Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finally...video from our trip!

2009 09 Watercolor from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Eli, The Evangelist

So while we were at the beach, Eli's mug was being plastered across the 'big screen' at our church. Check out the video they put together for our Children's Ministry...staring Eli!!

Cumberland Kids Ministry from Cumberland Community Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beach Photos

All 100+ of them!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beach Day 5

Our last full day...so sad. We went back to the beach right after breakfast (what else!) .Maddux did better with the waves today, but she was still very cautious. Eli and Cooper built lots and lots of sand castles with Cooper's mom, making a bridge and everything. Then the kids and I did crab walks up and down the beach. Eli and Maddie loved that...they both took turns riding on top of mom (aka 'the crab'). Today was the first day we thought we might get rain; black clouds surrounded our beach most of the morning. We went up to the pool before lunch and only stayed about 30 minutes because thunder caused us to leave early. So instead we rode our bikes to a sandwich place down the beach. Of course Eli rode with Finley (I think they were even holding hands).

Once again we let Eli stay up with Coop during nap time to watch a movie (Cars). He almost fell asleep this time, but the excitement of hanging out with his friend was enough to keep him up. We had a really fun evening planned: instead of the pool after naps, we hung out at the house a little longer and then rode our bikes to Seaside for dinner. We ordered a few pizzas and ate our meal on the beach. SO fun! The sun was down so the sand was cool and the kids LOVED it. We didn't put them in their suits, but Eli did get a little wet. After pizza and lots of playing, we walked over to get some ice cream to end our trip. Of course the kids enjoyed that tasty treat! Eli kept asking for 'banilla', but he ended up with raspberry sorbet. Maddux got mixed berry, which tasted like a smoothie. Hers was finished before Eli's....no shocker there!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beach Day 4

Wow...great morning! The kids sleep until at least 730am (830am their time)! After a leisurely breakfast (more dutch babies), we packed up the cars and drove a few miles down the road to another beach. We knew it had more open sand area, and we hoped for more playing opportunities for the kids. Unfortunately there was lots of car traffic on the beach, which we didn't expect. The kids still had a good time, but we definitely had to keep an eye on them!

After lunch we let Eli stay up with Cooper to watch a movie while the girls napped. He loved this! Such a special treat to watch Toy Story with his buddy. On top of that, the boys wore their matching shirts today...cuteness. When quiet time was over, we rode our bikes over to the Frog Pool. Once again, the kids were all over it. Eli borrowed some of Cooper's goggles and learned how to swim down low so he could glide through Daddy's legs. So fun. And Maddux was her usual goofy self, jumping in and out several times.

I really need to add a side note here to talk about the puppy love that has been brewing. Eli is all about Finley. He wants to ride with her in the bike buggy every time we use the bikes, he wants to sit next to her for every meal, and he is always concerned with how she's doing. During a meltdown sometime this week, he cried out saying, "I want Mommy!", then "I want Daddy!", and THEN "I want Finley!!" And when Fin got her bottle a few nights ago, we are pretty sure she was saying "I want E-i do it!!"

Beach Day 3

The kids were up early again, but not quite as early as yesterday. We had a great breakfast of Dutch Babies (oh so yummy) before heading to the beach this morning. Since Maddux is still skittish, I took her on a walk or two away from the crowd. I would hold her hand, or kneel and hold her, but I refused to lift her up in my arms. I wanted to show her that she was still safe...what happened was a fluke. She had moments of really loving it, but then she'd start to whine again ten minutes later. It's a process......

Eli, on the other hand, is still LOVING the beach. He jumps over waves, into waves, and through waves. He does it all along the shallow side of the wave crashes, but he is in the water nonetheless. Both kids love making drip castles, though. Maddux spent most of her time with me creating castles, and Eli got really into filling the buckets up with sand and water.

As usual, after a few hours we migrated up to the pool. Maddie is fearless there....hanging around the entry steps and jumping 'backwards' into three-foot-deep water and swimming. Every time she does this, she goes under water. Yet the ocean at ankle-depth scares her....

We went back to the house for a quick lunch before putting the kids down. Eli went to sleep right away today...no need to even try and convince him. After they woke up we bid Tom & Megan 'good-bye' before heading out to a nearby field to play baseball and bocce ball. Eli and Cooper raced up and down the field and played with the daddies. Maddux and Finley alternated walking around Carissa and I and playing with the boys. The quote of the day from Maddie came when the girls were playing near some bushes. Maddux found some leaves and called them 'flowers', as usual. She then brought a fist full to Mr. Malone and asked him to 'make her pockets work'. Translation: she wanted to open her pockets to put the leaves inside.

We prepared another quick dinner for the kids and put them to bed on the early side. Since they're getting up with the sun, we might as well put them down with it too, right?

Beach Day 2

The boys were up EARLY after a late night and a busy day. No worries as the only thing on the agenda was beach and pool! We ate a quick breakfast and went directly to the beach. Unfortunately, it appears the wave riding Maddux participated in yesterday left a very bad taste in her mouth. Maddux is not a fan of waves anymore. In fact, she is not a fan of being on the water's edge at ALL without someone holding her. Hopefully that will change as the week goes on....

After a few hours building sand castles with D, Megan, Uncle Tom, and everyone else, the kids requested a trip to the pool. Lucky for us there is one located feet from the beach. All kids had a blast, splashing around and swimming (girls with turtle backs on and both boys completely on their own.) When they could barely see straight, we took them home for lunch. Most of them needed naps, but even those that didn't sleep benefited from some down time. Once the resting period was over, we went back to the pool. This time we went to the pool located at camp. There are some small fountains there for the kids to run in. Maddux had a great time, jumping in and throwing her feet out way in front of her (so she lands directly on the her bottom). Goofy. We opted for an adult meal tonight, so we fed the children quickly and tucked them in without baths. (Swimming all day counts for a bath, right?)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beach Day 1

Off to the beach! We woke the kids up just before 7AM so we could get on the road nice and early. They were both very excited to get going, especially when we broke out the DVD player and plugged them in. Maddie is finally into watching movies in the car, which proved to make this car trip much easier than some of our longer ones in the past. They alternated choosing movies every few hours until we arrived at the beach. The only stop we made was at our traditional Cracker Barrel lunch.

We arrived just about an hour after D. He had already scoped the house out and told us we were in for a treat. Indeed! Lots of bedrooms, play areas, and bikes at our disposal! We suited up right away and headed down to the beach. Neither kid napped in the car, but we figured we'd just let them work through the fatigue and go to bed early. Maddux loved loved loved the waves. She would get close to the shore where they broke and jump over them each time they tickled her toes. And Eli was fearless at the water's edge also. He loved running and playing with the surf. Cooper, Finley and family showed up a few hours later and joined us. The four kids had a blast until it was time to pack up and ride our bikes to dinner. Unfortunately we did not leave soon enough. As I was gathering toys and towels, Maddux took a 'wave roll' three times in a row along the edge of the water; she could not get her feet under her. She was fine, but very spooked. After a few minutes of consolation, she was ready to eat.

We biked to Seaside (five minutes) and had a taco dinner. The kids were all very tired, so quick baths and bedtimes were in order. However, we tried to put both boys in one room to sleep together. Bad idea. They were way too excited about this and would not settle down. Eventually we separated them and they were able to get some sleep.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Reel

So I finally edited Eli's first baseball game down to a digestible five-minute 'short'. Enjoy!

2009 09 Eli first baseball game from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Em-PHA-sazing The Sy-LA-ble

Eli really has a knack for syllables and determining how many are in each word. He and I have done the 'clap' game before with syllables, but I never pushed it very much. Then last week, just before school started, the kids and I were in the car and he started it again. "E-li. Mom, Eli has two words." "Ma-ducks. Mom, Maddux has two words." Except for the fact that he calls syllables 'words', Eli was right. So I started challenging him with different words. He would clap them out and then count them out on his fingers like I showed him. Even if he clapped incorrectly, by the time he counted them on his fingers, he would have corrected himself. His favorite words are 'watermelon' (FOUR WORDS, MOMMY!!) and 'baseball bat' (even though that's not technically one word).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Put Me In, Coach!

Eli had his first baseball game today! And as any 4-6 year-old baseball game should end, the teams tied. (I'm all about teaching kids that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but it was pretty cool to look at Eli and say, "Everyone played great today and you both won.", and mean it!)

We arrived 30-minutes prior to game time, to warm up in the batting cages and with the glove. Eli is becoming more comfortable with his teammates which means more horsing around, of course. But once the game got under way, Eli was as focused as he always has been. He was in Center Field to start. This usually means no play, but there was a ball overthrown to second base at one point, which means Eli was in the game. He ran to the ball and chucked it, paying close attention to every move the in-field made. More attention than Mommy: once I saw the ball scooped up by the pitcher, I shut the video camera off, missing Eli's big play!

Eli's first at bat earned him a trip to home plate. Not a home run, as he would tell you, but a solid single, hit on the 4th pitch. He is getting better at listening to the first and third base coaches, though he does have to be reminded to watch the one on third. He gets so caught up in the excitement of the game that he almost always starts towards third regardless of the call. When Eli was up at bat the following two times, he hit a solid ground ball on the second pitch. He has yet to require a tee which makes me SO proud. Not as proud of his skills as proud of his work ethic. Eli is still very focused on the ball and what he can do to make contact. And he doesn't go a day without requesting practice. I hope he always enjoys the game this much!

Eli had one inning as a catcher today. Once again all of the gear and mask were placed on his little frame and he waddled towards the plate. He made a few saves, tossing the ball back to the opposing coach each time. He really seems to love it there! But it boggles my mind how he can be 'big enough' to play baseball, REAL baseball with hard balls and aluminum bats and pitching, yet he's still not 'big enough' to eat post-game pizza without sitting on up on his knees.

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Little Brit

Maddie has taken to calling Eli's name with a bit of an accent. It's kind of British in nature, but I have no idea why that would be. It started about a week ago, and I think it began when she learned how to fully use the "L" in his name. Most days she calls him "E-I". But suddenly she added the "L" in the middle. At the same time, she tossed in there a little international flair. Now Eli is known as "E-Loy". I find myself getting creative with questions I ask her, just so I can elicit her repetition of his name. How funny that they both go through accent phases: Eli pretended to be a Jersey transplant when he was just a little older than her.

Day of Love

Crazy day, but a great one. ELi had school and Maddux and I had SO many errands to run. Two doctor's office visits to pick up paperwork, for starters. Maddux did great, happily walking in and out of each office only to return to the car seat and drive across town again. We finished just in time to pick Eli up and go home for lunch. For the first time this week, Eli got in the car after school and STAYED in a good mood. We had smoothies, turkey and crackers for lunch; I prepared while the kids played in the back yard. Eli offered to help Maddux on the swings. They both washed their hands before eating without any grumbling. I seriously had to pinch myself!

After lunch I asked if they wanted to have a 'family shower' before naps. They get a real kick out of coming into the 'big shower' and playing with toys under the 'rain'. No one slipped and they had a great time. As soon as they got out I wrapped Eli in a towel and Maddux hugged him from behind and they walked into the other room that way - hugging. I could not believe how sweet they were being with each other. And when I put lotion on Maddux, she put some on Eli's feet. And when I put it on Eli, he rubbed some on her arm. Then Eli offered to help Maddie put her shorts on. It is really neat when you see your children help others - it reminds you that they listen to every thing you say and really absorb it. Eli's dialogue with Maddux as he was trying to help her was like listening to myself when I help him. We finished up with a story on the couch and a round of hugs and kisses. Eli said something about loving to be with his sister because she was his best friend. (MELT!!) And they both gave me the biggest hugs ever, and Eli told me, "I really love you, Mommy." I was tempted to slip them some NyQuil so they'd sleep from 2PM through the night. It was such a perfect day that I kind of wanted it to end right there....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Maddux as Schoolgirl

Let's see how this works! Maddux started preschool today. She's going two times/week for three hours at a time. I'm not sure her teachers could handle more than that!! I met her main teacher at Meet-n-Greet the other day, but I haven't met her teacher's aide yet, nor do I know most of the kids in her class. Very different from Eli's first go-round, unfortunately.

I woke the kids up at 8:00AM this morning to minimize some of the hustle-and-bustle, but we still had some of the usual 'tude from Eli. The good news is, he is great at turning it around on his own, and he did just that during the car ride to school. But before that, Maddux ate the special breakfast of Fruity Bunnies and posed for a few First Day of School photos outside. This one pretty much sums her up, as I'm sure her teacher is aware. (I did enclose a note with her bag today asking the teachers to give her water during snacks (instead of the usual juice). I let them know that she is a 'energetic' child, as they would soon learn, and she does not need any extra fuel (aka sugar) while at school.)

I zoomed around the house alternating between cleaning, typing emails, returning phone calls, and paying bills until the clock struck 11:45. When I pulled up to the school, the carpool line was very long and slow moving. So by the time I got up front, Team Eliason was among the very last kids left. Eli's teacher grabbed them both by the hands and guided them to my car. SUCH a cute sight! No notes in Maddie's bag, but she did come home with a paint stain on her shirt, so I assume she had fun!

Knuffle Bunny

Maddie's "Aunt" Linda and "Uncle" Darol sent her yet another package a few months ago. Inside was the book, "Knuffle Bunny" and a stuffed version of the main character. We read the book a few times and she liked it enough, but nothing out of the ordinary. That all changed about a month ago when Maddux began requesting the book every day. And then she started carrying around Knuffle Bunny most of the time. She now knows the book by heart and will even 'act out' the faces of Trixie (Knuffle Bunny's owner) when the pages are turned. If you haven't read the book, it's an adorable story about a toddler taking a trip to the laundromat with her dad. Her beloved stuffed animal (Knuffle Bunny) gets left behind and frustration in trying to communicate that ensues. All ends well and Trixie utters her first words when Knuffle Bunny is found. Maddux LOVES to say the nonsensical words of Trixie and she loves even more to do her own narration of what happens in the book. For example, the first page shows Trixie and her dad leaving their apartment to walk outside. Maddux always says (in the goofiest voice she has), "Bye-bye, Mommy!" on that page. Her little mind is always working!

This video is straight out of the camera - no editing. If you're not a hard-core Mad Dog fan, it will probably drag.

2009 09 Maddux Knuffle Bunny from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Dad Gifts

Several of you asked about Lehr's Fathers Day present: the Eli & Maddux's Dad shirt. You can order your own on Etsy.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Hey, Batter, Batter, Batter....

Eli had his first baseball game this evening. Not his first 'real' one, as this was just a scrimmage. But as far as Eli and his team were concerned, it might as well have been the real deal. When the kids and I arrived, we were handed Eli's uniform: a green "Knights" jersey shirt with 'Eliason' and '4' on the back, grey baseball pants (like the ones he already has), green socks, and a green baseball cap with a '4' on the back. Wow. Put that on Eli and it all became very real. I opted to not bring a camera tonight as I was alone with the kids for an hour or so, so the pictures are from Lehr's phone. (If you've not seen Maddux in action at a soccer or baseball game, she doesn't leave you with a lot of down time.)

The Knights were up to bat first. The rules indicate that each child gets five pitches (overhand, by the coach) and then he can swing off of the tee if needed. The teams switch from offense to defence when one of two things happen: the offense scores five runs or the defense gets three outs. I don't remember where Eli was in the line-up, but he got up to bat that first inning. It took four pitches, but he knocked it out. At least to second base or so. He ran straight to first base and right over it. The first base coach had to remind him to then wait at the bag until the next player hit. On to second base. The third base coach held up two big 'stop' hands for Eli. The next hit went directly to the short stop which forced Eli to be the third player tagged out. The teams switched and the coach started calling out positions for the Knights. He joked, "I'm going to call out your position and just run out to the field like you know where you're going." Not so much a joke as Eli ended up running in foul territory near the first base line. Eli was sent to Center Field. The ball never came anywhere near him.

Next inning found Eli at the plate again. I think it was the second pitch he hit this time. He chopped it, but it was still a decent hit. I don't remember exactly how the rest of the inning played out, but Eli never made it to home plate. When the Knights took the field this time, Eli was assigned 'catcher'. It was so fun to watch him get all suited up. He went right to the plate and got on his knees with the glove in front of him, like he knew what he was doing. But he didn't...he'd never been instructed on this position before. (A coach stays there with him to help field the pitches.) Eli did grab a few and toss them back to the pitcher...quite impressive to me.

The whole game found Eli very wide-eyed. He doesn't know his teammates yet and that means he isn't horsing around on the field. It also means he is 100% focused on what is happening and (hopefully) learning all of the ins-and-outs of the game. Loved loved loved watching him tonight. His first 'real' game is this weekend...watch for video footage to follow.

Now on to Mad Dog. She found friends as soon as we arrived tonight. Two or three older girls (maybe 8?) were playing near the field and Maddux went right over to them and asserted herself. They fawned all over her and included her quite nicely, even holding her hand at times. Her audacity floors me. My girl will never meet a stranger, that's for sure!

First Day of School for Eli

This morning was Eli's first official day of Pre-K. The funny part is, when I said that to Eli (the "Pre-K" part), he said, "No, it's not......What is Pre-K, Mommy?" The morning started with me waking the boy at 8:15. That was really quite impressive considering I closed the door on his room at 7:40PM last night (about 30 minutes 'early'). We had a special breakfast of Fruity Bunnies (the closest thing to 'junk' cereal I will do..and even this was bought only to celebrate the first day of school) with Maddux before rushing out the door to make it in the carpool line by 9AM. Around dinner time last night Eli mentioned to Lehr and I that he wanted to bring Ms. Jane and Ms. Shanda (his teachers) flowers on the first day. We thought that was a great idea (and not too brown-nose-y), so Lehr picked up a small arrangement to split on his way home from practice. Eli proudly carried the flowers to his classroom this morning, after practicing holding the vase while still holding his school bag. A few short hours later, Maddie and I picked him up in the same carpool line. Eli's teacher, Ms. Shanda, dropped him off in the car. She told me that he had a GREAT day, and she thanked me for the flowers. I assured her that it was all Eli's idea. In Eli's school bag was a special note from the other teacher commenting on his good first day as well. Life is good!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


For the last few months I've been meeting with an amazing group of women to prepare a dance of worship. I've made a point to worship this way at home with the kids at least twice each week since then. These sessions are always really neat and fun for the kids. I finally convinced Eli a few weeks ago that he does not have to do the same movements each time (nor do I)...it can be 'organic'. Each time we do this I wish I thought enough to set up the camera ahead of time. I remembered today, but what was caught on tape was not what usually transpires. For starters, Maddux was all about staring into the camera. Normally she's at least as into it as Eli. And Eli was a little shy today, whereas he's normally very into the performance. Regardless, I left the volume up since the speed-music adds to the clip:

2009 09 Kids Dance from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Try, Try Again...

Maddux is the queen of klutz. She makes me look graceful, and that's saying a lot. She runs into walls, trips over imaginary road blocks, and loses her balance at the slightest breeze. This weekend, she finally did something every klutz does: stairway fall. I've done this once in the last six months, so I know how awkward and painful it can be. Maddux doesn't seem to be slowed down at all, so I'll go into detail about her fall, and how I did nothing to stop it. And then I'll tell you how much I enjoyed watching the process. (Wait for it.....)

We were both at the top of the kids' stairs (narrower than the main stair, with solid walls on either side). I stood at the top while Maddux took a few steps down. (There isn't enough room for us to walk side-by-side.) Then she somehow paused at the edge of the step she was on, leaned forward, lost her balance and started a tumble down. First she went head down, but at least she kind of rolled her body so that her face didn't hit the carpet first. Then (still in amazingly SLOW motion), she continued the roll so that she was head under heels, but not before her chin was caught under her, making the movement seem incredibly 'ouch'. A few more small rolls and she was done moving. I thought to reach out and grab her, but I knew I'd do more damage than good, as in my haste I'd slip and squish her or propel her down more stairs than necessary. Plus, even though it felt like slow motion, it didn't last more than a few seconds.

She was very shaken up, but a quick once-over provided me with enough proof that she hadn't sprained or strained anything in the fall. My favorite part comes next. (Just in case you thought I was a sadist and enjoyed the fall part, I didn't.) Maddux climbed out of my lap and started back up the stairs. Since we were headed down for dinner at this point, I said, "Maddie...you're going the wrong way. Let's go downstairs." She continued on until she reached the top. Then she stood at the top, grabbed the railing (something she didn't do the first time), and started walking down the stairs, one foot at a time. Maddux was muttering, "Do again" as she passed me, so I can only assume she needed to remind herself of the proper way to descend. Good stuff.


FINALLY! This morning the kids got to take a quick trip to school to meet-n-greet their teachers. Eli has been so excited about school starting that he's requested several drive-by's in the last few weeks. Last night we packed his school bag with all of the supplies his teacher requested. And we bundled Maddie's supplies into a Target bag, since she wouldn't receive her school bag until this morning. Both kids were jumping out of their skin this morning as we ate a quick breakfast. Maddux added a few short tantrums to the excitement, but such is life with a two-year-old who is also a girl.

I opted to not bring the camera today. Too much going on and I knew it would be more of a hassle than it was worth. That turned out to be a good call because most of the morning was a bit chaotic. First we went to Maddux's room. Her teacher is Mr. Sue, a woman who helped out a lot in Eli's class last year. Maddux met her, but didn't show too much interest as she saw many toys and that prevented her from focusing on anything else. I let her play around in the room a little bit while I talked briefly with the teacher. She then traced Maddie's hand onto her school bag and off we went. Next up was Eli's room. What a sweet reunion. Eli's teacher is Ms. Jane, the same teacher he had as a two-year-old. Her assistant is even the same, which is great news to me as I loved them both. The Pre-K classroom is so big! And the toys and centers available to them will prove for many stories when Eli gets home each day. Ms. Jane told us there will be 14 kids in Eli's class, the majority of them boys (maybe 11?). She laid out the schedule for me and then we talked briefly about what Eli can and cannot do at this point. Of the long list she asked me about, there were only two things I told her 'no' to: writing numbers 1-10 and writing all 26 letters. Eli can write his name and some letters you ask of him, but I know if I just asked him to write "Q" or "R", he would give me a blank stare. And we haven't done too much writing of numerals this summer, so outside of "1", he'd probably struggle.

Even though Eli's class is a 5-day/week class, I planned on keeping him home Fridays. That would be the only weekday that the three of us would have together with no plans. However, there are several field trips and parties planned on Fridays, so that won't work as well as I'd hoped. I explained to Eli's teacher my reasons for it and she understood completely (she has kids too). She said if there was a special lesson planned, she'd try to let me know so I could send him. Other than that, she knows if he misses on Friday, it's 'just because'.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Coloring Cuties

About a month ago, Eli finally turned the corner and started to enjoy coloring. He went from providing one or two small scribbles on any art work task he was presented with to attempting to color inside of the lines, with care and preference of color. While Mom-Mom was here this weekend, both kids got a chance to practice this skill a lot. Eli colored several Cars pictures, while Maddux tried to draw some letters and pictures of her own. Eli actually requested coloring as an activity several times. Just two months ago it was like pulling teeth to get them sitting at the table entertaining themselves with crayons while I prepared dinner. And the last time I took Eli on a date, we went to the Biscuit, where coloring is a necessity while food cooks. As usual, Mommy colored most of the time while Eli just dictated. But now, he is an artist!! Both kids are going to enjoy school and the chance to color so much this year... I do wish Mad Dog's teacher luck though; she still gives crayons a taste test from time to time.

Big Slugger

Eli had his third baseball practice tonight, but it was the first one I was able to attend. A full hour and thirty minutes of go-go-go. And Eli never grew tired. Once again, he asked to practice more when we got home.

He is definitely the smallest on the team, and probably the youngest, but he has shown a lot of focus and 'hustle' so far. The coach had them start in the field, chasing after ground balls and throwing them to first base. Eli tries really hard, but the ball ends up going past him or through his legs about 50% of the time. From there they moved to catching the ball on the ground and throwing from their knees. At this point Maddux started requiring much more of my attention. She was a great sport through the practice, but that is a long time to watch and 'be good'.

The boys then had a quick transition during which several of them ran into the dugout to retrieve batting helmets and bats from their bags (and quick sips of water) before returning to the field. Eli was up first; for this portion, the boys were hitting balls off of the tee to allow for fielding and 'game time' practice with base-running. Eli did well, listening to the first and third base coaches when it was his turn. After a few rounds, Eli came back in to trade in his helmet for a baseball cap and glove. He played second base, which meant lots of running. Once again, he tried really hard, but most of the balls went past Eli. He hustled out to get them, but he didn't always throw them in for the play. Finally, the boys went over to the batting cage for some one-on-one pitching/batting time with the coach.

At this point, Maddux was done, so I took her to a nearby playground to let off some steam. She had a blast climbing over all of the apparatuses and sliding down any surface that allowed it. It was very hot and at one point Maddux looked at me and whined, "Mommy, I hungry.", which she never does. I was also feeling the effects of low blood sugar, so we walked back to the cages to check in on the team. Eli's turn was finally there, so we were able to see him in action. He did really well, getting at least a piece of most pitches. The ones he made contact with had some real power behind them. Even the coach observed, "His swing speed is unbelievable." After ninety-three minutes of Shetland baseball, we returned to our car and collapsed.

Video with Treis

Treis came to Atlanta to hang out with his cousins. Both kids worshiped him (as evident in the video of Centennial Park where Eli followed him around like crazy). Here is Maddux loving her time with Treis:

2009 08 Treis & Maddux from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Centennial Park

When Treis and Grandma Cathie were visiting, we all went down to run through the fountains at Centennial Park:

2009 08 Centennial Park from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Video Catch-Up

I'm SOO behind on video...will try to fix that over the next few weeks, JUST in time for us to go to the beach and me fall behind again!!

Here is Maddie's birthday from July:

Maddux's 2nd Birthday from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ruff N Tuff

Ugh. That was today. Through and through. It started with Eli and his mood from the moment he woke up until just before baths tonight. Part of the problem was two doctor appointments in one day, but the insanity started before that, so not a good enough explanation for me.

First issue: both kids (Eli especially) decided today that rules and Mommy's word do not apply in public. This is a new belief, and one that took me by surprise this morning. We were at Dr. appointment #1 and it was taking a little longer than expected in the waiting room. Since it was a pediatric orthopedic office, there was a nice little play room for the kids to occupy themselves in. The issues started when my kids acted like they owned the place, powering through all toys, talking way too loudly, and giving off an intimidation vibe (IMO). At one point, Eli was on a moving toy and he rode right through a house that a little girl was playing with. And he just kinda looked at her, as if to say, "Move." At this point I pulled Eli out, reminding him that this was not his playroom and these were not his toys (and we don't act this way even in our house with our toys). I then told him that he needed to say, "Excuse me" if he accidentally runs into someone, but to be aware of his surroundings, as other kids were in the area. He gave me blank stares, wiggled out of my grip, squirmed and whined, and told me, "DON'T HOLD ME!" It was a classic case of child vs. mom to see who can put on the better show. Of course my hands were a little tied because the front desk kept calling me up to fill out MORE paper work or verify more information, and we had waited so long that I knew we'd be called back at any moment, so I didn't think pulling him out of the office or to the restrooms was a valid possibility. On top of that, I had Maddux with me too, so I had to keep an eye on her. In the end, he sat with me until we got called back. The visit itself was fine, behavior-wise, but Eli has to wear his shoes at night for another full year. That was a blow to me. Especially because the doctor noted that his achilles tendon is a bit tight. He walks fine and can flex very well for how tight it is, but the shoes need to stay to prevent relapse since things are still not as they should be. Not what we were expecting...

Home for lunch after that. The car ride was full of me reminding the kids how we behave in public. Then it was full of silence as Mommy needed some quiet time. Lunch was not great. The kids played well enough while I was preparing, but Eli's less-than-happy heart got him into trouble as we sat down to eat and the next fifteen minutes or so were spent disciplining. Many privileges were revoked and many minutes were spent in time out. Nap time came and we all got some much needed distance from each other.

I had to wake Eli and Maddux up from naps at 3PM for Maddie's appointment. (I needed to get her finger checked again.) Reminders about our behavior all of the time (especially in public) were discussed. Every one was happy and away we went. Both kids got the flu 'mist' and they did great with it. (A welcomed change from last week's shots.) Maddux's finger is healing just fine and the stitches will work their way out on their own. Once home from the doctor's office, things went high-low-high-low a bit. Nothing nearly as bad as earlier in the day, but at this point I had no patience left. Lehr convinced me to meet him at Willy's for dinner, so I packed the kids up and away we went. On the way, I called Lehr and told him that at the first sign of disobedience or lack of respect, Eli would be taking a trip out to the car with one of us. I really felt like somewhere along the way Eli got the idea that misbehavior in public was tolerated and I was determined to set the record straight ASAP. Fast forward to five minutes later when Eli started to whine and kick up about something insignificant. I looked at Lehr and said, "You or me?" He took Eli out immediately. Calmly. (Calm reactions are always our goal with the kids. We don't want them to get the 'reward' of causing Mommy or Daddy to get flustered and further engaged, and no good can come from us losing our cool during discipline.) The boys were outside for less than three minutes before they returned and Eli apologized to me. We went along with our dinner and all was good.

As we left, Lehr found a hand written note on a napkin under his windshield wiper. If my printer worked, I'd scan it for all to see the kindness of a stranger. For now, I'll just re-type it. Thank you, whoever you are. You helped remind Lehr and I that we are doing the right thing, even though yesterday felt like we had no clue what we were doing, given the results we were seeing.

I want to commend you on your "parenting skills" by taking your son out for whatever he did in Willy's. By taking him out and talking to him outside the restaurant, you showed him respect and also firmness and love that he won't understand for years to come. You must be a great father! Keep up the great work! Blessings to you and your family.