Monday, February 28, 2011


I've been trying for several months to teach Eli to tie his shoes. One main obstacle is his refusal to be open to teaching in this area; he's a *little* stubborn like his mama. So when I sit down with him to work on it, regardless of how patient and 'gentle' I am, he never wants anything to do with it and he basically fights me every step of the way. For whatever reason, that changed last Wednesday during Maddux's ballet class. As I've done many times in the past, I suggested we bring the shoe-tie book and practice board to work on during he class and for the first time, Eli happily agreed!! It was not all smiles and giggles; he was very frustrated many many times, resulting in him sulking for a portion of our afternoon. However, he tied his own shoes once before we left ballet and he did it again the next day for Lehr. Even more exciting was when I went to school today and his parapro teacher told me she'd offered to help him when his laces came undone, but he'd told her, "Nope. I got it." All grows up!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

On The Stage

Maddux is at it again, singing up a storm. Today's selections were a Valentine song she learned at school and "Just The Way You Are".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I took the kids to the park to ride their bikes yesterday morning. They had a BLAST and did really well. Eli needs to work on his 'start up' with his bike, and the flat trail provided many opportunities for that. Maddux doesn't need help with anything on her training wheels; she's an animal! Later that day when Lehr got home, he took them into the cul-de-sac and practiced more, catching some video at the same time.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Best Sunday Ever

We had an awesome day yesterday. It started with FIA and only got better. After we finished our morning of service, we went home to ride bikes, eat lunch and catch a few winks. Once Maddux woke up, we headed west to grab some dinner. There was a particular area I wanted to scope out for some photo shoots, so we picked a casual restaurant in that area. The kids loved the food and had a good time hanging out with Daddy while I ran in and out, trying to get a few shots before the sun left us. There just so happened to be a Yoforia a few doors down from the restaurant, so you KNOW Lehr was pushing for a 'special treat' after dinner. I caved and everyone cheered. While we were eating our yogurt, the kids were being really sweet to each other, and they even posed for a few pictures for me. In the midst of all the wonderfulness, Maddux calls out, "This is the BEST family ever!!" She said it later, in the car, also. I couldn't agree more.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Faith In Action

As we've done before, we brought the kids to Faith In Action this morning with the intention of them participating. Since I'm always running around shooting pictures, that means they work with Lehr, if possible. Maddux usually has to end up in childcare at some point, due to her boredom or the 'danger factor' of the job at hand, but Eli hasn't been in childcare during an FIA in a long time....he has been helping at all of them for over a year now. This one proved to be the most enjoyable for him yet. Lehr was able to work with a friend to build some big, sturdy wooden tables for the football team...I think for water coolers. Eli got to use a drill, measure the wood, get covered in sawdust, and hang out with Daddy and some big boys all day. Maddux had a good time with her friends in the gym also; her favorite part was worship at the end, of course. Dancing around in a gym with hundreds of people watching? Right up her alley....

Today was especially great because of Eli's attitude; he has had a rough time lately, especially in heart matters concerning the family. But today found him happy, grateful, caring, and giving. Life is good! (Here is a short segment from the news that light, featuring Lehr's back :) )

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ups and Downs

And down and out. These last few weeks have been challenging to say the least. We're going through a very 'fun' phase with Eli involving sneaking to do things without permission and mouthy disobedience. Our house is not exactly what I'd call 'enjoyable' at this time...I'm sure Eli and Maddux are wondering what happened to their parents, because the drill sergeants we've become are unrecognizable, even to us. One of the main consequences Eli has earned lately is the tried-and-true 'sit on your bed'. Twice in the last five days he's had to do that for an entire afternoon. After dinner, he was released for a short amount of time before baths. And after that storm, the rainbow came out, brighter than ever...

Both of the most recent occurrences have resulted in Eli using less than respectable verbal jabs. He does a lot of "Weeeeeell, YOU don't get to make the rules" and (we all know this one) "You're not even a nice mommy". Once dinner rolls around and we talk about his time-out time, he's somewhat calm and we have a great dinner. Then comes the best part. He plays with Maddux so nicely and so attentively that I can hardly believe it. This is the exact conversation between them last night, as they were running around and playing with stuffed animals together:
M - "Eli, I love you!"
E - "I love you too."
M - "Are you my best friend?"
E - "Of course I'm your best friend, Max."

I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own two eyes. But why does it have to take him sitting out for hours to then be so kind to his sister?!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just The Way You Are

Never were words more true....Maddux is so this song...she is amazing, she is perfect, she makes my world go round.

Recently we were in the car, listening to music and singing along as always. When we got to this song (Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are"), Maddux asked some questions and since they she's sung along. She will even sing on her own when playing in the house. Usually while she's wearing one of her many princess dresses....of course.

It really hit me as I heard her singing, "Dere's not a thing I will change" (cuz you know she changes words around sometimes)...that song is so how I feel about my daughter these days. She is silly and funny and challenging and happy and beautiful and headstrong and social and confident and amazing. Amazing. I hope she always has the confidence in who she is as she has right now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

So Girly

Maddux loves to comb her hair. Here, she is, as always, paying attention to what is going on in the other room (Eli reading "Cat and the Hat", while also focusing on making her locks silky and smooth.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Buckle up. This one is bound to get long and rambly.....

Starting a few weeks ago we started becoming aware of a few trust issues where Eli was concerned. With each one, we felt we dealt with it swiftly, calmly, and very fairly. However, things kept happening, and he continued to break our trust. That culminated in this week when, twice in two days, Eli was MIA, out of our house. The first time it was as easy as he was in the front yard when I was looking in the back yard and vice versa, but he was being sneaky and disobedient. Big talks, removal of privileges that depended on our trust in him. The very next day (not 24 hours later!!) Eli left our house and walked close to a mile away. Let that sink in, because it still hasn't with me. He is FIVE. He wasn't running away. My very methodical and practical child had a plan of action and an end place in mind. However he and I had just discussed this plan (the end point, not the walking) an hour earlier and the answer was 'no', mainly due to the previous day's actions. Thankfully I became aware of his absence almost immediately and was able to drive to his end location and pick him up before any harm was done. But there were no words...there are STILL no words to describe the fear and helplessness I felt in that time. And it got worse once I had him safe at home and realized that he had done this all on his own.

As much as Eli is a regular kid who disobeys (as obvious in this post!), he is very Type-A, he is a rule-follower and enforcer, and he likes boundaries. He is the child who will still come ask me if he can use the bathroom in the middle of the night instead of just going. He is the kid who doesn't leave our side in large public places for fear of getting separated from us. So now Lehr and I are thrust into the world of parents who have been made aware that they actually DON'T know their children as well as they think. That was a club I was hoping to avoid joining until at least Jr. High....

So, consequences, removal of privileges, many many many many talks and lectures. This morning gave me hope. On the way to church, the kids and I were talking and having a great time. Lehr was not with us because he went in very early to prepare for the worship set he was playing. Eli kindly told me, "Daddy said I could go early with him next week." (Eli usually does go in, but that is a big kid privilege, so it did NOT happen this morning.) I reminded Eli that as much as Lehr loves having him go in early with him, it probably wouldn't happen for a while because he (Eli) had broken our trust. Then I talked a little more about what that meant and how long it takes to build that trust back up again. (This was really a conversation and not a lecture; I promise!) I reminded Eli that it takes several times of trusting someone to build up trust, but just one time to break that trust. This morning Eli got up from bed, went to the bathroom and then went back to his room to play (as we expect him to). I told him that his actions this morning showed me that I could trust him, and that type of behavior would help build up trust again. Not a minute later from the backseat I hear, "So I need to build up like blocks to a building."

Hello, God...Thank you!!

"Yes!! That's exactly what I'm saying, Eli! Each time you show me I can trust you, you build up one more block and we need to build a big building of trust to do the 'big kid' stuff. And when you do something that shows I can't trust you..."

"...I knock the whole building of blocks down."

Wow. I'm so not the one in control of this is taking all of the right turns and I am utterly amazed at the work God is doing.

So so so excited that Eli is (hopefully!) understanding this now. These past few weeks have really scared me and I'm hoping we build that building up again soon.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

That girl is full of life. And full of words. The things that come out of her mouth crack me up on a daily basis. I end up posting maybe 1/4 of them via Twitter, but so many slip through the cracks and I forget them by the time I sit down at the computer. Here are just a few from the last few days:
  • We have many 'dance parties' in our house, usually mid-day when it's just me and one or both of the kids. The other day Maddux told me (mid-spin), "You dance better if you have these pants and this shirt on."
  • Walking into the YMCA the other day, I asked Maddux to hold my hand and keep it warm. "Just put it in yer pocket." she told me. "But, I don't have any." "Welllll.......try to get one, Mommy!"
  • We play a lot of music in the car, and the kids learn lyrics pretty fast (that is not such a good thing these days). After about a week of a particular Beastie Boys CD playing almost exclusively, Maddux yelled out "What! What!!!" mid-song one day, all on her own. She has arrived.
  • We got another dumping of snow last night. Today when we were driving out of the neighborhood, Maddie asked, "Mommy, when are the penguins comin' out?" Took me a minute to even ask her what she meant. "When it snows, the penguins come." I love three year old logic!!
  • More dance parties. More music and dancing. And Maddux is the biggest dancer, wiggler, mover of them all. She will not stop for anything. Last week she told us, "I dance to all these songs, cuz that's my job. I'm tired, but I still have to do it."
  • When things get particularly 'ugly' between Maddux and Eli in the backseat we have what we call "silent car". No talking for some set period of time. Lately when Maddux has become frustrated with Eli's need to control everything she does, she'll give an emotional, "Don't talk to me that way! I want a silent car!" Then she'll cross her arms and turn her head towards the window. 3 or 13???
  • This morning I told Maddux, "God gave you a beautiful heart." Her response? "I know! I wanted Him to make it pink and He did!"
  • The other day the three of us walked down the hill after picking Eli up from the bus stop. I noticed a small scratch on the bridge of his nose that wasn't there the day before. I asked him if it happened at school and immediately Mad Dog chimed in with, "Did you cry or were you tough as nails?"

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

All It'll Cost You Is Your Voice!

I woke up with a scratchy throat today and over the course of the day it developed into almost total laryngitis. Eli hadn't heard my voice progressing throughout the day like Maddux had, so when I picked he and a friend up from Brainy Builders today, it took him by surprise.

"Mommy, did the Sea Witch take your voice?"

Eli was totally grinning at his joke (based on The Little Mermaid, which he and Maddie watched for the first time a few weeks back). He was being funny and he knew it.

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Maddux and I were hanging up her clothes and listening to music. Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" came on and Mad Dog started to sing along. As usual, she stopped and asked me about lyrics.

"Mommy? Why does this boy not want her to change?"

I explained that he loved her just as she was because God made her perfect and there is no reason for her to change that. We talked a little more with me giving not-so-subtle hints that she should NEVER put up with anyone asking her to change for their benefit. Later in the song I asked her if she needed to change anything about herself.

"Nope. God made me perfect so I don't hafta change."..... "But I still change my clothes!!" Can't take the goofy out of that girl...