Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fun Fun Fun

Today was a very full, 'summer' day! We woke up and started on the yard right away. Mowing, edging, and weeding needed to be done. As usual, Eli was pushing his lawn mower right behind me. Maddux opted to swing instead. A friend gave us a bucket seat for the new play set and Maddux cannot get enough. She did come to the front yard a few times, to try on her rain boots and follow us around as we mowed the grass. Mostly, she just looked cute :)

After a long morning of working and playing, we decided to take the kids to the pool for the first time this year. We searched around, but could not find the kids' turtle-backs (swim 'helpers'). That was actually ok with me; we have a rule that those have to be on their back if they want to swim in the big pool. Since the water is still oh-so cold, I wasn't looking forward to the big pool anyway. The missing turtle-backs forced the issue of staying in the baby pool. Both kids loved it, splashing around and 'swimming' before lunch.

I woke Eli up from his nap a bit early. We had fun back-to-back activities planned. First a birthday party for a little girl in Eli's class at church and MOPS. Because the pre-lunch pool venture lasted longer than we expected, Lehr and I opted to let Maddie sleep longer. Eli and I went to the party and he had a blast. Games and cake and ice cream - who wouldn't!?!? We left there and swung by the house to pick up Daddy and Maddie. Then we drove across town again to watch a local band perform at a coffee shop. Eli was using coffee stirrers as drumsticks the whole time.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Oh Happy Day

Seriously. It's only nap time, so I'm counting those chickens again, but that's ok. Kids woke up at their more normal time (830ish) instead of an earlier one like they've been doing lately (745ish). Eli was in a GREAT mood and he obeyed the 'rules of the morning'. We had a very enjoyable breakfast and quick play session before we left for Kangazoom. The kids hadn't jumped in a while and the weather was humid, hot, and almost raining, so indoors was a good choice. Eli and Maddux had a BLAST at the 'jumpy castles'; this was the first time I didn't have to go into any blow up jumpers to help them. (But I still did because it is oh-so fun.) Maddux was a machine, climbing up the ladder again and again to go down the big (BIG!) slide. And when I said it was time to go, total compliance from both kids!

We came home and I made a quick lunch. The kids opted to play on the play-set while I cooked; Eli said, "Maddie! Swingset!!", and she followed him. Then, (wait for it!!) when I opened the door and said, "ELI! MADDUX! LUNCH!", Eli walked very quickly all of the way inside the house and said, "Yes, Mommy?" Perfection. All of the way, right away, and with a happy heart. Without any prompting. You better believe I rewarded and praised the heck out of him!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Playtime With Daddy

I left the house shortly after Lehr got home tonight, leaving the three kids to enjoy the evening. Time with Daddy is always fun, isn't it? Right before I left, we got some video of Eli riding his bike. Ever since the little girl across the street took her training wheels off, Eli has been much more motivated to figure out this peddling thing. In the last two weeks he's learned how to do every thing except peddle up our driveway. (In Eli's defense, it is pretty steep.) Here is a quick clip - pretty boring, but it shows his new skill set.

2009 05 Eli riding his bike from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Once they finished with the bikes, Lehr made dinner while the kids played on the play-set in the backyard. It didn't take long before Maddux fell off of the swing and busted her lip. It looked way worse than it was, as mouth cuts usually do, and she was begging to go back outside within minutes.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Entertainment

So things are improving....S.L.O.W.L.Y. Eli has only had one time out this morning and the rest of the time he has been an absolute doll. Kind, obedient, playful...the best of all worlds. I'm hoping we're on an upswing!!!

Speaking of swings, this weekend we set up a playset in the backyard. A neighbor passed it onto and we were more than happy to take custody. The kids love the slide and swings. It amazes me that Maddux knows how to sit on the real swing and hold on. Eli only learned that a few months ago. Of course, Eli wants to be pushed 'faster' all of the time. The two are having a blast with the newest addition to our yard.

Our neighborhood pool opened on Friday, but we've not visited it yet. The weather was so cloudy and cool all weekend that I couldn't imagine even taking a chance of going into the water after one of the kids. We did go to a Memorial Day party on Sunday where two kiddie pools were in service. Maddie and Eli had a blast, splashing and playing in the water with the other kids. Maddux was shivering after a few hours, and Eli's lips actually turned blue. But neither wanted to get out of their wet clothes and get dressed (of course). After three hours we made the decision for them.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Ran So Far Away

Instead of running far, far from the house last night, which is what I wanted to do in response to the whiny, disrespectful and disobedient attitude I'm receiving from Eli, I opted to have a fun "Flock of Seagulls" moment with the kids instead. Eli wasn't too into it at first; gone are the days when he would let me spike or Mohawk his hair, even in the bath. Once he saw what I was doing to Maddie's last night, he wanted in. Both kids sat very patiently while I did their hair with hairspray and a blow drier. They even sported the do's the rest of the night, including on a trip to Harry's.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Different Kind of Blanket Time

I'm still in the thick of it, so realize I'm grasping at whatever I can to blog about....

A few weeks back we had Grandma in town and then two trips, back-to-back. Somewhere in the midst of that, Maddie started having a hard time with me leaving her room for naps and nighttime. In that spell, Lehr and I realized how much she loves her routine for sleep. As soon as I would lay her down in her crib, she'd pop back up, grab her blanket, and point, very upset, to my shoulder. Before I put her in her bed, I always drape the coveted blanket over my shoulder and sing her a song as we walk to her crib. She usually lays her head on the blanket, on my shoulder. During that time, she was obviously of the mind that she needed more shoulder time.

That phase has passed us, but Maddie still loves the shoulder time. Just this week I noticed how her actions are like clockwork when it comes to that special time now. I put the blanket on my shoulder and IMMEDIATELY the thumb goes in her mouth and she drops her head. Love it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

He Must Be Really Small!

We had a good night, but of course we ended on a sour note. Such is life these days. Before that inevitable ending, the kids and I were driving home in the car. Eli and I were having a deep conversation in response to a few friends who recently passed away. Eli knows they are with Jesus in heaven, but tonight was the first time he let on that the concept of 'forever' was foreign. He asked when our neighbor was coming back from heaven. I tried to explain that he wasn't; he would be with Jesus forever now. A few more round-and-round-we-go's before we came to Eli's gem of the week. He told me that Jesus is here 'though'.
"Where?" I asked.

"Here." Eli said. "Diff us."

Intrigued as to where this would go, I then asked Eli, "How do you know? Where is Jesus right now?"

"He's diff us. Here. In our hearts."


When I finally regained use of my mouth to form words, I told him that he was absolutely right.

Then, with impeccable comedic timing, Eli said, "Yeah. He must be really smaa-aahlll!! Cuz my heart is tiny."

Day At The Zoo

Since today was the last day of Cobb County schools, I decided to take the kids to the zoo before it got crowded with summer-goers. The kids were pretty good and obeyed much better than they have in recent days, so Mommy was happy. The first stop is always the flamingos, and the kids' personalities were played out right off the bat. I let the kids out of the stroller to walk up and see the birds closer. There was already a crowd of spectators, so Eli hung back and asked me to go up with him. Maddux, on the other hand, went right up and wormed her way in for a good spot. She didn't look back to check on me until I called her name for a picture. This is the reason we 'lose' Maddie from time to time, but not Eli. (She went missing for a few minutes today too....surprise, surprise.)

We got to met up with some friends from the neighborhood for part of our visit. Eli had a blast hanging out with the other kids. Of course, the statues of animals were more impressive to the kids than the real animals that were actually breathing. And getting a panda stamp was more important than actually seeing the pandas. But such is life. We also stopped in the Parakeet exhibit before we left. In this new birdhouse you walk through an open cage where some 300 parakeets are flying around. Eli and Maddie loved it. A trip to the pet shop would have been cheaper.

Here are a few funnies from the kids this week:
  • "Mom, did you know I could jump through hoops?" Eli and Maddux got another shipment of toys and books from Aunt Linda and Uncle Darol this week. Included were three pool rings (almost hula hoop size). Before naps today, Eli was playing with one and asked the above question. Ha ha.
  • "OH! Appy - Dey!" Maddux is singing along to songs and saying more and more words every day. Her two favorite songs are "I Never Go To Work" (she sings "Oh Nooooooo. Oh Noooooooo!") and "Happy Day" by Fee. She loves loves Happy Day and will sing "OH! Appy-Dey. OH! Appy-Dey." on and off all day. I would love to get some video, but you know how kids do not perform on command.
  • "I-ana-do-wit." I'm a little less excited about this one. Maddux is already independant enough, and now she's gone and learned how to say "I want to do it." In her own way, of course.
  • Last but not least: "Cooz me." Maddux is a belcher. Has been since she was born. She is learning her manners though. The other day I had the kids sitting at the table after a meal, in self-control. Washing dishes, I had my back turned and I heard a huge burp. I turned around to see Maddux, sitting nice and pretty with her hands folded. She very nicely said, "Cooz me."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Day...

We are still struggling with some behavior issues, but Lehr and I have a plan and it went into effect last night: we are beefing up the couch time. I was just about to drop an email to our parenting guru when I heard her voice in my head: "How is your couch time?" I knew it would be the first question she would ask!! Lehr and I are great about doing couch time every other week during a specific car ride, but our schedules have been off, so even that one hasn't happened for over a month. Last night we did the first one at home that we'd done in a LONG time. We will continue this at least five days/week. It WILL help the problem!

Eli and Maddux had another cute sibling moment today. Maddie was up in her booster chair, waiting for lunch. She does this as soon as I start preparing a meal or cooking. No concept of how long it takes to actually make food. So Eli asked her to come outside with him to play basketball. He was really excited and wanted her to come with him. But her chair was pushed almost all of the way in. I don't know how she climbed up into it that way, but she did. And she would fall getting out, for sure. (She already did that this morning.) So first Eli called to me: "Mooomm!!! Maddie needs help getting out!". But when I didn't drop what I was doing to help, he quickly figured out that he could help her. He got behind her chair and scooted it to the side, allowing an exit. She said, "Tank ou!" and off they went.

Right before naps we listened/played along to one song. I didn't notice Eli's feet until I sat down to sing with he and Maddie. He'd found Maddux's new dress-up shoes and he was wearing them with pride. He even told me, "Dese are my shoes."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good Times

So we're still struggling. Which means we're still short on blog posts. But today we had a great sibling moment before naps. Maddie, Eli and I were heading upstairs to have a quick jam fest before night-night time. Eli already had his shoes off (he is GREAT about that), but Maddux was proceeding upstairs with hers on. I reminded her to take off her shoes before going on the carpet. She sat down and pulled the velcro back, but couldn't get the shoes off. (It's amazing how quickly she can get them off in the car, but how inept she is in that area when it comes to the house.) She struggled for a minute before Eli came back down the stairs and sat in front of her. He gently lifted each foot and pulled her shoes off. Then, in a soft, kind voice, said "You're welcome" after she thanked him. ("Teak ou!!") I touched him on the back and told him that he was being very nice, and he had just done a kind thing. Eli looked me right in the eyes and said, "I'm a good daddy." I'm so glad he has such a good role-model to look up to! Not only does he recognize that Lehr is a good daddy, but Eli also strives to be just like him. Life is good.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Slow Week

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. This has been a trying week with the kids, to say the least. Both seem to have a crazy spring/summer fever thing going, especially Eli. If I say 'up', he sits on the ground. If I say 'stop', he is running as fast as possible. And so on and so on. Maddie is not far behind him, unfortunately. It's not been a fun week for anyone in our house.

But as always, it's the silver lining moments that keep me going. Last night (after an especially exasperating day), Eli and Maddux sat on the couch with us to read books together as a family. Eli very nicely, but very firmly voiced his desire to sit next to Maddie. And as we read, he randomly leaned over and gave her head a few kisses. In turn, she rubbed his hair a few times. Those darn kids KNOW how cute they are, I swear. They were just trying to play up to my soft-spot for sibling affection.

Maddux has some new 'stuff' right now. She overheard Eli playing "Red Light, Green Light" recently. The other day she and I were in the car and all she said, for about five straight minutes, was "Red Lyy-tt. GOOOO. Red Lyy-tt. GOOOO." It was hilarious. She also recognizes some of our usual songs in the car now. Eli's favorite is "Happy Day" from our recent church recording. When it comes over the speakers, Maddux can know be heard saying, "App-EE Dey! App-ee Dey!!"

Yesterday morning I was trying to get Eli to obey in one way or another, and Maddux was downstairs by herself for about five minutes. No biggie...the gates were closed and she was *pretty* safe. (*I realized no child left unattended is every really safe. A nanny-cam would point that out to me really quickly, I'm sure.) So we went downstairs and I found Maddux sitting on the kitchen floor with several sippy cups around her, all filled to varying levels. The good news was, she was sitting, like we've told her to do when she drinks. The bad news is, we've been working SO hard with her on not helping yourself to cups and drinks. Obviously my smile and camera-click probably reinforced her disobedience. We've now moved the cups. (She actually didn't spill too much, considering what she was doing.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

That's My Funday

Whirlwind! Monday in a nutshell.

After a crazy weekend ending in a not-so-great Mother's Day, I was very glad to start fresh this morning. (I don't feel up to blogging about yesterday. I had to leave church to take Eli home because of discipline issues...something we've never had to do before. Let's leave it at that.) However, Eli woke up in the same funk he went to bed in. He had school this morning, and I planned on letting him go to 'lunch bunch' afterwards. He's never gone before, but I know he wanted to. Since Eli was in such a bad mood, I didn't even make a lunch because I knew there was no way I could send him to the special 'after-school'. Lucky for me, Eli did his very typical turn-around before breakfast and he returned to his usual jolly self. I told him he could go to LB and he got all excited. He told me who was going to be there and how he wanted to share lunch with a few of them. (He's never been, so it was interesting to hear what he thought went on at lunch bunch.) I packed a quick lunch and off we went.

Maddie and I ran to the gym and then headed downtown to meet Daddy. For quite some time now we've been trying to find time to do a photo shoot with Maddux. My parents gave me a coat and hat that I wore as a little girl, dry cleaned and in perfect condition. They have a great picture of me as a toddler (just older than Maddux is now), wearing the combo outside of a church. I tried desperately to replicate the photography, but couldn't do it. Maddux is grabbing her hat, as I was in the picture, and we're both wearing the same thing, but the lighting and setting differed a bunch. Oh well! Maddie had a blast though. She got all giddy when we picked up Daddy outside of his office. She kept saying "Daddy. Mommy." from the backseat with a goofy grin on her face. She KNEW something special was happening. That girl is a smart cookie. Yesterday when Eli was in such a bad place, meaning his 'tude and by his consequences, Maddux was a gem. She totally knew something was up and she was the perfect child almost all day.

In regards to the two of them, it is rare these days for me to take Eli and Maddux out together and have someone talk to us that DOESN'T ask if they're twins. It seriously happens no less than once each week now. And today they got along so well. After naps, the two of them played in the back yard and deck while I made dinner. Eli was so excited to have Maddie play basket-ball with him. I heard her shoot and then he hollered, "Maddie, you MADE it!" He was beyond words. "Do you want to try to do it again?" I was beyond words. And they are both so great about giving hugs and kisses to each other, especially during apologies. It melts my heart when I see them embrace as Eli kisses the top of her head. Life is good.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Early Mothers' Day

Eli had a celebration for moms in his class this morning. His teacher asked us to arrive at 10AM, just a bit after we dropped the kids off. Maddie and I ran a quick errand and went right back to the school. We walked in to all of the kids (six today) sitting on the rug, hands folded. The tables and chairs where the children sit were decorated with a pink table cloth, heart name tag place cards, and a few vased flowers. We were asked to sit by our name and our student would stand next to us...ready to serve. (How cool!!) The kids got us muffins and drinks (of course Eli wanted to share my muffin with me, so he was eager to do this part). After we ate, the kids helped us (the moms) decorate a paper crown for us to wear all day. Then the kids were asked to stand behind us while the teacher turned on music. Soothing orchestral sounds filled the air as Eli started to massage my shoulders. No joke. He wasn't bad!! Eli's teacher told us that the kids had learned how to massage this week. After about a minute on the shoulders, the kids got small containers of lotion and started to massage our hands. I was in heaven. Eli then proceeded to massage (aka rub lotion) on my arms too. He got really into it. Finally, the kids presented their moms with a small gift. They made flowers for us out of tissue paper, pipe cleaners, and egg cartons, and they had each painted us a tile. So cute. I thanked Eli before Maddie and I left to go home for a short bit before returning to pick Eli up. What a nice treat for the teacher (and students) to do for us!!

Speaking of Eli, yesterday was a great day with him. Not only did he share and interact so well with Maddux all day, but he obeyed. Almost 100% of the time. And what's even better, he was REALLY good about apologizing for unintentional fouls. As I've mentioned, this is something we struggle with. (Remember the time-out at Jazz Fest?) All day yesterday I heard Eli say, "Did I step on your foot? I'm sorry." or "I'm sorry for bumping you." And I never saw him intentionally doing something hurtful just so he could apologize...Eli seemed very genuine in his regret. CLICK!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Oh Me Oh Maddie

Maddux is a ball of energy these days. Not that she was ever not, but she is acting every bit of a head-strong, busy little girl. She gets into everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. She does not have volume control over her voice. She loves to aggravate Eli. She is my everything.

I love how Maddie counts and recites ABC's now. She is pretty good counting to three and reciting A, B & C on her own. From there, she needs help, but not really. She will repeat half of the letters and numbers after me, and give the next one the other half of the time. (i.e. I'll say "L", she'll say "M", but then when I say "N", she'll say "N"). She loves to do this.

Maddux also enjoys learning new words. She will point to things all of the time and say something (if she doesn't know the real word), and then I'll tell her what it is really, at which point she'll repeat the correct word. Eli is getting into this too. In the last two days I've heard him on three separate occasions saying, "Maddux, can you say 'car'?" "Can you say 'banana'?" "Can you say 'baseball'?" It's really neat to see them interacting this way.

And she is still a bookworm. Mad Dog loves to read. Now she reads using words more and more though. She will flip through the animal books, barking and 'moo'ing at each page. It's hilarious when she gets to the bear and lion pages.

Maddux is getting into trouble more and more though. Her temper and quick-to-freak attitude has me reminding her about self-control a lot these days. And she has been in several time outs. Most of the time those occur at the table while we're eating. Maddux will play with her food after being reminded not to. Or she'll intentionally drop something on the ground. However she has received a few time outs for direct disobedience. One happened the other day because she kept trying to open the sliding door after I'd told her (very firmly) that she was not going outside. I put her in her high chair and told her to sit in self control. The GREAT thing was, she did!! I didn't have to strap her in or anything! I think she's seen Eli get in time out enough to know that she is expected to sit and not get up. How nice would it be to not have to 'teach' that part of discipline again!!

She is 'cheeky' too. Maddie is so darn cute, and she knows it. She will be ignoring me or not obeying, and then she'll turn her head slowly towards me with this ridiculous grin on her face, as if to say, "Really? What are you going to do? You KNOW I'm too cute!" T-R-O-U-B-L-E

My new favorite thing though is Maddie's role playing. She will grab an animal or baby-doll and put them in her stroller or in a bed. Then she'll cover it with a blanket and say 'nigh-nigh'. Even better, she'll carry it and say "SSSSS! SSSS!" (Her version of shushing.) She's seen me do that with other babies at church, I guess. It is seriously out-of-control cute.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Donation Corner: An Orphan's Wish

So I've slacked on this portion of the blog for the last month or so. I got busy, but that is no fact, it basically is the opposite of the sentiment I try to embrace by spotlighting a charity each month. Life is busy. We've all got stuff going on: good and bad. But someone else always has it worse, and if it is in our power to help them, we are called to do that. Off the soapbox.

I found An Orphan's Wish while reading a blog and I knew right away I wanted to bring attention to it. I definitely have a soft spot for charities surrounding kids, and when it also involves orphaned children, even more so. An Orphan's Wish specializes in healing and helping kids with special needs, medical conditions and Cerebral Palsy. Located in China, this center helps kids of many different ages and ailments, including club feet.

One of the coolest things about this organization (to me) is the freedom to give in so many different ways. You can find out about specific kids at the House of Love and commit to donating to them on a monthly basis, or you can make a one-time donation. You also have the option to give in support of a specific project or program within An Orphan's Wish. If those options don't suit you, they are always accepting general donations.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Jazz Fest Video

We only brought the little camera into Fest with us, so the video (and pictures) are a bit limited. Here is a quick montage of video shot this weekend. Pictures to follow....

2009 New Orleans Jazz Fest from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Jazz Fest 2009: Day Three

Day two of jazz fest started later than day one, mercifully. Maddux didn't do her little 'scream' until 8am, but then she fell back asleep and didn't want to wake up. Finally we woke her just before 9 because we had to get downstairs for breakfast before 10am. We headed to the fairgrounds as soon as we ate, so that we could get better parking and avoid some lines. Both kids were already whiny when we arrived (1145-ish), but that was to be expected. What I did not expect was a full-on show-down with Eli so early in the day. We went to the Economy Hall tent first, so the kids could dance and participate in a few Second Lines. Almost right away we had an issue with Eli not apologizing for an accidental injury. Something that is SO silly, but such a big deal with us. It escalated when I took Eli out of the tent for a time out. He swatted at me several times. This is totally not allowed, nor is it normal for Eli. (*Please know that Lehr and I were very aware that Eli was exhausted, which most likely caused this situation to get crazy quickly, but some things are never allowed in our family. Not apologizing when you've hurt someone is one of them, as is striking someone, especially when you're mad.)

I had Eli in a time out next to a fence for about five minutes before he calmed down and showed self-control. I stooped down to talk to him about the situation and he was not having it. He did not want to participate in the conversation and that is part of our 'process', so in time out he stayed. Another ten minutes passed, with me checking in with Eli a few times, with no improvement. I was tired of missing the show, so I moved his time out back to our tent. I had Eli sit next to the tent stake behind our chairs. I could see him, but he couldn't see the show. Again, I checked in with him, but another huge chunk of time passed. Eventually I took Maddux over to the dance floor (ten feet away) while D & CC stayed and kept an eye on Eli. When we returned, Eli's head was drooping and he appeared to be falling asleep. All the while in self-control. I showed him some much needed grace and put him in the stroller so he could sleep. The poor kid slept through the rest of that show, walking across the fairgrounds through crowds and bumpy terrain, and part of another show. Once he woke up we got closure on the issue, but that officially goes down as the longest time out to date.

While he was napping, Maddie tore up the dance floor. She had a blast jumping and twirling with everyone as the music played. She also picked up some straws and played the air drums, just like Eli does. When Eli got a mango freeze (sorbet-type treat) later in the day, he shared SO well with her. While he and I were in line to buy it, Eli kept telling me, "I gonna share a bite wiff D. Then I will share wiff Maddie." And he did. Without any prompting. Again and again. He shared the whole treat....lots and lots of bites. From one extreme to another, that boy!!

After the treat, Maddux was exhausted, but she does not know how to turn her energy off. I put her in the BOB and went for a walk. Three minutes in, she was out. Completely dead to the world. She slept through a show and a half before coming to again. We ended the day a little earlier due to storms in the area. Just before 5PM it started to sprinkle, so we started back for our car (about 1 mile away) to avoid getting drenched. Perfect timing because it started to pour just as we were buckling the kids' seat belts! When we realized the rain was coming, Eli put on his rain boots, just in case. He was very excited about wearing them, but disappointed they didn't really get wet. Maybe next year, Eli! This year was by far the best weather. Both days were breezy and a little cloudy, and we had no wet grounds to deal with at all!!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Jazz Fest 2009: Day Two

Today was a good day but a LOOONG day. For the past few weeks, Maddux has woken up around 6am and cried out for maybe one minute. Then she goes back to sleep for 2-3 hours. We don't go in and check on her. We're not sure she's awake. But she cries out. She did the same thing this morning, but being in a hotel, I didn't want her to cry at all because Eli was in the same room as her (and Lehr and I). So I went in. And she never went back to sleep. This was a problem since Jazz Fest starts at noon, so we'd be skipping naps. We ended up taking a trolley ride after breakfast, and Lehr took Maddux up to the room to take an early nap. She maybe got 30 minutes before we had to leave. Better than nothing, I guess.

We got to fest and had a really hard time finding parking. Then the lines for ticket will call were really REALLY long. Finally we made it inside and got some food for us and the kids right away. We'd planned to camp out at one stage all day which worked really well. It was a larger stage (crowd wise), but we went to the very back and alternated going for food or other entertainment. I took Eli to the Economy Hall Jazz tent for a few songs. Last year he loved dancing on the dance floor at that tent. Then I took Maddux to the kids' tent where an African drum corp and dance group performed. She loved every minute of it, dancing along a few times. At the end of the day, Maddie was so exhausted she almost fell asleep on my lap, but she would not give in to the fatigue. About a mile away from our hotel, both kids nodded off.

I had planned to go 'out' with Dave and Carolyn tonight while Lehr watched the kids, and we picked an early show. This meant Lehr was on his own for baths and bed, but he was a good daddy and even took the kids swimming first. The pool ended up being too cold to swim in, but Eli and Maddux enjoyed getting dressed in suits and dipping their toes in. Once the three adults arrived at our show, I turned to Dave and told him I wish I'd have realized how neat the venue was because the kids would have loved this show. (We were at 'The People's Jazz Festival' at an elementary school cafeteria in the Lower Ninth Ward. It was very kid friendly and Eli loves the main act performing: Michael Franti of Spearhead.) Lehr thought the same thing around that time (he went to the same concert last year), and he called us to tell us he was bringing the kids. Even though they were totally exhausted and we'd already had a really long day, this was a great decision. Eli loved it. All of it. He stayed with me and stood front-row for the whole set. He got to see Michael Franti really up close and personal. (He didn't wear shoes...even when he was outside and that was all Eli could focus on for a while.) Eli even got to stand on stage for the closing song. My only regret is I didn't have the camera. Lehr had it, but he was several rows back on Mad Dog duty. (The picture was taken by Lehr - Eli and I were even closer.) It was the most amazing experience to look down and see Eli clapping along and raising his hands during the concert. So so so cool to share this experience with my son.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Jazz Fest 2009: Day One

We drove halfway to New Orleans last night, covering a little over 200 miles. The kids did really well in the back seat, watching Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. Maddux doesn't like to wear the headphones very much, so most of her watching is just that: watching. But she was quiet nonetheless. We woke up around 8 this morning and got right on the road (again). Eli and Maddie watched another movie or two (Monsters, Inc and part of Cars) before the battery died on the DVD player. Even though that meant the end of easy entertainment, every one's mood was OK until about one hour outside of our destination. Eli got whiny because he was tired and bored. Maddux did the smart thing and fell asleep, but Eli fought the good fight. Once we got to the hotel, they kids saw D and CC and all was good. We walked around the city a little, getting lunch and checking things out. D & CC swung Eli between them a few times before Eli wanted to be the swing-er. He tried to swing CC and then D, failing both times, of course.

We had planned on an early dinner, so we skipped naps in order to make it. Of course dinner took a LONG time, so that ended up being a bad call. Our table was outside, which helped with entertainment, but the time lapse between our appetizers and entrees was no less than 60 minutes. And we were in the sun. And there were flies. Even so, the kids were pretty well behaved. It was right to bed when we returned to the hotel - Jazz Fest in the morning!!