eli stepped on a bee and got stung for the first time. Eli assured me that the lifeguard took good care of his 'boo-boo', and it doesn't hurt anymore.

The four of us went to REI this morning to use a few gift cards Lehr had saved up. An hour later, we were the proud owners of a tent. The kids are thrilled to have it set up downstairs. We intend for it to serve its purpose outside, but as a test, we set it up in the play room. Eli immediately started saying, "Let's play baseball in da tent! Let's cook in da tent! Let's play t-wains in da tent!" So much to do, so little time.

Maddux is still working on that tooth (three days since it showed itself despite not being through the gums), but she is in a little better spirits. Her favorite thing to do in the morning or after baths is put lotion on herself. As soon as I pull out the lotion bottle, she holds out her hand and then wipes her hands together or wipes her torso. Her dancing has also taken on a new form. She shakes both hands up and down as she bobs her head, and the knees go up and down too.

The main form of entertainment for the kids all weekend long was Eli's new backyard pool. (Thanks, D & CC!) Both kids love swimming in there; we were in it all day Friday, for a few minutes Saturday, and most of the evening last night when Cooper and Finley came over.