Saturday, July 15, 2017

Eli is Five Years Old!

Five feels so grown-up to this mama!  Eli has become so much more independent in his fifth year of life.  He is energetic, inquisitive, talkative, impulsive at times, empathetic, and brilliant.  He is learning what it means to be a big brother and usually treats Ben well.  Five is an enjoyable age in lots of ways, and we are often entertained by what we call "Eli-isms"- some of our favorites are when he says he has a "head-ick" (Headache) and when he asks for "Makeup syrup" on his panckes.

Some stats:
Height: 44 inches
Weight: 38 lbs
Clothes: size 5T.  We need the 5's in pants for the length but we have to pull the elastic tabs in all of his pants ALLLLL the way in - he is a skinny guy!  There have been times when he's accidentally put on his little brother's 3T shorts without noticing.
Shoes: Size 12.

Likes: playing with cars, trucks and any sort of vehicle (especially his Hot Wheels), playing outside, telling "jokes" (they don't make much sense yet, but he's starting to understand the concept of humor), watching TV (Power Rangers, Ninjago, Paw Patrol), bathtime, playing with big kids, playing on his tablet.

Dislikes: new experiences (he can go either way on them), fulfilling a non-desirable request, being still.  He has made a LOT of progress on tolerating haircuts!

Food: Eli is very thin but is generally a good eater, sometimes eating a lot in one sitting and sometimes not as much. His favorites include: carrots, green peas, chicken nuggets, lunchmeat and cheese, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, yogurt, pretty much any kind of fruit....he will generally try new foods but usually doesn't enjoy them until he tries them several times.  He enjoys helping in the kitchen.

New Developments: the biggest change in Eli's life this year was definitely starting preschool.  He started out going for half the day (until lunchtime), and when mom went back to teaching he started staying for the full day.  He loved going to school for half the day but had a hard time adjusting to the longer full day.  He made great strides in his learning.  He knows all of his letters and the sounds and can count to 20 reliably.  His handwriting is improving rapidly and he can form most letters and numbers.

Some pictures of Eli's fifth year of life:

Picking blueberries with the ever-youthful Great-Grandma Lynda.

We ordered the "large" sub sandwich for Eli and mom to split.  We didn't know just how LARGE it would be!  Sometime's this kid's face slays me.

Florida babies at the beach!  Saint Augustine, Florida.

Cousins.  Only a month apart and so much love between them!

Joie De Vivre - this kid has it!

Eli has started to dabble with taking pictures.  We'll work on it.

The only time this kid is still!

I love this picture!  With grandma at the library (it got a little intense).

Eli got to see where Grandpa works!

First day of pre-K!  

Doing a little yoga with mom.

Choosing a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch.

Funhouse mirror shenanigans at a children's museum.

This guy's personality just bubbles over sometimes!  This is the pose he chose when I asked him to let me take a picture of him on a hike on North Carolina.

Lighting the Advent wreath with dad.  When he learned that Christmas Eve had finally come, he said "Oh boy, I finally get to light the red candle!"  What is it with little boys and playing with fire??

Happiness is having friends who take the time to play lightsabers with my kids.

With mom's parents (aka Pappy and Gigi)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ben is Two Years Old!

We celebrated Ben's second birthday with much thankfulness.  Our lives have been undergoing a lot of change as of late, and Ben has adjusted well to all of them.  Ben is a delight to our family, is learning to be a good playmate to his big brother, and is changing fast!  

Some stats on our big boy:
Weight: 35 lbs
Height: 35 inches
Clothes: 2T
Shoes: 5
Diaper: cloth and size 5

Likes: stamps, imitating big brother, opening the refrigerator and dishwasher (we're working on that!), clapping and saying yay

Dislikes: being told no, haircuts, new Foods, having his hair washed

Stages: Ben is at that stage where he gets ahead of himself while walking fast and will wipe out quite dramatically. He also is at the echo stage - he will say words back to you when you say them to him.

Food: Ben has proved to be a picky eater. Although big brother Eli went through a picky stage at this age, it was never as severe. We are hoping that our policy of continuing to offer him foods and encouraging him to try new foods will work like it did with big brother!   Ben's favorite food is definitely chicken nuggets. I think he would eat chicken nuggets and applesauce for every meal if we let him!  He also likes veggie straws, which we discovered from school.

Sleep: Ben usually naps for 1.5-2 hours after lunch, a schedule he follows at school as well. Bedtime is at 7:00 and he usually sleeps until 6:30-7 the next day. This is one thing we definitely like better versus the newborn stage!

One of the biggest pieces of news in Ben's life is that he started attending preschool when mom and dad both started teaching. He was enrolled in the one-year old class at the same school as Eli and finished out the school year there. He did surprisingly well adjusting to this big change in his life. It took about a week for him to be comfortable with being dropped off, and another two weeks to be comfortable with being picked up. It was like he would suddenly remember that we had been gone all day once he saw us approaching!

Some pictures from Ben's second year:

Sitting on a lawn mower at Home Depot with a fresh temporary tattoo - life is good!

Mommy and Ben both love a good tire swing!

Blueberry picking.

At Cousin April's wedding in May 2016.

Ben loves his Aunt Em and all of his cousins!

Two cool dudes.

Love that belly!

With Grandma and Grandpa.

Little ones look so angelic when they sleep!

Playing on the beach in Saint Augustine.  He sat on the sand and let the waves lap over him - he loved it!

Yep, this one's mine. Notice the stitches on his nose from an ill-fated attempt to climb out of the bathtub.

Ben started attending Kindermusik classes in the fall.  They are a bit chaotic but lots of fun!  

Fall 2016 at the pumpkin patch.

With Pappy and Gigi.

He loves his puppies!  Both of our dogs are so good with the boys - and for that we are grateful!

Opening up a Christmas present with daddy.  He loved ripping wrapping paper this year!

He'll be driving for real before we know it!

When this look comes out, you just KNOW he's up to something!

The wonder of childhood!

It's hard to resist this face!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My First Refrain

Mike lost his job last June. Or was it July?  I can't even remember now. The exact timing isn't important, what is important is that it sucked. I know losing your job is never ideal, but this one hurt in a deep, personal way. It was sudden and unexpected and represented a betrayal of so many dimensions that I don't know if I'll ever be able to fully articulate them all. And really I don't know if doing so is all that important. Because the bottom line is, we're still here. We lie awake at night wondering what our next step is. Our friends and family seem to think that we will find our way, and for awhile I thought we would too, but to be honest I haven't felt that way in awhile. Now I just feel like this is our new normal. Struggling to make it, to find our way. I used to tell myself that one day I would look back on all this and it would seem distant to me, and perhaps one day I could even be grateful for it. I've lost that completely.  And for the first time in 8 months (9 months?) I feel like I have the words to begin to write it down. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Eli is 4.5 years old!

We remain in awe of how much Eli has grown and changed over the last 6 months.  Every bit of our toddler has vanished without a trace, and we now have a loud, precocious, affectionate, capable preschooler! 

Some stats:
Height: 44 inches
Weight: 37 lbs (note: only 7 lbs more than Ben!)
Clothing: 5T.  Still very skinny – we have to use the pants with the adjustable waistband and pull it alllllll the way in!
Shoe Size: 11
Food: Eli is a pretty good eater, although he has to be encouraged to try new things.  Some of his current favorite things to eat are: cheese sticks, sliced lunchmeat, any fruit, green peas, and carrots.

Likes: board games, legos, cars….pretty much anything typical “boy”!
Dislikes: rest time, new foods

One of the biggest milestones that have happened is that Eli has started attending a half-day preschool program in town.  It has been wonderful for him!  He enjoys school and the friends he has made.  

Eli loves to learn!  The biggest gain we have made is his curiosity regarding letters, spelling, and vocabulary.  He is always asking about what letters make up a word and the meaning of words.  He has a lot of questions throughout the day!  He has also become much more articulate (strangers can usually understand him now!) 

Eli loves music.  He attends Kindermusik classes and we have been very pleased with his increasing awareness of music in his life.  He loves to sing and has an ever-increasing repertoire.  He also has a pretty good sense of rhythm! 
With Ms Sharon, his wonderful  Kindermusik teacher!

Eli is a really good big brother.  He is surprisingly tolerant of Ben and has been working on being more understanding of Ben’s baby-ness.  He loves to make his little brother laugh!

Other fun Eli facts:
Eli has gotten astonishingly independent.  There have been several times over the last several months where I have gone to do something for him as usual and then suddenly realized “Oh, he can probably do that himself!”  I will admit that it is nice to be able to tell him to go do something and have him just do it.  He is also entering the stage where he can sometimes not just “help,” but actually be helpful!

He loves a good joke, and has started trying to make up his own.  We’re working on that!  

Some more pictures:
Blueberry picking with Great-grandma Lynda

I love that he is usually willing to smile for pictures!

We ordered the "large" size sub to share.  We didn't realize just how LARGE it was!

He loves doing yoga with mom!

Lemon face!  His expressions kill me sometimes.

Babywearing?  More like gatorwearing!

Dancing with cousin Sarah at April's wedding.

With some cousins.

He loves his cousin Josiah.  They are only a month apart and when they get together there is no stopping them!

Gigi undewent chemotherapy treatments, and while Eli had questions, he was surpisingly unphased by it all.  

Oh ya know, just climbing to the top of the tallest thing and jumping.  Giving mom gray hairs!

Sick day boy.

With his buddy Davis.

Craft time!

These two....Eli said Amanda needed a necklace!

I see the baby he used to be when he sleeps!

With grandma at the library.  Storytime got a bit intense.

Visiting grandpa at his office.

We went to Medieval Times.  To say that he enjoyed himself would be a bit of an understatement!

Doesn't everyone wear goggles to do yardwork?

Delivering a birthday surprise to cousin April at work!

Just checking some tire pressure with our friend Glenn.

When daddy cleans out the freezer and has a bucket full of ice chips....we Floridians make snowballs!