Eli has just been soaking in so much about God lately. He is old enough to understand a lot of our discussions about Jesus, our prayers, and what he learns in Sunday school. He asks us a lot of questions, and sometimes it's hard to find the answers! A few weeks back he randomly said this verse. It really caught Brandon and I off guard because we hadn't taught him it. We realized he had learned it at church in Sunday school. He is so proud of knowing it and says it all the time! It's really encouraging to me that he loves church, loves worship, and is learning about all aspects of God! I told his Sunday school teachers that they are making a DIFFERENCE in these kid's lives and to keep up the good work! I finally caught him saying his verse on video!
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
After a week of very long hours (Brandon working 12 hr days to fill in for a coworker), we enjoyed a trip to the zoo for my sister's birthday. As a mother of five kids, she is an expert on finding free outings and the special events put on by some of the museums etc. The zoo was having a free weekend, which we knew would be insanely crowded, but we took the risk and had a blast! My nieces and nephew have only been to the Tulsa zoo once in their life, so it was wonderful to see their reactions to all the animals. We all had a great time and it didn't get crowded until we left. The highlight for all of us was the lions. While we were watching them, the lion cub moved over to the glass, which the male lion was not too thrilled about. The male came over and started attacking the glass trying to protect his baby. Once this happened, we all moved back and gave him some space. It was amazing to see. I NEVER want to meet one of these in the wild. I will pass on the safari! I am so impressed with our local zoo! It really is awesome! I look forward to future visits!
Friday, August 26, 2011
If you know me, you know I struggle with worry. It is a family curse. We are all struck with anxiety issues, disorders, etc. I feel like I've had a lot to worry about the past year with all of Eli's health issues, etc. I don't think I truly vocalized how much I worried about Eli the past year. Terrible two's + hospitalization + constant digestive sickness until we figured out he needed to be gluten free + speech problems +navigating a gluten free life = one stressed out Mama! I finally just spilled out all the worries that are swirling around in this crazy brain of mine last night on Brandon. He was sweet and just listened and reassured me, which is just what I needed. I guess I need to just say out loud that I am worried that Eli will be ostracised in school because of his speech problems and also because he is always going to be having to eat different things than the other kids. It's like a double whammy. I was feeling discouraged yesterday, and needed reminding of all the steps we've made. Brandon reminded me that Eli has friends despite the fact he isn't always understood. He and his best friend Seth are close as brothers, and his teachers rave about how good he is in Sunday School. I am SO thankful for how far he's come this past year. He hasn't been digestively sick in THREE MONTHS! This is huge for us! It is the longest he's ever gone without getting sick or having gluten issues. Praise God! It is a joy to watch him feeling GOOD for once. Also, in just three months of speech, he can now say several sounds he wasn't able to before. I was frustrated this week because he's started a new bad speech habit recently that the therapist has never seen before and is seeking out help on dealing with (on any word involving an s + vowel he puts an "l" sound after the "s", so sun is "slun" or sock is "slock". I let that one little detail drag me down instead of focusing on the positive. I do feel better saying it all out loud instead of just holding it inside! I think a lot of this has to do with the fact he is starting preschool in a week and a half and there are a lot of unknowns right now. I am in the process of trying to move him over to the public school system's speech program, so that's weighing on my mind as well. God is in control!
Monday, August 22, 2011
I have been searching craigslist for a Holland Lop rabbit for weeks (since Eli and Brandon finished the rabbit hutch), with no luck. They are the best breed for kids because they naturally have very sweet, gentle personalities. I got an e-mail that Exploration Place was having a special rabbit day where kids could come pet rabbits, learn how to take care of them, and there would be some up for adoption. We went not expecting to see the cutest baby mini Holland ever! It was too cute to resist! Eli named him Carrot! He'll be 2-4 lbs full grown. We brought out an old cage we had to use as a little indoor house until Fall when we'll move him to his outdoor hutch. He is already SO tame! Eli has spent all day holding him and talking to him. He is using his litter box pretty well and seems to like us :-). Eli has been fabulous about being gentle, and Cora is doing great most of the time (once in a while she pets a little rough). Eli has declared that he is a "daddy now" and thinks that "Rica needs to die and go to Heaven because she's old and I have Carrot now!" Poor Rica!
Friday, August 19, 2011
Eli is almost 3 1/2. The thought of "four" being on the horizen just feels SO crazy! In the last six months, we have seen so much change in him! He is growing and maturing and is losing his "baby" look. Every day I am surprised by how much he's grown. We have absolutely LOVED age three. The terrible two's are fading more and more into a distant nightmare! I can have long conversations with Eli now, and it is so fun! He talks loudly and non-stop. He is constantly saying the funniest things and catching us off guard with something he remembers. He is so smart and has a passion for learning. This age is so wonderful because he literally is a sponge soaking up at all we talk about on our daily adventures. At 3 1/2:
1. His favorite things to do are: marbles, cars/airplanes, jumping from the trampoline into blankets, making bird nests, wrestling with Dad or Cora, playing at the park, swinging, playing with Cora, cooking, playing educational computer games, walking Rica, listening to stories, reading books, running in the sprinkler, swimming at Cessna, snuggling, listening to music, playing with toy animals, going to places like Pump It Up, Botanica, and Exploration Place, getting ice cream, playing Memory and other games, painting, playing hide and seek, etc.
2. He loves traveling! He absolutely loves flying and talks about it all the time. His favorite places to go that he talks about ALL the time are my parent's farm, Lake Tahoe, and Texas. Traveling is easy with him now that he is older. He is wonderful on car trips or flying (and has no motion sickness). It's a real treat for him to get to sleep with Brandon when we're out of town (although Brandon never sleeps well because Eli moves around a lot at night).
3. He is SO sweet and affectionate. He gives us all a lot of hugs, kisses, and snuggles. I love that even though he is such an active little boy, he still will take time to snuggle and show us that he loves us!
4. He is talking so well! He has made a lot of improvements with the help of speech therapy and can now say his "s", "f", "v", "sh" sounds. "K" is still a problem, but he is making improvements. We are in the process of getting him into the school system's free speech program before we go broke (insurance doesn't cover ANYTHING involving speech)! During Cora's morning nap, I have always done a little special "learning" time with Eli. Now, we also work on his speech homework. He is such a great sport about it and works really hard! During speech itself, which is half an hour a week, he sits at the little table and does what Miss Emily asks him to! He really has done an amazing job...I am really proud of him! He has a great attitude and really enjoys going to speech.
5. He knows his ABC's, phonics, shapes, colors, numbers to 20, days of the week, can write his name with some help, can write correctly with a pencil, can recognize a lot of different signs and words, can sing a lot of songs, and more. He loves to learn, so I try to make it fun! The only area he has some difficulty in is cutting. I am curious to see how much that improves through preschool.
6. He loves books and reading. We read a lot of books a day. Some of his favorite books are: King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, Nurse Nancy, Doctor Dan, Walter the Farting Dog, all Little Critter books, Elijah the Prophet, Dr. Seuss's ABC's, Ferdinand the Bull, Twinkle and Boo, We Help Daddy, Snuffy has the Sniffles, Big Bird Brings Spring to Sesame Street, etc.
7. He still likes Elmo and Sesame Street videos and Veggie Tales also.
8. He is stuck like glue to Brandon when he is home. He wants to do whatever Daddy is doing. He loves helping him with projects in the garage or even running errands. Brandon loves to take him out on little guy outings to do fun things. They have a great time together!
9. He has a great sense of humor. He says the funniest things all day long and loves to laugh! I love being with him and listening to all the crazy things he comes up with!
10. His favorite sayings right now are, "Mmm...that looks GOOD!" and "That's AMAZING!"
I need to document all of the funny little things he has said over the past six months.
*He prayed, "Dear Jesus, thank you for Mommy, thank you for Daddy, and thank you for Easter Bunny!"
*He got mad and said, "I'm going to eat you Mom, I'm REALLY going to eat Mama!"
*I said, "Stop yelling like that!" and he said, "Mama, I'm yelling LIKE THAT!"
*If he gets mad sometimes say, "I'm not listening to my mom!"
*He went through a phase where he would say, "I ONLY want my Mom/Dad/my Cora"
*We were talking about how Jesus lives inside of us and about him being everywhere and he said, "Jesus is in my heart, Jesus is in my tummy, Jesus is in my penis!"
*He says he "wants to live at the farm" and be a "farmer"
*Before we went to Texas he kept saying, "Papa not working, Papa is getting the pool ready for me!"
*I told him that God has an awesome plan for his life and he said, "To take care of my rabbit?"
*Eli yelled, "MOM ARE YOU DEAD?" when he couldn't find me in the house.
*He said, "I don't want to grow up. I want a LITTLE tiny penis!"
*Earlier I had mentioned we were going to Walmart. Later he asked, "When are we going to Walnut to get our pictures?"
*He said to his lunch, "Nice to meet you grilled cheese!"
*He saw a statue of Elvis and said, "That looks like Dad!"
*I asked him my real name and he said, "Mama." I said no, my real name, and he said, "Mama mia?"
*He was pooping and said, "My poop is sleeping in there, then it comes out my bottom."
*I told him Dad was going out with the guys for a night and he said, "Eli a guy!"
* On Mother's Day he said, "I'm celebrating my mommy today!"
*For a while he was saying everything was "REALLY REALLY ___"
*I asked him what he learned in Sunday school and he said, "Jesus loves me!"
*He sang me Happy Birthday on Mother's Day ;-)
*He was playing kitchen and said, "Eli doesn't like pickles, but Eli likes pretend pickles!"
*He told me he was scared of "sheep" and "scrat (a squirrel he saw on a preview) in the crack between his bed.
*When Brandon's Great-Grandma died he said, "Munnis is NEW, not old anymore!"
*He said, "Jesus in my heart, I really want to take Jesus out to see him!"
*"I see Jesus in Heaven when I'm OLD!"
*Now if he doesn't want to wear something he'll say "That's ANNOYING!"
*He says, "Oh my gosh, oh my goodness, oh my word" a lot.
*If he doesn't want his shirt on he'll say, "My shirt's not listening to me!"
I love him so much!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
One of the greatest things about this Summer, has been the fact that Cora is now old enough to do most activities with Eli. They play together constantly. It really makes my heart swell with joy and pride. They wrestle ALL the time laughing and giggling and squealing in delight (although like with my brother and I it usually always ends with someone getting hurt), they run and spin, they jump on the trampoline, they play marbles, they do puzzles, they do an art project, they play cars, they eat snacks, they watch a video, they play dolls, they snuggle, they take walks, they go swimming, they run in the sprinkler, they do chalk, etc. Cora isn't a baby anymore and it really is showing! They are able to do so much together now. I should add that they also fight a lot, but it always ends with one of them giving the other a smooch and saying sorry. It is wonderful to watch their relationship unfold! I know they may not always be friends in the future, but I pray they will always have each other and that their bond will stay strong!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
I wanted to slip a quick post in documenting Cora's statistics at 15 months. She had her appointment this week and got two shots. Eli kept saying, "Cora is going to CRY!" Very true! It really helped having Eli at the appointment because when Cora got nervous about something Dr. Barker was able to demonstrate on Eli, which calmed her nerves. I was really proud of him for helping his sister and being concerned for her. She weighs 20 lbs 8 oz (20 percentile) and is 29 inches tall (10 percentile) and her head was 17 3/4 (11 percentile). I went back and compared them to Eli. He was a pound heavier, almost an inch taller, and his head was TWO inches bigger. After the appointment, Eli said, "Cora wasn't brave...she cried!"
Monday, August 15, 2011
We are in this struggle right now trying to decide whether to have a third child or not. Neither of us looks forward to going through the newborn phase all over again, or dealing with the stress financially or just the general chaos that a third child would bring. On the other hand, children truly are a blessing and we're both afraid we would regret it if we didn't take the plunge. At this point, we are in prayer and hoping to receive some answers. Pray for us please! I am a super practical and organized person...slightly OCD, so here is my LIST:
1. Another playmate/friend for the kids
2. A sister for Cora or a brother for Eli
3. More family joy
4. Group activites and games
5. Experiencing pregnancy again and bringing a child into the world
6. We already have ALL boy and girl clothes
7. We already have all baby supplies
8. Wouldn't have too many baby costs besides medical bills and diapers.
9. Would give me motivation to rid Cora of the pacifier and rocking, and get her into a toddler bed
10. We already have a carseat, swing, bouncy seat, bathtub, crib etc.
11. We have experienced a lot already parenting two kids with completely different personalities and know a lot of parenting tricks etc.
1. Health risks of pregnancy and another c-section (although I don't have any scar tissue)
2. Going through the newborn phase again (nursing, lack of sleep, recovery etc.)
3. Stress and anxiety of 3 kids in all aspects (cooking and day to day activities)
4. Would be harder for me to go places with the kids on my own (for the first year)
5. Would have to buy a van (even though I REALLY want one it would be a financial strain)
6. More medical bills.
7. Eli has a difficult personality and health issues and needs a lot of attention
8. One of our kids would have to share a room once the new baby was sleeping through the night
9. We would have a baby in our room again until the baby was sleeping through the night.
I realize now this list could probably go on forever! Here are at least a few of the ideas swirling around in my head! Dear God give me an answer!!!
Friday, August 12, 2011
I am really happy to say that our kids are finally getting old enough to enjoy hiking! Eli was resistant to even going to Spooner Lake, but once he got there he had a ball searching for tracks and trying to figure out what animal it was (most common he claimed to find were bear or deer). He loved hiking in the aspen forrest and my mom even hid and jumped out at us pretending to be a bear (which he loved). We came across some deer and enjoyed the beauty of the mountain meadows on this traditional hike. We ALWAYS hiked Spooner Lake with my Grandma, so once again it was fun to pass on the tradition to my kids. We didn't have room to bring our backpack carrier for Cora, so we were limited to hikes that we could bring her in the stroller. We took another hike with the kids (where my brother got an end of a pine needle in his eye when he was Eli's age). It is the last place my Grandma hiked. Eli found a special pine cone that he carried the entire hike, and Cora even hiked part of the way! We spread some of my Grandma's ashes along the creek and Eli was able to help. We picked snake grass and got to show Eli how fun it is to make bracelets and ropes with it! The neatest part of hiking with the kids was introducing them to a song that my Grandma always sang while she hiked, which is "I'm Happy When I'm Hiking". By the end of the trip Eli was singing it to himself while he hiked! Talk about adorable!
Thursday, August 11, 2011
The kids absolutely had a BLAST in Tahoe! It was so awesome NOT traveling with a baby! Eli was fabulous on all flights and would raise his arms and yell, "WOO HOO" or "YEE HAW" when we would hit turbulance or take off and land. The only issue with him is that he talks very loudly and I'm sure that could be kind of annoying to someone trying to sleep. I kind of figure that anyone would prefer loud talking to screaming right?? Cora was great as well. Both kids took naps on the planes and we kept them entertained with books, snacks, and little toy surprises. I am very excited to say that neither of our kids inherited my terrible motion sickness (I can't even get on a swing without getting sick). Praise God! It was a joy to not have to deal with nursing or frequent diaper changes. It was just another reminder that my kids are growing up and I LOVE IT! Eli was thrilled to get to Reno. Eli was very excited to see Papa Buck and gave him a big kiss when he saw him. Both kids loved playing the pinball machines and player piano at his house. In Tahoe, the kids spent their time playing on the porch, catching crawdads and minnows, hiking and looking for animal tracks, smelling sage brush, playing at the park, playing at the Harrah's playplace, feeding the blue jays and squirrels, throwing rocks in the lake, digging in the sand, kyaking, floating on a floatie, and wading. Both kids warmed up to all of my family and enjoyed playing with them. Eli kept shaking everyone's hands and saying, "Nice to meet you!" It was so cute! It is such a special feeling for me to get to watch them enjoy all the wonderful activites Tahoe has to offer. I am so glad they love it as much as I do!
We are home from a wonderful trip to Reno and Lake Tahoe, NV. The purpose for our trip was my Grandma's memorial. It was incredible! We all hiked to the base of Cave Rock to celebrate my Grandma's life overlooking a beautiful view of Lake Tahoe. There were a lot of tears, a lot of laughs, and a lot of memories shared by all. Cave Rock is a very special place to all of us. It sits right above our cabin and we always hiked it with my Grandma. It was both painful and soothing to be on all hikes and places that we always spent with her. At the memorial, we sang a medley of little songs she always used to sing and her favorite quotes and prayers were read. It was absolutely beautiful! In conclusion, we all went to different areas of Cave Rock and spread her ashes. We enjoyed a lovely lunch down at the cabin with all of the family and had a great day. It was wonderful to spend time with my cousins and wonderful to share all of our memories and funny stories about Grandma. I have never been to a more beautiful memorial!