Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Eli is my son, through and through. One of the most obvious ways is through his lists. Even though the kids don't see 99% of my lists because they are on my phone, or on my workspace, or by my bed, I make a lot of lists. Things to do, errands to run, etc.

Eli is a list maker too. Every week I find a list of his, in his room or downstairs or in his backpack. Sometimes they are lists of animals, or books, or movie characters, but the ones that are more 'telling' to me are the lists of things to do.

This morning I found a list downstairs of items he wanted me to get at Publix. Love that boy.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Glimpse of the Harvest?

I have not been shy about documenting some of the hard and harder moments we've had with Eli. While fatigue seems to be the only common denominator, I'm still searching for the main 'trigger' that makes him change from a happy boy to someone so out of control with rage.

I'm posting tonight because a few times in the last two weeks, including today, I've witnessed Eli controlling himself very well in situations that normally would have found him arguing, disobeying, and maybe losing control. Hallelujah!

I'm fairly certain that those fits of rage will still show up, but these little glimpses of awesomeness have me so excited. Today the kids had swing shift parents: Lehr was with them from breakfast until 2PM while I was at rehearsal, and then we switched for the remainder of the day. While the kids were with Lehr, they were living it up. They had their special Saturday breakfast of waffles and eggs, basically dictated by them, followed by a fun birthday party with games and pizza and candy. They arrived to me after that party, having gotten whatever they wanted all day.

This can spell disaster for Eli because he has a hard time transitioning out of that mode. I knew I was pushing it when I informed the kids that we could play at the house (inside or out) for an hour, but then we were going for a walk/hike at a spot we used to visit weekly. Eli did not like that news and started to cry and complain. I told him it was his choice how he spent the next hour-ish, but Maddux and I were going into the other room to play a game. After ten minutes or so i checked in on him and he was calm as he decided to go out front to kick the soccer ball. When Maddux and I finished our game another ten minutes later, we joined him outside. We played for a bit before Eli's friend from across the street came over to play soccer with him, something they have really enjoyed doing for the last few weeks. Fast forward to the time when we needed to leave: Eli and his friend approached me five minutes prior to ask if they could go inside to finish a Lego project they started earlier in the week. I reminded Eli that we were leaving and we wouldn't be able to do that now, but that tomorrow we'd have plenty of time after church. Eli totally obeyed and told his friend he'd see him later. Then he picked up his soccer ball, put it away and went to the car.

After I picked my jaw up off of the ground, I got Maddux and myself into the car. Our trip to the horse fields was great; Eli was enjoyable and patient. He asked a few times about the time of day (hoping he could still fit in some playing when we got home), but he was never rude or persistent about it. When we arrived home, his friend was inside for the day, and Eli's response was, "We'll have time problem." (His normal response after a tiring, indulgent day would have been to whine and tell me that I'd made us stay too long at the fields, or that it was too far away and that's why he couldn't play now. There was none of that!)

So, deep breaths for Mommy. Lots and lots of thankful prayers. And validation that some of the things we are doing ARE working. My go-to verse has always been Galatians 6:9 - Do not be weary in well doing for at the right time, if you do not give up, there will be a harvest. I am resting in the possible glimpse of a harvest tonight!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Batter Up!

About a month ago we signed Maddux up for a low-stress softball league. This weekend was an introductory clinic to get the girls together before their first practice. Since Maddux has no baseball clothes of her own (and I know any 'street' clothes I'd send her in would be covered in Georgia clay), we dressed her in some of Eli's outgrown baseball stuff. She loved it. Even better, HE loved to share it!

We got to the field to find all girls, eight and under, working together for a warm up. Many of the girls were wearing cute pink pants and white t-shirts and I was grateful once again for having already stained baseball clothes for Mad Dog. After a quick talk and warm-up, they broke the girls into smaller groups to work on a few skills. Maddux stuck with her friend, Anni, the rest of the morning. The two of them got to hit off of the tee, throw and catch grounders, and do a little bit of 'soft toss' catch. She had a blast and can't wait to go back for practice on Wednesday.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day O Fun

Oh, if every weekend could end with a holiday Monday. :)

This morning I had boot camp, but the kids and Lehr were both off, so I came home to a peacefully sleeping house. I did some quick edits before they all woke up and then we hit the ground with fun stuff. While Lehr didn't consider it 'fun', Eli wanted to do BodyRock (a workout), so we did that first. Then we all had breakfast together, which is rare, even on the weekends. We did not have the "IHOP" breakfast, but it was close.

After we ate, we packed up some water and snacks and went for a hike. Eli has been more and more interested in history lately due some recent lessons on US Presidents. Since Kennesaw has cannons from the war at the top of the mountain, they served as great motivation to get him through the hike. Maddux did a lot of falling down due to her inability to travel at any speed other than 'full throttle'. She will have a nasty bruise (or four) on her leg, but is fine otherwise.

After our hike, we came home and played outside for the rest of the afternoon. It was such a nice, spring-like day today that Eli and I even played a game of chess outside, just to be outside. We finished off with dinner at our favorite pizza place. Both kids ate so much that we ate two full pies. I guess that much fun works up an appetite!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Perfect Gentleman

While Maddux was wheeling Lehr around the dance floor on Friday night during their Father-Daughter dance, Eli and I went on a casual dinner date. We often talk about holding doors open for people, offering a seat before you sit, etc, but we are not so good about practicing those manners. I thought this would be a 'non-nagging' time for me to work on Eli. He was able to see Maddux shower and fix her hair and clothing for her date, he saw Daddy do the same (minus the hair), so he opted for a shower and nice collared shirt as well.

Once in the car, I started talking about how the date would go with Maddux and Lehr. Daddy brought home flowers for his date, which I told Eli was a nice gesture to show a date. I also told him that if (when?!?!) Maddux goes on a date while she still lives in our house, the boy will come over to meet us and ask Daddy's permission to take Maddux to dinner or to a movie. Eli learned that Daddy had to do that when he asked me on a date, and it's a respectful thing to do.

When we arrived at the restaurant, I reminded Eli that it's polite for the boy to open the door for his date, so he got out and came around to the driver's side to open my door for me. (I'd purposely parked in a very safe place away from other cars or traffic.) We had a great dinner, and Eli never forgot to open the door for me the rest of the night, even when we got out of the car at on a quick errand after dinner. I do love that boy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Big Dance

Maddux went to her first dance last night, and she even had a date! A church down the street had a Father-Daughter dance, and we knew many families that planned to attend. So Lehr invited Maddux, got dressed up in a suit, and brought her flowers. Maddux and I bought new shoes and tights, she wore a fancy dress and jewelry, and we curled her hair. (That took quite a while as Maddux's hair does not hold curls well. After many failed attempts, I sprayed it with hair spray, then curled it, and then sprayed it again. Even with all of that, the curls lasted for the pictures, but not very long afterwards.)

Maddux was so excited about dancing with Daddy and going to a fancy date. She told me she danced on his feet and did the Chicken Dance with him, all before eating cake and having lemonade. That girl has it made!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Maddux's Big Heart

While in Sunday School this week, Maddux's class discussed loving with our whole hearts. The craft that followed was a coloring sheet containing their weekly verse. When I picked Maddux up, I noticed she had written her first and last name, and then "Eli". This is nothing new for Maddie; she often writes 'Eli', 'Mommy', and/or 'Daddy' on her papers. I decided to ask anyway, to see if she had a reason for writing her brother's name that day. Sure enough. She told me, "I wrote 'Eli' because he's my most favorite friend." Life is Good.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bodyrock, Y'all...

Sometime before the holidays I started doing short, intense workouts at home each day, called 'BodyRock'. Eli saw me do a few and asked to get in on it. I let him join me once or twice a week until he started asking me almost every day. Push-ups, sit-ups, weights, burpees....he participates in it all. Eli's newest thing is asking me every single afternoon, "Mom, when are we doing our BodyRock?" I love that boy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I am often away from the house when the rest of the family eats breakfast on Saturday morning. Lehr usually makes the kids pancakes or waffles and they joke about saving one for me (but they never do!). As of late, these breakfasts have expanded to include eggs, and now chicken or turkey sausage. This last week I got home from my run just as they sat down to eat, meaning I was able to join in the feast. I called it an "IHOP breakfast" because Eli's plate had pancakeS, eggS, and sausageS. And he ate every last bite and had more. Insanity!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Science Experiment

Eli was Butterfly of the Week in his class this week. That meant that he got to bring home the class mascot last weekend, make a special poster with fun facts about Eli, bring in pictures to share with the class, and perform a science experiment with a parent for the class. Oh joy.

You'd be shocked to learn that I have a degree in Elementary Education, given the amount of stress this type of thing causes me. Or to learn that I speak in front of a group of adults for an hour each morning. For some reason, teaching kids is different. And scary :)

Eli and I settled on a sound vibration experiment. We chose 6 or 7 small objects to place inside of a balloon before blowing it up. Then we'd spin the balloon around (causing the object to rub up against the balloon walls), to see what kind of noise, if any, it made. At home, the results were clear-cut: we made three groups based on the level of noise. Once we got in front of his class, it wasn't that easy, as it rarely is. To start with, Eli insisted on spinning the balloon each time, but he was so hyped up about being in front of his classmates that this turned into him shaking the balloon, creating nothing more than a 'thud thud' sound for each object. I did my best to rein it in, but the objects didn't 'perform' as well as they did when we tested this at home. In the end, the kids got to watch Eli play with a balloon for 10-ish minutes. End of lesson.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Big Boy?

At least once a week, Lehr drives Eli to school instead of him taking the bus. It allows for 30-40 extra minutes of sleep in the morning, and some days, that boy just needs it. Lehr informs me that since the holidays, Eli has started hopping out of the car just before the stoplight in front of the school. There is currently a police officer and a traffic guard there to help the kids cross the street, so it's not a matter of safety that is causing Lehr and I to pause. It's the whole 'I'm-big-enough-to-do-this-myself' feeling that Eli obviously has. As great as that is, it makes us both a little sad.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Maddux Musings

Maddux has an unlimited supply of crazy random thoughts that come out in every day conversation. I wish I could capture them all, but they are far too many and frequent. Here are a few from this week that I remembered:
  • One of Maddux's favorite books to read is "Beginner French", which is just a book full of pictures labeled with french words. She's always like to flip through it, but recently has asked for me to read it to her at bedtime, as if it were a story. Last night when I read it to her, she repeated the words to me, as usual, but with a very "Joey-from-Friends" flair to it. "Om-floo-fee! Sew-too-pew!"
  • For Mommy-Maddux-Monday this week, Maddux requested we go to the library. Or as she calls it, the 'live-berry'.
  • We had another one of our 'when I grow up' conversations this week. When I asked Maddux what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said "a mommy", as she usually does. Then I asked her if there was anything else she wants to be, in addition to a mommy. Her answer was, "Princess", as one might guess. The kicker was her response to my inquiry about what it is that a princess does: "Marry".
  • The kids have a few place mats for the table still, all with an educational theme. One of Eli's favorites has pictures and names of the Presidents of the United States. Maddux pulled it out for her own use this week and asked me several questions about them. Among the questions was, "Can only boys be presidents?" I told her that girls can be presidents too, but none have been yet. Then I asked her if she would like to be President one day. She shook her head and said, "Nah. I don't want that much 'sponsibility."

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Here We Are Again

Just one week ago Eli had yet another one of his infamous meltdowns. He got off of the bus happy, we had a great snack and 'post-school-talk', and then somewhere during the homework, he snapped. It happened as quickly as it always does; he asked me a question and I didn't give the answer he expected... One thing led to another with his meltdown and several consequences followed, angering and frustrating him more. I think that is the biggest struggle Eli faces right now: he is unable to calm himself down once he starts to realize the consequences of his actions. They anger him more, bringing on more consequences.

Now in a perfect scenario, these meltdowns start and end in his bedroom. I'm able to state my expectations for him and leave him to it. He may whine, yell, or stomp around, but he WILL come around. Once I'm out of sight, the fight is gone and he turns it around on his own. It's when these things happen in another setting, where I can't leave him alone (like the car, or a store, or another part of the house where Maddux and I are).

Today was particularly rough and, for the first time ever, I left him in his room (at 5:15PM) to stay for the night, without dinner. As expected, this was not received well by Eli and I actually had to hold the door closed so he couldn't get out. (Seriously, how awful does THAT make you feel as a parent?! To basically lock them in their rooms because they are so out of control you're worried the damage they'll do to themselves or others....horrible.) About five minutes (five L.O.N.G. minutes!) after I closed the door, he went silent, indicating that he had fallen asleep. Heartbreaking. I know I've said it before, but this parenting stuff is so NOT for the weak! Even though I knew that it was what needed to happen for Eli to calm down and stop hurting himself, me and the house, it caused all sorts of conflicting emotions in me. Had it been Maddux, I could have held her until she calmed down and then dealt with it. But Eli is so out of control in those moments, emotionally and physically, that everyone seriously must keep an arm's length distance away from him.

In the end, he woke up a few times before I went to bed, but not in the mood to discuss it, so we just got him back to bed where he immediately fell back to sleep. Lehr and I, of course, did not sleep well.
The next day Lehr and Eli had a big talk in the morning. It was well-received, as it always is after Eli calms down. Then after school, he and I had another talk. Consequences were discussed and carried out and all was right with the world. The remainder of the week was smooth as silk. The boy seriously could not have been more caring, loving, or obedient.

As expected, this outburst left me in a tailspin, questioning all parenting decisions Lehr and I have made up until now. In the end, I know most of what we're doing is right (for our family), but something is causing such anger in that boy and we are unable to figure it out.

Monday, February 06, 2012

A Runner Is Born

...or so I hope!

Eli has done a few short races with me. He always enjoys the fanfare, but doesn't ever seem to love the running of it when it gets tough. No matter how much I try to help him to pace himself and not get mad during the event, I'm never able to get through to him.

And each time I have a race that Lehr and the kids attend, Eli talks about running again, and how he wants to start training with me so he can do a 10K. I always remind him that I'm happy to train with him, but I'm not going to force him, so he's got to want it. He agrees and we plan a run for the following weekend. Then it comes time to get ready to go and Eli backs out, insisting we'll do it 'tomorrow'. He and I have been through that so many times that I don't hold any hope for the immediate future where running is concerned for us.

Eli's most recent request came just after my race at Disney. He asked if he could race there one day and I told him "Of course", just as I always do. We talked for a few minutes about training, but I hadn't given it any thought since then. Until this weekend. Eli asked me if we could run on Saturday. We had other plans that afternoon, but I told him we could on Sunday, only if he wanted to. We went to church Sunday morning and Eli talked about it a few times on the way, asking me if I was sure we could run after church. And would we run before bagels or after them. Again, I answered all questions and promised to run, but I still had my reservations that the run would take place. Eli loves to prove me wrong though, and he did by suiting up the minute we walked into the house after church.

I told him we were doing two miles, since he's done one several times already. I gave him some general 'advice' about pacing and warming up, and then we were off. Two hilly miles through our neighborhood. I didn't wear a watch so I have no idea of the pace, but what I do know is that Eli only paused to walk twice. And of those two times (two times in TWO MILES!), he only walked for the 10-20 seconds we'd discussed before we started. I was oh-so OH-SO proud. I could feel that our pace was pretty slow, but he kept running, even up the brutal hills. So impressive. I'm online, as I type this, looking for a 5K in the next month or so. If two miles was that easy for him, three will be nothing.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Land of Eli

A few fun things came up with Eli this last week. The first has to do with some growth in the feet area. Eli's feet have always been slow to grow. While that is great for our wallets most of the time, he's been wearing old soccer cleats for three seasons now. With a new baseball season around the corner, we tried on a hand-me-down pair that has been waiting for him for over a year now. And....they fit!! (I know that seems silly, but it's something that is a big deal for us.)

Eli is continuing to make strides in his role as big brother. A few days ago Eli was allowed some computer time to go onto Brainpop Jr. and watch some clips about Harriet Tubman and Lewis & Clark. He asked if he could show them to Maddux, so they climbed into the computer chair together to check it out. When I looked up from my work, Eli was whispering to Maddux, "That was 'emancipation proclamation'. Can you say that, Maddux?" So sweet....

Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Last Season

Eli had his evaluations for Spring ball today. Evaluations for his last season in the Shetland league. His last season of not being the little kid. Eli has participated in four seasons already; this one will be five. He's only missed one since he's been eligible, so we feel very comfortable in this league. So comfortable that I'm already getting nervous about next season. (Sooo silly, I know.) Next fall (or spring...whenever he plays again) he will be with big kids. Seven to nine year old kids. My little boy is little, and it will be very obvious next season. Probably as obvious as it was when he started baseball a few weeks after his fourth birthday.

This season will likely be his last chance to play the 'big' positions for a while. Last season was the first time he got a chance at it, and this will be his only other chance before he's thrown to much bigger wolves. But if the last two and a half years have taught me anything about Eli, it's that he's all heart, and his heart will get him through any new curve balls thrown his way.

Regarding his evaluation today, he did great. He hit a couple, caught a few pop flies, and totally sailed the ball to first three times in a row. Obviously all of the extra football practice he's been doing in the front yard has strengthened his throwing arm!

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Maddux has yet to show any real preference when it comes to sports. Since we are a very outside-and-play family, we are often throwing or kicking a ball of sorts after school and on the weekend. Maddux is always happy to participate whether it is soccer, baseball, running or jump rope, but she never seems to really love any of it. Her school offers Playball, a sports-oriented program for a short while after school one day each week. I thought it would be fun for her to 'explore' sports this way, so I signed her up for the spring. Turns out, Playball is a perfect fit for Mad Dog. She absolutely loves the bean bag tossing, hula hoop jumping, and ball is all right up her alley. Maddux loves it so much that she's told me a few times already (even though she's only attended two sessions), "Mommy, I wish I had Playball EVERY day."

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Ball Girl

For 2 1/2 years, Maddux has gone to countless baseball games and practices for her brother. She's taken part in hundreds of driveway games and drills, even when she was only an infant. And now, at age four, Mad Dog will be on a team of her own.

Lehr and I opted to not sign her up for the same league as Eli this season. She could be on the same team as her brother, making our lives MUCH easier. However, Maddux has yet to show a true passion for any sport, let alone baseball/softball, and given the more 'intense' schedule of his league, we worried it might make the game seem like more of a chore. Instead, we signed her up for the all-girl softball league that meets at the park across the street from our neighborhood. It is much more low-key AND she has a friend playing (we've requested to be on the same team).

This last week found me outside with both kids, going over a few 'drills' to get us ready for the season. For the first time ever, Maddux really got into it, squatting down to get the ball and focusing on her throws. And it held her attention for a long time! I am looking so forward to this season for her! And as much as she loves hitting, She does throw the bat after contact. The 'skill' of not throwing just moved to the top of our practice priorities.