Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge

We were fortunate to go to Kansas City and stay at Great Wolf Lodge on Eli's birthday weekend! I was kind of bummed that I will be recovering for a good chunk of the summer, and that we won't be able to go on a family vacation like usual. This was the perfect solution! We wanted to do something really special with the kids before Asher is born and our family changes again. We had a blast! All of our family went (even Brandon's parents drove up to come with us). We started the weekend with a birthday lunch at the T-Rex Cafe. It is a dinosaur themed cafe that was far more amazing than we could imagine! There were beautiful fish tanks all over the place and all different kinds of moving dinosaurs. The kids LOVED it! Cora was a little scared when she first walked in and saw the scary T-Rex, but once we told her it was pretend she was fine. We will definitely be back! We also stopped at Cabela's to show the kids the giant fish tanks. Eli saw a 99 lb catfish and asked, "Is that a great white shark?" Everyone got a good laugh out of that one. We spent the rest of the weekend playing at the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark. Eli was giddy with excitement the entire time. Both kids were singing the "Great Wolf Lodge song" and having fun. Eli was able to do all the big tube slides with Brandon, the medium single slides, and the little slides. It was so fun to watch him run around in excitement trying to decide what to do next. He lasted longer than any of the rest of us at the waterpark each day. Cora surprised me the most. There is a kid area that has fountains and two slides for the little ones, but besides that most of the park is for the big kids. I was worried she might not have enough to do. Boy, was I wrong! She walked up past the crying and scared 3 yr olds, counted to three, and then went down the slides exclaiming "MORE!" at the end. I could hardly believe it. She spent our entire time there going down the slides over and over again. We could hear parents trying to convince their scared older kids to do the slides using her as an example! I was so stinking proud of her! Watching both kids have so much fun was awesome! Besides the waterpark, the kids loved going to the story time, where they got to meet Violet the wolf. Eli loved playing ski ball at the arcade and we finished the trip by letting them get brother and sister wolf stuffed animals to remember it by (they have both slept with them since). It was just the pre-baby vacation we needed and I am so thankful we got to do it! Now that the birthday/vacation frenzy is over, I can focus on what we need to get prepared for this baby coming!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

4 years old!

My boy is 4! I can hardly believe those words as I say them. This past year has been by far our best year with Eli. Age three was WONDERFUL! I am actually sad to see it go. After going gluten free last year, his whole world changed for the better. Tantrums stopped for the most part, talking started, his attention span increased, and most importantly he started feeling good! I feel lucky every day to have such a smart, sweet, and funny boy. There is never a dull moment around here with his hilarious comments and daily adventures. He lives in the amazing world of imagination constantly. He is growing and maturing and learning SO much! He is full of questions about how the world works and we are happy to help him figure it all out. I have loved all the "why" questions because it gives me an opportunity to teach him something new. I can just see the gears in his brain turning and soaking it all up. At four years old:

1. His favorite toys or interests are: trains (especially Thomas), railroad crossings, traffic signs, marbles, toy animals of all kinds, cars, army men, wrestling, hide and seek, playing "nests" on the bed, jumping on the trampoline, bear hunting, climbing trees or the ropes at the park, memory, High Ho Cherry O, Don't Spill the beans, Dominos, swimming, and airplanes.

2. He LOVES riding his bike. He can't get enough of it. We usually go on one to two bike rides a day. He wears his little helmet, pushes his bike across the street, and likes watching the world race by. The faster the better. He always makes an agenda with Brandon. It goes something like this: 1. Gorilla 2. Waterfall 3. Park 4. Playground etc. It is adorable! Brandon is able to ride his biek and pull Cora in the trailer so she can be a part too (usually I walk and push her in the stroller if I'm involved).

3. He is flourishing in preschool and Sunday school. He absolutely loves his teachers Ms. Ladonna and Ms. Sheryl and his friends at school. He can write his name, rhyme, knows all the phonics, can actually sound out words, knows patterns, opposites, etc. He has been working lately on writing his numbers. He is super ahead in cognitive areas and average at fine motor skill things. He has a very rowdy class of mainly boys, but the teachers always tell me he is SO good and they never have any issues with him like the other boys.

4. Eli loves clocks. He has a learning clock that is a constant companion. He will ask what time it is and then set his little clock to the correct time. His teachers call him "Mr. Time" because he is always looking at the clock to see what time it is.

5. His best friends are: Seth Horst, cousin Gavin, all Isaacs cousins, Brodie, Piper, Asa, and Max at school.

6. One of my favorite parts of this year, has been his singing. He LOVES to sing and sings all the time. We love listening in on his little songs. He will sing songs from Chapel, Sunday School, or ones we've taught him. His favorites right now are "Bare Necessities" (from Jungle Book), "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho", "Deep and Wide", etc. He sings in a really high pitch voice. It is just adorable! When he is scared at night he will sing himself a song from school, "The Lord's my helper, I will not be afraid!"

7. Eli is a talker. It is so ironic, since he didn't talk in full sentences until he turned 3. I can just imagine how frustrating it must have been for him. He NEVER stops talking. He is a chatterbox and even continues to talk to himself or play out loud when in his room alone for nap or bedtime. His speech is constantly improving...even his teachers mentioned how much he has improved since school started. He now does speech once a week at Heartspring and once a week after school with Rainbows.

8. He got his very own rabbit this year and has done a great job being responsible for him. When the weather is nice enough, he feeds Carrot (who he named himself) hay and pellets. He always remembers to get some carrots or celery out of the fridge to take to him if we're headed outside. He loves petting him. I am so glad we got Carrot!

9. We don't have tv, but we do let him watch parts of movies or videos. His favorites are: Cars, Jungle Book (definitely his favorite), Cats. vs. Dogs, Curious George, Thomas the Train, Chicken Run, and Beauty and the Beast. He acts them all out after watching them with his little animals and figures.

10. Eli has a great spiritual connection and yearning. It is amazing the deep comments and questions that come out of this kid's mouth! He is very thoughtful and prays for different people constantly. He asks a ton of questions about God/Jesus and loves doing devotions.

11. He loves traveling anywhere. He especially loves going to the farm, Texas, or Great Wolf Lodge.

12. He talks a lot about Asher and how excited he is to have another boy. Just yesterday he said, "I am so happy that Asher is a boy! I wanted a boy SO bad. I just LOVE brothers!" He calls the baby Asher Leaf. We have no idea where the "Leaf" came from, but he tells everyone that is his name. He has already asked if he can help me give him a bath like he used to with Cora.

13. Eli is such a character. He is SO funny and cracks us up constantly. He is very imaginative and creates games for him and Cora to play. They love each other and play together all day (with a few fights sprinkled in). He is passionate in every area of his life and is a perfectionist. This can lead to some emotional moments when he can't get things exactly the way he wants it. He also has a low pain tolerance, which can lead to some drama. We still do time outs for discipline, which works wonderfully because he loves attention and doesn't like to be by himself. One great thing about this year has been the fact that he will play by himself now and let his big imagination be his guide. He is stuck like glue to Brandon when he's home and loves helping Brandon with all the projects around the house. Eli also loves going on errands with Brandon. They have a lot of boy time!

I will forever be so thankful to God for giving me Eli. Eli is constantly teaching me how to be a parent and my love is forever expanding. I look forward to seeing what age 4 has to bring and in what areas he will grow and change this upcoming year. Happy Birthday Eli Jud!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day and Cora's new bed!

Brandon surprised me yesterday and took off work for my birthday! We were able to have a nice little Valentine's Day breakfast with the kids (they loved their little goodies and cards from all the family) and I got to spend some time with my best friend in the morning before Eli's wild school party! All the kids had a blast at the school party and it was nice to have Brandon there to help with Cora! The kids were very in to passing out their Valentines. Eli said, "Piper loves me...that's why she gave me this Valentine!" He was so cute! I ended up with a little digestive virus the rest of the day...happy 26th! We were able to pick up Cora's new bed and Brandon spent the afternoon putting it together. Cora LOVED it! We didn't show her until we had it completely done and then sprung it on her. She was in love. She spent probably an hour just laying on her new pillow and pulling her covers up and declaring herself a "big girl" and "I'm big now!" She didn't seem to care at all that we had moved her crib into our bedroom. It's all set for Asher...it's a great feeling. She slept great last night (but did wake up a couple of times looking for her kitty that was hiding under the covers) and is now sleeping soundly in there for her nap. I was really surprised at how excited she was. It feels great to get another transition out of the way!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Snow Day

We are about 9 inches behind in snow this year with this mild Winter we've been having, so the kids were overjoyed to wake up to a couple inches of beautiful snow this morning! We had put out birdseed snacks the night before (toilet paper rolls, peanut butter, and birdseed), and it was perfect timing because all the birds were enjoying them in the snowy weather. We played outside for quite a while this morning having snowball fights, making footprints, spreading more bird seed around, and I got to get some serious exercise pulling the kids around on my childhood sled. Now there are soggy clothes hanging all over! Proof of a great time! I took advantage of our empty Monday to bake GF strawberry muffins for our little Valentine breakfast party tomorrow, and also made myself chocolate peanut butter bars for my birthday cake!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

24 weeks

I officially have a c-section date! Asher Graham will be making his debut (if he doesn't come earlier) on May 24th at 7:00 a.m. I am really excited to have it on the calendar. It definitely makes everything feel real and within reach. My pregnancy is going great, considering I am a very active homemaker playing with two kids all day, cooking, and keeping the house clean! I have been very fortunate to have felt pretty darn well most of the time these past few months (I did have one night of throwing up twice a month ago...but that was a fluke). I definitely have some tired and moody moments (you can ask Brandon about that). At this point with Cora, I already had a terrible neuroma in my foot, back pain, and was anemic. I've only had minor foot pain (I wear orthotics and tennis shoes at all times when home) and no back pain yet. I did have one dizzy morning the other day that got me thinking about iron deficiency. My next appointment is my glucose test, antibody screen, and blood panel. Time is flying! I have probably gained about 17 lbs and am measuring 2 weeks ahead (like I have been the whole pregnancy). Asher's heart rate was 139 yesterday and he had hiccups this morning for the first time! The kids talk about him all the time, so I am curious to see how they adjust when he is born. He will definitely know their little voices. Cora knew Eli's and would always turn her head if she heard his voice. I pray that the rest of my pregnancy goes as well as it has so far and that we have a nice healthy baby at the end of it!