Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Civil War Camp

Last summer I came across some information about Civil War camps offered at the Atlanta History Center. Unfortunately for Eli, it was too late to sign up, but we kept it in mind for the future. This summer found us in prime position to have Eli attend the camp that centered on the battles in Georgia.

Eli LOVED it. He's always been interested in history, especially the Civil War, so this was right in his wheel house. Each day last week, Eli spent seven hours with a handful of other kids, learning about the War and the battles through discovery walks on the campus, activities where they made cartridges and war-time foods, learning how to do re-enactings, learning how to hold weapons (practices with golf clubs), and many many classroom type discussions. We will definitely be participating in this camp again!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Overnight Camp

Eli just returned from sleep-away camp.

Let me say that again:

Eli just returned from being away from us for a week, living in a cabin with 10 other boys and 2 counselors, having the time of his life playing any sport or outdoor game known to man, staying up until 10PM each night, and grinning so hard and for so long that his face surely ached each night.

After two summers of participating in Winshape's day camp, we finally let Eli pack his overnight bag. (It helped that his best friend, Drew, would be attending for the first time as well.) For a full week before, Eli and I packed and repacked, checked and rechecked the list, and talked about all of the many things he would do. To say we were excited would be an understatement.

The first day of camp, we all drove Eli up to Berry College. The campus has a long entry into the campgrounds, and staff of the camp could be found all over, giving directions, holding signs, and causing much excitement in our car. Before driving up to the cabin area, we had to check him in at the main hall. There was a small camp store, and we bought Eli a team shirt (he already knew his team), and a scarf/bandana thing. Then we found Eli's cabin (he was only the third cabin-member to arrive) and unpacked his bag, making his bed and putting his clothes in the drawer assigned to him.
It was all getting very real, for both him and I.

I could tell Eli was pretty nervous; he was crazy wide-eyed and not really able to focus on anything I said. Instead, all senses were on high alert and he was taking in everything around him in the cabin. At some point he insisted on putting on his bandana thing and shirt, as if in an effort to immediately fit in.

Once we had him settled, I could tell he was not ready for us to go, so we opted to walk him over to where Drew's cabin was to see if he was there yet. Luckily he was, so Eli had a chance to relax and touch base with his friend.
By the time we got back to Eli's cabin, several boys were out front playing some type of ball-game, so Eli quickly jumped in.
The week was a tough one for me, but the camp posted pictures each night. Of course I stayed up until 11PM when they became available so that I could scan them for shots of my boy. Each one told a great story about the time he was having. (Not that I doubted it!)
When we picked him up at the end of the week, he had made many new friends and the counselors all seemed to know him by name. It was so cool to see a big group of boys that had bonded together over songs and Bible verses and camp fires....just being boys.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Just. Let. Me. Sleep.

This could possibly be the cutest video we've ever posted. Maddux and I left for a date and the boys fed Ruby dinner. From the looks of how it affected her, she had something similar to Thanksgiving dinner.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Fork It Over

I've been working with Ruby for a while on fork-feeding. Not me to her, but the other way around. This video was only the third time we worked on it. Not bad! I don't think she put the fork anywhere other than her mouth this whole meal. This video also shows Ruby's newest speech trick: saying "MMMMM" for 'more' (she dropped the sign last week).

Friday, July 04, 2014

Pool Party

Maddux asked for a pool party this year, which she's done many years already. With a July 3rd birthday, it's one of the most logical options! Instead of just friends, we invited the families of her guest list to join us for pizza and cookie cake and swimming. Even though her birthday falls in a holiday week, she still had a great turnout. Unfortunately, the pizza did not arrive until much later than it was supposed to, so we had swimming, cookie cake, and THEN pizza later. Not that she cared :)

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Ode to Maddux

Here we are again. July 3rd. Lucky #7
This last year has found you rocking 1st grade, having a blast on swim team (your last time in the 6U division), losing your first few teeth, doing more photo shoots for Mommy's practice, mountain biking and hiking, and continuing to be that sunshine in everyone's day.
Swim Swim Swim...you love to swim! You've got such a talent for it, too. This season you swam with the 7-8's for practice even though you had to compete with the 6U group. A few times the coaches did need you to swim up for a relay and you always rose to the challenge. Because you were such a strong swimmer this season, you qualified for county also. And at county, you did really well in both events, earning a 7th place in the 25backstroke and 10th in the 25 freestyle (the best showing of anyone on the team under 10 years old!).
Unfortunately we did have lice for the first time this year. Eli's class (and pretty much the whole school!) became quite full of it just before Halloween. He brought home one bug that may or may not have spread to you. We combed through your hair so many times I thought every piece would fall out of your head! As usual, you were a rockstar through it all, never complaining about the many many MANY times Mommy made you get a comb-through last fall.
In the last year we have seen your faith become stronger; you make comments in your everyday life that indicate what Jesus means to you. This makes your dad and I so happy, Maddux. You are the hands and feet of Jesus to so many people around you, even without you realizing it. You make and leave friends and family nice notes, you help kids who need a friend or assistance, you think of little gifts to give friends when they come to visit you...
One of my favorite things about this last year has been the "Between You and Me" journal you and I have started keeping. I love learning new things about you, Maddux. I hope that we keep a journal like this forever!
Your awesome fashion sense hasn't wavered at all; you are still mixing colors and matching patterns that no one else would have put together, and it always turns out fabulous. Whenever I put a good outfit together for Ruby and someone compliments me on it, I give you the credit because you have taught me how to dress. Pair that with your awesome goofy-ness, and you are the person that makes everyone else smile. You are beautiful, inside and out, Maddux!
You love the outdoors. This last year you started building a little 'house' in our side yard with your dad. If you're not working on that, or playing in the creek, you're climbing the trees in our cul-de-sac, or reading in the grass. I love that you love being outside!
Obviously the biggest event for you in the last year was becoming a big sister. And what a big sister you are! You are the first one in line to pick out Ruby's clothes, change her diaper, entertain her, feed her... Whatever she needs, you are more than willing to provide. I cannot begin to tell you how amazed I am by your innate ability to care for and about Ruby. You are the best big sister God could have picked out for her!
At the end of the summer you will attend your first all-day camp at Winshape. I can't wrap my brain around you being old enough to do that! We've already talked about second grade and all of the other big things that take place when you are seven.
We're not ready, Maddux. Please stop getting bigger!

Therapy Update

We are still working on the crawling, but Ruby is progressing more and more with that each day on her own. The next stage in PT is getting her to pull herself up from the ground. Correctly. She's a pro at pulling up from a small seat, but from the ground is different. She basically tries to do a pull up and doesn't use her leg strength if left to her own devices. I've been working on helping her do it correctly for a little while though, and after just one session with her therapist, she's doing it almost exclusively successfully AND correctly.

*Note: I do not always use food as motivation, but after she's worked on a skill for a long time and I finally remember to pull out the camera, Ruby needs a little coaxing to still be interested.