Sunday, May 30, 2010

Daytime Date

A few months back I caught wind that kids are allowed to run the bases after the Braves game finishes on Sunday home games. I looked at our schedule and found out that today lined up, so I got tickets and set the date. Eli didn't know about the bases until we got there, but he was excited about the game anyway. We sat just behind center field, right on the wall (front row!). No home runs were hit to us, but Eli and I practiced our catching strategy in the event of such with our gloves several times each inning.

We were supposed to get rained out - it was forecasted that we would have thunderstorms all afternoon long. Instead, we had a tiny sprinkle and then LOTS of sun. How we ended up not burned, I will never know. Right after the sixth inning finished, we packed up our stuff and made our way over to the line for the base-running. Kids were already lined up, but by the time the game finished, our portion of the line was probably the front 10%. SO many kids wanted to run!

They marched us down the walkway a few levels so that we were on the same level as the field. After a brief wait, we walked through some type of underground stadium hallway to the large doors opening up to the start of the outfield first base line (does that make sense?). Down the line we all walked, careful not to step on the grass. As we approached, I reminded Eli that I was not allowed to run around with him, but I'd be waiting at home plate to take his picture. Unfortunately that was not the case, but there was no time to explain it to him. When we got to first base, a Braves rep split us all up as we got to the base: kids to home plate to run and adults up in the bleachers. We had to take a HUGE detour up and around the seats before reuniting with our kids (most of which were done before we were able to get over there). This meant no quality pictures to speak of. They herded us through that detour very quickly, so the only shots I got were from WAY far away, and they were taken while I was briskly walking. Boo hoo. Eli did get a shirt out of the deal. It reads "I ran the bases at Turner Field" and it has the Braves logo on the front. He had a great time, and he even stayed awake the whole ride home. If he hadn't, he would have surely woken up when another car struck us after we got off of the highway. No damage, thank goodness, but what a way to end the day!

Friday, May 28, 2010

School Sick

What can I say, Eli loves school!! He isn't mopey or anything, but Wednesday morning he woke up and told me, "Mommy, I miss school cuz I miss Ms. Jane and Ms. Shanda." Made me sad to think about him missing his beloved teachers so much. And he is still SO excited about learning. Ideally I'd do some type of 'homework' with him each day, but realistically it's only two or three times per week. Each time I've pulled out the paper and pencil for him, Eli has gotten so excited. He hasn't been frustrated by his mistakes, he keeps trying to improve his writing, and he's so enthusiastic. How I hope it continues!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Swimming With The Sharks

Maddux and Eli are LOVING the pool season already. And the pool only opened a few days ago! We took them for the season opener on Saturday afternoon. Eli talked big about jumping off of the diving board. Maddux never did this last season, but she does like to be 'big' like her brother. So when they'd talk about it (pretty much every week since Christmas), she would go back and forth between saying "I gonna jump off" and "I not jump off the diving board". When we showed up that day, I had no idea what to expect. Luckily I had my camera ready right away because as soon as we walked in and got her turtle back on, she and Eli hurried over to the diving board, got in line, and jumped off. Lehr jumped in first, so he could coax her to jump to him (as we expected she might want), but she didn't need that. (In fact, Lehr had to try to get OUT of her way since she jumped in so fast.) Jumped straight off of the end. She didn't do it again that night, so I'm glad I was ready, but she thoroughly enjoyed the jump.

Fast forward to this afternoon; I took the kids to the pool right after Maddie's nap. She was a moth to the board's flame. Couldn't keep her off. She all but cried when the lifeguard announced "Adult Swim" because it meant 15 full minutes of her NOT able to jump off of the board. Today the deep end and the diving board area was full of 9-11 year old boys who couldn't care less about a 2 year old. Except for the fact that she may be slowing up their line. So what does she do half of the time when it's her turn? Walk onto the board, turn around to the line of boys, point to her leg (or arm or hair or whatever) and say "HeyyaknowwhatIgotaboobooonmyfoot." Mad Dog, at her finest. Love that girl!


They argue, they whine at each other, but they really are best friends. Not only did they play really well together the past few days, but they REALLY played well today. When we first got to the pool this afternoon, they realized none of their friends were there. Instead of whining, Eli immediately asked Maddux to play with him, to swim with him, to jump with him. All sorts of stuff and he was sincere. And earlier today Maddux stubbed her toe pretty bad after a heels-over-head fall. We repaired quickly with a band-aid, but had to re-clean and bandage upon arriving home. Maddux was hesitant to let me take off the original band-aid, so Eli got behind her and put his arm around her (totally of his own doing), and said, "It's OK, Maddux. I'm here to help you be brave." She ate it up and it really helped. So much so that after her nap (before we went to the pool), I informed her that we had to take the band-aid off (because band-aids and pools don't mix and random used band-aids in the pool TOTALLY gross me out). She got all weepy and said, "I need Eli to help me, pweeeeese!" Life is good.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


You can't claim that Maddux doesn't enunciate! Here she is, just before bedtime, watching herself sing on the monitor.

2010 05 Maddux Sing from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Already Missing School

My boy loves school. And he loved his class. One of the things Eli's teacher did during the spring was a behavior system similar to the one he'll most likely encounter in Kindergarten. Regardless of Eli's successes or failures with said system, he is a creature of habit and it became a part of his life. So when we didn't go to school today, for the first time in a long time, he started talking about school. He wanted to do homework, he wanted to have lunch bunch, and he wanted to have a blue-green-yellow-red chart with a clip. We had lots of errands to run, so I asked him to remind me when I got home. You KNOW that kid remembered, and while I made lunch he got a paper and colored pencils on his own and went to work. He drew a blue happy face, a green straight face, a yellow sad face, and a red mad face. When I asked him what they all meant he told me Best, Good, Yucky, and Rotten. So cute! Now I just have to find clothes pins for him and Maddux. He is SO excited.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Son, The Graduate

Wow. Such a big day for such a little guy! Eli's preschool graduation ceremony took place yesterday. We sent in one of Lehr's white dress shirts and planned to arrive in enough time to get a good seat. (Luckily, with only about ten kids in the class, that wasn't too hard.) Eli and his friends all had paper graduation caps on, to match their shirts, and they marched into the sanctuary to a seat marked with their name. The preschool director spoke first, getting choked up, which of course got me all teary eyed.....

It was at that point that it hit me that this was the place I've trusted with Eli and his first experience of school. I came to this school when I was pregnant with Maddux, looking for a place that would expose Eli to sharing, manners, and hopefully colors and numbers. And I found a home. I immediately felt right about sending him to John of those gut feelings you hear so much about. He went two days/week when he was two, three days/week when he was three, and then a four/five days/week schedule this last year. He's had amazing teachers, and he was incredibly lucky to have the same two teachers this year that he had when he was two. Eli has learned so much, come so far, and been so loved at John Knox.

Back to the program as I wiped away tears.... Eli's class grabbed hands and sang "The More We Get Together...The Happier We'll Be". It was sweet with a capital 'awww'. Then Ms. Jane (his main teacher) spoke briefly, reminding me why I love her so much. Finally it was time for diplomas. One by one, the students were called to the director to receive a paper diploma. From there they made their way to Ms. Jane and Ms. Shanda to give and receive hugs. More tears for me. As hard a time as I know Eli gave them some days, they love him. There was never a doubt in my mind about their commitment to my son, and I know he touched a place in their hearts with his happy-go-lucky demeanor and huge smile (even if/when he disobeyed). I cannot stress enough how amazing these teachers have been for Eli, and to be privileged enough to have them teach Eli twice...we were blessed.

Finally the kids received glow sticks and they sang "This Little Light Of Mine". Good stuff. We all filed out of the sanctuary to get cake and play in the courtyard. The day was finished with the release of the class butterflies. (The name of the class this year was 'Butterflies', and they'd been cocooning in a mesh cage for the last few weeks.) A few pictures later and we were on our way to lunch. Eli didn't seem phased by the experience at all, but even as we approached our car, I was reminded again how great the school is. We saw Maddux's teacher (Ms. Sue) and she grabbed Maddie and gave her a big big hug. She mentioned how disappointed she was that Mad Dog wouldn't be returning next year and I know she really meant it. These teachers genuinely care about the students.

I sounds like I'm being paid to give a review of the school or something, but it's just how I feel. We have chosen a different place for Maddux next year, and as solid as I am in that decision, I will really really miss John Knox.

2010 05 Eli Graduation from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nothing Slips Past Him!

We just returned from Eli's graduation. I will post about that later, but had to share a quick "Kids Say The Darnedest Things" post.

After the ceremony, I took the kids to the bagel store. Big treat for them. They split a bagel and each had their own yogurt. We were seated right near the fountain drinks which prompted lots of questions. "What is the red one? What is the gray one?" My favorite was, "Mommy, is Coke good for you?"
Of course I answered, "No."
Maddie says, "My daddy drinks dat Coke."
Eli was offended: "No he doesn't! He just drinks beer." Then he turned quizative: "Mommy, is beer good for you? Is that why Daddy drinks it so much?"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dancing Queen

Maddux loves to dance around. And jump around. And flail around. And do anything but stand still. At all times. A prime example was this weekend when I was walking through a parking lot with her, holding her hand. She jumps one step, then skips one, then leaps over a crack on one, then goes boneless so I have to support her. It's a miracle my arm wasn't pulled out of its socket! The funny thing is, I didn't think anything of it because that's ALWAYS the way it is when I walk and hold her hand. She is a body in motion.

So after school one day last week, we were playing on the back porch. Maddux was blowing bubbles, so I was taking pictures, of course. Then she stopped with the bubbles and started dancing. Spinning around, mainly, because she was wearing a dress. On top of that, she caught her reflection in the glass doors and couldn't stop watching herself. I love that girl!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Prayer Walk

Sunday was Lehr's birthday and it was also the day we did a Prayer Walk as a church. I was running around snapping photos most of the time, so Lehr was on kid-duty. The morning started out ROUGH, so I urged Lehr to choose the shortest walk (there were three choices), for the sake of his sanity. He stuck it out for the longest one though, and the kids did much better than I expected. Eli and Maddie rode in the double BOB most of the time, getting out to walk a few times when the road wasn't too close. I don't know how much praying they did on their own, but they noticed a lot and many questions followed that night.

After the walk, we all ate lunch and enjoyed a praise band. Maddux and her buddy Owen were goofy, as always, kissing and cracking up. Let me clarify that: MADDUX was kissing Owen, he was just the innocent bystander. Eli had a great time hanging out with his friends from Community Group as well. And when the music started, both kids had a blast watching and singing along. A new girl in our group has taken a particular interest in Maddux. Caroline, who is 7, hurried over to Maddux as soon as lunch started, engaging her in conversation and spending most of her lunch entertaining her. Maddux is one loved little girl!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eli's Weekly Recap

We started out rough with 'green' and 'yellow' behavior at school on Monday and Tuesday, but last three days of the week were blue. (It's been a looong time since we've had three consecutive blue days!) We celebrated big time at home each day. One of those days even warranted a trip to the car after school so she could gush about how well Eli behaved that day. Apparently they were practicing for their graduation ceremony and there was a lot of misbehavior. Eli steered clear of it and stayed on-task the whole time. (He told me later, "Mom, some of the kids would come over and try to mess with me, but I did what you said and went somewhere else.") YAY!!

Today was the end-of-year party for both kids. Eli's class played outside after having ice cream sundaes for snack. I arrived just as they turned on the old school sprinkler. The kids loved it! They all had spray bottles to squirt each other with also. That was enough to entertain all ten kids for 45 full minutes. I may not have believed it if I were not there to witness it! Even when it was time to go, they were still all begging to stay with the sprinkler. Eli had a great time. Before they left, the teachers gave him a bucket with a few gifts inside, including a game of Old Maid. After we put Maddux down, the two of us played a quick hand. He loved playing, until I won. (And I really wasn't trying to!) He cried while I tried to explain that it's a game of chance, blah blah blah...first of many tears over a game, I'm sure. I think he was just really tired....bubbles and squirt guns will do that to you!

Also before we left, I got a GREAT report from Eli's teacher. She did her end-of-year evaluation for each child this week. Eli only missed one question on the whole 'test'. (Lower case 'b' vs. 'd'.) She spent a lot of time bragging on Eli, telling me that he is the only child in the class who writes his first and last name correctly, and she said he is constantly reading words she writes on the board. I love how much he loves to learn! Eli is forever asking me questions about math or reading or spelling. At this time I feel like we have a pretty good balance of teaching him at home without going overboard. Eli likes to read, but I don't spend too much time on it. I made a handful of place mats a few months back, all with words he chose written on them, I read to him at least twice each day, and I sit with him while he reads a few times a week. That's it. The fact that Eli has taken it and run with it is ALL him. Same with math. I throw a general concept at him from time to time ('Hey Eli, how many shoes do you and Maddux have on your feet all together?'), but what Eli knows about numbers and fractions (very limited) and recognizing numerals is because he is constantly looking for it in his world. When we drive, he asks me about every number he sees. And if he doesn't see numbers, he makes them up. It usually goes like this: "Mommy, what is one-two-five-seven-one.......three-two?" I guess it's true that kids are who they are, regardless of what you do or don't do. And for now, Eli is interested in learning!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baseball Game

Eli had a baseball game this weekend; the tournament is in full swing. The boys were very excited and I was armed with my camera for the whole thing. Eli played outfield and catcher, doing really well at retrieving and returning the ball. The one area he struggled with on Saturday was hitting. He still crushed it, but he had to use the tee each time he went up to bat. Although he'd hit the ball on 90% of the pitches, they would always go foul. I'm not sure what changed, but something with his swing is a little 'off'. The boys won and ran on the field to celebrate when it was over.

A few nights later we had our next tournament game. In the rain. And the cold wind. Had it not been tournament time, I know they would have postponed it. The boys were awesome, braving the elements out there on the field. The parents, however, were all huddled under the one bleacher that is covered, shivering for the first hour. We lost that one (just barely!), so we may only have one more game in the season. Eli's had a great season, and I'm excited to see how he progresses over the summer, when we play just for fun.

2010 05 Eli baseball team from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Prayer Warrior

This post has been a loooong time coming. Maddie loves to pray. She never eats without praying at least once. If she prays before breakfast, and anyone else comes to the table later, she has to pray again with them. Mad Dog definitely has her favorite prayers, but she's happy to go along with anyone else as well. And when we pray as a family at night, she always chimes in with something sweet and heartfelt (while Eli is a much more private pray-er). The other night Maddux said, "Fank you for my fwends at skool protect my fwends and dey share wif me."

So I recorded Maddux praying her all-time favorite prayer before a meal maybe three months ago, but we are still not able to retrieve videos from our video camera without major blips in them. Finally gave up on that and got a few seconds with the Nikon last week. Of course when I turn on the video camera she is more concerned with looking at me or the camera or her brother or ANYTHING, but it still sorta shows off her in the moment.

2010 05 Maddux Pray from Nicole Eliason on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

My Baby's All Grown Up!

This morning Eli and I went to his soon-to-be Elementary School for a screening (to place him in a class for next year) and for a 'sneak-a-peak' tour. We dropped Maddux off at school and raced to get to Eli's appointment, which was scheduled five minutes after Maddie's school opens up. (Still not sure how we made it, especially considering the parking lot was so full that people were parked on curbs and grass areas.)

As soon as we walked in, one of the women assisting with the flow of traffic took Eli for his screening; she was ready for him! I went into the media center to learn more about what is to come next year. Maybe twenty minutes later, Eli returned to me, but at that point, all of the other kids had already started their classroom tours (without parents), so this kind woman took him to join the rest of the kids. The parents finished up and went to retrieve said children. From there, our group took a tour of a real school bus. Eli loved it, but was disappointed that we weren't actually riding in it today. At that point, he started to get a little weepy about missing his 'real' school, so I decided to pull the plug and get him back to his class. I figured he was a bit overwhelmed with everything since we'd been there for 90-minutes already.

As we were walking to our car, Eli's friend, Jack, pulled up. His mom offered to take Eli to school as well (they're in the same class), which Eli LOVED. The unfortunate outcome was both boys ending up with less-than-great behavior reports due to 'wrestling' with each other at school. I LOVE that Eli has a friend in the neighborhood that he likes so much; hopefully he can learn to channel his excitement in a more productive behavior soon.

Back to the school....I'd be lying if I said I didn't get choked up a few times as they talked about what Eli would be doing next year. How HOW is it possible that my little boy will be getting on a bus, working on a computer, and solving written math problems so soon?!?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Maddux Update

I took Maddux with me on some errands this morning. One of those was to Harry's to get some groceries. She knows that they have 'shopper-in-training' carts for little kids to push. I've never let her do it, but Lehr once had a lapse in judgement and did. She normally does not show anywhere near the self-control (or cart-control) for this privilege, so my gut reaction was 'no'. However I am trying to be more positive with Mad Dog these days, as I feel "NO" is what she hears a lot in her life. We were at Target when she asked, so I told her if she stayed in the seat at Target the WHOLE time (instead of changing positions every few minutes, almost falling to a hospital trip each time), and if she left the hair clip IN her hair, we would discuss it further. The girl was an angel in the store, so when we got to Harry's I let her have a cart. We had a quick discussion about the rules and how if any of them were broken, she'd move to a seat in the big cart. Then we were on our way! Since I didn't need to get too much, I didn't even bother getting my own cart. That girl was so conscientious about the rules! She was careful to not run into anyone or anything. She stopped the second I told her to (or if she noticed herself too far ahead of me), and when the cart accidentally tipped, she showed real remorse. So proud of her!

Maddux is in love with diapering her dolls. She is forever asking 'Why babies wear diapers, mommy?' It's amazing how quickly she forgets that she too wore diapers, not more than six months ago! Yesterday I even caught her trying to put the diaper on herself over her jeans....

One of our errands today was to Target. When I planted flowers several weeks back, the kids wanted to help water them. Somehow all of the watering cans we've bought for them over the years are missing. So we strolled the isles at Target for some new ones (specifically the dollar isle). As SOON as I found one and handed it to Maddux, she quickly turned her attention back to the shelves and said, "Kin we get one for Eli?" I praised her for being so considerate of her brother. She said, "Yah. Cuz I looove my bruder."

Mad Dog's newest phrase is: "Hey-know-what?", said all as one word, like "heyknowwhat?" I was tyring to figure out where she picked that up until Eli got in the car after school today. The first thing he said is, "Hey, Mommy, you know what?"

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Maddie Talk

As we were waiting at the red light leaving our neighborhood this morning, a wide lawn service truck pulled in with three or four men sitting in the front seat. Maddux said, "Mommy, Dere's lots of daddies in that truck." More proof that all men are 'daddies'.

Just after we returned from Jazz Fest, we went through a few days of LOTS of laundry. We have a few 'crunchable' laundry basket carriers that we use to tote laundry up and down the stairs in. The kids and I had just returned from the laundry room with a few of them full of clean clothes. After I dumped the clothes on the bed, I threw the baskets on the ground and started folding. After a minute Maddux called, "Look, Mom. I'm on a boat!" When I looked over, she was standing inside of one of the baskets. (A few weeks prior, I pulled her along the carpet inside of the basket, telling her it was a boat.)

Where's the funny in this? If you are an SNL-short lover like myself, you can understand why I burst out laughing, picturing Mad Dog fitting right in with T-Pain in this video:

Monday, May 03, 2010

Maddie's Hat

Long ago, when I knit a hat for Eli, Maddux asked for one too. She even went to the store with me to pick out the yarn. Unfortunately I got caught up making another baby blanket and by the time I got to start her hat last week, the cold weather was long gone. Maddux doesn't care so much though, as she strutted around town with me today, wearing a tank top, flip flops, and this hat. LOVE how easy it was and how cute it is. Let me know if you want the pattern because it is SO easy!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Where The Mind Takes You

During the week, Eli does room-time for anywhere from 30-minutes to 2-hours, depending on the breakdown of our day and if he naps or not. This is usually a great thing in our house, though we have had a few phases where Eli has resisted staying in his room the whole time. Usually, though, he loves that time. He gets really creative with his stuffed animals, setting them up to watch a movie, or he arranges legos so that they are a baseball field in his room and he uses a marble to play the game. Or sometimes I hear him in there singing along with his guitar or air drums.

Lately he's been 'cleaning' at least once a week in there. This started because we had some issues with him pulling out too many toys during the holidays. When the time came for him to come out of his room, it would be a mess, and we'd have to get after him to clean up the toys. So then we went to him only playing with a few things I pulled out for him for a while, but now we're back to him having a pretty wide variety of things to occupy himself with, and he always cleans up when he's done. And he's ALWAYS very proud. "See how well I cleaned up, Mommy?"

In the 'cleaning' phase he's in, Eli has turned into a decorator. Some days we'll go in and all of the pictures and knick-knacks from his dresser will be arranged on his bookshelf, and vice versa. Or we'll go in and all of his shoes will be lining the perimeter of his room. Eli always has a great explanation or story for it too. This week I went in to find a clean room and all of his stuffed animals were in one corner, standing up. He told me that they liked to hang out together there, so they could eat and sleep next to each other. That kid is awesome, in case you were wondering.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Bootleg Bootcamp: Family Day

This morning we all got to participate in a family boot camp day for once. (I decided to participate instead of taking pictures, so unless/until any of the other moms send pics, I have no proof!) I used to take the kids to the park all of the time to run some fun 'drills', and Eli will run through some obstacle courses I set up when I clean the cones. But we've never done a full 'workout' with other friends. A group of us that workout each morning gathered to let the kids in on the fun their parents have before the sun comes up each day. I think we had close to thirty kids! The adults mostly focused on getting the kids through the drills, but most of us got a few burpees and dips in as well.

The first drill was splitting the kids up into four teams to (one at a time) push a big fire truck to the bat, spin around the bat three times, and then push an exercise ball to the other line. Repeat, repeat. The main thing I learned was that kids get much less dizzy than (drunk?) adults when they do the bat-drill. Next we did some bear crawls and crab walks, with some jumping jacks in between. Maddie ended up riding on my stomach for the crab crawls. Finally we did some suicides with sprints, lunges, skips, and bounds. Good times. After we finished, most of us ended up at a nearby IHOP...the kids ate their weight in white carbs to make up for the calories they'd expended. Good times :)