Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Break

What a week, and it's not even over yet! This week was Spring Break for both kids, so we decided to take a trip. Good friends of ours moved to Ohio about a year ago, so spur of the moment we decided to meet them at the halfway location for a few days of fun. Cumberland Falls, Kentucky is where we ended up!

We arrived at the cabin just after lunchtime on Sunday. The family we were meeting had three of their four kids with them: a second grade boy, a first grade girl and a three year old girl. Our kids all played together very well in the past, but they hadn't seen each other in so long that we were not sure what would happen. They took all of about one minute to reacquaint and then hit the ground running. The girls all played in one of the bedrooms and Eli and Titus (the boy) went outside and found rocks and mud to play in. We went for a short hike at the falls and then came home for dinner and a fire. The kids were having so much fun that we had to separate them at bedtime just so they could sleep.

The next morning we got up and had a big breakfast before heading out to the river for some kayaking. Maddux rode with me and Eli went with Lehr. They all enjoyed having their own paddle and helping. We had to stop at the grocery store before dinner, so our car went into town while the other family went back to the cabin. Eli and Maddux were sleeping in their carseats not three minutes after we left the river.

Once we returned 'home', we quickly changed and then drove up the street to a horse farm in hopes of getting a quick ride before dinner. Horses are not something I have any experience with, but I thought the kids would love it. All five kids got to ride the pony by themselves for a few minutes and then we saddled up on the real horses. The BIG horses. Eli went with me and Maddux went with Lehr, but the saddles were not big enough for two, so Eli was very squished and uncomfortable the whole time. There were a few kinda crazy moments on the horses, and about ten minutes in, the other mom asked if we could turn back. I was relieved! Eli and I and the mom and two girls went back and got off of the horses. Maddux and Lehr stayed though, and enjoyed a whole ride.

We finished the night with s'mores and this time the kids fell right asleep. One more big breakfast and the kids played all morning before we got on the road back to Atlanta. Maddux absolutely LOVED having two 'sisters' to play with. She adored taking care of Leah (the three year old) any way she could, and playing with Bekah (the 1st grader) made her day. Eli and Titus spent a lot of time playing catch and running around outside. It was a trip they won't soon forget!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Gem

It's almost over the top....Eli and Maddux get along so well most days that I KNOW it's gotta to move to a new phase of not liking each other soon. Until then, I'm loving every minute!!

Eli had two baseball games slotted for this weekend, so this last week there was much conversation about the 'schedule'. The last game we went to, Eli requested bubble gum and I told him if he wanted to bring a nickle for the game, he could buy himself some gum. So while we're driving somewhere this week, Eli asks (again) if he has a game on Friday night. When I answer affirmatively (again), he says, "OK, then I need to remember to bring ten cents." When I inquire about it, he says to Maddux and I, "Maddux, since you're so good in going to all of my games with a happy heart, I'm going to get a piece of gum for you and me on Friday." Pretty awesome, even if it was borderline 'bossy'.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Many times I have commented on how much I LOVE the phase Eli and Maddux are in, as siblings. For so long (so it seemed), Eli wouldn't give Maddux the time of day, and sibling playtime was non-existent. Not only do they play together now, but they really seem to enjoy each other's company and Eli even seeks Maddux out!

Recently we had a great weekend example of this. Saturday mornings usually find Eli waking around 7AM because his internal clock is used to getting up at 6AM for school. He and Maddux will sometimes play together or come and 'bug' Lehr and I to get out of bed. One particularly awesome morning, Maddux later told me that she woke up (around 7:30) to find Eli lying in her bed with her, kinda snoozing. He was waiting for her to wake up and play. (BTW - on this particular day, he did NOT come to our room first.)

One afternoon before our small group came to visit, I gave the kids the task of tackling the secret room for a solid five-minute clean-up effort. I expected much moaning and groaning from Eli, but instead, I heard him divvying up the work: "Maddux, you do the front part and I'll work on the back." It was really cool to hear them talking it out and working together.

In the same week, I was getting dinner ready and told the kids to go out front and start playing, and I'd join them in five minutes. As they were getting shoes on in the mudroom, I watched them negotiate what they wanted to do.
  • Maddux - "Should we do the same as yesterday where you throw the ball to me and I'll throw it to you?"
  • Eli - "Yes, but we need to work on grounders and pop-ups."
  • Maddux - "OK, so you throw me a grounder and I'll throw you a pop-up. Like 'grounder, pop-up, grounder'?"
  • Eli - "Exactly"
I couldn't smile any more if I tried.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Two Peas In A Pod

The weekends bring all sorts of new traditions for us as time goes by. Now that Eli is in school, he often still wakes early on Saturday mornings. He's usually pretty good about staying in his room and creating Lego masterpieces or drawing pictures and lists. A few months back, the two kids started getting up and playing together, which is cool. Some mornings we hear them playing chess or cards, loudly whispering to each other their protests with the other's move. I often hear Eli wake up and go rouse his sister so they can start playing immediately.

This morning was a new, awesome installment. The kids woke a little early; we had ball games, so that was just fine. We heard them playing quietly so we got up right away and got them moving in a productive way. Later this afternoon, Maddux randomly brought up something about the morning to me. I asked her, "Did you wake up on your own, or did Eli come in and wake you up?" She told me that she woke up and saw him lying in her bed, sleeping next to her. So she snuggled him and then they got up and played. If that's not awesomeness, I don't know what is!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Faith In Action

The kids joined us for another Faith In Action this morning. As usual, they worked with Lehr while I wandered around taking photos. The three of them started outside, working landscaping by pulling weeds and raking. After an hour or so, Maddux grew tired of it, so I took her and a friend to the gym to play with the other kids. Eli hung with Daddy for another 30 minutes and then he walked around with me. When we next saw Lehr, Eli re-joined him, just in time for mulching. This was a difficult task, but Eli loved it. He shoveled and shoveled the rest of the morning. Later, Eli commented that he was going to be sore the next day because his arms were so tired. I love that they have been so involved in so many FIAs!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Game Two

Maddux had her second softball game yesterday morning. She was so excited because she was playing her friend, Anni's, team. We got all suited up and went to the game as a family, which tickled Eli and Maddux both. (Eli had a scrimmage at the same time as Maddux's first game, so he missed her in action last week.)

Maddux did great, hitting by pitch once and off of the tee the next time. She played several positions, including pitcher, which allowed her to throw to first a few times. (Throwing is her strength; she's still a bit stand-offish when the ball is thrown in the air to her.)

My favorite part of the morning was how into it Eli was. He knew a boy at the field and the two of them played football for most of the softball game, but Eli did stick his head in the dugout a few times to converse with and encourage Maddux. I didn't notice the best part of this until later when Lehr and I looked through my pictures. When Maddux was up to bat the first time, Eli stopped throwing the football to focus on Maddux's chance at the plate. Love it!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Season Opener

Eli had his first game of the spring season this afternoon, after Maddux's game this morning. (Busy day!!) It was sunny, cool and absolutely perfect for baseball. Eli played short stop and 1st base. WOW - talk about excitement for him! Lehr and I both agree that his strengths keep him in the short stop/2nd base range, but every kid wants to play 1st base at some point. He hit a couple of good hits, but got thrown out at second base one inning. Eli is still the happy-to-play kid that doesn't get upset by an out here or there; life is good!

Thursday, March 08, 2012


This is Maddux's favorite expression. Truth be told, I use it, especially with the kids. Just cuz it's fun. As of late, I've heard Maddux use it on many occasions, most of the time, appropriately.
  • (After making three matches in a row during a game of "Rememory" with me.) "Three, Mommy! WHAT-WHAT?!?"
  • "Rock-paper-scissors-shoot! Paper covers rock..What-what!"
  • "What's for breakfast, Mommy?" "Pancakes." "WHAT-WHAT!!?"

Love that girl.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Mad Dog's First Softball Game

What a spring this will be. We got both Maddux's and Eli's ball schedules this week and it pretty much filled our calendar up until May. Yikes! Tonight Eli had a scrimmage at the same time Maddux had her first game. Lehr is assistant coaching Eli and I'm assistant coaching Maddux, so it was a night of divide and conquer. The good (?) news is that Saturday they both play, but at different times. So while we will be spending all day at a field of some location, at least we'll all be together.

The league we put Maddux in is very basic and 'loose'. Her game tonight consisted of each team going through their lineup completely while the other team practiced some fielding work. Then we switched. We did that twice by the time our hour was up. I got to lead the team tonight in the head coach's absence, which wasn't as scary as I thought. But that may be because I was on the field and not in the dugout while our girls were up at bat :) Since Maddux is one of three girls who can throw the ball with some distance and accuracy, I put her at pitcher for the second inning and she loved it. Even though she didn't hit any balls pitched to her tonight, she played well and had fun. Life is good.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Food Drive

It has been quite a week. A few months ago, we decided (as a family) to head up a neighborhood food drive to help a local ministry with their dwindling pantry after the holidays. Due to spring sports schedules, we weren't able to get as much help with the food pick-up as we'd hoped, but since we'd already planned on this date for the drive, we decided to just make it a full day event.

Eli's best buddy and family helped us out with a small amount of grocery bag distribution, but that was definitely the biggest job of the whole thing. The kids and I put in just over an hour Tuesday afternoon, but that barely touched our big neighborhood. Maddux and I still hit a handful of houses each day the rest of the week, before she went to school, and I ended up distributing about 100 on Thursday morning after I dropped her off at school. We WILL plan better for that portion next time.

The morning of the food drive was supposed to be rainy, but we were blessed with a little wind and lots of sun. We tackled the neighborhood starting at 10:00AM and were done before noon! Combined with Eli's friend's family, we collected about 100 bags, which we were able to drive to MUST Ministry immediately. The kids did a great job with loading and unloading the bags, and Eli was excited to be working with his friend (even though they were in separate cars). Hopefully this will be an annual event for us!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Teach Them As You Expect Them To Go....

For the last six months or so, we have had a verse displayed in the kitchen that we've been working on it. Each week (or so) we let the kids take turns picking the verse and the intent is to recite the verse throughout the week as well as look for it in action in their daily lives. The kids have enjoyed it and (at least for the week) they have done a great job of learning and remembering new verses.

This week it became obvious to me that they even understand the application of the verses, more than I'd imagined. Maddux and Eli were playing on the back deck while I was making dinner one afternoon. Eli got the basketball and started playing. Even though Maddux wanted to play, he told her that he wanted to play alone. She then grabbed the ball away from him and ran away. He asked her several times (in a voice I wouldn't call 'nice', but definitely not in a mean tone) to return the ball. When she refused, he came in and (calmly) told me, "Mom, I got the ball for myself to play and then Maddux took it. I asked her to give it back to me, but she won't so I'm coming to you."

This is exactly the way we've asked them to approach such a situation (basically, try to work it out between yourselves first), so I was super excited because Eli usually struggles with all of that AND calmness. I thanked him and then called for Maddux to come in and have a chat with me. I reminded her that taking something from a friend is not a good way to make them want to play. Then we quickly reviewed our current verse: Love your neighbor as yourself. She agreed that she doesn't like it when others take toys from her, so she shouldn't do that to Eli.

Off she goes, back outside. I hear her ask Eli again if she can play with him and he declines, a little harshly. She huffs and looks at him as she says, "Eli, you just gave me that red balloon today and that means you're nice, so you can't be mean to me. Love your neighbor as yourself." As solid as her delivery was, Eli was not convicted to share his basketball.