Friday, July 31, 2009


Eli and Maddux are infatuated with Treis. They haven't seen him since just after Maddux was born, but they see pictures and hear stories all of the time. Maddux took about ten minutes to warm up to him, but even before she did, she couldn't take her eyes off of him. She just stared and stared. And Eli was beside himself with joy when he saw his cousin in his house. He keeps asking Treis to hold his hand, sit next to him, play baseball with him, etc. The funniest part is Eli just wants to be with him and talk with him. All during dinner tonight, Eli kept asking Treis, "Do you like that food Treis?" "Do you want some of this?" "Do you think this tastes good?" And at several points during the meal Eli stated, "I like sitting next to you, Treis." These kids will be sad to wake up without him on Monday morning!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lawn Kids

Since Maddux's birthday just passed and Eli's is coming up in a few weeks, Grandma Cathie gave them their gifts while she was in town. The main present was a bubble lawn mower - one for each of them. (Eli's 'old' one was taken apart by Daddy, never to be the same again.) The kids had a blast pushing the presents around the grass, leaving behind bubble trails. We had to mow the lawn that night, as luck would have it, so Eli really wore his new toy out, following behind me and marking our path. He is accustomed to 'emptying' his mower every time I need to empty my bag. This is a problem with the bubble lawn mower as that act will drain all of the bubbles. I told Eli to switch his settings to 'mulch' so he didn't have to empty his bag. He moved his lever up and down a few times and went on his way. Love it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Eli has taken to really enunciating his words as of late. This usually comes into play when he is disagreeing with an affirmation I'm attempting to give. For example, I will tell Eli, "I bet you can knock that ball all of the way across the street." Eli responds, "No, I can not." Not just a "No, I can't.", but 'can-not'. Very proper. In this same line of speech, he is also disagreeing with little things I tell people about him. Almost as if he's an embarrassed tween. When I was recounting a few stories for Grandma Cathie this week, Eli would listen and then tell her, " No, I don't." or "No, I didn't."

Monday, July 27, 2009


Before Grandma Cathie made her plans to visit, I signed Eli up for a half-day camp at the Y. The sports one I was interested in was full, so my second choice was 'camping'. Eli and Lehr have been camping several times this year with great results. This morning I packed a small snack (in Eli's Thomas the Train lunch box), layered sunscreen on Eli's face and arms, and headed out the door. Outside of school, this was the first time Eli went to an organized activity with other kids where he didn't know a soul. And with school, he's always met his teacher beforehand, in addition to the class size being eight. This camping camp included kids from 3 1/2-5, and all of the counselors were strangers to him. But he did great. He stuck a little close to me as I signed him in, but he bravely walked into the playroom as instructed and ended up having a blast. Since Eli is not the best conveyor of information, I'm not sure exactly what happened between the hours of 9AM and noon, but Eli had a good time and that's all that matters!

After naps today, Grandma and I took the kids to the park to play baseball. REAL baseball. On the clay. With the chalk lines. With the bases. Eli dressed himself in 'track pants' and a Cubs shirt in preparation for sliding into home plate. I pitched dozens of whiffle balls to him, and every time he made contact, Eli ran around the bases. Most of you know we have a chalk-drawn baseball field in our driveway. This field is small and running the bases is not a big deal. At the park today, running to first base was equivalent to our homer run. You'd think Eli would have been tired after just one time around. But he ran again and again (and again!), each and every time he hit the ball. Maddux cheered from the dugout, dug rocks out of the clay, wandered on and off of the field, and jumped up and down.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Grandma Cathie is visiting and the kids are LOVING it. Eli knew (thought!!) from the minute she stepped into the house that rules no longer apply for him. Par for the course when Grandmas come to visit, I guess. That doesn't fly with me obviously, but we've managed to keep everything pretty calm. Eli is really enjoying having someone new to play basketball and baseball and drums with. Maddux is enjoying the visit too. She calls my mom, "Gamma Catty" or (something like) "Catty Catty". Grandma got the kids Candy Land and Eli is really having a great time with that. He plays at least once/day, before naps or bedtime, when Maddux won't disturb the cards. Grandma is learning really quickly just how much energy is required to keep tabs on Mad Dog all day. We finished up VBX last night and keeping Maddux in sight was a full time job for all of us. We went to the Botanical Gardens yesterday and the kids kept us entertained, running through the fountains and splashing each other. Maddux had to be reminded to NOT tell other kids "No!" on the slide....we're entering a 'fun' stage with her :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

In Awe

Our church is holding VBX (like VBS, but X-treme!!) this week, in the evenings. Lehr and I are both working when we can, so the kids are getting exposed to some of the cool stuff going on. Maddie stays in her class the whole time (usually with Daddy), but Eli's class gets to participate in the 'rally' held in the auditorium before going back for a neat lesson. The rally consists of older kids doing amazing skateboard tricks on and off of the stage. X-treme sports footage is played on the big screens, and loud music blares over it all. Eli just sat in his seat and stared, taking it all in. From there, a short skit is put on (characters played out by people Eli knows well from church), followed by some counselor games. Tonight, the game consisted of the adults using only their mouths to find and use a whistle buried under a pile of whipped cream. The first one to make a sound won. The rally ended with music, which was very upbeat and punctuated with hand and arm movements. Again, Eli just sat and took it all in. But he couldn't stop talking about it on the way home.

Maddux. MadduxMadduxMaddux. She was fine in her room, but the other kids might not have felt the same. According to Lehr, she 'terrorized' the other little boys in there. Maddie was the only girl, and I think she was older than all but one of her classmates. Instead of being somewhat sweet, like she usually is with 'babies', she took their toys and told them, "NO!" in her very-recent-but-all-too-familiar sassy voice. Let's all take a breath...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Busy Week!

Before the summer started, I worried (outside of the pool) with what we would fill our days. No school, no soccer, friends on vacations.... But almost every week that has gone by has filled up in one way or another, usually to the point of exhaustion!! This week was no different. We're going on four nights in a row of late late bedtimes due to fun, out-of-house excursions. Such is summer...

Yesterday was a great representation of what makes our weeks so crazy. In the morning two great friends (and one great baby) joined us at our pool. Noah and Logan are great swimmers, so the three boys had a blast jumping in (off of the side and diving board), having swim races, and playing baseball in the baby pool. Yup. They used a dive stick as the bat and another dive stick as the ball. That didn't last long as running around a pool and hitting a hard dive stick in close proximity to others fall in the category of 'What NOT To Do'. Eli was very excited when Logan's mommy jumped off of the diving board also. He keeps trying to coax me but has yet to be successful. Eli did create a new game for himself during which he jumps into an inner tube in the water. He makes it completely inside every time too...crazy! Maddie had a great time too, following after the boys and trying her hardest to hold, hug, poke, kiss, and love on Cooper (said baby).

After quick naps, it was back to the pool for Eli's swim lesson. He is in his second session now and he swims without a turtle back 100% of the time (even off of the diving board). His teacher says he is fearless (in a good way) and he has improved way more than she thought he would in this short time. Swim team, here we come!! Maddux swam along in the pool, jumping in from time to time. She has started to jump off of the side of the pool while holding my hand. Even though I am not in the pool when she does this (I'm sitting on the side), and even though I usually let go right as she jumps, she still asks for my hand when she gets ready to "GO!!". We finished his lesson and got Maddux and Eli dressed quickly so we could rush to the Marietta Square for dinner plans.

We arrived at the pizza place just before the kids' friend, Owen, showed up. Eli told everyone again and again that he was going to sit next to Owen. He was quite obsessed with it! Once we sat down, Eli was very very VERY interactive with little O. He helped entertain him by talking to him, playing with the place mat with him, and telling him words to see if he could repeat them. ("Owen, can you say, 'Daddy'? Can you say, 'Pizza'?") He even tried to help him eat a little bit. Eli has always shown love for babies (and small toddlers, such as Owen), but this was the most involved I've ever seen was really sweet! We walked over to the park after dinner and Eli put his arms around Owen, sat next to him for pictures, and kept tabs on him in general. Maddux showed Owen some love her way. This usually consists of a choke hold and forced kissing or eye-poking. So far Owen doesn't mind too much.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Mouthful

Both kids talk so much. And so loud. You'd think Maddux would be the main one I'd talk about; due to her age, she should be surprising us with her ever-expanding vocabulary. But Eli is right there with her, adding new words, new phrases, and new conversational skills every day. While Maddux is learning a lot (and learning how to YELL a lot), Eli showed off a few new phrases this week also:

  • "That was an awesome job!" While we were outside playing baseball one day, Maddux connected with the ball really well and took off running. Eli said, more to himself than anyone, "That was an awesome job!!"
  • "It's ok, Maddie..shake it off." Same day, same sport. Maddux runs around the bases (which really means she runs from home plate to or beyond second base and back again), and trips in the process. She lands on her knee and starts to complain. Eli goes over to her, puts his hand on her shoulder and tells her to 'shake it off', much like we've told both kids time and time again. Hopefully this is a good thing??
  • "I DID IT!!!" Finally Maddie. This is her favorite thing to say these days. Besides "I DO IT!!" If you try to help her with something, anything, she pulls away and says (very loudly), "I DO IT!". Then, if she succeeds, she will tell you, loud and proud, "I DEEED IT!!!"

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

Busy weekend. Friday night I had a bootcamp graduation 'party' at a local restaurant. Since we had a friend who completed camp that month, Lehr decided to come and bring the kids for a little bit. It's a crazy atmosphere and it was made crazier by the amount of kids in attendance this month. But they all had a good time. There ended up being live music on the back porch towards the end of the night, so Lehr and the kids stayed out there and watched until well after bedtime. Saturday we had our typical yard-work morning. Eli opted to do a lot of edging rather than mowing this time. He dragged one of Lehr's edging tools all around our yard and our neighbor's, edging the extra grass away.

After nap time we had a pool party to attend. The kids were very excited to jump and swim with their friends. A quick 'dinner' fell in there somewhere and then back to swimming. Maddux has become all too likely to do her business while wearing a swim diaper as of late, so we had that whole issue to deal with. (It just may push me to potty train her now even though she is only one week on this side of two years old!) Three nights in a row of late bedtimes, but what is summer for, if not fun, right?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Lunch Date With Daddy

After breakfast, I made a packable lunch and loaded the kids in the car. We didn't have any formal plans for the morning, so I decided to take them down to Piedmont Park. I used to take Eli all of the time, but Maddux has provided a little more of a challenge in large, open spaces of the like: she has no fear about being out of my sight. However, as of late, Eli has proved to be very good at keeping an eye on me, allowing me to focus more on Mad Dog in such a setting. Given the amazing weather we've had this week, today seemed like the perfect day. Especially since Lehr said he could break away for an hour to meet us for lunch. We walked up and down a few green pastures in the park before Lehr caught up with us, surprising the kids. From there we walked over to the newly renovated pool in the middle of the park. Amazing. Small lazy rivers, beach entry, and lifeguards. We will definitely be visiting during non-member hours sometime soon! The kids played around on the playground equipment for about thirty minutes before we walked to the picnic tables for some lunch. Eli and Maddux (and Daddy) dined on PB sandwiches and dried fruit. Eli wanted to feed the squirrels, of course, who were hovering closer than they should have been. We chose to walk back to the car through the softball fields and 'retro' playground. Eli had a blast telling us which base was which, but Maddux started to get tired. Not that we were surprised; she had walked quite a distance up until this point. A few trips down the slide later, we walked back to our car and headed home. Needless to say, they are both napping as I type.

Monday, July 06, 2009

More Video

Here are a few more videos of the kids in the last week. The first is Maddux showing off her ever-emphatic vocal skills. (Check out the 'yesssss'.) The second is a display of something I taught the kids on a rainy day: "Don't Make Me Angry!!" (AKA The Incredible Hulk) There is a little boot camp plug in there too, as Eli tries to do an OBC chant with me about feeling good.

2009 06 Maddux talks it up from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

2009 07 Kids Hulk from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Pool Video

Here is a quick compilation of what the kids have been up to this summer. Of course I only caught a few seconds of Maddux demonstrating her underwater fish-like moves, and less than a minute of Eli swimming sans turtle-back, but you get the idea.

2009 06 Kids Pool from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

What a weekend! I guess the crazy busy-ness of July 4th weekend is something we'll experience for years to come. With Maddie's birthday the day before, the whole week gets nuts!

As usual for the holiday, I woke up early to ride the train downtown for the Peachtree Road Race. Lehr woke up the kids only slightly later to come down and watch. This was the first year he didn't need a stroller!! The fam (and "D", who IS fam) camped out in front of the High and cheered me along as a friend and I passed by. Lehr caught it all on video and Eli seemed confused when I left. ("Why is she still running, Daddy?") We then met up after the race to grab some breakfast.

2009 07 race on Vimeo.

Upon returning to the house, my sickness from the early morning caught back up with me and I was down for the count. I napped on and off as the kids slept. We had plans to meet our small group for dinner and fireworks, but after trying to do anything other than lie on the ground for a few hours, it was obvious I wasn't going to make it. I was REALLY bummed because, in addition to the rest of the fun, I had been looking so forward to experiencing the fireworks with the kids. We planned on sparklers and everything.... Around 8:15 I started to get ready to meet them, but felt sick again. Luckily it passed and I was able to pull into the park just before the show began. Eli loved the sparklers...he and his friends all stood very far apart and had a blast. Maddux watched, but I wasn't ready to let her hold a fire stick just yet. The fireworks held her attention for about five minutes, but after that she was all over the place (of course). Eli enjoyed them, but he really wanted to get back to playing baseball. What can I say....

Maddie did wear her red, white and blue tutu, but I didn't get any photos, for reasons already mentioned.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Madddux's Party

To celebrate Maddie's birthday, we had a day full of fun. Although we have yet to throw a formal party, we always do a small get-together with a few friends. To prepare for that, we had a grocery run after breakfast and then we gave Maddux her gift from Lehr and I: a small trampoline. Maddux has used the springboard at other friends' houses before, so I knew she would love it. As soon as she pulled off the wrapping paper, she started jumping. Of course Eli got in on the action too, and the two took turns until it was time to go to the pool. Both Eli and Maddie swam with Daddy for an hour before we went home for naps and lunch. The birthday girl showed off her under-water swimming skills and Eli demonstrated his ability to swim without the turtle back. (Video to follow later.)

As soon as the kids woke up from naps, our friends arrived. Lehr set up a slip-n-slide, water balloons, two sprinkler toys and a few buckets of water with super-soakers in the front yard. The kids went to town, soaking themselves and anything in their paths. The slip-n-slide didn't work as well as we might have hoped, most likely due to the kids not weighing enough to propel them down the runway. We had a quick dinner of chicken sausage 'hot dogs', fruit kabobs and pasta salad before the kids went back to playing. Maddux's cake was a flower made from cupcakes, and all of the kids got to pick a different color. Presents and more playing followed before everyone said good-night. Right before we turned off the water, Lehr and a neighbor tried out the slip-n-slide also. Not as much fun as they'd remembered.... After the fact we saw the label towards the foot of the toy: "Not intended for children under five! Not intended for adults!" So no one that used it today was legal...perfect!

Happy Birthday, Mad Dog!!

Two Years Old. How did that happen? It seems like only yesterday that you were still in my belly, kicking up a storm. I remember the day you were born: Eli came into the hospital room and was not at all sure about your entrance into the family. And now the two of you are best friends. The first thing you do when you get out of your crib in the morning is high-tail it to Eli's room. And if Eli takes a trip to the store with Daddy, you call "E-I?" the whole time he is gone. I love that you and your brother have such a strong bond.

Maddux, you make my days so interesting and you keep me on my toes. Never before have I had a hard time keeping a straight face while disciplining. But you are so audacious and so cute (and you know it) that keeping you in line has proven to be difficult. You act like a clown and an SNL character in everything you do, which makes everyone laugh right along with you.

Speaking of that laugh, you love to laugh. You love to giggle. And all is right in the world when I hear those sounds come from you. You beg to be tickled and you perform to make yourself laugh. In recent weeks you've also taken to singing along to music. But when you're sleepy, you sing to yourself. It's just about the cutest thing I've ever seen.

You already know how to swim at least as well as your brother and most of it is because you taught yourself. You are fearless around the water in a very good way. And even when you're not at the pool, you're jumping off of ledges and curbs and chairs, just practicing your diving board skills.

Your favorite thing to do STILL is to take a stack of books to your rocking chair and flip through them. I've asked you to go to your room to read while I put Eli down for a nap, and in the past week you have done just that, for at least five minutes! It brings a smile to my face to turn the corner and see you sitting so quietly, totally engrossed in your books.

Today, as we celebrate the day you made us a family of four, I try to imagine life before you and it's difficult. You demand to be noticed just by who you are. You brighten all of our days and we love you to pieces. Happy Birthday, baby girl.

Two Years