Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Out Of His Shell

Eli has always been a little shy. Once he gets to know you, he's all smiles and jokes, but in 'big' social situations or new surroundings, he definitely clams up. While I know he's had fun at camp this week, I wasn't getting the feeling that he was meeting any new friends. Even though Maddux wasn't able to name names, I knew she was doing just fine with her co-campers. (She is what we call an "extrovert".) But Eli is a little slower to warm up because he is rarely the one to make the first move. While Maddie will go up to anyone and start talking, Eli usually waits to be approached. And it didn't seem like he was connecting with anyone at camp because he hadn't been 'approached' yet.

Today I picked the kids up and Eli came running out to me, grinning from ear to ear. "MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMY!!" After a quick embrace he started talking like crazy. Then Mad Dog came out and she was jabbering at the same speed. In all of that, I was trying to sign them out, collect their lunches, find their towels, and instruct Maddux to put her shoes on. At some point, Eli tapped my shoulder and said, "Mommy, can I go say good-bye to my friends?"

Whoh. What? Even when Eli is with his friends, rarely does he leave them, and then ASK to go back to properly say good-bye. He's just not that kid. And if he DOES want to go say 'hi' or 'bye' to someone, he almost always requests a chaperon in the way of Maddux or myself. Eli doesn't like to go into unknown places by himself. And he doesn't know the YMCA that well, especially the area we were in.

Of course I told him he could. His new friend is not his age (he's maybe 10-12?), but he's not a full-on counselor either. Eli tells me his name is 'Dumpster' and he is a "silly silly SILLY goose". Too funny. Eli was full of many stories today about his friend and the fun they had. So even if Eli didn't approach him, and even if he's not his age, Eli made huge strides today in the social department. Life is good.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Camp

Last summer I attempted to sign Eli up for a summer camp at the YMCA that focused on all sports all week. Of course it was a popular one, so it filled up before i got my application in. This year I was on the ball and got him signed up early. Then I found out that Maddux would be allowed (at 3 years old) to participate in the camps as well, so I signed both of them up for a 'creative kids' one, focusing on arts and crafts. Neither one is particularly drawn to the crafts, and I've not been the best role model in that area, so I figured some 'school fun' would be a good choice.

Today was the first day and I think they really enjoyed it. They each made a small tambourine-type instrument that they played the whole way home in the car (yay). There was snack-time, outside play time, inside play time, art time, and (Mad Dog's favorite) Duck-Duck-Goose time. I'm just glad they are finding some joy in this crazy summer adventure we're putting them through. So many times they get dragged around to contractors' offices or paint stores or other 'fun' errands. Even if they're not always enjoying it with me, I'm glad they're able to enjoy some summer fun. Three hours of 'camp' and they're both napping hard right now. Life is good.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Date Night

For over a month now I've been planning to take Eli to see Toy Story 3 in the theater. This week was the first kinda-sorta-but-not-really open night. Lehr was out following up on a few car leads and we got a sitter for a few hours for Mad Dog. Eli was so excited. He was totally enthralled with everything from picking out his seats, to the speakers, to the 'commercials' before the movie. (He's been in a theater once, but it was for a short short time and there was no 'hype' around it.)

During the movie previews, Eli did tell me, "It's too loud" a few times, but I think that was in big part due to the content of a few ads. Not bad, just a little too intense for him. Eli is still such a little kid and I forget that in our day to day. But he's been exposed to such a small amount of media outside of online music concerts that it's easy to forget that he is very sensitive to climactic music, loud crashes and scary images still.

All in all he loved it. (So did I; it was GREAT!) Eli only wore the 3-D glasses about half of the time, but he totally got into the story and jokes. Several times he exploded into giggles before I even chuckled...he was thoroughly enjoying himself. He did get sad for one of his stuffed animals when we returned home for bed. Of course it is one that is packed away somewhere in our PODS unit, so there was nothing I could do for him. I think it was a combination of missing his toys and seeing the toys be separated from their owner in the movie. Eli is such a sensitive kid when it comes to seeing other people (fictional or not) sad. He couldn't bear the thought of Chaucer (his missing animal) all alone at the house. I did my best to reassure him that Clifford and a few others were there to play with him while we were moving around all summer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More Doggie Love

Here we are, in yet another home (because it's been another week, after all - that is three moves in three weeks. for those that are keeping track), and we are lucky enough to have another dog to play with. The kids see this dog, Mossy, more than most other dogs because she lives right by our house. But that doesn't mean the novelty of her has worn off. Both are obsessed with feeding her, 'watering' her, petting her, and making sure she's well taken care of. Maddux is especially conscientious of Mossy's exercise. Whenever possible, Maddie and the dog go into the back yard and Maddux starts her, "Weady?!?!? GOOO!! Get da ball, Mossy. Get it, girl!" Mad Dog has the CUTEST little leg lift right before she chucks the tennis ball...she is very into it. Good stuff.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

God Sugar

So if you know me, you are probably going to roll your eyes and remind me that all of the things I say I don't do I really DO do, but I'm still sticking with my story. I do not obsess about food labels. And I do not constantly tell my kids to not eat sugar or sugary things because they are the devil. But we do talk about sugar sometimes. And we talk about the kinds of food that best fuel our body. At the end of the day, our aim is moderation. When they ask for another nectarine after they've already had two, I tell them that it might make their stomach hurt, so let's try another food instead. And yes, sugar does come up from time to time, but usually when they ask me about it, not the other way around. When it comes up, it's always Eli asking if a particular food has sugar in it. Like grapes. I usually tell him that it has sugar that God put in there, rather than sugar that someone else put in there (like in candy or lollipops). Eli brings this kind of conversation to the table a lot. He's just that kid that likes to think through every little thing.

Fast forward to today when I hear him in the other room with D talking about a snack. Eli asks D about his snack and then tells him that what he's eating (apples) has "God sugar" in it, which is ok, but you still can't eat too much of it. Love that kid.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's Gone

The mohawk, that is. He begged and I gave in. A #2 haircut for my boy....


You know I should have a boat-load. Unfortunately, my blog-time is basically non-existent, so many of the cute little things she's been up to have already been forgotten. (OUCH!) However, a few that happened today that I remember are:
  • "Be kind and loving to each udder." The kids memory verse for the month is "Be kind and loving to each other." Maddux tells me that verse every time we leave church. Well I decided to finally start using what she already knows in every day life by reminding her of her verse when we struggle with kindness. Now Maddux repeats the "udder" verse all day, every day. If I could just get her to put it into practice with her brother....
  • "Kin you see me??" Maddux is in the phase where she thinks if she covers her eyes (or closes them) she becomes invisible to others. Several times each day she'll walk to me with her eyes shut and ask "Kin you see me?!?! MOMMY! Now kin you see me?!?"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


So Maddux and I were rear-ended tonight. After we left the pool in our neighborhood and started our new commute 'home', we were at a dead-stop behind two cars waiting to turn left. An SUV was approaching VERY fast behind me, so I tapped my breaks several times to try to get their attention that we were stopped, and just as I turned my wheels to try to pull out of the way, BAM, she crashed into us. We were on a two-lane road, so she pushed us into oncoming traffic, which was fortunately light enough that we didn't collide with anyone else. And the even better news is that there was a small street just past where she hit us that I could swerve onto to avoid the traffic that was approaching. Thankfully no one was hurt and we were the only two cars involved (because I'd turned my wheels, I totally missed the car in front of me). Lehr and Eli were less than a mile away in another car, so they came right away.

After all was said and done, I drove the two kids 'home' in the civic while Lehr took the RL to try to get a rental (negative at that time of night). The whole ride home they peppered me with questions. The last accident in our family was the same scenario: dead stop and someone rear-ended us. Last time was over two years ago and it was Lehr and Eli at a red light, with the same car (RL). (That car is a tank and these two wrecks have proved to me again how safe we are in them. The trunk crunched up, but the rest of the car remained fine, and we were all fine.) Anyway, Eli kept reminding me about the car wreck he was in and how is was similar, but different (he loves the word 'similar'). Eli then reminded us that we were in another 'wreck' just a few weeks ago. I'd forgotten since it was no more than a tap and there was no damage to us, but of course Eli remembered it.

Maddux's questioning had more to do with how we'd fix it. She asked, "Mommy, are you going to fix it? Is Daddy going to?" I told her that we didn't know how, so a mechanic would do it for us. She said, "OK.", and then added, "Jesus could fix it for us."


Eli is playing SO much more now. And his attention to beats and timing is improving daily. It is crazy the amount of change I've seen in just one week. Lehr shot some quick video on his phone last night....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

That's My Girl

Well, it's not, but the girl in this video is SOO Maddie. The singing, the randomness, and the transition from mirror-talk to song and dance....good stuff.

Monday, June 14, 2010


So the summer of traveling all around Atlanta is well under-way. We are in our third house in ten days currently, and so far we're all surviving. The kids are definitely feeling the effect of moving around and not being in their own rooms/beds, but so far it hasn't been too bad. Eli has taken to waking up early (630ish), which means he wakes up grumpy and usually gets big time moody again around lunch time. However, it's not to the breaking point yet. And room time is much harder with Eli when we're in a house where he doesn't have a room that contains his stuff. The upside to this is that he and I have been able to do some 'homework' most days. Eli is still enjoying practicing writing and reading, and this week he really impressed me with his math skills. I went to 'teach' him something and he totally understood it before I even started.

In the house we are currently in, Lehr has his electric drum set so he can practice. This means lots of practice time for Eli as well. He's really getting good at a few songs he practices often; even when his rhythm isn't in sync with the song, it is usually even and at the correct tempo.

I allowed a very new thing for us this week: sitting on the couch and vegging in front of a movie, in the middle of the day, for no real reason (not raining, not sick, etc.). I chose "Mary Poppins". That movie is LONG! Despite it's length, it's 'age', it's amount of people (rather than animation), the kids really enjoyed it. In fact, they're already asking when they can watch it again. Eli loved the cannons on the roof tops and the part where the kids got sucked up through the fire place and Maddux is obsessed with asking about Michael and Jane.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Giving From The Heart

It was the kids' last day at VBS and they were sad. Eli told me all week, "I wish we had 100 more days." I'm so glad that they had such a good time with their friends. Even though Eli didn't give me a great run-down each day of the events at camp, he proved that he was listening last night. As he was leaving VBS he tried to whisper something in my ear, but it was so loud that I couldn't hear him. Around dinner time I asked him to tell me what it was he was trying to whisper. He told me, "Mom, we have to bring money to VBS for Aroba." I was confused and asked him to repeat a few times before I remembered that the church was collecting money for a little boy in Ethiopia. Obviously they've made the whole campaign very personal for the kids; Eli was so excited to bring money for another little boy that likes to play soccer. He even told me why we were giving him money. ('Because he doesn't have any to buy food and toys with.') So cool. After breakfast (after he reminded me three times) I gave Eli a $20 bill to put in the collection for both he and Maddux. And as soon as we arrived at the church, he rushed over to the box and deposited the bill before I even realized what he'd done. So proud of my little man!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bobsy Twins

So I picked out clothes for the kids' first day of VBS and then realized (after they were dressed) that they both had orange shirts on. This was unintentional, but not offensive enough to change them. Later that night, when I got ready to pull their clothes for the next day, i actually thought about it and had them sorta match again (both with light blue shirts). I thought it was kinda cute, even though I've never dressed them alike before. I tried for three days in a row (Maddux in a red dress and Eli in his red and black basketball gear), but Eli pulled the plug on it; complained that the shirt's inside itched his stomach. When I dropped them off at VBS this morning, one of the teachers for their group commented right away, "Oh, they don't match today!" Guess I wasn't the only one who noticed!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Models A-Plenty

I had a ramped up photo shoot last weekend with many many willing models. Here are the best ones. SO fun! (Click on any pic to see the full selection.)

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Doggie Love

Maddux has always been a little leery of dogs. When she was much smaller it seemed to be a size issue. If the dog was a lap dog, she was fine, but labs and other larger canines frightened her. We have a few neighbors with VERY nice, large dogs that she has become quite used to. But even with them, Maddux will go in and out of friendship with them. And lately she's been very skittish of all animals, even a very small, very friendly cat that has visited our cul-de-sac several times in the last week. Eli has pet the kitty and had no bad reactions, but Maddux has been terrified.

When we started down this road of house renovation, the question came up: where would we stay? (For two months, for crying out loud!) As usual, D stepped up to the plate, but so did a few neighbors. A few neighbors who also have large dogs that Maddux is somewhat familiar with. That made me so happy because I knew it would be a chance for her to see the dogs consistently, and also in a calm state at times, opposed to the usual 'play' setting they usually interact in together.

So we've been at one of the 'new' houses for less than ten hours, playing with the dog on and off for the last 24-hours and Maddux is already great pals with Jessie. LOVE it. She came in two times today and started asking Jessie, "Are you hungry, Jessie? Here's your food, Jessie. You wanna dwink water, Jessie? Isss really good for you!" So cute. And she has been petting her. And hugging her. Maddux always has her eye on Jessie, and doesn't allow any sudden movements to be made without her knowledge, but all in all we are on a good path.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The 'Hawk

Eli has been asking for a 'number two' for about a month. When I cut Lehr's hair, we use a 'number two' on the clipper. And since Eli wants nothing more than to be just like Daddy, he's been begging for the same haircut. Lehr and I were very hesitant as the last time we gave him a summer cut it took close to nine months to grow out again. And his 'drummer hair' has taken quite a cute shape lately. Nevertheless, we decided to bargain with him. If he wanted a buzz cut, he'd have to do a mohawk for a week first (to give it a shot). We reached a compromise!

Our week has been spent packing like maniacs, but we took a quick break right before dinner to fulfill Eli's wish. We went on the back porch and I started buzzing away. SO much soft, curly brown hair ended up on my deck... Lehr told him that we should have saved it all to give to another kid (like for Locks of Love), even though we knew it wasn't really enough hair. In response, Eli told us, "I could give it to Gramma Caffee." I can only assume that was triggered by her comments to him about how much she wishes she had his hair.

When we finished, we had a very thick, very heavy mohawk. Eli liked it, but even with gel and blow-drying, it wouldn't stand up. Lehr trimmed the long parts again to cut down on the weight. Eli says he likes it, but he also asked me right away, "How many more days do I have before a number two?"