Monday, March 30, 2009


Maddux is a Kamikaze. If you haven't seen her play, in her element, buckle your seat belt before you do. She tends to be a bit insane. She's a dare-devil and a risk taker. And I love it. She gets hurt, but it usually more out of frustration that she cries and less out of pain. This girl knocks her head on the table or the ground or something else hard daily and rarely flinches. But if she keeps falling when she's trying to run, or if she consistently overturns her bike when she's trying to ride, tears will come. Or at least some verbal complaining.

While I got baths and PJs ready the other night, the kids drove down the driveway on their highly unstable plastic vehicles. Since Maddie's accident last fall, we always put a helmet on her when a hill is involved. Watch as she navigates the driveway, hunching her shoulders the whole time. (Disclaimer: This video is a display of Maddux's fearless attitude, but not much in the risk department. This would be a tame day for my girl.)

2009 03 30 Maddux driveway from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Too Much

You know you spend too much time working (even if it's at home) when your kids recite 'work terms' back to you. We have a cheer at bootcamp that talks about "OBC" @ "TMP" (Operation Bootcamp @ Terrell Mill Park). Today Eli was singing his ABC's and he said, "...Q, R, S, T, M P, W, X...."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

All Too Eager

Maddux really REALLY loves the bath. She usually cannot wait to climb in. Sometimes she gets overly excited and starts to climb in before we take off her socks or her diaper. The other day, I started the tub and then went into the other room to find her. Eli and Daddy were coming up the stairs, and the last time I'd seen Maddux, she was reading in her room. Well, she's obviously moved because as I left the bathroom, she wasn't there. So I checked the other two rooms upstairs with the same result. All of the sudden I heard Eli giggling in the bathroom. Maddux had somehow snuck by me in my search for her and helped herself to the bath I was preparing. Fully clothed. She didn't accidentally fall in either, because her hair wasn't wet. She got in carefully and deliberately. The last time she did this, it was more of a shock to her. This time she would have played in there all night if I'd let her.

Friday, March 27, 2009


And just like that, today we had an awesome day. I had a few conversations with Eli before school about what he was to do when he arrived at school today. He knew he needed to apologize to the little girl he kicked and ask for her forgiveness. When his teacher got him from my car this morning, I filled her in on the details, so she knew to watch for his fulfillment of the apology process. When Maddie and I picked him up, we were told he had a GREAT day. Music to my ears. Eli told me exactly what he told the little girl (it was just as rehearsed) and then he told me that she said, "I forgive you" after he asked for her forgiveness. Awesome. The kids played really well while I made lunch. Since we've had 427 inches of rain in the last two days, the back yard was filled with puddles. And it was still raining. Eli begged me to let him put on his rain boots and play in the rain. I couldn't see why not, so I dressed both kids and sent them out, watching through the kitchen window while I made soup and sandwiches. They had a blast. It was SO wet and soppy out there, and they couldn't get enough of it. They played really well and never fought at all. They came when I called them and I changed them into clean, dry clothes. Even Eli's underwear was wet - crazy!

After dinner, Lehr transformed a huge (HUGE) cardboard box into a mini house for the kids. They loved it and Eli even added a stove to his 'kitchen' inside.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Quite The Celebration

Yesterday was my birthday, and Eli got really into it. Tuesday night while I was out, Lehr had the kids paint birthday cards for me. He even had it all cleaned up by the time I got home, so I didn't suspect a thing! Of course Maddux tasted the paint a few times, and paint went a lot of places it shouldn't have, but the final product was precious. When Maddie gave me the one she made, she pointed to the front (where Lehr had written words) and said, "Daddy!"

Eli woke up and stumbled out of his room to the bathroom, eyes barely open, as he does every morning. But when he saw me, he immediately said, "Happy Birf-day, Mommy!!" He said it several more times throughout the morning, and he even incorporated the word 'birthday' into his breakfast prayer. (It didn't make a lot of sense, but the sentiment was very sweet.) Then after school, Eli and Maddux played in the back porch while I made lunch. Eli asked for the chalk so they could draw me a birthday picture. (Maddux sampled the chalk also.)

One of the best surprises came just before dinner. Lehr took Eli back out as soon as he returned home, running a quick errand. When they returned, Eli came upstairs and handed me a bouquet of yellow flowers. "HAPPY BIRF-DAY, MOMMY!! I got you dees dandelions!" They weren't dandelions, but he thought they were when he picked them out. Lehr said he talked about getting me flowers for days leading up to Wednesday. It was all Eli's plan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Note

It was planned to be a good day. It is my birthday so Lehr arranged a surprise baby-sitter for me all day. Eli had school for 3 hours, and Maddie and I planned to go to see my PCP while he was gone. Never a fun task, taking a 20-month old to a non-kid doctor's office. I was quite happy at the thought of asking questions and receiving information without having to chase after and entertain a child at the same time. After I picked Eli up, I was planning to visit with and photograph a brand new friend (4-days brand new!!). Once Lehr returned home, I was told the four of us had dinner reservations. These events still happened, but the mood was dampened by "The Note".

Eli was placed in my car with his bag, as usual, by a teacher other than his own. On the drive home, I went through his bag at the stoplights, looking over art work and reading any flyers from his school. There was a handwritten note from his teacher today. And not a complimentary one. I was informed that Eli has been a bit more 'physical' and 'active' with his classmates as of late. She then wrote that he had taken it as far as to kick (yes, K.I.C.K.) a child in his class. To make matters worse, instead of apologizing, he laughed. This is NOT the Eli I see at home. He is definitely a fan of wrestling and tackling, but it's all been done in fun. And the little bit of hitting issues we've had with Maddux have never been bad, nor recent.

I pulled the car over as soon as I read the note. I looked at Eli very seriously and told him he needed to start talking... He was immediately remorseful and seemingly ashamed. He knew exactly why I pulled the car to the side of the road. Eli told me who he kicked and we talked about how that made her feel. We had a good five minute conversation about why we don't do that (even if we're just playing around), and we went over again (and again) that it is VITAL to apologize if/when this situation presents itself.

At this point, I'm shocked. Not that he did this, because he is three and he is a boy and he is physical by nature. I'm shocked that it's escalated to him receiving multiple time outs at school. I'm shocked that he actually kicked someone (even though he assures me it wasn't because he was mad). I'm shocked that he didn't apologize. Mostly it made me sad all day. Part of it is the natural parental guilt/fear that I've done something wrong along the way for him to think that it is in any way OK to kick someone. The other part is that he obviously does not have the empathy at this point to put himself in his 'victim's' shoes. Yikes...too deep for a late birthday post. Good night!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Whirlwind Weekend

Yet another one!! Friday night we had dinner with our small group. The kids played much better than they did last time, though Maddux was especially tired due to the week's activities. Both Maddux and Eli ate a record-breaking amount tonight. They are hungry, growing kids, but tonight they ate two meals, and big ones at that! Before we left the house I gave them some yogurt, crackers and fruit. Then they had chicken sausage, apples, and sweet potatoes at our group dinner. Eli ate two sausages with a bun (each sausage was cut in half, but still rather large), then another full sausage without any buns (I cut him off). I don't know how his stomach didn't explode!!

Saturday was soccer day. Eli's team had pictures before the game, so we arrived rather early. The excitement started when he saw his best bud from school, Sanjit. Then we realized that the boys' teams were playing each other today. Laugh, run, play, chase. Once out on the field, Sanjit's team was short two players, so Eli switched jerseys and played with his friend. Everyone had a blast and Eli got a great goal at the beginning of the game, dribbling the ball all of the way down the field before shooting it into the open goal.

Our church had free (FREE) childcare for a few hours Saturday night, so we went to a nearby dinner with another couple while Maddie and Eli played with friends. When we came to pick them up, Eli didn't want to leave because he was having so much fun. I assured him we would come back to church on Sunday so he could enjoy himself again.

To wrap up, after church, lunch, naps, and some yard work, we went to dinner with D tonight. The place we picked had the biggest pizzas we've ever seen. Somehow we managed to put a huge dent in this pie; Eli and Maddux were key in that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lady Ma-Da?

It's too much. Too cute. I seriously cannot stand it! Maddux and Eli were very intrigued by a green wig I bought for Boot Camp last week. They each tried it on in front of the mirror the day I opened it, but they refused to put it on after that day. I just so happened to catch a few seconds of Maddie in the wig on video that afternoon. When I played the video for her today, she laughed hysterically. Then she pointed to the wig (still next to the computer because I was holding out hope one or both would eventually give in and I could get some pictures) and said 'peeeeee-sss'. (Please) I put it on her and she got all giggly. Then she kept it on for 15 minutes while she played, read books, and danced. Once or twice it fell off and she immediately came over to me and asked that I return it to her head. Having worn the wig myself, I know the fake hair is a bit itchy around the face. That didn't seem to bother Lady Ma-Da at all...she is going to be my dress up girl!!

Calling All My Single Ladies....

Maddux loves to dance, but she especially loves to dance when "Single Ladies" is played. Here is a short clip of Mad Dog cutting a rug when the first few bars are played. Keep in mind that by the time I pull the camera out, we've usually listened to and danced to the song once or twice already, so the video is pretty tame for her.

2009 03 Maddie dancing to some single ladies from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Just Another Monday

Despite a difficult weekend full of lots and lots of activities and whining, the kids had a great morning. Eli had school, but before school he and Maddie played pretty well. School time was spent playing toys (Maddux and I), which was pretty fun for both of us. And once I picked Eli up, he was really, really nice to his sister. We are having some table manner/food issues with Maddux now, so a lot of reminders come in to play during meals. Eli is learning to not tattle on his sister, but instead help her to obey because he doesn't want her to get into trouble. He gently told her to 'not pway wiff food' during lunch. Then he told me that he didn't want her to get into trouble, that's why he told her that. As soon as he finished his lunch, Eli asked if he could go outside and play basketball with Maddie. I told him he could, but he'd have to ask her if she wanted to play also. He asked her and, of course, she nodded 'yes'. They weren't outside for three minutes before she cried about something (she is very fragile these days...teeth, almost two...who knows the reason). Eli immediately asked, "You ok, Maddie?" Be still, my heart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sing, Sing A Song

Eli's class was spotlighted in this month's chapel meeting at his school. The 3 and 4-year olds attend chapel once a month and they rotate which class will sing each time. Eli was practicing last night, but he wouldn't give us a sneak-peak. As soon as he realized I was listening to him sing, he grinned and stopped. Today's concert was better than the Christmas one (where Eli did some really weird lip-synching); here is a short video of it:

2009 03 Eli sings at school from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Re-Cap

Eli had soccer practice this afternoon. Last week was SO cold that Maddie and I had to bail on the last ten minutes or so; we camped out in the car due to the low temps. This week was the opposite; it was so warm that both kids had on light t-shirts and shorts! As always, Eli had a blast kicking around the ball with his friends and team-mates. Maddux really stepped up her game though. She is getting quite good at dribbling the soccer ball! I am so excited for next spring or fall when she is old enough to play! She stayed with the team for most of the practice, participating when she could.

Maddux has improved some other skills as well. Mainly her dramatics. She will sit in her crib and 'cry', but the second you come in to her room, she turns it off (no tears) and gives a big smile. It's easy to spot her fake cry: no tears and she gives a silly little eye-pout that is very different from her real cry.

I took the kids to the Botanical Gardens today. I tried a first: no stroller. Neither child needs the stroller at this time, but keeping track to two children (especially two that have strong wills if they decide to disobey) can be scary at times. That being said, I am getting tired of having to push a stroller everywhere and keep track of it when the kids are not physically inside of it (like I usually do at the Gardens). I'm happy to report they did great! I had to carry Maddie once or twice because she refused to walk the right way with us, but for the most part she obeyed. And they both had an absolute blast at the playground part of the Children's Gardens. It consists of a slide and tree house only, but the slide kept them both pretty busy. At one point there was another little boy there close to Eli's age. His grand-parents told me he has a baby sister Maddie's age at home. The three of them slid down, ran up the stairs, slid down, ran up the stairs, slid down for a L O N G time. I'm surprised neither of my kids fell asleep on the way home! Since I had no stroller, I also had no camera - no pictures to show our good time.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Soccer Video

Here are a few minutes captured from Eli's soccer game yesterday (He's white, #2):

Eli's First Soccer Game from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


That's what today was.... Last night we had the kids (and us) out late at a church retreat. Bedtime was after 10PM. Since Eli had his first soccer game at 9 this morning, the kids had to be woken up before 8. No grouchiness yet, but it was only a matter of time given what the day held for them. We arrived at the field and moments later Tyler showed up. The two boys changed into their new soccer uniforms (jerseys and shorts - both HUGE on the kids) and started kicking around the soccer ball. They take their soccer player status so seriously!! Of course, Maddie followed them around, kicking a ball also. That little girl is going to be good when she finally starts playing. Once the game started, Eli shifted into focus mode. He got very serious and intense about watching where the ball went and following it all of the time. He made a goal (unassisted by coaches) sometime in the first half... I ran down the field with my camera, but only got a shot of him throwing his hands up to celebrate. Sometime in the second half, Eli's friend Logan showed up to cheer on the game. (Logan plays also and his game was right after ours.) Then Noah, another friend, showed up also! Each time, Eli and Tyler got so excited to see their best buds on the sidelines. (The four boys are a bit of a chummy group.) The game ended and the four boys played together, chasing the soccer ball around the field. Eli let Noah wear his other jersey and they all pretended to be in a soccer game. Maddie ran around, chasing Noah. (He appears to be her favorite.)

From there, we packed up the soccer gear and drove to a nearby park to meet Tyler (and eventually the other boys) to play some more sports. Baseball was on the agenda first, which both Eli and Maddux were happy about. It was approaching noon though, and fatigue was setting in. Not long into the game, something set Eli off and he started crying and pushed his sister. Time out. He wailed and wailed and wailed. Only about five more minutes of game was played before we had to (once again) scoop up the kids and move to our next destination. Lunch. We had a pub run (5K-ish walk) to attend with friends at 2PM. We met them for lunch first at a nearby sandwich shop. The kids fell asleep immediately after lunch as we drove to the start of the race. They woke up as we pulled into the parking lot, just in time to see some their friends loading into their wagon. We had the double BOB, so there was some jockeying for seats: both in the stroller and wagon, but eventually we got settled. Maddux rode in the stroller for the entire trip, but the boys alternated stroller, wagon, and walking/running. It was a beautiful day, so despite how long it took us to walk, no one complained about being outside for so long.

When we got back to the pub, we went inside to partake of the free food and drink. The kids ate up all of the snacks brought by the other family, plus some free food. And then right before we were about to go (the tired eyes were once again showing on the kids), Maddux fell and hit her head on a table. Then the floor. It was actually a very good thing she hit the table first. Had she not, she would have landed (head first) on the floor only, causing major pain from falling so far down.

The kids fell asleep again on the way home. By now it was 5PM and only two hours from bedtime. Since tonight is daylight savings, we intended to put them to bed an hour earlier....a good plan given the day they had anyway! Eli wanted to change back into his soccer gear as soon as we got home to play some more. He takes such pride in that soccer jersey! Maddux was miserable, crying when she and I played with some bubbles outside. She cried when she tried to blow the bubbles. She cried when I blew the bubbles. She cried when no one blew the bubbles. Misery! A quick dinner and bath later, they were in bed and asleep. What a day!

Friday, March 06, 2009


Maddux has finally figured out that my name is not "Ma", but "Mommy". And she knows how to say it. When she does, it comes out, "Mahhhh-meeeee", and I love it! I was working on the computer before the kids got up this morning and I heard someone calling me. ("Mommy. Mommy.") I got up and walked towards Eli's room, convinced it was him. Then I heard it get louder as I passed Maddie's door. I walked into her room to see her sitting in her crib, legs dangling through the bars, smiling and saying, "Mah-mee!! Mah-mee!!" What a great way to start our day!! Though I don't mind the way the day usually starts: I enter Maddie's room and she asks, "E-i??" if he's not with me. That girl loves her brother!!

Other words she can say quite well (for a 20-month old anyway) now:
- Amen (Ah-mee)
- Lights ('ights)
- Bye-bye
- Bubbles (Bah-bulls)
- Duck (DAHK!!! - it is ALWAYS yelled)
- No (Some things never change!)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Brotherly Love

More often than not (though not exclusively), Eli and Maddux show love towards one another these days. I am still working with Eli on helping his sister 'in good works' (AKA - not tattling), but I really can't complain yet. They are two peas in a pod.

Today I got lunch ready while the kids went onto the back deck to play. Eli pulled his Hawks basketball from the garage to bring out with him. As soon as the two got outside, Eli went straight to the yard to find the other basketball for Maddux. Only after he gave the ball to his sister did he start to play. I must mention that in no way did I prompt him to seek a toy for her. Maybe some of that preaching about 'love your sister' and 'treat others as you want to be treated' is starting to rub off!!

One other area which Eli really excels is encouragement. He is so positive when trying to teach Maddux new things. This comes up daily when we practice self-control after meals. I usually have to tell Maddie, "Look at your brother....put your hands in self-control like Eli." Eli usually then makes eye contact with her and gently encourages her to fold her hands. Yesterday he also complimented her on eating neatly. He told her, "Maddie...look at how clean you stayed! YAY!"

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Weekend of Cold

Saturday night the whole family went out to dinner. I had a lot of plans last week that kept me from family time, so we decided Saturday night would be just the four of us. We went to a fun restaurant and then to a frozen yogurt place next door. This yogurt was a little different; no sugar, just plain yogurt 'whipped'. The kids loved it all the same, especially because we put a bunch of berries on top. About three bites in, Eli experienced his first 'brain freeze'. He did NOT like that. He grabbed his forehead and said, "Why I have a head-ick?" We explained that he had to take smaller bites to avoid the freeze....he learned pretty quickly.

Today we received our first real snowfall of the season. Given that it is now March, it will most likely be our last too. After church we ate lunch with our small group. The snow was too wet to allow the kids outside to play in it, but they did enjoy watching through the big windows while we ate. As soon as Lehr and the kids got home (I was MIA, again), they put on boots and coats and mittens and hats. One snowman, many snowballs, and four pair of wet mittens later, they came inside to nap. Lehr said Maddie's fingers were blue when he took the gloves off. He had no idea because she was so happy to be outside!