Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Halloween seems so routine's hard to believe that we ONLY have five fall celebrations under our belts. This year, despite my efforts to get them to think beyond what we already had in our closets, both kids opted for costumes they've worn for quite some time now: Eli was a dragon and Maddux was a monkey.

Rain threatened to shut down our neighborhood block party, but the skies were clear enough for us to have our parade and costume contest before the first drops fell. Even then, it was short-lived, so the kids were able to trick-or-treat as long as they wanted. Eli woke up from his nap (he actually took one today) in a SOUR mood, so the first hour or so he was pretty quiet and uninvolved. Maddie was Mad Dog. Their friends, Cooper and Finley, joined us for the fun. After the parade, pizza, and the costume contest, we trick-or-treated the mile route back to our house. Maddux got brave towards the end, going up to a few houses on her own (without me OR Eli). One house in particular found her completely independent, making friends as she often does. She walked up the big hill to the couple standing with candy and started up some conversation with them. I wasn't wearing my glasses, but I could still see that the couple was quite amused with Maddie and her audacious self.

When we finally arrived back at the house, we made some popcorn and let the kids watch "The Great Pumpkin". I think it's safe to say they had a good time.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Little Mommy

Mad Dog. As rough and tough as she is, she is a such a caring little girl. Even though she strikes Eli (and maybe others??) at times, she is quick to apologize and give BIG hugs. And she gets very concerned when she thinks someone is hurt or sick. Several times in the last month this has presented itself in very cute ways.

Whenever I cough or sneeze, Maddux asks, "You OK, Mommy? Bess you." Or if I bump my head or arm or foot on something, she asks if I'm OK and then offers to get ice. Too sweet.

Early last week we were outside in the driveway and Eli took a big tumble. He was fine, but it was at the end of a long day, so the impression he gave was that a serious injury had occurred. Maddux ran over to him right away and got very serious. "You OK, Eli? E-i...are you OK? Did you hu-hrt?" He continued to cry a little and she said, " I get you right back." She ran inside and got the ice pack for him immediately. Adorable.

The other night we were at Eli's baseball game. Maddie and I were on the third base side, standing next to the fence. The top of the chain-link went well above our heads; ten feet tall or so. At one point Maddux asked me to lift her up to see over the fence. I told her that it was too tall and Mommy could not reach. She looked at me and said, "Mommy not big enough? Mommy not see?" Then she grabbed my leg above my knee and made an 'uhhhhh!!!' noise as she tried her hardest to lift me. Precious.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Smile Maker

I put Maddux to bed tonight. A few minutes later, Lehr went in to give her a kiss. She and he exchanged kisses and then he gave her one last 'special kiss' in her hand. He told her to put it in her pocket to keep it safe. When Lehr got to the door, Maddie shouted out, "I NOT HAVE A POCKET!!!" That girl doesn't miss a thing....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Each year I go to the Botanical Gardens during October to see the scarecrows. (2008, 2007, 2006, 2005) The kids and I almost missed it this year due to our crazy schedules though! Last week I made an executive decision to keep Eli out of school sometime this week so that we could all go and get in the spirit of Halloween. Eli was sad to miss school, but excited to see the 'care-crows' or 'sare-crows'. (He never seems to say both the 's' and the 'c'.)

We met Cooper and Finley just after the gardens opened and from then on out it was a sprint :) The kids were excited and hopped up on sunshine (we've had a LOT of rain recently and it was nice just to be outside). We traveled through several scarecrow sections before arriving at the Children's Gardens, at which time the kids really took off. We spent a little time at a few playgrounds, but it was like they had a busy schedule ahead of them and they needed to just check this off of their list. (On top of that, Eli was doing some things that were so out of character, and so annoying, that Mommy was beyond frustrated. No huge disobedience, but lots and lots of little things that we normally don't see with him.)

Our trip ended on a nice green area (with a mud pit created by rain - of course the kids found that) where we set up for lunch. We stopped by to see Daddy at his office, and then we were home to nap. Mommy included!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weekend With Daddy

I participated in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk this past weekend, so Lehr was on full-time Daddy Duty. The kids had great time, of course. Friday he had to work, but Miss Marina kept them entertained, despite the rain. Saturday morning found them at their preschool's Fall Festival. The kids got to jump in the jumpy castle, play some games, and hang out with friends from school. That night they had dinner with neighbors and afterwards Lehr gave them an extra special treat. He took them to their first theater movie! I was hoping to take Eli to the 'cinema' sometime soon for a date night, but Lehr beat me to the punch :) Apparently Maddux was done as soon as the previews were over. No big shocker there! They ended up staying for about 3o minutes of Ice Age before heading home to bed.

The next morning (Sunday), the three of them met me at cheering station for the walk. My three cuties showed up with "Go, Mommy, GO!" signs and bagels. Just the thing I needed for the last morning! From there, they went to church and lunch. After naps, they met me down at Turner field to pick me up at closing ceremonies. We tried to coordinate dinner with friends, but ended up at a pizza place on our own. Eli wanted to sit next to me because he 'missed me':)

Today, Eli was SO well behaved. Offering to help all of the time, obeying the FIRST time, every time. He also told me, "Mommy, I missed you when you were gone. I love you." Maddie's response to my absence has been different. LOTS of disobedience and ignoring directions. She has been snuggly with me though. Regardless of their behavior, I'm glad to be back. Two close-together trips away from my kids proved to be too much for me.

The kids were really sweet to each other today also. We were playing baseball in the driveway and Maddux fell on her knees. She cried for a second, to make sure I noticed. Eli then said, "I'm going to see if she's OK and kiss her." He walked over to her and kissed her knee (where she fell). She happily thanked him and we all returned to playing. This was BY FAR the best moment of today.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

You Can't Handle The Truth

I can't. I'm very aware of that. And the truth is, these kids hear EVERYTHING I say. I'm not worried that they'll hear me swear or use grossly inappropriate language, as I'm actually pretty good about being "PC" when they're in earshot, but as far as general conversational skills go, I'm horrible. I have a hard time articulating what I want to say, and I often start a sentence, or paragraph, and wander off somewhere in the middle. Not so good for two sets of ears that absorb all they see and hear from Mommy. The good news is, they also pick up some of the semi-good words and phrases I use with them. (I don't use the word 'hate', and I try my best to never say 'be good', instead asking them to make 'good choices'.)

Today this 'truth' was pointed out to me by Eli's recap of an event that happened the other night after Lehr and I got home. The kids were in the laundry room with Lehr, playing drums. Apparently Maddux used a drum stick to hit Eli in the head. Nothing new there. Of course that meant she lost her drumming privileges. This morning Eli told me, "Last night Maddux lost the opportunity to play drums." So funny coming from his little mouth. I've used that phrase a few times with them recently though. When Eli loses the opportunity to make a choice about what to wear, or when Maddux loses the opportunity to walk in the parking lot while holding my hand (instead of me carrying her). I guess the moral of the story is, think about what you say before you say it!

Maddux's Gymnastics

Maddie started gymnastics this morning. As a dancer, all I want to do is introduce my kids to the wonderful world of dance. However, Eli is more interested in baseball and drums right now (tap lessons will come though!). And Maddux....well, she's just Mad Dog. We'll get there, but she's so young right now that any ballet lessons would be in vain. Gymnastics, however, will hopefully help her to use her crazy amounts of energy in a positive way. (And she'll no doubt have the tree-trunk quads Mommy has, so leg strength is on her side.)

I got her dressed in her leotard and leggings so we'd be ready to go after we dropped Eli off at school. Maddie was so excited, asking me over and over again, "Go to 'nastics' now, Mommy?" For kids under three, a mommy-and-me class is the only option. That is mainly for safety, as many other classes and lessons are going on simultaneously in this large gym. This includes college aged 'kids', which tumble and jump with a lot of force. I can just see Maddux running around on the floor in the middle of one of their routines....yikes!

We started with a quick warm up and stretch and moved right on to the balance beam. Maddie did pretty well with the sideways walking, but she was iffy on the forward walk. It was almost like she was afraid...I know that can't be since she's....well....Maddux! The instructor brought us to the foam pit after that and all of the kids jumped around in the big vat of foam squares. The only time Maddie complained was when she got stuck and couldn't get herself out. It made me kinda claustrophobic too.... The obstacle course was next (which Maddux liked the best): crawling under a few mats, tip-toeing on stars, forward rolling down a mat, walking on a balance beam, weaving in and out of cones, and jumping on a trampoline. I think Maddie is going to like this class!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Painted Toes

While Lehr and I were in Utah, Grandma Cathie and Grandpa Jim stayed with the kids. Before I left I painted Maddie's toe nails for the first time. I hinted to Grandma that nail-painting may be a fun activity to do again with her. She took that idea and ran with it. When we returned there were two brand new bottles of nail polish on the counter and every one's toes had been painted. Everyone. My mom let Maddie paint her toes (Grandma's toes), and she did surprisingly well. There was polish on Grandma's skin, but not as much as you might think. Then Grandma Cathie painted Maddux's toes: alternating colors. Of course Eli saw this and wanted in on the action, so he got an 'every other' pedicure as well. But it didn't stop there. Eli insisted on painting even Grandpa Jim's toes. I hear he has one pink big toe and one sparkly one. Life is good.

Tales of Cole & Lehr

While the blog sat idly, Lehr and I were on our first sans-kids trip. We went to Zion National Park in Utah where we hiked and mountain biked for five days. The three most amazing parts of our trip were hiking Angel's Landing (Lehr completed the last .5 miles of insanity; I only did about .15 of that), biking Gooseberry Mesa (unbelievable views and SO much fun!) and hiking the Narrows (a must-do for EVERYone). Here are some random videos of other people doing what we did; Lehr and I didn't take much video and I'm still editing pictures. Enjoy!

Angel's Landing:

Gooseberry Mesa:

Super G TV episode 9 Gooseberry Mesa from Super G TV on Vimeo.


Zion Narrows from brent fortune on Vimeo.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Ahh, Thumbkin. Who doesn't love that song from their childhood? Eli's music teacher reminded him of that tune this week and he has been enamoured. We used to do it when he was younger, but he didn't have nearly the dexterity with his digits that he does now, so it never really stuck. He got into the car one day this week and gave Maddie and I a show. He does only three fingers (thumbkin, pointer and pinky) before moving to 'everybody' or 'whole hand'. Maddux, of course, has picked up on it also. Except she sings "Ree See Punkin". Quite cute, as expected.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Maddux, The Sing-Songstress

Maddux loves to sing. She also loves to talk. And yell. And shout. And anything else that allows her, and EVERYONE, to hear her voice. As of late, she's taken to singing more than anything else. She will sing the ABC's in the car. She will sing "Twinkle Twinkle" in her crib after we've left the room. She will sing, "Baa Baa, Black Sheep" 329 times during the day.... The list goes on and on.

This week in particular, she has been singing, "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" a lot. Quite randomly, in fact. I will be helping her with lotion after her bath and I'll ask her to put hte lotion on her knees. She'll respond with the song (and motions). Or she'll hear the word "head" come up in coversation and the same reply will follow. No video yet, but I'm working on it!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Another Amazing Memory!

Maddux is reading. Yes, I know she's only two, but to hear her flip through books, you'd think she could really read. She loves loves LOVES books and will 'read' them even if I'm not there to add the wording. But when we do read, which is before naps and bed, at a minimum, she obviously memorizes every word. We have a set of four board books that she loves: there are pictures on each page and no story. (Example: one page has a picture of a dog and it reads, "Dog". Another has a picture of a boat and it reads, "Boat".) Maddie can easily read these, but since there are serious context clues, that isn't too impressive to me. A few weeks back I realized she was reading the more involved books by memorization also. We were reading "Through and Through" when she started filling in the blanks for me before I even paused. She basically read the whole book. (At one point I would seriously just say the first word: "I...." and she would fill in "...wuv your top siyyyddd. aaaaahnd bottum siyyyddd." She can also do this with "Knuffle Bunny" because we rarely go a day without reading that book. And on pages where the characters have expressive faces, she LOVES to demonstrate4 said face for you. Reading with her is a blast these days! And I love that she is a little book worm like her brother was at this age!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Painting The Town

I finally broke down and did something 'girlie' with Mad Dog. While Eli was at school this morning, Maddux and I were attempting to spend some quality (read: not errand-running) time together. After several puzzles and books and wrestling sessions, I brought her up to my bathroom to introduce her to the world of nail polish. Quickly put a coat on my toes to show her what I was about to do to her feet. This ended up being a very messy coat; I may as well have let her paint my toes for the amount of bumps and mis-paints caused by the little missy. Nevertheless, a few minutes later, she was ready for her pedicure. I had her sit on the step by the bathtub, so she would be a little higher than me, and I'd have a better angle on her toes. Maddux sat remarkably still while I painted a quick few strokes over her tiny toe nails. She moved enough to cause some outside-of-the-lines painting, but all in all, she did great. And she is SO in love with her new pink nails. She called Daddy and Grandma Cathie and told them right away, and she is quick to remove her shoes and show anyone she sees. "Peent my Neeels!!!"

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Faith In Action

This morning Eli and Maddux hopped in the car with Daddy to attend Faith In Action. (Mommy was running.) Since Eli is old enough, he stayed with Daddy instead of getting dropped off at the church with Maddux. The boys ended up at Campbell High School, working on landscaping. Eli was SO excited to work with Lehr and Mr. Hathcock. Someone game him (Eli) a pair of small gardening shears and he went to town, weeding and pruning some bushes. From the looks of it, he actually knew what he was doing! When I got there and saw him, wearing big gloves on his hands and a 5/6 shirt of his cousin's, I did a double take. No way was that my BABY boy, working so hard. Wow.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Knights Win! Knights Win!

Eli's game was at 4PM today. He had the opportunity to get a full night's sleep, suffer a few lack-of-toy/privilege consequences, and take a nap all before he had to leave. The hope was that this game would go much better than yesterday's.

Lehr and Eli went to the game first, leaving Maddux and I behind. Lehr said Eli apologized; nothing fancy, but he did it. They had their pre-game practice and the game started on-schedule. Eli got on base each time he was up at bat (a total of four times). He played left field, catcher and then held his own at third base for the last two innings. When Maddie and I got there, Eli was up to bat and had to use the tee for the first time. No worries, as he hit a line drive getting him to first with time to spare. (Each kid gets five pitches; if they miss all of them, the tee is used.) The next time he was up to bat, he took a ball to the face.The pitch hit his bat, bounced off of his helmet and then his nose before hitting the ground. He recoiled but then took his position again immediately. The coach ran to him right away, but Eli proved to be one tough cookie and didn't require any reassurance. Another single. (Daddy was the first base coach and he said that when Eli got to the bag, Lehr asked him if it hurt when the ball hit him. Affirmative.)

The game ended with the Knights on top, and guess who got the game ball!?!? Apparently before we got there, Eli made his first out this season. He was playing third base when the ball was hit in his direction. My boy ran to the ball, stopped it, picked it up, and then ran right to tag his bag. When I heard about it I suddenly realized that pride thing that parents feel. That out was ALL Eli and NONE of us. We didn't yell from the stands to help him make that play. We didn't stay up last night practicing that strategy. It was the result of him paying attention during practice and staying focused during the game. I'm still in awe. Eli also got his first star for his hat. I'm not sure what specifically the players do to earn stars, but he now has his first. This day totally made up for last night's meltdown. Who knows; maybe this game was a result of what happened last night. Maybe 'This great moment was brought to you by tantrum at 6:30'. Either way, life is good.

Friday, October 02, 2009

I'm Melting! I'm Melting!!

Whoa. Meltdown city. Obviously Eli had a busy day yesterday with school and the Braves game, and today was also busy with the field trip and a baseball game, but holy moly, guacamole was that the meltdown of the century! Let me back up...

Eli had a baseball game at 5:30PM. That means we had to be at the field by 4:45. No worries since I always get the kids up by 4PM anyway. Today, however, Eli actually took a nap. And when I tried to rouse him at 4, he was still dead to the world. He wasn't whiny or complaining, but he was very very sleepy. Finally he rose and had a quick snack before Lehr picked him up and rushed to the game. Maddux and I met the boys at the game somewhere around halfway through. (Keeping Maddux safe at the games is a challenge to say the least. Seriously. If she's not running into the woods, she's climbing the fence. If she's not climbing, she's sitting up on the picnic benches (over concrete). If she's not on the benches, I can't find her. To try and de-stress our lives, we drive separately and one of us attends only half of the full game time, which is always over two hours.)

Eli had a hit when we showed up. The team was down a player, so they borrowed one from another team. The boys were all a little restless in the dugout, climbing the benches and messing around. No biggie since that is usual for them, but it was definitely more than usual. The Knights take the field and Maddie and I cheer Eli on (in left field) from the fence. Three outs and they are back in the dugout. This time, as they enter, Lehr and I both see Eli take a jab at a teammate. Nothing too hard, but out of nowhere and for no real reason.

We both know that some of this is in fun and 'the other kids are doing it', but hitting is in no way allowed in our family. Especially to a teammate, who needs to be able to trust you. Again, we know that Eli is four years old and these are pretty deep life lessons we're forcing on him already, but the way we see it, raise your kids as you expect them to go. So we called him on it. Told him he needed to make it right and apologize. Eli got embarrassed and refused to answer us or apologize. This resulted in me pulling him out of the dugout to have a more serious tete-a-tete. Still no dice, so he had a time out. The whole time this is happening, Eli is getting more and more self-conscious about making eye contact with anyone other than Lehr or I. But he is refusing to acknowledge that he has done anything wrong. And neither Lehr or I have brought up the hitting since the very first exchange...the conversation has now moved on to self-control. Eli is called up to bat and won't go. Now it's about being a team player too. Now the Knights take the field and there is a hole in left because Eli is still having issues.

In the midst of this, I need to take Maddux to the car to change her diaper. Just as we're walking back to the game, Lehr and Eli go to Lehr's car. Apparently Eli became so out of control with his crying that it was distracting to the game and Lehr pulled him. So we had a time out in the car. (We didn't just go home because Eli had actually requested that several times during this tantrum.) At this point, we are expecting Eli to apologize to the coach for not being a team player. The game is over. No chance to go back in, but the coach is still there and we have let Eli know that he needs to make it right with his coach before he plays again. Finally he tells us he's ready and we walk back to the field just as the coach is packing up to leave. As expected, Eli gets shy and scared again and won't do it. The coach gives him a hug, but Eli still won't talk to him. Sigh. I feel his pain, but the hardest lessons to teach are often the most important ones, right?

So before he plays tomorrow, he still needs to apologize. Lehr has had another talk with him since arriving home and Eli has assured us that he will say he is sorry because he really feels sorry. Parenting is hard work!!

All Grows Up

Before our eyes Eli is growing up SO quickly! Last night he and Daddy went to a Braves game with another father-son duo. The boys had a great time, and (according to Lehr) Eli ate a hot dog as big as his head. The night was later than normal for a school night, but Eli seemed in good spirits and went to bed as soon as he got home. Any other time I might have kept him home from school (or gone in a little later), but today was Eli's first field trip. His Pre-K class went to the North Georgia Fair. I found out afterwards that the rides don't open up until nighttime (not that many of them are suitable for little people), but the kids got to see and pet and feed lots of animals. Eli told me he saw a lamb and a horse and a 'stinky elephant'.

One other area Eli is showing his 'old age' in is Lego's. In the last few months he has become increasingly interested in how to build Lego models. Cooper gave Eli a Lego kit (complete with directions) for his birthday, and that really fueled the fire. For the last month, during EVERY nap time, Eli has put together (and sometimes taken apart) the Lego's for each of the three models in the set. With no help. So last week I bought him a new set, as a reward for him wearing his shoes at night (something we've been struggling with recently). The first car model we put together from the new set took four sessions: two with Daddy before bed and two with Mommy during naps. LOTS of little pieces. But Eli loved it and he pays a lot of attention, so I know the next time the car gets put together, he'll do it with minimal help.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Busy busy week = no blogs. At least I got pictures and video out though, right? :)

Maddux is still enjoying school BIG time. She talks about it all of the time and she gets a little upset when we drop Eli off and she has to stay in the car. Nothing horrible, but it's obvious she has no fear of this somewhat new experience. She took a tumble on Tuesday; the teacher actually came around to my car to talk to me about it when I picked her up. Apparently Maddux tripped over her own feet (shocker!) and hit her head on the edge of the table. The teacher comforted her and got some ice, since it a very loud noise resulted from the contact. Ms. Sue almost called me because it worried her so much, but Maddux was fine and doing somersaults five minutes later. The kicker is (and Ms. Sue could not believe this part) there is/was NO mark! Maybe Maddie has used up all of her bruises and contusions.

Eli is also loving his school year. He attended "Lunch Bunch" yesterday, which meant he brought a packed lunch to eat before playing with his friends for an extra hour. When he found out I packed a 'special own yogurt', he was pumped. When you get excited over having an individually-sized pre-packaged yogurt, life is good!

Eli's baseball season is getting a bit over-scheduled. The rain we received during our beach trip has caused many re-scheduled games. Not that Eli minds; any chance he gets to hit and run and throw the ball is good to him.