Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

What a day! Eli had school this morning, and I had a photo shoot, so Maddie spent most of the AM hours with Grandma Cathie. The four of us picked Eli up and went home for lunch. Eli decided to show me that he'd had enough of the crazy schedule for the last week or so by throwing the WORST temper tantrum he's had to date. It ended when he ran into his bathroom, picked up his toothbrush holder, and smashed it on the floor. I put him in his crib and closed the door behind me. Using the time to read to Maddie before her nap started helped calmed me (despite the crying and screaming from Eli's room) so I could rationally deal with him. I'm not going to sugar coat it: I was pissed. Very very very mad and frustrated that Eli would resort to breaking something out of anger. So when he had calmed down a bit, I went in and asked him if he was now ready to use the bathroom. He was, so we walked in there together. He had to step over the broken toothbrush holder because I had left it right where it landed. After he finished his business, I asked him what needed to be cleaned up. He told me the holder and then he walked around picking up the pieces. We then had a discussion about how the holder broke. I went over (and over and over) that we do NOT throw things, hit people, or scream out of anger. I reminded him that it is ok to be mad, or sad, but it is not ok to hurt things or people when we are feeling that way. We discussed a few 'cool down' options for him the next time he felt angry. Then I told him he lost privileges for baseball until he could demonstrate to us that he could keep himself in control, even when he is mad. It ended on a good note, but it was a tough afternoon.

After naps, the kids got into their costumes and we went outside for a few pictures. Not many turned out due to Maddie's runny nose and Eli's love of running through the leaves. Ten minutes later we gave up on pictures and walked up the hill to the start of the neighborhood parade. All of Eli's friends were there, so the kids ran around checking out all of the costumes. We walked the one mile down to the pool parking lot where more kids and families awaited us. With pizza!! A few pieces later, the kids were ready to run around. Eli spotted a daddy dressed as 'the man with the big yellow hat' and his son, Curious George, and he kept tabs on them the rest of the night. Most of Eli's time was spent with his next-door buddy, William. Maddux just wanted to wander. She didn't care much who she followed...she just wanted to walk. I entered her in the costume contest at the last minute and she won first place for the 0-2 division. Not bad for something we didn't plan!

After the contest, we loaded up the BOB and started the walk back to the house. Trick-or-treating happened along the way, though it was slow going in the beginning. Eli didn't really get the concept until Lehr went up with him a few times. Maddie, however, seemed to know exactly what to do. She ran up to the door, held out her bag, and retreated as soon as she received a goody. Then she'd plop down in the driveway and pick out treats to hold in her hands. Once Eli got the drill (walk up to the door, knock, say "Trick or Treat!", get candy, say "Thank you", go back to Mommy) he seemed to really enjoy it. Especially when we saw jack-o-lanterns on the porches. And he knew he'd get to pick one special treat to enjoy once we got home, so he was always re-evaluating his stash. He kept coming back to a small tootsie roll until the very last house when he received a tootsie roll pop. Then the switch was made.

Close to 7:30 we returned home and changed into our PJ's. Then we popped some corn and had a quick Family Movie Night: It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Eli loved it, especially when Snoopy was on the screen. Maddux just enjoyed the popcorn...she couldn't get enough.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gym Class, Monkeys and Candy, Oh My!!

This morning was quite a busy one! Eli's school had their annual Halloween Parade and school party today, so Eli needed to wear his costume (a monkey) to class. I got him dressed and he told me he didn't want breakfast because "Monkeys no eat Cheerios." Nice. Later he told me on Halloween he gets to eat candy. When I told him that can't be: monkeys don't eat candy, he realized had some back-peddling to do, but he seemed quite convinced in his own mind that monkeys eat candy (but not Cheerios). After I dropped Eli off at school, Grandma and I took Maddux to her weekly gym class. She was her usual monkey self, climbing over all of the mats and apparatuses. She has really come to love the balance beam; she walks on it at least twice each class. Maddie's favorite part of class is still ball time. She loves to throw and kick all of the balls, but what she loves even more is putting them back into the trash can at the end.

Maddux Gym Class from Lehr Eliason on Vimeo.

We rushed from Maddux's class to Eli's school so we could be there for the Halloween Party. It turns out there was a birthday party to celebrate in Eli's class today also, so sugar was everywhere. I decided to hang up my sugar-police hat for the 30-minutes we were there and let Eli have what all of the other kids got. My son must have realized he had a small window because the amount he consumed in that half hour was impressive: one Capri Sun, one LARGE (even by adult standards) piece of cake with layer icing, two chocolate chip cookies, two chocolate bon-bon-type candies and two minutes of sucking on a Tootsie Roll pop sucker. Yikes! He had a blast though. He and his friends were trick-or-treating with all of the other classes in the Fellowship Hall when we got there. We didn't see Eli at first, but finally we spotted him and his buddy, Sanjit, in the corner, just hanging out. Once they were done, we walked back to their class for their own party. Maddux even got in on the fun, sitting in one of the empty chairs and eating a little bit of cake.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Date

Several weeks back, when Eli found out Grandma Cathie was coming to visit, he informed me, "I gonna take her on date." We thought it was so awesome that he came up with that on his own, so we went full-force with it. Eli said he wanted to take her to "Ed's" (Ted's Montana Grill) and he and Lehr decided that Eli would pay. Every day for two weeks Eli reminded me, "I need some money, Mommy. I gotsta pay for da food." He asked Grandma over the phone if she'd go on the date with him. He told her he was going to pay. She then asked him if he was going to drive also. Eli said, "No, you gotta drive. I ride in back seat."

So tonight was the big night. Eli woke up from his nap and the two of them took off. First they went to Target so Eli could pick out a new pillow (his old one was lost due to a pull-up incident), and then they ran errands at the mall. The final destination was Ted's, where Eli talked my mom's ear off. They sat in a booth across from each other, but Eli told Grandma, "I wish you sit over heeeere." Of course she joined him on his side. He ordered sliders (three little hamburgers) and fries. I've been told that Eli asked Grandma Cathie, "Where my money? I need to pay for da food." That shocks me given Eli's memory: he and I put money in his jeans' pocket minutes before they left the house. The two of them had a great night and Eli is now dreaming about being the center of attention for yet another night....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Festive Sunday

This whole weekend turned out to be quite Fall/Halloween themed! After our great fall walk yesterday, we continued with the autumn festivities today. After church we had a quick lunch and nap. (Just the kids napped. Grandma Cathie and I ran to Old Navy where their costumes are $5. Seriously, people: $5!!!) We woke the kids just after 3PM so we could attend a neighborhood Halloween party. Playground equipment, a jump castle, a table set up with mini pumpkins and stickers, and more kids than I could count kept both Eli and Maddux very entertained. Maddie loved the jump castle, even when it got a bit rough with the over-eight-crowd. Eli had a blast too, telling me he was jumping with 'da big kids'. He took a short break to decorate a pumpkin with stickers and foam stickies. Maddie opted to decorate her face and shirt instead of a pumpkin. And she cried when we took her out of the rough jump castle to take her home. But we had to do it in order to get in more fall madness. From the party we drove to a nearby church to pick out a pumpkin. I decided to not put a size constraint on Eli's choice this year and I paid dearly for it. I paid $16, to be exact! The pumpkin is so heavy that I can barely lift it!

After dinner (Pumpkin Pasta, to keep with the Halloween theme.) we set up paper and trash cans on the back deck to start the jack-o-lantern creation process. Eli wanted to cut it 'all by self', but that was obviously not going to happen. I did let him use a smaller, pumpkin carving tool on his small pumpkin. He shredded the poor guy, leaving him with many scratches and stab-marks. Lehr gutted the big pumpkin and then I let Eli chose a pattern from my carving book. He chose 'Flack Jack', and I got to work. Eli alternated cutting his pumpkin and watching me. Maddux ran around the deck, giving us a heart attack any time she went near the stairs and proposed a jump. 8PM came and now the house is quiet. Life is good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Date Night!

Eli and I had a date tonight. Schedules have taken over and we've been so busy recently that dates have not been happening as often as they should. Since we have reinforcements right now (Grandma Cathie), I took Eli on a date I'd been planning for a while: bowling. I didn't tell him where we were going ahead of time, just in case it didn't happen due to parties or leagues or whatever. Lucky for us, we walked in and got a lane right away! Eli was sooooo excited. He was excited about Mommy's bowling shoes (they didn't have any small enough for him), he was excited about picking out a bowling ball ("I want the boooo one!!"), he got excited about me entering his name onto the screen, he got excited about watching other people bowl....there wasn't anything he didn't get excited about! The smallest ball I could find was a 9-lb ball, but since I knew he'd just be rolling it, I figured it was no big deal. Eli showed me that he could not only carry it himself, but he threw it (aka dropped it) instead of rolling it half of the time! I requested the bumpers be put up, which allowed him to score above 50 in each of our three games. I threw a few balls, but only at Eli's request. ("I wanna see it go fast!") He was fascinated by the ball retriever/returner. "It go under da ground, Mommy?" And I only had to tell him once about not sticking his hand in it. We had a woman playing next to us, so we discussed bowlers etiquette, and Eli was quite good at respecting her space and waiting (patiently) for her to take her turn. If she was bowling, Eli would come and wait back at the ball returner with me, which is a good thing considering it took a full two minutes for his ball to make it's way down the lane. The g00d news is, I never once had to throw an additional ball down to 'prompt' a stuck ball.

After an hour of bowling, the two of us headed to Eli's favorite joint: The Flying Biscuit. Eli had eggs, chicken sausage, potatoes, and (of course) a wheat biscuit. I also gave him almost half of my garden burger. He was a little moody before our food arrived, but I'm pretty sure it was hunger talking: I was starving too. During dinner we talked about our plans for Sunday: pumpkin carving after dinner. Eli tells me we are going to carve a happy pumpkin. Or a scary pumpkin. Or a sad pumpkin. Depending on when you ask him, the answer varies slightly.

A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course....

This morning we took the kids for a fall walk to see the horses. The last time I did this, Maddie was not such a fan. She got a little spooked by the horse's forwardness. Grandma Cathie is in town, so I figured one of us could hold her and 'protect' her while the other helped Eli to pet the horse(s), as that's his main focus. The weather was gorgeous, and so was the walk. As soon as we finished, Eli ran down the long dirt driveway to find the horses. He got a little sidetracked when he heard a tractor. We looked through the fence to see the grounds' owner on a fertilizing tractor. Eli could have watched him all day. When we finally did find horses, they were off in the back of the field, grazing. From past experience, I knew it would only take a few minutes of standing at the fence for the horses to come say 'hi'. Sure enough, three minutes after Eli stuck his head through the opening in the fence, two white horses moseyed on over! Maddux has really started to enjoy dogs and other large animals, so I had hope she'd be friendly with the horses today and I was right. Although she requested holding a hand, or being held, she definitely had an interest in seeing the horses up close. She even put out her hand to pet them a few times! Eli loved petting them, of course, and he wanted to find more horses. Unfortunately for him, the only other horses we saw were too far out in the field to notice us. But he got plenty of horse petting in with the two willing subjects at the fence.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Day For The Books

No plans today. These days are very rare. If nothing else, I usually have a walk or a trip to the park planned. But it was cool and very windy this morning and I thought that might be a bit much for the kids. So after breakfast and a quick blanket time, I loaded them into the car for a Costco trip. We were in need of a few staples and I figured it would be a good diversion for the morning stretch. The kids did pretty well while we shopped, though Maddie was not in the best spirits. We did walk by the pre-lit Christmas trees though, and both kids were all bug-eyed and gaping-mouthed. It was lunch time as soon as we got home, so I heated up some soup and we were all done by 1PM. Maddux promptly had a melt-down at that time because I wouldn't pick her up and carry her while I was trying to clean the kitchen. After about three minutes of her crying and me kneeling down to comfort her (but not picking her up), Eli ran towards us with a toy. "Dis make her feel better, Mommy?" Man, that kid is sweet!

Five minutes later, Maddie settled down and began to play with Eli. He was using a pitcher as a blender for some of his food (and animals). I'm not sure of the smoothie flavor, but he was really into it. And he let Maddux put objects into his pitcher, so she got into it also. Before I realized it, ten minutes had passed and I had the kitchen picked up and dinner half-way prepared. I stopped a few times, in awe, to watch the two kids playing so well together. Even when Maddie took something Eli was playing with (as she often does), he was pretty nice about it. Towards the end of our time downstairs, Mad Dog took an animal and ran (like she always does when she knows Eli is going to protest) and Eli chased her. It was all in fun; both kids were giggling and having a blast. At one point she came over to me in the kitchen, for safety I think, and Eli came in and said, "Come chase wiff me, Mad!!" (He now calls her 'Maddie', 'Max', 'Mad', and 'my sisser'.)

To end the morning, we all went upstairs for bathroom trips, one song on the computer (due to potty success) and stories. I left Eli in front of the computer as I put Maddux down. When I do this, I always tell him, "When this song is over, please go to your room and read a book until I come in." As any good first-born would do, this kid obeys that rule like none other. I had Maddux's door cracked and when I heard the end of "Grease Lightning", I saw him turn and march to his room. Halfway there, he stopped and picked up Maddie's doll. He came into her room, where I had just put her into her crib, and said, "Maddie needs her baby doll for nigh-night. Here-go, Max!" It's days like today that make me so aware of what a true gem he is.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I am pretty under-the-weather tonight. I'm not sure if it is food poisoning or a cold or both, but it is not fun. Lehr was so awesome to do dinner and baths with the kids so I could just lie on the couch and not move. I chose to do that upstairs so I would not disturb the balance between Daddy and kids. (If I am visible, it makes it more difficult, just because.) It was so awesome to sit upstairs and listen to the amazing things happening below me.

Eli was so sweet. I heard him play with Maddux and have a great time overall with Lehr. Then Maddie started with her crazy (sinister?) laugh. Then some odd sounds came from her that lasted longer than a laugh. Lehr later told me she was walking around carrying the toy horse when she made those, so he suspected it was her imitation of what a horse sounds like.

Then they all came upstairs for baths. While in the tub, Eli said, "I want my mommy to rinse my hair." Not in a whiny way; he said it more as a statement and when Lehr told him I'd do it tomorrow night, Eli said, "Ohhh-kaaaaay." After baths, Eli came into the room where I was laying and said,"Mommy, you no feel good? Here some your tummy feel better." Melt melt. After Lehr got Maddie ready for bed, she came running in to see me also. All smiles and giggles. At one point each kid climbed up on the couch and got horizontal with me, to snuggle. I invited Eli to stay with me and read books while Lehr put Maddux down. When Lehr came out of Maddie's room, he told Eli it was time to say good-night and go to bed. Even though we still had a few pages left in our book, Eli said "OK!!" and sauntered off to his bedroom. I guess sickness brings out the best in the kids??

Monday, October 20, 2008

Say "Cheese"!

Eli had school pictures taken last week. Unlike last year, I did not fashion his hair into a Mohawk for the occasion. It appears that Eli was pretty tight-lipped during the photo shoot, but I think letter "D" is pretty cute. He told me that "George" was with the 'picture guy'. After further questioning, Eli meant Curious George. And apparently he (the puppet) ate Eli's feet. Too bad it didn't bring his big ole' smile out!! Every day I hear from his teachers or people at church or our friends what a smiley kid Eli is. That makes me happier than anything: to know that he is happy all of the time and people characterize him by it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bleed Cubbie Blue

Yeah, I know the season is (and has been) over for the Chicago Cubs, but my kids are true fans who never give up. They're already thinking about next year. Here is a quick video from last week showing the goofy-ness that is Maddux and the musician that is Eli.

Go Cubs Go from Lehr Eliason on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halloween Parade

Tonight was the annual Little 5 Points Halloween Parade. It's a tradition for our family, since before the kids were born. Although a little 'alternative', the parade is fun and entertaining, to say the least. I thought this year might be the year Eli got a little spooked by some of the more graphic costumes given that things of a scary nature are starting to give him some caution, but he was fine. Even when a few of the costumed parade participants came up to him. Eli dressed in his monkey costume and Maddux donned her new butterfly wings. (It was a little chilly and her bee costume is thin and short sleeved.) D accompanied us and carried Eli on his shoulders for much of the walk to and from the parade. Both kids enjoyed it, but Maddux really got into the music. She sat on the ground with Lehr and every time I looked down at her she was shimmying or swaying and clapping. I have no doubt it was a good experience for Eli too because he had his first sucker. So much candy was thrown out during the parade, and of course Eli collected every last piece he could. At the end, Lehr let him pick one piece to eat and he chose a strawberry Dum Dum. Ten minutes later it was gone: in da belly. I've uploaded more random parade pictures here, if you're interested.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I forgot to mention my favorite 'ha-ha' moment from the Gardens yesterday. We were walking through the Children's Gardens when we came upon a scarecrow dressed as Jim Henson. A mannequin head with dark hair and a beard stood behind a stage where he was manipulating two puppets. Eli took one look at him and said, "Look, Mommy. Dat sayer-crow is Jesus!"

Scarecrow Hunting

Yesterday was one of our last shorts-and-tee-shirt days until spring, so I took the kids to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Every October they decorate the place with dozens of scarecrows, all with different names and themes, and every year we go there to see them. There is usually a 'green' one made from recyclable materials, a few gardening scarecrows, and many traditional ones incorporating spiders, pumpkins and crows. Eli was a bit concerned when I told them we were going to see scarecrows. "Dey scare me??", he asked with a very worried look on his face. I assured him that scarecrows are designed to scare away crows, not people. There were a few that he didn't enjoy ("I no like dat one.") because they presented something he deemed 'scary', but most of the time he ran around trying to find new ones to look at.

After our tour of the garden, we ended up at the Children's Garden where I let the kids run wild. Eli was disappointed I didn't bring his baggies so he could run through the fountains. Due to the cold weather we've had in the last few weeks, I was sure they'd already turned the water off, but I was wrong. Maddux did better than usual, but still required some reigning in from time to time. The kids had a blast pretending to cook some rocks on hopscotch stones. Most of the time, Maddux carried around a leaf and waved it in the air like it was a hand-held flag. The poor girl is teething so bad; her hand never left her mouth again today. On a positive note, all of her scabs are gone as of nap time yesterday - she is officially mended after only one week.

One last story: we were walking through the Children's Gardens when we came upon a scarecrow dressed as Jim Henson. A mannequin head with dark hair and a beard stood behind a stage where he was manipulating two puppets. Eli took one look at him and said, "Look, Mommy. Dat sayer-crow is Jesus!"

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another Sappy Post

They disagree. They yell at each other. On occasion, they strike each other. But they love each other; oh how they love each other. EVERY night, without fail, Eli will get out of the bath (he usually exits last) and say, "Can I pway with my sister?" of "I wanna play with my sister." Can you say, 'melt'? And play he does. It's not like they don't play all day long, but for some reason Eli has to get in one last play-session before bed. I like to think that he just can't get enough of her. And on the flip side, Maddie is usually out of the bath first, then dressed in her PJ's by Daddy. As soon as Lehr gets her ready for bed, she laughs and runs back into the bathroom to see Eli. She is in such a hurry that more times than not, her shirt is only half-way on and her hair is a mess.

After naps yesterday, I got Eli out of his room first (*Potty update: we're at a week without a nap time accident!!) and he asked right away, "Can I go wake up my Maddie?" I told him he could, so he went and opened her door. After talking to her for a minute, Eli turned to me: "I wanna sleep in her bed wif her!" Immediately my mind was flooded with memories of a year ago when I used to put Maddux in Eli's crib for ten minutes or so after their afternoon naps. Eli would beg for this, and it was a great bonding time for them each day. (Posts about it here and here. I could spend all day reminiscing through old pictures and stories....) Back to yesterday: I put Eli in Maddux's crib and they had a blast. Not much 'sleeping' happened as they wrestled and played with Maddie's blankets and aquarium, but with all of that laughing, who's complaining? At one point, Eli said, "Mommy get camera and take pitchers of us!" This kid has been trained! Unfortunately, by that time, Maddux remembered that her teeth and gums were waging a war against her, and she was not posing for anything, so I'll leave you with a tender moment between the kids and Lehr from the weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can't Get Enough

Maddux LOVES her Little Gym class. Like, can't get enough of it loves it. We always get there at least ten minutes early (often closer to 20) because we are coming straight from dropping Eli off at school. That is great news for Maddie as it gives her ample time to push around EVERY chair in the waiting room, watch the class before us, and play with every toy in the waiting room toy box. Then, once the class starts, no holds barred! She is up and running from the second the door opens until every last bubble is popped at the end of class. Today she ran around and clapped for the first half of class, cracking every one up. She is one of the older children in the class, and since the other ones (even if they are the same age) are smaller and less, ahem, 'outgoing', she is constantly on stage and she knows it. She had the other moms in stitches when ball time started; Maddux ran around kicking every last ball. Twice. They were all very impressed. Take a bow, Mad Dog. (She basically did - this kid thrives on doting.)

As much as she wills herself, Maddie cannot produce a jump yet. She makes a cute sound each time she tries: "Rruuuhh!!". And I think she thinks she's actually getting air, but she isn't. She also loves loves loves to roll over the big round-spindle-thing (technical name, I know) and run or walk through the donut. Today she stood in it (the donut), pressing her head to the top, as her height is exactly the inner circumference. Maddie thought it was the coolest thing. And when we shake bells at the beginning and beat the floor like a drum at the end, she gets all excited. I love this. Eli loved this class so much when he was her age; I am so glad Maddux is getting to experience it also! (*Please excuse the poor quality of pictures: I used my small Canon and I am less than impressed with its indoor performance to date.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One Hands, Two Hands, Drumming On A Drum

Eli got quite a treat tonight. In honor of his latest (VERY) successful potty performances, Lehr took him to Guitar Center's Drum-Off Finals after dinner. The boys got to see some great percussion performances and Eli was totally into it. He got home just after 9PM so he should have been tired, but he wasn't. He kept telling me about how the drummers hit the high hats and the tom-toms and the bass drum. As expected, Eli was very animated throughout the demonstration. Then he told me, "Reid's mommy was there, but she shouldn't be cuz the drums just for daddies." (Apparently Lehr and Eli saw 2 or 3 other families from church there and it was more heavily male attended.) Lehr and I heard him talking well into 10PM, so I have a feeling he'll be a little tired for school in the morning.

Maddie and I hung out at the house instead of taking in the show. She had a really rough afternoon with teething, so I opted to entertain her at home instead of in a crowded store. After we played with all of her favorite toys, I took her into the shower with me instead of giving her a bath. She loved it! At one point I was holding her under the stream with me and she kept reaching up to 'grab' the water and rub it on her head. Then she did the same to me. Life is good.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Knight Writer

In the last few months, Eli has really gotten into coloring. It's actually more drawing than coloring because, although he likes a coloring book, he prefers for me to give him a piece of construction paper so he can create his own pictures. As you'd all assume, his favorite thing to draw is a baseball field. He's actually getting quite good at producing a diamond-looking shape with bases! Over the weekend Eli drew one on the driveway and it's pretty good, considering the scale and his age. (And his parents' total lack of artistic DNA!) So the week before school started Eli was drawing and he looked over to me (I was working in the kitchen) and said "Mommy...look! I drawed my name!" Sure enough, he had a capital "E" (with more than three lines, but close enough) and two vertical lines after it (lower case "l" and "i"). I put the paper aside so I could save it, but forgot to blog. So here is the scanned proof; my child already has better handwriting than me! (Please excuse the cloud bubble I drew around said proof: I wanted to make sure I didn't overlook his genius when I flipped through old papers in my older years.)

Friday, October 10, 2008


Eli had a time out at school today. The funny thing is, I didn't find out from his teacher; Eli ratted himself out to me. When I pick him up from school, I usually ask him a few questions: what songs did you sing, who did you play with on the playground, what did you eat for snack, etc. And if I knew of a special activity (like Monday's firefighter visit), I'll ask him about that too. I knew they talked about and cut open pumpkins today, so I asked Eli about what he saw inside of the pumpkin. He says, "Ummm, I don't know. I was in time out." When I asked why, he told me it was because he was talking. (I assume he meant talking while the teacher was talking.) I'm glad to hear he has consequences like that at school, but it does not sound like they required an apology from him. This is something we are real sticklers for in our house (an apology to the wronged person upon exiting the time out), so I informed him that if he didn't apologize to the teacher the next time, we'd make a special trip back to the school to do it. This would NOT be fun for Eli as he does not enjoy being put on the spot like that.

We are moving forward with the potty training again. We have another strategy (peanut M&Ms) and it seems to be working so far. I think it is working (for now) because this child rarely gets chocolate (maybe once/month in a cookie at school), and he has never (to my knowledge) had an M&M before. He recognized the bright colors as 'candy', but he couldn't identify it by name. All I have to do is remind him that he might get a piece of candy if he makes a deposit and this kid is running for the bathroom. When he finished today, Eli ran around saying "I so proud of myself!!!!" Glad to know he's not short on self-esteem.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another Day, Another Scab

Today was one of those days Lehr and I both wished we could go back and do over again. I think we all have moments in our parenting that we wish we could rewind...since that's not an option, we just hope we learn enough to never repeat the same lapses in judgement.

It all started with the red car, which Maddux has loved riding in since the beginning of time. Seriously, she has been riding down the hill in that thing since she was about 5 months old. Always with a seat belt and always with a smile. Today was no different....until the crash.

Normally we let the kids ride down the hill in our driveway, where the end slopes up enough to stop them, or down the bottom of the hill, where the cul-de-sac grassy area slows and 'catches' them. One of our mistakes today was letting Maddux go towards the top of the hill, where the slope is greater. Another mistake was me jumping in front of the car to absorb the impact instead of trying to grab the handle to slow her. So Maddux rode down the hill, picking up tremendous speed, collided with Mommy, who was trying to stop her, and then flipped, skidding along the street for several yards after the flip. Much crying and blood. Much stomach-churning for Lehr and I. Much adrenaline all around. God was watching out for Maddux, because she had her seatbelt on, preventing her from leaving her seat upon impact. Secondly, when the car flipped, it A-framed due to the large handle, keeping her head from dragging along the street with the car. Her injuries came from the initial impact and were mostly superficial.

Thirty minutes of me rocking with her in her chair, blanket in tow, later, the accident was a fleeting memory. She was fine, she had no broken or sprained anything, and her face was on the mend.

The good news is, Maddie's age still puts her in the 'kid' classification, and as we all know, kids are resilient. However, I'm not going to force her back into the car anytime soon because if I can barely stomach the thought, I can only imagine how she feels. Eli is very concerned about her boo-boo...he checks it often.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Terrific Tuesday

It doesn't get much better than this: Eli willingly shared his coveted dog, Sam, with Maddux today. We were headed upstairs for naps, with a quick stop in the big room to dance. Eli brought his polar bear and his Sam upstairs to dance with us. On the walk up, Eli said, "I let Maddie dance with Sam and I dance with polar bear. Here, Maddie. You get Sam." Totally unprompted. Maybe all of this 'encouraged' sharing is paying off!!

Lehr recently taught Eli that nobody loves Eli more than Daddy. So today I asked him, "Eli, who loves you more than Daddy?" His response? "Nobody. weeellll...maybe God."

Maddie, the Mad Dog

All of this extra one-on-one I have with Maddux is so great for so many reasons. First off, it is allowing me to get to know Maddie on this new level, right at the same time that her wonderful personality is blooming. She is so independent, yet she loves knowing someone is there for her. When we play outside she will run to me every few minutes with her arms outstretched (can you say 'melt'?), only to turn around and go back to what she was doing once she receives a quick hug or snuggle.

Maddux loves loves LOVES books and she is so content to sit in front of a bookshelf and go through dozens of books at a time. That does not mean she does not crave the interaction of being read to. When I get her up in the morning, she hugs me and then wiggles out of my arms as quickly as possible. Maddux makes a bee-line for the bookshelf and starts reading. I usually take that time to organize her clothes and diaper before I call her over to the changing pad. When she does come, she is carrying a book with her and she asks me with a grunt to read as she approaches. Of course I tell her 'yes', so she turns her body around and plops down in my lap, ready to listen to a few pages of the book. (That's all she has time for before she's up and looking for another book again.)

Mad Dog loves dogs. Go figure. When a large one walks past her, she still gets a little hesitant due to their size, but until they are 12-inches from her, she is waving, calling to them, and smiling like crazy. And she constantly makes the doggie noise (rah-rah-rah-rah-rah). Especially when she sees and/or hears dogs, which is a lot in our neighborhood. Pictures of dogs count too; there are several books that get flipped through very quickly in order to make it to the doggie pages.

Finally, she loves her family. Daddy, Mommy and Eli. Especially Eli. Though she is learning how to torment him a little when they play, she still craves his attention and she loves to be with him. Life is good.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fire Guy

Eli had a great day at school today: a fireman paid the church a visit, complete with a firetruck!! Eli knew about this last week, so we had already talked about it and he was oh-so excited. When Maddux and I picked him up, Eli was wearing a plastic fire hat (similar to the one he got at a local station last winter) and a shiny fire badge sticker. He went on and on about the 'fire guy' and all things related. Did you know 'fire guys' wear fire hats and fire pants and fire shirts and fire shoes? They also wear a fire mask and their trucks go 'woooooooooo'. Eli told me that this particular truck made funny noises. I'm a bit surprised the loud sirens didn't frighten him as loud noises usually spook Eli...he assured me he was not scared today.

When we returned home, Eli showed me the color-activity book he received at school which was fire safety related. Then he told me a version of what to do if a fire is in your house (get out and stop, drop, and roll), which was quite amusing. After lunch he immediately looked for (and found) his fire hat from last time and told me he had two now. We've been working a lot recently on the concept of having more than you need and sharing with others, so I asked Eli if he really needed two hats. He said 'yes', so I tried to prompt further by reminding him that some people (in our house!) don't have any fire hats. He then nicely handed one to Maddux. She loved it. The two wore them non-stop all afternoon.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pumpkins....

Eli has become a pumpkin collector. After breakfast yesterday morning, the four of us went to a local nursery so I could purchase some 'color' for our front yard. Given that it is now October, there was a large pumpkin display near the flowers. Eli went bananas. "PUNKINS!!! MOMMY, LOOK AT THE PUNKINS!! WE NEED PUNKINS!!" Since I'm so often denying him pleasure in life these days (yes, we're still struggling with one area of potty training), I decided to let him pick out one small 'punkin' to take home. He kept telling me we needed to cut his 'punkin', but I told him that would have to wait a few weeks. All day, all this kid could talk about was pumpkins and how he needed more. He showed Maddux his pumpkin, he showed the neighbors his pumpkin, he moved his pumpkin, he talked to his pumpkin.... The poor vegetable was probably excited for nap time just to get a break from the Eli-razzi!

After naps we went to Cooper and Finley's house for dinner and play. On the way home we swung through Publix for a quick stop and Eli accompanied Lehr inside. Of course they had a pumpkin display too. You know Eli asked for one, and Lehr let him pick out one of the small ones. The cycle started all over again. I did remind Eli that he now had two pumpkins and Maddie didn't have any, so it would be nice to share with her. He chose to give her the bigger one and he kept the miniature. By the time Halloween comes, I fear our front porch will be overtaken by orange squash....

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bzz Bzz Bzzzzzzz!

While Eli was at school on Friday, Maddie and I ran to Cracker Barrel to buy her Halloween costume. While on our beach trip, we stopped at CB for our official road trip meal and Lehr spotted a rather adorable bee costume. I'd already decided (with Eli's help) that Maddux would be a ladybug, so I didn't consider Lehr's suggestion. Once we returned to Atlanta, however, I was having a hard time finding a costume that was any where near as cute as the one we'd seen in that random Cracker Barrel in Alabama. Luckily, when Maddie and I made the trip yesterday, there was one bee costume left, in a size 2T. (Yup...she's 15 months and the 2T is small on her.)

After Maddux woke up this morning, Lehr put the costume on her so she could wake Eli up as a bee. She loved it, except for the antennas. She was a little weary of the wings, but she tolerated them, and she loved looking in the mirror at herself. The only potential problem with the costume is the effect it's had on Eli. Now HE wants to be a bee, complete with a tutu....

Friday, October 03, 2008

It's All Fun And Games Until....

Someone loses an eye. That's the new saying Eli learned first hand this week. Last night the kids were in the bath, playing as usual. I slipped into the other room to prepare Maddux's pj's and I heard them giggling, which is quite common these days. I poked my head in to make sure everyone was above water and breathing and then I moved to Eli's room to get his night clothes out.

When I came back in the bathroom, the kids were full-out laughing and having a great time, so I grabbed the camera. As I started shooting, I saw what the laughter was about: Maddux was touching Eli's face and that was hilarious! To be more exact, she was poking his face....and he liked it. I threw out a few "Gentle, Maddux" suggestions, but for the most part, just watched and enjoyed. They were having such a great time together, I thought 'why not'? It was at that moment that Eli reminded me why not: his laughs turned into 'oww!!' when Maddie made contact with his eye. And his protests just made Mad Dog laugh more and more, so she continued to do it. I think that is the last time Eli will be so willing to allow Maddie to pick the game-de-jour for bath time.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Gym Rat

I took Maddux to her first Little Gym class this morning. When Eli was a wee lad, I enrolled him in the class for about two 'semesters'. With Eli in school now, Maddie and i have a chance to do some one-on-one things, so I decided to start with this. As expected, given what a monkey Mad Dog is, she really REALLY liked the class. I forgot my camera, but trust me when I say she walked in and owned the place. There were maybe five other kids in the class, and Maddie appeared to be the most steady on her feet. She ran around exploring the bars, the mats, the beams, etc. She did join us for group activities on the mat from time to time, but I usually had to go retrieve her from a new corner she was exploring first. The big news of the day was Maddie hung from the high bar!! OK, it wasn't so 'high', but her feet were off the ground, so it was high to her. I held her there to practice hanging (something Eli NEVER did), and when I lessened my grip, she stayed. So then I eliminated my grip and she still hung. I think she surprised even herself given her facial expression at that moment. Maddux's favorite part was probably the ball time near the end. Of course she preferred to gather up all of the balls and deposit them back into the big trash can that housed them. I think it's easy to say Maddie will be looking forward to Wednesdays from now on.

Donation Corner: Double Time!

Since October has 31 days, and since I'm actually posting on the first day of the month, I decided to double it up and put two organizations in the spotlight this month! Given the cooler temps, I find myself spending more time outside, usually doing an activity of sorts, so both charities this month fall into an 'active' category.

First up is Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program. If you're like me, you go through several pairs of tennis shoes each year, only to throw them in the trash after two months of training. What a waste! They're not good enough to donate, but I have never found a second home for them until now. Nike, as part of their Let Me Play program, started grinding up old sneakers (any brand, any make) in an effort to cut down on waste and to help build sports surfaces such as basketball courts and playgrounds. Just to give you an idea of how many shoes are used for these surfaces, here are a few numbers:
• Outdoor basketball court: 2,500 pairs
• Mini soccer field: 10,000-20,000 pairs
• Playground: 2,500 pairs
• Indoor basketball court: 2,500 pairs

The only catch is how to get the shoes to Nike. This link allows to to search by country and state, but many of you might not have a nearby drop-off location. You can mail your shoes directly to Nike (which will cost you postage); I suggest you collect shoes from a few families, or maybe even your neighborhood, before sending in a shipment. It might take a little leg-work on your end, but isn't that what 'giving back' is all about?

The second charity I want to spotlight is Medals4Mettle. I read about this charity in a recent Runner's World magazine, and I was instantly touched by the sentiment behind this organization. As an active person, I have completed several 5Ks, 10Ks, and other various races. Every time you complete a race, you get a tee-shirt. Over the last several years, my collection has grown and the tee-shirts mean very little to me because I have so many. Some people compete on a higher level and run a few marathons each year. When you complete half and full marathons, your prize includes a medal. I assume after three or four, the medals become less important to those runners as well. In 2005 a doctor completed a marathon and went directly to work. He checked in with a cancer patient who was in the midst of a rough round of chemo. The doctor presented the marathon medal to the patient because compared to the battle the patient was enduring each day, a marathon was a walk in the park. (For those of you, like me, that didn't know what mettle meant, it is synonymous with courage.) So for those of you who run marathons and want to do more than just run for yourself, you can donate your hard-earned prize to someone who runs a marathon (and then some) every day. (You can also donate money for ribbon production if you don't have any medals to give.)